(I sure hope that this entry fits November’s theme, which is ‘100’. Also, assume the characters are speaking a certain language unless noted otherwise)
(Warning! Usage of racial slurs!)
It was while she was on her way to her bedroom that Mei-Xiu heard a knock at the front door.
Given her past experiences with people visiting the house, she didn’t exactly have her hopes up. Groaning loudly, she slowly took the flight of stairs down.
“That better not be the neighbor here to call me ‘the Banana to my Ape of a husband’. Aiyah, I’m so tired of him spewing all that bile at me and my family. So what if I married a Somali man?”
As soon as she got downstairs, Mei-Xiu took a glance out the window.
To her surprise and delight, the visitor wasn’t her racist neighbor, but someone much more welcome.
As she stepped outside, she greeted her guest kindly.
“Baba!” She cried out in Mandarin Chinese. “I’m so happy to see you!”
“Hello, child,” Mei-Xiu’s father Feng said to her as he hugged her. “I apologize for being here unannounced. And I regret not bringing your mother with me-”
But Mei-Xiu shook her head trying not to worry him. “Don’t feel bad. I know Mama doesn’t like to travel. But to what do I owe this visit?”
Feng scoffed a little at his daughter’s apparent forgetfulness. “Do you not own a calendar, child? I’m here to celebrate Huiliang’s hundred days!”
Then a flicker of realization went off in her head. “Oh, of course! Is it the 25th of May already?”
She then let her father inside the house, worried about seeming rude by not doing that at first. At least, she hoped her father wouldn’t fault her for not remembering the 100 day celebration.
Once inside, Mei-Xiu led Feng up the stairs into the nursery.
Mei-Xiu then sighed at her husband sleeping away in the rocking chair.
“Wake up, Dayax!” She said to him loudly in English. “My father’s here to celebrate with us!”
While her husband attempted to rouse himself from sleep, Feng went over to make himself known to the man of the day.
Huiliang himself looked a bit displeased at his nap getting interrupted. Nonetheless, Feng held him close, while the other two went downstairs.
“Ah, hello little dragon,” Feng said to his grandson. “I’ve many gifts to give to you on this special day…”
“So remind me again why your father is here, Mei?” Dayax asked his wife when they were in the living room.
“He’s here to celebrate the hundred days since Huiliang was born,” she answered him. “It’s a Chinese thing; That’s why some of my relatives sent gifts for him.”
“And that includes your gangster relatives, right?”
Hearing the way he referred to some of her family members caused Mei-Xiu to sigh.
“Yes, Dayax, that includes some of my relatives in the Green Gang; Not that that I’m proud to admit it, though.
“They sent that new set of panda pajamas he has now, remember?”
Dayax nodded. “Yes, I do now. I just wished they’d washed them a little better before sending them over here.”
“They did their best to get the opium smell out, dear. And besides, can you really fault them and the rest of my family for sending things? It’s not often they get to celebrate anything regarding a child born in the year of the Dragon!
“And speaking of the little dragon…”
By this time, Feng had come downstairs with Huiliang, who was now dressed in a slightly more formal outfit with purple socks.
“I trust you have a location in mind for us to celebrate, child?” He asked his daughter.
Mei-Xiu nodded. “Of course, Baba! Just let me make some calls…”
-Seven years later-
No matter how many times Feng wished for it to be a nightmare, it remained real no matter how many times he pinched himself.
It hurt him enough to know that he’d lost both his daughter and his son-in-law in one night; All because of his daughter’s co-worker’s greed and jealousy.
But as awful as it was for him, he knew it was even worse for his now-orphaned grandson.
Feng wished desperately to say something to Huiliang, but customs forbid it. And even then, he wasn’t sure what to tell a mourning seven year old.
He didn’t really want the two of them to be cremated either, but in the end he figured he could let that one slide, being in America instead of China.
And at least Huiliang didn’t have to see the bodies of his parents, and where they’d been shot.
Instead, he could be heard sniffling as he stared at the box containing his mother’s ashes. It didn’t help that this mourning had to go on for a hundred days, until a silent final prayer was made to the deceased.
At least, it would be silent from Feng and his wife. Huiliang, on the other hand, would get to cry and wail all he wanted.
And from the way he was sniffling and hiccuping, there would be much grief being poured out from him in the days ahead.
(For those who are confused at the apparent continuity snarl: Just assume his parents were in special cremation caskets (yes, they exist))
(And if you’re not certain whether or not this short story has any connection to the Chronicles-verse, go and read this chapter.)