Monday, November 29, 2010

The Asylum (Part 5: Conclusion)

I'm back! Together with fresh memories of this year's VBS (Vacation Bible School) which just ended on Saturday.

So how was it? For starters, it ended abruptly. VERY abruptly and anti-climatically. Just a memory verse competition, prize giving, and the grand finale of... GOODBYE SONG. Then we took down all the decorations, cleaned the church and normalcy resumed.

Just like that.


Yes, seriously.

But I must say, it was awesome while it lasted! Though I'm shy to admit it, I actually had the time of my life worship leading and acting (as bad guy
summore) onstage. Add to the fact that I finally managed to memorise all the dance steps to the songs this year, taking away the need for awkward glances at the dancers while leading. Need to pro sikit okay.

One thing VBS has taught me again is to truly enjoy worship. Not just children's worship, but any worship. It's good to show passion and joy in worship, and in life. The Lord delights in it.

*End of VBS recap*

So here we arrive at the finale of The Asylum!

Is anyone actually reading this?

Low self esteem. Haha.


The Asylum (Part 5: Conclusion)

"Hi, Ling."

Amanda's childlike voice greeted me as I stepped onto the grey cement of Corridor 6B-11. There she stood directly opposite me, in her dowdy ward clothes streaked with strands of loose hair and one slipper missing.

An almost surreal ambience painted the scene. It felt like I had known her all my life, yet was meeting her for the first time.

"Where are they?" I spoke, trying to make myself brave. "Crystal, Bala and Grace."

Her thin lips curved upwards. "They are not important now. They are only props in this story about the both of us."

"You remember me, don't you, Ling?"

You remember me.

We met in Kuala Lumpur.

"Yes, miss?" The nurse came into the room, unaware of what I was going to do to her.

"Can you come over here? I want to show you something." I slowly reached for a pillow from the bed of the child, whom I had conveniently locked in the washroom.

"Mm hmm?"

Before she could react, I quickly overpowered her and pressed the pillow over her face.Caught by surprise, she fell over backwards and knocked her head against the drawer. As she thrashed wildly, desperately, trying to get me off her, I felt glee rushing through my veins. The slut was getting what she deserved.

I have no idea how long she lasted. It could have been 1 minute. 5 minutes. 15 minutes. 1 hour. I don't know. Time had long lost all meaning to me.

She looked so ugly when I removed the pillow. Purple veins all over her face. I hope I never die this way.

Who was that girl?

Don't you remember?

No I don't.

It was you, Ling.

Me? How could it be me? I'm here.

No you're not. I murdered you in Kuala Lumpur. But a part of you never left me. I had been following and watching you for 4 weeks. I knew you so well. We even fell for the same guy. The more I understood you, the more of myself I saw in you. The more I became in love with you. But at the same time, I hated you and I knew I had to murder you. When I killed you, it felt like a part of me died as well.

So when I arrived here, I recreated you in my mind. I am Amanda, the bad girl who killed Ling. I am also Ling, the good girl who Amanda killed. We should never be apart. I need to hate you forever and ever.

But I'm tired, Ling. I really am. I'm so tired of hating and missing and wishing and longing. I just want everything to be over and to be normal again.

But how can I ever be normal again?

Slowly, I climbed up the railing and struck a match, illuminating the small area around the balcony. My eyes darted in tune with the dancing flame, drawing a smile from my lips.

Already I could hear people coming. They knew I had escaped.

Six long storeys down. If I landed right, I would have no problem killing myself.

Time had stopped. Everyone around me was frozen, leaving me free to examine their faces slowly and clearly.

There was Grace, the bubbly and animated girl who always had a story to share. She was the diary that had kept me company all the nights as I scribbled down notes on Ling's schedule and mannerisms.

Crystal, the sweet Barbie-looking darling of the hospital. She was the doll I used to pose as a parent to sneak into Ling's hospital, insisting that I had to pass it to my child though visiting hours were over.

Bala, the big goofy guy who never failed to look huggable. He was, of course, the pillow that I smothered Ling to death with.

And of course Ling.

The one I hated the most.

"Amanda, please." A voice called out, I wasn't sure whose. "Get down now."

Selfish. They all needed me for their own selfish reasons. That was why they didn't want me to die. Nothing else.

Because if I died, they would die as well. Grace, Crystal, Bala and Ling would no longer be living, breathing characters but inanimate objects and a dead girl in Kuala Lumpur.

I was just so tired of all these games. So so so so so tired. I needed a break.

"See you all in hell."

I jumped to my death.


"Amanda Ling Kar Yin, ID 3361." Dr. Rizan ran his finger through the report. "Time of death: 11.42pm, 25th October 2010. Reason of death: Head trauma from fall caused by suicide attempt. Well, another one bites the dust."

"What happened actually, doctor?"

"I treated Amanda for two and a half months." He removed his glasses and sat. "She suffered from a combination of both advanced schizophrenia and dissociative identity disorder, or what you would commonly term split personality."

"Her emotional instability was first triggered by a break-up with a boyfriend, whom she referred to as Thomas. This led to an obsession with Thomas' new girlfriend, Cheah Sze Ling, whom she eventually murdered. But before killing Sze Ling, Amanda actually observed her for weeks. This was when the split personality began."

"As she observed Sze Ling, she associated Sze Ling with all the perceived good qualities that Thomas liked. She wanted to be like Sze Ling, and to be with Thomas just like her. Eventually she made the decision to murder Sze Ling, as a logical consequence of stealing her boyfriend. But emotionally, she was unable to dissociate herself from the consciousness that Sze Ling was a girl she aspired to become."

"This is when she came into our hospital. It took some time for me to identify this section of her history, and the root of all her problems. I believe there were also some other characters involved. She could have been dealing with more than one split personality."

"I thought we were making good progress. Unfortunately, it's gone now. Perhaps all the multiple personalities were too much for her to handle."

His assistant sighed.

"Oh well," Dr. Rizan shrugged. "Sometimes you never know what's going through an insane person's mind."

He got up, strode over to a wooden drawer and unlocked it. Inside lay a inconspicuous light brown notebook, slightly tattered around the edges. He flipped it open, searching for the last written page.

"This was Amanda's final entry."

My name is Cheah Sze Ling, or Ling for short. This is the story of my first-hand encounter with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the suicide of Patient 3361 on the night of 25th October 2010.


Monday, November 22, 2010

The Asylum (Part 4)

A lot of emotional upheaval going on this past week! Which explains the sudden slowdown in updates. More so, the once-a-year VBS (Vacation Bible School) is here again! And my brother's getting married. And work's coming in fast and furious. Bring it on, world! But ain't no mountain high enough, ain't no schedule busy enough to keep me from writing! Only 2 more chapters to unravel everything. Something's. Gotta. Happen. Soon!

BTW, I've recently fallen in love with The Twilight Zone series. I wanna write for it! I mean, come on - Twisted Tales meets the Twilight Zone? Gold, baby, gold.

The Asylum (Part 4)

Without warning an overwhelming fear came over me. I felt - no, I knew - that the three of them were hiding something.

They were part of Amanda's plan to kill me.

It didn't make sense. But it was the truth.

I couldn't stay here any longer. I turned and ran.

Like guided by an unseen force, I fled down the hospital's dark hallways, slowly allowing their surprised cries to fade into quietness.

In the stillness of the night, each step echoed with a haunting melody, as if leading me to some unknown destiny.

Still, the very real and raw sensation of fear lingered.





The letter.

The vision.

The SMS.

Somehow, everything was connected. I could sense it.

Suddenly, nothing seemed certain any more. I wasn't even sure who I was.

I shut my eyes, trying to recollect my thoughts.


I couldn't remember anything.

What's happening to me?

I needed someone to talk to. Someone I could trust.

Fumbling, I dialed Thomas' number.

One ring. Two rings. Three rings.

Come on, pick up already.

Twelve rings passed without reply. He never waited so long before picking up. He must have left his phone somewhere.

I pushed the phone back into my pocket and slumped against the wall, drained of all hope.

I had never in my life felt so lost and depressed. And yet tears refused to come out of my eyes. I had no way of explaining this emotion I was feeling. It was most parts fear, but also with tinges of anger, disappointment, loneliness and sadness.

Yes, a very, very deep sadness.

Rrrr. Rrrr.

It was my phone vibrating!

Thomas! It had to be him.

Without even checking, I pressed to receive the call.


"Hello, Ling." It was a girl's voice, not much different from mine.

It was Amanda.

"Amanda, where are you?" I tried my best to remain calm.

"I am at the corridor on Floor 6B-11, East Wing. You know where that is."

"Yes I do."

"Good. Come quick. We have lots to talk about."

"Amanda, I need you to just stay there okay? I'll be there in 3 minutes."

"I know you're thinking of calling the doctors. No doctors. You know why?"


"Because," a loud interference was heard on the other end, as though she had switched the phone to loudspeaker mode. "Your friends are with me."

A muffled Help us could be heard over the background. I was pretty sure it was Crystal's voice.

"If you bring someone else, I will kill them." Amanda explained in a most polite voice, almost like a teacher explaining something to a child. "I'll see you in 3 minutes. Bye."

She hung up, leaving me even more confused than ever.

How could she have abducted all three of my friends in the short space of 5 minutes?

How could she have wandered all the way to 6B-11 without anyone noticing?

How could she even have obtained a handphone, or my number for that matter?

It all pointed to a simple yet glaring conclusion.

The incidents of tonight had all been carefully and deliberately orchestrated for one reason alone - to murder me. Amanda wasn't alone in this game. A much greater, more sinister force was at work.

The best thing for me to do now would've been to ignore all the questions and run.

But I just couldn't.

Something had to be accomplished at 6B-11. Something that required me.

Slowly, fearfully, one step at time, I made my way there.

To be concluded.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

The Asylum (Part 3)

And here we go! Right smack into Part 3.

Was actually thinking of extending the story by an additional chapter or two. Unlike Murder in 5sc1, this one thrives on building up suspense and mystery while Murder throws you straight into the action. I'm just afraid that the story ends before anyone actually understands what's happening.

But after much thought... nah.

I suck at long stories. I really do.

Gotta cut to the chase.

So...enjoy it while it lasts!

The Asylum (Part 3)

I snapped out of my daydream, horrified.

Where on earth did that scene come from? I had never in my life seen someone die. Not especially in such a disturbing manner.

Did it have something to do with Amanda?


By the end of tonight, you will die.

"Hey," A soft hand patted my shoulder, making me jump.

It was Grace, with Bala behind her.

"I'm so sorry girl! Didn't mean to scare you like that."

"I'm fine," I replied, obviously lying. "You guys saw Crystal?"

"Yeah," Bala pointed his thumb behind. "She went to get the guards. Heard Amanda wasn't in her room."

I nodded.

"What's that envelope?"

"Oh, this? We found it in Amanda's room."

I handed it over for them to read.

"Wow. This is bad."

His grim tone made me anxious. Bala was rarely so serious. "Why? Our hospital isn't big. Surely we can locate her easily."

He seemed unsure whether to continue. "A few days ago, Amanda had a really bad fit. She was screaming at everyone, throwing things around - it took quite a number of us to hold her down. Dr. Rizan said he had never seen her this way before. She was always so calm."

Bala glanced quickly at the letter again. "In her fit of rage, I heard her scream that she was gonna escape and...kill somebody."

Grace gasped.

I felt my pulse quicken. "Why me?"

" would I know?"

"Maybe it has something to do with her past. What do you know about that girl she killed?"

"Ah, this I can tell you clearly. Dr. Rizan tells me all the time. Amanda had this boyfriend who went to work in Kuala Lumpur. During his time there, he fell in love with this girl and eventually broke up with Amanda over the phone. Heartbroken, she travelled all the way down to look for him and beg for a second chance."

"However, he had covered up his tracks so well that she couldn't find him. This was when she started becoming unstable, alone and depressed in a big city. Then finally after a few months, she found him by accident. She was at the hospital seeking treatment when she saw him leaving with the girl."

"That girl was a nurse in the children's ward."

My heart skipped a beat. Wasn't the girl in my vision just now dressed in white and surrounded by kids?

"And the best part is, you know how Amanda killed her?"

I waited for him to continue.

"She was plain psycho, man. She stalked her for weeks to understand her schedule. Then she posed as a parent to one of the children, sneaked into that girl's room and smothered her with a pillow. Suffocated to death. It wasn't pretty."

"Did they catch her?"

"Yah, of course. The cops were all over the place. But of course, they couldn't sentence her to death or anything. She was judged insane. And that was how she landed up here."

But it still didn't explain why Amanda would want me dead.

Suddenly an incoming SMS tone rang out. It sounded deafening in the surrounding silence.

It was mine. From an unknown number.

Be careful of your friends. They're helping me to kill you. Don't trust anyone. See you soon. Love, Amanda.

I looked up from my phone.

Bala seemed strangely anxious.

Grace nodded by herself. She had been fiddling with her phone since just now.

Crystal was still nowhere to be seen.

To be continued.

Friday, November 05, 2010

The Asylum (Part 2)

I'm so dead tired from work, but I still want to finish Part 2 before I sleep.

I think I'm spending too much time in front of the computer these days. Haven't finished a couple of books I bought. Happy Deepavali or Divali to all!

The Asylum (Part 2)

"See? It's empty!"

"Yeah." I took a good long look around the room. It was spotless as usual, with the curtains drawn back to keep it cool at nights. On the bed, there was nothing where the pillow usually lay propped up against the wall.The sheets were neatly folded without a single crease. Just the way Amanda liked.

Only she was nowhere to be seen.

"Wherever she went," Crystal opened Amanda's personal cupboard, revealing it to be bare. "She took her favourite things with her."

"And that would be?"

"That doll of hers. And a diary."

Now I remembered. She was always carrying that creepy plastic doll everywhere she went. Couldn't recall much about the diary though.

"Wait," Suddenly Crystal produced an envelope from the cupboard. They had somehow missed it previously.

"It's got your name on it." Her eyes grew wide, staring at me.

A little unsure, I tore it open. It read:

Dear Cheah Sze Ling, (can I just call you Ling?)

You may not think you know much about me. But you do know a lot about me, just as I know a lot about you.

By the time you read this, you are worried where am I. You should be worried! I could do something really dangerous to you and me.

You are concerned about many things. But maybe the one you should be most concerned about is yourself. Because I know you very well. Because by the end of tonight, you will die.



My fingers grew cold as I handed the letter over to Crystal.


"I'll contact security at once." Crystal reassured me while we walked back to our posts. "Don't let it bug you. She's just a crazy person. Crazy people say crazy stuff all the time."

I shrugged, too disturbed to speak.

"Let me get Grace or Bala to accompany you. They'll make you feel better."

I sat myself down behind the comfort of the nurse's counter and took a long sip from my tumbler.

"Crystal," Suddenly I spoke. "What else do you know about this Amanda?"

"Huh? I told you, she's crazy."

"No, tell me more. She murdered someone previously didn't she?"

"I-I'm not too sure of the details. All I heard is that the girl was a third party in her relationship."

"And then? She murdered her just like that?"

"I don't know. Seriously."

"Okay, never mind."

"Sorry. Be right back." she scurried off.

I cupped my head against my hands. It felt numb and throbbing, like the prelude to a massive headache.

Why was the letter affecting me so much? I had heard mental patients say some pretty nasty and scary stuff before, and I always was able to brush them off easily.

Perhaps this one was chillingly personal.

Or because Amanda could be anywhere.

Or because of her history.

As I shut my eyes to let my mind wander, words stopped appearing.

Instead images took their place.

In my head I saw a shimmery, almost unreal scene with a girl around my age and size. She was dressed in white, smiling and talking to some children. They seemed happy to see her.

Nothing happened. She kept laughing with them, playing silly games together.

A little boy clapped and bounced on his bed.

Next I knew, she was lying dead on the floor with eyes rolled back.

To be continued.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The Asylum (Part 1)

Sadness. So October passed with hardly a beep on the radar. Don't blame me - I was actually planning to get this up by end of last week, but had to keep re-writing to make everything fit nicely into place. You see, I am now highly fearful of long stories without a solid pre-planned ending. Especially after last year's not-so-magical October Special Feature, ahem ahem.

Yes my lovelies, it's been a while since a sexy 5-parter saga. Let's hit it one more time!

P.S. For the 25th consecutive year, I failed to celebrate Halloween.

The Asylum (Part 1)

She struck a match, illuminating the small area around the balcony. Her eyes darted in tune with the dancing flame, drawing a smile from her lips.

Six long storeys down. If she landed right, she would have no problem killing herself.

It felt like time had stopped. Everyone around her was frozen, leaving her free to examine their faces slowly and clearly.

There was Grace, the bubbly and animated girl who always had a story to share.

Crystal, the sweet Barbie-looking darling of the hospital.

Bala, the big goofy guy who never failed to look huggable.

And of course Ling.

The one she hated the most.

"Amanda, please." A voice called out. She wasn't sure whose it was. "Get down now."

Selfish. They all needed her for their own selfish reasons. That was why they didn't want her to die. Nothing else.

"See you all in hell."

She jumped.


My name is Cheah Sze Ling, or Ling for short. This is the story of my first-hand encounter with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the suicide of Patient 3361 on the night of 25th October 2010.

It was exactly two and a half months from the date I started working as a full-time nurse here in the mental hospital, or asylum as the local folks like to call it. Since my first day, rumours had been circling around of this strange patient known only as Amanda.

This Amanda, who arrived around the same time I did, had supposedly undergone severe trauma after an incident involving an ex-boyfriend and the murder of a young lady. What made her special was how extremely normal she appeared. My close friends had spoken to her several times, and mentioned surprise at how she was able to hold a proper conversation, even repeatedly showing intelligent awareness of her circumstances. However, numerous psychiatrists had examined her with the same conclusions - she was an extremely deranged and dangerous individual who required special attention.

The story began earlier in the night as I was on the phone with Thomas, my boyfriend of 7 years. I would usually call him during night shifts, as there rarely is anything to do after the patients' bedtime.

Midway through our call, Crystal interrupted me with a frantic message.

"Amanda's not in her room!"

"Sorry dear, something urgent came up. Call you back later kay? Bye." I hung up.

"Come again?"

"I said, Amanda's not in her room!"

"Impossible. I checked her just now. The door was locked shut."

"She pried it open, somehow."

"Did you check with Bala and Grace?"

"Yes! None of them saw her."

"Relax," I grabbed a torchlight from my desk. "Come with me. We'll find her in no time."

I had no idea what lay in store for me that fateful night.

To be continued.