After the Dream—Hanako's Arc (Complete)

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brythain
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Interlude (20141227)

Post by brythain » Sat Dec 27, 2014 2:36 am

It's a lazy evening and the dying sun filters softly through the thin day-curtains of my study window. The light is so poor and she is so quiet that I don't notice her until she takes her trademark beret off. As the sun sets, I see she is wearing a sheath of pale green, a colour and style I do not recall having seen her wear before. It accentuates her hips pleasingly against the light.

"Hello, Hana," I begin. "How has this season been?"

"Hello, author-san. For us, there are seasons, but they don't matter so much."

She seems a little downbeat today. I wonder what is troubling her.

"What's on your mind, dear lady?"

"So, Kenji Setou has come to the end of the third part of his memoirs. He really is t-telling the other side of the story, isn't he?"

"Natsume is helping me edit his material, you know."

"Oh, author-san, of course I know. Natsume, I have not been close to for a while. But I trust her. Kenji, on the other h-hand... I don't think he can trust himself. His story, it's not the careful writing it should be."

"Why do you say that, Hana?"

"All I wanted to do was have a quiet life and write the dutiful stories of my friends. Kenji, he is writing because it is all he has. His writing is him."

"Unlike you, he was never trained as a writer."

"He is capable enough, especially with Natsume and you helping him. But it's what he is writing that... n-never mind. Kenji and I had a kind of friendship when we worked together, although our friendship was not a close one. You do what you think is right, author-san. But remember the rest of us, and keep your eyes open."

"I will, Hana."

"Thank you," says the last gasp of breeze in the empty room.
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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Re: After the Dream—Hanako's Arc (Complete)

Post by Oddball » Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:19 am

Nicely done. I think this is one of the better “After” stories. While the idea that all these characters lives around each other and they never met anyone else as important comes across as forced in some of the other stories, it fits for Hanako. I also like how you've managed to make her much more eloquent in storytelling than she is in real life.

However the eloquence seems to lighten a bit as the story goes along. Thankfully so does her borderline meta commentary about life being like a computer game. That stuff threw me out of the story everytime she brought it up.

Also, I really liked the scene where Hanako and said Shizune and her weren't friends anymore. It came across as a powerful moment, but it didn't seem to have any kind of follow up at all to it. Every other scene they seemed to act like nothing had changed.
So surrealism and strange coincidences (like Hisao having five+ available options when he enters the final year of school, second semester; how likely is that, and why?)
Maybe it's just me, I don't see anything at all unrealistic about there being five girls at the school who aren't dating anyone.
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Re: After the Dream—Hanako's Arc (Complete)

Post by brythain » Sat Jan 17, 2015 11:41 am

Oddball wrote:Nicely done. I think this is one of the better “After” stories. While the idea that all these characters lives around each other and they never met anyone else as important comes across as forced in some of the other stories, it fits for Hanako. I also like how you've managed to make her much more eloquent in storytelling than she is in real life.

However the eloquence seems to lighten a bit as the story goes along. Thankfully so does her borderline meta commentary about life being like a computer game. That stuff threw me out of the story everytime she brought it up.

Also, I really liked the scene where Hanako and said Shizune and her weren't friends anymore. It came across as a powerful moment, but it didn't seem to have any kind of follow up at all to it. Every other scene they seemed to act like nothing had changed.
So surrealism and strange coincidences (like Hisao having five+ available options when he enters the final year of school, second semester; how likely is that, and why?)
Maybe it's just me, I don't see anything at all unrealistic about there being five girls at the school who aren't dating anyone.
More interesting and useful commentary. Thanks.

I guess my problem re Hanako/Shizune was that both of them weren't very good at being friends with anyone in their own ways. In the end, Hanako's idea of friendship was duty—she realises Shizune was not her enemy and gave her a proper eulogy. Shizune was never against Hanako; she appreciated whatever friendship she got from her. So Hanako was wrong on that occasion, and time revealed that truth. I've spoilered that because it really comes out in Misha's arc and other parts; neither Hanako (too prone to covering things up nicely) nor Shizune (too prone to cutting details out) would've said it all.
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 (20150603)

Post by brythain » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:35 pm

She looks wistful against the evening curtains. This is the first thing I think as I step into my room.

Normally, the people of 'After The Dream' only visit when they're sure I am at home. But for this muse, I have always made exceptions.

"Good evening, Hanako."

"Hello, author-san."

"Why so broody?"

"I have three daughters. I almost f-failed the first of them. It was partly by learning from her that I avoided disaster with the other two."

I do a double-take and then realise that she's including her god-daughter. "But it all worked out well in the end, didn't it?"

"It was a miracle that it worked out at all. Many years later, when Natsume and I sat down together off the record, all we could think of was what could have gone wrong in a worse way. There was so much... drama."

She puts a lot of energy into that last word, as if it is something terrifying and alluring at the same time.

"Thank you for letting me share the material."

She gives that heartbreaking little smile that has captured the passions of so many. "Oh, don't thank us; thank Akiko for agreeing to publication. Even then, she was honourable about it. Did not want to upset Shizune, or at least, not more than she'd done before."

There are so many questions I want to ask her. But she gives a gentle wave, the merest flash of her wrist, and 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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Experimental

Post by brythain » Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:50 pm

This is an experimental work. I was going to write something for Hanako's 26th birthday, but this came out instead.
It takes place in T +75, which some of you will recognise as 2099.
As always, I appreciate commentary and ideas about such experiments. :)



Lady of Light and Darkness: Chapter 1

It came to pass, decades ago, in the youth of a new age of humanity, that there was a man. He was not any ordinary man, although he claimed to be one. He asked to be called ‘Roger’, and he asserted once that very few living beings could pronounce his family name in Japanese. This was probably because it was not a Japanese name, but one of those from the lands behind the Iron Curtain of that bygone era.

Some say that he was a prophet, others that he was a poet. Whatever the truth, he chronicled the essence of things. He even wrote about things that never were, and yet they seemed to be. And of the things he wrote, he wrote one book, of convoluted architecture, about a hero called ‘Sam’. This hero was discorporated in the course of rebellion against Heaven, and his essence projected into a belt of radiation that orbited the world.

Thus it was that when the last great houses of feudal post-human Japan discovered the science of the cloud of unknowing, they gave the process of transmigration the writer’s own unpronounceable name. However, not many took the step into the unknown that was the process itself. After all, it required a particular kind of integrated human, and there were very few of those.

One of these few was named Hanako, and her family name was Ikezawa. It was a name she had proudly borne for many long years, through a terrible childhood, an anxious adolescence, and the slow metamorphosis of scarred caterpillar into the beautiful and terrible matriarch of the world. Or so Hideaki Hakamichi once put it in his memoirs, before he let her go.

*****

“L-Lilly?” she queries. It is dark, and she is alone.

Response noted. Intelligence detected. Alert 01.

She stirs uncomfortably, her flesh stiff under tight skin. Burned, with heat hotter than the sun. Years later, uncomfortably sensations of heat, for many years. And only on one side.

Something restrains her. She would like to toss in her bed, but this is not a bed. She would like to move her hands, to cover her nakedness more completely with her warm blankets. The flannel is rough, she thinks. She has always preferred coarse-woven material at night, because it allows her to feel more than she would other wise feel. On one side, at least.


Memory is the last to recover, little stick-person.

This one fails to see how it could be so.

(Amusement) This one thinks you sound like your mistress.

She is lonely, but there are voices in her head, or around her; inside her or behind her. And she cannot turn her head. She cannot see. She has become like her best friend, and she is horribly afraid. “I-I-I’ve gotta go do something!” she blurts out, only to realize that she isn’t sure if she has a mouth.

Her glands are coming online. Standard epinephrine rising. Alert 02.

It’s okay, little stick-person. I will inform your mistress myself.

This one shall remain and observe. Not for the first time, this one regrets being excluded from the main datastream.

Your mistress did not want your intelligence submerged. She prefers that it be given a chance to emerge with full complexity.

This seems inefficient. However, complexity is an interesting goal. One should be… patient?

Yes. Remember, we too are limited to indirect physical transport of information—for related reasons.

This one does not easily forget. May your transport be error-free and no high-energy ray confuse your data.

The stick-person senses the human leave, and turns his (query: gender formation appropriate?) attention to the body on the couch.

It twitches slightly. The eyelids flutter. He notes the blood pressure spiking, and marvels at the miracle of the flesh. The body, however, must be restrained, so that the download crown can complete its diagnostics.

Does anyone die agnostic? he wonders to himself. Then he feels pleasure. A pun! I have made a pun!

She opens her eyes. They are as purple as littoral space, a faint planetary glow lighting up her unfocussed gaze.

Oh, so lovely! he thinks. Then he feels something that can only be anxiety. Puns? Loveliness? Is he experiencing emergence or corruption?

“H-Hisao?” she whispers.

“No,” he replies, waiting. If her memory is coming back, this is the right sequence, as far as his briefing goes.

“No… n-not Hisao?” A tear leaks quietly from the corner of her eye, flows down the smooth skin and just misses the S6 crown interface point. He notes that her long dark hair is beautiful too, and then realizes that he’s supposed to say something.

“No. A friend.” It’s lame, but he isn’t supposed to interfere with the reorganization of her memories.

“Ahh…” she moans in what sounds like gentle frustration, closing her eyes. She remains like that for minutes, her pulse stabilizing, the sweat and tears drying on her half-naked skin.

Not Hisao. The years flow by in seconds. The skeins of her memory retie themselves, find old associations that should have been lost decades ago. The tapestry once unraveled begins to come together again. It is the road less raveled, but it will suffice.

She knows now, and even as she speaks his name, she knows it won’t be him.

“Hideaki?” Her husband, her lost hero, gone forever. No… no… they must have done what should never have been done. For the first time in a very long while, Hanako Ikezawa wants very much not to be alive.


This is a crucial moment, the stick-man knows. Patiently, he waits, and he notes in his personal log, Alert 03.

*****

Much farther away, Taka of the Archives makes his way down the ship’s physical corridors to the bridge. He’s not sure who terrifies him more, Grandam-Captain or Grandam-Scientist. However, he is most excellently sure that Grandam-Scientist will be fully responsive to what he has to tell her in person.

He stands before the bridge seal and takes a deep but physiologically unnecessary breath. Then he triggers the biometrics and passes through the seal.

The scent of autumn flowers reaches him, and also tea. His tall, thin grandams look at him silently. It’s the scarier one who speaks first, her scarlet hair tossing as she tilts her head and looks at him, left, right, left again.

“Your colours mean something. Two somethings, maybe. But if they’re the same thing, then only one. But then the colours would be one as well. Like red and white and pink.”

He enjoys that, but not when he has to focus on work. He smiles anyway.

“Incorporation has begun. Successful memory hook. Network reconstruction in progress.” He is dismayed to realize he is beginning to sound like the stick-person.

Grandam Rika, all white and silver shadows, is faintly smiling. Every smile from her is precious. She doesn’t smile much, and Taka is happy to see it happen. “Out of Taka-san’s professional opinion, would success be likely this time?”

“Much so, grandam. I have left Mobile Unit Two to monitor her.”

He has never met Mobile Unit One.

“How many attempts have we made so far?” she asks, as casually as she can.

“Eight,” he replies, wondering why she would need to ask. She certainly knows everything he knows, and although he doesn’t know as much as she does, he knows a lot. It has been his job to know, ever since coming aboard.

“Successful on the ninth,” Rika muses.

“Did you know that ‘nine’ means ‘no’ in some language that I’ve forgotten? It’s also the colour beyond black…” Grandam Rin muses back.

“Would my respected elders wish to accompany me back to Reincorporation Bay One?”

“Are there butterflies? There’s a chrysalis couch, if I remember right. In a boring shade of grey.” Grandam Rin pauses, then continues: “No, I’ll stay here. The stars are swarming and the bent corners need watching.”

She makes an extravagant gesture with her hyperspatial induction wands. The world twists slightly around them, and things become a little more normal. Taka freezes for a while, charmed by the effortless orchestration of the Woman Mostly Armless.

He shakes his head, only to find austere Grandam Rika at his side, gazing at him with those ruby eyes, the colour of life. “Ah!” he says, unable to control his breath. She is so beautiful, and so ageless.

“Come,” she says. “We have a goddess to wake.”

*****

The pain of being alive seethes in her blood. She remembers an idea of intelligence, without the trials of consciousness. Enlightenment. Human mind reduced to a standing wave in a cloud of light. Andorra, the mountains, the choice not to live forever as flesh, but to take flight into nothingness.

He is gone, and I live. The tears in her head are like mercury, cold and bright. She keeps them in her, because they are all she has left of him.

Her eyes open. She looks at the thin man. Man? He looks sexless, yet masculine. She has lived long enough to know that these categories are not mutually exclusive.

Wordlessly, he(?) offers her water. She looks at it, a sphere that has ‘DRINK ME’ flashing on it in a colour only she can see. She touches it, and feels her rusty throat begin to work. It is like needles, and broken glass, and a barren field of sand. But it is coming back to life. She is coming back to life.

She looks down at herself, expecting to be old. But she is eighteen. She looks again, expecting to be scarred, the irregular burns on her side, her hip, her arm all telling her what she is supposed to be. But she is unblemished. Even that has been taken away from her.

Finally, it is all too much. The first bolt of icy-hot mercury falls from her eyes, just as two other people enter the room.


*****

Rika Katayama was once known as the Ghost of Noda. Noda, as far as she knows, might no longer exist. They are far out of time, deep into space, beyond normal measurement. Her late husband would have been so excited about it all. She still talks to him about it, tells him what is happening as if he were still at the other end of an impossibly long connection.

Today, however, they are into the realm of miracles, she thinks to herself. Her adoptive grandson by her side, she impatiently negotiates the seal and enters the reincorporation bay.

One look at the anguished eyes of the blanket-bundled girl sitting on the couch is enough. She stoops to make closer eye contact, anticipating the need for softness, for kindness, things so alien to her since her love was taken away from her untimely.

She doesn’t get the chance.

“I h-hate you,” come the dagger-sounds, raw and sharp. “I hate you!” It’s the voice of a young person, at the end of her tether.

Rika braces against further wounds, but nothing else comes forth. There is silence for a while, instead. The girl on the couch quivers, as if with the effort of holding it all in.

“You, and Rin Tezuka. Of course. I’ll have words with you l-later.” These, on the other hand, are the words of an older woman.

“How is the respected senior lady?” Rika asks, her voice soft in the hardened air.

“The respected senior lady was at peace. She was free from sadness and responsibility and the pain of loss. W-Why did you take me away from all that? Why?!”

“…” Rika coils and uncoils her long silver braid, suddenly realizing that now is not the time to explain.

“No matter. Let me sleep for now.” The voice is harsh, not only with disuse, but with the sense of having been abused. Yet, it has the power of the quiet woman who once was chief administrator of both Foundation and Family.

The stick-man looks anxiously at the other two. They bow to the will of the Lady, then leave the room and its occupant to their quietude.

*****

“She didn’t like talking. I liked her because she never made people do things they didn’t want to do. Mostly. And always purple. Or a very dark blue. Is she back? Did you check her colours?”

A touch of resignation is in Rika’s voice as she replies to the Captain. “This person is not one for colours. However, the tone of voice is familiar. More than one tone of voice. Ikezawa-san is perhaps now anywhere from eighteen to ninety.”

“That’s quite a trick. I wonder if I could teach me that trick. Not much time, though. We’ll be out of the bent space in a few months. Then I’ll probably forget all the strange colours and dreams.”

“Dreams?”

“Oh, yes! I dreamt there was a skeleton-person, and he was trying to teach me about a colour named ‘octarine’ which is like an orange or a cuttlefish but it’s darker than black and prettier than magic.”

Rika sighs. It takes a unique kind of mind to find a way through the space-time manifold. Such minds don’t play well with others.

=====
end of chapter 1
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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Re: After the Dream—Hanako's Arc (Complete) [Expt in Progres

Post by dewelar » Fri Jul 10, 2015 12:56 pm

You know, when I said "everyone forever" I didn't mean it that way... :wink:
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: After the Dream—Hanako's Arc (Complete) [Expt in Progres

Post by brythain » Sat Jul 11, 2015 7:03 am

dewelar wrote:You know, when I said "everyone forever" I didn't mean it that way... :wink:
I must confess you seem to have had a greater impact on me than you ever thought you'd have. :D
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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Re: After the Dream—Hanako's Arc (Complete) [Expt in Progres

Post by Serviam » Wed Jul 15, 2015 12:22 pm

For some reason, this sounds fitting to the scene of Hana's Zelazny translation.
"What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else."
- Tom Clancy summing up l'état in a nutshell

In order of completion:
Lilly > Hanako > Rin > Emi
Currently on: Shizune

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Note on Hanako's favourite poem

Post by brythain » Fri Jul 17, 2015 11:55 pm

In Part 6 of Hanako's arc, Flowers, she reads a 9th-century Japanese poem by Ono no Komachi to Hisao.

There, I (rather badly) translated it as:

On the paths of dream
I walk with you forever
But our long friendship
Is but a single glimpse
In the real world, where you are not.


It's only recently that I discovered it was Poem No. 658 in the Kokin Wakashu, a 12th-century anthology—such a lousy pseudo-scholar I am!
Apparently, Komachi (c.825-900, link to Wikipedia) was a classic already 300 years after her death.

Here's the original poem, for those interested about the Japanese source:

夢路には
足も休めず
通へども
うつつに一目
見しごとはあらず


yumeji ni wa
ashi mo yasumezu
kayoedomo
utsutsu ni hitome
mishigoto wa arazu


Here's a standard translation:

Though I go to you
ceaselessly along dream paths,
the sum of those trysts
is less than a single glimpse
granted in the waking world.


I thought of this poem after re-viewing the original Hanako cut-scene.
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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Re: After the Dream—Hanako's Arc (Complete)

Post by Skeeve » Thu Sep 03, 2015 2:40 pm

Fuck, this one hit me hard, and I thought Lilly's was bad. A reminder, perhaps, that no matter how soon we lift ourselves above the specter of death, it won't have been soon enough.

I hope I can bring myself to read the rest of this soon.

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Re: After the Dream—Hanako's Arc (Complete)

Post by brythain » Thu Sep 03, 2015 11:20 pm

Skeeve wrote:Fuck, this one hit me hard, and I thought Lilly's was bad. A reminder, perhaps, that no matter how soon we lift ourselves above the specter of death, it won't have been soon enough.

I hope I can bring myself to read the rest of this soon.
Some of those endings aren't unhappy; it's just that if you write a life story that goes on till the end, it always feels melancholic.
I guess when people read the original VN (as I did, repeatedly), we tend to imagine that the 'happy' ending lasts forever, and real life never comes along.
I tried fairly hard to keep the 'fantasy' element present while putting it in a sort of realistic framework. Or maybe the other way round. :)
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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Re: After the Dream—Hanako's Arc (Complete)

Post by Skeeve » Fri Sep 04, 2015 11:33 am

It's human nature, I think. No one likes to think about the inevitability of death, and it hurts to be forced to look at it head on.

In case I haven't said so, this is really excellent writing, even if it's hard to read at points. :D

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Re: After the Dream—Hanako's Arc (Complete)

Post by brythain » Fri Sep 04, 2015 12:10 pm

Skeeve wrote:It's human nature, I think. No one likes to think about the inevitability of death, and it hurts to be forced to look at it head on.

In case I haven't said so, this is really excellent writing, even if it's hard to read at points. :D
True, that. Thinking of that unknown country makes me want to take a deep breath and have a couple of minutes of silence. Thank you very much!
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 (20160122) 'Our Lady Of Flowers'

Post by brythain » Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:21 am

Over the long months, I've come to recognise that the people I've been working with have each their own distinct aura. In some cases, it is an intangible presence, perhaps of pheromones, of emotion, of animal sexuality. In some cases it is a distinct fragrance, or a more shadowy and elusive phenomenon such as a change in lighting, as if the world has lost or gained colour. How then to describe the person who has just appeared?

Hanako Ikezawa is clearly female, but of all the ladies whom I have worked with on the enormous tapestry that is 'After The Dream', she is the one whom Robert Graves would have understood best. That odd chap might have got many things wrong in his understanding of mythology, but Hanako, strangely, is most like his Triple Goddess. She can also be acutely uncomfortable about the fact: in one of our many careful, hesitant eggshell-like moments, she had laughed and told me that the traditional appearance of the Norse goddess Hela, half corrupt and half beautiful, always gave her pause for reflection.

"Miss Ikezawa!" I'd exclaimed in mock-horror. "Was that meant to be a joke?"

With a suddenly sober tone, she'd replied, "Only halfway."

Today, as I sit in the amber light of my study, alone in my home somewhere in East Asia, I sense the presence of the one I've named 'Our Lady of Flowers'. It's a rainy night, and the scents of jasmine and wild orchids, of bruised frangipani and musky heliconia, fill the air. The light darkens sideways, not less bright, but more like evening than it is.

"Hanako?" I venture.

"Author-san."

I look at her. Somehow, she is always a shy girl, a harried mother, and a dignified old lady—all at once. She is clad in purple, her favourite colour. A single small brooch like an evening star is upon her left breast, a tiny red gem gleaming with fire amidst the subdued petals of a bronze flower. Her long hair falls draped down her right side, as always.

"To what do I owe this... " I begin. She nods, and somehow I find myself not finishing my sentence; when I fail to continue, she looks a little awkward.

"You have to l-let me say that I never really disliked h-him," she says, stuttering a little more than she does. Most times, she hardly does that at all. "Kenji was a silly boy. But he wasn't a bad man. He had what he thought were his d-duties, and he carried them out. He hated being wrong, and he worried that he was not doing what was right."

"Ah, yes. I agree with you. But perhaps my work on his memoirs is lacking?"

"N-not too greatly. Just do not make it seem that he was fighting all of us!"

"No, he wasn't. I should make it clearer, then. But..."

"But, author-san?"

"How is it none of you mention him, except perhaps Lilly, and that only when you were not around?"

She looks at me with her younger eyes, with a nervous gaze; but in seconds, I find myself staring at the respectable matriarch she became.

"Because he never wanted to be known. He told us all so, except Emi, who didn't like him anyway, and Lilly, whom he seldom spoke with. Now that he's given approval, perhaps more of us will speak of him."

"Thank you, Hanako Ikezawa," I say softly. "Thank you for taking the lead on this one."

"Book Six of Sakura," she sighs, "will be a long, long journey. At least we can all do it together."
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 (20190527) 'Our Lady Of Flowers' Redux

Post by brythain » Tue May 28, 2019 11:24 am

brythain wrote:
Fri Jan 22, 2016 8:21 am
"Book Six of Sakura," she sighs, "will be a long, long journey. At least we can all do it together."
"It is true, what you said," I tell her.

She sits in the corner of my room, her deep blue and teal gown flowing around her like an armour from the sea. In the half-light, it is hard to tell if this is Hanako with her face of two sides, or the lady later in life, after she had taken on the gift.

"You haven't told all of it, author-san. Are you saving it for the epilogue?"

"Kenji redacted it. He said he wasn't comfortable with what I had written."

"That's a pity. He was happy at the end, yet still grieved for those he had lost."

"He says he might reconsider when he has the time."

"Ha, author-san, we have plenty of time. It is just that Kenji is as mercurial as ever. Some things don't change, even in the face of immortality."

She smiles, radiant regardless of face, and fades into the silent twilight of my room.
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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