THE CEMETERY

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By  Jherry L.  Barrinuevo

Serge is my closest friend.  We met several  years ago, when I worked at this  popular  radio station  where he was  one of the deejays.

He is your typical yuppie; young, upwardly mobile,  and dedicated to his job.  To his credit, however, Serge does not take himself too seriously. He also had a wild  and  funny side that he lets loose every once in a while.

But Serge is not a  typical kind of guy. For like Haley Joel Osment in the  Bruce  Willis movie , Serge “can see dead people”.  Literally. He’s one of those who have the third eye-which means he’s “sensitive”  to the presence  of other “being” on earth.  For more than 30 years  he’e been wracking  his brains trying  to figure out if  what he  has is a  gift  or a curse.

I still  remember when I was still  working  at the  radio station. I would  hear my officemates chatting about Serge’s  ghostly experiences.  I heard  stories  of him being  possessed by entities that only Serge could see. There are also stories wherein he would  just be running scared  from something  that no one  in the office sees.  Sometimes  he  would just scream in terror as if a horrible  monster was in front of him.

Once of twice,  I myself  have been witness to some  of this incidents. After a few months, I left the radio station and now I work for a newspaper. Despite  the change in workplace, Serge and I remain close,  and I still hear of his adventure with these “other beings.”

Everytime we go out, he would point out to me the  different entities who have   tried to contact him, or have made their  presence left.

One of the  eeriest stories I heard from  him was the time Serge decided to visit  his grandmother’s grave. Being a clairvoyant,  Serge dreads to be in graveyards. According  to him,  most  cementeries harbor numerous ghosts who are hungry to make contact with the living.

He says, when   ghosts  sense that  a living person  can see  them or  communicate with them, they appear to the person  and ask them  to relay their messages to their living loved ones,  like what  Patrick Swayze did  to Whoopi  Goldberg in the movie Ghost.

What makes the situation  worse, he says, is that ghosts are very persistent.  They continually  pester the medium  until their message is completely relayed.

So prevent  these ghosts from bothering him,  Serge never  sets foot onletely relayed.

So prevent  these ghosts from bothering him,  Serge never  sets foot on any  cemetery or even  gets close.  Once,  he made  the mistake  of driving by a cemetery in Metro Manila.  Without him realizing it, Serge fell asleep at the wheel, he was shocked to see  where his car had stopped.

At the very  gate of the cemetery.  If that wasn’t  bad enough,  what made his hair stand on end were the eerie  voices calling out to him,  calling his name,  entreating  him to hear their requests. Gunning the engine of his car,   he immediately  sped  from the place, the voices  of the unseen beings fading  away as he  drove farther and farther away from  the place.  From then on,  he made sure he never  passed by  any cemetery.

But one  day Serge was invited  by a friend  to his party in one of the small towns  in Pampanga. Being a fun-loving  guy,  he didn’t think  twice about accepting the invitation. Anyway,  he said,  he could use a  break from  the grime and pollution of the city, not  to mention the stress of work and urban life.

Together with this friends they drove north to attend the party.  They all were expecting to have a ful-filled night. Serge, normally a conservative drinker, expected  to cut loose and let down his guard. For a moment , he forgot his special ability to see people  who already ” cross over”

He said to himself.” We are going  to a party,  no haunted house, no cemetery, so no dead people.” Even his friends, who knew about his third eye,  assured him there would be no  spooks lying in  wait for them.

Unfortunately,  his host failed to metion one thing: he lived  near a cemetery! Worse  they had to cross the cemetery to get to the house. Serge upon learning  of the  situation quickly  said, “Let’s just go back. I told  you I would  never set  foot in a cemetery.”

Upon  hearing  this,  his friends called  up their host.

“Pare,  wala na bang ibang daan papunta sa inyo? Alam mo namang kasama  namin si Serge.  Hindi kami puwedeng dumaan sa sementeryo  ( Is there no other way to  your house? You know that Serge is with us and we can’t pass the cemetery),” one of his  friends said.

“Pare  sorry. Wala ng ibang daan eh. Nakalimutan ko nga pala  hindi puwedeng  dumaan si Serge sa sementeryo, paano  ngayon yan ( I’m really sorry but there’s no other  way.  I completely forgot that Serge can’t go through the cemetery. What are you going  to do now)?” the host  answered.

Serge’s friends thought it  would be a  wasted trip if they just turned around  and went back to Manila,  so they convincing  him. After several hours,  Serge finally  caved in.

After all,  he thought,  its still broad  daylight, what could happen?

What’s more,  he had his  friends by his side. There’s  safety in numbers -or  so he wanted to think. Besides he didn’t want to be a killjoy-everyone was in vacation mode  and going back to the city at this time would definitely spoil the fun.  So they decided to go through it.  Warily,  they began their trek across the graveyard, stopping  every now and  then to check on Serge’s condition.  He seemed quite  fine by the time they were halfway into the cemetery.

“He’s gonna be okay with this one,” a friend of his said. But as they neared their trek’s end  across the graveyard, they noticed Serge slowing down.  He was bent over, like he was carrying something heavy on his back.  Thinking  Serge was just probably not used to long walks  and was  tiring out, they paid no heed to him at first.

As they approached their friend’s house, at the end of the cemetery, they  looked back at Serge.

They were shocked to find Serge practically crawling. He was bent so low like  he could no longer carry the weight on his back.  As they rushed to help him, Serge fell  unconscious.

They carried Serge to the house and laid him on a bed. After several  minutes, Serge regained consciouness. He  was surprised to see himself already in the house.  He looked around and saw all his friends staring at him, waiting  for him to  tell  them what he was  experiencing a while ago. “What happened to  you Serge?” they  asked. He said all he could  remember was something getting on his back as they were  going through the cemetery.

As they walked deeper into the graveyard, the load became heavier and heavier. Later, he heard children giggling. Serge felt as if children were riding on his back. Serge said it came  to a point that he was  hearing numerous giggles and  the load on his back too heavy for him to carry.

That was the  time he  practically crawled his way through the cemetery. His friends were all astonished as he relayed his story.  None of them saw any children running around the cemetery. In fact, the only children they saw were  the kids of the host. As Serge finished relating his  ordeal explanation, their host left out a  loud  scream.

All eyes turned to him, He looked pale and shaken. Stuttering, he gestured in the direction of the cemetery.  “How did you know? How did you know? he said  over and over to Serge. “Know what?” Serge asked,  curious. “That it is a children’s cemetery!”

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