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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!”