Disclaimer: We all wish for things we do not have. Saiyuki is one of the things I wish for..

Author: The Penumbra (previously known as Konzen)

Notes: This is a short fic where a young Konzen (round 10 years old) contemplates Heaven. I wrote it a few months ago and forgot all about it…and discovered it hidden in the sea of folders in one of my diskettes. Hope you like it.






The Penumbra


"Konzen? Konzen!" Her voice is full of irritation, as she hisses my name. "For goodness sake child, stop staring!" I tear my eyes away to look at my mother, who is angry with me…again. I have no idea of what I'm doing wrong this time. I was only looking at that strange boy the guards are dragging away. I look back once again.

His eyes meet mine, and I start. One eye is gold, the other blue. But what makes me stare is the expression of utter resignation and defeat. He wears shackles round his wrists and ankles, and is surrounded by four grown men. What can he have done to deserve this? I wonder, taking in the small, bedraggled figure moving away. He must be even younger than I am.

I wince as she grasps my arm even tighter and her fingernails dig deep into my skin. She pulls me away, and I hear her whispering angrily to the other women. "How do they allow scum like that to pass from here?" "It's shameful! I feel quite faint!" "To think we should have seen such filth!" I can't understand what they mean, and ask my mother. Some things are not meant to the talked about, she replies, frowning. So why do they talk about it? I wonder out loud.

Now she is even more irritated and glares at me. She shakes her head, but is not ready to argue, as that would mean spending more time with me. She has to go to one of her friends, and is already late, so I'm handed over to a servant, like an unwanted piece of luggage, and told to behave myself when I get to my aunt. I shrug my shoulders, and glare back at her. Mother ignores me and leaves. I am left alone with my servant.

I'm not sure that I like my aunt, Kanzeon, because I am never sure when she is making fun of me. But mother says that I am her favourite nephew, and that she can do great things for me (as though I even care!) so I have to go to her whether I like it or not.

She is strange woman, as unlike the other gods as can be. Sometimes she frowns at me and tells me that the look in my eyes is too old for one so young. At other times, she calls me her little one, and tells me never to be afraid of others. She laughed then when I called her kusobaba for calling me little, while my mother nearly died of horror. But then, that's how Kanzeon Bosatsu is made. She laughs at everyone and everything. At Jiroushin, when he tries to make her moderate her language, at my mother, who tries to flatter her at every opportunity, at the inhabitants of Heaven… even at the Emperor himself.

You are like me.

That's what she always says when she takes my face in her hands and looks straight into my eyes. And my mother smiles, and praises the Goddess of Mercy who is so good to her youngest. Kanzeon smiles back at my mother, but her eyes hold a contemptuous look, which my mother never notices. And then I understand what she means by her words. We both hate this hypocrisy. I can't stand people trying to flatter me because I am the Bosatsu's nephew, or because of my family's high position. Neither can she.

We deal with it in different ways: she laughs at people… I ignore them.

I hear my mother's friends whisper to each other about what an unsociable child I am, whatever that may mean. I know I'm different from the few other children in heaven. I don't care for their talk on who they know, what position they will hold when they grow up… I'm not interested.

"You should have let me put up your hair. That way you'd be just like your father and the other fine men. You'd like that wouldn't you?" My servant smiles down at me, but I glare back. I hate her subservience. Why should I want to be like my father and the other men? I despise them all. They are all the same I don't want to be like all the others. I am Konzen. No one else. And if the only way I can show my individuality is by letting my hair down, then I'll do it.

Heaven. A completely monotonous place. I am tired of seeing the same things, the same faces. I hate this silly pretence, trying to be what you're not, simply to conform to the rules, striving to gain favour with those who can ensure that you'll get a higher position. I hate this society. If this is heaven, I shudder to think of hell.

Once I read that to love means to suffer. I wonder if that is the reason why my parents don't care about me. When I leave home in a few years time, no one will miss me, and I won't miss them. Now I am an ornament, which my parents can parade when they see the need to… my father when he wants to show that he was capable of producing a male off-spring, and my mother when she wants to impress her friends by telling them that I am the Kanzeon's favourite. Otherwise, I am forgotten. I have tutors, servants, everything, but what I most want. What I most need.

I look back, but the boy with the chains has disappeared. It is useless trying to find out were he has been taken, or what he has done. He is now only a memory, another mystery which I cannot clear. I shrug. The easiest thing is simply not to bother. There are any things which I don't understand. After all, that's how it's meant to be here.


The End



Comments are much appreciated :-)