Most kindergarten promises don’t last, but for fifteen-year-olds Tora Hayashi and Sakura Suzuki, best friend vows mean forever. That is, until the girls move to Tokyo and Tora is forced to realize that their friendship is on the verge of changing, even dissolving. To make matters worse, Tora is abandoned by the one person who promised never to leave her, Okaasan, her own mother.
Desperate to change her life trajectory, Tora invites Sakura on a cross-country journey to her hometown, where her family keeps an ancestral shrine. There, Tora is sure she’ll discover the truth about her mother’s disappearance. But the fantasy vacation soon turns into a nightmare when a black wall of water stampedes the city.
Every new friendship gained along their trip is broken as the tsunami sucks the city dry and throws impossible obstacles in their way. In a desolate landscape, void of friends and family, Tora must fight to find and save the lost. But as she quickly learns, there is more than one wave in a tsunami, and more than one way to save a life.
First 250 Words:
Men in orange suits dash onto the train tracks to haul the remains of a body off the rails. They run single-file, practiced. I tighten my grip on the metal pole near the train door and my eyes blur over my iPhone screen. Everyone knows why we’re delayed, we simply don’t say it.
“We apologize for the inconvenient delay,” buzzes the train conductor.
Electronic doors slide open, releasing the inconvenienced passengers. I stifle a shiver as a gust of early spring air washes into the train car. Morbid curiosity claws at my throat. I gulp it down. Don’t look, don’t stare. I step forward, gazing at the platform outside, halfway concealed by a blue tarp. Police and railway employees crisscross the scene, assessing the ‘human accident’ on the tracks below.
“Tora,” Sakura calls. “This isn’t our stop.” Her eyes meet mine through a mirror in her makeup compact. She’s re-coating every single eyelash in thick black goo, legs crossed and sitting in the handicap zone.
I startle, recalled to our present journey, a last attempt to study before the high school entrance exam. The train doors whisk closed. I jump back and my phone clatters to the floor. The evening breeze also falls, cut short by the closing doors, and dissipates like a recoiling fog.
Sakura turns in her seat to face me, her questioning gaze drifting to the phone at my feet. Heat wafts to my face. My mother warned me never to compare Tokyo with home, but I can’t reconcile this.