Uncle Arhat and the two mules had been taken away by the Japs, and Grandma 

 had washed her bloody face in the wine vat until it reeked of alcohol and was beet-red.

 Her eyes were puffy; the front of her pale-blue cotton jacket was soaked in wine and blood. 

 She stood stock-still beside the vat, staring down at her reflection. Father recalled how she

 had fallen to her knees and kowtowed three times to the vat, then stood up, scooped some 

 wine with both hands, and drank it. The rosiness of her face was concentrated in her cheeks;

 all the color had drained from her forehead and chin.


 "Kneel down!" she ordered Father. "Kowtow." He fell to his knees and kowtowed.


 "Take a drink!"


 He scooped up a handful of wine and drank it. Trickles of blood, like threads, sank to the 

 bottom of the vat, on the surface of which a tiny white cloud floated alongside the somber

 faces of Grandma and Father. Piercing rays emanated from Grandma's eyes; Father looked 

 away, his heart pounding wildly.  He reached out to scoop up some more wine, and as it 

 dripped through his fingers it shattered one large face and one small one amid the blue sky

 and white cloud.  He drank a mouthful, which left the sticky taste of blood on his tongue. 

 The blood sank to the base of the vat, where it congealed into a turbid clot the size of a fist.

 Father and Grandma stared at it long and hard; then she pulled the lid over it and rolled the

 millstone back, straining to place it on top of the lid.


 "We must revenge for Arhat" my mother said exasperatingly.