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Vampire vs. Shakchunnin

'It's 2 am in the morning and live from the airspace of Russia, not West, East, or South, this is Mamdo Bhoot…”

“And the Wicked Witch of the West on my broom. It's pitch-black and freezing, but that doesn't seem to be affecting today's racers! They're both psyched and… hey, is the Shakchunni flirting with our Vampire?”

“Indeed she is. Mr. Vamp doesn't look too flattered though. The West appears to have sent one of its best, the Vampire, to prove its worth against the Subcontinent. South Asia isn't taking this lightly either. To face off against the blood-sucker, it has sent forth its very own soul-sucker, the Shakchunni!”

“Who is seriously creeping out the Vampire. What's he scared for? She looks a lot like me, doesn't she? Look at that pretty nose. I wonder if we're related.”

“Focus, Witch. This competition isn't just running; barriers unlike anything either has faced before await them in the harsh landscapes of Russia. They have taken their positions, the Shakchunni still more focused on the Vampire than the whistle, which is about to blow…

“It's blown and they're off! It's plain land here for the moment, and what's this? The Vampire's fallen behind!”

“It's the cape, Witch. Air resistance. And the coat isn't helping. Couldn't he have dressed more comfortably? It's a race!”

“At least he looks like a gentleman. Your Shakchunni is hardly decent. Oh! They're coming upon their first obstacle! It's a mass of humans! The males are armed with wooden stakes, and the girls all have their hair down. The Shakchunni is slowing down; the long unbound hair has caught her attention. CAN she push down her jealousy and keep her cool?”

“She can't! She stopped to feed on their souls! The Vampire could
pull ahead now… but no! They've both given in to temptation and he's whirling past the stakes to get to the men's blood. Nice footwork there. The Shakchunni is almost done, it takes time to drain a soul; but so is the Vampire! They're back on track, and the Vamp is no longer being held back by the cloak, courtesy of the stakes. They're moving fast towards the next hindrance, which is a cliff, with jagged rocks below.”

“It's a long way down.”

“The Vampire isn't letting up! Is he going to jump?”

“Hardly. He turned into a bat! He'll fly down. He won't be flying all the way though; bats aren't exactly fast. Even so, he's leaving the Shakchunni behind as she climbs down the treacherous rock face. The Vampire has landed, turned back into humanoid form, and he's running again. He's leaving her in the dust!”

“The Shakchunni has finally touched ground, and she's rushing to catch up. Her chances are slim, but she's gaining! This is one fast woman! She might actually level with him before the finish line, but could it be? The Vampire's slowing! The Shakchunni has reached… overtaken him…”

“She leaps over the river and it's a mad dash to the finish line and… No! The Shakchunni has crossed the finish line! Oh no! The victor is certain and it's the Shakchunni! What happened? Where's our Vampire?”

“The Vampire is still standing on the other side of the river. Of course! Vampires can't cross running water!”

“He's not happy. He's calling for a man-to-woman fight! Calling the Shakchunni a cheater and that this race was a sham! The Shakchunni is going back to him. Has she accepted the challenge? She has! She doesn't have blood and he doesn't have a soul! We're looking at a stalemate, folks.”

“No we're not! The sun's coming up. The Vampire has stopped grappling with the Shakchunni. He's running away before he gets fried! The Shakchunni is undeterred by the sunlight, and has given chase! Well, the winner is clearly the Shakchunni in both challenges. That's the end of it. South Asia wins, Witch.”

Note: The general image of the Shakchunni views her as a waterside spirit, but some stories say she has a body of her own. She possesses pretty girls and drains their souls 'cause she's ugly and hates the image she sees reflected at her from the water surface.

By Professor Spork
Illustration: Sarwat Yunus

Bangladeshi vampire

Bangladesh is one place where the vampire - an iconic member of the horror world has always been overshadowed by the overwhelming population of our local bhoots. Thus the Bangladeshi vampire unlike its counterparts in other countries never enjoyed the spotlight it truly deserves. So how would a Bangladeshi vampire look like? The only similarity between vampires all over the world is that they all suck blood. That leaves a lot of room for clothing, modus operandi and method of destruction.

Clothing: A Bangladeshi vampire should preferably sport local clothing. That would be a grameen-check lungi, a white vest on top and a typical gamcha around his neck. He should wear black socks and sponge sandals as footwear. This type of clothing should ensure that everyone thinks he is the typical Mofiz hanging around in the streets.

Sucking schedule: The Bangladeshi vampire needs to suck blood for survival but that doesn't mean he is prepared to get mugged at night. Obviously nighttime is not the right time for him and that means he has to hunt in broad daylight. Probably a special potion from Blade will enable him to do this but he can still buy sunglasses from the footpath for extra eye protection.

Teeth: Using the canines for blood sucking is too inefficient for our local blood suckers. Instead they should have the incisors at the front for their special dietary needs.

Apotropaics: Jackfruit or even its smell should be able to harm or ward off our local vampires. Our vampires should also be afraid of kitchen markets and the smell of rotting fruits and vegetables associated with them.

Destruction: So how do you kill a Bangladeshi vampire? Wood would be too expensive to use for staking and deforestation for the sake of making stakes is not a viable option right now. The Bangladeshi vampires' strength should lie within the red gamcha around his neck and all you have to do is to take it off and plunge it in the murky water of the Buriganga River. The water is so polluted that it should kill the vampire instantly. The Dhaka based killing method should irk non-Dhakaities reading this but everyone has to admit how everything in this country is already Dhaka centric. Plus the bustling metropolis and its gargantuan population should provide a happy hunting ground for our vampires.

By Nayeem Islam
Illustration: Sarwat Yunus

Zombie vs Rakkhosh

The most current Western fad is a Zombie apocalypse. What with new diseases popping up every couple of years, and Hollywood movies capitalising on that fear, the average Western teen's dread of Zombies is second only to their terror of Skynet. But hey, we have an ace up our sleeves. Dear readers, please allow me to introduce the Rakkhosh.

Man Eater
Smart, savvy, mischievous and utterly charming, Rakkhosh are everything you want your dream monster to be. Yes, they are charming… as in, they can do magic. Dire enemies of man, these guys will eat you the first chance they get. Other than fine dining, their interests lie in the region of disrupting religious ceremonies and tricking priests and the common man in very vicious ways. They also have an excess of body parts. See, they are shape changers and can give themselves ten heads and very strong, very real extra arms.

Let it be noted that the above are the mythological Rakkhosh and that we have discarded the “hau, mau, khau, manusher gondho pau” type of Rakkhosh, because frankly, they are crude and have no class. Also, they are invincible. We decided to be fair to the brainless dead bodies and give them something more substantial and killable to work with. Not that we think it may help.

Dead Man Walking
As any avid Zombie fan will you tell you, Zombies, too, are of two types. The African and Haitian voodoo suggests that Zombies are reanimated dead bodies under the direct will of a wizard. These guys are slow and are basically a way to avoid hard labour by some lazy fat guy in a robe and pointy hat. Or knowing the African shamans, a loincloth, a mask and body paint. Honestly, we find the fast moving, virus-infected, totally remorseless and sometimes quite intelligent Zombies of the modern world a much bigger challenge.

Hero of the story
Well, pitch these two factions in battle and you have an amazingly close fight. One bite from the unrelenting Zombie attackers, the Rakkhosh goes down. But like we said, the Rakkhosh has a lot of arms. That means proportionate number of weapons. So if you take just one of them, with an AA-12 shotgun in one hand, a sniper rifle in another and a LMG in a third hand and a couple of katanas thrown in among the rest of the arms busy reloading the guns, s/he could hold up a Zombie army for quite some time. As you know, Zombies are very sensitive in the head department. They lose their heads and it's down one Zombie.

Of course, one might argue that the Zombies generally overwhelm the victims. And once one Rakkhosh is turned, with all its smartness, won't it be a great danger for the others? But you forget, Rakkhosh are shape shifters and magicians. Can you imagine the stealth and sabotage possibilities? One can turn into a tree when things look bad. He can even make himself look like a Zombie. Or fly away.

Also, you may remember that Rakkhosh enjoy human meat. They don't mind it spoiled either. So if you are a Rakkhosh and you are facing a Zombie attack, it's like being assaulted by roast chicken. Bon apetit!

By Dr Who


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