Sakura Matsuri


A new plan is in motion that will pave the way for your long journey home. You will know it when it comes.

Spegg’s words played in my head as I shuffled back to the brownstone. Like it or not, I was bound to this creature. I could live out my days apart from him and put up with the ghosts and the figments, and face the very real possibility of being caught and strung up by the Japanese, or I could return to Antarctica and raise an army of genetic horrors to supplant the human race.

Yeah, I’ve never really been a people person.

On the north side of the brownstone stood a lone cherry tree, its blossoms withering as the season wound to a close. A wide halo of fallen petals ringed its trunk. I stepped into the circle and reached for one of the few blossoms still clinging to life. The soft pink petals easily shrugged off and slipped through my fingers. They swayed back and forth as they fell, almost in slow motion, as if each petal was hitched to an invisible, timeless pendulum.

A rare smile crossed my face.

I snapped a branch off the tree and a liberated the remaining flowers with long, sweeping attacks, striking upward, then slicing down, shouting victoriously as each bloom fell, like a child embroiled in an elaborate pirate fantasy. Plumes of sakura guts filled the sky.

When it was done, I bent over to catch my breath as the last few petals settled into the grass. Out of the corner of my eye I noticed one of the Korean guards paused for a smoke on the opposite side of the brownstone. We locked eyes for a moment as he pulled on his cigarette, unfazed—the numb expression of someone who’d seen everything.

I stood up nodded to him, but he simply turned, flicking his butt into the field, then shambled off in the other direction.

Chikushou,” I muttered, tossing the stick aside.