“Honey…we’re out of food.” A voice as sweet as honeysuckle sang, gentle hands but quivery hands laid on my shoulders and slowly shook me awake. The soft smell of jasmine and decaying livestock mingle, seeping through the thick wooden walls. “The markets are closed, they said they are also out of food. What do we do?” The concern was evident in my wife’s trembling voice. A million thoughts rushed through my mind in the speed of light. Our worst nightmare has come true. We have upset the gods above by killing all those innocent people, and this drought is a punishment from the gods. I pushed those thoughts away and tried to clear my head.
The delighted screams of my two children rang in the small and hollow hallways, oblivious to the crisis that has clouded over our fragile country, ready to tear it apart, bit by bit. I sat up and rubbed my bleary eyes, trying to wake myself up. A fair olive face appeared, tear-stained and weary, with brown eyes as pretty as a rose and lips as sculpted and arched as cupid’s bow. “Oh, my love, whatever are we supposed to do?”
My hand ran itself across her smooth pale skin, tingling in delight and pleasure as it stroked the fine yet thick hair curled up into a bun. “Do not fear, my darling, we will find a way.” I slid off of the cool bamboo lining and gave her a peck on the lips. I quickly changed into my working attire and headed out of the door, deciding to go on a hunt for wild animals. I didn’t expect the minute I stepped out of the door, an old man collapsed at my feet and begged for scraps.
My eyes wandered around the village, wide as saucers, as they landed upon hundreds upon hundreds of decaying bodies rotting on the streets, cheeks all sullen and sunken, yellowing and thinning as books do. It has been exactly 11 years since Emperor Puyi’s reign ended, and China has struggled to stay on her feet. The last days of the Qing dynasty in the late 19th and early 20th centuries were marked by civil unrest and foreign invasions. People could go days and days without food to eat just because they were poor or live in densely populated villages with a poor geographical place like the mountains or flood-prone lands. My heart pounded against my chest as tears gathered in my eyes, clouding my vision. This is just the beginning of the end.
What has become of our once prosperous and lively country?
Author Notes: Fun fact: this is actually for my history essay, but it's so good and I put so much time in I don't want to waste it. So here we are.