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    The Oak Garden Building | Short Story 2021

    As I gaze out my window at the sky while watching my children sleep,  the brisk winds remind me of a building that I once lived in,  wherein I saw, sensed, and were horrified,  an encounter with which I'm not comfortable speaking.  Fortunately, everything turned up okay. My name is Herman, but my friends called me Er, and the following is a story of what occurred to me 23 years ago. I have had a passion for writing since a kid. Now my guardian thinks I can go even farther. Consequently, they help me submit an authorship application and enrol in further linguistic, writing, and journalistic courses. Little did I realise that I'd be given a job to help me improve my abilities while simultaneously taking part-time writing courses to support my income. I was a young twenty-year-old at the time. Too young, yet inquisitive and willing to try new things. As a young author, the chance pushed me to go outside my comfort zone and acquire essential experience.  Pay attention to the sound

    Dorm number 14 - short stories 2020

    See, Write, and Post-it. Our eyes see and record every memory that goes on in life.

    It's raining outside, drizzling, and cold. I looked at my phone, it's 5.45 O'clock in the evening. It was a gloomy Saturday; I was at home, alone again. Thinking of my little sister, but she was with my dad. And I am stuck with my mom.  It's been a month; I'm living with my mother—only the two of us. I missed my dad and my little sister; she was 10 years old. But, they both live in the cities. My father and mother got divorced not long ago. I haven't seen my dad and sister for a year. 

    This grown-up thing messed up my childhood.   

    I still contact my dad, video call with him, and my little sister. I am 8 years older than her. But, we both really close to each other. I am now 18 years old. Finally, I can make my own decision, and I hope I got an opportunity to go to the cities. Being away from home. I love my mom, but I don't like her boyfriend. She seems happy with her life and forgot that she had two daughters. I guess money had blind her eyes; maybe that's why dad left her. 

    I am Marcella, or you can call me Sila. 

    The dorm number 14 - www.seewriteandpost.com
    Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas

    In March 2018, I finally got the answer for my application to a college. 

    Finally! 

    I can go to see my dad and my sister. My mom did not take it well; she begs me to stay with her. I insisted. She failed to persuade me. I know she only been acting like that for a moment. I know her really well; everything will change when her boyfriend came and feed her with his wealth. I can't wait for that moment to get out of this house. I have a month to packs my things and prepare all my documents. 

    I know I should probably ask my mom to help me settle in all of my preparation, but she totally forgot about me. I haven't told my dad about her new boyfriend because I don't want him worried about my mom nor me. And I wanted to give him and my sister a surprise by coming to the cities. I did all my preparation to go to college by myself; I used my allowance that dad gave me every month. 

    So, I did everything and left home, taking my small backpack with pocket money and using a bus to go to the cities. 

    24 March 2018 (Saturday), a week before I register for a college, I arrived in the cities at the bus terminal. But, I didn't know well that place because it was my first time. This is hard for me, too, as I am still 18 years old. I'm really lost. My dad used to give me his home address in case I go there to visit him anytime. 

    I arrived at 4.00 o'clock in the evening, it took me 5 hours to reach where I came from. It's a long journey. So, without wasting time, I search for a Taxi; I gave the address to the Taxi driver. But then, the Taxi driver said;

    "I'm sorry, dear, this place was a remote place and too far."

    The dorm number 14 - www.seewriteandpost.com
    Photo by Oleg Magni

    I didn't plan it well. Then, I called my dad. My voice was shaking; I am afraid that he will get mad. And he did get mad at me. So, I sat at the corner of the chair and cried. People were passing by me, and I felt so left alone. After that, I told my dad; 

    "I got an offer for college, I left home, mom was busy with her boyfriend, I go to the cities alone, and this supposes to be a surprise for dad and my little sister. But it didn't go well. I am sorry, dad."

    The dorm number 14 - www.seewriteandpost.com
    Photo by Tofros.com

    That was the first time I heard my dad yelled at me; I just sat there and silenced myself, holding my tears. But, after a while, things got calm. My dad asks me where am I, and I told him I was at a bus terminal. He can't get to me at that time because it will take him hours. He asked me to wait for a little longer, and someone will come to pick me up. 

    I waited for 30 minutes, then I saw a familiar old couple came near me. 

    I run to them, I hug them. It was my grandparent. They take me to their home. I stayed with them a week before I entered the hostel at my college. Christy was there too, We chatted a lot, my grandparent lives at the side of the city, a remote place too, 30 minutes from the terminal bus. Dad's house was further than there. 

    The dorm number 14 - www.seewriteandpost.com
    Photo by Sean JOHNSTON

    A week seems short for me; I wish I can stay longer with them. Dad can't send me to my college, he still busy with work. So, my grandparent and Christy sent me to college. I can feel my excitement, but at the same time worried. Who would be my roommates, and how it will look like to be a college student. I hope I can socialise more with the student around here. 

    Thank you, Grandpa, Thank you, Grandma, and Thank you, Christy, see you in a month.

    And here I am, College, my new life, where I will be stuck for 2 years, the orientation, the classes, and the meeting of new faces. It's quite far from my grandparent home. So, maybe twice a month I go back to their home. 

    As I enter the college, we'd been assigned to a dorm, and each dorm will be filled with 5 people. Our dormitory separated from our class. We had to take a college bus to get to our classes, about 15 minutes, except for the student who took electrical and mechanical, they can just walk from a hostel. 

    The girl's hostel located near the forest, and it's a quiet place. The only nearest to us was the Cafe and office, which only be operated until 6.00 pm for both. The gate of the girl's hostel will be closed and locked at 8.00 pm. I feel like a prisoner. While the boy's hostel near the stadium, near the convenience store, near the food store, had eateries, and even better, they can go out, until whatever the time is.

    This is unfair.

    The dorm number 14
    Photo by Bich Tran

    Our hostel had two floors; the first floor had 10 dorms (dorm 1 until 10) and the second floor (dorm 11 to 20). I was assigned to dorm number 14. It's an old college, stands there for almost 10 years. It's spooky at night. It was a silenced place and even scary when everything was quieter. Especially the hallway.

    the dorm number 14
    Photo by Ian Panelo

    Nevertheless, I like to stay here in College at least I learn to be independent. 

    I saw lots of students being sent off by their parents, some having lunch at the cafe, and the others are the senior. My roommates came one by one; there were five of us from different places and backgrounds. Some of my roommates came the next day. The first floor is mostly for the senior, and the second floor is for the new student. 

    The next day.

    All the residents of the hostel had arrived, including all of my roommates. We still awkward and getting to know each other. Every night at 9.00 pm, we had a meeting with the hostel warden, getting to know the rule and meet with the committee members. The situation of the hostel at night after 10.00 pm was quiet. Moreover, our hostel was near the forest. 

    After the ending of the session getting-to-know, we all are back in our dorm, talking to each other, getting to know, and tried to remember the names. We sit in the circle, the 5 of us, talking, laughing, and telling a story. Then, suddenly someone was knocking at the door. It was 11.30 pm. The banging of the door becomes louder. 

    The dorm number 14
    Photo by lalesh al darwish

    We all stayed in silence

    A few moments later, one of my roommates goes opened the door. Then, she heard someone was laughing outside; it turned out it was the senior. "We just messing up with you'll", they were laughing out loud. They just wanted to take attendance. But then, they stop for a while in our dorm and asked us if anything happened recently. Then, I interrupted and asked, what happened? They just silenced, and I guess they just wanted to put a prank.

    We were left with a question mark, what really happened in dorm number 14? Well, I don't really care.

    After a week,

    It was in the middle of the night, we all are going to sleep, then my friend switches off the lamp. But I couldn't sleep well that night; I was awake. Our bed was facing the locker clothes. And on the right side of our locker, it was the window around 1.30 o'clock in the morning. I saw someone was standing at the window about a kid's size. I'm not sure if I'm dreaming, or is it a real thing? 

    The dorm number 14
    Photo by Alf-Marty--3954643

    The next morning, I felt my body was so tired due to lacking sleep. I can't sleep at all last night because I was unsure about what I see. I'm not sure to tell this to any of my roommates because I don't want to scare them out. I keep in mind that it's just a normal thing that happened to me because it was my first time being away from home and family. 

    I will get used to this, I said. So, I acted like normal. But, day by day, I experienced different things during the night, and sometimes in the morning, even in the bathroom. You had to pass the hallway to go to the bathroom. One time, there was an unusual event, the door at the bathroom suddenly shut by itself.  But, there's no one there.

    I tried to get used to the unusual thing. I experienced a terrible night; I got insomnia. At one time, my roommates saw me talking in my dream, but they afraid to wake me up. Sometimes I sleepwalking, going to my locker, standing there for a couple of minutes, and then going back to my bed. Days by days, I can feel that my roommates were afraid to talk to me, and eventually, they tried to ignore me.

    One night, all of my roommates were sleeping on the floor at that time. I am the only one who sleeps in the bed. I can't sleep at all. The weather was hot, and I sweat a lot. I stayed until 1.00 o'clock. Then, I tried to cover my face with a blanket. I can feel someone was watching me at that time. I take my earphone and listen to a random song on YouTube. 

    As all of my roommates having a good sleep, I was awake. I felt that someone was standing near the door, watching me and my friend's rest. I was scared, really. I closed my eyes and forcing myself to get asleep. But then, a random soundtrack was playing, and the lyric came out, "You can run, but you can never hide from the shadows that creeping up beside you". I wake up and hurriedly go beside my friend's and hug her in shaking.

    The dorm number14
    Photo by Aidan Roof

    I woke her up; it was 3 o'clock in the morning, Jennifer, my roommate switch on the light. She was screaming, waking up all of my other roommates, she saw all of our lockers were opened, and our clothes were on the floor.  All eyes are on me; they taught it was me who do these things. 

    But then, suddenly, I can't control my body; I cried and scream hysterically. The next dorm was also awake and knock on our door.  I was not myself at that time. I want to stop, but my body refuses to. I tried to call out my friend's name, but I was paralysed, my body felt nauseous, and suddenly, everything turns black. 

    I don't know what happened to me.

    Little that I know, I was at hospitals. I opened my eyes, I saw my father holding my hand while putting his head down to sleep near me, and Christy was sitting on the chair, asleep. Grandpa and grandma were outside talking with Mrs Brenda, the hostel warden, and a doctor. 

    I can't find where my mother. I can't even move my hand to wake my dad. The moment he saw me, I can see his eyes tearing and calling out the doctor. It's still become a question mark, what had happened?

    the dorm number 14
    Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

    The doctor stated that I have an anxiety attack.

    The divorcement of my parent had really affected my life. I might be seen okay in front of everyone, I laugh, I talk, and living like a normal person, but yet, deep inside my heart, without even noticing it, my brain triggers the memory that traumatised me. 

    As the years pass by, the revenge heart grew until I was 18 years old, and I can no longer control my emotion because I was blind to the perfectness I wanted in a family. In a simple word, I was distressed because lack of love attention, both parents was busy with their life, and I had no one to talk to. 

    But, the thing that happened in the dorm still became a mystery for me. 

    A week had passed, I skipped a lot of classes. But I never returned to that hostel. I stayed at home, at my grandparent's house. I defer my study for not know-how long. 

    Eventually, a year had passed. 

    It's New Year 2019. 

    I choose to live with my dad and right now living in his house, together with Christy. I was curious to know what happened to that college I was attended a year ago at some point. To be exactly, what happened to dorm number 14. I search on google, typing the name of the college, then I found an article. Honestly, I was scared to click on the report; the title looks scary. 

    "In 1998, a girl found dead in the locker, it was an unknown cause, the police decided it was a suicide case. But still, it has no suicide letter, no blood mark, the autopsy shows nothing happened to the body, no drugs, no internal injuries. The medical report stated she has depression, mental health disorder, and PTSD. A month before her death, she had insomnia leading to hallucination. It was dorm14."

    As I read the report, I'm just being glad that I was able to still breathing and choose to not stay in there.

    Reminder: Keep your mental health in check. Talk to someone. Depression is not a joke; it's a silent killer.

    Disclaimer: These posts (Dorm number 14) are a work of fiction based on the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual events, locale, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental. 

    Other Thriller stories:

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