Chapter 57: - Page 3 of 8

Vae Victis!

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

Tarsilo Alasigan.

What did Don Crisostomo promise you for attacking the barracks?

Don Crisostomo never had anything to do with us.

Don’t deny it! That’s why you tried to surprise us.

You’re mistaken.  You beat our father to death and we were avenging him, nothing more.  Look for your two associates.

The alferez gazed at the sergeant in surprise.

They’re over there in the gully where we threw them yesterday and where they’ll rot.  Now kill me, you’ll not learn anything more.

General surprise and silence, broken by the alferez.  You are going to tell who your other accomplices are, he threatened, flourishing a rattan whip.

A smile of disdain curled the prisoner’s lips.  The alferez consulted with the curate in a low tone for a few moments, then turned to the soldiers.  Take him out where the corpses are, he commanded.

On a cart in a corner of the yard were heaped five corpses, partly covered with a filthy piece of torn matting.  A soldier walked about near them, spitting at every moment.

Do you know them? asked the alferez, lifting up the matting.

Tarsilo did not answer.  He saw the corpse of the madwoman’s husband with two others: that of his brother, slashed with bayonet-thrusts, and that of Lucas with the halter still around his neck.  His look became somber and a sigh seemed to escape from his breast.

Do you know them? he was again asked, but he still remained silent.

The air hissed and the rattan cut his shoulders.  He shuddered, his muscles contracted.  The blows were redoubled, but he remained unmoved.

Whip him until he bursts or talks! cried the exasperated alferez.

Talk now, the directorcillo advised him.  They’ll kill you anyhow.

Learn this Filipino word:

kuláng-kuláng