Rated PG. Contains anthropomorphization, fish, and stars.
On the Banks of the River of Heaven
by Richard Parks
On the seventh day of the seventh month as it had for the previous two years, it rained. And it rained. The cranes still came at Kaiboshi’s bidding to stand by the shore and form the base of the bridge. Next came the geese and the ducks and other waterfowl, who fared well enough creating the platform and first few degrees of arc for the bridge. After that, however, came the hawks and crows and sparrows and smaller birds, and the rain beat down on them incessantly, and their wings became sodden and would no longer support them and a bridge, too. The cranes held on gamely as the river swelled into flood, but their skinny legs began to tremble. Kaiboshi reluctantly concluded that the enterprise was doomed, and he dismissed the birds with thanks rather than risk seeing them fall in the river after the inevitable collapse.
Three years now the rains had come on the appointed day. For three years the Bridge of Birds that was his only way to cross the Celestial River had been unable to form. Kaiboshi began to wonder if he was cursed, but more he wondered if Asago-hime had started to forget him. He sat down on the banks of the river and let the rising waters chill his feet as he indulged in a bout of melancholy, since he knew of nothing else he could do.
“Three years is a long time to be apart from the one you love,” he said aloud. “Even for an immortal.”