League of Human Researchers Official Journal, Entry #27, Day 2 of the Age of Wyrms, by Thanakros Zyus
They literally came from the skies. One might think of me as stating the obvious with that, but what I exactly mean by saying that is that they are definitely not of this world.
Now, our human race is no stranger to the wonders of creation, and in fact, we may have gotten quite used to the surprises of the unknown. Too many times have we seen magic that can freeze seas, burn the skies, or conjure new life. We have seen beasts evolve into beings wiser and smarter than ourselves. We have also seen humans mutate into mindless demons. We have seen angels descend from the skies, and witnessed devils emerge from the ground. And it has all been recorded by this proud lineage of researchers.
We continue to ensure this tradition of recording and transcribing is passed on from generation to generation. Every researcher, as part of their sworn oath, must choose a successor from their own family, whether it be a son, a daughter, a nephew, or a niece. They may pass it on to a sibling, or to a wife, anybody really, as long as they carry the researcher’s blood. As we all know, storytelling is magic in itself.
But this story I am telling may take a dark turn, soon.
Keith Sicat is an independent filmmaker and creator of the comic book “OFW: Outerspace Filipino Workers”. His films have screened internationally, including venues such as the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC. Notable works include award-winners “Rigodon”, “Woman of the Ruins”, and “Alimuom”. Also working in animation, he was the script consultant for the first 3D CG animated feature in the Philippines “RPG: Metanoia” and helped develop the first Japanese-Filipino anime co-production “Barangay 143” with TV Asahi that is on NETFLIX. He is currently serving as the Head of Membership of the Directors’ Guild in the Philippines, Inc. (DGPI).
Illustration credits: Layout: Keith Sicat; Line Art: Ydunn Lopez; Colors: Jose Abantao, Jr.
Slender, spider-like fingers clutch at Ewa’s trembling womb. The musty odor of fright mingles with the salty aggression whirling about her, forcing her to take rapid sips of air. Scanning the snarling mouths of these women camouflaged beneath a layer of dried purple mud and chalky white warpaint, Ewa looks for any sign of her companion in this cavernous dome of leather hide, but he is nowhere to be found. It is only she in the sea of the savage faces of her captors.
The drumming in her chest muffles all the other sounds she tries to focus on. The tall one standing over her hides her eyes behind the spade-like skull of one of the endemic beasts of this world, her full lips and long, sinewy form suggests an other-worldly beauty. The bone mask covering her face resembles an infant version of the massive beast that attacked Ewa and her surviving crewmates after the crash many moons ago– this skyscraper-sized monster that emerged from the ground swallowing their ruined ship as it rose to the sky. The bulk of its body blended serpent and whale lined with an armored hide revealing pustules on its flanks that would inflate granting the beast flight, its thousand tendril-tongue working in unison to ensnare its prey before guiding it into the maw between its bifurcated mandible. It is this world’s version of a bakunawa, the mythological dragon that swallows the moon.
M. A. Del Rosario, the author of the first story in PGS 2023, “CAÑAO”, is a dreamer and a storyteller. He is also a published author of short stories and graphic novels, both locally and in the U.S. He likes to make up and draw his stories. He is an advocate of reading. He tells people to go to libraries and bookshops. He lives with his family in a quiet subdivision where fireflies still exist, and where cats question the existence of men. Sometimes he talks to gods lost at sea. He still believes that magic is real. You can visit him at www.paperdrawing.com, and here he is for now generously answering some questions.