Forlorn, those rice stalks
Blasted by autumn winds,
Fruitless
As is this love of mine
You're so tired of.

Ono no Komachi,(834?-?), Heian era

It's the 9th of August, 1995, and a seemingly slight woman is stood out on the corner of Market Street and Tallman Avenue in the city of Seattle. Her name is Mihoko Azaki and she has the power of the second curse within her in the same way a river has water. Nobody in the city of Seattle knows about this, because nobody in the city of Seattle knows her, but she knows. She's been dead from grief for nearly fifty years, but doesn't look half that old. It's 3:03pm.

It's the 9th of August, 1945, and a seemingly slight woman is stood out on the corner of Hanro Street and Takenaga-Ningen Avenue in the city of Nagasaki. Her name is Mihoko Azaki and she has nothing, the power of the second curse raging around her in the same way the sky has become fire. Nobody in the city can know about this yet, because nobody in the city of Nagasaki is left alive, but she knows. She's been dead from grief for nearly fifty seconds. It's 11:03am.

For 50 long years has "The Great Artiste" suffered no critique, free of the wheel of karma. No longer. She has become Justice, balancer of worlds. The sky threatens a hellish rain and the wind drives down Market like a truck on bare rims, howling as it meets her lips. Street lights snap on in a random sequence. The city of Seattle, the whole city, is darkening, going out.

The sky is lashed by hellish black rain and the fiery wind that drove down buildings like wooden pegs has left, leaving only smoking fires and devil screams, reaching for her with curled black claws. Lives trickle away in a random sequence. The city of Nagasaki, the whole city, is darkening, going out.

A blind man approaches the corner, his malamute dog shivering. Mihoko, speaking in a rough, wholly black, American voice, says, “Alvin, man, how you been?” and reaches out a hand, touches the blind man’s sleeve. “Hey, that you, Pete? Good to see you my brother. Why aint you down at the docks working?” Mihoko, her blank Japanese face as empty as a flatline, takes the blind man’s arm. “Your dog be spooked, brother. Lot of wind. C’mon now, you can cross, it’s cool.”

It's Captain Beahan's twenty-seventh birthday today. Back home on Telephone Road, his ma made him a cake. The arc welder's glass on his bombsight boiled, elemental fury leaking right into the windows of his soul. He would never complain to the army docs. He had seen the Kingdom of Heaven, and his head rested easy on the lie. He was stark blind by the time they discharged him in the summer of 49.

And so this is how Mihoko walks Alvin the blind man out into the street about half way, before leaving him alone to the traffic that’s now coming up fast. “Hey Pete? Where you at?” The malamute pulls hard for the other side of Market. A car is sliding, brakes full on, Mihoko is walking, not watching, up along Tallman. The dog is off at a full run, empty leash trailing.

The rats are bold on the rotting flesh of the dead. Mihoko breathes their ashes, cries their bitter steaming tears, holds their vanished hands. She can offer no succor. Her heart has broken a thousand times, watching honored spirits made cherry blossoms by the scale of their destruction. In between now, she awaits her time, Oni.

A car hits Old Man Alvin and takes his left leg pretty much straight off and then drives up along his spine. He begins bleeding out very quickly, soundless with shock, a print of his younger brother Pete, lost on the Arizona, the last thing left on his now golden mind. The car, having traveled through him, fish-tails out across the lane and is hit square by a bakery truck which itself is rear-ended by a late-model red Buick in which Kermit K. Beahan, 77, a retired pharmaceutical executive being driven to a fund-raising event for the American Braille Society, has a heart attack and is dead even before the Old Man is.

His obituary makes no mention of Japan.


A JohnnyGoodyear/allseeingeye co-node. It's all his fault.

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