Short Story by Corazon Ramos Imbang (Business Mirror, August 26, 2018)
Once upon a time there was a thumb and a mouth that were born on the same day, on the same hour. They were named Little Mouth and Little Thumb. The moment Little Mouth cried his first cry, Little Thumb was drawn to him and they were one. From the moment they were born, Little Thumb and Little Mouth were inseparable and grew to know each other well.
As they grew up, Little Thumb and Little Mouth came to know that their life in the hut was simple. Every day, when Little Mouth was quiet, Little Thumb saw that there were bigger Thumbs and Mouths like him and Little Mouth and they did a lot of things. Big Burly Thumbs chopped wood and lifted heavy things. Meanwhile, Big Mouths, in swinging colourful dresses, were always busy with cooking, washing and sweeping up the hut. Little Thumb could see Big Thumbs and Big Mouths work well together but somehow, this made him a bit sad for Big thumbs and Big Mouths, though friends, were not inseparable like him and Little Mouth.
It was a day like any other but Little Thumb was particularly nervous. The heat was oppressing inside the hut where they live. The walls of the hut, which were made of dried straw, did nothing to relieve the heat and there was no wind to help chase the warmth away. Little Thumb thought the heat made the flies extra frenzy. Normally, he did not mind the flies at all. In fact, its hypnotic song and dance were a soothing lullaby to him and Little Mouth.
But not today.
Little Thumb anxiously watched the flies zoom in circles around Big Burly Thumb and Big Mouth who never got up from the night before. They were both lying very still in the corner of the hut. Big Mouth’s colourful dress looked dull and flat. He missed the sashay of her dress.
The sun had once again shifted its position from the sky and there was no movement inside Little Thumb’s hut and he grew more worried. Not only did Big Thumb and Big Mouth failed to get up from their beds but his friend Little Mouth, had started to groan as if in pain. To make matters worse, the flies were coming inside the hut in an alarming rate. One by one, they came in from the window and through the door as if called by an invisible force. Little Thumb was almost sure it was from the funny sweet smell that emanated from the now not-so-nice Big Thumb and Big Mouth, which lured the flies to come in and investigate. They dance in tight circles, disturbing Big Mouth’s colourful dress and made it look like her dress had a life of its own. Mesmerized, Little Thumb and Little Mouth hardly dared to move.