By Michael Kayatta
Copyright 2012 Michael Kayatta
Takeshi sat idly in the pew eighth back from the altar, neither too close nor far to attract special notice. He rested his head forward against clasped hands on the wooden back of the bench ahead of him, allowing his shoulder-length, wiry black hair to curtain the sides of his face. He hadn’t the need to hide from anyone in particular that day, but shading his face was as effortless as sitting normally, so why not take such a simple spare precaution? After all, it was usually the careless ones who were caught and made to disappear. His neck stiffened briefly at the chill thought.
Urakami Tenshudō was chosen as the rendezvous for its location; the cathedral was a perfect compromise for both him and his primary contact. It was near enough to be reached by bicycle, but not so near as to risk happening into social acquaintances ignorant of his true reason for residing in Nagasaki. In the fifteen years since beginning his assignment, the sanctuary had become a truer refuge than he had known it to be at the outset, now a bastion, the single place in all of Japan he could speak his true purpose, safe from the ubiquitous audience of this never-ending performance.
The building’s architecture helped him also, a monument to Western design and structure built standoffishly amidst the mostly paper and wooden buildings of the surrounding village. It wasn’t the same as his own Saint Mary’s back in dusty little Carson City, but something about the stones and the air reminded him of his father, the reverend Castler, and those lengthy lectures the man made to his sullied, agricultural congregation.