ANK – Stars

He chose to call her Art. Not because she was beautiful but because she looked like art. Every time he looked at her, he felt something different, be it comfort, anger, disgust, unrest. She was a paradox in herself. It made him happy and sad, tranquil and anxious at the same time. She was his best dreams but also his worst nightmares. She disturbed him when he was comfortable and comforted him when he was disturbed. From that day she was Art.

‘Look!” he grabbed her by the shoulders and pointed towards the sky. Although rain had just passed, a couple of stars were shining , piercing through the darkness.

‘I can actually see stars on the sky. It’s been so long! And I think that one over there is a shooting star!’ he whispered with excitement as his eyes grew bigger and bigger.

‘I think that’s a plane, silly’, she giggled, taking his hands off her slowly. ‘You know there’s an airport nearby. Grow up and stop dreaming so much.’

‘Aw, I guess you’re right’, he replied on a disappointed tone as he sat down on a bench next to the canal. I’ve always loved staring at stars at night.. .and then thinking about how many people are actually staring at the same ones I am. Or at the planes I mistake for stars. I guess I never really grew up. I always remember how my mom used to tell me when I was a kid that every one of us has his own star.. and every time we see a falling star it means one of us has gone off this planet. It changes the conventional perspective of making a wish when seeing one, doesn’t it?’ he looked at her with a sad smile on his face. ‘

She looked at him for a couple of seconds and hesitated. Then turned her face away, gazing at the stars and stood there quietly. They must have stayed there in silence for more than a couple of hours staring at the stars, until they were gone, and until the sun-rays slowly touched their faces. Aitsuno had never felt this way. They were holding hands and he did not even realize until her hand started jerking, as she was drifting in and out of sleep. Although he barely knew her, he basked in the comfort of her presence and for once he felt part of a whole, rather than a single unit. He felt happy. Was this love Aitsuno was finally feeling? Or was it just another illusion? Was it again that insatiable deceiving hunger that took various forms and led him astray so many times?

‘You need to go’, whispered Aitsuno, while fiddling with her hair. Half-asleep, she looked at him confused and hesitated for a couple of seconds, as she usually did.

‘I am going to hurt you . Really badly. Please go, because I won’t, I can’t.’

‘Aitsuno, I don’t understand you, are you being serious?’ she replied on a troubled, trembling voice yet still trying to smile. Her heart was racing as her body starting shaking uncontrollably.

Fear was slowly settling in. Aitsuno stood up and kicked the bench, breaking one of its wooden planks in half.

‘Goddamit you are going to leave now, or I am going to make you go!’ Her heart stopped for a second and she felt how her face slowly got drenched in tears. Without thinking too much, she started running, without looking back.

As he lit up a cigarette and exhaled his first smoke, his eyes became teary and soon his face drenched in blood. As he wiped it off he saw the silhouette of a man coming towards him through the fog that was slowly settling in.

‘You did the right thing, Aitsuno. She was just an innocent girl. She didn’t deserve to end up like the others’ If you hadn’t driven her away, I would have done it. You cannot roam these lands freely and prey on innocent souls anymore. This is not your world, be gone!

‘Anger filled up Aitsuno’s veins and hunger soon took over. ‘You’ve made a big mistake coming here, old man. You have lived enough on this earth. Your soul is mine, said Aitsuno as his eyes turned red and his face pale as the moon that had just disappeared.

‘It all ends here and now, bakamono!’ shouted the old man as he took out an old rusty katana and charged towards Aitsuno.

The fog had dissipated. It was a chilly morning in early December, yet the sun was shining bright. Sun rays were drying up the red, drenched bench as seagulls were chasing away the crows. As his pupils dilated, he wanted to have a final word but his strength had completely drained out. He was staring at the sky and his eyes were fixed on what he perceived to be a shooting star.

‘So I guess that is me’, he whispered out loud endeavouring to say something, as he drew his last breath.