Thursday, February 12, 2009


Daud was still gazing outside from his shabby corridor. It had been a week that he acted that way. Nobody knew why Daud chose to distant himself from the neighborhood at Lane Street. There was one instant when a group of young men who passed by Daud's house tried to greet him. But Daud never replied. He was so immersed in his thoughts. Moreover, the men didn't think it was strange at all at that time.

"Maybe he didn't hear me," whispered Nick when his greetings were not replied by Daud.

Daud is a middle aged man around 50. Obviously at that time he was having some financial difficulties. All his assets was sold because he lost in gambling. Due to not having anything left except the little land he was living now, and a little shabby wooden house, Daud worked as a rubber tapper in the orchard owned by Badar.

Actually, the orchard was once belonged to Daud, but after he lost in gambling he had to sell it off to Badar. Badar was the person who gambled with Daud, but because Badar was lucky, he won. That was what Daud thought about Badar.

"What a silly fortune I had," said Daud to himself. "I had to be a coolie in my own orchard."

To keep on gambling, Daud didn't have any money left. If he had even as little as $100 or $200, he would want to continue gambling with the hope that he could redeem back his orchard.

"I don't believe I would be a pauper for the rest of my life. And I don't believe that luck will always be on Badar's hands," said Daud repeatedly to himself.

Sometimes, Daud thought to end his stupid activity in gambling. He really hoped that all his cravings for gambling would just vanish. He had been thinking, after all this while he never even won except the first time he played with Badar, Mazlan, Akop and Johar. And he only won $500.

Daud was very happy when he won the $500. It was the first time and he did won. He never thought that Badar was just giving way to him so that he would be attracted to play again.

"Next time when you are free, come and join us," said Badar to Daud after they had finished gambling at Farid's house which was situated at the end of the street.

"If I win just like today, I will come again tomorrow night," replied Daud with a proud smile.

After that day, Daud was at Farid's house almost every night. But he never ever won any games. He even lost $8,000 from his savings which he intended for his future plannings.

After his money was gone, Daud became angrier. But he never wanted to repent. He put his orchard into the stake. At first, Badar didn't want to accept Daud's offer. But it turned out to be just an upfront show. Badar didn't care even if Daud lost his life.

To Badar, whatever assets can be put at stake. As long as the value is equivalent, it's enought for him. Moreover, Badar was really confident he would win again.

Actually Johar, Mazlan and Akop were paid by Badar to play along in the game. They didn't have to pay a single cent. Because Daud was so obsessed by the gambling, and his eyesight was getting poorer due to his age, it was pretty easy for the three of them to cheat.

"It was possible that they cheated on me," guessed Daud. And he really regretted it and now he was determined to get back all his money and assets which had transferred to Badar's hands. Daud was determined to do anything and everything.

To Daud, he only had the orchard which was 10 acres wide. It was the only property which he could give to his only son who was studying overseas at that time. He wanted his son, Ramli, to have the orchard after he completed his studies.

Now, all his dreams had vanished. His only asset which he wanted to give to his son was on mortgage. His dreams for the future had evaporated and lost in the blowing wind.

Suddenly, Daud recalled about the story related to him by Pawang Pahar. Pawang Pahar said sundal bolong is a type of ghost which can be kept alive and be made as a servant to his owner. Sundal bolong will obey every command from his master without questioning, as long as it is fed sufficiently.

Pawang Pahar also told Daud the methods to own the sundal bolong. Someone who wants to keep a sundal bolong can call it by putting several pieces of goat liver and chicken liver in a clay pot.

The clay pot should be poured over with a bowl of chicken blood and a few drops of blood from the person who wants to own the sundal bolong. After all the conditions are fulfilled, the clay pot must be presented upfront while calling the name of the sundal bolong in the middle of the night. The ceremony is best done on Friday night when the moon is full.

That was the thing that made Daud silent lately. He was really convinced with the story of Pawang Pahar. To Daud that was the only way in which he could redeem his money and assets from Bahar.

Apart from that, Daud was determined to keep his intention as a secret. Even though he didn’t have any enemies in the neighborhood, he didn’t want anybody to know about his intentions. He didn’t want anybody to look down on him or worse, hating him.

Daud knew by now that he really needed the sundal bolong. Early the next morning, he walked out from his house and went to town. With $30 in his pocket which he earned from rubber tapping, he walked straight to the market to buy the liver from a goat. Daud didn’t have to purchase chicken liver because he had his own chicken at the back of his house. He would sacrifice one of the chicken when he came back from town later.

That night, Daud was ready with all the ingredients to begin the ceremony of calling the sundal bolong. The chicken liver and goat liver had been put into the clay pot and a bowl of chicken blood had been poured over the clay pot.

Just before midnight, Daud burned the ‘kemenyan’. Smoke from the kemenyan was as thick as the cloud and it danced upward into the sky. The smell of kemenyen was overpowering the surroundings within Daud’s house compound.

Daud took the clay pot and put it in front of him. He sat down and picked up a sharp knife. He pointed the tip of the knife towards his forefinger and made a small cut. It was still painful even though it was just a small incision. Blood started to trickle down from his finger. Daud dropped his blood onto the waiting clay pot and waited for a minute before putting his hands away.

His mouth started saying something in a language so foreign to recognize by ordinary people. He then put the clay pot on a dried leaf mat. Outside, the moon was shining in full blast. His weak roof was several times attacked by the strong wind which came by all of a sudden from nowhere. Daud kept his sitting still. He didn’t want to provoke himself into the feeling of fear. He wanted the sundal bolong real bad.

Daud burned the kemenyen which he put onto a small plate in front of him. The wind became stronger, and the bark from dogs faraway made his skin crawl. Daud called the name of the sundal bolong repeatedly and invited the spirit to eat the dish inside the clay pot.

It was a relief to Daud when the wind blew a bit softer afterwards. But to his surprise, he noticed something had entered into the clay pot. Daud smiled even though his knees shivered tremendously. He got up from his sitting and looked down into the mouth of the clay pot. Obviously a hideous creature was staring up at him from down there.

Daud braved himself to pick up the ugly spirit and put it into an already waiting bottle beside him. He quicky closed the lid of the bottle, afraid it might get away or even attack him. The stare from the sundal bolong really made Daud lose his guts.

“What’s your name?” Daud asked and pretended to be cool. He was the one who called the sundal bolong and now he had to start being brave. Daud tried to convince himself that the sundal bolong would not harm him if it is fed sufficiently.

“I don’t have any name. Nobody has ever called me upon before you did,” the sundal bolong which had a pair of bloody red eyes and long unkempt hair stared back at Daud. It looked like a female. From its soft voice, it became obvious that the sundal bolong was a female.

Daud became silent for a while. All of a sudden he felt really proud of himself. All of his fears vanished just like that. He was proud because finally he succeeded in owning a sundal bolong just like what Pawang Pahar told him. Daud also recalled that sundal bolongs are only females, and no wonder they can easily possess women.

“From now onwards, I will give you a name. You will be named… Malika. And you, Malika, is my forever servant. You must obey my every command. If you do your job well, you will get better meals than what you get tonight. I promise you,” said Daud, without a doubt.

“I am in. You are my master. I am your servant. I shall obey you,” replied Malika.

“Now tell me. What’s your name again?” Daud purposely asked Malika again, just to make sure she really understood what he was saying.

“Malika. My name is Malika, my master,” grunted the voice from the bottle, the evil looking female sundal bolong called Malika. She looked impatient and her eyes wild.

Daud smiled in full satisfaction as he looked deep into the burning eyes of Malika. Daud knew his life was going to change drastically after that night. He was hoping it would be as soon as possible. When Malika was with him, Daud had no fear but hopes for the bright future.

Daud picked the bottle up, and left the bottle containing Malika on his window isle. Tomorrow morning Daud would keep it in a safer place, but tonight he just wanted to enjoy the scenery of Malika in-the-bottle with a backdrop of full moon blasting its shine up above.

After a while, Daud became sleepy. He fell asleep while Malika was still grunting fiercely inside the bottle.

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