This incident happened while my mother was expecting my younger brother. What happened that night could not be explained by the logic of science, and the memory of it is still raw in my mind, as if the incident occured last night.
My mother was eight and a half months into the pregnancy and the baby was going to be due soon. SInce we were living in the kampong then, we could not get to enjoy the luxuries of a hospital. We made arrangements for a midwife to come in and help during the delivery.
I was sleeping in my room when it started, so were my parents in their room next door. I was jolted from my sleep by the incessant scratching sounds. Someone was scratching at the window, drawing the nails against the glass pane, and giving off a shrill screech.
Through the curtains, I could see the shadow of a hand with long fingernails. My windows were tightly shut.
Suddenly, the silhoutte of a woman flashed past, followed shortly with a shrill scream that filled the night sky. Outside, the wind was howling desperately, and I could see the moving shadows of rustling leaves, as the trees swayed wildly in the wind.
A cry came from my mother's room. Rushing into my parent's room, I saw my mother lying in bed, soaked in a pool of blood. She was going to give birth. Although it was his third baby, I could see that my father was panicking.
When he saw me, he told me to go fetch the midwife. He did remind me to close the door tight and not to let anyone in when I was leaving. He picked up a bag from the bedside and told me to hold it tight for safety reasons. Until today, I still did not know what it contained.
I ran out of my house with the bag in my hands and headed straight to the midwife's house. As I left, the shrill laughter rang all around me. However, I listened to my father's advice, grabbing the bag tight and ran.
When i reached the midwife's house, I banged repeatedly on her front door. After a few quick questions, the midwife packed her stuffs, things that she needed for assisting in the delivery and came with me. We walked back as fast as we could.
The minutes she reached my house, she looked around warily. The screams had already ceased. She sniffed at the air, and there was a lingerin scent of frangipani in it.
"Stay alert. The pontianak is still around. Remember to lock the door properly."
I got scared and went into the house with her. THe midwife started chanting, and did not stop until I locked the door. Shortly, after I bolted the door, she stopped chanting. The strange scratching sounds and screams started again.
Every window and door of my house was tightly closed and bolted from the inside. The scratching at the windows had got louder and shrill laughter could be heard all around the house. It was something that I had never experienced before.
My mother was experiencing a wave of contraction when I saw her, and she writhing with pain. I could see that it was very painful for her. Despite the fact that this was her second birth, my mother told me later that it was the most difficult.
The midwife made herself busy the moment she entered. Taking a stack of paper from her bag, she game some to my father.
"Make sure that all the windows and doors in this house are tightly locked, and stick this over all of them. This will keep the 'thing' out."
She took some and stuck it around the room. After she was done, she positioned my mother to the east, in the direction of the sunrise.
When all was done, the midwife sat down at the corner of the bed. Taking a book from her bag, she started to recite some verses for the Koran. My father had already returned, and he was besides my mother, holding on tight to her hands.
Soon, my mother's scream grew louder as the contraction pains intesified. At the same time, the screaming laughters from the outside turned gleeful. It was really frightening. My father saw my frightened face and told me to go back to sleep.
Sleep escaped me that night. I laid there in bed, listening to my mother's painful scream. The screaming outside continued. At different moments in time, the screams and scratching sounds came from different parts of the house. It was as if the pontianak was trying to find it's way in.
Two hours later, I heard the sonds of a baby crying. My mother had successfully given birth to my baby brother.
Strangely, all the screaming stopped when my brother was born. The following silence was a relief from the shrill screams that lasted throughout most of the night.
When dawn came, my father immediately went to the bomoh for help. Telling him that a pontianak was harrassing the villagers, the bomoh told my father to keep my mother and baby brother safe, since the both were in a vulnerable position.The bomoh gave my father some religious artefacts to place around the house, and told him to stay indoors no matter what happened.
That night, all of us we huddled into the same room, my parents, my baby brother and I. All throughout the night, we heard screams from over our heads. The pontianak was back. We also heard the bomoh chanting verses loudly around the house.
This continued through the night. When morning came, the bomoh had managed to destroy the pontianak after a long and exhausting fight.
Since then, our village returned to peace once more.