Friday, August 19, 2005


Scratch away at the veneer of civilization on a Filipino and you'd probably get a scared probinsyano walking down a dark pathway one night while listening to the flapping rustles from the leaf-tops of the trees.

I say this because-- despite the fact that I live in the big bad city-- it's 4 a.m. and I'm jumpy as a cat in a graveyard. Or maybe, despite what a friend relates, there really is a collective unconscious.

The reason I'm up early is because I've been spooked by a nightmare I just had.

I can hear it now: That's ironic, the writer scared by his own imagination! And I admit it; I stand guilty as charge. But still, as nightmares go, this one didn't have the the hallmarks of my usual neurotic fears. In fact, as most of my dreams or nightmares go, it was unremarkable.

I dreamt I was living with my parents in an old house together with [Identity-protected]. I remember having an argument with her though I can't remember why and my parents were determined to stay out of it. However, I also remember my father had discovered a secret atrium within the house we were living in. Intrigued (was it the reason we were arguing? was it about something I had discovered about the house?), I went to our room to get the flashlight. The light in my room was out and it was a mess inside but I really didn't noticed as I grabbed the flashlight from the table. It was then [Identity-protected] came into the room and pointed something out. Someone-- or something-- had rubbed brown feces on the white sheets of the bed. However, we knew nobody else had come in the room before we did. When I rubbed a finger in the dark stain, the strangest thing happened: the feces seemed to stick to my finger, as if it was magnetized.

I turned around, and my father was also standing inside the room. He seemed to have discovered another secret room and when I stepped inside, I saw it was a disused bathroom. However, as I neared the shower stall, I discovered the same brown feces on the dirty shower curtain with the same magnetic properties as before. And when I looked up, there was an old lady in a white dress and black straggly hair-- like a Sadako-refugee from The Ring or a horror figure from a Philippine B-movie-- standing inside the shower stall.

It grabbed at me; my family tried to pull me back. I remember thinking during the tug-of-war all the Christian prayers I was taught in Catholic school: the Lord's Prayer, the Apostle's Creed and the Hail Mary. I could barely speak the first few lines but it seemed to work since the old lady released it's grip. As I got a good gander at its face-- reinforcing the Sadako-look even more-- I woke up.

Now, that wasn't much of a nightmare. As nightmares go, my subconscious normally goes for the last-man-standing-in-a-zombie-world. In fact I'm so used to that kind of nightmare, I think I'll automatically know what to do if ever Land of the Dead rolls around. But still, my brain wouldn't stop shivering. And what had my superstition-meter ticking even faster was that there was a full moon out and it was 3:15 a.m. Of course, according to local Catholic superstition, the witching hour is so-called because this was the time Christ died.

But I knew this was all wrong. The fact was, it wasn't really a full moon tonight, more like three-quarters full. And don't even get me started with the time on the clock.


Wait a minute....

Okay, I'm back at the keyboard. While I was typing this, I heard a screech of tires outside my window and the sound of an automobile crashing into something. I want to go outside and look but it's 4:30 a.m. and I'm not going to appease my inner-rubbernecker. I do know it's nearby: the guards on the street-- the ones I can see anyway-- are all looking.

Anyway, that was weird.


But still, I couldn't shake off the whole nightmare and the after-nightmare feeling. It felt like these were the fears of someone else but they were scary enough to put the heebee-jeebies in me. (In fact, my brain kept shivering so much, it felt like there was a phone constantly ringing inside my head.)

Or maybe this was just part of the collective fear of a thousand Filipino caught late out at night, walking home through the darkened forest, and hearing the rustle of the leaftops and wondering: Is it just the night-wind or is it something else?

Whatever the case, I don't think I'd be getting any sleep anymore...

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