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As we prepared to go into the car, I remembered something: I forgot to take one of the most important things that might come handy on this trip. I needed to bring the mysterious handbook I found in my pocket this morning.

Anything could happen on this trip. It could be demon infestation, an unexpected confrontation, or me getting the urgency to train. And in case of these, I needed to be prepared and bring it along.

"Umm . . . I think I forgot something. I will be back," I remarked.

"Sure," my mother agreed. "Just don't take too long," she added.

I walked quickly to the porch, into the hall, down the hallway, then straight upstairs into my room. I grabbed the handbook and put it into my pocket. I hesitated for a little while, staring at my reflection before leaving the room.

As I entered the car, my mother looked at me. I could tell from her face she was angry.

"What took you so long?" she exclaimed.

I had no better excuse to say other than, "Oh, I went to the loo. And it was a big one."

The whole place was silent for a while until my sister Amanda broke the silence.

"Really, you chose to use that?" she asked with a hint of doubt and disgust in her voice.

"It's true. Why would I lie about this!?" I retorted.

"It's OK, just get into the car." commanded my mother.

I had no choice but to do as she said.

The drive was taking what felt like forever. I was antic.i.p.ating the time we would get there because I couldn't stand being in the car with my siblings. Since they were older than me, they did what they were best at doing: bullying their little brother. I swear I would have killed them if only I didn't have these fake memories of them.

I became sleepy as boredom entangled me and soon overcame my will to be active. The breeze also came sweeping by, carrying its fruits of sweetness and refreshment. I soon yielded to these fruits and sleep came over me, covering me with its cloth of delight.

I soon drowned in my sleep and couldn't hear anything going on around me.

"So you have come back to me."

"You have come back to gain more power."

I could hear these words being spoken by a familiar voice. As I opened my eyes, I was in a void, falling endlessly. The voice continued to echo all over the void, creating a reverb of sounds.

"What, again?" I probed.

"Oh, just checking up on you," it notified.

It bothered me that I didn't know the source of my power or who gave me my power. So I inquired.

"May I see you?"

"Why?" It asked.

"I just want to see you. And if you refuse, I wouldn't depend on your power."

"You need me."

"I don't. And you know that."

"Rrh. Fine."

A warp begun to form within the void. Then it started to split open.

Out of the split from the void, an eye came out, a huge one, and it was staring at me. Black rope-y things, which looked like tentacles, wrapped around my legs, then tightened its grip, dragging me into its pupil.


"Now you can see me," said a person I couldn't see.

I opened my eyes finally to see the source. Instead of the black void, this place was white. There was no platform but I could feel that I was standing on one. To my surprise, the one didn't look devilish at all. It was just someone with bandages all over and spooky eyes. It was probably a male.

"Now you can see me," he said again.

I was relieved he didn't look threatening, but looks could be deceptive. I suddenly remembered all the questions I had to ask him about the mysterious handbook and weird markings.

"Can I ask you some questions?" I inquired

"Sure. Just take it ---"

"Why do I have these makings? What are their purposes? Do I always need a book?" I dished all my questions to him all at once, without hesitation.

"Ugggggh," he grumbled. "Just recite these and your questions will be answered: ɛŋɔ"

"Huh? Wait. Why don't you just tell me?" I asked.

"Too long," he quickly answered.

"But aren't you---"

I was interrupted by the booming calls of my name from nowhere.

"Yes! Time for you to go!" he rejoiced.

I was surprised that he was happy I was leaving. Soon, a strong force, which I could not resist, drew me out, sending me away from this whole different world.




I was forced awake by the booming voice of my sister who was calling out my name.

"What is it?" I groaned.

"We are here, dummy."

I lifted my head and looked out the window to see for myself. The terrain was different: there were more trees than there were buildings. As expected, we were truly in the Central Region. The beach was also not far off from where we had parked. My mother had parked in front of a well-built building with unique architecture and nice windows.

"Okay, get down." boomed my mother.

"Finally!" I rejoiced.

I quickly opened the door and jumped out, stretching my cramped limbs and arms. The building was much bigger and nicer up close, with a gla.s.s door. From the look of this magnificent building, there was no doubt that it was a five-star hotel.

"Since we need a little break from home, I decided to treat us to a luxurious hotel. So, now, can we get going?" announced my mother.

As soon as my siblings heard this, they took all their belongings from inside the car boot and rushed into the hotel as though they were running to paradise.

I didn't rush like they did. I was still mad I got disrupted from the conversation with the "strange man." I couldn't stop thinking of the words he said as I entered into the hotel.

As I entered the hotel, I couldn't stop myself from opening my mouth wide. The interior decoration was superb and the furniture was beautiful. My siblings were waiting for us on a couch by the reception. My mother went straight to the receptionist to book a room for us.

Soon as it was done, the keys to our rooms were handed to us.

Just then, I suddenly felt the urge to use the bathroom. My bladder couldn't hold it any longer.

"Umm . . . May I know where the restroom is?" I pleaded to the receptionist.

"Okay. Go straight then turn left. Just remember, don't use restroom 433," warned the receptionist.

"May, I know why?" I asked.

"Well, it has been prohibited . . . and guests have complained that weird things happen there. It has been attested to by management as well." the receptionist said with a serious expression.

"So . . . is it haunted?" I asked, equally serious.

"For years, " the receptionist said.