LAGMAN STREET

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By: Adrian Carlo  Velasco

There was a  family who lived in  Lagman Street in 1989. Arlene and Raul  thought  that this was the best place to raise their three children- Dina,  Boy and Jenny. Dina was only 9 years old  at that time. But Dina could  remember every single thing  that happened   in their  Lagman house.

At the back  of their  house was  an ancient  molave  tree that stood on a vast  lot, There was  also  a nipa hut where  Dina  and her siblings used to play  in the late afternoon.  She grew up in a  family that believed in the supernatural-ghosts, elementals, and dwarfs. And every night before  sleeping,  at around  11 in the evening  till the last hours of darkness, adults would see small  beings playing around in the backyard .  One day,  when Arlene and Raul  decided to have their lot fenced with concrete  walls that needed days of digging under the lot, the workers dug up  bundles of paper  money  wrapped in small plastic bags. These were five, 20 and 100 vintage bills that  amounted to more than a thousand pesos.

The treasure trove caused quite  a furor in the household . Everyone speculated about whose money it was and  who buried  it under the lot.  The family secretly believed  that it  belonged to underground beings. And if  that were the case, they were trespassing on someone else’s  property.

Greed took over and some of the construction workers pocketed the bundles  of pesos.  Since then,  unwanted events began happening in the household.  Arlene had an  obsession for  grandiose possessions. She religiously collected  jewelry,  elegant jars, antique furniture. But her lifestyle ground to a halt because money  suddenly came in slow trickles. Business became slow and the children  were getting sick.

Dina discovered  one afternoon that her mother was painting her expensive jars and bangas, dining set, and her entire  furniture collection in black. “We are  being punished by beings  not from  this world, my child,” Arlene desperately warned  her daughter Dina.  Arlene believed  that small  dark beings were behind a curse cast on  them.  She looked a little demented as she said this.  “There’s this  little  thing I see, a tiny child, that plays  inside one of my bangas!” she would  always tell her  daughters.

One Wednesday  afternoon,  Boy, Dina’s  12-year-old  brother, came  home from  school . When he got  inside  the house,  no one else was there except  for Jenny’s  pet parrot named black, mimicking her  mother’s favorite words, ” A little  dark kid, a  little dark  kid.”

“Oh! Shut up,  will you?” the young  boy shouted. Then he  pushed  the birdcage  towards the opposite  side. “You  scare me.”

Boy strode towards the living hall,  then through the narrow passage that led  to his  bedroom. He pulled  off his  shoes one at a time,  while walking quite  slowly  as  he carried  his hefty bag at  the back.  But something stopped him.  Amid the deafening  silence, he heard  unusual sounds from the ceiling. They were  like small  pairs of feet  running  around, stopping at certain intervals. He wanted to know where they were coming from.

He thought that rats  might be playing inside the ceiling  space. He saw a small door on  the ceiling, so he  dropped  his shoes  and bag, then tried  to jump and reach  for  the door lid.

“I wouldn’t  do that  if I were you.” a  strange voice called his  attention, a voice  one would  only hear in a dream. It was  soft,  deep,  and cold,  and sounded  like an androgynous being.  Boy was  shocked  to death. He could  imagine  what the  being  looked  like.  It did not spoke words of  warning. It frightened  him.  When he looked  at where  the  voice was coming from,  he found nothing. Then he  turned back  to the ceiling door and  saw that the lid  was open.

When Raul  and Arlene arrived  with Dina, they found  Boy in the living  hall,  lying  unconscious  on the floor. “Boy! What happened to you?” his mother  screamed  in fright.  When they  got near him,  Dina noticed  the unusual  stomping  from the  ceiling . “Mom,  what’s that?”  she asked  Arlene. “I better go up and check.  Arlene, bring  the boy  to the  sofa,”  Raul  told his  wife.

Raul walked  through the entrance of the ceiling, and entered a tight space.  Dina looked at the dark entrance as she waited for her father. When he jumped down from the ceiling, Raul  realized that his right knee was  already swelling. “What happened  to you?” Dina  asked.

Raul told  them that  he was  walking  smoothly inside the ceiling  space. There  could be no reason for the injury. He had a  medical check that same day and the results  revealed  no other cause  but an external  accident.

He finally agreed  to see an  albularyo that the  neighbor recommended. He told  Raul  that when he was walking  above the ceiling  entrance he bumped a dwarf with his  right knee. It punished him by casting a spell  on his knee.  A month after he  recovered from the injury, Raul went back to his  work as seaman. But a week after, a container fell right exactly on his toes. He felt  that the curse had followed him to sea.  When he returned home, he found out that the three  children were burning with fever. Then he got  severe  sinusitis  and underwent an operation.

Dina realized  that all these problems were strange coincidences.  Arlene and Raul  decided  to leave the cursed  house, thinking that they’re just a few steps away from  death.  They sold everything  in the house.

The day  they left the house on Lagman,  they all  hurried towards the car,  bringing nothing but their clothes. As the car started moving forward, Dina looked back at  the house. She could see being she  hasn’t  seen before, staring at  her intensely,  Dark  silhouettes  of humans stood beside the rusting gate, while tiny  men were laughing.

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