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The Fourth Room

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My family usually spends summer in our ancestral house in Batangas where my grandparents from my father's side lives. The house is a typical old house with capiz windows and an azotea (terrace). It has four bedrooms, a spacious living room, a dining room with an antique table with matching chairs that can accommodate twelve persons, a kitchen, though filled with modern appliances, the old furnace wooden cabinets are still intact. Staying in our ancestral house always makes me feel that I'm wrapped in the Spanish area.

The house is mysterious especially the fourth room. No one wants to stay in that room because there are weird noises at midnight coming from the old cabinet there. One summer, my grandfather told me a story about our old house.

According to my grandfather, before his family bought the house, a rich and prominent family owned it. Don Emilio Legaspi was a rich merchant. He and his wife Constancia had two daughters and a son. After the tragedy that happened to the family, the death of the second daughter, Don Emilio decided to sell the house.

Don Emilio's daughters Laura and Lucia were always the talk of the town. The former because her beauty and the latter because her peculiar behavior. My grandfather told me that Laura was always the Reyna Elena during Santacruzan. No one could match her beauty except her sister Lucia. But because Lucia was an introvert, she didn't go out of the house and didn't even socialize with family friends. Lucia often sat by the window of her room and looked above the sky.

Laura was embarrassed by her sister's behavior. She had a deep hatred for Lucia because people often compared them. People used to say that Lucia was more beautiful than her. She didn't like to be second best and she always wanted the attention of everybody.

When they reached marrying age, Laura was betrothed to a son of rich haciendero. (Shop owner.) Laura liked Miguel instantly because he was a good-looking gentleman. But conflict arose when Miguel met Lucia. He was captivated by her reserved personality. Instead of marrying Lucia, he asked for Lucia's hand.

Laura was enraged; she was humiliated because the man she liked had chosen her sister over her. Her hatred pushed her to hurt Lucia. One night, when their parents attended a dinner party, Laura entered Lucia's room. She pulled Lucia's long hair and banged her head on the cabinet. Lucia was unconscious and her head bled profusely. Laura thought that her sister was dead. She was afraid that her parents would find out that she was responsible for her sister's death so she asked the help of her brother Antonio.

They hid the body inside the huge cabinet in Lucia's room. They put wood in the handle of the door so it would not open accidentally. They cleaned the room until the pieces of evidence were erased. When their parents arrived late that night they didn't check if Lucia was in her room.

The next day, their parents wondered why Lucia didn't join them for their breakfast. Laura made up an alibi and Antonio supported her. Constancia decided to call Lucia for lunch. Lucia was not in the room. They searched for her, but they didn't find her. There was a rumor that Lucia eloped with someone. Constancia came back to Lucia's room to check if Lucia's clothes were still in the cabinet. When she opened it, Lucia's body came out.

Don Emilio and Constancia didn't find out who killed their daughter . They decided to move to another place and sell the house for a very cheap price. After the family moved out, the neighbors started noticing a lady who sat by the window at night. The family who bought the house before my grandfather 's family didn't stay at the house for long because they often heard sounds coming from inside the cabinet. The loud banging would be followed by soft cries. My grandfather also witnessed those things. He even claimed that he once saw the ghost of Lucia in the window when he was in his early 20's. But my great-grandfather refused to remove the cabinet in the room. He just makes it a point to offer prayers for Lucia's soul.

The banging on the wall and the soft cries still continue, but we are not that scared. My grandfather said that Lucia is just asking for our prayers. But sometimes, freaky things are hard to accept, the weird noises give me the creeps so I'm trying to avoid the fourth room as much as possible.

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