My college dorm room always freaked me out.
The three single beds with the headboards against the wall, the pathetic curtain that barely hinders any sunlight, the creaky cupboard door and off-white walls with unexplained stains were the cherry on top of the fact that there were barely any girls living on campus, and the ones who did made up an odd number; leaving me to this one room all by myself.
I settled for the tiniest and perhaps most dilapidated room available because no one else wanted it, which ultimately made it cheaper. I accepted the room pretty quickly, thinking another female student would move in soon enough. Or at least move out of the one of the other rooms so I could take her spot.
But after six months passed, I gave up.
It wasn’t that I was lonely. I found it hard to admit at the time but the room itself was highly unsettling, particularly the beds. One was too close to window, the other too close to closet door. In the day it’s alright; but at night, the setup is far from ideal.
I also found it hard to sleep most nights. Sometimes I even contemplated moving back with my family and finding a college closer to home, rather than all the way in Penang. But in attempt to not burden my parents I took the middle bed and just did my best to take measures to ensure my safety.
I disposed of my sanitary pads the proper way, barricaded the closet door at night by placing my eyeshadow kit between the handles, covered the mirror facing my bed with a cloth, and kept the other beds messy by piling clothes and books on them so they didn’t look so bare. I told my sister about it and she even sent over some soft toys to fill the spaces.
Still, I couldn’t shake the eerie feeling. I figured maybe I should do something about the vast space under the beds, because I’ve watched enough horror movies to know that’s where all the terror begins. I folded my yoga mat and stuffed it under the bed on my right, and placed spare pillows under the other one.
This is all I can do, I thought. It had to work.
But one night, in my room that now resembled a hoarder’s, I got more chills than ever. Frustrated and vexed, I was angry at myself for being so scared for no reason. I’d never actually seen or heard anything even when I’d peer out the window, into the crack in the closet door, or even when I’d take a glimpse at the vacant bed with half-shut eyes throughout the night.
Nothing justified my fear, yet I simply could not counter it.
I tossed and turned for a while, and that is when I realised that throughout the entire ordeal, I hadn’t thought to look up.
And now I wish I never did.
* All illustrations are edited versions of free stock images available on the public domain.
* Malaysian Mystery Memoirs is a series of fictional horror tales by JUICE, for entertainment purposes only. Any similarities to actual persons or situations are purely coincidental.