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

Copyright Fuyumi Ono, Koudansya, 2001


~ Chapter One ~


In a haze, he was led by the kujiramaku (~, curtains with black and white stripes used in funerals) to the front of a house. Around the gate and at the entrance stood people clad in black clothes. The place was scented with chrysanthemum and incense. Those people noticed his presence. Amidst the surprised shouts and walls of people rushing forward appeared a woman and a man also dressed in black. Behind the weeping woman was a picture of an old lady, decorated at the sides by chrysanthemum. That finally reminded him of what this place with a shrine is. This is his "home."

-- Where on earth have you been?
-- What happened to you?
-- You have left for a year.

The sudden raised voices ensembled and bet around like waves. The thing that dragged the almost drowned boy back to the shore was pain from strong nails. The woman was kneeling down in front of him, weeping as she dug her nails deep into his arms.

" ... Mom?"
He blinked. Why is mom crying like this? He wondered in amazement.

Why are there so many people? Why are they raising their voices? What is about this black and white curtain? Why is grandma's photo decorated at such a place?

A pair of eyes peeked into his cocked face, from a woman living next door.
" Where have you been all this time?"
" ... all this time?"


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