A Little Girl’s Gripping and Magical Story – 21


A little girl's gripping and magical story. Baykoy Series.
Literary Fiction/Epistolary/Drama/Fantasy

A little girl's gripping and magical story. Baykoy series.

Baykoy and The Only Something

This is a gripping and magical tale of a little Filipino girl who goes by an endearing nickname, Baykoy.

The story is narrated through the heart-convulsing letters of a woman to her niece, detailing her extraordinary childhood experiences.

Written by

J.J. Ireneo


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The Dare to Die – Part Three


Part Three

Age: Six years old.

Year: 1985.

— indomitable —


Dear Sage,

Grandpa and I headed back to school.

I was humming the baykoy song all the way through.

Alarming fears were inhabited in his silence.

Silence. I was dreading it now.

Silence. Ah. The knowing clock. The wall clock that made its prestige known.

Silence. The end. Death. The end of all that thwarted my innocent bliss away.

Kidlat and Kuwago understood silence, too. Good boys.

Grandma staggered upon seeing me. Just another kid around. Bouncy, happy. Singing the baykoy song. My baykoy song. My happy song.

Even the kids were dumbfounded.

I could care less.

The good heart. My good heart. Gone. Dead.

All that was left was the baykoy song. Though I just couldn’t wait to hold the shiny pencils anymore. They must be sharp. So sharp.

I sat at grandma’s desk and opened the new story book that I had just started reading a while ago.

Grandma and grandpa were still outside, murmuring to each other. Their alarming fears had just been stretched to a world-wide catastrophe.

The kids would swerve their heads to me. With a concerned look.

“What are you looking at?” I snarled at them. “I’m reading! I’m happy!”

Grandma and grandpa overheard my outburst.

They hustled inside.

Grandpa snagged my school bag along the way, then inspected its contents.

“I need the shiny pencils,” I told him.

“No sharp objects for you for a while,” he replied.

“But I wanna write!” I yelped.

“You will write beside me and grandma from now on,” he insisted.

“But I’m writing a very important letter, and it’s supposed to be top secret!” I cried.

“You will write beside me and grandma from now on,” he repeated. “Come.”

“But I wanna write now!” I wailed.

All eyes were on me again.

I had turned myself into a disturbing spectacle. The master of it now. Commanding the day.

“You will write in my classroom,” grandpa said, holding my hand.

“I wanna write at home! And I just wanna be left alone!” I screamed.

Grandma wiped my tears away with her fingers. “We’ll do it later, okay?” she softly said.

I believed it. So I was back to my best behavior again. “Okay.”

Jesus, Mary, Joseph,” grandma muttered in shock.

The alarming fears! Oh, they just wouldn’t know what was hidden in my mind.

What was hidden in my mind was a big mystery to me as well. I didn’t know what it was. The mood shifts. The snatch aways. I couldn’t tell what was making me do it. All I knew for sure…

All I knew… for sure…

I was sad. Deeply sad. And there was no way out except…

Hurting myself.

Hurting myself to die.

Now that grandma and grandpa were aware… of something… it would be quite hard for me to accomplish one touch-and-go.

And it would only take…

… one touch-and-go!

Never give in to a mystery hidden in your mind.

Just recognize one powerful emotion around it.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

Grandma and grandpa were beat by the end of the day. Headaches mixed with alarming fears.

I had to sit in the kitchen to write as they made supper.

They hardly talked. They wouldn’t even look at each other. They shrouded me with their troubled consciousness.

I was writing another letter to Angeline. With a dull shiny pencil.

It was now threatening its course into another disturbing spectacle.

Even worse, at home.

I just didn’t like how its writing appeared across the page. Smudged and bulgy. Well, it was how I’d see it. Ugly and uninspirational, too.

It drove me insane.

For Angeline

This dull shiny pencil wasn’t meant to write the letter after all.

So I poked my arm with its dull lead. And… to my surprise… I was numb to it.

Whoa. Magic. I was invincible. I wasn’t just another kid around anymore.

I did it again. Nothing.

Again. With all my energy put into action this time. There was a little bit of sting, all right.

Still not satisfied… I…

Baykoy!” Grandpa caught me. “What are you doing?”

They sprung over, and…

Grandma gasped in shock! “My god!”

Grandpa yanked the pencil off my hand, horrified.

I was looking up at them, wondering why…

“Look what you’ve done to yourself!” he blurted.

Blood was spurting out of a wound in my arm. Not much, really. But still! Panic plagued our home.

Once again.

“I swear, I don’t feel anything at all!” I said.

They treated my wound with herbal leaves. And I sat there, watching them in distress. Without an emotion to share.

“What are those?” I asked.

“Guava leaves,” grandma replied.

“Do they work like magic?” I giggled.

They looked at me, stunned. “You’ve just hurt yourself!” grandpa said, raising his voice.

It shook me a little. “I’ve told you, I don’t feel anything. It doesn’t hurt.”

“And that’s not good!” he replied.

My mind flew back into the writing strain. “You gave me a dull shiny pencil,” I murmured.

“And you’re not having any pencils anymore,” he said. “You’re laying off on writing for a while. No writing… No writing…”

Silence. Numbness.

I was numb to pain. Any pain.

I was numb to their pain. Any of their pains.

I was hurting myself. I was hurting them.

Good. Because there was no point of me being alive anymore. No point.

They were all gone. Out of my life.

Jiji. Angeline. Reynan.

Your mother. Your grandparents.

No kid would want to make friends with me.

Your great grandparents were as loving as they could ever be.

But!

It wasn’t enough. For some reason, it just wasn’t enough.

I didn’t deserve to be here. I didn’t deserve to be alive.

I didn’t even deserve to be born to begin with.

Who else would want me? Who else would hold my hand?

I was just another kid around. I was just as important.

Was I? Was I?

Never.

Acceptance meant a kill.

Acceptance. Meant. A. Kill.

Love given by a loved one will always be enough.

Don’t look somewhere else anymore.

As it will just find you. By itself.

One day soon.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

Writing was banned. All sharp objects were banned. Even washing dishes was banned. Life was ending for me. Or was I ending it myself?

I was on a vigilant watch. Like on a full moon.

My open wound was not bleeding anymore. In theory, it should sting, at least. But I was still on a numb hook.

Grandma and grandpa would keep on asking me, “What do you feel?”

I would respond with, “Nothing.”

And nothing meant alarming fears toggling up.

After supper, they were giving each other cautious signals, with rhythmic nods, or… “Okay… Should we?… Alright… Maybe we should wait… Okay…”

Until they sat me down on the front porch.

For a serious talk.

Would the kids’ folks also do this? Would the kids also have to go through some serious talks once needed? Or were they just nice and polite… with all the good heart to share?

“Tonight is the first night of Angeline’s wake,” grandpa said. “Now it’s important for us to go because… One, Angeline would really appreciate it… Two, grandma was a huge part of her life, and she means a great deal to grandma as well.. And three… it would make her happy to see you there… So… we were wondering if… you’d be okay with that.”

And the thought of Angeline resting in a casket was crushing my heart.

I sat still. In silence. Rousing with a realization. As I let go of my tears.

My good friend. A lasting friendship. A day full of beautiful memories. Right there. Now resting in a casket.

“No,” I replied.

Grandma sighed. “I’ll go alone.”

“No!” I cried. “No! No! No! No! No!”

I let go of it all. Grief. Oh, I abhorred it.

How could I ever strangle it all out of me?

Grandpa carried me to bed. Again, their strength always marveled me.

The kids were right. I was so little, so tiny, so fragile. I was so light.

Grandma grabbed a book, and snuggled me. “Stop crying now,” she said. “Let’s read a story together.”

“What’s it about?” I asked, sobbing.

“It’s about…” she said. “… it’s about…”

“Let her finish reading the story of the little boy who was carrying the sharpest pencil instead,” grandpa suggested.

“Tell her then,” grandma replied. “Tell her the story yourself.”

Grandpa sat on the bed, facing me. “This isn’t just another Buntatae story, I’ve gotta tell you that.”

I couldn’t wait.

Though I knew what they were doing. It was a different kind of a snatch-away moment.

But I needed it.

As the vivid image of Angeline resting in a casket was now stuck in my head.

Along with Jiji’s peaceful and pale face.

And then…

… there was mine.

How could it ever play in my mind?

A crushed heart needs a new story.

To make it full again.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

This was the story of a little boy who always carried around the sharpest pencil and a notebook:

He loved to record every fascinating thing that he would find. He would write it down in absolute graphic details, and it wouldn’t matter how ghastly it might be. He was clever and keen that way.

Each time he would encounter intruders on his journeys, he would scare them away by telling them about what he had recently recorded. He would tell them the way that he wrote it. In absolute graphic details.

He didn’t want to be bothered. He would take his own time. He didn’t make friends either. He would devote his life to what he found to be the most interesting thing to do, accompanied by the sharpest pencil and a notebook.

Once the pencil would turn dull, he would end his journey to go home.

One day, he came across a young lad who was hunting for a werebeast. He said the werebeast had killed his friend. He was angry and sad, and he wouldn’t go home until he had fulfilled his mission.

The little boy laughed. “There is no werebeast. There is no monster. Aswang doesn’t exist.”

“Impossible,” the young lad replied. “His parents said he went into the woods where he met someone who warned him about werebeasts, monsters and aswangs. Then he got really sick, and said that a werebeast was after him. Then one night, he died. So now… I’m here to kill the werebeast that took my friend’s life.”

The little boy realized what he had done.

To him, a spider was a ginormous creature that would suffocate its prey to death. A stray dog was a macabre werebeast that would eat humans alive. A bat was a viscera sucker that would kidnap wandering kids.

It was how he would record all the fascinating things he would find.

Then he would use it to scare all his intruders away.

It didn’t occur to him that his prodigious and wide imagination would have fatal consequences. Especially to the frightened minds.

The little boy handed his sharpest pencil to his encounter. “I am the werebeast,” he said. “You have the right to kill me. You can kill me with my sharpest pencil.”

The young lad didn’t believe him. “I think you need to go home now. It’s late. If you’re scared, I’ll walk you.”

The little boy told him everything. His writings, how he saw the world around him through his mind’s eyes, and his journeys.

The young lad understood. He took it all in. He got mad, and it made him cry. Then he said, “Yes. You really are the werebeast.”

Did the little boy get home? Only the young lad knew.

The young lad held the truth. He held the sharpest pencil in his hand.

You have the sharpest pencil.

Use it to kill the werebeasts —

— that torture the frightened minds.

The only something.

— Indomitable —


Dear Sage,

The cliffhanger was torturing my mind.

“Grandpa,” I said, “what happened to the little boy?”

“I don’t know,” he replied. “Only the young lad knew.”

“But you wrote the story,” I insisted. “How could you not know?”

“The young lad made me write the story,” he said. “The little boy didn’t want me to.”

“When you get older,” grandma butted in, “you’d understand.”

As I wrote this, I had come to understand.

As you’re reading it, I hope you would come to understand a little something about the world.

The snatch-away moment with your great grandparents worked somehow. Grief was still growling around, though I was calmer now than I ever was.

The image of Angeline resting in a casket would still penetrate my mind.

Along with Jiji’s peaceful and pale face.

Sitting in the funeral van next to a casket of a two-year-old spirit would haunt me for the rest of my life. And sure enough, it still haunts me to this day.

Then I thought of Angeline’s letter. What was written in it?

I didn’t have the heart to read it yet. Like I said, I had to allow time to heal me first.

Heal. Would I be fully healed? Would my good heart ever be ready?

Why was my mind always busy? I would hear it all the time. It would keep on presenting me with thoughts, information and emotions that were too much for a little girl to bear.

It must be the books and stories. It must be the words that grandma and grandpa would feed me with. It must be the family laws I grew up upholding.

Then I thought of grandpa’s story.

As a six-year-old, I decided to come up with an ending myself.

Its truest ending. Rendering asunder out of a little girl’s imagination.

The young lad taught the little boy a lesson.

He took him home. On one condition.

The little boy wouldn’t write anymore. He wasn’t allowed to talk to anybody either. Not even to his family.

The young lad also warned the entire town of the little boy’s mischief.

Now the little boy wouldn’t be bothered by intruders at all. Not a heart and soul would ever care for him.

No matter what.

The little boy would get what he wanted. To be left alone.

Only this time, his prodigious and wide imagination had also left him alone.

Out of guilt.

And the young lad would write about his revenge. How the sharpest pencil had avenged the loss of his only friend.

I couldn’t wait to tell Angeline about it.

But I couldn’t write yet.

My wound claimed its prestige. I thought only the wall clock could have it.

Stingstingsting

I was feeling it now. How could that be?

Another life mystery.

You will always have the right to end a story.

The story that wounds and stings your heart.

The only something.

— Indomitable —