The Journey through Nanking
by: Travis Lee
Copyright 2011 Travis Lee
This story originally appeared in Independent Ink Magazine, issue 3.
Among gunfire. The smell of death.
The man and the woman who brought her into this world also did the same for a little boy two years later. They were craftsmen—she made shoes and sewed quilts, he built furniture and repaired shoes and bicycles and sold the fruits of his wife's labor in the marketplace while she reared the children.
By the time the girl was born, the Republic of China was in control and headquartered itself in Nanking. To say that the Republic of China was in control was something of a misnomer. Warlords controlled huge portions of the country, but the Republic had Nanking. They had parts of Shanghai. But no matter the ruler, the girl's parents went on working. They went on tending to their children and seeing their parents off to the next world. They went on living.
By the time the boy was born, Imperial Japan controlled Manchuria. By the time he could walk upright with help, Imperial Japan had Shanghai. By the time he could do it on his own, they had turned their sights towards Nanking.
It was December 1937.