Friday, June 26, 2015

Short Story: No Ducks Allowed


The sound of thunder echoes throughout the mountains as Tata Manuel struggles to fortify the roof of his house.

"Rodel, get me more ropes!" He yells as his eldest helps him. "Accursed radio! They didn't say anything about incoming storms!" He curses as he struggles to climb the bamboo stairs.

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He wobbles, trying to balance himself with all the ropes he brought. His footing is slightly unstable but it rocks the weak stairs.

He reaches the top tiers when it collapses under his weight. He falls 10 feet onto a pile of firewood. The fall knocks him out and heavily damages his back and limbs.

The next morning he awakes, still dizzy. "Gem ge ge glass waarrr..." He struggles to speak but the fall seems to have damaged his central nervous system.

His wife cries beside him. "Manuel!.. Manuel! Oh Manuel! Where will we get the money to pay for your treatment Manuel!.." She sobs helplessly as she raises the glass of water to his lips. "Even if we sell the farm we won't have enough.... Manuel...what will we do now?"

Her Eight kids cry with her. The eldest sons volunteer to look for money but everywhere they looked, they just could not raise enough money.

News spread of the accident within the barrio when one day... "Knock knock! It's me Bong, let me in.."

"Answer the door marie." The mother says.

" Sylvia, what happened? Kumpare? What has happened to you??"Manuel struggles to speak but to no avail.

By this time he looked dry and helpless. "What will we do Bong? We don't have enough money to take him to the doctor and the nearest one is at least four days on carabao from here?"

Bong sat down in despair for a moment but then looked up with excitement. He holds Manuel's paralyzed leg and says "Kumpare, have you heard of Mang Teryo? Expert albularyo? He is only two days travel from here and he gets better results than any doctor can get you. Plus he is cheap!"

Manuel looks at his kumpare and shakes his head in affirmation. "Well then let us go! You will have your legs back kumpare! You will have your legs back!"

At the back of his mind " Good lord what have I gotten myself into now?" Manuel asks himself.

They take a two day trip on carabao going to the famed albularyo.

Bong looks at his kumpare and says "He moves from place to place and we are lucky that he is in town, he will be leaving again soon."

They reach an isolated place deep in the forest. The smell of incense suffocates the atmosphere and they see long chains of rat bones and small animals tied to the trees.

They see a small hut decorated with animal skulls and feathers fenced off with the long bones of cattle. "Albularyos do not have these in their homes? Are you sure we are in the right place Bong??"

Sylvia asks greatly irritatedly but then a small man with a Belly bigger than most of his body comes out of the hut.

He walks from side to side as if he were a Penguin. He is dressed in simple clothing and noticeably gasps for air from time to time.

"Mang Teryo?" Bong asks.

The figure lowers his eyeglasses and says "Yes".

"Bring the meal..I mean the patient in..".

Manuel's sons look at each other reluctantly but Bong ushers them to do as Mang Teryo says.

Inside the hut, there is a big table with beddings and Mang Teryo tells them to lay Manuel down on a prone position. He then scatters a foul smelling oil and some herbs all over Manuel.

"What is that for?" Rodel asks in a low voice.

"Oil , seasoning and dressing to prepare him for eati...relaxing.." Mang Teryo replies.

He orders the four boys to hold a limb each and stretch Manuel's body. They do as he says and he presses on the back causing it to crackle and he proceeds to push on the back of the neck.

Mang Teryo mumbles a little and then looks angry as he claims to have forgotten some words on the incantation. He grabs a bottle of brandy and gulps it down. He wobbles and approaches Manuel now fiercely reciting words that make no sense.

"He is speaking in latin." Bong tells Sylvia and she only looks on in a disturbed amazement.

"Where is the chicken?! " Mang Teryo yells in drunken rage.

They bring him a chicken and he snaps its neck pouring to blood into Manuel's open mouth. He tells them all to leave him and Manuel alone for the divination ritual which requires they be alone.

They leave and hear Manuel screaming in pain. They cannot see what is happening but Bong reassures them that it is all part of the curing process.

After half an hour or silence Sylvia can take no more and busts the door open to see Mang Teryo feasting on her husband. She screams in horror as the boys enter and restrain Mang Teryo.

His face has changed into a ghoulish figure. He easily overpowers them, when suddenly he is hit by a bag of salt and he falls melting to the ground.

The real Mang Teryo appears looking little different from the monster he had just killed, "That was an evil spirit pretending to be me."

Sylvia cries as she stares at Manuel's bones devoid of flesh.

Mang Teryo then looks at them with pity and offers a 4 percent discount on any future medication they may require him. If they can find him. The real Mang Teryo then walks on into the night leaving the grieving family wishing they had just gone to see the doctor.

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