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Thursday, September 16, 2004
Page 15

   I finished early today. I just finished waxing the entire floor upstairs. My next schedule is tomorrow. I took a long satisfied look on the shiny marble floor and wiped the sweat off my forhead. Its almost three in the afternoon and I could use a cold glass of juice.
   I went downstairs. Halfway though, I heard a door creaking. I stopped on my way and listened closely. The sound is coming from upstairs. Strange. I am always left alone in this mansion and I know everybody has gone out. I thought of burglars, but at broad daylight? I gripped my mop tighter and slowly crept my way again upstairs following the sound. Few steps away, I can clearly see footprints on my new waxed floor! It was slightly moist and the person who owns this obviously is barefoot. I followed the prints. Investigating a little further, it lead to the veranda. The door was slightly open. My heart is beating so hard, part of me is excited to catch whoever this is.
   The prints were slender and looks like of a woman's. So I am a little confident that there will be less struggle on this one. I slowly took a peek on the door's small opening.
   I can see the tea table set, few potted plants, the magazine rack.. I adjusted a little more to get a better view. And there she is.. standing on the edge of the veranda near the railings.
    Her hair was long, of chestnut hue, perfectly shaped shoulders of poise and elegance,her waist is slender down to her hips and thighs, her arms are of a goddess, and she has a fragrance of enchantment. This sight enticed me to the last drop.
   I fought the urge to confront her..but I just can't control it. I opened the door and went out of my hiding.
   I knew she heard me and she turned around. I was fixed on the spot. Not knowing what to say. She was there and as if she was expecting me.
   Her white silky vail flows along now with the wind. Her face is as beautiful as I expected it to be. A radiance of a thousand goddesses.
   Suddenly, she was distracted by a noise behind me, I turned around, and saw a shadow rushing to go away, when I turned back to her, she was gone.
   I went inside to see who it was, I saw another set of prints on the floor. This time, its of a man's.
   Damn it! Why does everybody has to walk on a newly waxed floor?!

Posted at 06:44 am by quill
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Friday, September 17, 2004
Chapter 2: The Mansion

   Bothered by what I saw in the woods nights ago, I wondered about it most of the time. I can't shrug the fear off me whenever I'll recall those eyes that seem to spell DEATH.
   As I was cleaning the guest room, I moved the bed to sweep the dusts. Much to my surprise, I came across a trapped door on the floor. I wonder why I never saw this before? The door's edges is very much aligned and fit perfectly on the marble floor that one really can't see it if they don't take a closer look. I was very much intrigued of this discovery. I tried to pry it open but its so heavy that my back ached.
   I went outside to get some tools that might help me. I was so thrilled with the idea that this is like on the books that I've read. Secret doors, dungeons.. stuffs like that.
   Out of no-where, the doorbell rang. I had to stop my tool searching and go inside to put back the bed on its place.
   "What took you so long?" Sylvia impatiently said on the door.
   "I was in the guest room sweeping and I barely heard the bell. I'm sorry" I excused.
   Boy was she early today! I gathered guts to ask her why she's home in the middle of the day but she was too quick for me.
   "Cook me some meal. I don't feel well and I'm taking a long rest." she said.
   I know I need to go back to my conscious movements again knowing that I am alone with the witch on this place. She went upstairs and I went straight to the kitchen.
   Again, I heard someone calling me. I know this time my imagination isn't playing with me. I went upstairs and knocked on the master's bedroom. No answer. I tried to turn the knob and huh?! It was open. I took a peek inside. Maybe Sylvia is asleep. But there's no one on the bed. I made my way in and searched inside the room, the walk-in closet and the bathroom. She's not here! Weird. I went outside to look for her. The voice is faint but clear into thin air. Constantly calling for me.
   I gave up. I went back to the kitchen to check if everything is done.
   I set up the table and went about my duties.

Posted at 01:03 pm by quill
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Page 17

   Not at all amused by what happened the other day, that woman is so tricky. I know I searched the whole place but how can she disappear and appear again on time when father got home? Saying that she fell asleep immediately.
   Father smelled cigar and I was accused of smoking again. A raid on my room and they found none. I haven't been smoking since .. since.. I lost count of the days. If not of the news on my portable radio, I wouln't have known that halloween is getting near.
   We broke the tradition of going to cemeteries every October thirty first. Eversince father got married again, we never saw my mother's grave anymore. The witch gets so jealous whenever she would hear the name Violet.
   My mother is a timid woman, of elegance and poise. Petite but smart, she is of strong will and courage. My father would sometimes try to crack a joke and she will giggle silently on one corner. I remember her on her last days, she passed on the responsibility of my brothers and sister to me. She talked about my attitude problem but she told me its something I can utilize in some ways.
   Sylvia on the other hand, never gave it a rest. She insisted that father burns all of my mother's photographs, throws aways all her things and belongings, literally erase every drop of memory there is of her. Crazy bitch. No wonder she hates my sister so much. Mary look a lot like mother. Even her traits are so similar.
   The one sole reason why we moved in to this mansion. We left our home of memories, of childhood dreams and hopes. Things that Sylvia I know never had.
   Coming from a disfunctional family, a father who is a drunkard, a diabetic mother, eldest brother who ran away and got married at seventeen, second brother who married their house maid, third brother who went to another country, fourth brother full of debts, she will definitly grow into something who never knew love. Although I can't blame her, I know she is full of deceit.
   Now, she is trying to erase our childhood by turning her nightmares into becoming ours. At one point, I am actually starting to believe that its happening.

Posted at 01:26 pm by quill
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Monday, September 20, 2004
Page 18

   Panting hard, I rested under a nearby tree. I checked behind me if that thing is anywhere near me. I heard footsteps. Controlling my breathing, its getting nearer and nearer. I was suddenly inside a room. I ran my fingers on the walls and pushed something. The floor gave way and a passageway was revealed. I hurriedly went down. Walls are made of old stone. The further I go, the colder it gets.
   I was swallowed by the darkness.
   I was falling.. and falling..
   Alarm went on and on 'til it dawned on me that its not real.
   Why was I so afraid? What was that? Where was I? Why is my clock set to alarm at two in the morning?! Damn? Is that Raphaelle playing with my things again? But the alarm setting is not until four thirty.. so why did my alarm go off now?
   Getting up to drink, I heard something outside. I took a peek, its coming from the salas. Slowly, I went out to investigate. Its coming from the guest room. Who could still be awake at this hour? Creeping slowly, all I can see are shadows moving about inside the room. Its hard to take a peek so I kept my distance. I heard something like stones moving and then it stopped. I blinked and the shadows are gone. Mental note: in the morning, you will remember all this and check what went on in that room.
   I stayed a bit long to see if there are other activities going on. None.
   This mansion hides a lot of things. Secret passages leading somewhere, creatures that appear here and there, voices and weird coincidences. I tried passing these things off but it worsens.
   My bed felt warm when I lied back like someone has been lying on it all along. I ignored and gave in to the sleepy sensation again.

Posted at 01:01 pm by quill
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Wednesday, September 22, 2004
Page 19

   The scent of grass stuck to my clothes. It was half past nine in the morning and I'm halfway done gardening. I raked the lawn for dry leaves. What else is new? I'm alone again. Maybe that's the reason why my imagination plays with me. I learned to ignore sounds in this place that doesnt concern me.
   The doors creaks and slams, the piano makes odd sounds, the plates rattle in the middle of the night. As long as nothing is broken in the morning, its fine.
   My room is the former maid's quarters. Downstairs near the dirty kitchen. I have my own door leading outside. So whenever the dogs would go berserk, I can go out at once and see what is going on. Also, its an easy access to the garage and laundry area. Sylvia will just tell me to clean her car or wash her clothes. Even if its in the middle of the night and I am about to rest after massaging her feet. Its as if I don't tire at all.
    We used to have servants and helpers around this mansion. we used to have plenty of them. We had a driver, gardener, cook, and housekeepers. Their primary reason of leaving (as told to my father) is the mansion having weird things going on. Their reason of leaving, as they told me, is Sylvia.
   I don't wonder about it now. The impossibilities of Sylvia's commands will also drive me away. I am to clean every Chandelier there is and to sweep the ceilings. Still, I know I should oblige.
   I went inside the house to start cleaning when I heard Maer barking. I tried to ignore her but then the other two dogs joined her. "All right all right!" freakin' dogs go crazy again.
   I peeked through the window to see what it is this time. Maer's fangs are now showing. The last time I saw her like this was the time I went sleep walking nights ago. Or so I think..
   There was a shadow of a man wearing a hat. Then I saw him. Smoking his cigar, he was walking around the lawn. The dogs now are jumping inside their cages. I kept low and still peeked through the drapes. What is he up to? This weird scarecrow guy suddenly appeared after a long time.
   I was breathing heavily, rather excitedly anticipating his next move, he entered the woods not far from the east side of the mansion. I thought he would disappear there. But he turned around and looked directly at me. I know I was suppose not to be seen because I was peeking through a small parting of the drapes. He waived his hand as if telling me to follow him in the woods.
   I'm suddenly nervous and froze to my spot. Should I follow him?

Posted at 07:43 am by quill
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Page 20

   I gulped hard. Cold sweats filled my forhead. I looked for and immediate weapon that I can use to protect myself.
   I peeked through the curtains and he was still standing there.. as if really waiting for me to follow him.
   I gathered all the courage and stepped out of the door. Hiding the small swiss knife in my back pocket.
   The strong smell of cigar seeped into my lungs. I can barely see his face. His hat is positioned to cover his face.
   I started walking into the woods. Making my way through thick bushes. I came to an almost familiar place but I can't remember when, where, how, and why this is so.
   I ran my fingers through the boulders of rocks.. closed my eyes and I smelled the cigar again.
   I felt the cold breez on the back of my neck.
   I had to hurry back. Everyone will be home soon and I haven't been able to prepare dinner yet.
   Making my way out of those woods, I know its almost six in the evening. I just hope Sylvia isn't home yet.
   "And where have you been this time?!" me and my stupid wish. Great, now she's blabbing about responsibility and me leaving the house.
   "..and not all that.. you left the house that long? How long have you been gone?!..." oh good lord.. when is she gonna tire from all of these?
   Mary just got home. She saw and heard Sylvia and her time machine mouth. This witch has the sharpest memory there is. She would recall the tiniest detail of a person's fault and whenever something new would come up, or whenever she's bored, she would go on with her litany non stop until, in this case, my ears start to bleed.
   I don't know which part did she got tired or was I saved from the rest when father's car pulled up? Suddenly turning into this ideal perfect step mother.
    Boy, if only father would look at her shadow, there will be a tail and horns. She's the devil in disguise.

Posted at 04:26 pm by quill
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Thursday, September 23, 2004
Page 21

   It was a rather windy day. Me and my siblings are excited about moving into this promising new home. The driver was pulling up and we all can't wait to explore the place and save one of the best rooms there is. I was of youthful energy. All smiles and laughs. Sylvia distributed chocolates and other sweets. "Now go and choose your rooms. This place is all ours now" those were her words as we ran inside the mansion.
   I was struck with awe with the high ceiling that when you stare long enough, you will get the feeling that you're sinking. The staircase is made of molave wood to last the years. I walked through the hallways adoring every inch of the place.
   "This room is mine! Its got to be mine!" one of my brothers exclaimed upstairs. I went up to see the rest of the place. The veranda gives the most breath taking view. Facing east, I know it has the perfect view of the sun rising. A little further is the entrance to the woods..the forest. I felt a little dizzy. I had the strongest feeling that I've been here before.
   I took her hand. Her palms were soft as a rose petal. With fingers slender and thin.. small enough to fit my hand.. my coarse hands. I looked at her and she lovingly returned my gaze. The quietness of the moment allowed our hearts to talk. My heart poured out warmth that adores her in every way. It was fall and the winds pass like singing voices. She smiled at me and I can swear, my heart skipped a beat. She handed me a ring. "I had that made specially for you. Wear this and take my heart with you.."
   Waking up with a dry throat, I coughed hard until I had tears.
   What was that?
   I looked for the ring in my drawers, in my closet.. I know I placed it somewhere.. Argh! I can't find it.
   What was that all about? I'm having a feeling the ring has something that might help me. And why am I back to that time when we first moved in here? In this hell..

Posted at 01:36 pm by quill
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Monday, September 27, 2004
Page 22

   Scrambling through pockets of my clothes, I was looking for the ring. I know this seem crazy but the thought just won't leave me.
   I know its here somewhere.. I just have to remember when I took it off and what am I wearing that time..
   Geez! It was in the pocket of the apron I wore while I was cooking the other night. I just hope it didn't fall from it. I just threw it in the laundry bin.
   What was that?!
   Rushing to the place where the sound came from, I can hear Sylvia's voice loud and clear.
   "..and the next time you break a plate again, you will be grounded for a whole month! Do you understand me?"
   My brother Vic is just staring at the floor grinding his teeth and clenching his fists. Controlling himself fom hitting the witch.
   "What happened here?" I asked, pretending that I didn't hear anything that has happened.
   "Your irresponsible sibling just broke an expensive plate. You are all the same! You good for nothing little devils!"
   It burned my ears to hear that but I just walked pass her and fetched the broom to sweep fragments off the floor.
   As expected, she went on and on bringing back every little fault we committed since she came into our lives. She memorized every detail and exaggerated a lot. I know she's just doing this, makig this drama to make her look like the exploited person in this place and let father hear this.
   And just as I suspected, footsteps on the stairs, and here comes father.
   Sylvia suddenly transformed into a poor looking creature and forced tears in her eyes. Timing that father is approaching, she burst into tears.
   Oooh how I'd like to grab a knife and cut her throat. I wish its that easy. Father calmed her down and gave Vic and me a sharp look. I would like to protest but Sylvia is sniveling. She's so fake!
   Vic was sent to his room and I was grounded again for being irresponsible not teaching my siblings how to handle plates.
   I was left with no choice and lots of curses in my heart. Someday, I am going to run away.

Posted at 07:37 am by quill
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Page 23

   Books would fall on the floor, and I'd watch my brothers squat with their knees shaking. Its been almost and hour and they were told to hold their books on their outstretched hands while squating. This is what they get for not studying on their prescribed time on the dining table.
   I went looking for father after seeing them like that.
   Sylvia is in the family room watching television and my brothers are in the living room sweating and forcing back their tears.
   They were still young then.
   Father and Sylvia were newly wed and Sylvia explains that this is a way of discipline and that this is because of love.
   She claimed that we were raised as spoiled brats by my mother and that we should have our own pain level now that she's with us.
   Saying that she learned this from another culture. She told us that she was sent to another country by her mother for her to learn and study there. Staying there for a couple of years, she said this is what she had adopted.
   Father, on the other hand, believed every word she says.
   We never spoke of anything against this for we were still young and wickedness only happens in movies.
   She started showing her real color when father is not around.
   She would occasionaly torture us with degrading words, often kill our self esteem. I would cry to sleep at times but it hardened me the more.
   She would make the kids work around the house in the summer and never let them watch tv. Her son, on the other hand, would watch tv and  not do his chores.
   And I would plan on poisoning her a little each day, carefully planning my little revenge. I never got to execute my plan. I would always be rang by my conscience.
   I remembering shaving all of the hair off my head. I'm tired of pulling it whenever I'd stop myself from strangling her. I'd have piercings. Somehow, the pain gives me the sense that I am still alive and still capable of feeling.
   If these walls could talk, I would have had the best conversation of my life.

Posted at 08:32 am by quill
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Thursday, September 30, 2004
Page 24

   Losing my balance from hunger, I knew I should have saved some of the food before serving it to them. Sylvia's unexpected guests devoured everything I cooked.
   It was Jim, her loser brother bringing the rest of his family. Lucy, his wife never stopped talking since they arrived. Their children, Rein and Paul immediately ran upstairs to call for their ratty cousin.
   I just cleaned the house and these "guests" appeared at nine in the evening to whatever their intention is, I am yet to find out.
   Father and Sylvia entertained them in the receiving area. I was asked to serve them more juice.
   "..and we don't know where else to get the resources.. we barely make ends meet" said Lucy.
   I didn't mean to overhear their conversations, but from the sound of it, Jem cannot pay a certain amount of money he borrowed from father. And his wife Lucy is pleading for another extension.
   This kind of scene is not new to me. People would go here to borrow money, ask for goods or whatever donation. Giving them the impression that we, the people who live here is well off.
   But I can say with my whole heart that I am willing to trade places with them if given a chance. Retreating back to my room, I placed one hand over my grumbling stomach. Opening my cupboards, hoping I saved some canned beans. Unfortunately, a gum is the only thing I found.
   Munching like a goat, I went out through the back door. One of those usual nights, breezy. I sat down on the back porch and observed the night clouds float in the sky.
   Then I noticed there in the woods, a small flicker of light.
   Looks like the night camper is out there again.
   Damn! I hate fighting this urging curiosity. I peeked through the window outside, people inside is still busy talking. Lucy is now crying. Sylvia is just rolling her eyes. Jem, the usual emotion-less human being, and father, who I think is ready to say "all right.. you may have your extension.."
   Walking away from the mansion towards the woods, I looked back. Mary's room light is still on. She's still up studying I suppose.
   Turning to walk a little further, my heart is beating fast, excited. For this moment, I believe the hungry sensation I experienced earlier has passed.
   I can smell incense.

Posted at 03:25 pm by quill
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