This story is about my grandmother. This happened several years before I was born. I heard about this story while my mom and her sisters were bonding together reminiscing about their childhood particularly about my grandma. She is the same grandma in my previous story "Displaced Entities."
When my grandma was young, she was not as religious as she used to be before she died in 2002. They lived in a house near the national railroad. My grandparents were not rich but my grandfather was a well known artist/painter in our hometown and people usually asked him for a lot of artwork. My grandfather however was too kindhearted to charge people with his work especially when it was commissioned by his friends, so when he died, he left little money for his family. However, it was my grandfather's kindheartedness that saved his family. All of his friends shouldered his funeral expenses and some of them pledged to pay for my aunties' education expenses.
Now my grandmother on the hand was loved by my grandfather very much. They got married at the age of 14 and 16 to save my grandmother from being taken by the Japanese imperial army during the Japanese occupation in the Philippines. She was spoiled and treated too indulgently so when he died, my grandma become depressed. She started playing mahjong (a Chinese, tile-based game) with her friends and will stay up until the wee hours in the morning. According to my mother, as the eldest among 7 children, she took the responsibility of looking after her siblings. She would stay up late waiting for grandma. My grandmother's gambling habit went from bad to worst until one scary evening, when she had the most frightful experience.
While she was on her way home at 3am from a friend's house, my grandmother saw a huge black dog a few feet away from her. The dog was so huge, it was like 5 feet tall and it was just standing in the middle of the road staring at her. My grandmother was startled as it was so unusual to see a dog that big. What scared her was how the dog was acting so strange, it was doing nothing and just staring at her and she could also hear a growl like as if the dog is going to pounce at her. She started to walk fast and her heart almost dropped when she had to walk pass the dog which was still staring at her. She kept on walking and was too scared to look back. When she turned on the next corner, she continued walking until she saw something weird from a distance. There was this huge grey bird perched at the edge of a banana tree a few feet away. My grandmother stared intently at the large, powerfully built bird as she continued to walk forward. It's eyes were bright red and it was also staring back at her. The hair at the back of her neck started to raise when she realized that the bird was perched at the edge of a banana stalk which was physically impossible. My grandmother realized that what she was looking at is not an ordinary bird but an aswang or a shape-shifter. The bird was too heavy for the banana stalk to sustain it's weight but it just stood there without the stalk breaking. The bird made a sudden scary screeching sound that made my grandmother jump and run. When she was a few feet away from the banana tree, she heard a sudden flapping of heavy wings from behind and she knew right then that the bird was flying towards her. My grandmother in an instant stoop down to avoid the bird as it flew over her head, it's talons grazing her hair.
According to my mom, flying aswangs normally grabbed their victims on their legs. Then they lift them up in the air and throw them in the ground to incapacitate their victims. That is the time that they devour their victims once they have been disabled.
My grandmother started shouting for help as she ran as fast as she could. She knew that there was no way she can outrun the aswang so she went inside a huge cement pipe at the side of the street as there was a government construction project being done in that area. My grandmother hid there, crying and praying for her life. She could still hear the flapping of wings outside circling the area. Fortunately, for her, the neighbors heard her cry for help. Houses started to switch their lights on and a few people went out to check what was going on outside. The aswang left and my grandmother crawled out of the cement pipe.
From that day on, my grandma stopped gambling and has never stayed up late outside again. She became a devout Christian until the day she left us.