Ang Babayi sa Comfort Room


NOTE: Tagalog & English versions below.

Naga-ulan sadtong hapon. Bangod tigpululi na madamo nga bumulutho ang nagtipon sa lobby, nagahulat nga maghupa ang ulan. Naglisensya si Len sa iya mga barkada nga mapa-comfort room siya anay, dayon lakat sang madasig.
Pag-abre niya sang pwerta tuman ka bugnaw nga hangin ang gilayon sumugata kay Len. Wala sang iban nga tawo sa sulod. Wala sang okupante ang tatlo ka cubicles. Waay sapayan nagpalangligbos ang iya balahibo, wala ini ginsapak ni Len. Dumdum niya, basi tuga lang ini sang mabugnaw nga hangin nga nagsuhot pasulod sa gamay nga bintana sang comfort room. Gilayon siya nagsulod sa una nga cubicle agud magpangihi. Tuman ka linong sa comfort room. Ang mabati-an gid lang amo ang pagwaswas sang ulan sa gwa.
Sang matapos na si Len, nagpanghugas ini kag nagpanghilam-os. Nakita sini nga medyo nagabungayngay ang iya malaba nga buhok gani ginpakamaayo sini nga pungoson ini. Masako si Len sa pagkaayo sa iya buhok sang mabatyagan sini ang pag-igo sang tuman ka bugnaw nga hangin sa iya nawala nga abaga. Napasiplat ini sa bintana sa pagdumdum nga hangin yadto gikan sa gwa. Pagliso sini sa espeho, nagmuludlo ang iya mga mata. Isa ka tuman ka lapsi nga kamot ang nagatandog sa iya abaga. Kamot yadto sang isa ka babayi nga ang nawong natakpan sang malaba sini nga buhok, kag ini ang nagasul-ob sang puti nga roba nga nagasadsad sa salog. Wala sang istorya nga may nagapang-murto sa comfort room sang buluthuan gani amo na lang ang pagkakugmat ni Len. Hinali nga naghalakhak sang makahaladlok ang babayi nga nakaputi. Ang tingog sini daw sa bruha nga nagahirikhik. Nagatiyabaw nga daw bu-ang si Len sa pagtirik sini paguwa sa hulot.

Ang Babae sa Comfort Room

Umuulan nang hapong iyon. Dahil uwian na’y maraming estudyante ang nagtipon sa lobby, hinihintay ang paghupa ng malakas na ulan. Nagpaalam si Len sa mga kabarkada na pupunta muna siya sa comfort room, sabay lakad ng matulin.
Pagbukas niya ng pinto ng comfort room, napakalamig na hangin ang agad sumalubong kay Len. Walang ibang tao sa loob. Walang okupante sa tatlong cubicle. Nanindig man ang kanyang balahibo sa lamig na bumalot sa kanyang katawa’y binalewala lang iyon ni Len. Sa isip niya, marahil ay dulot lamang iyon ng malamig na hangin sa labas na sumuot papasok sa maliit na bintana ng comfort room. Agad siyang pumasok sa unang cubicle upang sagutin ang tawag ng kalikasan. Sobrang tahimik ng comfort room. Ang tanging maririnig ay ang ragasa ng ulan sa labas.
Nang matapos ay naghugas ng kamay si Len at naghilamos. Napansin niyang medyo buhaghag ang nakalugay niyang buhok kaya naisipan niyang itali ito. Nakatuon sa pag-aayos ng kanyang buhok si Len nang isang sobrang lamig na hangin ang dumampi sa kaliwang balikat niya. Napatingin siya sa bintana sa inaakalang hangin iyon mula sa labas. Pagbaling niya sa salamin ay nanlaki ang kanyang mga mata. Isang napakaputlang kamay ang nakadampi sa kanyang balikat. At iyon ay kamay ng isang babae na ang mukha ay natatakpan ng mahabang buhok at ito’y nakaputi na roba na sayad sa sahig. Walang kwento na may multo sa comfort room ng paaralan kaya gayon na lamang ang pagkagitla ni Len. Biglang pumakawala ng nakakasindak na halakhak ang babaeng nakaputi. Ang boses nito ay parang bruhang tumatawa. Nagtitili si Len na parang nawalan ng bait sa pagkaripas palabas ng silid na iyon.

The Woman in the Comfort Room

It was raining that afternoon. Classes have ended and students gathered in the lobby, waiting for the heavy rain to stop. Len left her buddies for a while and walked swiftly to the comfort room.
Upon opening the door, cold air greeted Len. There was nobody else inside. All three cubicles were empty. Despite the strange chill she felt, which made the hairs on her arms stand on end, Len shrugged it off as cold wind from outside that seeped into the room through the small window. She went into the first cubicle to answer the call of nature. It was eerily quiet inside the comfort room. Only the rushing of the pouring rain outside could be heard.
When she was done, Len washed her hands then her face. She noticed that her long hair looked unkempt so she decided to tie it up. Len was busy tending her hair when a very cold gust of wind touched her left shoulder. She glanced at the window, thinking that it was probably wind from outside. When she turned back to the mirror, her eyes widened. A very pale hand was touching her shoulder. That hand belonged to a woman whose face was hidden by her very long hair, and was wearing a white robe that touched the floor. There were no stories of ghosts haunting the school’s comfort room so it came as a terrifying surprise for Len. The woman in white suddenly let out a terrifying laugh. Her voice was like that of a cackling hag. Len screamed like crazy while scrambling out of the room.


The Vandal

TODD chuckled as he uncapped the permanent marker.

“Oh boy, this would make a perfect mark on the wall,” he thought to himself, glancing at the smooth and clean surface of the cubicle’s wall. It would surely make the janitor freak out. He chuckled again and aimed the marker’s point at the wall as if it was a dart ready to hit the desired target.

Then, something dropped beside him. He turned and what he saw made him pee again. It was a woman in white hanging upside-down. The face was pallid and rotten and the eyes were burning red. The dried lips parted and released a horrific shriek that filled his ears.

“The hell are you doing?!” it blasted at him.

He tried to scream but nothing came out of his mouth. The ghost’s maniacal laughter was the last thing he heard before he lost consciousness.


At the Art Lecture

IT was this year’s Art Festival. Free art lectures and workshops here and there. Amateur and professional artists and art enthusiasts alike swarmed in the venue.

I was so engrossed with the lecturer’s discussion on the Classical Revival that I didn’t notice when a girl sat beside me. When I finally did, the first thing I noticed were her clothes. She was wearing a uniform from a certain university–long sleeved white polo blouse with a black necktie and a black and white checkered skirt. It was Sunday but there she was, fully dressed for school.

She was looking away as if staring at the wall so I didn’t have a good look at her face.

The other attendees didn’t seem to notice her. I thought maybe because we were at the last row.

Then she turned to me suddenly. My heart jumped to my mouth. Her eyesockets were two gaping empty black holes dripping with blood–lots of blood!

I backed away in shock and fell to the floor with a violent jerk, only to realize that it was all a dream. The fat guy beside me obviously noticed.

I guess it served me right for dozing off in the middle of a lecture. But that girl really creeped me out.


A Piece of Paper

SHE was rummaging for a Sidney Sheldon novel in one of the bookstore’s shelves when her eyes happened upon a seemingly interesting book. It was sandwiched between two softbound books and was hardbound in chestnut cloth and along its spine vertically ran the title in black, caps and lower letters. Tricia pulled out the book and checked its cover, momentarily glancing at her boyfriend, Max, who was checking the nearby shelf.

The author’s name (a few inches below the embossed title) sounded familiar. Tricia scanned the pages, reading a few phrases and eventually found a piece of paper tucked between the pages. There were writings on it. She extracted the paper and held it near her face to see the writings clearly. The writings seemed Latin made of nine words and written in three lines. She murmured the words to herself, not knowing why or what they meant.

A hand on her right shoulder startled Tricia. When she looked it was Mac, smiling at her.

“What’s that?” her boyfriend inquired.

“Nothing, just some bookmark, I guess,” Tricia replied, putting the piece of paper back among the pages. She showed the book to Max but he was not interested so she returned it to the shelf and resumed her search for a Sheldon.

That night Tricia indulged herself with a mystery novel she found in the bookstore. Max had kissed her goodnight over the phone a few minutes earlier but she; on the other hand, chose to stay up late to read. Moreover, it was just half past one in the morning and she could stay up late until the wee hours after her graduation from college the previous week. No more early classes to worry about.

She has read halfway through the novel when a light rattle from the closed window caught her attention. Tricia stared curiously at the window, wondering if she really heard a rattle or not. Another rattle, however, erased her doubts and replaced them with questions. There was no tree outside her room so it was definitely not made by branches scratching against the window. Maybe it’s just some insect or a house lizard that was making the noise, she thought, and went back to her reading. But another rattling reached her ears and it seemed much louder. Annoyed, Tricia stood up, book still in her hand and went to the window to check what was making the noise. She pulled the curtain aside and what she saw was utterly unexpected that she was not able to react immediately. She just stood there rigid as a statue, gaping and staring wide-eyed at the sight before her.

It was something out of a Creepshow movie. From behind the glass panels, dark and empty eye sockets stared back at her. The face to which those sockets belonged was emaciated and the skin was dry and had the color of ancient papyrus akin to an Egyptian mummy’s. The head was hairless and in place where the skin and flesh have peeled off, dry ivory bones were visible. The ears were two shrunken stubs with minute holes in the middle of each; while all that was left of its nose was a pair of vertical openings. The wrinkly and thin lips of its mouth were pulled back to a grin, revealing mummified gums and variously-shaped teeth. The bony frame of its body was clocked in a tattered black robe.

Then, the thing’s jaws parted and an ear-shattering shriek issued from its mouth, followed by the shattering of glass when its bony hands broke through the panels and grabbed Tricia’s face. That’s when Tricia opened her eyes with a start and found herself lying in her bed with the book beside her. She got up quickly and probed her face with her hands while her eyes looked anxiously around. The window was intact with the flowery curtain neatly draped over it. There was no shattered glass. Everything seemed OK. There was no “mummy”. It was only a dream. Tricia was relived. She glanced at the clock and it indicated that it was past three in the morning. Tricia got out of the bed, wanting to have a drink downstairs.

Her feet have just touched the floor when, suddenly, two cold hands grabbed her legs. Upon looking down she was greeted by the grinning mummy-like face. This time she screamed her lungs out; more so when she was pulled down and more corpse-like hands appeared from nowhere and got hold of her. Despite her struggles the things have pinned her flat on her back. They were chanting something that. Although unintelligible, sounded familiar to her. Escape seemed impossible. Tricia shut her eyes tight as cold hands groped over her face. The things were falling into frenzy, their chanting getting louder and louder to the point of drowning her screams. It was like being tied helplessly in a satanic ritual where she will be sacrificed to The Dark Prince and anytime soon a dagger will be plunged with surgical precision to her heart. The thought made her heart skip a beat. Then she felt a powerful shake on her shoulder and out of the blue she heard a familiar voice calling her name again and again. The voice seemed to have blasted away the horrid things because their frenzied chants and groping hands were gone. She opened her eyes and saw the worried face of her sister, Tish.

“Hey, what’s up with you? Are you OK?”

Tricia’s eyes wandered wildly around but saw none of those mummies. Everything looked fine and proper. She started to calm down.

“Gosh, Tricia, you had me worried. Good thing you woke up.”

“Oh, God, what an awful nightmare,” Tricia mumbled as she sat up.

“You OK now?” Tish said.

“Yeah,” she nodded.

“Wait I’ll get you water.” And Tish padded off, leaving Tricia musing about the nightmare that she had. It seemed so real. She pinched herself and winced at the slight pain that she expected it will give her. She smiled to herself and turned to the door when she heard Tish’s approaching steps outside her room.

“Here’s your drink,” Tish said from the doorway.

Tricia screamed in horror because instead of a pretty sister, what she saw was a mummified corpse shambling toward her with a glass of what seemed like blood in its bony hand.

“What’s wrong, sis?” the thing gurgled to her; black, grease-like fluid running down its peeling chin. The voice reminded her of someone speaking with phlegm in his throat.

She backed to the other side of the bed until she fell to the floor. Quickly getting up, she screamed more at the sight of her brother and parents, who entered the room. All three were in the same mummified-corpse appearance. Her mother even had eyeglasses although its eye sockets were desert dry and devoid of eyes. They were all grinning at her with their beef jerky lips pulled back, revealing teeth that would give nightmares to a dentist.

“What’s the matter, child?” her father croaked as they advanced toward her.

“Come here, sweetie, let mama comfort you,” her mother cooed with outstretched arms: the long, bony fingers eager to get a hold of her.

Tricia backed further off until she felt the concrete wall against her back.

“NO!” she screamed, tears streaming from down her cheeks. She held out her arms as if it would do any good to ward off the mummies.

They had her surrounded, cornered like a prized pig in a town fair. It was too much for her. She has to get out of the nightmare she’s in. Running for the door would do her no good because the way was blocked. But she has to get out – to escape.

So, turning to the window beside her, Tricia closed her eyes and with all her force, hurled herself right through it; her arms over her face. Shattering glass and breaking wood filled her ears as her body went through. Bits of razor sharp glass cut her skin. She crashed two stories below, her scream was cut short when she hit the concrete ground with a sickening mixture of a thud and snapping bones, and a shower of broken glass.

At the funeral, Tricia’s family wept bitterly with the unexpected fate of their beloved daughter and sister. Her boyfriend cried as though he had lost everything.

Investigators said it was just another case of suicide. There were no foul plays. What puzzled everyone was the lack of motive. Many angles were considered but they didn’t add up. And her family swore she was OK in the head.

Few weeks later after the burial, one of Tricia’s acquaintances was rushed to the hospital after passing out at a certain bookstore. Upon recovery, she swore that she saw Tricia in the bookstore standing in the corner with a piece of paper in her hand. But it was not Tricia who caused the acquaintance to faint but the shadowy figures standing behind the recently deceased girl.