Mother Goddess of the Three Realms

hau dong

Summon going on: An Chinh, a medium, in a performance of Hau Dong at the Viet Theatre in Hanoi ( Reuters )

The mother goddess swirled in the clouds above Hanoi. It had been many years since she had been summoned, but for months now, she could hear the calls.

“At last, my children have remembered me.”

For moments, she considered the various mediums who invoked her.

“Yes, she is the one. Her followers give great offerings, and her soul is devoted.”

The mother goddess descended to a modest collection of apartments, and one occupied by 24-year-old Le Dinh Hoang who is in the midst of performing the noisy and possibly even ostentatious Hau Dong ceremony, visions of water, forest, and heaven dancing in her mind and the others present.

Then the medium and garage mechanic sighs, shudders, and then she stands. When she opens her eyes, they are sapphire blue rather than their usual brown, and the rest of them know. Le Dinh Hoang is gone. The mother goddess walks among them.

I wrote this for the What Pegman Saw writing challenge. The idea is to use a Google maps image and/or location as the prompt for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 150 words long. My word count is 150.

Today, the Pegman takes us to Hanoi, Vietnam. I suppose I could have written about Hanoi Jane, but the celebrity infamous among Vietnam era veterans didn’t pop into my head until I began authoring this afterword.

Hanoi Jane

Actress Jane Fonda sits on an antiaircraft gun during a 1972 trip to North Vietnam (Nihon Denpa News/AP)

However, after looking up Hanoi’s vast history, I settled on the news story Vietnam’s spirit mediums revive once forbidden ritual. Ever since the 16th century, the Hau Dong ritual, which pays homage to the Mother Goddess of the three realms, forest, water, and heaven, has been practiced, but when the Communists came to power, it was banned. Now it is experiencing a revival, and I thought I’d base my wee tale on this bit of news.

To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.

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Húxiān

fox goddess

from Google Images – found at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie

Henry Dore ate lunch at the Hong Kong Clay Pot Restaurant in Chinatown everyday just to be near her. He didn’t know her name, and in fact, she was a complete stranger to him, but she was captivating in a way he couldn’t articulate, even to himself.

He had first seen her when he was having lunch with a visiting museum curator from Finland. As the Marketing Manager for the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, one of his duties was to entertain VIPs, and he wanted to impress Inari Rinnetmäki, thinking that no Chinese restaurant in Helsinki could match up to the Clay Pot.

Now he couldn’t even remember Rinnetmäki’s response, and he couldn’t care less if she loved the cuisine here or hated it. Just as he and Inari had finished their meal, she walked in and was seated alone at a small table near theirs, which he had since learned was reserved for her every day at one. So today, he was passively sipping spoonfuls of Hot and Sour Soup, not noticing the flavor as he stole clandestine glances in her direction.

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