Friday Fictioneers – The Fan

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

PHOTO PROMPT © ROWENA CURTIN

The Fan

Wu Chang lounged against the lacquered cabinet, which was decorated with intricate marquetry and held the finest of linens and silks. He was a bold rascal, black hair held in serpents’ tails by silver clips. His armour gleamed.  

Zhang Chynna, attendant to the Empress, flicked her fan.

“Come no further,” she said.

“That wasn’t your song last night!”

Leering, he stepped forward a pace. “I wonder what your mistress would say about that?”

Zhang Chynna stared directly into his eyes. She gestured minutely with her fan.

Five arrows pierced Wu Chang. Regrettably, the sixth chipped the lacquer of the cabinet.

Inlinkz – click here to join the fun

What Pegman Saw – Buddhists chanting

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s location is Qinghain, Haibei, China.

WPS - Buddhists chanting 200510

Buddhists chanting

People chanted in the courtyard, and the north wind carried the sound like prayer across the waters of Qinghai Lake. A few of the participants shivered, some hugged their thin jackets tightly around themselves, but most withstood the chill stoically. They were people of the high plateau.

The little man at the front shouted a text. The assembly copied him. He shouted the text again; it was a quotation from Mao Zedong’s red book. The people copied with resignation. The leader harangued them; his voice pitched hysterically. He struck a man in the front row. The man winced but made no effort to retaliate.

“The Chinese have taken Tibetan Buddhists and detained them in this so-called re-education facility in Haibei,” said the commentator, and the video ended.

The team who had produced the video looked towards their orange-haired President.

“Great work, fellas. Get it over to Fox News straightaway.”

 

 

What Pegman Saw – Cement factory Pujiang No. 2

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s location is Songxicun in China. According to Google maps there is a cement factory just down the road from the village.

WPS - Cement Factory Pujian No2 190216

Songxicun, China | Gao Shian, Google Maps

Cement factory Pujiang No. 2

I don’t normally notice the smell of burning plastic in the village, but I’ve been shopping elsewhere and the smell seems strong when I return.

I prepare some broth and take it to my mother, who is sitting in bed with a threadbare blanket around her shoulders. Her skin is like crepe, her cheeks sunken. Her eyes, circled with purple rings like bruises, are shut as though they are hurt by even the dim light that creeps under the curtain. She coughs, violently. The sputum that dribbles down her chin is dark with blood.

“Mother, I have brought chicken broth with noodles. Your favourite!”

I sit close to her and sip by sip, spoon by spoon, I feed her until she moans, “Stop! No more. You’ll choke me.”

They say the cement factory Pujiang No. 2 is burning waste, and that the fumes cause cancer. Could that really be true?

What Pegman Saw – The Perfectionist

“What Pegman saw” is a weekly challenge based on Google Streetview. Using the location provided, you must write a piece of flash fiction of no more than 150 words. You can read the rules here. You can find today’s location on this page,  from where you can also get the Inlinkz code. This week’s prompt is the Great Wall of China.

WPS - The Perfectionist great-wall-of-china 180428

Great Wall of China, © Sébastien Laading, Google Maps

The Perfectionist

Meng Li slipped a slice of bark between the stones of the wall and scowled at the craftsmen who had laid them.

“Look here!” he hissed. “Gaps! There must be no gaps. Put it right, or I shall have you flogged.”

Wang Chao and Chen Susu bowed repeatedly. They knew that the wall was built on the bones of its builders.

Meng Li rolled a pottery ball along each drainage channel to check the gradient. He measured the pitch of each of the many steps with his graduated rod. Where mortar had been used, he probed its strength with a dagger point.

Everywhere he left men pale-faced, struggling to correct tiny errors.

That night, the Emperor sent for him.

“You are too demanding,” said the Emperor. “You are delaying completion of my wall.”

“But, my Lord…”

Quality, in the person of Meng Li, became a part of the wall’s foundations.

Mother

This poem really moved me. It has some wonderful imagery. I hope you enjoy it too!

Melody Chen

Mother,
Stepped afoot a plane for the first time,
Lost count of the number of miles it took
To reach the land that seemed so much nearer on the map.
Had a daughter whose birth rooted a lineage in foreign soil.

Mother,
Packed an entire culture into her suitcase,
Lugged it across the ocean,
Only to have it opened by a daughter who lost her way
In a myriad of alien traditions and customs
That tangled like Christmas lights.
Wondered how she would teach her daughter
Tens of thousands of characters,
When her school teachers had told her everything could be expressed
With twenty six letters.
Gifted her daughter an intricate name worth an essay, and watched it be abandoned
For one that was lighter on the Western tongue.

Mother,
Mined iron to construct her daughter’s bones,
Her own arms only strong after having to lift up an entire family.
Taught…

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