Category: Southeast Asia

The Death of Nong Fred

My writing teacher once advised me: Never write a story in which nothing but bad things happen to the main character. She said it’s a disservice to the reader. However, she also told me to always write the truth. So…

The Nemenzo Brothers (Part II)

(Read Part I here) “Have you asked your Lolo?” Ma’am Gayson said, lighting the candle with a matchstick. “No,” I answered. Ma’am Gayson knelt down and buried the lower end of the candle on the soil, beside a cluster of…

The Nemenzo Brothers (Part I)

The comfort room looked as though it was from another place or time. Its walls were gray, and weeds and trees were growing wildly around it, while the rest of the campus was spruced up. The classrooms were painted rainbow,…

Adulteress

Nita was passing by Miling’s house when the latter called her. “Come over for a moment,” Miling said, waving so frantically that Nita thought the matter must be urgent. She walked to Miling, and Miling met her at the low-rise…

A Quarter Canvas

Borja St., Caritan Sur: The last of the moving van left.  I had spent the morning running around the bungalow that had been home to Harold and me.  I wandered through the house to see if anything precious was left…

Black Rice (Part II)

(Read Part I here) The corn was sold, and the income was not enough to pay for Molong’s debts. However, the financer of the farm, a rich man from the center of the town, offered to buy the farm, horse,…

Black Rice (Part I)

The food was alive, Nonoy was sure of it. The thin slices of meat were wriggling in the frothing red sauce, like souls flung in hell, gnashing their teeth in a lake of fire, condemned forever and ever. The boy…

The Short Sweet Life of Nameless

The childless couple did not name her, first because she was a dog and second because they didn’t own her. Nameless was just a tolerated scavenger, a pitied-upon beggar, an overstaying visitor, but never an adopted pet. All the same,…

Prince Charming

An-an leaned down and pointed the tongs at the croissants. “This one, sir?” she asked the customer on the other side of the glass shelf. “No,” the man in pink shirt said. “The bread on the left.” “This?” An-an asked,…

Going Home

Dr. Tan removed the stethoscope from his ears and let it hang around his neck. “Can I go home, Doc?” Indo asked in a wheezing voice, buttoning up his shirt. “Not yet, Nong Indo,” the young doctor said. “We have…

Monsoon Melodies

“Grand ma, grand ma,” Tina came rushing up the stairs, one stormy evening. Grandma, who stood in the dining hall, setting a table for two, glanced at her and asked gravely. “What is it dear?” “Our cow has just given…

The Wait

Nine days after her husband left for another woman, Elda, after discovering she was pregnant, became worried. She knelt crouching over the chamber pot that morning, retching air, and spewing spit, her stomach contracting as though her innards were being…