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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The Red Landline Phone

“But why?”, she asked, holding back her tears, barely holding the phone, but there was no reply. Her love had cut the call without replying. She stood there, her silence interrupted only by the distinct beep of the landline phone.

She was devastated. Her Romeo had broken up with her, saying that she was not her Juliet anymore. He didn’t give any other reason for leaving her, and on top of that, he had done it over the phone. This was just too much. She spinned the dial of the telephone to get a reply, because he was leaving her without saying why. However, he didn’t pick up, no matter how many times she tried. She sat down, unable to comprehend the situation. What had she done wrong? She didn’t know. She had loved him unconditionally, and he did too, at least she believed so. They had been together for years, and now he had left her in tears.

The worst part was that he didn’t give a reason. Was she really that worthless, that he didn’t think it was necessary to tell her why? She didn’t know. She only knew she loved him, but he didn’t love her, and this made her cry. Maybe it was her fault, she started blaming herself. Maybe she was no good, she thought, as she remembered all the quarrels and the fights they fought. Whose fault had it been then? It was probably hers, she thought. No, it was definitely her fault, thats why he left him, she concluded, her heart getting weaker with the growing pain.

This was too much. She couldn’t take it anymore. There was no end to this and she didn’t know where to go, or at whom to shout. So, she found a solution to get all the pain out. She took a knife and cut her wrist open with a slight moan, her blood coloring the floor red, just like the landline phone.

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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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Your Mom Called

“Hey, its your mother.”, the personal assistant said, while holding on to the call that had just come through.

“Oh.”, replied Richard. “Just tell her I am busy right now. I will call her later.”, he said.

“Yes sir.”, his assistant replied.

“Don’t get me wrong,”, Richie said to himself, “its not that I hate her or anything. I absolutely adore her. Its just that I find her interest in my life, a little too suffocating.”

Richard loved his mother. He just didn’t find it necessary to answer all of her questions and calls. He was a believer of personal space and a very busy man. His mother would call every now and then to check on him, as if he was little boy who was going to school for the first time, and he found this a little annoying. He liked that she cared, but he didn’t like how much she cared. He saw it as unnecessary.

Richie used to answer his mother’s calls at the end of the day, every now and then, but it soon felt too bothersome. That plan was failing. He soon started letting his assistant answer the calls. His assistant had become his perfect backup for this job. The assistant would answer the call, and inform him, and would give a reply according to his instructions. Most of the time it would be an excuse that Richie was busy. Very soon, the assistant stopped bothering him about what to reply. He already knew the drill.

Richard would go around doing his work. His assistant would handle all of his mother’s calls, and at the end of the day, tell him about it. This system felt perfect for Richie, and he got really used to it. Soon, the calls from his mom were less frequent, and he felt the system worked pretty well.

But right now, as he stood outside of the ICU, he regretted this system. His mother was inside, fighting for her life, and as he realised the probability of losing her, he realised all the calls he had ignored and skipped. He was angry at himself for not talking to her directly when he had the chance, but instead relying on his stupid assistant. His mother had probably called recently, and he didn’t even know what she had said. He felt a deep pain in his heart.

“Please God, help me…”, Richard prayed, his thoughts scattered all over the place.

His chain of thought was interrupted by the sudden vibration of his smartphone. He answered the call. It was his assistant.

“Sir”, it was his assistant, ” Today, your mom called. She wanted to ask if you would like to have dinner with her tonight. She also asked me to tell you that She loves you.”

Richard dropped his smartphone, accompanied by tears from his eyes, the pain in his heart too strong for him to keep it inside anymore.

This is the continuation of the story that started with “No backup”. Please do read that story too.
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