Though I hated to do it, I rose again and re-opened the door I'd just closed. K's lamp, it seems, had exhausted its oil, and his room lay pitch dark. I went back for my own lamp, advanced to the threshold, then turned round to Okusan. From behind me, remaining in my shadow, she peered into the small room. She made no move to enter. From where she stood, she asked that I open the storm shutters.
From then on, Okusan showed the mettle of an army widow, taking command of the situation. I made the rounds, first to the doctor and then to the police. However, I did so under Okusan's instruction. Until all such formalities were concluded, she allowed no one into the room.
K had cut his carotid artery with a small knife and died instantly. Apart from this, his body bore no wound. I learned that the blood I'd seen on the shōji, in that dim light of a dream, had gushed forth from his neck. In the full light of day, I looked again and saw clearly the stains it had left. In so doing, I was struck by the force with which blood courses through the body.
Okusan and I did our best to clean K's room. Fortunately, most of his blood had been captured by his bedding. The tatami mats were only lightly soiled and easily washed. We moved his body into my room and laid it out in a natural sleeping position. I then went out to wire his family.
When I returned, incense was burning at K's bedside. The room hung heavy with spiritual vapors, and I saw the two women seated in their midst. This was the first time since the prior evening that I'd seen the daughter. She was weeping. Okusan's eyes, too, were red with traces of tears. I'd held back my own tears thus far, but finally, in that moment, I indulged myself in sadness. Melancholy welled in my breast, and I can't overstate the comfort it brought. My heart, which had been gripped so tightly by anguish and fear, received in that moment a first drop of cool relief.