The Secrets of Sake: Part 2, KOJI
(Part 1 is HERE)
The once robust and happy Sakamai, villagers of Tanbo, were already quite unrecognizable. Stripped not only of their brown clothing but their very layers of body fat and protein, only to then be engorged with steamy hot water. They looked like a new race; fluffy, round, and starchy white like snow. The mysterious alien beings who forced such change upon them without mercy or explanation were not finished with the Sakamai's transformations - not by a long shot. For all the brutality and advanced technology they utilized up until this point, things were about to get incredibly, deeply weirder.
Finally, they stopped. Unceremoniously, they were dropped into new prisons. This time the smaller cells were made of wood and lined with cloth. In the air of the larger room containing these cells, hung a vexing aroma. It was not threatening or bad, just so unidentifiably foreign that the Sakamai all noticed it at once and could not help but become preoccupied with it, despite their fear.
The villagers struggled to understand their alien captors. For starters, they were so gargantuan, the could only gaze upon a small portion of one, even with a sweeping gaze. Like trying to focus on a twinkling star, as the aliens withdrew, their definition vanished from visibility. Now though, the hostage groups were closer than ever to several. The plump, round Sakamai were rolled dozens at a time to the far corners of each open-aired pen, until they were spread out uniformly by what they reckoned to be the aliens' appendages. As the hands withdrew, a dull, thrumming seemed to accompany an intensifying of the scent which hung in the air. Pale yellow clouds grew thick in the sky above them. Gradually these clouds descended. As they approached the villagers could make out smaller components that seemed oddly familiar.
"Aren't those...?" they pondered aloud.
"Those are just like..." others struggled to recollect.
"I had a few outside my home, but I've never seen so many in all my life!" one villager managed to proclaim to no one in particular.
As they murmured, a sense of unease also spread. What was going to happen? The small, seedling-sized beings descended angelically until every Sakamai was touched by at least one. Looking around, some individuals were absolutely coated in them. Remembering back to the now-ancient memory of Tanbo, these harmless creatures clung to the outside of their homes, usually in such small numbers, they never came close to posing any sort of threat that warranted addressing. This time something was different. Now they clung tightly, directly to the villagers! Without speaking, or indeed making any noise at all, the tiny, foreign creatures addressed them. Hearing not with ears but from within their very own minds they understood the tiny beings' voice for the very first time in unison:
"We are Koji. Do not fear. Take heart. Soon we will become one, and all will become clear."
(Click here for Part 3)