The True Beauty Of A Withered Camellia

Kiku Honda grew up in a small house on the outskirts of town; both his mother and father raised him up until the age of ten. His mother left in pursuit of a better life; one where her husband did not beat her when he was frustrated or drunk.

Kiku would try to avoid getting into confrontations with his father and tend to his mothers emotional and physical wounds the best that he knew how, but he also knew he would not be able to console her completely.

At times, Kiku would find himself thinking back to the past; back to when his father was gentle and loving. When he was an honest man working as a police officer up until the accident some five years before his mother left both him and his father.

Kiku's father had been in charge of the checkpoints that were set up in Tokyo, when he went to stop an individual to ask for papers he ran off only to have Kiku's father along with two other men on the force pursue him.

He was able to cut the man off in an alleyway and corner him, as he closed in the man pulled out a gun. As Kiku's father charged forward with his blade and pierced the man with his sword, the criminal's bullet did the same to his body, hitting him in the leg.

The result of the bullet was a permanent limp which unfortunately cost him his job and later his calm demeanor.

At first, Kiku's father tried to make the best of a bad situation, attempting to find another acceptable job, only to end up carrying crates shipped in and out of the country. He even broke down and made the decision to accept the money his brother offered him.

After a while, he would stop for an occasional drink after his work was done for the day; an occasional drink turned into two, then three, and then the entire bottle.

After about half of a year, Kiku and his mother only saw the 'head of the household' every so often, and when they did, he was red faced, incoherent and stumbling over himself with the bitter sweet smell of rice wine on his breath.

As the years passed, Kiku and his mother grew accustomed to the beatings, the fighting and the cold exterior of the man they once cherished as a great father and husband. Shortly after one of the most violent beatings which left Kiku's mother bed ridden for days; she packed her things in the dead of night and left only a note stating the reason she left with an apology and a small hair pin that she used to wear.

Kiku was heart broken and at the same time angered by his father's foolishness, but what could he do? Kiku pent up his frustration and tried to go on with his life, even though he knew what was in store for him.

Ten years passed by like the seasons, changing rapidly and with hot and cold emotions coming from his father. Kiku did his best to try and maintain the home when he wasn't reading from a book to improve his English or math skills or cooking for his father.

Kiku kept himself tucked away inside of the house, partly because he was afraid of what his father would do if he were not there to welcome him home when he returned from his binge drinking, but also because of the bruises and welts on his skin and against his soft pale skin.

After Kiku's mother left, the only person left to lash out at was Kiku; and so the beatings began. At first, Kiku tried to run; act as if he wasn't there, but after awhile he just let his father do it so that he wouldn't have to spend his nights huddled over in a darkroom peering around the corner waiting for the next attack.

It was as if his body had become numb every time a kick was delivered to his chest or a fist to his stomach. Kiku's father began to calm down a little when he began betting on Hanafuda games.

At first, Kiku was relieved to see his father's aggression slowly subside, "Maybe he will start to act a little like his old self," Kiku thought to himself. In later months, Kiku noticed that items from the household were disappearing, it was small trinkets at first, his mothers remaining accessories, coins.

But then it began escalating. Paintings, clothes, anything that was worth something. Knocks could be heard at the door at all hours of the night; collectors from the bars his father would gamble and bet at coming to claim their money.

They became more persistent; threatening to hurt Kiku's father, eventually the pressure led to one bold decision. As a seventeen year old Kiku is preparing dinner for when his father returns there is a knock at the door.

Kiku wipes his hands and heads for the shoji and slides it open, " Honda residence how may I help..." two muscular men force their way into the house taking Kiku completely by surprise.

Muffled screams can be heard coming from Kiku's now covered mouth, "Stay quiet," one of the rugged men said. He slowly removed his hand from Kiku's mouth, "W-Who are you?" Kiku asked softly as he trembled ever so lightly.

"You could call us businessmen collecting our 'payment'," said the other man standing next to the door. Kiku looked confused at first before realizing what they had meant, " Y-You mean my father...?" Kiku started.

"Yeah, the pathetic bastard offered you up to save his ass. So now you're coming with us," said the man kneeling next to him.

"Where?" Kiku asked hesitantly. "Where else but a brothel?" laughed the man over by the door. Kiku's heart sank, "B-But I've done nothing wrong, why are you taking me?"Kiku asked as tears began to stream down his cheeks.

"What are you stupid? We just said that you're the only collateral your old man had left," the man over by the door said harshly.

"I-I see..."Kiku said in an soft almost emotionless voice. The man standing over by the door looked Kiku up and down, " At least you're old man had enough common sense to offer you up, I wouldn't mind testing out the merchandise before taking it to Yoshiwara," the man smiled slyly as he licked his lips.

Kiku averted his eyes from the man and tried to move away into the corner of the room, "Alright, we've wasted enough time... let's take the kid and get out of here,"the man kneeling next to Kiku said calmly.

"Stand up," ordered the man. Kiku quickly obliged and made his way to the rickshaw outside and got in. The men sat next to him and gave the runner his destination; Kiku was off to a new setting, one that he had never known.

This is a new story I came up with about two weeks ago, it's as accurate as you can get, (the time line, the settings, even the places) I hope this story turns out well ^_^

Some things I want to point out:
Yoshiwara- Famous Red Light District in Edo and/or Tokyo, Japan
*Meiji Period- (1868-1912) This story takes place during the mid Meiji Period all the way up to the Taisho Period (1912-1926)
Hanafuda-Card game originating in Japan.

Please Review and Enjoy!