Time Of The Tansu

3rd in the 'Imagine That! 1999' competition

The step tansu overpowered our lounge room. People in ancient Japan used them as cupboards and as steps to save space. The black forged iron trims gave it an air of authority and I was drawn to the shiny mahogany brown glint. I pulled open one of the little doors and stared into the vacant space in awe. Without warning, a huge wind lifted me off my feet and sucked me in. I was whirling around, thrown and buffeted from one side to the other.

Suddenly, stillness. The sun stung my eyes. I gazed around an area that seemed strangely familiar. I was wearing a shimmering, purple kimono with silky white butterflies on it. On my right hand was a gold ring with a radiant, purple amethyst in it. What had happened? A deafening cry broke the silence. A man's head rolled onto the dust. Blood poured out of the dead man's body and soaked into the sand. My eyes fixed glassily on the corpse. Then I shut them and bolted, yelling, screaming, and hysterical.

A group of children, about my age, were playing on the road 'Princess Izumi! What are you doing here?’ asked a little girl. The others looked at me and grovelled. Finally, a boy uttered, ‘Your Majesty, what is the matter?’ I burst into tears and told them the horrible story. An older girl raised her eyebrow and said ‘My dear Izumi, it seems that you have lost your memory, child.’ ‘All samurai kill themselves if battle was bad!’ ‘You must be quite ill.’ ‘I shall take you home.’

Izumi? Who was Izumi? The older girl led me into a beautifully decorated bedroom. ‘You
must rest now, Princess,’ she said and shut the door. Princess? Gracious! As I snuggled under the silken sheets, I heard something. I sat up and in front of me was a wispy shadow of a girl. She was the image of me. ‘I am the spirit of the body you are currently in.’ ‘I died of fever last night.’ ‘My samurai guard will be forced to commit harakiri if it is known that I have died’ ‘I put you in my body temporarily, until I could restore my spirit into my own body.’ ‘Do not be frightened.’ ‘You may keep the ring to remember me by.’ ‘Close your eyes.’ ‘One, two...’
I blinked. I was in my own body! I looked across and saw Princess Izumi. She smiled, took the lovely ring off her finger and fitted it carefully on mine. ‘I shall now gather the Great Winds to transport you back home in your time.’ ‘Goodbye !’ Please visit me.
‘How?’ I asked curiously.
Before she could answer, I was swept away by the Great Winds.
Bump! I landed on the tiles and rubbed my eyes. I glanced at my right ring finger . A band of solid gold with a gleaming amethyst in it. My beating heart thudded hard in my ears. I stared at the time portal. Would I ever dare venture there again?



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