The Book in Short
The numerous workdays have taken a toll on Tokyo investment banker, Pierce Williams. Each day he wakes up, and each day the weight where his heart should be grows heavier. One morning, without knowing why, he sits down at his desk and begins typing something. Soon he realizes that without meaning to he has begun typing the story of his first days in Nagasaki four years ago. As he types he begins to realize that the words on his screen are more than he could have imagined. Instead of simply remembering the past he is reliving it in ways that fundamentally alter his present. In his manic writing are the ghosts of his past, a chilling vision of his future, and the possible key to his salvation. Somehow he must solve the mystery of four years ago. A mystery that involves a young Japanese girl, the ghost of a native writer, and an oppressive bureaucrat/samurai bent on crushing his spirit.
Excerpt from Chapter 6
On the surface, I am an unremarkable thing: a businessman going on a business trip. Without ceremony, I take a plane bound from Tokyo to Nagasaki. I line up to get my ticket; I wait patiently to board the plane, my copy of the Nikkei Shimbun in hand; I sit on the plane in my tight coal-black suit, no tie, one button down, with my laptop; my face is the silent, serious face of a man working on yet another project of some importance for his company.
If anyone were to ask me what I was doing, I would dutifully respond that I was being sent to Nagasaki to take one of many steps necessary to earn revenues for company stockholders. If I was to line up the sequence of events in a row, nobody would give them a second look. As for myself, I find that this rationale soon evaporates under the microscope of my superconscious self.
On the plane, my fingers tap-tap-tapping on my laptop keyboard, I see myself as I really am: still in the deep blue ocean just off the shore of the magical island, swimming away from my only chance at salvation. She’s there, with her deep, black hair, watching tearfully as I swim away. I try my hardest to keep my eyes forward, not to look back. I try my hardest not to let her tears turn into rain drops falling on the ocean. When I look to my right, Kichijiro is no longer there to console me. My weary legs kick, my arms churn, but the will to go forward soon stops—everything stops for a moment. All the pain, all the suffering; the ghosts are quiet. For a moment there’s only the sweet, bitter relief of the fall. I will fall to the ocean floor, drown and suffocate before I even hit bottom. Weighed down by the emptiness where my heart should be, my lifeless body will descend to the bottom. I will rest there where no one will find me.
Except I don’t. Instead, I find the weight pulls me down into a plane, puts me in a suit, and gives me a thin veneer as a replacement for a reason to go on. I find my business class seat and the comforts of my place in the world even lonelier than the bottom of the ocean. And I begin to panic.
How long do I have? I look for someone to ask, but the silence of the deep blue ocean turns into the silence of a plane full of strangers, and all I have is my laptop computer to ask the question to. The hard, sharp pains where my heart should be, those pains that had been so common just a moment ago, are now gone. In their place is silence.
The plane soon lifts off, and I’m descending upward.