“Please man, I just want to see my family!”
Genjiro lowered his rifle, “Family?”
“I got a wife and four kids. They live with her parents. I haven’t seen them in years,” he lifted his shaved head and with innocent eyes pleaded his case. “I missed the birth of my youngest, she’s a year old now,”
“Is that why you risked returning to Otaru?”
“When I got locked up, their lives got worse,” the man nodded, “I wanted to see her, at least once, tell her I’m sorry for the life she’s got ahead of her,”
After Genjiro’s mother died, his father had lost the use of his arm and could no longer hunt. Older brother kept him apprised of every miserable detail stemming from his decision to leave them.
“I’m sorry,” Genji couldn’t go home again, and neither would this convict. “I have my orders,”
“Listen, man, I know you’re not the only ones looking for us, this map on my body has made me a dead man.” water pooled in his boyish eyes. “If I give you my address in Otaru, can you please just give me an hour's head start. Let me see my wife and kids, one last time,”
Lieutenant Tsurumi allowed none of the tattooed Abashiri escapees to live; this dolt knew his fate and all he wanted was a chance to say goodbye.
Genji rubbed at the back of his neck; damn, why couldn’t he shake the feeling this man was a liar? Dagger unsheathed, he cut the fool's bindings.
“I appreciate your kindness,” he fidgeted like a squirrel.
Genji grabbed hold of the man’s scruff before he could run and shoved a pencil with a five yen note at him.
“Write the address down!”
The fool studied the note before setting it on the table.
“I never saw this denomination before,” he forced a smile, “I can’t write words,”
Genji picked up the pencil, “Tell it to me,”
It was an address Genji knew well.
A green battalion had been sent to it by the Lieutenant in his quest to corral the first missing escapees. The convicts sheltering there butchered every one of those First Year’s; some he considered friends.
“Get out of here before I change my mind,” he snapped.
The white-haired man fled without another word of thanks, leaving the cabin door wide open.
He and Noma had found this place several days ago and after cleaning the inside, they convinced the Corporal to use it as a center of operations.
It was a furrier’s shack judging by the tanning hooks and hide looms, and it contained a Daruma stove that needed constant feeding of wood to keep the place warm.
Stoking the fire, he again pondered the ethics of the Lieutenant’s plan; that convict has a family—how many other prisoners skinned by the Lieutenant had families too?
He pushed it from his mind and instead cycled through some plausible stories for why he let the convict escape; none were particularly compelling. Corporal Tamai had personally asked him to accompany them on this mission and letting him down was depressing.
Suddenly, the door slammed shut behind him. It was Superior Private Ogata, the hood of his cloak pushed back, and a gun slung over his shoulder.
The scent of the wind that followed was a combination of clove cigarettes and ripe body odor; it was a potent mix that took Genjiro back to the night they shared after Mukden.
Ogata narrowed his eyes.
“Explain why you just let a prisoner walk out of here, Private First Class Tanigaki?”
Genjiro came to attention, “I know where he’s going, Sir,”
Ogata kicked some snow from his boots.
“You know where he’s going, Private First Class Tanigaki?”
“He has family in Otaru,” he said. “Many children, and a wife living with her parents,”
A smile spread across Ogata’s handsome face.
“Shiraishi Yoshitake doesn’t have a family. He’s been in one prison or another all his pathetic life,”
Genji’s cheeks burned while Ogata laid his rifle down by the door and untied his cloak.
“Save that scratch,” he added of the banknote. “In case someone needs to wipe their ass with it later,”
“Did you cross paths with Noma, Sir?”
“Noma’s likely already back at headquarters,” he replied. “And bragging to Tsurumi about how you two captured another map,”
Genji grabbed his goatskin shirt from the chair and was almost at the door when the shorter man blocked his path.
“Where are you going?” he demanded.
“I got to catch up to him, Sir!”
“I don’t think you want to show up at HQ empty-handed,” his strange brows rose. “Tsurumi doesn’t punish men like us the way he punishes important little boys like Koito. When he hears you got scammed by a wet weed like Shiraishi, you’re going to feel the pain, Tanigaki,”
Genji sensed a familiar contempt and dreaded being on the wrong side of Ogata.
“Please step aside, Superior Private Ogata,”
Ogata folded his arms over his chest, “If I don’t?”
“How have I wronged you, Superior Private Ogata?” he asked, stare unwavering. “You’ve not spared a kind word to me since-”
Ogata’s expression soured.
“You’re nothing but insolent to me,” Genji added. “I demand to know why,”
“Insolent?” he ran a smooth hand over his cropped scalp. “That’s a big word for a Matagi,”
“I won’t stand here and be insulted!”
“Then be insulted sitting down!” Ogata drove his hands into Genji’s shoulders and shoved him to the floor. “Don’t get up, Matagi,”
“Is what happened the night we sheltered from the blizzard,” he threw caution to the wind. “Is that why you’re so abusive to me?”
“I wasn’t disappointed if that’s what you’re asking,” Ogata said with a grin. “What happened was instigated by me, after all. No one forced you to take part, Tanigaki,”
“I wanted your respect-”
“—jerking each other off in the dark while our comrades slept all around us?” Ogata slipped up to Genji when he stood. “There are better ways to build respect, Matagi,”
“I’ll return,” he said. “Take my punishment from Lieutenant Tsurumi,”
“Get back on the floor,” Ogata pulled out his pistol when Genji didn’t do as ordered, “Get back on the floor, Private First Class Tanigaki,”
He backed up to the door and pulled the wooden jamb plank down into its locking brace.
“I’ll determine how to best discipline you,” he said, his eyes on Genji as he fell to his knees. “I do respect you, Tanigaki. You’re more a man than most of the morons in this outfit,”
Ogata tapped his temple softly.
“And the way you got everyone thinking that brain of yours is a dry sponge,” he huffed. “That’s inspiring,”
Genji kept his eyes front and his mouth shut; no matter what the bastard planned there was no way he could really hurt him.
“That’s good, Private First Class Tanigaki, you know when to keep those pretty lips of yours closed,” Ogata stood before him. “If you must know, it’s my respect for you that makes what I’m about to do, so difficult,”
“You’re a better liar than the Escape King,”
“Oh no, you got me beat on that front, Matagi,” Ogata circled him like a hungry wolf. “That thick-headed mountain boy routine even has Tsurumi fooled,”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,”
“Get off your knees and sit on the table,” he barked. “Now, Private First Class Tanigaki!”
Genji jumped to his feet when Ogata took off his belt.
“I’ll not be spanked like a child!”
“You’ll do as you’re told,” he again raised his pistol and this time cocked it.
Genji swallowed hard before sitting upon the edge of the table.
“Don’t worry, Matagi,” he grinned. “This isn’t off because I want to beat you with it,”
“Superior Private Ogata,” bored, Genji heaved a sigh. “Just explain to me what’s going to happen and how I must proceed,”
“Aren’t you a little bitch,” he huffed.
Genji scowled and curled his hands.
“Where’s my mind? I forgot, the Ani Matagi doesn’t like that word,” he mocked. “Who was that Private in the trenches you laid out for saying it one too many times?”
“I lost my temper and apologized to the man,”
“Part of your mountain boy routine,” he mused. “It’s funny, your brainless hick act had me going until Mukden,”
Genji’s heart quickened as Ogata moved closer.
“You knew Shiraishi was full of it, but you let him go,”
How could he explain his reservations about the current mission; despite what occurred between them in Mukden, he still didn’t trust Ogata Hyakunosuke.
“Our current orders aren’t sitting well with you either, are they, Tanigaki?”
Genji gazed at his boots without answering.
“Still playing the silent Matagi?” said Ogata. “I bet that’s why Tamai brought you along,”
“What are you talking about?”
“Tamai chose this stretch of woods for his convict hunt, just like he chose you, Okada, and Noma,” Ogata moved close enough to warm Genji’s cheek with his breath. “You’re all questioning Tsurumi’s goals,”
“We’re loyal to the 7th,”
“They haven’t brought you into the fold yet,” Ogata studied him and then signed. “I approached you too soon. Not the first time I’ve done that, right Tanigaki?
“You can’t believe that about them?” said Genji. “After everything we’ve been through?”
“Tsurumi’s onto them,” he said. “That’s why I’m out here,”
“Let me speak to them-”
“—You’ll do no such thing,” Ogata’s hand moved fast, his long fingers digging into Genji’s chin. “The moment you say a word to them, is the moment you are part of their mutiny,”
“Please release me, Sir,”
Ogata quickly let go, “Present your fists, wrists together,”
“Binding me is unnecessary-”
“—Do as you are told!” Ogata snapped.
“I’ll return in your custody to Lieutenant Tsurumi,”
Genji knew what awaited; Tsurumi’s injury made had him unpredictable and men through traitors were punished brutally.
Ogata looped the belt his wrists, his body close enough now that the stale aroma of sweat blunted the senses.
The countryside had replaced their barracks, forcing them all to make do without proper showers or laundered clothes.
“My grandma had one these Daruma’s on a big square of sand near the kitchen,” Ogata stepped to it and opened the hatch. “She got tired of the cats pissing and shitting in the sand,” He shoved a log through its mouth. “Leave it to Noma to find a cozy place like this,”
“I found it, Sir,”
Ogata stood, “You jerk him off, too, Tanigaki?”
Genji didn’t need the memory of that night thrown in his face. What happened between them was inevitable considering Ogata’s actions leading up to it.
They’d been hunkered down in those trenches for weeks and more than once Genji caught the sniper staring at him.
Back in Hokkaido with the Lieutenant, that night they took refuge from the storm, Ogata had stalked the room waiting for him to pick a spot on the floor.
“Noma ever tell you how he got that scar?”
“I wasn’t there,” said Genji, watching him pace like a cat in a cage. “I heard about what happened to you and the Sergeant because of it,”
“Tsukishima,” he mused. “You never see him coming, and when you do, it’s too late,”
“I disagreed with his course of action, Sir,” he said. “You were insulted by Noma, and you reacted,”
Ogata repeated Noma’s insult.
“Son of a whore is a whore himself,”
“I don’t like that word, Sir,”
Ogata stepped into him.
“What word, Private First Class Tanigaki?”
“Prostitutes serve a purpose,” Genji explained. “They deserve better than a dismissive word like whore,”
“Your principles surprise me with each new day,” Ogata ran a finger down Genji’s ear, finished with the useless conversation.
Genji was tired of it as well.
“Superior Private Ogata, Sir,” he asked. “What must I do to keep you from telling Lieutenant Tsurumi that I allowed the convict to leave?”
Ogata pushed air out his nose.
“Bolder than I imagined, too, eh Matagi?”
Genji stared into his eyes.
“Don’t look at me,” Ogata ordered.
“So, there’s a reason you hunt in the dark,”
“Close your eyes, Matagi, and shut your mouth!” Ogata’s clove-scented breath tickled his ear. “You open them or say another word, and there’ll be no reprieve,”
Eyelids dropped as hands seized his waistband.
“You keep those eyes closed, Matagi. I catch you peeking and any truce between us to ensure my silence is forfeit,” Ogata’s breath remained steady as he yanked Genji’s trousers down to his boots.
A hand found the stiffness beneath his fundoshi.
“The first time I saw this thing, I thought I was dreaming,”
Ogata withdrew, and Genji sensed him sit beside him on the table. “You keep those eyes shut, Matagi,” he warned, gently taking Genji’s chin and pulling him in for a kiss.
His lips parted, welcoming the man’s tobacco lined tongue between them. A talented hand worked his foreskin with the skill of a baishunfu.
Images of Ogata’s handsome face beckoned; the temptation to disobey and open his eyes became unbearable.
“Don’t you dare look at me, Matagi,” he hissed against his lips as if reading his mind.
Shoulders caught, Genji was pushed onto his back.
“Keep those eyes shut, Matagi,”
Genji’s bound wrists up were shoved over his head as the buttons of his shirt were yanked and pulled. Soft hands plied his ribs before fingertips dragged down the mess of hair over his stomach.
Ogata squeezed Genji’s pectorals hard enough to force a breath. The man moved free of him, circling the table with his breathing heavy.
Hands slipped between Genji’s shoulder blades and the table before Ogata gave a grunt and dragged his back across the surface.
Genji’s head hung off the edge.
“Eyes closed,” whispered Ogata, the ruffle of a jacket being pulled from his shoulders.
No stranger to kissing a man’s cock, Genji opened his mouth upon hearing Ogata unfasten his trousers. In the mountains back home, it was expected of the young men to have their faces violated if they returned empty-handed to the camp.
A dogged hand found his chin as Ogata’s slender erection pushed past his teeth.
Bitter remnants of the man’s day belted his tongue, the taste tolerable amidst the lingering scent of stale sweat. Saliva flooded his mouth as he closed his lips around it and gave a gentle suck.
“That’s a talented mouth you have, Matagi,” Ogata whispered, his fingers grazing Genji’s nipples. “Let’s hear you sound off,”
Mouth full, he groaned as ordered.
“Shit, you’re going to finish me faster than I want,” he withdrew and walking back around, slapped Genji’s thigh, “Turn over, feet on the floor, forearms on the table!”
Genji performed as ordered, and through half-lidded eyes spotted the filthy mirror above the washbowl stand; in the glass was Ogata, lusty gaze fixed on his backside.
“Keep those eyes shut, Matagi!”
Hands pawed at his buttocks, kneading and spreading, pushing the underside of his manhood into the tabletop.
A thick coldness ran down the crevasse of his flesh before slithering down his testicles.
“I keep a tin of red-seaweed oil on me, Tanigaki,” he bragged. “Just in case I’m lucky enough to find a rugged Matagi piece of ass like you,”
Sweetly, a thumb invaded as a determined hand caressed his testicles.
When he felt the tip of Ogata’s erection dragged up and down the slope of skin between his hole and testicles, he raised his hips, eager for more than a thumb.
“You’re a mountain, Tanigaki” he whispered. “And I’m going to climb you,”
Genji groaned his approval and bore down as Ogata pushed his way inside. His manhood small and his invasion exquisite, the hand grasping Genji’s arousal was unkind.
Ogata worked Genji roughly, slapping his shaft against the tabletop and enjoying it when it cried out.
“Tanigaki!” he grunted, repeatedly.
Unable to resist, Genji opened his eyes and watched his reflection in the mirror. Complete control over Genji’s body turned Ogata into a virile beauty.
Enslaved by the sight of him, Genji couldn’t look away from the beautiful death that beckoned.
Ogata’s dark eyes swiftly lost focus before his lips twisted into a sated smile. He cried to ceiling, thrusting in fits with his porcelain neck exposed, the lump in his throat quivering.
An intense pleasure bloomed within Genji’s gut upon seeing the sniper’s climax. He groaned out, up on his toes he shuddered, emptying himself onto the tabletop.
The kiss on his spine made Genji smile.
“You looked at me, didn’t you, Tanigaki?”
Eyes clamped shut, Genji shook his head.
“You watched me breed you in that mirror, didn’t you?”
Genji confronted Ogata’s reflection.
“I never opened my eyes-”
“—You’re a lousy liar, Tanigaki!”
Ogata pulled out of him.
“I didn’t,” Genji turned. “I swear Hyaku-!”
Rage colored Ogata’s face enough to silence Genji.
He angrily refastened his trousers and pulled on his uniform jacket. Eyes continued their embargo as he snatched up his cloak and gun.
“Ogata?” said Genji.
The sniper wrenched open the door and stormed out of the shack without saying a word. Genji scolded himself, freeing his wrists from the belt.
“You should’ve just laid there with your trap shut,”
At the washbowl, he rinsed away the remnants of Ogata’s oil and pondered why he always seemed to attract the complicated ones.
Redressed, he scrubbed the table clean, tossing the rags and wash water out into the snow.
The moment his boots were cinched tight, Private Noma barged into the shack with Tamai and Okada on his heels.
“He wasn’t a convict?” Noma demanded.
Genji was unsure what to say.
Tamai frowned at Noma, “You should’ve checked him for tattoos before leaving-”
“—Corporal, he was covered in tattoos,” said Genji. “The names of his children, his wife, many lady friends. None of them were of a map,”
“We know, Superior Private Ogata told us the same thing when we met him on the hill,” Okada droned. “What’s that son of whore doing out here anyway?”
Noma groused, “Wasn’t supposed to meet with us unt-”
“—he’s here hunting skins like the rest of us,” Tamai snapped, silencing them.
“Only he’s looking to poach ours,” said Okada, nodding.
“He came in here and checked the man’s tattoos,” Genji added. “Then he left without saying a word,”
The trio exchanged suspicious glances.
“We should get some more tracking in before sunset,” Genji walked to his skis and grabbed his goatskin pull-over.
“You and Okada go, we need to check-in at Otaru,” Tamai tapped him on the shoulder. “Where’s your belt, Private First Class Tanigaki?”
“Here it is,” Noma collected it from the table.
Genji caught it when tossed, and lacing it into rungs of his waistband, realized Ogata’s belt was too narrow to secure.