Love in the Land of Dragons

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 5 (v.1)

Submitted: August 31, 2014

Reads: 333

Comments: 16

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Submitted: August 31, 2014

A A A

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Chapter Five

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The harsh sunlight bathed the entire corn field in a golden glow. Elizabeth Ander found herself behind the wheel of an old tractor, as it plowed through the tall stems that rolled on for miles and miles. All of a sudden, she heard a plea for help from behind.

“Elizabeth! Help me! Please, help me!”

Elizabeth promptly turned and looked back in alarm when she saw her fiancé Seth hanging on for dear life to the back of the tractor, trying desperately not to fall into the path of the sharp steel plow that was chomping up everything in its path as it towed behind.

“Seth!!’ Elizabeth cried out,” as she hastily reached out to him, “Take a hold of my hand!”

Elizabeth could see Seth reach up towards her with his right hand, managing to get within inches of her fingers, as his left hand held on to the tractor’s hitch. She could see the absolute terror in his eyes, as she continued to stretch her own arms out as far as she could in an attempt to save her love from a certain death.

“Seth!” Elizabeth continued to cry out, “I can’t reach any further! Please try to grab my hand!!”

“I can’t!” Seth called back.

“You’ve got to try, Seth!” Elizabeth tautly countered, “You’ve got to try!!”

Elizabeth knew any moment Seth would loose his grip on the hitch and fall under the plow.

She continued to frantically reach out to him until finally, in a last ditch effort, Seth was just able to grab a hold of Elizabeth’s hands. Then using what remaining strength she could muster, Elizabeth managed to pull him back from the brink of death and into her loving embrace.?

“I’ve got you, my love!!” Elizabeth whispered in Seth’s ear, as the tears freely flowed down her cheeks, “And I’ll never let you go.”

However, as she leaned back to look into Seth’s eyes, Elizabeth suddenly found herself staring into the face of Carlton Chambers!

Suddenly, Elizabeth jolted awake! She glanced around to discover she was obviously not on the back of a tractor plowing through a corn field. Instead, she found herself lying in the cot of her small room at the Sanctuary House. The morning sun had just risen above the eastern horizon and she could hear a rooster crowing somewhere outside her window. She realized it had been a dream. Only a dream.

She was still groggy and emotionally confused about the meaning of what she had just dreamt when she heard a light knock at the door.

Not in the best of moods and thinking it was Miss Chang once again, Elizabeth bolted from her cot, her night gown flowing, and harshly swung open the door.

“What is it!!” she rudely barked out, but was surprised when instead of Miss Chang at the door, there was a small girl about twelve or thirteen years of age with long, dark hair that was braided down her back.

Elizabeth noted the girl’s olive complexion and emerald green eyes. She also recognized her as the same girl who had been with Miss Chang when Elizabeth arrived yesterday.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Elizabeth quickly apologized, “I thought you were someone else.”

The girl nodded, seemingly in understanding.

“Uh, may I help you with something?” Elizabeth curiously asked.

“Father John asked to fetch you and take to dining hall for breakfast,” the girl replied in slightly broken English.

“Oh yes,” Elizabeth smiled, “Uh, if you would please give me a minute to get ready, I’ll be right out.”

The girl nodded again, “I wait downstairs.”

The girl then quickly turned and headed down the hallway toward the stairs.

Elizabeth went back into her room and slipped out of her night gown and into a beige petticoat. Taking a wash cloth out of the top drawer and using the water in the bowl on top of the chest, she washed her face helping get the sleep out of her eyes. Then she took a wooden toothbrush out of her traveling case along with some baking soda to brush her teeth. After combing out her hair and re-tying it into a bun, Elizabeth put on a long blue skirt and white ruffled blouse along with black flat back shoes.

She hurriedly exited her room and went on down the stairs into the living room where the young girl was waiting for her in one of the bamboo chairs. The girl quickly stood when she saw Elizabeth.

“Please follow,” the girl courteously requested, as she led the way through the back of the house and on outside with Elizabeth following closely behind.

Elizabeth noted it was going to be a beautiful day with clear blue skies and a gentle cool breeze that promised to make the heat much more bearable than it had been yesterday.

She followed the girl across the Mission House grounds. Along the way they passed a chicken coop, where a bandy rooster cockily strutted around amongst a couple of dozen hens. Elizabeth strongly suspected he was the culprit crowing at daybreak.

Elizabeth also noted several small cottages spread across the grounds as well. The girl kept her pace and Elizabeth noticed they were headed towards a long one story wooden building. Elizabeth then heard someone talking and glanced back to see that several people were following them. They were each carrying small boxes and baskets from the back of the Sanctuary house kitchen.

The girl led Elizabeth to the entrance of the building then abruptly stopped.

“This dinning hall,” the girl announced, “they expecting you.”

“Aren’t you coming in?” Elizabeth asked the girl.

“No, I eat later,” the girl shyly replied, as she turned to leave.

“What’s your name?” Elizabeth called after.

Without stopping, the girl glanced back to answer.

“Mingxia!”

“Thank you, Mingxia,” Elizabeth said, “for showing me where the dinning hall is.”

“You welcome,” Mingxia answered, as she hurried on.

Elizabeth smiled to herself as she thought of the stark contrast in manners between this young girl and Miss Chang.

Elizabeth then entered the hall.

Immediately, she noticed several long wooden tables and matched benches. One table was covered with a cloth and off to the side was a smaller table that held several bowls of food.

“Ah, here’s our new missionary now!”

Elizabeth quickly turned around to see Father Polsky and several other people standing off to the side.

“Good morning, Father,” Elizabeth greeted with a grin.

“Good morning, Elizabeth,” Father Polsky greeted back, “I trust you slept well last night?”

“Yes, very well thank you.”

Except for that dream, Elizabethcandidly thought.

“Good,” Father Polsky continued, “then before we all sit down for breakfast, I’d like to make some introductions.”

Father Polsky, leaning on his ever present bamboo cane, then turned to address some people standing directly behind him. The only one Elizabeth recognized was Miss Chang.

“May I present to you our new missionary,” the Father announced, “who just arrived yesterday. This is Miss Elizabeth Ander from America. Miss Ander, may I introduce you to some of our staff.”

The first person Father Polsky introduced Elizabeth to was a short and thin man, impeccably dressed in tan trousers and a neatly pressed white dress shirt. His dark hair was smartly brushed back from his high forehead and he wore large wire rim glasses that Elizabeth thought gave him a sort of owlish look.

“Elizabeth,” Father Polsky began, “this is our staff physician, Dr. Xiu. He practices medicine in Canton but periodically travels to the Sanctuary to treat illnesses and the like. You also might find this interesting. Dr. Xiu was educated in the United States. So I think you two will have a lot to talk about.”

“I’m so pleased to meet you, Doctor,” Elizabeth said, “if I may ask, where in America did you go to school?”

“University of Chicago School of Medicine,” Dr. Xiu politely answered. Elizabeth noted he spoke English with no noticeable trace of an accent.

“I’m from Nebraska,” Elizabeth stated, but the doctor did not reply but instead just slightly nodded his head.

“And these are our other teachers,” the Father continued, nodding to a young man dressed in a traditional Nehru type white shirt and black pants, who stood alongside a young woman with braided hair dressed identically to the man, “May I present to you, Po Kang and Chi Lee.”

Both slightly bowed but said not a word.

“Pleased to meet you,” Elizabeth smiled, “I look forward to working with you both.”

Elizabeth noticed the young woman subtly smiled but the young man remained stoic.

“Of course you’ve already met our House Mastress, Miss Chang,” the Father said.

“Of course,” Elizabeth answered, “and how are you this morning, Miss Chang?”

Not surprisingly, Miss Chang didn’t reply.

“And I’m fine too,” Elizabeth couldn’t help but sarcastically reply, “Thank you for asking.”

Miss Chang gave her an extra austere look. Elizabeth slyly smiled to herself but also realized she shouldn’t push back too hard against Chang this soon.

“So, lets begin our breakfast, shall we?” Father Polsky interrupted, as he directed them to a table that now had several serving plates of poached eggs and steamed rice, along with a variety of fruits and vegetables. Several tin cups filled with orange juice and coffee were placed nearby.

Elizabeth found herself seated between Dr. Xiu and Father Polsky. Several of the apparent kitchen “help” ran around serving up the breakfast on porcelain plates and shiny silver ware.

Before they began to eat, Father Polsky recited a morning prayer.

“Thank you, Lord for what we are about to receive. And thank you for guiding Miss Elizabeth Ander safely here so she may begin to serve you in spreading the good news of your loving gospel. Amen.”

“Amen,” Elizabeth repeated. The others remained silent.

“So let’s eat!” Father Polsky declared.

As Elizabeth started to munch away, Father Polsky asked her, “And how is your breakfast, Elizabeth?”

“Delicious,” she replied.

“All of our food here is fresh,” the good Father explained, “the eggs are from our own chickens, the fruits and vegetable from my garden, of course there is always plenty of rice, and we have an orange grove on the back lot. We try to be as self-sufficient as possible. Only the coffee and my pipe tobacco are brought in from elsewhere.”

“Well, it’s all very good,” Elizabeth said.

“After breakfast,” the Father started, “I’ve had a student assistant assigned to you to escort you to your first class. The children should be arriving in a few minutes. Some are probably already here.”

“I’m looking forward to it,” Elizabeth said.

Soon, breakfast was over and the kitchen help started to clear the table.

“Thank you, Pia,” Father Polsky addressed an older man standing nearby with thick, gray speckled hair and a long thin face, who was busy putting some utensils away, “once again you’ve outdone yourself with your cooking talents. Elizabeth, this is the man I was telling you about last night. May I present our chief cook, Pia.”

“Pleased to meet you, Mr. Pia,” Elizabeth greeted, “and thank you for preparing my late dinner. It was scrumptious.”

“Am so pleased to hear,” Pia replied, in a gently thick accent, as he smiled a toothless smile. Then he returned busily back to his task at hand.

“So, your student assistant should be waiting outside to take you to your first class,” Father Polsky explained, “I’ll be by later to see how you’re doing.”

“Thank you, Father,’ Elizabeth replied, as she got up from the table and addressed the others, “and it was a pleasure to meet all of you.”

Dr. Xiu nodded in return but Miss Chang, as well as Po and Chi Lee, were already out the door.

So Elizabeth stepped outside to look for her student assistant. Instead, she discovered Mingxia standing nearby.

“Hello again, Mingxia,” Elizabeth smiled.

“Hello,” the young girl answered, “this way to classroom.”

“You’re my student assistant?” Elizabeth asked in astonishment.

“Yes,” Mingxia answered, “ but must hurry. Many students already arrived.”

With that said, Mingxia headed off towards a barracks type structure on the east side of the grounds. Elizabeth quickly caught up and tried to engage the young girl in conversation.

“How long have you been attending classes?” Elizabeth wondered.

“Long time,” Mingxia starkly but politely answered.

“What grade are you in?” Elizabeth inquired, “Seventh? Eighth?”

“Yes,” was Mingxia’s only reply.

“Mingxia, now that’s a very pretty name,” Elizabeth continued, “does it have any special meaning?”

“Yes, means ‘bright glow through cloud,’” Mingxia smiled.

It was the first time Elizabeth had seen this young girl smile, however she did notice a touch of sadness in Mingxia’s eyes.

Soon, they arrived at the classroom door. Elizabeth could hear the whisperings and subtle laughter from inside. As Mingxia led the way, Elizabeth entered the classroom.

Quickly all the whispering and giggling ceased and there was an air of dead silence in the small classroom.

Elizabeth noted there were about ten students (counting Mingxia) at their desks, as well as nine apples all lined up neatly in a row on top of the teacher’s desk at the head of the class. Behind the desk was an old cracked chalkboard.

Elizabeth then saw Mingxia nod her head towards the class and suddenly they all spoke up in unison.

“Good Morning, Miss Ander!!”

“Good morning,” Elizabeth happily replied, “and thank you for all the apples. They’re my favorite fruit.”

“Tso forgot to bring apple,” a young boy in the front row said.

“Did not forget!!” another young boy (apparently Tso) replied, “I got hungry on way to school and ate it.”

“Well, either way,” Elizabeth smiled, “I thank you and look forward to working with all of you.”

“So what is lesson today?” a third boy asked.

Elizabeth then realized she hadn’t been presented with any formal teaching plan and she’d forgot to ask Father Polsky what he specifically required.

“Uh, well today class,” Elizabeth improvised, “I’d thought we’d delay any formal lessons and just talk and get to know each other a little better. I’ll start off by telling you I’m from a place in America called Nebraska.”

And so Elizabeth’s first day of class quickly went by. The kids sat in fascination as she told them of America and her life growing up on a farm in Nebraska, and she listened in enthrallment as the students told her of their life growing up in China.

And after seeing how the children in her class were so eager and open to learn new things and how welcoming they all were, that for the first time since arriving, Elizabeth Ander realized that not only was this the place she needed to be, but this was the place she wanted to be.


© Copyright 2018 Nikki Evans. All rights reserved.

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