It was the darkest hours just before dawn one cool and refreshing morn in September 1984. Many were still slumbering deeply and as many snoring to the night’s rhythm, no one could fault them after a typical day of slogging and mugging. Only a handful of Martians were still burning midnight oil. Suddenly, a shrill scream reeked of fear pierced the silence of the dawn.
Some room lights flickered on in reply. Some back lit heads appeared through the windows, shadowed eyes peering out searching towards the source of the scream. Some doors were hastily opened, and brave few lumbered sleepily onto the corridors. Blank faces, curious mutterings and soon hurried footfalls were echoed darting their way towards the source.
O what a sight to behold. They answered the call of a damsel in distress, alright. They were like knights of old except they were not in shining chains and armors with their broad swords and lances but a rag tag of residents in pyjamas and just shorts armed with hockey or broom sticks. They were knights nonetheless, chivalrous and brave without regards for their own safety regardless of dangers that might still be lurking around.
So quickly they mustered. So gallantly they stormed into the fray. So courageously they dashed into the room ready to fend off whatever menace that had distressed their fellow resident. They did not hesitate to look before they leap, so to say.
They found her curled up, arms tightly around her knees, trembling. She was sobbing silently in shock. She was shivering violently in fear. She was perspiring profusely in horror. She was mumbling incoherently that someone or something had wandered into her room and was on top of her, suffocating her, asphyxiating her. She was unable to breath, she was losing consciousness. She was unable to scream. She was being sucked into the dark abyss.
With the last ounce of her will to live, she found strength to break free from the oppressive embrace, and screamed. She awoke, eyes wide, when she saw a fleeting shadow disappearing out the door. Was it a just a bad dream or was that really a shadow of someone or something? That’s how the story was re-counted, and soon morphed into a dramatized tale.
When they managed to calmed her down, she recounted real physical body pressed on hers and frantic limbs attempting to lustily ravage her. His blood shot eyes, foul breath and sour sweat woke her up, jolted her adrenaline to fight back. She kicked out, he grunted and she screamed her lungs out. The perpetrator was real, not some dreamy nightmare, and he was limping when he vanished out off the door.
She had forgotten to lock her door when she went to bed earlier. Her roommate was probably still mugging in the Library or Reading Room. And she was just plain unlucky when the unwelcome prowler chanced upon her open inviting door. Fortunately, other than a bit of frayed nerves, she was physically unhurt, unscarred by the rather traumatic incident. She was after all a valiant Rhafflesian.
Almost immediately, cries of alarm were trumpeted throughout the hall. Impromptu posses hastily spread throughout the hall, in search of the perpetrator who may still be lurking around, to make safe the hall. They were fearless but too late. The cowardly perpetrator had already escaped into the night.
As immediate precautions, all female residents were moved to the upper floors, reminded to keep their doors under locks and keys, and avoid dark nooks and crannies. Residents were also advised to be vigilant and on the lookout for strangers, especially those whose rooms with oversight over the unlit access paths into the hall.
Sporadic sightings and minor incidents were reported, and conspiracies abounded, however nothing concrete, no prowlers or peeping toms were apprehended. The atmosphere in the hall was on edge, uneasy not knowing when the prowlers might strike again until one fateful afternoon.
On that afternoon, a resident of RH2 was taking her shower. She suddenly felt a cold shiver slithering down her back, goose bumps on her neck. Odd, the heater was on, and the afternoon was sizzling hot. She felt a pair of eyes staring down on her back. She turned her head around. She caught a glimpse of someone ducking down in the next cubicle. Her heart thundered but she managed to swallow her scream. She just pretended as if nothing had happened, and calmly finished her shower. She was indeed a very brave lady and pretty cool if I may add.
When she exited out of harm’s way, she quietly alerted some male residents gossiping casually along the corridor nearby. They sprang into action. Two were immediately posted to guard the toilet exit as they mustered more residents. They needed to fortify their bravery in numbers as they were merely undergraduates not men-of-war and the peeping tom might be armed. Soon, more than a dozen turned up with their hockey sticks, blocking the only exit from the toilet, the only escape route. The peeping tom was cornered, and his fate was sealed.
They calmly asked him to come out of the cubicle and surrender peacefully. They promised that no harm or threats of violence would be meted upon him in retaliation. He was cornered, outnumbered and out-muscled. They waited patiently. They did not want to provoke him any further than necessary. He might lash out violently as any cornered person would in desperation, and hockey sticks were definitely no match for a machete or revolver.
After what seemed like an eternity, the door was slowly unbolted and creaked open. He peeked before slowly coming out, wide-eyed, unarmed. He reeked of fear. He was one of the construction workers from the nearby site.
They quickly grabbed him. He struggled briefly. Seeing the futility against such odds, he meekly submitted to whatever fate that was installed for him. They searched him in case he had concealed weapons. They detained him despite his protestations of innocence.
Someone had dialed 999, and soon the police arrived. They handcuffed and took him away. There were sighs of relief all around, smiles, grateful handshakes and back pats for a task well done, a nightmare quashed. Since the arrest, no more incident of molest or peeping was reported, and peace reign once again at Raffles Hall, our home safely away from home.