Reading response to “The Scent of the Gods”


Two years later.

  Li Shin, after two years of fighting for freedom, finally got a break from all the bloodshed. For two years, he had watched dozens of his friends and colleagues die in front of him, all for solely one cause: to fight for national freedom and against the Communists. For two years, he had cried beside the dead and wounded. He had starved for food, for friendship, for safety.

  So when he received a telegram, informing his group to receive a month-long break, he was relieved. He knew that the other two groups had defeated the Communists nearby so they wouldn’t be of much use once arrived at the camp. Therefore, their group had been given a one-month break.

  Fortunate for Li Shin, their group was located near his village.

  Two days later, screams erupted from the Li’s.

  Grandma, an old and frail-looking woman, scared herself half to death when she woke up at 6 am to prepare breakfast, just to find Li Shin, still in his military uniform and carrying his gun, lying on the dinner table, snoring lazily.

  Her screams woke everyone. Li Yuen and Su Yen rushed down the stairs, shovels and sticks in hand, ready to smack the intruder with all the might they had. Li Shin greeted them with bear hugs, causing all three of them to squeal in delight.

  The month passed with bedtime stories about fighting minus the bloodshed, constant bickering between Grandma and Li Shin, and Li Shin occasionally teaching Li Yuen and Su Yen hand-to-hand combat skills.

  Time flies, the month has passed without a single speck of mercy for the Li family. Li Shin left, with homemade treaties packed full, new change of clothes, supplies fully charged (‘I still don’t know how you get all these bullets, but thanks, Grandma.’ He had chuckled when Grandma presented him bullets.), heart swelling with passion and happiness.

  At that instant, Li Shin knew that, even he was still alive, it was like he had smelled the scent of the gods. They were fragrant, and Li Shin could imagine how the gods had smiled upon him.



  Li Shin, suffering from multiple gunshots in his stomach, clutched his very last bomb, wishing to perish with his enemies.

  So he ignited the bomb, and the images that had flashed through his eyes, were not those with blood-curdling screams and fire sparks, but those with Li Shin beaming brightly, and his family’s grins and laughter.

   He had truly seen the gods.