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Author of YA novel "Enlightenment" available March 2019!

Enlightenment Novel excerpt

He laughed a rare baritone-sounding laugh that gave me goose bumps. I knew I wouldn’t mind hearing him laugh more frequently. He was always so serious. He sat at the edge of the deck with his feet dangling over the water. “Believe me. You definitely have more power over me than you know.”

I took a breath and slid next to him. “I don’t know about that.”

Adrian gazed up at the moon. “Where I grew up in the Philippines, the locals say the moon has special powers. Have you ever heard that before?”

“You mean besides balancing the earth’s gravitational pull?”

Now it was Adrian’s turn to give me a nudge. “Yeah, besides balancing the earth’s gravitational pull.”

I laughed. “Okay.” I wasn’t sure what I was laughing at, but seeing him in a good mood made me happy. “So what special power does the moon have?”

He paused before answering. “It’s special in a lot of ways. But like anything special, it’s often neglected, even if it’s been there night after night during the darkest moments of the earth.”

A shiver shot through my spine. “Light is its special power?”

“From what the locals say, light from the moon illuminates the hidden existence of other things. But Filipino folklore says only certain people can see it.”

I gazed up at the moon that suddenly looked more enchanted. “Filipino folklore?”

“Yeah.”

“You mean ghosts and dead people haunting the living?”

“There’s definitely more than that.”

I leaned closer. “Like what?”

“The older generation say they see duendes running around.”

Duendes?”

“Think of them like Irish elves, but instead of being green, they’re white and look more like dwarves or goblins. And instead of having a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, they’re running around causing havoc.”

I tilted my head, an index finger on my chin. “What kind of havoc?”

“Things like glass falling from a cupboard, or a car breaking down on the road. Things that happen for no particular reason.”

“So those things happen because of little white dwarves?”

Adrian smiled. “Ask any older Filipino about duendes and see their reaction.”

“My mom has never mentioned duendes to me, and she’s as traditional Filipina as you can get.” I raised my hands and fluttered my index and middle finger together to emphasize the universal quotation sign. “The duendes.”

“Yeah, the duendes,” Adrian broke out into another warm laugh. “Apparently older Filipinos see them clearly during a full moon. And if they’re particularly attune, our Lolos and Lolas can see duendes at crescent and half-moon nights.”

“Like tonight?”

He crossed his dangling feet and smiled. “Yeah, exactly like tonight.”

“Interesting,” I murmured.

“It’s understandable you sound skeptical. Not many people have heard of this stuff.”

I leaned back. “I didn’t even know Filipino folklores existed. That in itself is pretty cool, even if it’s just made up stories to keep locals entertained.”

Adrian nodded, his eyes twinkling in sync with the moon.

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