“I don’t think… I am going to make it… I would like to pass on the bahandi to you, if you do not mind; I don’t think you will make it out alive without absorbing my powers. But you’ll have to live your life like… a vampire… hehehe.”
“Do I burn under the sun then? Can I still go to church and do I burn when I see the cross?”
“Where do you get this information?” Intoy shook his head in disbelief or maybe it was frustration on my ignorance or insistence, breathing heavily he continued.
“Of course not, but can you live a life like what I described to you, if not, you might get caught and killed without much of a fight. We did a number of them up the hills… I’d appreciate it that you get more of them before you die.”
I stood up and gestured something to him, I had to ponder and think. I didn’t know what to do. My mind was blank, I had to clear it. It was already dark outside, the streets were not lit, and we have this small kerosene lamp with a flint.
It was placed on the floor and away from the windows where no one from the outside could see that a light was lit inside the house. It seemed like an eternity staring at the lamp, there was the sound of someone calling.
“Sunn… sunn… Johnson”
I realized it was Anastacio calling me so I turned to him, “oh me?”
He was beside Intoy now.
“You have to forgive Anastacio, we are used to calling people on the last part of their names, well we tend to give them nicknames, and you can also call him Tacio.”
“I am sorry to disturb you, but we do not have time, the other five have died, and Intoy is also dying… we have discussed this issue and do you have a decision?”
“Hmmm… right now, I am still not sure, I mean; I do not know, I was staring blankly.”
Anastacio pointed out to me, “Sunn you searched for us, now you have found us, because we came for you.”
I was taken aback by what he said, “You know come to think with it, so I am just thinking out loud right now. I did go all the way from the Bicol province and from the Samar HQ.
I did want to find out about you guys, because I thought that you can help me…”
I realized these guys came for me, they should not have come out in the open like that, and if they just stayed where they were the other five would not have died…
“You know what, what the heck, you guys would not be like this if you had not come for me right… So, I guess I owe it to you guys. Okay so let me have it.”
“No, no don’t say it like that…” Anastacio was trying to be modest, of which I admire these folks a lot for their modesty.
“We came because you need our help I presume; we did not expect the Japanese to come here early” I think he meant they did not expect the Japs to come so soon.
“So, shall we do it, how is this done?”
Anastacio looked on to Intoy, who was breathing heavily now and fast, he was burning up and sweating a lot. He touches Intoy to wake him up. “Ready…” I could not quite make up what he said, but I think he meant I was ready.
Intoy woke up, and he put his hand on his mouth. He seemed to regurgitate something. It was a black pebble, and I presume I was going to put it in my mouth, but before I could do so the moment, I clenched my fist to put it in my mouth.
It was already gone.
We had to move fast; I think the Japs understood that we were not there anymore when things just went silent; it took them awhile, to figure it out.
Tasyo had other plans, since we did not want them to burn the house or the town. We had to carry the bodies somewhere back into the woods to bury the dead.
The guys who brought the oil got the oil from the houses of the other wakwaks, so there was more or twice more for each of us now. It was divided into three containers each with a corresponding symbol on them. Tasyo showed me which or what to use. This time he told me to use the oil for flight; each of us took our shirts off and applied the oil under our armpits and arms.
Mr. Lutz interrupts his story and drinks his booze, reminding Steffan the errors of his way, “Oh by the way Steffan; about the oils, you overdid it.”
Steffan felt a bit insulted that he was being corrected.
The house that we were in was on stilts, meaning it has ample space for someone to sit under it. The house’s roof was made of nipa leaves, well typical Filipino rural houses.
Usually the space below was used for the livestock to live in. Two of the guys by then had dug up a shallow grave for the six. They were pretty fast diggers, and they had good initiative without Tasyo ordering them to.
I kind of felt secure with these guys; nevertheless, I had that dreadful feeling that I was going to die. We buried the guys under the house, and hoped that no one would notice it.
It was time for us to run again; I don’t think we can really defeat a battalion size force with just the four of us left, one of which is a rookie wakwak, who does not know a thing about anything.
“Listen Joe,” Tasyo this time calling me Joe, I didn’t know if it was better or worse really, at least it sounded near my name “just follow what I do when we fly, we can see in the dark better than any other human.”
“Okay, got that, it seems a relief that we have that advantage.”
“And now, we hunt the hunters.” When Tasyo said that it was quite eerie, I had the crazy sensation of evil and something else that I could not describe even today.
“We were built for this, we just love war, because we were created for this, and because we can hunt and feed, indiscriminately.” Added Tasyo.
Then I heard the sound “wakwak wak… wak… wakwakwak…”