Old Heart

Cheung drew one long breath by the bleachers and coughed, setting his throat aflame. Nerves. Scorching his insides, without fail, year after year.

This year was special. Cheung’s promotion had followed a fierce string of bad luck- the loss of his mother, a cheating girlfriend- but now, he waited to usher in the new year as the venerable Head of the Dragon.

Cheung pushed through the crowd, taking his place at the head while his colleagues lined up behind him. The music began and the scarlet dragon sprang to life, undulating over the crowd’s heads like a silk ribbon threading a sea of black pearls. Cheung swung the pole deftly, in time with the drums and precise choreography that had taken weeks to master.

As the dance peaked, Cheung lost himself in the great smoking head of the beast. Tomorrow was a fresh start- the promise of a new year turned over like a leaf in his old heart.

-originally publ. on flashfriday.wordpress.com

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