A series of unfortunate events.
The first time in my entire life (22 years only though…) I ever dialled 999 (and twice within a night too)…
Never felt so near death.
All the happenings before this evening: my probably last seminar in my life at British Library this morning, the astounding manuscripts I came across, the (un)fortunate meeting in the face with Jerry while rushing to the school office to hand in my proposal… everything was undermined by all the horrors of tonight.
It all started off like this –
After all the bustling of the day, I was back at hall and began preparing for dinner. Then I heard the sound of smashed glass outside (it had been noisy for a while already, but it was such a common thing that no one took it seriously) and looked out from the window, and to my horror I saw a white car stopping directly under our flat, its back and rear windows smashed into pieces. A black man came out of the car and hurried off calling the police (very likely) with his cell phone. After the man was out of sight, another white car with several adolescents inside squealed forward and stopped beside the black man’s car, one of them came out and grabbed a branch from the back seat through the back window frame, then a hammer from the driver’s seat (they threw a hammer at the driver???), got back into the car and disappeared. Some time later the black man returned with the police who did some inspection to the car. Then everybody went, leaving the car there. The area returned to silence (a foreboding one though, I did not realize).
At night, while I was washing my dishes in the kitchen I heard some noise outside again. Unwittingly I looked through the windows directly and, to my alarm and horror unsurpassed, the gang was back again and pouring something brownish in colour onto the abandoned car. The moment I realized what it might mean they spotted me and walked away. I immediately closed all the kitchen windows and drew the curtain, then went over to Zaleha’s room. Zaleha and I peeped through the curtains and saw the gang wandering about the car. We decided we should tell the stewards first, and I went out to seek my flatmates, but only Linlin was there. I called the steward but no one answered my call. Then I called the College Security, who said there was nothing they could do and they would call our stewards (who very likely would refer us to somewhere else) and that we should call 999 ourselves (Darn it, such helpful college staff). Apprehensively I called 999 who said I was giving too little information and hang me up (What the??? We might die if they really set fire to the car!!!). Then Zaleha cried to me that they finally DID set fire to the car, so I called 999 again. This time they agreed to send the fire engine ONLY. The police did not even bother to come. Luckily the car did not explode as in those Hollywood action movies or we are long dead already. Even more ridiculous, the gang was hovering about and acting innocent while the firemen were putting off the fire. Shit. When the firemen were done finally, everyone went home to bed. Shit.
After a uncomfortable shower, the stewards called back and asked us to meet them at the kitchen. Yusuke also came along (how nice of him, I should have talked to him more). Still the thing they could suggest was to call the police directly, and be prepared for such things. Somebody had thrown stones into Yusuke’s flat before too. Our lives are at stake but there is nothing we can do. Moving seems to be the only option which obviously no one would like to go for. Shit.
I know the college cannot do anything because the incident happened literally outside the college grounds. That means if they want to retaliate against us for being witness or reporting the case they can easily do so, like throwing things into our flat from outside. To make it worse, the law protects adolescents. To be honest, I really feel like a Jew living under Nazi invasion (some exaggeration of course) – constant fear for violence inflicted upon myself any moment. Never till this day has the idea that being a responsible and law-abiding resident cannot guarantee personal security ever come into my mind. I do not know if I dare to step out of the flat for the days to come.
There are two things I want – freedom from fear (which is a basic human right), and someone to turn to whenever there is a crisis…