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Short Story Compilation Moe Myint Htet


Copyright © Moe Myint Htet, 2011 All rights reserved Publisher’s Note: This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, religious elements, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

Wang, Fennix Short Story Compilation: a collection of homework and self assigned short stories / Fennix Wang. First published in 2011 Spring by RENAISSANCE-II

Original Author Moe Myint Htet Email:

Published online on Designed by Studio

Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the author of this book. The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in or encourage electronic piracy of copyrightable materials. Your support of the author’s right is appreciated.


This work is dedicated to all my instructors who inspired me, more than ever.


Notes 7

Chronicle of Miki: Those Creatures in the Woods 8 2009 Spring . Class Assignment

Chronicle of Miki: Calligraphy Strokes 19 2011 Spring . Self-assigned Project

Fallen Flowers 32 2008 Fall . Class Assignement

When Grandma was a Girl 34 2008 Fall . Class Assignment

Interacting with homework Characters 36 2009 Spring . Character Development Practice




These are mostly from my homework of previous semesters. Only Miki Chronicles: Calligraphy Strokes is a new work in here. I started writing short stories in 2008, which was not too long ago. I’m hoping to write more shorts in the future. Writing full novel is one of my future dreams, but I know myself clearly that I’m not yet qualified enough to start a full novel. I have experience writing novelette though. Unfortunately, they are still not in English that I cannot share those with many people. I’ve written a novella and a translated light novel from one of my old favorite anime. At one point, I tried translating some manga but people didn’t support me much that I stopped. After all, I just love to write. Every holiday, if you’re in town, you’d see me carrying a backpack looking for a new place to write. I prefer writing outdoor. These are not the best stories I’ve ever written. All I intended was to get more feedbacks. Since these works considered as fiction, why not publish them. This type of publication doesn’t even need to go through all the troubles like looking for an agent, trying to negotiate with book publishers, etc. All I want is people reading my works. So, these online self-publication sites have made things a lot easier. I hope you enjoy my works. Please rate, comment, and if you’d be kind enough, give me feedbacks. 7

Chronicles of Miki: Those Creatures in the Woods


PART 1 In this city, Tanhyin, trees were getting lesser and lesser because of the construction companies. What Miki noticed was the open field near her school, full of construction works. There was a damp woodland several weeks ago. Things went really fast as if the whole forest was going to disappeared. “Hey! Miki, let’s go.” While Miki is gazing at the field of construction works, someone suddenly tapped her shoulder that her attentions were drawn back. “Good morning Noe Noe.” She replied. Noe Noe was the first friend she made after she moved to Tanhyin city. She was also in the same class as Miki, in sixth grade, wearing the same uniform. Miki was the one with neck length hair, with a bicycle and had cell phone. Noe Noe had grown up in Tanhyin city that she had more knowledge about her town. She was actually taller than Miki, and has longer hair. Two of them together illustrate the typical middle school kid image. The day they got to know each other was a day after the school term began. That day, since the season has changed, the usual damp soil started to get dry a little by little. Because of the fogs, the grass and the wooden light posts in each side of the road were all moisturized. From far away mountains, the new born morning sunlight was reaching the ground. On the concrete road were buses and trucks, running fast, but not as annoying as in big cities. In the surrounding, there were some convenience stores and tea shops like any other small towns. In the atmosphere was the mixture of earthy and wild flowers smells. That day was the second day of her second year in middle school. The morning sun light was shining between the curtains of Miki’s room that she was forced to wake up. She reached at her alarm clock on the desk near her cell phone. It was eight o’ clock already. “Huh!? Why the alarm wasn’t ringing?” Miki woke up half an hour later than she was supposed to. She rushed to the school with her bicycle for her turn for cleaning duty. Until that afternoon, she didn’t realize what she was missing. The lunch box that her mother prepared for her was left at home, unpacked. She came out in rush that her pocket money was also left inside yesterday’s uniform skirt pocket. Her stomach was growling with anger. With a hopeless face, Miki leaned her chin on her desk. “Miki, if you don’t mind, I can buy a bun for you.” Her classmate who sat beside her asked. “Really?” They went to the school’s canteen together and bought a curry bun for each. The buns were a bit long in shape and as big as half of their head. Inside the brown, freshly baked bread was deliciously spiced meat curry. Miki was not a big fan of curry buns, but because of the hunger, that one was surprisingly tasty for her. “This is really good. Thanks a lot.” “I’m glad it helped.”



“Erm…, I’m sorry, I don’t know your name yet.” “It’s Noe Noe.” She replied with a smile. “No, no?” “Yeah, it sounds like that. My real name is rather difficult, but Noe Noe is a lot easier, and all my friends and family call me Noe Noe.” “Alright, Noe Noe, nice to meet you.” Noe Noe liked books a lot, especially, the comics and fictions. Because of Noe Noe, Miki also was drawn into reading habit. They usually go to the school library together, which was on the fourth floor, in the room with nice big windows. Through the windows, they can see a hillside view that had lots of trees, as if there was a little forest. On one sunny afternoon lunch break, they saw a figure standing among the shadows of the woods. At first, both of them didn’t intend to have any interest in it, but that figure showed up a few days in a row that Miki started to wonder what it was. She also asked Noe Noe about it. “Yeah, I saw it too. I don’t know what it is. Some people say there’re ghosts on that hill.” “Ghosts? Really?” Miki’s reaction was rather happy then surprised that even Noe Noe was confused. Ghosts and such kind of paranormal things were one of her favorite topics since the junior years of her middle school. For instance, she told her friend that she wanted to go see it closer. Noe Noe didn’t want to go closer to that place, and also, she thought Miki was kidding about going there. That evening, after the school, Miki went to the hillside which was not very far from the school buildings. When she actually reached near the hillside, she started to feel nervous, but she did go near the woods as she decided. With an encouraging mind, she started to take a step onward the hill. The slope was quite even that everyone could walk up without any extra effort. Dragonflies were making so much noise as if they were telling her to turn back. At the moment, something grabbed her hand from behind. She was so surprised that she was about to shout. “! … Noe Noe, you scared me.” Miki turned back and told her. “Miki, you better don’t go up there. Even if there’re ghosts, why do we need to look for them?” “Yeah, but, that’s exactly what is interesting me. At least I want to take a picture, so that I can show it to my friends back in my town.” “Miki, I’m serious. Don’t go up.” “Noe Noe, it’s okay. The sun’s still up. I should be able to take a look at least.” Noe Noe released her hands. “Then just take a look from right there, and come back okay?” “OK.” Miki replied, blinked her left eye at her, and went up alone till the top of the hill. From the top, she could see the woods closely. Inside the woods were some old shrines and statutes which were mostly broken, and planted. Miki looked back and told Noe Noe with hand gesture that she was going to walk inside of the place. 10


Not one minute later, Noe Noe also came up and stick together with Miki as she felt nervous. “Miki, I don’t like the wind that just blew me from my back. It’s so cold, and somewhat weird.” Noe Noe said while noticing the chill in her back. Miki smiles at Noe Noe, meaning “it’s alright.” After they walked in a little bit deeper into the woods, they found some broken statues. There were lots of big trees that the sun light didn’t shine through the woods much. The place inside was somewhat damp, dark and eerily quiet. “Noe Noe, are you also a Buddhist?” “Yes.” “Then you might know what it is called. I kind of forgot.” Miki squatted down, and picked up a broken part of a rounded shape face like statute and asked. “It’s hard to tell ‘cause it’s broken. Huh!” “What? Remembering the name of it doesn’t need to surprise me that much.” “No, … look over there.” Miki turned her head to where Noe Noe said. They together were shocked by the image they just saw. It was a human like walking figure, but rather than flesh, that thing looked like made of black smoke. The eyes were hollow and able to see through the back. “What is that thing!?” Miki fell backward on the ground with the surprise, and was still asking question. Noe Noe already had closed her eyes with both of her hands and almost cried. That thing was still in the distance, walking to and from. It didn’t seem to notice them. Miki came back to her mind and realized what to do. She stoods up, grabbed Noe Noe’s hand, and ran back to where they came. When they reached to the ground, Miki noticed that her legs were shaking, and Noe Noe was crying already. By then, Miki started to laugh about what they just did. She really thought that it was an exciting moment that she could rarely experience in her boring life. “I’m sorry, Noe Noe.” Miki then apologized for scaring her friend. “I told you not to go there. Now, I’m going to dream about that whole week.” “I’m terribly sorry. To make it up, I’ll take you to your home with my bicycle, okay?”

PART 2 That night dinner was a nice home cook meal by Miki’s mother. At the dinner table, Miki told her story about going up the hill in the evening to her parents. Her parents laughed. They thought she might have seen something that her imagination scared of. “Damp woodlands are usually like that. You’ll see weird things. Usually they come from your imagination.” Her father said. “No, I think it’s not my imagination ‘cause my friend also saw it, not only me.” “Alright, alright. I trust you, so, don’t go up there again, and you’ll never see weird things anymore. Right?”



Miki was not very happy that her parents were not convinced. Also, she wanted to find out more. While having full of thoughts in her brain, she went upstairs to her bedroom. “Miki, by the way,” Her father called over her from downstairs. “my company is having a new project for apartment construction in the area near your school. I’ll have lots of paperwork to do, so, I won’t be able to hang out with you much. Listen to what your Mom has to say, alright?” “Okay, Dad.” Miki replied from the middle of stairs. “Miki… Don’t forget to bring your lunch box tomorrow.” “Yes. Mom.” In her bedroom, she reached her cell phone to check her mail as usual. It wasn’t there. She looked for it in her bag, in the drawers, everywhere. “How come?” Then, she suddenly realized that she might have dropped it when she fell down on the ground in that woodland. She sighed. “Why I have to drop it in such place? I’m such a moron.” The next morning she went to school, she found Noe Noe was doing fine as usual. She was relieved. A plus, Noe Noe also seemed like she grew interest interested in the woodland. “Miki, I went to the library this early morning, and found some information about that woodland. Wanna take a look?” “Sure.” Since the homeroom teacher was absent and no substitution teacher had showed up, the students were put to self study that Miki and Noe Noe headed out to the library. “You see, that place was used to be a place to celebrate ghost festival long time ago.” “Yeah, that might be the reason why we saw those shrines over there.” “Read from here.” Miki took the thick hard cover book from Noe Noe’s hands. She read the passage about the legend of wandering souls in Tanhyin. Noe Noe had a comment for the continuing paragraph. “Interesting, but I refused to believe until yesterday evening.” “So, those lost souls are known as Yeippongs.” Miki said after she read a few paragraphs. “Look, the book also said they don’t have their original form. They took the human form long time ago that they look like human shape, but they’re absolutely not human. They want people to worship them, but nobody does, ‘cause they have nothing to be admired of or feared of. After all they just seem like a messed up kind of spiritual beings, well, according to this book.” “Then what is the kind that people worship in Tanhyin?” “I don’t actually know. Those rituals and traditions are quite complicated.” “It’s the same as in my town. But still, I cannot think of why they appear in those woods.” “What? The woodland?” A senior student who was looking for books near them interrupted their conversation. “Don’t tell me you two are talking about that one over there.” “Yes, why?” Miki replied him. 12


“What’re you two planning to do?” Miki told him about her little adventure from yesterday and the image they saw. That person didn’t seem to trust them as well. However, the difference was he believed that there are some unexplainable things on the hill; he didn’t believe that they actually dare to go up. Miki kept resisting that they actually went up. “Then, that was what you both deserve.” He just gave a conclusion and went to the tables to read. Miki was disappointed. Noe Noe poked her arm and said. “You better don’t argue with seniors. They always think they know better, so no point arguing.” “Whatever, that’s not important. The important thing is I dropped by phone in the woods.” “Huh!?” Noe Noe’s reaction was as expected. “Miki, don’t tell me we’re going there again.” “You could say that.” Without saying anything, Noe Noe turned back to get away from Miki. Miki grabbed her hand from behind. “Miki, I need to go to restroom.” “Come on, I’m not even telling you to go with me.” “But your manners are. Anyway Miki, please don’t go.” They were arguing that people from the reading tables look at them. Miki put down the book, grabbed Noe Noe’s hand and went out of the reading area. “I knew you’d say that, but it can’t be helped that cell phone was a birthday present from my father, docomo N-03A. It’s my favorite one, and also I have contact information of all my friends back in my hometown. If I don’t go quickly, someone will pick it up.” “No one would go to such scary place to pick up a little cell phone.” “Noe Noe, I won’t argue with you, but I’ll have to go. You’ll stay here, and if I don’t come back, inform my parents or something.” “Miki, you can’t be serious.” “Just do it Noe Noe. Do it for me.” The school bells rang, meaning that the first period was over, and the second period was starting. Students couldn’t go out of the school compound during lunch break that Miki decided to go after school. Miki quietly sang while she was climbing up the hill to reduce the fright. She tried to remember the path they walked yesterday. While slowly stepping into the little forest, her eyes were kept on the ground, looking for the cell phone, and also keeping her guard all the time. “Ah, there it is.” She spotted it from far away. Her shiny white cell phone was very easily visible in damp woodland, but because of something she couldn’t go near to pick it up. It was the figure that they saw yesterday. While she was waiting for the chance, that thing picked up her cell phone and walked away. Miki was somewhat pissed. She forgot her fear, and chase after the smoke like figure. She was hiding from tree to tree and chasing something that she looked no different from a stalker. 13


PART 3 After about two minutes walk, the smoke figure went disappeared under a shadow of a big tree. As it stepped into the shadow, the figure turned in to human form. His clothing looked messy. He stepped down into the ground as if he was just stepping on stairways. Miki followed him downstairs, hoping that she would get her cell phone back. The path she was walking was pitch black, even couldn’t tell if there were steps to go downstairs. However, the surprising thing was she still could see where she was going. She tripped at one point and fell down all the way to the bottom of the stairs. She was in pain that she couldn’t stand up for a moment. “It’d be bad if I broke my back.” Miki stood up. The pitch-black world a while ago lightened up slowly. She saw another forest that looked so much similar to the previous one. The surrounding had nothing apart from dark trees. She walked forward by guessing the path that guy might walked. Her clothing was stained by dirt from the place she fell down. Miki started to feel nervous of this unknown world. Beyond the forest was a village -- more like a messy little village. Miki noticed that the guy who took her cell phone just came out from one of the houses. She ran there. Even that she fell into a shallow bog on the way, she continued running to the guy to get her cell phone back. “Excuse me, would you give me my phone back?” The guy looked at her as if she was an outlaw. Miki was scared. “Why do you want that?” The guy asked her in yelling tone. “Because it’s mine.” “Yours? Ha …, don’t make me laugh. You’re not even worthwhile to touch it.” “What?” Miki didn’t understand at first. After she looked at herself in the marsh, she realized why. Her whole body was soaked in the dirty water and her clothing was messed up that she look no different as those people in the village. Miki made a decision; anyhow, she would get her cell phone back from that guy and run back to her world. She ran toward the guy, grabbed the cell phone and tried to run away but unfortunately, she got caught by other villagers. They were even shouting. “A thief! A pickpocket!” While many people tried to arrest her, the guy from earlier said loudly. “Stay away. I’ll take her to the chief.” Miki thought they were all stupid. Why they need that many people to arrest a little girl like herself? A moment later, she found out the reason when the guy took her to their chief. She figured all the people in the village have no job. All of them were just sitting and waiting something would appear in front of them. Much liked expecting miracles to happen from Mother Nature, and they were mentioning on the way that was because they have no greed, and Miki appeared here to mess with their purity. At some point, she fired back that they were just bullying a little girl like her to take something they wanted.



“What do you know, you stupid little thing.” The guy who picked up the cell phone said.“You guy’s outside world is just full of greed. I’ve seen it. Even for commuting, you guys are too greedy to get somewhere quickly, having many kinds of high speed vehicles and all that. The result of it is what -- just lots of accidents. Our cow cart would probably go four miles per hour, and there’s no accident like you people.” She was speechless. It was unthinkable for her what kind of logic those people grew up with. Another group of people appeared on their way and attack them. They were red-brown colored and more muscular than the first group. While there was lots of mess, she slowly crawled into the nearby bushes to get away from them. What she heard from them was to give them the cell phone. She relieved that she picked it up and put it in her pocket. “No greed? What an obvious bullshit.” She uttered out of disappointment. “Pure what? Pure stupidity!” From then, Miki ran as fast as she can, and as far as she can. She ran till she reached to a waterfront, the dead end of the land area. It was a huge river that continued till the horizon. There were some small boats going slowly toward the horizon. The sun was setting, and the river was reflecting and glittering that the whole environment was like an orangey red painting. Miki sat down on a stone on the riverbank. “What is this place? I’ve never thought it’d turn out this way.” Miki depressingly gazed at the sun set. Once the sun had gone down all the way, paper lamps appeared on the surface of the river, lighting up the way for the small boats. She also noticed that there was a gate and all those small boats were going through the gate. She didn’t know how long she had been gazing, when she came back to herself, she unexpectedly saw a boy standing behind her. His existence was so sudden that Miki was surprised. She stood up and prepared to stay away. The boy looked no different from the others, but sounded different when he spoke. “What are you doing here?” Saying, the boy looked at her carefully for a few seconds. “Finally, I meet someone from outside world.” The boy said happily. “You know me?” Without answering, the boy took her to a safer place where was full of old abandoned bunkers. Then he said. “By looking at your eyes, I know you’re not from here. People who got into this world not one day ago have more hope in their eyes. You saw those people eyes are all dull right?” “Yeah, with dead eyes. Wait, what was that place? Where are all those boats going?” “To other worlds.” “What?” “That was the River of Afterlife.” “EH!” Miki was so surprised that she didn’t even know what to reply. The boy continued. 15


“Just like you, I was also lured into this world a year ago. This place makes no sense for us. I want to get out of here, but I couldn’t because I didn’t make it within one day.” “Huh!? So, what should we do now?” “What should we do? We need to work together! I cannot go out by myself but if I go with you, I still have chances to get back.” “Do you know how to get out?” “We can get out from the exact same place where you got in. Try remembering how you got in.” Miki thought for a while, and went secretly back to that place when trying to remember the way back. They went through many trees and bushes while keeping themselves from other people, and then, finally, they reached to the borderline, the same place with many bogs where she got in.

PART 4 In the outside world a few hours had passed since Miki went into the woods. Noe Noe was sitting and waiting near the woods all the time. She also was scared of that place, hungry and shaking, but she couldn’t help worrying about her friend, Miki. The senior student whom they met in the library that morning came to Noe Noe. She stood up. “What’re you doing here?” His question was almost blaming. “Wait… waiting for Miki.” Noe Noe answered. “The other one who was with you all the time?” “Yes.” “Why this place?” “She… she went into the woods.” “WHAT!?” He screamed out loud. Noe Noe had no idea why. “You guys are so stupid. Do you know that you cannot get off from there forever if you don’t get out of there within a day?” “We didn’t know…” He looked at the sky. The sun was setting within the orangey gradient sky. It was evening already. “What should I do? Should I call her parents?” “It’s no use. We’re going into the woods.” As a cold wind rubbed their skin, Noe Noe’s heartbeat was accelerating. However, she went up after him for her friend’s sake. They followed the subtle footsteps on the ground where many small plants were rooted for decades. At the end of the footsteps, they found the tree. “Hey, you wait here.” “Where’re you going!?” “I know what we’ve to do to save your friend. One person needs to wait here, another person need to get my motorbike, and you cannot ride my motorbike so you wait here.” As he was about to run away, Noe Noe grabbed his shirt from behind. 16


“Please … isn’t there any other way? I’m really scared here.” Noe Noe’s voice was shaking, and almost crying. He slowly took her hand from his shirt, saying: “I lost my little brother already; now, I really don’t want you to lose your friend. I’m trying to help, and we’re running out of time. Try courage yourself; be strong for your friend. Just a few minutes okay?” “Okay.” “I’ll be back real quick.” She nodded. He ran back at the maximum speed of his to his house. Noe Noe heard a whisper of the woods caused by wind. The place only has tiny little light coming among the leaves and that light was gradually going away. She was so scared that she called her friend’s name. “Miki!” Miki, who was nearby but the barrier had separated two worlds that they couldn’t see each other. However, with their connection of friendship, Miki unclearly heard Noe Noe’s voice. She shouted back by guessing the direction the voice might be coming from. “Noe Noe… can you hear meee? Noe Noe…” An unknown kind of strength has filled in both of their body at the moment. “Miki… is that you…..?” “Noe Noe, give us a way, hurry, this place is dangerous.” “How do I do that?” “Cast a shadow of this tree. We can get out only from there.” Noe Noe absolutely understood why the senior student went back to get his motorbike. She kept encouraging Miki while they were waiting for him. Not ten minutes later, he came up on the hill with his motorbike. He couldn’t ride up because there were many trees and it was difficult to avoid them. It was so heavy that he was sweating and exhausting. “Hey, you stay away a little bit.” He turned on the big front lights of his motorbike. The forest got almost no light that his motorbike’s lights were good enough to cast a shadow of the tree. From Miki’s side, in the other world, they saw a light in the place exactly where the shadow was casted in the Noe Noe’s world. Miki grabbed the boy’s hand and walked into the light. “Miki, I thought I’ve lost you. How could you be that reckless?” Miki hugged Noe Noe and whispered near her ear. “Noe Noe, I’m sorry, and thank you for saving me.” On the other hand, the boy also was crying with the senior student. They wondered why. That young boy was his younger brother who had been lost last year. They also said they were really glad that they met Miki. That night, the senior student parked his bike somewhere near and they went back to their home together while talking about the Yeippong people or creatures they met.



Everything happened a few weeks ago, and now, the construction works were going deep into the woods already. They cut down almost all the woods to build new apartments. Miki and the boy now understood what the book means by Yeippon is “hiding under the shadow”. Those creatures back there are living closest to the afterlife, refusing to cross over to the other end, and never tried to get better than what they currently were. Now that construction works cut down the trees, so no one would be accessing there anymore. That was what they proudly called “The world that belongs to pure people.” “I’m glad that they keep their world for themselves.” Miki smiled looking at the remaining woods.


Chronicles of Miki: Calligraphy Strokes


Part 1 The alarm clock rang suddenly that Miki woke up. As she noticed the pencil in her hand, she realized that she fell asleep on her desk while studying. ‘Yoko yoko tate tate’ She wrote another kanji again, verbalizing every single strokes of it as their teacher told them to. The test was coming up in a week. Miki’s weekly assignment in kanji class never made it any better than sixty percent. She blamed herself for being a kind of girl who spent most of her time for food, fictions, and comic books. ‘Writing kanji needs lots of focus. Following stroke orders is to ensure speed, accuracy, and legibility in composition. Each and every single stroke has its width and weight those maintain the balance.’ Miki recalled what their teacher said since the beginning of the school term. ‘And when I grade, I’m going to look at all those little details. I’m not sure how strict your previous teacher was, but – I’d say – I’m pretty strict on this.’ The more she thought about what her teacher said, the more nervous she got. Even if she did great for other subjects, if she didn’t pass the kanji class, the whole result would be miserable. And, if she didn’t do a good job, her father wouldn’t buy her the new cell phone that she wanted so badly. Every middle school kid would think their life was heavy and stressful. Going to school, some private lessons, and competing with other friends always have been very heavy things to do for them. Among all of them, Miki wasn’t an exception. Distressed, she walked back home from her school alone in an evening. She was so stressed out that she couldn’t even ride on her bike. So, instead, she dragged it beside her along the way. While passing in front of a shrine in the neighborhood, she noticed a pleasant fragrance of food. ‘Oden?’ Food always had been a big part of her life. Especially, Oden was one of the irresistible things for her. She followed the aroma that led her to the back of the shrine. Truly, there was a stall of Oden without anyone around it. It was just like in the comic book. She leaned the bicycle on the stone carven wall, tucked the hanging cloth at the stall out of the sight, and looked covetously at the eggs, daikon radish, konnyaku, and processed fish cakes stewed in a light, soy-flavored broth. Her stomach growled loudly, expressing its desire of the nutrition that she was looking. However, she found nobody she could ask or buy that she backed off a few steps. Slowly, her eyes looked around the stall searching for the owner. ‘Hey.’ A sudden voice from the back startled her to jump. With her heard pounding fast, she turned to look. There stood a ghostly figure of a small girl dressed in shrine maiden uniform. Her straightened shiny black hair was hanging down till the upper part of her hips. Her eyes cold still were looking at Miki. ‘I don’t think it’s polite to sneak around inside other people’s private property.’ She said steadfastly. ‘What do you want?’



Miki was afraid of the girl who was even smaller than her. If she was even an elementary student, Miki thought. ‘I’m sorry. I … I’ll leave right away.’ Miki said sounding nervous. She walked around the girl while kept looking at her that she bumped backward to a stone lantern. She bowed again apologizing and headed back to her bicycle. ‘Wait.’ The small girl urged. ‘Since you’ve already found this place, why not eat first before you leave. The oden made from my grandma’s recipe, you won’t forget if you’ve tasted it once. And it brings great luck to whatever you’re stressed about.’ ‘Really?’ ‘Yes, really.’ The girl’s face was emotionless. Miki looked at the stall again. She had not even tasted yet and the fragrance already was unforgettable. She sat down at the stall and picked up a packed tofu, an egg, a piece of konyaku and some fish cakes into a bowl. Then she grabbed a pair of chopsticks and picked up the packed tofu to her mouth. ‘Wait.’ The girl stopped her. Her sudden voice made her slipped the packed tofu from the chopsticks that she was about to eat. ‘I forgot to mention one thing. The oden is not free though, but I don’t take money because I don’t need it. Instead, I’d like you to do something for me.’ ‘What is it?’ ‘There’s a hole underneath this shrine. You’re about the right size to fit in. My grandma lost her comb in there and neither of us can get it back. If you agree to help her, you can eat the oden.’ ‘Okay, I can do it.’ Miki easily answered and stood up to take a look at the hole. ‘It’s nothing like what you’re thinking. It’s really hard to find it. And it’s too late for now. So, there’s not much sunlight. I don’t recommend going into that hole without sunlight.’ ‘Is it really that big?’ ‘Like I said – it’s nothing like what you’re thinking.’ The way she described was scary, Miki thought. ‘Go on. Enjoy your meal for now. You can come back later when your exam is over, but you have to come back for sure.’ Uncertain about whatever she said, Miki just ate the delicious oden. The girl also joined her to ate together. She feasted till her stomach stuffed. After the meal, the girl reminded Miki about her promise again. She grabbed a single stick of chopstick and told Miki to remain seated. ‘Just to make sure that you’ll keep your promise.’ Saying, she wrote something on her hand. Miki wasn’t sure what she wrote since there wasn’t left anything visible on her hand. ‘I’m not going to do the pinky swear because I don’t want you to swallow a thousand needles.’ Every time the girl said something, Miki felt a chill in her bones. She didn’t think she would forget the promise. One week had passed since then. All the students did their best for the exam and looked forward to the break. Miki and her family went to a small town – her mother’s mother’s native town --for vacation. They had a lot of fun since they had not been travelling for a long time. The results were out after a month later. The bliss had filled Miki as she looked at the result board. 21


‘I did it!’ She exclaimed rising her hands up in the air jumping. ‘Unbelievable, Miki. You’ve never made it over sixty percent in kanji. And then, out of nowhere, ninety-eight?’ Even her friends complimented with surprise. ‘How did you do that?’ For a moment, Miki had a flashback of the shrine maiden girl and the oden she ate at the back of the shrine. However, she wasn’t sure if that was a dream or reality. If she told her friends what she thought, they would laugh, or some believers might go look for that magical oden. ‘Just practice, over and over, and you’ll do well.’ She answered carelessly. Until she went to bed that night, she didn’t realize there was something on her hand. She saw some characters but she couldn’t see them well in her unlit bedroom. She rubbed it to erase. She couldn’t think of who actually wrote it. She rubbed it again, but the ink wasn’t going anywhere. She got up from the bed and went to the bathroom. There she could see what actually was written on her hand.

「うそつき」 Liar She used a soap to wash it off, but it wasn’t. No matter how many she tried, it never went away. She was then scared. Thoughtless, she sat down on the stool in the bathroom. She didn’t wipe her hands that the water dripped on the floor. Slowly, those drips of water turned to black ink and it stained the floor. For a moment, Miki thought the writings were being washed off, but actually, it wasn’t. In fact, it even made a mess on the floor. She picked up the sponge and washed the floor with soap. After she cleaned the soap with water, she found more words written on the floor instead.

「無理」 Hopeless Frightened, she could even hear her heart pounding in her ears. Her hands started to tremble. ‘This can’t be happening.’ She uttered closing her mouth with her hand. Then she looked at herself in the mirror. More words were written on her face.

「バーカ」 Stupid She covered the word written on the floor with the stool, ran back to her bed and covered herself with the blanket. ‘This is just a bad dream.’ She told herself. ‘The next morning I wake up, everything will be back to normal. Sleep Miki, sleep.’ She forced to close her eyes till morning.



Part 2 Unlike she thought, she looked at herself in the mirror next morning and she almost jumped. There were writings all over her face and whole body. Before she actually started to cry, she realized the event that happened at the back of the shrine. So, without wasting any minute, she dress herself to cover her whole body with a hat, a scarf, a long top sweater, a long pants instead of her usual short skirt, stockings and shoes. She thanked the early morning that there weren’t many people to see her. She biked swift to the shrine. She threw her bike on the ground when she arrived to the shrine and ran toward the back where she made a deal with the girl. The girl was sitting on a picnic blanket sipping the tea, as if she was expecting her. ‘Good morning.’ The girl greeted calmly. ‘Have some rice and natto. I also have …’ ‘Enough!’ Miki shouted. She noticed herself that she was breathing hard. ‘These are all your doings, aren’t they?’ ‘Yes.’ The girl stood up and said. ‘So, you must know how to erase all these.’ Miki stepped closer to the girl and said. ‘Sure.’ ‘Then do it now.’ The girl didn’t seem to be pleased about what Miki said. ‘I thought we had a deal. I thought you’re helping me to get my grandma’s comb back.’ Responsibility had struck Miki to a great guilt. ‘Okay. I’ll do it now.’ Saying, she ran to the hole. ‘Wait.’ The girl urged her. ‘You need to get a few things to protect you from the evil spirits. Remember what I told you? It’s nothing like what you’re thinking.’ She warned. She took off one of her red hairclip out of her hair, and gave it to Miki. ‘Use it to communicate with me.’ She said handing her the hairclip. ‘And this is to protect you from the evil spirits.’ She gave her a red flattened pouch like charm. ‘Evil spirits?’ Miki asked doubting. ‘You mean ghosts?’ ‘What I meant by evil spirits is much broader than that. Just remember simply as something dangerous for you.’ Remembering what the girl told her, Miki went into the hole without wasting any more time. She put on the red hairclip that the girl gave her. It was a tunnel like single path that she just followed it along. When she arrived about the midway of the tunnel, she saw a white crane with its neck and tail black. It was weaving a beautiful cloth. Amazed by what she saw, she encouraged herself to approach it. ‘Excuse me.’ Miki said trying to get the crane’s attention.



‘Oh, is it the girl sent by my granddaughter to help me look for my comb?’ The crane replied with an elderly, but yet beautiful, woman voice. ‘Your comb?’ Miki asked surprisingly. ‘How come you …’ ‘Yes,’ The crane interrupted. ‘it may seem to be odd for you, but I really need that comb to appear human.’ Miki was more mystified. She wanted to ask many questions, but they were too many that she didn’t know where to start. The crane continued. ‘I knew the password after I fought for it all these years, but only human are capable of practically going in there.’ It paused the weaving for a moment. ‘The password is sen ba zuru.’ Then it continued the weaving again. Miki headed to carry out her task. After walking till the end of the tunnel, she passed a field that ended at a three storied castle. She stood at the entrance and said the password. It didn’t barge. She tried again. Still, nothing happened. So, she just pushed the wooden door using all her might. The gate opened slowly. ‘I don’t even need the password.’ She thought. She stepped into the castle. It was rather an abandoned castle, long abandoned one. She continued stepping forward. At one point she found a diagram hanged on the wall. It seemed like the floor plan of the castle. At the bottom of each page, there said: “May the password lead you to the right way.” ‘I’m actually in architect’s room.’ She said herself. She took down the three sheets – one sheet for each level – of map, folded twice and put it into her pocket. The castle had unnecessarily lots of rooms separated by doors. As she proceeded forward, she found a similar room, in fact, very similar one as the previous room. One wandered around would easily get lost, Miki figured. She took out to the floor plan from her pocket and examined it again, closely this time. ‘How’s it going down there?’ The girl’s voice echoed inside her head. ‘Where are you?’ Miki asked looking around. ‘From the hair clip.’ ‘Oh.’ She then remembered. ‘This is a nice radio system.’ ‘So, what did you find?’ The girl asked. ‘Anything special?’ ‘I’m in a castle, trying to look for the comb. Your grandma said it is kept at the top of the castle.’ ‘True. Did you figure out how to get up there?’ ‘I got the ground plans in my hand. I saw the stairways which is only one on each floor. And I …’ She paused. ‘don’t know what to do.’ ‘I’m not sure too. I’ve never been in there that far. Can you find a way to get to the stairway?’ ‘I’ll try.’ She chose the shortest way to the stairs, which was to go straight through the doors. ‘Alright, keep it straight.’ Miki told herself. ‘Then you won’t get lost.’



She marched forward. All of the rooms were octagon shape from the aerial view and each room had eight doorways, some were with doors and some were without. She followed along the diagonal path in the direction of ten o’ clock. Till the third room she entered, she experienced nothing special apart from the old damp air inside the castle room. However, when it was the fourth room she entered, she heard some metal clinking noise from a corner. She looked at the direction and was stunned by amazement. It was a full beautiful set of armor moving by itself. Carrying a sword, she noticed that it was coming to her way. ‘Cool!’ She was excited to see a real beautiful set of armor without visiting a museum. However, the armor raised the sword to cut its intruder. ‘Not cool!’ Scared, she grabbed the charm the girl gave her and closed her eyes tight.

Part 3 In the morning, Miki woke up from her bed. She thought about how she went into a castle. ‘Was that a dream?’ She asked herself. At the moment, her cellphone rang. While still in dreamy mood, she picked up the call. ‘Hello.’ Miki said in sleepy voice. ‘Hey Miki, thank goodness you’re safe.’ Her friend’s voice was serious. ‘What happened?’ ‘You know Sayuri was absent yesterday right? Just this morning, her mother called us saying she is nowhere to be found. They informed the police already.’ She paused and told her friends that Miki was okay. Then she continued. ‘You were also absent yesterday. That’s why we were all worried about you too.’ ‘Really?’ Miki said in a dropping tone and checked the clock. It was already eight thirty. She ended the conversation by shortening it and went off from the bed. She also checked her cellphone calendar. It was actually the next day, she figured. She remembered very well that it was morning when she went into the hole. Where did the rest of my day go? Confused, she staggered to the bathroom and looked at herself in the mirror. There were no more writings; as well as on her body, she was back to original. She wondered what were all those about. She went down from the stairs, and there she saw her mother who was about to come upstairs to wake her up. ‘Miki. You’re sleeping with those clothes again? I’ve told you it’s a very bad habit.’ Her mother scolded. ‘Anyway, you’re going to be late for your school.’ With her doubting mind, she changed her clothes to her school uniform. Then she ran off from the door, rode her bike to the shrine instead of going to school. ‘Miki, what about your breakfast?’ Ignoring whatever her mother might be saying, she felt that she had to do something decisive to have a clear idea about what was going. As soon as she arrived she went into the hole again. The shrine maiden girl didn’t show up this time. It doesn’t matter. I can talk to her through the hairclip. Miki thought. 25


After walking through a certain distance in the tunnel, she saw the crane. It appeared to be writing some calligraphy works using its leg to hold the brush. ‘Are you not weaving?’ ‘I’m taking a break.’ The crane put the brush down and turned to her way. ‘If you go the wrong path, they will take you. However, the charm you have had prevented them from taking you, so instead, they take your friends, family, and all other people who’re relating to you. Then finally, they’ll try to take you if they have nothing more to take. That is the legend I heard.’ ‘Why didn’t you tell me earlier?’ Miki said her voice trembling with regret. ‘Why didn’t you tell me that your oden was this expensive that I have to pay it with my friend? You’re all too cruel.’ ‘Don’t get us wrong Miki. I know this must be too much for you, but you’re my only hope to go out to the surface again. It has been hundreds and hundreds of year of waiting, weaving all these cloth to kill the waiting time. And finally you came to us. All these years, you’re the only human who saw us. That’s extraordinary. Only you can help me, please, I miss myself as a human again …’ The crane turned its face away. ‘though I cannot be a normal human anymore.’ ‘Who were you?’ Miki asked as her doubts were cleared by the crane’s sincere voice. ‘To make it short, I was a wife of an emperor. I could appear human using my comb. Well, I can now admit that I seduced the emperor to be mine, just because I love him so much. I did not lie that I loved him. And his brother didn’t like me to be with him. For I appeared to be evil in his eyes, he, somehow, forced took my comb, kept it in that castle, and killed his brother who was a dreamy lover, separating us forever. I’m very sorry for him. It was all because of my sin, and I want to repay for it, but’ The crane looked at itself. ‘in this situation, I can’t do anything much. Until one day, I found that girl and she said she’d help me, but unfortunately, she is also not human that she can’t practically go into the parameter of the castle. So, she asked you to help me.’ ‘So, two of you are not really related.’ ‘No, not exactly, but we’re best friend of each other.’ Miki turned away to the castle thinking deeply of the crane. She also encouraged herself to get her friends back. ‘May be if I can solve the puzzle, I can get her back.’ She said to herself. Once again, she entered the castle. She recognized the path she previously took and followed along it. As it was the fourth room she made mistake, she thought of another way. ‘I came in diagonally to ten o’ clock. So, may be this time also three room straight to two o’ clock direction.’ Saying, she touched the wooden door to open. ‘Wait.’ The girl said from the hairclip. ‘Why not try opening it a little bit to make sure it’s safe? Then actually go into the room. How about that?’ ‘Good idea. This is even like a bit cheating.’ Miki smiled.



So, as she suggested, Miki opened the door a tiny bit just to peek in. Thanked to the little lanterns those nobody knew who lit them, the room was shown partially, but good enough to see the way. She saw nothing happened that she went in. And again, she tried the next room with the same direction while thinking if the path should be zigzag. She neither saw nor heard nothing special that she went in. Suddenly, she heard footsteps on the celling. Thrilled, she looked up. However, when she saw an armor holding a spear jumped down, she was too late.

Part 4 In the morning, Miki woke up from her bed. She thought about another mistake she made the last day. Her cellphone rang. She glanced at the clock. It was the same time as yesterday – eight thirty. ‘Hello.’ She answered the phone. ‘Hey Miki. Thank goodness you’re safe.’ It was the same friend from yesterday speaking with the exact same tone. ‘Are you going to tell me that Sayuri has not come back yet?’ She guessed as she was having the déjà vu. ‘Not only Sayuri, Yuuko and Shinichi also went missing. Just this morning, their mother called us saying that they’re …’ ‘Wait.’ Miki interrupted. ‘Yesterday, Sayuri was missing, and this morning Yuuko and Shinichi went missing?’ ‘What are you saying? They all went missing yesterday. It even seemed like they all disappeared together.’ After a moment of pause, Miki became alive after the shock caused by what she just heard. Multiplying! ‘Okay. I got it. I need to go right now. I’ll talk to you later.’ She ran down the stairs and then to the door. ‘Miki, you …’ Her mother was about to say what Miki knew she was about to say. ‘Yes, mom. I won’t do it again, and I don’t have time to have breakfast now.’ Saying, she ran off with her bike. ‘Then how about lunch?’ Her mother’s voice disappeared in the distance. She eventually arrived to the shrine, the hole, and straight to the crane. ‘Do you feel it? You knew it?’ Miki asked hurryingly while catching her breath. ‘Slow down. Know what?’ The crane asked her. ‘That it’s actually the same day that is being overwritten over and over?’ ‘Well, it’s hard for me to tell how many days have passed because I stayed here all the time, but I do realize that you’ve been coming here for a few times. Am I right?’ ‘Yes, you saw me coming, but you never see me leaving?’ ‘Now that you’ve mentioned it, you’re right.’ Miki turned around and sat at a corner of the crane’s room. She was hugging her knees that keeping quiet for quite some time that the crane worried about her. 27


‘Are you okay?’ ‘I’m thinking of a new way.’ She answered without looking up. After she had been quiet and still for a few minutes, she asked the crane a brush and a paper. Then she wrote down the password “sen ba zuru.”


She paused thinking again. The crane was interested in what she was doing. ‘How did you find that password useful?’ The crane asked. ‘I couldn’t figure out where to use it.’ She answered muttering. After she appeared to be thinking something deeply, she took out the old papers from her pocket. She unfolded them on the floor, put a plain paper on top and wrote down the last character “tsuru” on it. Then she held up both of the paper against a lantern. Now, the character appeared to be written on the map.

‘No, it doesn’t make sense.’ Miki muttered putting down the paper. ‘But the map says: may the password lead you to the right path.’ She picked up another paper again, soaked some ink to the tip of the brush and put the brush tip on the paper. However, the words of her kanji class teacher flashed back in her mind before she actually started to stroke. “Following stroke orders is to ensure speed, accuracy, and legibility in composition.” She now wrote down all the strokes of the last character.

Then, making the room with the stairway as a starting point, she placed all the strokes, one by one, adjacent to one another. There she found a path like diagram appeared.



She confirmed the diagram by matching up with the way she previously went. It was the room after she entered three rooms to ten o’ clock direction and a room to the two o’ clock direction. As it mentioned in the diagram, she slipped off from the right path after the fourth room. ‘I think I did it!’ Miki exclaimed happily. She continued drawing the diagrams on the map of the other two levels as well.

Right after that, she ran off to the castle with full of encouraging mind. Carefully, she followed the path. She felt lighter and lighter, and freed from stress as she solved the mystery that had been giving her a big headache. At the destination point of the third level, she found the bomb that has a golden moon shape engraved on it. 29


As soon as she lifted the comb from its place, all the rooms and doors she passed through disappeared clearing the whole castle back to as it was. The inside of the castle was then lit by sun light that she could clearly all the way to the stairs that she came up. With victory, she walked back to where she came from in the shortest and the straightest way now. ‘Congratulations!’ She heard the girl spoke from her hairclip. The crane transformed into an oriental looking mid-age woman in the instance she put on the comb on her head. She was still beautiful in her elegant purple kimono. Her smile was full of motherly love. Miki wasn’t surprised that the emperor fell for this kind of woman. She thanked Miki sincerely and they both went up to the surface of the ground. Experiencing the atmosphere near the shrine, she was amazed by the changes of the present day world. The girl who was waiting outside bowed at both of them smiling. Miki checked her cellphone. ‘It’s ten already. I’m late for school!’

Part 5 Miki sneaked into the classroom trying not to let the teacher noticed. ‘Miki, hurry up and go to the seat.’ The teacher said out loud. ‘And try to catch up what you’ve missed from your classmates.’ Everyone looked at her now because of what the teacher said. Miki sighed and went to sit at her desk. While taking out her textbook, she recalled that three of her friends were missing that she scanned around the classroom. She was relieved to see two of them at their seat. One of them was even waving her pencil at her. However, the one who disappeared first was still absent. Later in the afternoon, her friend told her that the one who was absent was still sick so resting at home. The message had lifted the weight of all her worries to the very last. The next evening she got back home, Miki found stacked wooden boxes of oden wrapped in a blue cloth on the dining table. Her mother told her that a girl who introduced herself as a friend of Miki delivered it as a gift for helping her look for her grandma’s comb. Miki smiled. Tonight, her dinner was going to be the unforgettable oden again, a plus the whole family would have a chance to taste it. After the dinner, Miki went out to take a walk to the shrine. In her hand, she was holding the boxes filled with snacks and sweets to return the gratitude. ‘How do you know my home?’ Miki asked the girl when she arrived to the shrine. ‘My grandma told me.’ ‘How do you know my home?’ So, Miki went to the “so called” grandma and asked. ‘I was flying around stretching my wings and happened to see you going home. So, I followed you to your home secretly.’ ‘Really.’ Miki said in a dropping tone. They together spent about twenty minutes having a nice conversation. Miki’s phone rang in the middle of their talk. It was from her mother and she was told to come back home because it was late. Unwillingly, she said goodbye to them and took her bicycle which was leaned onto the wall. 30


‘Almost forgot.’ Miki turned back to the girl. ‘Here is your hairclip.’ She took out the red hairclip from her hair and gave it to the shrine maiden girl. ‘No, keep it.’ The girl said. ‘So we can still communicate in the future.’ ‘Okay, thanks.’ Miki almost went away and turned back again. ‘Oh by the way, you and your grandma are not really related, I heard. Is it true?’ ‘Yes.’ The girl answered in her usual emotionless tone. ‘So, you’re not a crane, are you?’ ‘Obviously.’ ‘So …’ Miki paused looking for a polite way to phrase her question. ‘What are you actually?’ Finally, she couldn’t think of a polite way that she just asked plainly. ‘If you hang out with me for some time being, you’ll know.’ ‘Couldn’t you … just tell me?’ ‘I don’t want to scare you.’ The girl’s answer had made Miki even more curious. ‘Okay.’ Saying, she mounted her bike and rode off from the shrine. Miki knew herself that she wouldn’t be able to fall asleep thinking what the girl might be as she knew her own curiosity level very well. As she decided to find out, she turned her bicycle back from the half way, and rode to the shrine again. Quiet and secret, so that they will not notice that she turned back, she approached the back of the shrine again. There she found the girl walking toward the little stone lantern that was about three feet tall. When she was about two feet away from it, she took out a cloth from her clothes and covered herself from head to feet. For that instance, she turned to a shadowy blob and it went combining into the tip of the shadow of the little stone shrine swiftly as if it was sucked into it.


Fallen Flowers


Early in a morning, Kyle opened the window of his bedroom. It was foggy outside and the mists were covrering up the whole environment. The sky was still dark. He thought even the sun was lazy to raise that early in the morning. He washed his face, changed his clothes before he got on his bicycle and rode to the park. When he arrived in the park, he found that the flowers were falling. Most of them were still beautiful even after they touched the ground. Bending down, he started to pick them up for his loving class teacher. Suddenly, he heard a footstep coming near him. He glanced up to see who it was. A familiar girl. She was looking at him, smiling at his at¬titude of picking up the fallen flowers. She asked to give her those picked flowers. The boy refused saying he was picking only for his teacher. Then the girl turned back and sobbed. The boy felt pity for her and he shared a half of the picked flowers from his bag. Next day he came to the park again, at the same time, to meet the same girl, under the same tree. The girl was sitting under the tree when he arrived to the park. It looked almost like she was waiting for him. She walked to him as soon as she saw him. They had become friends within a few days spending most of their time together picking up the fallen flowers. One day, Kyle overslept. He figured that the sun was almost up. Knowing that someone would be waiting for him, he rushed to their place riding his bicycle. May be she was already angry at him for not showing up. He rode as quickly as he could. In the park, he couldn’t see the girl, but he started to pick up flowers as usual. As the time went by, the en¬vironment was dramatically lit by the sun light. The girl was still not showing up. He wondered why. At the moment, a breeze that blew gently carried some flowers on the ground toward the other side of the park. He followed those fallen flowers across the other side of the park, carrying his picked flowers in his bag. After he walked for a while, he found a tomb stone. What written on the tomb stone was: HERE LIES Iris J. Tyler April 28th, 2007 He shaded a drop of tear and he placed all of his flowers on the tomb. 33

When Grandma was a Girl


My grandma used to tell her stories during the time there was British rule in Burma. Burma was colonized by Britain about a hundred years by Britain. There was also time of Japanese rule but it lasted only a few years. My grandma had experience of all those venturing times since the first rule of Britain. My grandma was only about eleven years old at that time. One of the girls in the neighborhood came to my great grandma’s house. The girl convinced my grandma to get the rice that Japanese left. At some point, my grandma told me that the rice bag worth way more than the rice inside. Anyhow, my grandma agreed to go with her. They went all the way to the harbor street which was the last main street next to the Rangoon River. There were a large numbers of garages Japanese built. Inside those garages kept tons and tons of rice. The girl and my grandma just left their home with¬out noticing their parents; so, from beginning to the end, it really was an adventure for them. They walked secretly for a long way to harbor while trying to avoid some Japanese soldiers. When they reached the garage, they were really amazed to look at the countless bags of rice. They thought about how to carry those because they were only two little girls; they even couldn’t possibly carry a bag. So, my grandma had a nice idea. They opened a rice bag and poured out about three-quarter of the rice in the bag. Then it became light enough to carry. Suddenly, they saw a truck full of Japanese soldiers crossing in front of the garage. They were shocked. And then, more and more Japanese battle trucks kept crossing followed by one another. They were just crossing in front of the garages to the harbor but one bad thing was every soldier on the trucks aimed their guns at the two girls. (My grandma explained me later that those Japanese trucks were going to the harbor because they wanted to leave the majority of their troops from Burma since the British were coming back to retake their colony.) Their hearts racing with the ridiculous rate and their legs started to tremble unknowingly. They hold on tight each other and close their eyes. They were so scared that they shouted “We are sorry, we won’t take anything.” Unfortunately, it was in Hokkein that no one would possibly understand. A few minutes later, the environment calmed down and there was no more Japanese truck. They slowly opened their eyes and tried to encourage themselves. On that day, they came back to their home safely but they brought back nothing since they didn’t have any mood to carry anything. Also, as an extra award, they got pun¬ished by their mothers because they left their homes without noticing the parents.


Interacting with the Homework Characters


Spicy Food Competition

I had not eaten spicy food for a long time. I needed to practice, unless, my friends would make fun of me. So, I decided to go to an Indian restaurant. As I usually did, I paid for the dinner buffet and started picking food onto my plate. At the moment, what I noticed was a girl, with a black medium long hair. No doubt that she was an Asian. By looking at her eyes, face shape and legs, I stereotyped she was Korean. She was also picking food onto her plate not three meters away from me. She looked at me. Her eyes shined in tungsten light. She tucked her hair on the back of her ear. Then she started picking only super spicy foods. A weird thought appeared in my imagination. Is that a challenge? I also started picking up the foods that was no less spicy then those in her plate. Half a minute after, we both sat down at different tables, but we were facing each other. As she put one spoon in her mouth, I also did. No water, no milk tea, no soda, no any kind of drink, this was a serious challenge. Not five minutes later, I looked at her. She was still eating normally. Her face color was the same as before. However, as for me, I was starting to sweat and my stomach was burning. My ears had turned red and very hot. My lips were paining as if I just chewed fifteen raw chilies. I knew she was laughing at me quietly. It was a big shame to me. In her mind, may be, she was thinking I am a failure Asian. It was a terrible defeat. Seriously, I wondered what her tongue was made of. I admitted defeat, and ran to the fridge to get a jar of ice water. I had made a decision on that day. I would go back to my country as soon as possible, and practice eating spicy foods. If I were to meet her again, I will never lose her. 37


Not All Gay People are Gangsters

It was my second week of the semester, and yet, I had never seen this person in my classroom, as well as in my life. He was tan, tall, and looking somewhat strong. That guy just came in as if he owned this place, and sat all the way in the front. It seemed like the instructor was late today. The new student started to turn my way. I was acting nothing special as my other classmates. “Yo!” He said ‘Yo’. I didn’t pay attention when he said that. He said it again. Then I pointed myself and looked at him meaning: me? “Yes, you. What’s up man?” Then, I looked at him carefully. His eyes were deep, showing how serious inside of him is. Only the way he looked at me was good enough to freak me out. A plus, his deep and dark voice, and his greeting ‘What’s up?’ was making me see him as a tough gangster. He could just look up and figure it out. Why he was asking me this. I don’t know any more particular reason, but I started to tremble. “The … the ceiling’s up. There’re some lights too, you know.” Other classmates didn’t laugh. His influence was taking over the whole classroom. I was thinking of changing my class already. He spoke to me again. “When does the class begin?” In my mind, I kept asking myself ‘why me?’ There were about ten people in the classroom. Why he didn’t ask them? “I think it begins at three thirty.” He turned back and made a phone call. A minute later, he went out of the classroom. Everyone was keeping his way clear. I felt somewhat relax for the moment of his absence. Not one minute after, he came back in, carrying cameras and some other motion picture equipment together with our instructor. He said something to our instructor as he put the equipment down at the corner of the classroom. “I’ll put them here baby.” I stood up and went to the restroom. 38


French Fever

I like creating ridiculous stories in ridiculous ways. Now that I was in a French restaurant, when French atmosphere was influencing me, I felt like I wanted to make a French story. I looked at the man who was sitting in the other table. He was with his mustache, long golden hair, looking classical. He looked rich and brave as well. He should be someone who carried out the important mission from his highness. Or else, he could be the leader of a secret knight council. It would be very wasteful to miss the chance to talk to an honorable person like him, regardless of the fact that I couldn’t speak French. At least, I wanted to say ‘Bonjour’. I stood up from my seat and walked carefully toward him. Unexpectedly, polices showed up at the entrance of the restaurant. There were five of them, fully dressed in uniform and carrying the sabers. They spoke to the man in French. I didn’t really understand whatever they were saying, but I figured that something was going wrong. There was some misunderstanding with that man. No way. This kind of person would never do something that will bring his honor down. As I expected from him, he replied the police gently and clearly with his bold firm voice. For some reason, to me, his pronunciations were very clear and brilliant than any other French speaking that I heard in my life. The police officers seemed to disagree about what he said. How irritating. If I were in his place, I would cut them into half; I would talk to such non understanding souls only with my saber. However, that person thought higher than I think. He forgave them. How noble of him. If his highness were to hear about this, he would definitely praise him double, triple for his nobleness. No matter how he tried to explain, the officers didn’t seem to be convinced. He didn’t have much time to waste with those stupid officers also. He might have other important matters to take care of. In the end, the officers forced to arrest him. I felt ashamed. I couldn’t do anything for him apart from watching from the distance. He easily blew two of the officers away who were trying to force arrest him only by using his saber back. As they prepared to draw their swords, he was also ready to draw his. I wouldn’t exchange this night show with a Disneyland ticket. The officers couldn’t even touch him. Their skills were absolutely no compare, but the bad thing happened. It was the gun. One of the officers took out his gun and pointed at him. This time, I couldn’t just watch and let such valuable person die. As I prepared to jump into the fight with my saber, I heard a voice. “May I take your order please?” I came back to myself. The waiter was asking me patiently. I ordered a soup and some baguette. The waiter walked away to place my orders. Anyhow, nobody would ever find out that I had a real saber hidden in the long wooden box that I brought. 39


Sometimes, you find something without intentionally looking for it. Usually, it is something that has long forgotten, but still fated with you. It could even be something that you used to cherish a lot. Miracles happen. Sometimes, you did something wrong in the past, and you never thought it’s a big mistake. Those careless mistakes could come to haunt you in the present. However, don’t think it sucks, think how’ll you make it better. Every imperfect life is amusing. Sometimes the dream we pursue is far in the future, sometimes, near present. Anyhow, the key is not knowing the future. If we’re knowing it, there’s no only one future. When we don’t know, the future is unlimited. Dreams are beautiful.

Short Story Compilation  

A compilation of five short stories I wrote.