Rain has been falling for a while. The path has grown darker. My mind is frantic now. Still, the small one clings to my back, and the small one knows every detail of my past, present, and future. The truth is exposed as through a shining mirror, with nothing hidden from the light. This is my own child. The child is blind. I'm at my wits' end.
"We're here. We're here. Right at the base of that cedar tree."
Through the rain, the voice of the young one rings crystal clear. I stop, transfixed. We're already in the forest. Several meters ahead stands the dark silhouette of a cedar tree, just as the young one said.
"Father, it happened at the base of that tree, didn't it?"
"Yes, it did." I answer despite myself.
"It was the 5th year of Bunka, a year of the dragon."
I remembered now that it was indeed the 5th year of Bunka, and it was indeed a year of the dragon.
"A hundred years have passed since the day you took my life."
As soon as I hear these words, I'm suddenly aware that I killed a blind man, at the base of this cedar tree, on a dark night like this, in the 5th year of Bunka, a year of the dragon, a hundred years before. In the instant I realize I've killed a man, the child on my back is heavy as a stone Jizō.