It was during my vacation last May. My friends and I decided to go to Yogyakarta. We bought our train tickets and searched for our place to stay. Adjusting to our budget, we chose the cheapest rent house we came across. It was called the Dolphin House, a house with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a kitchen, and even a big comfortable living room. It was cheap, the picture looked promising, and the name was cute. We were lucky to come across such a good deal.
We arrived in Yogyakarta on the eleventh of May, two o’clock in the morning. We were tired, cold, and very sleepy, so we looked forward to check in to our rent house as soon as possible. I remember feeling very exhausted yet excited at the same time. We smiled when my friend said, “we’re close”. But as soon as we arrived, our smile fell. We were confused because we didn’t find any house looking like the picture we saw, yet we were actually in front of the gate into the house.
The very first thing that crossed my mind when I saw the house was how dark it was. There were lamps around each corner but none of them were on. The house was large, and there was a separate building in front of the house but it was still counted as a part of the house. The garden looked like no one has taken care of it for a quite long time. There was no sign of anyone in the house, so I contacted the owner, which he picked up on the third ring.
We were finally able to get into the house after we got the owner’s permission, so we invited ourselves in. Oh, how disappointed we were when we noticed that it had not been cleaned yet. Dust and dirt were everywhere, spiderweb covering the ceiling, the bathroom full of cockroaches, and it smelled like a blanket which had been stored for years inside a cupboard. But even with all that mess, it was not what I was most concerned about. What made me more uneasy was the atmosphere I felt ever since I set foot into the house. It was somehow ominous that it put me on edge.
I was the kind of person who used my logic most of the time, so when I felt those kinds of things I went straight to where I felt the most unnerving, just out of curiosity. As I stepped into the kitchen area, my gaze immediately locked to a mysterious window. It was covered by an old-fashioned curtain that smelled like an aged book. Out of curiosity, one of my friends approached the window and peeked through a small gap. He suddenly screamed out, so we screamed out even though none of us but him knew what it was behind the curtain. But then he was laughing, turned out he was joking. He opened the curtain to reveal an unkempt garden at the back. The grass on the garden was very tall and bushy, and hiding behind those messy bush was a big brown old tree trunk which had fallen off and covered in mold. Right next to the window was an old mirror with a weird pattern all around the frame. But even so, it was not the very thing that made me break into cold sweat. It was the bedroom beside the kitchen, the only room where there was no air conditioner and the only room where we found a prayer mat. The instant I looked into that room, the instant I felt my chest tighten, my heartbeat increased rapidly, and I felt nauseous, so I took a step back and left to check the other rooms, which fortunately did not make me feel bad at all.
The owner told us that he would clean the house at eight in the morning, so we went to grab our breakfast somewhere else. We were in a usual conversation when one of us suddenly brought up the fact that they felt something inside the house. It turned out that each one of us did feel the same thing about that area.
Ten o’clock in the morning, we went back to the house. It had already been cleaned so It was better than before, but the kitchen area was still oozing out an eerie atmosphere, and what made it worse was that the mirror being there made us able to see right into the bedroom even if we didn’t want to. Sometime later, I got more and more agitated and so I decided to just get on with it and close the door. But not before I caught a glance at a small cook figure, that gave me the worst feeling ever, sitting silently with a creepy smile on a cupboard right beside the bedroom’s door. I took a long stride denying all my bad feelings and closed the door hastily. I think we wouldn’t be able to get a good night sleep anytime soon. After that we went out all day thankfully, so we didn’t need to stay at the house. That night we agreed to only use two of the four rooms.
The next day we went out, visiting some places and just having fun. In the afternoon, two of my friends told us that they wanted to go back first, and maybe they’d catch up again later. So the rest of us continued our sightseeing. No more than a few hours later, it was already six o’clock, and my two other friends told us that they’d meet us at the next place which was at Malioboro. When they arrived, they told us that something happened during their short time at the house. They said that they were in one of the room when suddenly they heard noises from the garage in the house that was never opened because It couldn’t be opened. They said that It sounded like someone was cleaning and moving some things around in there, while we knew that the garage had a lock on it. We were done talking about the house at that point, we chose not to think too much about it, but then another odd thing happened. One of my friends suddenly thought that we left someone, and two others said that they felt like that too, even though there were only seven of us and the seven of us were sitting right there together. It was dreadful to think that you might be living with something not human but you couldn’t do anything about it.
As night came, we went back to the house. I was very very tired, but none of my other roommates seemed to feel the same way as me, so that night I was forced to sleep alone in the room. I was scared, but I was too tired to care. I went straight to sleep thankfully, even though I thought I felt the bed moving on its own. The next morning, we were having breakfast while talking about unimportant stuff. And just like yesterday, we suddenly just realized that something odd had happened last night. When I was asleep, my friends that chose not to sleep said that they saw the other one of my friend went out of the bedroom twice, and the second one he went into the other room and stayed there. But in reality, that one friend that they saw walking around in the middle of the night said that he didn’t came out twice, but only once, and he didn’t enter the other room at all. Suddenly the table went silent for a moment before realization dawned on us. There was something else living with us there after all.
It never crossed my mind that I would experience these kinds of things. Maybe that was the reason why it was so cheap, while the house itself was big and homey, I don’t think that anyone could ever really enjoyed staying at that house. Thankfully, that day marked our last day in Yogyakarta. We immediately checked out of the house and went to the train station to go back to Jatinangor.
Photo by: Alisha Nurfauziah