“Mastura honey, I told you to come early for room registration day but now look what happened. You’re late and now all the good rooms had been taken” Marnisah nagged to her younger sister while taking her stuff from the car.”Relax sis, I don’t mind getting any rooms as long as it’s clean and acceptable” Mastura shortly replied. Marnisah looked at her younger sister with a shaking head. She was already mad for her being a day late on an important occasion but seeing Mastura acting so care-free made her even more annoyed. It’s not like she needs a good room, Marnisah had already graduated college last year and was now sending Mastura for her sophomore year. She only wanted what’s best for her younger sister but it seemed like Mastura couldn’t care less about it.
“Mastura Aziz, room 4:4 block A. Here are your room keys, I’m sure you’re already aware of the college’s law and rules by now so I trust you that I need not to explain it” The office clerk explained in a monotonous tone. Mastura looked at the key, it was rusty and seemed ancient.“I’m sorry but did you say room 4:4?”She asked. The office clerk nodded without looking.It was then that all the rumours and stories that she heard from her friend began to flood her mind like crazy. Every student at that institute knows about the famous room 4:4, the tales and rumours circulated like wildfire that even the lecturers knew about it. That room had been empty for a while now but since this year’s intake increased, the university authorities just had to open it again to make sure that vacancy was enough for everyone. Mastura had heard vicious tales about that room, one story told her that a family of jinns lived there and they detest any humans entering their territory. Other claims told her that a student had once commited suicide in that room by severely cutting herself to death. People would often say to hear her wander around the corridors, begging the pain to stop. Mastura was silent for a few minutes before the clerk snapped her fingers to wake her as though she had been in a deep sleep.
“Uh, I’m sorry but could you maybe perhaps give me another room? I’m just not so sure about this one” She begged the clerk for a replacement even though she knew it was pointless. “I’m sorry dear, you were late. All the rooms now had been occupied but on the bright side, you won’t have to share it with anyone” The clerk explained. “Wait What!? I don’t have a roommate?” Mastura exclaimed to that statement.As if a haunted room isn’t bad enough but to stay in alone for the whole semester was really something worse. “Well yes, that room only fits one student per semester because it’s not that big to fit in two.I’m sure you’ll be just happy under whatever circumstances it may be” The clerk lady added while typing her keyboard. She clearly wasn’t in any interest towards Mastura’s suprised reaction. Mastura looked at her room key again before deciding that the clerk wasn’t gonna do her any favour and with that, she left the office.
“Room 4:4” It stated on the wooden door. Mastura carefully unlocked her room door and once it opened, she swore she could feel all the chills and bad vibes rushing out from it. The room was quite spacious for a single person and was really dusty.There was a study table and a single bed and a locker. She grunted as she tried to open the tight window. Clearly it had been shut for a while now. Other than that, everything was still normal and at place. She had spent the entire afternoon cleaning her dusty room and rearranging her clothes and items. Marnisah had long left to attend to her work so Mastura was all alone to clean her room. Finally when she finished she sat at the study table to catch some air as the room just now was filled with dust. Mastura gazed at the blue sky and thought that those rumours and stories that she heard were fake and chose to ignore it. After her room was clean, she finally felt that it was normal and not like something from a horror movie. Just some old rumours to have some gossip to talk about, she thought.
As she was gazing, she couldn’t help but notice whispers coming down from under her bed. She paused for a moment and thought that maybe she was too tired after the cleaning but as the whispers were obvious, she couldn’t lie to herself anymore and decided to look. Her curiosity had led her to find an amulet lying under her bed. “It must have belonged to the previous owner of this room” She thought as she scrutinized the amulet. It was shiny and round with an emerald stone carved into a flower as its centerpiece. Around the gemstone were mysterious symbols but she wasn’t sure what it meant. “Could the owner be looking for it? Should I send it to the office?” Mastura asked herself but after realising that the room hasn’t been open for something like 20 years, she decided to keep the amulet to study it.
A few nights later, she experienced a bizarre incident. While she was sleeping, she was awoken by the sound of an eerie humming. At first, she thought that it was all in her head but as the humming grew louder followed by a sound of a cane tapping, her heart skipped a beat. She focused on that humming for a moment before deciding to check what it was. Mastura slowly crept to her door and peeked outside her room. The humming stopped and she could see nothing. The hallway was empty and silent, just like the night.”I must be hearing things” She yawned before deciding to get back to sleep but suddenly, the humming continues. Mastura looked around again, she was very certain there was someone humming and tapping at the same time. It felt very close but she could see no one.
Look up. Her mind whispered.
When she looked up, her face went white and she quickly covered her mouth from screaming. There it was , up on the ceiling, an old woman and she was upside down; hanging from the ceiling. Her head was only a few cm away from Mastura’s head and she was holding a cane while humming. She wasn’t really attached to the ceiling but was rather gliding on it. She didn’t see Mastura though as she was upside down. Mastura still remained quiet, muffling her mouth from making any sounds. The old woman began to tap her cane while humming and moving. Mastura carefully inched herself back to her room and once she got inside, she locked the door and cried. It was too much for her. She could not have imagined if the upside down woman looked down at her. What would happen? Mastura grabbed her phone and began to shuffle her quranic playlist to calm herself down. Within a few minutes, she felt drowsy and was once again sleeping while accompanied by peaceful quranic verses. The next morning, she woke up to the sound of the fajr prayer.Her mind was now calm and the strange event from last night was forgotten.
For the past two weeks, the amulet that she found was decided to be worn all the time.She was fascinated by its beauty and was keen to find the truth about it. Unfortunately, she found nothing on google and the books at her university’s library also gave zero information about the symbols. The amulet, even though charming and eye-catching, was still odd and peculiar and sometimes, unexplainable things would happen.One of them was when one day, around 10 p.m, she was still in the library; studying as always. The library had fewer students at night and as she was reading alone on the second floor, a young lady greeted her. The lady wore a white kebaya and her hair was fashioned from something of the 30s. “Still studying I see” She spoke as she smiled at Mastura. “Oh yeah, I like to do things early,” Mastura shortly replied. “Well best not be here too late honey, or else you’re gonna find it hard to study while wearing that locket” She jokingly said as she eyed the amulet. “Um, What do you mean miss?” Her face went blank as she looked at her conspicuous pendant before realising that the lady had gone.
“Well, that’s my cue to leave” Mastura hurriedly packed her belongings before making it down the stairs. Her mind was obviously puzzled as that lady mysteriously vanished and she thought that she had seen that lady before but where? As she swiftly raced down the stairs, her face turned pale when she saw the portrait of the same woman; hanging on the wall near the book counter. She once asked the senior librarian about that portrait, after the incident and to this day, Mastura could still remember her eerie answer. “That portrait was the portrait of Chempaka Emalin, the wife to the founder of this institute. She died very young. When the japanese occupation ruled Malaysia, they had turned this institute as one of their bases. In fact, this library was used as a place to keep all the secret information and files during the war. When they first came here, the general in charge commanded that all staff be captured and killed on the second floor, probably because there’s more space up there. Lady Chempaka just happened to be there during that moment and was too captured and killed brutally with a bayonet. Rumours has it, she was tortured first because they thought she was a british spy due to her mixed looks and slightly blonde hair.” Mastura gulped after hearing the story and due to that, she vowed to only come to the library at daylight.
After a number of strange events, Mastura had been having trouble falling asleep. Her mind was overwhelmed from seeing weird visions and the sleepless nights only made things worse. She had been experiencing the same weird dream for almost every night. It was always a similar dream, in her dreams she saw a girl staring at her from across a pavement. She could tell that she was trying to say something but she could not hear a word from her.The weird thing was, she could not move or do anything besides looking. Finally, it always ended with that girl shrieking and wailing until it woke her up. She often would be awake sweaty and panting after those dreams. “Mastura, are you okay? You look like you haven’t had enough sleep” Professor Aliyya once asked her. “Well yeah, I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately” Mastura yawned. “Well, I advise you to take a break from the books for a while. I know you’ve been studying hard but your health condition matters more” Professor Aliyya concernly said. “And oh by the way Mastura, I love your amulet so much. Where did you get it?” Asked Professor Aliyya. “What? This old thing?Oh, it was…..hm I can’t recall but anyway thank you for your advice professor, I appreciate that very much” Mastura replied, trying to control the nerve in her voice.
“Mastura, are you sure you’re okay? You seemed a little bit off this semester. Is something bothering you?” Professor Aliyya’s eyes were full of concern.Mastura looked at her lecturer before massaging her aching head“Well professor, you’re gonna think I’m crazy but I’m having a problem with this amulet. Ever since I found it in my dorm room, I’ve been trying to uncover its origins but weird and supernatural things begin happening to me that I’m starting to think that I’ll lose my sanity” Mastura sighed as she showed her amulet.”The amulet is old and I think it had belong to someone who used to sit in my room but since that room was locked for 20 years, I assumed that owner had long gone” She continued.
“Hm, I don’t know what to say but I think it might help if you asked one of the pioneer lecturers here. I suggest you ask Dr. Aisyah about this because she’s been teaching at this institute for over 30 years.Plus, Dr. Aisyah has always been very close to her students so if you are looking for some answers about the owner of this locket, I assume she would have an idea of whom it may belong to” Professor Aliyya explained. “Thank you professor, I’ll go to her office right away”
Mastura went to Dr. Aishah’s office with the hopes to find answers. She anxiously knocked on her office door and when she heard her say ‘come in’, she sedately walked in and sat on her chair. “Yes Mastura, is there anything I could do to help you?” Dr. Aisyah gently asked Mastura. Her voice was soft and motherly-like and she would often smile to everyone she met despite her old age. “I’m sorry to bother you Dr. but I need your help. I don’t know if this makes sense but I was wondering if you had seen this locket anywhere?” Mastura explained as she showed Dr. Aisyah the amulet. “Give it to me, let me have a look” Dr. Aisyah insisted as she rummaged through her table drawer for her spectacles.
For a few minutes, the office was quiet. Dr. Aisyah’s face suddenly turned pale. The smile on her face slowly faded and her expression was clearly blank.”Where did you find this amulet Mastura?” Dr. Aisyah took off her glasses and massaged her forehead. “Well, I found it under my bed the other day when I was cleaning my room. I tried asking the clerk at my dormitory office about the previous student but they said that there were no records since that room has been locked for so long. And so, I was hoping I could ask you, in case you would have any idea” Mastura fretted. Dr. Aisyah took a long stare at the amulet, as though remembering a memory from the past before taking out one photo from her drawer. The picture was a picture of her with a group of her students. “This girl, her name is Mawar Azhari.As you could see, she was wearing the same amulet as you are right now.I’ve seen that amulet before, a long time ago and I am certain that both of them are the same one” Dr Aisyah pointed out to the girl in the picture. The girl was in a group of six people with Dr.Aisyah in the middle.
“Are these your ex students?” Mastura asked as she looked at the photo.”Oh yes, quite some time ago. They were my best students too, always cheerful and could be cheeky sometimes but they were all very bright. It’s unfortunate that two of them had passed away and that girl Mawar, is in a psychiatric hospital right now.” Dr. Aisyah explained.”Oh I’m sorry to hear that. What had happened to them?” Mastura looked at Dr. Aisyah’s face.”Well it was a horrible tragedy that struck onto the group but I think it’s rather best for it to remain a secret. I’m afraid that is all I can say, Mastura” She paused as she thought. “About that amulet Mastura, I think it’s wise for you to take it off or maybe turn it into the dormitory office. You could never know its history.Who knows?It could have been used for evil instead of good” Advised Dr. Aisyah. Mastura agreeingly nodded.“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a class to attend to. We’ll talk about this more in the future until then, remember my advice Mastura” She said before both of them left her office.
Later that night, Mastura sat on her bed while examining her amulet. Ever since she wore it, she had experienced scary and terrifying occurrences. These series of scary episodes happened at the most random of times. Whether she’s in class, hearing her lecturer teach when suddenly she saw children playing around her. She looked around to see if anyone was aware but clearly, no one seemed to notice. And that one time when she was jogging around the lake and saw a creepy lady standing on the jogging tracks. She wore a white cotton nightgown with stains of dried blood; crimson. Her hair was a mess and her grey eyes were just staring at the people who went by. At first she thought it was some halloween gick as it was already October but as she came near her, she could smell something so awful that she almost vomited. It was as though something had long died and left to rot and she could feel her presence gave out a chilly sense. “Nice costume sis” She complimented the weird lady as she smiled. The lady’s eyes were now fixed to her and she could feel that her look penetrated into her soul. Mastura felt frightened with her and proceeded to continue jogging. As she looked back, that lady was still staring only now she’s waving to her and this only made Mastura run even faster. She was very disturbed with these incidents and could not find any answers to explain it but one thing that she’s very sure of was; no one could see them.
“I must be crazy to risk my sanity for this amulet” She muttered to herself before hitting the sack with her amulet still in place around her neck.
Mastura opened her eyes. She was at her university’s main centre where people would usually hang. I must be dreaming, she thought. It was this dream again, the one where she always had every night. The girl that she always saw in her dreams was standing not far from her, across the pavement. As usual, she was shouting something to her but to no avail she could not hear them.
“I’m sorry, I’m not sure what you want but I can’t hear you” Mastura shouted. “Come here Mastura!” Her voice echoed. Wait what? I can hear her? How is that possible? Mastura’s mind wondered. This was the first time she could hear anything in her bizarre dream. She carefully walked to her and as she moved, her surroundings changed into something else. She was no longer at the university’s centre but she was now at the astronomy tower. “W-what? Why am I here? Who are you?” She stuttered as she looked around.”Finally, you’re here. Do you have any idea how hard it was, trying to contact you?” The girl marveled. Mastura stared at the girl’s face, she seemed to have recognized her before but where? And then she snapped. “You’re the girl that I saw in Dr.Aishah’s photo!” The girl smiled before continuing. “Yes, I’m Layla, and the photo that you saw was me, with Dr.Aisyah many years ago” She answered. “Well, I’ve always wanted to ask you this, why were you always seemed like you’re shouting but I can’t hear a thing. Why were you yelling at me in the first place and why can I talk to you now?” Mastura shot her questions eagerly.
“The reason why you could finally talk to me and hear what I say was because of that” Layla said as she pointed at her amulet. “What? This amulet? Why and how was it possible?” Mastura gave a puzzled expression. “That amulet belongs to Mawar and it is the Amulet of Airian. It enables you to see and talk to dead people” Layla explained.
“Wait, dead people?? Are you joking? Does that mean that those people that no one seems to notice but only I can were…dead? Wait if that’s so, are you….?- It can’t be but I’m dreaming right now.” Mastura’s face bewildred.”Oh wait, Dr.Aisyah did mention that your group of friends had some kind of tragedy and that two of you died” Mastura quickly recalled. Laila’s face went forlorn. “Are you a ghost…Layla?” Mastura carefully asked. Layla nodded before looking at the amulet.
“That amulet was also the reason why Mawar is now in a mental hospital. It is a cursed object and that was why I’ve been shouting to you; to warn you. We made our mistake a long time ago but how were we to know back then? We were young and foolish. It was our final year and we were just walking around campus one night at the old astronomy tower before all of us heard whispers coming from one of the locked rooms there. We thought it would be fun to investigate and so we broke in and those whispers led us to find a wooden box.It was hidden inside a cupboard and so we wondered what made those whispers. What we found was a box full of enchanted objects that allows you to do all of this unbelievable stuff. One of them was that amulet which lets you talk to the dead. There were six of us and six of those items and so each of us took one.We didn’t think about the consequences of taking them that much as we only thought of having fun and toying around with them. Everything was fine and normal until…” Layla paused. Her eyes saw regrets from what she did in the past.
“That evil lady showed up” Layla stopped. Her eyes flickered with horrible memories from the past.”I’m sorry but did you say, an evil lady came?” Mastura gave her a perplexed look. Layla wiped the tears from her cheeks before continuing. “Yes, her name was…we’re not so sure but what we know was that she can never be trusted at all costs.Don’t be fooled by her normal looks,she’s not human and she’s actually far more dangerous than what she seems. What she wanted was clear, those enchanted objects and we know for sure that she was not going to use them for good. Beneath her perfect facade, she masked something evil, a hidden intention to use those items for malevolent purposes and we were not gonna give them up to her” Layla trembled as she spoke.
“But how would you know that her intentions were not good? I mean, you could be wrong or she could…I don’t know, be the real owner?” Mastura questioned Layla’s story. Layla gave out a sighed.”We knew it because…..Mawar told us. She somehow saw it in the future that a woman would come to claim those objects and was going to manifest its power for evil.” Layla’s face was full of worry.”That amulet that Mawar’s been wearing, it not only enables her to see and talk to the dead but also, it allows her to look into the future.We didn’t knew it at first but when one day, we were just hanging out at Luq’s place because his parents weren’t home; Mawar suddenly cried hysterically and told us to return those items back. We thought she was just overwhelmed by the amulet but she claimed to have seen a woman come to them and that she threatened to hurt us if we did not hand in those items.” Layla added.
“So what happened?” Mastura asked inquisitively. Layla was silent, she glanced at the amulet before looking back at Mastura.”There isn’t much time” Her mind whispered.
“Hey Layla, are you alright?”
“Go. I want you to go find Mawar, She’ll know what to do but for now I want to make sure that you keep that amulet safe and with you at all time” Layla’s expression drastically changed.
“W-what? Why? I still don’t understand a few things…”
“Just go! We haven’t got much time and who knows how long the protection would last before she comes back and when that happens, if she finally got hold of all the six items. We are all doomed” Layla belted. “Now wake up Mastura!”
Mastura woke up and she was panting. That dream she had was very intense but she was certain that it was real. She looked at her amulet again, it somewhat was glowing a little bit. “Go. I want you to find Mawar. She’ll know what to do” Layla’s voice still echoed inside her mind.She sighed before looking at her window. The sky outside was beginning to bright, signalling a new day and as dawn broke in; Mastura got up and packed her stuff. She quickly got ready and in her mind there was only one thing; find Mawar Azhari and as the sun slowly rose from the horizon, she left her room with a new hope.