A Single Grain

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story of two brothers whose destinies cross when they eat each other’s meals by accident during the Harvest Festival feast.

Submitted: July 20, 2008

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Submitted: July 20, 2008

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It is said that on every grain of wheat or rice the name of the person who will eat it is inscribed. I often wonder, is the name of the farmer who labors and grows the wheat and rice to eat and sell on his own grain as well. Is our destiny the same way, filled with names of people we have met and are to meet? What would happen if one were to eat the grain of another, or meet someone they were not supposed to? This is where my story begins, the story of two brothers Li and Han whose destinies were crossed. Another sunrise warmed the frost bitten lands and signaled the rise and unfolding of the white lotus flowers that grew in the Koi pond near the old oak tree. The smell of cakes made of rice flower and lard filled the air. The scent was not new to the two brothers, they knew it meant the harvest festival was near and that it was time to celebrate the land and its harvest.

Li was only one year elder to Han, but they were both as different as day and night. Li worked alongside his father in the fields. His skin was bronzed from too many kisses from the sun. Han was a rolling stone who gathered no moss. People always moving, with no roots in one place, avoid responsibilities and cares. Li was as deep rooted as the oak tree that shaded the koi pond.

On this morning Li rose knowing that today was a date with destiny. The fortunetellers told him that his luck would change with the communing of the Harvest festival. Li felt a change in the atmosphere; he thought the stars were now on his side. Maybe today would be the day his father would tell him that one day the farm would be his, or maybe the neighbors would come offering their daughters’ hand in marriage. The truth is Li did not know what would happen, all he knew was that his luck was supposed to change.

Han rose hours after Li, and he decided that bathing was not necessary today. As he sat in his sleeping robes he distracted himself from the events of the world by concentrating on his poetry novel which he had read several times. Sipping away at his tea, he did not acknowledge the sound of the hungry chickens, or the sound of Li laboring over the land. Han was simple and slow. He let the wind blow the pages of his book and he did not try to stop or turn back, rather he simply started reading what page that the wind had landed on.

Darknesscame quickly; Li could no longer see where he was digging and Han could no longer see what he was reading. It was time to enjoy the feast their mother had cooked in celebration of the harvest festival. Li always ate from a red ceramic bowl and Han from a green one. For some reason today Li ate from the green and Han from the red. They thought nothing of it and continued to eat.Once again the inevitable night came and the brothers fell asleep. Li dreamed of his new luck and Han dreamed of his poetry being recited in the most famous tea houses.

The next morning Han rose before Li, this was like hearing thunder before seeing lightning. (Still working on it....to be continued..!)


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