Beyond fields and pastures and across dense forests, one
scanned at a distance cliffs and rock surfaces that seemed to be
chopped by a giant axe in one swing. Nearby were waterfalls
with foams flying and darting about, and the springs that ran on
and on with no end in sight. Magnificent scenery, wonders of
Nature as such, lost all their beauty in the eyes of Huang Chichang
whose hands were cuffed, whose feet, shot with pain and
whose arms, pinned on his back, were feeling heavy and numb.
But the focal point of all this agony and mental burden was his
heart which suffered the most. Hence to him the prospect was
one of limitless hardship and ruggedness. Glancing sidewise to
look at the police officer Lo Ta-yung, who guarded him, he
found the latter’s face dark and forbidding, devoid of any trace of sympathy, understanding and compassion.
Lo Ta-yung and Huang Chi-chang were boyhood pals,
next-door neighbors and schoolmates. They competed with each
other climbing up trees, picking fruits from other people’s
orchards and consequently sharing the same fate—being
spanked at the same time. Stripped naked and hand in hand,
they played in the creek, throwing water on each other’s faces
and heads, shouting and laughing together. Lo Ta-yung had a
big nose as though he was punched right on and had never
recovered from the blow. The swelling remained for life. More
often than not, this extra-sized nose became the target of Huang
Chi-chang’s jokes. Irate, Lo Ta-yung would then pick up a
handful of sand and dirt, throw it at his pal and, with his dark
complexion flushing into a purplish hue, bellow:
“Huh, I am a man, lord and master; why should I care to
have a fair complexion and smooth looking like yours?”
Alas, he should never have said things like “man and master”
not caring for a fair complexion and all that. It was precisely
because he lacked the fair complexion and smooth looks that
he lost his cousin and sweetheart, Little Silver Flower to Huang
Chi-chang. The girl, after she met the latter only three times,
fell immediately in love with him.
The guard and his prisoner trudged up a hillock, making
their way amidst stones and pebbles. Losing control of his legs
which seemed to have gone limp, Huang Chi-chang succumbed
and knelt on a pile of gravel. Lo Tung-fu, Lo Ta-yung’s 15-
year-old nephew, rushed over and helped him get on his feet
again. His knees were hurt with blood streaming down from the
“Big Brother Lo, give me a break. I . . . I just can’t go on
anymore.” Huang Chi-chang pleaded with a grief-stricken and agonized face.
“You can’t go on?! It’s not up to you to say yes or no?! If
you really care for your body and your wretched life, you should
do some good deeds in the first place. Now you are pleading for
mercy. Were I, Lo Ta-yung, to listen to you, I’d become a bastard
or a son-of-a-bitch. Besides, I am not your Big Brother Lo
anymore, not for many years, do you remember? Pshaw!”
Saying this, Lo Ta-yung spat a big mouthful on the ground
Huang Chi-chang bent his head and closed his eyes for a
while. No sooner had Lo Ta-yung swung his baton than Chichang
jerked his body and doubled up with pain, groaning.
Huh, Huang Chi-chang, this is your doomsday; that you
should end up like this in my, Lo Ta-yung’s, hands. All my life I
had not done anything against my conscience. You, who had
been so close to me that we were like brothers, were just too
ruthless and sinister, with the heart of the snake or a scorpion!
How would I suspect that? Since when? I had only my lack of
perception to blame, losing no time to show you my girl, Little
“Little Silver Flower, here—this is my fraternity brother
Huang Chi-chang, whose name I have so often mentioned to
Little Silver Flower with one foot inside the door and
another on the threshold, leaned against the doorjamb, a sleek
and slender figure. She raised her clear and bright eyes and giggled.
Here giggles went straight into my, Lo Ta-yung’s, heart.
They tickled, cheered and warmed up my whole being.
To whom was she smiling?! Huang Chi-chang, you godforsaken
and heartless sorcerer
That night I was on patrol duty. I heard noises, shuffling and rustling a stack of hay. You? Huang Chi-chang, were reckless
enough to hold my Little Silver Flower in your arms. The
two of you, like two white sheep, were tangled together. . . .
Pain, resentment and fury, one after the other, flowed in Lo
Ta-yung’s blood stream. Grinding his teeth, he lashed his baton
once again on the prisoner’s back. Without so much as casting
one look at Huang Chi-chang, he raised a hand to rub his prominent
nose. Many were the times when he rubbed it; sorrowfully
he felt his tears flowing and his nose dripping.
Over the horizon, ominous clouds assembled and then dispersed
only to some together again. A moment later, they
formed a dark mass, hanging above the mountain tops, casting
its gloom like a pall, far and near. Gale after gale, the winds
gathered force and frequency. Execrable weather like this, maneating
perhaps! Lo Ta-yung began to march in big strides,
jumping and leaping from one rock mass to another. Pretty soon
he came to a gap from whence he could look down on the rapids
way below. Mustering enough effort, he made it in one jump.
Alarming wasn’t it? If he should miss it by so much as onetenth
of an inch, his fall would be fatal and unfathomable.
“Uncle, the downpour is coming.” Lo Tung-fu looked at
the sky, ominous and overcast.
Lo Ta-yung said nothing. Indeed, that is why I am insisting
on madding our way at top speed. We have to hurry, no matter
what. After this treacherous pass, I will then turn the prisoner
over to the people at the West County police station. Good lord,
you haven’t been kind to us, causing our police van to break
down on the highway. Now, I beseech Thee, have mercy upon
us and hold back the storm for some time. It won’t bother you
too much, say, jus for half an hour. Good lord, hold it just long
enough until we’ve passed the low-lying region over there.
A thunderbolt that seemed to cause the mountain ranges to
pale with fright reverberated through the ravines with such
intensity as though the universe was about to burst. In a second,...