Kapre: A Love Story

This is the tale of Kapre, who lived in ancient trees tangled in shadow. Massive, stubbed fingers the color of faded coffee, scrabbling at tree trunk and bark for sustenance. Irises the color of twin moons, mouth the redness of withered santan. He shinnied up mountains in the heat of day, made nests of dried bones and rain at night. He could see himself in the twisted gnarl of branches, found comfort in the rigidness of bamboo. Nestled in the thickness of wood, Kapre could pretend friendship with plants and soil. Birds found homes within the snarls of his beard. Bees sought honey in the yellows of his eyes.

The House

And if anything else moves within; if anything else steps into the lonely rooms and disturbs the layers of dust that sweep the bare floors and decorate the empty mantelpiece; if anything runs light fingers across the wooden bed frames and touch the rotting mattresses without hands; if anything else knows memory in that strange, abandoned manor, it keeps its counsel in the shadows while the sun shines through the broken windows. The world outside is not its to take, and so it retreats; grateful for the darkness, but at times curious of the light. 

Juan Perez's Corpse

In time, the procession was over. Family and friends filed past the unhappy widow, offering condolences. The cemetery emptied, and underneath the freshly covered grave Juan reposed, ostensibly to continue his journey into the afterlife. 

At exactly 7:00 am at the Perez household, on a bright Wednesday morning, as he always did on a weekday, Juan Perez came down to breakfast.


Gary was still having some trouble attaching the nose to his face. I wasn’t sure if offering to get him some Mighty Bond was a polite or rude thing to do, but after a minute or so of pressing it against the hole under his eyes, Gary slowly took his hand away, and the nose remained in place. I breathed a sigh of relief, and watched as Gary began to pick at his plate. Mother made sure that none of the meat she served him was bloody enough to make a big mess, but I could smell how raw it was even from where I sat.