WEI WATCHES HER little brother, Sheng. His dark hair is shorn so close to his skull it is merely a field of prickles across his head. She knows, up close, his scalp gleams through, the colour of a boiled duck egg. His eyes are puffy, and the birthmark, mulberry red in the shape of a stork in flight, cups his left eyebrow. Over his grimy shirt he wears a vest, the tattered wool much too thin to guard his sparrow chest against the wind’s bite. He holds a rice bowl in one hand, and he wipes his nose along his sleeve, smearing a snail-line of snot. He’s still crying, and their sister, Jyu, shorter than he is, slaps his flat cheek.
A tuft of Jyu’s thick hair rises like a wave in a sleek, black ocean, from where she has slept on it. The sleeves of her jacket only... Read more
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