Chemical Manila - Part 3

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I woke up to the ringing of the alarm clock in my room. I waited for the ringing to stop as it always did after a minute or two, but it wouldn't. Waiting, I thought about the strangest dream that I had and how realistic it felt. I almost wanted to know how it ended, but it was a dream after all. It's like one of those dreams that you forget almost as soon as you wake up. Yeah, something like that.

I tried to open my eyes, but realized they were very heavy - too heavy to even open. I tried to move around, but my body felt dead tired, as though lead weight was attached to every inch of it. The ringing grew louder, and it made my head throb in pain.

I tried to squint my eyes hard and then open them. They did, and I saw bright light. I stared at the ceiling for some time. It was not the ceiling of my bedroom, nor was it that of my house. I tried to get up again, but my neck felt really painful. My world spun as I got up, and I promptly fell hard once again to wherever I was lying.

One thing I found out though, I was no longer home.

I heard Toffee's voice, though vaguely. She was shouting something, and I felt my body being shaken. At the time I thought, it was probably too early to wake up, and I was dreaming still. I closed my eyes and silently drowned myself in sleep.

In my dream I sat by the window of our classroom. All my classmates were there, doing all the rowdy go-abouts that they would do during breaks. I looked outside the window, the sky was filled with fast moving dark clouds.

"You shouldn't be daydreaming in class, Mr. Villamayor!" I heard a voice behind me. It was the voice of our homeroom teacher. I looked behind but did not see him. I turned towards the window and it was dark again. Mr. Santos walked alongside the window, no longer paying any attention to me.

I found myself calling for him. "Sir!" I remember calling out repeatedly. He didn't reply though, and his shirt looked ragged, almost burnt. I shouted and shouted.

And then I was back staring at the same ceiling as before again, at which point I gave up figuring out which was my dream and which was reality. I heard Toffee shout my name with delight. She gave me a hug. I realized I was in some sort of crude folding bed and she was sitting beside me. I gave her a pat in the back and tried to get up once more, slowly this time.

My surroundings became clearer as my blurred vision faded. I woke up inside what looked like a jail cell. The cell was inside a room no bigger than our classroom, with one door and a window facing the front of the place. There were various police-related pictures on the wall, which led me to believe we were in a precinct. There were a couple of soldiers talking outside while smoking, both of them with guns slung around their bodies.

Toffee looked harassed and her eyes were puffy but dry. I asked her what happened and she told me with a very hushed voice that it seemed that they military was guarding the area around the new Los BaƱos observatory. The soldiers had mistaken us for snoops and had thrown us in prison.

I still felt dizzy from whatever it was that knocked me down, but I thought at that time that it was probably a soldier who had snuck up on me. Toffee offered me half a pandesal, which I downed without any hesitation. One of the soldiers came back from the open door and took a look at us. He took out a radio and repeated Toffee's name, "She said her name's Jennifer Kristoff. Kristoff. Should I spell it out?"

I shook my head. I noticed Toffee's hands clutching mine tightly. I felt as though I was missing something important. Toffee bit her lip. "I told them I need to see my dad."

Maybe it was then that I confirmed a thing or two about how Toffee was acting. She was really just wanting to see her dad, and I understood her in a way. I thought of my mom and dad back in Manila too, and I felt that I missed them terribly.

The soldier with the radio sneered and open the padlock of the cell. I tried to get up, but I only was able to lift myself with Toffee's support. Just as we were about to get out, the other soldier came running in, talking fast about an injured man just outside. He rushed for the first aid and took a couple of bottles and bandages. The other soldier pushed us back into the cell but didn't shut the door.

We didn't move and tried to watch what was happening. From the window just beside the entrance, we saw something we thought we would never see again. At least not in our moments of waking.

A ragged man covered in blood was walking limply towards the door. His face became clearer as it was shone with the light from inside the room.

I saw Toffee's face become deathly pale, and when I looked again, I suddenly knew why.

It was Mr. Santos, coming out of my dreams and into my reality.


joan said...

I really like this miniseries. :o
Hope it doesn't end soon.

Anonymous said...

This story creeps me out haha... it's good ^^ it's as if the government has secrets. It;s a bit weird that they were spared when their friends weren't probably involves the girl's father...

Menaya Garces said...

Mr Santos the homeroom teacher, walking around Laguna, half burnt. Wooo I can't wait for the next episodes!


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