From Anterra
Jump to navigation Jump to search
57 Paseo Blumentritt, Cagayan City, Confederal Republic of the Cagayan
July 7th, 2001

oberto took a bowl of nuts and sat down with friends in a circle. The floor was prepared in a style not unlike the Akitei futon, with thin mattresses covered by comforters, accompanied by a set of patchwork blankets and pillows. “Nice nuts,” Severiano blurted out as he reached into the bowl with a fondling gesture, arousing laughter from the assembled.

“It’s a cold night, eh?” Olivia broke the ice. She took a blanket and wrapped it around herself. “True. Hasn’t rained like this in forever,” Quilat had already done the same. And after a long exchange of small talk about friends, family, and colegio, Román shifted the mood, especially as talk of the third was stressing him.

“So, you ever walked down Arlegui?” He lit a cigarette amidst stern looks from Olivia, after which he brought out an ashtray that looked more like a bowl, and her look softened.


“They say there’s a guy there at night, walking around, looking for his head. But I saw ‘im myself yesterday. They say it was Malverde.” Román laid his cigarettes and lighter beside the bowl of nuts.

“Well his head should be... on his head, no?” Olivia, ever the comedian, tried to lighten the mood as she lit up her cigarette, but the others were focused too deeply, and Román answered seriously after a draw. “It ain’t, it’s in his hand.”

“So was it a trick question or something? Maybe a clever answer?” The others now followed suit and took a cigarette from the box.

“You’re just s’posed to run away. He won’t chase or anything, they say.”

“They say?”

“Yeah, I’m not sure. I felt ‘im on my tail the whole time like a puppy. He just whisked away into the trees after a while.”

“This reminds me,” Severiano chimed in. “I went into the kino one time, the one in Santa Rosa. So I’m just watching the film, and I felt like something was trying to kill me by staring. Can’t see them, but I did feel off the whole time.”

“You don’t know the story about that kino?” Roberto was surprised.

“What story?”

“There’s even a film about it–fine. When that kino was being built, the guy in charge was in red for the deadline. One day, the scaffolding just crumbled. So now there’s a bunch of people stuck in quick-dry cement.”

“Some people died, then?”

“Oh, not just that. The guizón told the workers to pour more cement in. He buried them so work can continue, then he told them to just saw off what stuck out.”

Jesús! Did he at least get branded for it?” Severiano was horrified, and he took a long draw.

“Not until after the war, of course. But what’s done was done. They tried to cleanse the place, first with Marians, then the old folk. They just got angrier each time. The lights once collapsed on a calixta sent there for the cleansing, almost killed her. Never did it again.”

“So why are people still using the place?” Quilat didn’t understand.

“Simple. They don’t think it’s real. Coincidences or whatever.”

“So we deal with it, then.”

Olivia then had a proposition. “Say, what if we talk to the ones in the kino?”

“Got something better for you,” Roberto had a counter-offer.


“Eugenio Hospital.”

“What can you even find in an old infantíl?”

“Ask your mother.”

“Is this a joke about bedding my mother?”

“No, seriously. You forgot all our parents were in one?”

“Oh, right.”

“So it’s a usual infantíl. There’s dead children’s souls in there at night. But they say they’re worse in Eugenio. Sudden bite marks on your skin, and at some point you just feel so afraid that you run. But wherever you go, for some time you’ll end up in the same floor.”

“What made you think that we’d want to go there if we can’t get out?” Olivia rejected the counter-offer and took some nuts to eat. They were made bitter by the smoke, so she downed them with water. “Anyway, any ideas why they’re like that?”

“Word says it was the Osines. Some secret painful research for toxins or whatever. The kids are really angry.”

Quilat then sighed and returned with a curious question. “Why does every exciting ghost story just have backstories like these?”

Roberto took a long draw and coughed as he released. Cabrón, if you live a happy life, I don’t think you’ll remain as a vengeful ghost.”

“I see.”

They continued to talk into the night, but none of them could sleep. And by the next day, they had already decided to visit the kino with a tape recorder.

Return to Top