It Wasn t im

Scout - - NON-FICTION - By Anthea Reyes

I was ex­pect­ing him. We got home late one evening, to a house we knew was haunted from the be­gin­ning. It was a beau­ti­ful house with a built- in mid­cen­tury chan­de­lier, high ceil­ings, and mar­ble oor­ing.

The ghost was kind. He was a tall, im­pos­ing gure, and he was kind. There were voices, un­nerv­ing dreams, and in­ex­pli­ca­bly mov­ing ob­jects, but never ill in­tent.

Once, he mim­icked my mother’s voice, yelling at my sis­ter to come in­side be­fore it got dark. Every­one heard it—my sis­ter, her play­mates, our maid, and our grand­par­ents liv­ing across the street. Every­one ex­cept for my mother who was at her of ce in Makati. And me, who was in­side the house.

Once, our maid, Ate Ai, dreamt of the man com­ing down to her room in the base­ment. He sat down and stared at her from the stairs with unsee­ing eyes.

Ev­ery time he made his pres­ence known to every­one in my fam­ily but me, there was never mal­ice. In fact, we started see­ing him as an odd guardian. He wasn’t wel­come per se, but he was there be­fore us. That night, I had my turn with him. It was dark and quiet. Our vil­lage was go­ing through a brownout. My mother went ahead of us to light can­dles at the al­tar, the one at the end of a nar­row hall­way, be­tween my room and my par­ents’.

The can­dles shed a dim or­ange light on both of our rooms, cast­ing shad­ows on ev­ery cor­ner. I went in af­ter my mother, go­ing straight to my bed, ly­ing on my side, and star­ing past my open door, through my par­ents’ door­way, and right into their full- body mir­ror stand­ing by the cor­ner of their room.

I started feel­ing...numb. Not quite awake, not quite asleep. I kept look­ing at the re ec­tion of my par­ents’ empty bed, telling my­self that I was ask­ing for trou­ble. Some­thing was go­ing to show up, some­thing that’d be scary.

But there was a cold­ness, a sud­den lack of feel­ing shroud­ing me. Then, I felt a breath right above my ear.

The rasp­ing voice of a woman whis­pered, “Sa’kin ka.”

I froze, spent a sec­ond con­vinc­ing my­self it was just my imag­i­na­tion, or my mom. Still, it was like my body had a mind of its own. It said run. So I went to my par­ents’ room. It said be terri ed, so I cried. I had been ex­pect­ing a fright­en­ing hap­pen­ing. But who­ever, what­ever that was, it wasn’t him.

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