Tasogare no Kishi, Akatsuki no Sora
<The Shore in Twilight, the Sky in Daybreak>

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Starting Chapter ~


Those who witnessed that would definitely doubt their eyes.

It was a small village in which old buildings lined up among small fields. A narrow asphalt-paved path twisted gently and penetrated through the maze. Bright sunlight of April shone on the asphalt, and a faint heat haze rose from the surface.

The heat gaze stirred vigorously. The gaze literally swelled as if its power was suddenly unleashed, and was condensed into high concentration, taking up the size of an adult. From it a faint shadow emerged, and a person gently slipped out. As if getting tripped by the pathfs slight dents, the shadow that rolled out stumbled two or three steps forward, and suddenly stopped its track.

The haze melted away behind the boy, unveiling the tranquil scene of spring as the boy stood on the asphalt.

Thread-like clouds (cirrus) blotted the bright, light blue sky. From somewhere high a lark was singing. The wind was warm and light. It shook rape blossoms in the fields, shook shepherdfs purses at rice paddies footpaths, stroked the surface of asphalt, and lightly toyed with the boyfs shoulder-length hair.

The boy rooted at the spot absentmindedly. No, he might not have seen or felt anything at all. Staring to the front without even blinking, the boy moved his legs as if he were propelled by the light wind at his back. He stepped out one step, and then threw his other foot forward. He started by moving his feet mechanically, but before long, the motion became smooth.

He walked just a little forward before he suddenly blinked. It was as if he finally got a hold of himself. He stopped. He blinked and blinked as he surveyed the surroundings.

The small fields and paddies that were neatly arranged. The old building that dotted the landscape. The new houses that were bundled within. The small village that exemplifies the nondescript countryside.

The boy cocked his head. He still wore a dreamy face, unsure of where he was. Before him, where the path intersected with the main road, he saw curtains with black and white stripes used in funerals.

-- The boy had crossed the Empty Sea (C, Kyokai).


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