Just as I'd felt I was dozing off, I found myself awake. A curious sound was emanating from the next room. At first, I had no idea what sort of sound it was or where exactly it came from. As I listened further, though, my ears began to make sense of it. Someone, no doubt, was using a wasabi grater to slowly scrape down a daikon or such. I was convinced that was it. At the same time, I couldn't fathom why anyone, at this hour, would need to be grating a daikon in the adjoining room.
I've neglected to mention that I was in a hospital. The kitchen was a good ways off and down a floor, and that was where the cooks were. Preparation of food, of course, was not allowed in the rooms. Even sweets were forbidden. Why would anyone, then, be grating a daikon at this odd hour? It had to be something else, and my ears were deceiving me. Having reasoned thus, I was still at a loss to place or explain the sound.
Leaving it alone, I resolved to divert my thoughts to things more meaningful. This enigmatic sound, though, having once touched my ears, vexed me to no end. As long as it continued, its pulses agitating my eardrums, it demanded my attention. All else was quiet and still. The patients of this ward were by and large bedridden and, as if by unspoken consent, refrained from speaking. Whether they slept or were lost in thought, words were seldom spoken. Even as the nurses walked the halls, their slippers made no sound. In the midst of such silence, this odd reverberation, of something slowly and methodically scraped away, weighed on my mind.