Starbucks. White light streamed through roadside windows as I arose. A cup of mocha latte, still warm, watched me from across the table for two. I didn’t know the taste of mocha latte. The café was empty. The streets of Bugis were empty and so was the Singapore River. The straits were dry. All the fish must have upped and left in the face of the declining economy.
Raffles Place. The city no longer breathed, the air was stale; no uncle or auntie had cleaned it for days. There was no throb beneath the concrete pavements, the tarmac streets. The skyscrapers had lost their glitter. Who killed the city? Perhaps someone had dropped their Casio watch on the MRT tracks, and a passing train had crushed it into bits. But there was no Sherlock to help me resolve the mystery of the misshapen city.
Orchard Road. Everywhere I walked, I was confronted by ripples of déjà vu. Shadows and snatches of conversations just out of reach. Hello? Is anyone there? The sun lingered lazy in the same spot in the sky, always staring. Tired, I stopped and sat on the stairs of a scarlet-walled mall and a noise prompted me to turn towards one of the pillars.
There, reflected in the face of polished stone, were crowds of pedestrians. The sight evoked a stab of pain through me. I rushed to the pillar and yelled. Hello? Can you hear me? My voice bounced back towards me undiminished, accompanied by the chatter of the people crossing the street. The pain grew louder, suffocating me, roasting my insides. I banged my fist. Please. Help me. But they couldn’t hear me. Time had not stopped for them. Time was relative.
I placed a hand on my chest. There was nothing there.
Who killed me?
Originally published on Symbal Magazine 27th February 2017
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