The Iron Writer Challenge 106
500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements
Challenge 105 Champion
Tina Biscuit, Vance Rowe, Maureen Larter
Young Woman with a Book
If I were God
A terra cotta soldier from China
The last line must be: “Who do you think you are?”
Post your guess who will win in the comments
(and tell us why!)
I wandered across the meadow, my notebook clutched in my arms. A tall piece of grass caught my attention, and I broke it off, fiddling with the stalk, not really aware of my reasons.
I walked over to the only tree beside a fence looking into the neighbor’s farm, and sat down, letting my thoughts travel as my body had travelled some 6 years before.
Xian is a magical city, in a magical country. I remember the feeling as a leant against the rail of the archeological wonder that has made Xian a tourist Mecca. There in front of me was the crowd of warriors that were dug from the ground. Neat rows, now two the same, all sheltering under the modern roof put there by the powers that be. The archeologists still worked at more excavation. However vast these discoveries were so far, there was even more to find.
We shuffled along the walkway, Chinese tourists as well as visitors from all corners of the world. I mused – If I were God, would I be game to make one of the statues come to life? Maybe then we would know the secrets of this place. Why so many soldiers? Why would an emperor commission such a colossal job? Why did he need so many men around him? Would the soldier appreciate arriving suddenly in the 21st century? Would he be manly and strong? Or would he wish to kill? Would he be someone I could respect and love?
I must have said something out aloud, because the man in front of me turned and glared, and then, in perfect English, spoke.
“This is a sacred site,” he said “Why would you want to ruin this perfect scene? Why would you want to steal the heart of a warrior?
I could do nothing but stare at him.
Now, sitting in the shade of the solitary tree, my back against its comforting bark, I opened my book. Once again I saw that terra cotta warrior that had entered my dreams. I began to scribble the memory down as the sun began to sink, and I pulled my cardigan closer around my shoulders.
I knew I would have to go home soon, as the chill of the evening air began to seep through my clothes and into my heart. As I wrote, I was back there again, and the Chinese man was near, almost threatening in his attitude.
His last words always haunted me, for when I tried to explain, he spat out a word which must have been obscene. I remember it well, because I have thought on it so many times since. How can we achieve peace and vanquish racial hatred when this is in the minds of others?
He looked me in the eye and said, with some disgust.
“You are white – you have no concept of our beliefs – Who do you think you are?”
Courage Under Fire
Annie woke up to the sound of her parents fighting…again. She grew tired of the yelling and screaming from the short twelve years she has been on this earth. Most of the fighting was about her mother who worked two jobs because her dad wouldn’t. He just drank whiskey all day.
It was the middle of the summer and as most kids were happy with this, Annie dreaded it. School was her only escape from the constant bickering and arguing.
With tear filled eyes, Annie looked up on her dresser and stared at the Chinese terra cotta soldier statue that her aunt bought for her when she went on a trip to China. The statue was made of terra cotta, and was pretty heavy. It was her only friend and she talked to it all of the time, although it never talked back, she was just glad to unload her feelings on it. She named it Zing Zang for no other reason than that name just seemed Chinese to her and was easy for her to remember.
She looked at the statue and whispered, “Please make it stop, Zing Zang. Please.”
Moments later, the arguing had stopped and she smiled at the statue, as if it had something to do with it.
Annie finally got out of bed, grabbed her journal and went downstairs into the kitchen and ate the breakfast that her mother had made for her.
The arguments soon began again when her father walked into the kitchen and ordered his wife to go to the liquor store to buy him another bottle. When she refused, he got angered and began berating her again. Annie grabbed her journal and bolted from the table and ran outside. She ran and ran until she came to her favorite place. It was a meadow surrounded by woods and she felt at peace here. She felt safe. She picked a weed from the ground and twirled it in her fingers as she walked through the peaceful meadow and began to think.
“I wish I was God,” she began to say to herself, “If I were God, I would make him go away. I would make him go away and never come back.” She then began to think of all of the things that she would do if she were God and this brought a smile to her otherwise forlorn face.
When Annie finally went back home, she saw her mother on the floor, huddled up in a corner with her father standing over her with a belt. She yelled at him to stop and ran over to him and pushed him away from her mother. The father then hit her with a big back handed slap that sent her across the room. Annie got up, ran up to her bedroom, grabbed Zing Zang and slammed it across her father’s head, knocking him down and just about out. Annie then called the police. When they arrived and handcuffed her father, he looked down at Annie and asked, “Just who do you think you are?”
Trouble in Paradise
Helen looked down at the beach from the rocky promontory she had climbed. Cradling her diary in one hand, she teased a blade of grass through her cold fingers – too cold to write with. She thought of the entry that she couldn’t write:
‘Adam has brought me metal-detecting again. It’s his hobby, not mine. This is the last time. I thought it was interesting, it is I suppose – for him.’
She watched the head-phoned figure course the soft sand at the top of the beach. He turned and waved; she raised a numb hand.
He was lifting something, putting it on a pile next to where he was searching. He waved again, beckoning her.
She clutched the book, jumped down from the rocks, and slid down the dunes towards him, cursing her obedience.
‘I’m getting a strong signal, but all I’m finding are these pots.’
He put one on each arm.
‘Bill and Ben.’ He chirped.
‘I’m not old enough to remember them.’ Helen lied.
She tapped on one of the pots.
‘Like your cardigan.’
‘The colour yes, but I mean like a Terracotta soldier. The clay models they made in China to bury with their Emperor.’
‘To keep him company.’
‘Well, that, and to show their god how important their emperor was.’
‘If I were God, I wouldn’t be fooled by a bunch of flowerpot men.’
‘Well you’re not, are you?’
She rummaged through the pile; he put on his headphones and started swiping his beeping detector. He didn’t hear as the sand rushed from beneath her feet. He didn’t see her descend in a grainy vortex of pottery and peril. As the sinkhole opened, the beeping increased. He turned to share his discovery, to realise, too late, that he was also being sucked through the untimely hourglass.
Her blue linen dress was hitched up and crumpled; he landed next to her, closer than had been comfortable recently.
‘Wow, some ride.’
‘Really, this is all just fun for you.’
‘Kind of exciting, no.’
‘No. How are we going to get out?’
‘Get out. This might be my big find, the thing’s beeping for base metal. Could be gold.’
As their eyes grew accustomed to the dim light, they noticed an opening behind them.
‘This might be a way out, up to the cliffs.’ He squeezed through and Helen followed. Shafts of sunlight, from the rocky ceiling, polka-dotted the twelve clay figures, which now surrounded them; jeweled eye-sockets shone from each guardian. In the centre was a stone sarcophagus; a gold death-mask adorned the head.
‘Don’t you see, Adam? It’s a necropolis, a city of the dead.’
Precious eyes glared at him. Oblivious, Adam grasped his trophy. Helen turned back, just as the rumbling started.
The light changed as the figures rocked, sand closed the holes in the rocky canopy, dousing the light. Helen scrambled back through the entrance; a falling rock eclipsed Adam’s escape.
‘You have to help me.’ He pleaded.
‘You’ve made your choice. Treasure your prize, Adam, then ask yourself: Who do you think you are?’