“We’ll set up our camp here!” the authoritative Mr Tan instructed, pointing to a campsite just in front of a dense grove. My scout mates and I excitedly loped over and began unpacking. Following the dreadful routine of classroom lessons, we had been anticipating this camp for months and lusting for an outdoor adventure. Furthermore, we were all self-proclaimed intrepid adventurers who just wanted to take this on as a challenge.
The sun had been unforgiving during the past few weeks; my friends and I were hoping that our three-day-two-night camp at Pulau Ubin would not end up being a trip to the oven. Thankfully, the weather had been rather welcoming. The sun glowed gloriously, even in its last few minutes, before setting below the horizon. The redolence of the lush greenery was rejuvenating. However, little did we know that the campsite hid a disquieting secret further into the grove.
“Terry and Max, it’s turning dark. Go and get some wood for the fire,” Mr Tan commanded while helping a few of my mates to set up their tents, “Oh, and remember to bring your map and compass.” Max and I exchanged an exuberant smile. As an avid adventurer, I always had an interest in the ‘unexplored’. Nodding obediently, both of us set off into the alluring woods. Once we had ventured further in, we began picking up the adequate-sized twigs.
With each passing minute, the azure blue sky slowly faded away and dark clouds started overruling them. “It’s turning dark soon. I think it’s time to head back,” suggested Max. “Such a shame, I thought we could explore this place before heading back,” I grumbled in reply. While scanning my surroundings to ensure we could still find our way back, I caught sight of something hidden behind the dense scrubs. Switching into my adventurous persona, I went off trail and inched towards the mystery. “Terry, where are you going?” Max questioned but I was too bewitched to reply. Even though I had ignored him, Max decided to follow me blindly. As we inched closer, revelation dawned on us - it was an abandoned shed.
The shed was dilapidated, with a thatched roof. We could hear the windows of the shed creaking as they swung, almost in harmony with the enigmatic howls of the evening wind. As I squinted, I spotted cobwebs covering almost every corner of its facade. It looked as though no one had lived in it for decades. The ramshackle shelter piqued my curiosity, and I took a few tentative steps forward. It was hard to describe how I felt at that moment. I felt a cocktail of emotions - anxiety and ecstasy. I yearned to see what was behind those run-down doors. It felt as though my entire body became a vessel for a spirit named Curiosity, and I was in no control over any of my actions.
Swivelling my head, I spotted Max behind me, staring with fear and anxiety. Paralysed, he could not even take a step forward. I was a little taken aback - I always thought he shared the same adventurous spirit. “Let’s go in!” I suggested, gesturing him forward. Trembling, Max badgered me not to venture further. Turning a deaf ear to his pleas, I laid my hands on the doorknob. With bated breath, I twisted it and pushed the door open.
Creak! As the door swung open, I scanned my surroundings. The shed was dark and nasty, fraught with creepy crawlies. Max instantly spotted a crate resting in the middle of the shed. It almost seemed to call out to me. Inquisitive, I inched towards it while Max stayed at the door. I slowly opened the mysterious case only to have dust flying everywhere.
The sight that greeted me shook me to the core. “Oh my, are those… rifles?” I gasped in shock, taking a step back. All of a sudden, the curiosity in me dissipated, giving way to a bout of fear. Max’s eyes widened in disbelief. As adrenaline coursed through my veins, my eyes could suddenly pick out more details in the vicinity. I spotted sullied beer bottles behind the crate. There were even blood stains on the wall! What was this place? Stifling our screams, Max and I bolted out of the shed.
“Max! Terry! Where are you?” We heard a familiar voice echo through the woods. Thankfully, we caught sight of our knight in shining armour, so we bounded towards him. “Both of you have been out here for a long time. What are you doing?” Mr Tan snapped as we had expected. Our immediate response was to heave a loud sigh of relief. At that instance, Mr Tan immediately knew something was wrong as though he had an innate intuition for sniffing our misbehaviour. Regaining our composure, we explained to him everything that we had seen. Despite the sheer oddity of our discovery, Mr Tan’s response was rather subdued. We did not expect him to continue donning an impassive countenance. “Head back to the camp, now!” he berated us for straying. We knew he would handle the matter from thereon. Not wanting to question him further, we acquiesced.
That night, our planned activities for the evening were cancelled and the scouts had to call it a day early. Several police cars arrived at our camp and stoic Mr Tan was leading the cops into the shed. What was strange was that Mr Tan never spoke a single word about it the next day. Whenever we probed him about it, he would mention it was a classified matter. For us, it was a quest unfulfilled. I felt like I was ripped away from a movie at its climax. Despite being so close to revelation, I was still shrouded in darkness - we never knew what happened in that shed.