- Title: Voices from the Past
- Author: Yu Sakurazawa
- Category: thriller, suspense, transgender, mtf
The protagonist is 21 year-old Briton, Peter Wright who marries his sweetheart, Libby Brown. The two visit Kolkata for their honeymoon. The newlyweds decide to visit the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple to seek blessings of the deity. When inside the temple, Peter Wright goes into a trance and starts hearing a voice. The voice commands Peter to walk along the banks of the River Ganges, cross a mini forest and stop at a side street where vendors sell women’s clothes, jewelry and makeup items. Under the influence of the hypnotic voice, Peter dresses like a woman and sits under a tree for hours until his wife finds him.
The voice persists and seems bent on feminizing Peter. Is it a supernatural force or does it only exist inside Peter’s head?
Voices from the Past
by Yu Sakurazawa
Chapter 1 – Honeymooners
I met Libby Brown when I’d gone to Globe Theatre to watch the play Romeo and Juliet. I had been so touched at the depiction of the star-crossed lovers that I couldn’t help breaking into tears. Libby, who was seated beside me, giggled mercilessly. She found it funny that a man could cry in public.
“I must say you are in touch with your feminine side” she said snickering “I have never seen a man get as emotional as you”.
“To each his own” I replied offended at Libby’s (who was then a stranger to me) teasing “I’ve never seen a woman who sits dry-eyed at a heart-wrenching play”.
“I’m in touch with my masculine side” replied Libby unperturbed “my parents have brought me up to be strong, independent and unemotional”.
“We’d make a good pair then” I said lightly, regaining my spirits.
After the play finished, Libby and I walked around the area together and had a cup of coffee. Libby was a tall, big-boned blonde with a big heart and laugh. She was a foil to my dark-haired, small-boned, not-very-tall (I’m 5’6) self. However, both of us shared similarities: we were both young (21 years old), freshly graduated and eagerly looking forward to what life had in store for us.
After a few weeks of dating, Libby and I got married. Our families weren’t too thrilled as they thought that she and I were too young to get hitched and hadn’t seen enough of each other. However, Libby and I were happy to have got married. We knew each other well enough to want to spend the rest of our lives with each other.
Or so I had thought.
When it came to deciding our honeymoon destination, my wife left the choice to me. “You’ve married me in good faith, Pete” she said “I’ll let you wear the trousers in the house”.
“That’s nice of you, honey” I said “but I’d rather think of the two of us as equal rather than me being the master of the house”.
“Whatever, darling” said Libby “but I want you to decide where we go for our honeymoon”.
That was a kind offer. Libby was being very generous. I gave the matter some thought. Rich images of a foreign land bombarded my vision: the vast meters of a cantilever bridge, the beating of drums and the blowing of conches and the aroma of fish cooked in mustard oil. I dreamt of a land, which was vibrant and fecund, yet had underlying currents of something dark and terrifying…
I realized that the place I was thinking about was Kolkata, the capital of West Bengal. My parents, who had loved traveling, had lived in different countries during their prime. They had lived in India for about two years, when I was between 8 and 10 years old. My parents had supported the family by teaching English. After our stint at India, the family had had moved to Thailand.
Apart from the cultural shock I had experienced, and feelings of being overwhelmed by the vivid sights and sounds of the city, I didn’t remember much of Kolkata. I didn’t remember if I had been home-schooled or sent to a mainstream school, whether I had any friends or if my parents had been amiable with the locals. This was strange considering I was grown up enough to remember many more details…
The impression Kolkata had left on me was a beautiful one, but under its glorious surface lay a malevolence, which I couldn’t, at the moment, identify. Yet I felt the intense desire to revisit the charismatic city. It was as if a force outside of me was luring me to revisit the banks of River Ganges (or Hooghly as it is known in Kolkata) along with my wife.
“Kolkata” I presently said to my wife “I’d like to romance you in Kolkata, my sweet”.
“That’s a rather unusual choice” said my wife peering curiously into my face “I knew you had a taste for the exotic, but didn’t expect you to surprise me to such an extent…”
“I’m sorry if my choice has disappointed you” I said apologetically “we could change the destination if you like. Perhaps you’d like to go to Paris, a more conventionally romantic city?”
“No!” said my wife scornfully “Paris is so clichéd—almost every honeymooner goes there. I’d be happy to go to India. I believe it has a great air”.
“Don’t make the mistake of confusing the whole of India to be the same” I said laughingly “one region is as different from another as chalk from cheese”.
Libby and I got a 3 month tourist visa to India. We planned a good one month holiday in the country and flew straight to Kolkata. The two of us arrived at Dum Dum Airport and booked a hotel room in the Esplanade Area, which was at the center of the town and was situated close to all the tourist hot spots in the city.
As Libby and I drove through the city, I reveled in its rich sights, sounds and colors. London was gorgeous, but had a conservative sterility to it which was offset by the sensual fecundity of Kolkata. Kolkata was so engorged with rich cultural, literary, religious and artist flavors that I found my senses reeling. Yet I know that in the underbelly of this beautiful city lay a deep dark secret, which was of personal significance to me.
I told myself that I was imagining things because of heat and tiredness. Once inside the hotel room, my wife and I had a shower by turns and ordered some food. After resting for a while, my wife browsed the tour itinerary.
“Man, this city is an eclectic mix of different places!” she said “I wouldn’t know which to see first…you choose the first place, Pete”.
“Not again” I groaned in mock exasperation “I seem to have married a woman who suffers the dreaded disease of indecision”
“Yes” agreed my wife spiritedly “the chief reason I married you is so that you make all our life’s decisions!”
“Okay ma’am” I said rolling my eyes “please read out the places listed in the itinerary”.
“Sure” said Libby skimming the itinerary “there is Victoria Memorial, Indian Museum, Science Museum, Fine Arts Museum…”
“England has hordes of museums too” I said in a monotonous voice “and I’m sick and tired of them. Let’s see something, which is unique to India…something of religious significance perhaps?”
“How about the Dakshineshwar Kali Temple?” Libby said “we’d also get a close view of River Ganges, considered to be one of the most sacred rivers in India”
“Good choice” I said “we’ll go there tomorrow after breakfast”
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