Chapter 1:

Kiss the Water

Kiss the Water

Red notes pop from the app like blood. One, two, three messages that all say the same phrase.

>I’m at the bridge.

>Takeru, I’m at the bridge.

>Takeru, I’m at the bridge. Don’t ask after me any more.

I roll out from bed, dress warmly in a dark coat and scarf, and stroll out from my apartment. There’s no reason to rush.

What’s wrong with standing on a bridge? What’s wrong if she likes standing on the rails? We all have our own quirks; and perhaps that’s hers.

However, my own proclivity is that when a close friend tells me not to go somewhere, I always go. Even if it’s at 2AM in the morning… even if my shift’s right at sunrise the next day.

Sure enough, she’s there, one foot already over the railing, straddling it like a gold-medal gymnast in a business-casual black skirt.


“It's a nice night for a walk,” I say.

“Takeru.” She looks down at the swirling water, as if she can see a face in its depths.

I join her, and look down. Even though we’re side by side, it’s as though there’s a thousand feet between us.

She had once said that there are two types of people - those ruled by desire for Life, Eros. And those ruled by desire for Death, Thanatos.

It was a tidbit Sayuri had told me, while we ate our daily bento-boxes purchased with ten minute’s wages at the convenience store. She speaks freely during the day in a bright voice, but at night it’s as though that voice was stolen from her.

At night, she’s ruled by Thanatos. But as long as it takes, I’ll wait for her. I will be her Eros; over and over and over again until dawn.

“Sayuri, I like talking to you.”

“I understand.”

“Sayuri, I would miss you.”

“I understand.”

“Then why do you stand over the rail?”

She swings herself fully to the other side, and then gives me a sideways look. She’s not over the rail now, but under it. She sits, hanging her legs over the ledge.

There’s no longer a barrier between her and the river below; the river that by boat leads to Tokyo but by bridgefall leads straight down to Hades.

“I paid 1000 yen to a fortune-teller. She told me that my card was Death.”

She doesn’t leap. It’s as though she’s waiting, waiting for me to understand.

“So? It seems that Thanatos has already come to you, as a picture on a card.”

“No… the card means he'll come tonight. The end, mortality, destruction… my dead prince on a white steed in rusted plate.”

Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Sayuri has never jumped. But there’s a bleak passion, a hunger in her voice that was never there before. Thanatos had given her fresh orders.

The night surrounds Sayuri, and its blackness infests her eyes. I know there’s nothing I can say that’ll persuade her to turn back, and despite this I begin to shout.

She echoes me in a quiet voice.

“I want you to listen to me!”

“I want you to listen to me.”

“Why can’t my feelings reach you?”

“Why can’t my feelings reach you?”

“Why can't you change?”

“Why can't you change?”

A ship passes on the river; a ferry that goes all the way to Tokyo. If a passenger looked up, they’d see a beautiful woman taking off her shoes; and a pleading young man unable to believe that tonight of all nights will be different.

But a clarity approaches him - approaches me. Yes, Sayuri, I do understand. There’s nothing I can say to save someone from the night, and there's nothing that needs to be said either. It’s not a matter of good or evil, suicide or salvation, Eros and Thanatos. Not in the way that I thought; your story had misled me.

Those who desire life wish to cling to it forever. Those who desire death desperately wish for change. Rather than being ruled by Eros and Thanatos, wouldn’t it be better to say people are blessed or cursed by Eternity?

There are people who day after day, live surrounded by family, friends, and purpose; Eros smiles down upon them. There are people who day after day who live in a limitless meaningless obligatory hell; and to them Thanatos beckons.

Only in the night time do expectations lift, and a cursed person can feel free. If only the night could last forever. If only the morning shift would never come.

Sayuri, I understand.

“Come here, Sayuri.” I say.

“In just three seconds, all speech fades,” Sayuri says. “and your words too will sink uselessly into the sea.”

But Death doesn’t have to be an ocean. What we crave as “Death” is great change: like from day into night.

“Your horseman is here." I say. “Thanatos, Charon, Hades, Death - it's not a choice; you're running away with me.”


Takeru offered his hand, but Sayuri knocked it away. To shut him up, she kissed him.

On March 20th, 2024, on the first day of Spring, a girl known as “Takamine Sayuri” was kidnapped by a man named “Takeru Tsuchi.” 

They were never seen again. 

Whether Sayuri kissed Takeru’s reflection in the water, or kissed him on the bridge is unknown, but the time coincided with the last boat to the city.

Kiss the Water