67th Banawe St.

For me, life was a whirlwind of lights and smoke, music and men. I lived in a beaten up shanty close to North EDSA, crammed in a closet-like room with a bunch of other woman. We slept on mats on the dirt floor and shared the space with mange-infested dogs, flea-bitten cats and cockroaches. My wardrobe consisted mostly of skimpy skirts, tank tops and the cheapest high heels you can buy in Quiapo.

After a hard night at the bars of dancing and exposing myself, sometimes spending time in a back room with a heavily drunk man and my eyes like a dead fish staring at the ceiling, I earned enough cash to go to the thrift shop. The weather in Manila had become chilly at night, and I needed a sweater.

I took a walk down a few streets that smelled of garbage and human urine mixed with the smog from jeepneys, tricycles and trucks that never ended. It wasn’t long before I found a street lined with second-hand clothes, undoubtedly from American charities but somehow grabbed by greedy merchants looking to make extra pesos.

The sweater was like a pearl in murky waters as it lay neatly on top of a bunch of tattered, motley clothes. Wondering how someone had not yet bought it, I quickly took it in my hands and studied the richness of the fabric. It was as soft as a rabbit’s fur and just as warm. Across its front was a large pouch where you could put your hands into for warmth, and that’s where I found the note on a crumpled piece of yellowed paper. It smelled like the section of a library where ancient books could be found. Dust and dank. On the paper where scrawled the words:

Where: 67th Banawe Street
Pay: One thousand pesos a night.
Job: Lie on the bed. From 11pm to 3am, keep your eyes shut. Never open them. Past 3, your money will be on the dresser.

Banawe Street. The note did not say which city, but I recalled the name of a street in Quezon City that one of my roommates used to visit for a client. It was where the more upper class people lived.

I stuffed the note in my pocket and paid the merchant. Only thirty pesos, not bad. The sweater was wonderful on my skin and made me glow like a snowflake. I felt like one of those young starlets on our local Kapamilya TV network. And in my pocket was the promise of an easy, high-paying job. Those came so rarely. I must admit that, even if the job seemed sketchy, the promise of a thousand pesos a night was tempting. I could get myself out of my situation. Maybe go to college. Find a real job.

After a lot of asking and searching, I found the house that night. 67th Banawe Street was in desolate condition, even if it was in an upper class neighbourhood with many closed shops and lightless low-rise apartments. A single story house surrounded by a short wire fence. Yard unkempt, weeds stuck up like tousled hair. Boards moulded, loose, shingles chipped, paint faded. Windows cloaked with dust. Still it was a hundred times better than the shanty I slept in. The light of the patio was on as I approached, and when I knocked, the door opened as if ajar.

I called hello. No answer. The interior smelled aged and sour, like wet laundry left in the wash for days. I stepped inside, leaving the door slightly open so the light from the patio can illuminate my way. The floor felt as if it might give way beneath my weight. I felt the walls pressing in on me, heavy and damp. The place reminded me of a body they had found in the sewage canal close to where I lived. Bloated and bruised, deteriorated. I passed the dark living room. There was a TV, a battered couch. A coffee table with an ashtray and some empty cans. The room reeked of cat urine and dried faeces. No one there. I attempted to turn on some light switches but found them useless. I turned away and headed down a hallway, noticing a pale light glowing beneath a closed door.

I called again. Absolute silence. I clasped the handle and pushed, ignoring the greasy residue it left on my palm. I found a single bed covered in drab sheets, one dresser beside it with a digital clock. It illuminated the time strongly through the darkness.

10:50pm.

Feeling disturbed, I might have turned away. The house was empty. I admit I thought the job was just going to be another man looking for a quick fix, but now I was curious. It didn’t seem that way, and the uncertainty of it unnerved me. But still, one thousand pesos was too good to pass. I needed to find out if it were true.

I lay on the bed with the note in my hands, facing the glow of the clock.

10:54.

I listened. The house made no sound. Muffled as if a hand lay over it. I felt afraid but excited.

10:56.

My heart throbbed from my chest, through my throat, in my head. I imagined the ticking of a clock, tried to match my heart with its beat.

10:59.

I shut my eyes and waited.

11 came. I knew with my eyes closed because the change in the atmosphere was immediate. I was not alone. My eyes were shut, yet I felt it. So close to my face, the minute hairs on my forehead tingled. It breathed. Tight, stressed, as if forced to breathe only from its nose. I felt the air warm the area just above my lips. I smelled it. A sour smell, like pickled gums, and there was something else. Pungent, thick, sweet. The smell of blood.

I resisted the urge to gag. Seconds turned to minutes, and still the presence lingered against my face. My body suffered, paralyzed with fear. I felt every strained breath. In. Out. Slow, afraid. I felt the slightest itch on my body. Prickles against my legs, bites up my thighs, behind my back and neck. Sweat creeping, crawling, brushing upturned hairs and begging me to scratch and move. I didn’t. Bones ached, muscles wept. My heart. My heart struggled like a sparrow caught in someone’s hands.

The presence continued its steady closeness to my face. My forehead glittered with sweat and now began to throb. My nose pricked, twitched. I wondered if it saw that. Even my eyelids sweated, my eyes behind them stiff, shot, scared. Hiding behind lids like frightened children in a closet.

The smell relented. My lungs resisted its entry, asking for me to turn my head away, escape from such a foul smell. Yet I could not. Every part of my body was frozen so long as the thing stared into my face.

Never open them.

My hands still clutched the note. As long as I kept my eyes closed, I thought, nothing could happen to me.

I analyzed the letter in my mind. Repeated those three words. Never open them. Again, ten times. Uncountable times. Stealing myself to start my next move.

I breathed. A long inhale. Sourness and the sickly smell of blood swamped my lungs. I gagged. Coughed. And then I turned. I turned away into the bed, curled myself, fetal-like, eyes clamped shut like vices. And when I relaxed, I felt it. Still there, a hair’s width away from my face. It was hovering, floating! How could the thing have moved with me? I did not feel any weight on the bed during the transition, any sign to suggest that it had crawled over me, moved beside me, and refocused itself against my face.

I allowed a few minutes to pass before I tried again. I moved, slowly, deliberately, sensing it against my face. And it moved with mine, smoothly, soundlessly, until I was completely on my back. My face, eyes shut, staring straight up. The thing looking down upon me, relentlessly. I grimaced, knit my brows, sweated. I wanted to bat at it, but I could not. I was too afraid. All I could clutch on to was the promise that this could end. I waited, ached. Sweated, prayed. It stayed with me. Always there. I could not sleep.

3am.

The digital clock alarmed, and just like that, I was released. The thing that had looked on at my face for four hours was gone. I did not immediately open my eyes. I waited until the sweat on my brows became cold and dry. I listened to my body unlock, one by one, like a warden walking through a prison, releasing the prisoners cell by cell. I could breathe again. My heart pumped, bold and strong. I felt my fingers, the warmth on my skin. I yearned to stretch and let life sizzle through every part of me.

I opened my eyes. One thousand pesos lay on the dresser. One thousand pesos for the horror I had endured. I took it and did not look back as I left.

A week had passed since the night I spent there. Although my money was gone now, spent over things I can’t even remember, the memories from that night had not. Not a moment went by where I wasn’t thinking of the thing that had breathed so close to my face. Could I have been imagining it? Perhaps my fears had been so strong, my mind had created something to justify it. But my senses could not have been tricking me. I smelled it, blood and sour rank. I felt it, warm breath on my face. Who had left the money? What was the presence I felt? And, the question that caused me the most dread: What would have happened if I had opened my eyes?

My return to the house was no longer just for money, but answers.

The evening I returned, I noticed that nothing had changed. The only difference from the first time I had been there were the bed sheets, still crumpled from my use. The effervescent light from the clock was resolute, like a statue’s stern gaze, almost punishing as I lay on the bed.

Just a few seconds before 11pm, I shut my eyes.

The thing appeared close my face exactly on the second. This time my fears were replaced by a studious curiosity. I noticed that right before it arrived, I did not sense anyone walk into the room. Its appearance was fluid, soundless, as if it had materialized from thin air. The thick smell of blood and sourness were consistent with the first time. I turned my head slowly left and right, and every movement was mirrored perfectly by it. Like studying yourself in a mirror, your reflection so close to your face, you could fog it with the breath from your nostrils.

I dared to do the one thing I had not the last night I was here. I brought my hands up to my face, cautiously, feeling my bones creak beneath the tense muscle and cold skin, the sweat building on my frightened palm and fingers. As my hands reached close, they stopped. Protested. Hesitated. My heart banged like wild mice in a cage. I grimaced, summoning all my courage, eyes sweating behind the lids, temples pounding. My hands moved again. The unseen presence continued its breathing, steady, undaunted. Unmoving.

My fingers touched something. I stopped. Every part of my body froze. I could not breathe. The blood on my face swelled as I choked on fear. The breathing from the thing changed. It grew raspy, excited. Its putrid breath hit my face more powerfully. I could not tell my fingers to move. They stayed where they were, paralyzed, touching it. The length of time that passed after, I could not recall, my mind too swamped in fear. All I could remember was that, at last, the lock down of my mind had subsided enough for my fingers to try and comprehend what it was touching.

Hair. Sticky and cold.

My heart banged. My fingers moved, slightly. I felt the firmness of a scalp beneath the hair. The thing continued to breathe as if enthused. Somehow I had managed to detach myself from the paralyzing terror of my body, and now I was moving my fingers like a puppeteer would to his marionette. They followed the curve of the scalp, lowered until I felt skin. The skin felt torn and jagged, and the sticky fluid was thicker there. My fingers passed the broken skin, and now I was palpating what felt like flesh. The flesh of chopped beef parts in the market, sticky and soft.

I lowered my hands. My heart thumped so hard, I thought I might die of heart failure. I was too scared to continue the investigation. It felt like… like I had been touching a severed head.

3am.

Again, I waited until I was relaxed enough before opening my eyes. Like before, one thousand pesos lay neatly on the dresser. My hands, still paralyzed from what they had felt earlier, were clean. I thought they might have been soaked in blood, but there was nothing.

I ran from the house, terrified. Perhaps a ghost was haunting the building, and I promised never to return, no matter how much I needed the money, but that was a month ago. My roommates and I had taken a turn for the worst. Town officials were cracking down on businesses like the one we worked at, and required to show proof that we were tested, just to make sure we weren’t spreading any… diseases. But lab tests required money. The bar managers I worked for were snapping up only those girls who could give him the negative tests quickly, and space was limited. In spite of the fears I felt, the promises I had made to never return, the need for money was greater. After all, hadn’t nothing bad ever happened to me while I was there?

11pm.

The demonic presence returned. I grimaced my eyes tight, determined not to let it scare me. I told myself, the job was easy. Keep my eyes closed from 11 to 3, and I will be paid. Handsomely.

I suppose I had gotten used to the presence, for only a few hours into the night, I found myself fighting the urge to sleep. The rhythm of its breathing lulled me. In. Out. In. Out. Its sour, fetid breath mixed with the sickly sweet smell of blood, perfuming me to sleep. I tried hard to fight it. I failed, and soon sleep’s heavy hand had successfully pressed down on my weary mind.

The girl in my dream was pretty. Slim body, short. Hair long and straight, as dark as the skies in the province. Eyes deep and shadowy. She watched me as I slept. So close to my face… I could place a hand to her cheek and ask why she was there.

“Leave,” she whispered. “Leave.”

Her face grew distorted, and then she started making choking, gagging sounds. I sat up with horror and watched as her skin turned to a ghastly blue. Her eyes bulged and turned red. She was trying to scream, say something, but all I could hear were the hoarse, ragged breathing sounds that watched me… Watched me as I—

And I was awake. By some miraculous reason, I had not opened my eyes, but the room was filled with the same choking, gasping noises I had heard in my dream. The floors shook as if there were some violent commotion happening in the room with me, and then… Silence. Only my beating heart banged in my ears. Still I did not open my eyes. Not now. Not until I could hear the alarm so I can safely take the money and leave. But it did not end there.

The next sound I heard sickened me more than anything I had ever experienced. A rhythmic, moist sound, like someone carving flesh with a saw. And then dripping. A thump as something heavy hit the floor. I heard footsteps, heavy and slow, headed my way. Every inch of my body screamed to open your eyes! Run! I was shaking, sweating, so fear-stricken like a bellowing animal held upside down before its throat was slit. The footsteps kept coming. Breathe! Breathe! I couldn’t! I needed to run! But I couldn’t! I was afraid. I’d lasted for too long keeping my eyes closed. I couldn’t open them, no matter how insane it sounded.

The footsteps stopped, right next to the bed I lay on. The thing was once more pressed close to my face, breathing, gasping. It felt like my muscles would snap under the tension. My fear was like a thousand knifes angled toward my body, the slightest move threatening to kill me. Minutes stretched on, slowly, cruelly. I wanted out. Out of everything. The room. The need for money. The nights with strangers and terror of it all. Call girl. I wanted out. Out. Out!

And then, a blessing like the sun after a typhoon… The sound of the alarm clock.

3am.

I opened my eyes and found myself in an empty room. There was nothing there. Nothing on the floor where I had heard someone screaming and their body being carved. The money on the dresser, but it didn’t matter. I didn’t even grab it. I fled out of the house like a beaten dog.

I could not sleep for the rest of the night. The next morning I sought out some answers to the house I had been visiting. The town captain believed my story that I was sent by a wealthy family to find out if the house was for sale and check if there was any history behind it.

“Years ago, a wealthy man once lived there. He was quiet and kept to himself, seemed to cause no harm to anyone. Every once in a while he took in a call girl to keep him company for the night, but many men did the same. Not much to be suspicious about… until the neighbors smelled something foul coming from his home. They found him in his room with the headless body of a girl on the floor. Who knows how long he had been there with the body, maybe days. He was standing still, like an upright coffin, and in his outstretched hand was the girl’s head. He wouldn’t put it down. Just held it out, so steady and still, his expression dead. They shot him right there.”

The captain opened a drawer and drew out a file. “This is a photo of the girl they believed was killed. She was an orphan, only sixteen. Probably did what she did for the money. The other girls who worked with her said she had been with the man two other times; it was on the third night when he killed her. Here, take it.”

She was the same girl from my dream, but what chilled me more what the sweater she wore in the photo. White and soft. The same one I had found in the second-hand store with the note in the pocket. I thanked the captain, barely able to let out the words.

When I returned to my shanty later that day, I discovered that the white sweater had disappeared from my closet, and so did the note. When I asked my roommates if they had seen or taken it, all I got was the answer no.

I gave up working as a call girl and found a job as a caregiver for an elderly couple. Although the work was hard and slow, I persisted and saved up enough money to start college. Sometimes I pass by the thrift store where I had found the white sweater with the cursed note. I remember the three nights I had spent with the dark presence and how insane I had been, returning even after so much fear. For money… for curiosity. That’s what a call girl’s life did to you. You become jaded to the dangers you repeatedly put yourself into. Sleeping with strangers, potential murderers. Returning for the money and thrill of it. I tried to stuff the memories into the dark cracks of my mind. Forget it. But still I wondered… What if I had opened my eyes?

A few years later, I came upon an article in the news. A small one amongst a few other murders. They always wrote these stories with such detail, and my blood curdled. The body of a call girl had been found, her head severed. The girl’s eyes were wide open.

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Tales of The Third Eye # 1

Some people say it is real, some however say that it is a figment of our imagination. To be branded as a crazy child for even just a few months felt like years of solitude and suffering. The solitude did end a some point, but the suffering did not. Most of the time it lay dormant, but at times when it is awake, strange things happen… in my perspective at least.

It all started when I was at the age of 5. Back then, I was living in Japan taking my kinder classes and just living my life without worrying about anything. Just eating, sleeping, playing, and occasionally taking a bath. (Because it is super cold back in my place you’ll have second thoughts of taking a bath. Just stripping down is a big pain in the ass.) Back then, I didn’t know what was normal and what was not. I had playmates in my room that were strangers. Even as a child, I was an introvert. They would just appear out of nowhere and ask me to play with them. There was two of them if I could remember. My mother didn’t tell me to stop playing with them. In fact, she was asking me if they wanted any beverages, in which the answer was no. She knew. She knew the fact that my playmates were not human even though they look very much like one. What are they then?

Me and my mom would occasionally go outside on warmer days. We go to the park, but she always tells me to not talk to strangers or anyone that I don’t know for the matter even though there were many kids playing. It was then when I asked her about my two playmates. I didn’t know them. They just came out of nowhere yet I am allowed to talk to them much less play with them? She then talked to me about something special that only me and my mom could see. At first I was confused since I was a child and all.

So after that small talk at the park, we went home. Although I was really confused abou me not being allowed to play with anyone else at the park. I only begin to understand my situation when my mom told me the truth. It turns out, there was no one else in the park, just the two of us.

Slate Road Ext.

It is late afternoon. A soft breeze blows and rattles the leaves on the sprigs in a tree-strewn spot of earth in the heart of Manila. The sky is darker than usual and a shadow of a tall man is seen in the distance, in an isolated road. I take small strides into the alley. The sign reads, “Slate Road Ext.” I see the man, or rather “thing” standing. Moments passed by, I still am thinking, “am I really going to pass through here? I wonder what would happen.”

Before anything else happened, I felt more wind passing through his corner. it seems like all my happiness, if there’s any, my energy, and my positive vibes were blown away with it. I kept thinking, imagining, and wondering, would I stay here, until the sun goes down? I just close my eyes, trying to remember someone dear to me, to help me lessen my fear. Am I ready for this? I can’t handle it anymore.

I hear whispers, from where? I look around for the source. It is the shadowy man! He’s whispering “ten, ten, ten, ten…” Why, of all numbers, ten? I approach the man with all my courage and ask. He looked at me straight into my soul with piercing pitch black eyes. “You’re one of us now.”

Everything went black. When I returned to my senses, I find out that I, myself, was whispering, “eleven, eleven, eleven, eleven…”

 

P.S

This story was made by me and my friends. We passed the paper around every two sentences and tried to see what we would make. This isn’t the best story there is, but it sure has a deep meaning if you try to understand it. If you can’t, feel free to ask me personally 🙂

Random Creepy Shorts # 15

I heard this story from a friend, who head it from a friend which was told by her cousin… I think. I’m not really sure, anyway, this is one of those sad stories that are creepy in a way. Anyway, it goes like this…

The year my mother and father were wedded, my father bought his wife a very beautiful Baccarat chandelier. It weighed one ton and hung down two entire flights of stairs. Because it was so large my father searched high and low for a home that could accommodate it. He chose a very old palatial home in the Welsh countryside. The mansion was six stories tall and in the middle of the home was a tall, spiraled atrium with a glass ceiling. The stairs wrapped around the walls of the spire, encircling the great chandelier at the top.

As far back as I can remember I would spend my days lying underneath the cascading crystals far above and watching the twinkling prisms catch the sunlight and cast vibrant, breathing rainbows across the walls. My mother would smile at me and giggle to my father behind her hands. I was a romantic, she said, a dreamer. Father would smile knowingly but never bother to glance my way. He only had eyes for my mother, at least until my brother George came along.

But I wasn’t a dreamer, no, I fought sleep with every breath. I much preferred to spend my evenings dancing in the star fields that twinkled in the spire on clear nights. If moonlight shone into the great atrium, it was transformed by the Baccarat into a million shimmering, glittering tiny stars. The chandelier was always gently, gently swaying even without a draft in the house and it would make the crisp, vibrant Celestials dance upon the wall to a song I could almost hear. And I would dance among them.

One day I awoke from an afternoon nap to the sharp sound of a protesting metal groan. I arrived at the bannister just in time to see the Baccarat’s metal supports snap in two. The chandelier fell half a story until it was brought to a violent and abrupt halt by its last remaining support — a thick, nylon rope. George was playing with a train set far below and I screamed at him. He looked up at me for just a moment and then he was obscured from my view as the nylon snapped and the chandelier went crashing down five stories to the first floor where my mother had thrown herself protectively over George.

My father would only shed his tears for them behind closed doors. A week after their deaths, Father had the Baccarat repaired and re-hung. It had been my mother’s and he loved her deeply. Perhaps he liked to look at it and think of her. But I like to think he re-hung it for me because he knew how much I loved it.

But the chandelier wasn’t the same. The gentle cadence it had loyally kept was now replaced by a stillness as absolute as death. The rainbows were dull, almost colorless, and the dancing stars that had once glittered upon the walls at night were absent and the spiraled atrium remained as dark as the heart of an onyx.

I still spend my days and nights lying on the floor looking up at the chandelier and hoping its magic will return to me. Some days I can almost see the vibrant colors and speckled starlight. Most days I see nothing at all.

But nothing at all is better than the nightmare that peeks through the veil sometimes, cruel and uninvited. Sometimes I can feel the cold and the hunger and the pain in my chest. Sometimes the dark nights and dull days make sense. Sometimes I can see the chandelier for what it really is. Because sometimes I remember that it wasn’t the Baccarat that my father hung at the top of the atrium that day

it was himself.

Random Creepy Shorts # 10

When you were young, do you remember going to campsites and stuff like that? Where you have to sleep in the wilderness for one night and try to at least not die in the process? Do you remember those times when you and your friends sat around a bonfire telling creepy stories? Well this story was one of which that I remember so clearly. it goes like this…

I’ve been lying down for hours now. It’s 3:15 AM and there’s not much I can do. You know what the worst part about my situation is? I’m in the same room as my parents. They keep looking at me, and I can’t help but look back and try not to cry or scream. Their eyes are focused on me and their mouths are wide open. There’s a strong scent of blood and I feel paralyzed with fear.

Here’s the thing. The second I make any hint that I’m not asleep anymore, I’m completely f*cked. I will die and there’s nobody around to save me. I’ve been trying to think of a way out but the only idea I have is to rush for the front door and scream for help, hoping any of my neighbors hear me. It’s risky, but if I stay here, I’ll surely die. He’s waiting for me to wake up and see his masterpiece.

You’re probably wondering what’s going on.

About three hours ago, I heard screaming from the other side of the house. I got up and went to check on the noise before realizing I had to use the restroom. Instead of doing the smart thing and investigating, I used the bathroom first. I would’ve gotten myself killed right there for my stupid actions. I did my business and took a peek outside the bathroom. There was blood on the carpet. I got very worried and ran back to my room, hiding under the sheets like the p*ssy I was. I tried to convince myself to go back to sleep, and that it was just some really vivid dream or something.

But I heard my bedroom door open. Like the terrified child I was, I peeked out from under my blankets to see what was going on. I could see someone dragging my dead parents into the room. He was a bald guy with a mask. He looked like a psychopath, tall and slender, with its back straight as timber as it dragged my parents. But unlike most psychopaths. It seems that he was aware of what he was doing.

He propped my dad up on the edge of my bed, and made him face me. He then sat my mother down in the chair and positioned her towards me as well. He then started rubbing his hands on the walls, staining them with blood and then drew a circle with what seemed to be a lotus flower. He had made what he would probably call a masterpiece. To finish it off, he scribbled a message into the wall that I could not read in the darkness.

He then positioned himself under my bed waiting to strike.

The scariest thing now is my eyes have adjusted to the darkness since then, and I can read the message on the wall. I don’t want to look at it, because it’s terrifying to think about it. But I feel I need to see, before I’m killed.

I peek at the psychopath’s masterpiece.

I know you’re awake.

Random Creepy Shorts # 9

The Good Samaritan

'The_Good_Samaritan'_by_David_Teniers_the_younger_after_Francesco_BassanoToday, as I went to the church (yes, I am quite a religious person and yes, I also believe in God if you would ask. I’m catholic by the way) and as I listened to the priest’s homily and bible reading, it occurred to me that what he was reading is in fact a very famous parable known to many whether they may be christian or not. As you may have read from the title up there, it says “The Good Samaritan.” Now I won’t be narrating the whole story since you probably know it. If you don’t, go look it up, SHAME ON YOU!

Just kidding, anyway, since you know about The Good Samaritan, let me tell you that there is a deeper meaning behind it other than just being kind to others. Pardon me for my bible preaching but here it comes, 3…2…1. So Jesus was asked by an expert in the law or a lawyer. The layer asked Jesus, despite knowing the answer himself, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus then answered, “What is written in the law?” their conversation went on until Jesus told the story to the lawyer.

In the end, Jesus told him to “Go and do likewise.”

You see, it’s not important whether you know what is good or what is bad. Knowledge itself is not adequate to be a righteous man, because to be one, you must also know how to apply this knowledge in real life, and not just in words.