My left eye cracks open, and immediately I raise an arm to shield against the harsh light. The one eye roves over my current surroundings.
Tatami flooring. Violet seating cushions. A short table. A small yet sturdy looking tansu chest. Opaque shoji doors. Who knows whats on the other side. The walls are a warm shade of auburn.
I lie back, comfortable on the futon.
My right eye finally decides to partake in the viewing. A tired hand instantly runs through my hair. An old subconscious habit.
Theres a large window to the right of the futon. The curtains do nothing against the sunlight. It pours in freely, almost happily.
Squinting as I sit up, I hear footsteps. Slow and steady. Confident and secure. They stop, and theres suddenly a frail shadow behind the shoji doors. In a fast and purposeful movement, they fly open.
My savior stands before me.
You look terrible, kozou. Well thats a nice introduction.
The old man saunters in carrying a tray of food. Steaming bowl of rice, piping hot tea, and something else I fail to recognize.
He plops down on my left and hands me the tray. I devour everything. The rice is perfect. The green tea is the best Ive ever had. And the delicious sausages are something I have never tasted.
The old man watches me quietly. Obviously content that I enjoy his modest accommodations.
He inquires: What is you name, kozou? And he eyes me suspiciously.
Mouth stuffed: Kay-foh. Crumbs of rice attack his clothing.
Disgusted: What? Learn some manners! Muttering incomprehensibly as he cleans himself off.
I swallow, apologize, and hurriedly answer: Kaitou. Hidasu Kaitou. Im only thirteen and
He cuts me off: Hidasu? Thats quite a prominent name to be just stupidly sputtering out to just anyone.
I stare at him, taken aback, and continue eating. Actually chewing the food this time. Quietly taking into consideration on what he just said. Remembering all the burdens my surname carries.
Unnoticed, the old mans wrinkled hands sneakily creep up towards my head. Aiming for something on my forehead.
It isnt until I feel his arthritic fingers brush pass my hair that I flinch and jump so abruptly that I almost spill all contents of the tray onto the floor.
Surprisingly, the old man catches the tray along with the flying blanket. Such fast reflexes
Scoffing tiredly: I was just going to check the bandages on your head. He points a bony finger at me and continues: They look like they need to be re-wrapped.
His hand then dives into his oversized sleeve and produces a roll of gauze. Holds it up to my face and wears an air of disdain.
Still stuck in my temporary stupor, I clumsily lift a hand to my head. There is tight cotton bound across my forehead and nestled between the coal black locks of hair. Why didnt I notice it before? I massage the back of my head confusedly.
when did I wound my head?
As if reading my head, he disinterestedly answers: You hit that empty head of yours pretty hard on the steps when you collapsed. Even started bleeding. Youre pretty dull-witted to have a name like Kaitou.
Standing up: Well, I expected more from a Hidasu, but for now Ill blame it on that concussion. Eat and rest, you will need the strength. Before he turns he throws the gauze at me and mumbles: Ill wrap it later.
The whole time I watch him, wide-eyed. When he reaches the shoji doors, I finally awaken.
Stammering: W-wait! Old man! Who are you and where the hell am I?
Turning his head ever so slightly: Who am I? Well, my name is Kenjin. As to where you are
you will find out soon enough.
Flashing what will become his signature smirk, he slams the sliding doors shut. Leaving me confused and with a sudden, grueling headache.