Friday, November 25, 2005

The room felt unbearably claustrophobia inducing. Patricia felt sick and dizzy. She felt the urge to get out and escape the room’s choking confines. She wanted to scream. To leave. To give Glenda Lee a piece of her mind. Deep down, Patricia was not sure if her common sense and understanding would win in the end. The desire to do something. To act. To complain was there. It wasn’t an urge for revenge mind you. It was merely a desire to set things right.

There were such times that Patricia felt the urge to use her gifts for such purposes. And in such times, Patricia noticed how much she would frighten herself at times. How much she did not seem to recognize who she was. The urge to avenge seemed to come so naturally.

* *

Back at Kantong Kuba, Lola Jocelyn was watching her two children in silence. Concealed by the long shadows cast by the curtains and the very darkness of nightfall, the matron watched her two ghostly sons as they argued over her recent decision. Carlo was not too happy that Lola Jocelyn seemingly did not remind Patricia of her duty to help them. And to have her not be given such reminders on a day where she quite directly admitted having had thoughts of leaving, Carlo felt that Patricia was slowly edging towards abandoning them in the haunted town block. Though appearing many years his junior, Juan actually had been dead far longer than Carlo. Though Carlo was his elder brother by birth, by death Juan was the one who had much more experience.

“You have to talk to her, Juan,” Carlo pleaded to his younger brother. The ghost could barely relax. Juan watched as his brother paced back and forth. Carlo kept his arms across his chest each time he talked about this. Lola Jocelyn suspected it had something to do with not wanting to be told he was wrong. “You have to tell ‘Nay that if no one tells Patricia that we need her, she might think it wouldn’t be a problem to leave life. To not be heard.”

“Carlo-“ Juan tried to interrupt but his older brother continued to rattle on.

“Who know what kind of danger she might end u having to face alone? Who knows what chance mishap may befall her? With us, she tends to be safe, Juan. To let her leave is to abandon her to the danger.”

“Carlo, you are over-imagining things,” Juan sighed.

“I am not,” Carlo almost yelled back.

“I just want to make sure we arrive completely,” Carlo admitted.

“Arrive?” Juan asked again, lost in the choice of words.

“They were expecting. They were hoping?”

“They were,” Carlo admitted.

“I do not understand,” Juan admitted but nonetheless gave no outward signs of contempt. Juan wiped his hands against one another and then shook his head, “I am sorry Carlo but I have no idea what in the world you were talking about. I tried to remain civil. I tried!”

“Oh stop that,” Carlo shook his head, “You are starting to sound annoying. You are trying to make our little family thing sound more like some sort of hidden secret society.”

Juan laughed and brought his legs up to hug them in one embrace. Carlo gazed out the window once again and began to mutter to himself, “She… she will be okay, right? She will be okay…”

“Carlo, you are worrying over nothing. Patricia has been visiting us for quite some time, yes, but prior to that, she did have a whole world of experiences to explore and try,” Juan came up to his brother and rubbed his shoulders, “Patricia has been outside the haunted block much more and much longer than most. So unlike you, she actually does live in a non-haunted environment far more often than you realize. She will be fine!”

Carlo scratched his head, and Lola Jocelyn found herself amused at Carlo’s ever so human motions. Contrary to what their own persistent existence suggested, those who comeback do not end up with ghostly hair lice. Lola Jocelyn decided to watch a bit more. Oblivious to their mother’s observations, Carlo and Juan continued their conversation. The other spirits were busy doing their own thing, after all.

“Perhaps it would be best you start over from the beginning,” Juan remarked and sat down on the closest piece of furniture which could serve as a bench. That happened to be a broken down shelf whose inner shelves had fallen apart. Weightless as he was however, even the flimsy remaining surface was suitable for Juan’s needs. “You want me to go to Lola Jocelyn and convince her to contact Patricia because you feel that Patricia might lose sight of her responsibility towards us if she is not reminded of it. Did I get everything right so far?”

Carlo ignored the sarcasm which was dancing between Juan’s words. He nodded in ascent then tugged on his own shirt in a physical display of uncertainty. “She’s young. She’s still easily swayed. She can be vulnerable, especially when it concerned matters of the heart.”

“And are you sure that wasn’t what you were focused on instead? The matters that touched her heart?”

“Juanito,” Carlo called out his brother’s full name. It was a practice their mother always did when she was unhappy with them. “Do not talk to me as if I was not your older brother.”

“And do not talk to me,” Juan retorted back, “As if I have no understanding of matters that did concern the heart. I am not a child either, Carlo.” Carlo fell silent. He remembered the numerous times Juan had shared with him his thoughts and his ideas rung true. Carlo knew it would be folly to ignore the things his brother had come to realize. “Whose heart is the one we are concerned about after all, brother. Who’s heart is it?”

“I just. I don’t know,” Carlo finally admitted.

“Patricia and you have always been the best of friends,” Juan replied in a manner of suggesting what the discussion was to be about, “And yet, even if you two seemed to be far closer than most would expect between a ghost and one of the living, I don’t recall you ever clarifying what this relationship you two shared was all about.”

“I- I did not know either,” Carlo again admitted.

Juan motioned for his brother to come sit closer to his side. By the open window, Carlo finally found the long locked emotions finding a slow gradual release. He felt his chest heave with the deep breathing demanded by tears. And though ethereal in nature, he felt his eyes begin to weep as the truth came rising to the surface.

“She was special. She always was. And she always will be, Juan. But I will admit to you that I never knew what she was to me until today. I never realized how much she meant to me until I learned she had plans of no longer coming back,” came Carlo’s words, honest and pained. Juan wrapped one arm around his shoulder and tried to console him. Tried to remind him things work out in the end. But some how, Juan was not sure himself if he was just lying.

“Did you love her?” Juan asked Carlo directly.

Their eyes staring into one another, Carlo realized this was it. The moment when the truth was to come out. The final line that will determine what in the world was really going on all those years.

“Did you?” Juan asked again.

Carlo bowed his head and shrugged.

“What does it matter now, Juan,” Carlo stared into the deepening night sky, “She’s gone. For good.”

Word Count = 1,291
Previous Count = 28,583
Total Count = 29,874 of 50,000


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