This article was submitted by Wilca Mae Abejuela, a Masters of Health Resource Management student from the Philippines.


 

Halloween has always been my favourite event when it comes to themed parties. I want to dress to impress and, at the same time, play pretend as a scary monster or a beautiful fairy. But, I guess what’s more exciting than the dress-up parties are exchanging scary stories and watching horror movies with friends.

As much as I want to tell a frightening story and scare myself, I want to share a story on how I overcame my fear of watching horror movies, and learned to go to sleep without imagining a ghost was following me.

For additional information, I lived in a country where we believe in monsters such as Kapri (giant), Tikbalang (half-man half-horse), Diwata (fairy), Aswang (ghost) and Manananggal (flying half-body of a woman). Given the monsters we think we have, our culture and beliefs are very rich and guide where our imagination takes us. By the way, I am just giving you a heads-up on how active our minds are when it comes to scary things, so that you can understand what a scaredy-cat I am.

Now, back to my story. I lived in a quiet village in my hometown and had limited friends, but once I became someone’s friend, I valued friendship very well. We had a sari-sari store – that is what we call a small neighbourhood store in the Philippines. So yeah, we had a sari-sari store and our neighbours were our customers.

I had a friend named “Rocky” and he frequently came to our store. We didn’t talk much, but we became friends because he always made me laugh. He lived across from our house. When they eventually moved out, they were still in the same subdivision two blocks away from our house. Eventually, we didn’t see each other anymore because I was also attending classes. I was in my 3rd year at college, and it was already a busy time for me.

One day, I heard sad news about Rocky. Though he made me laugh whenever we saw each other, he was still unhappy. I found out that he commit suicide inside their new home. I was very sad, and I could only recall our laughter and teasing whenever he came to our store.

I mentioned that they moved, right? Well, the next tenants that took Rocky’s previous house were criminals. At first we didn’t know, but every day we observed that there are many men staying there.

One night, I was left all alone in our house, and I feel asleep. It was already late, and I forgot to close our door and turn our lights on. I even forgot to lock my room. While I was sleeping, I heard someone calling my name in my sleep. I woke up.

I stood up and turned on the lights. My heart was beating fast because I could hear many men outside our gate and in front of the criminal’s house, and I was really afraid. And then I realised, that was the same week my friend Rocky died, and I am very sure it was him waking me up to keep me away from harm. Every time I tell this story, I get teary-eyed because, even in another life, my friend never failed to protect me.

This is my scary but not-so-scary story that will hopefully tell you that there are no ghosts, only people loving and protecting you from the other side. My ghost experience made me strong, thankful and realised that even in death, friendship never ends.

And that, my friends, is how I overcame my problem of being a scaredy-cat – it’s not something to be scared of, but it was an experience that made me brave.

 

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