THE CARPENTER

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By Jonathan Celeste

If  you think only old houses have a history of spooky stories. wait till you hear this one . Cora and Ben (not their real names) felt it was time to build  their dreams house  They chose a property in Roxas District, Quezon City.  Because they had planned  it for a long time, the house was the realization of their dreams-it was spacious and complete with enough facilities. (One of the master’s  one for their only child and a guest room) were situated on the second floor, and on the  third floor,  the family room and maid’s quarter.

They planned to have  the house finished before the 18th birthday of their daughter-a sort of coming -of-age present for her.  Cora  recruited her neighbors from the Ilocos Province  to build her home. They  were all well-trained carpenters, and were trustworthy since they were her townmates. It was also the couple’s way of helping  their poor provincemates.  One of the Carpenters was Toto (not his real name), a young man in his early twenties.

He was hardworking and skillful in the laying of tiles and grilles. He would  work till the wee hours of the night  trying to finish his assigned task in one day.  The other Carpenters were all praises for Toto because he was responsible in remitting his weekly salary to his parents and younger siblings in the province.  It was a nearly before the house was  finally finished.  Cora and Ben gave all of the carpenters bonuses.

The couple gave an even bigger bunos to Toto, who had  proven to be dependable and very efficient. Toto, in return, was thankful to the good couple. ” Kuya, Ate, Maraming salamat po. Kung may masisira o ipapa-repair pa po kayo. Magsabi lang po kayo.   Ako na po ang gagawa kahit walang bayad (Thanks Kuya, Ate. If there is anything you need to have repaired, just semd word and I will take care of it., free of charge).  said the grateful carpenter.

Soon enough, the family  moved into their dream house. They were very excited at spending their first night in their brand new home.   For several days and nights,  they enjoyed their house in peace. One night,  however, the couple was  awakened by a noise. “Ting, ting, ting.”  A ringing sound that seemed to be  coming from the balcony of the master’s bedroom reached  their ears, but when they turned on the lights, the ringing stopped.

Shrugging,  they turned off the lights and went back to sleep.  “Tick, tick,  tick,”  This time, it was a  ticking-clicking sound,  and it seemed to be coming  from the  bathroom. They listened very carefully. “Tick, tick, tick.”

There it was again. They were  sure they heard something, but when they opened the door of the bathroom, there was nothing there. They turned on the lights  and checked the faucets to see if  they had a leak. However, there were no leaky faucets in the bathroom.

“Where  is that sound coming from?” Cora wondered aloud.

“I don’t know, let’s just check in the morning,” answered Ben. They went back  to bed for the second time that night. A few minutes later, the sounds began again. This time, both the ringing and  the clicking sounds were heard again, louder and more insistent.  This is getting irritating, the couple thought.

They got up from bed for the third time and went to check the balcony and the adjacent bathroom. “AAAAAHHHH!!!!” Cora let out a horrified yell.  Ben saw it too.  A young man was hammering at the grilles of their balcon! It was TOTO, hanging in midair outside the balcony. All of a sudden, Toto disappeared like smoke.

Ben hugged his wife and gave her  a glass of water. When Cora  had calmed down, Ben tried to act tough for her sake. “Stay calm.  Maybe it was just imagination,” Ben said, pretending that he did’t see the apparition.  “How  can that be?! I was not dreaming! I am sure you saw it too!”Cora said indignantly. “Maybe, but stay calm. It could  have been a premonition. Something wrong might have happened to Toto,” he said.

Finally, Cora and Ben settled  down of bed. Fortunately, they were no longer bothered by sounds for the rest of the night. The following morning,still  grooggy from lack of sleep, the couple got up. While  they were  having breakfast, the phone rang.

“Hello,”said  Cora. “Hello, Cora, it’s your Aunt Anita.”

“Oh, Auntie! Why? What’s the problem?”

“Uh, nothing. Just checking on you and Ben.” “Thanks, Auntie. So, how’s your life back there?”

“Well and good. Cora,  do you remember Toto,  your Carpenter?” asked her aunt, but before Cora continued talking, her aunt said, ” I pity that young man. He was so responsible.”

“Why? What happened to him?”

“Last night,  while he was driving his tricycle, a speeding truck driven by a drunk driver hit him! My God, his head  was crushed like a head of garlic! That truck driver should not in jail! Toto didn’t  even  make it to  the hospital.”

Immediately, Cora said goodbye and put down the phone.  She told Ben about  it. The couple  was silent as they stared each other. On Sunday that week,  they offered a mass for Toto’s soul. They asked  the local  parish priest to bless their house. Peace reigned in the household after that.

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