The Porcelain Village – A Inspirational Short Story by Jonathan Page – Reedsy Prompts
My clay hands are becoming solid porcelain. I have always had potter’s hands. The throwing water absorbs the moisturizing oils of the skin. Leaves the hands rough. The clay paste dries and cracks the skin. Leaving it red.
But now my hands are hardening. In the bisque firing, my hands harden like porous greenware. The cremated carbon and sulfur escape, exhuming my soul from the earthen clay, little by little, drawing it back to its source. The soul stews out in a boiling whistle, agitating out from between the minerals lodged in the ridges and wrinkles of each digit. The palms petrify. The flesh sinters and binds to itself. In the glaze firing, my hands glow red as the enamel stiffens and makes the fingers rigid and reflective. The silicate vitrifies and turns to glass. Dust becomes crystal—like a baby’s flesh crystalizing into the windows of the eyes. I am born again in the womb of the kiln. I am a porcelain village.
I have received an order for a series of six ornate hand-painted vases. It is enough money for Dandan’s first semester. But I don’t know if I can complete the order. Though I struggle to find my hands, which have become like ghost appendages, I tell no one. I am frightened the orders will dry up. Dandan has been accepted at Columbia University for the fall and has always wanted to go to the United States. And she will need money. So I struggle to find strength and answers. For her. But I fear the pull of Tai Yi Shen—the great spirit—the creator God, pulling back the breath of life infused in this jar of clay.
The January mornings are misty, with a cold mist hugging the valley. My hands ache from the cold and wet of the river. Though my touch is going, I still feel hot and cold. The dirt is hard and stiff under foot and smells like the burned dust of the kiln. SEE THE NEXT PART AFTER