This week on the blog tour my guest is Raymond Frazee. Are you ready to be put on the edge of your seat?
Here it is a year beyond when I wrote this, and I still consider it one of the best stories I’ve written. So, if you’re up for a little Indonesian/Bali horror, enjoy this excerpt from Kuntilanak, Copyright 2011, Raymond Frazee, all rights reserved.
They parked the van not far from the Tukad Mungga roundabout, close to the location of the first kunti sighting. Though the last two of three sightings had it appearing a few hundred meters over in the neighboring village of Pangji—which puzzled Indri greatly since kuntilanak tended to haunt close to a particular location—she wanted to cover the most fertile ground, which was the location of the first sightings.
Buana also had a few questions about the kunti’s travel patterns. “I don’t know why she does this,” he said as they set up. “I’m certain it’s the same kunti, though one of my colleagues isn’t. But to have two kunti’s in the same area is nigh on impossible.” They stopped before a gated house, the grayish walls wet along the top with a sheen of the earlier evening’s humidity. “It is a question to ponder, because it doesn’t make sense for it to be traveling afar.”
They finished setting up Indri’s equipment and networking it into her tablet computer not long after 21:00. Buana found the process of covering an area of 150 by 150 meters in Tukad Mungga challenging, but Indri’s eye for “scientific examination” was incredible. Now, two hours later, they were walking along Jalan Satria Dhama, looking and listening for signs of the kuntilanak.
While walking the silent streets a few minutes past 23:00, Indri listened to the creaking of bamboo in the wind. Growing up close to Pajangan there were many of the same sounds near her home. As a young girl her mother told stories of how the sounds of the bamboo were actually restless spirits trying to speak with the living. Pajangan had a rich history of spiritual lore, and the older she grew the more that world called, until not long after returning from university she decided to spend as much of her time discovering what it was the spirits were trying to say.
A light breeze touched her face. Indri looked to her right: in the distance, under the iridescent stars of this moonless night, she saw a banyan tree, the limbs solid and defiant, with the leaves rustling in gentle accompaniment to the bamboo. Indri felt compelled to abandon their investigation and go sit amongst the roots and dream of being a young girl once again, watching the stars and dreaming of her future.
Have I made the right choices? she wondered. She knew she shouldn’t debate her life decisions, but that was the scientific part of her mind challenging the spiritual part, and that tug-of-war was constant. Such was her jihad, to question when she shouldn’t, and one day she would find the path to allow both sides of her mind to coexist in peace.
She snapped back into the present and asked Buana, “I’m sorry; what did you ask?”
He forced himself not to chuckle too loud. “I wondered why you are wearing tennis shoes.” Even with tonight’s breeze the night was warm, and like many Balinese Buana preferred to wear sandals at all hours so as to remain comfortable.
Indri cast an amused glance his way. “I didn’t want to ruin my pedicure,” she said, then waited a few seconds before telling Buana, “When I first started doing this, I was like the guys in my group, sandals and sometimes shorts—being comfortable, you know.” She checked the small secondary tablet she brought along that allowed her to monitor her main computer in the van. “After getting tore up in the bush a few too many times, it was comfort be damned, I’ll keep my feet covered up.”
Buana nodded. He understood her concern. His work didn’t often put him in a position where he’d need to hike a mountainside through most of an evening, and he could afford to stay comfortable. “You are a woman of contradictions,” he said, his eyes scanning the road ahead.
“One of these days you’ll have to tell me why that’s true.” Indri had heard that comment a couple of times before and wondered why Buana thought so. “You string a girl along with enigmas and innuendo long enough, eventually you’ll need to come clean.”
“One day soon, never worry.” Buana stopped walking and listened. The night had been unusually quiet. Even near midnight in a small village like Tukad Mungga there were often people out and about, but tonight—no one. A few cars had passed them but very, very few people. And the ones they did encounter were not eager to exchange pleasantries. “They know. They know what we are doing.”
“It’s more likely they want to know where we are so they can steal my equipment.” Indri was now checking her instruments every minute or so, cycling through the separate video feeds. “Are you getting anything?” Buana asked.
Shaking her head, Indri said, “No, nothing on video. Nothing is showing at the moment.” She turned slowly, looking back the way they’d come. The houses were silent, most already dark. The streets were devoid of illumination and pools of blackness lay everywhere. The breeze from the mountains was upon them again, stirring up the bamboo, and while not constant, the creaking was no longer intermittent background noise for Indri.
Her heartbeat was loud in her ears. “You feel it, don’t you, Buana? You know she’s here.”
Buana didn’t answer immediately, for the part of him that was always in tune with the niskala—the unseen, capricious forces of the natural world—was ablaze with sensation. There is so much here requiring balance, he thought. Pushing the negativity aside, he instead sought envelopment by all that was in harmony with the world. “So much here is wrong,” he whispered. “I’ve never felt it until now, but the bhuana agung . . .” Buana was searching for the right words. “There’s a huge wound here and only now is it making itself known.” He didn’t realize his breathing had quickened ever so slightly during his foray into the niskala, and Buana spent a few moments returning to a state of calm before saying, “This village is in so much pain, Indri.”
Before Indri could respond they both heard the laughter of a girl somewhere behind them, so close it seemed as though she were standing only a few meters away. Indri turned toward the direction of the laugh, knowing before she looked there was no one there. The kuntilanak: she is here. The laugh was always like that of a young girl, but the loudness was deceptive, for this was the way of the kuntilanak. When the laugh was loud it meant the kuntilanak was far away, seeking someone at a distance. It was only when the laugh was faint did one need to worry, for it was then one would discover the kuntilanak standing next to them, ready to strike . . .
A native of Northwest Indiana, Raymond Frazee has been writing from a very early age, but has only recently seen success. His first work, Kuntilanak, is a horror story self published on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, in September, 2011. His second story, Captivate and Control, is a story of mild erotica/BDSM, published on 6 May, 2012, by Naughty Nights Press, and also found on Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. He current has two novels being reviewed for publication: one he calls “A modern steampunkish fantasy,” and the other he describes as “full of erotic horror”.
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