The heat in Kaori’s tiny room was becoming unbearable; damp, intense and claustrophobic. After a long day of school, followed by the private tutor her father paid for at great expense, the humidity made study impossible.
She folded a tight red paper crane and tossed it on the desk with the others, her standard time-wasting method. Scattering them with the back of her hand she pushed her chair back and headed to the window. Her friend Yuki lived in the apartment opposite and they would often sit there looking at each other across the narrow airspace.
She caught sight of a movement below and recognised the local homeless man scouring the lobby vending machine for forgotten coins.
Instinctively Kaori headed to the cranes on the desk and picked one up. Back at the ledge she leaned out, hesitated and then dropped it. It floated gently through the still air, like a maple shedding its autumn leaves, and landed just behind the machine. Catching sight of it, the man stopped and leaned around to pick it up. At that moment she knocked a pen off the side and out into the air. It plummeted arrow-like for six floors and without any sound hit the man on the crown, crumpling him to the floor from where he was crouched.
Kaori froze, fixed on the shadow of the toppled figure, her breath deserting her lungs.
The only sound was the dull thud of a thousand frustrated housewives beating their dusty futons clean in the early evening sun.
She was brought back to her senses when her thin bedroom door slid back and the tobacco stained smell of her father’s shirt entered.