The House in The Hill Side
The House in The Hill Side
(Tales Behind The Midnight Sun)
By Johnnie J. Lim
Billy had called his cousin the other night. He informed him of his coming to spend a month of vacation with them in the country side since classes were over. It was his plan to unwind after a year long of school days. He got bored of spending his vacation in a crowded city. So he woke up early that Saturday morning. However, for no reasons, he got caught in the middle of thinking of something that seemed to be a puzzle to him. He couldn’t understand why he began to see objects that remained confusing to him. The most recent was a door. It was not the first time for him to see it. It’s a door. An old brown door which was of no match to the other doors in the house. And he always had no chance to open it. He didn’t even know what’s behind it. He tried ignoring it many times, but he couldn’t stop himself from having that strange feeling every time he saw it. And at that moment, he saw it again. It was up there at the end of the stairs. He wanted to reach it. So he went up. Something was really forcing him to open it that he couldn’t resist. He looked at it steadily. His eyes were anxiously waiting to see the things behind it. His hands were eager to touch it as he climbed up slowly….slowly, and slowly. It’s there in front of him. But his mind was still unwilling then. Suddenly, he heard something from the inside. Something that sounded like a voice of a crying woman. Then the voice of some children. He remained standing in front of that door. Later, a black smoke crept out from its lower portion. So he thought of moving backward.
“Billy, wake up! It’s already seven forty-five. Aren’t you leaving with us today?” His mother said. “Oh, shit! I'm gonna be late for the trip,” he said. “Late? What do you mean, late? Our flight is at 12:00 p.m.. It only takes an hour to the airport,” Mrs. Perez said. “Mother, I’m not going with anyone in the house," Billy explained. Mrs. Perez looked at him. “So, what do you plan?” She inquired. “I’m gonna spend this vacation with Oliver,” said he. “And…and my flight is at nine. Jesus! I’m getting late.” He immediately got up from his bed and pulled his blanket to fix it. He was a bit in a hurry that he accidentally hit the alarm clock on the table. It fell down the floor. So he picked it up. It was then the time when he remembered that he had set it the other night before he went to sleep. It was supposed to wake him up at six a.m., but it didn’t. And it really couldn’t serve the purpose because when he looked at it, the time was still 2:00 a.m. Amazed in awhile, Billy looked at the surrounding of his room. He looked at the window and moved closer to inspect the sunlight. He was still holding the clock. He was wondering if something was wrong with the clock. “Billy, Billy!” His mother called again. “Breakfast is ready! Come on out, Honey.” So he put the stuff back to his table and went out of the room.
The sun was already up in the sky glittering. It was such a perfect day for outing Billy thought. After eating his breakfast, he wasted no time to catch the first flight. But he had to take a bus since his father couldn’t give him a drive. Finally, he got a ride. Seated on the second to the last row at the back, he unmindfully looked out of the window. To his surprise, a sight caught his attention. It was the same thing he saw over and over again. The strange door. But at that time, it was slightly opened. However, he couldn’t still guess what was inside it because an amount of greenish smoke made it hazy. He became more curious to look at it. The door opened slowly…and slowly. He walked closer. He gave it a little push since it was only half opened. But the green smoke was thicker inside that he couldn’t see anything in it. So he decided to step in. “Boy, the terminal is here,” the bus conductor tapped him on his shoulder. “You said you are heading to the airport, aren’t you?” He added. Billy shook his head and looked at the man. He finally knew that he had fallen asleep awhile ago. “Oh, yes. I’m sorry. I didn’t notice it,” said he.
At last, the three-hour trip was over. “Bamby! Bamby!” He heard a voice calling. So he moved his head swiftly from right to the left. A lot of people were in the waiting room. The noise was very irritating which made him feel more exhausted. But he knew that it was a familiar voice of a man who fondly called him that way. So he stopped for a moment and tried to investigate who the caller was. In a corner, he saw a young girl staring at him. She looked innocent but wearied while hugging a teddy bear tightly. Her eyes left him thinking of an idea which he couldn’t define. Finally his cousin was there. “Bamby, how are you?” He exclaimed. But Billy remained silent. “Bamby, are you okay?” Oliver asked. “Huh? Y-Yes. I’m okay.” He replied. “Let me carry your bag,” Oliver offered.
The scenic views were so soothing to the eyes. The sun was widely awake. Its light dominated the entire land like a giant spotlight. A cool and fresh air complimented the ambience making it comfortable and pleasing. “What a perfect day!” The young man said. “Here I go. I’m ready!” Billy happily exclaimed. “Don’t forget to be back before dark, Billy,” Mrs. Alison reminded. “Take care of your cousin, Oliver.” She added. “Bye, Mom!” Oliver said.
“What’s that Bam?” Oliver asked pointing to the stuff which was held by Billy. “A camera. I bought it from a store two days ago,” said he. “Look at those white cranes. I wanna take some pictures. Stop the car.” He requested. So Oliver parked the vehicle on a corner beside a tree. The young man stepped out and positioned himself to picture the flocks. “Beautiful! Beautiful!” He whispered. He took another shot. Then another one. Oliver was there standing beside him. When he was about to take another picture, something made him looked at the car. A young girl was there standing beside the tree. It was the girl he saw in the airport. Still in a black suit, she was staring at him. Oliver was a few meters away approaching a big rock where they could take a closer look at the birds. He moved his eyes to Oliver and said, “Let’s get out of here. Let’s go.” The other guy didn’t anymore complain but went to the car with him. The girl had gone. But he didn’t tell Oliver about it. So they drove away. Thirty minutes later, Oliver parked the car near a cottage. “Welcome!” An old woman said trying to recognize the other visitor. “Bi-Billy? Oh, ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! Billy!” The old woman finally remembered him. “Is your mother in town?” She asked. “Nope. All of them went to Hawaii.” The young man explained. “I see,” the old woman said. She was Mrs. Torres, Oliver’s grandmother who lived in a house in the country side together with her husband. The house had been there for 35 years. Her three children had decided to live in the town since they already had their own family. The two young men went into the house. The house looked the same to Billy since the last time he visited it ten years ago. It didn’t have any changes except for the cottage he previously saw outside. The old piano was still there in a corner beside a Spanish mirror. The three large ancient jars remained unmoved on its left side. The green carpet, the wooden rocking chair and the portrait of their great great grand mother were still in the receiving room. All these completely brought back the memories of the past to him when everyone was still in the house. “Shall we?” Oliver invited looking at him while he was sitting on a chair.
It was really fun to dive into the river. The water was clear….unpolluted. The two young guys enjoyed their time like the way they used to do when both were still nine. But only Billy went into the water. Oliver spent time sitting on a rock listening to music. He had brought with him a portable CD player and a headset. So he didn’t notice Billy.
There’s a structure up there. Billy looked at it. He came out of the water and walked toward it. It was a house. A familiar house. He moved closer and closer. He couldn’t stop himself from getting closer as if there was something special in it. Finally, he went in. It was exactly the house he repeatedly saw in his dreams. “What the hell is this?” Said he. So he took some steps closer. And right there in front of him, he saw a door. The door that was still mysterious to him. He opened it. He held the handle and pushed it. He entered the room and took some more steps. He was surprised to see a stuff toy, the black teddy bear which was held by the young girl he saw in the airport the other day. He picked it and continued walking in that long hall leading to another room. From a distance, he heard a voice of a child crying.
Oliver remained seated. But he was tempted to take a dip into the water. “Come on down, Oliver. Join me.” Billy said. So the young man put down his gadget and dived into the water. He swam closer to Billy. But he was surprised when the other guy grabbed him by his head and pushed him down into the water. He tried to take himself off the hands of Billy. He thought the other guy was joking. But he began to wonder when the other guy grabbed him again and pushed him back into the water. He pushed him down under. So Oliver tried to fight back. He swam away. “What’s happening to you, Bam?” He inquired. But Billy didn’t say anything. He swam closer to him. When he tried to swim away, Billy pulled his feet into the water. Oliver was almost drowned but he managed to kick Billy on his face and got out of the water. He ran up. When he looked back, Billy was no longer there in the water. “Billy! Billy!" "Billy, where are you?” He shouted.
Billy was still in the strange house. He walked to the door where a voice of a crying child came from. He was still holding that black stuff toy. When he reached the door, he saw the girl seated in a corner. Next to her was a man standing. He was beating her with a piece of stick. “Stop it!” Billy said. The man looked at him. “Stop it!" Billy repeated. "Why are you beating her? Who are you?” Said he. The strange man only looked at him. The girl quickly ran out of the room. The man took a knife on a table. Billy knew that the man would be killing him. So he moved backward and ran away before the man could stab him. He ran as fast as he could. The man chased him. While running, he could see the man at his back. His eyes were red. His shirts were somewhat a rug, messed with dirt. So he kept on running heading to the main hall. He went back to the room where he found the stuff toy. It was there again. The black teddy bear. He didn’t anymore mind it because he could still hear the steps of the stranger coming closer. But when he tried to open the door, it’s locked. He tried to open it over and over again but it didn’t work. “Billy…..” a voice called him. It stopped him from pulling the door. He looked at a corner and there he saw the young girl holding that stuff toy again. “Come here, Billy…..Come her.” Said she. Billy was terribly in a hurry that he wanted to destroy the door. “What’s happening here?” He asked. “Come here, Billy, come.” The girl invited. At a distance, he saw the man coming. “Oh, my God! “ He whispered. So with no hesitation, he moved toward the girl trying to bring her to a hidden corner, but the floor broke into halves. He fell down with the girl. Down….and down as if they fell from a highest tower. It was dark in there that Billy could no longer see the young girl. But he knew that both of them fell into that endless hole. Finally, he reached the surface of the water. He sank momentarily into the deep. When he took his face out of the water to inspect the surrounding, the place made him more confused. He was there in the water where he first took a dip, the river. He looked around. He moved his head from left to the right. He couldn’t be mistaken because it was really the river where he left Oliver when he saw that strange house. He hurriedly came out of the water. “Oliver! He shouted. “Oliver!” but his cousin was no longer there. He had gone back to his grand mother’s house.
Few minutes later, Billy reached the house. “Bamby!” Oliver exclaimed. “Is that you, Bamby?" He added. “Yes! Why?” Billy investigated. “No! You’re not Bamby!” Oliver said. “Hey! What are you talking about?” Billy said. Oliver was not convinced. He grabbed a piece of wood. “You’re not Bamby. You tried to drown me in the river. You tried to kill me!” Oliver said. Billy was so astonished. He couldn’t understand what’s happening. He was expecting Oliver’s grand mother to come out of the house so he could make things clear. But when the door opened, it was not the old woman who came out of it. It was the man who tried to kill him in that strange house near the river. The man came out holding an axe. His shirts were messed with blood. “Oh, my God! Oliver, watch out! He is a killer. He tried to kill me earlier. Stay away, Oliver! He's gonna kill you!" He shouted at Oliver. Oliver was also confused. He was not able to run when the man stabbed him on his neck. “Jesus!” Billy exclaimed. He ran to the garage and got into the car. But the key was not there. When he was about to open the door, the killer was coming closer. So he thought of picking anything in the car which he could use to fight against the old man, but there was nothing in the car. The old man came closer, and closer. Billy’s heart pounded with fear. He had never been that way before. He knew that he would be the next to die. The blood in the old man’s shirt showed him that the killer could have already killed Oliver’s grand mother, too. The man took a piece of steel and hit the car repeatedly since it was locked. The windows broke. Billy was still thinking how to escape, but it was too late. The man grabbed him by his feet and pulled him out of the car. “KRING! KRING!” The alarm clock rang. Finally the alarm clock rang. Billy was still struggling. He tried kicking as strong as he could till he fell down but not from the car. It was from his own bed. He hurriedly got up as if he was drowned in the water. “Oh, my God!” He exclaimed. He looked at the clock. “It’s six in the morning. "Billy! Billy!" A woman called him from the outside. "Are you up? Are you going with us, Honey?”