Author: ncfan PM
Better the illusions that exalt us than ten thousand truths.Rated: Fiction T - English - Ikuko H./Featherine A. & Tohya H. - Chapters: 39 - Words: 70,986 - Reviews: 35 - Favs: 11 - Follows: 23 - Updated: 04-09-13 - Published: 04-07-12 - id: 8001350
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Rain Upon Glass
January opens up and the skies open up with it. There's been naught but storms for the past week; Toya hasn't seen the sun in two. Bernkastel was pawing at the door earlier today—Ikuko must have locked the cat door, or something. When Toya got up to open the door, she stared dubiously out the door, seemingly realizing for the first time just how strong the wind was, before turning around and walking off in a huff, as though it was stupid of Toya to ever believe that she would want out. Her departure up the stairs leaves Toya alone in the library, lost among a sea of books, thunder making the windowpanes rattle.
Toya supposes that he's going to have to learn English one of these days; enough of Ikuko's books are in English that it frustrates him to pick one up, expecting to be able to read the title, only to find it in a language he does not even begin to understand.
She has so many books here that I don't suppose I should let the fact that a small number of them are in English discourage me. But really, it's insanely frustrating. It's like reaching for a candy bar at a drugstore, only for your mother to smack your hand away and point you towards the more nutritious, less flavorful option.
Well, maybe that's not such a great metaphor. I don't know. Maybe if the little kid was allergic to the food coloring dyes in the candy bar…
Toya settles down in one of the almost-too-heavily cushioned armchairs in a nook by the far left-hand window, where he can't see the door thanks to the bookcase standing in his way.
The shelf his eyes are naturally drawn to is full of atlases and reference books; Ikuko once mentioned that, since she didn't travel very much, she liked to have books with information about foreign lands at her disposal so she wouldn't be left in the dark. She also appears to have the second version of the fifteenth edition of the Encyclopædia Britannica, translated into Japanese, no less, at her disposal. Toya pulls an atlas of northwestern Europe down off the shelf, just so he'll have somewhere to look that isn't the pepper-dark sky.
Toya doesn't like rain. He doesn't like drizzle, showers, or even a light spray with the sun still out. He likes storms like this even less, thunder rolling over a storm-tossed sea like a spectral herd of horses, the lightning their glowing eyes… He just hates it.
If he also has an instinctive dislike for mirrors, Toya supposes it could be because of the headaches. He hardly ever has those anymore, those strange headaches that come out of nowhere, but sometimes, when he catches a glimpse of his face in glass, or when the thunder rumbles just overhead, a blinding flash of pain will come, just for a second, but he knows it's come to remind him of what may await him if he starts trying to dig at his past.
Of course, this interpretation is uncomfortable for Toya, so much so that he tries himself trying to assign other reasons for why he doesn't like the rain.
It could be that when it's storming like this, he's trapped in the house, at the mercy of the inclement weather, until the skies clear and the rains stop. Toya doesn't like to be at the mercy of things, especially not if said "things" aren't capable of being predicted. No matter what the weatherman reports, a storm can come out of nowhere and it can be hours, even days, before it leaves. In that time, a storm can do an incredible amount of damage, even if the wind isn't high or the lightning doesn't set fire to everything it touches—simple flooding can do more damage than that. Ikuko might say that the beauty of such destructive force should not be discounted, but Toya can't see anything beautiful about houses swept away by floodwater.
Maybe he doesn't like the idea of being assaulted by water he can't control. A shower cap is one thing, but rain? It's cold and just keeps pelting you even if you do have an umbrella—the insidiousness of rain is such that it can circumvent even that boundary.
Maybe he doesn't like going without seeing the sun for so long.
For all Toya knows, it could be that he just doesn't like the sound of rain hitting the roof.
There comes a sound from somewhere near the door, and Toya looks up, frowning. He hears a book being slid off a shelf. Seconds after that, hurried, irritated footsteps sound, followed by a slamming of the door, and more footsteps, this time on the stairs. Then, he smiles, a lopsided half-grin that threatens to break out into laughter.
She didn't even realize I was in here.
Toya wonders when, if ever, Ikuko will just break down and install a sort-of do-it-yourself dumbwaiter system. After all, her study is directly above the library. She could just carve a hole in the flood, tie a rope to a basket or bucket, send it down to the library and scream for someone to put the books she wanted in the bucket. She wouldn't even have to come up or down the stairs anymore; she could even take her meals that way. It sounds like the sort of thing Ikuko would do.
She'd never come out of that study anymore, except to sleep. And given the time of night she normally goes to bed, I'd probably never see her again. She'd probably get a good laugh out of it, but in a scenario like that she could be dead for days before anyone noticed the difference. What would the police make of something like that? Would I get tossed in jail, even though I hadn't done anything? Clearly Toya has been reading far too many novels about implausible deaths and dirty (or simply uncaring) cops lately.
Thunder crashes, and with it comes a sharp jolt in his head. Toya rubs his forehead, wincing, and away from the books, his eyes turn to the window.
He can make up reasons for disliking the rain all he wants, but once the drumming on his skull starts, he knows exactly why.
I can understand mirrors. Though the brutal tan he had gotten from floating about the sea has since faded, and his hair isn't quite so brittle anymore, Toya still sports bone-white hair and an odd smattering of freckles. He still gets pain in his head when he looks into the mirror, and in that case, at least, he understands why. What do we remember about people first? Their faces. Their hair color, eye color, skin color. If I get the pain in my head every time I try to remember who I was, then the mirror is an issue because just looking at my face assaults what sort of block I've got about what my life was like.
But why do I get the same pain when I see—or hear—the rain?
Toya sinks into his armchair and frowns pensively. The thunder, when it booms once more, sounds a little less vigorous this time; more like a grumble than a roar. He still gets that heartbeat's worth of pain, like the jab of an ice pick against his hairline, with each clap though.
I know what I need. He gets up, and starts perusing the aisles once more. I need a good book and a chair away from any windows. I don't need to be thinking about why I dislike rain. It's futile, and frankly kinda stupid, to dislike something that's going to happen whether I want it to or not.
The steady, almost rhythmic drumming of the rain against the roof seems to agree with him.