The Tiny Big Houses – Part 4: Walking Alone

Music by Dante S. Ryu, 2016

By Christina Ryu

The morning after the shadow had taken everything from Li, he had stopped crying. He knew there was a time for mourning and a time to stay strong. He had mourn and now it was time for him to stand by himself. He knew he couldn’t look back, he went to the cottage collected his things, it wasn’t much, and after setting the animals free he was on his way. First he went to the world-spot he looked down at the world and knew that the time had come for him to be a part of it. He looked at the tiny big houses. Soon they wouldn’t be that tiny. He took a deep breath and went back into the forest. He went back, so he could choose the path down the hill. It would be a long walk and maybe difficult but Li was prepared, he had always been.

When he got to the part, where the paths split, he didn’t stop to think he just kept going. So far in his life everything had been so familiar. The cottage that he was born in, the world-spot, the rocks and trees in the forest, he knew them all so well. Now, every step he took was new. The trees, the noises, the rocks, everything – new. As he thought it would be a difficult walk, he felt it even after a few steps. His mind wandered and took him back in time. He was once again a kid, playing outside the cottage his mother stepped out after a while calling his name. She looked beautiful. Her hair was golden even though her eyes were brown. Her face was smiling when she saw him come, then a shadow passing her face and she got serious. She told him, You are old enough now, you need to learn the secret power. You need to be able to defend yourself. The most important thing is to stay alive. I will show you how. After that, the training started. Li learned how to grasp the water drops in nature, grasp them and put them together as one. When he had mastered that, he needed to control it. He had to be able to aim and shot at a specific target. That was the water, after that came the dirt, the same method as with water. Air was harder, capture the wind was easy when there was wind but to create it on a day when there was none was difficult. His mother showed him and it looked like the simplest thing, Li had to struggle for a long time. When he finally could do it, he didn’t want to stop. He scared the chickens they had by shooting air at them that made them spin and fly up in the air. His mother got angry but the chickens survived they just became a bit dizzy. When the time finally came for fire he actually needed to use something to create the fire since it wasn’t found in nature. Sometimes he used two rocks but most of the time he carried matches. Matches that made him able to create fire, after that he needed to learn how to hold it in his hand, create a ball of fire without getting burned. It took time and he burnt a lot of things during his training. His mother sat by him every night taking care of his wounds on his hands. She didn’t speak but still he could tell that she was glad that he learned. He remembered a day when he came back home without any new wounds on his hands, his mother said Good, now you can do what I have done for so long. From now on you will follow me to the tree. He went to bed happy. He closed his eyes but couldn’t sleep. Suddenly, he felt his mother sitting down on his bed, she must have thought he was sleeping. She touched his face and whispered: I’m sorry, he didn’t understand why.

Li shook the memories off, he felt the pain in him grow with every step. His mother was his world and now she was gone, the shadow had taken her. She had taught him well though; he knew he would survive even though he was by himself. 

As he was walking he sensed something behind him. He looked back and realized there was only darkness. Like every step he took eliminated what was behind him. He had to keep his eyes focused forward; he needed to keep walking. He understood now why his mother said she was sorry. The shadow that had followed her, who had grown big in the woods; who destroyed her, was now following him. He was hunted and he needed to keep walking.


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