Memories at dawn

When Tomorrow Doesn’t Come

Somewhere, far away, between the mountains, there is an everlasting green forest. But there is something strange about it. There wasn’t even one evergreen tree, yet, during winter, not even one tree lost its color nor its leaves. Each day they seem to start dying, but the next morning it’s like they’ve been born anew. There is something very interesting about it. Among the trees, between leaves, there can be sighted a little village. Filled with people of all ages, preoccupied with work, although something’s awfully strange for it seems each day is just like a déjà vu for everyone that lives there. Travelers that passed through that village have spread the word about it. Although the word has spread throughout the world, it became a vague myth. As no one actually knows what is going on in the village, but even so the story about it keeps ringing through the villages far and wide. Its strangeness caught the attention of many wanderers. Many have tried to investigate that area, yet few have returned, after quite some time, surprising everyone they knew. Because everyone that succeeded coming back thought they stayed in that village just one day. Saying that to friends and family you left behind is a bit shocking if you stayed for over three months away and the road time until there takes merely two days. Although the mystery still remains for them, they choose to forget about it because they were too afraid to try again to find out.

As time passed, words about the ones that investigated it and got away spread. One day, those words reached the ears of a middle-aged man. He had pure white hair, an eye of an unearthly green, a color unsighted by mere humans neither in nature nor in dreams. Looking in his eye was just like looking straight at the essence of a forest, overwhelming your soul in an unknown feeling of calmness and beauty, just like looking at a huge forest filled with green as far as the eye can see. Watching the wind blow swiftly through the dancing branches, leaves flying around with such a calm rhythm, such a relaxing view. He always carried a wooden backpack with a lot of medicine, smoked cigarettes pretty often and had an eye for strange stuff. His name is Ginko, at least that’s his name now.

When he heard, he felt a chill down the spine, for something like this was never seen and so it got his attention. Although many have tried and failed, it didn’t stop him from wanting to get a taste of mystery. So he went towards the village. On his way, he asked many people but none believed it and sent him away and so he learned that it’s not something to joke around. As questions kept going around about him and his so-called tale, a young boy heard about it. As Ginko was leaving the village he was passing by to get to his destination, a loud yell could be heard throughout the eastern side of the village.

Boy: White misteeer! Waaaaait! I know something!

Ginko stopped. A swift blow of wind suddenly came out of nowhere on the nice weather, just as he was about to hear something terrible. He turned around his head to the right and stared at the boy while smoking a cigarette. For the youngster to be stared by that glare, of a man that’s been turned down from all sides and finally finding something, was a shocking moment, like it was piercing right through him.

Boy (With a trembling voice): I… I… I…

Ginko: If that’s all I’ll take my leave. (Thinking it might be problematic for the boy to talk about that in front of the villagers)

Boy (Said with a dead serious voice): MY FATHER WAS TAKEN BY THAT VILLAGE!

Ginko (Opens his eyes wide out, being surprised and asks): Is there anywhere we could talk in private?

Boy: Sure, come with me, there is a little glade just next to the lake in the forest in front of the village.

The glade was lighted by the sun in pleasant rays dancing with the branches as the wind blew. Fallen broken trees were lying around just like wooden benches. Ginko sat on a fallen tree while looking at the boy in front of him being very desperate.

Ginko: Alright boy! Tell me everything you know!

Boy: I don’t know too much myself, but I hope it’ll be enough. About one year ago, my father had a delivery to make towards one of our relatives in that cursed village. He left, but didn’t come back. I sent him a letter after six months, but his answer shocked me. I asked him when will he come back and how is he doing and I’ve written the date of that day. But in his reply, he had written: “You should watch more carefully when you write the date, you got it almost six months ahead, also I am doing well, people are nice and I think I’ll leave in four days so I should be back in about a week.”. He still didn’t come back since then. Many of the villagers have lost someone this way.

Ginko: Why are they so afraid to talk about it?

Boy: Because they fear that the curse might fall upon our village as well.

Ginko: I see, are you not afraid of it?

Boy: I don’t care! I want my father back! Will you bring him back?

Ginko: I’ll see what I can do. What’s his name?

Boy: Kaito. Thank you so much!

Ginko: Sure, sure, don’t mention it!

The boy and Ginko parted ways, as the little one went home, Ginko kept his road towards the strange village worrying about it, since he never heard anything about such an event or a mushi that would be able to cause it.

As he finally reached the village during a beautiful morning, nothing seemed strange. It looked just like a regular village. As far as he was concerned, not even a single animal, plant or rock seemed off. He went around the village to ask the people what were their lives like and he was surprised to hear that everyone believed the date was five years before. That was the moment he realized something was wrong. But the question he kept asking himself was “What is happening, is this some kind of joke or a new type of mushi?”. As this question kept hitting him, he wandered off to have another friendly chat with the people there. He went to ask someone at the motel and started chatting with the manager.

Ginko: Hello there! How is your day going?

Manager: Pretty nice! How can I be of help to you, future man?

Ginko: Future man? Why am I a future man?

Manager: Everyone knows about your previous talks with the villagers, about the date, and you are five years ahead. That’s why we call you future man.

Ginko: I just got here and I have already a nickname. Can you answer a few questions for me?

Manager: Sure!

Ginko: What did you do yesterday?

Manager: Well … I slept, I woke up, I went to bathroom to …

(The manager gets interrupted by Ginko all of a sudden)

Ginko: Haha, very funny, I mean as something different, not so detailed.

Manager: Sorry, I went to work as usual. After work, I went shopping for fruits, then I took some water from the well in my neighborhood. I stayed on my porch until night came and afterwards I went to sleep.

Ginko: Where is the shop and the well more precisely?

Manager: Well, let’s see … (said while walking outside the motel with Ginko) Go straight ahead for about ten houses, turn left, walk about two or three houses while looking on the right side, you should be able to spot the shop through a little pathway between houses. And the well is right behind the storehouse.

Ginko: Thanks a lot!

Manager: Take care! Hope I’ll see you again as a customer, future man!

Ginko: Sure! See you later! (Thinking: Future man again, I’ll have it as a name from now on around here)

As he went towards the shop, Ginko asked everyone on the way about what they did yesterday and nothing seemed off. They all did regular stuff and went back to sleep. He reached the shop and started chatting with a merchant.

Ginko: Hello there!

Merchant: Hello customer, how may I be of service to you? Some apples, some carrots or maybe some potatoes, what do you say?

Ginko (Investigates the fruits and everything else for anything suspicious): Hey, take it easy, I am just looking … for now, I might come later to buy some. I’m new around here and I just came to see if anything catches my interest, and to see where I can wander off to buy what I need. Also, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?

Merchant: As you can see I don’t have so many clients so go ahead.

Ginko: Where do you get your fruits from?

Merchant (Says on a sarcastic tone): You want to make me competition? Hahaha …

Ginko: No, I wouldn’t even have the patience to deal with everyone coming at the store. I asked because I was curious ’cause I didn’t see any plantation on my way.

Merchant: Oh, well sir, as you can see, we are in a deep forest, many of the trees around are fructiferous. There are also many trees throughout the village with delicious fruits.

Ginko: I see, so the sales are pretty tough, are you selling more to other villages?

Merchant: Tough? Not at all, most of the villagers have a lot of work to do, so they don’t have the time to go pick up fruits and climb trees, so they buy from me. As for selling outside of the village, how was your way here?

Ginko: Not too bad. Although it wasn’t so easy.

Merchant: Did you come on a road here?

Ginko: No.

Merchant: Exactly. That’s because there are no roads outside the village, so it would be way too hard to carry food through it, for I cannot take too much without a carriage. It’s also a long distance towards the closest village and it wouldn’t justify the effort for so little food.

Ginko: Why not build a road? It should be of much use for a village so deep in the mountains.

Merchant: Well, some folk from the east side of the village wanted to make a road, but when they were about to start they saw that someone was already building a road so they let the ones that started it build it.

Ginko: When was that?

Merchant: Well, just this morning!

Ginko: I see … well then, see you later!

Merchant: Sure, good luck, future man!

Ginko (Thinking: that nickname goes around quite fast and easy): Thanks!

As they parted ways, Ginko went towards the well. As he reached it, he was already investigating the surrounding area, but nothing seemed strange. He checked the water as well and there was nothing suspect about it. As nothing strange showed up, he went to check the rest of the village. He went to the trees that go throughout the village, but except the fact that the fruits were delicious, there was nothing strange. The trees were blossoming beautifully with pink little flowers as many as leaves should be. The fruits were pear shaped and tasted like strawberries and watermelons. After all the work he had done, he found nothing and returned to the motel and waited in the lobby while smoking a cigarette as midnight was approaching. A middle-aged man came next to him to have a chat.

Man: Hello!

Ginko: Hello!

Man: You’re not from around here, now are you?

Ginko (Thinking: Someone who doesn’t know me already): Well no, I just arrived today. I wanted to see interesting stuff, are there such things around here?

Man: Well, I don’t recall having anything strange or out of the ordinary. What do you understand by interesting stuff?

Ginko: Well … something that isn’t quite normal, or that everyone does regardless of gender or age.

Man: Ahhh, we do have something that we all do regardless of age and gender.

Ginko (Opens his eyes wide thinking he finally found a reason that causes the so-called curse): Tell me!

Man: It’s hard to explain.

Ginko: Just say it, I’ll understand! (says Ginko becoming more and more curious)

Man: Are you prepared for it?

Ginko: Say it, just say it already!

Man: We breathe.

Ginko: Huh?!

Man: Really, we all breathe! (Says the man starting to laugh)

Ginko: Well, isn’t this town filled with funny people, you are all so jolly and have lots of jokes. Do you even talk serious from time to time?

Man: Serious, what’s that? (Asks the man filled with sarcasm and laughing even harder)

Ginko (Starts laughing smoothly when he spots some luggage a few meters away from them): There is someone that had enough jokes it seems.

Man: Who?

Ginko (Points towards the luggage): Don’t know, but he’s prepared to leave it seems.

Man: Those are mine.

Ginko: Really? Why are you leaving, aren’t you happy here?

Man: I really enjoy it here, but I have a place to go back to.

Ginko: Must be nice. Someone waiting for you there?

Man: Yes! My son.

Ginko: When are you leaving?

Man: Well right after midnight.

Ginko: Isn’t it dangerous this late through the forest alone?

Man: I am not alone.

Ginko: Who else is leaving the village?

Man: There are many tourists that came looking for different things and stayed here during the day to get provisions for the road.

Ginko: I see, well then, I’ll go to my room now.

Man: Enjoy your stay! (Says the man while leaving)

Ginko: Thanks, take care on your way home! (Says as he was heading towards the stairs)

Right after taking the first step on the stairs the manager asked him something.

Ginko: Sorry! I didn’t hear what you said, I am quite tired.

Manager: How do you feel about our village?

Ginko: It’s nice, filled with jolly people everywhere.

Manager: Glad to hear that. If I can be of service feel free to ask.

Ginko: I don’t need anything for now … wait, there’s something I’d like to know. That man’s name with whom I talked just now, I forgot to ask him his name.

Manager: The man that just left the motel? Well, he came in the morning fixed on looking around the village and leaving the first night afterwards. I believe his name was …

Ginko: Was?

Manager: Ohh, yeah, his name was Kaito!

Ginko (Turns around completely surprised and asks): When did he come?

Manager: Just this morning!

Hearing that Ginko bursts out of the motel and runs as fast as he can towards the forest to get out of the village. He figured out something happens at midnight and didn’t want to be caught in there with no intel from before. As he reached the forest the bell of midnight rang. As the sound kept echoing through the village and forest, Ginko stopped all of a sudden. His eyes became like those of a dead body, emotionless and empty. He suddenly collapsed right at the edge of the village. Everything around him started acting strange, the trees were suddenly motionless and the animals were falling one after another, birds and squirrels could be seen falling onto the ground from high spots. Then a big shallow shadow covered the entire village and forest and everything in them for a few moments. Then everything started glowing yellow and right afterwards the shadow and the glow disappeared. Everything was normal, like everyone just went to sleep. As night passed and the morning came, Ginko woke up and said to himself: Huh, I must’ve been quite tired to fall asleep right at the edge of the village. Hmmm, well whatever, time to check out the village!

As strange as it would seem the new day is just as the one that just passed. As Ginko passes through the village checking on stuff, he meets the same people and ends up the same. Day after day, nothing new and nothing changed, he just wandered off through the village meeting more people. But he met someone else in the village that seemed from outside. An old man that was walking around watching the people around like he knew everyone, yet no one knew him. Seeing each other they started having a chat.

Kiba: Hello there! You are a new face around here. Are you a traveler?

Ginko: Yes, sort of. I am Ginko! And you are …?

Kiba: Pardon my manners, my name is Kiba!

Ginko: Nice to meet you. Since you called me a new face, I take it you know everyone in the village?

Kiba: Well, pretty much. I walk around daily and watch everyone so young spend their times so nicely together that it remembers me of old times.

Ginko: Must be nice to have so many memories. Can you tell me a tale from this village?

Kiba: Sure, let me think about one that would attract youngsters such as you.

Ginko: Youngsters such as me?

Kiba: The type that travels a lot, you must have stories of your own, so I want to make a shocking impression with a good old story. I just remembered one, since I was little. It’s pretty long, do you have the time?

Ginko: Sure, I’m not in a hurry, besides, I’d love to hear a story that would suit youngsters such as me. (Said Ginko while giving a smooth smile and started smoking a cigarette)

Kiba: Well, it all started when I was young and naïve. Thinking that all stories come to end happily. I came across a woman of my taste. Nice and very funny, you see, if she makes me laugh, it doesn’t matter how she looks. Her name was Asuka. A cute name for a cute girl. I started watching her discreetly to find out more about her, what she likes, what she prefers. And after more hours I knew so much about her, but I had that little boy problem. I was too afraid to talk to her about how I felt about her. As days passed nothing changed. Just as shy to talk to her and just as far from her, so she wouldn’t notice me. But she got a boyfriend and I was destroyed seeing them like that. As days passed I kept hating the man more and more for being next to her. I began thinking he was not good enough for her and that I was perfect for her. I kept chasing them, seeing them kiss and laugh together, holding arms and hugging, only pissed me off more and more. I began trying to break their relationship with child pranks. I was such a kid back then, I even stuck toilet paper to his shoes to embarrass him and nothing changed, she kept laughing. For a man who is in love to see the loved one with someone else is torture, I can assure you of that. After a month of relationship, they were so strongly bonded. But she suddenly saw him while shopping for fruits. When she got closer to greet him that morning, she spotted another woman next to him and they started kissing. She was destroyed by that act. Asuka went home crying and I was so happy then, thinking it was my time to shine, to make her mine. So I went to her home, I knocked at her door and guess what.

Ginko: She sent you away?

Kiba: I wish that was the case, no, the door opened, it wasn’t locked, not even closed. Then, I saw her, lying on the ground, with blood coming down from her wrist. I got closer to see if she was still alive and I saw the knife. Then, her mother came in the house. She saw her own daughter on the ground dead and me next to her, she started screaming “murderer” and people came towards her house. I jumped off through the back window, knowing they wouldn’t believe she took her own life since they found me around there. So from a wonderful love story, I ended up being accused of murder of the one I loved. How ironic can that be? I got chased, outside the villages from around ours again and again. Isn’t fate a twisted lady with bad taste?

Ginko: She sure is. I’m sorry to hear about your awful past. But it seems you passed over it.

Kiba: Yeah, but even so I went through more stories that were supposed to end nice and went horrifying in a second. If you want to hear more sad stories, I could tell you more.

Ginko (Takes a deep breath, being disappointed that the one trace he could find was just an old man telling sad memories): Sure, I got nowhere to go anyway, it’s almost midnight but I still have a long night ahead.

Kiba: It’s almost midnight? Then I have to go, I’ll tell you more stories tomorrow when we meet. After all you’ll definitely forget my story.

Ginko: I wouldn’t forget such a sad story. It’s marking, even if I would get punched now, I would feel lucky for not going through what you went then sir.

Kiba: Trust me, you’ll forget it, I have a feeling you will.

Then the old man went away without even taking farewell from Ginko and went walking. Ginko went back to the motel and started writing on a piece of paper and left it on the desk. Soon afterwards midnight fell upon the village as it always did for a long time. And so the morning came and the day started once again the same as before, no one knowing what happened. As he met the old man they had the same chat but with a different story. It kept like this for almost a month, each time with a new story, until he once visited the Kiba’s house and felt a strange presence. A powerful presence, with a strong sweet smell. After some tea Ginko returned towards the motel and just as before wrote on a piece of paper, but this time he written on one more, but on the second one was just one word. The next morning, the village was just as always, but something was missing. Ginko was nowhere to be found. Kiba found it strange but gave no importance to it. And so Ginko had left. He went from place to place talking with so many people in the neighboring villages and even further. Wandered so far that he even went to miss Tanyuu to search for something. Asking several mushishi along the way he finally was satisfied and went back towards the cursed village straight in the morning, around 6 AM. At dawn, Ginko entered the village and went to Kiba’s house without a second delay. There, the old man was waiting at the front door for Ginko.

Kiba: Hello! Can I help you traveler?

Ginko: Do you have any idea who I am? (Said Ginko with a serious look on his face)

Kiba: Nope, I never seen you before.

Ginko: Nice act, but let me introduce myself, I am Ginko, a mushishi.

Kiba: Ohhh, I didn’t expect that. With what can I be of help to you?

Ginko: Well, let’s start with the beginning, what is going on in this village and how are you doing it?

Kiba: What are you talking about?

Ginko: Cut the act! You are the only one who remembers what happens and you most likely have a connection with what is happening here.

Kiba: I don’t know what you are talking about, please leave at once! (Says while turning around to get in the house)

Ginko: Very well, I might be wrong, but also, before you leave, I want to give you some advice. You should stop inventing stories to impress people. I went and checked all the places of the stories you have told me and none have happened there. (Says while showing a clever smile)

Kiba: I have one question. How did you remember me?

Ginko: Well, it’s a short story.

Kiba: Go on, I wanna hear all about it.

Ginko: Actually it’s pretty simple, after the first day I met you I wrote that story on a piece of paper and your name. The next morning I woke up and I saw the note. I wouldn’t have believed it, if it wasn’t my hand writing on it. At the end of the note it was written “Keep on!”, so I had continued like this. Day after day I have listened to your stories and each night I wrote them. Until one morning when I saw an additional note on which was written just this “RUUUN!!!”. So guess what happened next.

Kiba: You ran and you investigated anything that might help you find something about me. Am I wrong?

Ginko: Nope, you are perfectly right.

Kiba (Started smiling): And what did you find?

Ginko: Nothing at all. Nice stories you told me, great emotional impact, but good thing they were lies. So what is going on here?

Kiba: Well, those stories were all true, the reason you didn’t find anything about me is another, which I will tell you some other time. Also, what is going on is really simple, I just stopped the time around here. That’s all!

Ginko: You make it sound so simple, but do you think it’s funny?

Kiba: What? I am not doing this out of fun. I just got sick and tired of seeing people fight.

Ginko: What do you mean by fight? Everyone here seems so nice.

Kiba: Now, but they usually kept fighting before I blocked the time. They started fights over anything. I got rid of some troublesome guys and made the village more peaceful. And I blocked the time to protect this peace.

Ginko (Becomes frustrated): And you have the right to do that? Who do you think you are?

Kiba: No one special. Just someone who dreams of peace and created it.

Ginko: This isn’t peace, it’s prison. You caught people who had nothing to do with the village.

Kiba: And? This is the most peaceful place on earth, why would they leave anyway?

Ginko: What about those who miss them and love them?

Kiba: They are always welcome here too.

Ginko: But how are you doing all of this?

Kiba: Simple. There is a light vein underneath the village, but it broke to the surface as kouki under my house. So I am using the power of the kouki to empower two mushi and hold control over them.

Ginko: Two mushi? Which?

Kiba: A kairogi and a tokoyami. (Ginko freezes in a surprised face as he hears) The kairogi is a mushi that connects all the subconsciousness of people through invisible channels. And a tokoyami, well, you know what it is, just a mushi of darkness.

Ginko: I know what both of them are, but how can you control them like this?

Kiba: I have a lot of practice.

Ginko: Why are you telling me all this?

Kiba: Because I don’t plan on letting you go anymore.

Ginko suddenly starts running away through the village and Kiba chases him. Ginko stops right in the center of the village, with many people around.

Ginko: So, how are you gonna stop me with all these people around? I could just tell them this instant the truth behind you.

Kiba (puts on a smile): Please, go ahead, let’s see who will believe you.

A random person passing by stops and asks Ginko.

Person: Hey, who are you talking to?

Ginko: To Kiba, the guy over there. (points towards Kiba)

Person: What are you talking about? There’s no one over there.

Ginko freezes of shock, turns head slowly towards Kiba and hears him laugh gently.

Kiba: Surprise, I am not human. Strange you didn’t realize sooner. (turns his back to Ginko) But anyway, come with me for a walk and I’ll tell you some more, I bet you’re curious. (slowly walks away)

Ginko (towards person): It must’ve been my imagination. I just remembered I have somewhere to go, see you later. (and walks slowly behind Kiba)

Kiba: Let’s start with what you want to hear. I am half mushi and half human. What’s special about this form? The tokoyami can’t eat me, for I am nor human nor mushi, I am something it resents. The existence of halflings like this isn’t tolerated by some mushi, as seeing it a taboo. Therefore, the same tokoyami simply won’t consume me again.

Ginko: Again?

Kiba: Yes. Do you remember the last great earthquake in this area?

Ginko: I wasn’t around, but I heard about something like that, around here it happened many years ago. About 300 years ago. I read about strange mushi coming after that in some archives.

Kiba: Well, more precisely 317 years ago. Do you see that thing in the bushes behind my house?

Ginko: I can’t see anything there; the bushes are too dense.

Kiba: Then get closer.

Ginko (steps next to the bushes and pushes them to the side): Hmmm … K … K … Kiba Tokomaru … Deceased … (suddenly Ginko stops)

Kiba: Why did you stop? It’s my tombstone, you can at least read it. It was placed over 300 years ago so it’s not so readable now. Have you heard of a banquet offered by the mushi to a chosen human to transform him into a mushi? Well, it’s true, I’ve been in one of those. But when I was about to drink the sake, a hunter shot one of them thinking it was an owl’s eye. Then they disappeared, but the sake remained. So I took it to my home, but I wasn’t sure if I was to drink it anymore. Then it happened, the earthquake started. The front door collapsed, and I heard cracking throughout my house. So I decided then, I started drinking the sake as fast as I could, but nature is cruel indeed. The house collapsed on me. Fortunately, I was able to drink half of it before it happened, so although my human body was crushed, my existence didn’t cease to remain in this world. It simply got halved.

Ginko: So that’s why I couldn’t find anything about you. You lived so long ago that there is no one who knows you anymore.

Kiba: Exactly, also, you can’t do anything against me.

Ginko: We’ll see about that. (says as he leaves)

Kiba: I’ll be waiting for you then. See you soon. (says as he puts on a smile and sits down on the ground)

Ginko starts running through the village towards the exit. He gets out of the village, and after running through the forest for a little time he ends up back at Kiba’s home.

Kiba: Hey there, long time no see. (laughing gently)

Ginko: What the heck?

Ginko starts running again away, same result, again and again, still the same happened. His feet felt so numb after all the running. Breathing hardly, he asks.

Ginko: What … is going on?

Kiba: Didn’t I tell you it’s no use?! I control a kairogi and tokoyami, I use the kairogi to enter your mind and the tokoyami to numb and control your senses. You can’t leave. You can’t stop me.

Ginko takes something out of his pocket and throws it at Kiba.

Kiba: Wow, that tickles. What was it?

Ginko (surprised it didn’t have any effect): A mushi purge.

Kiba: Well, so you thought it would make me vanish or weaken me? You forgot I am a halfling? It won’t work on me since I am still half human.

Ginko: Why are you telling me all this?

Kiba: I got a little bored and I was having fun with you.

Ginko: So I am a toy for you? Let me guess, it’s the same with the villagers too?

Kiba: Yup, so let’s play a little more.

Ginko: You want to play, fine.

Ginko takes out his mushi cigarette and tries to capture him with the smoke mushi. After he got wrapped by the smoke, Ginko jumps at him with a mushi needle and stabs him with it. Kiba suddenly throws him back and yells.

Kiba: AAAAhhhh, it hurts … what was that?

Ginko: A needle covered with mushi purge. The human part is in pain from the stab and the mushi part is from the purge, isn’t it?

Kiba: Well, this is getting annoying, let’s finish this now.

Ginko: I was thinking the same thing … (everything became dark except for those two) What is happening? I can’t see anything else than you. Is this a tokoyami?

Kiba: Yes. The work of a tokoyami more precisely. You are a nuisance, so I’ll erase your mind. (points his hand towards Ginko)

Ginko: Not if I don’t let y… I can’t move… (struggling desperately)

Kiba: We are in your mind, but I’ve got control, have you forgotten? Time to erase all your memories.

The darkness around transformed into images of Ginko’s past. As they kept flashing towards his younger days Ginko was thinking “Is this it? This is how I end? I’m sorry miss Tanyuu, I won’t be able to take you far away from that house after your leg heals. I’m so sorry!”.

Kiba: Well, let’s see how you were when you were a kid, shall we?

Ginko: My childhood?

Then the images disappeared suddenly. Everything was black again and a woman with silver hair appeared.

Nui: Yoki, I tought I told you to stay away from those tokoyami. Why are you in this situation again?

Ginko stares at her and doesn’t know who is she talking to, but he has a weird feeling he knows her.

Kiba: Who are you, how did you get here?

Nui: Well, I got swallowed by a tokoyami once, but I also sacrificed my life to save a child once. Once I was swallowed by the tokoyami I gave a part of my life force to a kid so he could survive.

Kiba: How is that possible? Wait a second … Ginko, your right eye is glowing green.

Nui: That’s me, but I would worry about his other eye if I were you.

Ginko: What, what is happening, who are you? Arghhhh, my eyes hurt.

Nui: Yoki .. no, Ginko, there’s no need to remember me. This will be the last time you see me anyway.

Kiba: That’s enough already. … I can’t get out of this tokoyami?! What is going on?

Nui: Too late! Have you heard of the eyeless fish that swims through eternal darkness? If not, be prepared, you’ll meet him. His previous victims gave an eye as a sacrifice in exchange for their lives, that eye is swallowed by a tokoyami, but the eye becomes a bond between the tokoyami the eyeless fish lives in and the victim. In other words, it will feel this presence here and come to this tokoyami. It’s powerful enough to attract it since you empowered it with kouki. The eyeless fish goes to the bigger tokoyami in order to live longer. It’s coming.

Ginko: What are you talking about? (suddenly Ginko’s artificial left eye falls and a silver light can be seen in it. Nui’s form turns into a pure white keeping her shape only)

Nui: It’s coming.

Then, the eyeless fish comes out of Ginko’s left eye. As it starts swimming around in its magnificence, Ginko is turning whiter and whiter and only his left eye remains dark.

Ginko: What is happening to me?

Kiba: It’s magnificent, but still no use.

Nui: I wouldn’t be so sure about that. The tokoyami can eat mushi too and the eyeless fish consumes living beings. What would happen to you if your human side would disappear?

Kiba : I would get eaten by the tokoyami. But it won’t happen.

Nui: Look at yourself and say it again.

Kiba (looks at his arms and makes a shocked face, frozen in fear): My hand is white? But why only half of me? Wait, wait, this can’t be happening.

Nui: I’m afraid it is. Now say your last words and begone.

Kiba: I just wanted to make a perfect world. I … I … (his white half disappears as tiny fireflies that fly towards the eyeless fish).

Flashes of his memory went through Ginko’s mind. He saw the village he visited today and most of the people there. Then midnight came and a huge earthquake fell upon the village and it was torn apart. Ginko’s consciousness came back to normal and Kiba was nowhere to be seen.

Ginko: Nui, am I going to vanish as well?

Nui: I told you not to remember me! No, the tokoyami here will disappear because Kiba vanished.

Ginko: Why? How?

Nui: Don’t know, but I am part of the eyeless fish now, and I can feel it. You are the gate to his home, he won’t consume you now.

Ginko: Nui, I’m sorry, I’m sorry for what happened that day.

Nui: Don’t let it bother you. Just live your life, I made my choice and you better respect it, brat.

The Eyeless fish goes back in Ginko’s left eye.

Nui: Goodbye Ginko! Live your life as you want and be free. (says as she vanishes)

Ginko: Wait, wait …

Ginko falls unconscious. He wakes up and swims out of a yellow pond with a sweet smell with a few people from the village, travelers. As he looks around, he sees the ruins of an old village between the trees that have grown and the pond becomes normal, just like it should be, filled with normal water.

Ginko: What happened? Where am I? What am I doing in a forest during the night? Who are these people?

The sun rose and only one question went through his mind as he entered the closest village and asked someone about the date. “What have I been doing the last half of year? Why can’t I remember, but why do I feel at ease?”.

Some memories are meant to be forgotten, because sometimes, it’s for the best. Ginko received a new request and went on his way just like always.

The End

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