Initially planned to spend the night at the reading room on campus. Change of plans. Returning back to hostel. Out of fuel. Broke. Hours of concentration on books without food was draining me. Losing my mind.
While bypassing the International Students Hostel, I had an idea. Search through the dustbin beside the hostel. These were desperate times. It was midnight and no one would notice. There might be a dollar bill mistakenly thrown away with some disposable cups or plates.
Stealthily, I scavenge the dustbin. I was about searching through an old handbag when I noticed there was a security personnel on duty. He was seated in a dark corner of the hostel, staring straight at me. I was startled and impulsively started walking towards him, the nerves in my brain racing hard for a sensible lie to offer this unwelcomed pair of eyes.
When I got to him, I realized he was deeply asleep, with eyes wide open. Suppressing my relief, I tiptoed off.
While hurrying away, I felt a stiff lump in the old handbag. I dreamt a few days earlier that I chanced upon a wad of notes on the floor. Could this be a dream come true? My heart skipped a beat. I reached for the spot. It felt like a phone, but not exactly a phone. Seemed a camera or a little radio. I pulled it out. A very old camera!
I felt disappointed. It was too old to be exchanged for money. I trudged towards my hostel.
I was by nature curious. There was this growing sense of desperation and itchiness to find out what could be on the camera. Coincidentally, my roommate was a part-time photographer and I had watched him develop photos many times.
I hurry to the room and found my roommates snoring. Quietly, I went about developing the photos on the camera, careful to not wake up the nosy dogs.
To my utter surprise, the first image developed was that of a girl who committed suicide many years ago on campus. I was in Primary school by then, but I remembered clearly her face because she was all over the news. The next couple of photos were those of lecturers on campus who were now very old. They looked much younger in the photos.
As I gazed at photo after photo, I got the impression that the person who filmed them was an undercover journalist who was spying on the activities of a vandalistic cult on campus and stumbled upon incidents leading to the suicide story. It seemed a fatal car-crash of a famous actress around the time of the suicide was no accident.
It was as if the photos were a jigsaw puzzle that when arranged properly, became a horror movie many adults wouldn’t want to watch twice.
Leave a Reply