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Light Piercing Through Darkness
Waking up in wild darkness, Drea opens her eyes under heavy affliction. Though being impossible to see, she feels blood slowly trickling down her right hand. The wound came from Robust, a dog being well-trained in catching bread stealers.
While Drea struggles to stand up, a weak beam of light shines upon her. She rubs her eyes with the uninjured left hand, trying to adapt to the brightness in sheer darkness.
Curiously tracing back to the light source, Drea discovers the answer is not the expected sun or light bulb but rather a vast expanse of mist. While standing on tiptoe and lifting up the left arm, she endeavors to touch the abyss above, but her hand remains neglected in the cold air.
In that instant, Drea is scared.
She closes her eyes imminently, trying to escape. She childishly believes this is merely a dream. Once she opens her eyes, she will be transmitted back to her “home.”
Drea is a nine-year-old girl.
She is a distinctive nine-year-old girl.
Due to malnutrition, she is one head shorter than most of her peers. Due to poverty, she is never able to attend school. Due to homelessness, she is living in a rubbish dump. That dust heap is probably the only place in town where she can find to accommodate herself, but no one understands how contentedly and self-sufficiently she lives in the treasure-house alone. Every day, she finds new clothes to wear, varieties of advertising magazines to relax. Instead of attending a formal school, Drea teaches herself how to read through plentiful handy materials.
It is until severer coldness freezes those sweet memories that Drea opens her eyes. Her body shakes violently, either due to chilly winds or her anxieties. The fact that nothing has changed – no matter being the endless darkness or the glaring light – is like an invisible whip, lashing out at Drea to the ground.
But this time, she quickly stands up and starts running forward crazily, towards an exit she imagines at the far, dark end. After turning the door handle, there will be a bright sky with brilliant sunshine, like the sky and sunshine on many magazines she found.
More and more bunches of lights follow the path on which she has set foot.
Till all her strength is used up, Drea stops the marathon, staring at an infinite stretch of darkness ahead.
A cursed thought flashes across her mind. According to the grown-ups, she must be in the underworld. Whenever she approaches them, they stare coldly at her long unwashed body and taunt her for belonging to the underworld, a world full of darkness, strangeness, and bitterness.
Drea comes from a notorious family. Her father is a serial killer sentenced to death. Her mother was raped when she was four. Guiltiness later led to a suicide. Everyone living on the town believes her inheriting evil genes. They keep long distances from her as avoiding a potential offender.
No one has ever hugged her. No one has ever talked to her. No one has ever looked at her face to face.
As Drea recalls those painful anathemas, tears mixed with fear, mixed with despair and unwillingness, unceasingly drop onto the ground.
The darkness in front seems to grow stronger.
Unnoticeably, the frightening lights behind glow to cure her wounds, inch by inch.
Running out of strength to cry, Drea habitually uses her harmed right hand to wipe off the tears. At a glance, Drea surprisingly discovers the terrible bite mark around her right wrist disappeared. She blinks rapidly, and re-stares at the vanished scar. She re-blinks and re-opens her eyes, again and again, until she proves to herself it is not an illusion. Still, under doubt, she shifts her focus to the left hand. No sign of injury is on that hand either!
With doubt lingering on in her mind, Drea turns back, towards a vast sea of brightness.
A grandiose, colossal army reveals in front of Drea. Massive arrays of sculptures in the forms of solemn soldiers, muscled horses, and advanced chariots gaze down on her with expressionless faces. Although their names, polished appearances, and glorious fame have been secretly sealed in the long course of history, Drea immediately recognizes this renowned archeology site – the Terracotta Army – which she has dreamt for years to visit.
Drea learned the existence of the ancient Terracotta Army from an old history book, with most pages faded. Enthralled by that book, mesmerized by those magnificent ancient architectures, Drea found herself addicted to the complex history behind.
A big dream quietly took root.
She imagined one day she would become an illustrious historian, witnessing the actual grandeur of every historical site, and proudly presenting in front of global citizens the remarkable contributions our ancestors had made towards human progress.
So, here she stands, beyond the Terracotta Army – halfway of her ambition.
Leaving all her questions, worries, and fears behind, Drea rushes towards neighboring Terracotta Warriors, towards the wisdom of the ancients, towards her glowing dream.
She is like a little bird just released from the cage, energetic and thrilled.
While standing under one warrior, Drea is shocked by how tiny she looks. Even looking up on tiptoe, she can hardly see the head of each warrior, being hidden in the vile of mist above. Compared with those majestic sculptures, Drea is a vulnerable ant being easily trampled to death.
All of a sudden, a dazzling, white light pierces through Drea. She promptly turns back and closes her eyes. Until she feels more comfortable under the brilliant lamplights, her eyes re-open. Surrounded by a large crowd of audience, a well-dressed, confident Drea reflects at the center of a giant mirror. After grand applause, she smiles and starts a professional speech.
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