In response to Photo-Fiction #83
“Chineyyy!!! Gimme a small fried chicken fried rice!!” The man shouted over the counter despite the shop being empty except him.
I had grown accustomed to the racist slurs and the aggression of “hangry” people shouting at the child behind the counter. I had grown accustomed to the smell of garlic and grease as I toiled over the school books from which I was constantly interrupted.
“One small fried chicken fried rice,” I shouted in mandarin over my shoulder. My mother shouted back from the kitchen. “I’m fine, just trying to finish my homework before the dinner rush.” All in mandarin.
The man eyed me suspiciously, and I ignored him. It was him or someone like him, every day, gawking through the white painted iron bars. I thought nothing of it. Nothing at all until a red glow seeped into my peripheral vision. Nothing until a low growl registered in my hearing. Until the world went crazy as a flurry of fur, claws, and teeth raged against the iron bars. The bars moaning as they bent towards me. The heat of his breath and spittle, on my cheeks as the give in the bars let him get within swiping distance.
It felt like nausea, as I stood there frozen, in fear or terror. It felt like bile rising in my throat. It burned and then it exploded from my lips, blue-white flames that engulfed the thing that used to be the man that ordered a small fried chicken fried rice.
It cried and ran, a streak of burning fur, disappearing into the darkness. Before my mind could panic, the melody of my mother’s stories came back, stories of a proud people, a land of dwindling magic, of an exodus, fleeing progress. I heard fairytales. I heard my truth.