An Archer

Jonah Nakagawa

They said it would be the last one for the next 200 years, but Im Dong-Hyung cared very little what other people said. So the moon would pass over the sun for a brief moment, casting the range in darkness. A mere inconvenience, nothing else. All that mattered stood ninety meters away in the center of 2 yellow concentric circles. In fact, not even those circles mattered very much, because Im could barely see them. He was legally blind and never wore glasses for events. Glasses distracted him. Right now, all of Im’s focus was concentrated on his art, his practice, his 10,000 hours of preparation for this event. Today a blind man would set a world record.


Im closed his eyes and moved his lips silently, “Gone gone, Gone beyond, Gone completely beyond,” reciting a phrase from a buddhist sutra as he rubbed his brow with two fingers, wiping sweat away. Opening his eyes, Im stared down the track, took a deep breath and began to pull back the string.                                                                                     Aim.

Something was wrong.

Im lowered his bow and looked around, no one had their eyes on him, everyone was looking up. Im squinted upwards, following their gaze as all of the sounds around him fell away. The birds stopped chirping and even the incessant whine of the cicadas ceased. Im’s arms and neck went slack and he watched. The sky above him was dark as night except for delicate hairs of the sun reaching out from blackness.

Suddenly Im opened his eyes wide and whipped his bow up, aiming it straight at the moon. He grabbed the string and pulled it back as far as his body allowed. He smiled.


The arrow whistled past his face and disappeared immediately into the sky and the audience now followed its flight. It kept flying higher and higher, never slowing down. Not even the moon itself could stop the arrow and it pierced the sphere straight through the center. A ray of light shot through the hole, falling down to the earth in the the same path that the arrow had taken. Bathing him in a heavenly glow, the ray shone all around Im, bathing him in a heavenly glow. Im mouthed the finish of the sutra, “Praise to awakening.”


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