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Erotic Death Tales by Hitomi
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                                                                     "The Diary"                         "The Second Button"
Ghosts Story

(1)


I can feel their presence.

There are four of them, sitting side by side.

No, I do not see them.

It is night and all the lights have been turned off.

Come to think of it, it is quite bizarre to have four visitors sitting “side by side”.

My cell is small; hardly space enough to house my fragile body which has dwelled here for nearly
eight years, on and off.

But they are there. I feel it. I know it.

They say those who are about to die see things, things that are not supposed to be seen by ordinary
folks.

So, am I going to die, soon?

I am not afraid.

I have prepared myself for this, since they put me in here, since the very first day I took my stand for
what I believed in.

Looking back, I have come a long way, from being the flower of the renowned Beijing University to
become a prisoner in this chilly solitary cell in Shanghai, a prisoner tortured in uncountable ways for
over two thousand days.  

Three years ago, in 1965, I was sentenced to twenty years.

I have persisted in declaring my innocence.

How can one be guilty for just being outspoken of one’s belief? How can one be guilty for trying to
wake up the people in this madness, this disease of placing a mortal man on the pedestal of a god, no,
of THE GOD, holding every single word he says as absolute truth and any doubt of such absoluteness
is same as treason?  How can it be guilty to denounce falsehood, to see through deceit, to combat
oppression, especially against one who has declared himself the Savior of the people.

Oh, I have made my follies too.  When I was younger, more innocent to take in whatever was
preached.  I had my share of chanting “Long Live Chairman Mao” in uncontrollable frenzy  I had truly
believe that we all owed this man our liberation, our future, our destiny.  Oh, the naivety of youth!

I had waken up.

How can one not reflect on our past conviction when hundreds of thousands, may be more, have
been taken away simply for uttering the slightest different opinion?  How can one not reflect when so
many had died of in that three terrible years of famine?  They told the people it was the unpredictable
climatic change.  But many knew better.  Over eagerness to attain an utopia of communism led to
senseless policies and “divine” directives.  

May be those who have died then are the more lucky ones.

I still cannot judge which is more terrible: the hunger for food, or the hunger for truth.

They call me a traitor.  

They have tried to break my spirit by putting me under unspeakable ordeal: the constant questioning,
the depravation from sleep, the application of shackles on my wrists, days and nights, even when
during my mensuration.  They told me I was insane.  They secretly tried to make bargain, saying that I
would be released if only I would confess my guilt and beg for forgiveness from the great leader.

I had laughed and they backed away, too fearful to look into my eyes.

I had written to the People’s Supreme Court, declaring my innocence.  I had written my manifesto to all
the people in the world of what I believe in.  They had it taken from me.  They had taken away every
single pen and paper when it was my right to be given them to state my views.  I will not bend!  
Instead of ink, I have written with my own blood on the bed sheets, on walls, on anything!  I know they
will take it away.  They may not destroy it for to them, it is a testimony of my crime against the chairman
and the state.  That is fine with me.  One day, they may become testimony of their crime, against truth,
against humanity.

Ah, but enough of this.

I must not let my visitors dwell on my silence.

How I wish to speak, to share, even with the dead.

I know they are from the realm of the dead.  Who else can penetrate these walls separating those held
inside from the world without?  

But what do I have to fear?  

The dead is far less likely to harm a living person than another living fellow.  A friend can turn an
accuser these days, a careless phrase dropped, an evidence of treason to be brought against you
when you least expected.

The dead will not betray the die, or the one about to die.

I am ready to receive my first visitor.

I am Peng Lingzhao, better known as Lin Zhao, sole resident of this cell in the People’s Prison at 147,
Chang Yang Road, Shanghai.


(2)


She is young, perhaps in her early twenties.

Do ghosts keep their age and form at the time of their deaths?

Perhaps I should consider myself lucky.  I am thirty-six and I can still consider myself good-looking,
perhaps even better looking than when I was in my school-days.

Her skin is pale, white. She is definitely not Chinese.  I like her eyes, intelligent, ash-brown with a fire
inside them.  She speaks in a very foreign tongue; German, I finally made out.  At first, I am not certain
if I can understand her but that doubt vaporized quickly.  I cannot explain it but suddenly I am able to
absorb every single word she says.

“I am Sophie,” she says.

“Lin.” I decide not to extend my hand for a shake; it is not our social habit and it seems funny to shake
hands with a ghost.

Silence.

It is I who break the uneasiness.

“Why have you come? Am I going to die soon?”

She gazes at me, then slowly nods.

“When?”

“Soon.”

“How?”

There is such sadness in her eyes. I can guess.  They are coming to get me, may be as early as day-
break!  I only have a few hours to live!

I cannot stop myself from trembling.

No, I am not afraid, I repeat to myself.  But I am innocent!  I am no traitor and I love my country!  Will
they remember me for what I have said, done, thought?

Will they remember me at all?  Or will I be swept away like a peck of dust by these thugs, minions, who
can continue to live and bask in the glory of the sun? Will my mother be informed of my execution?  
Mother, oh, mother!  I will pay every price just to see her once again before I go.  And my sister?  What
will become of her?

What will become of our country, our people?  When will this madness end?  When will this plague on
sensibilities be cleansed from our land?

“Lin, do not worry.  Everything will be fine in the end.  You are not alone.”

I feel her “touch” though I see no extended hands.  I feel her embrace, her own sorrow.  When she
died, she must have felt the same way as I feel now.

“But I have just one more night, a few hours…”

“I had even less time before they came to get me,” she said.

“When did you die?”

“22nd February, 1943”

“1943…and your name is Sophie…”

A sudden recognition ignited inside me.

Sophie Scholl!

The White Rose movement, another era, another dictator, another execution.

I must have read about her though such material should be forbidden.  But we always found our ways
to some of those hidden away books.

She was executed along with her brother Hans, guillotined, for distributing handouts against Adolf
Hitler!

“Was it painful when…”

“When they cut off my head?  A little but it ended very quick.  When I heard the sound of the blade
being released, my head was already in the basket.”

“Then?”

“A exploding blinding light, then silence, darkness, and peace.”

“What happens after that? Is there a heaven? Hell?””

She laughs. “That is for you to find out.  Trust me.  You have nothing to fear.”

“Is it the reason you come here, to ease my fear so that I can face it?”

“You can face it.  Everyone has to, sooner or later.  It is the living days that some should fear facing
when they look back.”

“I do not understand you.”

“Perhaps you do.  Some people die and they live forever, others live, but have died long since. You
have lived.”

I sigh. I am not sure if this is worth it. Living, breathing, to be in love, loved; these are the things that
seem so treasurable to me now.  And will I leave behind?  A name, a story perhaps, and my writings,
my poems…

My poems…what will happen to them?  Will they be incinerated together with my body, reduced to
ashes?  I can still remember the lines clearly.



“When, the great land, will you be reborn

When will the oppressed fate be finally understood?

Oh, omnipotent humans, mother of eternality

The tumult of love for you that reside in my breasts

I know, once you awake,

The lofty Mount Olympus will melt like cascading snow…



“One Day in the suffering of Prometheus,” she said.

“You know my poem?” I am taken by surprise.

“Of course,” she smiled and continued where I left off.



“Far away, in that land still in slumber

A streak of light breaks the oppressing darkness

“Fire,” thought Prometheus with a smile,

Pain, thirst and hunger instantly forgotten.”



I find tears running down my face.

I know I have not fought in vain.  Something will linger, pass on.  A light will slice open the canopy of
darkness.  “Fire!”  and the gods will tremble for their days, no matter how long it is to last, are
numbered.

“Thank you.”

“For remembering your poetry?”

“For letting me know that I am not alone.”

“Of course you are not alone. Look!”

And the second visitor rise and walk out of the shadow.


(3)


I recognize her immediately.

It is simply impossible to mistake: the shining armor, the banner in her hand, the cropped hair, like a
pageboy, a glow of flame that once consumed her young body, now a crown of glory for her soul: the
Maiden of Orleans! Jeanne!

“Oh, You Blessed! “ I have to hide my face in my hands to hide my weeping.

“So are you, Lin, my sister.”

She take me into her arms, let me rest my head on her cold plate-armor.  

How did she feel when she suffered that terrible fate one May morning in the market, burned at stake
as a witch for her faith?

What is my suffering compared to hers?  My heart suddenly unlocks the spirit that has been held
hostage in this cell. No! No shackle, no cell, no prison will be strong enough to keep it in again!

“How will they kill me?” I ask, without any more fear.

“Two shots.  You will not feel much pain.” The Maid touch my face with her soft hand. “And one day,
you will be honored as the Maid of China, a beacon of liberty for a people still drunk with power and
power-worship.”

“When will it be?”

“Patience, my child.  Justice will never be absent, though it is a frequent late-comer. But what is a
decade in history?  A speck infinitesimal in the long river of Time. There will be others like you, many
others before they finally understand.  Come.” She makes a hand wave and my third visitor come out
of the dark.

It is a woman, in her late thirties.  She is Chinese, like me, and she is dressed in the uniform of the
People’s Liberation Army.

“My name is Zhang, Zhang Zhixin.  No, you do not know me, because I am still alive. What you are
seeing is the soul of a dead woman who will be executed seven years from now.  At the moment, I am
still a happy mother, a scientist in the army and I am still unenlightened to what is happening, a loyal
member of the party.”

It takes a while for me to accept that I am seeing a future ghost.

“You are a party member?  Why will they execute you?”

“For doubting what they told us to be truth, the absolute truth.  Any deviation thinking is a crime.  We
are not to think, but to follow, to shout slogans approved by one man.  They will shut me up, declared
me insane; they will try to break me by raping me and they will cut my sound cord the night before that
to stop me from shouting out my innocence at the site of execution. My husband and my children will
denounce me, my ashes will be uncollected.”

I shake my head in disbelief. It is so sad.

“But fear not.  My death will herald a new age, the end of the Revolution they termed as “cultural”.  
The madness will have spent its vigor and the old man will soon die. And those who have been
responsible for all these sufferings will be accounted for.”

“And an age of reason will descend on the land?”

She shakes her head, sadly. “Not yet.  There will be further oppressions, more blood but they cannot
stop the wheel of history.  Step by step, we will see a new China, a new world.  Trust me.”

I nod.

I know she speaks the truth.  I know only human beings are born liars.

There is more light seeping in now.

Dawn is breaking.

My hour is fast approaching.

I look at the last figure in the shadow.


(5)


She is even younger, and yet much older.

Her attire is of a distant and ancient age.

I cannot place her.

“You right.  I never existed, not in real flesh and blood.   But I am the same as you, all of you.”

I cannot comprehend.

“I was created, by the pen of a man called Sophocles. In one of his plays, I was to die, buried alive in a
cave, for breaking the law of the king, my uncle, through burying my dead brother.”

“Antigone!”

“Yes, Antigone of Thebes.”

“But you are only fictional! I mean, how can a fictional character becomes a ghost?”

“And why not?” she smiles. “What is life?  It is not just this body which can perish and turn to dust.  
Life is ideas, beliefs, a code of honor.  Look around you. All of you have shared the same nature as
mine: to act according to our conscience, to do what is right, and not just what is profitable or safe,
even at the cost of giving up life itself.  We die in different manners, in ages far in between.  I died in
solitude, a rope around my neck.  The Maid bathed in fire.  Sophie of the White Rose suffer the blade
of the guillotine.  And Zhang and you will perish in gunfire.  But we all die, or should I say, we all live,
for the same ideal: the evil, no matter how powerful, should never be given the last say.  They can kill
me, destroy our bodies, intimidate thousands not to follow our footsteps.  But they will fail!  Their
triumph will live only a while and then they will be swept aside by history, and only live in the memory
of the people in shame.  No matter how powerful they have been, how cruel their torture, how strong
their apparatus, how fearful their methods of execution, they cannot overcome the strongest thing in
the universe: the crave for freedom, of thinking, of speech, of act, of conscience.”

More light now, the dawn is breaking.

I can hear the turning of keys in the other gates, the sound of shoes made by the jail-keepers as they
make the alley-distance to my cell.

“Will you accompany me till the end?” I ask.

“Gladly.” It is Sophie who answers me.

I nod and hold out my hands.

We form a ring, hands locked into each other.

I am no longer afraid.

I am not alone.

I never will be.

(6)


On 29th April, 1968, Lin Zhao was taken out into the courtyard and shot her in the back, twice. Her
body was cremated and the ossuary was kept in the achieve room of the prison and denied claiming
by her folks until 2004.  It was then collected by her teachers and fellow students of the Beijing
University and given a proper burial in a quiet and little known of cemetery outside the city of Suzhou.

After her execution, the party sent someone to her parent’s home to collect five cents RMB to pay for
the bullets used. Lin’s father killed himself by taking poison within a month.  Her mother got a
nerevousl breakdown and died later obscurely in Shanghai, most probably in a suicide.    Her sister
had immigrated to the United States of America in 1980.


Zhang was executed, in the manner mentioned in the story, on 4th April, 1975.  Soon after that, the
Cultural Revolution ended.  One year later, Mao, Chairman, Great Leader, the object of adoration of
millions of his subjects, died, an old man of 83.  His wife and the other chief culprits, termed as Gang
of Four, were arrested and imprisoned.  The wife died in 1991.  She hanged herself in prison.


(written in middle of night-26/Nov/2011)
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________________________________________________________________________________


Comment from: Hitomi
Date: December 12, 2011

Seems the title is too scary to attact any readership.
Well, c'est la vie, I suppose.

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Comment from: Othello
Date: December 12, 2011

I would chalk it up to the Christmas season (not your "scary" title, lol), Hitomi. Visits
and comments are a bit scarce all over the site this month. I am sure they will pick
right up again in the new year. Your column is quite popular according to the site
stats (you have had thousands of visitors since you began presenting your
stories)...but of course most merely "lurk", and don't leave comments. (I'm a little
behind too, in getting everyone's columns posted...your next story will appear soon!)

As for this tale, it is very powerful. Almost mainstream in its feel (in its story of
imprisonment and the psychological twists -- or ghostly visits -- that affect the
narrator it made me think of the classic "Darkness at Noon", by Arthur Koestler).
You have mentioned that Lin Zhao is very inspirational to you, and I can see why.
The bravery of individuals who fight for their dignity in the worst of repressive
times and regimes are deeply inspiring.

Thank you for another fine creation.
______________________________________________________________________

Comment from: Hitomi
Date: December 12, 2011

Really?
That is a surprise.
I thought hardly anyone comes here except you and Nastassja.  
Thanks for letting me know.

______________________________________________________________________

Comment from: Othello
Date: December 12, 2011

I last checked all the site stats about two weeks ago, and at that time you were
coming up on 3000 visitor reads to your various stories. Not bad at all! Now if only
we could get a few of those folks to comment too!

Nastassja is a good friend -- she and I met when she wrote to me after reading some
of my poetry books. She has told me many times how excited she is to have
discovered your work. I know she bought a copy of The Satomi Chronicle...I can't
wait to hear what she thinks of it. I haven't heard from her in a little while...I'm
pretty sure she travels to visit family around Christmas (and probably doesn't have
a discreet opportunity to check in with her death erotica friends, lol...) I know Chris
B. really admires your work too, though he is always swamped with new film work,
which keeps him from commenting as often as I'm sure he would like.

Anyway, you do indeed have a readership, Hitomi, and I am confident it will
continue to grow and grow. You are truly a gifted writer .
_____________________________________________________________________

Comment from: Moon Shiner
Date: January 24, 2012

Hitomi,

This a very powerful story, warning of following blindly, without thought.

A lesson we all should hear, those that profess to be saviors sometimes become our
worst enemies. Supression of opinions different from our own, is the path to slavery.

Very good story and theme.  

I read through all the stories, this one for the first time. Very stirring!  All of them.
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Comment from: Nastassja
Date: January 25, 2012

Once again a fascinating story of oppression and the power of heroism that some
people, unassuming and even undesiring of that role, find in times when cruelty is
abounding in society. The "ghosts" that appear in this story were very effective,
particularly the idea of a "future ghost"...one that is still alive in the time of the
story! That bent the walls of time in a way that intrigued me no end.

I agree with Moon Shiner -- a very stirring story.
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Comment from: Hitomi
Date: February 6, 2012

Originally, I was torn between whether to add the tragedy of Zhang or leave it out
since she died later than Lin.  But then I came up with the idea of including a
"future ghost".  There are two reasons for this: 1. That the plight of the Chinese
people did not stop with the death of Lin.  While Lin was a student and a voice
against the high-handed and dictatorial rule of Mao, Zhang was from the PLA, and a
member of the Communist party.  The "future persecution and execution" of Zhang
made it clear that no one was exempted from the tyranny.  And 2. That there is a
kind of inevitability that governs the fate of individuals.  Some things are bound to
happen, no matter how one tries to stay clear, even if he or she knows in advance
what is coming up next.

In the same token, I hope there is really something like Divine Justice, that all evils
will come to pass when their time is up and a government which has been in power
based on lies and brutal suppression will finally have to pay its due.

Let us hope such day is not too far away.
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