Fragrance from his old cherry tree drifted in as Kyoshi struggled to wakefulness. Breathing was difficult. His journey was nearly over.
He had dreamt again of the camp, of the women’s singing, their notes becoming cherry blossoms, floating down, covering his tomb.
He remembered every song, smelt again the stench of diseased, imprisoned bodies, heard their harmonies lifting above the putrid camp confines and guard towers, beyond the fences. Defying, accusing.
As a young soldier, he had obeyed his emperor. Afterwards, he obeyed his conscience. He had done his penance.
Kyoshi watched the blossoms blowing about, carried by the wind.
To me, the Friday Fictioneers prompt this week spoke of beauty in unlikely places.
The idea for my story came from a radio interview with Australian actress Marta Dusseldorp. She spoke about the film ‘Paradise Road’, based on the true story of a group of women in a WW2 Sumatran prisoner-of-war camp, who formed a choir and performed for the other captives, during 1943 and 1944. My character, Kyoshi, is entirely my own invention.
The trailer for the film (below) covers the main points of the true story, and includes a segment of the singing from the film.
Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, who selects the photo prompt and hosts Friday Fictioneers. You can read all this week’s 100 word stories here.