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"Legend of the Black Swan," Chapter 7 (Excerpt)
“I walk where the bottles break, and the blacktop still comes back for more...”

The dark end of the street was approaching, and Arisa slowed her gait. She wanted to end this scene, purge it from her thoughts before arriving. It would not do, and she wanted to be on form and happy for what would come.

Arisa graduated that spring from the middle grade portion of the boarding school, and returned home. She kept her mouth shut, and accepted the separation and divorce. Kin kept his promise, in that he did continue to subsidize Arisa’s education. He was proud (and no doubt relieved) when Endo offered Arisa a scholarship for the following year.

Miwa remained the same; correct, stoic and too calm for words. Arisa now knew that her mother’s emotions were buried deep, she’d always been that way. Miwa was never severe or harsh with her daughter, but then, Arisa was instructed in a traditional way, and to be filial towards elders was only right. Still, Miwa’s behavior did make some wonder what was up with her, though no one outside the family ever said anything publicly.

Again, that would not do.

“I walk where the bottles break, and the blacktop still comes back...”

Arisa thought over what she knew of the divorce. Miwa only requested a brief period of support for herself until she could find work, and Kin was agreeable. Again, Arisa’s education was a given. In the rare times of seeing the man, Kin remained that ebullient, positive self, and always indulgent of Arisa. Your father is rather like a very big boy at times, Miwa observed dryly; yet Arisa knew early on her mother found that attractive.

They were opposites, though, and Arisa was the result of their DNA. She was torn in two different directions; there was no Arisa, only an equation that had no answer.
* * *
“I live where the neighbors yell, and their music comes up through the floor...”

Arisa stopped on the corner, across the street from her destination. She looked at the place from a new angle, and way this time.

Vacant lots lay on either side, overgrown with grass and junk. They were owned, Arisa knew, but the holder of the deeds had done nothing with them. The building between perhaps held a key to that.

“Life beyond the playground fence is serious as basketball, life beyond the playground fence is serious...”
The brick and stones were dirty, aged, cracked in many places along its three stories. A rough mural of samurai, geisha, calligraphy and an ancient slogan adorned this side, faded with the decades, the artist dead and gone.

“Four blocks from the steel mill blast, I paint my claim upon the wall...four blocks from the steel mill blast, I paint my claim...”

She stared at the structure, forbidding and forbidden to many, Arisa knew, by rumor and half-truth. The first floor held a picture window beneath a tattered black awning, but its former life was unknown, the door padlocked, its window boarded. Bay windows jutted out above the street in the second, these too dark.

Wires hung down from the roof, unconnected. The chimneys were also old brick, one crumbling from lack of use and attention. The third was another picture window like the first, but no one could see in, only there was the black…but for what Arisa saw.

A razor, a shaft of light blinked between the right edge of the window and the blackout curtain there. The eerie, creepy old building that Arisa saw people cross the street to avoid…had life.

That life made Arisa smile. She crossed the street, as broken bottles crunched beneath.

(Italicized lyrics from "Where the Bottles Break," by John Gorka)
"Legend of the Black Swan," Chapter 7 (Excerpt)
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"Legend of the Black Swan," Chapter 7 (Excerpt)

An excerpt from "Legend of the Black Swan." Arisa considers her fractured family, and her approach of a mysterious building...

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