“You sure this will work ah?” the aunty asked me again. I don’t blame her. Giving her another weak smile, I nodded and lit another incense lamp, adding it to the row of smoking bowls lining the walls of the house.
“Kitchen’s done,” Simon announced, sauntering into the living room, lighting a cigarette with a candle match. He wore a simple red cotton t-shirt and a pair of blue board shorts, looking like a white tourist more than a ghost-hunter. But then again, what were ghost-hunters supposed to look like?
I looked over to Nuri, who was preoccupied with pasting exorcism talismans across the crack in the wall the lady of the house claimed the ‘demon’ came from. She was in a plain grey tank top (now that I thought about it, did she wear any other colours?) and short dark green shorts. She still wore the black non-slip gloves despite the humid weather, something I assumed to be something she associated as her uniform, given that she only took them off to eat or go to the washroom. Again, not someone I would think to be a ghost-hunter on first sight, but a typical Chinese girl with gloves on. Her deep dark green hair was up in a single messy bun, a change from the usual double side buns. I would have liked to ask, but Simon’s constant presence annoyed me slightly.
It had been two weeks since he appeared, and showed no signs of leaving anytime soon. Nuri seemed like she was silently putting up with him, and basically just brushed off any questions I brought up about him and her back in America. I still wondered why she kept me around. Simon clearly knew her methods of work, despite having a little more violent take on solving the cases; and I still kept running away screaming at the slightest flick of a candle flame. Honestly, I don’t know why I stay, come to think of it. But then again, it’s something I don’t bother to dwell on. Besides, hunting supernaturals? Pretty fecking interesting.
Nuri stepped away from the wall and picked up her hockey stick, never averting her eyes from the dark depth of the crack. “Aunty ah? Do you have somewhere to lepak until tomorrow morning?” she tore her eyes away from the wall and looked at the trembling lady next to me.
The lady shook her head. “No. I want to see this thing out of my house now,” she planted her feet firmly on the ground. Nuri frowned and glanced at me for social support. “Erm, aunty. Dangerous wo. That thing in the wall? We’re going to make it angry. It might hurt you,” I tried to explain.
But the lady wouldn’t have any of that. “Eh. I’ve been living with that demon since eight years adi. Only because of my sister’s baby I want that thing gone. No more people calling us ‘siao cha bo’,” she was close to tears. Angry, frustrated tears.
Nuri watched her silently. When the lady appeared to be collected once more, Nuri nodded slightly and turned to me and Simon. “Hungry?”
Minutes later we were all sitting in a coffee shop a stone throw’s away from the lady’s house; having a late afternoon tea. Simon explained in his attempt at simple English to get the aunty to understand that the talismans and incense would take a little while to completely saturate her house, drawing the ‘demon’ out.
“Any idea what it is?” I whispered to Nuri. She thought for a while, before deciding to shake her head at me. “From what the lady told us, I’m guessing poltergeist? But I’m still not entirely sure,” she frowned. I lifted my head slightly. “Then, that whole incense and talisman thing?” my eyes grew wide. “Will create a trap barrier at least. Containment field,” she reasoned.
“And then you’ll do your stick thing?”
“Yes. I’ll do my ‘stick’ thing,” she leaned back and gave me a reassuring smile. I never bothered to ask how the purification staff works, because I’d probably not understand whatever she told me anyways. And somehow, she had the same opinion.
“So, when we going back?” Simon interjected, a little more loudly than necessary. “Give it half an hour more,” Nuri replied listlessly. “Aunty want some more tea?” I grinned widely.
Two cups of Teh O’ and a plate of Char Kwey Teow later, I was left in the garden with the lady of the house while Nuri and Simon scoped the area out. To calm her nerves, I struck up a conversation about her plans for her beloved niece’s future, and how better it would be not surrounded by supernatural disturbances. To calm my nerves, she responded in kind, and carried the conversation further with how long I planned to keep being a ghost-hunter.
Naturally I was modestly indecisive, yet managed to blurt of a fantasy of me wanting to help maintain public peace on the spiritual level. It wasn’t all false, I did feel a sense of accomplishment every time someone thanked us from saving them from shadows and sprites, but really, how long was I going to think this would last?
My eyes scanned the windows of the house for signs of Nuri, Simon and other ‘beings’. So far I made out that the lanky, sauntering shadow with apparently terrible top hair in the upstairs window was Simon, making slow rounds in the front-side bedroom. I couldn’t see Nuri’s silhouette; she probably was far back in the kitchen.
But a weird, greenish-yellow glow began to come from the room directly in front of me; the living room. The lady began to chant some Buddhist prayers under her breath, while I rose to my feet and tried to get Simon’s attention by waving my arms above my head.
A yelp came from the lady, and I lowered my view to see a small black figure peeking out of the window, it’s hands leaving black, slimy prints; and its glowing green-yellow grin, large and unnerving.