Not one of us
The professor’s ramblings of mathematical equations are getting more monotonous by the minute. From the corner of my eye, I can see two of my friends—Jamie, swaying her body as she struggled to keep her eyes open, with Betty, as diligent as ever with her stationary set. Sitting beside me were my friends Alex, whom I caught smiling in between snores, and impatiently fidgeting Andy. My wristwatch reads 6:58 PM—two minutes away from the agony. I could only look around to distract myself from falling asleep like the rest of my classmates.
As I looked around, I noticed Blair, one of the irregular students in our class, sitting alone at the back of the room, her unblinking eyes glaring straight at the professor. I couldn’t fail to notice how she looks so different from her usual exuberant self—always smiling and listening attentively to the professor. Yet there she is at the back—stiff as a statue and quiet as a grave, until each student immediately rushed outside when the professor dismissed the class.
When I saw Blair exiting the classroom, I purposely slowed myself down from walking along with my friends, and strolled beside her, trying to start a conversation to get her going to her old self. The long hallway echoed Alex’s complains as we jovially sauntered the hall, and somehow my ears caught wind of the conversation between Josh and Jaime.
“Tara, na Jaime!” Josh pressed Jaime, his eyes sparkling with mirth. “Minsan lang naman ‘to. Para naman maranasan natin kung ano’ng feeling ng ghost hunting.”
“Ano’ng ghost hunting ‘yan?” I butted in warily, my eyes darting from Jaime to him. “Late na, o. Baka mamaya hinahanap na kayo nila tita.”
“Sus, Shan. Alam mo namang sanay na sila mama na lagi akong late umuwi. Tara na, sama na kayo, please?” Josh beseeched, turning around with those irresistible puppy eyes that shouldn’t even be allowed to exist. Andy and Alex immediately agreed, but Jaime, Betty, and I were reluctant to join their madness. I told Blair to come with us and she blankly nodded, until the three of them dragged us without hesitation.
It was past 7 PM and the moon was already glaring at us from the sky, as though it was scrutinizing the seven of us as we proceeded to Museo – De La Salle where Josh insisted to start the trip. I could only swallow the hesitation stinging my mouth because I didn’t want to ruin their fun.
The Museo’s quaint yet imposing structure greeted our little group when we arrived. A sudden cold breeze sent shivers up our spines the minute we set foot. Museo at night could not be compared to harmless it looked during the day—but that night, the building seemed as though it houses a world unlike ours— and the trees that danced around its vicinity appeared as if something sinister was lurking among them, waiting for unsuspecting victims to wander into their domain. The ground that we walk on feels like graveyards as we walk so cautiously. Despite not encountering anything unnatural, Betty and Jaime looked understandably creeped out, holding tightly into each other for support.
Josh, Alex and Andy hauled us to the side of the building, the one next to the University Chapel parking lot and Lake Park, into a gazebo that reminded me of the creepy morgues from horror movies. On the steps of stairs that lead to the inside of the gazebo, we sat on the dusty marble in silence for a while, indulging ourselves with the sight of the night, basking in the silence before we continue with our little escapade.
Or at least we tried to, until an ear-piercing scraping of a chair echoed from behind us, as though someone was pushing it. All of us jolted, but only the shriek of Jaime’s panicked cries of “ayoko na!” made us bolt. I felt Blair tug my hand, but I didn’t even looking at her, my mind swirling with fear and anxiety.
We scampered until we finally reached the gigantic doors of the university chapel. I faced my friends, eyes wide and heart beating a mile a minute, a question ready to burst out of my mouth, when I noticed that one of us was missing.
“Bakit anim nalang tayo?”
My friends turned to me—their foreheads scrunched up and breathing heavily. “Anong sinasabi mo?” Alex asked in a panicked voice.
“Si Blair! Kasama natin siya kanina, ah!” I pressed on, my voice becoming more panicked at the thought of leaving Blair at the gazebo. They continued to stare at me blanky.
“Yung irreg nating kaklase!”
“Anong irreg‘yang sinasabi mo?” Betty asked, eyes wide as saucers. I nodded slowly without taking my eyes off from them. “Wala tayong classmate na irregular, Shan. Buong block lang yun, freshmen palang tayo ano ba!”
My soul suddenly felt like escaping my body as Betty’s words resonated in my ears. My memories suddenly flashed in my mind where I saw Blair every day entering the classroom alone—I swear I could vividly picture her face. My mind was starting to play tricks on me. The wind started to sound like whispers.
Then my hand suddenly felt tight. I twisted around and came face to face with a gruesome sight. Speak of the devil.
Blair—her eyes bloodshot and pale skin marred with black blotches of seemingly rotten skin and veins that appear as if they were pulsating every second—stood there, clutching my hand with her own cold one, a smile fixed upon her pallid lips. I felt my heart drop.
I heard someone gasp behind me, making Blair smile wider,.
“Tuloy pa ba natin yung ghost hunting?”
*This is a work of fiction. Albeit utilizing non-fictitious places for the story; setting, names, characters, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination.