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The gift (standard:fantasy, 743 words)
Author: jopoguerreroAdded: Mar 22 2008Views/Reads: 1830/0Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A mysterious gift

The gift 

(A story titled “The Wedding Present” in Neil Gaiman's book, “Smoke and
Mirrors”, inspired me to write a short fiction of the same plot. The 
following short story is my poor version of Gaiman's deliciously dark 
and intimidating ideas and illusions. -JRPG) 

After all the scorching pressures of the election, provincial board
member-elect Kerwin Fernando and his wife Lerissa sat down peacefully 
in their backyard bench and got down to the business of opening letters 
and unwrapping gifts. 

The stack held congratulatory messages in every lingo, cards enough to
inspire an army, and books for all kinds of legislators. But the last 
package gave off an unusual stuff, a comic book – like a double digest 
Archie comics. 

“What is it? asked Lerissa. 

Kerwin silently browsed the material. “Well”, he said. “It appears to be
a comic book about my political career.” He passed it to Lerissa who 
looked it over. 

The illustrations were a bit funny but pleasantly colorful. It began
with Kerwin's fruitful tenure as barangay chairman. Then it pictured 
his fiery yet productive stint as city councilor. It went deeper to his 
roaring election to the provincial board. After that, the pages related 
Kerwin's stormy victory in the gubernatorial race – he was accused of 
massive vote buying and harassment. 

“Governor? Vote buying? Harassment?” Lerissa's brow flew. “You are
elected as board member for the first time, and now this comic book is 
talking of a gubernatorial election?” 

“I think it's just a joke from a disgruntled politician,” Kerwin
shrugged. “Shall I throw it away?” 

“No.” She closed the comic book and carefully wrapped it with a manila
paper. “Maybe, we hold on to it as a weird remembrance of your first 
victory in the provincial election.” 

After a year, while cleaning their room, Kerwin and Lerissa accidentally
unearthed the comic book in one of their cabinets. Out of curiousity, 
they leafed through it again. 

The pages yielded a horrid Governor Kerwin Fernando – potbellied, his
fingers were peppered with gold rings, a diamond-studded necklace swung 
around his neck, and he sat beside the backyard pool of his mansion. He 
was now tagged as a big-time drug and gambling lord in the region. With 
his mountains of dirty money, winning a re-election was not a problem. 

Kerwin and Lerissa exchanged funny faces after reading the new addition
in the comic book. Entirely untrue. Kerwin was still a board member, 
fiercely straight and honest. No potbelly. No jewelry except his 
wedding ring. No pool. No mansion. Just their old but well kept 
bungalow – good enough for them and their only child, Sugar. 

“I think you are pulling a fast one on me, Kerwin!” Lerissa said. “You
commissioned somebody to make and re-make this comic book?” 

“Me? No way!” Kerwin protested. “But I think that this is really a gift.
A magical gift. It is showing things that I should not do in my 
political career. Instead of living it, we are reading it. I think we 
should keep it to let the bad things stay in its pages, not in our 

Another year passed. Kerwin, Lerissa and Sugar were tending to their
plants in front of their house when they heard a sudden scream of 
brakes, followed by a spray of bullets. Some of the metals scraped 
Kerwin's right cheek, and some thumped on the heads of his wife and 

Kerwin survived, but Lerissa and Sugar died on the spot. 

Weeks after the remains of his wife and daughter were buried, the
scarfaced Kerwin idly loitered in their backyard. He gathered dried 
leaves and twigs, and started a fire to make himself warm. 

Then, he again read “the mysterious gift”, the comic book. In it,
Lerissa and Sugar were alive. But they left Kerwin after Lerissa caught 
him doing a crotch-centered chore with his secretary, Pauline. 

The comic book was still filled with hideous illustrations. But at
least, Lerissa and Sugar were alive in its pages. He missed them very 
much. He wondered whether it would be worse to let his loved-ones live 
in shameful circumstances, or to let them go with unblemished name. 

Kerwin casually tossed the comic book onto the fire. 

As “the gift” curled and blackened in the dance of fire, Kerwin sat back
in their backyard bench, and waited for his scar to fade, for the 
potbelly to appear, for the rings and necklace to blossom, and for the 
mansion to tower over a backyard pool. 


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