The Vampire in the Ruins
I saw him once. My parents said they have never seen him.
The queer mystery surrounding the somber ruins haunted all the kids in our neighborhood. I, being a brave skeptic girl, would like to think that "The Vampire in the Ruins" was just a folklore our parents used to scare us so we wouldn't go out at night. However, my mind changed when one afternoon, before dark, I saw a faint flickering light from the upper room of the ruins. For a moment I thought it was just my imagination so I pointed it to my friends when suddenly an indistinct figure appeared standing by the window. We were all horrified! My friends had nightmares after that.
No one from the neighborhood dared to enter its gates. No one had the courage to find out if the Vampire truly exists. From my father's father's story, not a single person has disturbed the creature which got me asking: Was the vampire a male or a female? Where did it come from? Could vampires really turn into bats? I think it was just my curiosity that wanted to know the answers.
You see, I like scary stories and peculiar beings. Growing up, I and my friends always hang out reading our favorite books with lovely princesses, handsome princes, fairies, unicorns, butterflies...Yes, we read the same books but we never liked the same characters. I ended up liking the witches, the monsters, the goblins, the evil queens... was it weird? I just thought they are more interesting than the princesses who always need help. So perceptibly, it was becoming of me to take interest in the Vampire as I grew up.
The ruins where the vampire lives is a sight of curse to our neighborhood. It is the best place to shoot a scary film, if you would ask me. The old oak tree beside the fountain gave it a creepier look. Some old folks have seen women came into the house very late in the night--a victim after another-- but no one ever saw any of these women came out. According to some stories, Mr. Thomas, the father of Mrs. Bryce, once warned a woman from going inside but when she looked at him, her eyes were dark and lifeless as if her soul was sucked out from her body, then she just continued walking as if being hypnotized of some sorts.
Our town's sheriff never bothered to investigate. Don’t you find it weird? Well, come to think of it, the Vampire has never harmed anyone in the neighborhood-- it was just there, existing among us.
So, there I was with my friend one day standing outside the ruins. I slipped my head between the rusty metal railing trying to use my X-ray vision though the house. I wanted to see it! I wanted to know if a vampire really exists! Then I made up my mind to go inside. By the way, that was me being bold and stupid at the same time. I didn't really have a plan- more so a course of escape when necessary.
I begged my friend, Ada, to accompany me to sneak into the ruins. Vampires are asleep in the day so what harm could it do to us?
In broad daylight, we creeped in straight to the front door and cupped or hands on the glass pane. Nothing was odd. It was just a typical living room with old dusty wooden furniture. Of course, we knew that the front door was locked so we went around the house and saw the backdoor slightly open. Was it a trap? Like in Hansel and Gretel? We didn't care.
We sneaked inside the house from the backdoor, went stealthily up the creaking stairs all the way to the upper room- the Vampire's lair. I pulled out a small dagger that I took from my father's shed. Was I ready to kill? Of course, not! It was just reassuring to know that I had a knife around.
We put out ears close to the door. There was not a sound. See, I was right! Vampires do sleep in the day and we were perfectly safe! I opened the door as quietly as I could. Oh what a smell! the Vampire sure did keep the bodies of the victims there, I thought.
There was just a thin ray of light peeking from a small gap between the heavy drapery covering the window. I saw our best chance to beat the Vampire! Vampires are afraid of the sun! I quickly rushed to the window and welcomed the light! My friend shrieked and I jolted! We saw the Vampire lying face down on the floor. Was it asleep? Shouldn't it be sleeping in a coffin? Was it dead? Already? Why didn't we hear it scream as its flesh gets scorched in the sunlight?
Ada stood petrified for a moment. I mustered all my courage and went slowly around it with the dagger still in my hand. It was a male vampire. He sure was old. Do vampires grow old? There was an ash tray full of cigarette butts on the table. Do modern vampires learned how to smoke? I wondered. On his left hand, he was holding a silver... wand? Was it a wand? Aren't vampires afraid of silver? Was he a witch then? I couldn’t make out everything in a single weave.
My friend was hammered to where she was standing when something caught her attention. She walked slowly trying to recognize something that seemed very familiar. She took it out from the dusty shelf and read to herself, "The Princess and the Colorful Butterflies... by Alfred Edinsworth."
I went up to her and we both gazed at the sturdy mahogany shelf fully stacked with our favorite fairy tales.
THE BOY AND HIS SHADOW
There lives a boy who loves playing with his shadow. He spends all day panting, laughing, and giggling as he runs along the tall bushes consistently entertained by the company of his dear friend. He loves his friend so much that he never wants to lose sight of it. Carefree, the cheerful boy with arms wide open runs through the breeze to the lush meadow beaming with spring flowers in bloom. His best friend loves flowers so much-- they both do. At noon, after long hours of playing, he would let it rest under his worn-out leather shoes. In the afternoon, it creeps out again as he calls its name--ever ready to play with him once more. However, when the night falls, his peculiar ritual begins. Meticulously, the little boy follows every detail of it as he was taught. Then, he would drag his favorite chair to the old wooden dinner table where a candle stands. His favorite part of the day is when his friend, with its long black hair laid down, stands behind him and starts telling him stories as he stares at the flickering light indulged in the beauty of the flame. He remembered clearly what his mother told him, "My dear, my tiny blueberry bud, one candle is enough for it to stay by your side until both of you fall asleep." So the child does this every night-- one candle at a time.
A Locket For Anita
For fifty-six years I loved her, My Anita, your grandmother. This I am going to tell you and promise me that you will tell this story to your grandchildren too.
I met your grandmother when she worked as a servant girl in the bakery beside the cathedral. She started working there a month after she ran away from home. All I know is that she was an orphan raised by her abusive stepmother-- a typical fairytale in the making if you would ask me. A simple pale skinny maiden yet she was the loveliest in my eyes.
I would buy bread in the morning for breakfast, bread for snacks, bread at noon, and another piece of bread for dinner. At night, I would be lying on my bed half asleep excited to rise early to do it all over again. I knew your grandmother liked me because she always wore that same sweet smile every time I came buying. For months, I had been religious in my routine--never tired of going back and forth to see her smile.
When the war broke, I had to leave. So I decided to confess my love which she warmly accepted. As a sign of my devotion, I gave her this gold locket that I've worked hard for. Honestly, I wasn't hopeful that I would ever return but I told her to wait for me so we could both have our photos taken for the locket.
Four years had passed and I returned home as a man. I went to the bakery but I didn't find her. The owner told me that she went back to her hometown the day I went to war. Without waiting for another day, I set forth to find her. My dire heart has longed enough and I wouldn't waste another day without her by my side.
When I came near to the wooden gate, I saw Anita from a far as lovely as ever. My Anita, wearing the necklace I gave her. When our eyes met, my heart raced! I ran to her and hugged her really tight. It took her a while before she wrapped her arms around me and hugged me even tighter so tight that it seemed as if she never would want to let go. Just three days after, I asked her to marry me which she happily agreed to. My Anita... My Anita... I loved her every day since. Sadly, your grandmother died not knowing who I was to her-- her dementia caused her lot. Her last words were "Anita, Victor, Anita, Anita, Victor" and I said, "Yes, my darling, I am here."
She peacefully passed away holding this locket which she cherished with all her heart. A month after the funeral, while I was on the porch holding this locket, I could imagine my beautiful Anita dancing, prancing, and laughing under our favorite tree. The gold locket is old but it still glimmers. When I opened it, I saw my picture which was taken after the war. On the other half, a picture of two girls who looked exactly the same.