The night whipped me as though I had sinned, fiercely and with lurid brutality, I was struck by the cold winds and howls of the duskhounds.
The side of a grass-covered road is where I camped on the first night of my journey,
I was located in the gap between a large rock formation and an uninviting bramble bush that glared at me with sinister intent.
The jacket I wore as a makeshift blanket only kept me so warm, the cold was simply too powerful. Like an angry deity, it flooded my every limb with an icy vengeance.
Even though the nuclear winter had ended nearly two centuries ago, the cold remained.
The dawn arrived and my consciousness greeted me charmingly, the day ahead would be long and tiresome.
With every step, the paroxysms of hopelessness and depression were strongly worsened. All I had to keep me preoccupied was the book.
Before I had departed from the camp, I was given a large red book entitled ‘The Imperial Dynasty 660 BC – 2019 AD’. It was a gift from the elders that raised me, the people I loved.
When giving me the text, Elder Akihito stated, ‘This book will tell you where it is you must go, it was given to me by those who left you, the text will tell you who you really are’.
With every step I took, the questions grew more and more powerful, and they very soon took up my entire being.
I needed to discover it, but I was told to not read the final page until my arrival at the Imperial capital.
In between my first campsite and my ultimate destination was a distance of 19 miles, a fair way to travel on foot. But the trip could be made in the space of a few hours.
I was warned of the treacherous path, and what beasts polluted it. The duskhounds of old Kanagawa, the wild monthawks that preyed upon the poor souls of Ota.
The journey would not be a simple one.
I was told I would become aware of my situation after I come into contact with a large metallic structure, a structure that has fallen victim to the effects of decay,
a structure that died long ago.
I left the campsite in the early hours of the day, eager to cover ground or else I’d be forced to endure the cold of the night once again.
I reached the what the book’s map said was once the border of the Kanagawa prefecture, I was nearing my destination.
I did not know what it was that I would find, but I was anxious to learn the truth.
After passing the border, I was greeted by the endearing sight of a rather large river.
The water -populated by many, many fish- headed west, and after I had admired the aquatic life for some time, I crossed over the moss covered, morose, pathetic excuse for a bridge.
The path on the other side led me to a brief tunnel that I thought would be a cesspool of rabid duskhounds ready to charge with their immense vexation.
However, greeted by such beasts I was not, the passage was empty and quiet, void of life - you might say.
The opposite end of the tunnel presented me with a great display of the destruction of mankind.
There was an array of collapsed structures, forgotten homes, abandoned places of worship; in this world, religion had become nothing but memories of madmen.
If God were real, such a place could not exist.
The map stated that what I was searching for could be found in what was known as ‘Minato’, in what they called the ‘Shibakoen district’.
The fallen city disturbed me as I passed through, it was as if I was viewing a film, or reading a history book of a land forgotten by time.
The world was gone.
I saw it in the distance, a tower that looked as if it once stood tall; patches of brown and grey juxtaposed the remaining red in an oxymoronic tango of colour.
The destruction was -in a way- a metaphor for the whole world, the world had gone and soon, I would be gone with it.
I made my way to the tower, book in hand and climbed the ladder which sent shivers down my spine with every creak.
I climbed, I climbed, I climbed until I was unable to do so anymore; the light of dusk filled my eyes so powerfully. I was now looking down on the world, like a false God evaluating his mess.
My view stretched far and wide, I could see hills, mountains, trees, seas, I could see the world; I could see what once was.
The different landscapes were akin to a Tchaikovsky symphony; the collapsed buildings acted as deep pounding drums, the beautiful sky was a calming violin melody,
and the landscapes of the forgotten world were a rhythm section, ignored by the listeners, for they cared only for the new, not the old.
Then I opened the book.
The last page made the choice for me.
I suppose it’s poetic in a sense, the heir to the throne throwing himself from a building of his family’s own creation, in a city under his family’s rule, in a world his family destroyed.
The sky was red, and so was the blood of my fall.