Categories
Fiction

HEXOPUS: The Six-Limbed Lad

Synopsis

It?s the start of summer vacation in the quiet little coastal municipality of Sto. Domingo, and thirteen-year-old Paul Pelegrino, a boy born with six limbs?four arms and two legs?can?t wait to enjoy waking up late and spending afternoons at the beach. His last day of school, unfortunately, is marred by a brawl with the local bully, which then leads to Paul?s puking of an inky black substance. 

Things take an even greater turn for the bizarre when a series of dreams he has involving a mysterious squid-like being of ancient folklore known as a Kamdiri, coincides with a string of murders in which the crime scenes are caked with the same black goo. Paul, under suspicion by the police and rattled by revelations about what he believes are his own out-of-this-world origins, is then compelled to conduct his own investigation into the macabre happenings, and maybe even make sense of his unusual comeuppance.

Blending humor, horror, and folklore, Hexopus: The Six-Limbed Lad marks the beginning of Paul?s coming of age, in a deeply conservative Catholic town still firmly tethered to its precolonial past, and amid a tumultuous time marked by fear, uncertainty, and empowered law enforcement.

Categories
Fiction

Tides of the Sea

For the children and their dreams for a better tomorrow

Once in a beautiful village far from the barrio, hidden in the marshes; where children play under the warm sun, soft sand, by the seawaters. When gentle waves splashed against stones, and mothers dutifully plant seaweeds, and children play swimming, diving with their laughter filling the warm village air.

This village in the marshes had houses with wooden legs soaked deep underwater, old and worn, built out of bamboo and rods. Barely holding through the monsoon storms, as they gently swayed against the blowing wind. The houses are old but they were strong enough to hold together happy families.

Categories
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?? 

Categories
Fiction

Honasan

Atong?s story

On the way to the Honasan, Atong stopped by the pantalan to see his friends. They lined both sides of the stone pier. The pantalan was completed a few years ago, bringing commerce and tourism to the once sleepy town of Hinundayan. It became a pastime among the boys of the town to pass the time at the pier watching visitors arrive and cargo being loaded and unloaded. 

?Have you asked your ?girlfriend? yet to go to the baile with you?? Jerry slapped palms with Atong as he approached. 

?No, not yet,? said Atong. 

Categories
Fiction

Festival of Lights

To grow up in Iponan, is to learn stubborn resistance. Remember the flood? When Iponan river overflowed and buried the barangay in muddied water? After the state of emergency, when families were permitted to leave the musty covered-courts turned evacuation centers, we saw the water lines that stained the walls of our houses. Families swept mud from their homes and onto the street. People scavenged for their belongings. A corpse was found dangling on the boughs of a tree. I found faded and torn family pictures floating on the canals in front of my house. 

Yet, we rebuild. After the flood, I praised my barangay for its resilience. Their assiduous efforts for life to continue as it were. It took months, but any trace of the flood was scrubbed away. I thought it was a blessing. I was eleven years old at the time, and at sixteen, the world went back to normal. Iponan never changed.