Two favourite things that Singaporeans enjoy are online dating and ghost stories. (Fine, I admit maybe it’s just me.) That’s why I’m thrilled to recount this absolutely horrifying ghost story. This happened in the 1990s when Tinder wasn’t around. In those days, people were using sites such as ICQ and IRC. Remember those chat rooms? (Actually I don’t – I was still a young kid. Not that I’m no longer young.)
The male protagonist in this story was a writer – let’s call him James. So one night, James was looking for people to befriend online when he came across a girl named Karen. While not the best looking, Karen was pleasant to the eyes and seemed interesting. James decided to shoot her a message.
A few days passed and there was no reply.
Then one night at around 2.45am, a reply came. It was Karen. “What’s your number, we could chat on the phone if you don’t mind.”
James was ecstatic. He immediately responded with his telephone number.
Sure enough, his house phone rang a few minutes later (in those days there weren’t smartphones or WhatsApp).
“Hi, it’s Karen. We just messaged each other online.” The voice on the other line sounded a little sad. It was a sweet voice of a young girl, but James sensed that she was feeling somewhat dejected.
Karen confided in James that she was lonely, and she always wanted a guy friend as a companion. That night, they chatted for 3 hours straight. The conversation went surprisingly smooth, as though they had known each other for years. Time flies when you’re in good company and before he realised, it was 6 in the morning when he glanced at the clock in the living room.
“Hey James, it was nice talking to you. The sun is going to be out soon, and I got to go. If only we had met earlier, then maybe I wouldn’t have ended up like this…” the line was cut before James could try to clarify what she meant.
James tried to message her but she never replied. Maybe she was tired and fell asleep, or she had to rush off to work, he thought.
In the afternoon, James woke up and read the newspapers. He almost suffered a heart attack when this story jumped out at him – the decomposed body of a young woman has been discovered after neighbours smelled something rotting and called the cops. She was wearing red when she hanged herself at home – after a painful breakup, according to her suicide note.
The name and photo matched with the Karen he met online.