Chapter one

The first thing that registered in my brain was bright flashes of light and then overwhelming pain. I have lost so much in my life. My memories, my family, my husband, I never thought I would gain any of those things back. The only bright shining spot left in my life was the gift my husband left before he died, our two year old son. At least, that's what I thought until I started working at this shop part time creating home goods for their clientele.

It was not a place I would have searched out, but I met the owner outside the place one day as he was putting up a hiring sign. He was looking for someone to create extra things he could not with his heavy workload. I had been doing needlework, crochet, and knitting since before I could remember so it definitely interested me. I already worked part time at a preschool teaching music a few days a week, and to be honest didn't even need that income. I just needed to be doing something with myself. I didn't need this crafting job either, but I was already crafting anyway so I figured I might as well make some money and give it purpose and life. My exuberant and flamboyant new boss seemed to soften in our interview when I explained that to him. His demeanor changed completely as he said he understood and that creating things was what he was made to do.

What I didn't expect to find was this inexplicable sense of home. The first time I walked into the shop, my crafting heart almost stopped with the supplies held inside. It was like Christmas morning! There were some specialized products that I had been having to order from America because I couldn't find them here. The more time I spent at the shop, I increasingly felt something push at the back of my mind. Something that I thought I had lost years ago. I had been adopted at 11 in the United States with no recollection of my life before. Doctors surmised it must have been either an accident without any visible trauma left or a traumatic incident that made me block it all away. I had three younger siblings, the very best friends I could have ever asked for along with the very best parents. I went away to college, majored in music education, and fell in love. He joined the US army part way through college, but we still were married once I graduated and we were stationed in Europe. We were happy.

Until I got a call from my adopted grandparents. My family had gone vacation on a road trip to the western US to sight see and explore. They were driving in the Rocky Mountains when there was a rockslide and swept their car away. I had already lost one family, and now I'd lost another? My husband pulled me through it though. He was there everyday for me. About a year later, we found we were expecting and were overjoyed. We got word that my husband was being relocated because that's life in the Army. We were shocked when they told us where we were going. Japan. We knew my birth family was from there and if there was any hope of me regaining a family, we would find it there. He was placed as a liaison at a Japanese army post outside Tokyo. I think it was fate we moved there.

A few months after our son had been born, he was sent on mission to South Korea. Being in intelligence, he could never give me much information, but something was different as he packed up this time. I thought it was just nerves over staying with a newborn by myself the first time, but I was wrong.

Looking back, I know he had major reservations about going on this mission. Something in my heart wasn't surprised when those officers in full dress uniforms knocked at my door. The next few months were a blur. I had so much to do alone. I had to find a new home for my son and I, I had to create a new life for us, and figure out how to raise my son alone in a strange land.

I found a job at this little preschool in a smaller town and found a small one bedroom apartment nearby. We had made our home there about a year before I met my future boss. We had stopped to help fix his sign. The more time I had spent around him, I kept getting these headaches. Like something pounding at the back of my brain trying to get out. Being around him felt like coming home and it was weird. I didn't know him or his assistant at all. Now of course it all makes sense.

I had been talking with Mine about the new orders and fabric preferences and color choices, when he came bounding in, "Kyomi! Gure said that I should bring you over for dinner! I have all these peaches and just want to share them with my little brother!" I was confused as to who "Gure" might be, when suddenly the dam broke.

The first 11 years of my life came flooding back.

Four small children playing as much as they possibly could, completely inseparable.

Mothering my own mother because it was only the two of us and she could barely care for herself.

Accidentally falling off rocks we were climbing and being caught by a young boy with piercing purple eyes. Then suddenly hitting the ground and finding a small golden seahorse next to me.

A black dog tackling me and smothering me with puppy kisses.

A beautiful, sleek white snake curled around my shoulders like a scarf.

Whispers of someone special being born soon. The elders finding out I knew this forbidden family secret.

And finally, being told that I was being sent away because my mother couldn't care for me any longer. Then blackness.

This and more all rushed through my head and with it a blinding headache. "Aya?" I said incredulously. He looked at me with a vague sense of recognition in his eyes before he looked behind me.

As he looked past me, more blinding light came across my vision and I felt myself sinking. I was felt myself lowered to the floor carefully and opened my eyes to see familiar violet eyes staring back at me. I smiled slightly through the excoriating pain in my head.

"Hatiā€¦" then all went black.