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Posts by GrimMoira

Halimaw (1)

Posted on July 12, 2018

June 15th – Footprints

I came in the children’s library early one morning and thought I could relax for a little longer than usual. I changed to my uniform, went to the canteen to get some breakfast and ate it at my pace. I normally wolf it down because I only have 10 minutes to spare. I came back to the empty library and realized there are footprints on the floor.

At first I thought there were wet footprints – it may have been a child running to the other exit but these were adult sized feet. My hand felt the floor, it was completely dry. I went to check the other exit and it was still locked, just like the door I went through. For a moment, a feeling of uneasiness came over me but I quickly dismissed it as silliness to assume it is something else otherwise.

Why are there footprints on the floor?!

I emailed the Housekeeper about the situation. I even sent photos attached with the large feet prints on the wooden floor.

‘It looks like it was bleached?’ He tells me as he tries to wipe it with a towel.

‘It looks a little imprinted though but maybe it’s just the chemical.’

‘There are bleach like stains on the carpet floor too!’ his assistant remarks casually. He points at the area not too far from where I found the footprints. ‘Like someone walked through really wet so it’s just around this area.

‘Can you please ask the overnight cleaners, just in case?’ I ask, just wanting to be thorough.

Before the end of the day, the Housekeeper called back and reported that the overnight cleaners apologized for another thing entirely. They admitted they haven’t been able to come in to clean for the last 3 days because they couldn’t open the doors. They just thought something was wrong with the locks so they left it as it is. The Housekeeper checked with his staff and they admitted they just went to pick up the rubbish in the morning whenever they do a routine check. But they never noticed the footprints.

In the end, I did not get any answers.

Diel

Posted on June 9, 2018

It felt like completely waking from a groggy state.

‘Don’t drop the fucking box,’ someone hisses next to me and as he says this, it startled me and I almost drop the damn box.

‘Fucking moron.’ he mouths.

We are traversing across the wooden floor, trying to keep the creaks and squeaks to the minimal. Some of us are carrying wood, some are carrying specific things like odd shaped rocks. The woman in front of us signal us to halt and pointed us to go down the staircase.

We went past five or six flights of stairs – I honestly lost count because it felt endless and I felt as if I was drowning in the silence. When we got to the bottom of the steps, there’s a door which required a particular key. One of the men carried a set of keys in a large ring but they didn’t look like your regular keys. It was out of shape and it seemed to keep changing shapes as you stare at it. We manage to open the door which was completely dark inside and we slowly moved in one of the wood crates one of the men was carrying.

As we closed the door, we listened for movement.

Nothing.

Before we could move, I told someone my pressing concern.

‘What do you mean you don’t know who you are?’ one of men with a pockmarked nose asked me in confusion. I can barely hear him and then his face suddenly filled with dread. He whispers to a man next to him and another man tells another until it got to the woman in front. She signals everyone to squat on the floor, half of the group to watch top and the other half to look out below. She goes towards me directly and takes out a notepad on her left pocket and she starts to write. She held up the small notepad for me to read.

‘It’s normal but rare to lose your memory. At least you didn’t lose your mind.’

I took the notepad from her and wrote that I don’t remember anything – not even my name.

She scribbled quickly and held up the notepad.

‘My name is Jenkins. Yours is Diel. Move slowly and quietly. When this is over, you’ll be fine.’ She waits for me to finish reading the note, gives me a thumbs up and goes back to the front without waiting for a reply from me.

That was comforting.

We go back to the same formation, start ascending the staircase and not stop until we get to another door. Jenkins didn’t signal for the guy with the keys to open the door and took out a key from one of her many pockets. She tried to turn it but it wouldn’t budge. You can feel her frustration as she tries to turn the key again. She tried to take the key out of the keyhole but it won’t dislodge. She looks back at us and start scanning us. Nobody was carrying anything else – I wasn’t even carrying my box anymore.

We heard a loud thud, as if walls were crashing below us.

‘We did the formation correctly,’ someone says.

‘There is no time,’ Jenkins interrupts, ‘Diel, you’re the fastest runner. Take each person back to the exit and then come back for me.’ She starts running to another direction and I instinctively took a person by their shoulder and ran to wherever my feet took me.

When I went back for Jenkins, I know I lost her. I went everywhere but couldn’t find her and I found the place was shrinking slowly. I remember a main door and ran towards the direction of where it could be.

I found Jenkins kneeling in front of the door, like she was praying.

‘We have to go, I’ll take you to the e-‘

‘All they need is you and everything will be alright.’

‘We have to go Jenkins.’

‘You need to stay here and we’ll all be safe,’ she swoops a large knife towards me, ‘you don’t need to understand it – you just have to let the house take you.’

I ran. I ran towards the door we could not open. It was the only thing in my mind. I turned the key and when it turned, it clicked.

But that is all I remember.

 

 

 

The Noisiest People I Know & I Go to Taiwan (Part 1)

Posted on May 19, 2018

The Balucanags escaped to Taiwan!

This is the first time I am travelling with 4 out of 5 of the siblings. My middle brother couldn’t make the trip because of work commitments but hopefully, he can join us when in the coming trips.

If you guys don’t want a hassle, land at Taichung Airport, it’s so chill out there.

 

Ximending Shopping District

On the way out to find a place to eat, with very little sleep, we stumbled upon one of the many exits of the Ximending Shopping District. They say this is the Harajuku of Taipei and they are not wrong. We did not realize how massive this area is until the second and third visit. Conveniently,  it was walking distance to where we are staying too. Take your time to look around this place – it is worth it. My youngest sister went NUTS buying makeup goods because it’s all on sale for Chinese New Year.

Do not pass up seeing all the shops – they have all sorts of interesting merchandise – like the ones below!

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The Red House

Before we got to Ximending’s most iconic building which was built in 1908 to serve as Taipei’s first public market, we stumbled upon a pretty large five storey H&M (we didn’t go in despite the pleading screams of our youngest sister), a television studio building and a criminal mastermind placement of snack shops along every damn exit of the shopping district. You can imagine the ‘what’s this one?’ and the ‘wait I gotta get this!’ comments from all sides. We passed by some gay sex shops and honestly, I only found out later on that the south area of the Red House is the city’s gay bar district. Inside the Red House, there are artists’ and local designers selling their original works – from postcards, home displays, clothes to jewellery. Honestly, I was thisclose to splurging more than half of my trip budget.

 

Huashan 1914 Creative Park

We got lost – at first. That served as a first lesson to me in public transportation. We got off after six bus stops which was quite far from each other and found ourselves at a very quiet residential area. As we tried to find the other bus stop, we stumbled upon this large old -school dollar shop run by a kind old man. It had uneven floors, uneven lighting but it was so charming. We managed to get to the correct bus stop but we had to walk another 25 minutes just to get to the park. We stumbled upon a historical site, a beautifully preserved Japanese Colonial-era house for civil servants on Qidong District. There isn’t much I can tell you about it since it was closed early that day. When we finally got to the park, there was a band playing – may have been local and it was a packed venue. Most of the shops have interesting trinkets and displays but most of the things that I personally wanted was probably illegal to bring back to Hong Kong so I just didn’t even bother looking as much as I wanted to because it will just break my heart. But overall, it was a nice park to explore since there are exhibitions and you can really see how they want their youth to explore their creative side.

 

 

Raohe Street Night Market, Songshan District

We had to take another bus to go here because it was quite far from where we are (for a moment, I hoped it was walking distance but we’re not as lucky). We took a bus and everyone fell asleep, except me and I was fighting to keep awake by reciting the names of my enemies – ok maybe not, but I was really fighting it out so we don’t miss our stop. The bus stop was not so far from one of the oldest night markets in Taipei and as soon as we got there, it was food galore. I had those spicy mushrooms, red bean fish dessert, the dumplings were out of this world and the juices were so sweet! No sugar added, the fruits were fresh af. There are carnival games and prizes, quaint stalls and shops and a large area specifically for claw machines. Food was cheap. At the Eastern end of the night market, is the Ciyou Temple (慈祐宮), built by local residents during the Qing Dynasty era (1753). The temple is dedicated to the goddess, Mazu. It was still breathtaking to see even if it is was going through a small renovation. Songshan District became our ‘north star’ in finding our way around in Taipei.

 

Jiufen (九份) Old Street (Chiufen, Ruifang)

We started the day a little later than expected. We went to Beiman Station – closest to where we are staying  and took the opportunity to get an Easy Pass for the public transportation. I was quite excited to go to Juifen because Hayao Miyazaki based the decommissioned gold mining town after Spirited Away.  The town was founded during the Qing Dynasty and was virtually isolated until the discovery of gold during the Japanese occupation in 1893. Many of the buildings in the town remain unchanged to this day. We took a bus to Juifen and that was when the rain started and persisted as we got closer to our destination. It was a pretty long ride too and I was a little scared that we may have missed a stop. When we got off the bus stop, the wind felt as unforgiving as the rain. The cold danced around us in welcome and we felt it bite our bones.  But despite the cold and rain, the Santorini of Asia is still beautiful. Walking through the streets of shops and tea houses, you understand how people fall in love with Juifen. We ate lunch at this family owned beef noodles shop which has been opened since the 60s. The noodles were homemade and the beef and soup was amazing. My youngest brother and I bought ocarinas for souvenirs.  You can watch them paint the ocarinas right in front of the passing crowds. The filtered coffee shop near the bus station is a must try. The Doriyaki ice cream is cheap and so great (like where have you been all my life, I want to have you every damn day great). Jiufen is a maze (I’ve warned you) and we were completely lost at one point but with the help of a handy dandy cat holding a sign on where places are, we managed to get back to where we dropped off at the very beginning. We were supposed to go visit the Jiufen Gold Mine but the rain and wind picked up again and it was difficult to get through anywhere else. Rain or shine, this place is worth the visit.

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Taipei City Mall, Datong

This was actually pretty close to where we are staying and we have our first lunch there almost every afternoon (we need to eat every two hours – you would too). The mall is directly connected to Taipei Main Station and you can almost buy everything here on a budget (unless you’re posh and like luxury items – you may not find this place to your liking). If you guys are anime fans or likes to play video games, this is the place to be. It is littered with things we couldn’t find back here in Hong Kong so here was another place that was very dangerous for our budget. Musicians play in a stage near the train station exit so it’s one of the first things you will see when you enter the mall. Another shop you will find close by are the blind masseuses (they are pro and awesome) and there’s another shop, just a few shops down, offering ‘knife massages’. We did not try this because we didn’t want to get stressed out. I read that it’s actually very popular in Asia to help people stay….sharp. If you’re in the area, it’s worth taking a look at.

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Anastasia and Humberto

Posted on April 6, 2018

I woke up in a room with a celebrity.

It isn’t exactly sexy or exciting as it sounds because we both woke up petrified of each other.

I opened my eyes and he did the exact same thing. We stared at each other groggily and when we realize that we were complete strangers, we both fell off the bed.

WHO ARE YOU? We both kinda screamed at each other and tumbling towards the door at the same time. There was nothing in the room to grab so I went for the fighting stance and he hugged himself.

‘I know who you are! You’re that dude!’

‘My agent will pay you or whatever it is that you want – ’

‘What the fuck – hold up – YOU brought me here,’ I point and punch to show that I can punch.

‘What no – do I look like I have time for thi- oh my goddd,’ he gave a big celebrity smile and laugh. He slapped his leg and shook his head.

‘Is this for my birthday?’

‘I’m sorry – what?! Can you fucking focus? Do I look like a birthday fucking cake to you?’

‘Look my friends are soo insane for thinking that I will fall for this haha.’

‘Don’t fucking come close or I will punch you.’

He shook like he’s being tickled, still walking towards me.

‘I will punch you, motherfucker,’ I warned him.

‘You’re so tiny – how can you punch m-’ and I clocked him.

I looked over to him cautiously even if he was not moving. I kicked him and he seemed like he’s out cold.

‘You shouldn’t have done that,’ a bored voice from somewhere said. I looked around and there’s no speaker or microphone from anywhere.

‘You don’t have to look anywhere, there’s a tiny thing in your brain that does four things. One is to hear instructions. Two is to communicate with me. Three is to locate you. Four is to kill you IF only if you don’t follow instructions. We have been watching you both, especially you, girl. You make a very good candidate in this little project of ours.

‘What the hell? What kind of joke is this? Look man, I don’t know what you want but I have no special skills, I’m like a nerd. I come from a normal everything and I can’t even hit a tennis ball…’

‘Ah, because we humans are capable of everything we need to be – especially when our very existence is threatened. We can be anything we want, at any given time.’

My mouth felt very dry. I’ve heard these kind of subtle threats. I noticed from my peripheral that he’s getting up slowly and massages the area where I punched him.

‘This sounds like a bad joke.’ he said, still not looking at me.

‘But it is not. All of this is very serious. You are both expendable but our best option at this point.

He finally looked at me and he nodded at me before getting up on his feet. ‘What is it that you want?’

‘You are both going to go away for a very long time. Your loved ones will miss you but know they are safe and in good hands. At this point, there will be no more communication between you and them. This is your life now. You are Anastasia and you are Humberto from now on.’

There was a buzz at the door and it opened. We looked at each other for a moment.

‘Go on. You must remember that you need to protect each other otherwise you will both perish.’

‘That sounds like a book I read. After you.’ I gestured at Humberto as we both stood by the door. As I followed him out, we both see another door going out and the door we came from closes behind us on its own.

‘Ladies first,’ he says as he gestured towards the next door.  

We are in an open field and a few miles ahead is a vast forest.

‘Follow your feet and you will find where you need to be.’

‘What does that even mean?…Hello? Hello?’ He tapped his head everywhere like it will boost a signal.

‘It’s gone.’ 

‘Yea I can hear that – well, not hear – you know what I mean.’

‘I mean the door is gone,’ I pointed back to where we came from. Humberto looked back and there was no door or doorway. There was nothing. He walked back trying to check whether it was camouflaged in any way but all he was hitting was the air.

‘Let’s just it go,’ I told him as I started walking, following where my feet takes me. Follow instructions or we die.

‘Wait, what’s your name?’

‘My name is Anastasia.’

‘I mean your real name, like my real name is-’ he gasped and he looked like he got a jolt of electric go through him.

‘Yeah. Figures. My name is Anastasia. Your name is Humberto. Don’t you forget.’

Maternal Grandparents

Posted on March 29, 2018

My maternal grandfather’s name is Sixto.

My maternal grandmother’s name is Beatriz.

Sixto was from a prominent wealthy family but he was not your average Kastila (Castilian). From what I know is that he served the army for a short period of time and his family disapproved of most of his decisions because these were not problems they have to face especially in their social standing.

His family wanted him to be the promising engineer his Alma mater predicted.

But life had other plans for him.

One of the young maids fell ill before one of the social parties that my great grandparents used to throw. The young maid’s parents went down to the barrio nearby and asked their friends if they know anyone would be willing to work that night. People were not willing to go because many are farmers and they had to tend to their crops and animals early in the morning. But one of the young girls, a feisty redhead, volunteered. She asked if she can take food home (mostly desserts) and the promise of that, along with good pay, was enough to convince her parents.

As soon as she got to the hacienda, she was given instructions on what to do and not to do.

‘Don’t make eye contact.’

‘Opo.’ (Yes)

‘Don’t smile.’

‘Opo.’ (Yes)

‘Keep your head down.’

‘Opo.’ (Yes)

‘Beatriz, do not spill anything, or I will spill you.’

‘Opo.’ (Yes)

As dusk fell, the guests arrived one by one. The hacienda was a beauty to behold and the horses were displayed for the guests to appreciate – maybe even purchase.

Beatriz’s hair gathered a lot of attention and jealous stares but she kept her head down and did her work. Sixto always felt out of place at the parties but he kept his parents happy. His friends spotted her first and asked Sixto when they hired such a looker – pity that she was the help they say, some thought it was actually quite an opportunity. As soon as he laid eyes on her, Beatriz looked towards his direction and they stared at each other for only a moment and she quickly kept her head down as she was instructed. His brain started processing quickly – he told his friends that is his mother’s favourite new help. She’ll have them hung upside down from the highest mango tree if she disappears. Everyone laughed and forgot about Beatriz.

But his mother did notice her and didn’t like the stares that followed and she asked the head housemaid to make her stay in the kitchen which she happily complied. They asked her to peel the potatoes and wash the cutlery.

The kitchen was busy and people were coming and going. She heard someone pick something up or move something not far from her but she continued working – she didn’t want to lose a good pay.

‘What’s your name?’

‘Betty.’

‘When did you start working here?’

‘Just for tonight, helping out a friend.’

This was probably the 50th person that asked her today but the person sounded different from the usual slang that she was used to. She turned to look at the person and it was Sixto.

‘My name is Sixto.’

Betty was worried. She was going to lose her job by talking to one of the guests.

‘Uh, senor, the party is outside, please senor, the floor is wet and it smells in here.’

‘I’m quite alright. Can I talk to you?’

‘No, senor, I will lose my job.’

‘Can I talk to you tomorrow?’

‘I don’t -‘

‘Bueno, I will find you. I’m sorry I made you feel uncomfortable, senorita Betty.’ He nodded and took his leave.

Betty watched Sixto leave the kitchen while she mindlessly scrubbed the plates.

‘Huy, why were you talking to senorito Sixto?’ asks one of the younger maids

‘He kinda looks like Elvis, doesn’t he?’ another chimed in.

‘He probably likes your red hair!’ a third exclaims, pulling her hair from her scarf.

‘Did you dye it?’ another asks, now a group gathering around her.

Betty continued scrubbing the plates, not saying anything. All she could hear is the deafening beating of her heart.

Weeks passed. Betty thought of Sixto but he did not show and she knew it was too good to be true. Some of her friends thought he was leading her on which was not proper good manners but what did she expect? She’s just a farmer’s daughter.

One morning, as she was coming back home from errands, she spotted a well dressed man on a horse – it was Sixto. He spotted her and rode towards her direction. At this point, she actually wanted to hide from him because she was dressed so casually.

‘Buenos dias, senorita Betty,’ he says as he gets off his horse

‘Buenos dias, senor Solomon.’

‘Please call me Sixto, senorita.’

‘Do you need help in the hacienda again, senor Sixto?’

‘I – I did not come here for that, I came here for you.’

‘I do not – think this is allowed.’

‘What is not allowed? We are just two people talking – will you at least let me walk you to your home, senorita Betty?’

From what I know, when my grandfather told his parents about wanting to marry my grandmother, they thought he finally went insane or that my grandmother used witchcraft (that’s another story). They warned him that if he left, he will have no inheritance and they will disown him.

He left that very same night.

One of my favourite memory of them was when we were in the probinsya (province) and there was a full moon. I was the only one awake and I remember thinking there is going to be a ghost visiting me if I stayed awake like this. Then I heard a low guitar strum from just outside the window. Being a kid, I was curious and as I peeked outside my window, I see my grandfather serenading my grandmother. He sang Moon River.

It was the first time I heard the song and the first time I heard my grandfather sing – I couldn’t believe he had such a beautiful voice.

This is my first impression of romance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Random good memory #1

Posted on March 8, 2018

I fell asleep last night, listening to the rain.

And I woke up this morning with the rain coming in my window, splashing on my face.

As I partially closed the windows, I suddenly remembered one of the times I got completely soaked in the rain.

I was walking in the middle of the street when it started raining. I didn’t panic since I like walking in the rain anyway but this was heavy and I was soaked within a minute. I started feeling the cold creep up my body as I walked on. The temperatures dropped as quickly as the rain.

As I waited at the pedestrian crossing, an umbrella randomly sheltered me for a while and I knew it was a moment’s relief and relished it. The green walk sign blinked brightly and I waited for the wave of umbrellas to go ahead first.

I realized the same umbrella was still sheltering me and I looked at the man next to me who looked like a teacher. He was getting half soaked.

‘Let’s just cross the street,’ he says, waving free hand.

‘Uh…thank you!’ and we half run to the opposite side.

I was expecting him to go the other way but he kept following me. I was about to ask him if he was going the same way but he held up his hand and nodded. I remember it was a bit of a way before I manage to get to the closest bus stop.

When the bus arrived, he waved goodbye and I thanked him. I watched him made his way back to where he was supposed to go.

He didn’t even try to initiate conversation, he was just a nice dude.

I hope you are doing okay in life nice dude.

VERO

Posted on February 27, 2018

Hi all!

So, I got VERO the other day because – why not?

If it will promote the comics better, it’s a no brainer.

So, if you guys are on VERO, do give a follow and as I always say – I need to know who to follow back!

Let’s support each other!

 

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