Sunday, July 17, 2016

the letters

I have posted this story before, but i think it is a rather nice tale, so here it is again. :)

I wrote this short story for some competition. The rules are simple. The story will be completed in 3 parts and each part must be less than a hundred words. A key word is provided for each part of the story, and it must be present in it. When the first part is submitted, the keyword for the next part will be provided. When all the three parts are submitted, a winner will be picked.

The keywords were as follows : post office, discover, letter.

No, I did not win anything.:)

photo by Sergey81 at

the letters

I passed this quaint little post office on my way to and from work each day. It was a sturdy brick and steel building, nestled in a quiet neighbourhood. But what interested me was not the post office itself, but a pretty lady who was always around the place when I returned home in the evenings. Dark-haired, slim, so dainty that a rush of wind could blow her away, she sat on the steps of the post office, under the porch lights, reading some letters. As the days passed, she intrigued me more and more.

Finally, one evening, after much debate, I decided to speak to the lady, but she was not there when I arrived. And the following nights too. So on an off-day, I was at the post office sending parcels when I asked Sato-san, the postmaster, about the lady. With a quizzical stare, he told me her husband was away in the war, the Islands. She would be here at the post office, waiting for his war-zone letters . And then very strangely, he warned me to keep away from her . What I have discovered so far only deepens the mystery.

Now I know more about love and the human heart in these few weeks than in my entire life. You see, her husband never made it back from Iwo Jima. Day after day, she read that government letter, until her heart broke. They found her dead one day, on that post office porch, her tears still wet on those fair cheeks. And all this happened before I moved into this neighbourhood. I should be afraid, very afraid, but now I am not afraid anymore. As I stepped out of the porch, the fireflies scattered into the scented night.

Aug 2012

if i could pluck the stars
put them in a jar
will you come back to me?

--dsnake1, longing

Shared on Poetry Pantry #311 at Poets United.

© cheong lee san ( dsnake1 ) 2016

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Blogger Sumana Roy said... intriguing write so full of sadness....

17 July, 2016 21:35  
Blogger Mary said...

Ah, this gave me the chills. Sad really how she waited and waited for what would not happen....her heart broken. I wonder if there is some truth in this tale or if it is purely fiction. It seems so real.

17 July, 2016 21:52  
Blogger Sherry Blue Sky said...

Such a sad story. I especially love your haiku at the end. Beautifully told.

17 July, 2016 22:41  
Blogger Sanaa Rizvi said...

Oh! this is so poignant and beautiful at the same time. Especially struck with the image of the 'fireflies scattered into the scented night.'

Lots of love,

17 July, 2016 22:52  
Blogger brudberg said...

I do love 100 word stories - you could say it's a passion of mine. Yours in three installments were magnificent, especially the conclusion which could almost stand by itself,

17 July, 2016 23:17  
Blogger Jae Rose said...

The last line of prose and the parting poem wins first prize in my eyes.. A really well composed and engaging story beautifully delivered - like a letter

18 July, 2016 02:36  
Anonymous Donna@LivingFromHappiness said...

Such a story of heartbreak and longing you have penned...and what an interesting writing challenge.

18 July, 2016 04:34  
Blogger Gillena Cox said...

This is absolutely a gorgeous haibun. Cheong san

much love...

18 July, 2016 06:43  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thank you! glad that it moved you. :)


yes, it is a ghost story, but i think a touching one. it is a story i thought up, inspired mainly by two movies, Grave of the Fireflies and Letters from Iwo Jima.


yes, i love that haiku too. it was inspired by my late wife.


thank you. there was a reason for using "scented night". in our Asian culture, whenever there are otherworldly things around, one can smell a scent, especially of frangipani. :)


thank you!
100 word challenges are interesting, but requires lots of discipline. :)


ah, delivered like a letter! but the judges didn't think it is good enough. :D
anyway, all these contests/competitions are pretty subjective. :)


yes, it was an interesting challenge. i was always hoping that the keyword would be easy, would be able to fire up the imagination. :)


thank you! :)

18 July, 2016 12:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So interesting.. and that image of stars in a jar is too good!

18 July, 2016 16:59  
Blogger Old Egg said...

What a beautiful ghost story. I loved it as it was so easy to picture.

18 July, 2016 18:33  
Blogger dsnake1 said...


thank you! one of my personal favourite haiku. :)


it didn't read like a ghost story in the beginning, isn't it? :)

18 July, 2016 20:03  
Blogger Myrna R. said...

This is a beautiful, sad story. it does teach much about love and how a heart breaks. Love your haiku too.

18 July, 2016 21:37  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Myrna! :)

18 July, 2016 22:36  
Blogger totomai said...

I love both - the short story and the haiku. I think the setting is in Japan :) The story is sad, exactly how I felt when I started reading the letters and poetry of Kamikaze pilots..

19 July, 2016 06:39  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

yes, i like the reader to figure out the setting of the story. The Japanese name mentioned and Iwo Jima should give a clue as to the setting. Anyway, i have mentioned that the story was inspired by a Japanese movie. :)
the kamikaze pilots are not the automatons that they are usually made out to be. there are intellectuals and poets among them.

19 July, 2016 16:55  
Blogger Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

A beautiful haibun.

21 July, 2016 12:15  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

thank you, Rosemary!
i like the haibun's freedom in allowing the writer to fit in more details. :)

21 July, 2016 20:30  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

wow man. that story builds to a crescendo of emotion. especially that last bit. nicely writ. its good to read you again.

24 July, 2016 17:43  
Blogger dsnake1 said...

hey Brian, it's good to hear from you again! :)
i saw your post on the sidebar at the Poets United site, and wow! one of my favourite poets is back on-line!
congrats on your Masters and kudos to your work in Nepal. those children are fortunate to have such a selfless and compassionate teacher.

24 July, 2016 22:06  

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