Part 1: Mistaken Identity
Part 2: Survival
"Yes it was Jennifer. It was what I have engraved in this coconut trunk."
I didn't waste any second when in a flash second my mem'ries on this beach flashed back. I ran towards where Father and the others were.
"Father." I called out with glee, I can't contain the feeling that took over me. It was inexplicable.
I didn't give Father the chance to ask what prompted me in this state of euphoria. I told everyone I now knew my name. I narrated how I came to recall it. I was named Jennifer despite being born a boy, I was named with a girl's name by my father. But then I stopped as I think who my father was.
As the days passed, my memories of that night came back gradually. My head hurts when I tried to recollect everything so I was advised not to push it and just let it come back naturally.
At night, I would be awaken from a very bad nightmare which I thought was just a normal thing. But then slowly, piece by piece, it begun to come all together creating a more horrifying, spine-chilling scene. It was a scene of that ill-fated night.
There were four of them and the driver who tortured us.
Fresh as it was that it was just like yesterday. I can still feel how they pierced my eye with the rifle's barrel. It was what had caused me to be a one-eyed Jack.
My hearing was impaired by their kick with their combat boot and marred my head with the gun butt.
My foot was totally damaged by an unknown cause I can't remember that's why the doctor at the hospital told us that it was badly injured and there's no other way to save the whole limb but to cut it off. Maybe it was due to the nonstop beating with an iron bar and bat or with their kick. Was it due to the way I fell and landed when they threw me off the cliff? Or was I possibly run over by a truck.? I can't remember what had caused it. Maybe due to adrenaline that I was able to ran those times but then it ended totally damaged.
How cruel those creatures were. I've thought it was only some scenes in movies but then it was actually happening and I was a living testimony.
They found me alone at the roads with blood all over me. I smelled of alcohol because we drink that night and they thought I was ran down by some reckless driver. We weren't drunk because we can run and even if we were, the spirit of alcohol would surely depart us when we were abducted.
We were thrown at Poyopoy, Marcos Highway but I was found at Agoo, La Union. I have ran a pretty long distance. I must thank God he heard my plea to grant me the strength and courage as I escape our abductors. And to aid me with guidance with which path to take. I may not be able to find my way home but His grace was indescribable. Good people, not to mention He handed me exactly to His people who took me in.
However, wrath and hatred begun to swell up within me. I was enveloped with anger that it clouded my sound mind. I began to think of taking up revenge against those evil people. I want to avenge my friends and myself and get justice for ourselves.
With my current situation, I can't be of match to them. I need a weapon before I can push through with my plan. I have to be armed because I knew I am incapable of vengeance with my physique.
Unbeknownst to Father, I asked around my friends if they happen to know someone who is selling the things I needed, a rifle and a handgun.
I took my farewell one day to Father. I talked to him deeply and said I will try look for my friends if ever they survived that holocaust. He gave me his blessings before I departed.
I was filled with nostalgia as I stepped on my birthplace. The place had changed incredibly, though but the feeling was something wistful.
Old houses were already replaced with big concrete ones. I looked around. Nobody could recognize me. I came to our humble abode but was met with an unwelcoming environment. I mean the place was not what I expected to be. I learned that my father had passed away some 15 years back. He was totally depressed when I was nowhere to be found. All he did was to drink alcohol, go wasted until he stumbled and died on the spot-stroke. It was very painful to bear. The anger I am feeling towards those evildoers grew to heights.
I look for my friends. Fortunately, I was able to locate one.
He is alive. Warm, breathing and very active physically. Years had passed and it had taken it's toll on him so does with mine but he can't recognize me. We hugged each other when I came to introduce myself. I almost cried. He was the one who was lying on the floor and being stepped upon so that he couldn't raise his head.
We talked and talked and talked about that night. I narrated everything to him from the day I woke up from comatose to have amnesia for more than a decade and to how I regained back my memory.
My friend told their story. When the light crept into the woods the following day, some men went to look for them who fortunately found them at the cliff side still inside the sack they were in. They untied them and brought them to the hospital. Luckily, no one was shot when those men had rained down the surroundings with their bullets after they threw us. The gunshots was what the people living at the area some distance away heard. They were afraid to get involved at that very moment so they waited until morning.
I thought that I was the only survivor but thankfully with God's mercy, we all survived that night. People went for a search and rescue operation because I was not yet found. However, days turned to weeks and months but there was neither my shadow nor my body to surface. Thus, they declared I was already dead. That was what prompted my father to turn to alcohol leading to his sad demise.
The other two were actually twin brothers. Sadly, they already died. The other one died due to dengue fever while the other went abroad and eventually got killed there.
Our talk went on and on until we came to talk about my plan of seeking justice using our own hands. He revealed that the three of them have planned to do the same. They were able to secure their own weapon when they worked and saved money for it. My absence thru the years when they thought I was dead all along had motivated them to avenge me. Because the twin brothers were no longer alive that their plan seemed buried with them. This friend of ours was left all alone. Well, I don't have any problem anymore with weapon because he already has it.
One morning, I received a call from Father telling me to come back the soonest if possible. He needed me at a wedding ceremony but I told him I am sick and not in a good shape to travel. But he didn't believe what I was saying, thus, he said he will come and pick me up. So I didn't have a choice but to just go.
When I arrived at the church to where I have stayed for more than a decade, the priest didn't waste time to talk to me.
"My child, what have been thinking lately? You were already in peace with us here. You were redeemed from that pit and this is what God has planned you to become. A second life to take care and a living testimony of His unending love and mercy." He said.
I was a little shocked when he said those. How did he come to know I was planning something towards those people, I asked myself.
"Yes, of course Father. You have seen how I serve the Lord within those years that I was here and had my full faith to Him," I answered.
"Why are you looking for a gun? For what reason would you use it for?" He asked me again.
I was shocked the second time around because he even came to know that I was looking for a gun. I just stood silent because he already knew about it. Any of my friends perhaps had told him about it.
I bursted into tears and cried like a child in front of him. I told him everything, that I already recalled everything about that night, how they came to found me on that state. It was all fresh that nothing had been boiling inside me but to seek justice with my own hands. I was the one who recieved the worst because I did not have a memory of what happened and all my senses were all lessened that I had I have to use hearing aid, prostheses and my eyes was only one. My father even died miserably because I was not able to make it home, he died just like that. I lost my old friends. I added about what I have found out from my friend and that we planned to take action. What am I to live for? I became a total inept of a human and no reason to live any longer because I have already died years ago.
" My child, listen to me. Let God do His work, we don't have the right to take away life because it was only Him who can do that, only Him whom we borrowed our life. Only Him has the right to let us live for years," he said like a faher who was trying to calm his very own child. I couldn't say anything.
"I am telling you, don't think of taking things in your hand. Because God will eventually do it for you in His perfect time. Be thankful enough and rejoice for that second chance to live because it was only a few who were able to have that and you were blessed with it. Take care of it because it has something greater for you in the future, a blessing beyond you can't imagine. If it was not here on earth then for sure it will be in heaven."
I gave it a thought over and over a million times what Father had told me. The truth slapped me with the knowledge of not even knowing who those people were. That even their forehead were we not able to grasp a sight of it. Even if I can secure a weapon then who should I use it for? Baguio had changed a lot and I didn't know where to look for those men. We did not even know their names because they never mentioned anyone when we were at the van.
From the original author of this content: He met this particular person on his Facebook page, an advising group page where Jenifer told him his story and he was able to give advise just like what the priest had told. Jennifer died of Kidney failure on 2014 and he gave the author the right to publish his story 40 days after his burial. However the author was not able to because it hurts him so bad that it took years before he finally fulfilled the wish of a dead person.
My note: This was written creatively in Ilocano.