A Dark Day Approaches


The cicadas shrilled as Takeda and Himeko stared out over the town of Hagi. The damp air told them morning was already approaching, the ridges on the distant horizon confirming this as they split with light and diluted the eternal blackness of the night. The town below was quiet and still, cautiously waiting for what the morning would bring, and of course take away.

Takeda grit his teeth and gripped the window ledge, a multitude of feelings mixing uncomfortably in his stomach. He released the smallest of sighs and let his head drop, his chin resting against his chest as he worked hard to put everything inside of himself away in a neat little box, to take at all from the forefront and lock it away where it could do no harm. His feelings promised betrayal if he didn’t keep them in line, and he couldn’t do that to Himeko, couldn’t bear to let her see him weak and broken.

“When will this all end?” she whispered softly, her forehead, wet with perspiration – from the humid night or the preceding activities, Takeda was unsure – resting against his shoulder. He heard her bare feet shuffle on the floor and felt her shift her weight behind him. She ducked under his arms and came up between them, her back to his chest, her head pushing Takeda’s chin up as she nestled into his figure comfortably. Matching puzzle pieces again. Her mess of black hair tickled his nose. She was naked, as was he, and their skin stuck slightly at contact, as reluctant to give each other up as they felt themselves.

“I don’t know,” Takeda finally said as Himeko rested her hands atop his, caressing and tracing their contours softly with the tips of her fingers, “with Japan as it is-,” but he trailed off before he got any further. They both knew, all too well, the state of affairs. New Years had come and gone, the celebrations dogged and dirtied by the ever present horrors of fire and loss and death and war. The song had remained the same for the past few years, with reason to celebrate becoming a rarity, a notion of waste in a time of need dampening anyone who had spirit to spare. Even rice had become a luxury, and one few could afford.

“I’ll come back,” he promised, wrapping her up in his arms, crushing her to him. Fireflies danced in the air before them and Takeda’s cheeks glistened in the light. Himeko didn’t notice, distractedly looking towards the encroaching sunlight over the peaks, knowing that when it came her love would leave.

When I was very young – fifteen I guess – I penned a short novella named Japanese Ash. I was pretty proud of it and it received a couple of accolades. Now, many years on I’ve decided to post it here but wholly rewritten and worthy again, perhaps, of some semblance of pride.


~ by Joseph Blame on July 24, 2010.

One Response to “A Dark Day Approaches”

  1. i have Japanese Ash printed at home 🙂 I liked it then and I like it now

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