Dr. Michael froze in the same place where he stood even after the sound of the car's engine had long disappeared. Absolute tranquility took over and the sounds that were heard were only those of the creeping insects and of some birds which echoed into the night. Plagued by overwhelming confusions, he helplessly tried to process in his mind everything that just happened minutes ago. Why was Kaitlyn seemed so real? Why did she seem to be so hooked in him that she knew even his first registered name? What was the meaning behind all that she said and why was she so upset?
Another more intriguing aspect about them was the fact that he was invited by Manong Isko into their home. What was their plan? Was he only lulled into their plot so that they could have a sumptous meal after throwing him into a big pot of boiling water?
Dr. Michael didn't know what's right anymore. He tried to establish the scientific rationales to what the villagers believed as the witch's spell but the irony was that he didn't realize that he was already convinced to their superstitious beliefs. His temples thumped painfully as he lied on his bed thinking about that encounter a while ago. Recalling her anger confused him all the more. Why did she accuse him of being sick in the head? Just what made her flare up?
Not long after he drifted into a troubled sleep, he was awakened by the commotion outside his room. When he opened up to check, he was greeted by the squeals and the smiling faces of his team whom he never expected to arrive back on that night!
"Dr. Michael!" came the shrieks of their simultaneous greetings as they all took turns in hugging him. Their laughters and merry voices were too loud against the silence of the night, breaking the tranquility of the moment.
"I honestly do not expect you'd be back," exclaimed Dr.Michael who was still overwhelmed by the surprise of their coming.
"And why not? We came here together and we'll go back together,"
said Dr. Rea who naturally assumed the leadership in Dr. Michael's absence, being the senior physician in the group.
"Thank you so much, guys. You really make me feel loved and valued."
A female doctor came forward and stuck a potato chip in his mouth. "Stop right there, no need to get emotional, unless you choose to stay because you'll be marrying."
Dr. Michael chuckled softly and glints of amusement and pain flickered in his eyes. "Actually, I was supposed to surprise you of my wedding. If you still remember, I had you gathered in a restaurant near a church a day after we arrived the country. I was supposed to have you all come into the church once the wedding was about to start but my bride did not arrive."
A round of gasps broke into the air as they stared dumbfounded at him. They all felt guilty for assuming that he was inexperienced with a woman. To recall, they made fun of him days ago for being a virgin. They also then recalled why he looked so lifeless that day as he ushered them into his welcome dinner. He was the host and leader in this year's medical mission and it was expected of him to accomodate them in a place of his choice.
"Dokie, you owe us a full detail of this. Can we all squat down, munch on some nuts and chips and hear your story, please?"
The rest chorused in their persuasion and excitement and soon they were gathered in the living room.
"Her name is Kaitlyn, my best childhood friend and teenage sweetheart..."
He took a long sigh before he went ahead, running his eyes through all of them..He then narrated the full significant details of their story, from their escapades in Hacienda de Luna to the day he was sent overseas then down to the wedding arrangement. The team was greatly but nervously awed with the mystery of Hacienda de Luna and to every pact that was made before her presence.
"What bothers me is the fact that this beautiful witch mimics her face."
They all looked at him with a puzzled look, unable to absorb what he exactly meant. Seeing their confused expressions, he chuckled again and started elaborating.
"I remember what Dr. Rea said that the beautiful witch mimics the physical appearance of the one in your mind. Eversince I first saw her on that night we planned to go to the mountain until earlier this night, she always mimic everything about her. She even called me the way Kaitlyn did."
Dr. Rea eyed him suspiciously while pointing her fingers at his face, accelerating Dr. Michael's heartbeats. "Dokie, tell me more about it. What else did she say?"
"She told me that my profession and good looks are useless because I have an empty brain. She even mocked me and said I'd better consult the best psychiatrist I know because I am so sick in the head." A round of boisterous laughter burst out, making Dr. Michael scratch his head.
"Why?" he asked innocently or rather stupidly before his team's presence. They wondered at how come a brilliant physician's mind became so confounded in just few days they were away.
"And you don't get it?" asked Dr. Rea who could't believe at his sudden stupidity, igniting a round of giggles from his team.
"What?" asked Dr. Michael, wondering which part made him the laughing stock of his friends.
"My goodness, Dr. Michael de Belen! Hasn't it really occured to you that the beautiful witch is Kaitlyn herself?"
"Do you mean she turns into a beautiful witch?"
One of his team stood up and slapped his shoulder gently. "Dokie, didn't you say she ran away on your wedding day? So, if my opinion is solicited, it could be that she ran away to the mountain to hide. You better know how is she related to that Manong Isko who may had suggested to hide her in the mountain."
"Yes, dokie. Don't you realize that the mountain could be a good hiding place?" answered one of his team mates.
"She perhaps choose the mountain because no one, especially those who know its scary tales, would ever suspect that she would run away there," another of his team seconded.