Land of Shadows

When we first met, I was having nothing inside but virgin lands under a baby blue dome of skies. I was oblivious of their existence. I had never opened their gates and never walked them. No feet had ever touched their surface.

   You were the first explorer. Bold. Passionate. Crazy and wild. Flamboyant. Unstoppable. A hungry heart, reaching for the treasure of unreleased emotions and love, hidden in the depth of those intimate spaces. You grabbed my hand and taught me fly. You lead my steps through the landscape of my own soul, putting it in a new perspective. You left your prints everywhere and those lands inside have learned the gentleness of your touch, the softness of your purring voice, the joyfulness of your walk….They have embraced your body, memorizing its shape as we were lying in the grass, counting stars….

    You left as sudden as you came. Without a warning, vanishing without a trace.Time stopped inside me. Your absence has carved deep ravines in the deserted lands, seeping inside the roots of the trees , bursting towards the skies through the trembling fingers of the branches. Pain bleached the skies, robbing them of their azure. Oh, the silent cry of the abandoned heart! The heaviness of the loss turned the dome above into solid rock.

     Devoid of the light of love, the land was engulfed by mist. Nothing made sense anymore. The land lost its contours and only the skeletons of the trees were still standing. Prisoner of my own chagrin, I’ve turned into a shadow, walking aimlessly in a world of memories.

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The Night of the Rose

For days, the rosebud was preparing her great moment: the blooming. She has grown atop of a beautiful rosebush that was leaning against a solemn tree, in a peaceful corner of the vast garden. Her mother was constantly encouraging her, yet the young flower was full of doubts about her appearance.

 She had checked tens of times her silky petals, her perfect inner swirl and the little bouquet of golden stamens, ready to spread their magic dust. All looked fine and in perfect order, yet the rosebud was not ready for the next step.

-My child, you’re beautiful, believe me!-her mother told her each day. Don’t wait too long or you’ll miss the chance…Your sisters are already prepared for opening. One more day and they will overshadow you!

-Yes, Mom. I know….I will be ready, you’ll see!

  The Mother Rose sighed and shook her head; this little girl of her proved to be a peculiar one.

“Oh, well! Maybe tomorrow…”-she thought and spread her deep crimson collar of sweet scented petals. A bright colored butterfly landed gracefully on the crimson rim and seeped a pearl of dew, leaving behind a kiss.

-So what takes you so long? –asked the boisterous summer wind, playfully pinching the blushing rosebud. Your older sisters opened instantly under my touch.

-I…I’m not ready yet-whispered the rosebud, while her color turned a darker shade of red.

-Oh, you’re such a Diva!-laughed the wind and flew away, scattering a bunch of butterflies on his way.

  The rosebud suppressed a small tear and hid behind her lustrous emerald leaf.

“I’ll be ready tomorrow….tomorrow…maybe…”-she repeated the chant in her mind.

She spent the day under the cover of the leaves, waiting for the cooling night. As the sun dropped behind the high trees, the night embraced the land, filling each and every corner with velvety darkness and soft sounds. The rosebud leaned against the tree, cuddling inside the cradle of leaves and fell asleep. Floating on the waves of dreams, she felt a light touch on her face.

-Hello, beautiful!-chirped a tiny, crystal clear voice. Are you sleeping?

The rosebud woke up and turned towards the source of the voice. It was a delicate firefly, sitting in her cupped leaf, all smile and sizzling light.

-I was following you for days-said the firefly, with a bow. I have hoped that you won’t open till tonight.

The rosebud was startled.

-Why were you waiting for me? What’s so special tonight?

The firefly jumped in the air with a sudden swoosh and his glow spread around like shooting stars. He flied in complicated rolls and tumbles in the air, closing and touching with the lucent tip the rosebud. She was mesmerized and watching his flickers and shimmers, she didn’t realize that her petals were slowly uncoiling, opening one by one, gradually releasing the fresh, fruity scent held in her core. The darkness of the garden filled with radiant, glowing, twinkling, floating fireflies…Even the Moon up in the skies was hiding behind a thin veil of clouds to leave the magic of this moment unfold.

  Finally, the little firefly stopped on the leaf and looked at the rose.

-You are as beautiful as I have imagined! You are the most wonderful rose of the entire garden…

  The rose blushed and spread her crown of crimson red. The little stamens popped and the soft rain of gold dust fell like a mist on the little firefly, dressing him in a magic cloak. He rose in the air, kissed the rose and delved into the night where his family and friends were waiting for him. Up, on the top of the gripping bush, the most beautiful rose was basking in the moonlight….

 

Autumn love

I saw you in the pile of withering leaves, squeezed between the thin, leathery crumbs of foliage. I saw your burning red plea, rising from the fragile, moist vegetal carpet, a last cry of life before this season of melancholy would end in the freezing arms of winter….

  I saw you and in a heartbeat, you were in my hands, your blazing carmine tips still warm and alive, pulsing faintly in my palms, remembering the rhythm of the tree that  had released you.

    Now, you are sleeping your eternal dream between the pages of my book. But in my heart, you are still beating softly: tadam, tadam….in a symphony of red.

The Lost Butterfly-a story of aliens, love and humans. Chapter 4. A blow from the past. Ch.4a.

Ch. 4a.

 

The man at the door was medium high, fortyish and well dressed but inconspicuous. He took off his sunglasses before he addressed to Fuyuki. He had piercing blue eyes watching intently under the strong eyebrows.

-Mr. Tanaka? May I talk to you?-he asked handing him a personal card.

The name was unknown but Fuyuki remembered the firm. It was of that man from his past. He let the man in and offered him an easy chair.

-What can I do for you?-asked Fuyuki looking at the mysterious visitor.

The secretary (he was the secretary of …the man) watched him intently.

-My master died recently.

-I’m sorry to hear that.

-Thank you. His death relieves me from certain obligations about keeping certain things secret. He never ceased to feel guilt for the way he treated you…

-That was…buried and long forgotten-said Fuyuki following the man’s account with attention.

The latter returned the attention and stared at him with undisclosed curiosity.

-It’s for the first time that I can see you from close. I have to admit that you really are attractive…I followed you while he lived because he wanted to know about your whereabouts. Now that he died I followed you for my own reasons.

Fuyuki’s eyes flickered.

-And what would be your reason?-he asked quietly.

I wanted to find a crack on your perfect image-said the guy with scorn in his voice. And I found it some time ago but I never had the heart to show it to my Master. But he’s gone and all I have is my need for revenge over you!

Fuyuki blinked, taken aback by the hatred flowing from the man; he tried to ease the tension.

-I’m sorry if I hurt your master but I never did anything on purpose. I had the feeling that he finally understood and that he came to term with all…

-He did. But it was an entire chain of unhappiness generated by your pretty face and your damned perfection. He loved you, you didn’t love him, I loved him but he had no eyes for me…

-So-said Fuyuki slightly puzzled-what do you want from me?

The man took out an envelope and handed it to him. It looked that there were some photos inside. Fuyuki took them out and watched them one by one. He turned pale and he felt sick. He raised his eyes and looked into those blue ones fixing him:

-What do you want?

-Do you agree that I caught you red handed?-he asked with malice.

-Yes and no-said Fuyuki in a restrained voice. I can’t remember anything from this even if I can identify the persons.

The man looked at him incredulously but Fuyuki seemed genuinely shocked by the photos.

-I know that you’re not a liar-agreed the man. But these shots are for real, I assure you. Well, if you don’t have any recollection of the events, you have to unravel this moment of your past and live with it. Consider it a…gift from your sworn enemy.

The man got to his feet and left the room. He silently closed the door behind him, leaving a very distraught young man behind. As the door clicked shut, Fuyuki broke out in despair. He grabbed his head with both hands, closed his eyes and franticaly searched through his memories. But his mind was silent, the doors of memory sealed and he was left only with a void filled with pain and despair. He bit his lips until they bled and curled up in bed shaking violently, moaning and crying helplessly. It took him a good deal to calm down and put himself together.

He started the computer and called Little John on cell phone. While the phone was ringing, he scanned the photos and sent them to his friend. He barely finished the sending that a deep, pleasant voice answered his call.

-Fuyuki? Is that you, my friend?

Fuyuki swallowed hard to calm down but even so, his voice came out coarse and insecure:

-Yes…Little John, open your mail. I’ve sent you something and I need you to watch it now!

Little john sensed the emergency of the call so he proceeded as instructed. He opened the attachment and…almost fell off his chair. The images were unmistakable; his deepest secret, the wild night spent with Fuyuki on the night of his bachelor party was poignantly depicted by those pictures. They had been captured with a powerful camera so the faces were clearly visible. Their passionate kissing under the starlit sky, Fuyuki lost in his arms as he carried him to the small rear room, the moment they entered and the moment he carried him out in the morning and took him home to Old John…

Little John was speechless; he could hardly utter a sound.

-Fuyuki…he whispered. Who gave you these pictures?

-A friendly…. enemy of mine. He wanted to take revenge upon me and he came to confront me with these photos…Little John, tell me why can’t I remember this?!

Little John was unable to answer; his mind was searching for a reasonable excuse but he couldn’t find one. He could clearly sense Fuyuki’s torment and he was afraid of what he might do in such a state of mind.

-Fuyuki-he pleaded in a worried voice. I’ll come and we’ll talk this over! Please, don’t do anything stupid! I’ll leave tonight and tomorrow morning I’ll be at your place. Please, Fuyuki! It’s my entire fault…

Fuyuki sighed and kept silent for a few moments. When he finally spoke, his voice was broken:

-I’ll wait for you but you have to restore my memory no matter how painful that would be. I can’t take anymore lies about my life…Please, ask Soraya to forgive me for taking you away right now; but I need help. Good day, Little John. Take care!

-You to, my friend. Wait for me-said Little John and hung up. He deleted the photos and hurried to pack up for and early plane.

Soraya was worried about Fuyuki; she urged her husband to leave at once. Little John felt like a cheater that moment; his stupid and selfish actions from his past were getting back on all those he loved and cherished.

Fuyuki disposed of the photos but kept them on the computer. He did his best in behaving normally. He told Yoshiasu that Little John was coming to visit them the next day; Yoshiasu had a small, nagging feeling that Fuyuki was troubled by something but he was too tired to dig deeply. All he could do is to hold him closely and reassuringly.

Little John arrived early and found Fuyuki waiting for him. They embraced and he watched his friend closer; clouded by inner turmoil, Fuyuki’s eyes were almost black. He looked tired and subdued. He moved around like a sleepwalker, unable to find his balance. He had already made some coffee so he handed a mug to Little John; they sat in the living, around the small table, silently, unable to start to speak about what was bothering both of them.

Fuyuki stood up, slowly pacing up and down, fingers clutched to his mug; Little John watched him for a while then he set his mug on the table.

-Fuyuki…Fuyuki, my friend…Forgive me; it’s entirely my fault!

At the sound of his voice the young artist shuddered and almost dropped his mug.

-Why? Why can’t I remember?! What have I done?!-his voice trailed. He buried his face into his palms, shaking his head…

Little John wished he could comfort him but he was afraid to touch him; he came close, talking in a warm, soft voice.

-Fuyuki, you were made to forget in order to protect you from the burden of this memory.

When I came to Old John to invite you to the bachelor party, you were reluctant. Old John took me aside and warned me: “Be careful; he is your friend and he loves you. Take care of him; he’s more vulnerable than he looks. Don’t take advantage on him!”

I easily dismissed his concerns; I was overconfident. Then you came and I fell apart. Old John gave you some sleeping potion and used a spell to block your memories. He wanted to protect you…from me. You wanted to help me get over my obsession for you and follow the proper path for me. You generously gave up all and selfishly I took all! My madness was finally cured but you were deeply scarred. That’s why Old John decided to lock up those memories.

Fuyuki my friend, I would do anything to bring back your peace of mind! I am ashamed and I admit that I badly screwed up all!

Fuyuki listened quietly Little John’s confession; his suppressed memories slowly seeped back in his consciousness.

-Oh, gods!-he whispered. What have I done?

He staggered…he then grabbed his coat and his keys and stopped for a moment, looking into Little John’s puzzled face. He sighed…then he shook his head.

-I’m sorry…I have to go out…I need some air…Yoshiasu-his voice broke-he’ll be here; wait for him, please! Tell him that…that…I love him!

Before Little John could even protest, Fuyuki fled without telling where he was going. Fearing the worst, Little John sent a message to Yoshiasu; there was no way back.

“Yoshiasu, we have a problem; Fuyuki left but I don’t know where he went. Come home quickly; you’ll find me here!”