Media Gallery

sight A human figure emerges from a murky ocean. Not really an ocean, but a bathtub. The human figure is a plastic doll. The doll wobbles on the water, eyes fixed on the ceiling, lips blood red.

The doll finishes bathing with its small owner, who held a white wooden toy block. Now, the block drifts toward the doll. The doll takes the toy and wants to trick the baby. “Surely, she’ll choke on this,” the doll thinks.

The nanny comes into the bathroom, scoops the doll out of the tub and wipes it with a green towel, the way she does for the baby. The nanny feels anxious. Earlier when bathing the baby, she felt the urge to drown her several times.

Strangely though, with the doll there, she’d felt as if she were on a crime scene, being watched. Of course, this was nothing but her imagination. Now she rubs the doll and feels calm. She decides to kill the baby with a knife.

The baby crawls around in her crib. “Look, your little friend’s here. It has taken a bath, too. See how clean it is!” The nanny shoves the doll into the baby’s arms. The baby giggles, holds the doll tightly. “Hush baby, time to sleep.” Seeing the baby’s eyes close, the nanny turns toward the kitchen.

The doll stares at its owner, eyes sparkling with cruelty. It wakes the baby up, hands her the toy block. The baby, as though possessed, crams the toy in her mouth.

The nanny returns with a knife, its blade reflecting the afternoon sun—she prepares to kill the baby. As she nears the crib, she sees the baby’s eyes widen and face whiten. She reaches over to check the baby’s breath and finds none. “Dead already?” Confused at first, she cracks a smile. She still wants to chop off the baby’s head. But she realizes that if she does, the blood will stain everything, even her body. After a moment, the nanny picks up the doll, lies it on a hardwood table, and hacks at its neck. It takes a few blows before the doll’s head comes off.

The nanny packs up in a hurry and leaves the apartment. Downstairs, she draws a deep breath and says to herself, “All done.” She doesn’t dare look back at that gray building. Walking fast, she disappears into a distant purple shadow.

Hearing the door shut behind the nanny, the baby takes the toy block out of her mouth. She lets out a long breath, turns around and watches the doll’s head rolling on the floor. The baby smiles an innocent, elusive smile.

 

娃娃

阴暗的海面上浮现出一个人形。但那不是在海上,而是在浴缸里,那个呈现人形的东西是一个塑料娃娃。它在水中轻轻摇晃着,两只眼睛盯着天花板。它有两片血红色的嘴唇。

塑料娃娃刚陪它的主人洗过澡,那时候它主人的手里还攥 着一块白色的小积木。这时,那块被丢弃在浴缸里的积木漂了 过来。塑料娃娃把积木藏在自己身上,它打算找机会诱骗它的主人把积木吞下去。“她一定会被卡死的。”它想。

保姆走进浴室,将塑料娃娃从浴缸中捞出来,用一块绿毛巾把它擦干净,就像是在为一个真娃娃擦干身子。保姆感到不安。她方才在给那个真娃娃洗澡时,几次想把她溺死在水里。 但奇怪的是,因为有这个塑料娃娃在,她感到自己所面对的是 两个人,其中一个会成为凶案的目击者。这当然只是她的臆想。 现在她擦拭着这个塑料玩偶,心情已镇定下来。她决心用刀把娃娃杀死。 娃娃正在自己的婴儿床上爬来爬去。“你的伙伴儿来了,它也洗完澡啦,你看它多干净。”保姆把塑料玩偶塞到娃娃怀里。 娃娃“呵呵”笑着,抱住了塑料玩偶。“快睡一会儿吧,来,快睡吧。”看到娃娃合上双眼,保姆就到厨房去了。

塑料玩偶盯着自己的主人,眼睛闪现出僵直的光芒。它把她唤醒,将手里的小木块递给她。娃娃像着了魔一样,把木块放进嘴里。

保姆提着刀回来了,刀身反射着午后的日光,她准备把娃 娃砍死。但当她走近那张小床时,发现娃娃圆睁双目,脸色铁 青。她伸手探试娃娃的鼻息,没有呼吸了。“已经死了?”她疑 惑片刻,随即露出笑容。可她还是想砍下娃娃的头,但那样会流很多血,也许会喷她一身。她犹豫了一下,就把塑料娃娃拿 了起来。塑料娃娃被平放在硬木桌上,保姆对准它的脖子狠命砍下去。连砍几下,塑料玩偶的脑袋才被砍掉。

保姆匆匆收拾好自己的东西,走出房间。在楼下,她深吸了一口新鲜空气。“都过去了。”她对自己说。但她不敢回头再看那幢灰暗的大楼。她疾步走着,很快消失在远处紫色的阴影中。

娃娃听见保姆关门的声音,就从嘴里取出了那块白色积木。她长长舒了一口气,转过头,看着滚落在地上的塑料娃娃的头颅,脸上浮现出天真而又不可捉摸的微笑。

Zhu Yue was born in Beijing in 1977. He began writing fiction in 2004, and is also a published scholar on analytical philosophy. As Paper Republic put it, “China is not short of writers who swear fealty to Borges, but Zhu Yue is one of the few whose work has the philosophical weight to substantiate the metafictional trimmings. Rarer still is the kind of dry humor he brings to his brief but highly evocative stories.” He has published three collections: The Blindfolded Traveler, Masters of Sleep, and Chaos of Fiction.

Jianan Qian is currently an MFA candidate at Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Her essays and translations appear in The Millions and The Shanghai Literary Review.

Phyu Mon (1960- ) is regarded as one of Myanmar’s most profiled conceptual artists. The Mandalay-born artist graduated from Mandalay University with a BA in Literature and studied painting under U Ba Thaw between 1978 and 1979. She earned a Diploma in Photography from the Myanmar Photography Association, and a Photo Creation and Editing Diploma from the High Tech Training School. In 2013, she accepted a Post Graduate Diploma from Yangon Art and Culture University. She is one of the very few women artists in Myanmar who currently works with digital photography and visual art. Though Phyu Mon had exhibited her Symbolic paintings in group exhibitions since 1985 and became a renowned poet and writer, she developed a keen interest in conceptual art from her husband Chan Aye. During the 1990s, when it was quite rare for a woman artist to present a ‘One Woman Performance,’ Phyu Mon performed Human Being Object, followed by a number of shows both in Myanmar and abroad. However Phyu Mon is best known as a leading digital artist. At a time when feminine art practice in Myanmar could be termed as ambiguous, Phyu Mon’s broad conceptual art practice included not only her digital artworks but also performance, video, sound art and installations. Phyu Mon initiated the ‘Blue Wind Multimedia Art Festival’ in 2009 at Myanmar National Museum. Her art works have also been exhibited in Japan, Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Cambodia, Denmark, Spain, USA, UK , Italy, and France. In 2016, she organized an art workshop at Aswara Art University in Malaysia.

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