“I’m really excited!!! We’ll be the first batch to go on a field trip on Baguio! And we’re going to stay in a hotel!!!!” Makoto excitedly said in a loud voice while on they’re on the jeep, not minding the other passengers.
“Yeah, me too. I was hoping that Rika and Maki can go too… But it seems that they were not allowed by their parents because it’s too cold for them… Damn you asthma!!!”
“But you have asthma too right?” Miki butt in.
“Correction… HAD. Since I became active in badminton, I haven’t had any attacks for 2 years now… ” Hitomi retaliated. Their teacher said that only ½ of the seniors were going on this field trip. Those who wanted to go, paid an additional fee because the fee for field trips was usually included in the tuition since it’s a private school.
“Rika went in our recollection… Maki joined her section’s recollection in Batangas and it’s somewhat cold in there too right? I can’t see the reason why they can’t go now…” Makoto said in a low voice, now conscious that people were eyeing her.
“Because… Baguio is FARTHER than Batangas… Just from exhaustion from the trip can trigger an attack… Got that? Well, take care! I’m going now...” Miki said before going out of the jeep. Makoto and Hitomi waved goodbye. Hitomi was silent all throughout the ride. She was thinking about their recollection last month, from November 7-9.
There were many things that happened. One that she will not forget was the time all of them held hands and “sushi rolled” under the lunar eclipse. Funny things happened like trying to her laugh because Kamenashi made a scene and cried out loud during the “realization” session where the reco-master said all possible sad things that may happen:
“Hehehe, he must have been a bad child that’s why he’s reacting so much..”
“Accidentally” peeping into the boys’ cr and saw someone wearing a red brief.
“I’m glad I didn’t see who the owner was… And I didn’t get caught..”
… Bumping to someone many times when they were engaged in an activity where their eyes were blind folded and their partner will guide them.
"I swear, Miki did that purposely… I wished that I’m the one who went first, so that I can take my revenge when we switched places…”
Besides those happy things, she also thought about the “scary” things she felt in the reco-house. There’s an activity that they need to do outside one night. There were 5 people on each group and the objective was to protect the tiny candle’s light from the wind using only their bodies so it will not die down. There was a small hut near the garden. Hitomi saw a black shadow lurking near there. It’s somewhat far from their current place and only a small light from the post illuminates it. She looked at Rika, which is her group mate and made a sign to look near the hut. Rika looked and nod at Hitomi. Hitomi got the message and knew that that shadow was not a shadow from a human.
Another scary stuff that she recalled was when they were already sleeping. The room has 30 single beds and there were only 29 girls in their class. The door was opposite Hitomi’s bed. There was a wide space between the next bed on her right and Makoto’s bed was on her left. When nighttime came, Makoto decided to sleep in their adviser’s room so that she can sleep peacefully and not be bothered by our noisy classmates. In the middle of the night, Hitomi can’t sleep because she felt that there was someone walking on her right side. She can’t move a bit. She also felt some movement on Makoto’s bed which was unoccupied.
“How can my classmates sleep through this? Can’t they feel it?"
“Hey! You’re day dreaming again… I said take care!” Hitomi snapped back from reality. She waved goodbye at Makoto.
Their departure was scheduled on Saturday, at 1 in the morning. Some of their classmates who were living far from their school decided to stay in their classmates who were much closer in the school’s vicinity. Hitomi, together with her mother and brother left their house at 12:30 in the morning. There were many parents outside the school. Only the students were allowed to go inside.
“Ohayou!! What time did you arrived?”
“12… Hey, let’s go to our building and check our hideout!” Yassan eagerly said.
“Matte… Matte… I don’t think I want to see anything for now… And just the two of us? No way!” Hitomi turned back and saw Miki and Makoto coming.
“Hey, let’s check our room.”
“I know what you’re thinking Yassan… Let’s go!!!” Miki pulled Makoto and Hitomi towards the tunnel. Hitomi caught a glance of their room. As soon as the group emerged from the tunnel, Hitomi could feel her hairs rising from the back of her neck until they passed the huge tamarind tree.
“It seems quiet here…” Miki sounded somewhat dismayed.
“And do you expect that something WILL happen here?!” Hitomi almost yelled at her friend’s ears.
“Hey, what’s that?” Makoto interrupted the two and pointed towards their classroom.
“There’s a light inside! It… It’s moving!!!” The three sensed that Yassan’s voice was trembling. A clear sign that he’s afraid too.
“I told you it’s not a good idea to go here… Let’s go back!” Hitomi turned back and walked towards the tunnel but was stopped abruptly when she saw a figure standing on the azotea, the upper part of the tunnel. Miki bumped into Makoto who bumped into Hitomi.
“Why did… you… Let’s go now and fast…” Miki saw the figure too and they both walked with their eyes fixated on the ground.
“The two of you looked like you were praying…” Yassan teased. He only wanted to make the situation lighter.
Due to some lethargic students, the bus departed at 2 in the morning instead of 1. Hitomi sat beside Mari, while Miki and Makoto where in their front. Mari had an extra small pillow which she lent to Hitomi so that she can sleep well.
“Shit!!! Shit!!! What was that?!?” Hitomi bolted up from her sleep. It’s already 6 in the morning. She taught that they were already in Baguio and were falling from the cliff.
“Hahaha!!! You looked funny there... The road was just really rough.” Mari explained.
Miki kneeled on her seat and looked back at Hitomi. “Yo-chan, I guess you were dreaming that we were already near Baguio and were falling from the cliff… relax… there’s still 2-3 more hours before we reach that cliff…”
“I don’t know whether you’re comforting me or pissing me off but from the sound of your voice, I guess the latter’s more applicable.” Miki smiled to Hitomi and sat on her seat properly. Hitomi couldn’t sleep anymore and decided to enjoy the view.
They reached the hotel at 9:30. They were given 30 minutes to unpack their bags to their designated room. Makoto, Miki, Mari and Hitomi shared one room. They put their bags in the cabinet and proceeded to the dining area where their “brunch” awaited them. After that, they immediately boarded their bus and proceeded with the tour.
There were many famous places listed in their itinerary. They also went in Benguet were the strawberry farm was located. They ate their lunch in Camp John Hay. They also took pictures of military students on PMA who were good looking.
“I can’t believe you! Every time we boarded the bus, you just sleep and sleep and sleep… We’re here for the scenery!!!” Mari shook Hitomi’s shoulder. Hitomi opened her eyes and smiled her fuming seatmate.
“I can’t tell her that I’ve seen ghosts at the Teacher’s Camp that’s why I don’t want to look out the window anymore… She’ll freak out.”
Their last destination for the night was the “Grotto”. People who went to see the Virgin Mary needed to climb its almost 1,000 steps. Hitomi and Miki counted each step as they went up.
“I really wish that Ayaya came with us… I miss her jokes!!!” Miki whined and Hitomi stopped walking to answer Miki.
“Don’t talk to me or I’ll lose count…”
“You just have 1 kb memory that’s why you can’t count the stairs while talking to me…”
“You knew the reason… So just shut up…………………… 700, 701, 702, 703……….704, 705” Hitomi tried to focus on counting that’s why she said the numbers loudly.
“603, 407, 296, 395,… Yoh, Mari and Shun were bickering again!!!... 670, 385, 605, I’m cute……. You’re ugly……. I miss Aya……”
“Will you stop mocking me?!?! I’m trying to focus here…”
“But it’s boring…”
“Go to Makoto and bug her… I’m busy for now..”
Hitomi left Miki and joined Yuichii on counting the stairs. They took pictures when they reached the top and stayed there for 15 minutes. The fog became thick and the sun had almost set, they immediately went down towards their bus.
Hitomi felt her hairs were rising up again. They were on their way back to their hotel after visiting a church (or cathedral). She was in a curling position in her seat and she used her jacket as a cover from the cold and the light in the bus. She then felt a cold hand brushed the back of her neck which made her bolt up. Mari screamed from the shock.
“Don’t touch my neck with your cold hands!”
“Eh? What are you saying? I didn’t touch you… You can ask Miki and Makoto. They were teasing me with Shun.”
“Ok… If you didn’t touch me then who did?”
“I guess, you just dreaming again.” Miki smiled at her.
“I swear, I’m not dreaming…”
45 minutes had passed and they still didn’t reach the hotel. Hitomi sensed that something was wrong. It felt like they were running in circles. Their classmates started to panic. It’s good that their teacher was from Benguet and somehow was familiar with the roads. She called one of the other teachers from the 2nd bus to tell her, the way back to the hotel when she realized that bus was somewhat lost in the track.
Miki looked back at Hitomi with a questioning look.
“I guess it’s related with that ‘someone’ who touched my neck”
“What are you talking about?” Mari asked.
“Nothing, just go back to your bickering with Shun.” Hitomi looked outside and saw a small hand print on the other side of the window. She was scared that she just tried to enjoy watching Mari and Shun in their “lover’s quarrel”. But in her peripheral vision, she could see something outside, hiding in the darkness of the night.
“No one will sleep tonight!” Mari yelled.
“Sorry, but I want to sleep…”
“All you did was sleep in the bus! Haven’t you had enough?”
“Yeah, still sleepy…”
“You’re no fun.”
Hitomi didn’t bother to argue with Mari. She put her jacket under her head to serve as a pillow while she put the pillow which Mari lent her, to cover her head. She gave the pillow of the hotel to Miki who lie beside her. Mari took the single bed and Makoto was on the pull-out bed under the bed of Mari.
“I guess ‘something’ was the reason why we got lost right?” Miki whispered to Hitomi’s ear.
“Yah, and I think that ‘something’ was the one who touched my neck.”
“Have you noticed there’s a ghost when we pass the Teacher’s Camp?”
“Yes, and there were many of them…. that’s why all I do is sleep… Because when I look out of the window, I can see spirits roaming around.”
“Your third eye’s good...”
“Yeah, and I’m scared to death. I guess I’ll have to tell it to my parents sooner or later.”
Hitomi was the first to wake up at around 4 in the morning. She opened the tv to watch her favorite Korean series. She was glad that the hotel has a cable connection. She opened a bag of chips and ate silently while watching.
“Wait, you don’t want me… I don’t taste good…”
“Do you want a bargain? I can bring you other persons… I can be your delivery girl… I’ll bring you my friends if you want.”
“Fine, you can bite me and be one of your minions… but first, let’s play a game of hide and seek. Count till you reach 100 and then you can find me… and you can eat me… IS that ok? It’s like my last wish so I hope that you can grant it.”
The vampire went to a wall and started counting. Hitomi tried to run away but it seemed that some unknown force was pulling her back. She just walked fast and surprisingly, walking was much faster than her running before. She went to the highway and saw many cars and jeeps passing. She tried to stop one of it but they just kept going. She tried to catch one speeding jeep and boarded it but the moment she did… the driver and all the passengers went out. She tried to drive the jeep and over run the vampire in front of her. Hitomi was shocked to see the vampire sitting right next to her.
“Hey! You’re there… You cheated! That was fast… I was counting too.. It’s only.. 56 seconds. You need to redo the count… Hey, stop! Don’t come near me… Want to play again? Come on play with me… Why are you smiling? I said don’t come near me!!! Matte!!!”
“That was a weird dream… I can’t focus on the series I’m watching… What happened to Jung Da Bin? Focus, Hitomi, Focus…”
“What are you eating?” Makoto whispered in Hitomi’s ear. Hitomi bolted up, trying to suppress the shout that’s waiting to leave her mouth.
“Mako-chan! Don’t scare me like that!”
“Ok, I won’t… next time” Makoto smiled and ate some of the chips that Hitomi was eating.
The rest of the day turned uneventful and Hitomi were able to truly enjoy the trip. They took pictures of the natives, played with a St. Bernard dog, went on a boat ride, and then shop for specialty foods and things that can only be found there.
They started traveling home at around 2 in the afternoon. Hitomi and her classmates were tensed when they came to the cliff. Hitomi remembered her dream earlier when the bus were traveling on the road’s zigzag shape and suddenly, a thick fog covered them, which was somewhat happening now. The teacher led a prayer while the driver drove slowly. They were able to reach the base safely.