My brother and I were kidnapped off a street in Chungking, China, when I was five years old. Our amah, Mi Ling, was shoved into shelves at an open-air stall called the Prosperity Medicine Shop. Blue and white jars filled with herbs clattered to the cobblestones. A rough hand seized my neck. I was carried away, down an alley toward the Yangtze. Two-year-old William was under the kidnapper’s other arm.
The eunuch watched from the steps, half-hidden behind a stand that sold mustard tubers and oranges. He held a four-foot bamboo pipe between his teeth and was wearing a yellow silk jacket with mother-of-pearl buttons. In the Manchu fashion, his queue hung to his waist, and his temples were shaved. I could feel the weight of his stare. He had been watching me for twenty-five years.
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