Module 4: DMD/DPD

Module 4: DMD/DPD

A Chapter by Oran


          “There are times when someone feels like he’s at his lowest, and when that happens, he’s going to need someone to rely on. I think that’s what friends are for.”

-Janus Sandoval, Dama de Noche

by Ilyas Ibarra




            It’s been a very long week for me. I had to sacrifice my days-off because my group had to do a miniature model of the house we designed.


            So exhausted... but there’s still so much more to do.


            My name is Ilyas Ibarra. For a very long time now, not a day went by that I didn’t feel like sh*t. Ever since I lost my scholarship, I’ve been perceiving everything as negative, and for some reason, suicidal thoughts have been gradually emanating loudly in my head.


            It’s quite maddening, to be honest, and yet I am still alive and, surprisingly, still sane.


            At the back of my mind, I know one way or another I’m going to end up dead here in the streets of Morayta. Life is not that easy even if I am deemed lucky to reach tertiary education but the people of my country seem to feel the same way. For what it’s worth, the depth of my hatred for the Philippines is deeper than anything I could ever imagine.


            The culture, the people, the environment, and the government; they are all meant to ensure that there will be no future. These fools remain stable and follow their dreams to become the ones that reap the seeds planted by the current generation. They walk outside the campus heading to their classes thinking that they actually have a future.


            It will never exist here.


            I’ll never accept this country. I’ll never accept my bloodline; its history is filled with injustice and corruption.


            Jose Rizal.


            Andres Bonifacio.


            Emilio Aguinaldo.


            These “heroes” aren’t heroes at all. One acted heroic in the name of his own glory; the other acted in accordance of his own pride and exceeded the limits of insubordination; and another sold out his country and fled without a promise to return.


            And now, because of their “heroic” actions, a nation was built out of the twisted values they created, values that victimized all the generations that came next.


            Damn, I don’t want to be like this.


            I don’t want to end up like them.


            I feel sick of myself all of a sudden. According to my watch, it is currently 5:28 PM, thirty-eight minutes after class ended. I haven’t gotten over what happened last week in that U.V. so I couldn’t actually do well on any quizzes today. To think that I promised myself that I’ll find her again and marry her when I get my liscence was more painful than I thought.


            I’ve had enough of this.


            The blighted afterglow of the sun that crept behind the dark clouds dulled the asphalt on the street, if I were to put it in a writer’s perspective, not that I want to go back to being one. The smoke belched by the vehicles aggravates the asthmatic sensation in my lungs as I walk face-down. Turning my head to the left, my eyes saw the blurry vision of an eighteen-wheeler as I cross the street towards the other side of this god-forsaken place.


            It’s running my way with an average speed of 80 kilometers per hour so... basing it from the things I learned on Related Rates... speed will turn zero at 0.034 meters away from the point of intersection between me and the truck. I haven’t had Physics Based Calculus yet, but I know that the more speed the colliding object has, the more force is applied to the other object.


            Maybe I should just stand here.


            Maybe I should just wait for it to run me over.


            I only have a split second to react after it started honking, but I’ve already wasted time thinking of whether to treat this as suicide or not.


            I close my eyes and brace myself for the stinging pain before the sweet release of death.




            “Why are you looking at me like that?”


            I speak with a threatening voice.


            Dark clouds hover above me as I stand on an open field covered in ashes. An all too familiar figure stares back at me with an awful smirk. If there’s one thing I hate more than the Philippines, it’s this person right here.


            I’ve always trusted him despite of the numerous times he’s betrayed me. No matter how much of a grudge I bear against him, I know I have to stick with him for the rest of my life... or else I’ll die. And now he dares to force me in accepting a reality that I don’t even remember.


            It’s like staring at a f*****g mirror.


            “Why do you keep making me feel like this?” I asked, but he replies with an expression that’s rarely seen in the world:


            His laughter.


            “Answer me, you b*****d!”


            “Don’t you get it, Ilyas?”


            His hand suddenly grabs me by the throat as he exclaims: “I am you!”


            As a last resort, I spit on his face and hit him in the gut with my knee before he could hold me up with his hands. Falling off as he backed away, I pick myself up and charged toward him. Tackling him, I pin him down to the ground and smashed his face with my right fist multiple times. The dust puffs wildly from the ground, but this isn’t the time to be worrying about my allergic reactions. My left hand weighed down on his collar bone as the right one made his face bleed.


            Literally everything that happened to me is because of him. It feels good to crush his cheek bones with my knuckles. The bruises I make with every blow that I slam on his pathetic expression spelled joy for me. In my rage, I screamed words without thinking, still rearranging his face.


            “I HATE YOU!”




            “YOU THINK I’LL LET YOU WIN?”








            “I’LL KILL YOU!”








            I beat the crap out him until he couldn’t move. I must have crushed his skull by now because my fist is bloodied from all that punching. It’s only now that I can truly feel satisfied that I erased the smirk on his face.


            Standing up, I spit on what I assume is his lifeless body, but as I let it out, something red came out with my saliva. Aside from this, there’s also something red dripping from under my left eye.


            It hurt so much that I forgot how good I was feeling.


            I scream from the pain, and after touching my face, I see a bit of blood on my fingers. That’s when I realized that my face is bleeding. It’s so painful that it feels as if my skull is going to slip off from the crack between the bridge of my nose.


            Horrible, isn’t it?


            It’s not.


            The true horror there is seeing the b*****d getting back up again. He goes up on his knees then on his feet as he sees me in agony. His face still looks broken, but his smirk has returned...


            Why can’t you just die?


            “DAMN YOU!”


            I shout at the top of my lungs.


            Just when I said that, he takes a knife out of his pocket and slowly approaches me.


            “GET THE F**K AWAY FROM ME!”


            As a reply, he sticks the knife right at my mid-section. It feels like he’s hit my stomach, causing all the digestive acid to spill all over my intestines like with what happened to the Curator from Daniel Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’.


            I’m coughing up a lot of blood. I don’t even know if this kind of pain is possible, but as he rips the knife out of my abdomen, I see him bleeding from his belly as well.


            “Stop making me do this”, he says while dropping the knife.


            I lose balance and crashed my back against the dust along with him as we both fall clenching our wounds.




            “Is this hell?”


            A quiet whisper escaped my breath.


            If this is hell, then it isn’t quite what I expected. Beneath me is a warm bed and to my right is a window blocking off the outside, but I can tell that a storm is currently ensuing outside due to all the thunder-cracking. There’s a blanket over me and it seems my uniform has been removed leaving only a white shirt as a top and the school’s compulsory green slacks.


            It’s weird, though, because as I scanned my body, there were no abrasions nor bruises. I’m pretty sure I got hit by a truck after school a moment ago but I feel as if I’m in perfect health save for the dryness in my throat.


            Looking to my left, I realize that hell is definitely not what the living people think it is. As a matter of fact, it looks like a single-person’s rented room in an apartment building... a female to be exact.


            I guess the one that’s going to torture me is a succubus based of all the doujins I read?


            I’m not entirely sure so I get up and investigate my current ordeal.


            There’s nothing much to see except for my school uniform folded on top of my shoes and my bag next to the side of the bed. There’s also a drawer right next to the upper right bedpost and a large cabinet facing it. Other than that, two desks are placed right next to each other at the opposite corner of the room, and one of them has a picture of Miyamoto Ruri strangely posted on the frame. At the opposite end of the room is a door, and another door adjacent to the cabinet.


            I’m starting to doubt my theory that this is hell.


            But that still doesn’t change the fact that I died.


            Not sure which door to choose, I took the one closest to me, the one next to the cabinet, and as I approached it, I heard the sound of water running. The scent of green apples came from the other side... I think I know this scent...


            “Um... Am I supposed to be here?”


            I heard the faucet turning down and a voice when the water pressure shut...


            “Ilyas, is that you?”


            You’ve got to be f*cking with me....




            “Hold on... I’ll be out in a minute.”


            I take very deep breath...


            This sure as hell isn’t hell, but I feel like I’ve been transported in a universe where a sl*t from Wattpad is writing the scenarios of my life.


            Losing memories of a girl who cares a lot about me and ending up in her apartment building?


            Come on! Writers from Wattpad are decent people, but some of them just want an excuse to write porn! Especially those sl*ts acting like they’re fujoshi’s flipping out that they know about sex!


            Whoever is writing my life right now is probably the dirtiest mother-f*cker that ever lived!


            Why would you do this to a Civil Engineering student who just wants some peace and quiet in his f*cked-up life!




            I sat there silently for precisely 15.371 minutes because I was staring at the clock the entire time and divided the number of seconds by sixty to compute the minutes elapsed in decimals.


            Thank the Lord that the writer didn’t make this an ecchi situation!


            If it were an ecchi situation, she’d come out naked like all those b*tches from ‘High School DxD”!


            I’ll be damned if I experience pre-marital sex with such a pure girl like her!


            Such a sin is unforgivable!


            Fortunately, she came out the bathroom wearing a decent-looking t-shirt and jogging pants, because if she didn’t, I’d probably...


            ...Damn, I feel so f*cked-up in the head...


            “So... Why is this my destination after I died?”


            I asked her while she sat on the bed and dried her hair with the towel.


            “What? You didn’t die!” She looked pretty serious after saying that. I �" as chuunibyou states- thought for sure she’d be a shinigami who would treat me as a tool or something.


            “I found you unconscious on the street! You were causing a lot of commotion so I brought you here.”


            “Wait... You’re saying the truck didn’t hit me?”


            “No!” She violently throws the towel at me. “You just collapsed from fatigue! You weren’t hurt!”


            That reminds me...


            “I suck at Related Rates.” I face-palm while dreading the memory of myself failing at a quiz on Related Rates during my Differential Calculus subject.


            “... Related Rates?” She tilted her head in confusion.


            “Um... No...” While collecting my thoughts, I realize something... “Why did you bring me here?”


            Valentino was about to answer, but then she hesitates. As I stand quietly waiting for her reply, she suddenly looks away and blushes. Upon closer inspection, it seems like she’s looking away from my school uniform.


            “D-Don’t get the wrong idea, okay? The only thing I took off were your shoes, I.D., and polo! That’s all that came off!”


            That’s a f*cking tsundere right off the book! Stop being cute!


            Calming myself, I ask her again: “Whatever you did while I was knocked out has nothing to do with-“


            “I didn’t do anything!”


            “Okay... whatever you didn’t do while I was knocked out has nothing to do with my question, so please tell me why you brought me here.”


            “Um...” Miss Valentino starts playing with her hair, avoiding eye contact while answering me. “I just thought maybe it will help you remember.”


            “You’re still going on about that?” I reply with an unamused face.


            “Just hear me out. I have some stuff I want you to see.”


            She immediately makes her way to the drawer adjacent to her left and rummages through the inside of the one at the top. Leithold’s TC7 book, an issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and an indefinite stack of P.B.A. (Philippine Basketball Association) cards were piled on the floor next to her when she took out most of the contents.


            “You have a TC7 book? No wonder you’re so good at integration.”


            “Not really”, she says while she takes out a photo album. “My father is a U.P. graduate on Applied Mathematics and he taught me a lot of stuff.”


            University of the Philippines, huh? I guess that’s why she can do it all mentally.


            “Here it is!”


            Hmm... I wonder what interesting item she has that she thinks might pique my interest...


            “Take a look at this, Ilyas.”


            Sweet mother of Ferdinand Marcos! It’s a... It’s a...






            “I’m leaving!”


            “No! Wait!” She immediately takes it off.


            I had my hand at the door when she grabbed my other arm.


            “Don’t go! Don’t go!”


            “Don’t go? That was horrifyingly cute! I’m gonna get hit by a truck for sure this time!”


            “There’s something else! I was just kidding!”




            “There’s one more thing... So please stay for a little longer.”




            I sat back down and watched her look through the drawer. I checked the clock and it was already 6:58 P.M. Yeah... I can feel my mother asking my dad to call me already.


            “How long is this going to take?”


            “Here, I got it.”


            Miss Valentino had a sketch pad in her hand when she stopped searching. She sat down in front of me and flipped the pages. I caught a glimpse of a few illustrations here and there, until she stopped and presented to me one illustration in particular.


            “Does this look familiar to you?”


            It’s a portrait illustration of a girl with a ponytail facing side-view. That shading is a little rough, but the proportions of her face are evenly distributed. If I were to describe her face, it looks like...


            “You? Is that you?”


            “Yes. Do you remember who drew this?”


            “No, but whoever he is, he sure did a good job with converting you into an Anime character.”


            Her mood changed. It almost looks like the reaction I gave wasn’t what she wanted.


            “He sure did...” She looks down.


            “Is there something wrong? I’m not particularly well-versed in understanding women-”


            “He used to love writing too.”


            “Really? Are we acquainted-“


            “You know him very well. We used to enjoy each other’s company... After everything that’s happened to me, he gave me so much hope because he never gave a f**k about being successful.”


            “Hey, calm down”, I say when I sense that she’s starting to hyperventilate.


            “He had more faith in me than I had faith in him, even though we were strangers. He said he just wanted to write... But he needed some help to make it the way it’s meant to be, so I played along...”


            A tears start dipping from her eyes.


            “I soon came to realize that I enjoyed his company... It made me want to go to school every day just to meet him and talk to him about the most pointless things... I just... I just felt like I could go against anything as long as I’m with him...”


            She throws away the sketch pad and started crying up a storm.


            I’m not supposed to feel like this, but when I saw her crying face right in front of me, it seems as if I had done something I will regret for the rest of my life. I can’t stand being involved with this girl as much as I pity her passion for making a goddamn Light Novel, but what am I supposed to do?


            I can’t just trust someone who claims to know me!


            For all I know, she might actually a mentally insane patient!


            I don’t want this! I don’t like being involved with people!


            Everyone causes pain on everyone and she’s not any different so why do I...


            Why do I feel like it’s all my fault for forgetting?


            “I’m sorry...” She says while wiping off her tears. “You can go now... I’m so sorry for dragging you here... especially after you just came back from collapsing...”


            I can go now?


            Great. Thought you’d never ask.


            I’ve been waiting for you to spill it, you crazy girl.


            I stand up and mosey on towards my stuff. It seems everything in my bag is packed up. Even my wallet and my phone are intact which means no one had the chance to loot me when I was down. As I check my bag, all I can hear is the incessant tapping of rain drops against the window and her bitter sobbing.


            Oh, look at that... Seven missed calls from mom already.


            I better tell her I was staying at my friend’s dorm...


            I put all my stuff back and just...  sat behind her. We have our backs against each other, but I can almost perceive the surprised look on her face when I decided to rest.


            “Ilyas... What are you-“


            I started humming...


            What song is this again?


            Hajimete Koi Wo Shita Kioku’ from ‘The World God Only Knows’. I don’t know who composed this melody, but I do know that it struck me hard when I heard Kosaka Chihiro humming. During my freshman years I used to play the piano version of this song before I went to sleep. It made me feel... at peace, which is a big deal for me.


            It’s pretty dark outside, but the rain set the mood perfectly. I remember crying to this song when I first heard it. I don’t know why, but it feels like it has... something to do with her.


            The rain isn’t going to stop very soon, but I feel like I want it to keep going. I don’t how much it affected her, but at least she stopped crying... She even sang the Japanese lyrics... so I guess she knows what this song means...



            “Kizu tsuku koto bakari kangaete


            “Tomatte itanda~


            “Futatabi ugokidasu junsui to


            “Nido nai shunkan to kanshoku wa


            “Kiete ita keredo


            “Kokoro ni mada nokoru junsui to


            “Hajimete koi o shita kioku...”


            I have no idea what these words mean, but I know that it’s about keeping the memories of the person you love the most. It might not mean anything to most people, but this song makes me feel safe even when everything is falling apart.


            I know damn well what it’s like to be forgotten, and if I can’t practice what I preach...


            Shame on me for forgetting.


            Shame on Ilyas Ibarra for not remembering.


            We just sat there, leaning our backs against each other. Whatever led me to hum and whatever led her to sing is probably something that flew right by us just now.


            “If we’re going to do this, I want to ask you something...”


            I broke the silence and began to elaborate.


            “’Just tell me one thing: Tanabata! Three years ago! Remember?


            “’You drew a bunch of hieroglyphs on the campus grounds that night, didn’t you?’”


            She answered me in the same language I thought she would.


            ’So what if I did? That’s not news. Everyone knows that.’”


            “’But what they don’t is that you weren’t the only one who snuck into the school that night, were you?


            “’The guy carrying a girl on his back. You remember that guy, don’t you?


            “’You made him draw those things, right?


            “’And I know what those drawings were saying!


            “’They said: I AM RIGHT HERE!’”


            I felt her hand pinch my side from behind.


            “’That hurt!’”


            ’Why? How come you know about me? Who have you been talking to? Hang on... I never told anyone before about that night... Back when I was...


            “’Who are you? What’s your name?’”


            “’John... Smith!’”


            There was a long silence after that. This would again be a meaningless imitation to most people, but for a well-versed weeaboo, these words are from the movie ‘The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya’.


            The rain came to a halt when I said the name, John Smith, and at the same time, we were both laughing at each other.


            “What was that about?”


            She asked me while giggling.


            “I’m not really sure, myself, Miss Valentino.”


            We were back to leaning on each other’s backs again, and before long, I realized that the senseless things that we’ve done only makes sense to us.


            I wouldn’t even bet for one second that someone else would actually understand what the f*ck we were doing just now.


            “I still can’t remember you.”


            “Don’t worry; I get it.”


            “And I really don’t want to write the same story anymore.”


            “It’s fine. I’ll work on my own.”


            “You’re terrible on your own.”


            “’I can try’. That’s what you told me before when you said you were doing your own illustrations... but you wouldn’t remember that, would you?”


            “Not a clue.”


            “You’ll probably get caught up on traffic on your way home.”


            “I’ll deal with it.”


            “Then, by all means. Please go...” She puts her hand on mine and clutches it tightly. “And thanks for trying, Ilyas.”


            As soon as she thanked me, I got up and fixed all my stuff. Opening the door, I looked back at her one last time.


            She’s sitting on her bed while rearranging all the stuff she took out. A sorry smile curved from her lips, and somehow I feel she’s not that happy even though she’s not showing it.


            “I want to write a different story.”


            I said those words before closing the door.




            Midterms are done.


            Three days ago, I almost got hit by a truck but instead I collapsed in front of it when it stopped. I don’t know how to describe what happened after that, but whatever happened back there had a huge effect in my despondency.


            Because of this, I somehow managed to pass all my subjects which is an indication that my life is going abruptly well in spite of all the suicidal requests that I kept asking God.


            I asked for a stone and He gave me bread; I asked for a snake and He gave me fish.


            I think I got that from Matthew 7:9-10.


            The Gospel says God will give you everything you want and more, but I wasn’t expecting this much.


            My mind has been constantly unstable as of late, but there’s a significant change since that night I was taken in by Miss Valentino.


            To put it simply, I just f*cking felt like doing something I used to do.


            And so here I am in my Philippine History class finalizing a thirty-page manuscript I’ve been working on for the past few days while the instructor discusses the Philippine Constitution.


            “So... if you have no more questions, I’ll see you next meeting.”


            He dismisses the class an hour earlier than the regular time assigned, which gives me plenty of time to submit this...


            I sped off the classroom immediately after the door was opened, and as I walk and head downstairs to exit the building, I couldn’t help but feel invigorated. I have my bag on my shoulder and my manuscript clenched on my free hand as I cross the street. Although I am completely surrounded by the horrible noise pollutants of Metro Manila, I keep on striding without even breaking sweat as I paced along the alley toward the gym of University of Manila.


            Adjacent to its left is a five-storey apartment building that almost looks like it’s about to be run-down. Entering the lobby, I make my way up to the second floor without admitting myself because the receptionist is currently ditching her job.


            I took the leftmost hallway when I got to the second floor, and as I passed through a long row of doors, I stopped in front of one in particular.


            With a stack of papers on my chest and my heart on my throat, I reach over and knock.


            I had my eyelids shut when the door opened as I began to proclaim:


            “Um... I feel sufficiently motivated to write again! I know I have forgotten about you and tried to insult you by tearing up your proposal, and for that I deeply apologize! But still, I require a good illustrator and I am here to ask if you’re interested!”




            “I am prepared to pay any amount and to make it worth your while by any means! I only wish to have you as my illustrator! It would please me to no end if you were to accept my proposal!”


            I bow down after declaring my proposal.


            Slowly I raise my head and open my eyes to see her reaction...




            ...What the f*ck did I just do?


            This person doesn’t look like Miss Valentino at all.


            It’s Miss Grace, staring at me the same way she did when I first confessed to her, in which she immediately rejected me.


            “Ilyas... What are you doing here?”




            Just then, my brain screams at me: Run away!!!!!!!






            I run through the hall like I’m running from a scary-a*s monster from Amnesia.


            Run like a-




            I bump into someone carrying a paper bag with Jollibee’s logo on it, causing my manuscript to fall over the floor.


            “I’m sorry”, I instantly apologize.


            “It’s fine.”


            She ducks down to help me pick up the papers...


            At close inspection, I can say that she has very beautiful eyes and a cute nose. Her lips are a little thick and she has an irregular birth-mark on her left temple, but aside from those, this girl is very attractive. She has her hair in some sort of apple-cut with a clip above her right eye. I think this is girl is... not really my type.


            Dama de Noche?”


            She reads the text on the cover page and looks at me.




            “Ilyas... You’re writing again?”


            “Y-Yes I am... and... I was wondering if-”


            “Do you need an illustrator!”


            She took the words right out of my mouth.


            Without answering, I collect the papers she picked up and stood with her up as I presented to her the manuscript.


            “Read it.”


            I can’t seem to remove the annoying blush on my face when I said that.




            “Y-You’re my illustrator... aren’t you?”


            “Um... Sure, I’ll read it.”


            “I’ll... see you then...”


            “Wait a second.”


            She stopped me before I could go.


            “What is it?”


            “Have you... Have you had breakfast yet? I bought too much and... if you’d like, maybe you could help me finish it?”


            “I already had my breakfast.”


            “Oh, okay then. I guess I’ll see you later.”


            “But that was more than six hours ago... Would you mind if I help you with that?”


            “...Of course not!”


            “That sounds great but... Why is that girl in your room?”




            “Yeah, a girl in your room. Room 209, right?”


            “My room is 409, Ilyas...”


            She faces me with a sorry look.



© 2015 Oran

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Added on December 21, 2015
Last Updated on December 21, 2015



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