Chapter Twenty-Five: Cherry Monster:


Again, I can't sleep. I look down to see Asato-kun sleeping peacefully. Lucky jerk! My eyes trailed up to the ceiling. I don't know how much longer I can keep this up. I'll run down at this rate. Suddenly, I heard it again.

Sama! Sama! Sama!

My eyes moved to the source. That tree's calling me again. I shut my eyes. Why won't it let me be? Why, just why? It screamed at me this time.

Sama! Sama! Sama!

It's gotten too loud for me not to ignore. I swallowed and opened my eyes. I guess I have to act accordingly. I sat up and felt around for any piece of clothing to put on. I grabbed onto Asato-kun's shirt by chance. Good enough, I thought after staring at it. I quickly covered myself. The loud demonic cricket noise made me jump.

Shit! I looked out the window and noticed a huge dragon-like face starting at me. The teeth reminded me of golden sun drops. I saw no soul in its black eyes. Its breath put frost on the window. That's what's been calling out to me night after night? The bright pink of its skin reminded me of the tree's blossoms. I shouldn't go to it, really I shouldn't.

I got up and crawled over to the window. More frost covered the glass. I glanced back at Asato-kun still sound asleep. I sneered at him. Lucky! I reached out to the window and braved the unnatural cold to open it up. I shivered when the dragon's breath hit my skin. My spine froze stiff as I stare deep into its empty eyes.

"What do you want?" I whispered.

"My lady," dragon replied. "Please come away with me." I raised an eyebrow at the creature.

"Why?" I asked.

"I want to set you free," this cherry blossom dragon explained. "You don't belong here. You should be free. Please come away with me." I froze, hearing this. Freedom from my current life? Away my college friends? My friends in Japan? My Asato-kun? Everything I have ever known? I clutched Asato-kun's shirt to my chest.

"No," I said. The dragon stared at me.

"But why?" it asked.

"I can't," I said.

"But why? Don't you want to be free?"

I shook my head. "No!"



“But, mistress!"

"No!" As I kept saying no, I noticed that the pink dragon started to get weaker and smaller. Were my words killing it? This might work. I held Asato-kun's shirt tighter.

"No!" I said. The dragon's voice grew softer by this point.

"Mistress…" it whimpered.

"No!" I said relentlessly. The dragon shrank and shrank until he could fit into the palm of my hand.

"Please mistress," it begged one more time. "Come away with me!"

"No," I said. Just like that, the little monster collapsed and died before me. Everything went silent around me-- no crickets or voices. The warm spring air made me shiver. I guess that's it then. I took off Asato-kun's shirt and went back to bed. First time in nights I actually slept.


By morning, I awoke to Asato-kun on his phone.

"You sure you're okay to work today?" he asked, "Alright. I'll see you there. Bye." He hung up the phone and turned to me when he heard the sheets rustle.

"Oh, good morning dear," he said. "Did you sleep well?"

"Yes," I said. He knelt down next to me.

"You looked so peaceful sleeping," he said.

"I guess…" I said.

"You hadn't been sleeping well," he pointed out. "Was something wrong?" I shook my head.

"Nah," I said. "It's fine."

"Is that right?"

"How's your case?"

"Good, we already solved it."

"Did you now?"

"Why yes. I have to go in and do the paperwork right now."

"See you tonight?"

He kissed me on the forehead. "Yeah." My husband stood up and turned to leave. I happened to look out the window.

"What the…?!" I cried as I sat up.

"What's wrong?" he asked. I pointed out the window.

"It's gone!" I shouted.

"What are you talking about?" he asked.

"The tree!" I cried. "It's gone!"

"What tree?" Asato-kun asked. I crawled over to the window.

"The tree!" I repeated. "There was a huge cherry tree! Where did it go?"

"Sweetheart," my husband said in a calm tone. "There never was any tree out there."