Time to Write Now By Julaina Kleist-Corwin

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Historical Fiction Sample in Written Across the Genres

Rice fields in water ponds PhillipinesReme Pick is writing a book called The Yoke.  It’s a true story set in the Philippines. The excerpt in my anthology, Written Across the Genres is about Reme running from the Japanese planes with  her newborn son, Charlie, her mother and younger sister, Alice. They left their nipa house and headed for a boat that would be leaving in 45 minutes for Manila. They had to wade through four rice fields during the night for a safer escape. Here are a few paragraphs.

“Reme, I hear a plane,” Alice said, “what should we do?”

We have the bilaos on our heads, so from above, they will think we are rice women. Just keep moving. We are safer in the rice fields than out in the open. It may just be a reconnaissance plane, but from which side, we will not know.”

They had almost reached the end of the fourth rice field when Reme said, “Mom, I am so itchy. I want to scratch, but I can’t move with the baby on top. We are coming to the opening; can you take the baby so I can scratch?”

Alice screamed when she saw Reme out of the water. Black leeches covered Reme’s back and armpits. Alice had them all over her legs and body and Aida had a few on her back and legs.

“Wait until I light my cigarette. That is the only thing that will make these creatures let go,” Aida said. She struck a match and lit the brown cigarette. Aida and Alice had removed the basket with the baby and the statue of the Virgin Mary.

“Hurry, Mother, it is so itchy,” Reme said.  trying to pull the long wormy parasite from under her arm.

Aida yelled, “Don’t do that. You will pull your whole arm off before these bloodsuckers will let go.”

The leeches fell off as soon as Aida touched them with the brown cigarette’s lighted end. Reme scratched the bitten parts of her skin. She shivered in the cold air of the early morning.


This excerpt is one of many tension-filled experiences Reme describes in The Yoke.





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