by Fanni Sütő
Akimitsu stood before the huge lacquered mirror, examining her naked body with a smug smile. Her skin smelled of warm sunlight, sweet rice cakes, and powder white perfection. She was preparing for the arrival of her beloved, the man she had summoned with the help of spirits and the power of angry longing. Her spell would call him away from the arms of another woman, from his duties, from his life. It would overthrow anything that stood between them. Akimitsu’s power reached out for him across seas, above mountains, and below rivers. From the moment she laid her eyes on him a long, long time ago, she wanted Nobuharu to be her lover. But he already wore another woman’s mark, a faded ring of hasty promises.
Akimitsu frowned at the memory and ran her hand down the golden brown kimono waiting for her on a chair. She tried to twirl her hair into elaborated designs but her locks kept breaking free. Under her touch, the silk rustled with the sound of falling leaves. She felt her lover drawing closer, dragged by the power of Akimitsu’s spell. The ground moaned about the fall of his footsteps. Akimitsu, the witch of the autumn winds, smiled. She enjoyed her power, it was bringing her the man she had desired for endless years. Her longing was so strong it would have ripped the jaws of earth open.
Akimitsu had been alive since the dawn of the time, dancing around death with the light steps of a geisha, always avoiding his touch when he reached out for her. Her power grew as the years went by, her reality merged with visions about the past and the future.
Akimitsu couldn’t remember when she saw him first, the ink-haired Nobuharu, but she remembered the haunted look in his eyes when he saw her. He must have seen Fate sitting on her shoulder.
The drifting scent of incense filled her house and the wind chimes reminded Akimutsu of wedding bells. The dying sun poured its copper light on the zen garden and the room, setting the scene for the long awaited meeting.
There was a knock on the door. Akimitsu gave herself one last appraising look, then rushed to salute her fiancé. He was bound to love her and to share her long life and to warm her tatami.
The autumn witch pulled away the rice paper door and faced the man she hadn’t seen for such a long time. Lost in her timeless thoughts, it had never occurred to Akimitsu that human life is as fragile as the finest china. Once it’s broken, it cannot be mended. Unless…
Nobuharu’s skin was gray and he was shading it like a cherry blossom shed its petals. His lightless eyes were drinking in the shape of Akimitsu who stood in front of him in her full beauty. Nobuharu’s one remaining nostril trembled with yearning for Akimitsu’s flesh.
She had summoned him and he came, following the call of her spell, leaving behind his village, his serenity and even the realm of the dead.
Nobuharu stepped closer to embrace the woman who ruined his peace. He saw horror in her eyes, but she didn’t try to escape, not even when he bit into her lips hungrily.