It was a Saturday, 2 AM.
It was quiet.
The wind was blowing.
The leaves were rustling.
I was studying on the dining table, minding my own business, with a mug of hot Choco. Suddenly, there were knockings on the door.
Loud, uneven knockings.
I directed my attention to the door and the closed jalousie windows, barely even seeing anything outside, for a few minutes. Suddenly, a voice came calling. “Manong, can you please open the door?” The voice called out from outside followed by two weak knocks on the door.
It was my brother’s voice.
A bit pissed and surprised that he’s still outside, I yelled: “Ging, is that you? Where were you?” I asked him. “Yeah… well, I was drinking out with my friends at the Sari-sari store.” He replied. “You should’ve called or even told me last night about this. Good thing, Nanay, was fast asleep. She probably, didn’t notice you go out.” I stopped studying and stood up from where I sat, and walked slowly to the door.
I turned on the porch light and unlocked all the locks binding the door with the door knob in my hands.
As I was about to open the door.
“Dugaya uy! Manong, can you please hurry up? I NEED to go to the bathroom.” My brother exclaimed – drunk and impatient. I turned to my left - to the jalousie window and noticed something.
There were no shadows being cast by the light outside. I peeked, ever so slightly, at the jalousie window. There were no silhouettes. ‘Strange’ I thought to myself – as a rush of cold wind blew over my nape freezing the hair on it.
“Manong, are you opening the door or what?” He exclaimed again – impatiently.
Then, it hit me.
“Just a moment.” I yelled back at the voice as I got hold of one of the door locks. “I seem to have gotten the lock jammed.” I then, wiggled the lock, as if mimicking the sound of it being unlocked. “Hold on, give me a minute here.” I told him.
“Come on already! I am about to pee.” He complained as I continued to wiggle the lock wildly.
“Alright, there you go. Just push the door open.” I exclaimed; moving away from the door.
“Ging?” I called out to my brother. “Are you there?”
There was no reply.
I looked at the jalousie window. “Ging?” I called out to my brother again. “Where are you?”
There was no reply.
My shoulders tensed up. I called out again. “Ging? Are you the--?”
Suddenly, the door from my brothers’ room opened and out came my brother, Gabriel. I looked at him as my knees were feeling a little weak. “Saba-a nimo uy!? What are you calling me out for? What time is it?”
Cold sweat ran down my neck as I try my very best to act normal.
I looked at him and said: “I – I’m sorry. Thought you were outside. Go back to sleep, it’s still 2:30 in the morning.”
“Samuka uy! Please keep it down – and don’t forget the lights. Geez!” He replied as he went back in his room and closed the door.
Terrified, I peeked over at the jalousie window – not opening it. The light was still on. I breathed in deep, started praying silently, and moved towards the door.
I turned the knob to the right – lifting the latch up. Pulled the door in – opening it wide.
There was no one. There was nothing.
Just me - on the empty porch.
Illustrations by Neo Bryce Largo