Nightmare 2

 

At the first winter vacation after Sasha started living with Yeong-soo, they went to meet Yeong-soo’s parents. His parents welcomed Sasha and gladly admitted their relationship. Tradition demanded that Yeong-soo should only involve himself with Korean girls, but his father was a very progressive man and cared little for the old ways of his people. After years of working closely with Russian executives, he was happy to welcome the Russian girl into his home.

 The next summer Sasha and Yeong-soo went to Russia to meet Sasha’s parents. They took an immediate fancy to Yeong-soo who  could speak Russian fluently.

 The relationship between Yeong-soo and Sasha became more intimate over time. Before long, the two young lovers had a plan to save some money after graduating and marry in China. But despite the positive changes in their lives, everything was not well.

 Yeong-soo had not been himself. At the end of October, a friend asked him to do some part-time work as an interpreter for Korean businessmen. He started coming home very late and having frequent phone calls in Korean with what sounded to Sasha like a woman, although she couldn't understand the conversation. He would tell Sasha that these things were all work-related, but his attitude was unnatural around her and it began to arouse Sasha’s suspicion. It was at that time that Sasha's nightmares had begun.

 The nightmare was so scary that she had told Yeong-soo about it.

“It is just a dream. Never mind,” he had told her, paying no attention to her concerns.

  About one week after the recurring nightmare began, a certain change took place. In her dream, she was walking down Xi-an Road towards the Shangri-La Hotel and noticed that one of her fellow foreign students was coming towards her. It was Robert O’Brien who was a Canadian. When Sasha greeted him, he simply said back to her, “Hi,” smiled and waved to her, then went away without saying anything else. After that it was the same routine. She saw a cave-in, fell down into the hole, and then woke up in a cold sweat.

  This time when she woke she had a slightly different feeling about her dream than before. Why did Bob appear on the scene all of a sudden? It felt like a rather abrupt change and was irrelevant to the story of her dream.

  Bob and Sasha were not close friends, but she respected him. He had saved her once when the other Russian student, Nikolai, had sexually assaulted her at the welcoming reception.

  Nikolai had been drinking too much and made several passes at her that night under the influence of the alcohol. He finally tried to grab her and kiss her. Sasha resisted him hard, but Nikolai was an unruly drunk and at six and a half feet tall and 287 pounds, he was difficult to deal with. No one else seemed to notice what was happening – perhaps they just ignored it. After only a matter of days in Changchun, the other students knew that Nikolai had an aggressive streak and a black belt in full-contact Karate.

  Suddenly, while Sasha was struggling with him, all of the force pressing against her disappeared. Nikolai had been thrown down onto the floor by someone.


Nightmare 1


 ※この作品は、昨年12月に日本語で発表した私の処女小説「悪夢」の英語版です。英
 語版を書こうと思い立ったのは、今年の7月まで私が中国で同居していたルームメイトの女
 の子から「あなたは、英語でもブログを書くべきよ。そうすれば、もっと読者が増えるわ
   よ。」と言われたからです。

  ただ、英語は、私の母語ではないため、翻訳作業だけとは言え、日本語で小説を書い
 ていたときと同じスピードでは、書くことができません。また、英訳した草稿をまずネ
 イティヴスピーカーにチェックしてもらい、彼と相談しながら書き進めていく事になり
 ますので、日本語で小説を発表していた時とは比較にならないくらいの低い頻度での更
 新になると思います。

  亀の歩みのような更新になると思いますが、よろしくお付き合い下さい。  
  
 

 
Sasha was walking on the Xian Road in Changchun city in Jilin Province, China. The full-scale winter hadn’t come yet, but it was already below -10
. As she walked, shivering, she noticed that her boyfriend, Park Yeong-soo, a Korean ethnic minority in China, was walking in front of her.
 

  ”Yeong-soo!”

 She called his name, but there was no answer. He continued walking as if he didn’t hear anything.

  “Yeong-soo, Wait!”

  Still he continued to walk as if he couldn't hear her. When he reached the front of Hotel Shangri-La, he waved to someone. Sasha couldn’t see clearly who it was, but it looked as though a young girl was waving back to him from over there.

  “Who is that girl?” Sasha asked, running to catch up with him.

  Suddenly, there was a deafening noise behind her, like an explosion. She spun around, feeling the ground quake beneath her feet. Ten
meters away, the street had caved in with a tremendous crash, leaving a gaping hole whose perimeter wider, stretching out towards her.

 Sasha screamed and started to run towards Yeong-soo again.

  “Yeong-soo, it’s an earthquake!” she cried. “Run!”

  But Yeong-soo and the girl had begun to walk towards the Hotel as if nothing was happening.
 
  Sasha tried to call out again, but the land slide caught up with her.

 
Sasha tried to call out again, but the land slide caught up with her. She grabbed desperately at the edge of the earth as the ground fell out from under her, clinging to broken fragments of pavement and stone. Just as she was about to slip into the blackness below, the ground stopped collapsing. 

  Thank God, she thought with relief, I was saved.

 But Sasha was a petite young woman of delicate build and she had no strength left to climb up from the precarious edge where she was left hanging.

 “Help me!” she cried out in a loud voice. “Yeong-soo!”

 There was no response. No one came to rescue her.

 Sasha's hold grew weaker and she broke into a cold sweat. I'm going to fall, she thought.

 Another seismic wave suddenly started. Sasha was shaken very hard. Her hands lost their grip and she fell down into the gigantic hole with a terrible scream.



 Sasha sat up in surprise. It was the same nightmare again. Her nightgown was soaking with cold sweat. She had been suffering from this same nightmare every night. Next to her, Yeong-soo was breathing peacefully as he slept.
 

She walked slowly to the fridge, took out a bottle of mineral water and gulped it down.

What’s wrong with me? she thought as she took a sip.
 

Sasha had come to Changchun city one year ago. She was a student in business school at her home university and came to China to study Mandarin. After graduating, she planned to help her father with his business.

About two weeks after she arrived at Changchun, she met Yeong-soo at a reception to welcome foreign students. Yeong-soo was tall, handsome and very kind, and she fell in love with him at first sight.

Yeong-soo's father was a successful businessman from the Yanbian area of Jilin province, which was an autonomous Korean prefecture. As a result, Yeong-soo had grown up wealthy and could fluently speak Chinese, Korean, English and Russian. He was very popular with the girls in Changchun, but he had told Sasha that she was the only one he loved and she felt like she was in seventh heaven. Eventually she moved out of the dormitory and started living in an apartment with him.

 

 


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