just a little violence
*in case anyone who reads this actually read my previous inkstains entry, the one with Nurian, (which I actually wrote as a one-off, but then I got to thinking " I spose I could do this" and things you think when people say nice things about what you write ), this is the other lead character in the novel which I may or may not write depending on whether I can scrounge up some decent sentences.
It was a dark and stormy night when Sander finally saw.
The wind howled, almost muffling Pilak the Puppy’s pitiful whimpers, but Sander could hear the sound of him yelping between crashes of thunder.
At first Sander thought it was just the weather that had Pilak running around the garden in circles, jerkily trying to shake off something off his fur. Rain? That was strange, Sander thought. Pilak was a Lab, he liked water, splashing in mud puddles every chance he could. Maybe storms were just too different, too scary.
He opened the screen door, and he felt the wind lash at his face, whipping his hair wetly against his face. “Pilak!” he called, squinting against the beating rain. “Come in, boy!” He took a step outside.
Instead of running inside as expected, the dog scrambled away, letting out loud hurt yips. Sander rushed out to follow him, and he saw Pilak fall against the big rock at the end of the garden. He was on the ground, four legs flailing, shaking and whimpering in fear and pain.
Pilak gave out another loud yelp, then whimpered some more. He was in pain, a lot of pain. A loud crash of thunder, a flash of lightning, and Sander saw why.
The lightning outlined little figures gleefully biting and poking tiny swords and lances into his dog’s poor body. He remembered when his grandmother told him to keep Pilak away from the anthill, the supposed fairy mound, the one where Grandma kept leaving the best parts of the meals they had. If they liked you, she said, they would give you riches and good health—white engkantos were good, unlike the black ones who were only evil.
He knew he always kept Pilak away from that mound—his grandparents always warned about the things that happened to people who angered the little ones. A neighbor who died of a lingering disease, after he had been tasked to raze an old mango tree growing over a giant mound. An aunt who disappeared after going near the engkanto mound, that they found three days later with her clothes torn, out of her mind. The neighborhood seamstress, whose business died, and afterwards, her children, then her husband, and finally, the seamstress herself, her heart broken. They said she didn’t believe in them and never left them anything, not even the ginger they loved, that grew in her garden.
But Sander always kept Pilak well away from the anthill—they had no reason to torture him like that. He was just a puppy, a baby dog.
Another flash of lightning, and Sander saw the glint of tiny grinning teeth.
He was angry. They’d done everything to appease these little creatures, given them the best of their harvest, their meals even when there wasn’t enough for the families.
And here they were torturing his poor puppy. These were the white ones. The good ones? Hah.
They needed to be taken down, but nobody dared to fight them before. He figured it wasn't because they were invincible or powerful. Nobody could fight them because no one could see them.
Well, he’d seen them. They were just mean.
And tiny, he thought. Tiny enough for an eight-year old's feet to stomp.
He could see them every time the lightning flashed.
He ran to his dog, swatting away at the creatures he could only see in outline-- pale, shadowy little things of pure meanness. He saw one faintly, falling into the mud behind the roses. Another one had been thrown against the bougainvillaea thorns and was trying to untangle his coat. He swiped at the one biting his dog’s neck, making it bleed, and tried to squash him benath his feet, but the lightning was gone and he couldn’t see it anymore. Others followed, scurrying away. Another sheet of lightning rolled all over the sky, but there were no more of the creatures who were torturing his dog.
He carried the bleeding Pilak inside, covered the shivering dog with his blanket and turned to close the door, then stopped.
Horrible little things, he thought. They hurt too many people. They hurt his neighbors. They hurt some of his friends.
They hurt his dog.
He walked purposefully to the anthill, thinking of all the things his Grandma told him. If he hurt them, even by accident, they would make him sick, sick enough to die. They would hurt his family, and he wouldn’t be able to do a thing because you couldn’t see them to fight.
Unless there was lightning.
There were still five or six months of typhoon season.
There would be lots of lightnng.He walked to the anthill, and knelt. “You know this is war, don’t you?” he whispered. He couldn’t see anyone there, there was no lightning, but he knew they were listening.
Then he stood up and stomped the anthill until there was only flat earth beneath his feet.