It all began with a blog post. Faizal Amir was just checking out another supernatural-themed blog based in Petaling Jaya, and its popularity shot up when it managed to provide footage of a creature called The Rotting Man, and is now the go-to blog for those interested in the supernatural.
One of the blog’s posts, titled “Haunted Bridges, proven and alleged” caught his interest as he was browsing the blog. He opened it, and read through the list, which consists some of the bridges that he knew about, such as the Penang Bridge, a bridge in Port Dickson, one in Johor…and saw one of the entries was a bridge in his own town.
Surprised and curious of the bridge’s inclusion in the list, he decided to pay special attention to the entry, and read that, according to reports, as soon as the bridge was completed in 1985, a woman jumped off the bridge, and soon after, people have reported seeing an apparition at the bridge, and were plagued by nightmares and hallucinations, to the point that they were either driven to madness or suicide, and it is said that it still continues to this day.
He reclined on his chair and pondered about the bridge. He’s lived in this town all his life, how come he had never heard about it? Maybe, just maybe, this will be his first foray into paranormal investigation, like in those TV shows he used to watch.
Something like this would be perfect for a total beginner like him, and before long he could move on to bigger cases, and move from an office drone to a paranormal investigator, and maybe he could team up with whoever runs this blog, and they could become the foremost authorities when it comes to supernatural stuff.
He took note of the bridge’s location, and went to bed.
Later, the next day, returning home from work, he stopped by his friend’s burger stall, and told him about the blog entry.
“Shit, bro,” his friend said as he spread margarine on a burger bun before slapping it on the grill, “you’re seriously telling me you’ve never heard about the bridge? That shit’s common knowledge in this town, man.”
Faizal cracked open his can of Coke and took a sip before he continued, “That’s what I’m telling you, dude. How come I didn’t know about it?”
His friend gave a low chuckle while flipping a beef patty. “Beats me, bro. I mean, you’re the one who’s into all this paranormal stuff, not me.” He then stopped, his hand in mid-air, still holding the burger flipper. “Wait, I know why. It’s because you’re such an antisocial jerk that you don’t even know what’s going on in your own town.”
“Ah, fuck you, Daus,” he replied, “I’m not that out-of-touch,”
“Eh, memang betul apa,” Firdaus replied, still chuckling. The grin remained on his face even while he handed the plate over to Faizal’s table and sat down next to him. “For real though, bro,” he said, taking off his cap and running his hand through his hair, now dyed light brown, “it’s common knowledge that the bridge messed folks up pretty good for like what, thirty years now?”
“Around that, yeah,”
“Yeah. Anyway, I guess no one just likes to talk about it. I mean, they think that shit's contagious, you know? Besides, everyone had chalked up the hallucination part to just being spooked out by the bridge, you know, like the fact they heard how scary the bridge was, and then they got so worked up they thought the same thing themselves, I don't know, really.”
Faizal placed his burger back on his plate. “Yeah, maybe. I guess I should keep that in mind.”
Daus looked at him grimly and said, “Yeah, you should. Really, though…” but his train of thought was interrupted when he saw a large woman with a child on tow approaching his stall and looked at him.
“Kejap, kak,” he called out, put his cap back on and looked back at Faizal. “Shit, I gotta go back to work. You know, being a businessman and all. I’ll talk to you sometime, man.”
“Cool,” Faizal said, swallowing the remains of his burger and washed it down with his Coke, left the money underneath the plate and went home. It’s a Friday evening, a time when office drones like him can take it easy while small-time businesses like Daus’ will be busier.
As he walked up towards his flat, he started thinking about the bridge again. It’s a Saturday tomorrow; he could just go and have a look around the bridge. It’s not that far, he could take the bus and be there within fifteen minutes, thirty on foot, have a look around, take some pictures and tell the guy running the blog about it.
He woke up the next morning, the humid heat clinging all over him, his body slick with sweat, but he hardly paid any attention towards it, as he was more focused on the bridge itself. As he showered, however, he felt a slight sense of unease churning in his stomach. Dismissing the feeling of dread, he got dressed, drank a cup of cold coffee, and within half an hour, boarded the bus that passes by the bridge.
He sat at the back of the bus, and put his earphones on. He then looked outside the window, hardly paying attention to the other people in the bus, wondering what Daus just said to him last evening and he realized that with what he’s doing at that precise moment, sitting at the back of the bus while listening to Alkaline Trio and ignoring other people does give the impression that he’s an anti-social freak.
“Fuck,” he chuckled to himself, and seeing the bus approaching his stop, he turned off his mp3 player, plucked the earphones out of his ears, and pressed the bell. Once the bus pulled up at the stop, he got out, and looked at the bridge, and started walking towards it.
As he approached the bridge, his heart started beating rapidly, out of anxiety and excitement, but he soon reached the beginning of the bridge and looked at his surroundings.
His initial impression of the bridge was that it looked like any other ordinary bridge; Pedestrians walking by the sidewalk, vehicles driving by, both hardly paying any attention towards each other, and almost looked dreary with its grey concrete pillars and torn up bills and posters plastered by the walls. He then leaned forward at the railing, the paint chipping beneath his fingers as he gripped it, and peered down at the large, flowing brown river below him.
Nothing out of the ordinary here, he thought to himself. So how come it induced nightmares and hallucinations to some people?
Taking out his phone, he took some pictures of the bridge, the river below him, and pictures of the vehicles and people passing by him. Just as he was about to place his phone back into his pocket, he heard the distinctive sound of someone clearing their throat behind him.
He turned around, and saw a short, middle-aged Indian woman looking at him.
"I’m sorry," the woman said. "I couldn't help but noticing you taking pictures of the bridge,"
"Oh," Faizal said, "I just thought it looked interesting,"
The older woman gave him a wary look. "Yes, I guess...interesting would be one way to describe this bridge,"
"I guess you can say that,"
The woman lifted a tired eyebrow at his comment and said, "Interesting? This is a very bad bridge, boy. "
"Sorry," he shrugged, and scratching his hair, he asked, "So, uh, auntie, how much do you know about this bridge?"
"All I know is that some girl killed herself a long long time ago, and people started getting nightmares and seeing things. This is a bad bridge." she replied.
"Uh, I see,"
"Damned shame. They should so something about it," she added.
Faizal stood there, unable to reply. Instead, he just looked at the river, listening to the vehicles passing by them. “Yeah, I guess,” he said.
“A damned shame,” she said, and slowly walked away.
Faizal looked at the older woman until she disappeared from view. He stood there uneasily, before he started to walk back himself. As soon as he reached the end of the bridge, he looked around the roadside stalls and cafes, and thought he could use a drink after all the excitement.
He sat down at one of the stalls and ordered a coffee. The owner then delivered it to him, gingerly placing it on his table. He looked at steam escaping the clear glass mug for a moment, blew at it several times, before sipping on it slowly.
While drinking his coffee, he started wondering about the bridge. What's causing all the nightmares? What exactly did they see that it made them paranoid? Who was the girl who committed suicide in 1985, starting off the unfortunate chain of events?
“…the bridge just now?” a voice interrupted him.
“Huh?” Faizal jumped up, his train of thought broken.
He saw it was the stall owner himself looking at him, his eyes shining behind his glasses.
“I said,” the man repeated, “I just saw you taking pictures at the bridge just now. Are you working on something?”
“Huh?” Faizal looked at the man for a moment, processing what he had said, and once he realized what he meant, quickly shook his head. “Oh, no, no. Nothing like that. I was just curious about the bridge, that’s all.”
“I see,” the man said, and went back to manning his stall.
Damn, Faizal thought to himself, why’s everyone so interested about what I just did? Unnerved by the attention, he stuck two one ringgit notes underneath the coffee mug, went to the bus station, and took a bus home. Later that evening, as he pondered about what happened earlier, he decided to pay Daus another visit.
To his surprise, as he reached Daus’ stall, Daus was sitting at a table with a Chinese guy around their age, wearing a mechanic’s outfit. As he approached them, Daus noticed him and said, “Shit, man, look who showed up.”
As Faizal reached the table, Daus took a look at him and said, “Shit, don’t tell me, you probably went to the bridge, huh? Anyway, remember this guy? Andy Lim, we used to play football together at school, though you’re the guy that hangs out by the sides anyway.”
Faizal grinned at the both of them and went, “Yeah, yeah. I know him. You’re working with your dad now?”
“Yeah,” Andy said, “Business is okay, I guess. As long as there’s a something running on an engine I won’t be out of work.”
“Anyway,” Daus said, looking at Faizal, “you want anything, man?”
“Nah, I’m good,” Faizal replied, “just wanted to hang out.”
“Ah, so my statement about you being anti-social finally made you want to go out more, eh?” Daus grinned.
“Eh, more or less,” Faizal shrugged as he sat down. “And yeah, I went to the bridge this morning,”
“Thought so,” Daus said.
“Wait, what bridge are you guys talking about here?” Andy asked.
“You know, the bridge,” Daus said.
Andy looked confused for a moment, trying to figure out what he meant before he finally realized what he meant.
“Oh, that bridge.” Andy said, “Man, that bridge’s bad news,”
“How come?” Faizal asked.
“If you ask my pa,” he said, “He thinks that bridge is haunted, especially at night. He said the girl's spirit's still lingers, and if you upset her, she'll curse you until you die,"
“Does he have any idea why that shit started, though?” Faizal asked.
“Man, he’s an auto-shop owner, not a paranormal investigator.” Andy replied. “I really have no idea, and I bet he doesn’t know much himself. People come in, sometimes just for a battery change, sometimes they have transmission problems, so when I or someone else fixes it, they go and have a chat with him and talk whatever the hell’s on their mind. Business, real estate, football, politics, family, lingering spirits haunting the bridge, that kind of stuff.”
“Right,” Faizal said, “so how do these guys know about these stories?”
“Word of mouth, mostly.” Andy replied. “The same old I-know-this-guy type of conversations. From what I gathered, it’s definitely a bad idea to use the bridge past midnight,”
“I don’t know, maybe because that bridge happens to be haunted and ghosts come out after midnight?” Andy replied sarcastically, before he looked at the two of them and continued, “Well, for real, though. That shit actually happened.”
“So what happened?” Faizal asked curiously.
“Well, there was this Indian guy, he came in with a broken light and a missing bumper. Pretty routine stuff, since a lot of people drive like idiots. Only this time, before we could ask, he started telling us how it happened,”
“From what I could gather,” Andy explained, “he just returned home after having a few drinks with his work friends at some pub out of town, and when he started crossing the bridge, it was around twelve-fifteen or so,”
“So when he was driving,” he continued, “he saw this lady just standing there by the side of the bridge, right? Like she was just standing there,”
“Man, that sounds cliché as fuck,” Daus interjected.
“Yeah, I know, right?” Andy agreed, “And that guy, even with all the booze inside him, somehow knew picking her up was a bad idea, so he just drove on, and when he almost reached the middle of the bridge, he saw the lady standing by the side of the bridge, so he started freaking out a bit,”
“So he pressed the gas and drove faster, but just as he reached the middle of the bridge, the same woman stood there, blocking the way. He slammed on the brakes and when he faced the road again, the girl wasn't there,”
“He was kind of confused about what just happened for a moment, but then he heard a knock at the passenger seat window. Something tells him he should’ve just pressed the gas pedal and got the fuck out of there, but he was frozen with fright, and then, he heard a knocking sound by the passenger window.”
“What does she look like?” Faizal asked.
“From what the guy told me, he didn't get a good look of her face, since it was covered with her own hair like in that movie..." Andy started snapping his fingers, "Come on, what's the name of that movie? Oh yeah, The Ring."
“And then, he saw that she was all wet. But what’s really scary though, was the when she started speaking. She basically started crying and he could see her move what was left of her mouth and started moaning, ‘Why didn’t you stop? Didn’t you love me? Why did you forget about me?’ When he heard that, he just lost it, hit the gas pedal and accidentally knocked on the road barrier, and just drove the fuck back home, and hid in his room until morning,”
Faizal stared at Andy for a moment, before he started blinking again. “Wow,” Faizal said, “That’s quite a story,”
“I don’t know how much of it was true,” Andy replied, “that guy probably had too much to drink. I still think you should stay away from that bridge after midnight, though.”
“Alright, I’ll keep that in mind,” Faizal said. “I’ll be seeing you guys around,”
“Yeah, see you. Hey, don’t even think about going to that bridge, alright?” Daus said.
“Yeah, whatever,” Faizal replied.
Faizal went back to his flat and sat in front of his computer. He quickly recollected his thoughts, and attempted to write down as much as he can remember, uploaded the pictures from his phone onto the computer, and then added his post onto the blog. Within half an hour after he had posted it, he received a message from the blog owner himself.
So you’ve been to the bridge there? Thanks for your submission, I’ll be sure to credit you as well. One thing though, if you’re willing to that is, could you get some nighttime pictures or footage of the bridge in question? That’ll mean a lot. Thanks.
Faizal stared at his monitor, his fingers still idling on his mouse as he pondered the request. With the story and warning still fresh in his mind, he was just about to deny that request, but a small gnawing feeling grew in his stomach, a feeling that maybe the story was just made up, something that goes with the bridge in question.
Besides, for all we know the guy was simply drunk and made the whole story up so he doesn’t look like an idiot when people asked him why his car all was busted up. He quickly typed his reply:
Sure, I’ll get around to it. I’ll go to the bridge next Friday and take some pictures. Is that okay?
The reply came back immediately:
Well, that settles, it, then. My first foray in the paranormal scene, Faizal thought to himself, closed the tab, and just surfed the internet for a while before he went to bed. As he slowly began to drift into unconsciousness, he felt that the surroundings around him are changing. He felt a strong gust of wind blowing into his room, cooling the warm air inside his room. He then smelled a strong, fishy smell, like he was at the bridge, earlier this afternoon...and when he opened his eyes, his jaw dropped slightly.
He was standing on the bridge itself, still clad in a pair of old track pants and an old t-shirt.
“This is just a dream, I’ll wake up,” Faizal told himself,and pinched his left arm.
“What?” he exclaimed, sweat beading down his forehead. “That’s impossible. How did I get here?”
He fumbled his hands into his pockets, trying to find his phone and wallet in either pockets, but came up empty. He shuddered, realizing for the first time how truly vulnerable he was in this situation.
His reason told him that he should turn back, walk away from the bridge and try to find a way back home, but something made him stand there. It wasn't like his feet were glued to the pavement or a supernatural entity blocking his way, he simply lacked the will the move, and furthermore, he felt a growing desire to simply stay there and explore his surroundings.
He slowly walked up the bridge, sweat pouring down his forehead and back, despite the cool, strong wind. He reached the middle of the bridge and stood there, unsure of what to do next.
The bridge was deserted, which attested to the late hour. Wasn’t there something about how you’re not supposed to be at the bridge at midnight? He thought to himself. Oh shit. What’s the time now? What am I gonna do?
As he pondered his next move, he felt pangs of terror rising up his stomach, and saw a figure standing by the opposite side of where he was standing.
Despite his curiosity, his instinct to simply turn around and run overwhelmed it, and he quickly turned around, and started running back to the end of the bridge. As he ran, however, he started to hear a wet, slopping sound following him from behind.
Oh fuck. Oh fuck, Faizal thought to himself. He started running even faster, his lungs and feet burning as his speed increased, but as he did so, he started hearing the same wet,slopping sounds following him behind.
Faizal ran even faster now, trying his best to get away from that infernal splashing sound pursuing him, the sound barely picking up its pace, but it sounded like it was directly behind him, even as he kept running faster and faster.
Just as he was about to reach the end of the bridge, he heard a chuckling sound coming from behind him, and he tripped on his feet, and fell flat on the ground. He quickly pulled himself up, wincing in pain as he realized that the impact had scratched the skin off his palms, and limped as fast as possible, before he heard a voice behind him, wailing, "Where are you going? Don't you want to be with me?"
Faizal woke up screaming, his bed sheets and clothes soaked with sweat.
"That was a dream. Fuck, that felt real," he said to himself, and wiped his face with his palms, but reeled back as he felt a stinging sensation as his hands touched his face. He turned the light on, and saw his bloody palms, with scratched-out skin still hanging on from his palms.
"What...how?" Faizal said to himself, before he rushed to the bathroom and started washing his hands. He winced at the stinging sensation of water running through the wound, but he steadied his hands, watching the blood slowly drift away with the pipe water.
How'd I get my hands injured like that? Faizal wondered, since he knew that his injuries could only caused by a rocky surface, something like a...tarred road.
"No, that's impossible," Faizal said out loud. "That's just ridiculous. That's some cheap horror story stuff right there,"
Faizal went back to his room, and noticing the blood-and-sweat stained bedsheets, removed them from his bed, and after stripping down to his boxers, lied down on the bare mattress. He tried closing his eyes, but unable to sleep, he looked at his computer perched on his desk, got up, turned it on, and went online.
His first course of action is to look for any news sources regarding the bridge itself,but to his dismay, he found that most of them are the same old blog posts, full of speculations about the nature of the bridge, some said it was cursed, some said it was built on 'hotspot', not-too-flattering assumptions regarding the nature of the people who ended their lives there, and blogs full of people who assumed that Comic Sans was an acceptable font.
After going through his six or seventh blog, he stumbled upon a blog post that came with a scanned newspaper article regarding the first suicide. It was dated May 19, 1985, which meant that within two weeks, it'll be the thirtieth anniversary of the bridge's haunting.
That's kinda sad, he thought to himself.
He read through the article. It read, that a twenty-five year old female, race unknown, had jumped off the recently-built bridge a few days ago, and by the time they had found the body, the decomposition had already begun, making it difficult for them to determine her identity. Police have determined that the act was committed before midnight, and she had died from drowning. No motive was given, and police were unable to find any identification on the individual herself.
Oh, okay, Faizal thought to himself, reading through the article again, before noticing the reporter's name, James Muniandy. If he's still alive, he'll probably be in his mid fifties or sixties by now, he guessed, but it's worth a shot, maybe he knows more than his initial report.
He quickly searched the man's name online, and quickly found out that he's retired and lives in the same town.
That's a plus.
The following morning, he took a bus towards a housing area just outside of town, got out, and started looking around the housing area, trying to find the former reporter's address. It didn't take long for him to find it, and he saw a middle-aged Indian woman sweeping the verandah, and called out for her.
"Auntie!" he called out.
The woman then stopped sweeping for a moment, turned to face him, and to their mutual surprise, realized they've met each other at the bridge just the other day.
"Why are you here?" she demanded, looking angrily at him.
"I...uh, wanted to see your husband?" Faizal asked.
"No, you cannot see him," she shook her head aggressively.
"Please, just let me see him for a moment," Faizal pleaded.
"No," the lady replied, holding her ground.
Just as Faizal was about to turn around and leave, the front door opened, an Indian man in his sixties stood at the door, clutching a newspaper in one hand, adjusting his glasses with his other hand.
"What's going on here?" he demanded.
His wife then rapidly spoke to him in Tamil, looking and gesturing at Faizal occasionally.
The husband then looked at both of them, spoke to his wife in Tamil again, and gestured to Faizal to enter.
"Come in, young man." the old man said, removing his glasses, his tired eyes looking straight at Faizal, "Come in."