Anguli Ma

Anguli Ma by Chi Vu

Book: Anguli Ma by Chi Vu Read Free Book Online
Authors: Chi Vu
his car sideways.
    In the passenger seat, Đào’s breathing was uneven. She was asleep and had started to dream.
    As the car moved along, Đào yelled in a high-pitched voice, “Anguli took your money. I haven’t found it, I’ve been finding all kinds of things…”
    â€œBe quiet, Má ,” Trung said softly, and turned on the radio.
    Classical music cushioned the vinyl night.
    â€œDid you tell anyone?” Trung asked the rear-view mirror.
    â€œNo,” Tuyết said.
    â€œNot even your teacher? Or your best friend?”
    â€œI didn’t even tell Linh goodbye.” She turned her face away.
    Trung caught a glimpse of his own darkened face, amidst the white and red lights of the other cars around him.
    â€œGood girl. Go to sleep now,” he told his child.
    For the rest of the journey, he and his daughter remained silent as the car sputtered along, in the flow of traffic across the western suburbs, until it emptied into the freeway, flooded with light in the dead of night.
    The motel had rooms separated from one another with a wide
    carport and trimmed shrubs. Trung held Tuyết’s hand has they ran from the car to the room, then he went back to collect Đào.
    In the middle of the night, Đào awoke and did not recognise where she was. She did not understand they were in a motel. Trung helped her sit up and gave her a bowl of cold rice and sardines straight from a can. That was all Trung could manage for now. The oily coating on the fish made Đào wrinkle her face.
    Tuyết
    Tuyết stared into the shifting vastness. Her fingers tapped tentatively on an invisible piano, a song half-learnt.
    ÄÃ o
    ÄÃ o’s breathing regained its regularity as she went into a deep sleep. Inside her dream, she was in her own house, with all its objects and secret hiding places. Nothing had moved at all except the meandering path of her mind. Patchy rain fell outside her windows.
    Thảo’s face was hard, but she didn’t look at Đào. Thảo’s voice was choked and stilted, and she whispered, “They…want talk to you…”
    â€œThe Cowboy?”
    â€œNo.”
    ÄÃ o sipped on her green tea, which warmed her throat. “The Society-Black?”
    Thảo nodded quietly, still not looking up.
    â€œI didn’t know that you were connected to…” Đào looked at her friend from the migrant hostel days.
    â€œDo you understand what you have done now?”
    â€œWe all know what has befallen me,” Đào answered.
    â€œYou owe us.”
    â€œHow did they get involved?”
    Thảo’s eyes lowered. “My husband, you know what he’s like. He used to be different before. Now, well…he’d sell his own grandfather…”
    â€œI’ll get the money as soon as I can,” Đào pleaded.
    â€œIt’ll take you years to get the money together,” Thảo answered.
    â€œWhy did they take…” But before Đào could finish, her friend let out a painful sigh.
    â€œAll those years of working like animals, now once again with nothing in our hands.” Her friend suddenly reached out and picked something from Đào’s hair, a piece of red thread, which she released. Đào’s whole body felt like it was unusually light, weightless. The sliver of red thread floated through the air.
    â€œLook at us, we’re even more lost now, older sister,” Thảo said.
    It was as cold inside the room as out. Đào wanted to grip the side of the table. The nausea scuppered her and she could not hold in her fear any longer. “Please, I don’t understand why Sinh was involved in this, but I beg you, please let her go!”
    Thảo looked at Đào for the first time. “Who?”
    â€œThe girl who lives out the back,” Đào said. “Sinh.”
    â€œWhat does the hụi have

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