The Girl Who Cried Wolf - flash fiction by Qianhui Ma
“And when on the third day, the boy cried wolf again, the villagers answered no
But this time, the wolf really came. The villagers never ever saw the boy
“That silly boy”, you giggled as your nanny closed the book and put us to bed.
“Silly,” I nodded along, “he must have regretted it so bad.”
I remember we were in the third grade when the teacher introduced us to the
infinite repeating decimals. I didn’t really understand. You explained to me that it was
like the merry-go-round we rode in the parks every Saturday, the same thing just
repeating and repeating and repeating. And somehow that reminded me of us. Of how things always repeated between us. Of how every time we had a quarrel, you would run off, throwing a huge fit and shouting that it’s the end of our friendship. And of how I would always end up apologizing, until we eventually made up and went back to being best friends like nothing ever happened. Except it did, over and over again. And each time, I grew a little more tired.
And then came that day after school, at the gate, when you said those words again
with such determination. But that day, I didn’t say anything. I didn’t run after you as I
always did. I just watched your ponytail swinging as you sharply turned away. I
watched as you gave the kickstand of your bike a decisive kick, one hand steering the
handlebars, the other slinging your backpack behind. I watched as you leaped onto the bike with a motion of smoothness, like a wild bird gliding across the waters, without a trace of reluctance for leaving the northern land behind.
The sun was dazzling, obscuring your figure as you threaded in and out of the
shadows and light patches on that little road running along the northern side of our
school. Maybe it was the sun, burning the pavement too hot, my feet grew restless as I
stood on the concrete ground. Something inside me wished to run after you. But I bit
my lips and forced it down.
For once, I wanted you to stop for me.
My heart started to pound without my permission. I could see the wheels of your
bike spinning round and round, which made me dizzy. There was never so much
distance between us. I clenched my fists, and the cuffs of my shirt soaked with the
sweat of my palms. But my feet wouldn’t budge as if they were locked in place. I
could have run, at any moment, and I knew you would have stopped for me if only I
chased. But I didn’t. And you didn’t either. I just stood there and watched, slowly, as
the sight of you mingled into the patch of greenness at the far end of the road and
Later, I told myself that I accomplished something that day. That I stood up for
myself. But then, I couldn’t help but feel uncertain, as I walked home for the first time
with no one by my side.
“That silly boy”, you said, as your nanny turned off our light.
“He must have regretted it so bad,” I said.
But it is only now, that I begin to wonder,
Did the villagers feel regretful too?
Qianhui Ma is a high school junior from Beijing, China. She fell in love with English writing when studying abroad in the U.S. during her fifth grade and has previously published her work in a brochure made by Iowa University’s summer program for creative writing. She loves writing poetry, flash fictions and short stories, and also enjoys painting and sketching. With a great passion for education, she aspires to use her skills in writing and art to improve the education of children.