Upon her arrival to Dueñas, Iloilo – Tiniente Gimo’s town, she was greeted with enthusiasm. Gimo’s family were very hospitable to her. Maria agreed to share bedroom with Tiniente Gimo’s daughter. At night, Maria was trying to sleep but she couldn’t – we call this namamahay – when your body still adjusts with the new environment.
While trying to sleep, Maria heard noises from the first floor. She heard people entering Gimo’s house. She thought there will be a big party tomorrow. Wanting to see what’s going on she went out and peeked. She saw people sitting in circles, with bolos for cutting woods and knives for chopping vegetables. There were children too. She thought there will be a big party, until she heard one man saying “Atlas, we could taste another human.” All people giggled. “So which one?”, one man asked. “The one with the wrist watch”, replied Tiniente Gimo. “Hit her in the head so she won’t struggle”, he added.
Maria trembled to her feet. She’s the one they are referring too. They are all aswang. They eat human flesh. Her friend was an aswang too. She lured her to her death. Maria is the party. What could she do? They will surely know if she tried to escape. Maria was helpless. She needs to live, she’s afraid to die. She went back to her friend’s room. The daughter was still asleep. Nervous, Maria put her watch to the daughter’s wrist and covered her with blanket. She laid down on the daughter’s side and act asleep. She heard footsteps and the door slowly opened. “The one with the wrist watch”, one man said. Maria tried not to tremble or else that’s her end. Two men walked near Gimo’s daughter. Mistaken as their victim, they hit her in the head. Blood flowed on the floor. They put her in the sack. They giggled. Maria tried not to cry, she was very afraid.
When the men walked out, Maria walked away slowly. When nobody noticed her, she ran. She didn’t care what she passed through. She never looked back, she does not want to. Maria heard someone shouting – it was Tiniente Gimo; It was his daughter and not Maria. She ran again. They already knew. “Find the girl!”, Gimo shouted while beating the men who killed her daughter. A group of people ran to find their prey.
Maria didn’t care what was going on. All she wanted was to reach the main road, to survive. Hoping somebody could help her there. The predators saw her from a distance. Hungry for human flesh they ran toward her. She could see the main road. She could see them running toward her. She ran and ran. No help was visible. She cried. She was helpless.
Then, just when she thought she’s going to die, a help came. I’m pretty sure Maria won’t go back again, ever.