Kanon rocked back and forth on the floor with her savior nearby, who said his name was Chiaki. Her fingers pressed against the sides of her head as she failed against fighting against her tears. Her attempt to find her brother had failed and she feared he had been taken by the Kenpeitai. Even if he got away he wouldn't know where she was.
"It's enough," she said to herself. "Please take us back. I want to go home."
"You're not a prisoner," Chiaki said without looking up from his small fire he had made on the other side of the room. "You can go home whenever you like." Kanon looked up at him not realizing she had said it loud enough for him to hear.
"Sorry, I'm not from around here."
"What are you doing in Hiroshima?"
"My brother and I were traveling and happened to come here."
"I can tell you're not from around here. Your dialect is different and the way you talk is a little strange. Where are you staying in Hiroshima? Do you have someplace to go?"
Kanon nodded. "Yes, we're staying with some relatives."
"Maybe your brother escaped and made it back to where your relatives live?"
She nodded again admitting it was possible. "But I don't know how to get back. I was in a panic when I was running that I'm not sure where I am."
"I've lived in this city a long time so I may know your relatives. What is their family name?"
Chiaki stopped rotating the fish above the fire and looked at her. "Do you mean Ayana and Kensuke?"
"How are you related?"
Kanon mentally cursed herself for not remember the names of the family members. "We're cousins from Chiba." That was the best she could do. "How do you know Ayana and Kensuke?"
"I know them quite well," Chiaki said. "We go way back. There's some dark secrets that haunt that family. Secrets that would drastically change the family if revealed."
That last comment sounded so ominous that it sent chills through Kanon's body. The atmosphere in the room completely changed. Even with the fire lighting his face in an orange and yellow hue, a dark shadow spread across it.
"Are you saying they're not good people?"
Chiaki's warm demeanor returned and the shadow disappearedas he shook his hand back and forth. "No, nothing like that. Ayana is a wonderful woman. It's Kensuke who I'm worried about. He won't hurt you or anything but he reportedly killed his brother."
Kanon's reaction startled the cat and sent it running away. "What do you mean? I thought the Kenpeitai did that."
Chiaki shook his head. "No. They weren't even involved."
Ryunosuke and Kensuke carefully climbed the slimy embankment from the river. The river was high and flowing today. It had been heavily raining for the past few days and just ended that morning. The sky was still gray overcast looking like it was threatening the earth with more rain. Kensuke was the first to the top. He helped pull his brother up to the top while trying now to slip down the hill again. Even a small slip would send them both into the river.
"I'm glad our net didn't get washed away when the river was raging. We got a good amount of fish to take back," Ryunosuke said.
"We wouldn't need to fish so much if the government didn't keep cutting our rations. I bet they're eating just fine in Tokyo," Kensuke said.
"Don't say that too loud," Ryunosuke warned. "There's a war going on and we have to make do. I don't like the war as much as you do but we can't do anything about it. It can't be helped right now."
"We should protest or something."
"And then what? Get arrested and not be able to support our family. We would disgrace our family if such a thing happened and their lives will become so much harder. They'll be treated as traitors by their own neighbors. I have to especially careful now."
"Ayana is pregnant."
Ryunosuke nodded with a slight smile. He turned around facing the river. "I've believed this since my first child was born. We must do what we can to preserve this world for our children and they'll learn to do the same. While this war isn't the answer, my part in preserving is being there for them and not getting arrested. I will teach my new child the same as what I'm teaching the other two."
Suddenly, Ryunosuke was shoved hard from behind and he fell down the muddy embankment and into the river. As he fought to keep his head above water he saw his brother standing unfazed at the top of the bank just watching him being washed away.
"Why do you think he shoved him?" Kanon asked before taking a bite out of her cooked fish on a stick. Eating it made her feel like she was out camping. Eating a freshly caught fish that was cooked over an open flame tasted better than buying it from the store and cooking it in an oven.
"Because he was in love with her. He had been since they met. It was through Kensuke that Ryunosuke met Ayana. However, it was Ryunosuke that Ayana ended up with and Kensuke harbored ill feelings ever since."
"But why did he stick around?"
"They wanted him to stay because he had no family of his own and he had been a great help. He was in love with Ayana but never acted on those feelings."
Kanon knitted her brow and cocked her head to one side. "Wait, how do you know all of this. The only way you could have this type of information is if you were there personally."
"How do you know I wasn't?"
"It just seems strange you knew everything from the beginning. As if you were..." She directed her gaze at him.
He nodded. "Yeah, I'm Ryunosuke."
"But why not go back to your family?"
"After I was pulled out of the river, I was angry and rightfully so. I wanted to destroy my brother but I needed to get my strength back and plan how to do it. The more I waited the more thought I could put into the situation. I wondered what if Ayana was also in on it. If that was true then I couldn't act. I love her dearly and the kids just as much. If I harm my own brother then I'd be harming her too. I wouldn't want to her to be in a marriage she didn't want."
"If that was true then why would she marry you and not Kensuke?"
"Because she was pregnant with our first child before we were married."
"What about this place?"
"This belonged to a person who helped me out of the river. He was against the war even more so than Kensuke so you can guess what happened to him. I've been staying here and out of sight from my family keeping an eye on them. They seemed to be getting along well."
Kanon stood up. "I think its time for you to go back. You need to reveal what happened because they think you were killed by the Kenpeitai. They can't think they can't mourn in public because it would be viewed as wrong. Your family needs you. The kids need their real father back. And you need to get out of here before Monday morning."
"Because if you don't, then your entire family will die."