As she giggles at me as the chimes of a faraway clock tickle my sunburnt ears, I pull the dead leaves from my hair before attempting to climb the tree. Fingers digging into the crumbling bark, I try scuttling up like Hachikō had done moments earlier, but immediately fall onto my back like a beetle. Scuttling over the bony roots jutting out of the ground, I look up to see the white enamel of her teeth glistening alongside the whites of Hachikō’s eyes. Both of them are grinning, and as she kicks her legs, I catch the merest glimpse of her pussy tucked away under her simple city dress. It causes me to stutter and twitch as if I’ve swallowed a wasp. If I listen carefully, I can hear her pinky lips whispering over the sounds of the chiming bells that travel from a place unseen. Reminds me of the whispering in the trees I heard when I was a kid playing games with invisible friends in my grandparents’ garden during endless summer holidays. I could never make out what the whispering words were telling me, yet it never seemed to matter. That they existed was all the proof I needed in knowing the other side was real. Meeko’s whispering is almost identical. It makes me wonder if it was her all along, secretly calling to me without even knowing. Throwing more leaves at me, this time they’re snatched by a gust of wind. Hitting the ground and dancing in a circle, they fly away to the sounds of the chiming bells, but still, I hear her whisper. Lost in thought, her kicking legs swing like pendulums, and every time I catch another glimpse of her sex, the louder the words ring in my ears until I feel the trickling beads of blood flowing in two streams from my nostrils.