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- Enta Kusakabe
Gogyohka is a new form of Japanese poetry written in just five lines. Each line of Gogyohka consists of one phrase which can be as short as one word or as long as five words. It has no restraint on numbers of syllables and theme.
"It was him" Soul number 123, the waiter. Was I visualising him or did he really suicide? I was so shocked to see him, I rubbed my eyes and stared at him. He also looked into my eyes and said,"Can you please get aside? You are blocking the way to my locker." Without questioning much, I got up. I did not say anything to him because I knew that he must have also lost his memories of past life, just like I did. I didn't want him to get drowned in those depths of sadness again because of me. I ignored his presence and escaped the cave as soon as possible.
I was filled with uncertainty and also started to doubt myself, if I really did save a life? Maybe I didn't save any life, I just passed on the unfortunate fate to the other by making a slight change with my presence. This thought was killing me from within.
I was walking as fast as I could and I wanted to reach the doorway to the living world because I had an intuition that it may have all the answers that I wanted to seek. The door opened with a vibrant light before I was even close enough to it, the old lady whom I met near the river Styx had returned. She stood there looking absolutely dissapointed and filled with sorrow. Her tired eyes and wrinkles had millions of words to utter but her mouth wasn't able to express them. "I lost." she said.
She broke down, the tears that she had held in made a way. I ran towards her to support her soul and she continued her last words in my arms,"I failed to save his life. I will soon lose my soul as well." Her voice was sinking. The metal plate in her hand was glowing brightly, I unrolled the sheet and saw the visual of the same soul 123, whom I saw in the cave. The sheet started to dissapear in thin air and her soul started to turn into ashes. Her soul was no more and she ended up herself in my arms.
The pieces of the puzzle were now getting linked to each other. The afterlife after ending your own life wasn't about just saving six lives but it was also a battle between souls to have a chance of their rebirth. The soul of the old lady had the last target to save the waiter from suiciding but because she failed to do so, she ended up losing her rebirth as well. In a way, I did save a life but not by ending the possibility of death from the living world. The fate just passed on and the one who is unable to stop it from happening breaks the chain and loses his or her own soul.
I was broken apart by this possibility of killing other's chances for a rebirth and fight for my own. I was also surrounded by the fear of losing my own soul. It wasn't just about winning over others but also about not losing yourself by getting too attached to this place.
I was gloomy and inconsolable because even though all of this wasn't planned by me but I was a part of the death of her soul. While I was in the midst of the thoughts and was walking on the road to lead me somewhere. To my surprise, it didn't lead me anywhere different, it was once again- River Styx.
The metal sheet in my hand started to get colder, I stared at it perfectly fitting in my palms. Except for unrolling it, I had no choice. It was carved:
'Companion, soul number 456 ...........Right............ Soul number 321.'
I couldn't understand the what the word 'companion' and the space before and after 'right' meant.