Refugee

By Monica Wang

Strong legs launched her over the rocks jutting out of the water. From here she could see, through the canopy of trees, the town clinging to the side of the hills. Kara didn’t plan to regret this view. She only regretted seeking asylum from the foreigners.

“There you are. How did you manage to get across? You’re too close to the edge,” Cameron’s words trickled through the trees and preceded a slow-moving body to the water. The newcomer paused where Kara stood minutes ago.

“We’ll have to find you somewhere to cross. You sure know how to make things difficult,” Cameron continued, in a voice too lively for Kara, whose people spoke briefly and flatly if at all.

Kara shook her head. Cameron, sweating lightly in wool, frowned.

“Did you miss your shift again? I haven’t received your tally for the day,” Cameron paused. “We’ve discussed your work ethics–”

“Your ethics are not mine,” Kara said, recalling the other was too coarse to understand silence. “Your words and your world are not mine. Not anymore.”

“Kara, I don’t understand. After all the time and resources I’ve spent, you–”

“Resources,” Kara interrupted again. “Don’t poison my ears with such words. For three years you keep me here,” Kara gestured towards the hills with a lean arm, “Making me learn your words and numbers, forcing me to work.”

Rubbing a damp forehead, Cameron said, “I thought HR gave you the web seminar about why you needed to learn a trade–”

“I do not fear your god Aytch-arr,” Kara said, “And I will never forgive you for coming into my room every night and, and,” she trembled, “Forcing me to hear of Economy and Capitalism.”

“Kara…”

“Goodbye.” Kara tossed something shiny across the stream. It landed with a small thud. Cameron looked down; it was the neatly severed hood ornament of the company car.

“You may pray for productivity and progress,” Kara said, her voice flat. “But not with my help.”

Cameron’s gaze wandered from the speaker in confusion. Only then did she notice the rising towers of smoke crowning the mountain.

“What have you done? What have you done?” Cameron shouted.

But the other woman was already gone.


Monica Wang was born in Taichung, Taiwan, and raised in Vancouver, Canada. She received a BA in English and philosophy from Simon Fraser University.

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