Historical Fiction Mystery Drama

That evening, Mamoru drove his car out, just as the sun began its descent into dusk, driving out to watch the day close its chapter over everyone.

Someone was waiting there, an old friend of his from school.

Eventually, reaching the place, Mamoru parked his car and got out, instantly feeling the wind, cold and chilly, brushing through his hair and raising a cold, icy feeling into his heart and up his arms.

It was a road jutting out the cliffside, the descent beyond the rail steep, leading far down to the rocks the waves crashed against as the sea roared on, itself spreading far off into the twilit horizon, a faded gold and ochre. The sea seemed a dark blue, the waves making them darker, almost unchanged by the edges of the sky. And, in a way, the color, the dark and cold blue, almost represented the coldness of the place he stood now, without a car in sight left or right, nor the sound of one anywhere in the distance. He was, in a sense, alone watching the waves— or, it may have just been him, feeling this way, after all this time.

But still, it wasn’t true that he’s not alone— there, leaning over the rail overlooking the ocean, him as if gazing at the waves crashing against the rocks below, was his friend, Takeda. Hearing him close the door, Takeda looked up and turned around, smiling warm at his arrival.

“Long time no see, huh?”

Puffing out a breath, Mamoru nodded.

“Mm, long time no see.”

Bearing the cold winds, Mamoru came his way.

“The sun, the sea— it’s beautiful. Isn’t it?”

Looking up, Mamoru felt something in his chest, like a little sun within his heart as if it were a little candle lit against the darkness, as Mamoru said,

“Yeah… it’s beautiful…”

“How long has it been since we’ve last come here, again? Almost ten years?”

“That’s about right…”

Mamoru didn’t want to think about time right now. All he wanted was to, somehow, get away from, to in some way escape from it, yet at the same time retreat into it, to be within and without at the same time. But of course, that might not be possible, and he wasn’t sure if people would understand him if he ever said it, but it’s something he wanted, something only he could understand; at least, he thought so.

“It’s been a while now, huh?”

Takeda took out a box of cigarettes when the wind settled a little. He offered him to one, but Mamoru refused. And so, striking a lighter, Takeda took a smoke— letting a breath full of it just when the wind picked up again, taking the cloud away immediately, off far from Mamoru’s way.

Seeing that he couldn’t smoke anymore, even if he probably really wanted to at the moment, Takeda sighed and put it away, shaking his head. Then, as if wanting to break away at the silence the wind filled between them, he asked,

“How’s everything? You know, after school, after moving off, after, you, the War?”

“It’s… been rough…”

“It’s probably been rough for all of us, young, old alike. Now, we’re just trying to rebuild what’s lost.”

“How’s the reconstruction at your place?”

“All done a couple of years ago. There are some places that still retain the damage from the air raids, but besides those rare few, everything’s been pretty alright. Well, building wise.”

“Mm. Guess quite a lot of us are still groping at the debris for who we are, huh?”

“Most of us probably are,” Takeda looked down, sighing. “Everything’s changing. Like, with the new Constitution and all. The American Occupation.”

“Yeah… I wonder if everyone’s been able to keep up with it all.”

“We probably will. I may not be in such a good spot, but I’m getting there, and I’m getting used to all this.”

“It’s been rough for me, though, if you want me to be honest…” Mamoru pressed his hands against the rail, feeling the mix of cold and warm under his palms. “Things have been a rollercoaster ever since the War ended. And when I finished school, I just wanted to get away from this place, to head off to, well, somewhere else— somewhere that doesn’t remind me of whatever that’s happened.”

“I get that. It had been rough, especially right after, but I did my best.”

The two of them were silent for a moment, watching the sun and feeling the wind take them away.

Then, as if to break the silence, as if to break some foreign wall, even— Takeda asked,

“You remember what the teachers asked back in school, like when we were nine or ten, around 1944 or 1945?”

“Clearly. I can’t forget it even if I die right now.”

The teachers used to call them, one by one, to the front of the class, asking them what they’ll do if the Emperor ordered them, including Mamoru himself and Takeda, to die. Most them answered the same, shouting, “I’ll die!! I’ll die!!” Others might even go a little further, saying absurd things he couldn’t ever imagine the kids now saying.

Those were such horrible times, and such horrible words for a child to say now, after the War. But what made it worse, especially to Mamoru— at least, he believed so— was that they were such horrible lies, lies that he, and probably so many more, ended up believing; that what they were doing was right, that Japan was undefeatable. It was all shattered, when they heard over radio, that Japan had surrendered— hearing, as well, from the Emperor, for the first time, speaking among humans as if he himself were, as well, a human.

Some couldn’t believe it, and the adults wouldn’t stop talking about it. He had, too, heard of those who committed suicide by seppuku, like some nationalists. At least, that’s what they would call them now, but back then, who didn’t believe in the Empire? Even children, little defenseless children like himself, were made to believe these things and were made to say such horrible things.

Through the years, Mamoru, after school, had been lost— completely adrift, as if lost at sea, trying to find himself and who he was; he ended up drinking, and he even ended up getting into gambling, running him, in fact, throwing him crashing down further on himself.

There, too, were nights, cold nights in cold sweat, where he’d lay in bed, feeling dark lurking, running around in the darkness he lay. He could feel as if there was something holding him, touching him, and he’d feel a stinging pain somewhere and a rising fear like his own temperature. He couldn’t physically feel it, yet he felt it— it was untouchable, only sensible.

It’s as if the ghost, that form of some sort of haunting lie, were coming back for him in the cold darkness…

Eventually, as the sun began to set further, Takeda said to him, chuckling softly,

“You know… I can’t help but find it ironic…”

Mamoru turned to him.


“How we’re called the people of the Rising Sun,” he said, smiling, almost sadly, against the faded glow of the sunset. “In a way, I feel like we, right now, are the people of the setting sun…”

Looking down, Mamoru gave it a thought, his lips pressing softly. Then, looking up, he nodded, eyes closed, “Mm… guess so…”

Just then, when he opened his eyes and looked up, he saw something he’d never thought he’d see…

There, before him right now, the sun set— the sun all dark and black, and the sky all a dark, deep blue, without even a touch of the previous golden hue…

Clouds come in, misty and thick, as the sun set, further and further into the darkness…

“Uh, Take-…”

He turned to Takeda, but then realized he’s not there— that’s he’s vanished, faded away as if with the setting sun…

Just then, he blinked and turned to the sunset once more— and the sun’s normal again, glowing a dark, burning red and the rim of the sky a faded gold…

But Takeda was still disappeared, nowhere to be seen…

Now, standing there, Mamoru was left alone against the sunset— a man of the setting sun…

September 25, 2020 14:31

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Elle Clark
08:39 Oct 03, 2020

This was a beautifully written story with some really lovely description and imagery. I don’t get the connection to the prompt though - how does it relate?


Adam Wan
12:25 Oct 04, 2020

It can be viewed in a few different stand points, but the one that prompted me to post it here for this prompt specifically (because I wrote it a month back) is how the characters felt betrayed because what they've been taught all this time had been a lie, in turn causing them to question things about their childhood pasts and how it visibly changes Mamoru, causing him to fall and stumble through his adult life. It may not be a complete fit for the prompt, but it was something that I felt fitted the idea of it. Though, if one may, they can a...


Elle Clark
13:42 Oct 04, 2020

Oh I see! Well it’s lovely. If you’re interested in more interactions on here, my advice is to comment on other people’s work - I notice from your comments page that you haven’t done this yet. Reedsy is a really reciprocal website so if you go and leave a decent length comment on someone’s story who is fairly active and ask them to read yours, you’re likely to get more traffic to yours. I hope this is helpful!


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