The Kabuki Dancer

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

Chapter 4 (v.4) - Part One: The Miko - Chapter 3

Submitted: October 18, 2016

Reads: 147

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Submitted: October 18, 2016

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I awoke the next morning to a foggy and cool dawn.I noticed that I was still clutching the ivory fabric in my hands, and my sister’s scent seemed to have left it.To me, it was now just a worthless piece of fabric.I groggily tossed it aside and sat up, feeling nauseated.  I shuffled towards the ladder and worked to lower myself down, with every painful movement.

I observed Father, Mother, and Daisuke gathered around the table, solemnly murmuring and drinking green tea. Mother and Father looked haggard and worn. Daisuke, on the other hand, seemed to have a bit more life within him, smiling occasionally to Mother and refilling the small wooden cup she held from the piping hot kettle of green tea.I overheard from them murmurs about the ivory fabric and what a shame it was that I had ruined it.Close to the bottom, while wondering what it was they were really talking about, I missed a step on the ladder and landed with a thud on my rump.

At the sound of me hitting the ground, the three adults turned towards me.  Father and Mother regarded me with distaste, my brother looking at me with a look of smugness.  “Well,” Father said curtly, “It’s about time you got yourself up out of bed and into the light of day.”Daisuke snickered, and I glared.  “I’m sorry for that, Father,” I said in my most cordial tone.“But I was mourning for the loss of my sister, Miyuri.” 

The room went quiet for several moments.  Then Mother set the cup on the table with a gentle clink and then stood and approached me.I was at first relieved, for I expected her to give me a gentle embrace and tell me everything was all right.

But then she raised her hand and slapped me hard across the face.The strength with which she did so caused my neck to snap back painfully.I briefly was able to catch a glance of Daisuke with a face full of glee, and Father looking past me as if I did not exist.I did not have much time to react as Mother began to pummel me with her fists and scratch me with her nails, shrieking, “This is all your fault, you wicked child!Oh why did you not let Kurosami rape you?  If you had, maybe things would be different and Miyuri would not be in prison!”  She raised her hand to strike me again.

But my trembling hand stuck out and caught her arm in a vice like grip.I saw her eyes glance towards her arm and then back at me, her red eyes wild and filled with disbelief that I would stand up to her.But at that particular moment, I had lost all care and understanding for her.  “You were intending for Kurosami to rape me?” I grated through my clenched teeth, my horror, anger, and rage making each word louder as I scratched out the statement through a throat raw with crying and sorrow.

Mother sniffed and said, “Well, it was the only way he would consent to marry a girl from an eta family such as Miyuri.He has a well known, shall we say, passion for young girls of your age.So when Father and I went to see him, we offered you to him for his pleasure if he would only agree to marry Miyuri.But because of your ineptitude that first night, we had to try to convince him back into the marriage.That was why I took you along with Miyuri to the market to pick out her wedding dress.” 

At the look of disbelief and hurt on my face, she let out a shrill burst of laughter and jerked her hand out of my grip.“You don’t think I let you come along to have a say, do you?” she rasped through her teeth.“Stupid little child.The only reason we brought you along was that Kurosami wanted you and not Miyuri that day.Miyuri wasn’t even supposed to come after you when you were trapped within that shed, but when your shrill screaming began, she insisted on running after you, even though I tried to distract her.I never dreamed she would be the one raped.  At least she had the promise of being a good wife.  You, you ratty little thing, will always be stuck in the eta community!”

In that moment, I lost any sort of love or respect that I had for my family, however small that amount had been.I knew that most parents, unless they were desperate, would not have submitted their daughter to this sort of torture and horror.Even if my family had desperation as one of their motives, I still could tell that Mother had done it out of a hint of malice and rage at this useless child she had been cursed with. 

In that moment, I lunged at Mother, shrieking like a vengeful ghost.My nails gouged out a river of blood in the right side of her face, and she fell back howling.I would have attacked her further, but Father chose to rush to Mother’s defense and hit me in the mouth with a clenched fist.I fell back stunned, landing in a heap of blood and dust.I looked at Father, who glared at me with pure malice, and then started to cry.

Father sniffed disdainfully and assisted Mother to the table as Daisuke supported her other side.Tears and mucus now coursed down my face, mingling with the blood and staining my indigo kimono.Mother was handed a clean white cloth by Daisuke.  The look of love in her eyes made me want to vomit.She turned her gaze to me, spat at me, and then put the white cloth over her wounds.The red blood seeped through the white cloth.Mother winced as she held the cloth, muttering, “Damned little whore.”  I gazed at her through my tears and blood in what I hoped was a show of defiance.

Daisuke chose to speak in that moment in his scratchy little voice that always annoyed me.  “Well, we must remember, the day is not a total loss,” he gloated.“Someone has shown interest in this ragged little rat.”My eyes darted over to him and found that he was staring back at me with a look of pure pleasure on his face.He stared smugly at me for a few moments before he continued.“Despite everything the little bitch has done, Kurosami has shown an interest in her still.” 

The floor dropped out from beneath me.I felt like I was falling through a hole in the ground and no one was there to help me.I glanced at Mother and Father, who had suddenly gone quiet and complacent.Daisuke leered at me and then continued.  “And, he has promised me a fine amount of money if we allow him to take Sachiko and do…” At this point, his hand made a lewd gesture.  “…whatever it is he wishes to do with her at this point.”He brushed his hands off at the end of his speech, as if washing himself clean of me.

I looked at Mother, who was now looking back at me with renewed interest.Like a snake observing a sweet little bird before it strikes to inject it with his poison.“Well,” she began.  “It would make sense to have her worth something rather than nothing.And if Kurosami wants her, well, then…” She gestured towards me and the door.Father had not spoken much, but then murmured gruffly, “If she fetches a price, then it will be worth it.”

In the space of a few moments and the uttering of a few words, I saw that my future had been decided.I was to suffer a fate worse or even equal to that of Miyuri, the beloved sister who had been raped and ruined by that pig of a brute.And my family were willing players in this.They would stand by as I was sold and ruined in front of them.

At this moment I staggered to my feet and made a bolt for the door.The movement I took overturned the table, spilling the teapot and cups on the ground and shattering them into little bits of porcelain and tea, splattering all over my family.Mother shrieked in anger, and Daisuke tried to stop me.But I was beyond being scared of him or any other member of my poor little eta family.I brought my hand up in a fist and smashed it into the place where his manhood was.

Daisuke fell to the ground with a howl, and in that moment I seized the opportunity to make a bolt for the open door as Mother rushed to Daisuke’s side to aid him.  Father tried to scramble up and managed to catch the edge of the indigo kimono I was wearing.I quickly undid the sash and ran from the hut clad only in my white under robe, although I pulled the kimono as I ran, and the effect caused Father to fall into a jumble of limbs and kimono fabric.I ran out into the street as they yelled curses at each other and at me.

As I ran out, the cold of the early morning seeped through the thin under robe, coating it with the layer of dew and fog that lay over the city.  Luckily, not many men and women were out and about at this time, so it would make my escape all the more easier.I heard the shouts of my family behind me, and glanced around to see if I could find a place to hide as they ran by me.I spied a small open barrel on the side of the road, and before I knew what I was doing, I had dived in head first and had concealed myself within.

I heard my family out in the street, Mother bickering with Father over where I could have gone.I bit my lip tight until blood flowed, to keep myself from crying out, because if I knew that if I cried out, my secret hiding place would be discovered and I would have to go with my family to the man I feared the most in the world.I felt the air move as Mother walked past with Father close behind.  I heard the angry mutterings of Daisuke as he seemed to walk past.Then I heard a shuffling noise as he came to a halt.I gritted my teeth as his steps came closer to my barrel.At that moment I pressed the frail white palms of my hands together and prayed to whatever Kami were in the residing area that my brother would not discover me and that somehow I would be saved from the indecency of having my virginity lost to a horrible man.

To this day I do not know if it was a spirit’s work, but a large gust of wind blew the barrel over and made it clatter down the road, with me inside it.It knocked Daisuke off his feet and landed him on his bony bottom in the middle of the road.Every time the barrel bounced, I bit my lip harder from crying out.It nearly hit my parents, who cursed as the barrel rolled pass.Then, as suddenly as the wind had blown up, it went away, and my barrel clattered against something wooden.I shakily crawled from the battered vessel of my escape and took in my surroundings.

The smell that first assaulted my weakened senses was that of smoke coming from the house that I had landed in front of.From the smell, I could tell it was the house of a metalworker, but as to whom it may have belonged to, I did not know.The house seemed to be that of a well to do family, not an eta family to be sure.A small garden graced the front of the house, and tiny trees and bushes sprang up from healthy soil.A small wooden gate enclosed the area.

I was taking this in when I heard the furious shouts of my parents and brother, who were coming up fast behind me.I made a split second decision and ducked into the gate.  I concealed myself beneath a bush, and hid there trembling, making sure to make as little noise as possible.Anything to avoid being caught.I braced myself as the voices grew louder and got closer.

Suddenly I heard a screen door open silently and smoothly.The light from inside the house flooded the courtyard, turning the silver mist golden.Out from the porch stepped a dainty white clad foot.The swish of a kimono followed, and I saw the hem of an aqua colored kimono sweep out onto the brown dirt, upon which golden orange carp frolicked in between waves of blue.Another foot came out and touched the ground next to the one that had come out of the house earlier.The feet started walking forward to the front of the gate.I gave a little gasp, and then stopped.  The feet stopped in front of the bush I was hidden under.  I pinched myself for my carelessness.I heard the rustle of fabric as movement alerted me and I prepared to dash and startle the person in front of me.

I was unprepared for what appeared.  Appearing on her knees before me and looking back at me was a beautiful young girl who could not have been but a few years older than me.Her hair was tied back into an ebony bun at the base of her neck.Her skin was pale as the moon, and two gray eyes looked out at me from a perfectly formed face.Her red lips formed a silent oh, then they moved as she asked me in a light voice, “Are you hiding from something, little girl?”  I wasn’t sure how to respond, so I just nodded.The other girl smiled and said, “Now what would want to harm a beautiful little creature like yourself?”  It was the first time in my life I had been called beautiful, and I smiled despite myself. 

Suddenly I heard a rather loud knock on the gate, and I heard the voice of my mother raised loudly, shouting something indiscernible.The girl in front of me glanced to the gate, and then back at me.  “Is that who you are running from?” she asked quietly.  I nodded furiously again.She glanced back at the wooden gate, then back to me.She motioned for me to stay silent, then got to her feet and brushed her dirtied kimono off.Then she walked to the door and opened the door to the gate.  I could not see, but I heard the creak as it opened.

I heard the girl say, “May I help you, my lady?”  I heard my mother say, “Impudent girl, I am looking for someone who should not be here.”  At the word “impudent”, I felt the mist frost and the air grow colder.I managed a little peek from my position underneath the bush and saw that the girl had drawn herself up to her full height and cut an impressive figure against the silver mist.Her smiling face was now replaced with one of little emotion.She regarded the dark figures of my mother, brother, and father with an unsmiling gaze that would have cut anyone to the bone.

In a cold and icy voice the girl responded, “I would if I were you, eta woman (she ground the words out like a curse), speak more nicely and politely to your betters.  I am not some servant or slave that you can order around.  I am the daughter of Nakamura Sanemon, and if you have any sense, you will take your inquiry elsewhere before I call the guards and see to it that your bodies and heads adorn the bridge over the river, as a warning to anyone who dares crosses the path of my family and that of the Izumo Shrine.”

None of these words meant much to me, but clearly they affected my family in a profound way.  Reluctantly, the three of them skulked off into the mist, bowing their heads to the young woman who was my savior.As they vanished into the shadows, I came up behind my savior and peeked at the shadowy departing figures of my family.  I caught brief glances of the looks of fury that came from their bright pale moonlit faces as they vanished into the shadows.

I took a deep shuddering breath, inhaling the cool night air.  I glanced at the girl beside me and stuttered, “Thank you my lady.”  The girl turned, her aqua kimono rustling softly against the dirt ground.She smiled as she shut the gate.  “It was only the decent thing to do. Now,” she said as she swished past me in a glide of silk, “Let me introduce you to my mother and father so they do not think we have an unwanted guest in our home.”  She stopped for a moment, a delicate hand fluttering to her cheek.  “Oh I forgot to ask you your name.” I bowed my head, and murmured, “My name is Sachiko, my lady.” 

The girl regarded me with interest, smiling.  “Sachiko, a beautiful name for a beautiful girl.”  Her gaze stoked a tremor in me, one that I had never felt before.  I shyly glanced and asked, “And may I ask the name of my savior?”

She tilted her head back and gave a light little laugh. “My name is Okuni.  Nakamura Okuni.  And it is a pleasure to meet you Sachiko.”


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