Author Archives: Erika Carreon

About Erika Carreon

Erika M. Carreon co-founded Plural Online Journal and co-runs with Neobie Gonzalez the indie art page Occult’s Razor, under which they had produced A Descending Order of Mortal Significance, one of the best Filipino books of 2017 according to CNN Philippines. Her poems and short stories have appeared in High Chair, Kritika Kultura, Philippines Free Press and Anomaly Journal. Her work will also appear in Sigwa: Climate Fiction Anthology from the Philippines and Ulirát: Best Contemporary Stories in Translation from the Philippines (both forthcoming 2021). She provided artwork for Adam David’s zine, The Nature of Beasts vol. 1, and illustrated Mesándel Virtusio Arguelles’s poetry collection Chi. She is currently taking her PhD at the University of Melbourne with a special interest in ecofiction.

Taglunod, Tagsunog

The First Arcology

When they had begun building the arcology it didn’t have a name. Many had not heard the word before, did not know the origins, and their minds fashioned an Ark of incredible size. It was beyond language and therefore beyond imagination. 

They were the dreamers with means. They wanted to dream their way out of the impending doom that came with the floods that always every year seemed to grow higher and higher, scorning every tired, inadequate effort to tame them. They had cast their dreaming eye upon the dark, clogged rivers and the worn cement of sinking cities, saw the cobbled houses on stilts with their patchwork roofs that lined the waterways and sewers and said We will make for them a new kind of city to unburden the old. When they closed their dreaming eyes they saw the arcology, able to feed itself and power itself, an organism not unlike a tree, needing nothing else but good land and the cooperation of all its parts, ready to survive into the new age. 

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Ghosts

Root crop, sugarcane, corn, and between these, giant weeds. It didn’t matter. They all speak, their susurrations a language the Maylupa do not understand. The Maylupa and their kin have been living in these hectares for as long as they can remember. And for as long as they can remember, they have been suspicious of the crop and their private speech. Because they are suspicious of their speech, the Maylupa likewise were suspicious of everything that triggers it: the cycles of humid heat and punishing rain, the ground, the wind. Distrusting the vegetation, they must content themselves with the other living creatures that reside in the fields: eels, toads, rats, locusts, birds. The pestilences ravage the crops, the species depending on the season. 

They boil stagnant water to drink, and are constantly sick. They only know what had been held true by their sires: that these lands was theirs by rights, but that it had turned traitor to them because of the hands that whispered, tilled, conversed with them. The land was not theirs in the eyes of the Maylupa, who had all the titles and deeds to disprove the claims of the nameless ones. The Maylupa had passed down the knowledge from their ancestors that the nameless ones had cultivated this secret, private language between them and the land. 

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