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.
For those who missed it, the second story solicited by Charles was “The Departure” from the wonderful Ms. Marianne Villanueva (who so charmed us last year). An excerpt:
Her husband rolled over on the bed beside her and groaned. “Is Alex up yet?” he asked.
“I don’t think so,” Julietta answered.
“Better get him up, he’s got a long way to drive down the coast.”
Julietta hated it: the few times their son drove north to visit them, her husband always wanted him gone, as early in the day as possible, to “avoid traffic.” She decided she’d make breakfast first. Then she’d wake Alex.
She padded slowly down the stairs in her woolly socks. Why was the sky so — funny looking? Had it always been that way? Shouldn’t she have noticed it before? The houses of her neighbors across the street were shuttered and silent.
Something made her look up, and she thought she saw a giant hand move across the sky. It was just a moment, a glimpse. She shook her head, as if to clear it of cobwebs.