Memoirs of a Northerner

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic


Memoirs of a simple farmer and father living in the DPRK. Featured in FLASH Vol. 1, Chapter 27, by hullabaloo22, https://www.booksie.com/516852-flash-vol.1.

Submitted: September 11, 2017

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Submitted: September 11, 2017

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I till fields during day, and slumber in peace during night.

I am a respected farmer and father in the village. My nickname is Mr. Brown, because of the colour of my hands, face and clothes during work. The children though affectionately call me Uncle Potato.

My sweet daughters, aged seven and eleven, walk five miles to school each day. There they learn to sing and sew, cook and craft, dance and draw. When they return in the evening we have dinner together, listen to music on the radio, and then retire for the night.

My diligent son, aged nineteen, is an officer. He writes home every month. His letters always include a little money from his savings and a few sweets for his sisters. What a kind boy.

My wife, my childhood sweetheart, passed away seven years ago. Whenever I have time, I would walk to her resting place to clear weeds and place freshly picked wildflowers for her. I would then stay awhile to talk to her about our children, tell her that they are clothed, fed, and sleep safely at night.

Sometimes, I would go fishing. I used to have a fishing partner, a good friend from my boyhood, but he is no longer around. One morning two years ago, he and his wife and two children were nowhere to be found. They were gone, vanished.

Oftentimes, young privates would spot me fishing. They would always approach to eye my catch. Gaunt cheeks, sunken eyes and thin frames; I would give them what I caught regardless if they asked or not.

Early every morning, a special van would arrive. It would play the national anthem through a megaphone, and everyone must stop everything to listen with reverence and respect. The deaf and the lame, the infirm elderly, even suckling babies must obey.

Once in a while, I would see and hear peculiar objects taking flight from far away. It rumbled like thunder as it flew upwards towards heaven like a pillar of fire, as thick bellows of smoke trailed after it. For days afterwards, everyone would become restless.

But not me. I would tell my two angels that everything will be fine, and sing them a nursery rhyme to help them sleep.

Until the day the ground shook.

It was mid-day. It had just rained when the earth suddenly began to tremble and rage. Many panicked. Some sank to their knees, begging for mercy. After some time, it stopped.

When my daughters returned later, I quickly took them indoors. I refused to answer their questions, cooked a simple dinner which we ate, and then ordered them to go to bed. I sat near their heads with a palm resting on each crown until finally, they fell asleep.

And as my little angels slept, I remained with them.

Sitting. Watching. Thinking. Plotting.

Sleep will not come for me tonight.


© Copyright 2020 AJLKS. All rights reserved.

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