Near the intersection of JP Laurel Avenue and Bacaca Road, Davao City in an area called Bajada, stands the Durian Hotel. The Durian was constructed as a 14-floor edifice with a 13th floor that appears to be missing. It stands near the center of Davao’s business district but despite its advantageous location just a mere 60 meters away from the then bustling Victoria Plaza (one of Davao’s first malls), the hotel failed for unknown reasons. Some speculated that it simply went bankrupt during a recession in the early 1990s while others claimed it was built on a weak foundation.
Whichever story you chose to believe in the end it was closed, boarded up, and has remained completely vacant until this day. Many claim the hotel to be haunted which is based on an account five years after its closure. The official story of what happened is that a security guard on duty during the midnight shift heard screams coming from the second floor, called for police assistance, and raced up the stairs to investigate. Upon arrival at the scene, the police officer followed, but they found no one in any of the rooms. However, according to their families, neither of them were ever heard from again.
Today the Durian isn't easily accessible with no clear-cut path inside to be found, and despite a city of millions very few have dared to venture in. The hotel still maintains the presence of one lone security guard posted around the clock with strict instructions never to go beyond the first floor. He is tasked with keeping the multitude of homeless and drifters out, but those who live nearest to the hotel tell a different story. They claim his real purpose is to keep something sinister and evil inside.
Fast forward, it's October 31st, 2023, there is a very bright full moon and Geraldine my daughter, her best friend Hanna, both their husbands (recently married) and two other friends were wanting to do something really scary for the holiday. Raymar, Geraldine's husband and an engineer by occupation says, “Geraldine, why don't the six of us explore the Durian Hotel as I was told about a secret entrance used occasionally to keep the elevators in working order. It will allow us to slip past the guard on the first floor and get to the upper levels.”
Geraldine looking at her husband says, “Are you crazy Raymar you know that place is haunted.”
Hanna chimes in, “Nobody ever goes near that place because they say it has ghosts and many homeless people come up missing in that area.”
Raymar looking at them almost laughing says, “You're joking right, your both psychologists and not supposed to believe in ghosts, and besides us guys are willing to protect you.”
The two girls reluctantly agreed, and they all set out for the secret entrance somewhere on its 16,500 square meters and get into the hotel. Raymar and his friends eventually found the entrance in a neglected overgrown area and the six of them slipped past the guard easily, at the second-floor level. He and one of his friends then climbed up the 14 stories of steps to turn on the elevator's generator which was only accessible from the roof. While Raymar started working on getting the old equipment running his friend said, “I’ll drop down to the Hero's Bar that is supposed to be on the 12th floor and get things set up for the party.”
There was then an exchange of a couple of nods between them and his friend, quickly left for the bar. Upon his arrival, he was attacked from the darkness by a colony of creatures known as Amalanhig (stiff ones) of which there are two types: The most notorious and frightening being is the flightless aswang that come back to life after death because they were unable to pass their evil shape shifting powers on to a close relative. Other Amalanhig are victims themselves and typically deceased humans that have unfinished business or have been murdered and are thus seeking revenge. I guess it doesn't matter much which type attacked him, or if both types were present because true to legend the fiends essentially attacked him using their long sharp tongues while tickling him to release endorphins into his brain and sucking him dry of his blood and life force.
Raymar finally fixed the elevator, went down to the twelfth floor while remaining inside, called out to his friend when the door opened toward the dimly lit bar,“Hey, I got it running you coming down?”
The Amalanhig have the gift of mimicry so one imitating his friend's voice yelled back from the bar, “No, you go ahead I'll finish setting up here.”
Upon hearing the voice of his friend and being reassured he closed the elevator door and headed down to the second floor to get Geraldine and the others. When the door opened at the second floor, Geraldine looked at Raymar angerly and said, “Where have you been we have been waiting for 45 minutes and we thought you both got caught or something.”
Raymar smiled and looked back at her saying, “Are you crazy? Get in we’re heading up to the Hero’s Bar which is being set up as we speak.” After which they all climbed inside the elevator and started their journey up to the 12th floor where a hoard of zombie Amalanhig awaited them. This under any set of circumstances would be horrible enough but on Halloween all alone, that would be enough to kill a person with just fright. What they never could have expected was the folklore being true that such a creature existed. The older Filipino’s from the mountains believed that these creatures lived in the woods, came out only at night, and generally went to the nearby villages to prey on their unfortunate victims. Davao City was certainly not a small village by any means, but what the Durian had become was a fourteen-story mausoleum completely empty of life for over thirty years, a comfortable hiding place with it's own guards on the first floor, so the fucking blood sucking soul stealing creatures adapted.
When the elevator doors finally opened on the 12th floor, one Amalanhig imitating the voice of their friend called out from the Hero's Bar,“Come on down everything is set up for you and ready.”
When the two couples and Raymar's last remaining friend reached the entrance and started to go inside, their flashlights hit the shining lifeless eyes of the creatures, blood was all over the floor, and their nostrils were filled with the stench of decaying flesh. Raymar’s last friend was immediately sieged by a dozen or so creatures that completely surrounded him. They pulled their newest victim to the ground, quickly overpowering him sucking his blood dry, eating his soul, and leaving his lifeless body an empty shell on the floor.
Geraldine screamed, “We have to get out of here and get to water before these fucking evil zombie flesh eaters get us all.”
Hanna screaming while she was running as fast as humanly possible cried, “I don't want to die!”but the creatures were in hot pursuit and gaining ground on the remaining four.
Hanna’s husband, scared out of his wits and trying to hold her hand yelled, “Over here, there is an old pool that has water!” The four ranlike hell for the pool with the creatures hot on their heels just making it to the water's refuge. Jumping inside half empty pool with its disgustingly dirty water, Geraldine screamed at Ramar, “Why did you bring us here?” Twenty-five or more Amalanhigs entered the pool area after them completely surrounding the pool with blood in their eyes and hunger on their faces. Tbey glared at the four friends but do not enter the water.
Geraldine tears in her eyes and voice in a panic tells the others, “They won't enter the water because if they do so they will turn into a heap of worms and maggots that can be destroyed before they are able to turn back into these fucking creatures.”
Hanna also crying uncontrollably asks, “How do you know that and where do these stiff-legged fucking zombies even come from?”
Raymar now looking back and forth between the hoard of flesh eaters surrounding them and his companions answers:
“According to legend, a long time ago an ancient Filipino chieftain hearing about the arrival of the Spaniards ordered his priestess to create for him an army of warriors that couldn't be killed. She created these immortals by killing several of the men from his tribe, encrusting their bodies with a dark soot, putting a strange pebble in their mouths, and performing some kind of ritual.”
Hanna’s husband also familiar with the legend adds, “After three days they came back to life as mindless, walking corpses that will only die after completing their agenda.”
Geraldine looking at the two remaining men not knowing if they were going to live or die says, “Thanks for letting us know that and great partyRaymar, have you noticed that the pool is starting to lose water?” The Amalanhig knew and remained beside the pool as water continued to empty and they waited.
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