Monday, June 03, 2013

Reader Submission: Confronting An Abomination


The following narrative was forwarded to me several years ago by a reader from the small nation of Brunei:

A much-loved sport amongst fervent fans and football enthusiasts, this game has beckoned millions to its allegiance, dominating the world of sports on a global scale and in some cases apparently, captivating even the scariest of sorts. In this story, a group of friends journeyed back in time to relay their appalling tale, which they claim, occurred during a friendly match with fellow schoolmates at a random field in the district during the 1990s.

En route to their destination, the group cycled pass a row of wooden houses and shops before reaching a wide stretch of road leading to the open field. Although the sun radiated its golden rays over the turf, a disturbing presence loomed in the dark shadows of the forests and seemed to drape the surroundings in a menacing fa├žade. Wilted leaves cloaked the paved walkway as a decrepit rest house stood beside the precipice landscape. This didn’t bother the youngsters at all as they geared-up to begin their much-awaited football match.

It started off as an exciting first-half but 15 minutes into the next round, the goal keeper kept a wary glaze at the nearby electrical poles. The curious lot stared blankly at their only source of defence against a possible goal and threw the ball in his direction. “Azim, what are you staring at? Focus on the game otherwise we’ll have to ‘belanja’ the other team if we lose!” Nazri said. The goalie simply nodded and laughed at the mild teasing but an evident fear loomed in his eyes.

As the game intensified, Daud, another player, skillfully maneuvered the ball in an attempt to strike for goal but before he could hit home, the striker dropped to his knees and twinge in pain. The others rushed to his aid and offered to escort him to the hospital but instead, Daud refused and opt to watch the game despite the untimely injury. While cheering on from the sidelines, he was taken aback by what seemed to be a piece of linen cloth dangling from one end of the electrical poles but dismissed it as nothing out of the ordinary. He occasionally diverted his attention back to the poles and was surprised to find that the ‘linen’ had shifted to another area. Only this time, it resembled a formidable ‘apparition’. His heart skipped a beat as he quickly glanced at the leaden sky. Darkness engulfed the skies as the sun took its leave over the horizon, radiating the last strokes of light, which resembled orange smears in the dusk, indicating that night was fast approaching. “It’s just my imagination. Must be the pain from my ankle,” Daud thought silently to himself and snubbed the idea of informing his friends about the strange sighting.

Both teams refused to surrender to defeat and before long, night had fallen. “Just one goal!” Razak playfully said as they jubilantly tried to win the match. Then, a striker from the opposing team attempted to make his mark but inexplicably smashed his volley into the nearby forest. The players stole quick glances at one another, indicating their refusal to retrieve the ball from the creepy terrain. One of their teammates, Ali, eventually volunteered to recover the object and immediately emerged from the woods after a few short seconds. “That was fast. So excited to win the game?” Nazri teased but his happy-go-lucky friend remained silent, a solemn look darkened his expression. The others simply shrugged off Ali’s ’sulky’ mood and thought the poor guy was fuming over recovering the ball earlier on.

As the match continued, Razak reinforced their attacking options and crossed for Ali to clip home the first goal but his teammate stood unresponsive to his gestures. Rage overwhelmed the defiant defender as he marched across the field to give Ali a piece of his mind. “If you’re angry over a small matter, don’t play. You’re just standing there like a statue! And why in the world do you reek of dead rats?” Razak shouted while covering his noise. Again, ‘Ali’ maintained his ‘poker face’. While the outburst transpired, Nazri tapped the furious defender on the shoulders and pointed towards the direction of the woods. Before them, their blithe comrade emerged from the dark shadows and ran hastily towards the others.

“Sorry guys. Took a while for me to find the ball,” Ali said nonchalantly. The players exchanged bewildered looks amongst themselves as their eyes searched the grounds for the ‘mysterious’ doppelganger and remained practically speechless at the bizarre ordeal. “Why are you looking at me like that?” Ali said, his eyebrows frowning at the uncanny glances around him. Daud limped towards the disorientated lot and disclosed the mysterious sighting he had spotted earlier on. Azim confirmed the bizarre incident for he too, caught a glimpse of the ‘entity’. “We had better leave. This isn’t a good sign,” Razak said. As they gathered their belongings, a ball ricocheted against the goal post and into the field. It moved bafflingly across the turf on its own and suddenly came to an abrupt stop.

Out of the blue, it struck Razak on the face with a sturdy force as blood started oozing out from his nose. Fear paralysed the entire team instantaneously and they scurried from the premises, leaving behind all their belongings. The perplexed lot stared in amazement at Daud’s sudden vigor and agility for he zoomed past the rest despite his so-called ‘injury’. “I never ran so fast in my life. All I felt was numbness but was more concerned about the impending terror behind us,” Daud joked.

The scampering crowd came to a sudden stop as a ghostly apparition emerged from the forest and glided towards the players while clasping a child’s bloody hands in the other. They vaguely caught sight of its distorted face and some managed to make a run for it but the others panicked and remained solidly still. As it released a petrifying laugh, the entity moved towards Razak and stared at him intently with its blood-shot eyes.

The others summoned their inner strength and began reciting prayers to ward off the spirit. It took on a defensive stance and attempted to shatter their fortitude by disrupting the group’s unified chants. Its ear-piercing snarl sounded like a pack of wolves howling in the night but they kept their grit together till the ’spirit’ disappeared into thin air. The terrified lot nervously retreated to the exit, reciting prayers each step of the way.

After a good five minutes, the group sighed in relief as they reached the junction to the main road. A deafening silence fell upon them as they ruminated over the uncanny state of affairs that ensued earlier. Their nightmare was however, far from over. That night, the foreboding shadows crept into their homes fueling a lurid episode of bizarre occurrences.

The group was plagued by a series of poignant haunting as three of them came down with mysterious illnesses that triggered anomalous hallucinations and paranoia for months while the others experienced encounters out of the norm.

Days after the dreadful field experience, Razak claims that his parents saw a ghostly apparition prying through his bedroom window. They initially perceived that it was a woman and child, who probably required help but as ‘it’ turned around to confirm their suspicions, the couple remained silent and intuitively knew what it was. A creaking sound then echoed near the gallery as they hurried towards the door to tentatively secure the bolt. “They don’t need the door dear. They can simply go through any wall,” Razak’s father implied as his wife gestured for him to hush down. Peering through the corners of the shutters, his mother caught sight of a ‘poltergeist’ commonly know as ‘hantu pochong’ to the locals, but soon vanished into the shadows.

The phenomenal encounters, seemingly plucked from the scenes of a horror film, continue to remain a mystery. In Azim’s case, several ‘visits’ scared the wits out of him as he struggled to fight his fears. “One night, a loud banging erupted on the front door. My parents thought it was a late visitor but after peeking through the window, they caught sight of a paranormal entity gliding from corner of the house to the other,” he said frightfully.

The daunting episodes didn’t stop there. At the stroke of three in the morning, he could perceive the sounds of loud footsteps, which then faded along the dark corridors. This was followed by strident thuds on the roof, which sounded like giant fingers drumming from above.

Now in their mid twenties, the group of friends evidently illustrated their hidden fears as they reminisced over the events of that fateful year. “It’s been more than ten years but the events remain freshly imprinted in my mind,” Razak said.

The notorious field, known for its lurid ghost stories, has undergone major transformations throughout the years and a building now stands in its place. The colourful blossoms and green pastures have supplanted the once-gloomy surroundings. Behind the building, the great forest loomed high above the grounds and concealed its sinister facade.

“We probably stepped into forbidden grounds or accidentally offended the malevolent spirits. Whatever the case, this is something no one should experience,” Nazri said before concluding their tales.

Malaysian Ghost Stories

A Ghost a Day: 365 True Tales of the Spectral, Supernatural, andJust Plain Scary!

Asian Horror (Kamera Books)
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