I tore down the hallway, my screams echoing throughout the decrepit mansion. The baby cries behind me had reduced to a whisper, but I knew it was still behind me. Even worse, I thought I heard it giggling a few times. The scent of flowers had dissolved into a gross stench of what I associated to be death and decay of the worst kind. I guess my adrenaline levels were the only thing keeping me from gagging.
“ANY TIME NOW?!!” I screamed, belting down another hallway. The doors at the end of the corridor slammed open outwards to me, as if the room was yelling “IT’S SAFE” to me.
I dove in, just managing to catch a glimpse of the thing that was chasing me. A mass of stringy black tangles of hair, blood-shot eyes, and teeth. Oh my God, the teeth. Even in a fraction of a second I saw it, the image haunts me for a year. Piranha-like teeth, coming out of a human mouth. Right for me.
As I hit the floor, the metal clanging of a cage hitting the concrete floor rang out behind me, just shy of the doorway. The monster shrieked and screamed as its skin came into contact with the talismans stuck on the exterior of the cage.
As I lay on the floor, hyperventilating, the girl came over and squatted next to me. “Good job,” she patted me on the back. “Oh yeah. It’s easy when you’re running for your damn life!” I spluttered. We stared at the screaming, wailing thing in the cage for a while as she waited for me to catch my breath.
“What’s that thing again?”
“Pontianak,” she answered, standing up. She slung her hockey stick over her shoulder and held out a hand to me.
“Kill it with fire,” a voice spoke out from behind me. With an embarrassing yelp, I jumped away and crashed into a pile of broken chairs.
A Caucasian guy in a long black duster coat around our age sat nonchalantly on a window frame, smiling lazily, a cigarette sticking out of the corner of his mouth. The girl turned to face him, her eyes widening. But her surprise only lasted for a moment, before settling into stoic wariness.
“Not bad, not bad,” he commented, sliding of the ledge and surveying the cage of the pontianak up and down. “Looks like South East Asia still has some juice left,” he studied a talisman closely.
“What are you doing here?” the girl asked, her voice forcefully steady. The guy spun around and approached the girl so closely she leaned back slightly. “Missed you. Things have been… a little different since you left,” he pouted.
“Tough,” the girl spat out. She left him hanging and came to haul my confused ass out of the pile of wood. “Who’s this?” the guy returned to his cocky smile, gesturing to me.
“None of your business,” she curtly responded. “Jangan hiraukan dia,” she spoke to me. “Did she tell you to ignore me?” the guy grinned again.
The girl froze. “Yeah, wait. Who the hell are you?” I tried to clarify the uncomfortable situation we were in.
“It can wait,” the girl cut him off, turning her focus to the pontianak. The guy appeared to agree and came up next to her. “What’s your plan?” he reached into his coat. “Stake this into it’s neck. She’ll become human,” the girl held up a long iron nail, apparently putting her animosity aside for the moment. “I got a better idea,” the guy suggested and pulled out a can of body spray.
“Wait, no-!!” the girl tried to block him, but he was too fast. Holding out his cigarette, he sprayed a blast of flame towards the cage, igniting the talismans and the monster. The girl ducked away to avoid the heat, stumbling into me.
The pontianak shrieked even more ferociously than before and started to thrash around, rattling the cage. We watched as it crumbled away, crying into a pile of ashes. The girl pushed me away, and stormed at the guy. “You didn’t have to kill her!”
“It already fed on human blood. Suppressing it’s not going to help anymore,” the guy calmly responded. The girl sunk back to her heels and bit her bottom lip. “And you wonder why I left,” she said quietly. The guy chucked what was left of his cigarette to the pile of ashes and crossed his arms. “We’re leaving,” the girl said to me, but kept her glare on him.
She turned away and began pushing the hot cage away with her hockey stick. Before I could move, the guy approached me. “So, you’re her new partner, huh? Bit green though,” he grinned.
“Green?” I started. “Let me guess. She with you for the bike right?” his smile became wider. I frowned. I would have liked to say no, but really, why was she with me? A reason she took me along for these unprecedented ‘hunts’ was because I was a local, a familiar with the area. But what else? Every time she showed up, she was always on foot. And she always got excited every time she got onto my bike.
“Are you?!” I asked her over his shoulder. She spun on her heel. “No,” she answered, but her voice was funny. The guy stepped aside, and I straightened. “Ask her if she knows your name,” he cocked his head at her. My frown deepened. We never referred to each other by name. I reasoned that in a two-way conversation, there’s not often the need to say each other’s names, but now I realised that we didn’t know each other’s names, or at least I didn’t know hers.
“What’s my name?” I pursed my lips together. A strange expression crossed her face.
A lump of something dropped in my gut. “NO,” I stared at her incredulously. It’s Ephraim. Strange, I know, for a Chindian Malaysian, but definitely one not so easily forgotten. Thank my devout Catholic parents.
The corner of her mouth twitched and she awkwardly looked away. The guy sighed and sauntered over to her.
“You see, Nuri? You can’t make normal friends,” he put a hand on her shoulder. So her name was Nuri.
She reached for him, her hand sliding under his coat. I was too annoyed to care what they were doing, but suddenly, she pulled out something from his inner pocket and held it up to me.
“His weapon is a spatula,” she said bluntly, staring at me. I gaped as the guy grabbed it back, embarrassed. She continued to look at me with an apologetic expression.
‘Sorry,’ she seemed to say without actually saying it. ‘Sorry for not knowing your name and loving your bike a lot.’
Despite all that, I began to laugh hard.
Pontianak – South East Asian ‘vampire’
“Jangan hiraukan dia” – Ignore him. Direct translation would be “Don’t pay any attention to him.”
Writer’s note: Her hockey stick is a purification staff. Same goes for the guy’s spatula. Origins of this yet to be conceived, but the image is just hilarious. Working on this as I go so hopefully something good will come of this :p Really need to work on a lot of stuff here expression wise, but I like the whole idea ^^