Friday, June 23, 2017

The Doppelganger

After turning off the TV, Cindy signals to Jaq that it was time for bed. Placing the controller on the solid wood coffee table--dark tones, with a black glass as its center-piece--she slowly lift herself off the sofa and offers her hand to Jaq.

'Come now honey, we got to leave early tomorrow morning for your school camp.'

'Ok, mommy!' Jaq replied, with a mild hint of enthusiasm, as she has been looking forward to that day.

As she stands patiently by the side of the bed, Jaq climbs onto the beige colored bed, and she holds the end of the comforter, and gently throws it across Jaq, who was already close to sleep.

She bends over, admiring how beautiful Jaq is; at 6 years old, she will be facing her PSLE examinations by the end of the year, and this worries her.

Shrugging off that thought, she pecks Jaq's exposed cheeks--she was lying to her side, her back facing the window. She often thought about this habit of her sleeping in such a position, but the memory kept slipping her.

'I guess she does not like to face the window; that was what I used to do too when I was at her age' as she mentally recalled to herself.

As she was about to turn off the lights, she turned her head, her body slightly out of the doorway, and gave a final look at her precious little one, who was already fast asleep. The color of the room--sky blue, the ceiling was all white--with little wall decorations of Walt Disney's famous 'Minions', and the corner of the room, next to the two door, beige colored cupboard--matching in texture and color as the bed, are all her crayon drawings.

Jaq has a talent for art, but being in Singapore, where art is dismissed as invaluable for one's career, Cindy has to dissuade her daughter from pursuing it.

Not now. She is still too young.

With a flick of her finger on the switch, darkness fills the room, with a faint glow filling the room through the south-facing windows.

 Dark corners--shadows--myriads of odd shapes. She closed the door behind her, and proceeds to the bedroom at the end of the two-men wide hallway.

The clock was already showing half-past 11.

Drying her hair out with the white and pink tones of the dryer, she was eagerly waiting for tomorrow to come.

A white night gown she wore: a little translucent, with the edge above her knee, exposing her thighs--the usual clothing she dons when it was time for her to sleep.

As she lays in her queen-sized bed, looking at the turquoise ceiling, she realized how much she had missed Aidil.

Feeling the eyelids getting heavier, the last thought was of her making love to the one man she loves, and will ever loved.

Sleep overwhelmed her.

Suddenly, a cry  was heard. The sound came from the hallway.

She immediately sat up on her bed.

Was I dreaming?

She turned her head towards the toilet's door; the clock above it tells her that the time was already 3:11 am.


Shocked at hearing the voice of her daughter, she jumped off her bed and ran towards Jaq's bedroom.

Panic sets in as she turns the doorknob and swung the door into the room, reaches for the light switch, and turned it on.

Jaq was close to tears: fear was all over her face.

'What is it, dear?! What's wrong with you?' she asked, as she sat on the edge of the bed, stroking Jaq's hair.

By this time, Jaq was sitting upright, holding the comforter to her face, almost close to tears.

Cindy felt her body shivering a little underneath her caress.

'There...was...a loud...' as she struggled to speak, gasping for air ever slightly, 'knock inside the cupboard.'

'What? Are you sure?' she returned another question.

'Mommy--I'm scared.'

Fear sets in.

Her hairs were standing one end.

What the hell is going on here? she thought to herself.

'Ok. You wait here, alright?'

'But...but, Mommy, I'm scared!' Jaq replied, the tone of her voice informing her of the urgency of the situation at hand.

'Now, now. Its alright, ok? You just sit here, I won't leave you ok?' she consoled her, kissing her on her forehead, 'You are a big girl now, and big girls are not afraid of little bumps in the night?'

Nodding, Jaq gave her a wry smile.

Something peculiar about that smile, but she just brushed the thought off.

'You stay there while I go and have look inside the closet, ok?'

Again, Jaq nodded. Her eyes focused from Cindy and, now, looking straight at where the cupboard is.

Cindy got off to her feet, taking in a deep breath, walks cautiously towards the cupboard.

Dear God, I hope there is nothing in there, she thought to herself.

Reaching out with both her hands, she slowly reach for the handles. A second passed. Without further hesitation, she forcefully swung the doors open, and jumped backwards, slightly, at the sight.

Horror sets in. Chilling to the bone. Her mind was blank at what she saw!

It was Jaq!

'Mommy! There is...' the little girl, with her knees tucked into her chest, and her face buried behind her knees, said, 'someone on my bed!'

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