Shooting Star. A Love Story. Ch.4-5/Shooting Star. Love

4.Shooting Star

As darkness crawled out from the cracks and crevasses,it filled the premises and seeped into the blue of the sky. The cooling breath of the land, slowly condensing into translucent threads of mist, swirling and coiling, flooded the depths below the plateau. Like a bird,  Night opened its wings of black velvet upon the world. Calmness set in all round the place.

-Come!-said Kenzo , holding out a hand to Ren. Let’s catch some Star-Kois!

Light flashed through Ren’s eyes, watching the inviting hand. He quickly swallowed his inner turmoil and grabbed Kenzo’s hand with a playful smile.

-Let’s go!

   They stepped into the night and stood there, mesmerized. The Milky Way was up in the sky in full glow and glory, bridging the gently rocking ocean of stardusted mist. Undisturbed by the city lights, stars looked bigger and brighter, shining like apples in the Tree of skies. The chorus of crickets was under toned by the the humm of the Universe. Walking closer to the rim of the plateau, the two young men sat in the grass, following with eyes wide open the turning wheel of stars. Suddenly, one of the twinkling spots began to grow in size and brightness, seemingly approaching them. As it came closer, it lit up the entire place with its blazing trail.

-A shooting star!-exclaimed both watchers.

-Make a wish! Quick!-said Kenzo.

-I did-replied Ren softly.

   The star crossed in slow motion the space before them and dissolved into the cloak of darkness. The midnight wind blew through the foliage of the forest, ruffled the blades of grass and sent ripples across the sea of mist. Ren shuddered at the chilling touch of air.

-Let’s go inside-proposed Kenzo. Nights can be cold at this height.

     They returned to the warmth of the cabin and Kenzo noticed that his guest was very silent and lost in thoughts. Kenzo poured some warming drink in two glasses and handed one to Ren.

-So you made a wish?-he asked with a smile playing in the corner of his mouth.

-I did……-replied the youth, turning to him. But I cannot reveal it, or it will lose it’s magical power-he said, fixing Kenzo. His intent gaze made his eyes look deeper than the night sky outside.

-Then I have to guess it-said Kenzo, stepping close and leaving his glass on the table.

He gently cupped Ren’s face in his palms, reading the depth of the dark eyes and finding the answers for all his unspoken questions.

 

5.Love

 

 

From the passion of countless kisses , from the half whispers and sighs, from the heat of the bodily entwining, from blaze and hidden tears, the Phoenix of Love was rising victoriously, bursting to the star spotted expanse of the Universe. She was catching speed and growing in splendour with each heartbeat and with each flapping of her fiery wings, leaving a trail of sparks in the air. Tonight, she was unstoppable! Down on the planet,warmth, Ren and Kenzo were sleeping peacefully in the cabin, cuddling in each others arms.

  The following days and weeks, Kenzo took out Ren to various places, spending all the possible time together, in love filled intimacy. JT drove them to remote and inciting spots where they could enjoy those moments , far from the crowd and curious eyes. To the average bystander, they looked like two buddies having fun, or maybe like a young businessman with his private secretary. Despite the romantic aura of such love in Ancient times, the two of them were fully aware that nowadays their love was not socially acceptable; at least not publicly. But the heart has nothing to do with the rules of history and it has definitely its own, unbreakable logic of choice. Whatever society might have thought, Ren and Kenzo’s love was genuine and rightful none-the-less. And they were both blossoming under its touch.

-I haven’t seen much of  you brother lately, Sumiko! -said Professor Shibata, shaking his head thoughtfully one morning. He’s always out, chasing fun or travelling with his friends! I wonder when will he settle down and mature.

-Oh, don’t be upset,Father! He’s finally out of his shell and enjoying it! You know how difficult it was for him to grow up without Mother….And besides, this is his last summer vacation before finishing his studies. Let him be and you won’t be disappointed, I’m sure!

   Sumiko set the table for breakfast and poured a tea for her father. He took a sip of the warm drink and sighed. Yes, he remembered those times when his young son was crawling out of bed in the middle of the night, to cuddle up and sleep on the mat at the door of their late mother’s chamber. Ren had always been a delicate, sensitive child and after his Mom’s death, he had shut down for years. It was Sumiko’s love and constant care that finally put the boy back on track.

-You are a very good daughter, Sumiko and you’re a wonderful sister!-said the father aloud. You’re right; Ren needs his time of joy and freedom. I trust your opinion.

     So, when the youth expressed his wish to go on a two weeks trip to the seaside, Professor Shibata agreed.

-Enjoy your vacation, Ren! But I expect to have some serious talk with you, now that your schooling is at its end. This autumn is going to be a turning point in the future of our  family.

-Thank you, Father! I will not skip my duties, you’ll see-said Ren, bowing respectfully. Despite their temperamental differences, he loved his father and didn’t want to upset him.   

 Kenzo  has chosen a small resort on the tiny island of Kuroshima for their summer vacation. It was remote enough to offer them intimacy and it was also homely and romantic. It became the base for travels to all the other islands and it had a small, hidden shore where they could swim, walk, talk and  bask in the sun without being disturbed.

-I wish this summer would last forever….-whispered Ren, lying in the sand, head leaning on Kenzo’s shoulder. Sometimes I sense a black shadow hovering above me, counting my days of happiness with you….

-Don’t say that!-replied Kenzo, turning to him and placing a reassuring kiss on his lips. I won’t let anything and anyone to come between us. I would never give up on you, Ren! Never!

   He held him closer, breathing in the scent of his hair, his skin. Ren was inhabiting the depths of his heart,his blazing yet gentle touch imprinted in the walls of his soul forever.

-Let’s take a walk before sunset-proposed Kenzo,helping up his love. I bet you cannot run faster than me!

-We’ll see!- chuckled Ren, springing forward, splashing the waves.

-Cheater!- shouted Kenzo between bursts of laughter, rushing after him. Wait till I catch you!!!!

    The slim and light boned Ren was quick in putting a distance between himself and his lover but Kenzo was stronger and determined to catch him. They splashed the waves rushing under their feet, they stumbled in the soft sand and ran again till Kenzo got close enough to jump forward, plaquing Ren , rolling , fighting and laughing together on the shore. He finally managed to hold him down ….and the kiss felt like summer dusk and sea salt.

-Aye! -cried out Ren, catching his breath and turning to get something from the sand. Look!-he said with a smile,opening his fist under Kenzo’s eyes.

 It was a heart shaped pebble, polished by the sea in its continuous back and forth, with a small hole in the center.

-You have found my heart!-winked Kenzo-I thought I buried it safely…..

-Then I will keep it, if you don’t mind…-replied Ren, hiding the pebble in the warmth of his palm.

-I’ve never been so happy in my life…-murmured Kenzo, holding him close.

-Me neither…..-whispered Ren, leaning against him softly.

     Up in the skies, the stars were twinkling in the Night’s chandelier while the sea kept rocking gently, caressing the shore.

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Shooting Star. Ren Shibata. Illustration

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Drawing on paper in color pencils, ink gel pen and acrylic. Ren Shibata in the main character of the story, “Shooting Star”.  Enjoy!

Shooting Star. A Love Story.Ren

Professor Hideo Shibata was a well respected academic. He was a widower who have raised alone his two children, Sumiko and Ren. He was a shy and serious man in his forties, with a good name, a good job and already a good social status when he married Akemi. Though it was an arranged marriage in the tradition holding strong then, Hideo tried his best to make her happy and showered his very young wife with love and attention. She gave him two beautiful children; but after only six years of marriage, she died unexpectedly.

  At that time, Ren was only two years old and it was his sister, Sumiko who was three years older, who became his protector and surrogate mother. Consequently, she matured quickly,  growing into a lovely, responsible and reliable young girl, who was devoted both to her poetic little brother and their aging father. Ren adored her ;but with his father, he’d never really found a true line of communication. Ren was almost his mother’s incarnation in features and soul and for professor Shibata, that was both a joy and a constant reminder of his unexplainable loss. After finishing her studies at the university, Sumiko took a job and she also volunteered at a few charities. Ren was still studying….and sometimes, he was skipping courses for daydreaming in the Kana covered red pavilion.

   As for Kenzo, the following day, he was standing before the vegetal curtain a good half hour earlier, hoping that the elusive young man that has stuck in his mind, was inside the pavilion. He had spent what was left of his previous day trying to sort out his own feelings.

-I think I’ve got a sunstroke! My goodness! Why am I so strung up?-he murmured, pacing up and down his room. He’s just a boy! I’ve seen hundreds like him; they came in my life and left without a trace. Then why do I keep seeing him before my eyes ?!

   But he already knew the answer; this was not a boy like the others. The moment their gaze connected, Kenzo was hooked. Those deep, dark eyes reminded him of the silent, mysterious high mountain lakes, with limpide, clear waters. What he had seen inside them was a mixture of innocence and sensuality, with a tint of  autumn melancholy. And he fell in love.

   So, the next morning, he woke up early and called for JT to drive him to the park.  He reached the pavilion, stopped for a moment to catch his breath and then pushed aside the curtain of leaves with a firm hand. He knew what he wanted. And Ren was there.

The youth was sitting in the corner, leafing through a book. A few drawings were piled up beside him.

-Hello, Ren!-said Kenzo with a smile accomplice. Skipping courses again?

Ren looked up from his book, tilting his head.

-Good day to you, Nishimura-san! Nice to see you….again!-he replied, raising an eyebrow.

His eyes were sparkling with humor. The book was shut with a sudden clap and the youth stood up. He gathered his belongings swiftly and put them in his bag, removing a bulging paper pouch from there.

– I thought you might want to see the Koi in the pond so I brought some lettuce to feed them. Would you join me?-he asked, looking at Kenzo.

-Why not?-said the young man. But where can we find them?

-There’s a small ladder leading to a bench carved in rock behind the pavilion. If we wait patiently, the Koi will swim up to that place. They already know me; I bring them goodies each time. Come, let me show you!

   Kenzo followed him incredulously; the ladder was well hidden in the shadow. They both descended and walked till they found the rock bench. The waters of the pond were gently rocking under the sun. Ren shared the lettuce with Kenzo and they both crouched on the gravel.

-Tap gently the water so they would know  that we are here-said Ren encouragingly.

Kenzo followed his advice and delved his fingers in the l pond, sending small ripples ahead.

-Now what?- he asked Ren, eyeing him from aside.

-Now we wait-replied the youth with a grin.

       The shadow upon the water split and a huge white fish with blazing red patches swam up to them. It was heading straight to Ren, like it was greeting an old friend. The youth slowly handed him bits of salad and the Koi gobbled all joyfully. Then new ripples announced another visitor and this time; the dark head of a black Koi with red rimmed fins emerged from the depth before Kenzo, waiting for its treat. The young man was mesmerized. He carefully plucked the salad and fed his new friend, unaware of Ren’s intent gaze upon him.

Shooting Star. A Love Story.Introduction.

  1. Intro

 

   At almost 30, Kenzo Nishimura was considered a golden boy and an eligible bachelor by the social medium. He was running a flourishing family business and he was a very pleasant young man, the heart of many events and parties that kept the front page of the magazines. Girls and boys were flocking around him and tabloids loved to “marry” him almost weekly with another socialite. Despite everyone’s diligent work on nailing him and bringing him to the altar, Kenzo kept smiling and moved on…..alone. Marriage was not high on his list yet.

   By the time summer moved into the city, Kenzo was fed up with the noise and agitation around him and decided to put an end to it. Abruptly. He refused to accept  any more party invitations and to take calls from his previous fun-buddies. His change of heart created a small commotion among the socialites; but then, another bright star of the parties took his place and became the number one attraction for the gossip columns. Kenzo followed the change of guards in the papers and news with a smirk and decided to take a vacation.

     It was a fine  day of mid June, with clear blue sky and showering sunshine. Kenzo left the office and took his car that was waiting for him at the entrance. Jun Tanaka, the driver (orJT, as Kenzo affectionately called him), was a man in his late fifties, dedicated to his young master ever since Kenzo was born. He was both  driver and guardian angel, and he knew him better than Kenzo would’ve admitted. This was a special bond that became stronger with the untimely death of Kenzo’s parents in a highway accident.

-I think I need an escape from the city-said Kenzo, hopping on the seat behind Taro. I leave it to you where we go!

   With an affirmative nod, the older man started the engine and they left the busy avenue. He stopped the car at the gates of a large  and seemingly deserted park. There were only a few people walking around or sitting on the benches. It was an odd hour and people were either at work or in schools. The place itself was bearing  calming, soothing beauty, with large areas of well trimmed grass, crisscrossing pathways, tree clusters. There was also a larger pond with small islands and a few colorful pavilions covered in Wisteria blossom and greenery, scattered along the shore.

  Eyes wide open in amazement, Kenzo left the car and walked through the gates. He left his mind wander, following the pathways around this unknown place. He breathed in the mixed scent of heated grass and flowers, admiring the artful garden arrangements, the graceful entwining of various trees and climbing vines. Soon,  he found himself near the pond, heading to a shadier, smaller pavilion painted in red, with cascading Kana covering the entrance.

    With a hand, he parted the curtain of greenery and stopped abruptly,  facing a person coming from inside. The first thing popping up in Kenzo’s mind was a line from ancient poetry: “His beauty can put the moon to shame.” It was younger than him, somewhere in his early twenties and a palm shorter than Kenzo. But he was lean and graceful, with deep, dreamy eyes in the oval of his face. The nicely curved lips and the straight, thin nose completed his features. From the casual outfit, you’d taken him for a student. As Kenzo was staring at him, the youth reddened a bit, then smiled and stepped aside, inviting him into the pavilion.

-Please!-he said. Come in and enjoy the place..Are you ok? -he asked, looking at Kenzo who was seemingly unable to utter a sound.

  With a gulp,Kenzo  regained his composure and returned the smile.

-Oh…yes, yes.I’m fine. It’s just…I didn’t expect to find anyone here. The park is so quiet and looks almost empty.

  The youth shook his head with a small laughter .

-Yes, people are busy working at this hour. That’s why I came here, skipping the courses but I have to go now. It was nice to talk to you. Have a pleasant day!-he said, preparing to leave.

-It was  my pleasure too-replied Kenzo. Let me introduce myself, before you leave! My name is Kenzo Nishimura.

-I know-said the young man, with a playful glimmer in his dark eyes. I’ve recognised you, when you entered. Your face is on the cover of every magazine. My name is Ren and I really have to go now! Goodbye, Nishimura-san!

  With a courteous bow, he slipped through the curtain of leaves and disappeared, leaving behind Kenzo with a strange, tingling sensation deep inside. There was a trace of ungraspable magic left behind by the youth, something that stuck with Kenzo, stirring the waters of his soul. He rushed to the entrance, leaving the pavilion in a hurry, trying to catch a glimpse of the departing youth. But he was nowhere to be seen. He  had vanished into thin air. Swallowing a jest of disappointment, Kenzo returned to his car.

-Thank you!-he said to JT, making himself comfortable in the rear seat. I think I found a new favorite spot for myself!

 

 The Golden Bird

     Spinning diligently on its path, the planet turned its cheeks towards the sun and a new season spread on the surface. As winter was fading away with the last melting icicle, spring opened her wings of flowers and songs upon meadows and hills. The boisterous breeze pushed aside the heavy clouds, releasing the shower of warmth and glow upon the land below.

   In the orchard, the trees were stretching their fingers,swaying in the wind, while the life giving sap was bubbling in their veins. Buds were cracking on the tip of every stick and flowers were unfolding gracefully, adorning the branches. The air was thick with scents, buzzing noises and love songs. Springtime is the season of love.

-Huh, what a noise!-grumbled the old apple tree, hiding in his shady corner. Love, love, love is all I hear all day long! I’m getting sick of it!-he groaned, snapping his aging, barren arms.

-What’s wrong with him?-asked in a tiny voice the young plum tree. Why is he cursing and mumbling? It’s such a  beautiful season!

-Oh, let him be, my friend!- chuckled the cherry tree. He’s all sour ever since the tempest broke his branches and left him almost crippled. His heart is full of bitterness and he’s not even blossoming anymore! With only a handful of leaves and no beauty,all the birds have left him, so it’s no surprise he hates love songs. Forget about him! Let’s stretch a bit more into the sunlight. It feels so good!

“Poor guy…” thought the young plum tree, glancing furtively to the stern neighbor in the corner. Then, with a small sigh, he  turned his delicate branches towards the sun and closed his eyes, dreamingly.

-What a jerk!- mumbled the apple tree. Why would I need love? It’s nothing but pain and illusion! Look at the young master of the garden: he’s a total mess since his sweetheart deserted him!

Groaning,he turned his face away from the jolly youths of the orchard. With a heart heavy of painful solitude, even his sap was turning more and more bitter with  every spring. He felt useless and ugly…

But up in the skies, the world was bright and the rejuvenating energies were oozing from every inch of Nature. More and more  singing birds were flocking into the garden,while the trees and bushes were opening their arms, inviting the chirpy, cheerful travelers to settle.

  The golden bird was coming from a great distance and by now, he was exhausted by the voyage. He took a like to the neat little garden with its blossoming orchard of lean and graceful trees. This bird was like no other. His body was covered by silky, golden feathers, he had black wings and ruby red beak. His eyes were  shining like stars. The moment he made his appearance in the sky, all eyes turned to him. Even the wind halted its rush, his whistle turning to a humm. As the golden bird was circling above the garden, the trees were stretching and leaning towards him, pleading:

-Come! Come to me, beautiful bird! Look how strong my branches are! Look how fine and thick my canopy is! I’ll protect you from heat and I’ll rock you gently to sleep, just come and stay with me!

   But the golden bird kept flying up and down, looking for something…He circled and circled till he noticed a lone tree in the corner. It was tall and strong, and despite its bareness, it felt trustworthy. So, the golden bird took a sharp turn and landed atop the highest branch.

-Good morning, my friend!-he said in a soft voice. Shaken off his dream,the apple tree opened his eyes in amazement. May I stay here on your branches? -continued the bird. I promise not to disturb your peace but I’m so tired after my voyage and in your strong arms I feel safe!

-Stay! Stay as much as you wish!-whispered the tree, choking on its sudden burst of emotions. He was so happy,he could laugh and cry at the same time…if only he would be human! But he was an old apple tree, so he took a deep breath, and in a moment of elation, his sap burst through his body, rushing towards the tip of its branches and sticks, exploding into a symphony of glossy, green leaves and heavy bunches of pink and white flowers! Perched on the tip of a branch, the golden bird was singing his song of love, while the tree was listening  to it, smiling in the sunlight.

 From the window of his cottage, a young man with dreamy eyes was following the glorious metamorphosis of the apple tree and a new hope moved into his heart. He jumped to his feet and left the house whistling happily. He crossed the path to the gates and stopped for a moment under the apple tree.

-Thank you, my friend!-he whispered, gently caressing the tall trunk. Maybe there is  love for me too out there! I just have to find my own golden bird!

    He walked off the gate and turned towards the village, his mind set on those velvety brown eyes he had seen the other day looking at him so warmly,lovingly. Up in tree, the song of the golden bird was spiraling into  the sky, a hymn of love and new beginnings…

 

The Creature-Illustration for a story

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Drawing on paper in color pencils, acrylic and ink gel pen. She’s the character of my story ” The Creature” https://katemantis.wordpress.com/2013/07/24/the-creature/

and also of the story “Just a Winter tale” https://katemantis.wordpress.com/2013/12/20/just-a-winter-tale/

 

Enjoy!