Desconocido Pt. 01byCatalingus2005©
"You can't be serious." Kazuo Abe stepped back, away from his shadowed assailant. His eyes darted, desperately looking for help or hope. His head stayed locked in place, his sweat-coated face twitching.
The other man said nothing, moving ever quicker towards Kazuo. There was nobody else to be seen. But then, why would there be? The only other men on board were down below. They worked for the approaching man, and they didn't speak English.
"Goddamn it, Mike," Kazuo blurted out. "Don't!"
He was trapped, here at the edge of the boat. He thought of Mariko.
Mariko was his wife, the mother of his unborn child, the center of everything. He had met her five years prior on a trip to visit family, and after many long journeys back had finally convinced her to come to America with him. She was full Japanese, where his father was white. She was beautiful. What would become of her, of their unborn child, if he died here?
"Mike, Please," he whispered. Then a fist slammed into him, snapping his head back and jarring his thoughts, and he stumbled backwards. Another hit him, coming up from below to catch his jaw. It was only a few feet to the railing at the side of the boat, and his momentum carried him over it. He didn't even flail his arms as he fell.
The water was cold, even as far south as they were. He gasped as he struck it, taking some in, and jerked about in panic. He couldn't tell which way was up. He could barely think at all. His only thoughts were the scream his mouth couldn't deliver.
The blackness before his closed eyes became red, and then black again.
He watches, curious, as the cat examines its prey. In a moment, he knows, it will pounce on the tiny baby mouse, ending its life. Probably it will play with it for a while, harassing the terrified creature until at last the terrible journey is ended. Although he knows he could stop this if we wanted, he does not move. He has already seen the baby mouse's mother, neck broken, lifeless in the trap he set out last night. The tiny, half-blind creature is doomed. Even the cat's torturous brutality is quicker than starvation.
His eyes flicker to the window, tracing a thick crack that runs up the pane, the bleach-colored damage to the surrounding wood. It's a nice apartment. For Mexico.
Mexico. He sighs. It's been a slow, emotionless twelve years since he woke up in a coastal hospital...not much more than a stale clinic, really...with no memory or identification. He didn't understand their questions...he spoke English, and Japanese. Eventually, someone who could interpret was found, and eventually they all came to the conclusion that he was probably lost overboard from one of the Japan-based trading ships that stopped in a few South American ports before moving up to American coastal cities. He was skeptical...he didn't seem to know anything about sailing...but he didn't seem to know much of anything. They'd taken information...prints, and the like, and sent it to the Japanese and American governments in the hopes of their records matching a missing persons bulletin. They'd never heard back.
Those long years since had brought little comfort. He'd slowly learned Spanish, integrated himself into a new life even as he searched for clues to his identity. He had been around the clinic long enough to start doing small errands, helping in minor ways, and now he worked there full time as custodian. They called him Desconocido, which they told him meant "unknown," or Cido for short.
Many of the losses he had suffered...losses he didn't even remember...had faded to irrelevancy. Who he'd been, what he'd done, where he was from...he accepted these losses. What upset him now, as much as ever, was the question of love. He'd gone on very few dates, always feeling disconnected or like he was wronging somebody important to him. It always ended chaste, even when the young lady made it clear that it didn't have to. He always slept alone, and always sensed the absence of another. Someone special. He never slept well.
With another sigh, he looked back to the cat. It wasn't his cat...it lived in the building, and came and went from people's apartments when it had the chance. They all fed it, all took care of it, and none of them cared ABOUT it. He thought he knew the feeling.
The cat was gone. He harrumphed. The baby mouse still whisked aimlessly about the floor, unaware of its good fortune. But now what to do with the little fellow?
Grabbing the shoebox that he kept his Learn Spanish books in, he spilled out the contents and, in a swift motion, scooped up the little rodent. Next door, a family kept an angry and noisy dog chained to their house...maybe for protection, maybe for the same inexplicable reason so many people keep loud dogs...and it would make a much quicker and more humane ending to this creature's life.
It scratched, alarmed, as he moved down the stairs and out the door. He tried to walk fast, not wanting to extend the animal's suffering, but paused as he stepped outside. There were Americans out there, in expensive suits and sunglasses, standing around talking loudly and showing clear interest in the beat-up warehouse across the street. Forgetting his living captive, he took a few tentative steps towards them. One of them felt familiar. Not looked, not sounded, just...felt. He felt a desperate urge to rush over to them, to ask if they recognized him, to beg for their help or to be taken away from this life that was not his. He shook his head against it.
Then one of them shouted at him.
"HEY!" the man, the one who felt familiar, roared suddenly, rushing towards him and waving his arms in a state of shock and confusion. "Sir! Sir! Are..." he trailed off as he approached. "You are," he whispered. "Oh my god, you're Kazuo."
The other men had stopped talking, and were now approaching at a sprint.
Kazuo. The name had hit his brain like a blinking beacon, attracting other memories long-since lost. He was Kazuo. He was American. He was...
The flood became too much. He didn't realize he'd dropped the shoebox, or that the fleeing mouse was suddenly swooped up by the stalker cat, carried away to its fate. By the time any of this had happened, he was already falling to the ground himself, and the world was blurring.