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By: John Boyle O’ Hamlyn
Unit 4, Rose Street. The address sounded so inviting to her. She always had a taste for archaic sounding names of places and this apartment had that same appeal to her. She felt like was welcoming her in its way. The house had a homely atmosphere, a distinctive feel that made her imagine that she’d been here before. But she was so sure that she had never been in this part of the Metro before. She never even heard of this village before. And that was her purpose in the first place. She wanted to get away from familiar places to forget things. There are a lot of things she wanted to put behind her. She even decided to quit her job at the airport where she worked for five years since her college graduation. It is a small house-one bedroom, a small kitchen and a roomy bathroom. Now this is unusual. It is common for most apartments in the Metro to have a bathroom that is proportional in size to the rest of the house. But this one had a bathroom which is almost twice the size of a normal bathroom. She liked that particular oddity and smiled to herself. When she first entered the house, the smell of dama de noche greeted her. It was as if someone took away all the funishing and filled the house with dozens of those flowers and left them there for a week. Dust had settled on the red concrete floor making her conclude that it had been sometime since someone had last occupied this place. A small window opposite the front door opened to a small backyard filled with bougainvillea trees. She leaned through the window and tried hard to find the dama de noche in the backyard but found none. The bougainvilleas have quiet overgrown the entire backyard, the dama de noches could be somewhere further back in the empty lot. She convinced herself that if it were not in this particular apartment, it could be in one of the other houses for rent.
She walked into the bedroom and stared at the empty floor for the longest time. She’s trying to visualize how her things would be arranged in the room, her bed, the dressers, the lamps, the curtains, the circular table for her incense and candles and even her favorite scarlet carpet. She used to gave several paintings above her bed in her old bedroom but she decided to give them to her mother. All those paintings were made by Joseph and she’s trying to get away from anything that would remind her of him. She imagined in her mind how her room would look like without the paintings and she like it. She planned the living room afterwards. She was halfway planning her kitchen when she felt cold air blown on her back. She could hear a light scraping sound coming from the bedroom like a chest was being dragged across the room slowly. She could not move. She felt her blood rush to her head and felt her head throbbing. “Max! Aren’t you through yet?” Her younger sister was half grinning while peering through the single front window. “You’ve been here for three hours, Max!! And you made me wait outside in the car all this time!! You are definitely buying dinner, sister!” she said, laughing. Max’s jaws drapped wide open in disbelief. She quickly recounted in her head the things she did in the house and she was convinced that she had been here for 45 minutes at the most. “I know what you’re thinking , sister. You’re not going to act your way out of this one, Max. You’re definitely buying ,” her youngest sister said half-grinning. All Max could do was laugh. Her baby sister was making one of her legendary impish grins that has become very famous among their peers since they were young. She’s only older by a year but Max took care of Denise as if she were 10 years older. She conceded to Denise and locked up all the windows and doors and quickly made her way out of the house. Denise drove the car while Max made brief glances at every house they passed by in the neighborhood, trying to catch a glimpse of the dama de noche trees but saw none. “You looked shaken when I called out to you, Max. Is everything OK? Denise asked. “I thought I heard the sound of something being dragged across the floor of the bedroom,”Max replied. “You know how these old houses are, the wood had already swollen. It’s probably the door rubbing against the floor,” Denise suggested. “You’re probably right,” Max agreed as Denise made a turn to enter the parking lot of a famous restaurant-their favorite place for dinner. The sky was just starting to dim and the lights in the nearby establishments and bars were starting to make the whole place look alive. Max left the car and saw a man staring at her from across the street. He looked familiar but before she could give him a good look, a truck passed by and he was gone after it passed out of sight. Max moved into the house a week later. Denise stayed with her for four days to her help her clean and unpack. They drank their favorite vodka when everything was cleaned up and in its proper place. Everything went well in the first month of her stay. She found a new job and forgot everything about Joseph. After another month, she found her new officemate Lisa.
crying in the parking lot because she found out that her boyfriend was cheating on her. she quickly remembered Joseph. They had been together for five years and he kept from her the fact that he was already married with kids, and still living happily with his wife. Lisa ask Max to go with her and have a few glasses. Max did not even hesitate; she felt that she could also use a drink. After two glassed, Max saw the same man staring at her again when she and Denise had dinner. But this time, he was crossing the street going to the bar where they’re in. He really looked very familiar. He entered the bar and approached her. “Don’t tell me you no longer recognize me. Maxine? the said to her, smiling. She stared at him blankly and thought for a long time. Suddenly, she remembered!
“Danny!! Is it you, Danny?” She said excitedly. “I always said that you have an excellent memor. I haven’t seen you since high school graduation. I tried calling but- ,” Danny was interrupted. “We moved a lot when dad died. My grandmother decided to seel our old house and mom agreed. Bought and sold three houses in a single year before my mom decided to stop moving,” she said smiling.”Now that explain everything ,” Danny replied. Max introduced Danny to Lisa and the three of them talked a lot that night . Danny and Max decided to see each other again the next day. They left the bar at around 2 a.m. They all took three separate cabs home. Max’s car was still with Denise because she wouldn’t let Max drive while still depressed. When Max got home, she switched on the light in her living room and was surprised to see her entire living room covered with blood. A bloodied man was hanging by his head from her ceiling and his internal organs were scattered all over place. She screamed as she ran to her nearest neighbor and banged at their door. By this time, almost everyone in the neighborhood has woken up from Max’s screaming and they all went with her back to her apartment. But when they got there, they were surprised to find nothing. None of the things Max had described were there. The house was exactly as it was when Max left it. Max called her sister and Denise arrived in less than an hour. Everyone convinced Max that it might just have been the alcohol from the bar; Max reluctantly agreed. Denise stayed with her sister that night. The next day after work, Max met with Danny and she immediately forgot about last night’s incident. They enjoyed each other’s company so much that she forgot about Joseph. When Max got home, she got to bed immediately since it was already very late. As she was about to fall asleep she smelled the strong pungent scent of blood. Images of the night before flashed into her mind and she froze in fear again. She could now distinctively hear plates in the kitchen breaking on the floor. She grabbed her phone and called Danny’s mobile phone but there was no answer. The noise suddenly stopped and the smell of blood was replaced by the sweet smell of dama de noche. The next morning, she check her kitchen and saw no sign of the broken plates or anything that was broken. By this time, Max was convinced that the house was haunted. She called Denise and asked her to look for a new apartment for her. Denise thought it was just her depression playing tricks with her mind but she still consented to look for a new testament. There are times whent he ghost would pull her blanket off when she’s about to sleep at times, she’d have her coffee and see blood dripping on it from the ceiling but when she’d look up, there’s nothing there. What really freaks her out is the image of the man hanging by his neck with blood and organs all over. It happens during Fridays so she decided to sleep at her mom’s house during weekends. Denise got curious and hired someone to gather information on the background of the house. Meanwhile, Danny and Max started dating. And Max’s frequent meetings with Denise and Danny helped her go through her ghost experience while she’s looking for a new apartment. She didn’t even mind that Danny had been trying to avoid telling her where he worked and lived. They became closer every day and the memories of Joseph have now been locked up completely at the back of Max’s mind. It wasn’t hard since they’ve known each other since they were 10 and became bestfriends in high school. Danny decided to propose Max over dinner at her apartment. So she prepared dinner, brought out new seat covers and hung new curtains. Danny said he’d come over after work. He has never been to Max’s house but he had a clear sketch in two versions. Max made one for him two days ago and Denise made another one this morning, just in case Max was too excited in making the sketch and left out important landmarks.
Max brought out her most expensive candles and lit up the entire apartment with candles. She wanted everything to be perfect. She awaited until around nine but started to feel impatient. She tried calling Danny’s mobile phone but there was no answer. She gave up calling since she never got any answer from Danny’s phone from day one. He explained that the ringer was damaged and he rarely brings it with him. After a few minutes past nine, her home phone rang. Max rushed to her bedroom to answer the phone; she remembered giving all her phone numbers to Danny and this made her think it might be Danny. She lifted the handset but the line was dead. Suddenly a strong cold wind blew through her apartment that shut her bedroom door. At the bottom of the door, she could see the flicker of the few candles that survived the wind. Where did that wind come from? All the windows were locked except the one in the kitchen and the one in the bathroom. Max put down the phone and was about to leave her room when she started to see blood flowing into her room from the bottom of her bedroom door. The pungent stench of decay and blood was extremely overwhelming. Max hurriedly stepped back to her bed as she started at the blood flowing. She was about scream when the phone rang again. She lifted it to her ear and heard loud stabbing sounds and gurgling noises like someone was chokingon his own blood!! She slammed the phone down. The blood has now reached the foot of the bed and Max jumped up on her bed as she stared at it in horror. She could now clearly see a pair of bare feet from behind the door!! She froze in terror. The door knob was slowly turning. Someone or something was trying to get into her bedroom!!
Suddenly her mobile phone rang; it was Denise. She hurriedly answered it and closed her eyes because she was sure her door would open any minute and she did not want to see who it was. “Max!! You’re not going to believe that found out about your apartment!!” the voice from the other line said. The chill and stench in the room subsided and Max slowly opened her eyes. The blood was no longer there. The sweet smell of dama de noches started to fill the room again. “Hey! Max!!! Are you there?” Denise asked. “Yes, I am here . Could you please come over?” Max said, her voice quivering. “I am in your car driving to your apartment. I am just five minutes away and I’m getting you out of there,” Denise said firmly. “What did you find out about the house?” Max asked.
“Someone died there three years ago. The killed by drug addicts. Apparently, these drug addicts were imagining that they were making a blood sacrifice to Satan and the victim was brutally murdered, his internal organs were hung on the apartment walls,” Denise explained. “Go on,” Max said as she felt her strength returning. She heard a car stop in front of her apartment.
“I’m at your door and i’m unlocking it. Wow, some dinner you have here. sis too bad though,” Denise remarked. Max hurriedly went out of her bedroom and hugged Denise tightly. They went outside in the waiting car and Denise drove off. ” And you know who it was that got killed in that house? Denise continued . “I don’t think I care who it was,” Max replied. “But you need to know. It is someone you know well,” Denise said in a serious tone. “Who?” Max said as she stared at Denise with chills running up her back. “Mark Daniel-Danny!! Your date!! Danny has been dead for three years!!” Denise exclaimed. Max was shocked and she could not answer. ” He had crush on you since highschool and he never had any girlfriend even after college. I called his mom to confirm it and she said Danny died in that apartment. His mother said he has been looking for you since he has been graduated from college four years ago to court you and ask you to marry him,” Denise explained
Max was speechless until they reached their mother’s house. Max’s mother hugged her tightly; she obviously knew what’s going on. Max suddenly remembered that Danny’s house had a lot of dama de noches and they used to stay in the backyard filled with Dama de noches whenever she and Denise come to visit. Max moved back to her mother’s house and felt stronger after that experience . Since she broke up with Joseph, she has always felt no one could love her for who she truly is. She thought she’d always be just a second-option-girl. But even though her experience in that apartment was terrible, she was sure someone loved her more than she expected… Danny loved her her beyond death.