Friday, June 15, 2012

Bangungungot By Irene Riot

11:47pm. Tess got carried away with her writing again. Though it was almost Saturday, she realized she had to be at work in a few hours and thus needed to get some sleep.

“Heeeethal, Hethal cat…where are you Hethal cat?”

It was a night like no other October night. There were a few stars in the sky. The moon wasn’t hindered too much by the clouds. All in all, a very unspectacular midnight. Green glowing eyes flashed, breaking the darkness.

“Hethal! Come here, kitty! Come here!”

As her eyes acclimated to the dark, she could see a darting form coming towards her. Climbing up the stairs to the deck, Hethal stepped into the light.

Scooping her precious ward into her arms, “Hethal, you silly cat”. Hethal replied with naughty purrs, looking towards the darkness as Tess snuggled its fur. Hethal still wanted to play.

“It’s time to go inside you silly cat. No more, cat. No, no, no more cat”

Stepping inside, Tess had a funny feeling. The doors to her home are not supposed to be open during the midnight hour, nor should she be outside. A spirit might come in. It was a silly superstition, she knew but one she followed anyway.

Exhausted. Tess lay down to sleep. Her mind was still running from all the caffeine. Allowing herself to get lost in her thoughts, she began to drift off to sleep. Darkness settled before her closed eyes along with a numbing sensation that spread throughout her body. Bright lights flashed. It was happening again.

Forcing herself  awake, “I’m not going to let you do this to me again” she said in her thoughts. “I’m busy and I have to be at work early tomorrow. Go away”. Anointing her forehead with the oil, placing the talisman around her neck, Tess went back to sleep.

It happened again. This time it was stronger. Drifting off to sleep, an electric shock ran up her spine and spread throughout her body. Her eyes shut open. Though asleep, she could see her room. She could feel herself float. She felt it at her back. It was trying to communicate with her, again.

“Why does she do this to me?”. Tess thought. These things would happen around special occasions like her mother’s birthday, Christmas. It was the month of October, Tess’ birthday month. “Well Happy Fucking Birthday to me, you stupid bitch. Go away!”

It didn’t. It got stronger. Numbness encompassed her sleeping body, she could feel it caress over her shoulders, down her arms, pressing itself closer against her. Tess knew all she had to do was move and she would break out of this but this time it was different. The harder she struggled, the stronger it got.

Tess was paralyzed now. Asleep yet awake. Eyes closed yet she could see. She could feel it right behind her, its being pressing against her face. Would this demon reveal itself? “Fuck you, stupid monster! Go back to the one who sent you!”

Then came an overwhelming sense of dread, excruciating sadness, a pull. “You fucking can’t take me with you! You can spook me but you have no authority over my soul! Go fucking away already! I have to be at work in a few hours”. Tess always woke up exhausted when these things happened.

Tess then felt a numbness enter her chest and surround her heart, constricting it, limiting its capacity to beat. Her heart compensated by beating faster. Too fast. She felt like her heart would explode. Tess took deep slow breaths, trying to ease her heart. Then the clawed fingers circled her throat, surrounded her neck, tightening.

“Oh hell fucking no!”

Tess forced herself awake and reached for the tassel to her bedside lamp. She was awake in the dark for a split second. For a split second she felt its presence. For a split second, she could feel its glare, its call, its frustration, its desperation. During that split second, Tess was suffocated by the scent of her mother’s favorite perfume.

The lamp was on now. Tess reached for the phone, “Startec longdistance, PLDT, please don’t fail me now!”


“Hello, Mommie”. Of course she wasn’t talking to her real mother. She had called her sister’s mother in-law. They were quite close. She would run to the spiritista when ever these episodes occurred.

“Oh, Darling”

“Mommie, binangungungot ako! It was my birthday last week…”. Tess rambled hysterically as Mommie remained silent.

“Have you heard what happened to your mother?”

“Mommie, I haven’t spoken to her in years”

“I found out the other day your mother died. I don’t know when or how it happened. Someone in the market mentioned it. I just came from Sister Cecelia. Your mother needs prayers. She is suffering…”

Tess hung up the phone and started to cry.

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