Underneath the beautiful facade of the shimmering night, there are the people who walk the streets with the stealth of a tiger and a vision submerged in red.


Image Source: Freepik

In the hush of deepening blue comes evening to the city, ever lit, ever awake, ever with a pulsing heart. It’s the harbinger of darkness holding a mysterious note ever-lying in the shadows, where the strength of the day moulds into the softness of the night, and the city comes alive with the music and light. And underneath the beautiful facade of the shimmering night, there are the people who walk the streets with the stealth of a tiger and a vision submerged in red.

The first time I was made aware that the city was filled with such people was perhaps the time when I was a foolish student who had lost a bet and ended up on the wrong side of the jail after royally pissing off a few cops and an unfortunate encounter with a fellow knife-wielding junkie who had just then committed a first-degree homicide and fled the scene.

Ironically, the poor middle-aged man who had been on the sharp end of the knife managed to die a very dramatic death with no explanation of the situation whatsoever to the cops and a bloodied finger directed towards me. Combine that with the lazy division of the police force, and there I was, wrongly accused of trespassing, theft and murder. It was weeks later that I found myself in court, standing proud and smug after being proven ‘not guilty’, thanks to the many charms of CCTV footage.


However, I do admit that they were right on one aspect of the whole cursed situation. I was ‘trespassing’. Guilty as charged but not yet prosecuted, it seems, ay? Regardless, as time went by and I grew up to be somewhat of an irresponsible adult, my penchant for trouble and the lust for danger just went up.

Blame the adrenaline and the hormones.

So, here I am standing in front of the window of what the kids would call an abandoned building, which had its own share of a tarnished reputation. After taking a sneak peek inside the building and making sure that nobody would be able to stop me from acting upon my intrusive thoughts, I decide to evade the privacy of the ghosts and cause major mayhem if possible. However, there is one challenge I am presented with yet again, in my whole life of a total of 23 years. The door of the building is locked.

How charming!

Well, no matter. Back in my days as a prominent, snobby high school kid, I used to be the bearer of many titles such as ‘Dread-Locks’, ‘Sure-lock Holmes’, ‘Sir Pickalock’, and the age-old ‘Abra-key-Dabra’. I used to be so proud of my entitlements, and to this day, I have come to cherish each memory of me utilising my talent. After all, a little bit of lockpicking never hurts anyone unless you get caught in the middle of the act itself, and Lord, help us if it is an illegal one.

The act is damned, but the moral of the story is quite simple yet effective. ‘You need to be careful’. That’s the only thing that matters. Check your surroundings, look out for any homicidal knife-wielding junkies who might leave you in trouble, flick your wrists with some pins, and voila! You got yourself an open door to a fairly abandoned building in an equally dodgy town.

Smirking to myself at my own success at illegally breaking in, I put away the pins and quietly enter the house.

Hey! Don’t judge me. I am just a creepy bloke wandering around in a creepy house in the middle of a creepy town. Nothing new there, see!

Anyway, back to me breaking in.

As soon as I step inside the house, I am greeted by darkness, my old friend. Surprisingly, it’s always dark. The lights never cooperate in a creepy building. Not that I am in dire need right now. The lights will only manage to alert someone of my presence, and that is not the kind of trouble I am looking for right now. However, I decide to use and light up a small spare torch that I have brought with me.

The interior is something that I can’t define in just one word. I find it both basic and eclectic simultaneously, and that is something that leaves me confused and in awe. The house is constructed in a style similar to that of a typical advanced Japanese household. There’s the ground floor and the first floor. The entrance leads to a corridor, accompanied by a staircase that leads upstairs, with several rooms that can be found on either side of the corridor.

Being a fellow man of culture who loves to take his time just watching and admiring my surroundings, I decide to venture further in the house instead of just standing and utilising my time.

As I make progress in my study of the many types of dust particles, I discover that the ground floor consists of three rooms, comprising a kitchen, a living room and a room that further leads to the backyard. I’ll have to admit, the house is pretty well kept for being abandoned. Dust has accumulated on every surface visible to humankind, and the spiders are having a good time partying in every corner and alcove, but keeping those facts aside, the house doesn’t seem abandoned at all.

Who am I to judge?

However, being a child trapped in an adult’s body, I can’t help but get bored after a while, so I decide to take a drastic and probably life-changing step in my whole career and venture upstairs.

Big mistake. Big. Huge.

You would think that in a well-maintained large house such as this one, the stairs would turn out to be well-maintained as well. WRONG. These are the loudest stairs I’ve ever had the misfortune of stepping on.

I mean, seriously? Come on!

This house isn’t even that old to begin with. What an absolute waste of wood!

My short rant and grudge against the stairs end as soon as my eyes catch the attention of the tapestry hanging on the wall adjacent to the stairs. ‘Strange’ I think after staring at it properly with my flashlight directed at it. I think I’ve seen it somewhere before. I just can’t remember where.

Shrugging my shoulders, I continue on my way upstairs. Once I reach my destination, I look at my surroundings. Just as I had figured, it resembles the ground floor, only with a slight increase in the number of rooms. I walk towards one of the rooms, deciding to check them out one by one.

I was greeted by the pleasant, tranquil voice of the creaking woods once again as I opened the door and stepped inside the vibrant room filled with bright lights. So bright that I felt like a blind man. Enchanting!

No matter, thanks to the blessing of my humble torch, I manage to find my path of vision and take a careful look around. The room kind of resembles the rest of the house, decorated with various bric-a-bracs and collectibles all kept carefully, yet placed so very messily all across the room and the house. It is strange in a way. Eclectic.

Just when I am about to leave the room, something catches my attention yet again.

A set of picture frames.

Seeing this as the only opportunity to figure out who this house might have belonged to, I decide to take a closer look at the pictures that are hung up on the wall at the far end of the room, above the bed and the desk beside it. The pictures are somewhat faded, and it takes me some effort to properly look at them in the dark. However, I was not prepared for the next thing that happened.

Blimey! That’s me.

I admit that I’ve never been a huge fan of photographs, but there is no mistake in my judgement. I can be dumb at times, but even I can’t be dumb enough to not be able to recognise myself and my family in some photos. These photos depict my younger self, which leaves me a bit dazed and bewildered for the given moment.

Lost in my thoughts with a million questions running through my mind, I suddenly hear the door of the room slam shut behind me, which I am ashamed to admit leaves me taking a leap about a foot up in the air, clutching my chest where my heart is supposed to be.

What in the Japanese tales of the macabre just happened?

I almost run back towards the door, and to my disappointment, I find it locked. My mind is still catching up with recent events, and I admit that I find the whole situation a bit absurd. How did my photos end up in this house? Is someone else inside? Has someone else come in after me? Exactly whose house have I broken into?

Then I see him. I think there is a moment where we just look at each other, and as soon as the moment passes, I gather all the adrenaline rush I can manage and rush out the door with the psychopath hot on my heels.

People say that there’s a right person and a right time. People also say that there’s a right person at the wrong time. What people generally forget to mention is the fact that there’s a wrong person, a wrong time, a wrong house, and a wretched staircase.

As I try to escape my possible murder, I hear the staircase creaking loudly with the sound of crazed laughter echoing around the house, or are they screams of despair? I do not bother to clarify as my rapid heartbeats fill my eardrums. The next few minutes are a blur, with random doors getting slammed open, random things flying across the rooms, and random things getting broken beyond repair. All the efforts are only for me to buy some time to plan an escape. So much chaos only for our little game of cat and mouse held in a cursed house. Just a normal Tuesday night.

Throwing yet another door open and slamming it shut once I am safely inside, I make sure to lock it tight and block the entrance as much as possible as I plan on my next move. I find luck shining brightly upon me once I realise that I have managed to lock myself in the room that leads to the backyard.

‘Well, there’s my escape’ I think, and I make haste to act upon my plan.

The doors seem a bit jammed, but with a bit of push, they open just fine; however, it doesn’t sit right with me how the entire house goes quiet suddenly. After I had locked myself in, I thought that the criminal would be hell-bent on breaking down the door, but nothing of the sort has happened so far. Is he planning to let me go? Pfft, nah. What a joke! Does he already know that I am going to escape? Has he already gotten out of the house? A number of annoying and stupid questions cross my mind, but I decide to get out of the house without wasting further time. I can think about the criminal later.

Now, when I tell you that this night has been very strange, I really mean it. I still don’t know how my photos ended up in this pathetic excuse of a house, let alone how a murderer even managed to enter. The point is, this night has been strange, but nothing, absolutely nothing, could have prepared me for this.

A gravestone at the far end of the backyard.

That’s not something that blows my mind apart. The name etched on the surface of the stone, however, manages to do exactly that.

It is mine.

Great googly moogly! What on earth is happening?

Now I need some definite answers. Have I died? Have I forgotten about it? Am I hallucinating or something?

Stunned into silence and deciding on the fact that my blood definitely doesn’t carry any sort of drug whatsoever, I force my legs to slowly retreat into the house.

Once inside, I unlock the doors and decide to look for clues. At this point, anything will do, to be honest. However, the scene that greets me is another surprise on the list of surprises this night. The living room is littered with candles that are lit up, and there sits Mr Murderer in a circle made of salt with his eyes closed and praying to the heavens above to save him from evil.

‘Save him from evil’.

Save? HIM?

‘Huh? So, I am the bad guy throwing a flower vase at him all this time?’ is the first thought that crosses my mind after the whole ordeal. I decide to test my theory and kick a random box out of my way that is lying there on the floor. I get all my answers when the guy literally flinches away and jumps almost off the floor with his eyes unfocused, trying to figure out something even though I am right there.

Relaxing my shoulders, which were tense up until now, and releasing a breath that I didn’t even know I was holding, I accept the situation and venture further into the house.

In my house.

As I pass a mirror and look at it, I can’t see my reflection, but the memories suddenly come back one by one.

I had been sitting in this room looking at this exact mirror years ago when I had been attacked in my house by this same psychotic maniac. I had been startled, and even though I was a fairly good fighter, it was easy for my assaulter to gain the upper hand by stabbing me multiple times. I was tortured. I was also made to look at the whole process through this exact same mirror. The details of the vintage mirror had been very interesting and a good source of distraction from the pain I was suffering at that moment.

‘That was a painful death’ I reminisce. I think that’s the reason I never truly left. I think that’s why I am trapped in time without any memories.

‘Damn, I am a vintage eclectic soul, but GOOD LORD, these stairs are disgustingly loud’ I think as I decide to just sit for a moment in the chair in front of the mirror with my eyes closed. I am tired after the ordeal.

I am tired.

The next time I open my eyes, I am standing in front of the window of what the kids would call an abandoned building, which had its own share of a tarnished reputation. After taking a sneak peek inside the building and making sure that nobody would be able to stop me from acting upon my intrusive thoughts, I decide to evade the privacy of the ghosts and cause major mayhem if possible.

Let’s get inside.