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By: Aya Paredes

This is a story  of a group of friends who accidentally turned one of their gimik nights into one hell of  adventure they will never forget. Don, Mike,  Obet,  Jenny,  and Olive  are friends since their high School days.   Now on their fourth year in College, they still  see to it that  they meet up at least once a week for  a gimik or lakwatsa.  One Friday evening,  they agreed to go to  a famous  old house  somewhere  in Pasig. The old house used to belong to Don’s family until his parents decided  to sell it to an American couple who would spend  a few months in the Philippines every year.

“So how  in the world are we getting in if the owners are outside the  country?” asked Mike, the short-tempered one.   “Easy, pare. I have a  spare key!” quipped Don.  “What if they changed the locks?” asked Jenny. ” They won’t and they can’t. The lock are antique. It was made by  one Spanish artist and the new  owners knew that.  They  wouldn’t dare  take off a very important piece of the house,” Don said. He was  confident  that he was right.

After a few more arguments,  the group made it inside the ancestral  house. The entire house was dark, not  a thing can be seen. Obet clicked his lighter which barely illuminated the room.  The sala set consisted of old narra furniture  and other  antique pieces that were covered by white  linen sheets.  The whole place was clearly dusty.  The owners obviously haven’t been home for months. “This  gives  me the  creeps, guys. Let’s  get out of here,”  said Olive.  She’s  always  been easily scared.

Sometimes, the  group thinks, she’s  even afraid  of her own shadow.  “Nah! You’re scared of almost everything. Olive, you are even  scared  of your own reflection in the mirror! Hahaha!”  Mike said. He  was  exerting an effort to ward off his own nervousness. But somehow, his voice was a telltale sign of his own misgivings about exploring the  house.  A large squeak  on the wooden floor surprised the group that they  started running into different  directions. Olive and Jenny ran towards  the kitchen, Mike  and Don ran to the second floor,  while  Obet was left  behind  searching for his lighter that was knocked off from his hand.  Obet was on the floor when he saw  a man and  a woman came from  somewhere in the sala.  The woman was carrying a gas lamp, crying.  The man was very mad, speaking  in what sounded was Spanish. The  woman  ran towards the staircase but the man pulled her by the hair and  repeatedly hit her head on the floor  a few inches away from Obet. He  was surprised that the man had not seen him at all. Obet watched in horror  as the man took the gas lamp, poured poured the kerosene all over the  woman’s body, and lit her up. “Help me! Help me!” cried the woman. Obet’s adrenaline  rush  made him forget his fears. He stood up and took one of the linen sheets  covering the furniture.

He used the sheet to put off the flame engulfing the woman’s body.  After a while,  everything  went totally dark once  again.  Obet was catching his breath.  The smell of burnt flesh gagged  him.  He used his lighter to light  up the place. He saw that he was totally  alone.  Jenny and Olive were faring no better in the kitchen. “Be careful, Jenny. We don’t  know what’s in here,”Olive   whispered  into  Jenny’s  ear.

“Don’t be scared. Look,  we can see the kitchen from here, thanks  to the luminous  full moon outside,”  Jenny assured her friend. “Hush. I  think  someone’s coming. Maybe it’s  one of the  boys. Quick, let’s  scare’ them.  Let’s hide under  the table.

The two girls quickly took cover under the table.  They waited for the  boys to go near  where they  were hiding. But to their surprise,  someone wearing a camiso chino shirt and a pair of long pants came inside the kitchen. The mysterious man was holding a big bolo.  All of a sudden,  a  woman  appeared from nowhere. She was running around the kitchen,  crying and begging  for her life. Jenny and Olive embraced each other,  they were couldn’t understand what the woman was  saying.  Then it happened. The woman screamed as the man stabbed her  numerous time.

Blood  was everywhere- on the walls, kitchen  sink,  on the floor. Jenny and Olive closed their eyes  and  tried their hardest to  muffle their screams. Then there was a sudden silence.  Mike and Don were beginning to become agitated in the second floor. “Pare, let’s find the others na. It’s too dark in here,: said Mike to  Don.  ” Wait lang pare. I’m trying to locate my old room. I want to see  if something’s been changed.”  He pointed to a room located  farthest from where they are. Mike followed Don to the room.  When Don slowly opened the door.  He and Mike saw the  most gruesome scene they might ever witness their entire life.   The room was lit by a  gas lamp. There was a man, with blood all over his clothing. He was stabbing two  small children, a girl and a boy. The girl was screaming, asking for help: “Help! Help us! Papa’s killing us!”She was quickly silenced by the man by slashing her throat.

Don and Mike wanted to run and hide, but both  of them were frozen, couldn’t move. They were too shocked  to react.  After the man killed the  kids,  he got a thick rope  and hung  himself  from the ceiling.  After this, the door slammed shut.  Don and Mike ran away as fast  as they could.   When they reached the first floor,  they saw Obet, Jenny,  and Olive running away from the house. It took them hours to calm each  other down.   They never spoke about  what they saw for many months.  A year later, Don’s parents came home   from abroad. Don asked  the  history of the house.  His mother told him about a gruesome murder  that happened in the house in the early 30s.  A wealthy Spanish man killed  his entire family after finding out that he was  losing his  business and the  house and was virtually poor.  The man killed his wife and two kids,  but the little girl survived. She was  Don’s late grandmother.  Don threw  away his key. He learned that sometimes, things are better   off being left alone.

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