Please enjoy this excerpt from ‘Moon Rabbit’ by Jo Wu, as featured in our new release,
Insignia 2020: Best of Asian Speculative Fiction!
By Jo Wu
I pounded and grinded at the powder, and poured water over the paste, creating a more viscous, fluid mixture.
Chang’e collapsed on the divan, which sat on the moon’s surface. “Oh, what a bore it is! Serves Houyi right that he had to be deprived of me as his wife! I stay eternally young and beautiful, while he grew old and crippled and is nothing but dust now! But oh, I adored him dearly. He was so handsome!”
I ladled spoonfuls of the finished elixir into a goblet and held it out. “For you, Mistress.”
As she guzzled down the beverage, I gazed down at planet Earth, a blue-green globe that looked like a jeweled sphere from where I’m perched on the moon. How beautiful the Earth must be. Sometimes, when Chang’e chose to engage in more active conversations with me (after all, there was no one else to talk to on the moon), she would tell me about life on earth. She told me of the invention of paper and compasses, of the four seasons of the year, of valiant warriors who died for the love of their families and home countries, of tragic love stories between concubines and emperors.
“I wish I could travel to Earth!” I sighed. “How fascinating life there sounds!”
“Oh, Yue Tu, Earth is a dangerous, horrible place,” said Chang’e. “A rabbit like you would be devoured by giant beasts, or even shot by human arrows and put into a stew!”
In response, or lack thereof, I continued pounding away at the next batch of the elixir. I waited until Chang’e retired to her bedchamber before I relinquished hold on my mortar, flopped onto my back on the moon’s surface, and sighed.
“If only I was a human on Earth!”
Insignia 2020: Best of Asian Speculative Fiction is out now!
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