Chapter 8

“I CAN FEEL bad energy circulating inside your house…” Jino announced after a couple of minutes of walking back and forth in Sarah’s living room. “I can say that the bad spirit often stays here on your couch.

Sarah looked at the man with furrowed brows. “Why?” she asked, started to get chills. “Why is he staying here?

“Because you often lie here from a tiring day at work,” he said and plopped down on the couch. He leaned his back comfortably and closed his eyes. “I can feel his presence on this side,” he shifted on the sofa. “He’s here with us…”

Sarah sat beside him and scooted closer to him. “What is he doing? Why he’s here?

“Because you’re here,” he said casually. “The bad spirit is attached to you. It was as if his spirit tail is linked on your body that everywhere you go, he’s with you.

“I want to get rid of him…” Sarah told the man. Her heart is starting to hammer inside her chest. “Please, help me.

The man opened his eyes and looked at her. “We can prevent him from getting near you for a while with the help of some special things that you can find inside your house,” he said and lazily got up from the couch. “I feel sleepy. Can I sleep here for just an hour?

She knotted her forehead. “Huh?

“Ah, never mind,” he said and shook his head. “Tell me, can you feel something strange while we’re here?

She nodded her head. “I just feel a little cold…” she brushed her shoulders. “And, I sensed as if someone is watching us.

“It’s because the spirit can’t get near you now,” he said seriously and looked around her house. “He’s jealous because you’ve got somebody that has the power to shun him away from you.

“Is that so? Then you should be with me always…” she said, then paused. Sarah felt embarrassed about what she said. “Ah, I didn’t mean something with that…”

“You’re right,” he said, shifting his gaze at her. “If I’m with you, the spirit wouldn’t get near you because I have the power. Thus you’ll be able to live a normal life without worrying about bad lucks and misfortunes.” He winked at her. “But, I can’t stay here with you 24/7. So I’ll just leave some joss paper here.

“J-Joss paper?” Sarah asked in a knotted forehead.

The man took out some red papers with embossed bright Chinese characters. “This is joss papers,” he said and hanged one strip on her window. Then, on her front door, kitchen, toilet, and bedroom. “Two hundred per joss paper,” he said and spread his palm in front of her. “Total of eight hundred pesos.

“Why did you put a lot of joss paper?” she asked, confused about everything. “Is one isn’t enough?

“If you wanted to move freely at night without seeing odd things around your house, you have to hang more than two joss papers! And as much as possible, hang it in every walkway,” he explained and took out another one. “You’ll be needing it also,” he said and stick the paper on her forehead. “Do you have rock salt?

“Iodized salt?

“Rock salt,” the man insisted. “If you don’t have rock salts, I brought some here.” He took out from his shoulder bag a half kilo of rock salt and poured a fist of it on every corner of her house. “This is the process of attracting good charms and good spirits to bring luck to your house.

Sarah pursed her lips. Her floor tiles in wood design, making the salt evident on the floor. She scratched her head. She doesn’t like a dirty floor. “Do I have to change it every day?

He nodded. “As much as possible, every morning.

Sarah’s brows drew together. “Why do I have to change it? Salt doesn’t melt if not put in water.

Jino pressed his lips. “Well, it’s because…” He looked at the ceiling as if thinking about something. “Ah, because the salt that you put in the morning have absorbed the bad lucks coming in your house… it’s not good to keep well-absorbed salt in the house because it might bring bad luck instead of good lucks.

“Are you sure about that?” she asked, narrowing her eyes at the man. “Why do you sound as if you’re just fabricating a story?

Jino’s brows raised. “Am I?” he laughed. “Hey, Sarah. If you think I am just fabricating stories, then we should stop this,” he said and walked towards the living room where he left his luggage bag. “I don’t wanna work with a client that doesn’t believe me because it’s contradicting my energy, making it weak and ineffective.

Sarah bit her lip. When the man was about to walk out, she stopped her arm. “Okay, I’m sorry. I believed you.

Jino narrowed his eyes at her. “Really?

“Yes,” she nodded and smiled. “Please, give me a chance. It’s my first time to do this feng shui stuff inside my house.

“Okay,” he said and spread his palm again. “Two hundred for the rock salt.

“What?! Two hundred? What kind of rock salt is that to be so expensive?” she asked in disbelief.

“That is not ordinary rock salt. It came from our temple in Kuang Kong,” he said and showed her what’s left on the plastic. “Look at it closely, it’s like snowflakes. Every bit of it is blessed by our head missionaries.

Sarah was still skeptical about what he’s saying. But she doesn’t know anything about this ritual in shunning evil spirits. “Jino, I have questions and hope you don’t mind.

The man looked at her. Sarah once again felt her heart will jump out of her chest the moment that he turned his head at her. “You can ask me about anything. I’m good at Math, too.

She laughed, but it’s not what she’s going to ask. “Did you arrive legally here in the Philippines from China?” she asked. “Because you don’t have ID’s or any documents to present.

“Of course, I went here legally,” he said quickly. “I told you our things and documents were left in the temple.

Sarah nodded. “And, why are you so fluent in our language?

Jino looked at her as if what she said is out of this world. “Tell me, I don’t like a Filipino, right? Even a little?

She nodded and smiled awkwardly. “I’m sorry if I’m being nosy. I’m just curious…”

“My mom is a Filipina,” he said. “She’s a beautiful Pinay woman. She taught me how to speak in her language because she said that it was also my language and I should learn to speak it fluently.

Sarah doesn’t know why she suddenly felt relieved that Jino is a half-Chinese, half-Filipino. “That’s good to hear—”

“Sarah?” Ismael’s voice echoed from the outside. “Can I come in? I brought you food.

Sarah gasped. “Oh, my gosh! He can’t see you here!


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