Kafez

Literary

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Location: Dublin, Republic of, Ireland

Tuesday, 14 November 2006

A ghost story (This stays published on a UK ghost site. Addy, please bear with me as you have already read this once before.)


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In The Train


by Susan Abraham

I no longer take the 8-hour night train from Kuala Lumpur into Singapore, leaving 10.30pm and reaching the Causeway at 7am. Perhaps the day journey. But never the night trains that hurtle noisily on tracks, twinning deep jungle terrain while they roll through sleepy Malaysian towns (it is after all, the dead of night), one after the other.

I often wonder if what I encountered would ever take place with someone else.

But older people have told me, I have the third eye.

I am the only one of a few who can see these strange things. I have been fortunate or perhaps unfortunate, to have been born with this extra vision that catches black specks in the air but cannot brush them away, that sees distorted cobwebby images dancing about in nothingness and often when in prayer, I may witness sharp lights even as if a force had splashed its headlights on me and refused to eye anything else.

My series of erratic fortunes or a life of misunderstood misfortune...my destiny could so easily move any way now because of these strange visions at every turn of the head.

The third eye is in other words; the ability to see into a spiritual dimension or perhaps if I would put it so lightly, so as to convince you the atheist if not the cynic; then the easy comfort of peering into the subconscious or understanding intuition like one would understand his morning breakfast.

Two eggs sunny side up and a slice of buttered toast.

Or as they say in Malaysia: A nasi lemak (pronounced naa-see-ler-maak) packet. A banana-leaf wrapped chunk of rice cooked in coconut cream and mixed with fried anchovies, a spicy sambal, a cucumber slice, a hard-boiled egg, a sprinkling of fried peanuts and your choice of a chicken drumstick or meat. And there you are.

I have summed up my abilities in a single paragaph.

Once before, I took the night train to Singapore.

I signed up for a first-class carriage. Each solitary cubicle lined next to the other, faced a small corridor with which one could walk to a canteen. This would only stay opened at certain hours. However, if I was in danger and opened the door to run, there may be little in the way of escape. It was one of the older trains.

My spacious cubicle contained a bed bunk that could comfortably hold two people. There was a writing desk, a chair, a lamplight, a washbasin and a loo. It all looked wonderful, really.

Otherwise, if like me, you sometimes travelled alone, it could also get rather daunting and lonely as well. Unless of course, you brought along some music or a good book to read.

My name was pasted outside the door for pleasant Immigration officials to check passports in Johore Bahru, that lay at the border of the south, before the train caterpillared it way onwards into the ancient but roomy Tanjong Pagar station in Singapore.

Shortly after, I went to sleep. With the lights turned off, everywhere looked pitch black.

Suddenly, I was awakened by the shouts of a man screaming. It felt like thunder in my ears.
When I woke, everywhere looked pitch black. In fact, it was so dark I couldn't even see the usual shadows. My body felt like it had turned into a mannequin. I was terrfied already, by a cold chill in the air. I started to sweat.

There was a muffled conversation taking place in mid-air, in the Malay language, about 6 inches away from my face. I couldn't see anything, only hear voices.

"Tolong, tolong, jangan bunuh saya, tolong." A man was pleading for his life.
Please don't kill me, he kept crying. Please don't kill me. I remember, he was sobbing loudly.
Soon, he choked on his own sobs. My whole body became paralysed with fear. I could hardly lift my head from the pillow.

But the couple seemed unaware of my presence. I say, 'the couple' because a woman immediately retorted. She had a sharp hiss for a voice. To hear her, was truly frightening. It was like listening to the sounds of a snake.

You knew she was dangerous and straightaway, it occured to me that she could strangle me at any time. It was a kind of knowledge given instantly to me. She too, shouted at the top of her voice, with no compassion for the man.

"Saya mahu bunuh kau. Saya betul-betul ajar kau. Saya bunuh kau sekarang. Awak ta da dengar cakap saya. Saya bunuh kau." She kept spitting out the same lines.

"I will kill you right now," she yelled. "I will teach you a lesson. You have never listened to me. I will kill you. I will kill you." She seemed so full of hate and anger.

But to just hear a conversation right in front of your face and in your private domain, without being able to see faces and bodies, is a truly terrifying experience indeed. Then the voices became jumbled. Both shouting and screaming at the same time. I remember feeling really frightened because the sounds were not fading. I tried to reach for the night light.

I could feel the woman coming closer to me, as if she had noticed me for the first time. Then I could feel her breath on my skin. I managed to reach for the switch that stayed close to my bed but I still remember the fear as I fumbled about, almost losing my grip. This was one of the times when I almost lost it.

Then everything went silent.

Old people say that spirits cannot take the presence of flourescent light so if you ever do see apparitions especially when in Asia, that is probably your most effective weapon.

I was frightened for a long time because there was no way I could have escaped. The bed was tilted against the door. I would have to pass these distorted ghosts just to get to the door. Also, when I noticed the time, it was 2.05am. It is often said that the most dangerous times for ghosts to wander around in the region where I live is between 12 midnight to 3am. By 5, they normally hurry back to where they rest in the day as those who wander at nights are unable to face the
sunrise.

But now.... The moment, I turned the light off, the voices returned
once more, the woman making a quick beeline for me.

I could hear the same screamings and pleadings and feel the woman's breath back on mine. I managed to put the light back on again and thankfully, nothing untoward happened after that.

I believe my cubicle was haunted and years ago, a murder would have taken
place. The souls have not yet rested. Otherwise, I could think of no other explanation for this strange encounter.

Another time to Singapore, I
chose a second-class carriage which comes with curtain-covered lower and higher cubicles, blanket, pillow on a comfy bed and armed with a night light that often doesn't work. I loved the chatter of families around me. It made me feel safer.

Still, I could not escape. About 3am, as the train passed deep jungle, a spirit leaped from outside, right onto my body. I don't know how she could have entered the air-conditioned carriage. The windows were all sealed.

Also as if it knew I could sense its presence and was ready to comply for better or worse.

This was a very angry, hateful femae apparition. She immediately tried to throttle me and I could feel her fingers and hear her laughter. She laughed loudly all the time but no one else could hear her. I was woken from sleep by the way and was fully-consious. Again, I tried to call the name of Christ. It was the only rescuer I could envision and a word that came naturally to me. I managed to do this after much struggling. In a flash, she vanished.

Another time, also in a second-class night carriage on the way to Singapore (like the earlier ones above), a man came in from nowhere in spirit form and immediately tried to lie on me. He attempted to embrace me (I could feel his legs on mine) but with the intention of killing and choking me.

It was a very painful experience because I couldn't fight this spirit that appeared very strong (in its physical strength). And it held me very fast but trying to choke me as well. I really thought this time round that my end had come. I could even feel his bodily hairs and his stubble on my cheek.

I did not give up though. After awhile, once more on shouting the name of Christ but I had to do this repeatedly, and then I was suddenly free of it as it vanished from where it was, closeting in upon upon me. It felt like heavy chains had entangled my body. I had a realisation that I had almost met a real death.

No one else appeared to have stirred.

I sat up and was unable to lie down again. I put on the night light that was where my feet rested up. After about an hour, I lay down again as I was truly tired. The man returned and tried to suffocate me, all over again.

I suffered a slight trauma from this particular spirit, that was violent and aggressive. And to know that it eyes you first of all, amongst all the other passengers in the carriage can be really scary.

I saved my tickets to warn friends and family not to travel in these particular cubicles.

But older people told me that these spirits don't attack anyone else.
They only come to those they know can see them and they always recognise them straightaway. Those who have the third eye, that is. Those like me. Besides, the trains are old. So are the tracks and the jungles out there in the Malaysian towns. We have thick forestry and many ancient trees. All of which hold a dark history.

From then on, I decided I would fly in to Singapore. Someone like me should never take the night trains when you know you pass ancient secret things. It's simply too dangerous.

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