Finally, when the entire island was on fire, the people gathered on the shore. A girl and her father stood with their backs to the flames.
“What happens now?” the girl said.
“Now,” her father replied, “we board those ships and sail away. The fire is too great to put out.”
“But how do we decide who boards the ships?” the girl said. “Are there enough for everyone?”
“We’ve already decided who will board and who won’t,” her father replied. “What’s important is that you and I have a seat.”
“But what about the animals?” the girl said. “Is there room for them, too?”
“Of course not,” he father replied. “The animals are able to fly and to swim — they know perfectly well how to care for themselves. And so many of them are dead already.”
The girl looked out across the ocean. The fire was uncomfortably warm against her bare legs.
“Where will we go?” she said.
“It’s not important,” her father replied. “What’s important is that we carry our traditions with us. Wherever we land we will call our home — by honoring our ancestors they will always be with us, even as we leave their bones behind.”
So some of the people, but not all of the people, boarded the ships and sailed away. In time they arrived at a new place they would call their home. And the girl, at her father’s urging, joined the other children in starting a new fire.
This is a repository for JY's original content that's yet to be bound in a book -- essays, short fiction, etc. There's little rhyme or reason, so jump in!