Of course, we hadn't spoken since. I had sent a few letters a pictures home to my parents, but never to her. Since it had arrived I had been wondering why my sister had sent me all of this and why now, of all times? She could at least have sent a letter, a note or some form of explanation along with it.
Sig was still staring at me with a quizzical look. There was no way that I was going to tell her, Funco or anyone else that whole story. They might be my friends, but… well…
Unfortunately, it didn't look like Sig was willing to just let the subject drop. I tried to think of what to say, something simple that would dismiss her question in as few words as possible. Nothing came to mind, so I ended up just sitting their awkwardly, trying to avoid making eye contact. My salvation came in the form of Funco crying out, "Ah. It's Elle-chan when she was really small." She and Ichiroku had apparently not listened to Sig and have instead been fully occupied with the photo album. "Look, they're so adorable!" She added, and that comment was enough to turn Sig's gaze away from me. I was glad that the other two were not nearly as sharp as the ever accurate Swiss rifle.
With the others distracted I thought I might slip out and go for a walk somewhere or sit at my favourite spot on the riverbank; even in this rain it would be good for clearing my mind and forgetting about all of this. I guess I should throw that box away on my way out - it will make a handy excuse for leaving the room. Taking hold of it I quickly realised that it was notably heavier than an empty shoebox should be. I looked inside and, sure enough, there was something there beneath the newspaper packing. After placing the box down again I reached inside and pulled out the mysterious object.
"Huh, a bayonet?" I heard Funco say and, naturally, she was right. It was a bayonet much like my own (which is buried in one of the desk drawers) and I knew that it would happily fit on the end of my barrel. "And it looks pretty old too."
Yes, it clearly wasn't new. It was covered in little marks and scratches – and the sheath looks quite worn. In fact, it looks quite familiar. Could this be… my sister's?
"Who uses bayonets anymore anyway?" Ichiroku said scathingly, but I wasn't really listening anymore; I ripped it from its sheath and examined it closely. There was no doubt that it belonged to my sister, I knew every mark on this blade. Except for something new – halfway down the blade was a small inscription:
'I'm sorry. Forgive me.'
"I know! It's for when you break in combat isn't it?"
"Ichiroku-chan, don't be mean! See, you've made her cry now!"
"Ah! Sorry, Elle!"
Thanks for reading. All comments are appreciated (otherwise I don't know if anyone has bothered to read the whole thing).
I am obliged to mention that I have permission to use the cover image (from the Ministry of Defence) under Open Government Licence. More information and pictures can be found at the Defence Imagery website. Obligation fulfilled.