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 By  Gianna Maniego

Nini used to invite  her  friends to her house for a sleepover when she was in high School. But after  a friend reportedly saw a hideous creature, many of her friends  became reluctant  to stay for the night.  Though she  never admitted it, Nini had a  suspicion that the creature had not disappeared  after the incident.

Yes, from time to time, Nini would get the creepy  feeling that someone was  watching her.  But when she would look, there would be no one there. At other times,  she would notice that her things had been moved around.  A hairbrush would be found  living at the bottom of the bathtub, a pencil she had just put down would be found hiding inside her closet….

Through the years….  Nini turned a blind eye,  insisting  that the pranks were the  handiwork  of dwarfs. But one time,  the pranks  turned really scary. Nini was talking on the phone, as usual.  She and her friends often used call   conference to get everybody on the line at the same time.

Sometimes,  there would be  five or six  of them on the line.  That night,   Nini was talking to Jen anf Rhona. Jen  excused herself to get a  glass of water, so Nene chatted  with Rhona. During the lull in the conversation, they heard  a man’s throaty  voice  cut into  the conversation, saying, “Gago,  tumigil ka na nga!”

Nini and Rhona stopped talking. And then Rhona asked, “Nini sa inyo ba ‘yun? Si Kuya Jonjie ba ‘yun?”

But Nini  Knew  she was the only one awake at that time.”Rhona, I think we should  put down the phone!”

“Okay! Without another word the two  hung up.

Spooked, Nini covered  herself in her blanket and tried  to will herself to sleep.  she felt  that a presence approached her bed  and sat  beside her. She felt the bed  give way to the  weight,  but still she  didn’t pull down the blanket.

The she felt  a pressure on her neck slowly moving down to her chest. She was  being squeezed by something! She couldn’t breathe! She  tried  to fight off the weight but it wouldn’t give in.  In desperation she prayed. “Lord…Lord… help!” was all she could  mutter.  Then she heard a low malicious  laugh near her ear, as if  it was taunting her.

She went into recite the Lord’s prayer in her mind.  Little by little  she felt the pressure ease.  By the time she got to “Amen”  she was able to breathe normally again.  Since then,  Nini has been sleeping  with the TV or radio on.  Recently, Nini met  Lui and they  immediately struck up a friendship.  Lui was  her classmate  in two subjects  and they both agreed to study together for the upcoming  exams.

They were scheduled  to sleep over at Lui’s house but the plan was cancelled, after  Lui’s lola and tita from  the province  decided to visit the family.  “With the house full,  we would’t be able to study,”  Lui said apologetically. Mindful  of her unseen “roommate” Nini hesitantly  invited Lui to her  house,  thinking that Lui would  refuse.  But to her  surprise, she said yes and  even got immediate permission from her parents.

On the way home,  Nini debated  whether to tell her new friend  of the strange  occurences in her  bedroom,  But in the end she  decided against it. “Bahala  na. Baka naman walang  mangyari,” She said.

In her room, Nini immediately turned on all the lights and the TV. “May third eye ka ba?” She  couldn’t help asking Lui. “Wala. Sabi nga nila manhid ako sa ganyan eh,” Lui answered.”Ah, buti naman,” Nini  said ambiguously. Intrigued , Lui looked  at her.  “Walaaaa… I was just asking kasi my friends- those who are supposed to be  sensitive to these things- tell me they feel something when they’re in my room, “Nini explained  in an  offhand way.

“You mean, may multo dito sa room mo?” Lui asked, goggle-eyed. “Something  like that. But personally, wala pa naman akong nakikita,” Nini  quickly assured. It wasn’t technically a lie since  she really hadn’t  seen any supernatural being…. yet.”Ah. Okay lang ‘yun, hindi naman ako  matatakutin at saka  mahimbing ako matulog,” Kui shrugged. And things  did seem okay the whole evening.

The two were able to study with-out interruption from anyone-human or otherwise. The only distraction came from the  TV which was tuned  to a music channel. After  a while,  Nini was able to relax. Maybe  things will  be alright, she thought.

At Around  midnight,  the two called  it a night and prepared  for bed. After brushing her teeth and changing into pajamas,  Lui hit the sack,  immediately failinginto deep  slumber. “Wow, she wasn’t  joking,” Nini laughed to herself as she went inside the adjacent bathroom. The minute she stepped in,  she knew something  was wrong.

The temperature inside the bathroom was  almost freezing, but none of the windows were  open.  She felt goosebumps  creeping up her arms as a sense of premonition took hold  on her.  Trying to dismiss the sense of foreboding, she  concentrated on brushing her  teeth,  but as she looked in the mirror, it became  misty. “That’s funny,wala namang fog  ngayon ah,” she muttered as she groped  for a towel  to wipe  the mirror. But when she  turned back, an ice-cold fear gripped her being. Written on the mirror were two words .Akin ka!

Nini blinked and immediately the words disappeared and the mirror cleared. “shit, this is what I get for  studying too hard,” Nini tried to make light of the incident.  At that momen, the volume of the TV turned  full blast and then suddenly it  was turned down.

She peeped  outside the bathroom to see who was  fiddling with the  volume.  But Lui was still sound asleep on the other  end of the room and anyone who came in would  have to cross her line of vision to get to the TV.   When she came near the TV, she noticed the volume was turned way down. “Hmm…. baka naman si Lui nga, “she thought.

Nevertheless. she grabbed her rosary from her bedside table before getting into bed without turning off the lights. Covering herself with a blanket, she willed  herself to sleep.  Soon enough she fell into a fitful dream.  In her dream,  she saw and talked to an ex-boyfriend.

Soon enough they were  romancing. But as  they were kissing, Nini opened her eyes and saw her ex’s expression.  Suddenly, he changed into a hideous demonic looking creature. She struggled to free  herself from the  creature’s embrace, but he kept squeezing tighter and tighter.

Nini awoke with a star, but she could  still fell something squezzing her tight.  Oh My God, she thought. It wasn’t a dream. She cracked open her eyes and almost fainted at the sight  of the thing  that  was squeezing  her. It was  distinctly male, she could tell from his  musky smell.  He was  short and powerfully built,  and his arms seemed twice as long as  his torso-arms that  were encircling  her in a tight embrace.

His grotesque  face was contorted into a grimace, saliva dripping  from his open mouth, and he was  looking at her with bloodshot eyes.  Nini struggled  violently against  the creature but could only flail  her arms at it. Her moments  woke up Lui who could see Nini shaking violently beside her. “Nini! What’s wrong? Nini! Wake up!You’re having a  nightmare!” Lui reached out a hand  to shake her freind.

Nini looked at her and open her mouth, but no sound came from it, Lui could see her friend’s body being crushed  by something unseen. But every time she reached  out to her friend, an invisible force kept her from going nearer. Lui  sat paralyzed  as Nini struggled  to beat her unseen foe.

But Nini could  only feel her strength ebbing away. In  desperation, she began  muttering every prayer she could  think of.  Then a  sense of calm came over her.  She stopped struggling and willed  herself to concentrate  on praying. Miraculously, she felt  the creature’s grip  loosening up until  finally she could  breathe freely. When she opened her eyes, the creature was gone.

Lui looked  horrified. “Ano ‘yun, Anong nangyari? Bakit  parang  may dumadagan sa’yo Lui stammered,  her fear dissolving into a torrent of tears. “Hindi ko alam. Ngayon lang nagyari ito,” Nini answered as  she tried to catch her breath.

“Ayoko na dito. Uuwi na ako,” Lui said, grabbing her things and heading for  the phone to call her parents  who reluctantly fetched her.  On Monday the two saw each other in class. “Uy sorry ha, hindi ko alam na may nangyayaring ganun,” Nini apologized. Lui smiled and disappointed and answered “It’s okay.  Pero corry ha, hinding-hindi mo na ako mapapa-sleepoversa inyo from now on.”

Nini hasn’t asked anyone to sleep over since then.

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