She reached to flush the toilet again. The head sputtered, “N-no, just a minute—"
She stayed her hand and looked down at the head in the toilet.
It was probably more accurate to refer to it as “a thing that vaguely looks like a head” than an actual head. It was about two-thirds the size of an adult’s head and resembled a lump of carelessly slapped-together yellow and gray clay, with a few scattered clumps of wet hair.
Life is filled with strange happenings that are hard to fit into our understanding of the world. Many we let pass in order to get on with our days. But this was not something I could let pass. I talked to Tiechan’s neighbors and his friends, his family members and his enemies. Slowly, I pieced together what had pushed my friend to his tragic end. This is what I discovered.
At eight years of age, I almost stopped sleeping. When I did manage to fall asleep, I found myself in the worst of nightmares. My ability to remain aware in the dream and to control the surrounding dream world lit me up like a beacon in the darkness. Every moment I felt the unkind attention of Morpheus upon me.
Тогда, в восемь лет, я почти перестал спать, а если всё-таки засыпал, оказывался в худшем из кошмаров. Моя способность осознавать себя во сне и управлять миром сновидений подсвечивала меня в темноте. Каждое мгновение я чувствовал на себе недоброе внимание Морфея.
The boughs of the olive tree branch out on the large room’s window, which opens onto a folktale repeated by the villagers about a spider inhabiting the old house on the plateau. A distorted spider whose shape swelled as it captured profane spirits. Alien faces to the village were caught in its nets: men with unkempt hair and beards, unpleasant faces in veils, and jelly-like features that came to hide in the spider's web.
تتفرع أغصان شجرة الزيتون على شباك الغرفة الكبيرة المفتوح على خرافة يرددها القريون عن عنكبوت تسكن البيت القديم الذي يتراءى على الهضبة. عنكبوت مسخ تضخم شكلها وهي تواصل أسر الأرواح المدنسة. لقد علقت بين شباكها وجوه غريبة على القرية، رجال بشعور ولحي مشعثة، ووجوه متفسخة وراء النقاب، ملامح هلامية جاءت للتخفي في بيت العنكبوت...
Cesária Escobar tinha dezesseis anos quando aceitou casar com um homem que vira apenas uma vez na vida. Seus sete irmãos e irmãs estremeceram ao ver o casal descer do altar de braços dados, mas a mãe, já viúva, beijou-lhe a testa e desejou aos dois toda a sorte que o mundo pode dar. O homem, Apolinário Barandirán García, não fizera condição alguma à sua família, e aceitou a pouca fortuna, a beleza medíocre, o sangue miscigenado.
Cesária Escobar was sixteen when she walked down the aisle, arm in arm with a man she had only met once. Her seven brothers and sisters watched in dismay, but her widowed mother wished her well. The man, Apolinário Barandirán García, made no conditions to her family—he accepted her lack of fortune, her average looks, her mixed blood.
We're delighted to welcome John Yu Branscum and Yi Izzy Yu to the blog, to tell us more about their translation of Ji Yun, and their work on Chinese anomaly tales, or zhiguai. You can read their translation of Ji Yun's Guests from the Sky in the September 2019 issue of Samovar, alongside the original Chinese. They are both writers and translators, and teach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. They are one of two finalists for the The International Gabo Prize for Literature in Translation & Multilingual Texts from Antioch University/Lunch Ticket Magazine.