“Shermen, Shermen…” I whispered. “I need to go to the toilet.” I heard grunts and groans. I tried again, same reply. I knew this was pointless.
While our FIs and seniors in HTA always reminded us to go anywhere, especially to the toilets at night with our buddy, this time, I just had to do it myself. Shermen was a good buddy but he was bad at waking up at nights.
Our bunk was on the fourth floor and just two doors away from the toilet. I could make a quick dash without getting caught by the officers on night duty. So I opened the door and tiptoed towards the toilet quickly.
The sensor monitored lights flickered on as I entered and the fans roared to life. I settled myself into the last cubicle and started my big business. I heard some movements outside. First, it was near the shower stalls, then near the sinks, and it was getting nearer to my cubicle. Then nothing. I listened hard.
“Hello, who’s that?” I called out.
I heard what I assumed to be the front toilet door opening. “Hello?”
“Why you never tell me you are here alone?” I heard Shermen’s voice.
I sighed. “You were sleeping like a log, by the time I wake you up, it will be tomorrow already.”
“Ok, Ok, faster finish. I wait for you outside. I need your help to open something.”
No reply. Just the sound of the front door opening again. I finished up and went out to wash my hands. I saw Shermen waiting outside the toilet, his back facing me. I didn’t realise that he was actually quite tall. I always thought that he was shorter than I was.
“Thanks, buddy, let’s go,” I said.
“I think I need to pee also,” he said. “Wait for me inside can?” He was already entering the toilet. I was sleepy but since Shermen waited for me selflessly outside till I was done, the least I could do was to accompany him right?
So I turned back to go after him when I caught a movement at the corner of my eye. I turned to look towards it and saw Shermen coming out of our bunk, rubbing his eyes.
He saw me. “Eh, where you go? Why never wake me up?” I turned back to the closed toilet door in front of me. Didn’t Shermen just go into the toilet? How the hell is he coming out of the bunk now? I turned my back towards the toilet.
“Eh, what you…” Shermen started but froze. His eyes widened and he ran towards me. He pulled me hard towards him and dragged me back into the bunk and slammed the door shut.
“What the!” I whispered, not wanting to wake our sleeping squad mates.
“Bro, what were you doing in the toilet with it? Did you realise how close you were to it”
“What are you talking about? What are you doing here? You were in the toilet right?”
“What nonsense!” Shermen snapped. “I woke up to see you missing so I came to look for you. Then I saw you standing there in front of that Pocong!”
I was lost for words. I couldn’t believe my ears. I explained to Shermen what happened in the toilet. He held my shoulders and said how lucky I am to be unharmed.
He explained that the Pocong Malay ghost that is the soul of a dead person trapped in its shroud. Known as kain kafan, the shroud is the prescribed length of cloth used in Muslim burials to wrap the body of the dead person. The dead body is covered in white fabric tied over the head, under the feet, and on the neck.
According to traditional beliefs, the soul of a dead person will stay on the earth for 40 days after the death. When the ties aren’t released after 40 days, the body is said to jump out from the grave to warn people that the soul needs the bonds to be released.
After the ties are released, the soul will leave the earth and never show up anymore. Because of the tie under the feet, the ghost can’t walk. This causes the pocong to hop.
This explained why the “other Shermen” said that he needed my help to open something. The pocong must have been looking for someone to help untie it. And I must have been the only person around in the toilet.
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