DEAD END

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By: Aya Paredes

My older sister,  Yolly and her family relocated to Cavite after  buying a small  property in the area.  She said it was a perfect place for  her growing family.  The house they bought  was located away  from the  hustle and bustle of the more  developed  areas in the province.  She said  the place was peaceful and was developed like the villages in the US  where houses are built on a measured distance from each  other.  After moving in, she  started  scouting  for a school  for her kids. She  immediately went on to plan the house  blessing. She asked for my help to arrange the whole  event- I had to look for  a caterer and buy candles  and souvenirs for the guests.  I was too excited for her.  The day she  asked me  to go and  see her new place,  that was when all of my troubles  began.  “Ya, where are you now?” my sister  asked.  She must’ve called me five times and I was  still  driving  on the dirt road along numerous  villages  going to  a town called Molino. “I’ve been  driving  for three  hours now   and your  place is  still  not in  sight.  Where is  that anyway? Mars?”  I joked. I was  trying  to  fight  off the  drowsiness distance driving would always  give me.

“Ito naman! Minsan  lang naman  ako humingi ng favor sa’yo  eh!”

she said trying to cheer me up. “Anyways, I cooked  your favorite and  it’s already sitting here on my tabletop waiting for you.”

I made a couple  of wrong  turns. I had to ask for directions every now  and then and that took time. It was  already dark when  I finally made it to my sister’s  house.  After bringing  her most of the stuff  she’ll  need for  her house  blessing, I started  to consume the feast she prepared  for me.  When we have discussed all the  details for the big  day, it was already  around  midnight. “It’s late.  Why don’t you  just stay here for the night? We got a  guestroom upstairs,”  my sister offered. “No thanks, Ate,  but I really have to go home tonight. Mom’s home  alone,  the two  helpers  are on leave  are on leave until tomorrow morning  so no one  would be  with her  for the rest  of the night.  You know Mommy,  she  frequently gets  anxiety  attacks  whenever  she’s alone.” I told  my older sister. “Then why didn’t you bring  her with you? You can  both stay for the  night na lang sana.”  “She hates to travel long distances, but she promised to attend your  house blessing.  I really  got to go now.”  I was a bit in a hurry, thinking of  the long ride home. My brother-in-law offered to drive with me to the village  gate. I  might get lost  again,  he said.  I declined and told him. I was fine.  I was  certain i could  remember the way out of the village.

I was driving  for about 15 minutes when I acknowledge that I was  lost again.  The road  looked like a maze to me. I kept on driving  hoping  to finally  find my  way out  of the maze.  After  a few more  minutes of  ceaseless driving,  houses began to  disappear  from view. I began to sweat despite the cool air my car  aircon was giving off. Something  about me getting lost in a  dark endless dirt road made me nervous. I checked my cellphone to call my  sis to ask for directions, but I couldn’t  get a  network service.  I panicked. Where  in the world  was  I? I started  to turn around and head back where I came  from but when  I reached  the end   of the dirt road, I couldn’t  see any  street signs  which  could give me an idea were I was  and where  should I make a turn.  I told  myself to keep on driving.  After all,  no road is endless,  I convinced myself. For several minutes  I was driving  straight  but there were still  no houses  or concrete  roads in sight.  What made it worse  was that I was already running  low on  gas.  I was  running  on a 40-kph speed when all  of the sudden , I saw three men  in construction uniforms  waving  in front  of me. I was  hesitant to stop  for safety reasons but as my car  headlights  illuminated their faces, I saw something that made  me stop  and talk to  them. I slowly  rolled down my  window.  “Boss,  dead end na po diyan,” one  of them told me. Though  they were  wearing  the standard  uniform  for construction worker  with hard  hat  and orange jackets,  I easily  sensed  that they  weren’t “normal”  people.  Something  in their pale  faces  and dead  looks gave me  the creeps.  “Naligaw po ako eh. Saan po ba ang palabas dito?” I asked.  It took a while  before they responded.  One of them pointed to my  left without saying anything.  “Kaliwa po ba?  I asked  again.  They  nodded in unison. “Thank you po.  Dis-oras na ng gabi ah,  bakit  nandito pa kayo?” I got the nerve of asking  them.

“May hinihintay lang kami,” the third man responded  in a dead tone.  My heart skipped a beat when I saw their feet not touching  the ground.  I said a short thanks and immediately drove  off as fast as I  could.  I was too nervous to analyze  the situation, not knowing that I did follow the path they pointed out. I was speeding like I never  did before, too scared to slow down or look behind me. In front of me, I saw something  from a  distance. In my condition and in the  complete  darkness engulfing the night,  seeing nothing  something like a car approaching  was really  a relief. I was a little  disappointed when I came close  to what  I saw as it turned out to be an off- road sign.  It was  partly hidden beside  the road by a mango tree.  I slowed down a bit and was about to hit the  road in full speed once again when the two front tires of my car fell into  a cliff! I stepped on the brakes so hard.  If I hadn’t slowed down to read  the sign,  I would have driven straight to my death. Minutes later, my sister and brother-in-law finally found me. They  were shocked to see half of my car hanging off the cliff. They brought  along the head security of the village and he was asking how in the  world I got there.  It was off limits to traffic and all roads leading to the  placed were closed off.  I told them what happened and the security guard  told me  I might  have encountered Jun, Milo and Dante. There were  three construction workers who have died building  the village a year  ago.  They were  buried alive in a freak accident that happened  during  the construction. Many believed that the three might be haunting  the deserted part of the village, causing villagers to get lost or be harmed to  avenge their death. I have  never  went back  to visit my sister in her new house since then.

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