I am Del, a boy from Kpg Pichin, Serian. About my village, Bidayuh peoples, we no longer practice headhunting since the early of 1900s, and now we are strong devoted Catholics. Every now and then, we invite priests to come to our village to do blessings, longhouse blessing, life blessing and so on. In short, all of the things that we have there are done in accordance to Catholic faith. Most of the villagers are Catholics, or so we thought. During Christmas, we usually do carolling from one house to another, and I am the guitar player for my mother’s team. It was such a joy and I am looking forward to go carolling again. Sometimes I heard about the headhunter’s stories from my grandfather, or “Babai”, in Bidayuh Biatah-Padawan dialect. He told me about the might of Pichin headhunters, who can teleport from one place to another, invincible to any sort of physical attack and can always seems to recover, no matter how fatal the injury is. That includes even when a flesh is bitten-off from his body, he can regenerate the flesh without any problem despite being exposed to any kinds of germs, bacteria or viruses. He also told me that there was once a great battle happens in the past, where this great warrior called Panglima Kuyoi led a group of small army against a ten thousand armies from the north, trying to invade our village. The details of the battle was not known, but it was believed due to the leader of the North warriors, an equally strong headhunting tribe, and backed by a virgin powerful sorceress. These sorceress has to be virgin because that is where their spiritual energy is at max. Once they harnesses their energy in marital business and procreation, it is no longer as strong as it once was, merely a shell of her former glory. Kuyoi and his warriors won the fight, but not without a great price. The defeated foe vow to revenge, but few centuries passed without any news of them. Perhaps they have settled down and forget about the feud? Babai doesn’t know what happens to that tribe as well, but now he said their descendants are scattered all around Borneo island. Babai was now bed-ridden, but every now and then, my grandma found him waking up at night, around 3.07am, talking to himself in an old ancient language while in trance, performing some ancient martial arts whilst being covered by darkness – moving without shadows, before going back to sleep.
I always go back to my village for holidays. Sometimes I spent around few days there while I am not working. Spending my time there gave me a peace of mind, though sometimes small humans in the form of Leled bereng and Cicisa, my nephew and niece gave me some challenges to continue my afternoon nap. Since they are cute and adorable, I forgive them. I should train them to be my successor in photography, so that I can continue on with what I love most – travelling while photographing peoples all around the world and capture their stories. June is coming, which means, Gawai is coming near as well. I didn’t know the incident during Gawai will change my life and how I see my relationship with my girlfriend, Bel after this. It all began with a Gawai celebration at my village.
Early May, I kept on receiving notification from this unknown number, who does not disclose what her name is. She kept mentioning about promise, promise and promise. All I know about my past relationships did not work out. I had a lot of experiences before, failed relationships I would call it it, before I met Bel. Back then I had nothing – no money, no cars, no house, and not good looking. Most of my money was channelled to my school fee, so there is no chance I am attracting gold diggers. My charm was mainly from guitar since I am not a good singer back then. My current level is presentable, not professional yet. Martial art is not my cup of tea although I love to dance, which is inspired by our ancient people’s martial art. I often heard people dance until they are in trance, and sometimes they can talk about the things in the future, or things in the past. Kind of scary, you know. That unknown number then introduced herself as Bindang, and she said she knows me. That name doesn’t ring a bell. I only know someone by the name of Inda. I check with Bel, does she know her? She doesn’t know either. That is strange. So, I continue on with my life. Life is too precious to be wasted. Don’t waste your time, or time will waste you.
Two weeks to Gawai, preparation is already made. People starts to slowly flocking in at Pasar Serian. There was no COVID-19 to worry about. I already took my three weeks off because I have so much days in my leave bank. My boss is also kind enough to release me until second week of June. That means I am able to go around and do some photography around Serian. Then, 10 days before Gawai, I received a last minute invitation to this wedding. The pay was good as well, I can buy a good old EX-5 with the price. As usual, I am donning my favourite all black attire for the event. The event went on as usual. I noticed someone was kept on staring at me, but I don’t give an attention to it. The person was a lady, short height of about 1.5m roughly, with a bob hairstyle. Judging from her cheongsam-like red dress and a fair white skin, I am guessing she’s a Chinese, but her star-like round brown eyes disagree with me. Filled with curiousity, I pretend to take photo at her table, to which she gladly smile, as if a cat that finally gets its long awaited fish. Normally I am glad when someone smile at me when I point the camera at them, but for her, my gut feeling tells me otherwise. I passed my card to her and she called my name – Del. That means she knows me, or probably someone told her. She introduced herself as Bindang, or in short, Inda. That strikes a bell. I do know Inda. But I never realised she will become a model-like lady. I am always curious, why she looks so familiar. Yes, her face looks exactly like Bel. But why? Bel didn’t tell me she has a twin. Even her sister doesn’t look like her.
After the dinner ends, I was about to leave when Bindang was standing at the exit, right in front of me, asking whether we can go somewhere. My mind went auto-pilot, I reject her invitation because I would need to deliver my client’s picture by the next day, as part of my promise to my client. She did not give up, and invited me again, this time with her hand on my chest. Without losing a beat, I apologise to her and told her again that I can’t go. At the back of my mind, I have no intention to go out one-on-one with someone, especially a beautiful lady like that since I already have my other half, and I need to take care of her feeling as well. I also would not want her to go out with a handsome man late at night, go to who-knows-where doing God-knows-what. She utter no words, but it is clear as day that she is deeply disappointed, but I find that baseless. My gut tells me that there must be something else that drives this, but I just can’t get a finger around it. I drove into the late of night and head back home. Sleeping was the first thing I do when I arrive back home. I was so tired.
At one of the back alley of Serian town, Bindang walks alone. She was being cat-called by naughty boys around the area, but she doesn’t pay attention to them because she knows that they are no threat. Suddenly, one of the boys, drunken, gets up and chase her. She quickly took notice and with one glance, she brought him down, crashed backwards, as if he was shot down with a powerful revolver. But she barely move her arms. They other guys saw what happened and ran away. Their motorcycle, that was in tip top condition, modified to be race worthy, suddenly refused to start. Out of nowhere, there are few strange creature coming out of the exhaust, probably of supernatural origin, that might caused that failure. The creature few off and surround Bindang, where she pets them whilst looking at the boys and gave them a devilish pretty smile. Terrified, and left with no choice, the boys ran off.
Slowly, from a distance, a tall figure approached her with a strong steady gait. She immediately recognised him as her uncle, who she called Amba Jurud, “amba” since he was her mother’s older brother. Amba Jurud noticed that she was not in the good mood, in contrast with him who was in a euphoria, and managed to have some fun with the ladies at Ibiza, before he teleported to Serian for their rendezvous, talking about the plan when stars are aligned. She told him that she did not managed to get me out that night. He didn’t say anything except wishing her luck next time. Without explaining why, he told her to complete her mission before 3rd day of Gawai, because otherwise, someone has to pay the price. That is about 13 days to go. She thanked him for the second chance, and he left, teleported back to where he came from. Anyway, for them, distance is not a matter because they can always connect using “kamang” or spirit, where they can talk in real-time, using only their thoughts after synchronising their energy pattern. A long lost technology, modern man would say.
Tension Builds: The Rejected Love
Back to my life, as a normal Bidayuh boy, I am quite occupied with my pre-Gawai life. Gawai is like a celebration for us Dayaks, be it Iban or Bidayuh. Serian town was busy as usual. I will arrive to Serian town before 6.30am because if I go later, I will not be able to pick the best portion of pork. 9 days to Gawai, while I was washing my car, I suddenly felt like someone is watching me. I looked around, but there was no one. That is strange. Usually my senses never failed me. In fact, it helped me numerous times, and saved me from danger, especially at the jungle. Be it wild animal attack, or car accident, or at work, it is as if I have a third eye behind me. In combat, that would be a huge tactical advantage. Actually, my sense is did not fail me. I sense a strange energy, for the first time, as if the sixth sense was activated by someone for no particular reason. The vibe I am feeling, is the same one that I get when Bindang was around – a charming but deadly vibe, total opposite of Bel’s energy. They might be similar in look, but oh boy, the energy. That is why I am not feeling good when she invited me out last night. I suddenly remembered about my grandfather. My mother told me to go and visit him every now and then. Our house is next to one another. Since I already completd my photography tasks, not much editing is required, I visited him. Strangely, I found him standing on the floor, in a fighting stance. I thought he was bed-ridden? The blue-ish hue enveloping him was faint, but I can sense it. That’s the first time. He was chanting some unnatural mantra when I called him. Startled, he fell back to the floor, as if he doesn’t want me to see him and continue on to his ill-state. I shouted for help, and quickly, my tayok (grandmother in Bidayuh) arrives. She gave him an earful, and that is the time every men would be grateful that they are deaf. Yes, my babai is deaf. Not sure because of the earful or of injury.
I went back home, and look who did I found there – Bindang, or Inda who was sitting on the floor like the best bride-to-be. My mother was charmed by her look and her polite manner. But I am no fool. I can sense a killing intent behind that smile – the one that is willing to do anything to get what she wants. Yes, Inda that I know is like that. Perhaps after 10 years missing, she managed to put her life into perfect pieces and now looking stunning. Perhaps learning lots of trick. After lots of talking, she then reveals her intent to come. She wants me to go with her somewhere, leaving all of this behind, including Bel. She told me we can build a new life at Spain, where her uncle is staying at Ibiza, and I can learn about flamenco and become street photographer there. Wait, I never told her about this? All we did was talking about our past life. Yes, we were close once, but after finished uni, we did not talk to each other. Also, that was the time I met Bel. My life goes on after that. She claimed that she travels a lot after Uni, meeting all the unique personnel oversea. I am pretty sure she went more than just knowing them, thus making me happier to know that we did not pursue our friendship back then to the next level.
Her invitation, while it is exciting, I cannot just leave my current life like this. And therefore, I, once again, rejected her. She did not give up, and she apologies for her wrongdoing in the past and promised to begin anew. I did not understand why there is the sudden interest in me once again, but I cannot accept it. Both of us can move on with our lives and forget we ever meet. She was not happy, and stormed through the doors. My mom who came in with the lunch was puzzled, and asked where she goes. I told her, I have no idea and I am not interested to chase after her because that would gave her false hope. I am not happy because she disrespects the fact that I have a girlfriend already.
She cried in the car, and knowing that her time is running out for that plan, she had no choice. She had to resort to the next method, by force because she knows how stubborn I can be. Before long, my grandma came to us, asking whether that did anyone came around just now because my babai was chanting something. He only does that when there is great danger around. I didn’t know what is the relation of that to Inda’s visit, but I will learn about it soon. I received a text from Inda, this time I know it’s her because she told me it was her number. She told me to get ready, because storm is coming. I thought that was a joke, but I have a bad feeling about it. For the next few days, I receive few texts from her, all with the same message, how she wanted to meet me and talk to me, but I am not sure whether it is genuine or not. So I ignore it until finally two days before Gawai, she sent a smiley with two words – be careful. I thought it was an empty message and then I move on.
Gawai and Prelude to Showtime
It was Gawai time and everyone was so happy. People visiting family and friends all around the state and no one was left behind. I was visiting my uncle’s house one day when he asked me about what happened to my babai. They also heard about babai doing those ancient thingy God-knows-what. He even mentioned about the ancient battle that took place at our village long time ago. I told him that I also heard about that story. He then shown to me an dusty old sword, that he claims belonged to the warrior that ends that battle. I laugh at it because it must be another tall tale of my uncle. He also laughs at it before switching to serious mode, and shown me the hair-strands that was used to decorate the sword. Those were the hair of the fallen warriors, he said. Astonished, I took the picture of the sword. I touched it and in that instant, I had a flashback – where I was surrounded by battle-clad warriors, which I recognised as the ancient Bidayuh warriors costume, the one that not many youngsters want to wear because of the loincloth- for them it is embarrassing. The warriors over there gave me the warrior salute and then shouting our warcry – “tara tara tara”, which was now knowns as beer-cry, shouted before drinking alcoholic beverage. Since when we were downgraded from tough warrior to pot-bellied beer-drinker? I have no idea. As I hold the sword, I felt an immense energy surging in, as if it’s waking up something in me. But out of shock, instinct-based move, I immediately released it. My uncle’s eye was smiling as he observe the incident, knowing what’s coming next, but out of courtesy, he asked me, what happened? I told him that it was nothing and I continue on with my visiting program that day. The incident felt like forever, but it was just an instant. As I drive my white Viva, I kept on getting flash back on the vision that I saw. There was one lady kept on calling me Kuyoi. Why would she call me that?
I casually WhatsApp-ed my father of that name, and he immediateley called me, asking me where did I heard that name? I told him it was from a vision that I encounter just now, though I know my babai always tell me about that story. He then typed a long story about it, which ends with – “be careful”. I just don’t get why a tall tale would end with “be careful?”. Is there something I need to know?
Without me knowing, on hill faraway, on top of a 20-storey high durian tree, there was a girl in an ancient Bidayuh cloth, smiling while holding an energy-based crystal ball, looking at me, who was clueless on what is going to happen next. Obviously she is Inda, who was then speak in a loud voice, “it’s show time”. Four invisible figures scrambles away from the tree, as if they are her four horsemen, except they are adept at jumping from trees to trees, sticking their limbs at the tree by using internal energy as the glue. She teleports away, and drones mid-air, observing the stage of the night, 5km above Pichin for a minute before vanishing out in the thin air. Her time is running out.
At Pichin’s long house, people were gathering to celebrate the first day of Gawai. Usually, 1st June is reserved for family, but for some reason, it was celebrated on 1st June this year. The merry-making goes on until morning, around 7 am if the youths are still able to go on and energetic. Otherwise, the band will stop playing music around 2am. That is why a lot of Bidayuhs like to organise their wedding ceremony at village due to low cost and there is no time limit. All you need to provide is food, drinks and band will keep on playing, with DJ playing music or karaoke whilst the band boys take their rest.
9pm that night, it was the time for YB to speak and address the Gawai-goers, and thanking them for another beautiful year, and the blessing received from God. Inda was among the crowd, looking for an opportunity to start the “show”. There is a lot of peoples there that night. The potion that Amba Jurud gave earlier during their final meeting is glowing in a blue light, just like Cherenkov radiation, except this one does not emit any gamma radiation at all. Inda learned from Amba Jurud that potion was not of this time, so that could only mean he obtained it from another plane of reality. Our five senses can only respond to physical stimuli relative to our reality, but some are gifted with the sixth sense that can detect the unknowns. During that time, I was busy taking photo of peoples at the long house. I don’t want to miss any of those moments. Too beautiful to be missed. Not to forget, the life we have are fleeting. One lost moment, forever it will gone. Time can only flow forward, or so I thought. Inda saw a group of men, drinking outside the longhouse. The longhouse was built 2m above ground. Outside of it is the place where people usually stands since they are quite shy to enter, and the “awah” or “ruai” is usually meant for people to sit and to dance. With a sleight of hand, Inda managed to drop few droplets of the blue potion into the unsuspecting, unlucky guy who was drinking tuak from his cup. Probably aided by her semi-invisibility skills, nobody noticed Inda. She quickly left and head to rendezvous with her four horsemen, which turns out to be her headhunters, or her nickname to them, Pingayu Bihis, or simply “black headhunter”. One of the Pingayu was told to go to the nearby ancient cemetery at Pingeren (old burial ground, full of old, nasty spirits) and wake them up from their long slumber. The second Pingayu was told to dive into the river, to shake the bottom, because there are some of the fallen warriors. The final two was told to barricade the village using energy so that no communication in and out can come, including there was no entry of people because she want the show to be smooth without any interruption. With the help from Amba Jurud’s, all three entry into Pichin was blocked, the road at Parun Binong (Binong Hill) suddenly had an landslide, thus cutting the connection from the south. The other two paths was flooded. Water was slowly rising, and by the time it rose around 11pm, the Gawai goers were already quite drunken and too happy to bother. The guy who drank the potion was not showing any signs, yet, as if it was waiting for the signal from Inda. I was too busy to notice, then I had a headache. As I close my eyes, I had a vision in my mind, the signal is getting stronger, and in my ears someone shouted “wake up, they are coming”. I slowly opened my eyes and looked around me, no one was around me, everyone was busy with their own business, be it joget or dancing, eating or drinking. There are some lonely girls, but it can’t be them. Far in the distance, at my uncle’s house, the ancient sword is shaking, which my uncle noticed and unsheathes while saying, “it is about time”.
The guy who drink the potion, slowly showing signs of craziness. His hand was shaking, while his eye is rolling up. In his mind, there was a clash between the evil spirit and his soul, which his soul is fighting a losing battle as his soul’s control over his body was hijacked by the evil spirit. His body’s energy was getting lower and lower, until finally when the hijack was over, he stops shaking. It is similar to the ancient technique of body control, to create a mindless soldier that will fight according to the bid of the owner. Inda saw all of this from above, for her eyesight is sharp as an eagle. She immediately took control of her first puppet, or she calls it Bujin, for he was possessed by evil spirit. It is not zombie either because he is not dead. The more sinister the Bujin’s handler are, the more evil they will become. They are no doubt the best killing machine. His friends laugh at him. Then he gave them a deadlystare – his eyes turned red – before Inda gave the command to him, “Bujin, engage”. Bujin #1 then starts to rage around the area, shouting and shouting while calling for Del. That time I was not aware, I thought it was another crazy drunken guy making some trouble, which is quite normal. RELA on-duty tried to calm him down, but since he was mind-controlled, there is no way he is going to stop. Telephatically, Inda spoke to me these words, “since you rejected me, now I am going to make you pay”. I immediately recognise that voice and the dark vibe that it emits, and to my horror, I saw it – I saw Bujin #1 that was soaked in blood, he managed to bite off the RELA guards flesh while they were trying to console him down. To make things worse, his saliva contains the blue potions, that I can see dripping from his shirt. The RELA guard, infected by blue potion, was slowly mind controlled as well, turning him into Bujin. Before the outburst of the Bujins, I immediately had this vision, “go get that sword”. I noticed it was a warm, calming voice and relaxing vibe, it was from my babai. However, before I managed to go there, there was already few Bujins around, who was stopped temporarily as they walk in front of the cross. I get the idea that those Bujins might be some possessed peoples, so I grab that cross and make my way to the nearest microphone. The band boy was no longer playing music because they were panicked as well. In a loud voice, I told them to take out any cross and probably holy water to ward of the Bujins. They crowd froze for a while, and I have to repeat myself again. Only then they took action. It was so fortunate that the night was the night of “Nantang Jule”, so the cross can be found on the “awah” (berandah). Those Bujins took notice of this, then they retreat outside for a while before they were joined together by a dark figure emerging from the river. That dark figure, with his long dark arms, hold each of the Bujin’s head, and yell some ancient, unknown words. Some of the really old people at the village heard this and she exlaimed, “mera tamang neh, bala Bujin mandug”, which translated to oh my goodness, the Bujins army are coming. The upgraded Bujins were no longer appear humanlike, because their body is emitting a black smoke from their now pale, muscular skin, and no longer has shirt, but has loincloth, their hairs are long, sharp teeth like a piranha’s teeth, and now has their fingernails are replaced with sharp claws. These Bujins look like a creature out of horror movie. They are standing outside, waiting for something.
It was 5 minutes to midnight. Inda contacted me once again, “still don’t want to give-up?” I looked up to the sky, and noticed that she was floating up high in the sky, with blood-red moon as it background, looking at me with her red eyes, pale-skinned face and long black hair. Still lovely, but now she’s the mistress of evil. There was nothing sweet about that. I realisd my heart was glowing, a bright yellow light. I was shocked to see it, I had lots of vision after that. Time moves slowly, as if the time stops. Within that moment, I saw what happened at the battle of Kuyoi – how that battle was so much similar with the Bujins before my eyes. I learned that Kuyoi was actually fighting an army of the dark warriors, the untold truth of the legend. It was then I had a vision that I was speaking to Kuyoi, to which he explained about the rival tribe have made us, the descendants of Kuyoi his sworn enemy, and not even death can end it. It can only be going on and on until the end of time, or until someone broke the chain of terror. He said only love can break the chain. He holds my hand and immediately I can feel an energy surging inside me, and that instance also I learned about the past love life of Kuyoi, where he had a girlfriend, Kumang that looks exactly like Inda, and my Bel. Kumang also have a twin sister, Kara, but Kuyoi chose Kumang over her because she is more caring than her, more of a wife material. Kumang and Kara is like Yin and Yang, the other one is angelic, while Kara is devilish. Kara went to Bukit Sematan, Pulau Sumatera and the mountain behind old Java city, to learn the ways of the ancient shaman. She rejected worldly pleasure and concentrate her inner energy to learn dark arts, one of it is body possessions through contact with the genies, which was called Bujin. Bujin’s method makes a perfect killing machine. She just have to capture peoples, then brainwash them using the Bujin technique and voila, she has an army. She then collaborated with Kuyoi’s archnemesis, Kodoi, to take down Kuyoi. The attempted few series of battle around Pichin area, but because Pichin had an elite pingayu “headhunters” that can teleport, invincible, and has strong spirit sword, they can deal with Bujin’s threat easily. Because of this, Kodoi was not happy. He gathers his elite warriors, he called Kodoi Pingayuh, the best of the best from his warriors, 10,000 strong army, to storm Kuyoi’s longhouse. However, Kuyoi has a battle plan, for the Oracle, Tayung Kolok gave him a vision in the future and he will prevail if he does the thing she advised. Kuyoi was not alone, he was supported by two wise shaman, Babuk Kolok and Babuk Botak, to deal with the spiritual warfare. Both Babuk Kolok and Babuk Botak forged an enchanted sword, called Buran Bereng to deal with the dark arts. On the day itself, Kuyoi and his team of 50 elite warriors managed to deal with the 10,000 Bujins in an all-out warfare at the place called Padang Damba, where there lies the old grave – a haunted place. However, the Bujins are still there despite the flesh decaying, waiting to be risen again by the descendents of Kara and Kodoi. Inda is the direct reincarnation of Kara, and due to that, she has the strongest spiritual force that allows her to use the Bujin spells, to create more Bujins.
In my spiritual conversation with Kuyoi, I learned that the yellow glow of energy from my heart was due to the energy of Kuyoi resonates well with me, and that in return gave me an extra energy, thus unlocking the inner energy within me, allowing me to teleport myself, using his invincibility, superhuman strength and even energy blast. But all of this can be unlocked if I have Buran Bereng sword. I told him, I know where it is, and he wished me luck. Before departing, he told me that once I unlocked his power, I can also spiritually enhance few other persons to be my warriors, four at a time. But most of it depends on my skill in playing the light-arts, the only counter to the dark arts used by Kara’s descendents. Then, slowly time moves until it went back to present speed. I learned so much in that short amount of time. But my body is still cold, the energy is yet to be unlocked. I am doomed.
Back to present time, Inda then yelled, attack! Her Bujins rushed to the longhouse, and without mercy, they slash around and attacked the people at the longhouse whilst making their way to me. Horrified, I ran away to the direction my gut feeling tells me. It tells me to run to my uncle’s house at the middle of the village, near the old hall or “Balu Damba”. I saw him there, and then I ran at my top speed. The Bujins are still terrorising the longhouse, where people are having merry making. Armed by guns, some of the people shot the Bujins. This of course only inflict minor damage to Bujin, and without mercy, Bujin stabs those innocent peoples and tossed them aside, only to be risen again as Lesser Bujins in less than a minute. Majority of the peoples ran away from Awah Gawai. The festival turns into a bloody feast, where those Bujins terrorising the town. It was only the beginning.
Bujin Strikes The Village
Seeing the people fleeing, and currently numbered 3000, the Bujins wanted to pursue the fleeing peoples, but they were stopped by Inda. Without saying anything, she instructed the Pingayu Bihis to upgrade the new Bujins into battle-ready attire because they want to wage a war. From the distance, the earth was shaking as if there was a huge army coming. Indeed, an army came, army of darkness, where Pingayu Bihis leads the army of the undead, numbering in 5000. From the look of it, those are the general infantry of the ancient warriors, wielding long swords and a shield, made from “tahas” a thick wood of Borneo rainforest. There from the river, another group of undead rose from the depths of the river. These group are properly armored, with their body made from thick calcium material, enough to nullify a direct sword attack from a normal infantry. Their other hands is their dangerous claws, their secret weapon, inspired by the crabs of the depths. The eyes of these Bujins are red. In total, there are 10000 in total.
Once gathered, Inda gave them an instruction to find Del and bring him to her – dead or alive. The Bujin shouts loudly before they marched slowly to the village, killing anyone on their paths. Their first victims were the peoples at the longhouse, no one was spared. It was a terrifying sight. The night of merry-making turns into a massacre, all due to rejected love. But there are more story to it, more than just being rejected.
Back to my story, I was about to grab the sword when someone dashed in panic and knocks the sword from my uncle’s hand. I struggled to get it back without being trampled by the oncoming peoples rushing away from the Bujins. Bujin did no move fast, but there are cruel and brutal. They are beyond redemption, and there is no way to defeat without killing them, to cut their head like how headhunters do. Pingayu Bihis noticed that I was trying to wield Buran Bereng, then he shot me from afar with his blowpipe. I fell down and I screamed in pain. It was a terrible pain, but I am still alive, except the injury at my right leg. I was unable to stand-up, then he jumped up high in the sky and land his left leg directly on top of my chest. I was supposed to be dead due to that injury, but thanks to the glow that was activated before it hits me, I survived. I am no longer in control of my body, my vision is getting blur and finally it fades to white.
The peoples around me saw the sword Buran Bereng flies to my hand, as if is being attracted to my hand in near-death experience. In that split second that seems to last forever, I transformed into a warrior, closely resembling Kuyoi, the one that I met in my vision. Moonlight that night turns into white, and it beams upon me. I was enveloped in blue aura, weilding a sword and a shield at my back. I saw Pingayu Bihis right in front of me, looking puzzled at my transformation. Probably he was wondering, from where did I get such strength. I am also not sure myself. Once the transformation completed, I hovers in place for a while, as if I had the ability to float in the sky. I looked straight into the eye of Pingayu Bihis, I only saw darkness. But he can’t stand my sight and stepped back. Before he even moved, I punched him in the face, cracking his mask, and it was revealed that he was only bones, moved by the spirit of hatred. But the damage he inflicted was real. Again, time stops as I receive another transmission from my babai. He was awake the whole time, observing us through his force field. He told me to quickly dispatch the undead using my sword. With a swing of my sword, I managed to down around 50 Bujins. It was a powerful sword indeed, and I am yet to master my movements.
I noticed that some of the spears came flying to me, to which I dodged easily. With an energy blast, I managed to create a big hole that swallows the Bujin, thus buying me sometime to reinforce my force.
I quickly gathers a group of 50 able bodied men, and told them my plan to strike back. They were hesitant at first, but since time is running out, I asked them to form a circle while holding hands. I then transferred some of my spiritual energy to them, empowering them with my energy and in that instance, transforming them to become my warriors to fend off the Bujin. I told them to hold the ground and help to protect the peoples while I teleport to the longhouse. When I arrived there, I noticed that almost all of the peoples there fell victim to the Bujins tyranny and brutality. It was such a sad sight. These Bujins are not also brutal, but they are hungry as well, and they feast on human flesh. I can’t imagine the horror that I saw for it only angers me. I am sad, and I cried profusely because I know they only came there to have some fun, not to become the food of Bujin. I saw one familiar tiny little shoe, and I know to it belongs to. I didn’t expect him, so young and so little, with life full of hope but ended up becoming food of the Bujin. Out of anger and sadness, I shout my lungs out and dashed back to the village in a speed of light. I slashed Bujins that I encounter along the way.
My body is full of energy, and I am angry, that I know I can take down anyone there. Quickly, I counted the Bujins in front of us, they are only numbered 3000. That means there are some more around the village, terrorising the village. I told 10 of my warriors to scout around while we hold of the majority of the Bujins. The 3000 made some noise in front, that we forgot the Bujins are also coming from the back, stealthily, We lose sight of them, but then we have to fight even though we are outnumbered. The surviving peoples, numbered by around 3000 are severely injured as well, and unable to fight. They were guided to the nearest hall by my warriors, where my warriors tried to defend them from the outside. The hall was surrounded by trees and a field, thus making it easy for us to dispatch off the Bujins using guerrilla method. The first wave lasted until 2am. It was only few hours to daylight.
The Battle of Pichin:
The Bujins came slowly and surround the hall. My warriors found some of them sneaking at other peoples houses, but I can easily kill them off thanks to my teleport ability and I am able to sense my remaining team. However, suddenly, there was a huge tremor at the land. I looked in the distance and I saw one huge creature emerging from the river. I am pretty sure it was large. Telephatically, Babai told me it was Kidumbak, the ancient creature of terror, the one that causes the flood when it pees into the river. Seems like Inda is bringing all of the ancient creatures of terror into life. Or perhaps she was out of idea. I brought four of my warriors to fight it off. The first round was easy because it has soft thick skin. But then it was revived by Inda, and this time, with some upgrade, thicker armour-like skin. It took us some time to figure out the weak connections between the armour. We used that weak connection to kill it off and before it was even resurrected, we destroys its head using an energy blast from our hands.
Far in the distance, I heard one scary sound, it was the sound of death, the sound that was being made by the graveyard owl, the one that signifies death in Bidayuh culture. Then, I noticed there was a dark, huge figure flying at the sky. It was Sikuang, the bird of death. It rained death upon us, for those who touched it will immediately die. The Bujin was impacted, but as long as the magic is still active, Bujin will not die. I unleashed my inner levitation ability, and fights off Sikuang. The battle was complicated because Sikuang is agile and I am not used to fight in the sky, but I noticed, with every battle, I am getting better with my combat skills. Sikuang was finally defeated by my energy blast, that I shot in surprise because it did not expect someone would teleport beneath its soft belly. Poor bird. It came crashing down to the pool of Mang Iri.
Suddenly, there was a strong light shining from a distance and the shining figure flies toward me, before stopping. It was Inda. She asked me whether I like the game or not. Angrily, I told her, killing innocent people is not a game. It is a massacre. She just laugh it off, a response befitting a queen of terror. She told me, that is how the battle between Kara and Kuyoi was. I am not surprised when she told me that. I want to end it immediately, so I dashed towards her. Her Pingayu Bihis jumps in front of me, trying to stop me from my tracks. The it began the battle of Pingayu Bihis and Reincarnated Kuyoi.
Initially it was a sword duel between four to one, but in the end, it was just mixed martial art combat. It was not easy to fight the undead, especially when every now and then Bujin will come and interrupt our duel, which I can dispatch easily with my energy blast. So far, the Bujins did not make any move to the hall because of my warriors are guarding it. My other warriors managed to kill off the Bujins that are terrorising the village.
Exhausted, I muster all of my energy to finish off the last Pingayu Bihis. It worked! However, the spirits of Pingayu Bihis combined and formed an even stronger Pingayu. I am shocked to see it. They are even scarier than before. They spoke in four tones, as if they are four-in-one warrior. I am not scared of you, I told them. We fought, but then we interrupted by Inda telling me to give up and join her. In that moment she told me why all of this happens, telepathically to my mind. It was because she wants to obtain the spirit of Kuyoi that resides in me, which is the key to unlock the strongest power mortal can ever achieve. She has the dark side of the energy, thanks to Kara, while I have the light side of the energy. Together, they are undefeated. She then continue on that Amba Jurud, is a direct descendant to Kodoi, thus making them the perfect duo to collaborate for their desired goal. While were are it, she then confessed that she is actually the biological twin to Bel, which is surprising because Bel doesn’t know either. It was later revealed that they were separated at birth, even without Bel’s parents knowing. That explains why they look so similar. Because of the white aura that Bel emits, that actually makes me attracted to her more than to Inda, the emitter of dark aura. No wonder feel disgusted when I sense the killing intent earlier on.
I cut the chatter and told her I want to end this, once and for all. She agrees, and she told me to meet at the old war ground, where Kuyoi fought Kodoi’s warrior long time ago. Then, they vanished. I looked at my warrior, now numbering only 39, because the other 11 was killed in action, thanks to those Bujins. I look at the survivors, and I noticed my cousins are there: Didoi, Rangew, Togi, Pau, Cibam, Angap, Jobian, Baby. I did not feel KP just now, but I can sense her energy in a distant away, along with Leled and Cicisa. I was relieved. I told my cousins to hold my arm because I want to share my energy. Probably in response to the Kuyoi’s DNA in us, each of them has their own unique ability. The most useful one is Rangew with his high-speed move, Didoi with superhuman strength and the rest has some mix in between speed and strength. Togi, Pau and Cibam has healing ability.
Once we are ready, all healed up, we head to the final battle field. When I passed by the longouse, now painted in blood red, I took some of the blood and use it to write some ancient script on the ground. I summoned the Death Angel, hoping to revive them back. But it was too late. None of them are able to be revived, but they are at a better place now, far from the pains of the earth.
At the final battle ground, I bring my team of 48 including myself to the team of 7000, where the other 3000 was killed prior to that. Among the 7000, there are 100 elite warriors that we need to be careful with. I share my energy with my team, but it seems that is the last time I can share it with them. I have to end this battle quickly. My team of 48 was not the best fighter, but because they are going to avenge their fallen loved ones, they are willing to die. Among them I saw some familiar faces such as Gugik, Alen, Oni, Pusik, Teten, Adum, Tata, Kubil, Utui, Ricoi, Ijon, Pakeng, Braud, Calis and the sumo Bidayuh, Abang. We don’t care what will happen, but we will prevail. With the warcry of Tara, Tara, Tara, returning our fighting spirit instead of beer-drinking chant, we charge towards the 7000. The 7000 marched slowly towards us. They might be fast, but we have on upper hand because we have Buran Bereng, the magical sword. Inda noticed that and she summons the magical creature called Mirahak to steal the sword from me. I fought valiantly, but her minions managed to snatched it away from me. She broke it into two. Our morale dropped, but we still fight ferociously. I was disheartened, but realising what is at stake, I do not want to give up easily. I am bruised, I am scarred, I am hurt, but I will not give up. Subconsiously, knowing what is at stake, it awoke the final form of Kuyoi in me, the one that trancends the power given by Buran Bereng to me. With that new-found energy, we managed to reduce the force from 7000 to 1000. Form that 1000, it was not an easy fight because they are the elites of Inda. It took us a long while to battle, until the cock crows, signifying daylight. That is when we are leading. But Inda, being a smart lady, she reversed the time and returns the time to 4am. We were not so lucky. With one last push, we managed to kill them off until finally only Inda left. But there was a huge price to pay. Out of 48, only 9 survives including me, the one that carries the blood of Kuyoi.
Epilogue: Gawai Resumes
When cornered, Inda told me she loves me and the usual stuff. I put an energy sword at her neck and asked her to reverse the time to earlier that night, restores back the life of the people that was lost, erase their memories of all this, when none of this happens. She refused initially because it is too hard to her to do. But I forced her. Then, with her last remaining energy, she used it to redeem herself. She fells to the ground and out of the blue, Bel appears, caught her before she touches the ground. I looked in the distance, the village was restored. The red barrier that covers the village was removed. Inda looks so tired, because the ritual took a lot of her energy. Bel gave her something to eat, thus restoring her energy, but not her power. She lost her power, and now she is a normal person. It seems like the one that was not affected by the time reversal was only me, Bel and Inda. We were left on an empty field, the place where the final battle took place, but now is an empty land, untouched. Bel told me that she suddenly has a power surge probably due to her connection with Inda, which she learns that she is her twin sister. Inda told Bel that she likes me, to which Bel mentioned, don’t be ridiculous, he’s mine. I cannot help but to laught hearing that. However, our joy was cut short when I was caught by surprise by Amba Jurud, who was devastated to know his plan did not work. It was his plan all along. Amba Jurud then came from the sky like a rocket-powered bird, his falcon-like winds, and stab my chest with his dagger. Due to the impact, I fell to the ground but I managed to rise up and pull his dager. Luckily, it did not hit the vital spot. Armed with the newly activated power, I am ready to fight Amba Jurud as the Gawai song was playing in the background by band Paluh Japon, Pichin’s popular band.
Bring it on, Jurud!
To be continued…
Note: Claudius Weson is a “tukang rantek” (photographer in Bidayuh Pichin) based in Miri, mainly doing portraiture (indoor / studio / outdoor photoshoot), weddings and event photography.
© Claudius Weson Photography (2020). All rights reserved.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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