Talisman is a piece that explores the world of the death, the living and everything in between.
I had fun writing it, i hope you would enjoy reading it too.
This is a teaser of what is about to drop in 2022.
Seng parked his bike illegally by the rubbish dump before taking the bottle of red paint out from his bag. It’s coming to 3am in the morning.
Opening his small notebook, Seng looked at the last address on his list. He has already gone through 4 bottles.
One more splash and he will be done for the night.
Looking around the private estate, Seng could see a couple of cameras. With his mask on and a fake license plate, he’s not worried about getting caught when police review the footages. Half the residents have already moved out, only a few elderlies remained in the property that is slated for redevelopment in another year’s time.
Seng is there to harass a debtor.
As a debtor himself, Seng had no choice but to help the loan shark harass other debtor just to service his loan and interests. $100 for each house he splashes.
He could clear $1000 off his debt in a night.
This is the 10th address.
All he needed to do was to smear it all on the front door, take a picture and he’s done.
Seng already has his route planned out. After this, he will take his bike all the way to the industrial park where he works, head to a section without cameras, change out the license plates and his clothes before heading home.
Walking to the lift lobby, Seng saw the numerous red candles still burning in a tin can filled with moldy rice and ashes. He felt a shiver in his spine as the wind toppled one of the candles.
The old lift of the apartment block opened, revealing a dim lift car with only one working light. The walls of the lift looked like it’s always wet with water marks streaking down.
Looking towards staircase, Seng could see a pair of funeral dolls lying on the side, discarded like junk alongside piles of cardboard neatly tied up.
A old man sat at the foot of the stairs with a bottle of beer in hand. He nodded and rocked his body like he was in a trance.
Seng decided on the lift and he stepped in. He cursed under his breath when his foot landed on a piece of newspaper. It was showing the obituary section. Using his foot to shift the papers aside, Seng exhaled and looked at the orange light that jumps from floor to floor on the control panel.
It opened on level 4 and Seng could feel an eerie chill crawling up his skin when he stepped out.
At 3am in the morning, there is still the faint sound of a radio playing oldies in the background. The creak of an old armchair added another layer of ambient noise to the creepy corridor.
Seng checked his notebook for the unit number.
“Fuck. Got so zhun ( accurate ) or not ? “ Seng grumbled, making a reference to the number ‘4’ considered inauspicious to Chinese.
The corridor leading to the unit is flanked by walls with layers of peeling paint. Potted plants long dead still lined the sides of the residential units.
Seng could feel his foot getting heavier as he gets closer to unit 4-04.
The unit is located right at the end of the apartment.
The sound of footsteps running startled him as he looked up at the ceiling where the source of the sound came from. A flickering light tube with carcasses of dead insects greeted his eyes.
Taking a deep breath, Seng directed his attention back to the end of the corridor.
The doors to 4-01, 4-02, 4-03 are all tightly shut.
Seng stepped over a single flip flop, and there appears to be no sign of the other side. Half burned incense lay scattered all over the ground and a toppled brass urn spilled ashes all over an old carpet.
Several clay dolls molded with melting faces lined the bottom of the window that belonged to unit 4-04.
Finally coming up to the door, Seng could feel his hands trembling as he pried open the bottle of red paint. The radio playing oldies suddenly stopped as well.
‘just get it over and done with’ Seng said to himself.
The metal gate of unit 4-04 is unlocked. The main door has been repainted several times with it’s peeling coat revealing the previous colour.
Seng looked at the door that was once painted in yellow with red scribbles on it. It resembled a talisman you stick on the forehead of a vampire. The most recent coat of paint is in white, but it failed to adhere to the previous coat.
Seng’s trembling hand reached for a piece of the peeling white coat and he gave it a quick tug.
The dry paint cracked and fell off onto the floor, revealing a larger section of a talisman drawn with a brush.
“What the fuck..”
It’s like someone drew a talisman there to keep something in.
Not wanting to stay longer than necessary, Seng decided to quickly splash the paint and go.
He threw the tin of paint on the door, smearing as much of the entrance and wall as he could.
After he’s done, he quickly whipped out his phone to take a picture.
Before he could fire up his camera app, the main door of Unit 4-04 creaked open.
Seng’s eyes widened in horror and he opened his mouth to scream but nothing came out. He stared into the abyss as several hands reached out for him.
He dropped his phone and bolted.
He ran as fast as his foot could take him towards the lift but there is just one problem. No matter how fast or how long he ran, he kept passing by the same unit.
“Aerrghhhh!” Seng shouted as he looked to his right as unit 4-04 kept appearing over and over again.
He stopped running and tried to go in the reverse direction, the same thing happened. It’s just Unit 4-04. He changed direction again back to the lift, he could see the lift lobby, it’s right in front of him but no matter how he ran, he could not get there. He might as well be running on a treadmill.
On the brink of tears, Seng stopped but before he could contemplate his next move, he felt someone, or rather, something grab onto him. It forced him onto his knees and he could not move his hands.
“arGHHHHHHHHHHHHH!” Seng’s shout was cut off as he disappeared into Unit 4-04 while on his knees as if he was on a conveyor belt.
The door to Unit 4-04 closed and then there was the static sound of an old radio trying to find the right channel. Shortly after that, oldies music from the sixties started playing again.
20 hours later
Peter and Chuan sat in their vehicle with a cigarette in their mouth. Their heavily tattooed hands remained outside the vehicle as the looked at the apartment block.
“Maybe Seng run away la…” Chuan said.
“His phone GPS shows he is still here.” Peter took a drag of his fag and threw it away.
“He owe us money leh, maybe he throw his phone here and run already.”
Turning to Chuan, Peter told him that Seng is just $1500 away from clearing his debt.
“Come on la, people owe 40, 50k run, I believe, Seng left $1500, run for what ?” Peter said “ Besides, he is one of those can tell will pay one. He’s been helping us splash paint for the past 3 weeks and he repaid the principle, he’s just servicing the interest.”
“ya la, I mean…he borrowed for his mother hospital bill…at least not for gambling…..”
“Exactly ! This kind of debtor, grade A one. Got borrow got return, cannot return, still willing to work! without people like this, we close shop already!” Peter lit up another cigarette and he looked at his watch.
“why don’t we go up on our own?” Chuan asked.
“You crazy ah, you dare to go up ?” Peter cursed.
If not for the fact that Peter owns the unit, he wouldn’t be here. The original tenant defaulted on rent payment, borrow more money from Peter and then just disappeared.
And this is followed by a series of weird stuff happening.
Seng is not the first one to disappear after coming to harass the debtor/tenant at Unit 4-04.
He’s the 3rd one in fact.
Peter thought about one of his staff, a young chap by the name of Terry. He too disappeared after coming to this apartment to collect the debt.
Then is another debtor by the name of Doris, a 40 year old lady. She too vanished from trace after coming here.
Now with Seng in the mix, it’s too much of a coincidence.
“What time is she coming?” Chuan asked.
Right about then the headlights of a white SUV cut through the quiet carpark.
The vehicle parked beside Chuan and Peter.
The two men got out of the car and went to the boot. Opening it, they took out a baseball bat and a machete.
From the SUV, a beautiful woman stepped out.
“Woah…” Chuan’s jaw almost dropped as he looked at the girl.
Dressed in a modified white robe that terminates 3 inches above her smooth creamy thigh, Chuan could not tell if she is wearing anything under that short robe.
His eyes are completely mesmerized by that pair of gorgeous legs that disappeared into a pair of knee high white boots. She proceeds to tie up her lush mane while looking up at the spooky building.
Both men looked at the pretty woman who looked completely out of place in the quiet neighbourhood in the dead of the night.
“You…. You are Mikayla? “ Peter asked.
“Yes I am…” she replied with folded arms as she gave both of them the once over.
“Mikayla Yeo ? 38th descendent of the Yeo family ?” Peter asked. “ How old are you ? “
“None of your fucking business.” Mikayla snapped before rolling her eyes.
“ errrr….” Chuan looked at his partner, unsure of what to say.
“I have 3 missing debtors…” Peter said while gesturing to the building. “ Are you sure you can do this ? No offence, you looked like you work in a KTV…”
The look on Mikayla’s face told Peter and Chuan that she did not think the joke was funny.
“Keep those useless crap.” Mikayla gestured to the bat and machete.
“what..?” Chuan said.
“If those can work, you wouldn’t have called me.”
“She is damm cocky bro.” Chuan said but Mikayla has already turned away from them.
Her eyes went straight to the window of Unit 4-04 even though she hasn’t been told of where to go.
“You know what, the price just went up.” Mikayla said as she opened the boot of her car.
“Bullshit!” Peter cursed, walking in an aggressive manner towards Mikayla. “You trying to be funny with…”
Before Peter could finish, a window frame landed on the windscreen of his vehicle, slicing through in a 45 degree angle.
“Bloody hell!” Chuan cursed as he looked around the open carpark. They are nowhere near to any residential units. How can there be a window landing on their car out of nowhere ?
A 2nd one landed in an upright position by Peter and Chuan’s feet, causing them to shout and scramble behind Mikayla.
Mikayla pressed a hand gently against her short robe to protect her modesty.
“Get up, you’re going to see my underwear if you stoop down so low.”
Peter and Chuan could not believe she was in the mood to joke.
A 3rd panel, followed by a 4th landed on their car again.
“why is it only landing on our car!” Chuan shouted.
“I’ll pay you anything!” Peter said. “Just fix this!”
Among the array of tools and equipment in Mikayla’s boot, she picked up a metal baton. Extending the weapon with a flick, she picked a double flap shoulder bag from Chanel and slung it on her shoulder.
A 5th panel flew towards her but a gentle swipe of her baton sent it hurling 20 meters away.
“What the fuck…!” Chuan blurted.
“Get your cheque book ready Peter, this is going to cost you.” Mikayla said with a wink before she sashayed into the apartment building.
“you think she can do it?” Chuan asked his friend.
“If she is who she say she is. I’m pretty sure she can.” Peter said as he realized he could not tear his eyes away from Mikayla’s shapely body and legs.
Her confidence and charisma got Peter’s attention more than that hot body and good looks.
“You think she’ll be interested to work in our KTV?” Chuan asked before both of them screamed and scurried under Mikayla’s SUV as a series of window panels literally ripped themselves out of the building and came hurling towards them.
“Why is her car so fucking special! It doesn’t get hit!” Chuan complained as the window frames embedded themselves into their vehicle, literally slicing it into shreds.
Two streets away, standing on the balcony of his bungalow, Victor looked towards the direction of the spooky apartment with a smile on his face. He swirled the glass of freshly extracted blood in his wine glass before taking a sip.
“She’s there sir.” Priscila, Victor’s personal assistant reported.
“I have a feeling she’s the real one.” Victor said.
“Many have claimed to be over the years sir. Many have lied.”
Victor drained the glass before throwing it into his swimming pool one level down.
“We’ll see.” Victor replied as he made his way into the bedroom with Priscila following closely behind.
“You can have the rest of her Priscilia” Victor gestured to the unconscious woman on the bed with a tourniquet around her arm. “Turn her…. I need more slaves..”
“thank you Sir.” Priscilia removed the torniquet and pulled out the line connected to the woman’s veins.
She sniffed and licked her face before sinking her fangs into her neck.
Mikayla stepped out of the lift on level 4 and she felt the hair on the back of her neck stand.
“hmmmm?” She wondered as she stopped at the lobby.
Looking at the goosebumps on her arm, she waited for it to go away.
“that’s strange.” She mumbled.
It’s obviously a spirit up ahead, she shouldn’t get goosebumps. It’s just a few low-level ghost.
Goosebumps only happen for the Ma family if there is a vampire attack in the vicinity.
And there hasn’t been one in Singapore since the 1960s.
The goosebumps went away and Mikayla refocused her attention back to unit 4-04.
A bunch of hands, literally a bunch of them like bananas stretched out into the corridor. The fingers grabbed the air in search of it’s next victim. Like a coral colony it wobbled and swayed like it’s under water.
Mikayla took a look and snorted, rolling her eyes with a smug expression on her face.
She retracted her baton, knowing fully well that is an over kill for a spirit of this level.
She pulled an old chair leaning against the side of the dilapidated corridor. Setting it in the middle of the walkway, she smoothed her robe, took a seat and folded her arms, taunting the spirit to come over.
All the fingers on the bunch of hands turned towards her and nails started to grow like they are on steroids.
Unfazed by the theatrics on display, Mikayla leaned back on the chair, crossed her legs and whispered into the dark as all the lights went out.
“You want my soul…? Come and get them”
Coming soon in 2022