Notion Press Malaysia Short Story Contest 2017

Mystery Behind The Housebreaking Incident

By Ammara Ayyash in Thriller

Five months ago, Sarah and Amirah met and became housemates. During the past two weeks of their stay, something bizarre happened which they found weird. As if it was somehow broke in by burglars. However, there were no item missing other than things shattered and their house in a complete mess.

Sarah was scared. Being housemates, Amirah and Sarah stayed at different rooms. At first, she thought it was Amirah who had barged into her room without permission and caused all these mess. Yet the guest rooms and the kitchen were left untouched. It was completely strange to see it happening. When she expressed her anxiousness towards Amirah, it turned out Amirah was also experiencing the same problem. Someone had apparently invaded their rooms and made a mess.

"What do you think? Who actually broke into our house?” Amirah started the conversation while they were sitting on the white sofa. “The problem is we already locked the door."

"This is really making me feel on edge. Just imagine, the guy just ransaked the whole room and yet he took nothing." Sarah responded with sigh. Her mind was distracted as to what had happened.

"So, what do you think we should do?"

"Put hidden cameras around the house?" suggested Sarah.

"What if he destroys all the cameras?"

"Let’s try doing it first. If it fails, we think of another plan."

"So we need to get two cameras, right?"

"The more, the better."

"Ah, I see.."

Later, Sarah and Amirah decided to message all their friends to see if any of them would be willing to lend a camera. Unfortunately, none of them had enough cameras. Some of them wanted to use it and others do not have enough faith to lend theirs. Despite being disappointed, they still tried to look for other options to unravel the mystery.

In the end, Amirah and Sarah had to use their mobile phone camera. After all, they still needed evidence to figure out what exactly had happened.

***

Tomorrow morning, as planned, they have to put their hand phones in hidden places for recording. Before this, they had only been able to see the devastating results of the mysterious culprit. This time, however, they’re going to get to the bottom of it and expose the culprit.

After setting up the camera phones, both of them went to work as usual. They were bursting with curiosity. All day long, they couldn’t take their minds off the camera and home and ended up distracted from their work.

Later at 5.00 pm, Amirah returned home. She reached home at 5.25 pm before Sarah who arrived fifteen minutes later. Oddly, nothing happened this time. Both of their rooms were untouched. Just as they were in the morning.

"Sarah, how’s your room?" Amirah asked as she looked at Sarah.

Heart pounding, she cautiously opened the door, worried if the culprit suddenly popped out from her room. She gulped as she held the door knob and gently opened the door. Much to her surprise, the room was clean and empty.

This made things even creepy. Previously, there hasn’t been a day gone by without their rooms being messed up. But once they installed the cameras, their rooms suddenly remained clean. Something fishy was clearly going on.

"Eh, but say if the person did open the door, we could've seen him right?"

"What do you mean?" Sarah could not understand what Amirah meant.

"If he really did know where the cameras are placed, it means that he needs to enter our rooms first, and to get in, he must have gone through the door.” Amirah explained. “Which means, we can see who opened the door, right?”

"Haa! That's right. It makes sense now." Sarah replied.

“Hence, we must check what was recorded so we can figure it out." Amirah continued. They rushed into their rooms and took their phones. Amirah then ran into Sarah's room to see Sarah’s recording. She cannot wait to know what's in the video.

"Is there anybody?" asked Amirah while waiting for the video to be played.

"Nothing."

"Skip the video." Urged Amirah. Sarah skipped the video for 2 minutes until the 34th minute when the video suddenly stopped. She frowned. The cell phone was knocked a few times.

"Ah, why did the video stop?" Amirah murmured while looking through the other video

"Maybe because the screen-out was set." Sarah explained. "Hold on, I’ll try to play mine."

"Ha, hurry up! Open yours." Their attention now was directed at Sarah's camera.

Just like Amirah’s camera, they skipped the video every 2 minutes to see what happened. Unfortunately, the same thing happened.. It made them feel unsettled, like someone was watching them the whole time. The person seemed to know Sarah and Amirah put cameras and ended up not entering their bedrooms.

"I think we should get better cameras."

"The problem is, where can we find one?" Sarah sighed.

"Wait! This house owner works in a media department, right? Basically he must have a lot of cameras? What do you say if we try borrowing some from him?" Amirah recalled back the first time she moved in. The house owner was so friendly to them. She remembered that there were some cameras in his house.

"Could he do that?"

"We’ll try first. Maybe we can just borrow a hand camcorder?"

***

Much to their delight, the house owner was kind enough to lend them four cameras. He gave the cameras to the girls with a heavy heart seeing that they refuse to tell why they needed so many cameras.

Later on. two hand-cams were placed each in Sarah's and Amirah's room respectively. Now, the moment of truth will soon come as they plugged in the camera.

"I'm sure this time we can finally reveal the culprit." Said Sarah with a deep breath.

They left for work as usual and returned home after office hours ended. At 5.30 pm, Amirah entered her room. She was shocked to find her room ransaked as it was before. Oddly, Sarah’s room remained unharmed.

“Amirah, let’s go to our own rooms. We’ll check what’s inside the video. It’s currently on call.” Sarah instructed and left for her room. Amirah then began to play the video recorded since morning. She scanned the video throughly yet until now nothing was out of the norm.

“Hey, skip the video.” Said Sarah through their phone call.

Amirah then speeded up the video until she suddenly saw a silhouette wearing a black outfit with a hoodie over his head. His face, unfortunately, was not revealed. The video showed the silhouette entering and making a mess in the room. A bloodied knife was held in his hand.

“Oh my god! He has a bloodied knife with him.” A small scream left Amirah as her eyes fell to the floor. Indeed, droplets of blood could be seen on it.

“Then what did he do?” Sarah anxiously asked over the phone, her eyes hovering over her bedroom room as she hoped that the man won’t suddenly barge in.

“He tore my bed sheets with the knife.” Amirah answered. Again, her eyes roamed over the torn sheets in red. "Oh god! Sarah! He went under my bed!” Amirah frantically continued as she saw the culprit moved nearer to the camera and straight away crawled under the bed. Amirah felt her blood ran cold.

"Okay then? What happened?” Sarah asked again.

Nothing happened for the next minute in the video. The surroundings were exactly the same as Amirah first entered her room just now. Even until the last minute of the video, nothing happened. She let out a relieved sigh.

“That’s all Sarah. Nothing else happened. I’m so relieved.”

“Wait… Hold on! You said he crawled under your bed?” Sarah’s voice was laced with panic.

"Yes, why?"

“And he didn’t come out?”

“Correct.” Amirah nodded, uncaring whether Sarah was with her or not.

“Then shouldn’t he still be in your room?” Just as the words left her, a chilling scream was heard from room next to hers. It was definitely Amirah’s voice. Sarah felt chills crept up her spine.

ARGHHHHHHHH!

"Amirah? Amirah?? Hello? Amirah!" Sarah tried calling over the phone.

“Amirah, answer me.” The line went dead and Sarah felt like crying. Deep down, she wanted to rush over to her friend to help. But her mind stopped her. She wasn’t even sure if she was safe in her own room. Sarah quickly bent over the bed and peaked under it, afraid that there would be another man under her bed to hurt her just like what happened to Amirah. No one was there.

Sarah jumped when her phone suddenly rang. Her phone screen showed Amirah’s name on it. Sarah hesitated. She was reluctant to pick up yet she still did so, worried that Amirah might need her help.

“Hello Sarah.” A raspy voice was heard. “Get ready, now it’s your turn.” The voice chuckled sinisterly. It made Sarah’s blood ran cold and her heart pounded.

“Knock! Knock! Knock!” the voice cackled gleefully. Sarah’s eyes narrowed onto her locked door. Her phone left her hand as it dropped on the bed. Her heart was pounding wildly in her ears, her palms sweaty and her whole body was shaking. She swallowed her saliva. Her stomach clenched in fearful agony.

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

Sarah was startled when her door was knocked. Her face turned pale and she felt that her heart would jumped right out of her skin. Her eyes snapped to the door as the doorknob on her bedroom door rattled. .

“Sarah..” The psychotic voice cooed. “Open the door.” Sarah closed her eyes. It was obvious that the culprit knew them. How else would he be able to identify their names. Sarah pressed her body closed to the walls. She prayed that the door remained locked. At the same time, her brain was trying to come up with an escape plan. She could feel tears prickling at the back of her eyelids.

“Sarah...” The voice called again. Sarah could feel hairs on her body stood.

CLICK!

Sarah’s eyes widened as she noticed that the doorknob turned. Someone had unlocked the door from the outside. The sound of keys rattling reconfirmed her suspicion. She felt like screaming. Death was one step closer to her.

“Sarah…” A hand crept up behind the doors, knife in hand. At that moment, Sarah knew she had no chance to escape and save herself. Everything was about to end. Her death was upon her at any moment.

Again, the psychotic voice called out to her before the door slammed open. A silhouette of around 170 feet tall person approached. A bloodied knife was in his right hand while his left hand dragged a bloodied and lifeless body of Amirah. This could be the knife that killed Amirah. Maybe it is going to be the same knife that kills her, Sarah thought.

A senile smile can be seen on the culprit’s expression.

“Run Sarah…” Amirah choked out.

ZAPPP!

The knife slashed at Amirah’s skin until it was crushed. Amirah was on her last legs. Every time she said something, she got stabbed. The culprit then let go of Amirah’s body as she hit the floor.

“You choose.” He said. “Do you wanna play hide-and-seek or should we just proceed to the fun part?” His question made Sarah quivered in fear.

“Please no.. pleasee..”

“Awhh.. Don’t be scared, Sarah.” He stepped closer.

“Who are you?” Screamed Sarah.

"Your housemate. Someone you never knew of his existance.” He answered.

"What in the world are you talking about, you pyscho?”

“My body is not here, but my eyes…” The hoodie fell off the culprit’s head and revealed someone Sarah never thought it would be. The house owner. Sarah covered her mouth, unable to digest the fact.

“Mr. Rizal?”

“Sarah.. I love to see your beautiful body after you bathe every night. It’s such a shame that my body isn’t able to be here. Only my eyes were able to watch over you and Amirah in your rooms.” He cackled like a madman.

What did he meant by ‘watch over’? Could it be that there were CCTVs installed all around the house to spy on the girls’ every move? Was it him who kept intruding their home when they weren’t around?

Crazy! This man was senile! Sarah never thought that she would meet a psychotic person like him. Anger bubbled inside of her.

“Sarah, you time has come.” Step by step Mr. Rizal began to get closer to her, making her feel hot.

“Stop! At least tell me before I die. Why are you doing this?” she hollered.

“Because I like to sleep with dead girls.” He calmly replied and snatched Sarah’s hand. Her stomach got stabbed countless of times with the sharp hilt of the knife. The same one which had threatened the lives of many girls before them.

What Mr. Rizal wanted was now happening. His sick twisted glee to see girls like Amirah and Sarah watch how their own friend was tortured and killed tragically. This was exactly what he wanted. The pained look on the victim’s expression satisfied him. He wanted them to become spectators of how their own friend died while being at death’s door.

“Welcome, and embrace the love of hell.” He whispered into Sarah’s ear and hugged her bloodied form tightly. “Hm.. this moment should be recorded.” He added as an afterthought


Copyright Ammara Ayyash
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