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Home / Filipino Horror Stories / DEAR MR. EDITOR


By Aya Paredes

Martin is an editor of a  bi-monthly lifestyle magazine for me.  The stress  of  meeting  deadlines took a  toll on  his  appearance as he  looks  older than his age. The company’s  decision  not to hire  regular writers and to just look for contributors  who would  be paid per article added to his load.

The company placed and for  freelance writers in  a national  daily and in just a matter of a week,  his e-mail inbox had been flooded with  inquiries. Part of his job was to screen those interested and shortlist them.  Martin was always the last person in the office,  leaving at around 9 p.m.

Before  going home one Friday night,  he checked  his e-mail one last time and saw  that there  were a few messages needing  his attention.  Since he  would spend his Friday night at  home anyway, he decided to read his  e-mails.

One e-mail caught his attention. It was an inquiry from a freelance writer named Danny.  He was asking if Martin was still in need  of writers and asked if he could  send some sample articles.  The editor replied and told  Danny to send  some of  his works.

The next night,  at around 9 p.m. Martin was already cleaning up his  desk when  he suddenly had an  urge to check his e-mail one more time.  Having  forgotten about Danny, he was  surprised  to see an e-mail  from his again.

This time, the e-mail  came  with an attachment containing his sample works. “Great!” Martin muttered to himself. Now,  he has no choice but to go through Danny’s sample works  before he leaves for  home. To his  amazement, the articles were well-written. The materials were what he was  looking for.

After going through the samples,  he wrote Danny an e-mail saying that his  works were good and they would  see print in the magazine’s next issue.

A month passed, Martin and Danny regularly communicated through e-mail. Danny continued  supplying Martin with good materials.  Martin was very happy that he  had found the perfect freelance writer of the batch. One day, he requested  for Danny’s contact numbers. Martin needed to talk to his writer.

It took Danny over a week to finally give him his  contact number and home adress. Martin replied to Danny’s  e-mail asking  him if  he wanted to pick up  his check. He also said that they could  just send  it to the  address Danny provided. No reply came from Danny.

Three issues of the  magazine came out  containing Danny’s articles. Queries  from readers started to pile  up on Martin’s desk. All were asking  who the new writer was  and that his articles affected  most of them in a good way.  His articles are  very insightful, the letter said.

The big  bosses of the publishing  company started  to get interested with  the new writer. They wanted to meet him in person. Martin,  on the other hand,  was puzzled.  After providing him with his  contact details, Martin had never heard from  Danny  again.  Something must have happened, Martin  thought.

The next day,  he went to the adress Danny gave him.  This was after he tried  reaching him through the phone number Danny gave him. The  phone line had been  disconnected.

He decided  to get off work early to go to  Taguig where the address was.  He managed to find  the house before it got totally dark.  It was  a modest two-story apartment located in  a middles class neighborhood. He knocked on the door several times before a tall man in his  fifties opened the door.

“Good evening, sir,  I’m looking for Danny,”Martin said.

“Are you friend of his?”asked the man,  puzzled. “No, sir. Actually, we haven’t met. I’m Martin, the editor of (name of magazine).  I’m looking for him to offer him a permanent post in our company,” Martin explained.

“I’m his father and you’re too late.” He had an angry tone to his voice. “Sorry, sir,  but I just don’t get it.” Martin was uncomfortable.  “You ask for my son now when  you didn’t  even bother  to appreciate his works  two years  ago before Danny decided to take his own life! How dare you come to me now when you were the cause of his death!” the  father of Danny was shouting now.  “Two years ago ?  But there must be some  mistake! He  has been  sending us samples of his works for a month now.  Is this some kind joke?” Martin was nervous.

Danny’s  father let him in; calmer now.  He led Martin inside and told him to follow him. Danny’s father opened a door that turned out to be Danny’s room.  Danny’s  father opened and old  dusty box he got from under the bed and showed the contents to  Martin.  Though he wasn’t sure at first  what it was, he suddenly realized that was holding an old manuscript. “It’s been two years,” the  man told him.

One morning, he found his son dandling from the ceiling, a rope tied around his neck. Danny was heartbroken, he died a frustrated writer, his father said. He sent  his sample works  to various magazines in the country but not even a single publication took notice to him, dismissing his worksas mediocre.

What Martin was holding was Danny’s last works, a copy of which was sent   to Martin’s magazine two years ago. Martin’s hands shook as he realized that they were  the same materials that were  printed in their magazine.

On the way back to the office, Martin still couldn’t  believe what had just happened. He thought that it was impossible for him to  receive e-mails from Danny when his father claimed that he committed suicide two years go. “There must be  a logical   explanation for this,” he told  himself. When he  reached  his office, it was already dark. It was almost 9 p.m.

Everyone must  have gone home,  he thought as the building  looked  abandoned save for the guard who  wa on the night duty. He quickened  his steps towards his office, ignoring the creeps he had been feeling all night.

When  he reached his office, he turned on the lights and his computer, checking again Danny’s  e-mails. His eyes widened  and he broke into a cold  sweat as he went  through Danny’s e-mails. All of the e-mails were sent in 2004, two years ago!” Oh my  God! How come I didn’t notice this” Martin was definitely confused and spoked.

He realized that Danny could  have sent Martin his sample works two years ago but Martin was too busy to read through them.  He must deleted all of Danny’s works and never  took time to reply. Then suddenly, the power went out. There was complete darkness. Martin panicked and started for the door.

When he open the door, he was surprised to see a man in a barong blocking his way.  Martin almost fainted when he realized that the man was floating, his eyes were sunken and dark, blood was coming out of his mouth. Martin was sure who he  was Danny! He recognized him  from the pictures his father  showed Martin earlier.

Before Martin could react,  Danny’s ghost already got hold of Martin’s throat and  and started to strangle him.  Martin realized that the force was so  strong that his  feet were already off the ground.  Martin uttered a prayer. He was fast losing  consciousness due to lack of oxygen. Martin mustered all his strength and yanked himself off the grip of his  attacker.

The grip loosed and he dropped to the floor. Running blindly, he went back to his office shouting for help.  None came as his voice couldn’t  reach the guard stationed at  the gate.  He was groping in the  darkness looking for possible escapes.  He bumped on a stack of magazines and fell.  He saw that the ghost followed him inside his office.

Martin’c survival instinct kicked in as  started throwing piles and piles of magazines to Danny’s ghost.  To his horror, they would just pass through the apparition,  landing with a loud thud behind him. The ghost dived in for another attack.  aiming for  Martin’s throat. Martin was sure that his time was up  and that his  body would be found lifeless in the morning.

Then he realized what Danny’s father told him.  Danny was a frustrated writer! Martin grabbed a copy of the magazine and  waved  it in the air. “It’s here! Your article was finally printed! See,  that’s your name!” Martin gasped as he flipped through the  magazine’s pages trying to located Danny’s article.

To his  relief,  the ghost let go of his neck.  The ghost eyed the  article, looking  mesmerized. A few moments passed, the power was back, Martin scanned the area and  found no one but himself. He heard the guard pounding on his office door.

Relieved to  hear another living being, he quickly opened the door. The guard was surprised to see him looking scared and was confused as he saw the mess in his office. Martin didn’t  bother to explain and just asked the guard to stay with him as he collected  his things from his desk.

He couldn’t  wait to  go home and forget about the incident. Then, he noticed one magazine lying on the floor.  Picking it up, he saw that Danny’s article was torn from the magazine,  the pages missing.   Martin was sure  that the ghost took the pages.

After that incident, Martin became more conscientious in dealing with aspiring  writers making sure never to crush their spirit. He also made sure he leaves his office by 8 p.m.



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