(An attempt to short story making)
It is almost 5 o’clock in the morning. Elena lazily stretches on top of a cardboard at what seem to be a nook for street children her age. Her stomach is literally growling spared last night by the scanty meal she and her friends call as batchoy. She must get up and look for food. Her little brother will be up soon and cry at the top of his voice. She could not stand the noise. She had had enough of the noise of the street’s vehicles and people that go back and forth along this corner of the street that she calls their home.
Not faraway is the market where she can look for food and skim the garbage cans and baskets. Not faraway, too, is Jollibee, the fast food house across the market, one of the branches that serves 24-hours. If she will be lucky enough, she could ask for the excess from the fast food customers before the service crews clean the table. If she will be lucky enough…
Now limping and shaking from the cold weather, she hastily walks towards her destination. It had been 5 years already that she was scouring this metropolis for food everyday. Her mother left her and her brother in that corner of the pawnshop when she was barely 7 years old, and her brother, 5.
She eyes one customer inside the fast food house. He is almost done – a dark, burly man with red eyes that swell with his thick murky lips. He looks like a monster but the gnawing hunger inside her stomach overpowers the fright she felt the first time she saw the man. Diffident, she plunges into the fast food house as she would on a plate of food, and approaches the man from behind. The man is startled by the cold touch on his arm. “Sir, please let me have the excess food… I am so hungry.” Irked by the sudden break off from his thoughts, the man suddenly turns to see who is it that dared approach him. Then he sees a frail-looking girl, wide-eyed, shaking now more from the cold of the air conditioning system.
“What do you want?” asked the grouchy man. “Sir, please let me have your excess… I am so hungry.” The man glares at Elena with eyes like that of a crocodile – red and voracious – and examines her from head to toe, from toe to head. Before I forget to tell you, Elena, behind the dirt and grime and the puny appearance, is a lovely girl, borne by a mother from an American customer. Elena’s mother was a pick-up girl. Of course, the poor little girl does not know anything about all this. Then suddenly the grouch turns into like a kind man and modified his voice to soft. He emotes in front of the little girl as if to ward off any suspicion that could arise from the little girl. Beaming, “Of course, my darling. You can have it all. I could also buy more.” Awed by the possibility of more food for the day and for her brother, too, Elena agrees that the man would buy more food for her.
“On one condition…,” said the man deviously. “Yes, sir, what is it?” asked Elena, still gripped with the little joy eating fresh Jollibee food after a long time. She could not remember anymore when’s the last time she have eaten fresh Jollibee food. It was like eons ago – by the kindheartedness of an old woman that was all she could remember. “You will accompany me to a place.” “Huh? Where?” asked Elena, wide-eyed. “I will tell you later, just finish your food.” “But… I have to bring food to my brother down that corner,” Elena points her finger towards the location.
“Okay, I will let you go to your brother but you have to be back. I will buy more food for the two of you.” Elena runs fast to where his brother is with the food from Jollibee. She wakes him up and tells him about the food someone gave her. Uninterested who the benefactor is, the brother starts nibbling the food. He drowses but he is hungry at the same time. “I will be away for a few minutes. Don’t leave this place or you will get lost.” “Where are you going?” “I don’t know, I have to accompany that man to a place, he told me.” “But…” “Shhh… finish your food. I will be back.” Then she gets herself ready to go, taking with her a filthy bag, and put on a pair of worn-out sneakers, from the garbage, of course.
“Let’s go, sir,” Elena told the burly man who has patiently waited. “That’s my good girl!” grinning with his yellowish set of teeth, marked by nicotine not brushed off regularly. He has now placed a hand on Elena’s shoulder, confident that he had won the little girl’s trust. Elena did not mind the burly man’s hand, thinking that this man must have been godsend. But under her subconscious lies this feeling that there is something wrong – again.
The man is a driver of a taxicab. He let her sit in front beside the driver’s seat. While he was driving, he starts glaring at the little girl again, from head to toe, from toe to head. Elena is wearing a one-piece dress, which is up to her knees. It is a shabby dress that looks more like a rag than clothing. The burly man grins again and bears with the whole appearance. There is something playing along in his mind. Then the taxicab stops in front of a building. From last night, the building must have been adored with glimmering lights, Elena thought. There are little bulbs that decorate the outside of the building. There are huge symbols that Elena cannot identify because she had not tasted school or any form of education. This must be a lively place at night, once again she thought, just like the other buildings beside the pawnshop whose corner was their home.
When they board off, the man grips Elena’s arm. “Where are we going, sir?” “Be silent.” The burly man replied, now with a hint of irritation. When they reach the counter, to which Elena thought resembled that of the counter of Jollibee where people pay for their food, because of the cash register on top of a seemingly high and elevated table, the man said, “The same room.” “Wow, pare, that’s a new catch!” Elena overheard the other man from behind the cash register. Though gripped now with terror for reasons she could not understand, Elena holds on to her grimy bag, which is strapped across her body. Then she is somewhat dragged along upstairs while the man was holding her by the arm.
A room opens with the key that was handed over to the burly man. It is a small room, dimly lit but a better place for Elena to sleep, again she thought. “Take a bath!” ”Sir?” “You heard me, take a bath!” “Why???” Elena cried in protest. The burly man now indignant at the growing confusion he sees in the little girl’s face moves closer to Elena and hisses, “We are going to play!” Elena now filled with much, much terror, and with tears falling down her angelic face, “I want to go now…” The man emotes again into his kindly tone, ”Don’t you worry, darling. We are going to play. This will be light and easy.” Then he starts holding Elena’s face, then her lips. “No!” cries Elena sheepishly. The burly man laughs evilly and moves closer. His hands begin to roam the innocent girl’s body.
On the spur of the moment, as if everything is unbelievable, the burly man falls to the floor, bellowing from pain, holding his belly. Elena stands nearby, tears rolling down her face but smiling broadly, and approaches. “No!” the man shouted, “Go away!” “Don’t you worry, Sir. We are going to play. Thi
s will be light and easy.”
A week passed. For days, the headline news speaks of a man, dark-complexioned, sprawled on the floor of a cheap motel, bathed in his own blood. Multiple stab wounds, deeper than they were long, were found on the body. The one aimed at his heart caused his death.
Elena gawks at the blackness of the night. There are no stars above but it somehow gives her a sense of peace. “Ate, what are you staring at?” asked her little brother. “The black sky. It always turns black every time an evil monster vanishes from this earth.” “Monster? Another monster, ate?” “Yes, the eighth monster is dead, Toto. He went away light and easy.” “Who killed him this time?” “An angel who is tasked to protect you and me.”