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We Passed By Her!

My treasured secondary school class held a nice overnight chalet during the 2000 December holidays. We booked a room at the NTUC Pasir Ris Resort chalet, Pasir Ris and had a great time.

Before dawn on the second day, after a sleepless night of talk and cards, my group of friends decided to take a walk down to the beach at Pasir Ris beach park to see sunrise. We walked out of the chalet compound, skirted the fence of the chalet complex and next door country club, and through the entrance of the extreme end of Pasir Ris park, which was just next to the chalet complex. There were about eight of us, both girls and boys.

I’ll describe the setting a little more clearly, because it’s important to your understanding of our story. On entering the park at this point, one walks along a concrete footpath towards the beach. On one’s right is the fence of the chalet complex, on one’s left are dense trees and shrubs. Behind this little forest is a storm drain which flows directly into the sea. It’s a pleasant place for a walk at any time of the day. I hope that you can visualise the place, or better still, that you have been there and know that I’m talking about.

Anyway, we were just walking along towards the beach. Our group became strung out in a long line of twos and threes because we were each walking at our own pace. Then, just ahead of us, we saw ‘her’! ‘She’ was of average height, say 1.7, with short hair that looked brown in the light conditions of the time. She wore a green office dress and carried a handbag slung on a shoulder and a paper carrier bag in the other hand. She was walking rather quickly for a woman and yes, her footsteps could be heard. Nothing unusual, yet. I, being observant, noticed her and thought it wierd for someone going to work to be out at this time. She hardly looked like someone going to the park for a walk. I don’t think the others noticed her at this stage, but if they had, they kept it to themselves.

We were walking slowly behind her and paid her no attention in our happy… er, spirit 🙂 . We noticed the sun’s vanguard rays and decided to quicken our pace to make it to the beach in time for sunrise. It was then that we overtook her! We came within under a metre of her, and as we approached her and passed her, we quietened down. See the look on her face! I wouldn’t dare call her anything worse than average looking. She had big eyes and a big mouth covered with bright red lipstick. Blood? Hell, no. There was no expression on her face- no particular look of refreshedness, happiness, tiredness, sadness and thankfully, no look of anger. It was absolutely passive. And there she was, with no expression, just walking path at 6.30! No, she was marching.

The two friends I was with, and I were the furthest ahead in our group. And we really did quieten down! We weren’t that scared, just shocked. The noise and laughter from those behind us decreased noticably, too. We walked on in almost complete silence until we had almost reached the beach. Then, my friend spoke, “Did you notice that woman we passed on the path just now?” His excitement showed. The two of us said “Yeah!”. We talked excitedly about that small incident. Why would someone going to work come out at this hour, we tried to reason, and why would she walk in this direction- to the beach park!? No way! But her being there didn’t frighten us as much as her face and expression! One of my friends said that her mouth was so big, she could remove our heads in one bite. One of us also said “If I had encountered her alone out here, I would have died of fright.” We agreed. It WAS scary.

The fact dawned on us that she could have been a… ghost! We followed the path to the beach and the others in our group joined us in a few moments. They, too, had overtaken her. We asked them if they had noticed her as well. They all had, but they weren’t scared, just surprised that she was there. We tried to tell them what our excitement was all about, and they got it. Well, we decided to confirm if she really was a ghost. It was a simple concept: the path went only one way- to the beach and then along it. Someone walking the path in our direction could only end up in front of the beach. He or she couldn’t leave that narrow area the path was in, for on the right was the chalet fence and on the left, the trees and canal that went all the way to the sea! He or she, if not wanting to reach the beach, would either have to turn back to the entrance and road, or vanish. And vanish she did, for we decided to see if she was a ghost by waiting for her to show up, which she didn’t! I think we waited for almost five minutes for her to cover a distance which, at her speed, would have taken three at very most. We were chilled, but decided not to allow that to disturb our enjoying the beautiful sunrise- see the connection here?

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