Encountering a kapre
I am Sam. I am eight years old and I’m turning nine five months from now. Well, you might be amused that a boy my age can share a story like this. My parents said that I am gifted coz I could count one to one hundred at age three and could enunciate the English alphabet at age three and a half. At age four I could read and I could write my name. I started attending school when I was five and I am in grade five now. I was never one of those who received sashes though when I was in grade one to four.
As a young boy growing in a rural area, I am accustomed to hearing supernatural stories. I have always been fascinated to these kinds especially when my grandma, Inang Baket, starts her story which can hardly be understood because of the tobacco inside her mouth – and I am astounded that the flame is inside, not outside as I usually see among people who smoke. I tried doing the same one time, when everyone was out of the house and I burned my tongue. I was scolded when they found what I did, and it took two weeks for my tongue to get healed.
Amongst all my grandma’s characters – aswang, lamang-lupa, mangkukulam and kapre, I give more interest of the latter. I don’t know why but whenever she starts her story about kapre, I’m all ears. Inang Baket even said that she defeated a kapre one time during the prime of her life with the help of my lolo. The kapre, she said, had been staying overdue to our house and so they sent him away.
My grandma said that kapre are big hideous creatures living in balite trees. They have tobaccos as big as my tiny arms and you’ll notice one if you could smell tobacco smoke under a balite tree. She further said that they do not always appear to human, however, if a kapre is attracted to a girl, he could impregnate her.
One afternoon when I was on my way to my playmates, I spotted my big sister, Jenny, 20 years old, under the balite tree beside our house, as though she was waiting for someone. I often see her with Isko, her boyfriend, sitting under the balite tree. Isko is a good guy. He always has letters for my big sister. He gives the letters to me so I can give it to my big sister. I and my friends often open the letter when Isko is gone. When we read the letter we cheer to laughter when we read the words “I love you” and we start teasing each other and saying, “Uyyy, he loves her” and etc. Sometimes, he also gives food for my sister but the foods do not reach my sister especially when I am hungry in the afternoon. I eat the food with my friends on our way home.
It was a little bit dark when I and my friends were done with our games so I decided to return home. When I was nearing home, I saw my big sister still under the balite tree. She seemed pissed. I continued walking and she followed suit. She walked by my side and started to sob and a moment later, I heard her cry. I panicked!
“Why?” I inquired.
She seemed to not notice me and my panicking question. She started to squeak louder like a pig. Then out of nowhere, I remember Inang Baket’s story about kapre raping girls they desire. My heart started to pound faster and I ran calling for my parents.
“Ate is raped by a kapre! Ate is raped by a kapre,” I hollered when I saw grandma preparing our food.
“What?” she asked and her eyes were bigger than before.
“Big sister was raped by a kapre!” I reiterated.
“Where is she?” Inang Baket was startled and left the food on the floor. I went with her and met my sister.
“What happened?” she asked Jenny, pulling her in the house.
“Isko…” she said.
“Did Isko rape you?” furiously asked my grandma in high pitch.
“What?” bellowed my sister in a surprised voice. “No! Who said I was raped by Isko?” she queried.
“Then who raped you?” insisted my grandma indifferently.
“No one raped me!” stressed my sister. “I have not seen Isko for two days now and he promised to meet me at the balite tree. He has not showed up since yesterday, the reason I am crying,” she explained.
Inang Baket seemed relieved. “Only for that reason you are crying? My God Jenny, you’re old enough. Act like a lady.” Grandma looked at me and pinch my tummy. “You made me panicked, young boy,” she said.
“Grandma, it hurts,” I said. She always pinches me anyway.
“Go and wash your hands and we’re about eating.”
I went as she wished me for and then I remembered the letter Isko gave me for my sister the other day. I searched for it from my backpack and handed it to my sister. She opened the letter and I was scolded for handing the letter just only that time. It was explained in the letter why Isko was not able to meet my sister – he had gone to one of his aunties.
It was five days after that event when one thing happened in my life that I may never forget for the rest of my life. I am the bravest amongst the kids in the neighborhood. I fear no one even kapre (except my dad). I always stand on my ground even if my enemy is bigger than me. I am no subject to bullying, and for that reason, I am the friend of the weak.
We were sleeping that time. Our house is not big – it’s all but one big sala; a square if you may call it that way. Where we eat is the same place where we play and sleep. When we sleep we all lie down on the floor. The weather was a lot hotter that night and although I was used to sleeping with everyone around me, smelling all sorts of smells and withstanding the hot temperature, it was different that night. The arid temperature was cooking me alive. I was bathing with my own sweat. Everyone was sleeping when I decided to go out. I fear no one, remember, even in the darkest of night, I fear none. So I went out of the house and went under the balite tree. It was cool under the balite tree. The hotness I felt inside the house was the complete opposite I felt under the balite tree. It was so refreshing! But then, I was reminded that ghosts usually love cool places but I pushed the thought away. I decided to lie under the balite tree to feel cool.
It was not long since I had my eyes closed when I heard an odd sound. “Psssstttt,” was the sound I heard. I opened my eyes and sat. I tilted my head left to right and searched the origin of the sound but there was no one around. I went back to lying on my back with my eyes looking up the balite tree when suddenly I saw a cigarette lit up the tree. I felt like my throat dried up so instance and every hair on my body stood. My grandma’s stories started to flow freely from my mind and I imagined the worst thing that might happen to me.
“Sam,” said the voice up the tree. I could hear my heart beat, and it was going so fast.
I was so scared to death. If only I was facing a mirror, I could say my eyes turned white out of fear. I stood up, ran to our house crying, “Kapre! Kapre! Kapre!”
Everyone was awoken by my shouting and my crying. My grandma embraced me when she saw me, patted my back and said, “Shhhhhh. Enough. Don’t cry,” trying to calm me down.
She asked me what happened and I told her I saw a Kapre in the balite tree. I was still explaining what I saw when my brother came in with a lighted cigarette on his hand. He was laughing so hard, and suddenly everybody started laughing.
Until now, I do not understand why the sudden change of mood when my big brother came in. #