Welcome! I'm so glad to be back to Sweet Saturdays. I've been working on some new projects so that I'd have more to share, but this week I'm busy with edits for The Samurai's Garden, which has been accepted at Astraea Press and is slated for release in November. So I'd like to introduce you to a few of the characters I'm working with. In this scene, Hiro, a former samurai now working on a farm in northern Japan, meets a former comrade:
Ginjiro’s winding path took him past the woods where Hiro stood, and he teetered as he noted Hiro’s presence. His eyes scrunched as he tried to focus. "Friend, could you help an old soldier?" he slurred.
"You are not so old, Ginjiro, and I see your habits have not changed. Why do you continue to drink yourself into a stupor? You can hardly walk. Sit down and stop weaving about before you hurt yourself."
The inebriated man started in surprise. "You know me?" He tottered forward and squinted again. "Tanaka-san, is that you? What are you doing so far from the mainland? I thought you would have a successful career as a merchant or a politician in Tokyo."
"We will not talk about me. You need to sleep off your drink."
"No, I need to fill myself with the ale. It will dull the pain."
"Why are you in pain? You don’t appear injured."
"I’m talking about the pain of my sword when I perform seppuku.
Hiro’s eyes widened, and he stepped toward his former comrade. "No!"
"Yes, my friend. You are smart. You have the mind and the money to become anything you choose. But I am a warrior. Perhaps not a very good one, but I am a soldier. It is all I know. I cannot do anything else. I have looked all around trying to find a noble to take me on as a guard, but I am too small, too weak, too — stupid. I even worked for some disreputable men, but I was not able to stay. I am a failure as a samurai. I must die."
"Ginjiro, do not speak of yourself this way. You can find honest work. I can help you. Please — you must not kill yourself."
Hiro had fought in countless battles, but nothing had brought him the horror he had once experienced watching a childhood friend disembowel himself in the name of honor. Hiro himself had taken the code of the Bushido, but he failed to understand the need for the awful ritual required of the samurai soldiers for crimes real or imagined. It was the primary reason he had left the mainland in search of another calling. He could not face his former comrades who had become politicians and merchants, vocations as cutthroat as the life of a samurai. He needed to find a more peaceful life. Ginjiro’s words had recalled the violence he had tried so hard to escape. He could not bear to watch another comrade take his own life.
Thanks for stopping by! Check out more excerpts by going to Sweet Saturday Samples and clicking on the links to other author blogs. But first, PLEASE leave a comment! I'm excited about this manuscript and am eager to find out what others think.