The girl with the double hair buns that had a strange green tint to them stood just where the grave plot ended. This time she wore long sleeves and trousers, and her hood was up. Respect for the dead and the area, I guess. She stared at the fresh grave before her, her face obscured by the darkness cast by her hood. Her hockey stick, as usual, rested on her shoulder and stuck out to the night.
It was a full moon night. The Muslim graveyard was illuminated with dim white moonlight, and the air was cool with dew. I crouched some way off next to her on what she assured me was empty ground, holding a paper list and a tiny flashlight.
“When you said you wanted to lepak, normal people think mamak, or McD or movie la,” I commented.
“You the one who ajak me what,” she replied curtly. I got the feeling beneath her hood she was smirking. “Ice cream after this?” she added, turning to me. Her face was its usual stoic, but her eyebrows were raised. Was she teasing me?
“What we doing here again?” I asked, trying not to yawn. We had been waiting for close to an hour, and I kinda had a long day. Why the hell was I expecting a wind-down with her? Every time I was with her, some supernatural shit happened, and on purpose. Not to mention after the haunted house, I definitely wasn’t the best person to have around any of that crap. Still, my curiosity pushed back my fear. Who was this girl? How and why was she doing what she does? And was her leg okay already? I kinda still had guilt for that. If I hadn’t slammed into that bookcase like a stupid cat, she would have come out of that place scot-free, not with a leg torn up from a bookshelf collapsing onto her.
“Waiting for pocong,” she replied, rocking on the balls of her foot and her heels.
“Pocong? Da hell is that?” I may be a local like her, but that doesn’t mean I have knowledge of our supernatural folklore.
A humming sound came from her, as she tried to figure out how to give it to stupid me in the simplest of ways. “You know that… white bouncy bouncy thingy on tv? In the bad horror shows on Tv1, Tv2?” she wiggled her gloved fingers at me.
“I don’t watch tv,” I answered. Her hand drooped. “Just… watch, okay?” she turned back to the grave. A thick cloud passed overhead, blocking the moon out. Strangely enough, I didn’t feel creeped out like I usually would be, being in a graveyard at night. It seemed like my body had stamped the girl as SAFE, like kids who automatically look to their mom when they’re scared. Heh.
I realised I didn’t even know her name. Her tag in my phone was ‘Hockey’, and we often referred to each other with ‘Hey’, ‘Oi’ or ‘Yo’. Come to think of it, how did we get each other’s numbers again?
As I sat there trying to recall, I heard a rustling in front of me, like an animal was crossing. I switched on the flashlight, only to see the grave plot throb like the earth was breathing.
“YEEAACK!” I exclaimed and shot up to my feet. For a lanky Chindian boy, I ashamedly sounded a little too high pitched for my supposedly macho appearance. My attention snapped to the Chinese girl, who simply stood there, waiting. The loose earth shook and slowly, slowly a body tightly wrapped in a white shroud surfaced and sat upright. The girl held out a hand towards me and motioned me to calm down. She lowered her hockey stick off her shoulder and rested in on the ground in front of her, like a knight with a sword.
I stared in silence as the girl took a step back. My heart palpitated in my chest as I waited for her next signal. She turned to me and nodded, never taking her eyes off the body. Shakily, I drew out my phone and began dialing the number on the paper. My eyes flew between the phone and the body, but somehow I managed to get the number right. A sleepy voice answered me and I handed the phone to the girl.
“Assalamualaikum, Tok Imam. Jenazah sudah bangkit,” she relayed. The body has resurrected.
She listened for a bit, replied and ended the call. “He fell asleep in the car,” she told me. I dumbly nodded and stared at the body.
“Scared ah?” she whispered to me. “You leh?!” I quietly shrieked back. “This isn’t like the Judge’s House. Those were tormented. This is ritual,” she answered, almost absentmindedly, like she was reporting. A little lamp-light approaching meant the imam was nearing the plot. I clicked my flashlight twice to beacon our position.
The imam reached, and the girl stepped aside to allow him to perform the finishing burial rights. I tried not to freak out at the body who began twitching at the sound of the prayers being recited. As if the girl noticed me shaking my socks off, she held out her arm, her hand splayed out. I felt like a child being told to shut up at a funeral. Confused, but knowing something extremely important was going on. The imam untied the knots of the shroud and with what I assumed to be a satisfied moan, the body sighed and sank back into the ground. The imam threw three fistfuls of grave dirt over the plot and instructed us to do the same.
After everything ended, we escorted the imam back to his car and bid him goodnight. The girl handed me her hockey stick and made me wait by my bike as she placed a phone call. “Ya. Handled it d. Ya. Smooth. Okay. Night,” she briefly recounted and hung up. Her boss? A client?
“What are you, really?” I asked for what was probably the umpteenth time. But as always, her response was ambiguous. “Special,” she answered dead-panned and shrugged my question off. “Hungry. I belanja?” she remarked. I shrugged and roared my bike to life. A smile crept across the girl’s face. So far the only concrete thing I knew about her was the mutual adoration for my Honda Shadow 700.
lepak – hang out
ajak – invite(d)
pocong – Indonesian/Malaysian ghost trapped in burial shroud. If not released after 40 days, it will jump out of its grave to warn to be released.
belanja – treat, “My treat” meaning.
Writer’s note: Wassap! Trying to bring in my Malaysian supernatural heritage here, so pardon for the sloppiness. Local SEA supernatural folklore is kind of dying out so I’m trying to do something about it. There’s not much to go on though, as there’s really not much to look up on the webs. Hopefully I can remember enough scary stories from my childhood to explore this more! I did do some research on Muslim burial, but if I still got anything wrong, please let me know 🙂