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BLUE SUN ROOM FAN FICTION - DRAMA
River’s stages of being (or language and lucidity). Jintishi is a classic Chinese poetic form. Written for the LJ Community still_grrr’s prompt 22: Unseen.
CATEGORY: FICTION TIMES READ: 768 RATING: 9 SERIES: FIREFLY
I’m not a mouse anymore. Mice hide because they’re afraid. Han shu!
She runs lightly down the corridor, skirt swirling, calves flashing palely even in the dim light, feet falling quietly. Unable to see around the curve, she nonetheless knows no one will be there – senses it.
I’m a cat, mào māo, choosing when to be seen.
As she comes closer to where there are others, she slows, becomes canny in her caution.
Her bare foot slides forward across the chilled, metal grating, skimming barely an inch off the ground.
Boots are nice. Boots are play.
Boots are for when I’m a girl
And can clomp, clomp, clomp my way.
Laughter emerges as nothing more than a quick shake of her shoulders. These little rhymes she makes are silly and nothing like the complex jintishi poems she could write by age five, but they sing in her head. (Songs sound better than screams.)
Quiet little cat feet, pat, pat, pat.
She touches the grating delicately with her toes, smiling. Miào māo. There could be no point in being unseen if she were heard. She must be unheard as well. Because if she can be a cat for long enough, she’ll get to be a girl. (Laughter and running and not alone – Kaylee’s smile, the softening of lines around Simon’s eyes.)
A thought tries to slip through the filter, charting behavioral differences between species, yet she quickly redirects to simplicity.
If I were a mouse, Serenity would be my house,
But since I’m a cat, it’s simply where I’m at.
Running one hand along the metal plating of the corridor, she feels every dip and bulge, every nick and groove, every rough patch followed by smooth. The vibrating hum of mechanical life throbs with resonance in her chest.
But it is a house, a home.
(Jiā yuán, echoes her heart.)
She tries to suppress the knowledge, crawl back into the simplicity of childlike meter and rhyme, but …
The words lied!
Hands rise to cover ears, but the screams filter in relentlessly, unstoppable.
“No, no, no … titanium reinforced iron alloy forged fine and thin yet strong … why won’t you stop … no, no, no … the engine, the heart, spins, and while it might spin too fast, mine often won’t spin at all … bizui! … thermatic couplings coated with Molybdenum carrying electrical signals through the nervous system of the ship … no, no, no … they don’t misfire … I misfire … it’s so ridiculous that I can’t calculate the parameters because all measurements should be quantifiable … why won’t you be quiet! … everything used to be quantifiable … I wasn’t a cat … or a mouse … no, no, no … just a girl … signals signaling significant significance … words were complex, but words were mine … BIZUI!”
“River?” A panicked voice sounds from somewhere in the ship, echoes as it reaches her accompanied by the staccato thump of running footsteps. “River?”
And she tries to hide, tries to go back to being a mouse. She’s small on the floor, face covered with hands. But it’s no use – the screams have found where she hid. She’s been seen. “No, no, no …” She rocks from side to side, pulsing with the ship, pulsing with her heart, yet this meter won’t let her hide. “No, no, no …”
“Mei mei?” The voice draws close.
A hand on her shoulder and she flinches even as she recognizes the feel of Simon’s concern washing over her.
“No, no, no … jing … shhh … quiet little mouse …” But the simplicity of earlier escapes her. A kaleidoscope of chaos, her thoughts tumble in a hash of fragmented meaning.
“River?” He rocks with her, running a calming hand over her tangled hair while echoes of his thoughts and emotions beat irregular rhythms across her brain that won’t harmonize with the cadence of their swaying. The screams settle to harsh whispers with a grating hum of dissonance.
She won’t be a girl again anytime soon.
She’ll first have to prove she can hide – mouse, cat.
Pin yin – English
han shu – silly mouse
mào māo – brave cat
miào māo – clever cat
jiā yuán – home
bizui – be quiet (command)
mei mei – little sister
jing – quiet (as a state of being)
Tuesday, August 05, 2008 9:44 PM
Thursday, October 23, 2008 12:55 PM
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