The streets are isolated. The queues of street lights flicker and some are already dead. It has been a year or so since they were replaced; the officials are now busy in politics or they just don’t care – they have their own errands to attend to. Seldom were there crimes in the place, however, which is the opposite of what is expected in a place like that, not because the people are afraid of doing crimes, but because they don’t have to, and more so, no one goes outside in the pitch of the night; no one except those who feign their valor and those who really need money, that they gamble their lives.
Occasionally you hear the barking and the whining of the street dogs and cats. The trash bins are scattered by the dogs in search for food to fill their stomacks but no one cares among the denizens about that. And in the far end of the one particular street, a woman, in her young age, is running. Her breathings are heavy and her heart pounds so fast. She is soaked in her sweat. Some of her long black hair cover her eyes. Some also are in her pale thin lips. She pushes them at the back of her ears with her tiny hands and small fingers, and as she does, she wipes her sweat-covered face with her dirty hand although she doesn’t care how dirty they are.
She always turns her head checking if someone is following her. When she is sure no one is after her, she runs in a faster pace and bigger strides. She swiftly and stealthily moves to the bins in the rear side of the street. She pushes them together very carefully without creating any sound and arranged them so she can hide behind them. When she thinks that it is fine, she goes at the back, hoping that the bins can hide her small body. She sits embracing her feet resting her head on her knees. In the silence of the night, her breathing and her heartbeats are audible.
She is relieved for a moment until she hears a sound. She holds her breath and slowly, without creating any noise, peeks in the space between the two bins. And there, their eyes meet. The red bloody eyes of the man standing before her and his figure against the light of the full moon bring shiver to her spine. The figure so grotesque that the horror in her eyes is crystal clear. A hideous smile is on his lips – a dripping victory!
She closed her eyes hoping that when she opens them, he is gone. But when she opens her eyes, the man has crossed their space. She is about to scream at the top of her lungs when she heard, “Pong, Antonia! Ikaw ang taya! Ikaw ang una kong nakita!”
She stands saying, “Ano ka ba Restom, ako nalang lagi mong tinataya.” And together, they race to their “homebase”.