Adult Mystery with Elements of Magical Realism
Japan 1994: Twenty-four-year-old Ren Ishida’s humdrum life is shaken by his older sister’s murder. Guided by recurring dreams of a little girl, he discovers a painful truth that unearths secrets from his past.
QUESTION: What type of Easter Egg would your MC be?
ANSWER: Curry flavour, because that’s my favourite food.
In my dream, I was on the phone with my sister. She sat at her desk by the window in her rented room in Akakawa. The sun shone through the curtain, casting brown highlights on her long dark hair. She asked me question after question, but I wasn’t in the mood to talk.
Then, before my eyes, she crumbled and turned to ashes.
When I woke up in a black sedan, the dream would have slipped from my mind had it not been for the white porcelain urn in my lap. Shaped like a vase, it was decorated with a painting of a falling cuckoo and chrysanthemums. Inside were the ashes of my sister. Keiko Ishida was only thirty-three when she died.
I loosened my tie and asked Honda, “How much longer?”
He turned the steering wheel. “Almost there.”
“Mind putting on some music?”
“Of course not,” he answered, flicking a button.
The radio played Billie Holiday’s “Summertime”.
For a Friday afternoon, the journey was smooth. The sun was high, no traffic jam in sight. Even the music was the kind that makes you tap your fingers.
My hands tightened and I stared at them. Honda’s eyes shifted to me.
“Keiko used to love jazz,” he said.
I nodded, unable to speak. The stack of cassettes that made up her collection, what would happen to them now?
“The funny thing was, she couldn’t name a single jazz musician,” he continued.
I cleared my throat. “You don’t need to be knowledgeable to appreciate jazz.”
“Well said, Ishida.”
Actually, it was my sister who had once said those words to me.