It was time for the daily delivery. Yamato approached one of the guards.
“How many times do I have to ask?”
Kiichi’s injury was getting worse and worse. It wouldn’t heal. Yamato and Takeru had moved into the gym the night before, and had been unable to sleep nursing him through a high temperature.
“There’s someone with an injury in here,” Yamato protested, stepping close. But the guard bluntly refused.
“Because you’re not supposed to do things like fight. You have to stay calm and behave. We’re doing what we can and you kids...”
“We need disinfectant and bandages! We’ve been asking you for heaters all along. But you just...”
“Watch your tone!” The guard bellowed. But Yamato couldn’t back down now.
“Let me meet the director. I want to discuss it directly with him.”
“That’s unnecessary! The director is already being informed in detail of the situation here.”
“Then why isn’t he listening to our requests?”
Yuuri was listening near by. “Calm down. Don’t get so angry. They aren’t going to listen if you’re shouting.” She gave the guard a sharp look. “Isn’t that right?”
“I don’t need to talk to you,” the guard answered, muffled through his gasmask.
“We think the same. You’re nothing but a gofer.”
“What’d you call me?” the guard’s expression changed at Yuuri’s goading.
“Go ahead and make a report. tell him you can’t be sure that we’re going to remain obedient in here forever.”
The guard pointed his gun at Yuuri’s threat. “If you want to make a fuss, then go ahead and try.”
“Now you’re giving yourself away. You just do whatever is most convenient for you, don’t you guys? If you killed all of us here, you wouldn’t have to waste time or energy on us anymore. Then you’d twist the truth and make up a report so the deceit can continue.”
“There will be no more deliveries!” the guard yelled, thrown off-guard, and grabbed the food can in Yamato’s hand. It fell and hit the ground, and the guard immediately went to pick it up. In an instant, one of the boys gathered around ran forward and grabbed for it. Their hands met.
“Don’t touch me!” The guard hit the panicked boy. “What are you doing?”
The boy shoved back at the guard. His gasmask fell off, and the boy’s hand brushed his face.
“Ahhh!” The guard raised a half-crazed wail, and it echoed around the square. “He touched me! He touched me!”
“Withdraw! Withdraw!” As one, the other guards climbed onto the helicopter.
“Help me! Don’t just leave me here!” the guard cried out, but his cold-hearted companions didn’t look back. The helicopter flew away
He burst into tears, and the children surrounding him watched without expression.
Dusk came. The guard still sat in the marketplace alone. He held a picture of his family. His eyes as he looked at it were filled with despair.
An apple was held out before his eyes. It was Yamato. “If you like, you can come stay at our place? We don’t have much, but it’s better than here...”
But the man’s eyes were empty, and standing abruptly he grabbed Yamato’s shirt.
“I don’t want to die like this, in a place like this... It’s your fault. It’s all of your fault that I’m going to die!”
As he yelled this, the man started to cry again. Yamato put the apple next to the bitterly weeping man. The tears were unending. The setting sun lit up the lonely curve of the man’s spine.
The thought suddenly crossed Yamato’s mind, this person is going to die soon.
”He has a fever. Looks like it’s infected.”
Kiichi’s condition was getting worse and worse. Night came, and though it was freezing cold, his forehead was damp with sweat. But Takeru and Yamato had reached the point where they could do nothing but watch over their friend. Yuuri and Mori, Akira and Makoto were the same.
Medicine... If only there was some kind of medicine, they could help Kiichi. Alcohol sanitizer, at the very least.
With a start, Takeru turned to Akira and Makoto.
“Do you guys have any sake?”
If they did, they could use it to sanitize the wound. But the two exchanged a glance with guilty expressions.
“...We drank it all.”
Yamato bit his lip, and watched over Kiichi as his fever continued to rise.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Our Courage, Chapter Five (part a)