April 4th, 2014 by Haikasoru
February 27th, 2014 by Haikasoru
Yuko Sakaki raced up the stairs and was out of breath as she emerged at the top of the tower. The lantern room had just enough space to walk around the Cyclopean eye of the Fresnel lens in the center. The storm panes offered a view of the cloudy sky. To her left, a low door led to the outside catwalk. Yuko desperately opened the door and went outside.
This high up, the wind was stronger than she’d expected and smelled strongly of the sea.
The water unfolded before her. The sea reflected the overcast sky in a muted indigo upon which white waves wove an intricate fabric. Yuko moved to her right around the lantern deck. Across a small clearing at the front of the lighthouse, the northern mountain loomed. A little to the left, an unpaved access road wove around the base of the mountain. A lone white minivan had been left beside a meager gate at the mouth of the road.
Yuko held the steel railing. Beneath, she could see the roof of the attached single-story building—and of the room where she had been only moments ago. She followed the handrail around the lantern deck but did not find what she had expected—a ladder. She hadn’t taken a turn on watch yet and wasn’t familiar with the outside of the lantern room. There was no way down. She’d trapped herself in a dead end up in the sky. Panic nearly overcame her, but she gritted her teeth and fought it down. With no ladder, she’d have to jump.
Breathing heavily, she returned to where the building lay below, and she looked down again.
It was a long way down—not as bad as to the ground, but still a very long way. It was, in fact, too far to jump, but before she could reach a rational decision, that image flashed through her mind again. Only this time, the other girls were gone, and it was just her there with her head split open. Blood sprayed up and covered Shuya Nanahara’s face. She had to escape—no matter what it took. She couldn’t not escape. And she was out of time.
February 14th, 2014 by Haikasoru
From “Death for Kids” by John Skipp
Oh, kids. They grow up so fast. Unless somebody kills them. Or they kill each other.
It’s only natural to want to protect them, of course. And not just their lives, but their innocence. That said, life is what happens when we’re making other plans. And death shows up whenever, and for whomever, the fuck it wants.
Speaking personally: I saw my first dying people within half an hour of landing at Ministro Pistarini International Airport, just outside Buenos Aires. It was 1966, and I was eight years old.
We’d just taken a Boeing 707—the largest craft in the fleet of Aerolineas Argentinas—from Washington, D.C., care of the US State Department. My dad’s mysterious new government job had brought the family from Milwaukee to Arlington, VA, for six months of prep, before launching us deep into the other America.
I have jumbled memories of landing and negotiating customs, lugging our baggage as we followed the guy with the driver’s cap and the sign marked skipp to the sleek sedan taking us to our new home. All I can say for sure is that I had the window seat in the back, on the driver’s side—and that we were less than ten minutes down the Richerri Motorway—when I saw the cloud of dirt and rock from the edge of the overpass ahead.
There was a bus, hurtling sideways and over the brink, like a train derailed. I couldn’t see the shattering glass, but I could see the screaming faces. Blood on some, poking through the broken windows. Others pressed against the glass as yet remaining.
Then we were under the overpass, me whipping backward in my seat to watch the bus plummet downward, then disappear from view. Our driver did not slow for a second.
That was my first genuine childhood glimpse.
September 16th, 2013 by Haikasoru
From “The Futon Storeroom”
That night near midnight, when O-Mitsu came round for her as she had promised, O-Yū felt, oddly enough, just a little bit relieved. It was easier to go ahead and get it over with than sit with her mind playing through one scenario after another. As O-Mitsu had instructed, O-Yū meekly folded up her bedding, set her pillow on top, and carried it all with both hands as she followed behind O-Mitsu until they arrived at the room that was known as the futon storeroom.
O-Mitsu said not a word while they were walking down the corridor. Then, when they arrived and O-Mitsu placed her hand on the sliding door, she suddenly said something most unexpected, though she never turned to look at O-Yū.
“O-Sato’s forty-nine days have been fulfilled, correct?”
Indeed, yesterday had been the forty-ninth day. It was often said that the souls of the dead remained in this world until the forty-ninth day after their death and afterward went on to the next world. Because of that, O-Yū had been counting the days until her sister’s forty-ninth. She had been terribly worried that once that day had passed, her sister’s presence might dissipate.
“Yes,” she said. “It was yesterday.”
O-Mitsu nodded and slid open the paper door.
“Go inside,” she said. (more…)