Encounter with a night stalker

I ALWAYS have this incurable habit of waiting until the very last minute before I can write or finish any article that I am tasked to write.

Earlier efforts to cure this habit proved futile because if I know that the deadline is still a long way off, all the letters of the alphabet would desert me and I would often be caught staring at a blank computer screen for ages.

Our assignments for the SunStar Davao Yearbook for 2005 was distributed early last year, giving us more than half a year to comply.

I got coverage assignments for the three provinces of Davao but as expected, I played deaf and dumb and practically shelved the assignment until that afternoon when our editor handed out an ultimatum.

I discovered that I was not alone in beating the deadline because right after the ultimatum of our editor, everyone scampered to different directions to comply.

With no time on my hands, I decided to go to my third assignment which is this mealstop for buses in Mawab, Compostela Valley in the dead of the night because I know from past trips that the owner manages the restaurant even at night.

Knowing that my sense of direction and night vision is below satisfactory level, I instructed the bus conductor to stop at the meal place and reminded him everytime he passes by my seat, just in case he forgets. He nodded his head to every reminder.

He did forget, and only when I reminded him again did he blow on his whistle and told me we had passed by the place. I alighted from the bus grumbling. The place was more than a kilometer away.

I hiked on the dark highway which was deserted save from the glare of occasional passing vehicles, fear mounting with every passing minute.

Halfway through, I heard footsteps from a distance. I stopped for a while to make sure and a wave of panic washed over me when I became sure that somebody was following me.

Afraid to run because my alleged stalker will know that I already noticed, I quadrupled my walking speed to reach my destination faster, almost falling down when I stepped on loose stones in the pavement but the more I hurried, the footsteps came closer.

I only sighed with relief when I sighted a videoke joint about a hundred or so meters away. Trying to regain my breath, I dared to peek into the darkness but saw nothing.

When I spotted an old couple walking towards my direction, sheer relief flooded over me.

The man looked me over and asked where I was from. When I told him I was going to the meal stop, he informed me that buses don’t stop there anymore and that the place was already closed six months ago.

As we were talking, a man in his early 40’s and carrying a big bag came. He was panting and I immediately sensed that he was the one following me. It turned out that the man was also a passenger of the bus I boarded and he was supposed to alight at Mawab terminal but he fell asleep.

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