There is a head of one body. There is a head of ten bodies. There is a head of a hundred bodies. There is a head of ten-thousand bodies. There is a head of a hundred-million bodies. There is a head of a trillion bodies. That which is a head of a trillion bodies, isn’t that a belief?
At the end of the 19th century, Mr. Tan Sitong wanted to let Chinese government rulers and scholars have access to some knowledge from western countries and change Chinese society.
His head…Cut off…
Body…The tomb was full of rotten meats…
I wondered if I might deduce a possible way to retake the Chinese social reform by using divination. Finally, I resurrected Kang Youwei and Tan Sitong (in a way) to write a fiction.
My hexagram discussion is creative and compelling.
It follows in a tradition of using the Yijing to construct fictional appraisals of historical events and create counter-historical narratives.
After I finished my fiction, I always dreamt of these reformers.
These dreams were so real that they disturbed the balance of my mind. I was under the delusion that I could help Mr. Kang to remake a new social reform.
Finally, I lost myself in my mind, like a maze of alleys, so my mum had to pack my bags and send me to the Beijing hospital.
Two years later, I got worse.
I was transferred from Beijing hospital to a psychiatric hospital for an indefinite period.
The old psychiatric hospital was located on the edge of a small sleepy island.
I could reach the inpatient department through a bumpy path. The white wing was built on the second floor of the building, where the doctor kept patients who had a manic energy.
There was another bipolar woman that the doctor was holding patient in one of the wards. She lived next to me and was singing and screaming loudly all night. When she was in her single ward at midnight, I sometimes heard her yelling,
In order to save an old Empire,
A young reformer gave up his life.
His head was cut off.
I could find a bare neck where the blood had run dry.
His name is Tang Sitong.
Ha, ha…. ha!!”
I was scared.
My throat constricted and I could not speak.
A bright light appeared in front of us. The door suddenly opened, a doctor rolled a cart across the wards, and he stopped at the steps.
He was one of the most fierce-looking doctors in the hospital. He wore a white uniform and a red beard.
He said, “Shut up! Did you take the medicine on time?”
The woman showed him a pill on her open dirty hands.
She could not stop laughing.
The doctor stormed into her room and said, “Shut up! Shut up! I told you, it is necessary for you to take your medicines on time.” He finished his talking and squatted down, looking sideways at her.
“No! Ha, ha, ha, I could not…” the women refused and tried to attack him. She ran her dirty fingers quickly through her long curly hair.
She tried to spit in his face!
The doctor was irritated by this crazy woman. Then he raised his electric prod and indicated that she had to take the medicine.
“This is my bottom line…” The doctor snapped handcuffs around her wrists.
She curled into a tiny ball and hid in a corner.
“Eh, OK, but I promise this is the last time I will give you this…” The doctor finally handed a pill and candy to her.
She needed to take all of them under his gaze. After a short break, the doctor walked away and disappeared into the dark night. A long hairy tail like a fox could be clearly found under the moonlight!
I held my breath!
After a short while, she spat it out and cursed, “damn! Get out!”
She knocked wildly on the wall but there was no response.
It was quiet in the summer, without even any insects to fill the dry air. The air was full of the scent of gardenias, but the front gate was welded by a steel plate, and the small windows were barred by iron bars.
After a while, she grasped the iron bars with her hands and continued to sing,
“He wants to find his head,
So he needs to use the divination.
But he cannot find the way,
Like the dragon pawed the cloud and roared the whole day!”
Nobody cared if she sang or not.
She went back to her bed in silence.
“Hi, do you know something about fortune-telling?” She tapped on my door and asked.
I said nothing.
“Hi, do you know anything about the divination?” She asked again.
I said nothing and closed my eyes.
“Did you hear my singing? If you hear that, you will know who I am. Please remember, the yarrow stalks tasted terrible.”
I ignored and turned my back on her.
“Why don’t you talk to me?” she asked. “I am not crazy! This is not a hospital! All of the doctors are monsters! Do you remember that a social reformer, Tan Sitong, gave up his life to wake up the Chinese people?”
I felt a thrill when I heard these sentences!
She said, “take a look.” She showed me a pill on her open hand.
The pill became a poisonous spider!
“Are you… are you… Mr. Tan?” My voice was trembling.
She said, “I have a loose tooth. A loose stone had fallen from the wall.”
I asked, “What do you mean?”
She smiled, “take a look. You could find some old things…Such as…head… I knocked a hole in the wall…
About the Author
Weining Wang is a Senior student at Beloit College, WI, where he is majoring in interdisciplinary studies, East Asian Studies. He submitted his Beijing flavor fiction, “The Old Snack Shop,” for publication to the journal The Sucarnochee Review, a famous undergraduate publication by the University of West Alabama. He was informed that it was being published and printed this year (2021). He translated eight poems from the Tang dynasty and published them in the Equinox, a journal of contemporary literature at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. His artworks, “Nose_Paper” and “Star_Canvas,” have also been selected for publication in this year’s issue of the Equinox. His Chinese-style artworks, “Fire and Ocean,” “Black and White,” and “Great Wall,” have also been accepted for publication in this year’s edition of Long River Review, an annual literary journal of art and literature staffed by undergraduates at the University of Connecticut.