A Novella by Yusop B. Masdal (This is an unfinished manuscript of a novel I was trying to complete so many years ago. I just thought it is worth sharing.) The devil in his black robes and black cape, with his black teeth that gnash into the darkness with unseen ferocity. Those rangy eyes that slit to the sides like cats on the prowl. I have not seen him before except in the fertile ground of my mind, in my pregnant imagination and the intricacies in which it is capable of inventing. The lengthy tongue of fires billowed here and there like giant waves in the high seas, swallowing hapless fishing boats caught in the midst of a raging storm, within a Pacific Ocean caught in one of its hellish moods. That is inferno that I never knew could exist in this mortal world, however briefly they may have come to me, interfering with the cinema of my mind without any regard or consideration for the permanent stain that it might cast over my mind's landscape.. And yet, the most fearful episode is still about to happen. I fear most the devil when he appears suddenly in front of the doorway of my dingy room upstairs, hovering in midair, neither his serpentine feet nor his massive head touching any sides of the wooden entrance. While all the lights are out and the sound of crickets lay very still in the thickness of the dawn. And then in those unholy hours, my eyelids appeared to open forcibly by some unknown persuasion that even while I am gasping for air, struggling from steep anxiety. It was useless to think of running away for the source of terror lies there, in the only passage out of the room. No scream would escape my mouth, much less a verifiable holler. To make matters worst, sleep completely leaves me from the very moment of terror, that I have become a terrified victim of darkness, a tortured soul of the night. Sometimes the devil merely speaks to me without transgressing my sight, in a voice that whispers like leeches poring into my skin and into my veins. At first, the conversation we had was directionless, discouraged by the crippling fear that had enveloped my whole being as every limb an nodes trembled steadily almost crackling my whole being like a crisp biscuit pounded into bits of flour. How could you ever spew discerning words when you are cold like polar ice?

How could one ever speak to a devil? Is there any precedence that could guide my notions and insinuations? How do I confer with someone, rather with an entity, whose existence is at most mythical, highly unverifiable and definitely not within the bounds of reality as the word outsides this room knows? And yet the devil talk to me, of what subject I never moment of such luciferic pronouncement s, I always had to run away, at times into the earliest at most up and down, to and fro, inside the house that my mother never hesitated to declare me a mental case my sister Leda, and so did the neighbors, and later on my friends and everyday acquaintances. I got tired of running out, sweating profusely like a swine put on its death row, with the eyes of the word piercing my soul, accusing, and convicting: all at the same time Somehow, somewhat we all get to used to everything, however strange things may have became in this world that is continually challenging the bounds of morality, customs cordiality, ordinary notions and knowledge-the bounds of reality. Finally, in the evening that the first moon of July finally appeared, I have resolved to make the necessary clarifications as to the purpose of the devil. ³ There must be something I have that may be of use to you. ³ I said half stating. half questioning as I retreated to my bed h, murmuring all the prayer that I know, hoping the devil would not instead make appearance whilst he speaks to me. When after half an hour that voice did not come. I turned my cassette on and plugged- in the areas of Bocelli. ³ Cantero. cantero. In si mezzo llari es me returno«´ The air was cool the evening, and the noises made by people still in the streets reverberated smoothly towards my room together with the sound of leaves blowing into the night wind. I put up mild sign that the moment of contact with devil has not actually been forthcoming. Strangely, I felt a little bit disappointed that my preparation has come to naught. Or I thought. About an hour or so before midnight, the sound emitted by my cassette recorder started to feedback. Screeching into a high pitch ambulance siren that I was suddenly jerked out my state of h0alf sleepless. The wind steadily grew louder and more forceful that the air carried with it debris of no small amount and sizes, as I glared towards the window. A sudden panic made my heartbeat run like wild stallions as I triad to reach for the door. I could not open the door and I

swore it almost blew my brains out when after the wind had ceased abruptly, and the air become so pregnant with a silence so heavy that I could feel it pushing me down , there, at the edge of my bed, with his back towards me, was a man, some sort of an old man wearing a hat, an flayed and graying hat, a painter¶s hat it seemed. The apparition was vague, like looking into an opaque window, aggravating the strangenees of the moment as I literally become pasted to the surface of the wall, not moving, and perhaps not even breathing ³ I come in all shapes and size, as I want to´ the old men said without making and movement. ³ I am the one you have been waiting for´. I stayed petrified for a moment that seemed to run eternity. Most me wanted to shout or at least murmur some thoughts clarify possible explanation for this very strange occurrence, to put matters into its proper perspective however unreal my visions have become, but words or even semblance of did not follow suit. The mountain fear searing into my veins reached critical level that I have to master all what is left of me and sought for the door as I scurried downstairs to seek salvation, if you could actually cal that. My mom and Leda were in the sala, sipping cold tea and Chinese biscuits. I tried best effort to compose myself, swiping on my forehead and all over my body as it seemed, and located a comfortable corner in the sala to stay anonymous. Leda, that skin and bones sister of mine was to engrossed on a late night Mexican soap on TV and it was no use bothering her anything, not not even to breath when she is holding to that proverbial remote control, the symbol of the modern age, with agitated determination. I used to have long ago touched the velvety surface of that gadget, but not anymore, not in a very long, long time first, it was a mere battle of wills between us that the gadget seesawed possession depending whose ability to gnash and growl is at its peak time of conflict. It was ugly but it has its rewards. Things started to turn bad for me when the great Mediator , my mom , started to metamorphosed into the great Ally of the opponent, always ready to bail out my sister whenever I attain an advantageous warring position; and with goes the chunk of my TV privileges. Who said life is not unfair.

Skinny and short-tempered, Leda could turn devilish even over matters of very little consequence, turning into a tongue-lashing, fire-breathing serpent without any provocation. She is a nervous wrecked I guess, just like I am perhaps, or just worse for I rarely spew invectives, and only when there is extremely provocation. When my nerves get wracked, I was the opposite of Leda, turning into a turtle and submerging myself inside my hot and humid room, for hours, even days coming out nly for lunch or dinner and sometimes, not at all. I guess schizophrenia is a disease by affinity. Of course, the commonality between Leda and me probably ends there, for while she is similarly neurotically situated, she gets the privileges that I could only wish. TV, clothing, cosmetics, chocolates and chips while I languish for shoes on my feet´ my father was always berating me. Even while father was already earning a lot of mullahs in middle East, all I deserved was oversized T-Shirts that was always telling you not to go out when you¶re wearing it, or that seems to shouts¶ ³Stay Home, Idiot!´. Life is really unfair for most of us, unfair in so different ways for each and every one of us. Leda, aside from wallowing in underserved attentions, has that most coveted privilege, the privilege of traipsing to and fro, up and down stairways and halls of our rotting old wooden house without absorbing a single scathing remarks from mom while I have been a walking magnet for mom¶s irreverent indictment, ³God, do you call that a haircut?´. ³ Look at your beard, dirty, dirty, dirty!!, ³ Have you not attended your classes again?´. When, I thought when father left overseas, I had final redemptions from these tongue-lashings but alas, I never realized that mom could be doubly worse. The reason is because my mom is a woman. Tongue lashers extraordinaire. With television not possible, I strolled lazily to the backyard and list some cigarette. It was nearly midnight but strangely the night felt alive that whatever fear I had of darkness has ceased or at least settled calmly. There were the occasional sounds of passing vehicles and the wicked laughter of a group of bystanders wallowing in gallons of coconut wine. To simply feel not alone was enough for me at that moment. This was a strange night, a very strange and surreal night. My skin felt the heaviness in the air as I gazed toward the night sky full of novas, imploding or exploding, of distant stars and galaxies, quasars, meteors and all. I tried to busy my mind with every though possible, every idea that is not the devil. I let my second cigarette and went farther towards the back fences where the rooster slept on their peculiar position. This was no place for

any apparition, I summoned my thought, and where the streets still reverberated with the usual noises it makes. At least, this was a better place than my bedroom. On my fifth cigarette, I was still deep into ponderings about this phenomenon, this sort of malady that has ensconced upon my being. What malady is this? What cure is possible to alleviate this seemingly unexplainable situation? Just thinking about it, without actually being inside the experience renders me discomposed and unsure whether this is a malady of the strangest kind or simply the hallucination of a failing mind. I heard or read once that people that are about to become crazy often talk about their fear of finally lapsing into the abyss of mental incompetence, that sooner or later their common sense would betray them. Do I have that fear? Am I courting insanity as the most logical explanation to all of this? I really have to resolve, as soon as possible, this malady, this fearfulness, and these uncertainties. Next day came and through one of those very rare occurrences, I corned Leda while she was gorging the morning¶s chow. She was supposed to be already in school earlier than the first rooster could even crow but now. In one of those rare occasions, she was still taking her time on the dining table. ³You must not tell this to mom, Leda but I saw the devil again". ³How did you know that it was the devil in the place ? Cut the crap or you better off be escorted to ward 9´, Leda answered nonchalantly, without even a hint of tone indicated in her speech.´ You should get help immediately peter´ she continued, ³ You¶re brain is dying, you drink to much « you smoke to much« you stunted by hour in front of that useless video game console. You¶ve been taking drugs again, Peter. It¶s no wonder you¶re seeing things. I bet you are technically crazy now´. ³Just what do you mean by that´ I protested, ³How could you say that? Craziness could not be sized up technically, for your information. I knew it, I should have not spoken to you about all these, you could not even discern technical matters from those that are intrinsically and nonmaterials,´ ³Quit your being a scientist again you don¶t sound a bet like that´. Leda was at her usual warring stand. ³What mean is that your apparition talk has gone too far now, Peter, At first I thought you just lacked sleep but is a conclusion. Bad blood is running in your veins that you are now a

walking factory spewing toxic materials everywhere. The moment you started running to the streets like an amok, you should have been herded to the hospital or some mental asylum. It should been long ago«. Leda was her most serpentine mood that I could actually see fire coming out of her mouth. She speaks so bluntly and she could actually get away with Mom and Dad. She is forgiven for that. She talked that away ever since she was declared the Family Scholar, when she got valedictory honors in Grade School while I languished pitifully in anonymity and almost missed the march as my Music teacher then was threatening to give me failing mark, in music in all subjects. ³You speaks too dryly and so technically´ I retorted,´ you think you are so intelligent that you harbor that silly dream of becoming an astronaut. Intelligent people do not watch some silly Mexican soap opera full of actors compounded with a silly plot of any factual and significant human experience´. ³At least, I do not speak of demons or some old decrepit man in a Parisian head gear.´ Leda stated sarcastically.

For the coming nights, I had avoided sleeping in my bedroom again, preferring the sofa to harbor whatever sleep that may come to me. Watching cable programs until dawn, watching kung-fu movies in complete Chinese language, without the subtitles. It was a breather, to enjoy a show without being pressured to understand the conversation, for I have never really understood a single Chinese word. The French movies were just as good, but lack of materials arts content had rendered these frenchies not as palatable. The anxieties left me wide-eyed still for there was no assurance that the devil, or whoever that creators is, would not appear in the sala. My relief is that until now, that devil has not yet appeared to me in any other place except my room, I didn¶t fully understand this for if the devil was such a powerful being, he could appear anywhere anytime I come in all forms and sizes, perhaps he may not be that powerful, perhaps most of is just a myth. Craps. Bull Horseshit. Maybe I should not fear him at all. Maybe I should. Should such wishful thinking I spent the rest of coming days sleeping in the sala, stuck to cable movies until dawn gives up on me. At daytime, I was virtually transformed into a zombie, walking dead, with eyes swollen from

wakefulness that built eye shadows black as the night sagging face and thoroughly unkempt hair. The prolonged lack of sleep took so much of the life in me; the liveliness of my body has defaulted to a major red light as I tried to kept mental balance, physically and mentally, while I was trying to run away from the demonic scourge. And to make it worse. My body is so in heat, no not the usual meaning for it. What I mean is that an invisible source of heat, or a brimming fire of unknown location, attacking me from the back, without giving me any chance to retaliate. The devil must be nearby, for hell is. The burning sensation was so overwhelming that it contributed greatly to my failure to fend sleep, and worse of all, it drained my body fluids that my Mom could actually tell from a mile about my loss in weight,´ Oh God peter, what happened to you. You look so horrible. You¶re sweating like a pig. I told you that if you go to drugs again, I¶ll let the police drag you to man¶s land.´ ³No Mom, it just the weather perhaps. It¶s so hot.´ The morning was heavy with clouds above that what is imminent should be a major downpour. There was no wind, that¶s actually how the weather behaves, I read in a science textbook, where there is a threatening downpour. The heavy clouds actually restrict the movement of air that almost no wind could be felt. ³What do you mean the weather is hot? The sun had barely come up and you tell me it¶s hot. Go take a shower you must see Dr. Felisberto, if it¶s not drugs, then you must be suffering from liver problems. Mom was fairly knowledgeable with some sickness, being a midwife in one of the municipal hospital here. There was relief that Mom suspected hepatitis rather than drugs. But when I sweat like this, it¶s hard to explain when in fact, I really have not taken drugs for a long, long, time. I started to hate it. Never really wanted it. The withdrawal symptoms has just gotten so worst that the momentary enjoyment it brings is greatly overshadowed by the fangs, pains, sorrow, the unexplainable anxieties, the extreme heaviness of my body, my soul, the denigration of my pride, my person. The downside of drugs was so huge that, never again shall I wallow in such foolishness, in such grave massacre of the human soul. Drugs had actually been always an afterthought, present when the friends are in town, when my buddies have something to talk about, until the wee hours of the morning. I never took it alone, not to alleviate any sorrow, to

solve any problems or to elevate my consciousness. It was always with friends. My over dosage of such last year was not a result of helplessness, but merely resulting from unabated and uncontrolled sequence of parting. Saturday was birthday. Monday was a town fiesta. On Tuesday, long-lost friends fatso was in town from the states, on Wednesday Herman got too emotional over a break-up with his girl of five years. The stuff were there, in constant consumption side to side with booze of different sorts, beer, gin, rum, even wines displayed by the Ricky¶s father were not forgiven. On Saturday, I was driving the car at 120 kilometers per hour, shouting as I arrived home that a gang armed with guns and knives were following and trying to kill me. The next day I run to the streets half naked and on Monday I found myself tied down to a hospital bed, with bottled fluids hanging over my head and wishing all that I am home. ´You really looked emaciated,: Mom continued,´ were you last night? You couldn¶t possibly be. I didn¶t hear dogs barking.´ ³No Mom, I¶m just here. I slept at the sala last night. ³I think you should go to Dr. Felisberto. You should get help immediately. Don¶t let me drag you, you are old already. ³Fine, Mom I think I¶m going there this afternoon.´ Mom was a little bit caring. It felt uncomfortable but still, like always it was like she always wants to get rid of me. She gives me a massive dose of rebuke then left me to fend for my own self. Fortunately, I have grown use to that it didn¶t matter anymore, never matters anymore. Harley, or Dr. Harly David O. Felisberto was the doctor of choice ever since I could remember. He was that lanky, balding guy who is a natural chameleon. Prim and proper, formal and courteous when in front of adults but a easy going, sometimes a clown when he speaks to me. I may not be a child now but I still call him Harley, except when Mom is around. Mom always berated me: ³Where¶s your manner, peter. It¶s Dr. Felisberto. Show some respect.´ I may not be a child anymore but Harly maintained his easy speak with me. ³It¶s unlikely that you have liver problem.´ Dr. Felisberto started, ³Most likely, you have been taking drugs , Pete. There¶s no use in hiding it.

³No, Harley, you know that I wouldn¶t lie to you about such thing. If I had done such foolishness, there¶s no point in arguing with you because you are a doctor. But the truth is I have not taken the stuff even for once.´ ³You must be experiencing withdrawal symptoms, it¶s most possible. You need to have your blood rested and comeback immediately after you have the result.´ ³It¶s not really about drugs. It¶s something different. It¶s something supernatural. Do you believe in such thing?´ I felt a little embarrassed saying this but there was no choice. ³What do you mean? ³You know, ghosts, and spirits«the devils´ ³Oh, come on, you know I am doctor. I approached my work scientifically. Don¶t tell me, Peter. It must be hallucination«I hope its temporary«?´ ³It¶s the devil Harly, when I had that overdose, I never had seen such apparition it¶s definitely a bewitchment okay, perhaps I¶ve imagined thing before but this time its different. I know it, you must believe. The devil speaks to me, he appears before me twice or thrice already, but he speaks to me in so many occasions already. Inside my room«God you must help must help me Harvey.´ Dr. Felisberto did not speak for nearly a minute, massaging his forehead with his lengthened fingers. He sat back to his executive chair, a certain desperation was written in his face. ³Peter, you should go home now. Have some good sleep, force yourself to sleep, count the sheep, drink a lot milk, and think, just think hardly that the devil, or whatever it is that appears or talk to you is definitely unreal. Then come back tomorrow or the day after, I am sure you¶ll be just fine. I recommend that you see Dr. Marquez, he is a good friend, you could trust him.´ ³Hey , I am not crazy just as yet, I don¶t need no psychiatrist. I just better leave.´ ³Call me tomorrow Peter.´

The point is this strange occurrence is all for me to keep Leda and Harvey must have been the only person in this world that I could talk to about those experiences but both proved useless bottled fluids hanging over my head and some oversized fat idiot forcing us to do seat-ups, feeding us rice cereals with no bit of chicken in it. I cannot talk about this to just anybody. Of most things I hate is being implicated as a mental case, that¶s the worst of it. It really drives anyone paranoid. Nothing matters to me anymore but to escape this predicament. My law subjects do not matter anymore, the food I eat, the kung-fu movies, the latest Grisham thriller, Pearl Jam¶s new release. Everything in my life had turned into a turn still, upside down, downside up. Every second and every minute my mind is invaded by the devil and his soldiers of fear, his warriors of the dark and there is a battle that seems to be intractable, not to be won by a side so dilapidated and untrained in the art of war, what more a war against the unknown and the unexplainable. My room has become so disarranged for lack of attention. I only go up there during the day, when I have no other mind but to sleep, lug around and sleep. I even oversleep one night that woke up when the evening was still early. The lights were out and the moment I woke up, the panic was so sudden that I virtually could feel it running through my veins, from my feet towards my feet. Again, I lifted myself immediately, jerking my body from my bed and run as fast as my legs could afford. I took my supper alone, as always and tried to calm down the racing heartbeat. The phone rating when I was about to finish up my meal and Leda was gracious enough to sacrifice some second of her attention from the television to answer the call. ³Peter, its Dr. Felisberto´. I never expected the call that I wanted to make further clarification with Leda. ³It¶s really for you. Why do you have to still have to argue?´ ³Peter, its Harley, I was worried about you. I think we need to talk this evening. Come to my house in an hour. I¶ll be home by that time.´

Harley¶s house was about ten kilometers away from so I borrowed the car from my Mom. The weather averaged to windy, to rainy, to stormy for almost a week now. The night was unusually dark, the sky no stars or moon above. At about nine o¶clock, I arrived at the suburb residence of Harley and he was on the front porch with Mrs. Felisberto. ³Good Evening, Peter´, Mrs. Felisberto greeted me as I took my seat on a steel chair. ³Please have a seat. Have some cookies and coffee.´ ³No, no coffee for Peter for the meantime. What you need now is a good pint of rum.´ Harley said to Mrs. Felisberto and to myself while she was about to enter the house. ³Executing me, Peter,´ she said, ³I need to sleep early. I hope you could tend for yourself.´ ³Thank you Ma¶am, do not worry about me´, I said as Harley poured some rum-coke into a small glass. ³Sit down, Peter,´ Harley started as he sipped his liquor, ³There is something that I am going to tell you and you have to listen carefully. When you came to me that day, I couldn¶t help but conclude that you are again wallowing in drugs for what else could be wrong with you. All through your childhood you were healthy as a horse on the desert, expect for some occasional bronchitis and bouts with the sinusitis. Aside from these weaknesses of your respiratory system, you were definitely a healthy child, at least one that you could not call sickly. I told you to call me immediately because I need to stay in contact with you. I was so worried about you. I received the immediately because I need to stay in contact with you. I received the blood examination result that you sent through your maid and you were right, you could not have been taking drugs for almost a year now. I checked your records in the Sinai Hospital where you were detoxified and there were general conclusion that your paranoia had not in fact lapsed into hallucination meaning to say, you have not yet experienced visual or sonar miscalculation of things at that time and it is unlikely that you developed such. Still, insanity may still come from other sources aside from drugs, or that in your you may have been affected too much by the drug overdose that eventually now your mental environment already. Or you may have been gravely

affected by Trisha, you know, you told me that she was not really worth it, but who can tell, I cannot tell.´ ³Trishia, well, there¶s really nothing to it, no big deal«. I just feel uncomfortable not to be seeing her again. Wanting to see her, when there¶s that glimmer to hope but not enough resolved to kneel down and apologized. But it never really mattered when I am without her. I am just alright with or without her? ³Uh huh. Let me continue.´ Harley cleared his throat and gobbled down another shot of rum.´ The point is you could most probably be already experiencing the very stages of insanity. However, I could tell you that I know a crazy person when I see one. Just by the way he looks, much more by the way he talks.´ ³Come on Harley, you called me here just to tell me in my face that I am crazy?´ ³No, no, no«. let me continue, what I am saying is that, for all the experiences you have had. You are not crazy peter. Believe me. I know you ever since you are a child. I have not gained expert knowledge on psychiatry«. Or whatever it is they call that« that¶s why I made you note that there is probability that you may be going crazy in the head. Anyone could become crazy; no one is exempted. Rich, poor gay person, white people, black people«. even dogs could go haywire in the head. But I know you. I believe you when you when you said that you are not crazy. Pardon me if I had insinuated otherwise.´ ³Well«. Thanks Harley¶¶, for a while almost could not speak. I felt I could cry from this rare affirmation, which I really needed at this time.´ Well, what can I say Harley? But it still does not solve my problem. I am terrified and wouldn¶t be too soon till myself would announce to the entire world that I am really a goner in the head. Come handcuff me and throw me to the Lion. ³Calm down peter what are saying. Please let me continue´ ³Okay«. Go on«. ³Another thing is that I believe you when you said devil had talk to you.´

³Are you serious? Do not make fun of me especially in my present condition, Harley.´ ³No, Listen. I believe you because let us just say that I know someone who had similar experience, about voices and apparitions. It was long ago. So long ago peter that I thought I have already forgotten it until you come to me that day.´ Harley Look the bottle of the liquor and drank whatever left of it without using the glass. Something in his face was unusual, a face, that tells me of a Harley that I didn¶t know. There was a thin layer of sweat all over his face, which was red and Harley suddenly looked feverish that I stated to worry about him. ³Are you alright, Harley Am I bothering you already. ³No again, listen to me and please do not interrupt me, okay I was a little bit surprised on the sudden abruptness in the speech of Harley. Definitely, I have never seen him in such condition even when I have known him for almost all my life. ³yes see, peter´ Harley continued as he opened another bottle of, liquor, it was a scotch whisky this time,´ It happened when I was about a child of ten, again do not interrupt me, just listen. I guess it was about the year 1967 or 1969, I am not sure anymore, back in our town in Mercedes. One afternoon, while we were playing games with my friends at the backyard of our old house, the house at the house that I told about which was built during the Spanish time by our great grandparents, my grandpa shrieked and shouted for help. The neighbours heard he cry of my grandpa that many came running towards our house. I run as fast as I could to see what the commotion was all about. The earth seemed to move as I pass the hallway that I almost fell on the stairway, grabbing the handles before I completely lose my footing, and then I saw blood on the floor of the room of my grandpa. There were huge amount of fresh blood on the floor that it seemingly flowed like a river. Before I could see what was really happening, the men who answered the call for help rushed my grandpa out of the bedroom and I later on learned that grandma was rushed to the hospital in the City area, unconscious and bleeding profusely. ³That afternoon, just as the sun was about to set down on the horizon, most of the relatives and some neighbours gathered in our house. The sala was so spacious that even if the people who gathered around numbered to almost twenty, you could still feel empty spaces all around. They were waiting for father and grandpa to arrive from the municipal hall and until that time, nobody

seemed to know to speak. It was some sort of unusual, Uncle Bert, the fat and clown of an uncle of mine would surely have monopolized the conversation and let the conversation explode with laughter and merriment were it not for what had happened to grandma. The silence was augmented by the yellow luminescence coming from the lamps that filled the corners of the Sala and the hidden shadows it had built. We did not have electricity in our place at that time and ventilation was attained by the windows so wide that you could mistake it for doors if you were not careful enough.´ ³My father has gone straight to the municipal hall from the general hospital per invitation of the police. No, there was no wrong suspicion of the murder indicated by the authorities, against grandpa or any against member of the house; no one was made to answer for highly interrogative inquiries that are usual in similar situation. Corporal San Diego has sent some of his men to make. Routinely police work, inspecting the passage ways for any sign of forcible entry, scanning for finger and foot print, taking away some pieces of clothing and belongings that were not really of great consequence to us, the bed sheet, the blanket, some hankies. That was all. We saw the police asking our maid, Delia, a question or two, after that, the police took their leave. In the police station, Corporal Son Diego apologized for the inconvenience and informed my father that he needs to make some sort of statement for records purposes and that¶s all and there was a promise of a speedy resolution to this unfortunate event.´ ³The maids serve coffees and a biscuit for there was no time anymore to prepare food for such a short time. My fathers arrive about seven o¶ clock in the evening. With red stains still his shirts. It was clear that he tried to wash it off with water for the color of blood on his, shirt has appeared muddled and diluted. Everyone was tense and worried. It was never spoken but I could tell the general expectation is that grandma would not make it, what with huge amount of blood that had been loss from her, Cousin Betty, the oldest cousin that I knew of it was already inconsolable while uncle Berto scolded her that she was already counting grandma dead even even if news has not yet arrive from the hospital.¶ Let us wait for Daniel¶ uncle Berto reminded everyone,¶ I sure Mama would be all right. Now calm down Betty. You there Harley, go to the front gate and wait there for your father and stop playing with your toy car. This is no time for playing, gaddemet ¶ I seemed to have isolated myself from entire happening, looking in from the outside, seemingly oblivious to the graveness of the situation and unfeeling to the heavy emotion that seemed to

have enveloped the surrounding of our house. Despite my relative detachment from it all, I have sort of become witnessed the entire experience, not only from within but also from without. I may have not seen most of the physical sequences but somehow, inside my head I was aware that something not ordinary was happening even before the elders has come to the open about it. Aside from my mother and father, It was only Uncle Bert and Manang Lita , our Yaya that had knowledge about the things that was about to come open in this hastily scheduled meeting although most of us in the household already was aware of the unusual sickness of grandma, There nights when our sleep were disturb by the sudden shrieking and crying of the grandma, right in the middle of dawn. Every time grandma was attacked by that ³sickness´, she become uncomfortable and her face assumed a distraught look that she seems to look like somebody else. Manong Godo, my ninong, his brother Nito and wife Melinda were allowed to hear the testimonies for they were nearly our relatives, leaving so close to us and having been in very good relations with our family,´ ³Before the revelation, father position himself in the middle of the room where everyone could hear him. He did not bother to find a seat and stood there talking like a politician declaiming his fortitudes. The condition of my grandma has stabilized my father said without much modifying the tired look on his face. Blood has been found but it were never used because the doctor found out that her blood pressure was just a little beyond normal and any transfusion would in fact bring her harm than good. She was still unconscious when father left the hospital but the doctor guaranteed the stabilization of her condition. In fact the doctor was a little bit disturbed grandma seem to have not suffered so much of a weakening in her body, it was as if she just feel into very deep sleep. And until moment, the doctor had not yet identified the wound where the pools of blood come out. They examined her nose, mouth and earlobes and did not find any sign that blood had run through it. They are to examine her other orifices by tomorrow and they were relatively positive that most possibly the outpour of blood was a result of a bowel or renal movements. These conclusions by the doctor will prove to be immature for when tomorrow came, the result of the examination did not indicate any internal hemorrhage. Grandma had not complained of pains in her body and continued to spew out crystalline urines and maintain a healthy bowel activity, the case of grandma had become some sort of modern controversy within the doctor in the at that time. When the finally decided that didn¶t have an answer of the case,

they invited attention from medical authorities in Manila by sending medical reports of grandma only to wait for nothing. When nothing actually happened to the investigation of the doctor, they no choice but to fall down and agree with the preliminary findings of the police which indicated, among possibilities, that a stranger might have slipped into the house with some malevolence in mind and stranger was wounded gravely by grandma or grandma Of course there was question if grandpa or much less grandma could have sufficient strength to actually bleed a stranger poised to violate the peace and vandalize the house/ Another thing was that there was no bladed weapon to be seen around scene of the«««.not the scene of crime for it were never decided as a crime for lack of assailant and of a victim.. but the scene of that«. Shall¶ we call the supernatural bloodletting by grandma.´ ³µListen carefully, all of you¶, father started, he scourge of grandma had gone too far this time. What really, happened to her this afternoon is not for us to know about just as yet, not until she recovers and come home from the hospital. Most of you here may probably know that mama has a disease that is unusual, although I have known the cases. Still it is unusual for it could not be understood by everyday common sense. To say the least it is something from the unknown.¶¶ ³Father stuttered once in a while that he often took a small breather before continuing his speech, He told the gathering that the time to believe has arrived, There is no turning back now,. He said further that for those who still doubt the unnatural sickness of grandma should leave the room for he or she wouldn¶t help. It was apparent that father was never comfortable with the things that were about to come open that evening. Things that should not be spoken were it not for the grave situation of grandma and the things that had just happened to that afternoon. After taking deep breaths father continued his speech, I know some of you or most of you already knows about the haunting that had trouble this house for a very long time now. The last time gin made his presence felt so seriously was the time that I almost died of unknown sickness. You could remember sometime last year when I could not even move my hand, enable to feed my self and look for my own being. That was the time I cried in anguished like a child, kneeling before the unknown to beg not to bother us anymore especially grandma. It was the time that Nyor Temyong frequented our house, trying to exorcise and tame the gin. WE thought we could really beat him with all mantras and chants that we have done, The gin was hurt but was so strong we

could not entirely make him go away. And so I had to beg like I never did before. We promised the gin everything that we could give and we promised that we would do away with the Ceremonies if it would vanish and never come back After long nights in constant battle with spirit, we were able to make the haunting stop, and we thought it would be for the rest of our lives when however. The gin Has again begin to make his presence felt. Now more grave than ever, with so much blood and I have feeling this time, the gin is coming with more ferocity, with a vengeance. When we had the exorcism last year, I could actually hear the gin screaming in pain although I never knew in what form of voice it spoke. We tried to speak to the gin, to clarify its purpose and desire but to no avail«we have to be prepared this time. The gin has come back and we must drive it away at all cost for there is no guarantee that it has any resolve to live us alone. Maybe when grandma is dead but even if grandma is already in her twilight years, we could not allow her departure from this world through the malice of the gin«or of the devil. The gin is a devil alright for what else could it be when grandma has become so agitated over the years and now, blood was spilt so horribly that clearly, it is a sign of something senister to come.¶. There was glassiness in the eyes of father that you could tell that he was either furious of just being overwhelmed by fear. I could tell that he spoke with lesser resolve than we had aimed to do. µWe have to do what we have to do¶, father continued and he made gestured as if trying to uplift the morale of those who were around when in fact it was apparent that father needed that most. By tomorrow, I am to consult Nyor Temyong and bring back the fight that we almost won last year. This time, we are going for the kill. There is no turning back now. I need most of you to be present tomorrow for the ceremonies and the players. We do the ceremonies at the first sign of twilight tomorrow. Something might happen gravely so be prepare. We have to expect for anything to happen for we do not know the length of the gin¶s power. It has been a tiring day, we all need to rest now for tomorrow is the day of reckoning¶.¶¶

``The meeting ended without any more conversations after father made his long talk. Everybody seem to have decided that nobody was allowed to speak, or perhaps they were just careful not to say anything stupid in such a very fragile situation. Everybody realized that in times like that, there was no used talking about worldly things when foremost of all consideration was something supernatural. They decided that the gates of the unknown have started to open and they have to prepare themselves, to reset their minds and cleanse of whatever disbelief they have

of otherworldly beings. Most retreated to their beds with their heads heavy with visions of the gin, taking many forms, having many sizes for who could actually visualize the image of such being. Any sleep they had was not substantial if actually they had any. Most turn in their beds, fearing for their own well-being, each wishing that they were away in some far away in place when the scourge has again began to reek of haughtiness, of menace. They remember so well last year when the exorcism was in full gear that my father had become so feverish that no one could tell that he was the same person if nobody care to further verify. My father had become so emaciated that he himself told me that he was close to expecting the inevitable, the sacrifice of his own life. He was sweating almost all the time during that span of days, never took much food, only water and some syrupy preparation given to him by Nyor Temyong. When darkness fell, father would scream like cattle about to be slaughtered, running to the open fields like a madman, half naked and weeping like a spanked child and everyone was running after him, to pacify him and tie him down. I would cry too when I saw father being so strange and acting so bizarre. I just could not accept him to be so denigrated and helpless. My father had always been the image of a gallant warrior, galloping in a white horse, always on the prowl, always on the lookout for any enemy, to vanish and repel whatever harm that may come our way. Being a law practitioner, he was a respected personage in the community in every time trouble and conflicts disturbed the peace of our community; father seemed to always have the solution up on his sleeves. He was also some sort of a philanthropist, always ready to give a helping hand. Were it not for his busy occupation, he would have been a cinch to become the selected leader of our community.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful