Chapter 8. RIN-NE

Scenes, familiar ones and unknown ones, changed at increasingly violent speed in his mind and then stopped all of a sudden.
“Ah, it stopped.” One still picture is in front of Rocco. It is an unfamiliar one for Rocco. “Where could be it?”
People inside the picture began to move slowly. It is a peaceful rural landscape with the sunlight reaching every corner.
Now he can see spinning wheels. A thin old man with rather dark skin is spinning the wheel with several women. Occasionally he makes them laugh with his remarks. He wraps himself with a large cotton cloth. One bare shoulder looks glossy and youthful. It tells that he is still vigorous and active.
Rocco turned his eyes from the neck to the face of the old man. His profile was enlarged to fill the screen. It was calm and gentle. Behind small glasses, he can see confident eyes beaming. His hollow cheeks and thin neck show the strong will of the man who has led poor but honest life.
The old man turned slowly to Rocco.
Rocco quickly tried to flee from the place, but the old man caught him before it with his keep observation. Rocco cannot move even an inch as if he was riveted to the ground. The old man sat across from him.
Solemn air which no one can invade fills the entire place. Rocco feels that he is losing all his strength. And at the same time, he felt that he became very open. The old man put his hand on the head of Rocco, stroked it lovingly few times, and then nodded with a smile. Rocco felt very serious.
Then, the screen began to change at a furious speed again. It was so fast that even the cat’s eye cannot follow. And then, it stopped.
Below his eyes Rocco can see a small island which looks like a a lump of rocks. Rocco is in the sky looking down. He is descending slowly forming an arc. Now, he can see a white beach. Then, he sees people, men lining along a rock wall. All of them are casting sharp eyes to the shore. Tense atmosphere began to surround Rocco, too.
A the water’s edge, two men are facing each other with a certain distance. The sword blade, which one of them threw up high into the sky, shined reflecting the sunlight.
“They are samurai!” Rocco cried in spite of himself.
“Hoy!”
“Hewph!”
The two samurai swung their swords at each other, risking their lives. The match was over in an instant. The winner run away without a glance for the loser who fell on the beach. Rocco followed him all his strength to see his face. The man threw his wooden sword of a thick oar up into the sky. The wooden sword flew at Rocco with a roar.
Rocco dodged sidestep the sword just before it hit him. The man who saw him nodded slightly. Then, he jumped onto the boat which was waiting for him and pulled out to sea.
The sound of drum celebrating the victory followed him on the crests of waves from the beach. The man sat with one leg on top of the thigh of the other leg, made symbolic signs with the fingers, and then closed his eyes. His face was not that of victorious worrier, but it was filled with sorrow who knew his destiny. Rocco was gazing at his back shining in the afterglow, with somewhat nostalgic feeling.
“Rocco.” Someone is calling him in the distance. “Rocco. Rocco. Are you OK?”
The voice came just in front of him. Someone is calling him just in front of him.
Ah, it was the Lady. Oh dear, what happened to me? What was that? Who was he?
“You will be all right, Rocco.”
“But who was he?”
Smile disappearing from her face, she looked intently at Rocco and said in a compelling tone.
“It was you, Rocco.”
“What?”