After The Dream—MAIN INDEX (Rika update 20190704)

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Hisao 6: Closer (20150724)

Post by brythain » Fri Jul 24, 2015 2:22 am

Found in Misha's diaries, a sheaf of papers with both her handwriting and Hanako Ikezawa's.
They appear to have been written/edited in the weeks immediately after Hisao's son was born in 2022.
Hisao had his heart augmented after he collapsed on the day his son was born.

Its most proximate link to the main story would appear to be this part of Misha's own account.

This is the sixth part of Hisao's 'arc', if you can call it that.



Hisao 6: Closer (T -2)

I can’t write, so Hanako and Misha (me!), of all people (because we’re your friends, Hi’chan!), will have to do it for me. I’ll just ramble on and they’ve promised me they’ll take notes.

Apparently, I’ve died, but not gone to heaven. In fact, I’m lying in a hotel room… no, it’s a hospital room. A familiar sensation, of being comfortably helpless and then uncomfortably so, seeps through whatever veins I have left. I know they are veins because every now and then, my heart appears to receive those feelings.

Next to me, I can hear someone scribbling. My wife has gone for lunch, and besides, she doesn’t like writing. (Hi’chan, don’t be mean to your wife!~ Besides, she’s just delivered a son and is resting a few wards away!) I guess I know that this must be Misha, who’s a dear friend, but a bit of a nag. (Hmph!)

I can’t see. This is ironic on many levels. I don’t even seem to have self-control, which is humiliating when it comes to certain things, and embarrassing when it comes to others. I have a catheter, I think, to take care of one humiliation; I have Misha scribbling down what I say, which is embarrassing because I can’t stop whispering. (It’s OK, Hi’chan!)

All in all, I feel as if I’m infused partly with the spirit of Lilly Satou, blind and half a person. But she’s not dead, and I nearly am, and besides, the doctors tell me I will be able to see in a while, it’s just the side-effect of what happened to me, which was dying and coming back to life.

The brain, they tell me, is rewiring itself to accommodate my new heart. That shouldn’t make sense at all, except that R explained it to me some years back. If what I think has happened should happen, my heart is now wired to my brain. I can’t tell you more, or K would have to kill you. Long story.

Short version: I’m recovering from being dead. Meanwhile, my mind is wandering. I’m not sure if I’m dreaming or not. Why would I want to believe that Misha is writing everything down for me? (Because I am, Hi’chan!~ And that’s very hurtful, saying something like that! But I forgive you because you’re alive.)

Time has passed, time is passing. Mutou-sensei used to talk to me a lot about time. I think I dozed off there for a while. (You did. And Shi’chan has just arrived! She’s asking if you slept well.)

I did indeed sleep well. Thanks for asking, boss. (Hi’chan, I can’t write and sign at the same time, so I’ll just write and save time.)

Just want to say… you and I are old friends, aren’t we? We went to school together and kept going to school together. Yamaku was where we (all of us!) first met, and then it was Todai, and then you went away to Chicago and left me to pick up my life.

[I went to Chicago because they offered me a place. And you had Emi by then.] (Now I’m writing for Shi’chan too, because it might as well be part of the record. I’ll use square brackets for her! I get the round ones because I’m round and she’s square. ☺ )

[Not the time for jokes, Misha. How are you feeling, Hisao?]

Like death, to be honest. Except Death probably feels better. Rin told me something about Death once, but I thought she was joking.

[You’ll feel better soon. I can’t be happy if the most effective member of my team is lying around in bed.]

Was that a joke? Hey, Misha, she made a joke. (Yes, it was a joke, Hi’chan! I glared at her but she was grinning.)

Grinning? Let me see. Ow, my neck feels too weak. But I can see she’s grinning. Shizune has a beautiful smile, I always liked it when she smiled and hated it when she frowned. Anyway, I’m not the most effective member of your team, old friend, you are. Always have been. Gonna sleep now… (Aw, Hi’chan, sleep well.)

*****

I can’t see anything. It’s all dark now. Perhaps it’s because my eyes are closed. I shall try to open them. There’s light. It’s a glimpse of reality, of my hospital room. I feel sore all over. They should turn me so I don’t get ulcers.

You’ll arrange for that? Wait, are you doing it yourself? You aren’t strong enough. No, you are. Thank you very much. Request: could you write your own words down too, like Misha did? I want to be able to remember what you’ve said. My brain’s rewiring itself and I might forget things.

{Very well, Hisao. Hmm. I’ll take curly brackets.}

Where’s everyone else?

{Aren’t I good enough for you on my own?}

Of course you are! You are one of the best and most beautiful people I know!

{That’s… embarrassing. You’re a j-joker, even in a hospital bed. Hmm. I’ll leave out the stutter. It’s too much work.}

Not joking. I’ve told you before.

{You’ve joked about it before. Don’t let Emi hear you.}

I’ve never joked about it before. Where’s Emi?

{Emi’s fine in her own room. Rin and Misha went for dinner. It’s my shift. I volunteered for an extra shift.}

Hana? I’ve just remembered something else. We’ve been friends a long time now. Fifteen years.

{And many more to come!}

I’m sorry, Hanako Ikezawa. I just wanted to put on record that I’ve appreciated your friendship a whole lot. Better to say it, and say it again, in case there aren’t so many more years left.

{I don’t like you saying that. And if you said it to Emi, she’d be even more angry and sad.}

Ah. Can you forgive them? They were in a hurry and you were away.

{Well, they experimented on you, Hisao. And they didn’t tell me. I saw Natsume, and they’d even granted her an exclusive. There was a whole committee, and I wasn’t on it.}

You weren’t around when it happened. I was already on life-support.

{I know. It can be my fault for not being here in Japan. But you, and I, and Shizune—we were friends together for so many years after Yamaku. What happened to that? Even Akira knew more about this than I did.}

You’re still my friend.

{I was silent for a while, because I was still angry. But there wasn’t much point in being angry when Hisao was lying there with all the tubes and wires attached to him. I bet you say that to all the girls you know.}

True.

{This is no time to be joking.}

I bet all the girls I know say that.

{Would you like me to read to you?}

Have you got the last Murakami with you?

{And the blue Folio anthology. I asked Emi to bring it from your home.}

Ah. You’re right, Hana. Poetry first. Murakami is too much like real life, these days. What are you reading?

{Something else.}

A surprise?

{Yes.}

I’ll close my eyes now and listen to your surprise.

{The distant mountains / Are reflected in the eye / Of a dragonfly.}

Oh, that’s beautiful.

{It is. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and realized that Hisao must often have seen only one of my eyes. Perhaps he saw his reflection in my left eye from time to time.}

Sorry? Where’s it from?

(Kobayashi! Hi Hi’chan, glad you’re awake! Has Hanachan been taking good care of you?)

{This is like a joke that begins with, "A pink rhinoceros crashes into the room after having lunch with the fastest thing on no legs." Hello, Misha. And this is where I told Misha quietly that I understood she overdid ‘cheerful’ so that we wouldn’t feel so sad and morbid about the events of the month. She nodded, and we were friends again.}

Did you say something, Hana?

{I was just telling Misha that it was nice to be so cheerful.}

(Yes! But of course, Hi’chan, you need your sleep and we shouldn’t trouble you so much.)

{Misha, how did you know the poem was by Kobayashi?}

(Oh, it’s just something my mother taught me.)

I feel tired. I think I’ll sleep again. Good poem, though. Hanako?

{Yes?}

Thank you for being my friend and teaching me about poetry.

{The moon is possibly very beautiful tonight.}

It is? That means something, doesn’t it? I used to remember… but I’ve forgotten.

{Yes. It does.}

(Yes, it does, awww, Hanachan…)

Goodnight.

=====
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Last edited by brythain on Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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After the Dream—Main Index ('Hisao7' up 20150727)

Post by brythain » Mon Jul 27, 2015 10:56 pm

This little fragment was discovered in the extensive archives of the Katayama Corporation.
If not for an unnamed researcher's random search, it would never have come to light.
It appears to be a primitive memory record fragment from the year 2024.
Quite likely it is the last of the man after whom the Nakai Foundation was named.

It is a fitting end to what some have called the 'Hisao arc'.
This humble editor will label it as such, in his memory.
[R., inner Sol system, late 21c.]



Hisao 7: Memorised (T -0)

begin upload

There are some memories, only a few now. My mind has a void in it and I can’t recognize people any more.

It’s like I’m walking through the dark, in a narrow corridor. It’s the valley of death or something. Along the way, I saw some light, but it was all illusion.

I’m walking towards the light, but first, through the darkness.

Violet — deep purple, my time before Yamaku, a violent coldness in a dry forest of ice and snow; it was the one day of the year that true winter came to my city, and took away my first life.

Indigo—a colour Rin Tezuka claims doesn’t really exist because she prefers Prussian Blue, my time at Yamaku, short and deeply affecting, because that’s where I first found love. The pale light shimmers like a halo around my Madonna, the lady of tea and quiet moments.

Blue—my time at the end of Yamaku, after Lilly Satou had left, and before my heart was healed. The colour of the book that Hanako Ikezawa gave me, the colour of poetry. I’ve given it back to her, so that she might read to me.

Green—my time towards the end of university, when my friends were making me better. Green days, by the Sanshiro Pond, the lake shaped like the heart of all the world. Parks and glades, picnics, youth passing, and a tired man learning to love again.

Yellow—the leaves were falling when I married Emi, all gold, all sunny. The old pale gold of Lilly’s tresses, the light of her unseeing eyes—they vanished into the sunlight and the sky, and I was happy again.

Orange—tangerines and my summery daughter Akiko, the sweet and sour life we had. My son Akira, named by fortuitous accident after my lawyer, Lilly’s sister. Emi’s running blades, highlighted with fluorescent acid hues.

Red—so many red lights. I know there’s no way back now. Too much red. Angry little eyes, waiting for my end.

White—a river of stars, and I don’t know what’s on the other side. Who is holding my hand? My bride gleams, Emi Ibarazaki in all her splendour, at the bottom of the glade, beyond a dandelion field. There is another woman, and white is the colour of her long, braided, serpentine hair, and she is telling me that I might have another two years or ten, but those two years are up and the rest were an illusion.

Introduce yourself, says a familiar warm voice. It is guidance in a world without maps. This is your class.

In slow motion, the camera of my eyes pans across the room. I know them now. Hanako, dear Hana, hiding behind that glossy dark hair. Miki, the sound of one hand clapping. Taro, half-asleep, beginning to drool at his dreams of excellent fish. Natsume, she has eyes that don’t match, an eye of terror and an eye of flame. Misaki, who found time to take photos of our wedding. Haru, the tough guy I never really got to know. Names, names, faces, faces, histories, all gone in a flash and a half.

Introduce yourself, says the familiar warm voice. It’s the voice of a mentor and a friend. This is your class.

In slow and panicky motion, my eyes flit from student to student. I have students of my own now. Outside, I hear Mutou-sensei’s footsteps move away. He understands that I must stand alone.

I smile and greet my students. You never quite forget your first class: Cheeky Osamura, who ends up an academic in a southern university; cheerful Kurihara, who is now the CEO of an IT subsidiary; Hamawaki, Nishimura, Taniguchi, Ikeda, Mizouchi, Okamoto, Shibuya, Ueyama… a long list of names and faces and blank spaces in my head.

Later, years later, we walk in the canteen, and the students bow. We are together, and yet not: I and the other one with me. I have to look at her to understand her speech, but it’s natural now, not a strain. [Do you remember?] she signs. [We were students here once.]

Her glasses flash. For some reason, I remember she loves fried food. My best friend Kenji once told me she loved cheesecake. How did her waist ever stay so trim? I’ll never know now. I only know she wore nothing but grey when she became my boss.

My last memory of Shizune Hakamichi will be the sudden tenderness of her cold lips, the charcoal-grey suit she wore when she visited me last night. Or was that only a dream?

My mind is desperate to say what it can, to speak what it sees, because my heart will store everything in its last cyborg memory. I have no idea if anyone will ever retrieve that.

I’m drowning. I’m Hisao Nakai, attempting to swim the river of stars, to run the last lap, my heart bursting. I have to go do something. I have to say everything! But I see nothing but clouds and jellyfish.

One last thought, please? Emi, don’t be mad at me. I tried to stay. I have to go. It hurts, this distant pain. I see a finish line and I can’t quite get there and all I can think is that you’ll be so disappointed.

Though lovers be lost, love shall not, and death… In the far distance I hear an oddly sharp and distinct voice. It’s not you. It’s a machine thing.

Paging Dr Kaneshiro. Paging Dr Kaneshiro.

Isn’t that Nurse? It’s certainly not me. Where blew a flower, may a flower no more…

Dandelions again. I’m coming to the end of the road. Mother and Father stand there. They wonder whom I’ve married. Weren’t they at the wedding?

Mother, Father, I’m your son! I’m Hisao! I yell, and nothing leaves my mouth.

I hear the echo: Hicchan? —and I have no idea whose voice that is, except that it’s pink. I think of ice-cream, cold and sweet.

I…

Have…

No…

Idea…

Pink!

A blue light flashes. I should remember who I am. But I don’t.

end upload

[archive sealed]

=====
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Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Interlude (20150728)

Post by brythain » Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:00 pm

You could have coloured me a shade of azure surprise when the Folio Society reprinted the book of poetry that Hanako gave to Hisao when they graduated from the University of Tokyo. It's here, and supposedly it was for Hisao to learn better English. Rather a bittersweet gift, I've always thought.

Image
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Curator's Update (20150801) Hisao:Ruthenium (Complete)

Post by brythain » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:52 am

It is, as usual, my pleasure to present a completed arc from the 'After The Dream' mosaic.
Unusually, I feel ambivalent about it.
It isn't really a proper arc; it's something my co-editors pieced together from the little that Hisao left behind.
I've named it 'Ruthenium' because of the special place that this particular transition metal has in the narrative.
  1. 'A Walk in the Park' is taken from Hisao's notes about January 2008, months after Lilly left.
  2. 'Paperwork' is taken from his notes on the summer of 2009, when he was at Todai.
  3. 'Ruthenium' is from his notes in 2013, when he was a trainee teacher.
  4. 'Spectrum' is a Hisao retrospective written in 2016, when he was already at Yamaku.
  5. 'Conversations to Remember' is a little memoir written in May 2017, the year before he was married.
  6. 'Closer' was found in Misha's diaries many years later. It's about 2022, after Hisao's son was born.
  7. 'Memorised' was unearthed from the Katayama archive 40 years after it was recorded.
These seven pieces do form a chronological arc, but they aren't a complete story in the sense that the other arcs are. I hope you enjoy it.

As always, I also wish to thank my wonderful editorial team for their diligence and ingenuity. Well done, ladies!

Edit: I've been asked to include 'Finality' in this arc, as a coda. It dates from 2028. I suppose the source will come as no surprise—Hanako, thank you for this piece!
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Curator's Update (20150828) Kenji Book 5 begun

Post by brythain » Fri Aug 28, 2015 2:08 am

It has been a difficult struggle each time one of Kenji's memoirs is projected to make an appearance.

The struggle is with my editorial committee, some of whom want to suppress material, some of whom want to publish it.
The struggle is also with the author, who can be... idiosyncratic is the best word.

But I can now announce that Book 5 of Sakura: The Kenji Saga is now in progress.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Curator's Update (20150923) Mistaking Identify

Post by brythain » Tue Sep 15, 2015 1:53 am

Before Hisao came to Yamaku in June, two months had passed in the senior year of 2007-8.

'Mistaking Identify' is a story from those months, taking place mainly in the classroom next door, 3-4.

Although both Emi and Rin are from that class, we don't know much about it.
We hear from other sources that Miyako Kitagawa and Misa Kuranaga are in that class too, but few venture there.

Why? Because everyone knows the action is in 3-3.

Here then begins the story of what happens in 3-4 next door.

So far, 'Mistaking Identify', a story told by one unfortunately named Kenichi Satou about his life in 3-4, consists of the following chapters:

Chapter 1 — in which Kenichi Satou comes to Yamaku.
Chapter 2 — in which he meets his new classmates and falls in love too many times.
Chapter 3 — in which he realises when he will run out of time.
Chapter 4 — in which he learns what a misstep is.
Chapter 5 — in which the guys share some secrets.
Last edited by brythain on Sat Nov 21, 2015 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Editorial Meeting 20151012

Post by brythain » Mon Oct 12, 2015 11:59 pm

I hate chairing these meetings. Sipping from my tumbler to fortify myself, I look around the room.

Sulking in one corner behind shades, with his trademark scarf and jacket even in the autumn heat, is the General. Or at least, that's what everyone will call him one day. Oddly, the lady sitting on his armrest is the imperious but tiny head of a future Shimbun network; she's dressed simply, in a white cotton blouse and denim skirt. Somewhat closer to me, in deep purple, slender and with legs primly crossed, her long hair still covering the right side of her face, is the writer whose deft pen has left many a scar on many a target. Opposite her, glaring into space, is the palest woman you'll ever meet. Her white hair cascades over pink skin, blue blood vessels and red irises providing colour. Her dress is as black as night.This is the major part of my editorial committee.

"What's the news from the little mermaid, now?" I ask, trying not to sound sarcastic and hoping for a straight answer.

Silence. Then, "She's waiting for the G-General's account to hit 2044."

There's a sharp collective intake of breath from everyone except the General and the speaker.

"Damn!" says the man. "All you feminists..." he continues, looking at me (me!) accusingly. "I'm sorry I ever agreed to publication."

The white lady turns slowly to look at him, as if she's a bird in a tree. "This one is waiting for 2084. One is interested to see how it is presented."

The network boss looks at her, analytically, interestedly. Then she follows her line of sight. "I wish we had more detail, General."

"No!" he says, firmly. Then he relents. "I'll do what I can do."

"Motion to adjourn, c-colleagues?"

"Seconded," says the General promptly.

I sigh, and take another sip. And when I look up again, they're all gone.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Editorial Meeting 20151108

Post by brythain » Sun Nov 08, 2015 10:13 pm

It's a month or so since the last editorial meeting. And here I am sitting up on the roof. I hate the roof: I'm not a roof-man myself.

I watch the two of them, some distance away from me, and I sip the Glenmorangie Signet that the scruffy-looking one brought. The scruffier, I should say. They're still fighting over the text, and I'm not particularly keen on publishing it myself. They have had such sad lives, and when I put those lives in the public domain, people say I'm bleak, or the GRRM of light novels, or something like that. Second sip's needed, and taken.

"It was stupid. She should never have..."

"Kenji, she was mine too. Aren't we too old to be fighting about this?"

"No. Yes. Oh, God. Nat! I shouldn't feel any damn thing, right?"

"If you didn't, we wouldn't be friends. Let him publish. Truth must be known."

"It is not only telling the truth that makes it free!" There's agony in him, like the tearing of an old scar.

"Respectfully, as a friend, you are wrong, General." Her voice is so steady that you could engineer a bridge by its level sound alone.

I hear a soft rustle, like cloth shifting on my left, and I track it, unmoving. You never know what can come at you in these shadowy spaces between worlds. Somehow, I still have senses that tell me useful things. Still without turning, I moisten my dry lips in the chill night air. "What do you think?"

"They're both still grieving, at this point in time. They both loved me quite a bit, I should say."

"That they did." A third sip.

On further reflection, I offer Naomi Inoue the tumbler. She accepts. Briefly, I catch a glimpse of her famous ash-blonde locks and a flash of her small, narrow face.

"You don't have to avoid looking at me, author-san. I'm here in whole image. I'm not a closed-casket version."

"I can't help it. The story saddens me. Why did I ever begin to write all these stories?"

"If not for you, who would write for us?"

The two shadowy figures beneath us rise. They seem to have come to a conclusion; their argument has ended. The presence on my left taps me on the elbow and then... thins out until it is gone, save for a soft whisper of farewell.

I slowly stand up, stretching my back and unkinking my spine. Soon, it will be time. Above us, the stars are shrouded in mist.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Interlude (20151125)

Post by brythain » Wed Nov 25, 2015 1:02 am

"Wake up, damn, hell, whatever! Time to write!"

I crack one eyelid open. The projector clock tells me it's only been a few hours since I fell asleep. The distinctive voice tells me it is one of my more intriguing and more irritating sources.

"What's up, Kenji?"

"I've decided."

"Errm... what?"

"You can write Book Six. But I will redact many things. Nobody dies in Book Six."

"You can't do that!"

"Too many people died in Book Five! I look at my life and it's all people dying, and even their pets! So, nobody dies in Book Six!"

I think very hard for a while. To think hard, is that to hardly think? I don't know. My mind is sleep-addled. Then it comes to me.

"But you need to celebrate some deaths and commemorate others. It's part of who you are, General Setou."

"Damn. You must be a closet feminist. It's what Natsume said to me as well. Any more of this shit and I'll believe it myself."

"What has feminism got to do with it?"

"It's the only reason I'm writing any of this. It's always the women. Nobody would write anything if not for them!"

"I see your point." I can't laugh at him, because to some extent it's true.

"That's more than my friend the blind bitch saw in the 2050s! But it's rude to call her that, even though I called her that for years. In the end I was sorry she was gone. I really was. I lost so many people. Everyone except a small handful. And the children and their children, but they weren't my friends, not really they weren't."

"General Setou, you've had a bit too much of the good stuff?"

"This is not real, so I can have as much or as little as I like. Why do you let Natsume keep describing me as a crude, spitting pervert?"

"I do not."

"You do. But she's my friend, so I forgive her too. I'll be back to check on you, we have eyes everywhere, you know!"

His manic laughter recedes into darkness. No doubt, when I awake, this will all have been a dream.

Wait, what's this in my inbox?
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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brythain
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Interlude (20151206)

Post by brythain » Sun Dec 06, 2015 9:16 am

"Kenji!" I hiss. It's not easy to do, that. But I'm a little upset, and he should know why.

"Ah. Author-san."

"Is there a seventh part of Book Five or not? 2044?"

"Ah. Yes."

"Where is it?"

He is all guilty pseudo-innocence as he replies, "I think Natsume has it."

"She didn't say anything about that. But I deduce it must exist."

"Then, author-san, you know why 2044 is a bad year."

"We've had this conversation before."

Unhappily, he turns his thick, reflective lenses towards me. "So we have."

"Then?"

"I'll let our respected editor know that you know."

"Kenji!"

But he's gone, and I need to hunt down that last part of Book Five.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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brythain
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Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm
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Curator's Update (20151208) Kenji Book Five Complete

Post by brythain » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:23 am

Book Five of Sakura—The Kenji Saga has now been released. It covers Kenji's life from 2025 to the end of 2044, a period of some two decades.
Its contents are as follows, and I trust you will not mind the extremely redacted nature of the text. What remains appears satisfactory.

Kenji Book 5: The Taste of Dust and Ashes (2025-2044)

2025-2029 — Kenji introduces himself to us again.
2030-2034 — Kenji deals with problems domestic.
2035-2038 — Kenji's past and future haunt him.
2039-2040 — Kenji's had a long farewell.
2041-2042 — Kenji discovers that he's become an old man.
2043 — Kenji's now -the- General, his father having died.
2044 — Kenji turns 56, and enters a new phase of life.
Last edited by brythain on Tue May 03, 2016 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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brythain
Posts: 3530
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm
Location: East Asia
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Curator's Update (20160115) Suzu Book One Complete

Post by brythain » Fri Jan 15, 2016 4:55 am

Book One of Straw—A Dream of Suzu is now complete.
It covers Suzu's life from 2007 to 2045, from the time just before leaving Yamaku to another episode involving the school.
Its contents are as follows. It's a strange story indeed. And of course, it doesn't end there.

1a: Dormant (May 2007)
1b: Dormitory (June 2007)
1c: Dorm#use (July-August 2007)
1d: Dormancy (2008)
2a: Emergence (2010)
2b: Emergent (2012)
3a: Inertia (2017)
3b: Inactive (2020)
4a: Mortality (2022)
4b: Morbidity (2024)
5a: Fatality (2040)
5b: Futility (2045)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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brythain
Posts: 3530
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm
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Interlude (20160412)

Post by brythain » Tue Apr 12, 2016 1:32 am

Clink. Click. Tap.

I'm nudged back into consciousness at my desk by an odd combination of sounds. A thin film of old whisky sits in the bottom of my tumbler, where the amber light shimmers, twinkles, blinks.

A strangely aromatic and elusive scent wafts its way past my nostrils, which flare reflexively. I start, sit up, look up. There's someone here, and it's not a familiar someone.

"My dear author," begins the crisp but mellow (how is that done?), and clearly feminine, voice. "Haven't you already been sitting on that story for too long? It's not a phoenix egg, you know."

In the darkness sits the phoenix, so to speak. Shadowed, her fires banked and waiting, thin in the wrists, sharp in the tongue. Her night-dark eyes pretend to be bronze in the light of my room. "Ratri, they called you once," I say softly.

She laughs. "Cultural reference. I shall clap for you, a personal little round of applause."

"Suzu says she won't give me Book Two until you've had your say, you know."

"That's... rather interesting. We were friends, once. The world is a strange place; it makes friends of enemies and enemies of friends, it makes the objects of your hate into the subjects of your love."

"So, what shall I do?"

"I haven't decided what I'd prefer. Perhaps just one piece, and then we'll see?"

"Well, the local voiceless cuisinart is rather punctilious about restricting threads that lack content."

"Ha! Well, he's not going to stop you from posting ONE short and pointless chapter from my life, surely?"

Long-limbed, she stands. Her legs are slim, and mostly made of rare glasses and potent metals. Such is modern technology. This is Moriko, dusky and yet fair, the absent guest in many of my stories—more absent than most, at any rate.

I nod. She beams, her gaze like the touch of whisky.

"My story," she declaims, allowing her plaits to swing free, "might be said to have begun in what you'd call Lucknow, a town far to the north of the Vindhyas..."
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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brythain
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Interlude (20160704)

Post by brythain » Mon Jul 04, 2016 8:19 pm

Somewhere, somewhen, the ghost of a stack of library books falls over with a muted crash, and a head rises to hit the bottom of a shelf, with predictable consequences. But that isn't this where nor this when. I'm startled when I look over to the old white chair in the corner of the room and see the unusual visitor.

At first, I don't recognise her at all. Her long, full, slightly red-tinted brown hair has been let loose of its customary confines. She no longer wears glasses, at her age and in her time. It takes me time to figure it out. This person quietly waiting for my attention is Yuuko Shirakawa of the 2050s, and she is absolutely charming, a handsome woman in her mid-sixties. The Japanese don't age rapidly.

"Ah, Shirakawa-san!" I say, softly and politely in greeting.

We exchange bows, but her smile is small and grim. A corner of her lip is caught between her teeth.

"Author-san. You know why I, I am here, yes?"

"I think so."

"It was perhaps the worst moment of my life, author-san. I know why you do this, but I do not know, ah... why you must."

"Your son agreed I should."

"Koji said that?"

I can't stand it. She is full of old, sad, burning tears. If she lets them go, I will be undone.

"He did." I deliberately add nothing more, hoping that she will understand.

"Do it, then. It's never been about, about me. My story, it doesn't matter."

The smile she leaves me with is bitter. I hope there is understanding in it, but I have no time to look for it before she is gone.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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brythain
Posts: 3530
Joined: Sun Feb 23, 2014 8:58 pm
Location: East Asia
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Interlude (20160822)

Post by brythain » Mon Aug 22, 2016 10:16 pm

Whoever it is, is doing it again. I stare grimly at the forums in which I've been channelling my visitors. The pieces now have partial dates, the old T-notation slowly being elided by vandalism. I stop changing things and rub my eyes tiredly. They shut for a while. My world becomes defined by darkness, the very soft susurrus of the air-conditioning, the light ticking of the wall-clock, and... the smell of wild apples.

My tired eyelids spring apart, as if sparked awake by an acid jolt of miniature lightning. Ions, my eyes are on.

There she is, sitting on the corner of my bed, bright blue blouse and black skirt, shaking her stocking-clad legs. Her elaborately styled pink hair-drills are somehow done up behind her like a sort of croissant. I've never been good at describing hairstyles.

"Hello, Misha," I yawn. It's not that I am blasé about having a pretty girl around, who fills the room with the scent of her shampoo. I'm not trying to be rude either, to this person who has become a friend of sorts, who has shared peculiar meals with me in my corner of this world. I'm just very tired.

"Hi, author-san. Misha's sorry~~"

"Sorry? What for? I always have time for you, tired or not."

"Um. Misha's sorry that she's been editing your work again? That kind of sorry!~"

I open one eye that has surreptitiously slid shut of its own accord, then do the same for the other eye, another sneaky fellow who won't let me see things. "What do you mean?"

"I got tired of calculating your T-numbers, so I started changing them to real years."

I glare at her half-heartedly. It's never easy to be even a little upset with Misha. A stray pink ringlet has escaped whatever is keeping her hair behind her head. It curls fascinatingly down the slightly damp side of her neck. It must be tickling her, because she absent-mindedly reaches up and plays with it, using only the smallest finger of her left hand.

"Why are you sweating, Misha?"

"Heh, author-san, it has occurred to me that you might be mad at me. I've done a lot of horrible things."

"Such as?"

"Awww. Don't be like that to Misha. It's not as if I've erased anything, right? Right?~ Besides, girls don't sweat, they just glow gently!~"

Despite myself, I laugh. She laughs too, sounding rather relieved.

"Wahaha!~"

It's a weak laugh, coming from Misha, but it's a laugh nevertheless. I stop laughing and smile. She has a point.

"Hey, Misha."

"Yes, author-san?~"

"Do me a favour?"

"Anything for you, author-san! Anything at... ooh, Misha thinks maybe not quite anything, haha!~"

"Well, no. Just... go ahead. Change all the dates to fit, if you must. But I'll need something from you."

"Say it, say it, Misha is happy to please!"

"Do you remember telling me about Young Akira? Hisao's son? What happened to his story?"

"Oooooh. Na-chan would be embarrassed if I told you!"

"Why would he be embarrassed? And why do you call him 'Na-chan'?"

"He's a shy kid, author-san. He was a shy kid all his life, even when he turned 40. We called him Na-chan because it's like 'Little Nakai', and he looked a lot like Hisao."

"I see. Why the past tense?"

"Oh! Sorry, author-san, it's a bad habit I picked up from Hana-chan and Rika-chan! Wahaha!~ I can be less tense if you want... hmm?~"

I shake my head and grin at her. "Misha, don't ever change. And I'm not mad at you. Okay?"

"I'm fine, I'm fine!"

She tosses her hair, which all comes unstuck in a swirl of bright pink flame. Something flashes, and then the room is empty. I lean back in my chair. And that's when I notice the shiny little grey metal clasp on the floor.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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