"Oh, thank you, thank you, Ms. Megurine!" The little girl says, twirling around in her new lavender kimono. "It's so pretty!" The mom laughs and whispers to the child to stop. A smile couldn't help but grow on my face at the sight of another satisfied customer, twirling and spinning in her long-sleeved kimono. Her mom turns to me and smiles, handing me the pay for the kimono.
"Thank you again, Luka," she says, straightening her own light green kimono. "Your work is, as always, magnificent."
"You're always welcome." I say, as the woman walks out with her child. The little girl turns back and waves before leaving, skipping after her mother merrily.
I sigh, sadness gently squeezing at my heart. Where is my own happiness? I think sullenly. The love of my life just seems to never be home. He has a person like me after all; how can he be away for so long? I shake my head and square my shoulders, determination setting in. Brushing a stray hair away from my eyes, I set my eyes on the green sash in front on me.
My tailor shop is located right on the corner of Enbizaka. It seems like everyone knows me here, for I am constantly repairing, mending, and creating things like kimonos and sashes for the people of the town, my costumers.
I grab my scissors and hold them up to the light, watching the blades glint dully. I sigh again and take my sharpening stone, scraping the blades against it over and over.
The scissors used to be my mother's; she's the one who got me into tailoring, as she was a very well known tailor herself.
"The more you sharpen," she had told me, over and over until it became imprinted in memory, "the better it cuts."
Taking a much needed break from my work, I take a stroll outside through the town. Like everyday, it's as calm and peaceful as Buddha; it's never changed.
Suddenly, I stop and crane my neck, trying to hear well. My brain clicks as it recognizes the voices; among them is my love. Is he finally coming home?
I run down the road and turn the corner as fast as I can, stopping when I see him. The look of happiness on his face, the way his deep blue hair dances in the breeze, and how his ocean blue eyes sparkle are just enough to bring a large smile creeping onto my features. But the smile disappears as quickly as it came when I realize why he's so happy.
He's with another woman.
Who is that witch? I think, anger burning into my chest. My love seems so familiar with this woman; he seems to be so happy. Wearing a blood red kimono that fills out all her curves and flipping chocolate brown hair out of her eyes, she wraps her arm around him and plants a kiss right on his lips.
Unable to take anymore, I spring up, scaring those who were near me. Huffing, I spin around and run as fast as I can in my restricting pink kimono ignoring the looks passerby gave me.
I run and I run until I burst right into my shop, collapsing to the floor. Why would he do such a thing? I think. I eye the red kimono lying on my table; a customer must have left it when I wasn't here. I grab it and take my scissors in my hand.
I have to persevere with my work. I think. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I work hard on re-sewing the kimono.
"How this, Mother?" I say holding up a piece a fabric with an embroidered rose on it. My mother beams and inspects the fabric.
"Oh, Luka sweetie, this is just wonderful!" my mom says, running her fingers over the stitches, "Don't tell me you did this yourself?" I nod, nearly hopping in excitement.
"I practiced and practiced like you said!" I say giddily, leaping into my mother's lap. She laughs, and soon I'm laughing with her.
"This is exquisite! It looks just like the real thing!" My mother says, kissing my forehead. She ruffles my hair and sets me straight on her lap. "Now, how about you help Mommy with a sash?" I nod vigorously and take simply white thread, running it through my teeth and holding it taut so my mother can cut it.
"You'll make a fine tailor one day, Luka," she says, letting the scissors glint in the light before snipping the string.
I believe her, too.
"You mean you haven't heard?" my costumer says, handing me the pay for a coffee brown sash. My brow furrows as I fold the sash and hand it to him.
"Heard what? Did something happen?" I say. He nods, draping the sash over his arm.
"A woman was killed last night." My eyes widen.
"You aren't serious, are you?" I say incredulously. He nods sadly.
"I wish I was." He turns and walks toward the front door. "I wish I could stay, but I have to go home before my wife starts worrying." I nod and he slips out the door, walking away briskly. I look outside warily.
I'll just go for a short walk. I think before standing up, brushing off my kimono and walking out the door.
Outside, the roads are less crowded, and anyone outside walks with a quickened gait. Straightening my kimono, I set off toward the main road.
Even there, the people here are few; the many shops that should be open are closed, and many others are closing. I shake my head and glance toward the bridge. I turn to walk back toward my shop, but I freeze in my tracks. I whip around and my heart seems to stop.
It him again; my love. This time, he looks distressed and saddened, slumped over the bridge's rail. I want to comfort him; I want to tell him that he doesn't have to be scared and convince him to come home.
My feet start to move on their own, but the stop suddenly as a girl with long, teal hair appears next to him. She puts a hand on his shoulder and he holds her in a tight hug, tugging the forest green sash around her slim waist.
Anger burning even fiercer deep inside my chest, I spin and run back to my shop. The way there is longer than I think it should be, but upon reaching my shop, I slip inside and throwing myself into a chair.
So that's the kind of woman you desire? I think sadly. Clenching the green sash in my hand, I take my scissors.
I must persevere with my work. I think. I glance at the mirror on the far wall; my eyes are puffing up and turning red. I tear my eyes away from the mirror and begin repairing the sash.
"I don't mean to rush your work, but can you please go faster, Ms. Megurine?" I look up at the costumer in front of me, nervously fiddling with her kimono. I shrug.
"It's no problem," I say, eyeing her, "but is something wrong?" The woman nods, her hair bouncing with her head.
"Someone else died yesterday. Murdered, actually." My eyes widen.
"Another murder? This is getting out of hand." The woman nods, shifting her weight from foot to foot. She eyes the kimono in my hand. I chuckle lowly. "Don't worry, I'm done," I say, folding the kimono and handing it to her.
"Thank you, Ms. Megurine," she says, bowing stiffly in thanks before turning and nearly running out the door. I sigh, twirling a stray strand of hair around my finger.
My walk will be super quick this time. I think, catching the front door before it closes and slipping outside.
The town seems to be even more barren, with barely any people outside. Even the air seems to be stretched taut with tenseness as I walk briskly down the road.
I take a glance at the hairpin shop; even it's nearly bare, with only two costumers inside.
But I stop immediately and draw a ragged breath as I peer inside.
It's my love yet again; this time, he's with a little girl with golden blonde hair.
No! She's too young for him! I think angrily, clutching at the scissors hidden in my kimono. How could he be with her? The little girl is looking around the shop; when her eyes spot a scarlet red pin, her expression plummets and her eyes start glistening. She turns sharply and points to an ornate yellow hairpin. My love, my love smiles a small, fake smile and picks it up, placing the pin in her hair. The girls smiles widely and hugs my love tightly as he pays for the pin.
I turn and run as fast I can, away from this horrid sight with tears blurring my vision and pain squeezing at my heart.
He has no boundaries! Just none! I think angrily, clenching my hands so tightly until the pain runs up and down my arms. Oh, how that girl will pay for trying to steal my love. I think, turning a corner and heading toward the graveyard.
That little wench! I think, peering from behind a wide tree at the graveyard. The little girl isn't far from me; she's kneeling at a gravestone and setting down ruby red roses. Her cheeks are wet with tears and her sapphire blue eyes are glistening. Against the moonlight, her yellow pin glows like a mini sun.
"Mother…Sister…" she whispers, wiping her eyes. "I hope you guys know how much I miss you." She wrings her hands and looks around before setting her eyes back to the tombstone. "I hope you guys know how much Father and I loved you."
"Aw, you miss your mother and you sister?" I say. The girl starts and she starts trembling.
"Wh-Who's there?" she says shakily. I step out from behind the tree, opening and closing the scissors clutched in my hand as her eyes widen. She starts crying harder as her eyes lock on the scissors.
"P-Please!" she says, but I ignore her pleas as I rush over to her hand pin her tiny body beneath my knees. She struggles, crying and sobbing and pleading me to stop, pleading me to let me go.
A small smile creeps on my face as I eye the glowing pin in her hair.
In the blink of an eye, I raise the scissors and bring them down, over and over until she stops struggling.
Ripping the pin from her hair, I brush it off and hold it in my hands.
"I'll become the woman he wants." I whisper to the moon. I stand up and make my way hastily back to my shop.
I have work to do.
I eye my scissors warily as I clean the ornate yellow hairpin in front of me.
Were my scissors always this color? I think, examining the weird brown stains on the blades. Don't tell me they've rusted. I'll sharpen them later.
"Right now, I have work to complete," I say, thinking out loud. Holding up the yellow pin against the light, satisfied with the way they glow. I stand up and bring my materials over to the chair. Placing them in the chair, I face the mirror and peer into it. The blood red kimono fits me perfectly, contrasting sharply with the forest green sash. Lastly, I bend down and pick up the hairpin. Admiring it shortly, I place it in my hair and fold my hands to the front. A wide smile spreads slowly across my features.
"If you're not going to come meet me, my dear," I say, slipping my scissors into my kimono, "then I'll certainly come to meet you."
"Come, Luka," my mother says, patting at a spot on her lap. I run over to her and leap onto her lap, snuggling into her arms. "I need to tell you something my mother told me." I nod, setting my eyes on hers and listening intently.
"Scissors are made from two blades, are they not?" I nod. My mother smiles.
"They carry out their task by being close and scraping against one another." I nod again, confused about where she was going with this conversation.
"Just like a married couple who gets along well." I nod, her words sinking in.
"So love's like a pair of sharp scissors?" My mom nods, leaning in close.
"If you ever found the love of your life, Luka, you mustn't let your scissors grow blunt."
"But can't you just sharpen scissors if they grow dull blunt?" My mother laughs and ruffles my hair.
"Yes, but love is not as easy to sharpen if it becomes blunt. You must never let it grow blunt, or you might not be able to sharpen it again."
I stand here, waiting by the pond for my love. He comes here every night; I know he'll return this time. I look at my reflection in the water, fixing my kimono and straightening my sash for the last time. My reflection suddenly warps and twists until it becomes the face of the brown-haired woman. I gasp in surprise and she sneers.
You're mad. You know he never loved you, right? He never even knew you. Anger starts to boil in my chest at her words.
"You're lying." I hiss at her, kicking a rock into the pond. Her face disappears and my reflection reappears, only to swirl around until it becomes the girl with the teal hair. I scowl deeply.
How could you kill someone over a person who never noticed you? He has a family. He had a wife and two children. You're insane! She snaps at me.
"You're lying!" I say, kicking dirt into the pond to disrupt her form. The water ripples from the dirt, but soon the waves take the shape of the little girl with the hairpin. Anger blazes in my chest at the sight of her.
You're a murderer! She shouts at me.
"You're lying!" I scream, plunging my foot into the water. Bringing it out and shaking off the excess water, my angry reflection returns, my sunset pink hair glowing with the full moon.
"Hello?" a voice calls out. I whip around, and my anger immediately ceases at the sight of my love.
"Hi, Kaito." I breathe, a wide smile appearing on my features. Kaito looks around nervously and bows.
"Good evening, Ms.," he says formally, "How do you do?" My smile falters.
"Don't be silly, Kaito!" I say, stepping closer to him. "You can always call me Luka!" He smiles awkwardly, but his smile dies and is replaced with the look of surprise as he eyes my outfit.
"Do you like it? I made it just for you, love," I say, twirling around. I wrap my arms around him lovingly, but he slips out of my grip.
"Get away from me," he utters, trembling with wide eyes. My smile fades.
"I've become the type of girl you like," I say, taking a step toward him. He takes a quick two steps back. A fake smile flashes on my features and disappears. I twirl again, desperation setting in.
"Well? Aren't I beautiful?" I say, stepping toward him. He backs up so fast he trips, horror set on his features.
"Get away from me!" he shouts, scrambling backwards. I stare, dumbfounded, until anger blazes, the strongest it's ever been.
I lunge at him, red filling my vision until screams echo into the night.
Today a lone customer had wandered into my shop; it's the woman from a couple of days ago, her daughter no longer at her side. I sit, tailoring her daughter's lavender kimono.
"You know, this time, a man was killed," she says nervously, twirling at strand of green hair on her finger. "It was an entire family of four!" I smile darkly.
"Well, isn't that news?" The woman shudders at my smile before handing me the pay as I give her the kimono.
"The man was mean in the first place; he treated me as if I was a stranger," I say emptily. I look up at the woman; her expression set in confusion.
"It was as thought I was a stranger," I say again. I nod. "Tell you daughter not to run so much in her kimono, okay?" The woman nods, and then observes my scissors. Her eyes turn as wide as saucers and she starts trembling.
"…your scissors…" she says, before turning and running out of my shop like the devil was after her. I shrug at her behavior.
I must persevere with my work, I think, taking out my sharpening stone and scraping my scissors against it.
The scarlet red doesn't come off.
After all, the more you sharpen, the better it cuts.