Response to Naomi Iizuka's "Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West" performed at Berkeley Rep.
"Dad, I'm fine," said Yulia. She didn't need to worry her dad about her headache or the way the world flickered as if she was looking through a kaleidoscope at times before it would condense into a single version.
"The police report they found you in Ikebukuro station unable to stand. And it's been what a week since you entered the hospital? Don't you think you should come home?"
"No, I should finish my studies. I've been listening to podcasts while I've been in the hospital. This whole semester will be for naught if I don't finish the exams. Besides, it was the train that injured me," she smiled at the nurse, she saw three of them with identical haircuts; but she knew there was only one there even though one of them appeared male and the other two female. "The nurse is here, I've got to go."
"Be careful --"
"Don't worry, Mori promised to pick me up from the hospital. I'll be home in two months."
"Your mom and I love you."
Mori, wearing a white flower-printed dress, texted from the seat where she slouched. Yulia ran forward when Mori looked up and the rooms split into five mirrored images that she saw all the same time, three of them skewed variants of her running up right towards Mori, another one from behind Mori looking down at herself running towards Mori and the last view was of a plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes.
They hugged and Mori swiped at an errant strand of hair. "Is everything fine?"
"Fine enough, I can't wait to get out of this place."
They walked to the garage where Mori's father had rented a ZipCar for Mori to borrow. Yulia didn't say anything as she walked even though she caught occasional concerned glances from one or more of the Moris. She had to concentrate to walk while her viewpoints shifted around her. Dr. Kowamurka couldn't explain what she saw. No one could. Yulia took a deep breath, at least Mori was here and she was going home.
She saw him then, a man with a tattoo that began on his upper arms and his white short-sleeved shirt mostly hid the tattoo. He hid behind one of the cars with a gun in his hand. She looked through the sight of a gun and watched as Mori moved towards the crosshairs. She saw the mans finger twitch and she pushed Mori from behind so that she fell forward. A metal dart struck the cement wall and bits of paint and dust ricocheted.
"C'mon Mori, we've got to get out of here."
Mori took Yulia's proffered hand. "Are you sure you're okay?" Mori must not have seen the dart or the man still. Yulia saw him load another dart into the gun. She pulled Mori after her and ran down the garage. There was a ZipCar around the corner; Mori screamed as she looked back at the man who now stood behind them in the garage and fired another dart. He missed missed and he begin to run towards them. Yulia no longer had to pull Mori behind her.
They slammed the doors shut and punched the locked button. They heard the man slap a hand against the back of the car. Mori started the car and threw it in reverse as the man stepped back as they drove a way.
One of the variants of the man had a glowing ball of starlight in his mouth. She thought she saw a brief flicker of a red fox before they left the garage into the sunlight. There didn't seem to be any pursuit.
"What was that?" asked Yulia.
"Yakuza. Did you see the tattoo?" The mob? What would they want with two schoolgirls?