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By: Alma S. Anonas

My old university is the oldest university in Southeast Asia and is a place that is haunted by many generations and many types of spirits. In this story I will tell you about a vain but scary spirit. When I studied in this university to complete my degree in journalism, night classes were the norm, as many of our teachers had day jobs. I had one classmate who just had to retouch her make between classes and after the last classes. Excessive, if you ask me, but it was her face so I left her to it. Our classes were on the second floor of the building and we had just finished on class and were on our way to the last class of the night when my friend said she was going to the ladies room at the other end of the building to retouch her makeup.

According to her, she had finished fixing her eyeshadow and was just applying her lipstick when another girl wearing our school uniform entered the bathroom and asked to borrow her lipstick. The girl, as per my friend’s description, had dark eyes and long, straight black hair- something my friend envied because she couldn’t grow her light brown hair very long because she had difficulty keeping it groomed.

The girl was also of slight build where my friend was buxom. My friend took an immediate dislike to the girl, who was smiling at her. “Ang ganda naman ng lipstick mo, parang dugo.” the girl told my friend, smiling haughtily, and cocking a well-plucked eyebrow. “Pahingi naman ng lipstick.”
My friend does not take kindly to people asking to share her cosmetics, and she resented this girl’s high-handed manner of asking for a bit of lip color. She was about to say no to the strange girl when she noticed the girl’s pallor. “O, ayan, sige, gamitin mo ‘yung lipstick ko. Mas kailangan mo naman kasi ang putla mo. Mukha kang multo. Baka gusto mo din ng eyeshadow ko?”

My friend slammed the lipstick tube down on the counter in front of the mirror and the girl wordlessly picked the lipstick up and applied a thick layer to her lips before putting the lipstick tube quietly back on the counter. Turning to my friend, the girl smiled grotesquely and asked in a flirty manner “Maganda na ba ako?’ and spread her arms out and slowly turned, mimicking a beauty pageant contestant. My friend had enough of this silly girl and decided it was time to tell her off.

She put her lipstick back in her makeup pouch and began by giving the girl a scornful once-over from head to toe. When her eyes got to the part where the girl’s feet should have been, my friend saw nothing but air and she looked back up again, her eyes wide as saucers as she beheld the girl turning in front of her. The girl stop turning, looked at my friend and laughed harshly before bellowing out her question: “Maganda na ba ako?” She reached for my friend, who, seeing that she was being threatened by a ghost, ran like hell, screaming, to the other end of the building where our last class of the day was already ongoing. Once safely inside the classroom.

She slumped in the chair beside mine, shivering and jabbering until some classmates of ours and I calmed her down enough so the teacher wouldn’t send us out of the room. When the class was over, my friend told me what happened in the ladies’ room and asked me to accompany her while she went back to get the makeup pouch she had left in the ladies’ room in her fright.

I agreed and, when we got there, her hands were as cold as ice as she clutched my arm in a death-grip. Sitting on the counter were the contents of my friend’s makeup pouch, scattered by angry hands. the lipstick she had used was extended fully and broken off and a question was scrawled on the mirror in red lipstick: “Maganda na ba ako?” “Oo na, maganda kana!” my friend screamed, repeating the words all the way to the school’s Dapitan St. gate and, possibly, all the way to her student flat.

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