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Confession by YP
This incident took place sometime in 2002 and again in 2004. I used to work in Shaw Tower and sometimes in the afternoon when business was slow, I would catch an after movie at the cinema.
Shaw Tower is an old mall, but it’s not nearly as eerie as some of the older malls along that same stretch of road. I find Shaw Tower’s architecture quite odd. Unlike modern malls where there are wide open spaces and everything looks straight and flat, Shaw Towers is built like a maze. On a single floor, there could be raised areas connected by a few steps. The emergency staircases are very wide and a common haunt for smokers to gather during lunch time even though there’s a “No Smoking” sign on every floor. Most times, it’s just devoid of people.
Some people say it’s because of the Fengshui. The area where Shaw Tower sits on, used to face the sea before the land was reclaimed to build an even bigger mall. There were people who said the design is used to trap spirits coming in from the sea so it doesn’t affect the other buildings behind Shaw Tower.
Shaw Tower had two cinemas - Prince and Jade - and they were huge. In the afternoon, it’s mostly empty; occasionally you got the retirees or the odd couples who looked like they were having an affair such as the old man needing to take his young date to a less crowded locale.
One of the spots I liked to sit at was at the back, but not all the way to the top because that would be too near the toilets. Behind me would be about eight to ten empty rows of seats.
The first time I met her was when I was watching Minority Report. I remember having this uneasy feeling and kept turning around to look behind me.
At first I didn’t notice her, but as I kept turning and scanning the area, I noticed a lone tudung machik sitting at the second last row. I didn’t notice anyone walking past me and so I assumed that she probably got in before me. Still, I got this nagging feeling that something was not right with her. But I decided to mind my own business and just continued with the movie.
When the movie ended, I got up and pretended to stretch so I could take a glance at her but she was gone. My first thought was that she probably went to the toilet. I left the cinema and the tudung machik soon faded from memory. I went back to the cinema a few more times but was in a different hall. It was only the following year that I bumped into the tudung macik again for a couple more times.
Each time, the same thing would happen: I would get my normal seat, go in before the movie started and see no one in the back rows. Midway into the movie I would get this uneasy feeling and turn to find the tudung machik seated in the back. When the lights came on, she would be gone.
Initially I thought she might have gone to the toilet, right? Subsequently I turned to look at her immediately after the lights came on but there was no one there. Thinking that she might have gone to the toilet, I waited. Waited until the end of credits but still no one came out.
The next time I saw her again it was in 2004. It also didn’t help that I was watching a horror movie, The Exorcist. When I realized which hall the movie was showing, I purposely took the back row so that I could be closer to the tudung machik. I came early, took my seat and waited. The lights dimmed and the movie started but she wasn’t there.
“What a waste,” I thought to myself. The one time I mustered up enough courage to approach her she didn’t show up.
Midway through the movie, the uneasy feeling came back. I turned to my right and saw her sitting in the same row. I kept taking side glances and studied her profile. I made her out to be about medium build, she was in a dark coloured Malay outfit with a tudung so I couldn’t see her face or make out how old she was.
The whole time I observed her, she didn’t move at all. I decided to take a toilet break and the direction I had to walk would enable me to walk past her. As there was enough space in the empty cinema, it would have been quite weird if I squeezed past her on our row. So the next best thing to do was to step over to the row in front and walk down the entire length. When I was in front of her, I would turn to see. That was my plan.
So I did that and got the shock of my life. The light from the movie illuminated her face and there was nothing. No eyes, no nose, no mouth. Just the contours of where a face would have been, but it was blank. I literally stopped in my tracks and stared at her, just to be sure of what I had seen.
It was a mannequin lah!
I continued walking to the toilet and took a glance before I stepped inside, only to find that the mannequin machik was no longer at her seat. I changed my mind about going to the toilet and I left the cinema right away.
The usher, an old uncle, was sitting outside on a stool and he must have seen the horrified look on my face as I dashed out.
“Too scary ah,” the uncle chuckled.
The presence of another human being was comforting. I didn’t want to go elsewhere just yet because the route to take from the cinema to my office would involve me walking up the emergency exit staircase, which would be empty at this time of the day.
I lit a cigarette and started puffing away. The uncle looked at me amused. We didn’t know each other, but we weren’t strangers either. Over the years, we had seen each other and recognised each other's face.
“Uncle ah, your cinema haunted is it?” I asked him. “All cinema also got things lah,” he replied.
That certainly didn’t help matters. I didn’t quite know what to say after that. “Why, what you see?” he asked.
“I saw this tudung machik.” As I said it, I felt a wave of fear washed over me.
“Ah,” he replied, “just ignore her, you don’t bother her, she won’t bother you.”
I went home that night and got fever for weeks. I had recurring nightmares of the tudung machik in the corner of my room watching me as I slept.
This went on for sometime, until I visited a temple to pick up some protective talisman and wore it on me at all times.
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