Friday, February 20, 2009


Pawang Pahar who was invited by Hamzah to his house had no other choice but to accept the invitation. Even though he was busy, Hamzah was one of his best friends and he didn’t want to hurt his feeling. In fact, Pawang Pahar had been thinking. If he came over to Lane Street more often, his name would be more popular there day by day. In this way, it could be a good opportunity for him to earn more money from this neighborhood.

Pawang Pahar was too busy attending to the needs of his own neighborhood and that was why he did not have the time to spare in Lane Street. A few years back he was well known in Lane Street and he was sure his name was still popular as before. But he understood if people forgot about him. It was his own fault because he didn’t promote himself as frequently as before in Lane Street.

Before Pawang Pahar came to Lane Street, he was informed by Hamzah about the reason he was invited over. Lane Street was no longer calm and peaceful as before. At present, it was frequently disturbed by ghosts. So far there were two types of ghosts they were aware about, which were sundal bolong and pocong.

“We can’t do our normal activities as before, Pawang Pahar. Children are afraid to go to night classes at the mosque. We don’t hold any ceremony during the night, even if it is the ‘akad nikah’ for the wedding. We have to do everything during the day. We can’t even hang out at the coffee stall, because the shop owner closes his stall by dusk. We are afraid of the sundal bolong and pocong. It had attacked quite a number of people. It is not even that. The ghosts even attacked during the day,” explained Hamzah carefully. He wanted Pawang Pahar to understand the situation clearly.

“Tell me who was attacked by these ghosts…” demanded Pawang Pahar. He felt a chill suddenly running on his spine. It was indeed an awkward feeling.

“Sharifah, the daughter of Badar was attacked by sundal bolong on her wedding day. Anita, the daughter of Samad was also attacked by sundal bolong a few nights ago. A couple of men who returned from work at midnight was disturbed by pocong on their home. The last victim is Zainab, who is my own daughter. She was found lying unconscious under a tree. She said she was disturbed by a pocong on her way back home from town,” explained Hamzah even further.

Pawang Pahar nodded as a sign of understanding. He told Hamzah to be a little patient. He would be back next week to settle the thing. He had to postpone it to next week because there were a few things he must prepare before he got involved in the ritual of chasing away the ghosts.

Hamzah agreed and was willing to wait. In fact, he really trusted Pawang Pahar with his ability. Pawang Pahar had been a good friend to him for a long time and during that time Pawang Pahar had helped him many times.

Pawang Pahar then returned home because he had so many other things to do. On his way back, he thought about the reason why Lane Street was chosen by the ghosts to attack. Lane Street was not a very rural village. It was quite near from the main road. Pawang Pahar guessed maybe there were something special in Lane Street which had attracted the ghosts to reside there.

A few days later, Daud had known about the news that Pawang Pahar would come over to Lane Street next week to chase away his sundal bolong as well as the mysterious pocong which appeared from the unknown. Daud didn’t bother if the pocong was destroyed because it was not his, but he was worried if Pawang Pahar destroyed his sundal bolong.

Actually Daud was not really worried if his income was affected when the sundal bolong is destroyed. Daud was used to being poor and he didn’t feel it was a huge burden for him to live in that way again if he had to. But he was more concerned about the consequences if Pawang Pahar and everyone else in Lane Street knew the actual truth about the sundal bolong. Daud was so worried, and he was unable to sleep for a couple of nights. He kept worrying what would happen when his secret was revealed to everybody.

Because he worried too much, finally Daud came up with a decision. He called upon Malika because he had another task for Malika to perform.

“I want you to go to Hamzah’s house tonight. There would be a meeting. I want you to investigate. Now go!” demanded Daud in a fierce voice.

Malika didn’t protest. She knew if she didn’t obey her master’s command, she would be the one suffering a terrible consequence. She knew the meeting was held to discuss about her existence. And she knew all of them wanted to kill her. Her life was in danger, and she had to protect herself. Malika transformed herself into a grasshopper and flew towards Hamzah’s house.

As soon as she reached Hamzah’s house, Malika saw there were not so many people there. Most of them seemed afraid to leave their house, and others who were braver and wanted to join the meeting were reluctant to leave their family behind.

A few of the men who were present at the meeting were Majdi, Darus, Soleh, Hamud and Aziz. Several of the other men who were not present were not brave enough to walk outside during the night, especially Sudin who was known as one of the most coward person in Lane Street.

Due to the discouraging number of people attending the meeting, Hamzah decided to postpone it to the next day. The meeting would be held during the afternoon so that people would not be afraid to get out from their house. Because the meeting was cancelled for the night, the representatives who were present that night took the chance to chat with each other.

“If I knew who kept the sundal bolong and the pocong, I would kill him and slice him into small pieces. He doesn’t deserve to live in this world. He had cause all of us so much trouble and fear. I would be very glad to smash his face so that it would never be recognized again on earth and hereafter,” said Majdi angrily. He was the bravest man in Lane Street so far. All the young men respected him for his bravery. He was hard working, kind-hearted and liked helping others even in hard and frightening situations. That’s why people liked him very much.

“I have a different approach if I knew who he was. I will drown him in the river so that he will suffocate before his life ends. Let him taste the suffering of those who had been attacked by his sundal bolong and pocong,” said Aziz, who was just adding up spice to the already heated discussion. However, he didn’t actually mean what he said. He was not that brave to do such a thing like that.

They didn’t know that only the sundal bolong had done a terrible attack and was being kept by a master. They didn’t know the pocong was just a story created by scared people. They didn’t know all the things were done by the sundal bolong.

“In you opinion, who is behind all these?” asked Hamud, trying to guess as he speak. His forehead wrinkled due to the thinking that he was doing. He looked at the faces of all his friends, waiting for answers.

“I think it is the doing of Daud,” said Darus suddenly.

“What is your explanation? Why do you say he is the culprit? I wouldn’t believe you if you don’t have any facts to back up your accusation,” replied Majdi. He didn’t want to believe anything without proof. He was indeed a good man, and smearing a person’s dignity and good name is not one of his habits.

Darus didn’t reply quickly. He felt strange because suddenly from far apart he saw a little grasshopper with a pair of red eyes was flying straight towards him. He waved his hands to scare the grasshopper away from him.

“I suspect it is the doing of Daud because I felt he is acting strange lately. Haven’t you noticed that he was nobody before. But suddenly now he is the most powerful shaman in our neighborhood and able to chase away sundal bolong. And before this sundal bolong and pocong had never entered our neighborhood. Just think about that. It’s strange, isn’t it?” urged Darus, asking them to agree on his statements. While he was talking, the grasshopper came again and stood on his earlobe. Daud chased it with his forefinger. The grasshopper flew away and rested on the nearby wall.

“It is confirmed. I blame Daud for all of this,” said Daud again without thinking. He was very sure there was nobody else to be blamed.

Suddenly the grasshopper flew fiercely towards Darus. It was speeding like the lightning of a thunder. The red eyed green grasshopper flew straight to Darus’s earlobe and bit it as hard as he could. The grasshopper had a set of very sharp teeth, and a second after that, Darus’s earlobe began to bleed terribly.

Darus cried in pain. He trembled because the pain was intolerable. Everyone present in Hamzah’s house became panic. They never saw a weird yet emergency situation like what was happening to Darus.

The green grasshopper was then flying away from Darus. It disappeared into the black night and was not seen anywhere by anybody. It left Darus behind with a seriously bleeding earlobe and crying for mercy. More blood flowed from his ear. The bite was not big, but the amount of blood was huge. It brought questions to everybody seeing it.

Darus continued crying and yelling out of pain. Hamzah took a pity towards him, and put Darus’s head on his lap. Hamzah held him gently and soothed him, trying to calm him down. But it was no help at all. Darus’s pain seemed to increase. Blood didn’t stop flowing but it became worse.

While blood continued flowing from Darus’s earlobe, the wind outside began to blow fiercely. Just then the blood was only flowing from Daud’s ear, but now it began to come out from his mouth and nose as well. Darus became weak and his cries began to slow down. He had lost all his energy.

The flowing of the blood then became more disgusting when a few dark green worms started to come out. The worms were the size of a thumb. The worms twiggled and wrestled with each other when they fell off to the floor.

More worms came out from his mouth, nose and ears. Hamzah had to ask for a basin to collect the worms. It was very gross. The smell was of decaying meat.

Darus panted for air. His chest weaved heavily as if it was very difficult to breathe. Too much blood had existed from his body.

“It is better if we bring him to the hospital,” suggested Hamzah to Majdi who was accompanying him right there.

Hamzah ordered Soleh and Aziz to call Badri because he was the only person in Lane Street who had a car at that time. Both of the men obeyed the order even though their heart was pounding real hard. They were afraid to walk outside in the night, but they had no other choice. Darus must get help from the hospital.

Hamzah looked down at Darus. Now Darus’s condition became critical. With the basin put under his head, the worms had filled the basin up to almost full.

“It is better to call his parents here,” said Hamzah to Majdi. Hamzah felt Darus had no hope to live. His parents should be informed about their son’s condition before it was too late.

Majdi nodded in agreement, and quickly went out to call for Darus’s parents. Before that he looked back for a second and saw the flow of worms had stopped. Majdi continued walking and prayed to God that Darus could be saved.

Gently, Hamzah put Darus’s head on the floor because now he saw the flow of worms had stopped. He got up and went to the bedroom. He took a pillow and put it under Darus’s head. Darus who had become too weak didn’t do anything. He just let Hamzah take everything under his control.

That night, everybody in Lane Street was very frightened. The story of how Darus was attacked by a red eyed, green grasshopper had spread around so quickly. Everybody was talking about the worms and blood that came out from Darus’s nose, ears and mouth. Many of them were already gathering up at Hamzah’s house to see the real situation. Furthermore they preferred to gather at Hamzah’s house with the other residents than staying alone at home. It would be much safer to be around a lot of people.

As soon as Badri came with his car, a few young men carried Darus to put him into the car. But Darus had become very weak. It was only halfway to the car that Darus passed away. So they cancelled the trip to the hospital and carried Darus’s body into Hamzah’s house again. Darus’s parents were waiting in the house and all they could do was cry.

At home, Daud laughed in satisfaction. Malika was standing in front of him, grinning with her ugly face. Daud was very proud because Malika had succeeded to help him save his pride. Daud knew Darus must die due to his bad mouth slandering. He hated it real much if a person talked something bad about him, especially when the person started to tell everybody he was keeping a sundal bolong.

“After this you must watch out for everyone else who talks about me and you,” said Daud to his Malika. “We are now desperate and we have to do everything to save our name and dignity,” added Daud.

That night, Daud couldn’t get to sleep. Even though he had killed Darus, his heart felt uneasy. He knew killing is a big sin.

“Serves him right. Who asked him to mess around with me? He was the one who started it first,” said Daud to himself. He said that just to calm himself down a little bit. The feeling of guilt had started to invade into his conscious mind.

Daud recalled about Pawang Pahar again. Every time when he thought about Pawang Pahar, Daud became very scared. To him, Pawang Pahar should be bribed so that he would shut off his mouth.

“Only by bribing him I can prevent him from revealing my secret to the whole neighborhood,” whispered Daud to himself. Daud quickly counted the money he earned from curing the daughter of Samad that day. Samad gave him $600, and now the balance was $500.

“If I give him $300, I think he will like it,” said Daud to himself again. “Besides, Pawang Pahar is my good friend.”

Daud could smile again, thinking that Pawang Pahar could help him in saving his name and dignity. Daud thought he could count of Pawang Pahar, and believe that a good friend would never betray another good friend.

To Daud, the sundal bolong problem was not a big issue. But a bigger issue was about his name and his dignity. That was the only good thing that he had. Pride and dignity should be taken care very carefully as it was a very delicate element in life and very valuable. Due to the thinking, Daud could not wait to meet Pawang Pahar. If he could, he would have met Pawang Pahar on that very instant.

Tomorrow would come soon, persuaded Daud to himself. He smoothed his moustache and beard and tried to calm himself. Soon, he would be meeting Pawang Pahar. With that in mind, Daud closed his eye lids and tried to get some sleep.

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