Hanami. The girls at the office drag me to the park after
lunch, ignoring my protests. Everything's blooming, not just
sakura. My throat and nose close up amid the flowers. I left
my inhaler in my desk. I sneeze, and petals and women scatter.
season of growth and
I seek refuge in a shrine with no blossoms, moss growing on
rocks. Past the torii gate, red maple shelters an old statue, a
rusted gate in a small hill. A fox watches me out of blank
stone eyes. I tilt my head and count its tails.
who lurks there
russet fur and white teeth
A flash of green under the shade of the trees, bright and then
Fireflies, this early in the year? Another flash, near the
Foxfire. The gate moans, shifts without wind.
hunting a way out
Voices call my name from the park. Lunch break is over. Time
to go back to work, back to overtime and subways and sake with
strangers. My rent is going up. My mother wants me to get
married. Time to leave the mystery. Or....
crumbling under my hand
About the Author:
J. C. Runolfson's work has
appeared in Lone Star Stories previously, as well
as Goblin Fruit, The Sword Review,
Sybil's Garage, and Reflection's Edge, among
others. She is an assistant editor at Flash Me
Magazine, and likes to babble about books, genre
tropes, and faery tales on her