He was coming. Fast.
The pain in my left shoulder throbbed relentlessly as I caught my breath. I was running away from the onslaught that was happening in the hotel where we were staying. The smell of blood and flesh had clung to me. I feared that it might linger on until my last breath.
I stubbed my toe on a rock, tumbled on the muddy ground—face first—and swore. I brought my right elbow at my side and pushed myself up, hardly noticing my quivering fingers, only to stagger at my left side and drop on my knees. Even with how groggy I felt, I still forced myself to crawl forward. The winds were blowing angrily; a premonition that it would happen to me as well. I’d be next.
And then the gruesome scenario flashed back.
Everything played in reverse and I was stuck on my knees, finding it hard to get up. I pounded the ground, splashing mud around and onto my face, and screamed out loud like I didn’t care anymore if he’d catch up. I couldn’t believe myself that I left her—that I left her with him.
God, please, not her.
I collected myself and gulped everything down. I needed to escape. I needed to tell someone.
Then I sprinted toward the woods.
What made escaping hard was my left arm; it was gone. He ripped it out if I was to say, but the way it happened in which I noticed with both my eyes was too impossible. He only left me with a blood-soaked shoulder and a broken bone protruding from it, and I left a trace of blood on my tracks, which would surely hint my pursuer.
My shoulder kept on throbbing. I could feel the blood trickling down my side as I dashed off haphazardly, not thinking too much where to go as long as he would not reach me.
This was not what I wanted. This was not the honeymoon I had pictured in my head when I planned everything.
I couldn’t believe myself that I left her. I hoped she had escaped somehow.
My wife and I were ecstatic about this trip: we were beyond elated! Everything was planned already and we were expecting things to happen smoothly and with few surprises if any.
But all turned to a one-eighty.
It was already midnight and the cries and screams of people from the hotel could still reach my ears even with how far I already got. The smell of death now clung in the air.
I plunged to the outskirts of the woods and forced my way through the shrubs and thick foliage in the darkness; however, it was not as dark as how one would imagine it. The whole place was strangely luminous: the trees emitted a kind of purple light that simmered around the area, making the night less dark, or as what a carnival at night would look like. I could still see the ground that I was trekking on. I was afraid he might be able to follow me quicker than I thought.
I stumbled upon an opening through the trees and pushed myself a little more to pass through. I paused and heaved and winced. I was losing a lot of blood. I needed to at least send the word to the outside world before I’d die.
I limped my way through a bleak and ghastly shore with no one else around. My vision was treacherously thinning the more I was losing blood. I took off my shirt and wrapped it around my amputated shoulder to slow down the bleeding.
I found a small cliff at the far corner of the shoreline and dashed to it. My phone still had one bar when I got it out, thankful that I could still use it to find help. However, my hopes shattered once I found out there was no signal.
“Hey, weren’t we having a little fun earlier? Why did you run off?”
The shrilly voice behind gave me horror and goosebumps; his stealthiness, uncanny. I didn’t even notice per se that he already caught up.
He stretched his arms and grabbed my bed hair; then slammed my face onto the rocky cliff. I felt some of my teeth come off as soon as he lifted my head with one arm. The strength that he possessed was otherworldly.
I lost my sight on my left eye and somehow knew that my face was damp with blood and sweat. The plutonian night aided in blocking almost ninety percent of my right eye vision. I couldn’t even see the expression he was wearing as he kept on slamming my broken face onto the ground a couple more times, but I somehow knew that he was having fun based on his demonic laughter.
Finally, maybe with satisfaction, he stopped. He was now dragging me somewhere, off the sandy shore, toward the grassy soil. He ceased walking, and then he hung me from a protuberance by the hole in my left shoulder that he just punctured by his touch alone.
No effort, no force applied.
Just his touch.
I could barely feel the pain anymore because my body started becoming as numb as hell.
“Hey, you’re not even screaming, and your expression starts to bore me. Can you at least whimper for me?” the lunatic asked in a forlorn voice as if disappointed by me.
I moved my lips in a grand effort and managed to utter some words, “... she... o... kay...”
“What? What, what, what?” he asked repeatedly with a tinge of fake curiosity. I couldn’t see him anymore, but I could still sense the mockery in his voice.
“I... said... she... okay...”
“Hey, you’re talking gibberish. Oh, how ‘bout I burst your feet? Would that give you enough motivation to speak more?”
He grabbed my left foot without waiting for my confirmation. It splintered within seconds, definitely spraying blood and tissues alike around the perimeter. He laughed diabolically before proceeding to the other foot.
It gave me an unprecedented splurge of pain, which made me scream my remaining air out of my lungs.
He then went to my side; he lowered me down a bit and whispered something in my ear with as much joy as he could manifest. “Hey. Now. Talk.”
“My... wife...” I stopped midway and coughed up blood.
I felt him leaning closer. “Oh, your wife?”
I didn’t respond. Rather, I couldn’t respond anymore.
“Well, it wouldn’t hurt to tell you now. It’s my little gift for you before you’ll be gone off this world. We let that bitch off the hook to lure the second set of subjects who might carry a creator with her. We didn’t find the person in your group in the hotel.”
He leaned closer; his lips almost touching my ears. “Oh, by the way, we erased her memory of yours. She now thinks that she’s married to another man. He’s one of your friends in the hotel. You know, just for fun.”
I growled and shook my entire body, wanting to lash out at this lunatic. I couldn’t even spit on his face. I pitied myself for dying in such a sorry state.
He heaved and threw me on the prickly grass and kicked the back of my head, which gave me a concussion. He snatched my other arm and ripped it off my shoulder. Then, he punctured my chest and grabbed a hold of my heart.
“Now, any last words?”
There was a pause before he added, “Oh, yeah. You don’t like to speak.”
With one solid motion, my heart burst without even applying any force onto it.
Just before I submitted to death, he touched my head in a way that was too promising not to hurt me any longer. It exploded into tiny pieces of meat and blood milliseconds later. I somehow knew this because my consciousness held on for a little longer—longer enough for me to feel it.
I hated schools the most.I was just having a splendid dream about my crush, who—by the way—was the most beautiful girl I found in that boring school when an earthquake woke me up. Not a destructive one, but it would surely spring you up and out of the bed and make your knees wobble.Earthquakes were recently occurring here in Cebu.It made me nervous because I was kind of an irrationally anxious person. A paranoid who always thought the world could end any minute. Not to mention, I was sentimental and sensitive. Yes, you could judge me, but you couldn’t actually judge me. I mean, you had never been with me my entire life, so how in the name of Karens could you say something negative about my personality? If you were to know me, though, there was only one notable thing that you would always remember. I had a natural sloth, and yes, I’d admit it. I’d love to procrastinate and not do things in haste as I believed all things would come in due time.In fact, I was known as Josh the lazy b
“Hand me some buwad, Olly.”“Why are you the one who always orders around here? Would you just stand and help yourself?”“Come again? Remember the Penshoppe bag I bought you?” “Okay, okay. I know it’s coming. You’re always making use of your trump card. In fact, it’s more of a normal one now.”“Are you still flapping those lips?”“Nope. Here’s your buwad, ate.”It was a sunny afternoon, flabbergastingly serene weather, for the two of us. Christmas just went by. Lots of firecracker wastes and party poppers dotted the streets and canals. Leftovers of Piccolo, Sinturon ni Hudas, and lots of trash littered the whole sitio. It was an extended season of family love and merrymaking, yet for me, it was another season when I’d look after my silly sister, and I didn’t want to be a babysitter.My name was Jelly and I was a twenty-two-year-old Science teacher at Arullina National High School who advised tenth graders. Molly, my sister, was a twenty-year-old call center agent who was the t
Mondays.Freaking Mondays. Why were Mondays created?The sizzling sound of the onions being sautéed and of the birds chirping outside our apartment brought a relaxing and calming effect on me as I cooked our breakfast in our makeshift kitchen, yet the day being a “Monday” drowned all of it.I hated Mondays the most.Others would see a teacher’s job as much easier than a worker in a convenience store or any fast-food chain because, according to some people who thought highly of themselves, we were just teaching students. One of my students once said that we were so lucky we just needed to sit to get paid. The audacity of the child made me mad; however, I had to cool my head, so I just let it pass through my other ear as a professional.They were wrong.I might be too lazy to think through this, but all the same, still had an idea as to how it worked. They didn’t know what was happening in a teacher’s schedule. Imagine having to bring all your paperwork at home just to finish them all, w
“Okay, class, you’re dismissed.”I went straight to the faculty office to drop off my instructional materials and joined my gang at the cafeteria. Around the table were Ritchelle, Vhina, and Alyssa. Every lunchtime, Ritchelle would get our reserved food ahead of time because she was the first to dismiss her class. She had her classes only in the morning. A month had already passed since then.“Hey, why is the you so late to sits here by the us?” Ritchelle asked just seconds before I settled on my seat. “Me is the stressed by the students, but I scolded them, which make me the stresser,” I replied, following with the flow of the joke. “Wow, I’m impressed that both of you can understand that kind of English,” Alyssa commented as she professionally sliced off the egg white of her sunny-side-up, to be given to Veruca later who notably liked it. Our conversation low-key annoyed her because she was an English teacher.“Join we. We is the teaches you how to says we is the language,” Ritche
Friday.Blessed Fridays. Why couldn’t all days in a week be Fridays?The day of the retreat had finally come. I had been waiting for this day in like, forever. Finally, I’d be able to go back to Bantayan and experience the beaches I had been planning to go to but failed to do so because of time constraints and the people who I was supposed to go with. Sure, I was into traveling but I just couldn’t do it without a friend or two to accompany me. All the teachers who were assigned to attend the retreat were already in the audio-visual room for the meeting and the final preparations. The school bus would pick us up at five, taking us to Hagnaya port in more or less four to five hours. The student council officers were ready with their things and had had their consent forms all signed. I’d surely enjoy myself even with the cumbersome conjunction of minding the students’ security.Including Finlay. Especially Finlay.The school’s AVR was not spacious; they had to move the equipment to the s
The dawn was surely majestic and wonderful when I arrived at Hagnaya Port. The sky was painted with distinct shades of orange and red. It looked like a painter had thrown his palette out of his well-crafted anger, which depicted the rashly-made-but-awkwardly-stunning atmospheric skies. The vicinity was filled with the cries of deafening waves retreating to and fro and mumbles of soggy tires of trucks and buses against the dirty-wet soil. The area had been swept already, but still some types of trash lay dormant in every nook. The cleaners were surely not paid handsomely for the job. A nostalgic, mossy smell and the stingy, salty sea hit my olfactory nerves, which brought me down memory lane. Ah, those were the days.Hagnaya Port was the only port to receive passengers going to Bantayan Island—forth and back. The retreat house we would visit was situated near Kota beach. The earliest trip going there was at four-thirty, but we had all agreed we would have the nine-thirty trip. The call
My head hurt. My surroundings were a blur, and I found it hard to stand. My ears were ringing. I felt like there was blood flowing out of them. I tried to lean sideways using my right arm, and I touched my head with my left to check any injuries. It hurt. I twisted my hip and noticed that something was lying on my lower body. No, someone. And it hurt. I shook my head a little bit, and gradually, the environment became clearer. I first noticed that everything was blue. The person dangling limply on my legs was my student—Finlay. His disheveled, smooth, black bangs were complementing the overall shape of his small face that consisted of wide eyelids, broad nose, well-shaped lips, and a firm jaw. I had never been this annoyed with such a handsome face before. I remembered what happened. All my pure concern with this student turned to a feeling that I neglected for a long time, which I should have accepted all this time. I was enraged, and I badly wanted to shove this disrespectful
I was inside our room with Molly once again. She was not saying anything: she just kept on sobbing. Why ate? Why... hic... hic... I was faithful. I was faithful until the end. I even promised myself that I will be serious this time. I’m head over heels in love with him. But he said that he didn’t feel the same, that he never did. He just dated me because of my looks—never of my whole being, uwaaa...It was the worst. I was never good at consoling people and giving them pieces of advice. I tried comforting my sister but with no avail. I didn’t even know the boyfriend Molly was referring to since she had been dating down to an art, to begin with. I even attempted asking WikiHow about how to comfort someone who had just had a breakup when a message came in.Teacher Jelly, the headmaster wants to talk with you regarding your late submissions.It was teacher Grumpy. Oh, no. I had been passing my LPs late. I was about to send a reply when I heard a feeble voice calling me out: Elly... Elly