#StrangeLit: Darkest Dreams
This is what happens you allow yourself to unlock your dreams: You may just find the darkness that lurks there. Explore the tragic, the romantic, and the comedic side of our darkness in these stories:
Majesty by Jay E. Tria
Dare to Dream by Madelyn Tuviera
Lagablab (or How L Came to Be a Warrior-Magician) by Myra Mortega
Sojourn by C.J. Edmunds
Trade by D.A.
Bayani by Motzie Dapul
When It Rains In Mystic River by Therese Barleta
In My Dreams by Yeyet Soriano
I Melt by Chen Cabaluna
Gamechanger by Mikael Javellana
#StrangeLit was a writing class held in 2015. For five weeks, participating authors wrote paranormal/fantasy stories, and this ebook bundle is a collection of work produced during the class. Read more #StrangeLit stories in the anthologies INCREDIBLE TRUTHS, FATEFUL TURNS, and KILLER SEASONS.
A novella by Jay E. Tria
What would you do if the ghost of someone you loved appeared in front of you?
Majesty is a beautiful ghost, with her hair of fire and eyes gray like smoke. That was Andy Fey’s first thought when the ghost of her best friend Majesty Hall appeared in her bedroom, only two months since her death. Majesty doesn’t know why she’s there, why only Andy can see her.
Andy wasn’t sure if she could tell Gale, that boy who claims that he and Majesty were in love. Funny, sarcastic, and a self-proclaimed serial heartbreaker, Gale is proving to be a good friend in grief, though his trail of broken hearts could soon include hers.
As Andy and Gale wade through their sorrow, Andy wonders if Majesty is here to help ease her into this new, complicated friendship, or if she has a mission all her own.
Dare To Dream
A novel by Madelyn Tuviera
Step one: devise.
Step two: develop.
Step three: dream.
Weaving dreams is one part creativity and two parts quick thinking, Ellen believes – you receive an assignment as soon as open your eyes and are expected to absorb every single detail within the next minute so that you can craft an exciting dream for your subject. You have to monitor your Dreamer the whole time he’s snoring his heart out on his bed and going through the story you’ve made just for him. When your Dreamer rouses for a quick second then falls right back into a sweet slumber, you have to weave another dream for him that you’re certain will keep him asleep as long as he has to be. Rinse and repeat until the alarm sounds off – both for the Dreamer and the Weaver – then you move to your next assignment. That’s the routine. Easy as pie.
That is, until Ellen finds a couple of things in the dream she’d woven that she’s pretty sure isn’t part of the plan: two chairs, a flying platypus, stardust in the air. A voice she can’t recognize even if she’s supposed to know this world inside and out. And a man who isn’t her Dreamer changing the world she’s made and rewriting her Dreamer’s world altogether.
Lagablab (or How L Came to Be a Warrior-Magician)
A short story by Myra Mortega
If there’s anything that L takes great pride in, it’s the fact that she knows herself fully well. For example, she knows that she enrolled in law school because she just can’t take injustice. She also knows that she can see beings–various shapes and forms and figures nobody else can see. She has also been dreaming of the same dream for 24 years, and it has been driving her mad.
But one night, a shadow appears over her bed and tells her things that make her question her idea of who she is.
Intrigued, she goes into a wild goose chase to find answers and meets a bevy of beings–the White Lady, a wakwak, a kapre, among other things–that give her bits and pieces of her past and give her a glimpse of a future that’s far beyond her imagination.
A novella by C.J. Edmunds
Sometimes being a fish out of water can be a good thing. Only two things can happen. Either one adapts to the environment or simply peters out from intractability. Enter David Lansing, a half-Filipino call center trainer whose normal life took an unexpected turn when he suddenly woke up and is presented with visions and a spirit guide to boot! Why was he seeing these things? Who is the Guide and what did he want from him?
Peppered with appearances like the Tikbalang, Aswang and even the White Lady of Balete Drive, all part of Philippine folklore and urban legend, the story traces David’s existential journey of becoming; from his naive acceptance of the world to his burgeoning skepticism, and his acceptance of what his life is and how it could be. And while he’s at it, another Guide presents himself to him, one with a more pragmatic approach and outlook to the world of the supernatural; the same world that David is finally learning to accept and participate in.
But who is the better Guide or is he better off trusting his own instincts as he embarks on his journey to find that supernatural promised land; a place where people like him are common and living the most normal of lives; a place that is known only to a few; the magical community of the Dark District.
A short story by D.A.
Sacrifices have long reaching consequences for both the living and the dead as Carter discovers when Michael (yes, that Archangel) gives him a chance to be with his soul mate Alexa. He is tasked with being her personal guardian angel until the day she dies. But, when the end comes, Carter learns the hard way that life goes on no matter what.
A novella by Motzie Dapul
In the year 2050, Patrick “Paquino” Aquino: president of the Philippines, former superhero, and murderer–not necessarily in that order–deals with the consequences of his actions following four years of martial law and the raid that ended a bloody political dynasty in the far north.
With a death sentence looming over his head and a revolution rising against him, he begins to wonder if his bid to save the country, made back when he was the impetuous young bayani Lastikid, is worth dying for.
When It Rains In Mystic River
A short story by Therese Barleta
Whenever sirens sound off, Naomi is always worried that Seth is somewhere being chased by the police, if not already gunned down by rival gangs that pollute the south side of Boston. “Please help me just this one last time,” Seth would always tell her, but Naomi just wants to live a normal life as a pretend human being, not Seth’s Encantada girlfriend who always bails him out of his shady dealings. As soon as Seth finds an out from this life he’s known forever, he takes the opportunity before Naomi can even say no. How could she when this is the exit they’ve both been waiting for? Or is it a shortcut to their doom?
In My Dreams
A novella by Yeyet Soriano
Welcome to Barrio Malaya!
Everyone in Manila will visit Barrio Malaya at least once in their lifetimes. It is a rustic yet picturesque town, with the sea in the north, thick woods in the east and west, and a train station in the south. It is one of the stops of a high-speed train system, which the dying board to go to their next destination.
Sixteen-year-old Olivia Roxas has a lifetime pass and has almost permanent resident status in Barrio Malaya. She first visited the place when she and her father met an accident when she was seven. They explored the town and rode the train together. But at some point, they got separated—she had to get off the train and her father continued his journey. She woke up to a reality without her father, and with an emotionally distant mother. From then on, Olivia was homeschooled and prevented from having any access to the outside world by an alcoholic mother who seemed to both hate her and love her too much to risk losing her.
In her dreams, Olivia has unlimited access to Barrio Malaya, and it is where she learned about everything, from how to make friends, to how to live, to how to fall in love. She also continued to board the trains, in the hope of finding her father.
Nineteen-year-old Gabriel Sahagun first came to Barrio Malaya when he was twelve years old. Victims of a freak accident, he and his parents already had their tickets to ride the train, but at the last minute, someone pulled him back. He never saw the man’s face. He woke up in the real world discovering that his parents were dead, but he had developed the talent to transfer Death—he can take whatever is killing one person, take it upon himself, and then transfer it to another person.
Liv and Gab meet in Barrio Malaya. Gab visits Barrio Malaya whenever he is in mid-transfer, meaning, he is the one dying. They fall in love but have never met in real life. But that is about to change, because Gab has taken a terminal condition and has lost all strength to transfer it to someone else. As he lies dying in the real world, it is up to Liv to find him, find a person to transfer the condition to, and get that person to Gab before Gab dies.
Did we mention that Liv has never set out from her house alone in all her life?
A short story by Chen Cabaluna
Rick is predictable, organized & doesn’t like to take risks because of his condition. His clothes are color coordinated. His books are arranged by height. He only eats & drinks cold stuff. He’s very cautious to avoid human touch because he might melt. But then he met Alice, his new too perky lab assistant who helped him to overcome many inhibition and open up more to the world. There’s only one problem–he thinks Alice will melt him.
A short story by Mikael Javellana
Mxyzalne – or Mix – has found her new Other: a boy named Jacob Dela Rosa. As a Herald, she knows she must take the boy under her wing and train him – in spite of how glaringly average he seems to her – if the world is to be saved.
When a powerful Decayed One makes an attempt on Jacob’s life, Mix calls his True Name out and sets a chain of events that will either save the world, or destroy it completely.
Excerpt: Lagablab (or How L Came to Be a Warrior-Magician)
by: Myra Mortega
She dreamt of the sea.
She dreamt of ships and men clad in armor. They came with a thundering boom and pandemonium that shattered her ear drums.
They offered gifts from faraway places, and her people offered their friendship. She remembered not liking them, and she warned her people to be wary of the white men. There were omens, she said. There were premonitions of disease and death, she said. The spirits told me so, she said.
The tribesmen laughed at her. Back then she was a celebrated warrior. Back then she was a he, and she was highly regarded among her people. But it was the first time they saw ships of that kind. The white men brought strange ornaments and told strange stories, and it was the first time they had visitors of that kind. Let’s give them a try. We always welcome guests, the elders told her. And should they try to attack us, our warriors will protect us. You will protect us. Everything is going to be fine. Or so she was told.
She dreamt of the sea. The emerald waters were tinged with red. There were dead bodies everywhere. She saw aswangs ripped to shreds, lifeless shokoys floating on the sea, limbless tiktiks and wakwaks torn to pieces washed away on the shore.
“They have come,” the spirits whispered. The white men brought strange spirits with them. They are ravaging our land. Your people will be next, the spirits warned.
“What do we do? How can I help?” she asked.
“Remember who you are,” the spirits advised.
The next day, she called the councilmen for a meeting. She told them that the spirits talked to her, and they need to act. The strangers cannot stay in their lands any longer.
“But they haven’t done anything wrong. And they’re recounting a story of a man who descended from heaven to save them from Armageddon. It is quite intriguing,” the elders said.
But the story of the god turned into a story about an institution, and there were figureheads called priests that wielded much power. She was getting much agitated. The wakwaks would bring her stories every night, informing her that they’re losing people in their ranks, of the increasing death toll, and of talks about asking help from the northern islands to subdue the strangers.
“You will be next. Your people will be next. Drive away your guests. They are not your friends, they are conquerors,” they warned.
The next day, she called for a council meeting. All the elders were not present, but she still told them about the warnings from the spirits. Last night, the moon was red. A few days ago, there was an earthquake. This morning, she woke up to find animal entrails on her doorstep. “We have to act now!” she said, slightly panicking.
“They’re planning something. They want to conquer our land,” she added.
“We need to take up arms!” the warriors shouted.
“We will never be conquered!” the elders shouted.
They took out their drums and sang songs of heroes. She called on the spirits for help.
They were interrupted by the rajah, who admonished them for the din and the banging and the clanging.
“I have been baptized. My family has been baptized. We have sown our friendship to the priesthood of the white men,” he added, somber.
“Stop this savagery,” he ordered. “We shall start acting like civilized people.”
“They have turned you,” she said. “They have conquered you…” she added sadly.
She urged her fellow warriors to march on.
We shall take up arms.
We shall fight.
The next day, the waters turned red.
There were bodies on the water and on the ground. But they drove the ships away, and they were victorious.
They beat the drums, loud and proud. They celebrated their victory with fires and dancing. They mourned for their fallen brethren.
She thanked the spirits for their help.
She came home proud and mighty. She expected a grand welcome from her tribe.
Instead, she saw her house in shambles. A bright flame engulfed her home.
The elders turned to her somberly. It was the chief, they said. He has been conquered. There were other tribes and other chiefs who have turned to the religion of the white men, and they were not happy. She had to disappear, they said.
She woke up, breathless and confused.
She always dreamt the same dream every night for 24 years. She has dreamt it with such regularity that sometimes, it doesn’t feel like a dream anymore. She has come to visualize every detail so vividly that she feels like the dream has become a part of her memory, like a forgotten snippet from her childhood that has come to haunt her back.
About the Author
Myra has been enamored with strange worlds for as long as she can remember. She loves getting lost in fantasy, and she is grateful to Neil Gaiman, H.P. Lovecraft, Ray Bradbury, and Dr. Who for introducing her to alternate dimensions of make believe.
At the same time she loves words and daydreaming, and she feels that the two are just perfect for each other.
This is her second attempt at documenting her flights of fancy. She hopes to do more of this one day.
In real life, she is freelance writer and editor who’s glued to the digital world.
You may reach her at: