A Short Story

As children, Lena and Lily shared a bond unlike any other. They shared clothes, shared secrets; they whispered dreams of their future to each other in the dark. Together in their ancestral home in the Philippines, they created worlds full of wonder and magic; in the forest, they communed with fairies and escaped the clutches of the tikbalang and the duwende. But when Lena returns to her ancestral home after years abroad, she finds her beloved cousin changed in unexpected ways. Suddenly, what was supposed to be a beautiful reunion has become a matter of life and death—one which will challenge Lena to reckon with the mistakes of her childhood.

Rooted in Filipino myth and folklore, "Aftermath" is a short story which asks us to reckon with the deep power and bonds of girlhood. It is a story that illuminates the ways in which we betray ourselves and others, hold our guilt, and answer for our actions. Most of all, "Aftermath" will challenge cultural expectations of women’s beauty, bodies and agency, and how harmful beliefs can be passed down from one generation to another.


Concepcion is a student in the ASU Department of English’s MFA in creative writing program.

Neon colored  branches covered in leaves
Date published
Bottlecap Press

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