Several days passed with nothing in particular of note. I ate, slept, walked around the garden, and went on my phone and computer; Tadashi and Katsumi cooked, cleaned, and played music. I relaxed into this lifestyle in a pretty passive way. It was slow and leisurely, like a dream retirement. But of course, it couldn’t always be that way. On my seventh day at Katsumi’s family home, several things happened that would almost entirely change the course of that whole summer.
I woke up that morning to the sound of Katsumi’s screams. They weren’t the crazed, shocked, hysterical type of scream – his voice was full-throated, terrified, and, for lack of a better word, tragic. If I could make up some kind of story about it, it was like he had just come across a serial killer standing over the body of his one true love, bloody knife still in hand. Katsumi turned and ran, and the serial killer chased him. It was that kind of scream.
I bolted out of bed, my heart pounding, and ran into the hallway. The other bedroom door was still closed; I banged on it worriedly. “Katsumi?” I yelled. “Tadashi? What’s going on?”
Nobody answered. I tried the door and found it locked, and resigned myself to shifting back-and-forth in front of it, agitated. What could be happening in there? My storyteller’s imagination went wild, and I choked on my own thoughts. Katsumi went on and on; Tadashi started yelling over him, his words entirely incomprehensible. Nearly a full minute later, the screams and shouts finally abated, and the house was plunged into a deafening silence.
“Hello?” I asked hesitantly.
A few moments passed, and then Tadashi came to the door. He opened it just a crack and looked out at me. His eyes were charged, his expression unreadable; he was shirtless – both of us obviously just out of bed, though I had slept in thin pajamas – and his long blond hair ran messily down his shoulders. For a moment he just met my gaze, his mouth slightly open, struggling to find words. He glanced over his shoulder, defeated, then turned to me again.
“Sorry,” he said. “Everyone’s fine. Hold on and I’ll tell you about it later. Just… go downstairs or something.”
Then he pulled back and closed the door, basically in my face, without saying another word. I was shocked. I swallowed the response I hadn’t finished forming, mechanically went to wash up in the bathroom, and then plodded down the stairs, stunned into obedience. I crashed on the couch, checked the time on my phone – just barely 6:30 – and closed my eyes.
Tadashi came down some fifteen minutes later. He had washed his face, brushed his hair, and changed into a navy blue short-sleeve button-up and chino shorts. He glanced at me almost absently, poured himself a tall glass of water, and chugged it. Then he came over and sat next to me.
“Morning,” he said casually.
“Morning,” I replied, my own voice still slow and tense.
“Woke you up?”
“Sorry about that.”
I shook my head. “What happened?”
“Um… Well, first of all, Katsu had a bad dream.”
“Yeah. But… it wasn’t just a normal nightmare.”
I blinked, surprised. “What do you mean?”
Tadashi was calm and serious. “Chas, you can believe me or not, I’m just going to tell you things as they are, okay?”
“Sometimes,” he said, “sometimes Katsumi has prophetic dreams.”
I thought about that for a minute. “You mean, like, he sees the future?”
“Yeah, well, not exactly. His dreams are usually of events that are going to happen in the future, but when he wakes up, he rarely remembers them. He just hangs on to bits and pieces, so it’s like a preview, like a movie trailer or something. And later when the event actually happens, the whole dream comes back to him.”
“Uh-huh… So you’re saying Katsumi had a prophetic nightmare this morning?”
Tadashi nodded. “I think so.”
“What was it about?”
“That’s the thing… he won’t tell me.”
I frowned. “Does he normally?”
“Yeah. That’s why I believe that sometimes his dreams are prophetic, because usually when he wakes up he’ll immediately tell me what he remembers, and then later on we’ll both experience the real thing. But today, for some reason, he isn’t telling me what his dream was about, and that worries me.”
He paused and studied my face. “Do you believe me, Chas?”
“That Katsumi has prophetic dreams? Sure.”
I shrugged. “It’s not that crazy. Stories about people who are like that are pretty common. And you aren’t the kind of person who would just go around saying things without having really thought about and analyzed them – so if you believe it, I believe it.”
“Okay,” he said, sounding relieved.
“Is he okay now? Katsumi? His screaming was really something.”
Tadashi nodded. “I haven’t heard him scream like that in a long time… when he woke up he just kind of sat on the bed for a while, not looking at me, not talking. I went to wash up in the bathroom, and when I came back he stood up and went into the bathroom after me. He’s taking a shower right now. I think he’ll be okay, but I have no idea how he’s gonna behave today, especially with you, so…”
“I’ll keep my distance unless you’re there,” I said. “Don’t worry about it.”
“I wish he would tell me what that dream was about…” he murmured with a quiet sigh. “Anyway, are you hungry? I’ll make something.”
He got up without waiting for my answer and wandered into the kitchen. I stared after him wonderingly, then sank back into the couch and closed my eyes again.
It’s too early for this, I thought. But I guess it’s too late to go back to sleep.
And so it was that we got a headstart on that fateful seventh day.