Part one - The DeedMature

I – Opprobrium

Far away into the saddened grey sky and perfectly perpendicular to my position, the sun rested vacantly. I watched it stare at me; my eyes did not feel sore at all. The clouds glided towards the sun to conceal it in a way that made them look as if they were his personal bodyguards. I reinstalled my eyesight onto the fish pond just in front of me; little crumps of bread floated on top of algae, some were slurped by fish that remained beneath the aquatic garden. Further beyond the pond laid a herd of magnolia trees growing thin and whitish; from rosy pink to pastel baby-pink. It is a harsh winter in Manchuria, year 1940, and it still doesn't snow yet. The wind is dry and cold, sometimes even lower than minus twenty degrees Celsius. My orangey lips become droughty and resemble a pale blue tone.

Everything was quiet and banal until four armed guards stormed into the peaceful ambient. Behind them, big sister stood silently; a face of confusion and loss.

"Little woman, we have to leave in this instant. Your father has been targeted and you are in serious danger. The Japanese are getting closer to your place of residence, we have been ordered to protect you." One of the armed guards said in a fast paced unison speech.

Big sister moves forward and slowly explains in a brief and quick sentence, something pulled her back at the same time; her physical actions contradicted and disagreed with her discourse: "Listen to their words, we have to leave, I am sorry if you don't understand what is happening right now. But our family is in peril."

I moved forward and felt captured by them, but protected too as my sister was there with me. We promptly exited the garden through the gate situated behind the Qi Ling Statue that served as a symbol of protection to our household. Our father had built a secret underground passage to a military bunker that resided just one kilometre and a half from our house. In the moment that I saw the stairs leading to a dark path, I knew that we were on serious trouble. I have only been here once; last year, when our father told us that he was not going to come back for a period of eight months, since then, I haven't seen him. That day, I followed him into this secret entrance; he noticed and told me to never come back here anymore. I was breaking my promise.

"Xiao Wa!" I heard my mother bellowing for me; her little baby.

I turned around and unhooked my fingers from my sister's strong arms and saw my mother kneeling down and clutching my trembling hands.

"You have to promise me, that you will write to me. My reliable allies will help you escape to Taiwan. It is a small island located at the east of China. When you get there…look-at-me…when you get there…listen-to-me…at the moment you get to Taiwan, I want you to write a letter guaranteeing that you are both safe and sound." Her eyeballs were floating in a pond of salt water that was running down her cheeks like cascades.

I looked-at-her and listened-to-her and I promised that I would. She kissed my nose and I kissed her nose back as a souvenir of our daily cuddles. I felt someone pulling my neck collar, I turned and it was Big Sister. Dah Mei told me to follow her and I did, turning my head around every instance that I felt that my mother was getting further and further away. And she did. She became smaller and smaller until she was the size of my thumb and I was able to pinch her with my fingers. I did not realize that I was not crying at all, that I was as dry as today's wintry wind. I was thoughtful, I wanted to ask her what was happening but it was already too late. She has abandoned me.

The central passage started breaking down into branches of pathways; the soldiers guided us to the military base located at the frontiers between Manchuria and Russia. We walk at a fast pace in which later evolves into a sneaky running until we finally get to the other side of the passage. The gate was made of thick, heavy iron that had five locks, including one that was as thick as my chinese-english dictionary that covered the front of the gate horizontally. The soldiers took their time on unlocking the entrance whilst Dah Mei wipes off her tears; you could hear the gloomy echoing of her sniffles.

As soon as the door opens, the sounds of explosions suddenly interrupt the echoes of Big Sister's sobs, it was obvious that there was a dense bombarding outside the military base; the Japanese are already here. The soldiers carefully enter the room looking from right to left with machine guns tightly clutched between their arms. "Check over there" says one of the soldiers. "Clear" replies his partner. All this happens whilst the two other militaries walk behind us protecting our backs from any infiltrated enemy. As we move from room to room, we hear dialogues consisting of lines such as "It's all you now", "Keep your eyes alert" and "Safe; move on".

We stop at a room covered in soft red wallpaper with quilted gold details. The floor was elegantly covered in a dark reddish wood plank. The furnishing had a classic style: regal-style details carved on the shiny wood that nicely combines with the floor. "This is your father's office" said one of the soldiers, "You'll be safe in here until we come back". They left the room and asked us to lock the door, and we did. Of course we knew that we were in danger. What we did not know, is that it was going to be the coldest night of our lives.

Far away into the saddened grey sky and perfectly perpendicular to my position, the sun rested vacantly. I watched it stare at me; my eyes did not feel sore at all. The clouds glided towards the sun to conceal it in a way that made them look as if they were his personal bodyguards. I reinstalled my eyesight onto the fish pond just in front of me; little crumps of bread floated on top of algae, some were slurped by fish that remained beneath the aquatic garden. Further beyond the pond laid a herd of magnolia trees growing thin and whitish; from rosy pink to pastel baby-pink. It is a harsh winter in Manchuria, year 1940, and it still doesn't snow yet. The wind is dry and cold, sometimes even lower than minus twenty degrees Celsius. My orangey lips become droughty and resemble a pale blue tone.

Everything was quiet and banal until four armed guards stormed into the peaceful ambient. Behind them, big sister stood silently; a face of confusion and loss.

"Little woman, we have to leave in this instant. Your father has been targeted and you are in serious danger. The Japanese are getting closer to your place of residence, we have been ordered to protect you." One of the armed guards said in a fast paced unison speech.

Big sister moves forward and slowly explains in a brief and quick sentence, something pulled her back at the same time; her physical actions contradicted and disagreed with her discourse: "Listen to their words, we have to leave, I am sorry if you don't understand what is happening right now. But our family is in peril."

I moved forward and felt captured by them, but protected too as my sister was there with me. We promptly exited the garden through the gate situated behind the Qi Ling Statue that served as a symbol of protection to our household. Our father had built a secret underground passage to a military bunker that resided just one kilometre and a half from our house. In the moment that I saw the stairs leading to a dark path, I knew that we were on serious trouble. I have only been here once; last year, when our father told us that he was not going to come back for a period of eight months, since then, I haven't seen him. That day, I followed him into this secret entrance; he noticed and told me to never come back here anymore. I was breaking my promise.

"Xiao Wa!" I heard my mother bellowing for me; her little baby.

I turned around and unhooked my fingers from my sister's strong arms and saw my mother kneeling down and clutching my trembling hands.

"You have to promise me, that you will write to me. My reliable allies will help you escape to Taiwan. It is a small island located at the east of China. When you get there…look-at-me…when you get there…listen-to-me…at the moment you get to Taiwan, I want you to write a letter guaranteeing that you are both safe and sound." Her eyeballs were floating in a pond of salt water that was running down her cheeks like cascades.

I looked-at-her and listened-to-her and I promised that I would. She kissed my nose and I kissed her nose back as a souvenir of our daily cuddles. I felt someone pulling my neck collar, I turned and it was Big Sister. Dah Mei told me to follow her and I did, turning my head around every instance that I felt that my mother was getting further and further away. And she did. She became smaller and smaller until she was the size of my thumb and I was able to pinch her with my fingers. I did not realize that I was not crying at all, that I was as dry as today's wintry wind. I was thoughtful, I wanted to ask her what was happening but it was already too late. She has abandoned me.

The central passage started breaking down into branches of pathways; the soldiers guided us to the military base located at the frontiers between Manchuria and Russia. We walk at a fast pace in which later evolves into a sneaky running until we finally get to the other side of the passage. The gate was made of thick, heavy iron that had five locks, including one that was as thick as my chinese-english dictionary that covered the front of the gate horizontally. The soldiers took their time on unlocking the entrance whilst Dah Mei wipes off her tears; you could hear the gloomy echoing of her sniffles.

As soon as the door opens, the sounds of explosions suddenly interrupt the echoes of Big Sister's sobs, it was obvious that there was a dense bombarding outside the military base; the Japanese are already here. The soldiers carefully enter the room looking from right to left with machine guns tightly clutched between their arms. "Check over there" says one of the soldiers. "Clear" replies his partner. All this happens whilst the two other militaries walk behind us protecting our backs from any infiltrated enemy. As we move from room to room, we hear dialogues consisting of lines such as "It's all you now", "Keep your eyes alert" and "Safe; move on".

We stop at a room covered in soft red wallpaper with quilted gold details. The floor was elegantly covered in dark reddish wood planks. The furnishing had a classic style: regal details carved on the shiny wood that nicely combined with the floor. "This is your father's office" said one of the soldiers, "You'll be safe in here until we come back". They left the room and asked us to lock the door, and we did. Of course we knew that we were in danger. What we did not know, is that it was going to be the coldest night of our lives.

The End

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