‘Hahsni’ is my phonetic translation of the Korean word for avatar. I was unable to find a dictionary that could provide the word, so please excuse if it is not the way you would pronounce it. This story shares a couple of common traits with many of my others. First it features a change in clothing and appearance shifting a woman’s outlook and behaviour; a subtle form of mind control. Second, one of the female characters featured in this one, particularly in terms of clothing, is based on an actual woman I encountered on public transport while travelling in the UK. Seeing her coming on to a busy bus inspired this story.
“My name is Heo Kwan, sorry, in the English style, Kwan Heo, Heo is my family name.” A man’s voice beside Rachel said.
Rachel Mundy was on her usual bus heading to work. Now she turned her head away from the window she had been gazing out of to see who was speaking. As his name suggested, he was East Asian in appearance. Immediately Rachel guessed he was a student and that he was probably in his early twenties. She imagined that he was probably Chinese, because Beth at work had told her that the university in their town, like most across the country, was now recruiting lots of Chinese. Though Rachel had never really looked at Asian men much before, this Kwan struck her as handsome. His styling seemed to have been borrowed from the 1950s. She was not certain if it had been James Dean or Marlon Brando, but she had a memory of a photograph of a man like this, dressed in a black leather jacket over a white teeshirt and wearing blue jeans. His raven black hair seemed gelled into a Fifties style and it accentuated his angular but elegant features. Maybe elegant was not the right word, but, for some reason, Rachel felt that, for all of his rebel style, Kwan was a gentleman in the making.
Rachel had been taught to be polite and interacting with the customers she encountered had further enhanced that tendency. She did not consider that many British women of her background; from her age group, she was now thirty-four and who, like her, had rarely strayed from this town would have simply ignored the young man’s introduction.
“Hello, I am Rachel, Rachel Mundy. Nice to meet you.” Rachel said warmly, reinforced with a smile that came automatically to her lips.
“You are going to work?” Kwan asked. His voice was accented but not to the extent that Rachel could not understaPost too long. Click here to view the full text.