Action does not speak louder than words. I mean, sometimes you mean more on what you say, rather than what you do.
After I told Dinah that she was ill, I felt obligated to go back there again to help her, despite the allegation that she was from beyond. How could a ghost appear under broad day light? As far as I know, ghosts only roam about at night, and they usually wear white. The Dinah I saw the other day was in a bright green coat. Moreover, we hugged each other, so she could not have been a ghost.
I walked in after dismissing the driver. I carried an umbrella with me in case I needed to use it to protect myself, I also brought with me some mosquito spray. If she attacked me, I could spray some of those repellent into her eyes to blind her.
This time I couldn’t find her in the garden.
“She must be in the house,” I told myself.
True enough I found her cooking in the kitchen.
“Dinah,” I called her, “What are you doing here?”
“You like soy sauce noodles, right?” she replied.
How did she know?
And then I remembered that I left a note on the kitchen counter the other time when I was here:
“Ma, please cook my favourite soy sauce noodles for me.”
I had wanted to recall my late mother’s spirit.
But Dinah was the last candidate to be my mother. Who was Dinah? How could she be my mother?!
Quickly I said, “No, it’s ok, I am not hungry now,” and then I asked her point blank, even though I knew that she might not tell me the truth,
“Are you a ghost?”
“Of course not,” she replied firmly, “touch me,” she said.
I had already encountered that the other day, so I backed off a little, and then I saw my gold charm bracelet on her wrist. The same trinkets stared at me boldly. I was shocked for a few seconds, but then I recovered,
“Where did you get this bracelet from?” I asked.
“From Purab of course,” she challenged me, “you think I stole it?”
“No, no, of course not,” I had no evidence that the item belonged to me. The bracelet was a gift from my grandfather.
“See, one of the trinkets is a butterfly,” she admired it proudly.
Suddenly it hit me! I lost control and I moved forward, grabbing her hand I tried to take the bracelet out from her wrist. It was tightly worn, I looked for the clasp, and I tried to unfasten it. Dinah had more brute strength then me, she pulled her arm away, and in the mist, she used the other hand to push me away. I fell backwards, and onto the floor without support.
No one was there to witness this dramatic event. And of course, there was no CCTV either. This was a very old house.
By now I had forgotten that my purpose here was to recall my late mother’s spirit. Now I wanted nothing more than to claim my lost jewelry. If this wretched woman has my charm bracelet, she must be in possession of all my other missing items, namely the pearl earrings, the jade pendant, and all the other pieces that I have yet to name.
This woman is not a ghost! She is a thief! Thieves must be dealt with separately from ghosts. For ghosts you get an exorcist, for thieves you call the police.
I wanted to use my handphone to ring for the police right away, but it was lost in the scuffle. The mosquito spray was also gone. I panicked, and my brains almost disintegrated.
“Are you ok?” I heard a man’s voice.
Looking up, I saw a man, he was thin, but quite well built, and somewhat dashing. It was my old gardener!
“Purab!” I yelled.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
At the same time, “Purab, you know her?” Dinah spoke.
“Of course, she lives here,” Purab said.
“Is she your late wife?” I asked, “I mean, is she your wife?” pointing to Dinah.
“Of course, she is!” Purab said. “But I am not married to her,”
“Not married and yet she is your wife? This doesn’t make sense!”
Purab pulled me aside.
“Listen, my wife is sick, if you want to know anything, talk to me instead,” he said.
At this time, a lady came out from my room, no, my old room. I have not seen her before. She was in a bikini slim enough for the pool, except that there was no swimming pool at this estate.
“Dear, what’s happening?” she asked.
“Oh no, just a new guest,” Purab said. And then he turned to me,
“Suzanne, meet my assistant Poly,” whilst looking at the lady he uttered,
“Poly, my old landlord Suzanne,”
This seemed clear enough, that the two were well acquainted, and obviously living together in this house. Immediately I walked towards my old bedroom to survey the situation.
The furniture was still the same, except that a large painting of a woman in red holding a mirror looking sideways was hanging right on top of the bed. I was quite mesmerized by the ambience it created. The room was certainly occupied. So, Poly took over my room!
And then, were Dinah and Purab living here as well?
I looked at Purab for an answer. But he looked at me with a kind of expression, dark and distant, I knew not what he was thinking. Perhaps he knew something more than what it appeared here on the surface.
“Suzanne, I know you, so I am telling you the truth: Poly and I are married, and Dinah is my common law wife,” he declared.
“Why are you telling me this?” I became upset, it was not something that I needed to know, and also not something that I was in a position to give assent to. It was entirely none of my business.
“You keep coming back here, so I thought that you are from the lawyers,” Purab said.
“I have tried filing for divorce, but they told me that since Dinah and I were never legally married, there isn’t anything wrong with my relationship with Poly.” he gave me his story.
Poly was a bright and chirpy Chinese girl.
Without another word, I grabbed my bag and walked out of the room, and out of the estate out of St. Teresa Walk.
The same private hire. I thought I had sent him away. There was no other car around, I hopped in. But this time I was cleverer, and calmer too. I told the driver before he could ask me if I wanted to go to the airport,
“I am going home, Petticoat Lane, just drive,”
The man obliged, but as he drove on, he couldn’t help to talk,
“Miss, may I know .... this time how many?”
“How many what?” I was getting impatient.
“Err, how many of them inside?” he questioned.
“You mean how many ghosts?” I responded, half joking. I spoke to Purab my old gardener. I knew him. And he identified Dinah and the other girl. So how could the people in the house be ghosts?!