This week is no different to the others. Challenge here. Piece bellow.
The Girl Who Surfed Tsunamis
Daisy stood on the porch and eyed the windows either side of the door; both were shuttered off, and the house gave the impression of being dead. She surveyed the street; it was, bar the odd stray cat traipsing about in search of fish carcasses or sluggish un-alert rats, completely empty. A dog could be heard barking in the distance, which Daisy imagined was due to a cat sitting on a fence casually licking itself as the dog jumped up in vain attempts to catch it, seemingly unaware it was anchored to the floor.
Daisy knocked again, feeling as though it had been enough time, and though she had lived in Japan throughout her teens (six years now), she still had a very British restraint. Again: silence. She walked to the edge of the porch, and looked down the street; the sky was a depressive grey, and had been all day. The locals told her it meant the storm would be particularly bad this evening, and that she should stay away from the sea front. She pulled out her phone and checked the time; to ensure she would have enough to make it back to the Inn for dinner; Mrs Ashida was strict on the hours she served food. Daisy was about to set off when she heard the door unlock, she turned to see a man coming out, his back to her, with headphones on. He relocked the door, turned, yelped, and jumped a foot backward in surprise.
‘Hi,’ she said, waving slightly and wearing a smile.
He pulled his earphones off, slowly, as though moving too quickly might provoke attack. The indistinct noise of what sounded like rock music filled the silence between them, until he reached into his pocket, without taking his eyes off of her, and switched it off.
‘Hi,’ she said again, offering her hand, ‘I’m Daisy.’
He eyed her suspiciously, but slowly extended his hand to meet hers.
‘Hoshi,’ he said, ‘Hoshi, Hamada.’
They finished shaking hands, and it was Daisy who spoke first.
‘So, it was you who took the picture?’
‘Which picture?’ he asked.
Daisy rummaged through her rucksack, and finally withdrew a folded piece of paper, offering it to Hoshi. He unfolded it, looked at it, then her, and nodded, handing it back.
‘It’s a great shot,’ she said.
‘Thanks,’ he said, rubbing the back of his unkempt hair, his cheeks flushing pink.
She returned the picture to her bag, and turned her attention back to him.
‘Nah,’ he said, trying to appear casual, but looking disinterested.
‘But, you –’ she pointed to the door, then to him.
He suddenly stood upright, realising his mistake, and rubbed the back of his head again.
‘Well, I was heading to the store.’
‘Okay, I’ll come too.’
Hoshi looked confused, but made not protest. They walked down the street in relative silence, until Daisy interrupted it.
‘So, where did you take the picture?’
‘From the top of Daisuke Hill’
‘And you didn’t play around with it?’
He gave her a sideward glance, and said, ‘you mean, edit it?’
‘Yeah,’ she said.
‘No, I take pictures the old fashioned way, I don’t have a computer.’
‘Really?’ she looked at him as though waiting for the punch line.
She realised he seemed sad about it, and so she changed the subject.
‘So, you like, have to get the film developed?’
He shook his head, as thunder crashed above them. They both looked up at the sky; still the same drab grey, still promising rain. They arrived at the store. Daisy followed him inside, and gazed around. She was from the city, and though she was of a minority, she was not so rare a sight as to be stared at. But in this small coastal town, she was something of a spectacle, and she could not help but feel the eyes of the locals following her through the store; something she tried to ignore. Hoshi picked up a bag of clothes pegs, and took them to the counter. Daisy, tired of being gawped at, decided to wait outside. When Hoshi came out, she said.
‘For pictures,’ he said, ‘I develop them myself.’
Together they walked back to his house, the sudden eruption of thunder the only interruption of their otherwise silent walk. When they arrived, Hoshi stood on the porch and, finally finding some courage, he said,
‘Why are you here?’
He was not rude in his question, but the fact he spoke first is what took Daisy aback.
‘Your picture,’ she said, ‘the girl in the wave, I need to find out.’
Hoshi looked down at the floor and then, sheepishly, back to Daisy.
‘Because you think she’s a ghost,’ he said.
‘Well,’ she said, surprised.
‘It’s for your blog; you want to know if it’s real or a hoax.’
‘I thought you said,’ she frowned at him, ‘you didn’t have a computer.’
‘I don’t, but I go to school.’
Daisy realised then, that his sudden fright by her, might have been recognition, rather than the fact she was foreign. She brushed a stray blonde hair behind her ear; a rouge one that had somehow escaped her hair band.
‘Yes,’ she said honestly.
‘Well, that picture is untouched I developed it myself.’
‘So, she was in the image before you sold it to the paper?’
‘Well, technically,’ he said, ‘they came to me.’
Daisy thought back to the image, of the girl, seeming to emerge out of the sea foam, wearing the thirty-foot high wave like a ball gown. And the title of the piece:
The Girl Who Surfed Tsunamis
The thunder crashed again overhead, rolling on longer now, warning of its arrival. Daisy checked her phone; she would have to leave soon, to make it back in time for dinner service. She felt a sudden shame come over her; how could she think about food, if what she had heard was true: that poor girl, Aiya Chiba, missing and never found; her spirit now entangled in an ocean wave.
‘You want to see it?’ said Hoshi, breaking her trail of thought.
‘The photo?’ she asked.
‘Yeah,’ he nodded, ‘I’ve got the negative, inside’
Daisy checked her watch again, but the queasiness she felt had already confirmed her decision. She nodded, and Hoshi opened the door, and led the way in.