Saturday 18 June 2022

'Manananggal' by Sylvia Santiago

She has perfected the art of coming apart, splitting herself from herself. Night falls and hunger claws her belly from the inside out. Scapulae shift and willing flesh parts; her wings muscle free. A snap of the wings and a twist of the waist. She is undone.

Legs left bedside, the better part of her glides through the open window. Soaring into darkness, seeking those that slumber. She feasts on hearts ripe with love and rancid with hate; tender lungs gently scented with breath; the bitterness of livers.

Sino siya? A living woman halved, a magician’s wet dream? Ano siya? A nightmare? No. A woman tearing herself apart in order to live is nothing new.

First published in Uncanny Magazine, Issue 31, November/December 2019.

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