AN: This is a vomit story. It was vomitted in stressful evenings, while I worried about things that I can't hope to control. I wrote it for fun- because everywhere else, I've been drawing blanks. I will be updating my other works soon- but this story has been so much fun to write that I figured maybe I've got a gem.

... Plus, I've always wanted to approach this overdone genre; some authors can pull it off amazingly well. We shall see if I am one of them... ^_^

Para mis hijos, y el marido que he amado mas que la vida:

This story is one I wrote without even trying- and that's the message I want to leave my children and my husband with: every good thing in my life was given to me as a precious gift. Cherish the people that you are blessed enough to share time with. If love had been enough to keep me with you, I would have never left your sides. I didn't want to.

But life has plans of it's own, and we have to trust that those work out for the best.

Con todo mi amor,

-Su mama y su esposa

I died on August 6th. This is the last date I remember, because after that day time lost all of it's importance.

Certainly there are months and days, years in this world; but where I came from, the passages of hours were somehow different. That life seems to stretch further, longer in my mind than these years I have spent as a daughter, a mother, a lover, a Shinobi. Those memories have been slowly superseded by the ones I made here, but I remember the heaviness of those days. I remember standing on the bridge that day, with bastions of salty wind tearing my hair into wild clouds; I remember the smell of boats and dying fish, the unmistakable stink of the sea. I had known the ocean for as long as I had lived, it seemed; there was no unease in my steps, and no fear churning in me as I bent my head over the guardrail and stared into the tea-colored inlet below. Gulls were circling in the air, shrieking melancholy cries. Boats puttered like tottering old men across the water. The man next to me had caught a stingray.

I remember the stingray especially, because- to be perfectly honest- that fish killed me. It was just a little creature, as big and as flat as the massive, chapped hand of the fisherman as he braced himself against a pole, looking down at his catch. Fishing from this bridge was technically against the rules, but that world was a place where hardly anything mattered as long as you didn't hurt anybody- and most of time, nobody did. Amazing, huh? Can you imagine everyone in a general area, the whole country even, having that kind of genial empathy? This man wasn't even hurting the little stingray; he pulled the silver line in quickly, and swung the flat little guy onto the metal-plank deck of the pedestrian causeway.

The stingray fought with it's devolved little wings, flapping weakly as the man (dark hair, graying mustache, battered hat) slid the hook from it's tiny gash of a mouth with an ease that kept me watching, spellbound. Something so small and cute as this was incapable of being fierce- it's stinger wasn't even fully grown yet- but those muddy little eyes shone through with a fighting will. The man's hairy fingers plunged again and again after the fleshy thing's body; but each time he reached the stingray would flop furiously, still beating his almost-transparent wings.

I took off my blue flip-flop and stepped, cautiously, towards the little guy. The fisherman grinned from beneath the shade of his visor, eyes invisible behind sunglasses; I smiled back instinctively, and crouched on my ankles. The little stingray, as I expected, fled the incoming shoe by walloping closer to the gap between where the railing began and the air opened. It would be a long fall for the fishie, I remember thinking. The sun spangling off of it's jelly-like skin, it's heaving little gill sack, absorbed my attention, so much so that I hardly heard the fisherman step hesitantly back.

It's funny, but I remember everything but how I died. I've spent all this time talking about a damn fish, but I only saw a flash of the thing that killed me. There was a car (a self-propelled carriage that we had back in that world, since they don't exist here), it's gaping headlights suddenly feet from me, like a monster that spontaneously teleported before me; it's lights were on, even though it was broad day. I heard the screaming of rubber meeting asphalt, of brakes screeching and the gulls soaring away in fear. The fisherman's hand snatched at my elbow like a clamp, a strong, grandfather's hand. I remember pulling my arms up in front of my face (just like the ninjas on TV did) and wondering, with a clarity that seems silly now, what is my mom going to think? And then the faux-chrome indented itself in my gut; that car hit me and kept moving, yanking me out of the old man's grip and into the shocking coldness of the bottomless air. Shards of metal and the shattered chains of the guardrail, broken glass from the windows of the car; a funnel of debris as if I were looking up the center of a tornado, a revving red car hovering in the sky with me, weightless. The stingray wavering against the sky, taking me home with him.

It was August 6th, the day I died; the day they dropped the bomb on Hiroshima nearly fifty years before. My mother and I were on a trip to the beach, to celebrate the beginning of my junior year of high school, and now she was all alone.