“The generations rose and fell like so many waves upon the beach, and he stood alone, a rocky, unmovable sentinel, letting the waves of humanity pass him by, hardly noticing them at all.” ― Colleen Houck
Red lips framed pearlescent teeth in a smile perched on an upturned face. Faith’s hair was tied in a ponytail that danced between outstretched arms. The mist caught the light breaking through the branches of rain-kissed pines casting a glow on the skin of her face, arms, and legs like a candle under a burning wick.
Sprawled on the couch, I languished in a daydream staring through the open wall of the house across the East China Sea. The breeze stirred the humid air with the smell of the sea and the scent of the forest below.
The black auto prowled down the street past upscale apartments facing streets and shops with windows into a world of wealth and fashion. Men in suits and women in expensive adornments walked down the sidewalk lost in their thoughts. The life of wealth created a veneer of satisfaction on the faces making their way to their destiny.
The visions of Rose convulsing under the comforter played out like a movie on a faded screen as I stared up at the ceiling. My mind tried to make sense of it. Why would the Dragons hold onto the sadomasochist ways of the past unless they too were part of the old hegemony that had collapsed under the weight of cruelty, hypocrisy, and corruption? Faith was living proof they had not abandoned their secrets or their ideology of the past.
Faith and I rested on the Yo; a thick bed mat rolled out on the tatami-covered floor. We shared pieces of our lives in strings of disconnected conversation. The lure of Faith’s essence pulled my heavy eyelids open. Her questions lifted me from the haze of exhaustion brought on by the day’s activities. Words mingled with the edges of dreams until I wasn’t sure if I heard us speaking or dreamed of voices.
Legs and arms arched in elliptical patterns of illusion like a ballerina’s Black Swan to my ugly duckling. The attack crashes through my arm block hammering my chest and pushing me backward. The buzz saw legs disappear and reappear behind my ankles in a sweep that swings my feet up and over my head. I hear the wind rush from my lungs before I feel the crush of breathlessness and pain from my unceremonious drop to the mat.
Rose felt anxious for her Little Sparrow’s suffering. Panting, Faith lay on her side on the bed mat and clung to her pillow and life. The smiling panda, the doctor, gave her on her first treatment lay on the floor near Faith’s head, ragged and torn.
No one crossed the threshold of the Dragon Master’s home without his or his wife, Naran’s invite. Temür and Balad, the guards, often ruined the happy mood of unwelcomed guests. Rose had no intention of crossing her Master’s temper with her presence.
Rose held Faith’s hand as Jasmine and Khulan watched the festivities. Faith shook with a nervous tremor. She watched the rugged male Dragons pay their respects to one another before the fight began.
Temür made his way down the alley. He walked across the uneven pavement with a natural stealth moving like a tiger on its way to the killing fields. Eyes set under a thick brow shifted from side to side assessing the shadows and blind corners.
To be continued. . .