I never would have written this story without that contest. I always wanted to write about the penanggalan but Molotov gave me the push.
I discovered the penanggalan through D&D. Its illustration was always one of more grotesque ones. But it also haunted me. And then I found the Fiend Folio at my childhood home.
None of the origin stories I read completely satisfied me. I fixated on the fact that a penanggalan will remain unnaturally beautiful throughout her life.
I’ve always wondered what made a woman choose to become a penanggalan (and if it was a choice). I examined the physical price of beauty and the extremes some go to attain that irreproachable veneer.
Hope you enjoy!