The Landlord's Daughter
During the early fifties, my dad, in his early twenties, worked as an office assistant. His chores were easy: depositing cheques to the bank, sending invoices out to business offices around the area, collecting payments from shops and businesses, and other chores at the boss' whim. When his routine work was done, he would do some cleaning up at the office before leaving for home.
My father had great ambitions, and was using that job as a stepping stone for something better. Back then, it was easy to take these slow steps, for there were relatively few experienced or qualified workers. There was not much competition. He strategy was to work very diligently and hoped to be noticed and later poached by other companies offering better pay.
One evening, when my father had cleaned up the store and was ready to go home, his boss asked him for a personal favour. The office rent money was due and he wanted my dad to deliver the rent money to the landlord at his house. Being a smart man, my father knew the seeds he sowed today will bear fruits tomorrow, he obliged to the personal favour.
Whilst on the way to the landlords house, he passed a sarabat stall[mobile tea stall] and stopped for a glass of tea and nasi lemak[coconut rice with seafood and hot chili paste].
Whilst enjoying his nasi lemak, a beautiful Malay girl walked in and sat at the long table, two stools away from him. She looked over to him and smiled. (My dad was a handsome young man back then—not so, now.) With his ego boosted, he reciprocated with a cool smile. The girl showed extreme interest in him, and they kept exchanging glances and smiles all the time.
She then asked him, Abang datang dari mana, tak perna nampak di sini?(Where are you from? Never seen you here before.)
Before my dad could reply, the stall owner disrupted their flirting with the change. My dad glared slightly at the stall owner for the rude interruption and then took his change. His teeth gritting, he smiled at the stall owner and then turned back to look at the girl. He smiled at her and stood up. Just as he turned away from her, he realise he should say goodbye. So, he turned back. She was gone! Vanished right into the air!
He looked at the stall owner. "Apa pasal? Tak cukup duit kah?" (Why? Not enough change?") The stall owner said.
My dad shook his head in rapid succession and pointed at the space where the girl had been. "Dia! Dia!"(She! She!)
"Sapa? Sapa?"(Who? Who?) The stall owner was boggled.
"Itu perempuan tadi di sini! Mana dia pergi?"(That girl who was here! Where did she go?) My father said with his voice quivering.
The stall owner shook his head. "Tada sapa sapa duduk di situ. Lu nampak apa?"(No one sat there. What did you see?)
My father ran off, hopped on his bike, and sped off. He was trembling so much that his feet slipped off the pedals a number of times. He rode without looking back all the way to the landlord's house.
When he reached the house, it was almost dark. The sun was already behind the trees, ready to sink into the horizon. He got off his bike and caught his breath before walking up the steps to the house.
"Salamaulaikum," he called out when at the door.
To his horror, a girl—resembling the girl at the tea stall—came out to greet him at the door. Seeing her, my father gasped and passed out.
When he opened his eyes, he became hysterical seeing the girl staring down at him. He pointed at her and gasped for air. Frightened, she scooted off to her room. The landlord, who had rushed out by the time, managed to calm him down with words of a prayer.
After all was calm, the landlords wife brought him a cup of tea and he conveyed his story to them. They were puzzled as to why the puntianak[vampire] took the form of the their daughter. They assured him that their daughter was no vampire. Later, she came out, and they talked further about what my father saw. It sent shivers down everyone's spines.
"We have to pray together. You have to stay here tonight. It's too dangerous for you to go out in the dark. Wait till the sun rises tomorrow, then you go home," the landlord said to my dad.
My dad was very lucky to NOT have engaged in a conversation with the puntianak, for if he had, he would very easily had been lured by her charm and beauty to his doom!