Posts Tagged ‘sensei’

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Scenes from a Hat: Echo

January 30, 2009

Scenes from a Hat: Echo

by Nix Winter
Editor: M. E. Ellis

Pale blue fading into gray, the horizon lay smooth against a backdrop of jagged, dark pine forest. Toshiro Masuda stood in the doorway of the small jet, an elegant hand reaching up to pull dark glasses down. All the blue of the sky had taken refuge in his eyes. This far north, the scent of pine and fireplace smoke in the air left him feeling out of his element, disconcerted. A wolf howled somewhere in the jagged dark of the forest, but close enough that the sound echoed longingly down his nerves.

Home.

He pushed his glasses back up. Calm as shadow, he waited. The perfect fit of his suit, a dark gray with a slight tint of blue, wrapped a powerful body, as lithe and wild as wind ruffling the pines. Raven hair gathered at the nape of his neck, held in a clasp of platinum. Only the pale golden tint to his skin, perhaps the smoothness of his face, the shape of his eyes—if one could catch him without his glasses—gave hint to his Japanese ancestry.

Again the wolf’s voice echoed over the private airstrip, crying a song deeply rooted in Toshiro’s heart.

The world granted precious few options for repair of anything, let alone something as precious as the life of a loved one. Tosh counted few enough of those in his life. He would not lose, no matter the price.

Long and black, the armored limousine arrived. Even though Toshiro was well past the point of return, its arrival brought the echo back again, driving home how very fragile his position was. He started down the stairs, exiting the jet, his body a projection of casual confidence. Of all the roles he’d played in his life—geisha, slave, king, gangster, anthropologist—this was perhaps the most difficult lie he’d ever embodied.

A man, broad and easily the root of troll myths, exited the front of the limousine from the passenger side. His thick coat, lined and edged in black and white fur spoke Russian about as well as his body language spoke dangerous. Toshiro looked at him disdainfully, carefully blanked his face, blue eyes hidden.

“Masuda Toshiro Sensei,” the man asked in painful Japanese.

“Yes,” Toshiro said, pulling his passport, which he handed over to the man. “Of course. I understand that the surrender of my passport was a condition of my employment. I expect,” he said, his words misting menace, “the other terms of my employment have been met.”

Troll Man bowed, approximating something vaguely Japanese as he pocked the passport. “There has been some slight difficulty, but Boss has provided a substitute. I think you’ll find him adequate.”

“You will hope so,” Toshiro said, smiling with tight lips.

The man’s huge hand opened the door for Toshiro, while his other hand held out a photograph.

Toshiro took it and studied it with a detachment that he did not feel. “He has not been harmed? He is untrained?”

“Yes, Sensei. The subject was acquired from the United States less than a week ago. He is a fighter, but the boss thought he might meet your needs.”

“We shall see,” Toshiro said and slid into the car, expecting the other man to close the door. The predatory aura to him hid his plans well. If he could gain his wolf and leave before his scene was over, the only real challenges were reconstructing the two passports, getting to a flight that would take them anywhere other than Russia. As the door closed, he again heard the wolf cry. Lies were his element, but he would find his truth, and no matter what challenges, together they could repair the world.