During the season of spawning catfish, In the labyrinth of Apo Namalyari

A strange fear drew her deeper into the darkness, torch in hand, searching for uncertain shelter. If she died and her child survived, would it remember her, she wondered? If the Kamana destroyed them all, would anyone know they even existed?

The young Aeta found herself in a cavern where Limokun had taught his apprentices how to draw and write. On the walls were pictures of mouse deer, crocodiles, and other animals she had never seen before. Beneath them were lines and squiggles that she took to be sigils of magic. Kaningting stared at the pictures, at the words and symbols she could not comprehend, wishing she knew how to use the red ocher to bind her thoughts to Eternity.

She wanted to leave something for her child — something that would live on beyond her brief flicker of existence.            

In desperation, she dipped a finger into a heap of ground hematite and traced the outline of her hand. “This,” Kaningting  cried out, “represents my love, my hopes and my dreams. This is me, my child. This hand bears everything that I cannot say — that the end is coming and I am very afraid.”                                                               

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