Koharu can taste the blood in her mouth. She had bitten her cheek during the crash, when the ship came toppling down to the ground, and it still hasn’t healed over. A flap of her inner cheek sticks out like a finger, caressing her teeth as she moves. She drags her tongue across the wound, sticking the tip into the bleeding crevice, but that changes nothing. Though she can taste the blood and touch the misplaced skin, it doesn’t hurt at all. Normally, Koharu wouldn't be so concerned about something not hurting, but there isn’t much else to do but think anymore. Not with Kurami gone.

The sky here is empty; no moons or stars or suns lighting up the world. It’s barely a planet and more of a large rock floating helplessly through space. There is no orbit. There is no direction. Koharu tries to spit the blood from her mouth, but nothing comes out. The taste sticks, everpresent, but it’s as if she’s been bled completely dry. Back home, she has read plenty of American (truly, not American, but simply English) books stolen from unguarded shops or careless tourists, and this, to her, felt like the start of one. One of the old, dark ones from Europe, a Lovecraft or Kafka. A horror too enormous for one girl to handle. There were three books that survived the crash along with Koharu: Homer’s Odyssey, an old legend translated into English which she snatched from a hoity-toity British professor, the second Lord of the Rings book, though she’s never read the first, and No Longer Human, a book she’d managed to properly purchase and one of the few she’d read written both in Japanese and by a Japanese author. This final survivor had encapsulated her most out of the three, perhaps due to its origin being more than British. Kitchen, another wholly Japanese novel, had been her favourite, but it was now charred along with the half dozen other books Koharu couldn’t rescue in time. No Longer Human had not fascinated her in the same way Kitchen did. It was sad and soft and had a happy ending, which was a comfort she needed so desperately in the cramped little house her family lived in. She liked to imagine being like the book, getting better, having someone to comfort her. No Longer Human was the opposite, hateful and violent and bitter, but it was much more within reach. Her Father’s misogyny, her Mother’s apathy, her Sister’s self centric-mind— they were all reflected in the page. Koharu wanted to be Kitchen, but that would never be, not with how she’d been built. She isn’t a human at all, and she never was. Being alone on this tiny, lonely planet, perhaps Kitchen would be a better companion, but rereading passages of bitterness and stewing in hate feels good.

Most of Koharu’s books were American because they were borrowed from her Father. He was a man obsessed with Western culture, but not how the rest of their country was at the time. Not with hatred, but with pure infatuation. It was ?̵̜̙͖̰̊͊̿͘?̵̥͋?̸͍̦̂̍͠?̷̨̣̥͒̏̀́͝ and tensions were high between the two countries. Koharu could never place exactly why her Father’s obsession began, not after everything they had done, but he never stopped talking about them. Wearing their clothes, watching their shows, reading their books, using their words.

Idiot,” he’d spat at her one evening while she was returning home from a sleepover. “あなたは障害児です。”

You are a moron. He used their word for it, the Americans. Idiot. Koharu didn’t feel like an idiot. She did just fine in school, even if she had trouble relating to her peers, even if she wasn’t like them.

Koharu’s father was a bitter man, one who hated everything. Women, queers, anyone who wasn’t a perfectly beautiful Caucasian— no one, not even himself, could escape scrutiny. It was this hatred, partially, that made it hard for Koharu to feel bad when he died, even now. His face was plastered with a perpetual frown, always displeased with whatever was happening around him. He was not someone that was missed. Mother, however, was the opposite, not hateful but never fully present at all. Her mind was always hiding somewhere else, far away from her body. Father said she was sick, but with what was never explained. When Koharu was nine, Kurami had spouted an explanation that was incomprehensible, filled with mysterious words Koharu didn’t understand.

By the time Father was dead, Koharu finally understood what he’d done, how he’d ruined Mother. She was always far away, drunk or high or simply away from her own body, because she couldn’t live with what he’d done. As a child, Koharu couldn’t make sense of this, but now she understands. She’s ruined, too, all alone on this fucking rock with three books for company and a mouth that always tastes like blood. Kurami was the only light in that house, and now she is gone too.

Koharu has no sense of time down here. It hasn’t been more than a few days, she thinks, someone will come save me.

It takes some time for Koharu to realise she hasn’t eaten. She has no clue how long it’s been— a few weeks, maybe— but she hasn’t had a single thing to eat or drink the entire time. Humans die from dehydration in a short time. Why doesn’t she feel it? The death? The only thing she feels now is the cut in her mouth, which still hasn’t healed at all. The sound still bears no pain, but the awful hole in her cheek is far more unpleasant than pain itself could be. Lord, she prays, please help me. Koharu hooks a finger inside her cheek, poking a finger against the open flesh. She doesn’t flinch, because it doesn’t hurt. Nothing hurts. Nothing. The wound is still wet, as if it’s fresh, but when Koharu removes her finger to examine it, only saliva coats the appendage. No blood, never blood, not anymore.

Something is wrong, she knows. There is something so terribly, awfully wrong with her, but not the same wrong as Mother. She was sick, but Koharu is something else. Koharu is inhuman. It is just like the book. She has always been a monster.

She vomits, full of chunks that choke and burn her throat. The flavour of blood mixes with bile.

The days are blending together. Maybe they have been this whole time. Maybe it’s been a billion trillion years and no one knows I ever existed at all. Maybe everyone is already gone. Maybe God has already died, too. Maybe I am alone.

Mother was a religious woman. She loved God more than she ever loved me, and perhaps for

no, no, that’s not right. go again.

The days are blending together. Maybe they have been this whole time. Maybe it’s been a billion trillion years and no one knows Koharu ever existed at all. Maybe everyone is already gone. Maybe God has already died, too. Maybe Koharu is alone.

Koharu’s mother was a religious woman. She loved God more than she ever loved her daughters, and perhaps for a good reason. Every Sunday, she took the bus to a large Catholic Church in the city and sang and wept and prayed along with the hundreds of others. This weekly journey became the only time she was both lucid enough and happy enough to pay Koharu any mind, so soon enough she was joining her mother on that bus to the church every Sunday. She sang and wept and prayed along with the hundreds of others, but they were not the ones that mattered. It was Mother, looking at me, smiling and shakily breathing out Christ’s name. “Jesus will save us,” she cried, holding the priest’s hand and not mine, “he will bring our salvation.” Mother was a fucking liar. This is no salvation. This is hell.

43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face.

Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.”

John 11:43-44

47 While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.48 Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.”49 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.

50 Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”

Matthew 26:47-50

If you were Jesus, who am I? Your loyal worshipper, your first betrayer. I am (Koharu is?) both Lazarus and Judas.

Koharu realises, after eternity has begun, that she’s stuck. She is eternity. She is forever, and unchanging, and nothing like a human. Her blood doesn’t flow, and that’s how it starts. Her veins are hard, frozen solid, as if her blood has turned to plastic. She slides a jagged rock across her palm, waiting for a slit to form and begin to sting, but nothing comes. No pain. It is never fucking anything. I wish I was dead.

Koharu is more like her mother than ever before as she begins the methodical dissection, slowly removing the first layer of the skin along my palm. It peels back after some careful slices like the thin membrane of a clementine. Blood trickles up in spots, peeking uninvited through the skin. But I don’t feel anything. Why do I never feel anything? She carelessly discards her (my? my? my?) skin upon the ground and begins carving deeper. Now, she can see her muscles, lovingly embracing the bones of her fingers. They twitch as I poke them with the rock, as if they’re alive. It’s a fool's errand to imagine they’re alive. The muscle is thicker than the skin, but it still cuts smooth like a perfectly cooked steak. It spurts out more red than the skin did as Koharu begins dragging the jagged rock carefully through the middle of her palm. She carefully digs out an imperfect, choppy circle and peels off the layer of muscle like skin off leather. It clings desperately, but I don’t care. See, father? I’m strong. Stronger than you. You’re the idiot, now. Weak fucking fool. That’s all you are.

I am torn apart, and I feel nothing.

Koharu tastes nothing  in her mouth she is fine there is no blood. She had     not bitten her cheek sshe is at   home and mother loves her and kurami lov es her and father is   

Koharu’s back is pressed against the rocky ground, her head facing the sky. It has been five seconds since the crash. It has been one billion years since the crash. There are so, so many stars. Planets explode into billions of tiny pieces, but stars just flicker out. No one notices when they go, because they’re so quickly replaced by another star just the same. How long has it really been, she thinks, how long have I been here? The sky is so different. Koharu’s hand is still raw from dissection, a bloody hole in the center of her palm. Carefully, she slides a travel sewing kit out of her pocket and begins reconstruction. It was just an episode. She is perfectly sane.

a perfect circle in her hand. perfect perfect staring into her soul like the sun. round round round WHY DO I why why WHY round round round round it has to be ROUND circles and spheres and lonely planets I feel it in my HER HER BONES SHE FEELS IT SHE SHE SHE SHE SHE round, perfectly circular. I am not insane. It is carved methodically, like an I am not insane like a no no no no no I AM NOT CRAZY this isn’t fair she isn’t she isn’t it was never supposed to end like this YOU SAID YOU WERE SAVING ME a perfect circle, carved with a jagged rock in the middle of her palm. The skin where she’s sewn it back on peels at the edges revealing the tiny openings beneath each stitch, like minuscule doorways into her body. She clenches her hand, and a stitch pops s ssss s s ssssss

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be

thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done,

on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our

daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we

forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us

not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.

I have read the books over and over and over and over I have torn out that fucking tome of self hatred’s pages. No longer no longer SHUT UP we were never human you stupid stupid stupid we never never never never not fro m     the straarrrrtttt t    tttt tt Lord of the Rings, The Odyssey, No Longer Human— they’re all torn to shreds. They’re each burned into Koharu’s brain, sealed upon her like a brand. She cannot remember her mothers face, but she remembers page 148 of the two towers. She remembers all of it. I couldn’t fucking tell you what kitchen was about anymore

Do you know what it was like? Living in that house? They all hated me. Father berated every chance he got. I AM NOT A FUCKING I AM NOT. DON’T SAY THAT ABOUT ME, YOU PIG. I AM SO FUCKING NORMAL.

I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am normal I am

Thinking at all is so hard. It takes so much. She I doesn’t don’t want to think anymore. I she lay down and close my her eyes and decide to simply stop being.

私は存在しなくなりましたが、痛みは残っています。I am the headless roach. 一目瞭然のモンスター。

hurts. hurts hurts  hurts hurts

                    hurts HURTS HURTS HURTS


Koharu HURTS she cannot breathe i can’t breathe breathe breathe breathe BREATHE WHY CANT SHE BREATHE IT HURTS HURTS HURTS HURTS TO

                B R E A T H E



     ⁿᵒ ⁿᵒ ⁿᵒ ⁿᵒ

she is crying she screams but nothing comes out there are no tears no tears THEY CANT HEAR HER ANYMORE please please please please you have to hear me it   hurts please help help please

why why why

ⁿᵒ ⁿᵒ ⁿᵒ



           please please just let me go

          “Spwwz? Lcp jzf zvlj?”

no no no no no no who are you GO AWAY GO AWAY

          “Estd nstwo td zfe zq nzxxtddtzy.”

      shes crying again shes crying no no no no NO IF FATHER SEES HER CRY HE WILL

                  ɪ ʜᴀᴛᴇ ʏᴏᴜ. ɪ ʜᴀᴛᴇ ʏᴏᴜ. ʏᴏᴜ ᴡᴇʀᴇ ᴛʜᴇ ʀᴇᴀsᴏɴ ᴍᴏᴛʜᴇʀ ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ ʟᴏᴠᴇᴅ ᴍᴇ, ʏᴏᴜ ɢᴏᴅᴅᴀᴍɴ ʀᴀᴘɪsᴛ.


     they can’t do this to her.


           “Zs rzcy. Dsp’d— dsp’d yze zvlj. Hsle oz hp oz?”


              they can’t hear her she’s nothing nothing nothing nothing

ⁿᵒ ⁿᵒ ⁿᵒ

          “Apcslad te td slgtyr ly patdzop, ld esp Nlaelty zqepy ozpd.”

ˢʰᵉ ˢᶜʳᵉᵃᵐˢ ᵃⁿᵈ ᵇˡᵒᵒᵈ ᶦˢ ᵖᴼᵁᴿᴵᴺᴳ ᴼᵁᵀ ᴼᶠ ᴴᴱᴿ ᴹᴼᵁᵀᴴ ᴺᴼ ᴺᴼ ᴺᴼ

           “Spj, spj, lcp jzf… Nly T ezfns jzf? Jzf’cp rzyyl mp zvlj.”




                      they won’t let her DIE

why can’t she die I want it to stop

          ᴘʟᴇᴀsᴇ ᴊᴜsᴛ ʟᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ɢᴏ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Gᴇᴛ ɪᴛ ᴏᴠᴇʀ ᴡɪᴛʜ.      Sᴛᴏᴘ ᴋᴇᴇᴘɪɴɢ ᴍᴇ ʜᴇʀᴇ. Pʟᴇᴀsᴇ. Pʟᴇᴀsᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Pʟᴇᴀsᴇ. Pʟᴇᴀsᴇ.         Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ.     Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Pʟᴇᴀsᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ.        Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ.   Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Pʟᴇᴀsᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ.   (死なせてください。)    Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Pʟᴇᴀsᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ.       Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ.                Pʟᴇᴀsᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ.    Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ ᴅɪᴇ. Lᴇᴛ ᴍᴇ


“I think she’s calming down. Hey, are you— are you okay?”

Tiny Star