Dawn fades away to dusk, the sun setting low in the distance, casting an warm orange hue over the rocky landscape. The silhouettes of swallows dart across the sky, their voices echoing far and wide as they sing to their partners.
The heat that once surrounded me, and only ebbed away when the sea breeze approached me, diminishes slowly to be replaced by cooler air – a relief to my body as I stand and regain control of my breathing. Beads of sweat trickle down the sides of my head, the nape of my neck damp and all the while my feet remain cool and dry.
As I return the katana to its saya, I bow towards the shrine; still seeing the orange dot as the incense stick slowly burns out its existence as it reaches the end. The ashes: dropping onto the tray beneath it.
Facing the shoji, I move towards it. The songs of the swallows get louder and louder as they dance against the warm glow of the sky. The light brown geta wait patiently as I place each foot into them; the smooth wooden frame of the shoji under my hand slides easily to a close.
Just as the shoji slides shut, a warm sensation radiates through my body – small specks of red blood splatter the brilliant white shoji. Trembling with fear, my eyes move down to my chest; dark red blood stains the white silk uawgi covering my torso.
Protruding slightly out from my torso, my fingers brush against something sharp, something foreign – an arrow head.
Fear, shock and sadness overwhelm me as blood continues to flow down my body, staining and destroying everything in its path. I question who would do this? Why would someone do this to me?
But even though I try and seek the answers, my body slowly gives up its existence; dropping to my knees I fall onto my shoulder, still facing the shoji. Blackness clouds my vision until darkness takes me into its cave; I feel cold.
The songs of the swallows, and the sound of the waves crashing onto the rocks, echo and ring in my ears – as the last breathe of my life is exhaled from my lungs.