"China By Night" by Joanna Campbell


Our holiday began tonight. I held my sister's fingers. Rice fields drenched and cooled our bare feet. We crowned a panda's giant head with hibiscus. We danced inside a red dragon. I bought her something cheap to take back.
Laundry slapped on a line, but it looked like our gritty yard. I don't know how it came to be in China.
Orange-tree leaves cast shadows that danced over the laundry. Big thick shirts and hard dungarees. Lifeless now, waiting to be stirred again.
We sank our thumbs into the oranges, our eyes smarting from the citrus cascades. I pushed my fingers deep into the flesh, bursting the segments, acid creeping into a paper cut on my palm.
Chinese gooseberries rained from the sky. We caught them, stroked their thin paper skins and left the baby fruits nestled inside.
Ormolu clocks pounded in our heads. Paddy fields shrank under our toes.
We flew back.
We rose into clouds, racing through the calico day and burrowing into the night, dipping under the sinking sun and over the lurex moon.
We came back to the faded fawn of candlewick, its furrows balding.
And we heard our ma yelling no don't start and our pa's boots creaking fast on the floor above our heads.
And my sister's hands walked across the bed-field, her fingers lacing through mine, tearful-sorry our holiday had ended and our sky was black with no holes.


FlashFlood is brought to you by National Flash-Fiction Day UK, happening this year on 27th June 2015. In the build up to the day we have now launched our Micro-Fiction Competition (stories up to 100 words) and also our annual Anthology (stories up to 500 words).  So if you have enjoyed FlashFlood, why not send us your stories? More information about these and the Day itself available at nationalflashfictionday.co.uk.

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