The Night of the Stain

Last year I was asked by a friend to gather my Japanese-styled writings and publish them  together.  For the previous three years I wrote tanka, haiku, very short stories and an unfinished novella:  Goldfish.

The final manuscript,The Lady Nyo Poems and Stories” was to be published in Chicago, but I wasn’t really happy with it.  And the novella, Goldfish decided it wasn’t really finished.  There was more to the story.

I put it aside and went on to finish and publish “The Zar Tales”, but it has been on my mind lately.  Perhaps it’s the heat and humidity. I have really no idea why it has surfaced again now.

I’m working on “The Kimono” this summer, but I think this shorter collection of poems and stories will come out of hiding sooner or later.  “Bad Karma” and “A Fortunate Fate” are a few pieces I have posted here originally from “A Seasoning of Lust”, published by in 2009.

Lady Nyo


Miu  stood under the willow, greenery enveloping her like silk streamers, hiding her. Her maid Zazu was searching for her.  These peaceful moments were rare.

“My Lady!  I have found the most beautiful robe in the bottom of a chest.  It will be perfect for your wedding.”

Yes, her wedding.  Miu parted the willow.  Zazu was holding a pale jade silk kimono, embossed with seed pearls and silver embroidery.  Miu’s breath caught in her throat.

She opened the kimono.  There it was, though faded with time.  A blood stain.

She remembered when she wore it.  He was dead, but her greatest love.

Closing her eyes, she remembered his face, black hair and perfume. She could still smell the sandalwood.  She remembered him—and his gift of an ebony dildo.  She remembered the night of that stain, when locked in his powerful arms she screamed out in passion and made the servants scatter outside the shoji.  She had bled from the strength of their lovemaking.

Now she was to marry an old man, arranged because of poverty.  She would need the dildo.  She would marry him in the stained kimono.   It wouldn’t matter anymore.

Jane Kohut-Bartels

Copyrighted, 2009, 2010

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4 Responses to “The Night of the Stain”

  1. Margie Says:

    What a sad future for her – it’s a lucky thing that women have good memories (and sometimes dildos!).

    I quite liked this little short story – I’m beginning to warm to the Japanese theme.

    We are in the midst of painting our house (inside) – going from a dark, murky brown to a buttery yellow. I love it! Hope you are well. Love ya!


  2. ladynyo Says:

    Oh Margie! It is of the greatest compliment to a writer when readers warm to a story…and a different culture attempted by the writer.

    Thank you. I am very much in love with this Japanese theme….and one thing about Japanese literature…there is a prevailing sadness that seems to run throughout. Has to do with a lot of stuff, but perhaps it’s engendered within the culture.

    Wonderful!!! that you are painting the rooms a buttery yellow!!! I did that about 10 years ago…the whole inners of the house…and I LOVE it! It goes great with blues, greens, white, especially with blue colors. And you never get tired of it. I did change some of the bottom rooms to a very pale lavender/blue….and love it …but the great room with the 25 foot ceiling remains buttercup yellow.

    Interior (and exterior) yellow walls are comforting and embracing. I can’t think of a better color to lift the spirits!

    Kudos! Send pix when you can.

    Love and Hugs,


  3. katiewritesagain Says:

    Oh Jane, I love this little story! It tells so much with so llittle. I can see and hear and smell along with the sad bride to be. Besides her story, it makes a succinct comment on her social and cultural structure. I love work that makes us think!


  4. ladynyo Says:

    Hi Katie! Lovely to hear from you.

    It’s a 200 word ‘flasher’….something ERWA introduced to many of us a few years ago. Flashers were a wonderful form of conciseness and careful word choice. I think it was one of the best writing disciplines I have come across. I try sometimes to continue that flasher method. Every word had to mean something to the story,…contribute something. And that means you have to pare down so much.

    As to the character’s social standing. It’s a sad story, not tied to anything else, but these particular stories gathered together actually have a feel of a view of a particular time in feudal Japan. And it’s a cross class view, which surprised me later on.

    Courtesans, geisha, samurai wives, merchant’s wives… confronting life’s slings and arrows….their solutions were all tied up within their class standing.

    Well, this series has become one of my favorites: with the poems of the character Lady Nyo….which tell her own running story, they seem to fit together.

    I am glad I am writing something that makes people think! LOL!

    Thank you, Katie, for reading and your comment.



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