Lessons Learned

“So then, what year did the Great Unification take place?”

“F– fourteen hundred. And fifty … sir …”

“Summer or winter?”

“N–neither–it was spring–early spring–”

“Ha ha, very good. Then, the Treaty of the Five Kingdoms?”

“Summer the same year–ah–Master Frest–”

“Who signed the treaty for the House of Quertis?”

“M–my honorable great … great-grandmother, the Duchess Maria Valia Quertis. Master Frest, please–”

“Very good, Winter. You may finish.”


Shadow Stranger

“Sometimes when I walk home I see my shadow stretching out, and I feel like it belongs to someone else entirely. When it’s sunset and the sky is orange and everything else is tinged with rust, I walk home together with my shadow. Even though we’re going the same way, it’s a little bit like walking with a total stranger.”


The Imitated Rose

“There is a certain someone already,” he said. He had given his name as Aoi, though it was not the same name that he gave to clients during the day; there was a blue rose in his jacket lapel. “I would ask that you do not inquire too deeply.”

The other man, who had introduced himself as Murasaki and kept a violet rose in his own lapel, just smiled. “That is fine with me,” he said. “There is also a certain person in my circumstances. I won’t ask if you don’t.”


Solitary Hide And Seek

One, two, are you ready yet?

The snow is beginning to fall. There is a thick blanket of it already, deep enough to leave footsteps. The sound of a single boy’s voice echoes but is muffled through the white. It takes a long time before the answer comes back to him–

Three, four, not just yet.