“It’s amazing when it rains and the sun shines at the same time,” Jenny observed as she sat herself by the window.
“Yeah!” Ella, her best friend and roommate was unpacking her suitcase.
They were in Ella’s room. Jenny hasn’t touched her belongings. She was still captivated by Ella’s simple yet peaceful place.
Jenny grew up in the city. It was her first time to set a foot unto the province, particularly in a farm.
“The elders say that there’s this wedding between two ‘Tikbalangs’.”
“What?” Jenny was startled by Ella’s statement.
“I mean the rain and at the same time, the sunshine. The elders say that there’s a wedding ceremony between ‘Tikbalangs’,” Ella explained, trying to sound serious.
“Yeah right!” Jenny laughed at her friend’s joke.
‘Tikbalang’ is a Philippine myth. It is a creature of the night similar like a Centaur only the reverse. It had the head of a horse and a muscular body of a man commonly covered in black coat. Legends say that the ‘Tikbalang’ stood six feet in its hooves and had a whip like tail.
Jenny’s cell phone suddenly rang. She frowned, already knowing her caller.
“Aren’t you going to answer him?” Ella also knew who it was.
Jenny contemptuously pressed the cancel button. “No. There’s nothing to talk about.”
“Oh Jen!” Ella’s voice was worried. Jenny was like an open book. Her friend knew she was still in love with her ‘ex-boyfriend’.
Jenny shrugged her shoulders, dismissing the issue. She tried to smile as she returned her gaze outside the window. The rain has stopped. Only the sun’s steady afternoon rays remained.
“You promised me some parties and some guys to meet, Ella.”
“Of course,” Ella replied, almost cheerfully. “You’ll soon forget him.”
For the next two weeks, the college girls busied themselves by engaging into several vacation activities during the day and countless parties at night. Jenny had been happy… but only from the outside. Deep inside, she was still hurting. Her long time boyfriend, Jason, remained in her thoughts, breaking her heart over and over again.
Jenny discovered Jason’s betrayal a month ago. He had another girlfriend other than herself. For how long had he been fooling her? Jenny was so hurt and in rage, she didn’t mind anymore.
Jason had told her he loved her more. He promised he would live the girl for her. Jenny didn’t care. She just wanted to get away from him. By the end of the semester, Jenny decided to go home with Ella in her friend’s home province. Jenny thought she’ll never have a replacement for Jason….until, that night.
Ella’s home was several meters away from the main road. If not Ella’s boyfriend, her friend’s folk usually give them a ride to town and back. That evening, Jenny had to walk alone. She had not been feeling well that she decided to retire early.
Ella was still enjoying the party with her boyfriend. A male acquaintance of Ella had been willing to accompany Jenny back to the farm.
Sensing her companion’s interest in her, Jenny declined his eagerness to walk her Ella’s house. Jenny soon regretted her decision.
The walk to Ella’s house had been creepy…too quiet and too dark. The only source of light was that of from the house. Jenny wished she brought a flashlight with her.
All of the sudden, she heard sounds of hooves from somewhere. Jenny thought of Ella’s family not owning a horse but for no reason at all, she had goose bumps all over her arms as she smelled an intolerable stench from the trees around her. It’s like somebody’s hair was burning! And the sound of hooves was getting closer!
Jenny feeling terrified, frantically ran for the house. Halfway, she tripped onto an exposed root of a large tree. She almost fell.
A guy about her age appeared to Jenny’s rescue. He had immediately grabbed Jenny’s waist to prevent her from falling to the ground.
“Thanks,” Jenny stammered. She found herself blushing as the stranger let her go.
“You should be careful.” The boy’s voice was very pleasant.
The moon just appeared from behind the clouds. Jenny saw the gentle look on the boy’s face. He was also gorgeous in his tall and athletic frame.
“I’ll remember that. I’m Jenny. You are?”
The guy was clad in a white shirt and a pair of old jeans, typical clothing for a farmer.
“Rico.” The boy smiled at her and to Jenny’s surprise, suddenly left. He instantly disappeared behind the trees.
“Bye,” Jenny managed to say.
For the first time, after her break up with Jason, Jenny had found an interest with another guy. She couldn’t explain what she had felt. But Jenny had been sure that the stranger would be perfect for her. His smile had been solemn as if…almost… she felt love by him.
Jenny wanted to see the boy again. She found him the next evening, near the rice fields, under the full moon. He was already smiling his sweet smile at her.
Jenny felt her heart swell. Could she really be in love with someone she doesn’t know yet?
Rico was not much of a talker. Still…Jenny’s attraction to him intensified. When Rico invited her to see him again the next night, Jenny had been excited.
A big surprise came up to her the next morning.
“You.” Jenny wanted to shout at Jason. But she couldn’t, Ella and her friend’s parents were still inside the house. She and Jason were left alone in the living room to talk.
“Yes.” Jason looked gloomy and haggard. “I miss you, Jen. I came for your forgiveness. It’s you that I love.” Jenny discovered she still loves Jason. She found herself in Jason’s arms that same morning. But that evening, Jenny realized something.
She remembered Rico.
While everyone in the house was sleeping, Jenny came to see Rico for the last time. She wanted to say good bye. She felt guilty. She knew she would disappoint Rico. But Jenny can never replace Jason in her heart.
She didn’t see Rico anywhere near the rice fields. Instead, Jenny found Jason.
“What are you doing here? I was looking for you.”
“I…I was having a walk,” Jenny lied. “At this hour?”
It was then that they smelled the familiar bad odor of burning hair. The air became still and there was the sound of hooves.
“I don’t like this.” Jason grabbed Jenny by the wrist. She sensed her boyfriend’s fear. “Let’s get out of here-”
The creature sprang from behind the trees. Jason’s grip to Jenny loosened as the devilish being snatched the boy from her.
Jenny at first was speechless. She couldn’t believe her eyes. The ‘monstrous thing’ that had dragged her boyfriend away was a ‘Tikbalang’! She never believed it existed!
The creature started to trample Jason to the ground. It was going to kill her boyfriend! While crying, Jenny managed to overcome her terror. She rushed toward her boyfriend and not thinking twice, Jenny protectively enveloped Jason into her arms.
Jason’s face was bleeding. He was already knocked unconscious.
Jenny took the next blows from the Tikbalang. She wailed as the mythical creature broke one of her shoulder blades. Then the creature suddenly stopped.
Jenny, still weeping tried to look up at the Tikbalang. The Demon-horse was gazing straight at her. Its nose was flaring while it repeatedly stomped its hooves onto the ground.
To Jenny’s amazement, the upper body of the Tikbalang turned into a male’s body. She was looking directly at Rico’s sad face.
Rico was a Tikbalang!
Jenny wanted to say something but Rico had already returned to his beastly form. He turned toward the trees and disappeared almost immediately.
The lovers were hospitalized for a week. Jason didn’t remember anything that night. Jenny decided not to tell their ‘weird tale’ to anyone including to her best friend Ella. She made up a story about an ‘accident’ by the rice fields instead.
While riding a bus, on their way home to the city, Jenny witnessed the sunshine during a rain for the second time in the province. A Tikbalang is being wed! Jenny thought of Rico…her attraction and almost…her love for him.