Bareword
Mr. Tokyo

He had slept with other women since the training; friendly faces he had met in bars and clubs. Sometimes they managed a gin-soaked screw. Other times they simply wanted company in the dark. Or he would be too sober and could see their personal ghosts. The physical contact itself was comforting, skin on skin, and Tokyo always slept well in bed with a stranger.

Sometimes he woke up before them and left silently, ignoring the accusing faces lined up beside the bed. If they awakened first, there would be a polite conversation in the morning, perhaps breakfast. One or two wanted to stay in touch. He accepted a phone number with a smile but knew that he would never call them.

The worst was when he woke to find the other side of the bed empty and the woman gone. Then, as the hangover bore down on him, he wondered if he had truly been with a real person the night before. Had it simply been another ghost, an illusion, the booze playing tactile tricks?

On those mornings the faces of shadows leered at him, as if they knew something he did not.