DOPPELGANGER

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By: Gianna G.  Maniego

Doppelganger is a German word meaning “double walker.” In the realm of the supernatural , doppelganger refers to the ghostly double, or “shadow-self” that accompanies every human being  throughout his life,  providing  sympathetic  company and giving advice by  either implanting ideas or through some sort  of osmosis.  They are  invisible, usually standing behind  the person,  and never casting a  reflection. It is said  to be bad  luck to see  your doppelganger. Through mischievous  and  sometimes malicious, they  never show themselves to friends  or relatives of the person  because this causes great confusion to them.

Well, almost never,

Anita Rodriguez  (not her  real name) used to be a skeptic.  Even growing  up in one  of the notoriously haunted  spots in New Manila-Balete Drive-she paid little attention to the various  ghost stories and urban legends surrounding the place. These things were a waste  of time,  she’d often tell her friends whenever  they  indulged in a round of ghost story- telling.  Now that she was  a successful  graphic artist in her 20s, she had even less time for such flights of fancy.

Pooh,  she thought,  when it  comes to ghosts, Anita had one policy: Don’t know, don’t see, don’t care.  She didn’t  believe in ghosts. Not even the  one that supposedly haunted  her own home.  The one that supposedly looked, talked  and acted like her.

“Hey Annie, did you bring it?” her cousin  Jessica accosted her at the  buffet  table,  during a  family gathering . It was the  birthday of her Lolo Jaime  and all her  relatives  were  in attendance at the Big House in  West Triangle.  Anita looked  at her with a blank  expression: “Wha..?”

“Don’t  you remember? Jessica  insisted, more than a  little peeved. ” I called  you up  yesterday to remind you about  the album  of Eliza,  the one with  the debut pics. I wanted to show Mom  the gown she wore so that we can have a similar  one made for Trisha. I told you I’d drop  by for it,  but you said  you’d  bring it  along when you came to the house this  afternoon,” Jessica patiently explained to her cousin. “So  where is it?”

“You  called up the house yesterday? What time was this?” Annie repeated, not  quite comprehending the question.

“YESSSS!!!! You answered  I don’t  remember  exactly what time,  but I’m pretty sure  it was around lunchtime. I know  because  you even got  mad at me for interrupting what you were doing .  I think  you were cooking carbonara for lunch”  Jessica answered,  somewhere exasperated already.

“Jess… there  was NO ONE in the house yesterday. My mom and dad  are still in  Cebu, and the maid is on vacation. I spent  the night at Toni’s (her best friend) and came  straight here today,” she  informed  her cousin,  before turning her attention  to the lechon  in front of her.

Her cousin was left speechless, mouth hanging open in disbelief.

Another time, she  and Toni were at another  friend’s party. When they arrived, Toni  zeroed  in on the  desserts at the buffet table in  the dining room. Annie lagged behind to say hi to  a group  of friends she hadn’t seen in  quite some time.  After a while, Toni felt a hand tapping her on the shoulder. “What’re you eating? Pahinge (Give me some),”Annie said,  opening  her mouth so that her friend can spoonfeed her some  of the ice cream Toni was  eating. ” Uy  sarap ( Wow, delicious) ! Ube’s my favorite!” And said in between mouthfuls.

“O, you changed?” Toni  asked, noticing that Annie was wearing a different shirt.”Yeah,  the other shirt was too tight,” her friend replied before wandering off to join  the crowd on the patio.

Toni got another scoop of ice cream ( Annie finished her share) and just as she  was about to  spoon it into her mouth, felt another tap on her shoulder. “Hoy! Takaw. Ang daya mo, inuubos mo yung ice cream. Enge naman. kaya pala hindi kita mahanap diyan,  nandito ka pala sa buffet table ( Hey You’re such a  glutton, you’re not sharing the ice cream. Give me some! no wonder I couldn’t find you,  you’re hiding here at the buffet table,)” Annie jokingly scolded her friend.

“Ano ka,  inubos mo na nga yung sa akin kanina ah (You must be joking you already finished my share a while ago)!” Toni  retorted, also in  jest. “O, you changed  again!!  Akala ko ba masikip ang skirt na yan ( I thought that shirt was  too tight  for you )?”

“What are you talking about? This is  the shirt I wore when we arrived, don’t  you remember, I haven’t changed my shirt. Why would change my shirt?  And for your information, I got this buffet table just now.  Isn’t  there any other ice cream flavor? I hate ube.” Annie wondered  aloud as she surveyed  the other desserts. “Hmmm… I’ll just  get leche flan.”

“But  you WERE here,  10 minutes ago! You finished all my ice cream because  you said ube is your favorite! Ano ka ba ( What are you saying)?” Toni answered, starting to  get spooked by what her friend was saying

“Hello? I’ve been with Chino and Mark in the sala  since we arrived. They were  asking about you, so  I decided to go and  look for you. Ask  them pa,” Annie said rather  indignantly.

“Then who  finished my ice cream?!?” Toni shrieked,  totally freaked out.  Annie shrugged. She and Toni ran out  of the dining room.

The turning point for Annie, the incident  that finally  convinced her there are  some things that cannot  be explained  came one  early morning,  as she was coming home from a night on the town.

It was  around 4 a.m. and Annie   and her cousins Eliza and Jessica were tiptoeing home to Annie’s home after a “gimmick” in Makati.

All three had drunk  quite a bit but were still fairly sober.  “Shhhh!!!” Annie shushed  her two cousins, who were trying to stifle their giggles. “You’ll wake Mama. Lagot tayo  pag nalaman nyang 4 na tayo  umuwi. Ang alam  lang nya  hanggang 2 lang tayo (We’re dead if Mama finds out we came home at 4 a.m.  I  told her  we’d be home by 2).

As the three  groped their way around the garden to the front door. Annie  searched  her bag for her key to the front door.

“Oh no !” she hissed. “I forgot my key! We’ll have to ring the  doorbell! Sana si  Manang  ang magbukas (Let’s hope it’s  Manang  who opens it).”

Just as Eliza was about to  ring the doorbell however, the door opened. “Ay Salamat (Thank goodness )! I’m so sleepy. What are you waiting for?” Annie, who was  directly behind  Eliza nudged  her cousin.

When Eliza wouldn’t budge, she shoved her harder. Grabbing her cousin’s arm, she noticed  how cold it was. She peered into her cousin’s face, which was half-illuminated by moonlight. What  she saw made her  blood cold.

Eliza stood frozen, all color drained  from her face, her expression one of shock  and horror. She pointed  mutely at the door,  which stood ajar. A moment  later,  she  slumped in a dead faint.

When she came to,  she realized she was now in the sala of Annie’s house, and  all the light were on.  “What happened? Are you okey?” both Annie and Jessica asked,  alarmed. Their cousin no longer looked  pale.  More like  grey around the  edges. And she looked  like she  was about  to throw up.

Stuttering, she related  what happened when the door opened. “I was  about to  ring the  doorbell…. like you said, Annie… When suddenly  the door opened on its own.  Thinking it was Manang waiting up for us… I stepped up  to it. I  was about… to greet… whoever opened the door…but when I looked up.. when I looked  up.. IT WAS YOUR FACE I SAW RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME!  I don’t  remember much after  that.”

The three girls looked at each other for a split second before fleeing to the  bedroom to hide under the covers.

Annie stopped being a skeptic after that.

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