White on Red

Puffs of mist swirled and faded with the gentle Winter breeze. Her breathing came in quick shallow gulps. As if she tried to capture as much as she could, but without the strength to hold on for long. She stood upon a snowy hill that oversaw a forest of evergreens, all dressed in white. The snow around her was the color of ripened cherries. Thirty bodies in varying stages of dismemberment laid strewn around the blood-soaked snow, forming a pattern that made her think of a dance macabre. She would have smiled, but she was exhausted from her duel. Now, she could barely stand; her right hand still held on fiercely to her katana.

 

“In the late morning

The falling white snow covers

A great sleeping hill.”

 

She remembered the haiku that her father taught her once, long ago, when still a child. Odd that its memory came now upon this bloody hill. The road home would be long and lonely, like always.

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