It’s 10.30 am, and I was standing on a yard outside a wooden house where Fatimah’s family lives.
It’s my first time being in Kedah, and so far I think visit is okay but nothing fancy.. maybe the average first impression was caused by the hotel I’m staying in.
Maybe God was punishing me for receiving payment from the Jesuits, or maybe it’s because I was looking shabby when I boarded the flight to Langkawi on my way to Kedah. I was merely wearing my favorite t-shirt and a khaki trouser during my first visit to this island. When the taxi driver asked me where I would like to go, I merely told him to drive me to any hotel in Kedah with the biggest room.
Usually, the words `the biggest room’ would properly convey my wishes that I was looking for the most expensive hotel around. But for the old fellow behind the steering, he was probably looking at my shabby clothes and figured that I’m a budget traveller, so he took me to this budget hotel with a large room originally built as apartments.
I made a mental note of googling the Internet tonight. I might be a shabby looking guy, but for now I’m too rich to stay in any budget hotel regardless of how good the service might be.
Oh.. and speaking of rich, there was five million ringgit in my accounts right now. Miss Pang, abide by my request to deposit RM816,666.00 to each of my six savings accounts (Maybank, CIMB, Bank Islam, Standard Chartered, Public Bank and Alliance Bank) while the remaining RM100,000.00 is paid cash to cover my initial expenses. I just discovered that a thousand notes of RM100 was quite handful to put in my wallet, hence I only carried 40 notes in my wallet while the rest was tucked somewhere in my beg pack.
A week ago, I decided to take the job offered by Miss Pang, since I figured it would not hurt anyone or led to any major sin. Furthermore, what I’m going to do was quite a win-win situation for all parties involved.
My task was straightforward yet harmless. The ultimate goal was to meet with Fatimah’s family and persuades them not to litigate the matter. It turned out that Fatimah has younger sisters and one of them had written a letter to the hotel demanding explanation on Fatimah's death. Because Fatimah had died due to unknown causes less than 24 hours after she was admitted to the hospital, her death had been classified as ‘sudden death’ and the police got involved. No thanks to Miss Pang’s presence at the Hospital that morning, the hospital knew who Fatimah’s employer were and the police waste no time of paying a visit to the hotel management. Within a short period of time, the police managed to contact Fatimah’s family and notified them of her death.
One thing led to another and a week later Fatimah’s sister had written a letter to the hotel management demanding details of Fatimah’s last working trip with Robert. So far her letter was polite but the Pangs smelled litigation on its way. The Pangs were not worried about paying hefty compensation to Fatimah’s family for death occurred during employment. What the Pangs main concern was for the possibility that the litigation might reveal their role in Fatimah’s apostasy.
At this point when I re-evaluate Miss Pang’s instruction, I began to sense that there’s something she was not telling me. When I reconsider the story, I knew that there could be no way that Fatimah death could jeopardize the hotel’s reputation. Even if Fatimah’s family hurled allegation that the Fatimah’s had died apostate, such allegation has no bearing whatsoever from a civil point of view. In fact, in the court's papers the best they can throw was saying that Fatimah had died while on duty and seek monetary compensation for it. If that happens The Pangs were more than eager to sign a big fat cheque in order to sweep this issue under the carpet.
But for whatever reason she was not telling me, Miss Pang wanted me to stop the fire long before the spark was ignited. I sensed her urgency of wanting this rumour to die out, a rumors which according to her, was now circulating around about Fatimah dying as infidel.
It turned out that something had happened during Fatimah’s funeral that had started the people talking. Bearing in mind that she kicked her mother out of her house when she was 25 and died at the age of 35, thus 10 years had passed in between these two events. By the time she died, both of her parents have passed away. Despite her sister’s plea for her to return home to visit their dying parent (no one in her family knew Fatimah was an apostate), Fatimah simply refused to make the final visit.
At the time of her death, Fatimah’s only surviving next of kin were her sisters Syafiqah and Harnita. When Syafiqa went to the hospital, only she can closed Fatimah’s dead eyes. Syafiqah didn’t bring Harnita to the morgue. Harnita was instead told to go to Fatimah’s house and collect all her belongings.
Totally stumped by the discovery, Harnita hid her discovery from Syafiqah to protect her dead sister’s reputation. The ustaz then told the sisters that all those items must not be in the house of any Muslims. So Harnita was ordered to bring out the bag where all those items were hidden and gasoline was poured over it before it was torched and burnt.
It’s hard to imagine the devastation felt by the sisters. Both sisters were hugging each other and wailing in despair and humiliation. Despite the good intention of the ustaz to burn the items at a secluded area behind the house, the sound of the wailing makes it impossible not to attract attention from visitors who gathered at the front.
To make the story short, the crowd were only able to lift Fatimah’s body after all her items turned to ashes. No thanks to the unfolding drama, the burial only completed at 5.12pm, a very late burial indeed.
There’s not much information made available to me on Fatimah’s sisters but I do know that up to a month ago Syafiqah was holding a teaching job at a primary school in Alor Setar, Kedah. She resigned after the death of her parent and went back to stay with the family in the village at Kuala Ketil, Kedah..
She's the one I was trying to persuade today.
The goal was to persuade the family to forget and forgive but Miss Pang was already thought that the chance of that ever happening was merely 10%. Her pessimism was actually realistic when taken into account the Malay’s sensitivity when it comes to religion.
Therefore there’s a backup plan in place should my meeting with Syafiqah today ended with disappointment.
From the information given to me, I know that Syafiqah's came from a working class family. Before their death, her dad was a retired teacher of the nearby Primary School while her mom used to operate a 'warung' (small restaurant). I wasn't sure why Syafiqah resigned from her previous employment as a teacher. I just assumed she had no choice but to return to the village since her parents passed on. After all, it is just Syafiqah and her youngest 17 year old sister, Harnita whom she needed to look after.
With such a basic information, I knew that Syafiqah will have no financial means to travel far in order to investigate her sister's death. That explained why she wrote to the hotel herself instead of hiring a lawyer to issue a threatening letter of demand.
I know what I was about to do was wrong. But I planned to pay Syafiqah's RM250,000 anyway as compensation. I figured that once I secured false evidence from the material witnesses then the Pang will have nothing to worry about.
Today I will try to offer Syafiqah a hefty RM950,000 as settlement money. If she refuse then I’ll go to Penang tomorrow and do my bribing, Once this is settled, all I have to do is knock the door again and just gave Syafiqah or Harnita a a cheque for a lesser some of RM250,000 on a pretext that the money was some sort of employee insurance money. If they still refuse, then I’ll deposit the money into Syafiqah’s BSN bank account without her knowledge. How Miss Pang was able to find out Syafiqah’s account numbers is something I will ask Miss Pang later.
Overall, paying four people RM250,000 each will still leave me with 4 million Ringgit to pocket. I’m not here to brag, but I do think that was a wickedly brilliant plan.
“Assalamualaikum! Are you looking for someone?”
Opocot! I was jumping aside in surprise of hearing a lady’s voice behind me. Where the hell did she came from? I turned 180 degrees and came face to face with this beautiful young girl whom I immediately knew as my target of today. Syafiqa stood there staring at me with a big question mark on her face.
“Err.. Walaikumsalam... Miss Syafiqa right? My apology for the intrusion but I came here to meet you”
I knew immediately I made a huuugee blunder there!
“O yeah!? And who are you and how do you know my name?”
Syafiqah was now staring at me menacingly. Even more menacing, her left eyebrow cocked down while the right one went up. It should be funny I guess, but at that moment I was scared shit of seeing that eyebrow. I've seen eyebrow like that somewhere but couldn't remember where.
Then I noticed the long sleeve t-shirt she was wearing. Printed across the front was a face of a famous WWF Wrestler Dwayne Johnson and the words:-
"DO YOU SMEEEEEELLLL.. WHAT THE ROCK IS COOK'IN!"
(Wikipedia: Dwayne Douglas Johnson (born May 2, 1972), also known by his ring name The Rock, is an American actor and professional wrestler who is signed to WWE, appearing on the Raw brand. He is often credited as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson".)
I was stumped for a second but I know I need to come up with something convincing quickly. Nothing to worry about! I was telling myself, I would lie and she would believe my cover story. Lying to her certainly would be easier than lying to a High Court Judge in murder case.
The Rock's fan did the eyebrow thing again. Oh man.. I better gave her something before she started calling me 'Jabroni' and send my 'Candy Ass' to the 'Smack Down Hotel' (you have to be a fan of the Rock to understand some of The Rock's famous words. I suggest you utilize Youtube now).
"I'm Muhammad. I'm representing the hotel where your sister used to work"
Great! There goes my grand plan to lie.
"It doesn't matter to me what's your name are. What do you want?" the Rock's fan voice still flat.
I decided to adopt the strategy of telling half true and half a lie.
"I'm here to discuss about the letter you've sent to the management a month ago. I have read your late sister's resumee and she stated there that she had two other siblings and the youngest is still a teenager. I just assumed you're Shafiqah because you certainly don’t look young enough to be a teenager".
I wait for her to say something but nothing came out from her. I do sensed that she's not exactly exhibiting hostility. Cautious maybe.
She was now moving toward the shade under the nearby mango tree where where was a tree trunk big enough for her to sit. I now noticed that she's holding a grocery bag with her right hand. There was also an old scooter nearby. She must have been returning from the nearby store when she found me standing on the yard a moment ago.
"Miss Syafiqah, I come in good faith to express the management condolences on your sister's demise. Can we talk about your letter inside?" i just said that to see if she would invite me into the house. I was curious because the house sounded awfully quite.
"My sister is out of town for the moment. it's just me here so forgive me for not inviting you in. This is a kampung (village) so I don't want the neighbors to start gossiping. we can talk here". She was cute, yet stern. That's sexy in its own way.
"Fair enough" I said and continued "The management offers their deepest sympathy and traditionally will financially assist famil..."
She interrupted me and said "It doesn't matter what you're here for! I just want to know what was my sister doing in Jerejak island before she died. That's what I asked in my letter to your management, remember?"
I inhaled before answering her "The management had bought a piece of land on the island for development. She was just accompanying the assistant manager on a trip to survey the site. That's all. I don't think the trip has anything to do with your sister's death".
"Oh really?" She was smiling. Beautiful yet I could identify the sarcasm in the her smile.
"Yup" I held my ground.
"Then how come the police are looking for your assistant manager?"
Fortunately, I was well prepared to answer this "The management will leave it to the police to shed the light behind Mr.Robert's disappearance. However, your sister and Mr.Robert was sent there strictly to survey the area. If Mr.Robert have anything to do with your sister's death, the doctor would have identified her cause of death by now. Furthermore, even if Mr.Robert did something, the management bears no blame on something which Mr.Robert may have done against the company's instruction".
The beautiful girl sitting before me sighed. I sensed no signs of defeat there. It's more like she wasn't listening to me at all and was thinking about something else.
"However, like I said before, the company is willing to financially assist your family by.. "
The beautiful girl sitting before me sighed again. This time I sensed her frustration mixed with boredom. Apparently nothing I said attracted her interest. I have heard some of my friends telling me how bad my communication skill was when it come to talking to the ladies. But i always assume that I can compensate that by talking about money. My oratory skills must have been worse that I thought.
"Err.. Miss Syafiqah.. Am I bothering you, or am I boring you?" I asked her. I would prefer if she think I'm annoying rather then boring.
The girl in front of me smiled but her face clearly exhibits the sarcasm within. Finally, she spoke.
"They told me you would come, you know.. And they told me you would come offering money.."
They? They who?
"I guess you won't understand unless I've shown it to you. They told me to show it to you"
I was about to ask her about 'they' when she stood up. "wait here, I'm going inside to get something for you to see"
So I waited.
And waited.. standing
And waited.. squatting
I was already looking for a place to lie down on the ground by the time she finally emerged from her house. She had changed her clothes into a long sleeve t shirt and a track suite. She also brought with her a sport bagpack. It seems to me like she's traveling to somewhere.
"Let's go" She issued her order.
"What? Wait.. Go where?"
She took me by surprise again. So I stood up and was about to seek clarification when she handed to me an envelope.
"what's in it?" I questioned her.
She did the 'Rock' thing with her eyebrow again. "They said you should see this and it'll be self explanatory to you. It's pictures of my late sister Fatimah".
Oh great, more pictures of Fatimah. I've seen more than enough pictures of her digitized in the thumb drive. I've even seen the porn side of her. So what else is new?
I was expecting to see some pictures of Fatimah from the family album when it turned out the be the dead picture of her!
"What the hell?" I simply couldn't stop myself from saying that. There were 15 close up pictures of her there - already dead and lying naked. Normally, pictures of naked body would either came from the crime scene or the morgue as post mortem pictures. Clearly these were not post mortem pictures on her because these pictures were taken at home.
“Who took these pictures?”
“I did, they told me it might come handy” She replied. Her eyes on the pictures now in my hand. Unless I'm mistaken, I detected sadness in her voice.
“They who?” I need to know who ‘they’ are.
“We’ll come to that later. Just look at the pictures and tell me now what you think”
I flipped half way through the pictures and a mystery began to unfold. All over her body there were skin contusions which I've seen before and I'm sure most of my readers have seen it as well.
I’m talking about demon bite wounds.
You know that a demon had bitten you when these bruises appears for no apparent reason and produced no pain. In all cases the pattern is circular. However, in some cases - like what happened to my own sister - there’s even teeth mark on it.
Another type of demonic wound that is very common is a physical injury for which you have no memory of its origin. Frequently it is a significant cut somewhere and one will have no memory of when the cut occurred.
People who spent a lot of time strolling at night will most likely be bitten as the demons become much more active at dusk and throughout the night. My sister and I used to have this habit of going to shopping complex at night so no wonder we’ve both been bitten. Because of lack of knowledge at that time coupled with the fact that there’s no pain at all, I simply ignored it.
However, whereas ordinary people usually suffers a single bite or two in a year, the bites appeared on Fatimah body were the worst I've ever seen. There were probably over one hundred bite marks all over her body starting from her legs all the way up to her neck. If you ask me, it seems like she had been mauled instead of bitten.
But as excited as I was, the five million dollars managed to remind me not to react like a kid getting candies. Whereas the real me would probably start bouncing up and down over the excitement, the other me being the representative for the hotel stayed calm and composed.
The mask I was wearing remains intact. In fact, I even managed to furrow my forehead as though I did not know what I was looking for.
“I appreciates your willingness to show me these pictures but what am I supposed to look at?”
That's probably not what she expected to hear from me.
"Don't give me that crap! Didn't you see the bruises? What caused it?"
Yes sweetheart, I see them but those are not bruises. SATAN HAD BITTEN YOUR APOSTATE SISTER! The real me wanted to say that aloud but fortunately didn't. Thank God I was still able to put on my poker face.
"Miss Syafiqah, that question should be directed to the doctors instead of me. Have you asked for post mortem report?"
"No, the contusions only appears after we bathed my sister for funeral. There's several more pictures I wanted to show you, but since you are not the person I think you are then you better leave now". She was clearly upset now. She began to turned around wanting to walk back into her house.
"Wait Syafiqah, I'm here on behalf of the company to offer nine hundred fifty thousand ringgit!"
She stopped but didn't turned her back "You know jabroni.. They told me someone is coming to offer me a lot of money and answers my question. They said I can only trusted that person. If you are not that person, then I cannot trust you even if you offers me five million ringgit!"
It felt like blood rushes to my head and entered my brain when she mentioned 'five million ringgit'. Did she knows about my deal with the Jesuits? Were they here first?
"Who are they?" I pressed her for answer.
"Go away" she continues walking towards the house.
"Syafiqah, please tell me"
She merely turned her head to stick her tongue out at me. "No" she said and continue walking.
"Oh come on.."
"smell the cook'in!" and she gave me the finger.
"FINE!!" I almost shouted at her. I thought I can keep my mouth shut for the sake of money but unfortunately my Internet alter ego 'AfterDark' was dying to know who these mysterious group of people were. " I'll tell you what those bruises are! But first you must tell me who they are!"
She stopped and turned. We are now 10 metres facing each other. The wind was blowing, leafs were falling and her hair was all over her face. We were both like gunslingers about to duel in the movie.
10 seconds passed before she opened her mouth.
"So what?" I responded.
"Tell me now who killed my sister"
"It's not who, but what killed your sister, and I will share what I know right after you tell me who they are and what they have told you about me"
The Rock's eyebrow returned.
"Okay.. But you have to swear.."
I HAVE TO DO WHAT??
"I have to do what?" and from my brain it went to my mouth.
"You must swear" She replied "They said that's the only way to know whether I'm meeting the right person. I must make you swear or otherwise you're not to be trusted at all"
This was getting weirder than fiction, I thought.
"And how should I do it? Would rising my right hand be enough?" I was actually being sarcastic.
"They told me to make you perform Muhabalah.. Whatever that is"
At that exact moment I felt like blood had been drained from my body. It was now dawned on me what this is all about. This has something to do with satanic cult and I knew only one group of people who would insist others to performs muhabalah in order to proof he/she is not a satanist..
"The Watcher's Group.. They were here?"
Syafiqah's face lit up. She smiled brilliantly at me and replied "Yes, and they told me to say hi to AfterDark for them and to tell you that your grammar sucks!"
Oh crap! crap! crap! crap! crap! crap! crap! crap! crap!
Ihsan : http://afterdarkwrites.blogspot.com