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 By Karlo Jose R. Pineda

It was already  eight in  the evening when my girlfriend Kassey and I crossed  the  overpass  on Espana.  It was raining  but we both had umbrellas.  We kept  close together as we stood on the sidewalk for a ride  home.

We were  the only  two people there, and the jeepneys that were headed to out destination  were few and far in between. As we  waited in the languid  expanse of the night,  Kassey said that she saw a  boy,  about nine years old,  beside me, sharing  the shade of my umbrella. I searched for the boy but no one was there. I told her that she must have been seeing things for it was unthinkable for  a boy to be out there on  a rainy night.

Minutes passed and  we remained  stuck there.  Our elusive ride home was nowhere  to be found. I was already getting tired of standing, and my eyes were strained from watching the drenched street. In my peripheral vision, I saw  that Kassey shared  the same feeling. I glanced at her and  my jaw dropped open. I was flustered. Kassey asked me why but I coudn’t answer.

After I got  a hold of myself again, I asked  her if the boy she saw was wearing  a white sando. She said yes. I told her that I saw  the same boy, this time behind her, staring at me.  His callow face was smeared with blood, making  his eyes seem like two   big black pearls floating in a crimson sea.

As if on cue,a jeep approached.  We hailed  it at once and hastily  boarded it.  Kassey and I were shivering, maybe from the cold on from our “unexpected  companion.”

Kassey advised me not to think too much of what  had happened, but I said that prayers were  a better idea.

I looked out the jeep. It was still raining, but  in my mind I still saw the boy’s  bloody face.

The alarm clock woke me at six o’clock in the morning. My eyes slowly  adjusted  to the rays of sunlight that penetrated my window.

“Karlo, it’s time to wake up! You’ll be late for school,” my mother called out. I was already awake but I wanted  to lie in bed a while  longer.  My mother or else I might get stuck in traffic.

“Okay, I’m ready up,” I said, yawning as I stretched.  With that,  my mom turned  away. How I wished  she hadn’t left! Because standing there by the door was the boy  Kassey and I saw on Espana the night before.  He was still wearing a white sando and his face was bloody.

His eyes seemed to  pierce my very  being.  I was shocked. I then  heard him whisper. It was a whisper that indicated  that he knew me.

“Karlo” he said.

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