Saturday, July 5, 2014


It was past three in the afternoon. An early wind was blowing from the southwest and made the sky a bit gloomy. On the second floor of an old townhouse, a little girl was playing by herself while her mom was sleeping at the couch.  Her doll and some toys were scattered around the floor where she sat waiting for her mom to wake up.

“No! Don’t touch my ice tea! That’s mine okay?” blurted little Alunsina. Then she tapped the floor to her left side and whispered, “Just stay here.” 

Outside, faint drip drop drip could be heard. The month of July had started to get cold as the low pressure area intensified over the Pacific Ocean. Only the acacia tree at the backyard was standing proud amidst the threat of an upcoming storm. On the other hand, the bamboo grasses around it humbly bent their culm towards the ground.

Alunsina picked up a tiny comb and brushed her doll's long ebony hair. "Baby Lala, so pretty.”

The lights began to flicker again and Alunsina got a bit irritated. “I told you to stay here!” she screamed in frustration while pointing at the floor to her left. After a few seconds she stood up and walked towards the door, “Okay, go home now. I don’t wanna play with you anymore.”

Slowly, she opened the screen door, looked at the acacia tree and smiled afterwards. “Ba-bye! Bye!” Then she closed the door while peeping through the screen.

Selena woke up on Alunsina's loud voice. She sat on the couch while she brushed her ash brown hair with her hands. "Al...who are you talking to?"

"JoshMary." Alunsina said blissfully while pointing out behind the door.

"Who?" Selena who was still feeling a bit dizzy, walked towards little Al. She stared behind the door and frowned after a few seconds. "Where?"

Alunsina went back to where her baby doll was, sat at the floor and started playing again. She picked up a mini water jar and pretended to pour some water in a pot made of clay. "I will cook asparagus. You hungry Lala? Oh, baby is hungry!" She took the slotted spoon and stirred the water in the pot.

Selena opened the door and stepped out to the balcony. She shifted her gaze at the enormous acacia tree in the middle of the backyard. Its mossy branches were sticking out like twisted arms towards her. The forest of bamboo which surrounded the tree gave shrieking sounds whenever the wind blew. Selena let out a big sigh and returned to the room.

“I think I’ll make some tea,” she told Al. “Do you need something, baby?”

The five year old girl nodded, “Lala wants some chocolate milk. Would you get her some?”

Selena smiled and went downstairs.

The shrieking of the bamboo grass continued and grew louder every minute. “I can’t hear you, Lala. Too noisy.” Alunsina complained. She turned her head towards the door and suddenly a small light appeared just above her head. Her eyes were fixed at the floating light which started to circle around the room.

Alunsina clapped her hands, “Fireflies!” she shouted and ran after the light. “Come here! Don’t leave me.”

When Selena returned to the bedroom, a sprinkle of fireflies had already filled the air. Little Al had been jumping on the bed trying to catch one. Selena suddenly felt an eerie rush of energy all around the room. Her eyes immediately caught two silhouettes in front of the balcony’s screen door. She had frozen right when the two shadows rapidly took shape.

The time felt like it had stopped forever as she was standing right in front of Al. One of the shadows had gray hair and her cerulean dress touched the carpet. Opaque and pale blue lights were glistening from her left wrist like fireflies. The taller Dryad had a long and green fern-like hair. Her body was like a tree branch covered with vines.

It can’t be! Selena’s mind was panicking while she stood there like ice. How come the Dryads are here? How? She tried to warn Al to run but no words came out of her mouth.

It was cold outside but sweat had started to form on her forehead. Al suddenly stopped from jumping and looked at her with innocent eyes. “Can you see the fireflies mom?”

Suddenly, Selena heard her own heart beat as loud as a bass drum. That was when all her strength came back and with all her might she ran as fast as she can towards Al. Nooo! It wasn't enough. I am too slow..

Just a few steps before she could grab Al’s arms, she saw the Dryad’s eyes turned blue. 

In an instant, a violent blow hit her whole body. There was a loud rumble and she felt an extreme heat of electrical current piercing through the center of her chest. The whole room shook. The paintings fell off the wall and the papers on her desk scattered all over the place. Alunsina was looking at her with eyes now bewildered.

Her body slammed down the wall as her head hit the floor. It felt like all her bones had been broken. In an instant the room became a dark sky full of flickering lights. She heard Alunsina’s terrified scream.

And just before she lost her consciousness, she saw the screen door burst open and a deep roar echoed the whole room. The impact of her fall must have given her vague illusions. She saw the acacia tree moved closer and it had become a nine feet tall shadow. The two Dryads were taken by surprise as the balcony became darker and darker on Selena’s eyes.

Next Episode: Kafir

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