The Kabuki Dancer

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Historical Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 15 (v.1) - Part One: The Miko - Chapter 14

Submitted: October 31, 2016

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Submitted: October 31, 2016

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It was mid afternoon by the time the acolytes returned to usher me to appear before Jitsuko and the other mikos and apprentices.  The thrum of the summer cicadas had dimmed considerably, and as my escorts entered I turned on my knees to face them.  The two acolytes seemed to shine, and behind them were two guards of Kurosami’s entourage.  They moved forward, but one of the acolytes raised a hand, stopping them.  “If she comes quietly,” she stated, “She will able to walk on her own.”I stood almost without a quake, and bowed to the two acolytes, saying calmly, “I am ready to endure whatever verdict the kami and the Priestess have destined for me.  Please lead the way.”  The two guards parted as the acolytes left the room, me following behind slowly walking at their pace.

We entered the main hall, and it seemed to me that every miko and apprentice was there.Everyone was robed in white haoris and red hakamas, and the faces that stared at me were somber as I approached the center of the tatami floor.The only one who was not dressed similarly was Jitsuko.Her steel gray hair hung unbound around her shoulders, and her eyes seemed a little wild compared to her usual calm self.She was robed in dark silk the color of clouds, and golden jewelry hung loosely around her neck.Before her on a small table, between two small lit torches, was a circular bronze mirror.  Tassels of red silk hung from either side. 

I was led by the acolytes to stand before Jitsuko, and the two of them went into the crowd to kneel among them, their duty done.  I risked a quick glance around the room.  In the crowd I found a somber Hana, her arms and body clenched from sadness.  Kumiko and Kurosami sat in the back of the hall, with smug looks on their faces, and the guards stood silent around them.I finally saw Okuni, sitting in front with the other trained mikos, and a look of heartbreak was on her pretty face.  I flashed a quick grin before bowing before Jitsuko and kneeling before the table.

Jitsuko raised her arms and addressed those in the hall, saying loudly, “We come here to discover the fate of the eta girl, formerly Sachiko, now known as Umi.  I call upon the kami of the shrine to make their presence known here, and to speak as to the fate of Umi and what shall be her punishment.  But first, I would call upon those who bring charges against Umi to come forward and tell what crimes she is charged with.”

At this Kumiko stood and minced forward to stand near me, but far enough away as to not to be contaminated by what she saw as a polluted soul.  I bowed my head and listened, not bothering to interrupt her as she weaved a perverse tale of how I had seduced women before, and that at night I would creep from the home of the Nakamuras and bring women back to the house to fornicate and engage in forbidden sex.  She even motioned for her father to bring forth the jade phallus, with which I had been raped, which now conveniently had leather strips on it that could be tied to a body.  The apprentices and mikos tittered and Jitsuko waved her hand to have the offending object taken away.As Kurosami and Kumiko moved to the back of the hall, she then turned to look at me.  “Umi, what do you have to say in your defense,” she asked sternly.

I looked at around at the hall, at my accusers, and then at the audience, careful not to focus my attention too much on Hana or Okuni to single them out.  I then rose to my feet, but a sharp pain rang through my sacred place, and I nearly fell.  I heard gasps and I looked up to see that Hana and Okuni had made to stand, but my cold hard look froze them to their places.  I stood on my own two trembling feet, then turned and faced Jitsuko.

“Priestess, I have been accused of crimes that I have never committed,” I stated. “One thing is true that they say, I will never let a man touch me again as long as I live.Whether this is because I desire the touch of a female who can say, but I would ask you,” I gave a dramatic pause as my hands went to the front of my linen shift.  “Who would want to be touched by any being who would abuse them such as this.”  I pulled the front of the shift opened and let it fall to the floor. 

The room erupted into shocked murmurs as my naked body, save for the few bandages that were tied around my bloody wounds and pushed into my sacred place, was exposed for all to see.  The bruises crisscrossed my body and torso, marring my pale flesh.A tell tale drip of blood emerged from the bandage between my legs to drip onto the tatami mat below my feet.  I turned and saw Hana with her fist clenched against her mouth to keep from crying out, and Okuni had gone extremely pale, her mouth working in shock. 

I looked in the back to see Kurosami red with rage, and his look said, that was the wrong move, eta whore. Kumiko took one look at me and her eyes rolled up into the back of her head and she fainted away on the tatami mat with a thud.  But everyone was focused on me as I turned back to face Jitsuko.  Her iron gaze still remained as I knelt and pulled the linen shift over my form, returning to kneel before her.

“Do I care for Okuni?” I asked of myself and the women around me.  “I do.  I love her with every breath of my being.  Alas,” and at this I faked a choked sob, “I have never had the opportunity to tell her.I doubt she would reciprocate my feelings if I did.  As to the large number of women I have supposedly deflowered,” and I glanced back at the prone form of Kumiko before continuing, “I ask those who accuse me to bring any of those women forward and I will answer their charges bravely and truthfully before you all.My only sin is to be different than other women, and to love differently.  I ask that if you find me guilty of any sins, at least do not deliver me back into the hands of men who would ill treat me and use me for sexual gain.”  I then lapsed into silence as I folded my hands in my lap and bowed my head to the Priestess. 

A long pause came from Jitsuko.  Then she rose and went to the table in front of her.  The two other miko stood and each took a side of the mirror in their hands and raised it.  She regarded me with her stern eyes, stating, “This mirror is a celestial mirror.  It has passed down from Priestess to Priestess, since a long time ago.Through this mirror, I am able to communicate with the kami spirits and use their will to determine what fate has been decided for you.”  She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, and leaned into the mirror and opened her eyes.

All of us, including myself, and surprisingly the outraged Kurosami, watched as Jitsuko entered a trance.  Her wide eyes suddenly closed, and she fell back into the arms of a waiting miko.Limply she lay for a few moments before her eyes opened again.  The irises were no longer brown, but a deep shade of blue.  A miko carrying a tamagushi branch in her hands intoning words of prayer stepped forward, and then asked in a clear voice, “Who is it that inhabits this body?”  A deep voice came from the depths of the Priestess’ throat, saying, “I am Okuninushi, ruler of Izumo, god of marriage, and protector of this shrine.”  If I had not heard the words straight from her mouth, I would not believe in the kami, but I truly feel something inhabited Jitsuko as she knelt before me, in a masculine posture. 

A chiming of bells was heard, and the miko inquired, “You know why we have summoned you?” A male chuckle echoed through Jitsuko’s body and he regarded me across the table with a look I could not define.  Humor?  “To bring judgment on this young woman, yes,” he acknowledged.  I shrank back a little and looked briefly over to Okuni.  Her wide eyes met mine before I turned back to the kami sitting in front of me.  The miko waved the branch again, saying, “What is your verdict?”  At this the kami arose and walked around the table, in a swish of dark colored robes.  He knelt and looked at me through the eyes of Jitsuko, and I almost lost myself in them.  He looked back at Kurosami and Kumiko sitting in the back of the room, then back at me. 

He took a deep breath and stood tall, and looked around the room.  “My verdict is as follows,” he said loudly.“This young woman is innocent of the crimes those two have lain before her.  Moreover,” and at this he glared at Kurosami, “I forbid his daughter from ever serving as a miko of this sacred shrine, and the lord himself is banished from the grounds of the temple.”  Kumiko let out a loud wail as Kurosami leapt to his feet.  “You can’t do this!  That eta whore is rightfully mine to do with as I please.” 

The spirit used Jitsuko’s hand to pat my head, and sternly reprimanded, “People are not to be owned like cattle, lord.  Or treated as such.  Be grateful I am letting you walk out of here with your status and your life intact.  One who treats an apprentice miko as such, be they women of noble stature or eta.  But if you fear that there will be no repercussions for this woman, I can assure you that a punishment will come for her.”  I shuddered at this revelation.A punishment?  I glanced up at the spirit as he pointed Jitsuko’s finger towards the exit.  “Now go and do not darken this place again,” he ordered.  Sputtering in incoherent rage, Kurosami left the room, ordering his vassals to drag his daughter behind him.  They left the room in a matter of moments.

 

I glanced up at Okuninushi, and he looked back at me with a stern look.  I whispered, “Okuninushi, what shall my punishment be?”  The kami knelt before me and pressed a hand to my cheek.  “I can only tell you, young one, that your road will be a long one.  You will suffer for many years, but eventually, you will find true happiness at the end of your path.”  At this, his eyes faded from blue back to brown, and Jitsuko swooned to the ground.  As the acolytes gathered around her, murmuring concern, Hana rushed forward, and taking my sleeve whispered, “Come, I will escort you back to your room.”  I looked back to see Okuni tending to the Priestess, and knew I had made the right choice when I had told her and Hana to keep silent.  I let Hana lead me silently from the room into the quiet approaching evening. 


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