Tupas and his family made their new life in Cagayan d’Oro, and changed their name to Constantino. Many locals had married with Spaniards or sought to ingratiate themselves with their masters and adopted Spanish names.
Within a year of the move Tupas’ wife was expecting their second child. Their son, Oliver, was sixteen years old.
Maria was a born organizer. She and her maid prepared everything in the home for the birth. She took to her bed before the baby was due. She was very large, and very weak. Finally the morning came.
“I think it will be today, sir. It’s going to be a big baby.” The old village midwife was bustling around preparing water, sheets, towels, etc.
“I believe she will give birth soon, sir. Your wife is terribly weak. She can’t stand much more.”
The Rajah nodded. He’d watched her grow weaker over the last few days. He’d insisted she stay in her bed a while ago, but even with rest she wasn’t improving. There was a scream from the bed. The midwife rushed to her.
“Come on dear, move now, you’re dilated. Breathe and push, it’ll come now.”
The shouts and low groans continued for a while, Maria’s face grew waxy. The sweat dripped from her cheeks, dampening the clothes and bed sheets. And then the baby came. A final groan heralded the slow, but smooth, delivery. The midwife took the child and cut the cord. She held it up to clear the airways and start the breathing, sighing with relief when the first gasp for air and quiet cry came from the baby girl. Her happiness was short-lived. Tupas stood by the bed holding his wife’s hand. He called urgently to the nurse.
“Come quickly, Something’s wrong, look.” Maria was semi-conscious now, but her belly started moving. Undulating and rippling as if there was still something inside. Maria woke and looked down. She shrieked again and clutched her husband’s hand.
“I’ve seen nothing like this before. Let me examine her.” The nurse inserted two fingers into Maria. It was the nurses turn to shout, and her piercing shriek was ten times as strong as Maria’s now pitiful wails. She snatched her hand away. The tip of her middle finger was hanging off, bleeding.
“It bit me. There’s something else in there, look at my finger. God save us, whatever is it? Fetch the priest, quickly.” The serving girl hurried out of the room.
Tupas stared at the damaged finger, open mouthed.
His spouse was fading away in front of him. Her grip on his hand loosened, but she found the spirit for one last blood-curdling scream as her cervix widened, and the thing emerged. The nurse screamed again, not at her bloody finger, but at the slimy red creature that slithered from between Marias shaking legs.
The bald head looked almost human, but the red eyes and the open mouth, with rows of serrated teeth, was a macabre sight. Slime and blood streaked across the red scaly skin which now wriggled out of the now unconscious woman. The thing had withered hands, like small talons emanating from its rounded shoulder. Below the neck the human skin gave way to a lizard-like covering. The narrowing body of the beast followed the head until it was out, lying coiled up between the woman’s legs. Everyone was shocked by the apparition before them.
A quiet mewing came from the young baby girl in a cot by the bed. It caught the attention of the monster. Before anyone could intervene, it slid over to the cot, and without hesitation sank its pointed teeth into the new born flesh of its twin. As if carving off a slice of turkey, the beast tore off half a shoulder; the arm came with it. What was left of the baby cried no more.
Oliver, Tupas sixteen-year-old son, rushed across the room. He’d just come home and heard screaming coming from the bedroom. He couldn’t take in the bloody scene before him. He saw his mother laying open-eyed and lifeless on the bed and ran to her.
The monster mistook this for an attack and lunged at the boy. Olivers reactions were quick. There was a surgical scalpel lying in the tray. In one swift move he embedded it in the fiend’s throat. It spluttered; blood was running from its mouth. Oliver fell onto the beast with rage. He took out the short blade and stabbed again and again until beasts neck was in tatters. Then he lay back crying on the body of his dead mother.