The Color Green

by Lily Wang

The Color Green

Chapter 1

The entire thing happened in the summer, my mom’s favorite season. When the spring was near its end, and the birds started singing sweetly, I knew it was the time to go back to my grandma’s house. She lived in a very old town, far from the city, refused modern culture, and doggedly kept the old life style. “Like a sulky donkey.” These were my mom’s original words. But this time I knew something had already changed unconsciously. Things had become different, but I couldn’t touch the truth.

I didn’t know everything could change so dramatically, to ignore and to be ignorant sometimes can be a serious sin.

That was the time I felt that someone’s choice can make people hurt, especially their blood-relations. But this thing I finally realized was at the same time that I made a decision to hurt the people I love.

My mom took a small case of cloth and used her other hand to hold me tied. We followed the fluent people, crowded past the entrances from this one to another. Everything seems harsh to a five-year-old girl. I knew something was changed; the situation had switched too much to me. I was used to sleeping in my mom’s arms, to smell the familiar sweet scent of her soft breast and shrink in the home-like air, but the next second I was here: being forced to walk in the forest of legs, tired and thirsty, strange chaos just roughly surrounding me.

The noise was loud and forever, the smoke and wet smell like an invisible spider net sticky and stuck on my soft hair, I felt my mom’s hand suddenly wet, I perplexed raised my head and tried to cry out to her about my uncomfortable feeling, but her hair covered her face, the only thing I could see was the top window’s dark yellow glass:

It was cloudy, the grey clouds just rolling and cumulating together. I smelled the wet scent a little bit salty, mixed into the muddy smoke air.

I knew that she was about to cry, for no reason, just catching the cold perception from the weather and my mom. But I knew she would not leave me, because her hand tied and tied. I felt that I became a small boat shaking in an irresistible storm, tied on a small bay by a very thin cable, a twisted rope. But I knew even if the storm really blew me away she would always be with me. I was beyond her just as she was also beyond me.

She told me this was a kind of love. And love can prevail against everything, even fate.

Suddenly I felt my hat was gone, but when I turned, the only thing I could see were the legs. My lovely pink hat just sank into those legs’ virtual images, I knew I couldn’t stop my step, and I should leave it there.

That was the first time I knew that I should make a choice, and set the bounds of my loss. People should do that, and I know if I want to be a good good girl, I should to learn to control myself. —to set the bounds of the loss. Sometimes when I looked back I could still remembered this view, this thought and this situation, keeping questioned:  what if I really went and picked up my favorite hat maybe everything could change a little bit and I would not receive the result I didn’t want.

At that time, I didn’t know what regret was, regret for the future or regret for the present. I just muddled, and I realized it as a puzzling kind of thing. It fused the feeling of the time, seduced those wandering people, and sank into the labyrinth of perdition.

“That is the way to the abyss,” Mom used to say.

And now, I just looked at her back, forced myself to bear the tear getting out of my eye rim. I didn’t know if she was regretful or not. But I did know that I would not watch her fall that far.

She was my mom, that was enough, and it was all the reason that I lived for, the only thing I needed to know: we would not leave each other for my self’s “forever.”

Chapter 2 Intermezzo

The roaring of the train woke me up from a long dream, full of marvelous colors, like the shining dust floating under the rainbow-like sunshine, delicate like fairy, wonder like tale. When I tried to touch them, they popped off like the reverie’s bubbles, disappeared with no conscious. I started to look around to ensure my situation—the only thing I could remember was “I’m walking”— half running, half walking, trembling and trying to catch my mom’s unchangeable steps, but when and where was I holding my mom’s arm? I bewildered, raised my head and hand to ensure she was there. She answered with a nod and a soft smile. And I just sank my head onto her breast’s smell, the familiar scent which I always belonged to.

I know it was a strange thing for a single mom and a child to travel a long distance. The unsure and the unstable situation could have easily swallowed us two. I know she tried too much: she forced herself too much to obstruct that malice out of my sight.

But children are sensitive. She couldn’t stop the sound, and I could hear: at first they murmured like annoying mosquitoes. I couldn’t understand but I realized it. And then they were growing louder and louder, and I knew they wanted me to hear, they wanted me to know: I was a wild kid and my mom was a dirty woman, we were filthy people with sin. The existing of us was a sin.

Till now I still couldn’t understand why my mom and I were foul. I wore clean clothes; my mom was more beautiful than other children’s moms. Why did they say we were filthy?

But I was holding her, smelling her flowery perfume, hearing her stable heartbeat. I felt the warm temperature gently passed to me, I felt her softness just surrounding me.

We were one, just like we used to be.

Chapter 3

When the bell rang the third time we finally got into the box of the right railway carriage. It was empty but full of the smell of smoke. After we placed the case and organized the bed, my mom shut the door, isolated those noises outside the small room.

This was the first time I had gone that far from our apartment. Everything seemed new and strange. I just sat on that narrow bed, shaking my legs and looking around: this was a small area but it had six single beds. Everything in here was white and light blue. Even the kettle and the curtain were light blue. I just sat beside my mom concentrating on her hands, which were paring an apple.

I knew when she was calm she would always do things like this, and spread her calm to the others who were near her. This was an old habit, even older than I was. I suspected that it was because of my father, but I hadn’t ever seen him, even a picture. She never mentioned him and I never asked.

The noise from the outside never ended, but after the conductor checked the ticket, everything went back to silence, only the sound from my mom’s action. And then, she stopped and used her left hand to hold my shoulders. I didn’t know what was happening, when the train started, I finally realized that she was protected my head not to knocked on the wall of the small room.

After that it began to rain. I looked out the window. One, two, was the sound of the rain. And then the drops grew more and more, those numerous drops covered the glass, vague the image of the building and the rail. I kept my sight stuck on the window, feeling the trembling of the train gradually took us out of the busy urban center to the unknown world. A strange sound just ringing from my deep heart: I may have lost something, but it was not big; I may have felt regret, but not much. This was the sound that I didn’t regret; this was the song that told me I could play.

The coldy rain was still there, and I was still leaving in this shadowed despair.  But I knew the window was already shut, the sound of the rain was mom’s tears, and they fell on the knife, the bloom gently sprinkling on my heart, sour and bitter.

The train stopped at the next station, a small station, and would only slow trains for about ten minutes. I could still hear the mellow murmurs from raindrops, those nature strikers, they knocked and kissed everywhere to show their equal love of the world.

I just faced the window, enjoyed the images of those gray buildings.

But suddenly, everything was silenced. This thrilled me. I knew something was coming toward us, something was coming.

“Hua, hua, hua……” the weird sound started at the end of the carriage, and walked slowly toward us. I instinctively hid behind my mom, and thrilled to hold her, not to let her go anywhere. Finally the shaking chain sound stopped in front of our door, there seemed no doubt, it had stopped there. I felt my hand become more and more wet, the sudden silence like an invisible hand gently clenching my neck. But I would not let her go.

She never deserved that, never.

But I really missed something, I’m not her. She knew the time must come. Maybe she already knew some but I didn’t. Eventually I didn’t really know her at all, my mom, my dearest only one.

She softly took my hand and gently pressing my head, smiled warmly. “Don’t worry; I’m here for you, all the time.” And then she gave me a tissue to stop my sniffle. She opened the door.

There were only an elder and a younger man. The elder’s hand still held the knocking position. His expression was astonished, and then he squeezed his face into a goodwill smile. “Nice to meet you, I…I, our room has been occupied, I just want to find a place for my grandson,” he said as he turned and glanced a little to the young man who hadn’t said or done anything. “He has a very serious illness. Maybe it is because of the long time in the hospital, but he is not very comfortable with others.” The old man scratched his grey hair. “We just want to find a place to rest, and we will get off at the next station. We don’t want to bother too much.”

“Oh, that’s bad; maybe you can find the assistant to get rid of those guys.  And . . .” Mom looked back a little, seeing my frightened face, she sighed and continued “Hun . . . .”

“Oh, what a pretty little lady, your daughter?”  I suddenly raised my head: the elder had stepped past my mother and looked inside the room. I knew that he was trying to smile at me, but seeing his tanned, sickened and cracked winkled face I soon swallowed my screaming and hid behind my mom. It’s embarrassing, but I realized something in his eyes— he knew something, he knew the fact, he already knew the thing I didn’t want her to realize.

“Yes, my daughter.” Mom answered with a little annoyed sound, and used her hand gently to pat my head.  The other hand was firmly guarded around me.

“Oh, I’m sorry, but she’s really pretty.” The elder laughed a little bit and said, “I used to have a granddaughter, the same age as her.”

“So?” Mom stared at his eyes, but her tongue became gentler.

Suddenly that young man fell, and the elder quickly picked him up “Sorry madam, my grandson is really badly sick, can we rest in here? I promise we will leave at the next station. ”

After Mom nodded, the elder soon put the young man on the bed which was the one that faced ours.

My mom and I just stared at the elder’s action: he was really worried, I could see those sweat drops hang on his oily hair, after seeing the elder took a strange brown bottle from his bag which was made by a strange patterned skin-like thing, I just felt a hand pinched on my shoulder, and next second I was pulled out of the door. Before I could really understand what had just happened, I raised my head and used my tearing eye to look at her— my mom, who already blocked the door—and asked: “ Mom? I…I…why?”

“Moryan, now listen to me, you have to do the thing I asked you to do, you are a good girl. Mom is really proud of you.” As she said this she gently fondled my hair and continued, “here is some pocket money, this money is all for you, you can buy some toys if you want, I know this is still earlier for you to know the money but …” she slightly turned back and then looked in my eyes, “Anyway, Moryan, you see the left entrance? Go down to there and passed two carriages, if you need help.”

“I don’t want to leave; there is not anyone in the hallway,” I said with tears.  I blew out my cheeks and looked up to her.

“Moryan, don’t be so stubborn,” Mom said and pelleted my head with her thumb and forefinger.

“Wuuuu…” I put my hands on the pained place, and forgot to cry.

“Moryan, you have to go…here…” she turned again and then held my shoulder to push me a little, “wait for me…” she said, and then “peng…kaka…”  Seeing the door shut and locked in front of me, I knew she didn’t want me to see.  This was not the first time she’d been out of my eye. But I was afraid, afraid to lose her.

After five minutes, the door finally opened.  This must have been my longest five minutes ever. My legs were already numb, because of crouching for a long time.

“Moryan?” Mom’s voice gently approached with the sound of the opening door. “Mom?” I answered with my sleepy eyes, and opened my arms to hang on her bended neck; she lightly held me and took me to the second bunk.  An alcohol smell filled the room. This alerted me to wake up. A miserable scent suddenly aroused a strange feeling to me. Actually I haven’t touch any alcohol before, the only drinking thing of mom is her various kinds of tea collections. But that is not means I don’t know the alcohol. But this is strange, this one is too…smoky…too…burning and too…vertigo… Pa…” I heard a sound in my brain just break out, a sudden ache just knocked into the center of my head.

“Ahh…”I cried out unconsciously and nailed my head into Mom’s arms. But an instinct told me what made me feel it.

“Moryan? What’s wrong?” Mom asked and followed the direction of my sight: the young man was on the first level of the bed, sitting in a strange pose. The hair covered his face, the only thing I could see were the vermilion lips.

“Oh……don’t you like the smell?”

“Ehn!” I answered with a sneeze.

“There now.” Mom smiled and opened the window slightly.

“What’s the matter?” The elder’s sound came from the other side.

“She’s uncomfortable with the Realgar wine’s[1] smell,” Mom answered and pressed the window a little bit. The cold wind suddenly came in; I trembled and picked up my sheet. Maybe it was because of my sleepy illusion, but the young man seemed also to shiver. I just stared at him for a while to ensure what I had seen, but that never happened again.  I assumed that it had only been an illusion.

The night was not peaceful.  I couldn’t get out of the nightmare; those fires and screaming were too real to me. The freezing snow was dyed with red color. The greens covered with those layers of red silky wave. A familiar but strange voice murmured beside me, “Moryan, you are mine, I’m the only one who could own you, and you are the only one who must follow the fate. You can’t escape your destiny, you are mine.”

I was shocked.  I got up and looked around: the young man was still there, with that strange pose. The moonlight smoothly sprinkled on his hair shone with silver sparks. I looked at him, those frightened and anxious images already far from me.

For some reason I felt that he was calling me, a strong feeling told me that we might be kind of the same. I sneaked down to the ground, Mom didn’t wake up. And I just sat on the little chair and faced him. This was the first time I had looked at him so close. He was a mystery to me; everything about him was a mystery. The only thing I knew about him were his vermilion lips, those rose petals. There was an unknown fragrance that seemed to surround him:  musk, lavender and another undesirable scent.

“I want to know him.” This voice became louder and louder in my deepest heart, an unknown impulse drove me to be close to him.

I gently approached him, my hand sinking into the soft mattress, like my heart also sank into a narrow gap; I could nearly hear every slight beat from my little breast. This was the first time I had approached one so near except my mom. This was the first time I felt the dazzling with no reason: I softly teased his long bangs. To my surprise he was so beautiful, like the porcelain doll I had seen once in a luxury store. His skin was pearl white and seemed transparent; his eyes were light brown, shining with fluent water waves. I was amazed; he was looking at me as I looked at him. At the same time, I found that around his neck was a bell chain with a big lock. And there were also many chain on his body, this shocked me: how cruel to treat a man like this.

I soon realized that he had been tortured by that evil elder. And I told him with my eyes, “Don’t worry, I will save you, no matter what.”

The next day, my mom bought me a little scopperil.  The most special thing.  In the middle of the scopperil was a very beautiful pattern with red and yellow color. After that mom led me out of the room and walked to the end of the hallway to the room between the two carriages of the train. Mom slowly squatted down and looked in my eyes: “Don’t touch him. Whatever happens, don’t touch.” I just nodded, muddled and suspicious.

The weather seemed cloudy forever; I looked out the window and enjoyed the slow speed of the train. The conductor reported because of the heavy rain, they had slowed the train a little bit. This made me happy because it meant I could stay longer with the beautiful young man.

Mom relaxed after this news report: she was making red tea. But this was a curious thing.  She almost never made red tea. Most of the time she made Ku Ting tea, the bitterest tea in the world, the one I couldn’t touch, but when I tasted the red tea I felt regret.  And the elder, after he cleansed his hands, took some safflower oil to massage the young man’s body. I didn’t see to the end, because my mom took me out.

In the afternoon, the train got back to its original speed, but our delay meant that it would take all night to get to the next station. Mom just led me on a walk from our carriage to another. This was fun, to see the different views of the other side of the train, different people and their different tongues.

“Moryan, what do you think about this place?” Mom asked with smile.

“Strange, noisy and fun,” I answered.  I looked up at her, wondering about her question.

“If, if I were not here, would you feel the same?”

“Uhn….ehn.”  I lowered my head, looked at the floor.  “But you will always be with me, you have promised.” I looked up her, a little bit more cheerfully.

“Moryan, if, if one day your mother were not with you, if for some reason, we had to part, what would you do?”

“I……I……” This was the first time I felt that I was too afraid to open my mouth.

Mom looked down at my nearly crying face, gently bent and held me tightly. “My silly child, you have yourself……a person exists in this world alone, and the only thing they own is themselves.  If there were not anyone beyond you, you would still have yourself. ” Mom gently rubbed my soft hair and continued, “Moryan, this time I am taking you out is not for fun or exercise; I want you to see, to listen, and to think on your own, about this society, these problems, those different people, and things that happened every day.” I was puzzling, looked at her, these half-understood and half-misunderstood things made me more and more sleepy.

“Moryan, do you hate your mom? Mom doesn’t allow you to go on school trips, don’t allow you to make deep friendships with others.  Do you hate your mom?” She said this in a nasal voice, and I was afraid that if I faced her, something would break immediately.  I remained silent, waiting for her to continue.

“Moryan, during our walk, we saw illness, the poor, the weak, and the prostitute.  If you were one of them, would you bear and live your life, or would you curse the world and your fate and say “why is life only unfair to me?” I shook my head and pressed my face into her breast. I wanted to be an ostrich.

Seeing my affection, my mom smiled and combed my hair with her fingers.  “Moryan, there are thousands of hardships in the world.  The suffering falls upon people, whoever they are, whether they deserve it or not. But there’s a thing you must remember: If any other people can bear it, you can too. If any other people cannot bear it, you still can.

As she was talking, she touched a little mirror-like decoration that was tied in my hair.  “Moryan, if you have a problem in the future, solve it directly.  If you have no way to solve it, create one.  Do not blame fate or other people, and do not be infatuated with the life before. Whoever you meet, wherever you are, just try to be more joyful.  That’s how smart people are, that’s how they are merry.”

“So that is the meaning of ’enjoy pleasure in good time’?” I answered, muddled.

“We will talk about it later.”  Mom pinched my nose and smiled.

CHAPTER 4

I didn’t know that the problem would come so soon and I was still afraid that if she talked about it later, something would not exist anymore.

A lure had already been set.

When we got back to our room, the elder had gone. It was very rare to see him leave his grandson alone.  Mom just stopped at the door, stared at the young man for a while. Her hands pinched my shoulder and she glanced at me with a warning in her eyes. I knew that it was an alert, but I still couldn’t understand.

We sat on the first bunk, facing the young man. I wanted to tell her what I had seen the night before and how beautiful he was, but mom’s reaction shocked me. So I played my scopperil, watched it dancing on a small cap of the beverage.

In the midnight, under the full moon, that young man was still there, but this time his body was a little lean, like he was doing it on purpose.  He faced the moon light and it gently touched his sparkling skin. I don’t know why I woke up at this weird time, maybe because of the sound of the overflowing cold wind, the emptiness of the room, and a kind of sharp smell, just like metal. I raised my head, and under the moon light I licked it a little. The taste was kind of the same, a metal-like sharp taste. But nothing was important but him. At this time I saw him. I crept down; fortunately, Mom was not on the first bunk. I gently sat on the young man’s bed and looked at his eyes. He stiffened his neck and opened his mouth: “un…p…in, unp…in…”

“Unpin?” I followed his sight: under the moon light, there was something stuck in his hair; I slowly groped at it. “There must be something here,” I said to myself, but I didn’t know why the feeling was so strange, stranger than any others I had experienced. I felt my heart nearly squeezed out from my narrow chest.

It was different, totally different, a different feeling from the previous night. In the silver watery waves of light, I put my hands into his silky hair with uncontrolled trembling. It was different from the other, smooth places of his skin; the place I had touched was kind of rough, sometimes I could feel the ravines. I gently touched him, very careful to not annoy or hurt him, but my hand still pressed those ravines unconsciously. When I pressed, there was something liquid, like syrup just out of fridge, and it was gently rolling over my hand. I shook but I did not stop. And the weird feeling came over and over me, smiting my stomach.

“I found it.” When I finally touched the cold square thing, my breath eventually found its way back into my lungs. It was cold, metal.  A nail. At this time I was frozen. This is the thing to unpin? A nail? A nail in a man’s head?  How? I tried once to pull it out, but it wouldn’t move. I clearly felt that there something was resisting me, a rootless force, I tried several times, but the nail was there, like somebody had planted it in his head. But this couldn’t stop me: when I tried again, I felt an irresistible force pushing me…

Everything happened too quickly, all I could see was the colorful virtual image, like the dream I had had before. The colors flashed and shifted.

“Pang.” The sound was like a heavy thing fallen from a high place, I felt my back hit something, the pain nearly killing me. My world suddenly turned off to the black and peace. When I woke up, the first sight I saw was that old man’s face, and I felt it: fear.  My astonished voice silenced in my throat. He was there, toppled over on the floor, his body curved in an incredible pose: I could clearly see that thing upon his head was his dirty shoes. his void eye rims staring at my place, and his face still kept his last expression: terrified, extremely terrified, he didn’t even have time to despair. Every element of my body was frozen. I couldn’t move, couldn’t scream, could only lie under the bed and stare at him. The only difference between us was that I was too afraid to move, and he was already dead. That thing, the thing I took from the young man’s head, was deeply thrust between the old man’s eyebrows. And his mouth also contained one—a two inch long square nail. The red liquid had gushed out from the head nail, submerged his left eyeball. I couldn’t move, just saw everything become red and red.

As I stared, white feet appeared on the pool of blood.  Just like the tree absorbs the water, with the invisible force the blood soon converged and flowed up from his feet.  And then I saw the body of the old man shrink and shrink, till the only thing left of him was the cloth.

I felt then that I was crying: the tear drops coldly sticking to my pained face.

And then I saw the thing I least wanted to see: his toes quietly pointed to me.

“Pa, Pa” that was the sound of the inky liquid falling down to the floor. I should have realized that when I first touched it. I stared at the only bright spot—like the door of the hell. The time passed slowly and slowly, my heart beat was keeping a high speed, hurting my breast.

At this time, my mind eventually came back from the blankness. This might have been the only chance for me to escape but “How…how could I do…how could I get out of here?” The question punched my heart. I searched all the space of my brain.

Suddenly, Mom’s words came to my mind and cleared all the panic. “I …I have to go by myself…there’s none but myself.” I soon checked my body’s condition, “Alright, only the left foot and the right ankle are in a little bit of pain,” I looked at the huge swelling, smiled.

After that I forced myself to turn onto my aching back. I know I quivered, uncontrollably quivered but I knew that I had to do it… with every step I heard the slight noise of my bones and my muscles, took my sober way back to life. When I finally reached the end of the bed and tried to touch the switch of the bunk, a chilly feeling suddenly hit my instincts. I told myself a thousand times, don’t look, but an inside force made me to look at the only light:

Finally I saw that white face, the black liquid from his head over his jade-like skin, his beautiful brown eyes clear and bright like deep water stopped at me, and then he smiled. This was the first time I had seen an expression on his face. If it hadn’t been for everything that happened before, if I hadn’t seen a man dead and disappeared in front of my eye. I would have been intoxicated, lured by his shining smile. But now, my head had already empty, and him, he just stayed in that strange pose: his face just beside his pear-like toes, smiled I nearly decided that we just playing the hide- and – seek a while ago… I’m the human, and he is the devil.

And then he opened his vermilion lips, and gently said a word. It seemed he had said the word long ago, but he was so quiet, quieter than the shaking of the air. I couldn’t get it, but when he said the last word I felt my heart exploded in my chest. He said: “Moryan.”

I was screaming, but my voice could only make an “Ssssss…..” sound, my shaking became more and more strange and I suddenly couldn’t feel my body, the only thing I knew to do was just cower, cower to the end of the world where he couldn’t touch me. My eyes were dry and sore; I couldn’t even summon up any tears to pity myself.  “Everything was done.”  This feeling jammed all the space of my mind, and my back hit on a sharp place on the corner of the wall.

Maybe because of the old springs, the bunk suddenly jumped up and hit the young man’s body. At the same time, I roughly climbed up, collided with the door, used my entire force to pull open the door and yank it closed.

I rashly ran to the end of the carriage. The only thing in my mind was “run, as far as possible.” After I passed three carriages, I eventually woke up to reality: there had to be a sound: the thunder of the train, the chuckle of the people, but in here I couldn’t feel anything, here was too silent. Except for my harsh breath, I nearly couldn’t hear the shaking of the air. And the carriage I just passed had to be the dining car; the one Mom took me to the day before. They couldn’t be all sleepers.  All same room and the same locked door. And there might be the same monster I had just met before. But I couldn’t stop, the panic drove me to run and run. Only the same shaking dark hall light stared at me running from this side to the other, I eventually realized that I had knocked on the Hallucli, the wall set by the ghost. In the ancient fairy tale, if one knocked on the Hallucli which was set by an evil being, the only thing to do was run. If a person got exhausted the thing from the other world would come and eat them. I had never believed in such tales. But now my feet became heavier and heavier, something was pulling at them, and I heard the murmurs from the floor. I suddenly lowered my head, and vomited everything out of my stomach. This did not take very long, but I truly felt that I nearly split my heart out of my throat. Those acid waters burned my lung, the pain and breathless feeling told me the thing was not only a dream. I was breathing, I was living and I was standing in an unfamiliar place. I looked around and saw hands, lots of them, tiny black hands, everywhere, they covered every space of the hall way, waving like drowned men. I started to run; I swore that I hadn’t made such an effort in all of my five years old live, but the exits were getting farther away. The ten meters seemed extended to an untouchable distance. I could clearly feel that they were pulling me, those hands, those black hands, they were like liquid cirrus climbing and twining on my shoes, whenever I ditched and ground them, they were still growing like overgrowth vine. When I felt the black entangle my right leg, the screaming just burst out of my mouth uncontrolled. And I felt that my body hit on the ground, but I couldn’t felt the pain, the only thing in my mind was : they will catch me, they will eat me. I gasped, tasted the blood sweet passing over my sour tongue. I was sickening; the cold temperature gradually touched my deepest soul, my legs were tied and tied, and those black tiny hands coldly touched my exposed skin. I couldn’t move, but my brain was active analyzing everything, I finally knew where they would take me: this couldn’t be true, this couldn’t be happening, no one would be prepared for this, this other world, the place that only appeared in book, the place they called abyss, the place that religious books called “Hell”.

Mom didn’t know that, finally, I felt regret but it was no like her helplessness for the future or her worry for the present. In the end, I regretted the past, like everybody else. Like a human being.

Chapter 5

Mom used to say that running is not the only way to solve a problem. But I knew I was never going to be the one who was brave enough to face anything. The only thing I understood was my instinct to escape and to survive. At that time, I hadn’t haven’t considered a little of the problem itself was wrong: I was simply thinking that children are weak, that they need to be protected, need to be loved by others, need to be act like pitiful creatures, need to be forgiven and consoled.

This was wrong, it was totally wrong. I was not a wild kid.

“Don’t forget me, don’t give up on me, don’t ignore me, don’t kill me…”

Those tides of emotion suddenly buried me with those small black hands, I did my best to keep my eyes opened, and seeing those hands covered the last slight light in my narrow sight. The black, the black hands, I was sickened like in a cold death sea. I was floating but couldn’t touch the edge; I was staring at the vast and hazy distance, but what I could see was the pitch-black, even darker than if I had really closed my eye. If I closed my eyes, there would be some twinkles in my sight. But now, the only thing I could see is the loneliness and my tears of despair.

“Mom?” A sound was ringing from the left. I suddenly turned and saw the only twinkling light place, For this long time jailed, I nearly felt that I would almost lose everything, I might not see her any more. But everything happened so fast, or everything started so late, that I couldn’t believe that she would be there: I saw her, the one who birth me: she was sitting beside a table, staring at a candle, the only light in a dark dark room. Because of the candle light her face seems more soft and gentle, I can even seeing every detail on her face: her eyes are dark brown shining with the flame like fluent honey syrup, her long eyelashes curvedly covered a slight shadow on her face, I don’t know what was she thinking, but her rose quartz like lips draw a  exquisite arc, she is happy, this is obvious, without me. Her hair stacked on her shoulder’s profile circled into delicate and beautiful patterns. She smiled naturally, with fulfillment and happiness, I even couldn’t believe my eyes; since I was born she had never had that beautiful emotion. What made her as her now? When I was thinking, “Pa,” the flame jumped a little, spilled over a tiny twinkly star, “Mom!” the twinkle said and was extinguished immediately. This happened many times, the sparkly light, the calling and the quenching. Everything happened quick, rough and cruel. But she couldn’t see, couldn’t hear, and couldn’t know there were thousands of souls asking her to help. I could feel it. I knew it, because I was in the place that was nearest to the hell. I understood them because I used to be the one; I wanted to, but I couldn’t.

We just simply want to be born human, why do they make it so difficult and cruel?

But she, my mom, just kept her forever smile, staring at the candle quietly.

I just looked at her, I was afraid if I really made a sound everything would disappear like a mirage. But my eye rims ached more and more, I opened my mouth, and controlled my irresistible snoring using my husky voice to cry to her: “Mom, I’m Moryan, your daughter, Mom look at me, look at me…I’m here, I’m right here, Mom… don’t ignore me, don’t fail on me, don’t close your eye, I’m existence, don’t leave me……I’m ……I’m so lonely here, the whole black world……I don’t want to be alone……” I heard my voice become smaller and smaller, only the sound of tear drops knocking on my broken heart, “kong,kong” was the sound of the hollow. I curled up my body, refused to see that disappearing image, I was afraid that too bright smile would burn my eyes. I tried to protect my weakness and isolated myself from that unknown world. “kong, kong” I didn’t know whether I was floating or swimming in the black endless ocean, everything was quiet, I nearly felt I was in the world of vacuum, “kong, kong” the sound still peacefully followed its pace. But the sound itself was quite familiar, familiar in my deep instinct, the root of my brain. The endless black brought the blank, emptiness and disappointment. “kong, kong” I was still curled my body, for some reason I felt that I was waiting, but what was I waiting for? I didn’t know, maybe I will never know. “kong, kong” the time passed, passed into the stream of the time line. My memory became more and more frail; my endless waiting still kept its progressing. With that miserable sound, the heart beat, mom’s naturally rhythm.

The time, I finally forgot the time; I felt the wave of the ocean was shaking, I was trembling in the unknown sea, the black ocean became unfamiliar to me. And I felt that the sound of my heart became more and more fast. An irresistible wave swept me forward. My body seems not belong to myself anymore. After passing a narrow gullet, my world finally became more and more bright. I felt that I was crying, but my sound was stuck firmly in my throat.  A thing seemed squeezed into my lung; I couldn’t breathe, but greedily panted shallowly. I had never thought that I could survive that desperate situation. But now with this harsh condition, I still wanted to be alive. To live, live as a human, existence in this world.

Suddenly a man’s voice came over me: “Yu Liu, there’s a sad fact I have to tell you, your baby daughter will be dead in any second, we can’t save it, and it is too weak to be alive, please be consoled by this time. You are still young you could have another child……”

Chapter 6

“Ahhhhhhh” I woke up screaming, the third bunk’s woody underside occupying all my sight. I sat up, learned on the side wall, looked at my mom who was staring, astonished from the first bunk. She smiled, seeing my panting, pale face. The mirror decoration was shining under the silent moon-light.

“Finally you woke up.” Mom smiled with a scoff. “Nuo…” She gave me a cup of warm tea to calm me down. I took it but I didn’t want to drink. My eye anxiously looked around: there was nothing there, nothing in the opposite bunks. Everything seemed empty, as though nothing had happened before. But I could still feel the trembling inside my bones. I wanted to believe that those things that had happened were just incredible dreams.

There were no bodies, no blood, not even a slight smell and no young man. Everything seemed back to normal.

“What’s the matter?” Mom’s question interrupted my thinking. My hand suddenly trembled a little, the red tea spilled over on my hands.

Moryan!” Mom cried and soon wiped cold towel on my hands.

I distracted looked at her, and muddled doubts. This tea is very warm, not hot any more.

“Mom, I’m OK now, don’t worry.”I squeezed my face to make a pleasant expression. And asked

“Mom?”

“Ehn?”

“Was someone sitting there?” I pointed to the first bunk and looked into her eyes.

“No?” She answered, then worried touched my brow to ensure that if I was dimmed in fever.

I gently caught her hand, held her arm deeply against my breast until the bones felt a little soreness from her wrist bones. I cried loudly. And seeing my tears she pulled my arms and then held me. We sat on her bed, and she sang an old lullaby.

This was the first time I felt deep praise for the god, whoever they were: Jesus, Buddha or Allah. A celestial being had sent her to me.

Nothing in the world would be better than that I was born as her daughter.

That night was peaceful, more peaceful than any other night I had had on this train, because I was sleeping in her arms. The narrow bed also narrowed our distance. The place I couldn’t see became far away.

Epilogue

One day, on the train, my mom told me an old story. Started with that unchangeable first phrase: Long long ago……

I silenced sat on the first bed and watched her hand which was paring an apple.

Long long ago, there was a king, he owned nearly everything in the world, and he had mountains of wealth, thousands of beautiful concubines, and the world’s highest wisdom. But he still not satisfied, he wanted endless long life, he wanted to be immortal, so he could own those things forever. For this reason he sent many envoys to find the legendary medicine that would make him life forever. After he was disappointed three times, the king angrily announced that if the rest of the envoys came back with empty hands he would kill them immediately. Most of the envoys ran far and wide, leaving behind their families and blood relations who had been already sent to jail as hostages.

After the king killed all of the hostages, the last of the envoys arrived home. He brought a witch who was also his wife. They had met in the deep mountain of Shu(蜀)

The king was very happy and asked the envoy to translate the witch’s words. After heard her message, the king became very angry, because the envoy had said: “the only way to be an undead is to be dead first.”

The king jailed the envoy and threatened the witch: if she did not make the medicine he would kill her husband.

The witch was forced to agree but she asked the king to let her husband assist her, because only her husband knew the method of cooking the recipe. The king agreed and set guards to watch them.

After three years, the medicine was finished, and the couple disappeared into the flame of the cauldron. They knew that after the medicine was finished the king would kill them and feed them to his dog. They thought that they would rather dead together in a place they had chosen.

The king was very glad, but after he ate the only medicine, he died. The kingdom suddenly sank into chaos; the sons of the king were fighting each other continually, the wealthy kingdom soon became poor and delicate.

But the king truly not dead. He was living, but in a corrupt body. When he woke up, he realized that this was the curse of the envoy and the witch. They wanted the king to see the gradually lost his treasure— his kingdom—collapsed and disappeared.

A hundred years passed, the king met his first enemy, his forever enemy —loneliness. So he traveled to Shu to find a way to kill himself. But because of hearing how savage of the king was, the tribe of the witch had already left the place. The king was disappointed, but he followed the instructions in the witch’s books which were stolen from the tribe’s graves and the stone tablet on the building, and made his own method to keep his unstable body alive and kill the second enemy of his forever life— boredom.

He saved a local tribe and taught them all he knew for hundreds of years of his life. The tribe chose him as the god, and the king also used the respect from the tribe to satisfy himself. After he had found that he could absorb fresh human bodies to keep his own body alive, he started to feed the tribe like the pets he had had before.

So he made a rule for the tribe:

1, only the most powerful person can ever find the king in the labyrinth of his grave. He will follow that person and fulfill every wish of the person.

2, if the one who has been chosen by the king loses any power, the king will kill and eat them.

A long time passed, and the tribe declined and disappeared. The way to the labyrinth became an unsolved mystery.

“Anything else? Is that the end?” I asked. Mom just smiled and pinched my lips which were because of the sleepy a little bit screwed up.

“Moryan, I have already told you that stories will never end. Even if there is only one left, the story will always continue, forever.” As she said this, she sight came back from the outside star to my hair’s mirror decoration, and then she put me on the second bunk: “This is the time you must get sleep, Moryan, my dear.” I answered with murmurs, and seeing my sleepy eyes she smiled “Tomorrow we will arrive at our final station.” and then she firmly tucked my blanket and gently said:

“Moryan, good night, my only baby girl.”


[1] A health improvement wine, can dispelling disease and driving out evil. Ancient Chinese believed realgar was an antidote for all poisons, and therefore most effective to drive away evil spirits and kill insects.

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