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Sheryl Anne Sanchez Lugtu
The darkness of the night lurks into the dewy atmosphere of the woods. It was 11 o’ clock in the evening and we are on our way home from the wake of Ka (Sister) Ibyang, a close family friend. We decided to pass by their house in hope to sip a single cup of coffee that they offer to the visitors. This would suffice to cover our hunger since we haven’t sold any of our kalakal (loots) today. I held tightly into the arms of Kuyang (Brother) as the cold wind blew.
He gave me a reassuring look. “Don’t be afraid. The aswang (Philippine Mythical Creature) is not true at all. I’ve been going home late since I started my new part time job. See, I am still alive,” he said as we continued walking.
“But, Kuyang, how can you explain the bodies of teenagers that were found around the Barrio lately. Kapitan (Town Officer) Lukas said that only an aswang could do such a horrible act, ” I argued.
Kuyang stopped walking. He put our kalakal down and faced me. He held my shoulders and looked at my eyes intently.
“Buknoy, do not be afraid of the aswang for they are not your real enemies. Be afraid of an empty stomach for it will eventually kill you even before the aswang could.” I shrugged but did not argue with him at all.
We continued walking. My hands were wet and my heart was beating rapidly. I could sense that I was shaking but I ignored it. The rustling waters indicated that we were near the river bank. On the other side was our small cottage where our sick mother was waiting for us.
We were about to cross the river when we heard a noise. Chills went to my spine as a big shadow approached us. I stepped back, trembling and panting.
“Run as fast as you can, Buknoy. Call Kapitan! Hide and don’t look back,” Kuyang told me. His voice was filled with fear.
I ran as fast as I could in the opposite direction, trying to follow Kuyang‘s instruction.
My whole body was shaking and I could sense that I wet my pants. I stopped.
“Sorry, Kuyang,” I uttered. I cannot fight my curiosity anymore.
Gasping for air, I looked back and saw how the aswang pushed Kuyang to kneel, took the kalakal and pointed a gun into his head.