The Lost Butterfly-revised. Ch. 1e

Chapter 1e.

Angela soon became a regular to their house. Yoshiasu had to return to work so he asked his long-time friend to look after Fuyuki. She happily complied; she liked the young artist so she took him under her wings.

She took him out shopping and helped him to buy his own clothes. Yoshiasu was earning well so money was not a problem. Angela also bought colors and all the material he needed for his art and encouraged him to draw and paint. Not surprisingly, Fuyuki’s artworks sold well; though the first buyers were mostly from their close circle of friends, soon the outsiders got to know about his art  and liked it too.

It was Angela who introduced the young artist to the world of computers and Internet and she was pleasantly surprised by the quick progresses made by her apprentice. Getting in closer touch with the real world, helped Fuyuki to build up some confidence and a protective wall. He was still very vulnerable on the inside but this was known only by Yoshiasu and Angela. But being so much around them, made Angela aware that tension was building up under the surface in the life of the two young men.

As Fuyuki seemed to become more independent, Yoshiasu was  becaming more and more distant and busy. He even refused to go out with the two of them, pretending that he had urgent work to do. This particular change in his behavior hurt and puzzled Fuyuki. Though he did his best not to show, a veil of sadness started to dim the light in his eyes. One day, he finally burst out:

-Angela! Please talk to Yoshiasu! He is constantly avoiding me. I must have done something wrong that he doesn’t want me around…

-You did nothing wrong-she said, trying to comfort him. He is just tired and jumpy because of his work.

Fuyuki shuddered.

-I hope you’re right- he said in a small voice. Because I have no reason to live if he doesn’t want me anymore…

-Fuyuki!-protested Angela but the young man has already shut the bedroom door behind him.

Despite her best efforts to get Yoshiasu to talk to her, things were just not adding up. There were days when Yoshiasu was becoming almost monosyllabic, while Fuyuki was trying to put up a brave face. This went on until one day, when Angela showed up right in the middle of the storm. Looking at them, it became obvious for her that the two men had recently fought over something.

Yoshiasu quickly disappeared in the kitchen. “I’m making a coffee”-he said, while Fuyuki’s eyes were red and his voice broke as he spoke to her.

-He’s angry; help him, please. I’ll be fine…-he said though  obviously he wasn’t.

Angela patted him on the shoulder and went to the kitchen where Yoshiasu was fumbling with the coffee pot.

-Why is Fuyuki crying? What have you done to him?-asked Angela.

-Nothing-mumbled the other.

-Yoshiasu, what are you doing?-Angela was getting angry. Why are you pushing him away? It’s so obvious that you’re in love with Fuyuki.

Yoshiasu slammed the pot.

-This is exactly why I don’t want to tie him down to me. I can see that he is getting better and for the first time in his life, he can make a choice for himself. I don’t want him to stay with me simply because I was the one that nurtured him back to life. It wouldn’t be fair to him.

Angela shook her head in disbelief; she then grabbed Yoshiasu by the shoulders, shaking him vigorously.

-My friend, you are a fool! You are an even bigger fool that I’ve expected. I can understand your moral concerns but it didn’t cross your mind that maybe Fuyuki has already made his choice and that is you?!

-How would I know?!-shouted Yoshiasu.

Angela slammed her palm to the table.

-What do you expect from him, a solemn declaration, written down or what? For God’s sake, you don’t even realize how lucky you are! Here is this sophisticated, beautiful young man who sees no one but you and you’re uncertain…About what are you uncertain? Let me tell you something as a good friend: I can vouch for Fuyuki’s feelings. He loves YOU, that’s for sure! But seeing how you treat him I come to doubt YOUR feelings towards him: is this really LOVE as you pretend or just infatuation? Make up your mind, man, before it’s too late! After all he has been through, Fuyuki doesn’t deserve this!

There was a moment of deep silence. Angela poured the coffee in three mugs while Yoshiasu stood there, bent over the kitchen table and head in his palms. There was a soft rustle at the door. As they both turned, they saw a pale and shaken Fuyuki leaning against the door frame.

-Yoshiasu, I cannot tell you if this is love-he said in a soft voice. I have never known love before. All I know is that I don’t want to go on without you. Don’t let me go! Please…

Yoshiasu pushed everything aside and quickly closed the distance between them. He cupped the young man’s face with both hands and looked deep into those beautiful lilac eyes.

-Forgive me-he said in a coarse voice. I love you so much…I’ll never let you go. Never!

As Fuyuki folded in his arms, he buried his face in his hair.

-Hmph…That’s better-coughed amusedly Angela. Now let’s have that coffee and talk about the plans for the winter holidays.

The evening turned up fine and they all agreed in spending Christmas together with their friends at an inn in the nearby mountains.

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The Lost Butterfly-revised (1b)

Chapter 1b.

The flat was spacious and comfortable. The modern, almost minimalist furniture allowed enough free space and the rising sun always lit up well the entire house.

Yoshiasu undressed, showered and quickly cooked something for the evening. He ate and washed the dishes, then took a beer from the fridge and sat at the window. The city was twinkling and buzzing in the night. The young analyst took a sip from the beer and watched thoughtfully the endless swarming of the city below. His mind was wandering as usual; just this time it wasn’t something leisurely done. He was back at the hospital, running over again and again all that has happened or it has been said.

“ Why? Why are you helping me?” Fuyuki’s question hung in the air and Yoshiasu still wasn’t able to find a logical explanation for his deep commitment towards the young stranger.

It was like some obscure force pushing him from behind towards an unforeseen future. He came to the sudden realization that he didn’t know everything about himself. He’s been always a well balanced, logical person, keeping his life in order. His parents died long time before and he took care for himself. He was intelligent and handy so he managed well in life. Good humored and considerate, he was liked at work and in society.

He had a small but close circle of friends, men and women mainly his age. He even dated a few girls but very soon he discovered that he didn’t feel compelled to go further into the relationships. He just shrugged and let the topic die out. He was never bored or lonely.

But ever since he stumbled upon Fuyuki his feelings stormed out and took over any logic. He wasn’t going to let the young man to fade out in an asylum; he was determined to take him in his care, even at the cost of turning his own life upside down. There was no logical explanation for the way he felt but he knew for sure that he would’ve died of heartbreak if he would’ve give up on Fuyuki. Those desperate violet-blue eyes, the eerie beauty of that face, the warm, slender body trembling under his touch were haunting him.

Yoshiasu shook his head; he felt drained, exhausted. He turned off the light and went to sleep. The night was short and restless. Fuyuki’s eyes filled his dreams…Yoshiasu showered, dressed up and cooked some eggs and vegetables for the breakfast. He was in a hurry; he had an appointment with detective Harrows at the police station. He took a cab and left.

John Harrows was a mild tempered person, a patient one but this particular case was getting on his nerves. Despite his best efforts he had only a scrap of clues. The victim was a total mess so his only hope was  the relationship that build up between the young analyst and the victim. He hoped that it  would help the latter to open up and give some tangible information about himself. So now, the detective eagerly waited to meet with Mr. Tanaka.

Yoshiasu arrived in time and the two men shook hands; they grabbed a coffee and sat down to talk over the data.

-I visited him yesterday and we talked a bit-said Yoshiasu. His name is Fuyuki and I’m very sure that he has close relatives somewhere. I’ve asked him about them but he reacted badly so I assume that they weren’t on good terms. I know this isn’t much but he is still very troubled and I don’t want to push him over the edge.

-Mr. Tanaka, you are most helpful. I can see that you are deeply involved in this. Mind you, this might become a heavy burden for you on long term…But getting back to Mr. Fuyuki, I have all the reasons to believe that his family sold him as a male prostitute to one of the wealthy…collectors. When the latter got bored, gave him away to a gang and finally he was dumped and let to die. He probably didn’t want to comply with all their requests. If we find his family, we might have a starting point. Until then, I’ll keep on looking into the branch of prostitution.

Yoshiasu sighed.

-I’ll do my best to help you but it will take time.

-Thank you for coming, Mr. Tanaka. We’ll keep in touch anyway.

The two men parted in good terms. Detective Harrows had a feeling that this case will cause a lot of commotion in the future. He wondered for a moment about the strange bond between Tanaka and Fuyuki; well, who knows what might come out of that? He sat to his desk and started the computer.

Yoshiasu headed to the hospital and looked again for Fuyuki’s doctor. Fortunately he was available and helpful as ever. They went to his room and sat to talk.

-Doctor, how long will Fuyuki stay in your care?-asked Yoshiasu directly.

The doctor fumbled through his papers for a moment than turned to him.

-I expect to release him at the end of this week. He is getting stronger and his bruises are fading and healing. Why do you ask?

-I want to take him in my care. I don’t want him to end up alone in an asylum. I take full responsibility for him and it looks like detective Harrows is supporting me in this. He hopes for some data due to our mutual trust. Can you help me with the papers?

The doctor was stunned; he didn’t expected this..

-Are you sure you’re willing to dedicate your future to the care of such a scarred and troubled person? This might prove to be very tricky!

Yoshiasu shook his head.

-My mind is set and I can manage with him. Please, don’t make me move with him to the asylum. I’m not superstitious, I’m quite level-headed but I have a feeling that it was meant for me to stumble upon him. So would you help us?

The doctor shrugged.

-It is most unusual but somehow I agree that it is in the best interest of the patient. I’ll talk to the Social Services and by the end of the week you’ll have both Fuyuki and the papers.

-Thank you!

Fuyuki was awake and dressed up. He was sitting at the window, watching the clouds running wild over the strong-blue October sky. Outside, the turbulent wind was scattering golden leaves all over the place and was pushing dark-grey cloud shreds in front of the sun. The youth was fumbling with an orange, trying to peel it.  He saw Yoshiasu coming and his whole person lit up.

-Yoshiasu…-he whispered. Help me with this-he laughed softly, handing the orange to him.

-I’m glad you like it-laughed Yoshiasu and quickly finished the task. He gave the fruit to Fuyuki but he handed half of it back.

-You too-he said and smiled.

Yoshiasu took his share of orange and sat next to Fuyuki. He watched him silently for a moment; he pushed a strand of hair from his face and rested a hand on his shoulder. Fuyuki looked up, eyes filled with unspoken questions. They stood there looking intently in each- other’s eyes, like trying to read the other one’s mind; then Yoshiasu broke the silence.

-Fuyuki, would you like to stay with me? You’re leaving the hospital by the end of this week and I have plenty of place for both of us…You can stay as much as you want.

There was a moment of deep silence then came a trembling “Yes.”

-But why?! Why are you doing this for me?!-cried out suddenly Fuyuki. He jumped to his feet, turning up the chair and buried his face into his hands. Tears were running down his face as he shouted:

-I am nothing!!! I am damaged goods! Why?! Why would you do so much for me?!

Yoshiasu was taken aback by the amount of pain and angst pouring from the young man. He embraced him, holding him close and whispered:

-I’ve told you before: I don’t know, but you can help me find out. But I’m sure like hell that I don’t want to leave you alone.

Slowly Fuyuki’s hands held to Yoshiasu’s arms encircling his shoulders. They stood there embraced, watching the autumn unleash its horses of rain over the streets.

Walk a Dream-waking up in someone else’s dream (6)

Chapter 6.

She  wasn’t exactly sure what to expect when she looked in the mirror that morning. “Oh, nothing unusual!” -she thought. “Same old me, same sleepy eyes and messy hair…” she sighed with à tad of disappointment. She grimaced at herself and laughed off the twinge of regret.

“What were you expecting anyway? A pair of horns?”

  She splashed a generous amount of icy water on her face to get back to reality. She had too many things to do that day; there was no place of aimless dreaming and fantasies. She scrubbed her face with the towel and combed her hair, leafing in mind through her daily chores. One final trust of the comb and she was ready. She checked again her image in the mirror and froze.

-Hello, stranger!-she said. Though not so obvious for others, the changes were there. After all, she had already lost two layers of her daily armor. There was a new light in her eyes, a playful easiness in her expression and her hair was wearing the loving touch of an invisible hand. She tilted her head, assessing the changes. Tam-tadam….something…someone was beating inside her chest. The echo of a mysterious heart.  

– Hush, hush, my heart! Not now!-she whispered and hurried to dress up. Reality was claiming her for now.

   I landed at dawn, exhausted from the lengthy flight. All I could see from above was a green patch of grass. The space around was filled with a gold tinted, pink mist. The sun was greeting à new day.

-You must be tired and hungry-said the pleasant mezzo-soprano voice and a tall woman emerged before me. And you need a pair of shoes too-she added with a smile, looking at my bare feet. Come, let’s go inside!

  Inside? I followed her through the door,  the one that was opening in the wall of haze.  It was leading to a  cozy room and I slumped in a comfy chair. Moments later, my host returned ,carrying à small tray with what looked like breakfast.

-Hot chocolate and brownies for you! And these- she said, handing me à pair of shoes-I think they belong to you. Our mutual friend, the Magician left them yesterday- she added with a smile.

-By the way-she continued, I am Joren. You’re Kai, isn’t it?

-Yes…-I mumbled. Are you….like the Magician?

My question sounded utterly stupid but couldn’t find a better way to put it. Was she another “piece” of that core he was telling me in the forest? She felt so different! She was  à tall and majestic woman, with long, raven-black hair combed into an elaborate coiffure. Her skin was tanned and her high cheekbones were hinting about Native descent. She had the same dark-brown eyes as the Magician but her gaze was somehow different. Joren’s appearance was that of à protective goddess and in her eyes I was reading benevolence and wisdom.

-I am the Guardian of the core-she said simply. You can always call me when you need. Now, take your time ! I’ll be back.

 For a moment I felt like à schoolgirl and hid my embarrassment in the cup of hot drink. She left and I must have dozed off because when I woke up, the light was turning amber and I had a blanket on my knees. Then à sharp cry tore the silence, making me jump from my seat.

The girl stormed out of the room, looking for the source of the angry, loud shouts. Who was  shouting and where was Joren? She  ended up in a narrow corridor. The noise was coming behind the door of the room at the end of it.

-No!!!I am not listening anymore! Leave me alone!! This is me! This is who I am! I am not you! I am not what you want me to be!! I am who I say that I am and I had enough of you smothering me!!!

 The owner of the powerful voice was clearly upset. Joren’s calming, soft spoken words followed the shouts.

-She’s not here, my dear. You can relax. See? It was just a bad dream.

-No, no, no!!! I saw her! She was pointing her finger at me ! She was trying  to bring me to my knees as she always does! But I won’t wait till she’s catching me!

  The final sentence was shouted in thunderous voice and the door opened with à loud bang. À fiery creature rushed in the corridor, stopping before the stunned Kai. The bulky man was almost ceiling high and with his glowing, weavering contours he was the embodiment of anger. An all consuming fire was burning inside his dark-brown eyes; he looked at the girl and smirked. The flow of pain mixed with rage coming from him was overwhelming and Kai felt the hair rising on the back of her neck.

  Oh! The pain, the burning pain oozing from each crack of the shattered soul! The bitterness thickening into bile, rushing through his veins, pushing aside the warmth of the blood….She stood there, in the eye of the emotional storm emanating from him, trying to find strength and support inside herself, in that deep hidden sunny smile…He bent over her, sneering:

-So…You don’t remember me, ha?!

   À wave of dark madness rose from behind him, like à shadow, ushering away the light. Kai gazed in the eyes of the raging man, her hand pressing upon her heart. For à moment, she felt like crying, screaming and running wild but she swallowed down everything.

-If I remember someone, it’s not you!-she said .

    He growled and pushed her aside, leaving the place. Kai turned to Joren who was quietly closing the door behind her.

-What ….Who was this?

-He was the embodiment of the inner demons. He is emerging each time nightmare visits the core. He’s its reaction of defense but we must bring him back before he hurts our host! I need your help, Kai! I must stay here, trying to keep the core asleep until you bring back its fears. But be careful! He is dangerous!

 She embraced me, whispering in my ears:

“ Use your imagination and let your heart guide you!”

She slipped back into the room and closed the door.

“I will-I thought. My heart is my only compass.” I felt my armor crack, leaving another layer of my insecurities behind. I hurried to the entrance door. I had an emergency to solve.

The Invisibles-Chapter 5.

Ever since the group of Queenies left the Tree, Cora’s mind was set on her own goal: to reach that unknown horizon she had scrutinized so many times from the highest branches. She was also pushed forward by the inner feeling left by the strange dream before the departure. That plea, that spirit lost inside the reddish fog couldn’t be a random appearance. Nor were the Queen’s words said to her: “Follow your fire!”….All these things were giving her an extra boost to follow her quest.

She decided to take a sharp turn upward, leaving the group to fly far below. From here, she could see the larger picture of her homeland. It was a magnificent patchwork of colors and textures, features, sounds and scents. She inhaled the message of blossoming orchards and sun bathed meadows, the fresh taste of clear springs filled her mouth. She opened her senses to the world surrounding her and let all the beauty fill her up. A gentle breeze caught her in its flow and carried her forward.

-Coraaa! Where are you going?!-shouted one of the Queenies..

-Oh, let her go, she’s always been a nuisance!-mumbled another girl. She has a head full of stupid dreams.

-She’ll never be a Queen! But you cannot have much expectations from a Rooter – sneered another Queenie.

-I wouldn’t be so sure…-murmured the firts girl, glancing above. She seems to be able to reach higher than any of us…..

The group continued its flight in silence, each girl scrutinizing the land below to find a place to land. They were flying already for several days and the communities were becoming scarce and isolated. The girls were sleeping on the ground at night, refilling energies for the next day. As the days passed by, the number of Queenies was diminishing with each location they’ve discovered. Though none of them admitted, the girls were seeking locations as close as possible to their home. The weather had been gentle and calm, posing no threat to the flight.

But that changed one day by noon. The unusually warm morning was followed by an abrupt change in the air. Rushed by the strong winds, the clouds built up into a huge,menacing wall inside the steel-grey waters of the sky. The few remaining Queenies changed direction, looking for shelter. Luckily, they’ve spotted the opening of à cave and hurried to hide inside. Cora was lagging behind, fascinated by the unfolding of the storm and the dramatic changes in the skies. As she was watching the thick, grey wall descending, a dark vortex opened inside, touching ground. A cacophony of crazed voices and screams erupted around her, mixing with the furious swirl of leaves, sticks, dirt caught up by the powerful winds. Before she could move and retract to safety, the storm engulfed her. Cora closed her eyes and delved into the current, trying to reach the core of the storm. In the deafening noise she heard a painful veiling, one that she already knew:

-Help meeee……Don’t leave me aloooone….

With a strong push, Cora punctured the swirling wall and landed inside the eye of the storm. It was a huge column of light and silence, eerie and otherworldly. The bold girl flew upwards, trying to find a safe exit. The higher she got, the stronger the presence of someone watching her became. It was an unseen entity, scrutinizing her from inside the misty glow. Cora turned around, tense and determined. Nothing. She looked up and saw two spots opening in the white fog: they were resembling to a pair of cold blue eyes fixing her. She gazed back defiantly.

“ I’m not afraid!-she thought. You don’t scare me!”

That moment, the storm stopped and vanished, leaving her standing at the border of an unknown land. She could feel under her feet the faint touch of the roots of the Tree of Arberia. Her spirit was intimately connected to it. But one step further there was a different land with a different feel. Small, yellow-grey grass was covering the earth and the land was gently sloping towards a large, dark expanse of dense forest. Somewhere in the distance there was a white brilliance , standing out in the middle of the place. Conflicting sensations washed over the bold Queenie; was she meant to go further or she simply should stay on her land? The call of the unknown was too powerful to be denied, so taking a deep breath, she stepped forward.

The earth felt hard and reluctant under her feet, leaving a sense of unease. Cora bent and ran her fingers over the tips of the grass….Strange: it felt…sad, hollow, disconnected. The simple joy of life seemed to have vanished from this land. Cora sprang in the air and took flight towards the white glow in the distance. Below her, the forest was unfolding its stern, deep green canopy with occasional clearings disrupting the monotony.

It took her a great deal of effort and days of flight to get close to that place. At first the white light was like a shimmering star, then grew into a globe of light, like the full Moon and at last, she arrived to a huge clearing. Right in its center, the Citadel was boldly soaring towards the skies. Even in the scarce light of the moonless night, the smooth, white walls were glowing with an eerie light. You could see inside the gathering of graceful towers, arcades with laces of Moon-stone adorning each column, dozens of airy buildings seemingly topping on each-other….And higher than any other was an electric-blue building, resembling to a rising swan, hiding its face in the wings. Cora was awestruck by the beauty of the Citadel. She has never seen such a magnificent place; she simply couldn’t take her eyes of it. Only when she heard a scream, she turned her attention to what was happening below. The contrast between the light pouring from the city and the darkness surrounding its perimeter was not allowing a clear sight of the events unfolding. But she heard the sobs after the echoes of the screams died and took a sharp flight to where the sound was coming from. Something small was moving in the darkness and it was crying.

-Mommyyyy…mommyyy…

A child. A small and frightened child, lost in the night. Cora’s heart sank, remembering Amita. She landed in front of the child and took him up, holding him close.

-Shhhht, don’t cry, little one! You’re safe with me….

She flew up in the light and hurried to put as much distance as possible between the two of them and the dangerously beautiful place. She was hoping to find a small clearing where they could sleep safely at night.

“What other dangers might lurk in this strange place?” -Cora wondered. One thing was sure; the child in her arms was not a monster; it was a human being just like her. Against all appearances, the monsters might be inhabiting the bright city and not the dark forest. Otherwise why would such a small child be on his own, outside in the night?

The night wind cleared the skies and the stars were shining now without any disturbance, their sparkling highlighting a grassy spot in the forest. Cora descended carefully and put down the child next to a tall tree.

-Sit here and I will make a bed of leaves and grass. Are you hungry?- she asked.

-Uhum…-came the answer after a little nod.

Cora put down her backpack and fished for a moment inside it; she took out a handful of cookies and filled the outreached palms of the child.

-Here, eat these. They are cookies with milk and berries. I made them. Don’t move from here because you might get lost in the darkness. I won’t be far. I just want to bring a few branches with leaves. I’ll be right back.

She grabbed a small axe from her pack and walked towards the nearby bushes. She bumped into a tall shape barring her way and before she could react, something hit her from behind and the world turned black before her eyes.

-Ogren, I’ll take her. Go pick up the child and hurry! We don’t know who else might be around here-said one of the dark shapes. He bent over Cora and lifted her on the back of the animal he was riding. Be gentle!-he added turning to his companion. Don’t frighten the child! He’s been through enough….

-Don’t worry, Satoru!-said the other. My skills have greatly improved since I became a father. We’ll follow you in a moment!