Chapter Eleven: Doll Village:

A few days ago, Tsuzuki noticed an old toy museum. They were having a doll display this week. He smiled as he read the information Kirika-chan would love this.

Today, Tsuzuki found Kirika-chan playing in the playroom. She had a stuffed cotton doll in her hands.

“Hey sweetie,” her father said. The little girl looked up.

“Daddy!” she said. Kirika-chan ran over and hugged him. The shinigami smiled and patted her on the head.

“Hey there,” he said. “Would you like to see some pretty dolls?” Her little eyes widened.

“Really?” she asked. Tsuzuki chuckled.

“Of course,” he said. “Let’s go right now.”

“Right now?” she repeated.

“Uh-huh,” her dad said. “Let’s go get your coat.”

“Yay!” his daughter said.

They stopped at their room. Anna lie on her side on their futon. Tsuzuki knocked on the door.

“Enter,” Anna said. Tsuzuki poked his head inside.

“Hey, I’m taking Kirika-chan to see the doll village,” he said.

“Don’t be late,” his wife said.

“Thanks,” Tsuzuki said. He dashed into the room to grab the child’s winter gear. Pretty soon, father and daughter were out the door.

“Have fun,” Anna said. The door slid closed.


Tsuzuki and Kirika-chan took a cab into town. She once again enjoyed the scenery. Her little hands pressed against the glass.

“Wow,” she said. Tsuzuki eased her back into her seat.

“There, there,” he said. “Shhh.” Kirika-chan sat back into please. He kissed her atop her head.

“We’ll get there,” Tsuzuki whispered. His daughter smiled. The shinigami held her hand.

The cab pulled up to the museum parking lot. Tsuzuki paid the driver and helped his daughter out. The building looked like an ancient-looking tea house. The snow added to the museum. Tsuzuki wondered what it would look like in the summer. He took Kirika-chan by the hand.

“Ready to go in?” the shinigami asked.

“Uh-huh,” his daughter said, nodding.

“Alright,” her dad said. There weren’t many people around this morning. The receptionist perked up.

“Welcome, welcome,” the young woman said. “Please sign the book.” She handed Tsuzuki the pen.

“Thank you,” the shinigami said. He took the pen and signed his name.

“Can I sign too?” Kirika-chan asked. Tsuzuki and the receptionist looked down. The little girl had the face of an angel. How could they say no to that smile?

Tsuzuki handed her the pen.

“Okay,” he said. The shinigami helped her up. Kirika-chan wrote her name in Hiragana.

“Wow,” the receptionist said. “What pretty handwriting.”

“Thank you,” the little girl said. Tsuzuki put her back onto the ground.

“Which way is the Doll Village?” Tsuzuki asked.

“Down the hall that way,” the receptionist said.

“Thank you,” the shinigami said. Father and daughter bowed before going down the hall.

“Have fun!” the receptionist called after them.

Seeing all of these wooden toys really took Tsuzuki back. He did have some bright spots in his childhood. Ruka would give him little toys when he was young. These toys looked just as perfect as the day they were made. Tsuzuki ran his fingers along the glass display. Kirika-chan looked amazed.

“Wow,” she said.

“Don’t touch. Don’t touch,” her father said. The child kept rushing around to look at everything. Tsuzuki smiled to himself. Anna would be reigning this child in. Aw, let her be. She’s just enjoying herself.

“Sweetie,” Tsuzuki said. “Come on. Let’s get to the Doll Village.” The little girl turned her head.

“Yay!” she said. Tsuzuki held out his hand.

“Come on,” he said. The little girl ran over and took his hand. He led her down the hall. Kirika-chan giggled to herself. The whole time, Tsuzuki planned out the rest the father-daughter outing. He smiled and hummed to himself.