It was a calculated risk, but for the sake of little Zhi Wei, it was worth it. Ying Mei, being the big sister, knew it was her obligation to care for and love her brother at any cost. Somehow she always managed to turn that obligation into a privilege, something an ordinary human being rarely does.
Their parents had gone out for a wedding dinner earlier in the evening, and the girl was tasked to take care of her brother and get him to sleep at the scheduled hour. But Zhi Wei wasn’t giving his sister the best of time. He was up and running around, making a lot of noise, much to the annoyance of his sister and possibly their neighbours. It was already two hours past bedtime and the boy was still active and not in bed.
Fortunately, Ying Mei knew her brother well, so she told him that they would wait for their parents to return home at the door. Zhi Wei concurred without second thoughts and sat at the door. Ying Mei felt enormously relieved and joined her brother on the floor.
It dawned upon Ying Mei that her parents had instructed her not to open the door late at night, not when the crime rate within the vicinity had soared to a record high in the last six months. So she suggested to Zhi Wei that they would only open the door when they hear their parents. That would be a pleasant surprise. Zhi Wei beamed. He liked giving surprises.
About five minutes later, the children heard some noise outside the door. Ying Mei wasn’t sure if her parents were back. She hesitated a while. It was risky. What if another criminal was lurking outside? But Zhi Wei was getting anxious and insisted in opening the door. Ying Mei relented and opened the door slowly and carefully.
“Hello, Kids! You are still up? Not sleeping yet?” a man spoke. Both children were stunned for a moment but became composed when they saw their neighbour, old Mr Lim with his eldest son, Sean.
“We are waiting for Daddy and Mummy!”
“Oh, how nice. Good night!” Both men walked off.
The children closed the door and waited.
Ying Mei was nodding away in her sleep before her head hit the wall that woke her up. She had dozed off. So did Zhi Wei. She looked at the clock. It was half past eleven. She was about to get Zhi Wei to bed when she heard some noise outside the house. This time there was also the sound of a bunch of keys. It must be her parents. She shook her brother and told him that their parents had returned.
Both of them eagerly opened the door. They were shocked. Floating past them unhurriedly was a headless figure in a red dress, holding a bunch of keys. The children were scared stiff and couldn’t move. The figure turned and ‘faced’ them. Albeit they were drowning in their tears and sweat, they could hear the figure asking them, “Is this my home?”