Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Screaming Banshee

Sometimes people simply go out of their way to scare the crap out of you, and I don't mean the hoo-haa about displaying graphic images of diseased lungs on cigarette packs.

As you know, my condo unit is in full view of a cemetery, which, truth be told, is no big deal. Then comes my nephew-in-law with his spooky tale.

Shawn, husband to my niece Karina, runs a house-and-office cleaning business. I had invited them over so he could estimate the cost of cleaning this unit.

As he looked out the balcony, he saw the other condo development across the big drain flowing by our place.

Excitedly pointing to a penthouse at the highrise, he said: "You see that penthouse? They have a pontianak (banshee) lurking somewhere near there. So many people have heard the occasional mengilai (shrieking) sounds in the wee hours of the morning."

Jeez, I felt like wringing the fellow's neck. I am a known chicken-heart and tales like these don't sit well with me. "You gotta be kidding," I squeaked, my nape prickling.

"Alah, I don' know how far it's true la Mak Ngah (middle aunt), but my company cleans that place regularly and we were told about it by the workers there," he soothed.

As you would have noticed by now, I prefer to write past midnight. Somehow I always think best in the quiet of the night.

But since that 'revelation', I find myself listening keenly to the sounds around me. Frankly, I don't want to hear any screaming banshee and I think the story is sheer humbug, yet you never know....

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