9th of October; it is 3 o’clock in the morning. I woke up suddenly, not because of alarms or bad dreams, I guess it was heat. The portable, old-fashioned heater was switched on to heat the air, and it indirectly heated my bed as well. My stomach was full as well, of the foot long subway sandwich I ate last night as dinner-cum-supper. I got up and turned off the heater, got back into the bed. It felt cooler already. Still, I couldn’t keep my eyes shut and get into sleep mode. As I look out the window, I saw stars glittering above the clear sky.
This is the 11th night, and most likely the last night I am in this old restaurant. According to the owner, Mr Colin Perry, the restaurant is about 25 years old, older than me. After being vacant for 4 months, I came here and became the temporary guard of the restaurant.
It was a mutual thing. I watch the restaurant for him, and he gives me a place to stay for these few days, no food supplies though, but I am happy enough to save a lot of money.
Throughout the period staying here, nothing much really happened. Well, probably some mishaps here and there, but it was bearable. One major thing did happen. There was a false fire alarm.
It was a Sunday night, the night of 5th October. It was the night where I had plans arranged for tomorrow, and I headed to bed early to get up early. I even slept without turning on the music. For all other days I couldn’t really sleep without the music, because it would be too quiet. Too quiet. No sound of insects, no sound of fan, no sound of air-conditioner, no sound of nothing, besides passing vehicles. Just for this day, I went to bed without music. I do not know what happened to my mind, it wandered into the restaurant, and had a vision of a fire in the restaurant. I have kind of ignored it, and went into sleep mode.
I was jolted up by loud fire alarms installed in all the rooms in restaurant. I looked at the time; it was a few minutes to 1 am. Oh goodness, what triggered the alarm at this time of the day? I immediately called Mr Perry and informed him about the alarm, and I investigated the whole restaurant for fire. I looked everywhere, but I do not see or feel any heat.
One of the LEDs of the fire alarm panel was flashing. I looked at it and it says the triggered alarm is somewhere near the room I was sleeping at. It was really spooky. I tried to silence the alarm but I wasn’t able to do so. I went to the room and wore my jacket, my tartan scarf, grabbed my phone, my keys and got out of the restaurant to wait for Mr Perry to save the night. The neighbour restaurant heard the fire alarm as well, I saw them peeking out of the window to satisfy their curiosity. I wanted to shout to them, ‘It’s not me! Don’t call the fire brigade!’ but I decided not to. I kept quiet, and stood in front of the restaurant. At that time, I was seriously hoping that the fire brigade not to come. They would really further spoil the night which is already so spoilt, as they will need to do examinations and all the questionings. No-no.
As I have nothing to do while waiting, I looked around. The dark woodland gives me somewhat a creep, and I am so not looking into them. I looked up at the sky instead. To my surprise, a hole was formed in the clouds directly above the restaurant, clearly revealing millions of stars in the universe. It was amazing. I have never felt so fascinated about what has happened. I do not have the right word to describe my feeling at that moment. But the feeling was soon over due to the noise made by the false fire alarm, and the chilly wind which was blew on me.
After I was distracted by the alarm and the chilly wind, the hole in the sky seems to be closed by the clouds nearby. The hole was disappearing. Then I heard a car drove in the driveway of the restaurant. Thank goodness it was Mr Perry. Mr Perry says it is too late for an investigation, what he wanted to do was to silence the alarm. So am I. After some manual browsing, I managed to silence the alarm. He was relieved that the alarm was silenced; it was a major relief for me too.
We had a small chat after that, as he noticed that I was unsettled even when the alarm is silenced. I told him about what I have observed and witnessed, he was surprised and fascinated as well. I told him too about the déjà vu I have experienced at some places in the UK, such as the hostel in Exeter, the University and some other places. It was like I had dreamt about them few months back, but I know I had been there.
He told me that I might be gifted with precognition ability. Well, it might be true, but I don’t think so. He even joked that I should make use of the ability to get lottery numbers! If I knew how to manipulate them, I am a rich and happy man already. Naw, even if I do know how to manipulate them to get the numbers, I won’t buy it most probably. It breaches the written path. Unless it came to me, that is a different story.
He noticed I was feeling better already, and it was late. I wanted to ask him if it was OK for me to overnight at his house, but I didn’t, because I don’t really want to disturb him and his family. He left the house after the chat, and assured me that the alarm will not go off again, and that he is just a phone call away if anything happened. I really appreciate him of doing that, but the thought of having the vision of a fire and triggered the fire alarm is really unsettling.
I have no idea what to do after he left. My first reaction was to call home and talk to my mother about what had happened. With over 150 minutes of free international talk time left in my phone, I called home straight away.
My sister picked up the phone, and told me that mum was not around as she was out for breakfast. I was surprised that she was up so early, because it was only 10 minutes to 9 am. I told her about it. I felt much better after that. Mum came back after that, and we chatted about it as well, and we discussed about our next trip to Canton in the coming Chinese New Year. I really felt much better after that. In fact, I am glad that I have such a loving family. I went to sleep after that by listening to Janice’s soulful ‘Day and Night’ album. The next day, I got an antique portable heater from Mr Perry, which kept me warm for the last few nights I am around.
It was the stars which glittered in the sky made me wrote this down, and since I was unable to sleep well, this has been a past time for me to stay awake until 5:30am. I need to catch a 5:59am train to London Victoria to catch an 8am bus to Liverpool.
Hell yea, you are right. I am off to travel again. It is a big plan as well, but this time it was meant for relax and less of backpacking. I will be in Liverpool and Manchester for 9th and 10th of October, then I will fly to Prague, Czech Republic with Rachel and a couple (mind you, me and Rachel is just friends) for 3 days 2 nights, and fly back to London Midlands, near Derby.
I will head to Nottingham alone for visiting purposes on the next day then catch a 3:30pm train back to London St Pancras. I would probably head to my new ‘harbour’ which is a friend’s house in East London for a quick rest and dinner, then I will head to London Victoria again to catch a bus to London Stansted Airport at 10:30pm.
I will overnight at the airport... (to be continued)