010 -Takumi Gets a Job (October’s Full Moon Story)

It had been more than a week since Takumi’s last job. He was the first to arrive at the street corner, as he was most mornings. It was an hour before sunrise, but the street was well-lit. In addition to the street lights lining the street, the corner where the day laborers waited every morning held one giant halogen light shining down on the bare lot.

The corner where they waited once aspired to be a building of some sort, but the project had been abandoned decades ago. It was in an impoverished part of town, and so had remained there, neglected and half built. At some point it became the place for day laborers to wait for bosses to come hire them. Takumi sometimes wondered how this spot had been selected and not another. How long had it been here and how long would it last? There was no authority who singled out this place for the homeless, and nearly homeless to wait for work. It was largely self-regulated. Sometimes men fought and someone called the police, but mostly it was quiet and no one bothered them. Almost everyone was gone from the corner by 9 or 10am. If they had no job by then they knew no one was coming by mid-morning, and so they moved on to the rest of their day.

The young, strong, and uninjured were the first selected. Takumi was old and walked with a limp. A short concrete wall separated the lot from the sidewalk. The lot, the wall, and this part of the city was neglected. All except the lights. Takumi took his favorite spot at the end of the crumbling wall. He nodded to the regulars as they began to arrive, and poured himself a cup of tea from the thermos he carried. When the weather was nice this was his favorite time of day. It was still early enough to have hope for a good job. It was quiet. Soon the lot would fill with anxious men, hiding their anxiety and blustering through their hangovers with jokes and insults.

Takumi did not initiate conversation with the others. Nor did he avoid speaking to people when spoken to. Other than the desire to work he had little in common with the other laborers. He did not drink. He did not smoke either cigarettes or pot. He did not gamble. Or, at least he did not join the gambling games that broke out among the bored men as they waited for construction bosses to drive by in their pick-up trucks. And, he was often the only Japanese man waiting. Many years ago, when Takumi first started as a day laborer, he assumed all the men were from Mexico. He quickly learned there was more diversity among the Spanish-speaking men than he initially assumed. The men came from Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Chile, Texas, California, Argentina, Nicaragua, Cuba, and on and on. Many were Indians. Many were US citizens. Occasionally white men and black men joined them. They tended not to stay long. They either got hired into more permanent positions, or went to prison, or begged in the streets. Occasionally an Asian man might appear. Depending on the man he might approach Takumi or ignore him. Takumi did not care. He liked his solitude.

***

Late in the morning, after most of the men had been picked up, a well-maintained, but old model Cadillac, pulled up to the corner next to where Takumi stood.

The man inside looked at Takumi for a moment and then scanned the workers who remained. He used a button on his side of the car to roll down the passenger side window.

“Good morning,” said Takumi. “I’m ready to work.”

“Can you do yard work? Tree trimming? Bushes? Some planting?”

“Yes, sir. I can do it. I did landscape work for many years. I can do light construction. I am a hard worker. You won’t be sorry.”

The driver nodded his head slowly. Glancing around the lot he saw that Takumi looked to be the best of those remaining. Gray-haired, but fit, with a sincere, industrious look about him.

The door unlocked. “Get in. I need someone to work the grounds of an estate that’s fallen into disrepair.”

“Yes, sir. Thank you, sir.” Takumi slipped into the front passenger seat, trying to make his stiff leg look as normal as possible.

“Is your leg OK?”

“Yes, sir. It is stiff, but does not hinder my work.”

The man looked suspicious but said no more about the leg. “We work until six, and then I’ll bring you back here. Did you bring your lunch?” The man looked pointedly at Takumi’s black and battered lunch box.

Takumi nodded. He always prepared lunch.

“Lunch is an hour. If you do a good job the pay is $75 for the day. If you do a good job I will return for you tomorrow. If your work is not satisfactory I will find someone else tomorrow.” The driver watched Takumi, looking for an acknowledgment of understanding.

“You will be happy with my work, I am certain.”

The driver nodded slightly and turned away from Takumi. They drove the entire way to the estate in silence.

Takumi was happy to be working. It had been a week since his last job doing clean-up at a construction site. He was getting too old to be working as a day laborer, but he was still too young to collect old age benefits. As they drove out of the city and into the rural surrounding area Takumi fantasized about finding a job that could get him out of waiting on the brightly lit corner every morning.

***

They turned off the rural road and onto a dirt path blocked by a simple, wide gate. No one driving down the rural road would give it a second glance. The driver turned off the engine and took the keys out of the ignition before exiting the car and opening the gate. He drove the car to the other side of the gate and repeated the process and closed the gate, all without a word to Takumi or any request for assistance.

They drove for nearly a mile before the road switched from two dirt path worn away by the wheels of motor vehicles and into a wide road covered with macadam.

They reached another gate, this one ornamented and elaborate, obviously the entrance to the estate. This gate was connected to a large stone wall that stretched far away to each side. The wall stood twelve feet high and was topped with four strands of barbed wire. The driver did not have to get out of the car at this gate. He punched a code into the pad that stood easily accessible to the driver’s side window and the gate opened automatically.

“All the supplies you need are in this shed.” They stood in front of a garden shed that was bigger than any room in which Takumi had ever lived. All the equipment inside was new and looked as if it had never been used. This was in sharp contrast to the grounds of the estate which looked as if they had not been touched or tended to in many years. Takumi was happy to see so much work that needed to be done. Perhaps he would be able to work here for some time. He didn’t want to dream it, but the thought popped unbidden into his head. Maybe this could be the job that tided him over until he could collect old-age benefits.

“This is a large estate and we will be working on it a section at a time. However, I want to make perfectly clear to you that some parts of the estate are off-limits. The new owner of this estate is a very particular man. If you stray from areas to which you are assigned I will not hesitate to remove you from the property.” The man knelt in the dirt and drew a big box with his index finger. “This is the property.” He then drew a much smaller box. “This is the main house.” Then a smaller box to the side. “This is the garden shed.” He pointed to the shed. “Your work is in the front of the main house and on the side with the garden shed. The other side of the house and the back of the property is off-limits. Avoid it. It’s none of your business. Do you understand.”

“I understand.”

***

Takumi threw himself into his work. As he pushed the lawn mower over the chaos of weeds and patches of dirt he began envisioning how the estate may have once looked and how it might look again. It was a blank canvas with which to work.

After a few hours the driver came around with some water and a granola bar. Takumi accepted each gratefully. The driver approved of the amount of work Takumi had accomplished and seemed pleased with his selection. His mood had improved.

Two hours of hard work later the driver returned to announce lunch break. Takumi sat alone under the shade of a giant oak and enjoyed the silence of the estate. From his lunch pail he ate his bologna sandwich, a banana, and drank a thermos of water.

After lunch Takumi was clearing away overgrown bushes that had spread around the edges of the mansion. He was focused on his work and lost track of his place. He looked up to wipe the sweat out of his eyes and realized he’d strayed to a point beyond the back of the home. Technically off-limits. He turned to walk away, but in that moment the wind changed and he heard a noise.

He heard weeping.

At first he thought it must be a cat. Or maybe a baby inside. But, as he paused and listened it became apparent he was listening to the sound of an adult sobbing. This was not the wail of a child with its hiccups and childish anguish, but the sound of an adult, with the depth of pain that can only be achieved through living.

He hesitated. Should he ask if he could help?

***

Before he had a chance to ponder this dilemma the driver came around the front corner of the mansion. He saw where Takumi stood and frowned.

“Takumi,” he shouted. “You’ve gone too far. Leave the rest of those bushes alone. I will remove them later. There’s more work to do on this side of the house.”

Takumi nodded and hurried away from the sound of crying. He was gripped with guilt. He could feel the tension in his face and head as he worried if the driver also heard the crying. Takumi tried to reduce the amount of his limp. Today had been a good day’s work. He did not want to jeopardize this job. Keeping his face blank Takumi attempted to read the face of the driver. The driver scowled slightly, but did not seem ready to fire Takumi.

“I was focused on the bushes. I lost track. It won’t happen again.”

The driver took his time considering what he had just seen. After a few long moments he nodded slightly. “Be sure you don’t.”

***

Takumi threw himself into his work, promising himself he would not be distracted by the weeping he had heard. It was probably nothing. Despite what he imagined he heard, it was probably only a child. Or a television program.

He worked hard for the next few hours. The driver was no where to be found. Except for break, lunch, and the moment he appeared at the corner of the house, Takumi did not see him while he worked.

Takumi had moved to the front of the house. As he cleared overgrown bushes and volunteer saplings from the front of the house, on the side away from the garden shed, he discovered a structure that had once been a fountain. It was now filled with dirt and clogged with weeds. It sat away from the front corner of the house. From the fountain Takumi could see into the forbidden area, but he was well within the safe zone while he worked clearing away the growth to reveal the remains of the fountain.

It was a warm afternoon. Blue jays chittered and fought in the skies and trees around him. Squirrels darted through the branches. Occasionally Takumi paused to watch the butterflies flutter from flower to flower. Most of the flowers were wildflowers and weeds. Takumi held no thoughts in his head, only the satisfaction of the work and moving forward on his tasks. He did not hear the young woman approach.

“Hello.” Her soft voice startled Takumi and he looked up from his work.

“Hello,” he said cautiously. She reminded Takumi of a man who had once appeared regularly at the work site. The worker’s called the man retarded, but he had a jovial temperament and simply nodded his head and responded with a smile, “I work HARD,” and he flexed his biceps. It was difficult for him to get work, but he was a diligent worker when hired. Eventually his good nature made him some friends and they vouched for his ability to work hard when the bosses came to hire.

This young woman had a similar look about her. She also wore a broad infectious smile. Takumi found himself smiling in response.

“I’m lonely,” she said. Her speech was thick, almost slurred. “Will you talk with me?”

Takumi felt frightened. He did not know if he was allowed to speak to the young woman. He did not want to jeopardize his job, but he did not want to give offense to this person, barely more than a child, who stood before him. He nodded hesitantly.

“Yes. I am Takumi. I am here to work the landscape. We may talk, but I must continue my work.” He bent back to his task of clearing out the fountain.

“My name is Sarah. I live here now.”

Takumi nodded and returned to work. He had already removed the dirt to reveal the cracked concrete basin, and was now working to pull the weeds which had grown through the cracks. Sarah stood silently watching him work. The silence returned and Takumi’s anxiety quietened.

He pulled the last weed and stepped out of the bare fountain to gauge his work. The next step would be to remove the weeds around the outside edge of the fountain.

Sarah stepped up and grabbed his hand. He hadn’t realized he had stepped so close to her.

“I want to show you something. It’s over here.” Her grip was firm. Takumi panicked slightly. He did not want to appear alarmed at the girl’s demand, and her grip was too strong for him to gently pull away. She led him to the back of the house, into the forbidden space.

They walked well beyond the back of the mansion. The cleared space was huge and held multiple structures. At the back of the cleared space was a tree line that led to a wooded area. The young woman led him here.

Before they reached the trees Takumi protested. “Miss. I’m not supposed to be back here. I am only here to help with the landscaping. If I do not return to work I will get in trouble. I may lose my job. Please, Miss… Sarah. I must return to work.”

She blithely ignored his anxious protests. “My daddy won’t mind. Come on. I want to show you. It’s over here.”

They stepped into the woods. After a few meters the woods opened into a clearing. In the center of the clearing stood a fountain. This fountain was clean and sturdy and water gurgled from the top. Takumi stood transfixed. It was a remarkable piece of craftsmanship. Rising up from the center of the fountain was a delicately carved tangle of ivory brambles holding a fragile bowl, so thin as to be almost transparent. The clear water shot out of the middle of the bowl and ran, glittering, down the tangled ivory brambles into a concrete bowl. The sound of the water gurgling sounded almost like a choir singing a complex harmony. The grass around the fountain was green and lush. Flowers bloomed along the edges of the wood. A soft breeze moved them gently back and forth. Butterflies fluttered between the flowers, into the woods, out into the dappled sunlight. As he watched the fountain two cardinals, large and profoundly red, flew quickly to the water’s edge where they stopped and took a quick drink before darting away again into the tree tops.

It was peaceful here. Isolated.

“Will you dance with me?”

The moment of peacefulness fled. He might be able to explain to the driver why he had stepped into the forbidden area, but he would never be able to explain how he came to be dancing with this young woman near this fountain instead of working. His free hand touched his damaged leg. He would not dance.

Without waiting for a response Sarah began dancing.

She shimmied and threw her arms about. It was a wild dance, a fun dance. She smiled as she danced and pointed to Takumi. He laughed with surprise at the energy of her dance and her obvious joy. For a moment he moved his hips back and forth, shimmying, and raised his hands parallel to the ground and moved them back and forth half-heartedly. They both laughed. She moved around the fountain and he found himself following her, mimicking her silly dance steps. The birds moved from the fountain’s edge and into the trees to watch them. The butterflies fluttered around them as if they were joining in the dance.

As they completed one circuit around the fountain Takumi heard a sharp voice call his name. The driver stood in the shadow of the woods, watching them and scowling. Sarah howled and ran away, toward the mansion. Takumi felt his face flush with embarrassment.

“That’s it,” said the driver. “Let’s go.” He turned away and started walking through the woods and back to the mansion. Takumi sighed. He stopped for a moment to look again at the fountain, then looked at his feet. He turned his back on the burbling water and walked into the woods, following the driver.

He walked a dozen paces behind the driver all the way to the car.

“Wait here.” The driver nodded to the car. “I’ll be right back.” He made his way up the steps of the porch and disappeared inside the house.

As he stood next to the car Takumi rehearsed his speech to the driver. He must admit his error, but explain his concern for the young woman and the unexpectedness the situation. Regardless of the outcome he must be firm in his request for pay. He had worked hard and had done good work that day.

The sound of the front door slamming startled Takumi out of his reverie. The drive stood at the top of the porch. He scowled. He was angry. Takumi waited to be yelled at.

“Go inside. The owner wants to speak to you. Go inside and stand by the door inside. Do not go through the door. When you get to the door announce yourself. The owner will speak to you through the door.”

Takumi’s feet would not move. His fear of what was in the house eclipsed his fear of being fired. He wanted to say “I will go away,” but instead he forced himself forward. His feet felt heavy and he struggled to lift them so he did not stumble over the steps leading to the porch. As he reached the top step he looked over to the driver to plead his case. The driver would not look at him.

Once inside it was easy to see which door the driver referred to.

“I am here,” Takumi said to the door. “I am Takumi. You wished to speak with me?”

“Takumi,” the voice from the other side of the door was a male’s voice, a man who seemed to be speaking in a loud whisper. “Explain to me how you met my daughter.”

Takumi told the story of how she came to him and he continued to work; how she took his hand and he did not want to alarm her by pulling away too violently; how she showed him a fountain which he believed to be related to the fountain he cleaned. Perhaps there were fountains all over the property. If given the opportunity he would work hard to uncover them and clean them.

Takumi heard a deep sigh from the other side of the door, and then silence. The silence stretched and Takumi wasn’t sure if the interview was over. Should he leave? He could feel the ache in his hip and he shifted to move weight off his bad leg.

“Please, come in.”

Hesitantly Takumi opened the door and entered the room. On the other side of the door sat a giant.

The giant was nude, sitting on the floor. Takumi could not tell his exact height, but he seemed at least three times as large as a large man.

The giant was also completely hairless. And white. Takumi for a moment could not comprehend what he was seeing. He wondered how the giant had entered the room.

Certainly he did not come through the same door through which Takumi had entered. Takumi looked around and saw that on the other side of the giant was a double-door leading to a courtyard. Perhaps the giant had been able to squeeze through that entrance. The ceiling of the room was two stories high. Takumi wondered if the giant could even stand up. Perhaps.

“Forgive me for not mentioning my monstrous condition. I’ve found it’s best to simply reveal myself when I cannot keep myself hidden. No amount of explaining can convey what I have become.” The giant spoke softly as if his voice had also grown giant and he must keep it tame.

Takumi attempted to speak, but discovered he could bring no sound from his throat.

“It has been years since I have seen my daughter smile.”

“I am sorry,” Takumi finally managed to say.

The giant moved his head only slightly, silencing Takumi. “I cannot express to you the hope that sprung in my heart when I heard Paul say that he had seen her dancing.” The giant rubbed his face with both his palms. He appeared to have been recently weeping.

The giant lowered his hands and looked at Takumi, “Tell me about yourself.”

Takumi shuddered. The quaking was involuntary. He was deeply afraid he might say the wrong thing. He realized how profoundly he wanted this job. His first impulse was to lie, but he had never been a good liar. He took a deep breath and tried to calm his nerves and quiet his shaking.

“When I was young I was foolish. I was a dumb man. I was ignorant, but believed I was smarter than everyone else. I became a burglar and was successful until I was not. I was caught and sent to jail. The first time I went to jail I learned nothing, and when I was released I returned to crime. I believed I was smart enough to avoid being caught a second time. My crimes became ever more outrageous and bold as my lifestyle became more extravagant. And then, during one robbery, a security guard died. I did not kill him, but I was caught, and this time I went to the penitentiary. There my life changed. I was there for many years, and when I was released I had been cured of the desire to commit crimes. I will never again put myself in a position to return to prison. Since then I have only worked the work of an honest laborer.” Takumi stopped. He hoped that was enough of his story.

The giant nodded. “Thank you for your honesty. I want to hire you Mr. Takumi, but you may want to think hard about whether you want the job. Ostensibly you will be hired to work around the estate, but I am really hiring you because my daughter likes you. I am not hiring you to be her caretaker, but I do wish to make her happy. I must ask, however, that you never tell anyone of my condition. Would you like a job, Mr. Takumi?”

“Yes, sir. Very much. Thank you, sir.”

“You are excused. Please ask Paul to return to me.”

Takumi bowed slightly and removed himself from the room and the house as quickly as possible. Paul, the driver, now sat in the driver’s seat of the car, waiting for Takumi. The car door was open and his feet rested on the ground. Takumi approached tentatively, fearful of his response.

“He…he asked you to return.”

Paul shook his head wearily, and spit onto the concrete drive. He locked the door and closed it. Without a word to Takumi he returned to the house.

***

After that day Takumi worked alone on the estate. The giant spoke to him daily about tasks that needed to be done, and he invited Takumi to eat dinner with him and his daughter each night. The daughter smiled at dinner, smiled at Takumi, and that made Takumi and the giant both smile.

For the next few weeks Takumi explored the property looking for more fountains. He arose early so his explorations did not take much time away from his regular duties. He discovered that there had once been several courtyards and many fountains in what was now an overgrown, almost forest-like space. Takumi wondered how long this estate had been here for it to become so overgrown with mature trees.

One morning, a cool morning that gave a brief respite from the summer’s oppressive heat, he saw water burbling up from the ground where he had never seen water before. His first thought was that there was a broken pipe and he made plans to revisit this spot the next morning.

The next morning and for several afterwards, the giant had errands for Takumi to attend to first thing in the morning, so it was nearly a week before he remembered to check on the place where water came up from the ground.

When he found it the second time it looked to be a spring pouring from a tiny mound of earth. The ground had risen and the water flowed clear and pure. Bright green grass surrounded the mouth of the new spring and the air felt cool here.

Soon Takumi made visiting the spring a regular part of his morning routine. He watched it grow. And with its growth he watched a variety of unusual flowers and plants blossom around the mouth. The tiny hillock grew a little each day, and the spring became a little stronger, and produced a slightly more substantial flow of clear, cool water.

***

It was hearing the music that caused Takumi to think again about the ultimate source of the spring. The first day he thought he imagined it. The second day didn’t believe he’d coincidentally imagine the same music twice, but he assumed the sounds were drifting from a neighbor.

That afternoon Takumi asked the giant for permission to investigate the neighborhood. The giant made Takumi swear on the spirits of his ancestors he would return. Takumi swore and received the keys to the pick-up. The Cadillac had belonged to Paul, and the only vehicle on the estate was the battered pick-up Takumi spent weekends repairing so he could use it to run errands.

Inside the glove box Takumi found a map. There wasn’t much around the giant’s estate, but he plotted out a route that took him by all the surrounding properties. The air conditioner of the pick-up did not work, so Takumi rolled down the windows. It was a sweltering day and Takumi sweated profusely in the cab of the truck. He turned the radio on for a moment, but the noise bothered him so he turned it off and strained his ears to hear the music.

The map was old and Takumi was surprised to find, not far from the giant’s home, but distant to reach by the old farm-to-market roads, a construction site. Takumi slowed to look closely. It looked like a small housing development. There were currently twelve houses under construction. Takumi looked at the men to see if he recognized anyone. He realized he missed no one he once worked with, despite having worked side-by-side with some of them for years.

Takumi accelerated, confident the music he heard was radio noise floating on the air from the construction site.

***

In the evenings the three of them ate together. The giant insisted on preparing the meals. His daughter was a finicky eater, so the giant had to coax her throughout the entire meal. For Takumi he always prepared a healthy meal full of vegetables and with no red meat. For himself he ate the same thing every night. Steak and rice covered in mushroom gravy. Takumi was sometimes jealous of the meal and the simplicity, but ate what he was given, recognizing the thoughtfulness that went into its preparation.

In the evenings, alone in his room, he sometimes wished he had a home of his own and not have to always feel like he was a guest in someone else’s house. He pushed those thoughts out of his head and reminded himself of the weeks at the corner when he could not find work. He massaged his lame leg and reminded himself to be grateful for his new fortune.

***

There was much work to do around the estate and Takumi kept himself busy from dawn to early evening. Every day, at some point during the course of his labors, he’d find himself near the spring. There was always some new development near the spring, typically a new type of flower he’d never seen. Every day the land affected by the spring was larger. It was cool beside the spring, it was a way to escape the summer’s oppressive heat.

Once he heard the music beside the spring he couldn’t stop hearing it. After locating the development he tried to convince himself he was listening to a distant radio, but could not fool himself for long. The music came from the spring, and sounded like a melody of delicate bells.

Every day the mouth of the spring was a little larger, and every day the music a little louder. Every day Takumi found it harder to pull himself away. Evenings became more difficult with the girl’s simple, but persistent, conversation, and the giant’s overwhelming grief and melancholy. Takumi found himself fantasizing about the spring and humming the music he heard.

One morning he found himself at the spring earlier than usual. As he hummed along with the music and stared at the cluster of gently glowing, broad-petaled purple flowers, he realized the hole from where the spring emerged was large enough for him to peer into. Being a hole it was dark, so he visited the work shed for a flashlight.

The space above the flowing water was just large enough for his head and shoulders. Holding the flashlight was awkward and he had to push his hands in first and extend his arms before putting his head into the hole, as if he were diving.

Laying in the spring with his head in the dark hole he could hear the music better than ever. He could almost taste it on the back of his tongue. He turned off the flashlight and listened, allowing the music to fill him until he forgot where he was and what he was doing.

His mouth slipping into the water startled him awake. He dropped the flashlight and hit the back of his head on the soft rock at the mouth of the spring. His head went back underwater and he swallowed. For a moment he feared he was drowning.

He pushed his way out of the spring and onto the sweet-smelling grass and coughed up clear water. The music soothed him, and his anxiety about nearly drowning evaporated quickly. He lay for a few moments more with his head in the grass then pulled himself away from the spring to attend to some chores in the house.

***

Despite the tiredness in his legs and in his eyes, Takumi could not fall asleep that night. The giant had turned off the air-conditioning in all of the house, except the rooms he frequented, so Takumi had to make do with a window unit and a fan in his room. Neither was up to the task of combating the evening’s heavy humidity and warmth. Takumi turned frequently on his firm mattress, hoping to find a comfortable position or cool spot where he could find some rest. It was too hot for even a thin sheet to cover him. After an hour or so he sat up, knowing sleep was not possible.

He couldn’t stop thinking about the music and his growing compulsion to locate the source. Part of him felt guilty at the thought of abandoning the giant. Another part of him resented the feeling of indebtedness he carried. He lamented that he had become so reliant on someone else for his safety and livelihood. At least when he worked as a laborer he could feel as if he was indebted to no man. He worked and he was paid. Now, he lived in the giant’s house and resented that the giant had bone-chilling AC, while he suffocated in the weak cool gust of the cheap window unit.

As he brooded he heard a faint noise like a tickle or a swift aroma. It was the music of the stream. Takumi quickly slipped on some clothes and followed the sound of the chiming singing bells. Thin clouds in front of the full moon made it look smeared across the sky. The light illuminated the path to the spring. As he approached the music grew louder. He felt it curl around his ankles, spin around his knee, wrap around his liver, and hold his heart.

The mouth of the spring where it sprang from the earth, carried its own dim glow. The colors were warm and inviting.

For a moment Takumi thought of what he owed the giant. The giant had given him a job and a place to live. He had been kind to Takumi and treated him with respect and honor. Takumi felt indebted.

It was not a feeling he liked. He sat by the spring, listening to the soft melody and watching the gently pulsing glow of the flowers. The hole looked a little bigger.

Takumi waded into the shallow spring and got down on his hands and knees. His leg bent easily, its stiffness somehow vanished. He could now crawl into the hole without laying on his stomach. The music was stronger inside the earth.

Takumi opened his eyes wide and crawled into the earth.

END
Tampa, Florida