Versers Versus Versers; Chapter 63, Takano 10

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Stories from the Verse
Versers Versus Versers
Chapter 63:  Takano 10
Table of Contents
Previous chapter:  Chapter 62:  Slade 164

Tomiko was so surprised at someone addressing her in English that for a moment she stared.

“English?” the man asked again, and she realized that her mouth was hanging open.

“Oh--oh,” she stammered, “I’m sorry.  I don’t know why I didn’t expect--yes, English.  I’m American.”

“Yes, of course you are.  The question is, what are you doing here?”

“I don’t know.  I was standing in an alley, and a man in a uniform grabbed my arm, dragged me here, and threw me in this room.  Since I understand very little Japanese, I have no idea what he said to me.”

The man smiled a wry smile.  “No,” he said, “what are you doing in Nagasaki, in Japan?”

“Is that where I am?” she asked, but did not wait for an answer.  “Well, you see, the satyr took me to the centaur, who asked the eagle, who said to take me to the witch, and the witch did something and sent me here.”

“Who are these people?  Satyr, Centaur, Eagle, Witch?”

“Oh, they’re not people--well, I guess they are, sort of.  A satyr is half man, half goat, and a centaur is half man, half horse.  I’d never heard of them outside of children’s stories and mythology, but there they were.  An eagle is a large bird which Americans regard as special, and a witch is a woman who uses magic.  I didn’t know they existed, either, until Lancer--that was the name of the centaur--took me to one.  The eagle was named Sharpness, and the satyr was named Fleeblegar.”

“Fleeblegar?” he repeated, somewhat incredulously, and struggling a bit with the consonants.

“Yes, it is a funny name, isn’t it?  Maybe that’s part of why I thought this was all a dream--but if it was, then I must still be dreaming.”

“I think you are a spy,” the inquisitor said.  “However, you seem the most inept spy imaginable.  You do not blend in at all.  You do an excellent job of pretending you do not know Japanese, but how could you be a spy and not know the native language?”

“A spy?  That’s silly.  I’m--I’m a tourist.”

He chuckled.  “How could there be an English tourist here in the middle of the war?”

“Well, I’m not English; I’m American.”

He shrugged.  “European, in any case,” he said.  “I think they call themselves the Allies?”

She wasn’t entirely sure what he was talking about.

“Besides,” she added, “what war?  America and Japan haven’t been at war since--” and she paused and stared at him for a moment before continuing “--since the bombing of Nagasaki.”

“You mean Hiroshima,” he corrected.  “Hiroshima was bombed three days ago.”

“Well, yes,” she agreed, “sort of.  The Americans created the atomic bomb, and they dropped one on Hiroshima, and then a few days later they dropped one on Nagasaki.  Wait, what is today?”

“Today?  You do not know the date?”

“I told you, I just got here.”

He shifted in his chair.  “Hazuki Kokonoka, Showa Twenty.”

She stared at him.  “I don’t know much Japanese,” she said, “but my grandfather made me learn ‘Hazuki Kokonoka’.  It’s my birthday.  It’s also his birthday.  He was born on the day that his father died in the bombing of Nagasaki.”

She sat back.  “How ironic,” she said.  “It looks like I’m going to die on the same day as my great-grandfather.”

He stared at her.  “You are talking nonsense.  What kind of spy are you?”

“I already told you,” she said, shifting to sit back on her bench, “I’m not a spy.  I’m just having a really bad dream.”

Next chapter:  Chapter 64:  Beam 53
Table of Contents

There is a behind-the-writings look at the thoughts, influences, and ideas of this chapter, along with ten other sequential chapters of this novel, in mark Joseph "young" web log entry #339:  Verser Tensions.  Given a moment, this link should take you directly to the section relevant to this chapter.  It may contain spoilers of upcoming chapters.

As to the old stories that have long been here:

Verse Three, Chapter One:  The First Multiverser Novel

Old Verses New

For Better or Verse

Spy Verses

Garden of Versers

Stories from the Verse Main Page

The Original Introduction to Stories from the Verse

Read the Stories

The Online Games

Books by the Author

Go to Other Links

M. J. Young Net

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