A Rising Tide
“Just like moons and suns,
With certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still, I’ll rise.”
― Maya Angelou
Peter’s sister slapped him across the back as he dodged the predictable blow that would normally rearrange his face like abused Play-Doh. Alexa chased after him in a rage, hell-bent on punishing him for insulting her and her mother’s ability to feel intense waves of passion.
Under cerulean skies, a gentle breeze played with leaves in treetops. High-flying birds rode wind currents in lazy glide paths on their way to some distant point as the tempest sound of sea and shore’s affair carried across the bluff.
Domi tried to scream as she felt her eyes bulging and her breath cut off. The man put his knee across her lower back pinning her pelvis to the ground. He ripped down her stained panties and cut them free.
The river cut across the valley below her second-story room she shared with four other girls. She spent most of her free time looking out the window watching the river make its way down the valley.
Water cascaded through her hair, over her face and shoulders, encasing Domi in a cocoon of warmth as her thoughts drifted in a dream of false hope. Her hands and arms drifted along the landscape of her body with a sponge washing the memory of the herbal fluid and Jade’s healing massage down the drain.
Domi sat glued to the window watching the plane rise over the Gulf of Finland and turn to head out over the Baltic Sea. She reached back from time to time to feel Eo-Jin’s presence. She called to him to show him the coast as they crossed into Europe. He leaned over her shoulder his chest touching her back. Domi shivered.
The driver wedged the car in heavy traffic and headed for Seoul. Domi looked out at the blue-gray tidal flats that blended into the same blue-gray sky. Intermittent clouds, islands, and mountains artfully dotted the horizon.
In Seoul, a monk hurried along a cobblestone path to his temple. His gray robe fluttered in the stiff wind. It was rare for such a storm to blow in during the early morning. Korea was the land of the morning calm, and so far, things weren’t calm.
Rays of light bursting through lavender streaked skies drifted across the room, climbed the wheat colored linen wallpaper in jagged lines and disappeared. More followed in waves, like water washing over pebbles or thoughtful fingertips over sensitive skin. Domi struggled to lift her head.
Jade stood transfixed by Jasmine’s steely eyes. They burned through her with a look of harsh sadness that would never find words. It was not the way of warriors to mourn their goodbyes. Still, the pain always stabs the heart. There was always the blood of those departing looks.
The Chambermaid brought in tea and breakfast. Domi ignored her and continued to look out the window. Jasmine set the tray down on a small table in the corner of the room and walked to the window. Domi sat in the window frame in a repose of resignation. The fingers of her hand touched the glass trying to connect with something in the distance or past.
It was her first mission assignment and nothing frightened her more. She was to take Lee and travel with her to the Dragon island off the southern coast of Korea. Domi had to navigate the subway, arrange for the train to take them to Pusan, and find a boat to ferry them to the island. Domi had no idea what to do. She didn’t speak the language and couldn’t read a single character of Hangul.
The sliding glass door moved aside, and the figure of a woman dressed in black pants and smock filled the opening. Behind the woman, the ground was dark and the sky revealed the first moments of daylight. Domi and Lee sat up with a start and looked on at the surreal scene as the shape closed in on them. “Gather your belongings ladies. It’s time to turn your pussy into a tigress.” The pitch of the Black Dragon’s voice was sweet and high cutting the air like broken glass.
The seasons came and went in a tireless cycle of training and education. Through it all, girls transformed into women of strong mind and body. The Dragon’s blood washed away the lurid stench of weakness and fear, replacing it with a ferocity that lived just beneath the surface of feminine grace.
Domi tossed on the sleeping mat. Someone unknown inside the estate unsettled her. She reached for Lee. Her presence in the pitch black of night comforted Domi. Lee wasn’t there. Domi’s fear rose in her throat, and reason fled her mind. She got up and felt for her tunic and pants. At the door, she tugged on her slippers and went outside.
“You understand your suffering was necessary, don’t you?”
Domi felt like she was staring at the sun. Her eyes burned in pain. Her throat choked her breath as she struggled with revelations of her life. Lips moved as she tried to speak then faltered and retreated.
End of Part III