Midnight in Manila
by Julyka Hameed, CC, CL, PM1
Winning speech for BVTMC Chapter Meeting on Monday, 21 Oct 2019
Pathways Manual, L2P2 – Effective Body Language
This is a Horror story. The events I’m going to share took place in Manila in 2009. At the privacy of the living, the names will be changed. Out of respect for the non-living, the rest will be told exactly as it occurred.
Pumpkin President, Skeleton Speakers and the rest of you Terror Toastmasters – an Eerie Evening to all.
I was fortunate to land a job during the economic crisis. Unfortunate though, to be immediately sent away to Manila for work. Little did I know that it was a trap; a planned masquerade.
Clueless to what I signed up for, I boarded the plane to Manila. I was feeling excited throughout the flight. The steady landing of the plane later, further uplifted my spirit for the days ahead in Manila. A good sign, I thought.
After clearing customs, I made my way to the Hotel… where the unknown awaited…
Therein, my 9 months of agony began.
Arriving at the hotel, I met with some teammates, who were there for two months. They appeared shagged… with grisly eyes and grim expression.
After checking in, at nearly 11pm, I was ushered to my room. My jaws dropped, at the sight of the spacious living room, with a separate big bedroom.
I happily unpacked, tidied up and showered.
Then, the clock struck Midnight. While I was getting ready for bed, there was abrupt knocking on the door… <knock the table to create the impression>
I opened the door to my supervisor, Frankenstein, and the Director, Count Dracula. “We need to brief you on key aspects of the project.” Frankenstein declared. Then, the Count remarked, “Good that you are all washed up and ready. Let’s get started.”
With that, they pushed pass me and made themselves comfortable in the living room. For the first time, I experienced the true meaning of the witching hour. “Witching hour” refers to the time between 12–3am, when entities out of this world are known to appear and be at their most powerful.
After 3 hours of chanting, they finally grew tired as their humanity surfaced. They left at 3 am, leaving me in horror, with reddened eyes.
Soon after, I went to the office where I met more teammates. They included Vampires who were out to suck my blood. Witches who were good at playing magical politics. Goblins who simply wanted to snatch opportunities to outshine me.
My day finally dragged to an end, at 10pm. I headed back to the hotel after a spooky late dinner. As I got ready for bed, the clock struck Midnight.
Then flowed the noises through the thin walls. I vividly heard my teammates typing away on their keyboards. Some were even chatting over the phone about work!
I sighted shadows at my doorstep, followed by audible whispers of teammates plotting to trick me into an ‘urgent’ discussion. It was creepy!
“Ting Tong! Ting Tong! Ting Tong!”, the doorbell shrieked. Oh my goodness… I wanted to vanish right there and then. Pardon me, as I can’t relive the dreadful hours that followed, I’ll move on to the next day, which was just as nightmarish.
After a wicked day’s work, I was so tired this time and wanted to have an early rest.
Back in my room, I lay on my bed and got ready to sleep. The clock struck Midnight. I closed my eyes and… “Tring, Tring! Tring, Tring!” At that precise moment the phone rang; How petrifying! My heart almost jumped out of my chest and fell out through my mouth.
That was my teammate, Igor, calling me regarding work. Again, I shall not go into the gory details of that morbid moment.
After months of enduring, I finally had enough! I plotted a horror escape of my own… to return safely to Singapore.
I began by pretending to see things that weren’t there. I told everyone, cooked-up stories about apparitions following us around, everywhere.
Then I played pranks. Once, a few of us were hanging out at a dim pathway. A cat close-by, suddenly shrilled in a high-pitched tone. Everyone freaked out. I immediately used that opportunity to point towards the direction the cat was staring, and exclaimed, “Do you see that ghost grinning back at us?” and I sprinted off. ‘Till this day it is a mystery whether there was really something there that irked the cat.
Eventually, my bosses thought I was either losing it, or affected by supernatural existence. Either way, my request to return to Singapore and work on a local project was approved. Within weeks, I was out of there!
Now, the horrific lesson I learnt from this ordeal.
Never sign an offer without knowing details.
Not unless I want to experience Nightmare before Christmas…
Over to you Tombmaster…
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