When Cherry Blossoms Bloom

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Scorched Earth

Hirozaki fought a lump in his throat. Ruth had been fighting this entire time on her own. No support system. “What can I do?” He asked his friend. “There’s nothing you can do.” Hirozaki sighed and lay back. Iruko put his hand on his friends shoulder. “There is a process we have to follow. At the end of the waiting period, she will be taken before a judge. He will then decide whether there is enough evidence to keep her in the hospital or release her.” Hirozaki sighed. “I’m sure her mother will be there to make sure her daughter is forced to stay. I can’t even be there to support her.” Iruko nodded. “True, but I have hired a really good friend of mine to represent her. Also I paid for a private detective to dig up information that may be useful. It’s interesting that her mother is so adamant that you be kept away from her. Another friend of mine from KU that works in Psychology explained it to me some. She said that the only reason an abuser will go to such great lengths is because they are feeling threatened.” Hirosaki looked at him. “Think about it. Ruth was so happy. You have given her so much hope in such a short time. It was having a positive impact on her.” Hirozaki shook his head and frowned. “But how would her mother have found out?” “From what my friend said, abuse victims sometimes will still seek to gain their abuser’s approval. She called her mom because she was happy and wanted to share that with her. It never crossed her mind that her mom would retaliate. Even if its obvious.” Hirozaki was tired. “Look,” He tells his friend. “Here’s the friend I talked to.” He handed a card to Hiro. “She said you can call her and she will be happy to answer any questions. I have another trick up my sleeve.” Hirozaki brightened some at that. “What?” Iruko smiled. “Her older kids are on their way over to meet us. We are going to sit down and talk to them. If you intend to pursue a serious relationship with Ruth, then this will only benefit you.” Hirozaki nodded.

The meeting with her children was surprisingly pleasant. They were excited to meet him and when he explained his intentions, the boys were ecstatic. The oldest started laughing. “That’s amazing.” Her son says. “What?” Hirozaki asked. Iruko was curious. “My mom dreamt about you.” Hirozaki froze. “Please, I didn’t mean to scare you.” He says when he saw his reaction. “My mom’s an intuitive.” He said matter of factly. Hirozaki released the breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. Her son smiled. “It was nearly a year ago, but you’re exactly what she had described. It’s a good bet you guys met how she imagined too.” Hirozaki nodded. He may not have known the details of her dream, but it explained how everything had occurred thus far. How everything seemed to just fall into place. Despite every attempt he had made to control the situation. Believing he could when there was power at play here that he couldn’t even begin to understand. Over the next couple of hours Iruko had the boys describe their mother on their terms. They verified that their grandmother had been abusing her for years. Financially, emotionally, psychologically. Their mother had told them on many occasions that until their grandmother was dead, her only purpose was cause her daughter as much pain as she possibly could. And she was willing to go to any lengths to make it happen. Hirozaki was so tired. Iruko watched his friend for a moment. “Hiro,” He says. “The boys and I are going to sit and talk a while longer, you need to rest.” Hirozaki nodded and excused himself. He went to the kitchen first and fixed himself a cup of tea. Hoping it would calm him so that he could sleep. As soon as he had finished it, he undressed and lay down.

He found himself in darkness again. The familiar voices from before. Instead of being in a chair with chains, he found Ruth lying on a hospital bed. She was strapped down. He saw a dark figure beside the bed. “Do you believe you can save her?” He heard it hiss. “I do.” He answered simply. He watched then as the figure seemed to reach into her with the tip of his claw like nail. He held a fine thread of light. “She loves you.” He said suddenly, he looked up. Hirozaki could see his eyes then. Burning ember. He took a breath. “No.” A familiar voice whispered. “He can’t. I forbid it.” It struck him then. The voice was her mother. The voice that Ruth had to live with in her mind. That constant reminder of her worthlessness. That stealer of children for nothing more than to cause pain, to gain power. Hirozaki clenched his fists gathering his strength. “I will not allow you to hurt her anymore.” He yelled. The voice hissed. The dark figure only laughed. “You have no power here, human. Even gifted as you are. Only the person who carries the demons can defeat them.” “Do you doubt that I can help her achieve that?” It was bold of him and stupid. The cloaked figure stood before him in a flash then. “Fool, you dare to provoke me. Away with you.” Hirozaki awoke then. It was morning. He hissed in pain and looked for the source. On his chest he found a long deep scratch. Blood trickled only just. No deeper than a paper cut. Hirozaki jumped out of bed and dressed. Iruko was in the kitchen reading the paper and drinking a cup of coffee. Hirozaki grabbed a cup and fixed himself some tea. When he sat down, Iruko noticed the scratch. “Hiro, what the hell is that?” Hirozaki pulled down his collar to show his friend. Iruko gasped. “Its a message.” “From who?” Hirozaki shook his head. This situation had certainly become more complicated. He called the Dean of his college as well as another friend of his. His friend agreed to be on the next flight to the States.

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