Halloween flash fiction


A quick note from our friends at That's Beijing:

If you haven’t yet picked up our October magazine, let it be known: the That’s Beijing flash horror fiction competition is open and accepting entries. We’re teaming up with the Capital M Literary Festival (which takes place Oct 30 – Nov 1) to put on a special Halloween event, so we’re looking for stories of to give us the chills.

Send us your story of 1,000 words or less to be in with a chance of winning.

Whether you opt for a traditional tales of ghosts and ghouls or a tense thriller, if your tale makes the final shortlist you’ll have a chance to read it out at the Capital M Literary Festival. The judging panel (featuring That’s Beijing Editor-in-Chief, Oscar Holland; writer, journalist and founder of the Anthill, Alec Ash; and more TBC) will then select and announce a winner at the event.

To enter, send your story to by Monday October 26. Make it a scary one.

The winning story will be published on the hill for Halloween, so get writing! Deadlines are, of course, the most terrifying horror of them all ...


Shower Business

Last days of a Beijing bathhouse – by Robert Foyle Hunwick


Hong Sheng, qigong master, can perform nude splits on a bridge of cracked tiles in a sauna the temperature of Mount Doom like a man half his age. That’s how some guys like to roll in China: the backslapping, the baijiu toasting, the bonobo displays of power. Beijing’s last old-style bathhouse isn’t the kind of place to worry about stray hairs, clean towels or a brace of someone else’s overripe cherries.

Just shy of a century old, the Shuangxingtang bathhouses in the far south Beijing suburb of Fengtai is one of the capital’s toughest buildings. So far it has survived a republic, various warlords, a full-scale occupation and a bitter civil war, followed by everything the Communist Party could throw at it. It’s fitting that property developers are most likely to finish this place off. A shame – there aren’t many hide-aways where one can escape from decorum so cheaply. Napping, grumbling, smoking and masculine displays are all being pushed out to the suburbs.


Emei City

Lost homes – a poem by Yuan Yang



The summer soon gone,

I was walking in my first hometown.


The guardsmen at the district gate

watched me like a stray white cat:




Photo essay: Clowning Around

A photo essay by Yang Zhazha


Ed: After his last series on the Anthill, Youth!, we're proud to publish another photo essay by Shandong-born, Beijing-based photographer Yang Zhazha, which we'll call "Funny Business". You can decide for yourself who the clown is ...


The Singing of the Bluebird

A short story by Yuan Jinmei, translated by Kevin McGeary


The bluebird called. Its singing was cheerful and crisp as water flowing into pale blue rock, notes spun as sweet as mints.

The bluebird's singing would always start before the man and the woman woke up. Upon hearing the bluebird, the man awoke. He reached out but the woman wasn't there. The man turned over to look around and saw the woman leaning against the window looking at the bluebird, her golden hair reaching down to her waist.

He walked over and started caressing the woman's locks, whose colour he adored. She turned her face to him and looked at him with eyes that were as blue as the singing bird and said: "It has laid four eggs."