Chinese Burn (Friday Fictioneers, May 2014)

Copyright Erin Leary

“Daahling!”

Glancing down at my forearm, I remember the exquisite agony of twisted, reddened skin.

Mwah!

I flinch, though it’s a softer assault against my cheek than before.

“We must get together, I’m dying to hear your goss!”

Funny that… she never listened to anything I said. Even when I begged her to stop.

“And your hair really suits you like that…”

As I recall she liked it better in clumps, clutched victoriously in her hand.

The mist clears, and I find my voice, a clearer, stronger voice now.

“I’m sorry… I think you may have mistaken me for someone else.”

Lovely to see Friday Fictioneers getting the recognition it deserves on WordPress the other day.  You must be very proud Rochelle; recognition of the hard work you invest in keeping this site going. 

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

118 Responses to Chinese Burn (Friday Fictioneers, May 2014)

  1. This really touched me. Great job.

    Like

  2. Locomente says:

    Aww…. Thats a nice ending…
    A twist.. And I loved that… Though he would have felt shattered…

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  3. Ah.. there were those bullies we never care to meet again.. yes mistaken identity… a great way to escape

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  4. Dear Sandra,

    Sounds like a good person to walk away from. Perhaps the class bully? I had to look up Chinese Burn…ugh. Horrid. But your story is well written as always.
    I can’t tell you how blessed I am to have you in my corner. Without the already solid foundation of Friday Fictioneers, there would’ve been nothing to perpetuate. Many thanks.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      She was a good person to walk away from. And the pleasure is all mine Rochelle, keep up the good work, it’s clear to see you enjoy it. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  5. Sandra, Always a good story. You never feel you can totally trust someone who was that mean. Great description and dialogue. 🙂 —Susan

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  6. It’s a good feeling when you can walk away. Great story, as always.

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  7. K.Z. says:

    ha! i do that a lot. i’m like, “i’m sorry… you are?” i’ll never understand people who want to “get together” and “catch up” even when they obviously disliked you in the past.
    and now i know what Chinese Burn means.
    excellent storytelling and unpredictable story as always. 🙂

    Like

  8. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    Your writing takes me back to those times and forward to these. Wonderfully written. Painfully eloquent. Do you suppose they ever grow out of it?

    Aloha,

    Doug

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  9. Great little story. Love the use of the word ‘exquisite’ in that way. Makes me want to say it over and over: exquisite exquisite exquisite!

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  10. Lovely when you finally find your voice, even after all those years. A nice piece.

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  11. Terribly sad – there are people exactly how you described…we all know that. So well portrayed.

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  12. Sandra says:

    Thanks Hamish. Glad you liked it.

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  13. Nice piece of writing, Sandra.
    Brought your characters to life.

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  14. wmqcolby says:

    If there’s something I just hate seeing is someone who was a pain in the drain during school and NOW they want to be friendly! I couldn’t lie, though, about not knowing/fremembering someone like that (I give myself away too easily) but I definitely can relate.

    Chinese Burn, huh? We had Dutch Rubs.

    I laughed well at this story, Sandra, the timing was exquisitely laid out and the payoff marvelous. Wonderful!

    Like

  15. Funny how some people manage to have selective memories while many of the people around them can never forget – you portrayed this really well. I’m glad your character found her strong voice and was able to walk away with so much dignity.

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  16. subroto says:

    Bully for you! That’s a great ending, wish I could use that at work sometimes.

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  17. This sounds like just about everyone in my neighborhood while I was growing up. We gave each other Chinese Burns, Dutch Rubs and hit each other and yelled, “One-eyed Jack!” when a car with only one working head light passed. Well done!

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  18. When children grow up, those awful brats aren’t forgotten. Loved the back and forth between dialogue and unspoken response.

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  19. For all that you nipped in first, Sandra, your story has the usual depth to it. I like the way you went back and forth and that your heroine had the courage to walk away, both literally and figuratively. I looked up Chinese burn, but although the gist is clear, Google doesn’t seem to know “goss”, which I also looked up. Strong story!

    janet

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    • Sandra says:

      Yes, I was a bit quick off the mark this week. Or maybe everyone else was just slow. 🙂 I think ‘goss’ is just the Brit abbreviation for ‘gossip’ – these days everyone seems to want to abbreviate everything. Thanks for reading Janet.

      Like

  20. paulmclem says:

    Took me a couple of reads but I got there. Nice idea of the bullied and the bully meeting later in life. Good work.

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  21. If I understand the Friday Fictioneers correctly, you are to use the given photograph as inspiration? Which I think you did brilliantly here. The photo doesn’t exactly evoke bullying at first glance and I appreciate your selecting the “mist” to drive your story.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      For me, the challenge is to use the inspiration as loosely as possible. I hate it when other people take the same inspiration as me, it tells me I haven’t thought things through properly. 🙂 Glad you liked it, and still hoping to see you on here.

      Like

  22. high five and raspberries says:

    I find it strange how bullies think they can walk into our lives in later years and be friends. My tormentor ended up in the position of having me as her direct supervisor at work and tried the “we were kids then” route. I think I hated her more for brushing it off than I did for the actual misery she put me through. I like how your story reaches out and touches each one of your readers.

    Like

  23. I can just see this classmate ten years later oblivious to the pain she caused.

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  24. Jan Brown says:

    Intriguing story with a triumphant ending. Nice!!!

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  25. Well done. Great characterization of both women.

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  26. this is so true to life. You captured the true essence of being bullied by a bully. You made me think of a cousin that abused me as a kid. As kids do, we saw each other last week after close to over thirty years. She never treated me mean she says.

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  27. An interesting use of the mist! Ah, this made me think of my sisters…older sisters. The cruelty of youth. Nice to see so many friends here, by the way…

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  28. MrBinks says:

    I’ve met her. He was horrible.

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  29. Indira says:

    Very nice Sandra, it was the best way to avoid character like that. Touched me as I recalled someone when I was working. Nice title.

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  30. MM Jaye says:

    Hi Sandra! I’m new here, and loving every minute (or read)! This one was expertly done from the opening address to the final wise decision. I look forward to reading more of your stories!

    Greetings from Greece!

    Maria (MM Jaye)

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Hi there! And welcome. Hope you like it round here. Lucky you, being in Greece, I’ll bet it’s a bit hotter than it is in France right now. Thanks for reading.

      Like

  31. maru clavier says:

    Fine ending. Interesting to imagine what the next line could be. Will the rejection be accepted?

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  32. The mist as a metaphor for escape! A story full of pain but also strength.

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  33. Geared as it is. You have to feel for the focus character, struggling to live with bullying from the past. Writing wise, you’ve also nicely conjured empathy. Good job

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  34. Sandra, I always love your stories. The subtleties and nuances that are so beautifully woven into your tales! I had the great pleasure of finding that an old bully who I reconnected with 30 years later, was an amazing person now, and I happily count her as a good friend. Not usually the case! I think I would choose the route you use here… and avoid an ugly confrontation. Well done!

    Like

  35. draliman says:

    How is it that years later the school-yard bullies never seem to remember what they put you through?
    I’ve had a few Chinese Burns in my day…

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  36. Good for her! Yes, bullies tend to conveniently forget their past behaviour. Great story!

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  37. elappleby says:

    I’ve been in a similar situation and I’m afraid I tiptoed away before she saw me. Great story, brilliantly done (and I know I say that most weeks, but I do mean it!)

    Like

  38. Intriguing story, took me a few readings. Thanks, Sandra!

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  39. Nan Falkner says:

    Dear Sandra, Good story and it is reassuring that others have the same problem with the insincere ramblings of others. If you were good friends to begin with, you wouldn’t have stopped staying in touch! Thanks for the read! Nan 🙂

    Like

  40. rgayer55 says:

    Isn’t is interesting how bullying is the opposite of cowing? I love how your protagonist steered away.

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  41. atrm61 says:

    Ugh!What a meanie!Glad the narrator had found the strength to resist and a way to escape!Some people are so obnoxious with their pseudo personalities-selfish and superficial-best to avoid such dirt!An amazing take on the prompt Sandra ,well done 🙂

    Like

  42. Pratik Kirve says:

    Beautifully described with an unexpected ending..!!
    Nice take on the prompt, ma’am! 🙂

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  43. mewhoami says:

    Great story! People can be so mean, but act like they’re the sweetest person ever.

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  44. unspywriter says:

    Very touching story to which I can relate. Perfect ending!

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/through-a-glass-darkly/

    Like

  45. erinleary says:

    Ooh, a little twist in the action, I see. You created an intriguing scene from such a peaceful photo. Your mind works in mysterious ways…

    Like

  46. Lucy says:

    I would have slapped that woman silly. I have done the same–mistaken identity. Leaves them speechless. Great job. Lucy

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  47. Amy Reese says:

    Ooh, nice spin at the end. I remember those arm burns. Not fun! Good one, Sandra!

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  48. R. E. Hunter says:

    Very vividly written, Sandra, I can picture the scene.

    Like

  49. Dee says:

    You captured the torment of being bullied so well, and brought back memories of a schoolyard and running away from someone I stupidly thought of as a friend, all because I wouldn’t give her my new headband. She pulled out a clump of my hair and held it aloft like a trophy.

    Like

  50. Shandra says:

    Powerful story in a few words.

    Like

  51. JustDeb says:

    Great story! Love the last line. If only people would say it more often, I do!

    Like

  52. storydivamg says:

    Sandra,
    I’m not sure there’s anything to say that hasn’t already been said. Beautiful story. I’m glad your character had the wisdom not to stick around. Few bullies change much over time.

    All my best,
    Marie Gail

    Like

  53. rheath40 says:

    This story really touched me. Being able to walk away from pain is liberating.

    Like

  54. Sarah Ann says:

    I’m glad your narrator found her clear and strong voice. Her memories are so clear and painful – taking the reader into her world and suffering. Strange how the bullies always seem to forget who they were along with what they did.
    (On an irrelevant flippant note, I would want to avoid anyone who used the word ‘goss’.)

    Like

  55. Melanie says:

    Gorgeous, Sandra! Oh there is so much here is so few words.

    Like

  56. Sandra says:

    Thank you Melanie.

    Like

  57. This was hilarious! I didn’t quite expect that ending 😀

    Like

  58. nightlake says:

    she is very smart:) had a feeling that the narrator is a girl

    Like

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