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Fiction

Two Women of Bantayan

A block away from our house stood a wood-and-stone house beside the river.

Our housemaid told us to avoid this house. ?Aling Barang,? she said, referring to the woman living in the house, ?kidnaps children and keeps them in her house. She has closed her windows,? she added, and before us rose the image of her windows tightly shuttered even in the hottest days.

?It?s because she keeps the children inside her house,? she continued, ?and then she would stab them in the chest, drain their blood, and drink it.? Gooseflesh crawled on our skin. ?And you know what she does to the bones of our children??