Outside, the quarter moon has left the horizon early, providing complete darkness to be achieved two hours after midnight. No clouds hang in the sky. It became a lonely night..
Almost everyday there was activity in the air. But today was different. Even the occasional passing of the wide-winged bat or the loud squawk of a wild duck did not interrupt the eerie silence.
It was humid, to say the least. The air was suffocating even in the unpolluted cramped space.
Inside a small dilapidated hut, which was separated to its neighbor by a natural barrier of thorny vines, Cardo felt the uneasiness of the strange situation. For the last three days he noticed he was somewhat afraid of something he could not identify. He was never a coward but there was a grudging fear eating away at his courage.
He could feel the warmth of his wife beside him. An old weaved mat made from dried buri leaves separated their bodies to the cold bamboo-slat floor. A constant breeze from the seashore seeped through the narrow spaces in the slats.
Sonia was oblivious of what nagged at her husband. She slept like she used to; flat on her back, her big belly unmistakably announcing her date with the local hilot (a self-trained midwife).
They were thrilled to have their first child.
Cardo sat up and let his right hand slowly crawl to reach for the kerosene-fed lantern. His desire to sleep has left him so he decided to eat the leftover cold rice and coconut-milk-flavored fish stew that was covered by a plastic bucket in the kitchen table.
When the light illuminated part of the room, he noticed a thin thread dangling from the top, possibly from one of the forest wood round beams. At first he thought a house spider fell from the ceiling that left its web hanging loose.
But it was different: a bit thicker and smoother.
He stood up quietly, not for an instant taking his eyes away from the object of his curiosity.
There was a loud bang on the tin roof. It had a similar sound as the one half hour ago which he initially suspected as a fruit that escaped the clutches of a bat.
A quick glance to where the noise originated instantly distracted him. When he looked back to the thread again, he could not believe that it had vanished.
The hairs at his nape and almost every hair in his body rose like a strange phenomena suddenly left his abode. A chilling sensation did not wish to disappear. It was heightened even more.
Cardo froze. What the idea on his brain insisted, he tried to discard quickly as he tried to convince himself that he was imagining things,.
No, it could not be.
What if it was true?
This question would not leave his consciousness. He decided not to entertain sleep even if his eyelids wanted to shut themselves up. He would not dare leave his wife vulnerable to his nightmarish thought.
He stared at the ceiling, searching for the spider he suspected of disturbing his peace. At the back of his head though, the real target of his search never left a trace.
He could not take chances. Tomorrow, he would be ready.
(to be continued)