…what? You were expecting more TLS? Why ever were you doing that? Just because I’ve been hurrying to finish Fuyu doesn’t mean I’m hurrying to get Haru out there. Remember, kids- For the Pen is the only thing I actually have going for me at the moment. HC’s a pain to piece back together from broken text files, ToH is a mess, and TLS is just… inferior to FtP on every level.
So yes, I have an update. And no, it’s not TLS.
I’m still immensely pleased with how this is going. This new section gives a bit of a glimpse at some of the things that have happened in the seven years since Kaze’s time as a freshman in Osaka. We take a peek at Zimmers’ journals and see a snippet of Kaze writing with a pen once more. …what’s wrong? Kaze seems upset. Guess you’ll have to wait for part four to find out!
For the Pen: Recollections – The Biography, Part 3
"February ninth, 2013. Supposedly, Kaze will be coming tomorrow. If he does, then this will be it for us. That is, this will be my last entry. I don’t have much else to say, since that’s about all that’s on my mind. I wonder what he’ll be like. Admirable, I’m sure.
"February eighth, 2013. I’m on the edge of my seat. I get to meet the author of Bloodstained Cat soon!
"February seventh, 2013. I made up my mind. This can only be a good choice. After all, how could the writer of a piece of literature as wonderful as Bloodstained Cat fail to meet my expectations? It’s impossible. It’s a work of genius, and even the Swedish Academy recognized that. Yes, he’ll do perfectly. I asked Jones to contact him. Hopefully he’ll come out in a matter of days. Among other things, his autograph…
"February sixth, 2013. I’ve been mulling things over. Do I want to contact him or not? I definitely wish for what he has to offer, but how do I go about demanding it? Even if I do meet him, he’ll probably see me as just some miserly old man.
"February fifth… no, no no- what is this? This is his idea of a diary?!" I shut the thin cahier and placed it neatly on the desk. "He’s just a fan with a one-track mind. There’s no life in this, nothing to utilize… how could he expect even the best writer in the world to do anything with this?"
Mumbling to myself, I shuffled around the room, unsure of what to do. I’d just agreed to do what this man wanted, to turn the records of his life into an immortal tale, and now I was finding it more than a tad difficult. If those recent entries are prime examples of his style, I’ll have to do a lot of elaboration to make his life even somewhat readable…
I snatched up a journal from the floor haphazardly, opened it, and began reading.
"June third, 2008. War with France continuing as usual, thanks to the President’s smart decision a couple weeks back. It seems that the number of daily casualties are increasing at an exponential rate. If it goes on like this, France might cease to exist. I can’t believe there have been no revolutions yet. Locke wrote that the people have not only the right, but the duty, to overthrow a corrupt government. Our country’s democracy is, more or less, built upon his ideals- so what are the people waiting for? Do they intend to continue watching in stupefaction as their young are mercilessly tossed into the bonfire that sweeps through old Gaul?
"What has come of this country? First Afghanistan, then Iraq, now France. Where next, Russia? Or better yet, China? Does America hope to eliminate every country in the "axis of evil"? To what ends? I’ve tried discussing the situation with Jones, but he professes ignorance, and claims not to understand such complicated matters. What am I to do, isolated here? All my funds mean nothing, having been stripped by the government and used to fuel research of anti-matter. The country’s economy is steadily dropping, a year of war taking its toll on imports and trade. Germany, Spain, Italy, Switzerland… they’ve all stopped doing business with us on account of our uncalled for hostility in Europe. Don’t they see that they’ll just drag themselves into this mess? They’re practically begging the President to bomb the entire continent.
"Today, the paper said that the President intends to extend the length and conditions for the draft. In a week, his plans reveal, every citizen male or female between eighteen and thirty will be mobilized and sent to France, and all current draftees will be conscripted for an additional year. It’s almost as if the President is intending to have as many men killed as possible…"
I stopped for breath. Realizing that my reading had begun to pick up speed after the first paragraph, I sat heavily at the desk and placed the diary carefully in front of me. There was stark contrast between his writing from five years ago and his writing from three days ago. I kept my place with one finger and flipped a couple of pages over. In five pages, there were only four dates, as opposed to the previous clustered list of dates on a single sheet of paper. I sighed. It looked like there’d be enough diary content for me, after all, if this was any indicator. I was also glad, relieved somewhere inside, that he’d, too, been enraged by the war. After all, there was very little open American opposition to the the President’s actions…
My eye wandered over to the diary page, and immediately caught some words that were scribbled much bigger than the rest. "WANT TO PROTEST, BUT POWERLESS. PRISONER HERE. MY ASSETS GONE. SURVEILLANCE, CONSTANT SURVEILLANCE."
And in an instant, there it was-
"’… that’s odd, where’s Jones?’ Robert asked himself as he trotted down the oak staircase, rubbing sleep from his eyes. ‘It’s well past ten. He was supposed to wake me at nine.’ Robert stifled a yawn, and strolled into the living room. He plopped down on the far sofa- it was softer, and it felt good to sink into it. ‘Jones, where’s my coffee? Jones, wha- JONES?!’
‘Sorry, sir,’ the butler bowed his head as he spoke, stepping forth from the next room, his hands in the air. ‘I don’t think I can get it this moment.’ Behind him stood a man in a black suit, in whose hand resided a small pistol.
‘Wha-what-t-t i-is th-thiis?’ Robert asked, his shock manifesting itself in the form of a magnificent stutter.
‘You’re under arrest, Mr. Zimmers. Technically, you’ve been exiled for political reasons, but we’re not letting you leave this country. We know what you’d do as soon as you’re out of our grip.’
‘Who are you?’
‘FBI.’ The man flipped a badge. ‘Now, you will continue to live in this mansion for a very long time, I presume, with no contacts outside of these walls.’
‘I demand that you explain this to me!’ Robert shouted defiantly.
‘What’s there to explain? You’re a revolutionary, a dangerous fool who’d destroy this country if he had the supplies and man-hours to make the bombs. We’ve done a lot of research into your background, and have had you under surveillance for years now. The order to subdue you was given this morning. Any more questions?’
Robert shook his head, dumbfounded.
‘Good. You, go make this man some coffee.’ The FBI agent gave Jones a push towards the kitchen and slipped his gun under his coat. ‘This will be the last time you see me, Mr. Zimmers. I, however, shall be seeing far too much of you from now on.’ And so saying, the man turned and left. The heavy front door of the mansion slammed shut, the only indication that the FBI had left. Despite this, Robert still felt as though someone was watching him.
‘I don’t think I want that coffee anymore, Jones.’"
I dropped the pen, my hand aching. I hadn’t meant to start writing, it had taken over my consciousness. All of a sudden, a pen had been in my hand and I’d been scribbling furiously on the blank pad Zimmers had left on the desk for me. I quickly reviewed the words I’d written, wringing my hands all the while. There was a little scratch out here and there where I’d accidentally started writing the wrong word, but aside from that, not an error. Whether or not the writing was good… I’d have to check again at a later date. I’d always been bad at judging my own writing within an hour or so of its creation.
I sighed again, and flexed my fingers. It had really been too long since I’d last manipulated a pen. Throughout high school and what time I spent in Osaka, I’d used computers to write, a habit I picked up when I broke my arm in seventh grade. Typing on keyboards was what I was used to, and I’d all but stopped using pens. That all changed in the years following my return to America, but even then, my hands weren’t what they used to be. Just writing two pages like this at high speed had worn me out completely.
I stood, stretched, and left the room, making sure to shut the door carefully behind me. I wouldn’t want to, after all these years, disturb Zimmers’ sanctuary. The awe I’d felt at seeing his collection still radiating within me, my fingers lingered on the door knob for several seconds before detaching themselves. I took a few steps down the hall when none Zimmers came scurrying up to me.
"How are you doing, Kaze?"
"Fine, a bit… tired, I guess." We began walking towards the stair cases, side by side. "A little lunch would do me well."
"You started reading from the beginning?"
"No, I did the opposite," I replied, allowing a faint smile to come to my lips.
"Oh, that’s embarrassing. Well, it gets better, there’s more to the diaries than one-liners."
"I know; I also read a portion of your 2008 entry on June third."
"Times were bad, then."
"Avoiding the draft was a bit of a hassle, yes." His footsteps disappeared as he stopped moving. I spun around after going forward a few more feet, only to find his face etched with sorrow.
"I guess, what with all my assumptions, it didn’t strike me that you were drafted."
‘Don’t worry about it. Look, if I’d gone, I wouldn’t be here now, even if I’d survived. I wouldn’t have written that book, and you’d have never heard my name. Hassle or not, there’s no reason to be upset by it now."
"You’re right, of course. You always were."
"No, that’s not true." I faced away from him and took another step towards the stairs down, a twinge of guilt bidding a tide of grief to wash over me. "That’s… not true."