Aug. 22nd, 2011

The policeman found her hiding behind a dumpster. He had been on foot patrol and had heard a noise in the alley. “Hey, there,” said Haruki, pulling his truncheon out of his trouser pocket and dragging it along the brick wall. “Why don’t you come out from there? Let’s talk!” But nobody came out. Haruki approached the bin with caution – the number of crazies living in City Centre was on the rise – but was astonished to find the young girl, no more than ten, huddled and shivering with shock. She was bald, and naked.

Haruki recovered quickly. “Okay, gently now,” he said, quickly stashing his truncheon. “You’ll be all right. Here.” He quickly unbuckled his stab vest and put it around the girl’s shoulders, covering her up somewhat. The girl was hyperventilating, but Haruki saw no marks, no obvious signs of trauma. He picked her up off the ground. She cried out when she was touched, but then she slumped against his shoulder.

Haruki staggered the four blocks back to his Koban. Yukio was the officer on duty. She goggled at the sight of Haruki carrying the naked little girl in broad daylight and let them in to the police station, then found a blanket and wrapped the girl in it.

“There, you’re going to be all right now,” clucked Yukio, bundling the girl up. “I have some hot tea here and I want you to have some.”

“I’ll fetch a doctor,” said Haruki, taking Yukio’s chair over and dialing on his cell phone.

The girl drank a little tea. Yukio looked her all over. Her skin was a little red, as if she had been at the beach without sunscreen on, but otherwise she seemed unharmed. Yukio decided to let the hospital handle the rape kit and concentrated on holding the girl close. Presently she stopped shivering.

“All right, then, my name’s Yukio,” she said. “I want you to tell me your name.”

“Kii-chan,” the girl said, barely whispering.

“That’s a nice name,” said Yukio. “Do you know where you are?”

The girl nodded once. “Nagasaki.”

“Good,” Yukio said. “And today’s date?”

“Nine August,” said Kii-chan. “It’s Thursday.”

“No,no,” corrected Yukio. “It’s August twenty-two. Today is Monday.” She frowned. “Nine August was a Tuesday.”

Kii-chan shook her head. “Thursday. Mama and I were going to Thursday service at Urakami Cathedral. There was a light. I can’t find Mama.” She started crying.

Haruki and Yukio exchanged glances. “What year, baby?” Yukio asked, following an awful hunch. “What’s the year?”

“1945,” replied Kii-chan. “Eighteenth year of the rule of Emperor Hirohito, may he rule forever.”

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