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Writer's Block

They say that when you’re on the brink of death, you’ll see your life played out like a film reel.

By Ma. Carmela Maurice MarindaPublished 21 days ago 3 min read
Graphics: Alecx Briones

[Trigger warning: mention of blood, guns, drugs, and death]

They say that when you’re on the brink of death, you’ll see your life played out like a film reel.

“Did you see her?”

“She runs fast”

“Find her fast! She’s just in the area!”

I closed my eyes and prayed for every deity I could think of. I thought of my remaining family – my little sister and dog- waiting for me to come home. I opened my eyes to a dark, narrow alleyway that no one wanted to go through. I can still remember it vividly when a bright flash blinded me.

My phone lit up with a familiar sound. It was 3 AM, and I was the only one left in the office. I leaned on my chair as I massaged my temples. Why can’t I untangle the pattern? Who controls the invisible string? This investigative piece has been bothering me for months now. The media couldn’t keep up with covering the pattern of deaths. All of these cases were linked to the infamous operation against the illegal drugs. On each article, “nanlaban” floats repeatedly.

My phone rang again at this ungodly hour. Like a journalist, I knew it was important. I just didn’t think at that time that it would change the trajectory of my life.

“Why are you giving me this?”

“You’ll find what you’re looking for in there, Gabriella.”

“I know. But why are you giving this to me now? Where did you even get this?”

“I don’t have anymore time, Gabriella. Just…please promise me that whatever happens, they’ll know. The public will know what happenes behind all the posters they attached to their victims.”

That was last week. I clutched the bag tightly. Despite the leather structure of the bag, I can still feel the warmth of the notebook as if wanting to burn me. The names listed in the notebook were etched in my mind. Jun, Pedro, Kian… names already crossed out while others were like a ticking time bomb.

I went here to see the name that was next on the list. I wanted to check to make sure of my hunch, and I got it.

I sighed as I closed my phone. 30 minutes. The bright light has left me alone in the alleyway, with the darkness completely consuming me. I remembered my days studying this profession. What if I followed the profession my mother wanted for me? I thought of different choices I could’ve made so that I wouldn’t end up hiding here… but couldn’t. I have always thought that my last days would always be this – doing what I love. So, when I heard footsteps nearing me, I had two choices – stay or run?

And so, I ran to fulfill my promise.

“I found her! Hurry up!”

It’s 3 AM. I have to buy them sometime. As I ran, I threw my bag with all my belongings near a house. I don’t know where it landed. I just want it away from me. I don’t want them to have my belongings and switch the truth.

3:12. I ran. I remembered my mother in heaven, my little sister, my dog – do they know? 3:20. With heavy breathing, I ran. I don’t know where I am, but I know why I’m here. 3:30. It went off as if fulfilling my dreams. An email was sent along with my last article and the list.

I smiled as my face hit the surface.

A shaky hand caresses the bag as she watches the news. The journalist has managed to send her final article, along with the evidence that can help win the cases of the families affected by illegal war against drugs. But the officials were hesitant to accept it. “A photo is not solid evidence!” a man in a uniform screamed at the camera.

Joanna looked outside the window and saw people flocking at the crime scene. She touched the initials engraved on the leather bag...C.G.M. Mama said don’t touch things if they’re not yours. But what if it was thrown on your doorstep?

The girl clutched the notebook tightly in her hand.

investigationfact or fiction

About the Creator

Ma. Carmela Maurice Marinda

She writes.

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