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The cup and the knife
The countryside was bright green. Fields angled toward sloping mountains all around. Kiyohito stood in the middle of a village. Most of the buildings were single or two-story wooden structures. It looked like any generic countryside, although he could not recall ever visiting it before. 

He began to walk along a crushed gravel path. As he reached the closest house, fog curled off the mountains, sweeping around his feet. He hurried inside just as the fog crept to the door and locked it out behind him. 

Within, he found a dark interior. The furniture was sparse. Mats were rolled in the corner. An iron stove was cold in another. 

There was an empty cup on the table. When next he looked, the cup was filled with a golden light. Curious, he picked it up and peered inside. When he upturned the cup, out poured gold coins. They clattered loud on the floor, pooling around his feet. Their light shone upward from the floor.

He knelt to scoop one up, studying the strange markings when a shadow appeared. The figure rushed him, and the gold coins were kicked in the scuffle. A knife flashed and burns erupted on his throat.

He fell to his knees, looking up at the assailant as blood poured out, glimpsing the attacker's face as he did.


Kiyohito shot awake, sitting up immediately, sheet puddled haphazardly in his lap. His heart was pounding as his hands grasped his throat for injury. When he found himself unharmed, he sank forward in relief, chest slicked with sweat. 

He was breathing hard. Despite squeezing his eyes shut, the face in memory was burning like an echo in his mind now. 

Despite the time, 2 AM, Kiyohito left the bed and did not lay down again the rest of the night, contemplating what the dream meant for days afterward.

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