Jei’s forgotten everything of the world he comes from—the aswang, the taste of blood, me. But he’ll remember…soon.
by Enita Meadows
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The Aswang Gimo
Everyone has heard of Count Dracula, the most famous—or infamous—of all classic vampires. The Transylvanian nobleman, the charismatic, the cunning. Far fewer, however, know the tale of Gimo, the most notorious and revered of all aswang.
So what’s an aswang anyway? Aswang, being similar to vampires, are malevolent ghouls that live only in the islands of the Philippines. They drink blood, change their shape to hide in plain sight, and are said to live in small clans within human barangay (towns/civilizations).
The most famous of these creatures was Tiniente (“Lieutenant”) Gimo, from the small town of Dueñas in the province of Iloilo. The real man (and this is only assuming he wasn’t truly a blood-drinking demon!) was a leader to the village in which he and his family lived. It was said that he was unafraid to hide the fact that he was aswang, but did not flaunt it for any sort of personal gain. Among the townspeople, the aswang leader was both feared and respected, as he is said to have often used his abilities for defending and bettering his town and its people.
It would have been a crime if the great Lieutenant Gimo didn’t have some significance in The Aswang Wars trilogy. Although he doesn’t make an actual physical appearance in the paranormal adventure mystery, he is credited to the beginnings of the war around which it revolves, and unlike the kind guardian that some say he was, my Gimo is certainly one nasty character.
Gimo, long since vanished from the world, is the father of the Segbin clan and one of the greatest warriors in its history. The Segbin, known for their original forms of great bear-wolves—with long, prehensile tails, gnashing teeth, and dark black fur—are the real baddies of the story. It’s their goal to dominate the aswang world, and in turn eradicate the human race from their islands; and the whole thing started with Gimo’s ancient hate of Man.
Gimo also has a very special connection to the main character of the story, Jei Rivera. But since amnesiac Jei knows no more about his own past than we do, it is going to take some journeying on his part to find out the significance of Gimo’s story. We’ll just have to wait until book 2, Mantahungal, to learn the role the great legend plays in Jei’s search.
Blurb for Mantahungal
Finding his role in the great Aswang War, Jei Rivera still feels blind to the new world around him. The memories long lost still evade his recollection, while the voice in his head taunts him with the unknown. Hoping to find the origin of his own mysterious birth, Jei travels into dangerous territory once again to learn of how he came to be. But with enemies around every corner—and the most deadly foe of all living within his own mind—Jei may sacrifice his life to uncover the mystery.
This place was familiar to him, and he seemed to know every beam, every lamp, every pew, on instinct. But when he sat alone in one of a hundred tiny rooms on the second floor of the church, the only thoughts he owned were the faint trickles of mystery held in the mirror mounted on the wall.
Jei crawled toward the mirror and slowly picked himself up off the floor, feeling the sting of new wounds he’d taken for his disobedience. He pressed one palm and forearm to the glass and stared through dim moonlight at that same cold reflection, and in those shallow, haunted eyes he knew were his, he saw emotions he didn’t know before.
He pressed his forehead to the glass, stared, and the voice spoke to him once more.
That should be me.
Jei backed away from the mirror in fear, and like a wave, he began to feel. He felt the pain, the hatred, the love, the anger, the sadness, and it all swirled in his head like a wildfire. Jei yelled in frustration, and his fist slammed into the glass. It shattered all around him and fell in pieces to the floor, crashing as he stood panting with bloodied knuckles and heaving chest.
What was this? He’d never known emotions before, not in the way he knew them now. Something had been changed about him, something that transformed him as quickly as his body under a phase between physical forms. Something made him feel, his sanity held tightly by the voice within his mind. The tiny waves he’d felt once in a while months ago while fighting on the streets of Manila—knowing nothing but his own name—were nothing like the crippling tremors that plagued him now.
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About Enita Meadows
Bio: Enita Meadows is a nineteen-year-old writer living in Seattle, Washington. Having begun writing her first “book” at the age of ten, Enita started early and still spends most of her time at the computer penning stories, working on graphic design projects, or fueling her addiction to the internet. When she manages to pull herself away from the screen, she enjoys reading, nature walks, and spending time with any dog that will put up with her.