TALES of Enchantment and Fantasy (Milflores Publishing, 2008), a compilation of 20 short stories edited by former Varsitarian editor in chief Cristina Pantoja-Hidalgo, sprinkles supernatural twists and hilarious out-of-this -world encounters on mundane activities.

Today’s writers again prove themselves innovative, amusing and full of new flavors by unleashing their inner child through exploring the recesses of the human imagination.

Starting off the collection is F.H. Batacan’s “The Gyutou,” a story about a knife and how it serves a noble wife and her kitchen. The knife, together with all the other utensils, is fervently cared for by the wife.

After the wife separates from her husband and moves out of the house, the rest of the utensils start seeking revenge for their master by giving the husband’s young concubine a hard time at the kitchen.

“Some Kind of Noir” by Karl De Mesa, author of the short story collection Damaged People, tells the story of a man who lusts over a young female prostitute whom he brings to a motel. The man later transforms into a beast and tears her flesh for a hearty meal, leaving only her hair and some parts of her head. What the beast says figuratively holds true: “Our great melodrama is the belief that we can have romance with the human. Their love is dangerous. Human beings can never be pets for dogs like us.”

UP Press deputy director Jose Claudio Guerrero’s “A Tidy Little Tale” has Mars the murderer hunting for his next human victim every night and selling its flesh to make kikiam. Guerrero makes readers rethink that if people sometimes cringe at a dirty piece of kikiam being put back to the frying pan and sold again, it is nothing compared to unknowingly eating human meat. Guerrero makes use of “tidy little” words throughout the story, such as: “Tidy little Mars rolls down his window and throws out the shoe with a tidy little laugh,” giving the feel of reading a children’s book.

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On the other hand, Palanca award winner Ian Rosales Casocot gives puppy love a whole new meaning in “The Suliganon of Epifiana’s Heartbreak.” Fifteen-year-old Epifiana, who falls in love for the first time, makes all sorts of calamities and disasters fall against their once peaceful town just to have the boy who does not love her back. “I shall come back, when I have persuaded the world to stop spinning,” Epifiana says. Amusing and odd, the story brings the readers back to what most romantics say, “I’d do anything for love.”

There is no dull moment from the book’s cover to the last page, as every page unveils a paranormal happening on its own. The gradual unfolding of scenes in the stories is counteracted by dynamic injections of characters and events in just the right time.

Some stories stem from a variety of genres such as fan fiction, science fiction, and simple fairy tales that do not end in happily-ever-after. This is seen in Dean Alfar’s “The Middle Prince,” wherein the main character does not fulfill his initial goal, and ends up deviating from it, taking us out of the ideal fairy tale ending.

Tales of Enchantment and Fantasy is for those who are ready to dream, for the young at heart, for the imaginative, the wild, the passionate, and the thinker.

Read alone or narrated to a group, the book takes readers to the haunted apartment next door, some far away island, and to the stars and back.


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