by KB Meniado
The 11 stories in this anthology showcase the interpretations of the Kathbute writers to the theme of light and darkness in the genres of Romance, Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Mystery.
The Watch Repairman’s Son – H. Bentham
Can I Stay? – Nigel Libranages
Potion Lunacy – Irina Jean
Etienne and Amelie – Johanna Lee
The Man in Between – Trix Luna
The Time Banker – Raine Rillera
The Trial of the Tainted – Trix Luna
Word Wisp – AlaraChan IDA
Allegro – RK Sanchez
Thirty-Seven – Yelle Felicenny
Darker Than Night – AlaraChan IDA
WHAT I LIKED
Wattpad brims with a lot of talented writers, and this group of Kathbutes (as the authors call themselves) is no exception. This anthology Beyond Light and Darkness, born out of a community chat from the website, showcases it well. Featuring 11 creatively crafted short stories divided into four themed parts, I found my self going deeper into the this-is-a-gem tunnel quite more quickly than I expected. There’s lovely writing, there’s strong imagery, there’s close to truly breathtaking action.
It’s also that kind of collection that keeps bringing on surprises—a taste of fan fic here, swirls of whimsical there. I enjoyed the stories that bravely made use of the second person POV, because that’s something incredibly challenging. And last but not the least, I liked how this book was laid out, complete with chapter openers, story title markers and easy-on-the-eyes spacing.
Here are lines from each story that struck me, and I hope they shine some light, so to speak, upon you too:
Part 1: Love Bits
1. “The Watch Repairman’s Son” by H. Bentham
“Evenings in Sancho de Guerra were cool and quiet, perfect for sitting down at the house’s veranda like I used to when I was a kid. I’d look at the stars and wondered why there seemed to be more of them here than back in the city. I figured stars avoided the noisy Manila streets and preferred the silence this provincial town gave them. I was just like them.”
2. “Can I Stay” by Nigel Libranages
“She remembered how they welcomed the New Year on the rooftop, standing next to each other as they gazed at the winter sky while they waited for the fireworks. She remembered how her heart exploded with the colorful display that painted the night sky as she shared her first kiss with him. She kissed him again when they woke up the next morning in his apartment, but she lost count of how many times they kissed that night.”
Part 2: Spell Crafts
3. “Potion Lunacy” by Irina Jean
“If there was a ‘Most Frustrating First Day of School Experience Award’, that award goes to me. Imagine a mini me throwing fireballs at Galen Strauss, the asshole who shrunk me into two inches. This, all while sitting on the head of my brother Cedric.”
4. “Etienne and Amelie” by Johanna Lee
“‘What are you looking for?’ she repeated.
Her inquisitive blue eyes penetrated his soul. ‘A-a white animal,’ he stammered.
‘A white animal’? she repeated, tilting her head to the side.
Her beauty had rendered him speechless. Her creamy, pale skin was like delicate porcelain, her lips were soft like velvet rose petals. Locks as black as midnight peeked out of her red hood. She was enchanting!”
5. “The Man in Between” by Trix Luna
“Do not ask for his name. He will not give it to you. The Man in Between will just tell you that he is Nobody. Even if you learn what he calls himself, it will hold no significance like how yours lost its meaning the moment the Man in Between found you. He’ll explain it to you; that you can have letters and phonetics to give yourself a semblance of name but it will be nothing to who you truly are.”
Part 3: Distortions
6. “The Time Banker” by Raine Rillera
“‘What, you think I got holographic memory? Her number’s in my phone, which your amigos took from me.’
‘It’s photographic,’ said the cop. ‘And maybe you’d know that if you went to school instead of—’
I snorted. ‘Spare me the lecture, papi. Unless you got a million bucks to go with that, there ain’t no turning this life around.’”
7. “The Trial of the Tainted” by Trix Luna
“You glared at the Grey, still furious at his unwanted intrusion into your mind. Despite the fact that the Draconian saved you, the fellowship of the three creatures still seemed suspicious to you. Their mere presence on the dying dwarf planet was enough reason for you to be wary.”
8. “Word Wisp” by AlaraChanID
“‘Who would believe us?’ Ammer threw his hands in defeat. ‘What are we going to say? Some smoke creature came from an old diary to eat the words? We’ll be locked up in Mandaluyong.’”
Part 4: Penumbra
9. “Allegro” by R.K. Sanchez
“‘I’m totally rooting for the kid,’ said the other man. ‘Why would we feel sorry about something that now gives us happiness and satisfaction?’
‘Happiness? Satisfaction?’ The old man’s eyes widened in disbelief. ‘How could you consider such crime your happiness? It was a sin that brought extreme loneliness to others,’ he almost shouted.
‘Would it still matter?’ the man replied haughtily as he glanced at the weary eyes of his old companion. ‘We’re happy. That’s all that should matter.’”
10. “Thirty-Seven” by Yelle Felicenny
“She put a little flower inside his pocket, a miniscule kind that was the size of her thumb, telling him not to lose it for protection. He let her put one of her candle sticks in his bag—he forgot what it was for—ad a page in a book she tore for him to read. And weirdly, she asked him to leave his shoes and socks for her to burn.
‘H-hold on…’ He stood back, attempting to leave. ‘I’m keeping those.’
‘You musn’t.’ She pulled back, fast enough to throw one shoe into the fireplace, making him swear like a manic seagull. He waited for her to apologize but she didn’t, making his patience plummet.
There were all useless.”
11. “Darker Than Night” by AlaraChan ID
“If someone would ask me what happened on that fateful day, I don’t think they will believe what I would say. The Capitan had been distant the past couple of months. He seemed like a man possessed by his obsession to kill the monster. He does not sleep for more than a couple of hours each night, he eats like a mad man during the day, and spends almost every waking moment talking to albularios and the old townsfolk about how to battle the aswang.
Something that’s optional to be included but would’ve been enjoyable for me: an index of references, or a quick Q&As among the authors (such as how they came up with the story idea, etc.).
If you like a quick yet engrossing read of short stories packed with speculation, suspense, the philosophical and of course, love, don’t miss Beyond Light and Darkness. ☁️