A loud, continuous knock on my front door woke me up.
I opened my eyes into the darkness, my mind still in a daze. Before my vision could adjust, the second series of knocking started.
I looked at the clock on my bed stand. It was just shy of four a.m.
Who could it be at this hour?
A peephole would have come in handy right now. I kicked myself for letting my property agent convince me that I didn’t need one.
It’s completely safe here! Zero crime, literally zero crime.You’re overthinking this.
I should have known better than to believe her. But who am I kidding? With my budget, a peephole would have been a luxury.
“Who is it?” I called out of my bed. The door was just a few steps away from my bed and I hoped it was close enough for them to hear me.
No reply. The knocking continued.
I got up, walked to the door and asked again, pressing my ear on the door for the reply. My heart beat faster.
“PDRM,” the voice shouted back.
“Sir, we need you to please open the door.”
It was dead in the night. There should have been a security barrier before these guys could even get in. How did they get past that?
I felt myself getting afraid. Leaning away from the door, I tried to ask them who they were.
“Look, unless you tell me – “
Wham! The door flew open and I came face to face with three fully uniformed police officers.
In my pajamas, I felt slightly vulnerable.
“Sorry we had to do that, sir. But we have been knocking for thirty minutes now.”
Thirty minutes? I’d slept through most of it.
“It’s okay. It’s too early, anyway. Can I take a seat?”
Despite having done something so obnoxious, the three men in front of me looked rather friendly.
I guide them to my tiny dining table.
“Sorry, I only have one chair.”
I sit on my bed.
The first guy sits down.
“Sorry to ask, but… what is this about?”
“I’m Razlan, and these are my colleagues, Irwan and Yong. We are doing an investigation and we have identified you as someone that can help us with details on the case. You are… Yury Lim right?”
Investigation? Case details? It sounded straight out of a crime documentary.
“Oh… kay. How can I help?” I asked.
The stench of overnight alcohol from my mouth filled my nose. I wondered if Razlan smelt it.
If he did, he hid it well.
“Yury, can I know what your relationship with Cherry?”
“You mean Cherry Lee?”
“She’s… a friend of mine.”
It always felt awkward to call Cherry a “friend”. She was always more than just a friend, but, recently I’ve been left with no choice. I had to extinguish the flame.
“Can I know when was the last time you met Cherry?”
My mind was still foggy from the alcohol from the night before. I was surprised that sleep, what little I had of it, didn’t help.
Where was I last night? I forced my mind to find the answer for me.
It was still dark when I was dropped off in front of my apartment. The convenience store in front of my apartment had closed, so I must have arrived after midnight.
But what time exactly? I couldn’t remember. I did remember being out with Cherry, however.
“I guess… a few hours ago? I had a drink with her and a few friends.”
“Did you send her home?”
Did I? It wasn’t unusual for either of us to accompany the other home after one gets too drunk. We had done that since our university days since we stayed in the same area.
“I… can’t remember. I was drunk. She might have sent me home, actually… but I can’t remember.”
The officer standing just behind Razlan was taking down notes down furiously, eyeing me from time to time. I wondered what points he was taking down.
“Can I know what this is about?”
Officer Razlan paused.
“Why were you out with Cherry?”
I felt a lump in my throat. It wasn’t something I liked to think about, but it seemed unavoidable now.
“We were celebrating her hen’s night. She… she’s getting married tomorrow.”
The officer behind Razlan continued jotting down furiously.
“I mean – today. Later today,” I corrected myself.
“Hen’s night? Isn’t that what women do with other women?”
“We’re… pretty close, so she made an exception for me. Um, so – what’s this about? Did something happen to Cherry?”
Officer Razlan dropped his pen, then regained his composure.
“I’m sorry, this is an ongoing investigation. There isn’t anything I can reveal right now,” he paused, “but, I think you’ll find out in a few hours.”
At this point, nothing made sense. I don’t know if it was the alcohol or just being woken up at this hour, but I couldn’t make sense out of anything that was happening.
Officers discussed, then seemed to come to a conclusion.
“That’s all for now. We might contact you again tomorrow.”
I left my phone number with officer Razlan, locked my front door – actually, double-locked it – then climbed into my bed.
Five a.m. Two hours to go before I get up for real. It didn’t take long before I fell asleep.
Before I knew it, my first alarm went off at 6.50 am.
I woke up with a sharp pain my head. Did that all happen?
It felt surreal - the unexpected visit from the three officers. Being asked about Cherry. The mystery around what exactly happened to Cherry.
My mind felt muddy.
No time to think now. Gotta get ready ready for work.
I jumped off my bed.
The floor felt icier than usual. Had it rained? I looked out the window.
The floor underneath was dry. Just a cold day, I guess.
It wasn’t until I climbed into the MRT that I realised a frenzy had been going on in one particular WhatsApp group for the last two hours.
Three-hundred and forty-five messages.
What’s going on?