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Li, Gefei


"This longing is for the one who is felt in the dark, but not seen in the day."


"Let me think that there is one among those stars that guides my life through the dark unknown."


It was late night.


There I was again, bathing in the starlight, wearing a silver film of a chilling touch.


There He was again, glistening high up in the sky, radiating His glamour that the blood of a unicorn resembled.


Wax on each leaf of the trees reflected the light, coalescing into a sea of mercury, whose shimmering water was rippled by breezes that brushed through rustling leaves to the murmurs of the nestling birds in slumber. Yet the scattered stumps violated the oneness of the dimly-lit forest that extended as far as where the sky kissed the earth.


The day was about to break.


A white streak cracked the purplish blue on the canvas that was the sky, and beams of sunlight were signaled to launch with the mission to dilute it back to aquamarine.


Meteors had failed to visit for the last couple of nights - they would be the flush of the sky, if it had a face for it; it wasn't much of a night without these fleeting messengers.


The crack bashed the remnant of darkness, conquered and expanded before a flaming glob of heat and illumination leaped condescendingly above the horizon.


The calming coolness ebbed away as hot sunlight took over the world. I was always confused by floods of unsettling urges gushing from deep inside when the Sun shone on me. Shortly after, numbness from the accustomation to the urges deprived them of their thorns, but they turned to the rising heat for alliance and collaborated to summon overwhelming drowsiness.


Before sleep struck, cheerful chatters answering one another from the canopy above, there awoke the birds. These residents built nests and lived a life on me to which they would return from however far away. Not to complain, they did offer a loudly soothing presence. Then I watched the adults flutter away, eager to collect food for the family, leaving the nest in my custody.





I was plunged back to soberness when pain of penetration and disintegration lashed out at me as though I were being chopped down.


I was.


A hulk with an axe, bulging veins pulsating to every swing of it, on his hands, his neck and his forehead.


I fell down, so hard that the earth gave a victory bellow of celebration on the defeat of another parasite, which sent flocks of alarmed birds from trees on the spot into darting away in terrified screams. The nestlings and eggs slipped off their havens and smashed to the ground. I wondered what would happen to the birds that had left bright and early when they were back, to find out that the whole tree was gone with bodies and embryos strewed in a mess of withered foliage and newly-snapped branches to be identified.


When he finished tying me to a carriage, I took a last look at where I had used to be, or was, for a part of me was still retained there before two horses pulled the way ahead. Guilty emerged at the sight of my debris. It would be one stump uglier when He overlooked the forest tonight. Wait, but I wouldn't be there to meet His gaze.


The carriage creaked all along the trail through the now tranquil woods. It was quite demeaning to be dragged forward on the damp and muddy forest floor as a body, but the silver lining about this plight was that sunlight was hardly able to pierce blocks of dense leafage. It was a good thing not to stand out, well, anymore, and I got to observe where I had been living for my entire life in a different angle. Being dead really put you into perspective but the consequent depression was rather inopportune for any sightseeing. The two horses came to a halt when we finally reached a cabin on a farm that right bordered my neighborhood, which was not as big as I had imagined, as it turned out, and never made it that far to verify the end of the earth.


On his front yard, a smaller axe was involved in my dismemberment. In hindsight, the stocks of these two axes were made of one of my brothers, maybe two. We all were hard to tell as wood. My body was split into a heap of regular bars, thanks to his expert handwork. Now I was in a piece of the core part of my previously whole body, or I was it, I didn't know. I was still trying to figure out this death thing. Then he picked me and some of the others, carried us inside and tossed us beside a raging hearth.


Waves of unprecedentedly intense heat conjured the same old urges that began splashing inside of me like hungry tides by the shore.


I was thrown into the fire.


I felt the flame tentatively licking every nook and cranny of my surface, and sleepiness arose out of warmth. I wondered whether all timber had received such warm embrace as if I were standing in the sunlight again and it was a pity that they never came back to solve the mystery of the fear of fire that ran in our blood. The answer was soon given, for both parts. Before long, it tore up the disguise of tenderness and assailed. Tepidity escalated into extreme heat so rapidly that I did not realize my burning up until I heard the first sound of my own flame, and more - pitter patter, pitter patter. Every tree was supposed to appreciate the danger of fire. Funnily enough, being aflame was somehow alleviating the insurgency of the urges. When the fire managed a first crack of me, they, all cooled down, were channeled out of me into the flame in a mysterious order and fueled the combusting to the maximum power.


Oh, it finally dawned on me what they were. They were desires to regain the glory of being heat and light; pilgrims to request an audience with their Creator, the Sun. They never belonged to me, or any other being on this planet. We were merely an intermediate cage that held them captive and the Sun was generous enough to let us because he knew every bit of the pillage should be reclaimed. They were the freedom itself.


When I was devoured by the blaze of which I was now part, I found myself transformed into a curl of smoke.


Fair enough, let's behold for whatever was up the sleeve of Mother Nature.


Nevertheless, on the hot air generated by my own embers, I kept ascending to the roof, through the chimney and up and up until everything became a miniature. But the Sun was larger indeed, whose sunlight travelled innocently through me as if nothing had happened.


It hit me that this could be my only chance at a glimpse into what was like for Him to be this high.


Ah, Him.


Ecstasy almost attacked me out of maintaining my current form. Since I had never been this close to Him as now, I wanted to see Him again, and maybe even have a little chat, which would be more than copacetic if that was not too much to ask.


I swiveled myself in all directions to search for Him, but all that was there to see was a boundless carpet of clouds that were so illuminated that they were glowing goldenly white.


What a fool I was to seek a star during the day.


Maybe that's for the best.


Wind wafted from among the clouds towards me with the familiar aura that I thought I had outgrown, and subsequent flashbacks erupted of how it had gently stroked me as I had been perforating through the earth as a seedling in our first encounter of my first spring.


I did not hear a reprehensive "Why bother? " so I dispersed, exhausted and contented, and the wind took me in a tacit embrace.





I wake up, body and limb stiff from the long motionlessness.


作者:李格非 (英语学院20151班) 




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