17 Dec The Silent Pool
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"The Silent Pool"Written by
Estimated reading time — 6 minutes
I guess I’ll start off with the mundane introduction as to who I am and why I’m telling you this. They want me to hide my identity, so just call me E. I’m currently 16 years old and I’m on holiday in the Philippines.
My mum was Filipina. As a result, we spent most summers here to escape the dreary grey skies of Britain. I have to admit that the change of scenery is really rejuvenating; I had just finished my GCSEs (exams), so lazing around on a beach for a few weeks seemed ideal. The Philippines, on the whole, is a vast place, being more of an Archipelago than a country.
On the night of the 26th, my father, mother and I left Manila, the city where the airport is, and headed for M….they don’t want me to tell you. It’s a beach resort with palm trees, coral and sunsets in abundance. That’s about all I can say I think.
It’s not the average resort you come across, as the actual accommodation was, in traditional Filipino style, wooden villas overlooking the turquoise sea. I stayed in Villa 22, whereas my parents stayed in 23 – the two villas were connected by a bamboo bridge on the first floor, so they could check up on me to see if I was getting on alright. I lived a pretty sedentary lifestyle, so the majority of my days were spent listening to music on the hammock, tied to two protruding wooden logs on the balcony. Mum and dad knew that, from an early age, I had been relatively independent, so they would only see how I was doing once a day, if that. Allowance would be given, and we would only meet for occasional lunch and dinner.
This resort was built upon a hill, meaning the stairs going to our villas were extremely steep. The steps were essentially rock slabs, with encrusted seashells, going up the hill. From what I can remember, it was a fairly old resort; the staff maintained the grounds well, but you could see wear and tear in some of the rooms, and the swimming pool had an unnerving reddish tint. I never saw anyone enter it. Signposts were scattered across the hotel, directing guests to one of the several restaurants, spas and restrooms on the tiny island.
Being curious, I asked the resort staff if there was another swimming pool on the island as the colour was too off putting; I have had eczema, among other multiple skin conditions, for all my life, and the sea’s salt water stinged like hell. Contrary to their usual upbeat, helpful nature, the Filipino staff seemed hesitant to even respond to my question. I repeated the question at least two or three times to other staff across the space of an hour, and the only response I got were blank, icy stares.
Asking the staff here was practically pointless, so I took it upon myself to go online. The search results were…strange, to say the least. Nothing. Not just that, it was like this resort was non-existent on the Internet, even with the hundreds of guests staying weekly. No reviews, no pictures…absolutely nothing.
A couple of days after this, I took it upon myself to personally search the island. The island’s perimeter was 2 miles, at best, and I was feeling confident that I could find a pool, especially as we weren’t the only resort here. I hadn’t actually seen the other resort(s), but loud laughter and native music could be heard during the night from across the island.
At this point, my memory gets a bit hazy. The small, insect-ridden nature path I had taken to find this pool had just stopped. I looked back, and all that I could see was a tropical forest staring back at me, with thick air resting on the forest floor.
“I headest east” I thought, so logically, I opened up the compass on my iPhone and headed west to return to the resort. As I said, my recollection from now is not great, but I distinctly remember walking for hours in between trees and being unable to find the trail. It seemed like the forest would never end, despite heading in the exact same direction.
Then, a lifeline. A signpost in the distance. In fact, it was identical to the ones at the resort, which filled me with joy. Surely, this meant I was back, safe & sound. Except, I wasn’t. The rotten signpost had 5 arrows pointing out of the top, all in the same direction (left). It simply read “silent pool”, engraved deeply in the wooden signs. I knew heading back to the resort was futile, and at least the pool must have someone about that I could talk to about returning. At this point, I didn’t even fancy swimming anymore.
The dense jungle faded almost instantly; instead, a long line of stepping stones along a calm, slow-flowing stream. I wanted to look back to see if the forest was still there, but I couldn’t. I was drawn to the stepping stones like mouse to cheese. Step by step, I made my way across the stream towards a building. I can’t explain what it was, but it was unbelievably tall, and it casted a huge shadow across me. It’s lime green and beige coat of paint was old and flaky to the touch. Again, the words “silent pool” were engraved on the lone skinny door.
There was no turning back now. Having no doorknob or handle, I had to kick the door with some force after two or three tries. It swung open with a bellowing thud.
And, true to its word, there was in fact a silent pool. It had a hot spring style to it, being dug directly into the ground with steaming, natural water. Nobody was around, and the derelict structure I found myself in looked like it hadn’t seen a visitor in years. I undressed, put on my swimming shorts, and slowly entered the silent pool.
I gotta admit, at first it was pretty relaxing. It was really just like any other hot spring, which made me wonder why it was so secluded and unmaintained. Was there an accident here? Did they run out of money? I laid there, in the silent pool, feeling increasingly uneasy minute after minute. The only thing that was really ‘comforting’ me were the crickets and birds making noises in the background – this white noise helped to distract my mind from overthinking too much.
And just like that, it stopped. The crickets and birds were just…silenced. With my back to my change of clothes, I turned around and exited the silent pool, too afraid to continue bathing. As I looked up from where my clothes were positioned, two figures glared down at me. They were both completely charcoal-black, with a slender build, no limbs (bar one arm each) and hollowed-out holes for eyes. No mouth, no emotion, yet I could feel the two beings smiling. The hairs on my body stood up with fright beyond comparison; I opened my mouth to scream for help, but nothing came out.
The left-figure, much shorter than the right, picked up my clothes and politely handed them to me and helped me out of the silent pool. Why?! Then I thought, “if they wanted to kill me, I would be dead already”. This unsettling fact eased me a bit, and over a minute or so I began to notice their friendly nature. Maybe they were Angels, or spirits of good.
Without making a sound, the two entities glided across the stony surface around the pool and out the door I had opened. The outside that I could see through the door was…nothing. And by nothing, I literally mean no space, no matter, just emptiness. It wasn’t black…it wasn’t any colour for that matter. I turned around and yelled at the beings for an explanation. The taller, right-hand side spirit simply carved the word ‘mata’ into the side of the wall with its lone arm. For those who don’t know Tagalog, it translates to ‘eyes’.
After looking at the word, observing it carefully to see anything else I hadn’t spotted, I looked back up at the towering dark spirits. They both did a synchronised point to their respective hollow eye-holes, before pointing to my fingers. At this point, as any logical person would, I ran. Well, I tried, but I couldn’t move. I was frozen in space, with only my limbs being free from this paralysis. I tried to ring the police from my phone, but instead I was greeted with a red screen if I tired turning it on.
They were still pointing, at my fingers. I didn’t know what exactly they were asking, so I asked them nervously what they wanted. Both of them got the sharp end of their stump arms and carved holes into their faces. They didn’t bleed, or even react with any pain from this. They didn’t have skin, exactly, but I didn’t want to find out what it was instead to be honest.
Then, it spoke. The sheer fact it spoke was creepy enough, but it’s voice…was my father’s. “Son, do you want happiness?” it asked me. I replied with a hesitant “yes”, shielding my face with my hands. I couldn’t bare looking at its hollowed-out eyes anymore. The shorter, left spirit, this time with my mother’s voice, asked me the exact same question, to which I replied “yes”.
They explained to me how I got lost in the human world, and ended up in their world by mistake. They said that human eyes don’t see the world fully, but only what evil entities want you to see – they will create a normal looking, matrix-reality for you to live in before capturing your soul when you die. Everybody goes to hell. Except, not me. I wouldn’t want that. With the most assured I felt in a long time, I got my hands and clawed away, piece of flesh by piece of flesh, before digesting the remains of my eye. I didn’t feel pain, only happiness.
A lot of time has passed since then. I can’t remember the last time I heard another voice except my parents, it must have been hundreds of years ago now. They would tell me everyday how beautiful the world here is, and how they love me. I love them too, I really do. Their cold embrace comforts me. I wait patiently, with my mother and my father, for another lost soul that we can help.
Come visit the silent pool.