FHD Remix Chapter 27
Previous: FHD Remix Chapter 26: Wings for the Wingless; Tatakai's Terror
Chapter 27: Everything You Need For a Garden
"Why is everybody so quiet?" the boy asks. He tries to roll onto his side, but his wing touches the bed, "Ow."
"It'll be a day or so before your wings don't hurt like that, try to be easy on them," Shimoni explains. Then she smiles, "So what is your cocoon dream about?"
"Someone who didn’t really care," he says, "I didn’t have wings, but those who did … they could really fly, but there were others ... all monsters," he snarls. "We were at war. My family just happened to be in the way. I remember no names, but that my parents were killed, my village wiped out, and that I was scared more of one type of creature than any other: the ones with feathered wings."
"Is that why you want to kill us?" Shimoni asks, stroking a couple of her white feathers.
"I want to kill her!" he cries. "She cries, I give a flap into her talking box, but really she doesn't. She just dropped me out of the sky when it suited her ... I don’t know how I got here ... did I die and come back?”
"Yes," she says from the doorway, "And so did I."
"[Beep], No wonder you tied me up!" he cries.
Tatakai enters the room and kneels beside him, "I don't remember your name, nor do I remember my own, but I had my own dream too ... I remember you, and I remember what I did that day. I am very sorry." Tatakai puts her arm next to his head, then says, "You said something about killing me?"
He bites, literally, chomping down hard and then thrashing in his ropes, his scream muffled. Tatakai falls to her knees, crying.
The other haibane, and Joe recoil, surprised at this situation. Tatakai offering herself for revenge and the savage little boy doing his absolute worst. The black tips of the boy's feathers spread up the shaft. Joe is the first to notice, point, and cry, "Oh, no!"
Shimoni grabs Tatakai's other arm and starts to pull her away. Tatakai is in too much pain to protest.
With blood drawn from the wound, the boy lets go and glares at Tatakai, tears in his eyes, but he's trying not to show any emotion. Tatakai clutches her arm and takes Chishio's offer for a wet cloth to clean it off.
Suddenly the boy's face contorts into one of sadness, and he cries, "I'm sorry!"
"Revenge isn't so hot, huh?" Tatakai asks, "Perhaps an exception to that rule that it is better to give than to receive." She winces as she compresses, "Oh, I could use that word of yours, but I'm not among soldiers right now." Tatakai turns to Joe and says, "I'm pretty sure the worst of it is over ... Take those ropes off."
The boy waits patiently as Joe unties him, "I'm so sorry," he sighs, surveying the damage he has done. "You repay my savageness with such kindness, I was never taught to be that way."
Joe, as he unties the boy's hands, says to him, "Now don't take too much advantage of your freedom; you still a have broken leg and bleeding-" He stops, then strokes one of the boy's feathers, "-wings?" he gasps.
The black in his wings are gone, they are now a uniform seagull grey. Joe shows this to the other haibane. They surround him in a small, sentimental celebration.
"Easy," Shimoni warns, "I don't think he's the hugs-and-kisses type."
"Not just that," the boy asks, "Why does it matter if my feathers are grey or black?"
"It means you are no longer Sin-Bound," Shijima explains. "That is the first goal of any successful haibane: to escape his or her circle of sin."
"But there's more to it," Tatakai says, "To truly be free, you need to accept the love of the Saviour, and the fact that his sacrifice is what erases your sin from the record of heaven."
"You're one of those, too?" the boy recoils in disgust, "One of those lunatics who believes in a cosmic Saviour who's about to come back to save you all and banish the rest of us to hell forever?"
"About to," she snorts, "It's been ... ballpark three thousand years he's about to come back. That he hasn't is a mercy for the lost ... he'd rather not see anyone go to hell. I'm sure that's why he brought you back."
"His love is why our wings our white," Shimoni explains, indicating her wings and Tatakai's.
"I have to admit," continues Tatakai, "those who profess the Saviour haven't exactly had a spotless record. Not only are those among us who go around saying stuff without doing their homework, and without caring the same way the Saviour does, there is an enemy who does everything he can to dirty the Saviour's name." With a sigh, she wonders aloud, "Is that why I can't remember what it is? Perhaps these days he just wants to share his love quietly, without any fanfare or notice."
The boy is brought up so short that he can't really respond. He just sits there and rubs his wrists, still recovering from the ropes. "Itai!" he winces as his wings twitch.
"Be patient with them," Shijima explains, "It seems all the boys want to master their wings right away, but you just have to be stoic about it. It'll be a couple of days before you can sort out your wings from your arms."
"What about when the Communicator summons him for his notebook," Chishio points out, and he has to do that bell-wiggle thing." Turning to the boy, he finishes, "probably tomorrow or the next day."
"Hey," the boy says, waving his hand over his head, "What about the halo? Does that hurt as much?"
"Fortunately, no," Tatakai says as she pulls the mould out of her bag. She winces as she reaches around with her injured arm, "Ow ... Shimoni I'm going to need your help."
Shimoni opens it for her, and to Tatakai's immense relief, the forging is aglow with hikarinium's natural ... or should I say ... normal light. Tatakai lifts it from the mould using the tongs.
"Don't ask me what this thing is made of," says Tatakai indicating the mould itself, "but a halo could stay hot enough to burn you for days in this thing ... it's deliberate though since the halo must be mated while it is still hot, or it just won't work." As she raises it, she warns, "be careful."
Tatakai places it gently over his head, "Let this halo be your guiding light for your path as a Haibane, and our hope that you will one day accept the love of the Saviour."
It slides off and lands on the floor after she lets go of it.
"Fine, be that way, you silly thing," Tatakai playfull snorts with as she pulls a baseball cap out of her bag, one with two strange wires added to it. She holds the halo with the tongs while Shimoni, wearing light gloves, carefully clamps the wires around it. Then she puts the hat on the boy's head and says, "A few hours like that should do it."
"Even if I don't like the Saviour?" the boy asks.
"It has more to do with your acceptance of your existence as a haibane. I was a bit reluctant, so mine actually fell out of the tongs onto my head," Tatakai explains, "I'm the only haibane that's ever happened to, I think."
"Did it hurt?" the boy asks.
"A hot piece of metal landing on my head?" Tatakai jests, "Of course it hurt ... still not as much as the wings." She explains with a tear, "At first, I just couldn't accept that I didn't have the flying wings of my previous life, and," she points out the featherwing ports in her shirt, "still there is a part of me that won't. I chased everyone away, at least four metres, because ... I didn't want them to get hurt. Then," she says with a nod over her shoulder and a flap of the same wing, "these little things erupted out of my back, and I was like, That's it? Where's the rest of 'em?"
"You're not at all what I expected," he says.
"Good," Tatakai says, "Because the people who ruled the world during the period of our first lives ... they were good liars." She explains, "Almost all public knowledge about the Saviour and the flying people was wrong ... a pack of lies. Often, someone would just make a bad guess, and they'd say, yeah, that's it. But later, they got into the habit of saying things wrong on purpose. The featherwings are monsters just like all the other monsters."
She shakes her head, "I remember in dreams that first battle on the red planet, the one covered up as an industrial accident ... I chased their leader all over the place, slammed the door in his face," she winces, "twice." "The feathered one was the opposite of the monsters," Tatakai continues, "We were eternal enemies. They were the demons, and we were the angels. But it seems," she says in tears, "there are exceptions to every such rule."
Tatakai cries as she looks around the room, "The time has come to tell you ... just you ... do not share this knowledge with anyone who isn't in this room ... not even the Toga since you can't tell which Toga you are dealing with," then she sobs, "Where the Toga really come from. Each of the Toga believes that the other Toga are like himself ... very few know that they come about more than one way."
She has everyone's attention as she says, "Some of the Toga are the demons which have found the love of the Saviour and now serve him in secret, their identities remade to hide them from the enemy. Most of the ones within Glie are the haibane who reach their Day of Flight in the circle of sin ... their wings and halos fall off, and their identities too, are remade to hide their origins."
"If that is true," Chishio gasps, "How could you possibly know?"
At this, Tatakai pulls out a blank Haibane logbook, "You forgot who the Communicator was."
Chishio sits down, starting to cry, "It's true? The old man in the robe is dead?"
"Along with the entire council, yes," Tatakai says, "They were killed by one wraith, who snuck in through a suit room when he had both doors open at the same time."
"Oh my," Shijima says, "We didn't know that was for real, it all seemed so normal, like it didn't really change."
"Even though you can see the Great Gate from here?" Tatakai cries with a gesture out the window. "No trade with the outside in over three months? And you never noticed who was standing there waiting every Tuesday? And you don't remember that big flash the last time they came?"
"That's what that was about?" Chishio asks.
"Yeah, that's what that was about!" Tatakai explains in a flustered tone, "Don't you pay attention to what's happening around you? Not keeping watch, that is how you become deceived so easily when people lie to you." Tatakai puts a gentle hand on the new boy's shoulder, "I think he knows a thing or two about that."
Tatakai continues her lament, "Even today, most people don't explore for the truth, simply don't want to know, simply don't care."
"So, who's the new Communicator?" Shijima asks.
"Shimoni, Yaiba, and I share the job actually," Tatakai explains, "That's why it's us three who stand at the gate. But mostly it's me, because I'm the only one who knows the Toganese sign language."
"About your name," Tatakai asks, "How about Yurushi (許し, Forgiveness), since forgiving the last person you saw was the first thing you had to do after emerging?"
"Sounds good," the boy sighs, "Yurushi, that's me. It'll take some getting used to."
"That's what I said in an elevator on the red planet hundreds of years ago," She sets the notebook face down on the table, and retrieves a set of punches from her bag, "I didn't learn it my first day as a haibane, but Tatakai was always my real name. The Saviour first called me that eleven winters before my first life ended."
Tatakai etches his name into the notebook as she explains, "This rule applies to everyone, not just haibane, but for some reason it seems to be emphasized with us. You need to work while you're living in Glie, produce something useful for the town so that the shelter, food and water that you use is not going to waste ... especially now that we've lost the Toga." Tatakai is finished with the notebook, then explains, "This is your Haibane logbook. Haibane are not allowed to receive real money, so you spend your work log pages much like you would money. I can set you up for carbon copy, but it does have to be the originals that you use when you buy stuff." Handing him the notebook, she then asks, "What are you good at?"
"Gardening," he says instantly.
Tatakai laughs, then wipes the tear from her eye.
"What is it?" the boy asks.
"In the dream I had of you," Tatakai sighs, "I don't remember the exact words, but our commander didn't want me to rescue you because we had no food."
"Tatakai," he answers "Why would you carry, on the wing, no less ... a boy who can't fight, another mouth we can't feed? ... Because I give a flap. That was the last thing you said before," he winces, "You tried to explain to me, said I'm sorry ... and then let me fall. I don't remember landing ... the next thing I remember was coming to in this big coconut-like thing breathing the milk inside it." He sighs, "Could I still find it upstairs if I looked?"
Chishio says, "Yes, but not for long, we bury cocoon pieces as quickly as we can because they rot and stink."
"I think we should have him move to Old Home," Shimoni offers, "You can't make a garden around here, this whole place is surrounded by asphalt, so not even the weeds like it."
"Except for that tree in the back," Shijima explains, "You know, that weird one that grows both apples and oranges."
The boy laughs, "That's impossible, you can't get a tree to grow two kinds of fruit."
"Nothing more miraculous than these," Tatakai snorts as she flicks her halo. "In my previous life I remember learning in school that mass must be conserved in any reaction, that it can be neither created nor destroyed. In most things, that is indeed true, but I would watch the scale bob up and down as I furled and deployed my wings, thousands of vaporized monsters whose mass presumably returned to its own dimension, since they never left a trace of it in ours. Two fruits on one tree? That's nothing." Her memory of the third verse of the twenty-second chapter of the ancient letter called "Revelation" isn't clear enough for her to be confident bringing it up.
Someone taps on the window. They look to see a raven struggling to keep its footing on the window sill. Tatakai immediately runs to open the window. Her right arm, with Yurushi's bite, protests with a grinding pain as she gently picks up the exhausted raven by his keel and spread wings.
"Ew," Chishio recoils, "You actually handle them?"
"I'll wash up," she says.
The raven pecks Tatakai on the knuckle and complains softly.
"Now, Campbell, I can't fight your battles for you," she replies with a chuckle.
Campbell cocks his head as though to peck the air in two different places, then curls his head curiously around, caws towards Shimoni.
"Shi?" Tatakai sounds out the katakana character.
Campbell nods as though to say, "You're getting it."
After untangling the string, recognizably from Shimoni's robe, Tatakai tosses her the tube, "It's for you."
Shimoni excitedly opens it and cries, "My God!"
"What is it?" Chishio responds in alarm.
"Tomato seeds," she sobs, "Sweet Martian Chelsea," she reads a label, "whatever that means."
Another raven jumps to the window sill, and another beside it.
Chishio jumps up to the window and scares them away, but then gasps. About forty ravens are standing outside, some trying to untangle their packages from their feet.
"I guess it's time to tell you about the ravens too," Tatakai says, "They are, like us Haibane, resurrected humans with previous lives, but unlike us Haibane, they remember everything from their previous lives."
"Seems like a rather strange thing for our God to do," Shimoni says.
"With our God, all things are possible," Tatakai says.
Next: FHD Remix Chapter 28: The Threat Within Glie