A Scratch


In the old days,pontianak attacks were more common, Singapore then being less developed and having more countryside for devils to appear. Since they have to live in trees, pontianaks can only prey on those who live in lonely areas.

There was a Mrs Yoko who lived in a rough shack with her husband in an isolated part of Choa Chu Kang. They kept to themselves and had no children. They didn’t get along with their Chinese neighbours because they prayed to some strange Javanese gods and people thought they worshipped demons.Thus, they lived far apart from their nearest neighbours and led a quiet life.

Mr Yoko worked for a spice trader. Every morning, he would leave his home very early and return at ten or eleven at night. His devoted wife would walk through the thick undergrowth every evening by following a narrow track which led to the main road. There she’d wait for her husband to return beneath a dim road lamp.

Before long, Mrs Yoko became pregnant. Yet she continued her habit every night. Mr Yoko kept telling her to stay at home where she would be safe but she just wouldn’t listen.

He was to regret his decision, for that very night something happened. When Mrs Yoko was walking along the track, she felt something was wrong. There was a clear rustling sound behind her, as if an animal was moving in the undergrowth. She turned around and looked hard. In the shadows, she made out the shape of a woman. She had long hair which fell to her waist but because it was so dark that she couldn’t see her face.

Mrs Yoko’s first reaction was to start running. The shape followed. She wasn’t sure who or what was chsing her, but she could sense it was very fierce; it definitely couldn’t be anything good. Despite her big belly, she forced herself to run.

Before Mrs Yoko could get far, the creature had pounced on her, catching her by the legs. She tripped but managed to break the fall with her hands, saving her baby by only a few inches. But she felt the cold, claw-like grip on her legs as she kicked and struggled. Shrieking, she was dragged into the undergrowth.

The wet grass whipped her face. The sharp pebbles and stones cut into her back. Suddenly, she remembered an old saying about pontianaks. Mrs Yoko remembered her grandmother telling her in Japanese language,”Lalang, ginger, garlic cloves make the demons meek as doves.” It was her only hope. Mrs Yoko flung out her arm and managed to grab a tuft of muddy lalang. She threw it at the creature. It struck the pontianak in the forehead. In the darkness, she heard a sharp screech, and the claws on her feet loosened abruptly. Mrs Yoko thrashed the creature furiously with more lalang, again and again.

On his way home that night, Mr Yoko found his wife halfway up the muddy track sobbing uncontrollably. In her arms was a baby boy, still attached to the umbilical cord. He quickly comforted his wife and child and took them to the nearby hospital.

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