Abandoned Slum and the Whalehead Man

Art by Kirstin Isabelle Osorio/THE FLAME

The Whalehead Man wanders through a deserted slum somewhere in Metro Manila. 

Abandoned spaces, abandoned memories. Gloomy is the sun, casting unmoving shadows. 

The air was an alien thing, too, filled with suffocating silence. No human activity. 

The Whalehead Man hears no heartbeat or breath: no rustling clothes or children’s slippers striking against rough roads. 

Absolutely silent, absolutely nothing. Only him.

The Whalehead Man: a six-foot-tall, imposing beast, a horror dressed in a black suit, slowly walks. A figure of unknown intent. A figure no one knows about. What people know comes from eerie legends the freedom fighters swore with their lives to be true. 

He appears in places where people are not free, granting them the power and spirit to liberate themselves.

But here, there is no one to free. Death has already freed them.

The Whalehead Man enters the horrid houses, only to see ghosts made by man’s evil. 

Bullet holes. Knife holes. Not a bone or flesh anywhere. Not a blood to see. But if the walls speak, they will most certainly scream.

Japanese soldiers rarely bother to make their war crimes spotless clean. Spaniards, Americans— generally the same. Cleaning up only makes sense if the bodies ruin a good view or the stench ruins a foreigner’s good meal. 

But this is the deserted slum. Nothing is pretty here. 

No good views, no good meals, no good air. 

Only good people have gone missing or dead, had the loudest cries never heard anywhere, then died the most quiet death. F — Noe Murcielago

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