"Eric was willing to investigate. He went out to see what it was, but when he came back a minute later, he said there was no one there."
Culture Spotlight

Fiction: "We hear that noise almost every night now"

In this new fictionist's upcoming novel, a young woman returns to her ancestral home in Cebu. There, she finds not only the father that abandoned her as a child, but other unwelcome entities.
Mio Borromeo | Oct 30 2019

While it is no match against the horrors of everyday living, the people and places, creatures and chaos that go bump in the night—either paranormally experienced or conjured up by the human mind—can keep us awake to no end. But indulging in these paranormal constructs, and scaring ourselves silly is an age-old, somewhat inexplicable guilty pleasure. In time for the Halloween festivities this week, we've asked several people to either share personal experiences or contribute works of fiction that will help satisfy this national past time. 

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We hear that noise almost every night now. 

I haven’t told you about this ba? The thing that Jeffrey saw? The crashing? Sometimes it happens while we’re asleep. It starts slowly, dug… dug… By the time I wake up it’s really loud. DUG! DUG! Grabe ka kusog, Rits. I can even feel the ground shaking. Ma-anxious man gyud ko. I have to wake Eric up and tell him to check what it is. Eh, you know when he’s groggy, he just tells me to put on earphones if something’s bothering me. How’s that supposed to help? I end up pushing him on his side and pray the rosary.

The first time it happened, we were having dinner in the house. It didn’t sound like it was anywhere inside, so I figured it was coming from our neighbor’s. You remember my friend Maricris, the one who died without telling her daughter? Uy, don’t laugh sad, Rits! I only mention that because their house has been vacant for a few years na. Alma came back for a while to live with her dad, but then he died and she left and it’s been empty ever since. The first time we heard the noise, Eric was willing to investigate. He went out to see what it was, but when he came back a minute later, he said there was no one there. He knocked a few times, the lights were off. He even called out for Alma. Basig she came back again without us realizing and she had an accident. But nobody answered. He said it didn’t seem like anyone was there.

"He said, 'Whatever’s happening in that house is not our business.' Which is weird to say, noh? What was that supposed to mean?"

After that, it started happening regularly. Eric said maybe someone was renting the house. I tried calling their landline to see if they would answer, but the number was disconnected. My biggest fear was that somebody broke in and started living there. I told Eric, “Hun, maybe we should call village security and have them check in to make sure no one’s inside.” Just for my peace of mind. I felt like we had a responsibility, kay our family’s been in the village for such a long time na baya. How funny, noh. It’s only after Mommy passed away that I started to feel attached to this place. And besides… I just get scared kay… you never know, whoever’s there might wait till we’re out, go to our house, see that it’s just Jeffrey and his yaya inside and go in. We leave Jeffrey at home most of the time now. We have to, while I’m going through treatment. He thinks we’re going to all these dinner parties. Eh, what can we do, he’s too young to understand. You don’t want to someone that young to have that kind of… that kind of burden… on … on their…

Sorry. Anyway, I don’t know why, but Eric said not to bother with the noise. He said, “Whatever’s happening in that house is not our business.” Which is weird to say, noh? What was that supposed to mean?

Well a few days later, Jeffrey was playing with some of the other boys down the street. They were out in front of our neighbor’s house, and he told me that he saw someone standing at the door.

I asked him if he saw who it was, and he said it was an old lady.

Well, what was she doing there?

“Just waiting for someone to let her in,” he told me. “She just kept knocking on the door, knock, knock, knock! And then she turned around, Mama, she looked at me. I got to see her face.”

I asked him, “What did she look like?” I thought that maybe I could forward a description to the association to watch out for her.

I asked again, “What did she look like, baby?”

You know what he said?

“Mama, she looked like you.”

 

Mio Borromeo recently finished his MA in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. The above contribution is from his upcoming novel Residents, about a young woman who, after moving back to her ancestral home in Cebu to live with the father who abandoned her as a child, discovers that her house can talk.