THE RIVERBOAT GHOST

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By: Aya Paredes

For years now, it’s been a family tradition to go every Sunday afternoon to this rather famous park.  A river  runs through the park and a trip  to the place is not complete without a riverboat ride.  This story happened last December. It was a few days before  Christmas  and most families would go there to have a picnic and even  shop in tiangges.  We did both. Tired of the entire afternoon going from  one stall to another,  renting bikes,  and taking  endless pictures,  my  cousins and I were ready to call it a day. We sat  near the big  metal bridge  that connects the biking  area to the  opposite  park where all of the foods  stalls  are located.  It was already 8 p.m.  but the park was still packed. “Come on, guys,  let’s  try the boat ride!” exclaimed one of my cousins,  Joy.  It was her first time there.  Her family’s based in the province and  she was just on vacation. “No, thanks. Let us  just rest  for a while. We’ve been roaming around  for five hours straight!” I told them.

“Hey, I want to try a  boat ride, too!” said  another cousin Mark. “Okay, Ate Joy, let’s go together!”

“Are you sure that’s safe?” I asked Joy. They were instructed  to wear floating devices. “Sure,  Don’t be such a KJ, Aya, I’m a swimmer in  our province.  This   isn’t even deep enough to  drown us.” Joy assured me. “Wanna join us?”  She was  teasing.  She knew I’m not  up for those kinds of adventures. I’m  a safety freak.

“No thanks,”  I quipped after glancing at the dark water inhabited by  large,  icky janitor fish.

We had  fun watching Joy and Mark tried their hardest to paddle around the river. I got a little worried when they decided to farther  away from our sight,  but other things caught my attention. I chided  myself  for being so anxious.  They might  even  be having a good time, I told myself.  An hour passed and there was no sign of Mark and Joy.  Their boat wasn’t on the dock. An aunt of mine got so worried that she requested the  management to send someone to look for my cousins.  The management  quickly obliged. When they returned almost an hour later, they were  in a bigger  motorized boat. Accompanied by some barangay tanods,  I knew right away something was wrong.  My cousins were with them, both were dripping wet.  They were given blankets right away.

The tanods allegedly saw my two cousins floating at the deeper part of the river.  That park was not within the park’s grounds anymore. When asked  what happened their boat, none of them could answer. They were just  shivering and Joy couldn’t stop crying. Days passed before the two  of them finally related to us what happened to them.  They were busy maneuvering the boat  and having fun that they didn’t notice that the current was dragging them down the deep  part of the river  and away from the  rest of  the riders.   They tried to paddle their way back to the boat station but the current was too strong for them. They were shouting for help, but the area was deserted  and everything was totally dark. No one could hear them.  Then Joy began  crying.

They saw something big swimming in the river.  They thought  it was a big fish. But when two rotten pair  of hands  grabbed their boat, they both screamed for help. The attacker shook the boat violently,  almost toppling them over. Then the attacker jumped and joined them in the boat.  A long-haired woman with torn clothes and rotten flesh. Her fish was covered by hair. She grabbed Joy  the  feet.  Screaming,  Mark kicked the woman. She didn’t even flinch. He kicked her again. Then the woman grabbed Mark and threw him in the water. Joy didn’t  waste another second, she too jumped off the boat. The woman stayed  on the boat until it slowly sank under the dark water.  The woman tried to swim her way  towards my cousins once again, but was attack by a  school of janitor fish.  Not long after that, the barangay tanods rescued my cousins.

When we went back to the park, we did a little snooping. We wanted  to know if the river was haunted and by whom. We couldn’t just let  the incident go without knowing what happened. Some tanods  claimed  it must’ve been the ghost of the girl who was raped and killed  being thrown in the river not so long ago. When the body was found,  barangay officials  decided to dispatch a team of barangay   tanods  nightly to patrol the area.

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