Through The Paifang

In Fiction on September 28, 2012 at 10:55 am

Happy Friday, everyone, and welcome (almost) to the weekend. How about a short story to celebrate? Friday Fictioneers is hosted by Madison Woods and this week’s photo prompt comes from Sandra Crook.

Give it a read and let me know what you think, then jump into the fray and write one of your own!

Paifang a decorative Chinese archway

Through The Paifang

My father led me up the trail, through the painted paifang and under the yunnan trees. This was the place of our ancestors, and here my father knelt to pray.

“Remove your cap, Huang-Fu,” he told me, glancing sideways, and I did as I was told.

The clearing smelled of soil and fig; the moss was thick and soaked with dew. I knelt beside him and I said my words.

“Will I come here when I die?” I asked him when I was done. He pulled me to my feet.


“And Mama?”

He smiled sadly, but at last he nodded.

As we walked back my father was silent. His thoughts seemed lost in the trees, snatched by birds, pulled up to the sky.

“I think she’ll like it here,” I told him. “It’s nice.”


And there you have it! Hard to believe another week’s come and gone, but there it is. Leave your comments, criticism, links and anything else you feel like below.

  1. A gentle reflective piece – enjoyed it. Nice work.

  2. A very insightful child, and you’ve made it completely believable. There is comfort for him and his mother that she will like it there. Nice job of making it evocative but not schmaltzy.

    Here’s mine:

    • Ha, well I thank you! I’m glad it didn’t come across as schmaltzy, but I definitely wanted to try for a lighter feel this week. I’m making my way through the list now and I’m looking forward to your story!

  3. wow. great. Very touching. loved the description on the environs, the traveling of the thoughts, and the relationship between father and child. Very nice. Randy

    • Thanks, Randy – I appreciate that. I always try to hit on a things so it’s not just environment description (it’s really easy for me to get sidetracked into over doing that part) so I’m glad the other stuff came through.

      • yes, as a reader (as well as a writer)I i want a balanced story. I want to see and smell and taste and hear, but I want to know what’s happening, who I’m getting involved with, and then get involved (feel)

  4. Very tender and sweet. Well done.

    • Thanks – recently my stuff hasn’t been particularly nice or uplifting, so at least I’m nudging it back in the other direction on this one haha. Thanks for stopping by!

  5. HI Brian,
    Great story mingling sweetness and sadness. So that’s a paifang and those are yunnan trees. I learn something every week from this exercise. Ron

    • Hi Ron – thanks! At least in my understand that’s a paifang, though its considerably smaller than a lot of them. I’m not so sure those are Yunnan trees though, that’s just what I went with in my story haha. Thanks for reading!

  6. Great description, Brian, and I enjoyed the story as a whole too. My critic-muse is as sleepy as my ideas-muses today, or maybe your writing is just perfect … let’s go with the latter! Great job!

    • Yeah, let’s go with the latter for sure haha. If I were to critique it myself I might say it’s a little light on original substance, but its certainly palatable! Thanks for reading it

  7. “…snatched by birds, pulled up to the sky…” I think that’s my favorite line. Sweet story.

  8. I love the story and the descriptions you used…very well done Brian!

  9. so tender and serene in the telling …beautiful!

  10. nice flow, it reads well

  11. A nice comforting read. Well done!

  12. I like the way you used the sense of smell to help put us right there. Great writing, Brian.

  13. Dear Brian,

    Oh, so subtle and oh, so good. The sentence that nails it is, “And Mama?” Very true to life, theirs and ourts.



  14. Very nice sense of continuity here–something so many of us lose when we are uprooted. Well done.

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