Tea Leaves and Purple Robes

Thoughts of a Father

Match Twenty-Five: Thoughts of a Father:

-Alfred-

Little Florence looks so sweet sleeping in her crib. She’s so small. Alfred reached out and poked her on the cheek. She doesn’t know what kind of world she’s in. He almost envies her in a way. She will get old soon and see the ugliness of the real world. He wished that he could keep her a baby forever.

There is a reason why he’s worried.

Alfred’s been having strange dreams lately. They were all about his daughter. She was much older. She looked about twenty years old. Little Florence was looking up at a stormy sky. She was looking for something. Her long wavy red hair looked just like her mother’s. He could only see her dark brown jacket and jeans from where he stood. Alfred knew it was she just by looking at her back.

Florence reached her right hand above her head. Alfred wanted to reach out and grab her shoulder. She seemed to be within inches of his grasp. He reached out to his daughter. Why was she so far away? He tried to call out to her. No sound came out. Why couldn’t he reach her?

The air around him felt so cold. But he couldn’t feel it on his skin. A single landed on his non-existent cheek. He looked up at the blackened sky. Was that rain?

No.

Drops of blood started to fall. Alfred screamed as he covered his head. Through the cracks in his arms, he could see her looking back at him. He couldn’t see her face. He tried to reach out to her again.

And then he woke up.

Alfred looked down at his baby. Little Florence looked like a little angel sound asleep. Was it possible for a baby to look that pink? She was safe for now. But what did that dream mean?

Now, the American man wasn’t too keen on dreams. Usually, he would just forget his and move on. This time was different. Alfred picked up his little girl.

“I won’t let anything happen to you, little dude,” he whispered. He kissed Little Florence on the forehead.


-Yao-

He looked down at his son. How could someone so small draw so much chaos? Right now, Jing was sound asleep in his crib. Ju was out for the day. It would just be him and the kid.

At first, Yao thought that the mysterious women were all in Ju’s head. He’s not so sure about that anymore.

It started three nights ago. Yao was playing with little Jing in the backyard. It had been a nice mild evening. The Chinese man bounced his baby in his lap. He nuzzled the boy’s face.

That’s when he first saw her.

A figure stood down the pathway towards the neighborhood. Yao leaned closer for a better look. That figure looked like a person. Within one blink, the figure was gone. Now, Yao would’ve chalked it up for just seeing things.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

Yao tried to keep it to himself. Ju didn’t need any more stress. Last night changed the whole situation. Like Alfred, Yao didn’t think much about his dreams. But this felt different.

The Chinese man opened his eyes to see a sea of black bamboo surrounding him. The chill of death ran all over his body. Yao could smell it all around him too. He covered his nose and backed up. Where was he? The Chinese man’s eyes darted around. He couldn’t find anywhere to go.

Clang!

The clashing of metal made Yao turn his head. Two figures were clashing with each other in the sky. He couldn’t see who it but something inside of him told him that he knew one of them.

My son!

Yao tried to yell out to Jing to stop but no sound came out. His beloved son couldn’t hear him either. From what he saw, the fighting got worse. Neither side wanted to give up. Each time their swords clashed; the blows grew more intense. It looked like it was going to never end. Yao’s heart sank. He didn’t want them to fight. But he didn’t want his son to die either. It would be bad if the other fighter died too. Yao tried in vain to reach them. But his voice wouldn’t come out.

Suddenly, one of the fighters falls from the sky. Who was it? Was it his son? He couldn’t see. The other fighter floated in the sky. Suddenly, the forest grew darker around Yao.

He ran towards the falling warrior. The Chinese man had to see who it was.

Then he woke up.

Jing looked so precious sound asleep in his crib. Yao wished that he could keep his son a baby forever.

Yao turned around when he heard the door open. Ju stood in the doorway. His heart relaxed in his chest.

“Oh, it’s you,” her husband said.

“He asleep?” Ju asked.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Yao said.

“Good, good,” she said. She walked over and looked down into the crib with her husband. Jing looked so peaceful sound asleep.

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