Thursday, February 5, 2009

It was nightfall...we were in Penang, staying on top of a hill, that faces the rough sea...for some reason, it was peaceful that night...and, if you were to really lie still and concentrate, you could hear the crickets sing their songs and the frogs croak their symphonies...but of course, we all know that is way beyond my capability...

Still, I looked out of the window...the sky was deep crimson blue...not many stars out there, despite a clear sky, I observed...and the jungle has lost its mystifying beauty...more than half of the hill, was bald and exploited...after years of constant abuse, it has changed into a concrete zone...trees were uprooted, and now 3-story houses stood in their place...the ones next to where I lived were still under construction...they looked extremely bare and desolate...lonely...and outcast...

That's when I saw a small fireball some distance away, that dropped down from the sky...and sizzled off, as it landed on the deep blue sea...and then there was another one...and another...I looked up...meteorites!!!...well, at least I thought they were comet fragments, the way they shot across the sky...

It was a rare occasion, I'm sure you'll agree with me...yet, I did not budge from my seat to alert my other ex-school mates...I sent up a prayer of thanks, and made my wish...(yes, I happened to believe that wishing upon a star will make one's wish come true...go ahead...say that I've lost my marbles...see if I care...*grin*)...then I returned to the room where the others were, listening to a pastor preach his sermon...

As usual, I made my way to the back of the hall, where the rest of my friends were 'hiding'...we, young immature people of 20s and below, are most well-known for doing that...cause everyone knows that it is sitting at the back, that is the safest...away from point blank target of our parents' watchful eyes...where one can fall asleep, without worrying that it may insult the preacher...or pass cheeky notes around...or chat in soft whispers, without getting a disapproving stare from one of the elderly...I learned that one of my cousins were adopted by the preacher's wife...funny...I don't recall any adoption taking place at all...plus, it feels really weird, hearing the preacher's wife referring to him as her 'son'...

One of my friends suddenly gave a loud shout and pointed out the window...everybody's attention was distracted and off the preacher for a moment...they raced to the window to see what the fuss was all about...I knew, of course...but still, I joined the others...just to see more fireballs fall, at a more consistent rate...thank goodness, we were surrounded by sea waters...they just swallowed those little babies whole, and they sunk deep into the abyss...completely oblivious to all possible dangers, we continued watching from our 'sanctuary'...

It was one of the fireballs that struck the roof of one of the houses, that brought us back to reality...the flames were licking up everything in their way ferociously...then came pitch darkness...the power station must be burning too...instinctively, I tried to get help...it was difficult...there was no light to aid my footsteps, and to make things worse, the situation turned chaotic, with people running directionless, trying to escape...I somehow managed to scramble my way to the phone, and started dialing 911...the numbers were jumbled up, and in my moments of panic, I kept pushing the wrong buttons...when I finally got through, an operator answered my call...described the scene, gave the address of the place I was in, and asked for the fireman to hurry...probably it was my voice that didn't sound urgent enough or something, the operator didn't believe in my report and thought of me as a prankster who called in to liven up their spirits...she didn't give me a chance to explain, and hung up the phone...I was getting more desperate...in my desperation, I accidentally dropped the phone...and the phone cable got disconnected...it was almost impossible to find the telephone and cable in the dark, so we all rushed out...I struggled to make my way through the mess, while calling 911 again, through my handphone this time...

There was no network, damn it...and the fire has given us no choice, but to head for a pavement, that leads to a huge waterfall, that drops off a mile away...I looked around to find my family...my two brothers, mum and dad, and grandma...amidst the chaos, people were pushing and screaming...children crying for their mothers...finally I heard my mum call out my name...I answered in relief...when she handed me the bad news....

My brother didn't make it, my mum told me...people said that he managed to escape to the main road before the fire engulfed the building...but while he was asking for help, he was shot at by an ice-cream man riding a motorbike and robbed him of his money before speeding away...

I didn't believe it..searched for my dad and found him after a while...his blank eyes and stunned look spoke a million words...I fell to the floor and cried...I could not breathe...I wouldn't let anyone touch me...I was mumbling words...but couldn't make out what I was saying...I wished for death to have taken me instead...
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Darn it...sometimes I wish Mr. Sandman could leave me alone...my dreams have a bad habit of turning into melodramatic soap operas, which leave me more exhausted instead of well-rested...my mind is still in hyper-active mode thanks to him...

Man, that felt so real...the pain of losing a loved one...I could feel it with every cell of my being...I thought that someone just chopped off half my body, I could not feel them...I can remember it even now as I am writing...5 hours after my waking time...

3 comments:

Philip926 said...

This reminds me of an actual story my parents related to me years ago. They were driving a friend home late at night and as they approached the Air Itam roundabout (where the present flyover is) this huge fireball appeared from nowhere and headed straight towards their vehicle at a frightening speed. There was no time for them to swerve, they must have said a quick prayer as it appeared to lunge into the car, and suddenly...it ended. All was quiet.

The only difference was this wasn't a dream.

lunaticg said...

Errkkk?
Is that really happening to you or not? A bit blur in here.
I love to go to penang BTW.
See you around.

Lessajinomoto said...

Dear Philip,

Thanks for sharing your story...I am thanking God everyday, for allowing me an extra day with my loved ones...It really is a grim reminder that as intelligent as we have evolved...that doesn't make us anymore immortal...

Lunaticq,
Ah, thank God...it was just a dream...if you noticed, I tagged my post with 'Dream machine'...I do share my dreams on my blog sometimes...only those that I feel is important, and places a stamp/mark in my mind for a few days...

Yes, I love Penang too...it is my hometown, and I never fail to drop by Penang for a day or two...especially on holidays...even on weekends, I would go for a one day trip...just for the food!!!...*grin*