In The Spirit World - Chapter 2
The Portal is Burned
When Agawe reached the balete tree, it was a towering inferno. He saw tongues of fire lapping up the branches and the leaves, and sending flames upward. It was a scary site and Agawe was transfixed. Then he saw a branch falling down right where the raging Gayon was. He rushed and pulled Gayon in time to escape the fiery branch.
All of a sudden, the sky turned gray and Agawe heard a deafening thunder. Lightning struck an adjacent tree and it fell to the ground burning.
Agawe stood frozen as rain began to pour. He couldn’t take his eyes off the blazing balete tree which continued to burn even when rain poured heavily, dousing the nearby fire caused by lightning.
“Agawe! Let’s get Gayon home!” Ayong yelled through the rain.
Agawe turned and saw Gayon kneeling on the mud, crying and screaming, “Addalinnn… Addaliinnnn!!!”
Gayon was shaking as Agawe and Ayong pulled him away. They were all soaking wet when they got home.
With thick blankets over them, Agawe, Gayon, and Ayong sipped hot tea, a concoction that Apo Abet brewed for them. “This will keep you from getting sick, you foolish boys! What were you thinking staying in the rain and soaking yourself to the bone?”
The thunderstorm lasted until mid-afternoon. Nobody wanted to talk about what happened. Early that night, the elders of the neighboring villages were back.
“Gayon, what you did was very foolish,” Erran admonished. “You have put us in grave danger. We have now offended the spirits!”
Gayon sat in silence.
Another elder said, “Burning that tree means closing the portal and there is no way our young girls can come back! And now we have declared war against the spirits… it is not wise to offend them!”
“It’s easy for you to judge me! Let’s hear you say that if you lose someone to these spirits!” Gayon challenged.
The old man answered calmly, “The young girl who first disappeared is my granddaughter.”
Gayon stared at the elder, clenched his jaw and left without a word.
“Apo,” Agawe addressed the elders, “What should we do now? What will happen to the girls now?”
No one could offer an answer.
“Do you think we have offended the spirits, Apo?” Agawe pursued the issue.
“The thunderstorm and the lightning and the dark skies were unnatural, Agawe. I would say that we have incurred the wrath of the spirits. All because of Gayon’s rash actions! And all of us are going to suffer… we are all in danger!” Erran declared.
That night, Gayon did not come back home. The next day was spent searching for Gayon. His parents, Ubo and Maeng, were distraught.
“You think the evil spirits took Gayon, Apo?” Agawe asked Apo Abet when he found her alone outside.
Apo Abet motioned him to sit next to her in the bamboo bench.
The old woman sighed, “Gayon offended the spirits and these bad spirits punish by death…” Apo Abet said grimly.
Apo Abet was a strong woman but Agawe noticed she struggled to control her tears. His heart went out to her.
“Apo… whatever happened to Gayon, I will find him. I promise you I will find him.”
Agawe did not know why he made that promise or how he was going to do it. One thing he was sure of, he was going to risk his life to find Gayon for Apo Abet.
“Salamat, Apo…” the old woman thanked him. “If there is anyone who can find Gayon, it is you... I believe you are favored by the anitos because the purple stone found its way into you…”
“Apo… you think the purple stone can help me find Gayon?”
“I have no doubt Agawe! That monster was sent to take it from you which means there are forces who want to own that stone… because it is powerful.”
The Purple Pendant
“Maybe you should not wear that on your neck. It attracts monsters! Now I regret wiring the stone to become a pendant… let me unwire that ….”
“Inna…” Agawe interrupted Madallay, “I like wearing this necklace. Ayong and Gayon loved it.”
“It looks good on you…” his mother suppressed a smile.
“You know what those two said? I have this purple stone but they have something better… Ayong has his wife and son while Gayon has Addalin…”
“Your time will come, Agawe… you will find a girl suited for you…” Madallay assured him.
Suddenly, a frantic Lungkayan burst into the room, “Is it true, Agawe? Gayon burned the balete tree and now he disappeared?”
Agawe’s heart sank. He did not want to tell his Inna Madallay until they found him.
“What? Gayon disappeared? Why? How?” Madallay asked and Agawe heard the panic in her voice.
“Inna… I am going back to their village and we will continue to search for him. I just came back to get more men.”
“Manama… what happened to him?” she sobbed.
Agawe felt a tug in his heart to see his mother cry for Gayon but he consoled himself that Gayon had been with her for seventeen years whereas he had only been her son for two years.
“Inna… don’t worry, I will find Gayon… for you and for Apo Abet!”
Madallay looked at Agawe and her tears fell. “Agawe, I am sorry. It’s just that Gayon is helpless against the bad spirits.” She wiped her tears. “But you… you can find Gayon… you can save him!”
“I don’t know how, Inna but I will find him!” Agawe said decisively. I have to go back to Tiyo Ubo and join the search again. Ayong will be here any moment…”
Madallay started to say something but stopped when Ayong’s voice came yelling from outside, “Agawe! Agawe!”
Agawe hurried off. Ayong had his wife Ingan and their son with him. “I don’t want to leave them alone… can they stay here?”
Lungkayan came running, “Eh… why not? Come up here, Ingan! Madallay! Madallay! Your grandson is here!”
“Where is my apô?” Madallay came running out.
Madallay looked happy but Agawe could see the grief in her eyes. He said goodbye and promised, ““Inna… I am not coming back without Gayon.”
Read Chapter 3
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