Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Do Not Look Back (别往后看)


My old Malay friend Pak Haji would always advise me not to look at my back when I am cycling along that stretch of oil palm plantation road at night in Padang Rengas. He said: “Jang pandang belakang!” or “don’t look back!”

I didn’t believe Pak Haji until one night outing with him…

It was a cloudy night, I followed Pak Haji to visit Saiful who was recuperating from a recent motorcycle accident. This gentleman stayed in a house situated in the middle of an oil palm plantation. Since normal route to Saiful’s place was quite long, Pak Haji decided to take a short cut to reduce the traveling time by half. However, this shortcut was normally shy away by other village folks as it was renowned to be haunted by a langsuir (female vampire).

Since I wasn’t too familiar with the kampong route at night, I parked my car at Pak Haji’s place and hitchhiked on his Honda 70 backseat. Our trip from Pak Haji’s house to Saiful’s place was relatively smooth and peaceful. We arrived at Saiful’s place around 8pm and after some short conversations, Saiful appeared to be in pain. Pak Haji offered to massage Saiful so as to lessen his pain and the healing session lasted until 11:30pm. It was my opportunity to learn Pak Haji’s heirloom massaging skills. So, I just sat quietly to observe what Pak Haji has done. Perhaps I can ask Pak Haji on the details later.

Before we headed home, Pak Haji specifically cautioned me “don’t look back” when we were passing through the oil palm plantation. I wasn’t very convinced but I nodded my head indicating I understood. After making sure everything was in order, Pak Haji started his Honda 70 and I hopped onto the backseat.

All went well until the motorcycle was passing an abandoned half collapsed old hut. Suddenly I smelled a type of very fragrant scent of champak. The scent was so strong that it made me felt a little dizzy each time I inhaled. Soon after that I saw a very pretty lady in white sat on the stairway of the old hut combing her hair gracefully. All of a suddenly, this lady gave me a glance with her soul catching eyes; followed by a flying kiss and waving of her hand at me.

I was attracted by the beauty of the lady and automatically fixed my eyes at her. Pak Haji’s bike soon zoomed past the lady but I was too enchanted by her beauty that I kept turning my head to look at the lady. All of a sudden, the pretty lady in white darted towards me like a speeding bullet and her pleasant appearance turned ugly. This sudden change in appearance has caused me to startle and leaned forward. The abrupt swift of weight caused Pak Haji’s bike to sway left and right. Luckily, Pak Haji was a seasoned biker and he quickly stabilised his bike handle. Otherwise both of us had already ended up in a ditch by the roadside. Strangely, Pak Haji didn’t even turn his head to look at me. He continued to take the helm and went forward.

I could swear that during the journey passing through the oil palm plantation, the lady in white was as if in hot pursue with her audible eerie shrieks echoing beside my ears. At one time, I could feel burning sensations of sharp nails scratching at my back. Due to curiosity, I again turned my head and saw the lady in white was following closely at Pak Haji’s bike with her bony yet sharp finger nails stretching towards my back. Every time the creature was about to catch hold of me, Pak Haji would suddenly step on the gas and sped off.

Just as we entered main road exiting the oil palm plantation, Pak Haji suddenly stopped the bike and turned his bead towards me and said: “Didn’t I tell you NOT TO LOOK BACK? You nearly caused the langsuir to catch hold of us both!!”

When we were finally returned to my home, I felt my back in scorching pain. So, I took off my T-shirt and from the reflection of the mirror; I saw five bloody scratching marks on my back. I wasn’t sure what caused the scratching marks. Perhaps they were the ‘love marks’ of the langsuir (vampire)…

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