By Dinna C. Vasquez
Abigail’s uncle Danny lived just beside her in a townhouse in southern Metro Manila. He is a former priest who lived there with his mother, sister and two nieces. After a few years of being by themeselves, the family finally decided to hire a helper to help with the housework.
Lydia was a comely lass who seemed strong and hardy. Dark-skinned, tall and on the chubby side, she came from Daraga, Albay. “Handa po ako magtrabaho,”She gamely told Abigail’s Uncle Danny.
Danny gave Lydia instructions on housework and he specifically told her not to disturb the second room upstairs. Don’t touch it-was his strict warning. But the girl saw nothing with cleaning the room and rearranging the furniture. After all, she was Danny’s sister Nelda enter the room lots of times.
The following day, Lydia was in the batroom when she was startled by a loud banging on the door. Thinking it was the two children, she opened it but was surprised to find no one there. “Someone must be playing a trick on me,” she shrugged before finishing her business in the bathroom. After lunch, Lydia told Danny that she would just take a shower and iron some clothes.”Sige, doon ka na sa taas,” Danny replied.
After an hour, Abigail, who had just given birth to her second son, heard a loud banging coming from her uncle’s house. Worried that Danny’s mother may have fallen down the stairs, she rushed next door to find out what was wrong. As she entered, she heard noises coming from upstairs, like something was hitting the walls. Danny was also about to go up the stairs to see what happened.
When Abigail and Danny reached the second floor, they were startled by what they saw -blood was streaming down Lydia’s face! She was in the room that Danny had specifically told her not to touch! They could see Lydia hitting her air, throwing punches at some unseen foe. They could also see her skin being broken and torn, seemingly from the force of a punch.
Danny tried to pull Lydia away. All Abigail could do was scream because she was carrying her baby boy in her arms. Finally, another neighbor Rene, rushed into the house. “Ano nangyari?” he asked Abigail.
“Ewan ko, parang sinasapian “tong katulong nina Tito Danny,” she replied. Indeed, Lydia looked like a woman possessed. Her face was contorted in an unimaginable way and Danny, whose arms were around her, couldn’t seem to make her stop. “Tulungan mo ko, pare, ang lakas nito,” he told Rene. Even with Rene helping Danny pull Lydia away from her invisible opponent, the housemaid seemed stronger, which was no mean feat since Rene was 6’1″ and weighed almost 200 pounds.
After what seemed like hours, Lydia seemed tiredof her exertions. She fell to the floor and looked like she had gone through a 12-round boxing match. For four hours, she laid there, mumbling, shouting and cursing, until Danny’s mother decided to call a magtatawas to find out what was wrong with Lydia.
“May kalaban ito at hindi basta-basta…kapre,”said Aling Pilar.
Lydia’s struggle lasted almost the whole night. By 2 a.m. she seemed herself again although she looked pale and tired. She didn’t last long in Danny’s household. After she left, no extraordinary incidents like this followed. A years later, Danny and his mother moved to Canada. His sister and her two daughters went home to the province. Because the move was immediate, they gave away their furniture and most of their appliances.
Emy, a neighbor wanted the cabinet in the second room upstairs. There was nothing spectacular about the cabinet but Emy like it because it had many drawers. She asked her husband Art and two of her grown sons to bring it out of Danny’s house. It took Art and the two boys an hour to take the cabinet out of the room but for some strange reason, the three couldn’t bring it down the stairs.
“Ang bigat!” Art exclaimed. “Parang may laman.” But the cabinet was empty. They left it outside Danny’s house because they planned to repaint it the following day. The same night, Abigail couldn’t sleep. She kept hearing strange noises that seemed to come from Danny’s house.
The next day, they decided to call in Aling Pilar, who immediately pointed out to the cabinet as the source of the noise. “Bahay niya iyan,” She said. “Binulabog n’yo siya. kaya nanggugulo s’ya.”Apparently, the kapre didn’t appreciate being uprooted from his habitant, i,e. the second room in Danny’s house. Emy and Abigail then decided to get rid of the cabinet by giving it to an ambulant vendor who passed by the house. After that, everything was quiet in the compound of Abigail’s townhouse.