X-Files : The Spirit of Hari Raya
MM was a former colleague of one of my colleagues, Anne.
This true story was related to me by Anne, when we were sharing ghost stories in the office during lunch hour.
It was the eve of Hari Raya. Like thousands of other Muslims, MM was eagerly rushing back to his hometown to celebrate Hari Raya with his family. He bought himself an express bus ticket and was very pleased that he sat beside a pretty girl who occupied the window seat.
Soon the bus conductor came aboard the bus to do a headcount on the passengers before the bus started its long journey up north to Alor Setar. MM was puzzled when the bus conductor told the bus driver, " Jalan, cuma satu tempat kosong " which means "Move on, only one seat is vacant ". As far as MM could see all the seats were occupied.
The journey from Kuala Lumpur to Alor Setar took several hours, so MM spent time trying to get to know the pretty girl sitting next to him. But the pretty girl was not in a sociable mood. She kept looking out of the window and only responded with nodding or shaking her head. At times MM could see tears flowing down her cheeks.
Towards the evening, the bus finally reached Alor Setar. MM saw his father waiting for him at the bus terminal. MM made a last desperate attempt to get the girl's name and address. She finally relented and gave her name and address but declined MM's offer for a ride home in MM's father's car. MM was puzzled when the girl walked down a rather dark lane and disappeared into the night.
The following day was Hari Raya and MM got up early, eager to see the girl again. He went to the given address and was greeted by a middle-aged couple. When MM stated his intention to see the girl, the couple broke down and cried. The couple told MM that the girl was their daughter and had died two years ago. They were shocked when MM told them she came back in the same bus with him the day before.
On hindsight, MM now realised the reason why the bus conductor mentioned about " only one vacant seat ". MM was the only person who could see her! Now, he realised why the girl kept her face away from him all the time and why she hardly responded to his queries.
After this incident, MM was sick for more than a week.