Dragon Boat Festival Hostages
This uses the same characters from Mooncake Time.
While it may suggest lesbian themes in a country not liberal to such a topic,
it is purely fictional and has no political or social intentions.
It was now a little over a year since I stepped foot in China with my family and I was slowly coming to love it, despite the rude incident at the beginning. By now, I was quite fluent in the local language and had formed a great relationship with Miaohua. It was more that a sisterly friendship, more even than the deep friendships I had with other girls - it was almost a girlfriend-girlfriend type.
My mom had
her suspicions about both of us. One day,
as we were both sitting in the kitchen and she was looking over her typical
Western Cooking she remarked, "Laura, you have to be careful; the
laws here explicitly forbid any sort of same sex..."
"Mom," I said as I raised my hand to cut her off, "It's not a relationship. And it's definitely nothing sexual. So relax." Deep inside, Miaohua and I knew whatever existed between us wasn't sexual, but could it be love? Does love always have to be about sex anyway?
It was a week later that I received a call from my really best friend. "Hey dear, next week is Dragon Boat Festival. There's the eating of Zongzi and lots of fun. Do you wanna join me and a team in rowing and then feasting?" The Dragon Boat Festival, as I've been learning in my Chinese history and culture class, was partly to commemorate the death of the poet Qu Yuan, and Zongzi was some glutinous rice triangular shape dumpling.
Well, I wasn't really a sporty kind of person but I would give up anything to spend time with my great friend. So I said yes and got the full details from her. As she talked excitedly about what would happen, I found myself looking forward to it more and more.
It was a still rather chilly day when the festival was to take place, so I wore a light sports jacket over my tank top. Miaohua was clad in a simple red T-shirt and red shorts--very Chinese of her. We hugged each other tightly and lightly kissed each other's cheeks. Following suit, she introduced me to the rest of the Dragon boat team members. There were 22 of us in total, 20 of us rowing, one steering and one beating the time.
After a quick
rundown on the ins and outs of how to row using the paddles, we set off for the
boat. "I hope I can manage
this," I said casually as walked with the group. "Don't worry Bao Bei, just follow my every move," Miaohua said, tiptoeing and patting my head. Did she just
call me dear/treasure in Mandarin? I was
about to respond when our leader interrupted and ordered us in. We set off on
the river and made our way into the middle.
As the drum beat started I put my oar in the water and rowed. As we did so, I did copy my friend, watching
her every stroke, and kinda admiring her small
physique from behind as her body moved in sweet motion.
Halfway through, our boat was over taken by another team, full of boys. As our boats passed each other, we heard them jeering at us, their noise even drowning the beat of our boat's drum. "Some other team," the girl next to me remarked. “Ignore them - they are from the Technical College, and are known to be not very nice.”
We soon ended our practice run and naturally made our way to the changing room. Just as I was about to remove my sweaty clothes, the lights in the room flickered and then we were plunged into darkness. All of us screamed but my fright was increased tenfold as I felt a burly hand grab me around my waist and drag me out of the room! I tried to scream, but a rough hand cupped itself over my lips, silencing me as I was dragged backwards.
"Shut up," I heard a voice say in Chinese as I was dragged outside, and bundled into the back of a van. Some sort of cloth was tied over my eyes, and I felt my body pressed again a hard surface. The sound of an engine starting reached my ears, and I spent the next ten minutes with my body been jerked around by the momentum. Kidnapping was the last thing I ever wanted...
The vehicle screeched to a halt and I was lifted up and physically carried somewhere. This time I could have screamed, but I chose to stay silent until I was put on my feet and the rough blindfold removed. "Miaohua!" I cried, seeing my friend in front of me, but she too was flanked by two men. I started to walk to her, but another man stopped me, a large rifle in his hands.
"Shut up," the men continued in Mandarin. "Both of you take of your clothes, leave your underwear." I wanted to protest, but the sight of the unfamiliar rifle again made both of us look at each other and give in. I took off my jacket and tank top, then my shorts, to reveal my sports bra and blue panties while my friend was simply clad in a normal red bra and matching undies under her outfit.
"Stand next to each other, hug each other, hands touching each other's bottoms. Then lie on the ground."
"What?!" We both screamed simultaneously. The darkness of the room prevented us from seeing the full faces of our captors but I had a feeling they were the boys in the other boat. At any rate, the way they were mumbling under their breath was definitely unsettling.
"Do it!" The voice hissed menacingly. We looked at the men there, eyeing the weapons, before we both complied. As I put my hands round Miaohua and placed my hands on her bottom, our bodies touching, I felt a tingling feeling that I've never felt before. I looked into her eyes and I could tell she was having the same experience.
"Lau..." Miaohua started to say, but before she could speak further, one of them pinched her tiny nostrils and with her mouth gaping open, something that looked like a cloth was jammed into her mouth. "He..." I soon received the same treatment, tasting something silky on my tongue as I heard an awful ripping sound. Brown tape soon sealed them in, wrapped round both our heads as we looked into each other’s eyes.
I watched as the shadowy figure grabbed my wrists and crossed them, forcing Miaohua closer to me as he wound some form of coarse rope around and between them. I could feel the same thing happening behind me, as she grunted at the sensation of her wrists been secured. Again we looked into each other’s eyes, again that feeling passed between us as our chests were pressed against each other.
We both felt the rope been wound round our waists, pulling us even closer together as it was tugged tightly, and then more around our upper bodies, wound round our upper arms as well to make sure we had no chance of getting free. At the same time, another one was binding our ankles together, individually and then around both of us, followed by our legs below our knees, and then our thighs.
To my horror,
the same guy who had spoken whipped out a camera and snapped pictures of us as we stood there.
I had a really bad feeling about this...
“Let’s go,” he shouted, and we both watched the shadows run out, the door closed behind them. Left alone, we both immediately struggled and moaned, trying to undo the knots, but it proved impossible to even reach them. As our bodies rubbed up against each other, the tingling feeling returned to my body, and with a mixture of fear and fascination I realised that the feeling was also coming from down there. It was unexpected, new and altogether - wonderful. I stopped and looked at Miaohua.
We gazed into each other’s eyes, feeling the tingling and the warmth as we rubbed against each other, and we started to slowly tilt our heads. Voices suddenly interrupted our struggling, and we both started to call out “Hllppp!!! Wrnhr!!! HLP!!!”
Our teammates soon appeared in the doorway, shouting “They’re in here,” as they recognised us. One of them, the drummer, came forward and produced a penknife before starting to cut away the ropes around us.
goodness,” I thought, relieved to feel the ropes part and to be able to bring
my wrists round, but was in for another short shock as what looked like a pair
of underwear was pulled out of my mouth. "My extra pair of
panties!" Miaohua cried as I recognised
what had been stuffed into her own mouth in the bright light - my spare pair.
We discovered some time later that it was indeed the boys from the other boat team who were the culprits. Their objective was not only to stop us from participating but also to humiliate me and Miaohua. When asked why us, they shrugged their shoulders and said it was a random choice - if only they knew what they had done.
we both sat sipping Chinese tea and sharing a couple of Zongzi
as we tried to process the events of the day, and how we had both felt.
"Laura, that was what do you call, a close shave," Miaohua finally remarked in English, cutting the unwrapped dumpling. I looked at her, understanding exactly what she meant
"I know. It would have embarrassed my father and his diplomatic work and damaged your family..." I replied.
"We have to distance ourselves."
“It seem so unfair, Bao Bei”
She smiled as
she heard that. “Even so, we both know
it cannot be.”
"Still..." I continued as I placed my hand lightly on hers. Miaohua turned and looked into my eyes, before she reached forward and we both embraced...