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Miyerkules, Mayo 16, 2012

The Ghost On Dimasalang Street

I used to be Daddy's little girl. I was very close to him. We did everything together--went to the mall, to Church, to kiddie parties... I hardly remember doing things with my mom, most of my early memories were tied up with my Dad. You could say I was spoiled by my Dad. He usually gave me what I asked for, within reason.

"Daddy bili mo ako ng rubber shoes ( Dad please buy me rubber shoes)" I would ask.

"Sige anak, pumili ka lang (Go ahead, choose what you want)," he would usually answer.

He would also do the same thing for my sister and brother, but my Dad and I shared a special bond. All that changed when I was in second year high school. That year, my Dad suffered a mild stroke and he became an invalid.

In the beginning, we had to hire a guy nurse to help us in taking care of him, because my Dad was a tall guy. But because of what happened, my mom became the breadwinner of the family and we all had to tighten our belts. There were five of us in the family--my parents, my sister, my baby brother and I.

Pretty soon, money became too tight and eventually, we had to let go the services of the nurse. This meant we would have to take up the slack of taking care of my Dad, assisting him as he moved about in the house.

Trying to make it easier for us, he volunteered to sleep in our living room instead of bedroom upstairs. He knew that we would have a hard time taking care of him because we were all girls (except for my kid brother) and he was so big.

This made life a little easier. But I missed spending time with him. So from then on, I would do my homework in our living room to keep him company and I would always feel sad at the end of the day whenever I had to leave him downstairs.

One day, I gave him a gift.

"Daddy o, sa iyo ito. Binili ko yan para sa iyo (Daddy this is yours. I bought it for you)."

It was a rosary that I had bought from school. I told him to put the rosary under his pillow so that he would not get scared and lonely should he wake in the middle of the night.

"Salamat anak, (Thank you)" my Dad said, then we hugged.

It took a while for him to recover because we did not have enough money to continue his therapy. So his health slowly deteriorated.

All of us took turns checking up on him throughout the night.

One night, it was my turn to check up on him. I went downstairs half awake when I heard whispers coming from our garden.

"Ano, kunin na natin mamaya yan (So do you think it's time to fetch him later)?" said the first voice.

"Wag muna, bantayan pa natin nang ilang gabi (No, not yet. Let's watch over him for a few more nights)," said another voice.

"Wala tayong madadala nyan (But we might not have anything to bring)," said a third voice.

"Mahirap din e, may bantay (It's difficult, too, because someone stands guard all the time)," said the first voice again.

I ran to the window, but I couldn't see anybody in the garden. I was so scared. I knew they were talking about my Dad but I didn't know what to do, or how to save him from the voices.

I hit the switch, flooding our living room with light. I ran to my Dad and hugged him tight.

"NO!" I shouted at the voices I heard in the garden. "Hindi niyo pwedeng kunin ang Daddy ko! Hindi niyo siya makukuha sa amin. Mahal na mahal namin siya! (No, you can't take my Daddy away from us because we love him so much.)"

My Dad was startled awake.

"O bakit? Ano ba yang panigsisigaw mo diyan? Binangungot ka ba? (What are you shouting about? Did you have a night mare?)" my Dad asked, trying to shake his sleepiness away.

At that, the whisperes subsided and eventually faded into the darkness.

As my Dad lay awake in our sofa. I rushed upstairs to wake up my mom, my sister and my brother.

I told them what I heard. They all grew scared as well. Who could the voices be?

"Baka demonyo! (They could be devils!)" my brother said in a scared voice.

"Buti na lang may bantay daw si Daddy (It's a good thing Daddy had someone guarding him)!" I cried.

At first I thought the "bantay" the voices talked about was me. But then I realized they meant the rosary I had given my Dad.

From then on, we all decided to sleep in our living room with my Dad.

For a long time afterward, I pondered on who these voices were.

Then I remembered something my grandmother told me several years ago, when I was still a kid.

She said that when a person is on his or her deathbed, beings come to "fetch" his or her soul. Sometimes these are the spirits of dead relatives or family members.

But there are also bad spirits who would try to intercept these souls. According to my lola, these manunundo (fetchers) do nothing but wait for dying people to finally expire so they could get their souls and bring it to hell with them.

Could they have been these beings?

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