A Cold Wind is Blowing

Si KePa

Birth of A Reaper

Liang Si And His Sister Shivered In Their Shackles. Weeks Before, They Had Been Sold From Their Orphanage In Shanghai And Delivered Into The Waiting Hands Of The Greedy Captain Shu, A Freighter Captain Heading Towards The United States. They Weren’t Alone, Of Course; There Were Maybe A Dozen Children Hidden In The Various Containers Onboard The Freighter, Waiting To Be Sold Into Child Labor In The States, Or Maybe Sold To Parents Looking For Chinese Children Or Child Brides. Liang Had Always Heard That The US Was A Land Of Freedom And Happiness For All, But From What The Sailors Talked About, It Still Had A Dark Underbelly And Just As Much Corruption As China.

For The Last Couple Of Days, They Hadn’t Been Fed. One Of The Captain’s Men Had Said Something About Some Of The Food Being Spoilt, And So The Captain Had To Prioritize His Crew. As A Result, Everyone Was Hungry, And Si Was Especially Worried About His Little Sister. She Was Somewhat Frail To Begin With, And Yesterday She Had Started Developing A Hacking Cough. He Looked Over At Her, Her Pale Thin Face Illuminated By The Glow Sticks The Guards Had Tossed In When Night Fell. She Was Getting Weaker.

Today He Had Overheard One Of The Sailors On Guard Outside Of The Container Mention That They Were Getting Close To The US, And That They Would Have To Bury The Containers Holding The Live Cargo. Of Course, That Meant The Children. It Was Late And Stormy Night, Though It Could Be Hard To Tell While Trapped In The Makeshift Cells, So The Children Weren’t Expecting It When The Captain Cam E In That Evening.

“We’ll Be Pulling Into Port Soon, You Little Filth. You Keep Your Mouths Shut Until Someone Opens These Doors, Or By God, The Last Thing You’ll Ever See Is Me Putting A Bullet In Your Head.” Saying That, He Ducked Back Out Of The Container And Into The Rain.

Some Time Passed, And Then The Children Heard An Unholy Crack, Followed By A Crash And Some Screaming. Some Of Them Started To Call Out In Fear, But Were Quickly Shushed By The Older Ones Among Them. Si Looked Worriedly Over At His Little Sister, Ming. She Was Sitting There, Slumped Forward In Her Chains; Si Tried To Rouse Her With A Nudge Of His Foot. Nothing. He Tried Again, A Sinking Feeling Growing In The Pit Of His Stomach. Still Nothing. Another Crash Sounded, And He Looked Around At The Three Or Four Other Scared Children Locked In With Him. Suddenly, Ming Coughed, And Si Heaved A Sigh Of Relief.

“Ming, Little Light, Hold On; We’ll Be There Soon. Then They’ll Find You A Doctor.” He Lied. He Knew It Was A Lie, But He Couldn’t Bear The Thought Of His Little Sister Dying In Pain And Fear. He Said It Almost As Much For His Own Sake As For Hers.

Another Crash, And Then The Container Lurched. A Loud, Ominous Groan Echoed Through Out The Ship. Ming Looked Up At Him, And He Saw Her Lips Move.

“Gege, Hen Kepa.” She Rasped Weakly. Big Brother, It’s Scary.

“Wo Zhidao.” He Replied, Trying To Reassure Her.

Suddenly, The Container Lurched Again, And Then There Was A Crash At The Front Of The Container As It Tilted On It’s Side. Si Was Now Sitting On His Hands, But Ming Was Hanging From Hers; She’d Been Across The Container From Him And A Little Toward The Back.. He Looked On Helplessly As She Looked Down At Him.

“Si, Hen Kepa.” She Rasped Again.

Then, With A Mighty Groan Echoing Around Them, They Were Weightless. Soon After, They Felt The Container Smash Against Something, And Then Water Began To Leak Into The Container From The Front; The Door Had Been Badly Damaged By The Impact It Had Received From Earlier. As The Container Filled With Water, He Heard Several Of The Children Behind Him Cry Out As Their End Of The Container Began To Be Submerged.

Si Thrashed Against His Chains, But It Was Futile. In His Weakened State He Barely Had The Strength To Stay Upright In The Sinking Container. He Looked On Helplessly As The Other Children Were Quickly Submerged Under The Rapidly Rising Water Level, Until It Finally Reached Ming. The Last Thing She Said Before She Went Under, Was Another Plaintive Cry.

“Si, Kepa.” Si, Scary.

Then She Was Gone, And SI Had To Struggle To Tread Water In The Rapidly Filling Deathtrap That Had Been His Home For Several Weeks. He Struggled, But The Chains Began To Weigh Him Down, And Soon He Lost The Strength To Hold His Head Above Water. Just Before His Head Went Under, He Caught A Glimpse Of The Door, The Corner Of It Half Torn Open, Illuminated By The Wavering Light Of The Glow Sticks. Then He Was Under, And Struggling To Hold His Breath. He Looked Down And Saw Ming Floating Lifelessly Beneath Him.

Suddenly He Was Angry, Filled With A Towering Rage, But The Rage Quickly Dwindled As He Struggled To Remain Conscious. As His Vision Started To Tunnel, He Cursed To Himself. Here He Was, Dying Cold, Hungry, And Alone, With No Hope Of Survival.

“We Ye.” He Heard, A Quiet Sad Voice In His Ear. Me Too.

What Was That? He Thought To Himself, On The Very Edge Of His Consciousness.

“Ni Yao Cunhuo?” Came The Voice, A Hint Of Pleading In It’s Tone. Do You Want To Survive?

Did He? Yes, He Did, He Realized, And Just Before He Passed Out, He Grunted A Quiet Affirmative.

“Nng…” He Grunted, And He Felt His Chains Break.

He Came To On A Beach, A Length Of Rusty Chain In His Hand, And His Stomach Screaming At Him In Agony. His Hunger Was Almost Crippling, And He Lay On The Wet Sand For A Time, Letting The Cold Dull The Ache In His Belly. Suddenly He Heard A Noise, And He Looked Up. As He Glanced Around, He Saw A Man Approaching, Silhouetted By Lights From A Nearby City. He Smiled; He Had A Feeling He Wouldn’t Be Hungry For Long.

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