Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Drop the Needle: Death #17

TITLE: The Black Sword
GENRE: Fantasy

Pausing in their underground search for Demons, The old Kunitsu, Iro finishes telling a traditional story, and the young Kunitsu, Akinobu has a terrible revelation.

“…They met in the dark. Kareke's mouth bit with sharp fangs, and his flesh was hot. He had grown claws, and they tore at Ryushi, who had been his fosterling. The fight lasted a long time. But Ryushi killed the second Demon, the Demon who had grown in the wounded body of his friend. He lived to drag himself out of the cave and tell his story. And then he went back down, into the dark, and was not seen again.”

Iro finished, and was silent. Akinobu felt his heart pounding under his ribs. His stomach clenched. At last he got up, went down to the black pool, and drank.
He felt Master Oburo behind him. They sat for a while, in the shadows, far from the lamp. At last Akinobu said, “You never told me the second Demon was a changed Kunitsu. You never told me they were friends.”

Oburo sighed. “When boys are little, they are told the simpler story. You loved it so much…. I did not want to take the joy of it away from you.”

“You treat me like a child. It was all lies. You told me lies.”

“No. It was not lies. We don't know the truth. It was a thousand years ago. We tell the stories as we have heard them. The Kunitsu in the old stories are all dead. They can not tell us the truth.”
Akinobu stared off into the dark. “Perhaps,” he said, “We will find out for ourselves.”


  1. Very compelling; very sad,(the old story) and full of foreshadowing (in the story present.) I can't think of anything I would change.

  2. Took me a second to figure out what was going on, but maybe that's just because we're starting in the middle. I like how the death you are dealing with is not a real death, but the death of a story - a death of childhood innocence, almost. Nice work. I'd keep reading.

  3. Great storytelling. I'm guessing Akinobu will have a similar encounter with a friend later in the story. I would cut "under his ribs" since we can assume that's where his heart is located. Also cannot is one word.

  4. Naturally, questions come to mind--why tell the story now? Was it asked for by the younger, or did the older one decide it was a good time? While I agree that "under his ribs" can be redundant, I get a more vivid picture of the emotion with that set of words--makes me think of the ribs actually vibrating, which wouldn't be the same otherwise. Come to think of it, Akinobu might have a point when he says "It was all lies." True, the older one never said the demons were friends, what did he say? That they were enemies? If so, it was a lie. If not, why would they be fighting at all? If they were not friends OR enemies, what is their interest in each other. Just another question that would probably be cleared up with more of the book to read. Nice use of language!