Philippine Speculative Fiction, v. III: Story # 1

Below is an excerpt from a story by Apol Lejano-Massebieu (What an exceedingly cool name — !!): “Pedro Diyego’s Homecoming.” It’s the first story in Philippine Speculative Fiction III, edited by Dean Alfar and Nikki Alfar :

Pedro Diyego was born with wings on his feet. They grew from the bones in his ankles and spread out in a fan past his heel, plumes of brown flecked with white that made it impossible for him to don footwear.

His mother Mereditha tried to remove the feathers when Pedro was still a child. They were a family of some means, owning a decent-sized tract of land and their own rice mill, so that she didn’t think it was proper to have her only son going around barefoot like the farmers’ children. But how little Pedro shrieked and cried, as with eyebrow tweezers his mother yanked! And he did it for so long and so loudly that the chickens in their wooden coop in the backyard stopped laying eggs for at least a week.

Now perhaps in keeping with popular ideas of fairies and angels, you would expect that a child born with wings be delicate. Then you would be disappointed looking at Pedro. He was what was euphemistically called a big-boned child.

Part of it had to do with genes, as Pedro did have a fair amount of resemblance to his father, a beefy Batangueño; but it has to be admitted that much of the fat that rolled around his belly got there by way of his mouth.

You see, delicate did not also apply to Pedro’s nature. He wasn’t a quiet, introspective kind of child. On the contrary, he had such zest for life! He played rough and tumble. He sang with gusto even if he rarely knew the lyrics and was often out of tune. He laughed in that head-thrown-back, openmouthed manner you only ever see in the very confident.

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