This was written on the evening of the 30th of July 2011. When I went to sleep that evening (something I rarely get to do nowadays) I had little idea that I would wake up from my dreams and into a nightmare…
30 minutes ago…
I was awoken by an otherworldly blaring sound and the smell of smoke in my nostrils.
My ears were then bombarded by Boiler's (my roommate; not his real name) complaints that "you can't see a damn thing!" and "Shit man, it's like a war zone out there!" [All Boiler quotations in the previous sentence were translated from Malay]. I opened my eyes to see a thin film of white smoke throughout the room. "Fogging", said Idris coolly, while sitting on Boiler's bed (why the hell was Idris in my room anyway??).
It seemed that someone had suddenly decided to fog the area for Aedes mosquitos without first notifying the non-mosquito residents (namely, me). The curtains were not closed, because it was our only source of fresh air – the door was shut, with smoke creeping in through the cracks around it. Boiler was right: you could barely see anything out there. But suddenly, he tied a hand towel around his nose and mouth and moved towards the door. In a thin white shirt and an improvised face-mask, he looked like a post-apocalypse freedom fighter wannabe. Before he left, Boiler uttered a line which will forever echo in the voluminous chambers of human history:
"I have to go to the toilet"
25 minutes ago…
That left me and Idris in the room. The golden question once again arose: why the hell was Idris in my room anyways?? But the question was fleeting, as I have come to realize that people popping up randomly in each other's' rooms are a typical dormitory phenomenon. Anyways, I have decided to go back to sleep…my brain drenched with sleep-inducing melatonin. The blaring noise of the fogging machine fluctuated – I could imagine the masked man operating the machine moving ominously towards my room, but still I was too exhausted to escape; or even move from my pillow. But abruptly, the noise filled my ears. The machine was right outside my window. Opening my eyes, I saw the fog just flowing into my room through the unclosed window. Idris, on Boiler's bed, was holding his shirt to his nose. "Draw the curtains together!" I said in an attempt to sound heroic; but laden with sleep, I probably sounded more drunk than valiant.
Regardless, Idris rushed to close the curtains. Perhaps a bit too late - the conditions in the room was almost as bad as the atmosphere outside. The door was still shut and the room was sullen with the curtains drawn. All we could do was sit down. And wait.
"Damn", I said groggily
20 minutes ago…
Boiler was still not back. It was close to 7, and I haven't done my Asar prayers. I had to take my wudhuk, although
the smoke still thick outside. But I decided to take the risk – if I'm going to die, I would want to do it with the blessings of God. I opened the door and closed it quickly behind me.
Putting on my slippers, I could barely see the trees near my dorm through the thick white anti-mosquito film. I headed towards the toilet, and saw the slow amble of a familiar figure moving towards me. It was Boiler, finally back. Moving past me, he told me that everybody in the block had left us. He was right.
The doors I passed were all open, lockers ajar and clothing strewn across the floor. People definitely left in a hurry. Suddenly, though, I spotted some people on the walkway in front of me. Through the smog, I struggled to recognize them. It was Shamer (or was it Ismael? I still can't tell them apart) and Arif (the M10E one), looking into the distance like war-weary veterans.
I saw what they were looking at, and it was beautiful almost as it was scary…
I hastily took my wudhuk and left for my room. After performing Asar prayers, I turned my laptop on to record the events of the past half-hour on my blog.
That was 15 minutes ago. I had planned to write a doom-and-gloom story of despair and betrayal (you guys left me behind!!!), but I have changed my mind. Over the last 15 minutes, the people of Block A have been returning from god-knows-where they've been hiding. The sounds of the dorm are back. Boiler and Idris are watching Anime on Boiler's laptop (so that's why Idris was in my room…). And even the ping pong table is back in business. I guess we need the abrupt occasional trauma to appreciate the wonder of normalcy. But please guys, wake me up next time T.T