Even in Thailand we are lonely. Anybody that came from Japan is treated like they are diseased. Those who went to the Koreas have it worse than the ones in Thailand. There are rumors that they are shoved into crammed neighborhoods like the Jews were in World War II. They along with the rest of the world had too many news reports of Japan’s dying state.
Thailand is no different.
I’ve seen the looks on the people’s faces. We are uninvited guests to them. I can hardly buy anything from the markets because they won’t take my money. My master has to step in with the purchases. I don’t know how he does it.
“It isn’t your fault,” Mikado explained. “They are worried about the plague killing them too.” I sat on my hotel bed, eyeing him.
“Mikado-san,” I said. I moved my hands into my lap.
“What is Japan going to be like five or ten years after the people have left?” I asked. It felt painful to ask. Knowing him, he wouldn’t want to tell me anyway. But just like with mom and Jun-san, I just had to know. Mikado had a dead look in his eyes.
“Slowly being eaten away by nature,” he said. “There will be nobody to make the repairs to the buildings or the landmarks. Not only that, the typhoons and earthquake will send the whole country into further ruin. Overtime, Japan will look nothing like it did before the plague started wiping people out.” He sounded so angry as he spoke. I lowered my head.
“I am sorry I asked,” I murmured.
“Don’t be,” he said. “You didn’t cause this.” My master walked out of the room. I think I upset him again. He doesn’t say it sometimes, but I can guess how he feels. I have learned to know what kind of mood he is in at times. I had to because he won’t talk to me.
I looked behind me saw Akira-kun sound asleep on the bed. I brushed his hair from his face. Must be so easy for him. He’s only a child. All he has to worry about is food and one of us to take care of him. Plus, he knows more about his father than I do.
I looked out the hotel window again. Today alone felt exhausting. I’m used to people staring at me. But these people made me feel uneasy. Some of them were whispering to each other. It didn’t help that didn’t understand what they were saying. My master had to be my translator. The whole time, he looked over his shoulder at me.
“Don’t bother to ask me,” he mouthed at me. I kept my mouth closed and Akira-kun by my side. The more we walked through the streets, I wasn’t sure who they were staring at more, my master or me. It seemed like they could sense that he and his son were tadpoles. My eyes trailed over to my master’s back.
“Don’t say anything,” he said under his breath. I looked the other way and said nothing. Lunch was just awkward with silence. I got used to eating Thai right away. My master still doesn’t eat much. The waitress noticed it too. She kept offering different items off of the menu.
“No, I’m fine,” he would say. “Just get me more tea.” The waitress would reluctantly nod and walk away. It is at meal times that I try to piece together who my master really. I know that he can hear my thoughts, but I try anyway. Sometimes, he doesn’t call me out on it. I don’t know whether to be worried or relieved. That afternoon, I pushed it out of my mind and focus on trying to figure him out. He said that the Tandeki Group took everything away from him. Did they all get killed by the plague? Did he have anymore siblings? How many others were alive out there? Who was this Itori-san and her daughter? How did they survive? Where were they now?
He didn’t say anything this time. My master didn’t even look at Akira-kun and me. I pressed my lips together. It was tempting to push him to say something. Instead, he flicked out his cigarette and took another smoke. In the end, I sighed and gave up.
I turned around when I heard the door open. My master leaned against the door frame with a disappointed look on his face.
“They don’t want to talk here,” he said. “I can’t feel her anywhere either.”
“So… what do that mean?” I asked. “Are we going to leave again?”
“Not quite,” he said. “I did find this.” My master reached into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled-up piece of paper.
“I found this hidden in a graveyard,” he added.
“Why would you go there?” I asked.
“I overheard some old men playing cards talking about a red-haired Japanese woman leaving something in a graveyard. Heh, I shocked them when I spoke perfect Thai.”
“What does it say?”
“Hang on.” My master walked over to me with the paper in hand. I narrowed my eyes as I tried to read the faint handwriting.
“What does that say?” I asked.
“West,” he said. I looked up at him.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“I can’t really tell yet.”
“Are we going to have to leave again?”
“Not yet.” He walked over and flopped down onto his bed.
I tilted my head. This will be pointless to ask, but I just had to do it. I slid off of my bed and walked over to him.
“No, I don’t want to talk about it,” he said.
“Okay,” I said. I turned and walked back to my bed. I knew that was going to happen.
Hours passed by. I couldn’t sleep. When I get like this, I start thinking about what’s going to happen to us. I have no family and no boyfriend. I can’t really go back to Seattle. I don’t know anyone there. My master only let me in a little bit about himself two months ago. Other than, it’s gone back to him saying nothing. I don’t think anything has changed since we came to Thailand. We are just strangers in a strange land. But what will happen when the plague comes here? Some Japanese people look healthy, but they could be carrying the disease and not know it. My master has assured me that I am clean. It doesn’t help that there is no cure or no way to detect the plague. We will just have to wait for death.
That’s not the only thing that worries me.
Where will we go after the plague takes over Thailand? I don’t think my passport is up to date. I don’t think my master or his son has one either. At this point, I don’t think it matters anymore. Everyone from Japan has nowhere to go. I’m just lucky to have met Mikado and Akira-kun.
My mind wandered back to my neighbors. Did Mori-san make it out okay? Where did she go? I wanted to believe that she was okay.
“Do you believe it or are you hoping that?” I heard. I looked to see my staring at me from his bed. I shook my head.
“I don’t know,” I said. “Maybe, I just want one happy ending for a change.”
“I’m afraid that is not possible,” my master said.
“Must you kill any hope I have left?”
“I’m sorry, but do you want me to cheer you up or to hear the truth?”
“Neither from you.” I shivered as his blue eyes seemed to glow in the dark.
“I don’t get you,” I said.
“Get what?” Mikado asked.
“You won’t talk to me. I try to get close to you, but you push me away. You won’t tell me anything about yourself.”
“I have to keep you away from me.”
“Akira-kun and I will live on. You will grow out and die. I have already left too many people close to me. I don’t know if I can handle anymore.”
My master turned over in his bed. “Good night.”
I puffed up my cheeks as I clenched my sheets. “Fine, good night to you too, jerk.” I down in bed and pulled the sheets over my sheets. I closed my eyes and tried to sleep.
Still, I will stay with him and Akira-kun. I don’t have a choice. I don’t have anyone else. I don’t have anywhere else to go. I have nothing.
I can still see their faces. Tandeki made it so that I couldn’t save them. Anri-chan died being used to fuel the plague. Kida-kun was locked away in frozen sleep being used to free the Woman in Red. I haven’t been able to locate him at all. I can’t even hear his heart anymore. Most of the other tadpoles ended up dead as well. Their powers run through my body. I can hear their voices crying out to me still.
Jessie can’t stay with me like this. I don’t mean to push her away, but I will be honest, I am afraid. It’s silly to carry this fear of losing more people. But after all that I have seen, I can’t get rid of it so easily. It’s like it’s proof that I can still feel something. However, I just can’t leave her behind somewhere. I have to leave her in a safe place. Somewhere she can settle down, get married, and raise a family. This life of wandering doesn’t suit her.
But where does that leave me?
I’m not really human anymore. I would stand out no matter where I go. I’ve gotten used to it, but Akira-kun is a whole different matter. He doesn’t really need me, but he doesn’t fully grasp the world yet. He is a half-breed. His abilities aren’t as strong as mine. I haven’t had the time to see the full extent of his powers. I can sense when he is near. He can’t hear me in his head. His voice comes through my head, but his voice sounded so muzzled. Akira-kun’s powers first manifested when he was three years old. He doesn’t really need me.
But, I need him.
“It is okay to lie here, but you can’t keep lying to yourself out there. Remember that,” Cheri said. I smirked to myself in bed. I hate to admit, but she’s got a point. But, my lies help me to keep from going crazy. I’m not the only one either.
Everyone in Thailand lies. They pretend that everything is normal. I wonder if they know that the end is coming from them too. Already, I could see the visions of Thailand’s future. We would’ve been gone by now if I had picked out our next destination. I don’t really see the point. The rest of the world will turn into Japan. There will be nothing left to save it. I’m just going to be the one to watch it all slowly die away.
I clutched my pillow as that old feeling of rage bubbled to the surface.
I will not let it go down like this. I can’t take it anymore. I will find a way to stop this. I will go back in time if I have to.
But I ran into a problem with that plan.
The forces warring in the other worlds won’t allow me to do so. There are other things they won’t let me do. I’ve tried to go to Heaven to see Anri-chan again, but I was denied.
“But why?” I asked. Rei, the leader of the tennin, shook her head.
“I am sorry, Mikado,” she said. “That’s just how it is.”
“But…” I said. She bowed her head.
“I really wish I could bend the rules,” Rei said. “I’m so sorry.” That was it. I couldn’t bring back my siblings and my friends. I can’t die. I can’t go into Heaven. But, I refuse to wander and push Jessie away anymore. I want Akira-kun to grow up in a better world.
I made up my mind.
I will give it my all to undo all of this. To hell with the forces against me. I am tired of being the audience. I am fighting back. I will not be Kitano’s eyes anymore. I don’t know how I am going to do it, but I will try.
I turned to see Jessie finally asleep in her bed. Oh well, she’ll have to stay with me a little bit longer. While I try to fix this mess, I will try to find a safe place for her to live. If I do success in fixing this mess, I might never get to see her again. But at least she’ll still have her boyfriend and her family. It will all be worth it. She won’t be so lonely. I might see her again, but it would be different circumstances.
I looked over at Akira-kun asleep beside her. He deserves to have his mother and father in his life. He’d probably grow up a little more normal. Heh, normal. There isn’t such a thing for Akira-kun and me anymore. I won’t be able to go back to the time before I was turned into a tadpole, but I can make it so that Akira-kun will have what can be passable for a normal life. Will I be able to get everyone back? Will the forces above try to stop me? I don’t care anymore. Jessie and Akira-kun are all that matter. Once I find Itori and Sakura, I will get them to help me. All for Jessie and Akira-kun.
I will do it for both of them. I will reach out back in time to change their future.
The next morning, I saw my master sitting on the bed, staring at me.
“Mikado… -san?” I asked. I sat up with a confused look on my face.
“What happened? Is something wrong?” I asked. He smiled and shook his head. I don’t think I have ever seen him smile.
“No,” he said. “Everything is fine. I have made my mind.”
“What?” I asked. His face came within inches of mine.
“I will make this up to you,” he said. “I will try and fix all of this.”
“What?” I asked. He stood up and walked over to the door.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“To get you and Akira-kun food,” my master said. He walked out the door behind I could ask any more questions. I sat there even more confused than ever. What did he mean by he would fix all of this? He just keeps making it more confusing for me.