A call, and then silence. That disturbed me from browsing the Net to download pictures of His Royal Gorgeousness Hugh “Wolverine” Jackman. I was keeping in mind what Yaya told me during sleepless nights: that certain calls may not really come from the person one thought to own the voice. In her faraway province somewhere down the archipelago, there is a tale wherein one young lass had the misfortune of responding to the call of her “grandmother.” The familiar voice said, “Psst!” and she was so attentive that she left the sewing machine to seek the voice’s source. Her heart failed upon seeing a transparent, rotten-faced ghost with blood all over its mouth, ready to take her to the world of the dead. That was how my Yaya’s people described the origin of the voice, but when I asked, “Has someone actually seen it besides the one who died of heart attack?” she could not tell for sure. What she was sure of was that many people have responded to such an imitating voice before the poor girl, and all of them were lifeless before they can narrate their horror story. Yaya’s way of storytelling was so powerful that I had no choice but believe her. From then on, whenever I complained that maybe my brothers were making personal prank calls at me while I was busy studying in the music room overlooking a window full of Balete vines, she advised me not to answer at once any calls, because I cannot be sure of anything, especially about fatal ghost appearances. Another call, a vibrating whisper that tingled in my ear. Yaya warned me before not to look back, and always I blindly—rather foolishly—followed. This time I did, and my eyes saw terror in decaying flesh.
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