Flash: X is for Xenophile

Image by Mathew Schwartz on Unsplash

Original Photo description: In South Korea these sculptures are part of the light festival. Dragon vs. Tiger.

Xanadu halted, stunned, staring up at the two lanterns doing battle. A tiger challenging a dragon. Fortunately, this wasn’t their first paralyzation tonight as their xenophile brain completely shut down required motor skills, so I didn’t run into them and I was able to keep others in the festival crowd from bumping into my special American.

I wrapped my arms around them and placed my head on their shoulder. “What is it this time?”

“Other than sheer beauty?”


“The details of the flames lit from within by the lantern. I think I can…” They moved their hands as though chiseling or carving. “Please take a picture of them, Seok.”

Lifting my camera, I start taking pictures as we circle the lantern pair from different angles. Sometimes I activate the movie mode, because somehow Xanadu can capture movement in their sculptures and carvings and I think they will need to see three-D aspect which still just can’t. When I’m done, they hug me tight and tell me for the ninth time tonight how glad they were I brought them to the Winter Seoul Lantern Festival.

We move on, and I wait for their next dazed reaction.

(words 196; first published 4/28/2024)

Capturing the Tiger and Dragon Series

  1. X is for Xenophile (4/28/2024)
  2. X is for Xylotomous (5/19/2024)
  3. X is for Xanthic (6/9/2024)
  4. Exhibit (7/14/24)
  5. Exit Strategy (9/1/2024)

7 thoughts to “Flash: X is for Xenophile”

    1. Of this particular story, not likely. This one felt complete in-and-of itself. But my normal posting schedule is 3 times a week with a flash or short story every Sunday. I have over 500 stories at this point. If you ever see a flash you would like me to expand, let me know and I will try and make it happen.

    1. That sounds absolutely amazing. I originally grabbed the photo because it was the year of the dragon and was really pleased when I could make it into a “X” for the a-to-z.

    1. When I created this story, there wasn’t much more to them, but I do try to expand stories when people express interest. The problem with this one is both characters are very much NOT-ME and would require research to make them right. I love trying to put other people in stories so they can see themselves, but there is a risk of getting it *wrong* – and with a Korean national and a they/them sculpturist, I’m really outside my knowledge base. What else do you actually want to read about them? More time at the festival? Their meet-cute? Where their friendship goes? Xanadu creating the sculpture from the dragon-tiger pictures? Hmm, I think I could do the last one – an artist at work. I will need to think about it.

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