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Shiina 2020

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 2:48 pm
by LordDarknus
Silence... the streets outside are quieter than usual, as I lie in bed, slowly waking up...

I reach out to hold her, but Hanako isn't beside me; my hands catch only the ghost of her warmth...

Lazily, I lift my head, and look at the clock... and realise it's going to be afternoon soon if I don't get out of bed.

So I force myself up, take a deep breath, and start my day.

* * *

It's been months, though it feels like years, since Covid-19 forced everyone to stay apart from each other, and all non-essential businesses had to close down or limit their operations.

Even Yamaku Academy, despite having an excellent medical staff of its own, had to shut down, in fear of the virus infecting our students, especially those with preexisting conditions.

Being a school for children with various types of disabilities, the risks we were facing were a lot more serious than a typical school, so every student had to be sent home, or... for some, a hospital, where they could be safe and properly cared for.

I was very unhappy at first, and I thought we were overreacting. I even suggested that those who weren't vulnerable to diseases could just stay in the dorms, and that we were going to enforce social distancing rules for only a month or two.

But the children's health and well-being comes first, no matter what. So, to keep everyone safe, Yamaku Academy was swiftly closed. And now it's... late June? And still our medical staff and advisors are telling us not to reopen. The pandemic is still making it too dangerous to bring people together. ... A lot of the world is still struggling under quarantine.

Hanako and I, Yamaku's librarian and sign language teacher, are struggling under quarantine...

* * *

I emerge from my room and head into my tiny kitchen, letting out a tired yawn as I walk into the afternoon sunlight. I mumble a soft but cheerful "Good Morning~!" to Hanako, who's already wide awake and sitting at the table as she uses my laptop, with "The Sound of Silence" by Simon & Garfunkel quietly playing.

I grab a slice of bread and start nibbling it while I take out the butter. Hanako doesn't seem to notice me at all.

"Did you eat breakfast already?" I ask as I sit down beside her. "Err, I mean, lunch?"

I slowly eat and gobble up my delicious slice of buttered bread, wondering what Hanako is so focused on at my laptop that she doesn't answer me.

I lean and peek at the screen, and I instantly understand.

"They... they've hung another person..." Hanako finally says, her voice unsteady. "How could they? They're- They're... lynching people."

I quickly drag the laptop away and grab her shoulders; her eyes are wide with shock, and tears start falling, as she looks to me and asks, "Why?"

"Hanako, enough!" I yell at her. "I told you to stop feeling like this! It's not your fault! You didn't do anything wrong!"

She looks confused, as if she doesn't understand me. "Why are they killing innocent people?" she asks, terrified.

I try to say something, but tears start clouding my eyes as I struggle to find the words.

Memories of my time in the U.S. flash through my mind, back when I was studying sign language there. All the amazing places I visited, all the good people I met, all the wonderful times I've had...

"I-I don't know," I stammer, holding back from crying. "I just don't know!"

I let go of Hanako, and wipe away my tears.

I reach for my laptop, close the horrible news, and angrily change the music.

I play one of our favourite songs instead, "Rainbow" by Meja.

I force myself to smile, and happily say, "Don't worry about what's happening out there, okay? We're here, the two of us. We're both together... we don't have to be scared. ... Things are going to be alright. Okay? The world is going to be alright, Hanako, you don't have to be afraid..."

Hanako looks like a confused child, as if the world has instead become some strange nightmare to her.

"Those people..." she says, "they're innocent... they're innocent people being evicted, being infected, dying... beaten, ran over, shot at, arrested to become prison labour."

"Hanako, please..." I plead with her, trying not to think about my kind American friends... the marginalised and vulnerable ones who may be starving or abused... the idealistic, outspoken ones who could be violently hurt or imprisoned... if they are even still alive...

"They hurt children too..." Hanako says as she sobs and trembles. "Children have lost their parents... why?"

"Hanako..." I say, still forcing myself to smile, "bad things happen, when bad people take power... But good people will always speak up, and stand for justice... don't forget that, don't ever forget, that there will always be good people..."

Hanako nods... ever so slightly...

I smile, genuinely now, as I say, "Don't forget that I'm here... that I'll always be here for you..."

Hanako looks down, and cries...

She sobs... and I embrace her...

We hold each other, as our favourite song plays...

"No one has ever become poor by giving." - Anne Frank

Posted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 3:00 pm
by LordDarknus

If you'd like to help, but don't have enough money to make a donation, that's okay, you can still click the above link and stream a playlist; the money from those advertisements will be donated.

In addition, you might try asking one of the many corporations that have expressed their solidarity and commitment to, Please Help More.

Who knows? They might make further, more generous donations and help spread awareness. Maybe not. But they would certainly have to respond at some point if the entire internet very persistently, and respectfully, keeps asking them to Please Help More, through every social media contact they have.

What do I think? Well, I think people have to be taken care of. I think it would be great if cultural charities like The Okra Project could feed and help the most vulnerable of us.

I think it would be great if small businesses were protected, and people didn't lose their livelihoods and homes due to circumstances beyond their control. I think a responsible government could help.

I think it would be great if a corporation that has expressed its dedication to ending social injustice, would Please Help More, by saving the U.S. Postal Service, and help fund every local community's right to vote by mail.

Re: Shiina 2020

Posted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:02 pm
by Oddball
Something about using current events for KS rubs me the wrong way. It's not that the story was bad or anything, it just felt awkward to me.

Voting is a human right that decides all other human rights

Posted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:27 pm
by LordDarknus
Oddball wrote:
Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:02 pm
Something about using current events for KS rubs me the wrong way. It's not that the story was bad or anything, it just felt awkward to me.
I see... well, at least it wasn't bad... though, honestly, I'm not really sure how you can write a story that takes place at this point in history without mentioning what's been happening.

And if we're going to mention such serious events, with the long centuries of systemic injustice behind it all, I think it's only right to properly acknowledge the issue, with all the weight it deserves, and point towards a solution.

And Hanako herself, who knows what it's like to be judged because of her appearance, and who has lost her own loved ones, would probably deeply empathise with innocent people getting hurt and killed.

On top of other terrifying atrocities, e.g. Syria, Yemen, Hong Kong, China's internment camps, the Australian bushfires, Covid-19, climate crisis, etc. Hanako's fears and past traumas would also resurface and end up overwhelming her.

Or at least... that's what I think... in any case, thank you for your reply, Oddball, and good luck with the Yamaku Book Club!


For anyone interested, here's an index of all my other related "Shiina" posts and stories:


- Shiina 1 -

- Shiina 2 -

- "Comments" on "Sweet Voice" by Silentcook -

- Shiina 3 -

- Hanako's Birthday -

- Shiina 2019 -

- Shiina 2020 -

- "Comments" on "Queens of the Land" by Silentcook -


Black is beautiful
Queer is colourful
Love is powerful
We're all wonderful

Happy Pride Month and Juneteenth 2020