The cherry blossoms were bloom. They hung fat and pink on the ends of the branches, swinging low enough in some places that Kimiko could lift one slim hand and touch the petals with the tips of her fingers as she walked beneath them. They hovered beautifully and gracefully in the still, humid air, providing a stark juxtaposition to the tall, grimy walls that rose up at the outskirts of Gotemba. The walls, once pristine pale stone, now carried a thick layer of black filth, and always seemed to be slightly damp, even when it hadn’t rained for several days. Kimiko continued on, watching as the blossoms crumpled and broke underneath her boots, where they canvassed the ground like a carpet, masking the blood and dirt that covered the pavement beneath.
It was odd. She was fighting a war, there was the smell of rotting flesh and the sound of screaming metal in the distance, but the cherry blossoms bloomed with such vigour and beauty, as if they didn’t for a second notice the devastation that wrought havoc around them. If she tried, if she plugged her nose and blocked out the sounds of terror from her ears, and looked straight up into the blue spring sky, up through the canvas of pink and white she, too, could become oblivious to the reality of her world.