Love that binds!

By Jing Villamil

THIS true story is sourced from her who does what most wise men do not and goes to where most brave men dare not.

The summer sun was not yet up, but she and the cops raced to a place where screams were heard and smoke was seen in the wee hours of dawn. The jeep rolled far into the midst of the wilds of tall weeds and sand and stones, broad cheeks to a thin stream snaking its way from the mountains to the sea. The dry swamp was so wide no bridge was ever built to cross the distance.

Thus, in this forsaken place was dumped so many of God’s poor creatures.

They found the place. And horror found them – two bodies burned beyond recognition, kneeling facing each other, heads slumped on each other’s charred shoulders. They were cramped tight in the confines of two car tires piled on top of the other.

The bodies and the tires were still smoking, fire sparked here and there. The ropes that had tied them together, arms wrapped round to the other’s back, had been burnt at first flash, but their arms had stayed locked tight around each other.

One of the couple must have been a young woman. Dark pink buckles of a backpack was found a few feet away with comb, sanrio hairbands – belongings dear to a young heart. The pack and the contents may have been kept by the killers or were most probably used to fuel the fire.

With mask to cover mouth and nose, our source gingerly circled the bodies, also the area surrounding. And the story unfolded itself.

The killers had sat on big rocks a short distance away, feasting on light beers, sodas, bread and sausages. While watching and waiting for the victims to burn themselves out.

On the ground were signs of struggles. Torn pieces of light green shirt and flowered blouse. The victims still wore their maong pants. No shoes found. They must have still been alive when they were forcefully stacked inside the tires. In fact, they must have been pulled by their long hairs to there. Clumps of long dyed-brown curly hair and shorter straight black hair, no whites at the roots, were strewn around.

She raised a brow. The victims were two young women? Our source knitted her forehead in puzzled furrows.

Her eyes squinted around. And found a wide-eyed teener whose ears must be keener than any of the natives of the place. She strode to him: “Tell me, please, did you hear anything?”

And because the source was pretty and seemingly so affected, the boy told: “A man was shouting loud in-between the victims’ screams and the killers’ maniacal laughters: “Ipinagpalit mo ako sa isang katulad mo?!” (You replaced me with someone like you?!) Again and again, at the top of his voice, until his voice had cracked hoarse. Until the screams had died. And the bitter-sweet smell of burning meat had filled the air.

She was reliving a crime of passion again, this crime, in her mind, through the boy’s wide frightened eyes. She looked back at the victims still smoldering. Yes, there were the slight burnt frames, fragile limbs. The small skulls slumped on each other’s shoulders.

What is worse than the wrath of a scorned lover? What love is more binding than lovers bound tight until they breathed their last?

The victims were never claimed. Unidentified, they were buried together in a pauper’s grave.

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