毒された桜 Poisoned Cherry Blossom

ACT ONE, SCENE ONE:
Guilin, South China. Night time. SHIZUO and MEIHUA stand beside an oak tree opposite a rock in front of the Li River. Rows of oval shaped mountains and a cave can be seen. Stars shine down brightly.

SHIZUO    It’s been a long time my love. [Stepping into the light] I have walked                          through a thousand dreams, but nothing could have prepared me for this     moment.
MEIHUA    [Looking down] Even now, I can feel your skin and smell the flowers you                    picked that day.
SHIZUO    [Embraces Meihua] How have you been? How is he? I miss both of you.
MEIHUA    I am fine, but Kailong is slowly getting worse. He keeps calling your name,             searching by the river. Though I believe he knows. I tell him not to worry and             that everything will be fine.
SHIZUO    Here, take this [hands over a small brown bag]. This will make him feel better. It’ll keep his strength up. Is he still practicing the sword?
MEIHUA    Yes every day, as he hopes to train with you one day.
SHIZUO    I feel ashamed, it’s been so long. My memories are becoming colourless. I                 will return one day. [Sighs] This place is beautiful.
MEIHUA    Yes, this place is untouched under heaven. [Stepping away] I wish you                 didn’t have to go. If something were to happen, how will I ever know? How             would I survive without you? How would I tell our son?
SHIZUO    My dear. [Holding out his arms]
MEIHUA    Every night I trace our last steps, wishing we could return to our last moment  and walk in another direction. I know it won’t happen.
SHIZUO    I am sorry, it won’t be for much longer. Just until Kailong is ok and we are             safe. I promise.

Silence falls upon them both. They look at each other and then look                 out towards the mountains and stars. SHIZUO shifts his body closer to                 MEIHUA.

MEIHUA    I found Kailong crying yesterday out by the red cave. He said that his father’s image was beginning to disappear from his mind. He can no longer picture       your face. Then he asked me if there was something wrong with him, for not            remembering your face.
SHIZUO    [Gripping his sword] Every time I draw my sword, I pray for forgiveness and think of you both, always. Each time was supposed to be the last, but it                never is. When I am not on a mission, I am searching for the ingredients and            knowledge.
MEIHUA    Can you not just forget it all and leave it behind? We will find a way.
SHIZUO    I can’t. They know my secret. [Holding her tightly] Keep the names I gave             you. You are both safe with these.
MEIHUA    [Pulling away] There is no cure. No one has ever survived such an attack. Please Shizuo, come back to us.
SHIZUO    No, I must keep searching. There is always an opposite.
MEIHUA    [Crying] Shizuo, come back and spend whatever time there is left for Kailong.

SHIZUO fights back his tears and holds on tightly to his sword. He straightens his body.

SHIZUO    I miss Kailong. I miss you both. I will come back more often, but we musn’t be seen in daylight.
MEIHUA    I can no longer smile. People keep pointing at us, the fatherless family. You are a ghost to our every day lives.
SHIZUO    [Interrupting] How else can I provide for you? This is who I am!
MEIHUA    [Quietly] I know, thank you dear. Come home. Kailong’s energy is slowly ebbing away.
SHIZUO    Yesterday. [He pauses]
MEIHUA    [Questionably] Yesterday?
SHIZUO    Yes, yesterday. Tell me what you did.
MEIHUA    I and Kailong woke up early morning. I cleaned the house, whilst he practiced. We then went to the street market to buy some meat. We had Okonomiyaki for breakfast, your favourite. In the afternoon, we took a raft out on the Li River. It is  so beautiful here at day with the mountains, like crystal fingertips reaching out of the water. The green is subtle and atmosphere tranquil. It’s as if the river is telling us it’s story. [Moves closer to Shizuo] I told Kailong stories of when we were in Japan. He said he wants to return to our real home one day, but I am afraid he won’t live long enough to see our village in Japan.
SHIZUO    Japan. [sighs] I miss the full bloom of the Cherry Blossoms. I miss you wearing mother’s Kimono and the smell of steamed rice. My spirit grows weak without these moments and warm thoughts. [He looks up] Keep looking at the moon Meihua.   It’s the only way we can share a moment together. I know the moon is always            shining down on the both of you. I can always find my way home by following            our stars. Do you remember which ones they are?
MEIHUA    Yes, dear. It’s my only comfort at night.
SHIZUO      I have seen so much pain and suffering. I feel so helpless. Shanghai is a dangerous territory. People roam so wildly. I am always on guard. It is scary Meihua, but only you I tell this to. What am I Meihua? A murderer? A saviour? A desperate   father?
MEIHUA    [Calmly] You are all three. I will always love you the same, no less.

They embrace and kiss passionately. A soft breeze shakes the leaves on the tree.
        The moon hides behind a passing cloud.

SHIZUO    This is it. I promise, this will be the last mission. I will find a way home. We will be together again. We have enough for now don’t we?
MEIHUA    [Excitedly] Yes, I have been saving most of it. I love you, Shizuo.
SHIZUO    [Nods] I love you. I want to hold Kailong in my arms once again…

 Their conversation comes to a halt as voices can be heard close by. SHIZUO and
        MEIHUA tiptoe to take cover behind the rock. SHIZUO clutches his sword and             holds it ready in a fighting position. The stage grows dark.

By B. L. Crisp