From an early age Chamoros are taught to respect the land around them. Hard learned lessons from their fathers and others before them taught them to roam carefully and be mindful of certain areas especially the jungle. Over the years the stories have changed but one thing remains the same: don't anger a Taotaomo'na. I was a little rebel when I was younger but I also learned this same lesson soon enough.
This trip was supposed to be full of laughter and fun. I had not seen my family in years and booked this trip to see them and enjoy Guam's beauty. Instead I'm sitting here alone while my uncles try to sort things out with the local police. My uncles know I didn't have anything to do with the disappearances of Nick and his friends but the police still want me to go with them. I don't truly believe they were killed, I think they got delirious in the jungle scared of what was following them and lost their way.
A month ago I was packing my things ready to leave everything behind and enjoy a couple of months on the beach. My buddy Nick had asked me that day if he could join me on my trip. I normally would have said no but he seemed very interested in seeing Guam, he said that he'd find his own way once we arrived. I didn't mind sharing a plane ride with him, we left to the airport and departed San Fran soon enough. My family is full of wonderful and kind people they wouldn't have minded having another guest if he decided to stay which he later did.
However Nick had gone behind my back and contacted a couple of his friends to join him in Guam. He had a popular YouTube channel where he always went around recording dumb shit. I didn't know at the time that their sudden interest in Guam was because they had heard of Taotaomo'nas weeks earlier. They wanted to record a show in the jungle and "show" that they were not real. Had I known that this is what they were up to I would have told Nick he couldn't stay with us. I didn't find out about their plans until it was too late.
As soon as we arrived to the airport Nick had told me that a couple of his buddies had been in the Philippines and decided to join us. He said that they would just pass through and be on their way again so I didn't put much thought into it. I got a bad vibe from them the moment I met them; typical spoiled entitled rich kids. Nick's buddies were obnoxious and rude. I spent the first couple of days with my family and didn't know what Nick and his buddies were up to. I knew they were going out late at night but assumed they were just visiting bars or something. Some of my relatives told me they had heard rumors that the guys were out looking for trouble.
One evening Nick came up to me and asked me if any little people lived in our neighborhood. I laughed it off and thought it was a joke considering my family is short. I told him that I didn't think so but would ask my grandmother. One of his friends fell ill within the first week, Nick started acting strange that same week. He was always in deep thought, whispering to himself and started to wear long sleeve shirts on the hottest of days. His other friend Tony started complaining constantly about a stench no one else could smell but him. After a couple of weeks of odd behavior one of my older aunts pulled me aside and told me that she was sure that they had angered a Taotaomo'na. I told her that she was mistaken, and that the guys were probably just adjusting to being out of the states.
Ryan got worse, he was taken to a local hospital but the doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. Nick wasn't sleeping at night, I would hear him late at night talking to himself while rubbing his arms together constantly. One night as I was falling asleep I felt a slight movement by my bed. I turned over to see if Nick was still awake when I noticed a small shadow on the edge of my bed. The shadow was small, about the height of a small child. It stood next to Nick who was fast asleep. I sat up and turned on the light switch next to me realizing that there weren't any children in the house that night. Nothing stood next to Nick, he opened his blood shot eyes slightly then turned the other way.
Tony seemed to be the only one of the three that tried to make the most out of the trip. He still complained about the smell but tried to pay little attention to it. It wasn't until he started to hear a hissing sound in the evenings that he really started to lose it. My family was starting to get nervous and asked me to speak to them about their odd behavior in hopes that they would come clean and tell me if they had done something wrong. They were all convinced that the guys had gone into the jungle or to the nearby burial site and angered the spirits that still roamed there. I told them I'd talk to Nick once I returned from the hospital.
After I came back I asked Nick how he was doing, I explained what the doctors had told me about Ryan when he began rubbing and scratching his arms. He was still wearing long sleeve shirts every day so I asked him to show me what was wrong with his arms. He stepped back and told me to back off. His sudden hostility threw me off a bit, I got angry and told him that it would be better if he started looking at flights earlier. That night I stayed up and waited until he was sleeping to take a look at his arms. Although he wore a long sleeve shirt up close I could see some red marks on his left wrist. I thought back to when I was a child and had those same marks on my body. I started remembering the pinching, the swelling, the redness that started showing up after I had recklessly ran off to the jungle one night and started taunting the ancient spirits that hid there.
I grabbed his arm and pulled his sleeve up, I couldn't believe my eyes. His arms were red, full of scratches and small open wounds. Nick woke up and pushed me across the room. I started to ask him what he had done over and over again when we heard Tony yelling downstairs. We ran downstairs only to find my uncle and his wife standing by the door looking outside. I asked them what was going on, they stayed quiet until I asked again. My uncle told me that Tony had been complaining about the stench and the hissing sound all day and that he saw him running out of the house yelling.
That night was a mess, we had people looking for Tony, Nick would not speak and sat on the couch looking like he was in a trance. I had to rush to the hospital because Ryan had disappeared from the hospital. No one saw Ryan leaving, he was too weak to walk alone and it was late so visitor hours were over. I returned home tired and worn out, Nick fell asleep downstairs we were the only ones in the house. I was sitting on the edge of my bed when I noticed a small black camera sticking out from beneath Nick's bed. I pulled it out and started to look through it, after hours of watching the footage my eyes started to strain. I couldn't believe what I had just watched and couldn't believe what they had done. After moments of deep thought I knew that I had to get rid of what they had recorded. It was around 4 in the morning, I picked up all his camera gear and left the house.
The police were waiting for me when I got back, Nick had vanished during the same time I was out. I was also the last one to visit Ryan so the police were considering me a suspect. Someone said that they saw me leave the house early in the morning while everyone was out searching for Tony which didn't help my case.
They had managed to record something, they recorded a lot. The footage showed scenes in the jungle and around the house.
- It showed them walking into the jungle taunting, swearing, urinating on Banyan trees...
- It showed Nick recording late at night as I was sleeping and dozens of small faceless black shadows standing around my bed.
- It showed Ryan recording a headless body standing out on an open field and disappearing.
- It showed Nick's bite marks and scratches on his arm.
- It showed Tony recording outside as he followed a hissing sound and finding something on a tree staring down at him.
It showed things that no one else needed to see so I left the house and got rid of it. Someone saw me throwing the broken camera in the water, which made me look guilty of hurting these guys. My family knows I didn't do it and the video would have proved it but some things just don't need to be seen. If people would have seen the footage they would have come and done the same thing that Nick and his friends did.. The only reason I'm sharing this story is to warn people not to come.. not to come and anger the spirits...