In this record, you will see the geopolitical and narrative report of Bishop Charles Balbuena. He has already passed, unfortunately, two years after becoming the Primate of the Philippines. In his earlier years as Metropolitan of Cebu, he investigated closely the cult of the Haneans and the strange landlocked town of Ocangb. His travels to and fro, interviews with those related to the victims and reconnaissance trips headed by his vicar, Fr. Lyl Abalate, had revealed a spine-tingling secret. He states in the original copy of the text that:
“I had nearly vomited at the things my vicar told me when he delivered the news and told me of the town, its superstitions, the large pagan ‘cathedral’, this ‘Crooked Man of the Hill’ and the rabid lady who is said to take residence in that accursed ‘cathedral of lies’.”
He compiled these reports and eye witnesses in a thick red ledger which he disguised by naming it “the First Forty Letters of Paul”. The book was subsequently sealed away, hidden in his desk which he locked. When he was promoted as cardinal, then Primate of the Philippines; he flew to the Vatican to have the ledger sealed away in the archives. It was summer of the year before his death. What horrifying madness that a man that knew as much as he did wouldn’t eventually kill its holder?
As he entered through the heavy gates, ledger at hand, he stumbled through modern filing cabinets. The deeper he went these aluminum cabinets slowly got replaced with wooden ones, then bookshelves of baroque design. Son the books stopped and little by little being replaced by scrolls and manuscripts the deeper he delved. He soon reached the heart of the repository, he opened the ledger one more time, cutting through the middle of the text. As he flipped to the first few pages, there then the old man fell. The 2nd and 3rd pages had been ripped off.
And they say:
‘The Ocangb Commons was the market grounds that sprawled on the lower cobbled pavement of the pagan Vilate Cathedral in the small municipality where the Commons owed its namesake: Ocangb.
Every day, the noise would start to tremble during the wee hours; sounds of the vendors slamming their stalls and store-windows opening. Then it would escalate as the fish hawkers and pig farmers would roll in, then one could hear the squeals of the pigs and smell the stench of the fish as both were being noisily butchered. The produce was brought in later in the day to avoid being contaminated by the then wriggling carcasses, but they were expected to come no later than noon. From afar, the Ocangb Commons was normal, and from the most naive perspective; even prosperous.
The odd political position of Ocangb and how the district is nearly immune to all attempts of corrupt government gerrymandering lies in the name “Ocangb Commons’. In the 1700s, the ‘chief priest’ and lawyer Monsignor Angoncillo offered the people free reign over the church grounds below the ancient cathedral, which was once under the custody of the Hanean monks. It was legally declared ‘common grounds’ the next year, and over time, more and more of the townsfolk moved their homes and properties to the vast common grounds, where they could live nearly tax-free.
Overtime, the small market place grew into a circulatory system of alleyways and corridors. The flimsy shacks grew into narrow two-story buildings with shacks, stores, and shops on the lower floor and residences, inns and brothels on the second upper floors.
Due to nearly everyone having moved to the tax-free cobble utopia of the Commons, the local municipal government went without tax and any legal jurisdiction over the people. This lead to the disbandment of the Ocangb government and the town was soon branded as without sovereignty by the national government.
Of course, this utopia could not keep up its ivory-tower reputation. The Commons nearly grew to the size of an entire city block by the time the 1900s neared its end; at over one-hundred seventy square meters. Crime became rampant in the very deepest center of the Commons. Gang wars of different factions grew out of the simple premise of over who should control the shops, who pays tribute to who and who sets the prices. The Haneans lost nearly all influence over the Commons.
But these were the least of the horrors that transpired in the heart of the Commons. These scenic and surreal genocides, poverty, and overall grime and rot was believed to been brought over by a demon who secretly ruled over the Commons. It was said to be a tall, lanky monstrosity that easily towered over the central arcade’s belfry. Its ‘throne’, as some would call it, was situated in the top of Diafold area’s largest building; Springwalk Hall. It walked amongst the streets at night and grabbed people from the ground as it popped them into its mouth.
This, of course, was nothing but a craftily fabricated tale, a superstition, told by the gang’s ‘buffer-men’ to explain to the frankly uneducated populous about how the recent disappearances came to be, often acting as nothing but mere townsfolk who’ve actually witnessed such a thing. But the prospect of there being actually any ‘buffer-men’ cannot be confirmed. Rumors spread that this ‘ buffer-men’ would turn into black puffs of smoke as soon as they walked into the shadows, suggesting they were the daemonic attendants of the demon rumored to rule over the Commons, whom the townsfolk sarcastically called ‘Daddy-Long-Legs’ or ‘The Crooked Man of the Hill’. And so thus was the large market for gossip and superstition in a place as back-wooded as this. But aside from everything the townsfolk say, there has been no great incident as of late.
That is until a foreigner with barely a peso to his name arrived and went around looking for a job in the Commons. The people there spoke no English and hated foreigners. Rightfully so, the man went missing before the sun set on his first day there.
After several years, a car which caught the attention of the impoverished folk who’ve probably never seen one rode into the opening of the great Commons. It was the family of the foreigner. They asked throughout the town if they’ve seen a tall man with curly brown hair, black eyes, and fair skin; bringing a picture of their son as a reference. The populous promptly ignored them for being the same color as their idiot son who wandered into this place in the first place. They scoured the outer Commons to no avail. As the weeks grew thin and their clothes grew ever dirtier as a result of trudging through the whole place, they did the reasonable thing and gave up the search completely. The only choice then was to make good use of the tragedy, squeeze out some crocodile tears in front of rich relatives and collect insurance after the seventh year, which he would be legally considered dead then. It was the only time, they thought, that they would ever profit from their worthless ‘traveler/influencer’ son whose hard-headedness and ‘adventurous spirit’ got him into this predicament in the first place.
The foreigner’s girlfriend, however, driven by her the nonsensical notion of ‘unconditional love’, told what could have been her in-laws to go ahead without her, and that she would search for her partner and that she would weave through the veins and arteries of the Commons.
This section of the account has been reputed and is suspected to be a fantastical report by the vicar that the bishop sent. Of course, if someone who is supposed to be of great faith succumbs mentally and makes up such a tale- that in itself would be evidence enough that whatever floated around in the Commons twisted people. It goes as such…
After another three years of trudging through the Commons, the adverse effects on our heroine started to show. The Commons had this sickening miasma effect on people. Spend too much time in the Commons and the filth reaches your heart. It maddened people, which was rumored to have been the work of the Crooked Man of the Hill. The once beauteous woman had grown pale, thin and sickly. She did not think to ask a loan from her would-be in-laws, and they wouldn’t have given it to her anyway. But without any money, she needed to sustain herself in the Commons somehow. Job hunting proved impossible and no-one in the Commons would employ her to do a job that did not include unsolicited intercourse. But by prostituting herself throughout the years, she had destroyed herself completely. Even the brothel’s thinnest and ugliest courtesan was more ‘palatable’ than her, according to the beer-bloated drunkards that frequented the service of whores. And so she was cast out by the head-whore and she had been left even more penniless than before. At least when she was a courtesan, she still had her clothes.
What transpired next is truly a testament of how deep the bedrocks of human depravity can be; of how a person so average can be stripped of their own humanity if they were thrown into the wrong corner of the earth. We see our heroine, for the time being, as not only thin, ravenous and clearly insane, but absolutely animalistic in nature. She crawls around the Heaps, were the folk of the Commons throw their trash and sewage, rummaging for food. There are even some instances where she would attack dogs and cats and consume their flesh, either out of hunger or lunacy. She would particularly target pregnant cats and dogs to kill and eat, with the benefit of already being conveniently pre-stuffed. This was brought on by the onset of mental disturbances brought by numerous venereal disease and hunger.
This would have effectively carried on for the rest of her presumably short life. But throughout all her struggles she remembered why she was here, why she trudged through this accursed place in the offset. As long as she remembered this, cat corpse with a side of miscarried kittens would always taste good.
She happened to chance upon it. She had finally laid eyes on her beloved. But her relief was mixed with the sourness of horror as she only saw what remained of him. His lower half was detached, leaving only the lower part of his exposed spine to dangle freely in the wind. His viscera had all been removed, save for one lung and large parts of his mutilated torso. This arms were spread across to hang on a rack as if he was crucified…
The page ended here. The rest of it is in filing cabinet somewhere in the Vatican…
“It is our scared and fear-induced shrieks resound as we thrust ourselves further and further into the night that we leaves trails like breadcrumbs for the nether creatures and daemons to track us down as we lose our way; inching ever so further from God’s guiding light.
-Bishop Charles Balbuena
Written by BrotherIssachar