Here’s chapter 16 of the new book, Dr. Clay, I’ve been writing since NaNoWriMo 2022. Enjoy reading. Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below.
It all happened twelve years ago when the country was celebrating Independence Day. It was on the twelfth day of June. Every year, people stood in crowds, waving flags, covering the streets with protests as the convoy of bullet-proofed cars carrying the politicians as they passed by. While the outside was chaotic, deafening silence in the room was in complete disarray.
Agatha sat at the corner on the wooden floors, damped in sweat. Her face was covered in blood, and her eyes remained wide in horror. She gulped as her eyes could see a mess while sitting there, hugging her knees close to her chest. Wearing a white T-shirt stained with blood and dirt, she stood and dragged herself towards someone with her hands reaching out to him.
“Kuya Val. Uncle Elmer—” she said, choking in tears as she looked at her brother’s frightened face. When she reached him, she turned her face and was aghast with what she saw. It was frightening enough that she felt sick. The man she had seen alive before was lying on the floor. He had been so beaten up that his face looked swollen. You could barely catch his cheeks and wrinkled lines along his eyes. “What did you do?” she said, gasping.
“Let’s go!” Valon said, interrupting her.
But before she could say anything, she yelped when Valon grabbed her hand, pulling her out with him to escape. Though she was in a dreamy state, she tried to pull herself together and catch up with her brother’s speed. While they kept running and running for hours long, they reached the end of the forest and saw a small community lighting up a bonfire. Despite being confused, she felt reassured when she saw how her brother’s face brightened up as he kept looking at the distance with optimism.
When she heard Valon’s excitement, she looked at him, trying to understand his thoughts and reconcile the events. Her chest felt constricted when she recalled how his brother looked at the dying man and her shortly after he pulled himself up and stood. It wasn’t the look she had seen from him before but the face of a man with nothing to lose.
But then, Valon hugged Agatha as he shut his eyes, silently sobbing after knowing they were finally safe. When Agatha raised her face to Valon’s height, she had never expected she would ever see him that hopeless and desperate. He was in tears and down to his knees. “We did it, Agatha!” he repeatedly said before he screamed his lungs out until he couldn’t and parched his throat.
“What are we going to do now, Kuya?”
“We’re free now. That’s what matters. We’ll take care of that later.”
“But I’m hungry, and I’m—” she paused and swiveled her head, facing down, stretching her T-shirt, and gesturing to him, “—I’m naked. I can’t walk around like this.”
Valon smiled and patted Agatha’s head, which almost reached his chest. “I remember you so small, and now, how come you’ve grown up so fast?”
Agatha shrugged and looked at him, seemingly confused.
“Time runs fast, Agatha.”
Valon nodded. “That’s why I don’t want to waste time and be separated from you again. I want us to spend time together as a family from now on.”
That moment she saw Valon smiling as if nothing had happened had kept Agatha haunted. Watching her brother in that fashion, even though his duality fascinated her, was so unpleasant that she wished it would never happen again.
“Kuya, I hope I won’t see those scary eyes again,” Agatha said before she blinked, realizing how she had zoned out again. She clucked. “If I keep daydreaming like this, I will never finish anything.” She began swiveling her head and massaging her neck until she felt discontented and her legs numbing. To relieve herself, she stood and stretched her arms upward so that she could hear her joints cracking and continued doing so until she felt better.
Then, she went to the kitchen of her hotel room to grab a glass of water. But something began to stir in her mind. “Rich Bitch,” she said, whispering, and then scoffed, shaking her head. “How could she smile at me like that after what she’s done?” She clucked and headed back to the makeshift office she had organized earlier that day, importing videos from her phone to her laptop and arranging them according to her storyline. But then, as she went on towards the last few clips, she paused the video when she saw Rich Bitch filmed on camera.
Then, she clicked play and watched the entire conversation before she paused again when the camera captured the woman’s face. Using her hi-tech mouse ball, she moved the reel until she could see her face displayed on the screen. She stared at her as she leaned against her chair and crossed her arms while knitting her eyebrows.
At that time, her mind began reeling the events at the gym, making her scoff, as if she was having fun with the woman’s humiliation. But then, after swiveling on her chair, she pulled her knees to her chest and continued studying the stranger’s face—porcelain skin, lush eyebrows above her thick eyelashes, and brown eyes that matched her long, dark, straight hair covering her face. Even though she didn’t have her makeup, her beauty was admirable. A head-turner, if you will.
Agatha recalled how stunned she was when the woman stood. She looked at her with menace, though she appreciated how she still looked composed despite the dire situation.
While she kept staring at the screen, she noticed how red the woman’s eyes were, as if she was on the verge of tearing up. She could sense something was off about her. She felt pain in her eyes. Indescribable pain.
When she realized that, it didn’t take long for her chest to feel tight when she recalled what she had done earlier that day. Agatha blinked and sighed, raising an eyebrow, before she moved her attention to work, thinking ignoring it was the best solution. However, it wasn’t.
Despite her attempts to avoid it, she became more restless in her seat, which began to annoy her. Feeling distraught, she stood, almost leaping off her seat, and walked in baby steps around her bed while biting her fingernails. She looked down, facing the window, and sighed. “Maybe, I just did it way too much,” she whispered.
While waiting for the taxi, she looked down at her device, scrolling to read comments from people. She wanted to know what others thought about her latest upload. After she kept scrolling, she gasped when she began reading the harsh words written about the video.
“Who’s that bitch?”
“Though she looked class, her actions don’t.”
“Agatha did a great job at filming this incident. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have known such people exist in this world.”
“That bitch doesn’t deserve pity!”
Though she blurred the face of the woman, Agatha couldn’t help but feel bad. Nothing will change if you continue feeling bad for this bitch. There’s nothing you can do because anyway it was also your fault. You were being stupid that you bumped into her and caused a scene.
That’s what Agatha thought before the taxi she booked online arrived. So, she hopped into the car and drove off to the highway until they reached the intersection where bars and clubs lined up. The neon lights brightened up the streets, and the place was so loud that she could feel the tingling touch of the bass.
After the taxi passed a few streets more, she asked the driver to pull to the side. “Thank you. Keep the change,” she said, smiling when she noticed the driver was about to get his wallet.
“Thank you, ma’am. Good night po,” he said, smiling at her back.
When Agatha hopped off, she went to the mall, searching for a piece of brand-new filming equipment. Though optimistic about her new purchase, she couldn’t help but frown until she arrived at the same store she went to last week.
“Hey, Ma’am Agatha. You’re here again,” the store clerk said with a broad smile, which compelled Agatha to do the same, nodding while placing the destroyed equipment on top of the glass display panels. When she saw how damaged it was, she looked surprised. “Was this the same one you bought last week?”
Agatha didn’t say a thing and just glared at her.
“I bumped into someone not too long ago and accidentally sat on it.”
The store clerk clucked and shook his head. “So, you need a new one.”
“That’s why I’m here.”
“Was it your fault?”
That line made Agatha freeze because she had thought about it before, though she tried to deny it. But hearing it again from another person began to disturb her a lot. Yet, she shrugged.
“Oh, the one responsible for this mess should be paying for this, not you.”
Agatha gestured to dismiss it. “It’s fine.”
“How come it’s OK?” the store clerk said as he began scrambling at their Supplies Room, a few steps away from the glass panels blocking the customers from entering.
In the meantime, Agatha continued scrolling for comments on the same video she watched earlier—sucking her attention, pulling her until she could barely hear the others speaking to her. She must have felt terrible about what she had learned and realized a fatal mistake.
“Hey, are you alright?”
Agatha jolted back to her senses. “Yeah,” she said, stuttering, though her knitted eyebrows couldn’t lie. “Thank you,” she said after she got everything she needed.
“You’re welcome. Feel free to come back again,” the store clerk said louder to get Agatha’s attention as she walked out of the store. When she was alone, she shook her head. “Should I try vlogging?” she paused and tailed Agatha passing by, shaking her head, “Nah, I think it’s a lot of work, too.” She turned and went back to the Supplies Room.
“Yeah, it was my fault,” Agatha said, stuttering after leaving the mall. Shortly after, she pressed her tummy when she heard a roar from her stomach as she walked around the nearby streets.
With a new device attached to her filming stick hand, she groaned in frustration when she nearly lost count of the number of streets, only to find no food stalls nearby. Despite that, she continued walking, hoping to see one, until she heard a loud woman scream.
“Help me!” she said in a strained voice.
Without qualms, Agatha turned, searching for the origin. Although she felt sourer in her chest, she walked and walked until she found three men surrounding a woman.
“I said, don’t touch me!” the woman repeatedly said whenever they made advances towards her.
“Come on, Liz. I know you want this,” one of them said while groaning.
“Stop! Please stop!” she said when the man grabbed her neck and pressed her against the wall, choking her, she screamed when she felt their hands around her and saw how they were stripping her clothes.
When Agatha realized what was unfolding, she took her GoPro and pressed the button to begin recording the scene. Then, she walked towards them. “Hey! What are you doing?” she said in a loud voice, which caught the men’s attention, as she kept running until she could see them.
Their eyes widened as soon as they realized she was filming the scene. The man, holding her, released her from his grip, while the two others pushed her so hard that Agatha saw how the woman fell on the ground, coughing. When she walked towards her, bending down to reach her face. “Hey! Are you alright?”
“Yeah, I am alright,” the woman said, panting.
“We should report this,” Agatha said with concern and was about to leave. But then, the woman grabbed her arm. She looked at her, knitting her eyebrows, when she saw the woman shaking her head.
“I’m alright. We don’t have to make a big deal out of this,” the woman said in a strained voice, still looking down and panting.
Hungry and frustrated, Agatha was getting impatient. She wanted to leave and eat something. But she couldn’t believe that all she could do was sigh. “Well, fine. If that’s what you want,” she paused and tilted her head to see who the woman was, “But first, let’s get out of here.”
“Thank you,” the woman said. As she slowly got up to her feet, she stumbled and was about to fall, but Agatha got her. When she turned her head, her eyes widened, and she immediately wanted to pull her arm away. “Shit! You again?” she said with sarcasm and hissed.
“Rich Bitch?” Agatha said and clucked, rolling her eyes, though she wanted to release her arm and leave her there.
Thank you so much for spending time reading this chapter. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did when I wrote this part three months ago. This chapter, in particular, reminded me of those times when I sat before my desk, seemingly prepared to type in words, but I struggled to keep it up.
It took an external motivation to get it through, and, at that time, the NaNoWriMo event was upcoming. At that time, I thought, “This could be a great opportunity to try and give this a shot one more time. You’d done an excellent job with ‘The Rival,’ so you could do it, Mecyll.”
You know, it’s easier said than done because writing a chapter with a clear intent to finish it requires more than just a skill. Since I started writing fiction, I realized how much this work demands my ability to be naked and the guarantees to answer whether I was mentally, emotionally, and spiritually prepared to face my fears, conscious or unconscious.
So, being able to write this down meant I managed despite the countless times dancing around with depression and enjoying the roller coaster rides my anxiety provided me.
This is why I don’t know how I could thank you for your support, regardless of the scale or contribution size, from sharing my work with others or buying my books. It doesn’t matter because, for me, every small act you show is appreciated.
Again, thank you, and have a great day!