Rick should have known nothing better; not to stay out too late in the night at this time of the month.
Weeks ago, Matthew had given him a ticket to a movie he had been dying to see for years; the Lord of the Rings, Return of the Kings. He had watched the first and the second, so why would he want to miss watching the third just because the tickets were sold out and all he had was scheduled on 12 in the night?
People around the campus said it was dangerous to go out around late night. Some students said they had seen strange figures wandering at the road at this hour. There are many rumors regarding the queer events happening in the university for the past years. Rumors like wandering ghosts, and toyols were quite famous among the students. Being a skeptic, Rick dismissed all of them as pigments of their imagination. He was not going to miss the opportunity of watching the third Lord of the Rings movie just because the campus is a strolling place for other “beings” in the night.
He went to the cinema and back to the dorm alone, on his cheap, second-handed Vespa motor scooter, which lights will flicker off if he brings it fast. So he was passing along a dark path spared by the little light of his Vespa. Not far from where he was coming from, a street light shone unsteadily. Rick was not the least amused at the poor condition of the street light. The campus has lots of other street lamps that go off and on. From the distant, he could see the outline of a tree, and a bench underneath it. But what was intriguing was that someone was sitting on the bench.
If Rick can scratch his head, he would. Who on earth would be sitting outside 3 in the morning? And the location was not anywhere near to any dorms in the campus. Is it the guard? Why would the guard be sitting at here?
He was approaching the tree where the figure was sitting. At first, Rick decided to just ignore whoever that was, and continue on his way. He held his breath. The figure had risen abruptly. Rick wished he could drive his Vespa speedily, but then the light will go out and he would have to find his way back safely without colliding into something in the dark. He pulled himself together and drove on slowly.
The figure was walking slowly too, towards the light. Rick widened his eyes at the sight of it. It was a woman, whose face was hidden behind long black hair. She wore a white shapeless dress that reminded Rick of the white linen people used to wrap a corpse before it is buried. She seemed to be dragging herself on the street and then she stopped.
Rick did not stop. He continued riding on his slow Vespa, and passed the woman. As he was passing by, he glanced over to her, and found her turning her head towards him too. He could not see her face of course, but he felt fear gripped his heart. Returning his eyes on the street, Rick muttered some prayers and hoped that his Vespa can go a little faster.
He never stopped staring in front. His heart thumped madly as he was reaching the boys’ dormitory. After he parked his Vespa, he broke into a run to his room.
Damon and Gab, his roommates, watched at him drenched and shaking by the door.
‘What the hell happened to you?’ Gab asked as Rick wiped his sweat with trembling hand.
‘You looked like you’ve just seen a ghost’ said Damon. Rick said nothing. He went to his bed, took off his wet shirt, pulled the blanket and cowered under it on the bed.
His roommates went over and sat by his bedside.
‘You did saw something, didn’t you?’ said Damon.
‘What was it?’ Gab asked some-what excited.
Rick looked at them, and sat. He was still shaky. The others calmed him down and gave him a glass of water. Afterwards, they asked him again what he had seen. Rick took a deep breath.
‘It was a pontianak’.
They talked nothing more that night and went to bed. The next morning, Damon awoke and found Rick in a better condition than last night. He raised his eyebrows.
‘Hey,’ said Damon, ‘you’re not sick at all’.
‘Why should I?’ asked Rick, bemused.
‘Old folks said when you encounter a ghost; you’ll get a high fever. Maybe someone just wants to pull your leg’.
Rick blinked. Indeed he was not feeling that sick at all. He was feeling just fine, though what happened last night still send goose bumps up his spine. So, maybe it was not really a pontianak. It was not really a ghost. But who would want to pull such a prank on him anyway?
Up until now, he was still not sure whether that- thing- was really a pontianak, or someone’s sick idea of a joke. But it was a good story to tell his students since lots of young adults now found it rather amusing than scary.