Ghost Month (Part 2)
Ho Lin
[Total Pages: 39]
Lin Page 1
Read part 1 of this story
Download story in rtf format

Just past the metro tunnel that links downtown Taipei to the damp outskirts of Mucha are jagged rows of polished stone lined up and down the side of the hill like monoliths, and if one squints just enough, one can imagine the sight is an amphitheater filled to capacity with nonplussed patrons. He stands at the bottom, at the gated entrance, staring at these inquisitor-like gravestones, and on cue, the afternoon sun slices through the dissipating storm clouds, landing full on his face. Let my people go! he is tempted to shout.

Meandering up and down the hill are families come to pay respects to late relatives. The coming of Ghost Month (he

had forgotten) has brought thick crowds today. Children cradle bowls of fresh fruit or baskets of flowers in their arms. In turn, the living step forward, deposit their gifts, make their little ritual bows, and stand a few moments, the kids restlessly scratching at themselves or hopping from foot to foot, the adults standing silent, eyes closed, inhaling the wisps from incense sticks. Some gravesites have been swept, plates of food and the ashes of burnt spirit money neatly gathered in a corner, while others have collected leaves and loose debris that have been swept over from other sites. Much like life, he muses.

How long has it been since breakfast? He had visited a Starbuck's out of habit rather than preference, and the whole time he was there he had calculated prices in his head without making a purchase. A NT$90 latte, how much is that in U.S. dollars? Just under three? Is that