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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
Tell me..  

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
Tell me..  

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
Tell me..  

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
Tell me..  

Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Page 25

   Making my way through thick bushes, the scent of burning incense grows stronger and stronger. I also noticed that the air is growing thicker and thicker that its getting so difficult to breath.
   I think I passed out or something because I woke up in the receiving area inside the mansion. I can't recall anything that happened. I checked the time and its already twelve midnight.
   What am I doing here? I peered outside.
   Visitors seem to be making their way in the garden. I don't recall having something like this tonight. So I stepped outside and tried to blend in the crowd. These are people I don't know. I wonder where the hell Sylvia met them.
   Some looked so suspicious and most of them are wearing black. I walked a little further, and I didn't notice but the crowd gave way to a guest that had just arrived.
   Long satin dress carefully wrapped around her body, it was her! The girl in my dreams!
   Where am I?
   People moved as if they don't see me. Could this be just a vision I'm having?
   This is like a gathering for something I have no idea what.
   Suddenly, a voice I am most familiar with thundered with so much force that it started raining. Everybody panicked and I found myself running with them. Although I don't know where to go, I found myself again in the woods near the circle of rocks.
   Appearing behind me is Tiara.
   "How long have you been here?" she asked.
   "I just got here. I ran as fast as I can. The gathering is discovered by Blanca with black magic." Words flowing out of me as if I belong. And I just know her name like that
   "What about the others? Where have they gone to?" said her.
   "I don't know. But we have to be careful" I replied.
   "I mostly don't want to lose you Cedrick, never leave me."
   And with that, I felt the warmth of her lips on mine. I held her close to me. Tight in my arms. Then something hit me on my back.
   I'm back on my bed. In my room. I sat up twitched with the sudden pain on my behind. I felt for the spot, nothing. But the pain is so vivid.. so is her kiss.

Posted at 03:06 pm by quill
I heard you  

Monday, October 11, 2004
Chapter 3: The letter

   The ceiling looks lower when I'm lying on my back. Tiara. A name I fail to get over with..
   I haven't been getting much sleep lately. I stay awake at night expecting another gathering outside the lawn. Although, indirectly, I know Sylvia knows something about what is happening. Her's is the voice that we heard before the crowd panicked. But why is she called Blanca?
   I got my pen and wrote what has happened so far. Folding the paper, I wrote on top of it: To anyone who knows, help me.
   I placed it on my pocket and went out. It was noon and the sun's rays burns. I circled the mansion examining every corner of it.
   This place has never been a home to me. I still feel indifferent about the everything.
   "Ced! Ced!" Mary called.
   My sister is still catching her breath when she got to where I am standing
   "Why so home this early?" I asked.
   "Its my examination week remember? Anyway, is there anything in the house that I can eat? I didn't take my lunch 'cos I hurried home. I know Sylvia won't be around until six this evening. I want to take advantage of the television." She said.
   "Lets go inside and eat lunch together"
   In the middle of our meal, I heard the bell ring. By instinct, I got up hurriedly to see who it was. Stepping outside, I didn't see anyone.
   The mailbox is slightly opened. I went to check it. A brown letter sized envelope! Sealed with a red wax and some strange markings, it was addressed to me. Me?!
   "Who was it?" Mary called from inside the house.
   "No one. Maybe it was the postman. I found a letter addressed to me!"
   My curious sister hurried to where I am and bugged me to open the letter.
   "Open it! Open it! Maybe this is another mystery for you to solve!" She said excitedly.
   "Stop jumping up and down! Calm down will you?! Its just a letter."
   "Just a letter sealed with wax with strange markings on it?! Nobody sends letters like that now! Now will you please open it so we'll know what it says?" She's now drooling over the idea that we are in some kind of twist.

Posted at 12:06 pm by quill
Tell me..  

Wednesday, October 13, 2004
Page 27

   "..I listened intently for your heartbeat.. It was clear and vivid. My heart calls for your name over and over. When I close my eyes, your touch seemed almost real.. your kiss, my love, stays on my lips. I can't help but touch it with my fingers.. trying to recapture the moment. Your skin, few breaths away lingers in my head like wine riped in a hundred years. You've not changed a bit.. I still surrender in your arms..your grip..I've waited for this moment.."
   With eyes wide open, I folded the letter back.
   Mary, on the other hand shows a baffled expression on her face. Then she turned to me and gave me that there's-something-you're-not-telling-me look.
   I was compelled to tell her what had happened the other night.
   "So, you woke up in another dimension and kissed somebody huh?! And you left her with something she just can't get over with?!" A sly smile is now curving on the corner of her lips.
   "Didn't you understand what she said? 'You've not changed a bit' were her words" I said.
   "Meaning you two know have been going out that long huh?" Again giving me that suspicious look.
   "I don't know! I mean, she looked strangely familiar but I just can't remember being with her or even meeting her this lifetime! I will give you precise answers now if I have an idea on what the hell is going on" Slight irritation is now blending with the tone of my voice.
   "Okay, okay. But give me feedbacks on this one. I want to solve the mystery too you know" She gave me a wink and went back inside the house.
   I lost my appetite so I went back straight to my room. Examining the letter more closely, it has no postage stamp or whatsoever! Hmm.. maybe this is just some prank by one of the neighbors.
   Or, could this mean that what had happened that night is not a dream? I tried to remembering every detail..

Posted at 12:08 pm by quill
Tell me..  

Wednesday, October 20, 2004
Page 28

   "Cedrick! Cedrick!"
   Men wearing hoods is clutching Tiara by her arms. I know it was her father's order. A well known man who's beliefs are all in accordance to what was written in a book.
   Dropping everything I'm holding, I ran across the fields after the carriage carrying her. Two big men grabbed my shoulders and started pounding on me. The first hit me on my stomach. It was so hard that I was thrown off balance. Upon hitting the ground, another one kicked me again.
   "Don Rodrigo wants you to stay away from his daughter. The next time you even try to get close to her or even communicate with her, we're going to kill you!" they threatened me.
   "I love Tiara, and I know she loves me. Nothing can take that away! Even death!" said I.
   "Fool! You don't know what you're saying!" And with that, they left me twitching with pain.
      Don Rodrigo. A man of politics that time. He has many connections in every aspect. Behind his strong personality, he still leans on his wife, Doņa Zoila. A very timid but hardworking woman, managed to take care of her family. She used to work for the emperor until his mistress worked their way in his mind and got rid of her in his services.
   What Don Rodrigo doesn't know, their resources is fast coming to an end. His loving wife keeps this from him to shield his pride.
   Tiara, being the eldest of three daughters has to work in order to support her other siblings. This is how I got to know her more.
   In my youth, I knew her for we attended the same church. I was part of the choir and she was a lector. This was until I heard her sing and my voice faltered and faded in the background. From then on, I hear her voice at the back of my heart.
   "Cedrick! Cedrick!"
   The carriage is fading from my sight and I blocked out to nothingness.

Posted at 05:10 pm by quill
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