Berbalang

illustration by Ysa Peñas

 

“In the center of the island, strange creatures go about their horrible ways.  You can tell what they are even if they look human, as their pupils are not round like regular folk, but are narrow slits, much like those of felines.  Their eyes also flash as if dancing flames can be seen inside them.

Their main diet consists of the entrails of corpses, not necessarily fresh. I have seen these creatures rip apart the stomach of a fresh corpse and savagely bite and tear through the flesh like ravenous scavengers.

When the supply of corpses is low, that is when these beings are the most dangerous. They will go into the tall grass and fall into a trance, then, their astral bodies fly away. This strange magic is nothing like I’ve ever seen before, even in all of my travels.

These creatures’ astral forms would go into the houses of unsuspecting victims and pounce on them. Gutting their entrails like a newly harvested corpse, satiating their hunger for living flesh.  They can be heard, the sound is like human moaning, it is louder the farther they are from their victim.

I have noticed that lime juice is sprinkled on the newly dead, which I have been told is a ward against the creatures from entering the graves.

I have been warned if I hear the moaning, or see the flickering of their eyes, I must run away with much haste, the alternative would be to fight them off and the only weapon that I have been told is effective is a kris rubbed with lime juice.

This creature is much like the other scavengers of the islands, feasting on the innards of corpses and flying to the side of their victims. I do not know what will happen when I find one in person, though  I hope for the sake of my research, my notes survive.

I do not know why I do this, why I keep putting myself in harm’s way to record these strange beings. I have noted my family’s disapproval of both my methods and my research, but these things have to see the light of day. There must be something to warn the people of the dangers of these islands, even if it may cost me my very soul. “

—- From the notes of Mari Bas

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