The Cherry Blossom Tree

Kenshi Tora looked at the cherry blossom tree in his garden. The pink leaves falling from the tree looked beautiful. It was a view of serenity. However, he could not feel it. He was the head of his clan, The Tora, meaning the tiger, and the pouncing tiger in the clan’s flag had seen many battles. The leaves falling in serenity reminded him of those battles, with the crimson blood and the chaos.

Kenshi was the Daimyo of his region, a feudal Baron of Japan. He was considered to be the strongest and bravest among his peers, his might overshadowed only by the Emperor himself. A thousand men with swords made by the best blacksmiths in the region followed him. They were his samurai who followed his every command. They would die and kill on his word, but alas, in this time of countless wars and battles, many would fall, and they wouldn’t stand up again, even if the Baron commanded them to. A bitter truth that Kenshi had realized after seeing countless men fall before him, their blood dropping, like the leaves of a Cherry blossom tree.

Kenshi had gained a lot over the years with his strenght and might. Wealth and power, they all grew after every fight. Although Baron Tora had gained a lot from the countless wars of feudal Japan, Kenshi Tora had lost much more. He saw his father bleed out in the field of battle. He had seperated with his friends in the battleground, like leaves seperating from a branch, never to unite again. But his greatest loss came elsewhere, far away feom the bloody massacres of battle.

It was after his dominant victory of the Northern provinces. It was his greatest achievement to date, and he could not wait to return home to share the news with his family. He returned with his men, full of joy from the win. However, that joy did not last long, for as soon as he opened the door to his room, he felt weak and fell to his knees. His men rushed to him, but they too were dumb at the sight in front of them. His wife, in a beautiful Kimono with cherry blossom leaves printed on it, was lying motionless on the bed with their infant son, blood coming out of their slashed throats.

It had been three years, but the pink leaves falling from the tree reminded Kenshi of that ill fated night, of the helplessness he felt. No matter how hard he tried to forget, he was once again grief stricken by the reminder of his greatest loss. This was too much. He did not want to be reminded again. He picked up his axe and chopped down tge Cherry Blossom tree.

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Tales of War

​”Enemy forces are continuing their attack. The brave men of our national military are doing their best to stop their advance. The Prime Minister urges us to stay strong and united in these times of peril.”

 The breaking news on the radio could be barely heard over the sounds of bullets in the distant. The young woman sat in the middle of the room holding her daughter tight. There were some girls crying in a corner. Two old men were praying to God, asking for forgiveness for their sins in this life. The young mother too, started praying, asking God to protect her husband in the frontlines.

“Mama, what is happening?”, her daughter, who would turn five this spring, asked.

“It will be alright.”, she replied, as planes dropped bombs in the distance.

“Mama, where is Papa?”, her daughter asked again, with eyes full of innocence.

She could not reply. He was in the military, and was fighting in the frontlines. It had been over two months since she last got any news of him. She didn’t even know where he was right now, alive or in the afterlife. She didn’t know if he would ever return to sing a lullaby to their little girl like before, who expectantly waited for him to come back. She looked at her daughter who was still waiting for a reply. She would have to answer this question with a lie again.

Her reply was muffled by the sound of an explosion nearby.

“Mama, what was that? Why is everyone running? I am scared. I want to go to Papa.”, the little girl screamed with tears in her eyes.

“Its all right, dear.”, her mother said, holding her close to her chest. “Papa will return soon.”, she said, as enemy aircrafts flew over them.

“You know what? Lets play a game.”, the young mother said, with a broken smile. “Close your eyes and count to three.”

The little girl closed her eyes and started counting.

“One… Two…”

There was no three.

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