By Gerrilyn Cadiz
My sister isn’t one to believe in things that go bump in the night. But that changed when she attended an out-of-town seminar and came face-to-face with one such otherwordly presence. My sister said it was more like a retreat than a seminar, really. It was held at one of the vacation houses owned by the company she worked for.
It was far from the main road and could only be reached by private vehicles. No public transportation passed by. But you can take a tricycle from the main road and just direct the driver to the house. It was far from the maddening noise of the city and was nestled amidst mountain ridges that accounted for the breezy afternoons and chilly nights.
However, she found it creepy that the trees had all these crosses on them. One of her officemates said it’s because the trees were used for the station of the Cross during the Lenten Season. It was a week-long seminar. The days were spent with the usual team-building exercises and activities. At night, they would have bonfires and tell inspirational stories.
It was during one of these bonfires that she first heard about the “resident” Some of her officemates, especially those who been with the company for years and had previously attended these seminars, recounted their encounter with the lodge’s apparition. How it would suddenly pass them by on the stairs; how it would appear at the door of the dining area as if checking on them.
But the manager, who had been with the company for almost 10 years, would quickly debunk the stories and call them”nonsense” And my sister, as I’ve said earlier, was not one to easily believe such talk. So, she and their manager had a good time laughing the stories off. The third night of the seminar, as they were all preparing to go to bed, one of her officemates came rushing to her room.
The officemate told her she heard something moving, rustling, inside her closet and asked my sister to accompany her to check it out. It was my sister who opened the closet door and there, lying on top of a bunch of clotes was a lizard. Her officemate freaked out. Nothing like a reptile to scare the wits out of somebody. Anyway, since both of theme were afraid of the reptile, they decided to leave it alone. My sister then asked her officemate to just sleep in her bedroom. The creature might attack her, they thought.
My sister and her officemate went back to her room and got ready for bed. After a few hours of chit-chat, they went to sleep. My sister is a light sleeper. A movement on the bed would easily her wake her up. She woke up in the middle of the night with a scene of unease. She wasn’t exactly sure what woke her up. But she felt a chill even before she opened her eyes.
Her mind registered that maybe she had forgotten to close the windows. And so even though her lids were heavy with sleep, she willed them open. And there, hovering above her was a face! She felt a scream rise to her throat. She wanted to kick her officemate, who was happily snoring beside her, into wakefulness. She wanted to raise her hands in alarm, wanted to flail her arms at the spectre. But fear paralyzed her.
The face was that of a woman. She had wide sunlen eyes, gaunt cheeks and an empty hollow mouth. It screamed at her, a high piercing sound that could’ve come from the very pits of hell. Then her officemate turned and in an instant, the apparition was gone and my sister, trembling, woke her officemate up. She was as scared as my sister, they went to the next room to crash another officemate’s room. My sister huddled close to her officemate, fearful that the wraith would come back. They didn’t sleep a wink that night.
The company stopped having its seminars at the house shortly after that a few months after the incident, my sister resigned. Though she would not admit that it was probably the experience that pushed her to do it.