Five people died that day.

At around 1pm, barely two hours after the bus I was riding left Manila for Banawe, an explosion woke me up. I initially thought that the sound came from the glass windows. Before we left from Manila, the bus driver reminded us to cover the glass windows with curtains. There were reports of drug addicts throwing stones at bus windows.

I looked for my companions. They were crying. They were on the floor with heads bowed down. Then I heard another explosion. That’s from a gun. And the man who was standing right in front of me declared that a hold up. He told us not to look up…and nobody did for everyone was afraid.

One companion was crying loud. She’s holding in her hands a rosary. She was praying loud,crying, and panicking. I went to her, told her to keep her head bowed, and calm herself.

We will be fine….

She sat quietly.

I heard the angry voice of the man standing beside me. I saw the barrel of his gun. It was not pointed on me, but that was enough to keep me quiet.

A man at the end of the bus shouted something I did not understand. Then there was another. He said that there was a policeman inside. Then we heard gun shots…one..two..three…four…countless.

Endless.

Until the robbers left. Babies and women were crying. Two women begged the driver to speed up. Their husband were shot. A mother was screaming. Her baby was shot too… and she did not survive.

It took us thirty minutes to reach the nearest hospital but it seemed like forever. The bus at 150 km/h seemed so slow.

Five people died that day.

The travel from Manila to Banawe was 12 hours.  People were waiting for us. They’ve heard of what happened to us over the radio.

I rested from a while. I needed to regain my energy and start soon. I was two-hour late for my stress management workshop.

I was on a veranda and from where I was I could see the beautiful landscape of the famous Banawe Rice Terraces.  Then I told myself…

I am not afraid to die…but not yet.


In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Finite Creatures.”

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