"Mom, I want to go to sleep," said Zul, the eldest son of Mak Bedah's six children. Mak Bedah was one of Pak Hakim's daughter. Mak Bedah moved in with her husband into a new village after she married him.
Mak Bedah and her husband, Pak Man were living in a huge kampong house. Considered to be one of the richest family in the whole village, Mak Bedah's house was big, with four bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room and a spacious hall. Their bathroom was almost the size of a bedroom.
Apart from that, the hose had sprawling garden grounds filled with lush fruit trees. An expert, gardenet, Mak Bedah cultivated guava trees, mango trees, coconut trees and she also had a chicken coup. Food was never a problem to the household.
"Okay, Zul. Have a good night's sleep." Mak Bedah answered her eldest son.
"Zul looked a little tired," Mak Bedah thought. In puzzlement, she also noted that Zul had turned into the last room down the hallway. Usually, he would sleep in the room nearest to the living room.
The next day, Zul was found dead. He was not breathing, and his body was icy to the touch. His face was bluish and his eyes stared at the ceiling.
No one could explain what had happened. Apart from looking a little fatigue around bedtime, Zul was fine the whole day. He had even gone for a game of soccer with his friends that afternoon. His friends, when asked, said that Zul played like a 'champ' during the game, and his team won. No one know what had happened. Mak Bedah found Zul's death hard to accept. Nevertheless, the funeral arrangements were made and Zul was given a proper Muslim burial.
However, that was not the end of Mak Bedah's troubles. In the months that followed, more of her children died. Her third child was the next to go, followed by the fourth. All of them were found dead the next morning. The uncanny thing was that all the children died at the same place; the last bedroom down the hallway.
Both Mak Bedah and her husband were distressed by this strange turn of events. Mak Bedah was heart-broken after Zul's death, and since then she had forbidden the other children from using that room. However, her children continued to defy her without reason. She even gave the fourth a thrashing when she found him in there one day. Sadly, punishment did nothing to deter her children. They even woke up in the middle of the night and walk to the room of death.
"It was as if they were being called to that room," Mak Bedah knew that there was something seriously wrong with that room.
"I think it's time we consulted a bomoh," said one of the Mak Bedah's relative, after Mak Bedah told her of what happened. 'Something is not right.'
'Everything is fine in the house. Nothing is wrong. What can be wrong?'
'Someone may be seeking revenge against your family,' another relative joined in.
'Who would do such a cruel thing as to kill young innocent children? Who could be such a monster?' Pak Man was clearly agitated and there was so much anger in him.
'There is a dark history in the family that we want to forget. But other people will not let bygones be bygones. They seek blood. They want revenge.'
'We must seek help, Pak Man, or you may lose all your children. This is the work of black magic,' another relative tried to persuade Pak Man.
'Yes, Pak Man, if someone is trying to harm you this way, we must seek help in the same following manner and pray that Allah will help us.'
Looking at each other, Pak Man and Mak Bedah knew that this must not continue. Mak Bedah was very sad about the deaths of her children. She could not understand how or why they died. If they were to lose anymore children, Pak Man feared that he might lose his beloved wife too. With nothing to loose, Pak Man decided to follow his relatives' advice and seek help from a well known bomoh in the next village.
The bomoh instructed Pak Man to take his children to another place immediately, and not to bring them back until he had found out the cause of all the deaths. Since it was the children's school holidays, he sent them to his eldest brother's hose in another state. With the remaining children out of the way, the bomoh then set to work.
On Friday, he paid a visit to Pak Man's house. Like other kampong house, Pak Man's house was built on stilts, with a lot of empty space underneath. He reached the house just after the Friday afternoon prayers. By then, Pak Man and his relatives were already there, waiting for him.
Sitting in the house, Pak Man and the other male relatives started to pray while the bomoh went around the house, cleansing each and every room. The bomoh declared that the whole house was clean.
Mak Bedah was not satisfied. She knew in her heart that something was seriously wrong. After the bomoh had cleansed the home, Mak Bedah gathered the relatives and friend and told them about her father, and why she believed that someone had cast a spell on her family.
Zul's grandfather, Pak Hakim, was a well-respected man in his village. Although the village was quite a big one, everyone knew him and they were either fond of him or scared of him. Pak Hakim was a medicined man, in other words, a bomoh. Well-versed in the art of black magic and also white magic. He was taught by a famous guru in the depths of the jungles on the borders of Thailand and Malaysia.
The villagers would approach him for help in many matters. For people who were troubled by black magic spells, he would help them. For those who wanted to seek revenge on others, he would also help them for a fee. However, he would only help someone cause death to another, only if the reason given for such a powerful spell made sense.
Pak Hakim chose this vocation because he felt that he was blessed and being a powerful bomoh, his fame soon spread to other villages, and soon many others came from all over Malaysia to seek special wisdom.
His success had made others in the same trade jealous of him; some even hated him. The families of the victims whom he had caused death to through black magic were furious with him.
However, they could not do anything to him as he was too powerful, so powerful that even other bomohs' incantation could not touch him and his incantations could destroy the spirits other bomohs kept with them.
A day must come when even the mighty must fall, no matter how invincible they may seem. Pak Hakim grew old, and one day, his greatest enemy death challenged him. He passed away.
His enemies had waited long and patiently for this day, happy that they could seek their vengeance at long last. However, Pak Hakim was prepared for the day when he must die and could no longer protect his family. Unknown to his enemies, he had set his servants' spirits to protecting his immediate family, his wife and children.
When the spirits sent by the enemies attacked Pak Hakim's family, the guardian spirits were too powerful for them. Defeated, these spirits soon turned on their own masters, and killed many of Pak Hakim's enemies.
Those who survived hated Pak Hakim even more. Time passed rather quickly. Those who had not forgotten nursed their hatred for Pak Hakim everyday. This hatred was to grow, year after year, as it waited for the perfect moment in the future.
It was nearly two a.m in the morning when Mak Bedah and Pak Man were awaken by a heavy breathing sound. Mak Bedah was the first to wake up and she woke her husband up. Pak Man was frightened but he garnered his courage and went to the room.
'Be careful,' Mak Bedah warned.
'Allah will protect me,' he declared and mumbled a prayer.
As he stepped into the room, the sound stopped and then he heard a soft music floating in the air. It was drum beats that made him giddy. Pak Man lost his concentration and stopped mumbling his prayers. He felt nauseated and collapsed to the floor.
Mak Bedah on seeing this dragged her husband out and prayed. Pak Man regained his consciousness and thanked his wife.
Suddenly, a loud banging noise shook them. They stared at the front door in fear. Only to be relieved by the familiar voice of the bomoh. Pak Man doubted, 'Why should the bomoh be outside the house at this time of the hour?' But before he could say anything, Mak Bedah went to open the door.
Standing in front of her, was the bomoh and his son. Seeing then, Mak Bedah realised that something was amiss.
'My son had a dream where, I don't know how, he says that your father, Pak Hakim, came in his dream.'
'My Father?' Mak Bedah asked.
'He told me something about the room...' the boy spoke with zeal.
'What, my boy?' Pak Man joined in the conversation.
Meanwhile, the bomoh was already sprinting, pushing them aside and headed towards the room. He stood outside the bedroom, and took a minute to breathe systematically, and there was silence.
Pak Man and Mak Bedah and the bomoh's son looked at him with awe.
Pak Man said a loud prayer, 'Allah Hu Akbar. Allah is great,' as the bomoh stepped into the room.
When the bomoh entered the last bedroom down the hallway, he immediately sensed that something was wrong. As told by his own son, there was something under the floor. Calling out to Pak Man and the others, they started to tear up the floor of the room. Together, they worked to remove the wooden planks. What they saw underneath the floor froze their blood.
There were six miniature carved tombposts, used in the burial of Mulims, found under Pak Man's house, one for each child. Three of them representing the dear children were erect. On it were the numbers, 'one, three and four,' numbers representing each child that had died. Only the second, fifth and sixt tombposts were still lying flat on the ground. Those were the children who were still alive.
The tombposts were carefully removed and disposed of in the proper manner, as advised by Pak Hakim in the boy's dream. Before he left, the bomoh set some guardians spirits around the house to protect Pak Man and Mak Bedah's family. Mak Bedah thanked her father for protecting her family.