What had happened couldn’t be counted as anything more than a mistake made during an completely uneventful day. By chance, or maybe it should be counted as an accident, I decided to take a scenic route through the way to the hotel. Akitaka had advised me to take in the atmosphere now that we were finally in Kyoto.

The old temple’s public face had been restored to a glory it had never seen even back in the days of its prime. The need of the humans to glorify their past in some sort of religious manner was always an alien concept to me. However, what was not an alien concept was the something I saw standing beyond the entrance, its wide back facing me like a wall of a castle.

It was a person.

When my eyes understood his form, I heard something crack in my head. It was a sound not unlike a bell being torn apart by construction workers. However, to compare it to something inorganic would be wrong, and thus it made me immediately think of my brain crunching together when they were assaulted with a ferocious force. It was not the type of feeling I wanted to get used to.

As my eyes wandered back to the young man, having immediately averted them as the warning bells in my head went off, I begun to understood the situation. I did not see the person anymore. If I would have been, my eyes would not have turned that ways. Though my mind has seen blood, it has not been seeped in the sight of a massacre like that man’s back was.

What I had seen was nothing this world contained within itself anymore.

But the pain that I had gone through was something I did understood and could remember.

It was a pain that had been caused by a sculpture-like man, with a voice like a demiurge.


The sun was certainly that of a mid-July, which I was not surprised to see that my husband and my daughter were sprawled on top of the bed at the hotel, as if they had turned to salt. I closed the door with a loud sound and stood a moment in the halfway idly, before sighing and removing my red leather jacket.

“It’s good to see you, Shiki,” he says, opening his right eye. His casual way of talking haven’t changed over the years.

“There were some strange news on the television earlier today, about an hour or so ago,” he started speaking, as if unaware of the girl laying on top of her. “Seems that a certain mansion burned down in a fire. Kasumiouji villa, they called it. The parents and most of the servants died, but the heiress of the family was saved by a passer-by who witnessed the situation.” He stretches his hand and grabs the remote, briskly opening the small screen of the black box tucked away to the corner of the room. “You wouldn’t happen to know anything about that passer-by?” His smile is mischievous, but his eyes are gentle. I’m not really good at dealing with him when he is like this, so I simply throw him a glare that should be enough, and march over to the cushion, where I sit down. The news and their jargon fill the room with a low hum.

The hotel itself was not a fancy one. Just something we had booked with the money that Mikiya made in his work. I hadn’t touched the money of my family ever since moving together, and I was not planning to. Therefore, this Shōwa Era-built block of concrete was enough for all of us. It gave us a quick access to the city, which was the only thing we needed, considering that the elders of the Fujou-clan were notoriously strict about schedules.

“Don’t tell me you’ve gotten yourself into something weird again, Shiki. I’m not saying that you cannot save people that can be saved, but taking certain matters into your own hands will never end well.”

“Don’t take me for an idiot, Mikiya,” I reply, and flop on my back on the floor. “That was then. Now is now. I know to live in normality so that the abnormal does not seep into the dull Mondays we love.”

“That’s good to hear.”

He does not believe me of course. He has no reason to, considering what has transpired in the city, during the hours when I was out meeting with the Asakami-clan. If it was not for the fact that I went straight to the meeting without taking a detour to the other part of the city, I could have possibly been there, to save that girl. I would not have felt guilty about it.

Mikiya had this strange power of making me feel guilty about things I had not done. Or maybe it is the power of a husband. Whatever the case, the man I had vowed to spend my life with so many years ago looked at me from the bed. Even if I could not face his eyes, I knew it.

All through this conversation, our daughter had been peacefully sleeping on top of the stomach of her father. According to Mikiya, this was a trait that had been passed down in my genes. I do not admit that I am such a heavy sleeper, and since I cannot see myself when sleeping, I cannot say if our sleeping faces are similar. I will simply have to trust Mikiya’s observations when it comes to this. I do, however, know that her plain appearance and the strict refusal to adapt to the fashion trends of this era and new millennium. She dresses traditionally, casually, and would not stand out anywhere. Even her black hair is neither long or short.

“Shiki? If at one hand you are to meet elders of the other clans, and at one hand you are to save girls you happen to see, you will at some point fail at both. Being there for others is a good thing, but forgetting your responsibilities is not.”

“It wasn’t me,” I listlessly reply to his gentle admonishment. “I do not know who it was. But it wasn’t me.”

“Really? You mean there is someone else with a same sort of disposition as you? My, instead of what I heard, Kyoto actually does have something that I haven’t heard of before.”

“Do not get me wrong. I said I do not know who it was, but I do know what it was. There has been a shape of a man wandering around the town. Only that sort of thing could enter a burning building and bring out the girl. Since the shape itself is completely isolated, the act would be the same as being surrounded by air.” My recollection of the instances I’ve seen this shape are somewhat hazy, but I remember the sensation. Hopefully my information will allow Mikiya’s mind to rest at ease.

“A shape of a man? Just that? If it is simply a shape, then perhaps it is best that you were not involved to that said rescue. A shape is not complete, after all.”

That comment spoiled my tired mood. My brains jolted in short burst, realizing that there was a certain way I had not thought about what I saw. The way that Mikiya had now presented. It was true that if it was a shape and nothing else, it was not complete. Therefore, could it explain what I had sensed within what I had seen?

Perhaps not. If there is no completion, there is no boundary. And what I saw trapped within that shape was definitely something. But what is a boundary that surrounds that which is not complete?