DEAD AIR

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 By: Aya Paredes

I had a classmate in college who now works as a full-time DJ in a local FM station . It was during our get -together  last September  when he  shared to us his  spooky encounter  which happened to him October  31 of last year.

Dwayne has been a Dj in this  FM station for six years now.  The radio  station is  located in one of  the oldest buildings in Ortigas. Typically, Dwayne’s shift starts from 3  p.m.  to 7 p.m. thought that particular night was different. It was  actually his day off so Dwayne was not  expecting the station manager to call him that day to  inform him that he had to go sit in for another DJ who won’t  be able to  go to work because he had  to go home to the province for Halloween, Dwayne  wasn’t   too excited by the news. He knew that the night could be boring.  Most of the  DJ’s in this time slot would just load on a list  of songs without much of the usual  talking  and this would definitely bore dwayne. He’s  very know to his listeners as  a “big talker” No dull  moments if he’s on board. That night was the first time in his  entire DJ career that he had  to board on  a night shift. He was  unfamiliar with the silence that greeted him when he parked his  car at the basement of the old building. Usually,  he had to fight off other tenants for a  parking space but  the underground parking that night was  deserted. The stillness of the  night scared him. He tried to shrug off the  eerie feeling and  walked purposefully to the  elevator. He passed  the button to the 16th floor.  The elevator ride was  unusually slow,  Dwayne  thought. When it  finally opened  on his floor, he was  surprised  to see that only the small incandescent  lights on both sides of the corridor were lit. Did the station manager made a mistake  in giving me  the schedule for tonight? Maybe the station was already closed! These thoughts ran in his  mind as he surveyed  the 16th floor for a sign of life. But they are  on-air 24/7! He was  still near the elevator door uncertain is he should  proceed to his booth when a  cold hand  grabbed his left shoulder. “Aahh!”  Dwayne screamed, shaking off the cold hand from his  shoulder. When  he saw whose hand was it, he gave  out a relieved laugh. It was  just their janitor, Mang  Gerry. “Nandito  na pala kayo, Boss,”  Gerry quipped. ” Kayo  po pala ang kapalit  ni  Boss  Ricky  ngayong gabi.”

“Mang Gerry, tinakot  mo naman ako! kailan kayo nakabalik? Hindi ba ilang linggo na kayong naka-leave?” He was happy to see Mang Gerry, who has  worked for the  station as a janitor as long as Dwayne could remember. The old man had been absent from work for three weeks. He was  reportedly ill.

“Ah, Mang Gerry, kailan kayo nakabalik?” he  asked the janitor. He could see  the sadness in Mang Gerry’s eyes. He was  used to the  Mang Gerry who was talkative,  lively and generally a happy person. Maybe he’s  just tired  or maybe he’s  still  recuperating  from his illness. Dwayne was waiting for Mang Gerry  to answer his  question when he  heard his mobile phone ring.  He fished out his phone  from his backpack. Just as he was  about to answer his phone,  he saw that Mang Gerry had left. He just caught a glimpse  of Mang Gerry’s back exiting the door towards the pantry. He just shrugged off what happened and went  back to his mobile. It was  his manager asking  if he was  already on  board. He replied  saying  he was about to and  proceeded to his work station.  To gain listeners, Dwayne decided he would follow his  usual format on his  afternoon show. He would ask listeners to call and answer his chosen topic.  Since it  was after  all the night before Halloween,  he decided  to settle on the paranormal as his  topic.

To Dwayne’s amazement, the  dull late  night show became  lively and  energetic. The phone never stopped  ringing. The topic  was about ghosts and other  paranormal  phenomena. Many callers expressed their doubt and disbelief saying  it’s  just a product  of one’s  imagination. A few were believers and related  their true scary stories.  There was one call though that caught  Dwayne’s attention. The  caller was  a woman named Rhea.  She said she believed  in ghosts  and she was  used to  seeing  them all the time. Dwayne was doubtful  with all  the stories Rhea  related on air. He was  in trigued though when Rhea said she  lived near the  radio station and she was willing to  tell all of her  encounters on-air. Thinking  this would  gain  him more  listeners, Dwayne invited the girl to come to the station to be his  guest for the next two hours  of his  board work.  The girl on the othe line simply said yes and hung up. Thinking  it was all  just a  joke.  Dwayne continued  on accepting  phone  calls  from listeners.  About  15 minutes had passed, Dwayne was busy accepting calls in  between  songs when the door opened. He thought it was Mang Gerry but was surprised   to see  a pretty girl. She was about 22 years old, fair, with big  sad eyes and long, black hair.  There was something   odd about  the girl  but  Dwayne  could not quite tell what  exactly  it was  that unnerved  him upon seeing  the girl. He asked  who she was  and she told  that she  was Rhea, the caller, Dwayne invited  her in and  asked her  to sit  in the sofa  in front of the booth.

After a song,  Dwayne introduced his visitor to his  listeners. After that, there were a lot of phone in questions all wanting to asked the guest. He asked  Rhea to sit near  the board and handed  her a microscope. She gamely answered  many  phone-in  questions despite the presence of rude  callers telling  her that  she’s just a complete  joke. Dwayne felt relieved when the gap came and he had to playtwo to three songs. He felt it would unfair if he let Rhea stay any longer when it was already late.  He thanked her and said  she was great with the  phone-in questions. She just smiled  and thanked  him back. She told  Dwayne that she could  feel that he didn’t believe  her.  “What? No. I mean we all have  doubts  but you do seems to  be genuine.” “What can I do to make you believe?”  Rhea  caught him off-guard  with this  question.

“Nothing actually. Ok,  just to end this, when was  the last time you saw a ghost?” “Just today,”  Rhea answered, almost like a whisper. She tilted her head  and her long hair  covered her face. She seemed to be crying. “There’s  this girl, a call center agent. She  was about to come home from work when Three unknown  guys  grabbed her and raped her.  She was stabbed to death. Then one of the suspects poked at the girl’s left eye.” Rhea  continued sobbing.

“That’s terrible! Did the ghost of the girl tell you who the suspects were?  Have  you gone to the police?” Dwayne couldn’t  believe what he was  hearing. If Rhea’s story were true, she could be  instrumental in solving a crime!

He looked  at Rhea  intending  to suggest going to  the police  but what he saw skin  crawl. Rhea’s  face was controlled, almost impossible for a face to twitch at such an angle. Then he saw  that her  left eye socket was empty! Blood oozed out from  the empty socket. Her white  blouse  was  drenched  with blood.  She  was the ghost, she was   the rape victim “Please help me!” She started  to stand  up from her seat and went straight to  Dwayne. He screamed like a girl, he pushed his  chair hard,  ran for the door straight to   the elevator. He panicked  when he realized that the elevator was still on  the third floor. He looked for the emergency exit but the door was locked. He remembered Mang Gerry. He called  his name out loud but there was no  answer.  He ran to the pantry, opened the door,  and almost fainted. Mang Gerry was talking to the ghost of Rhea. They both smiled at him, Rhea still had an empty eye socket. Mang   Gerry on the other hand, was black and blue all over.  They were  both walking towards  him,  their arms open as if wanting  to embrace him. Dwayne mustered all his will, ran  towards the elevator and repeatedly pushed the bottom. He  saw that the elevator was on  the 13th floor. Three more floors! Oh God, hurry! please, help me!  He saw the pantry door slowly opening, he could see  the two ghosts emerging  from it, then all too suddenly,  the elevator  door opened! Dwayne ran inside and pushed   the ground floor button and the emergency button so he can alert the security guards  downstairs. Just as  the elevator door was  about to close, two arms came in and  grabbed  his clothes. He put up a fight tearing  the arms  that were pulling him out  of the lift. At  last,  he was able  to free himself from the two forces.

It was  the longest elevator ride ever. Dwayne was panting from the struggle. He passed out in the elevator.   When he  regained his consciousness, he was already at the front desk,  two  guards  were helping him on a chair. One of them handed him a cup of coffee. He asked them what happened, the guards told  him that  he was found unconscious inside the elevator. He told them what happened, the two guards just looked at each other but never  spoke a word about it.  They assisted Dwayne back to his car until he left the building. The next day, Dwayne’s station manager scolded him.  Apparently the station was on dead air, the whole evening until early morning. Dwayne still reported to work the next afternoon. It was then that he learned that  Mang Gerry  died two weeks ago. Dwayne swore off night shifts from then on.

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