This short story was written by Samuel Sam, who blogs in Chinese and in English at LuoQiuDan.
The morning sunlight came through a big tree, pouring all over my face. I reached out my paws trying to hold the light. The light jumped over on the top of my paws.
It fascinated me. Light is a form of matter, so maybe I can collect the morning sunlight using a bowl made by leaves?
Contemplating, I jumped up and run eastward. Along the way, I plucked some unknown fruits and cleaned them in the lake. After having fruits, I satisfied myself with some raindrops on the leaves. Then I started running, butterflies and birds always complained about my morning-sunlight-catching habit, but they never stopped me because they knew I was just a lost deer who likes to explore every corner of this forest.
I failed to collect a bowl of sunlight, but that didn’t set me back. The real reason I relentlessly went east to catch the sunlight was that I found myself fading away. I was afraid that one day I would become totally transparent. The only way to avoid that was to bathe myself in the sunlight as long as possible.
“We found one”
“We found one!” A strange voice rang out in the forest; along with this sound were heavy steps. Soon I found myself surrounded by some kind of creatures I never encountered before.
I looked at them, their shape puzzled me terribly. Why did they look exactly the same? They had exactly the same round heads and stiff faces, they moved in the same pattern, they even wore the same clothes. I could easily tell the difference between leaves, and there was no way to distinguish these kind of creatures.
What happened to them? Were they born this way?
But there was no time left for me to think, they cheered for a while and came towards me, and then I saw the smiles on their faces. I learned that a smile is their form of showing friendliness. There is no danger, I said to myself.
One of the oldest smiled gently, “it’s time.”
Wow, I can understand their language, how fantastic is that? I must be one of them, although I look and act differently.
I smiled back, “time for what?”
The old man answered gently, “you are home, boy. Come, this way.”
I sensed there was a big surprise waiting for me, but I also sensed danger. So I asked again, “But this wild forest is my home.”
A little one pushed through the crowd and rushed to my body, he grabbed my claw and said,” don’t worry about it, older brother, I was like you in the past, but they found me and then they molded me. Look, I look exactly the same as they do. Amazing isn’t it?”
“How did they mold you? Did it hurt?” I was eager to know more, forgetting the surprise I was hoping for.
“You will feel nothing, it won’t hurt you, instead it heals you. We human society have a huge molding machine that can transform any wild animals into the same form as human beings. You can fit in with us after the molding operation.” The little one said patiently.
“Why does one want to look the same?” I have lots of questions to ask, but I decided to do it one at a time.
“What?” the little one seems puzzled by my question.
I repeated my question, but the little one seems unable to understand my question. I wanted to ask the old one the same question, but he showed a slight resentment.
I turned to the little one again, changing my question to “what if I don’t want to go to the molding machine?”
My question evoked a light in the little one’s eyes, he bent his head to the ground, “I never thought of this choice before. Sorry.”
It seemed clear that there was a communication barrier, although we spoke the same language. I raised my voice, turning to the crowd, “Sorry guys, I am who I am, I don’t want to go to the molding machine to change myself, unless it’s just a sightseeing thing.”
Loud laughter was heard coming from the crowd, two strong and tough ones came over me and grabbed my four paws. I tried to break away, but they were too strong to break away from.
The sun was going down in the west, it was getting darker and darker in the forest. I summoned up the last of my energy and screamed, “leave me alone! I belong to this wild forest!”
But they just ignored me and dragged me forward. After an hour or two, I gave up fighting and just let my body be dragged away by them.
After walking out of the forest, I saw there were other animals being captured, among them were tigers, leopards, eagles, and bears. They screamed but clearly they were just wasting their energies. The force of the human crowd is much more stronger than any wild animal.
Darkness finally came, all my energies were gone. I looked up at the sky, wondering what would happen to me. My body became lighter and lighter, I wasn’t afraid of the thought that I might become transparent someday, I prayed for it to happen now.
But I lost consciousness finally.
“Time to work dreamer, you overslept again.” a loud and rude voice came into my ear, I woke up and turned my head to my right side, my colleague Tom was standing beside me.
“That was a dream.” I murmured.
“What did you say?” Tom asked.
“You shattered my dream just now.”
“Was there a beautiful girl there in your dream? That kind of girl wearing like nothing at all? haha…you crazy boy. Look, our managers are discussing a big project, I’m going to ask them to let me lead this one, but I need a good programmer, can you find time to help me?”
What happened to me after going through the molding machine? I said to myself, silently.
Tom looked at me, waiting to recover from my heavy slumber.
What if it’s true that I am a wild animal running in the wild forest? I remembered my body was fading away before I went into the molding machine.
Would it be possible that I’m a deer captured in a human body?
“Hey man, what do you think? I know you don’t have much work to do this week.” Tom asked again.
I turned my head to Tom, ”Tom, you are my best friend here. Can I tell you something?” Tom shouted, “I’d listen to any crap you want to say, as long as you promise to help me with that project.” I pointed to the green lamp on the desk, “Do you remember why I bought this lamp?”
“Seriously? I think you like that superhero, the Green Lantern?”
“Oh, I was joking then.” I said slowly, “I admired the Great Gatsby, the green light in that book represents his dreams.”
“Look, I don’t have time for this, I will join you in your running routine this evening if you want to talk okay?”
“Never mind, it’s a silly way of thinking. Anyway, if you want to get that project, I can of course help you. You were thinking I’m going to reject you?”
Tom relaxed, “All right then, you crazy man.”
After Tom went away, I closed my eyes and let my thoughts drift down to the deepest recesses of my brain.
Maybe that is a signal sent from my soul and it is asking me to break away from here, I thought to myself. Specifically, I need to break away from the telephone core and computers that tie me to the desk. These kind of things are chewing my life.
How many years have passed after being molded? Since I became a 9 to 6 worker?
I spent the rest of the day on these questions until 6PM.
I turned off the computer, cleaned my cluttered desk, said goodbye to a few colleagues and then started heading to the coffee shop STEVE AND PAM’S down the street.
STEVE AND PAM’S
Steve saw me coming into the shop, “Hey Dan, how’re things going?”
That’s why I love this cafe, Steve and his wife Pam always smiled and discussed things with enthusiasm. They started this coffee shop after retirement. I asked Steve once why he wanted to run a coffee shop, he said he’s not an alcoholic, that’s all.
“Steve, how’s your novel going?” I sat on a desk in the corner, ordered a cappuccino as usual. I didn’t like drinking cappuccino that much, but I enjoy the pronouncement of this word. It is exotic.
“I’m occupied with the community recently, I can only write my novel in the evenings. I find that time runs faster than before, I need to hurry on with my projects.” Steve took out a special cup, the phrase ‘BLOWING IN THE WIND’ carved on its body, and prepared cappuccino for me.
“How do you motivate yourself to do so much different things? I mean, you are the owner of the coffee shop, you are the organizer of Filipino community, and you engage yourself in photography as well. You must have discovered some kind of sorcery to split yourself so that you can do different things at the same time.” I inquired genuinely.
“Yes. It’s the big secret, few people knows it. Since you have been a regular customer for a long time in my shop, I am going to reveal this secret to you.” then Steve comes closer and whispers, “because I do what I said.”
“You are mocking me. You mean I have said too much but have done too little. right?” I put a big grin on my face.
“Hey, it’s a big secret, I seldom told others, you should treat it seriously OK? Think of what I said for a few days and you will know why.” Steve put a cup of cappuccino onto the table and sat down next to me.
“Have you ever felt that when you woke up, you find yourself in a different place like a forest or somewhere like that?” I touched the BLOWING IN THE WIND on the cup.
“NO, because I’m living in it. This city is a huge forest, bigger than any forest you can find on the map.” Steve said it without hesitation.
“Why do you say so?”
“This city is not only huge but also wild. Look at the skyscrapers, they are like giants playing on earth. Look at the auto pilot cars like Tesla on the street, look at the zombies on their way to work.” Steve pointed out through the windows and continued “feel the rhythms, the patterns, the energy running through the city. You see, this is the wildest place human beings ever created.” His words filled with excitement.
“That’s where you get inspirations from, right?” I asked.
“Totally! The moment you look closer, every place is new and worth exploring. If you listen to it at night, you can even hear the heartbeat of the city.”
I looked at Steve with admiration, I always envy a man who can feel something or hear something others cannot. It’s like possessing special privileges.
Just then, the sunset light came through the window, pouring all over the coffee table. I reached out my hands, trying to hold the light. The light jumped over onto my hands.
Yes, this city is wild and I am who I am.
Thanks Sam for sharing your article with Yozzi.com, where you can write in your target languages and seek feedback on your writing from the online community. Click to learn more about Yozzi. Click here to send an article for publication on Yozzi.