By: Joel P. Salud
The story happened roughly 20 years ago in small newly built, three-storey hospital. A rather prominent family in the area owns the hospital, which has through the years become a rather well-known medical institution. However, during its early years in operation, it was witnesses to a ghost story like no one has ever heard…. One midnight, Tony and Marie Grace Sorillo rushed their eight-year-old daughter, Maritoni, to St. Francis of Assisi Hospital (not the real name of the institution after the little girl complained that she couldn’t breathe. The doctors initially diagnosed her with bronchitis, but wanted to conduct further tests to make sure, so they had Maritoni confined. At 2:00 o’clock in the morning, the small emergency room operated only with a “skeleton screw” of three nurses and a young resident doctor. Unfortunately, every room-21 in all three floors- was occupied, mostly by children suffering from Asthma, bronchitis, primary complex, and various upper lung diseases. The summer was hotter than usual and children were falling ill left and right Roger, who joined the nursing staff and emergency room graveyard shift only for the past two nights, brought Maritoni and her parents to the counter to see if there were rooms still available. There were none available, and the queue of patients on the waiting lists was just getting longer by the hour. Tony and Marie Grace begged Roger to find Maritoni a space in the hospital where she could rest.
Since the emergency room was packed to the brim that night, Roger said he would bring them to a vacant room as long as they wouldn’t tell anyone about it. The desperate couple agreed, so they took the elevator to the third floor and brough Maritoni to a locked room- Room 301. Roger said the room has been locked for the past year but no one could explain to him why this was so. When they entered, the couple saw that the room was clean and the sheets were all new, meaning someone had been making sure the room was well-maintenaed, despite being locked for several years. Marie Grace asked Roger if they could stay there until they could get a room for their daughter. Having agreed, Roger and Tony went down to the counter and booked a reservation for Maritoni.
Maritoni slept soundly that early morning, though her mother did not. Tired, hungry, and distraught over her daughter’s condition, Marie Grace went out to a nearby sari-sari store to buy bread and coffee.
She left Maritoni in the room alone, but figured that she would be back within five to ten minutes. Seeing that Tony was already next in line, she told her husband no run to the room as soon as he gets the reservation while she bought something for them to eat. Since room 301 was located on the far aside of the left wing, and that it was considered off limits, the mother thought their daughter would not be bothered by anyone. Maritoni woke up a few seconds after her mother left because of a knock on the door. A small girl about her age opened the door and went inside. She was wearing a dress which looked pale pink in the garish hospital light. Her skin was a white as alabaster. She was carrying a small rag doll and she was smiling. Maritoni smiled back as the girl sat beside her on the bed. She could see that the girl had happy eyes. “Hi”
“Hi! My name is Maritoni.
“I’m Julie. Why are you here?”
“The doctor said I’m sick of bronch… bron…:”
They both giggled because Maritoni couldn’t pronounce the word. “You wanna know a secret?” the girl whispered conspirationally, smiling. “What?” asked Maritoni. “This used to be my room!”
“Really? Are you sick too?” Asked Maritoni as she placed her palm on the little girl’s forehead. “No. It’s my birthday today,” the girl said while she placed the doll lightly on Maritoni’s chest.
“Happy Birthday! I don’t have a gift for you…”
“But I have one for you..” the girl said. “When your mama arrives, tell her to bring you home. Ask the doctor to look at you again. You’re okay now.”
The girl leaned over and kissed Maritoni on the cheeks and then she left without looking back. After Julie left, Maritoni realized that she forgot her doll. When Marie Grace and Tony came back to Room 301, they found Maritoni on the floor playing with the rag doll. “Hey, what are you doing up and about?” cried her mother who rushed to her daughter’s side and felt her forehead.
“You look like you’re okay.” Tony took Maritoni’s temperature, and miraculously, her fever was gone. “Where did you get this doll? Did someone come in here?” her mom asked when she saw Maritoni clutching the rag doll to her chest. “Yes, Mama- Julie. She’s this nice little girl who came and visited me while you and papa were out. She said this used to be her room. It’s her birthday today. I told her I didn’t have a gift for her but she said it’s okay and then she gave me this,” Maritoni held out the doll. “When was this?”
“Just you before came in… Oh and she told me to tell you that you can take me home. I’m okay now.”
The couple looked at each other. “Do you think there are other kids on this floor? Marie Grace asked . “Let me check,” her husband answered. Curious to get to the bottom of the incident. Tony went in search of Roger, orderly who led them to Room 301. He found him chatting with other emergency room nurses.
Tony asked, “Are there other children on the third floor?”
At this, Roger suddenly turned pale and cried, “Oh my God, we have to get your kid out of that room now!” “Why? What’s the matter?” Tony asked, starting to get worried. “I’ve just been told by the other nurses that the room is haunted by a little girl who was killed by her kidnappers during her birthday. She was stable to death 26 times and the blood from her wounds had turned her white dress pink!”
According to the nurses, the property on which the hospital stands was where she was found dead. “Today is her birthday, March 1,” said Roger. “Oh my God, that explains visit,” Tony said, uttering a short prayer that nothing bad had happened to his daughter. “One last thing,” said Roger. “The little girl was found clutching a rag doll in her hands when she was found.
Hearing this, Tony immediately rushed to Room 301, bundled up his daughter, grabbed his wife’s hand and fled the hospital, leaving the rag doll behind. That was more than a dozen years ago. Maritoni is now married and has teo lovely children. She hasn’t had bronchitis since. The rag doll was last seen by an orderly being taken out by another little girl who was accidentally confined in Room 301. The haunting stopped after that.