As soon the ache of the fire lessens, Kotoha sticks to summoning simple things: pens, glasses, paper aeroplanes. The umbrella she had forgotten to bring to school. Trinkets to amuse her friends, only to find herself inexplicably drained by the end of the day. When Hime asks her to join the Hiizumi Life Counselling Office, she finds herself trawling encyclopaedias, dictionaries, museums – even factories (where they would eventually admit her, exasperated and amused by her bright persistence). The days turn into grasping for names and variations; measurements; form and function. It is an insatiable hunger.
A month, and she is surprised by the force of her memory crackling with spells and familiar invocations. In two years, she burns out countless times in order to grasp the limits of her lexicon and voice. She sees the world through the eyes of an architect-inventor-scientist. In the third year, she dares to call a family photograph into being, pieced from the ashes of her memory. The shape is solid in her hands (silver halide salts gelatine nine by thirteen centimetres) but the image is smoke. There are ghosts of smiles and hands, and the only clear face is her own.