Sell Me Something New!
Guilt has a strange way of showing itself. Lady Macbeth drove her husband to kill and guilt took form into her while invisible blood dripped off of her hands while she was sleepwalking. The narrator in Tell-Tale Heart heard the old man's heart beating after he murdered him because of his eye. King Lear's guilt took form of insanity after banishing his youngest daughter for warning him about her sisters' true intentions. Guilt creeps up on someone in the most unlikely of forms.
November 23rd, 2009.
I have the power to bring souls back to Chijou. Not as a way to bring them back from the dead, but as a way to say goodbye to their loved ones one last time. I discovered this while studying Papa's notes. I actually pulled it off once by accident. I just chanted a spell and the soul of a dead prostitute appeared in my kitchen. (Actually, it's my roommate Rihoko's kitchen; I'm just staying there because I was originally dead. Long story.) This dead lady of the night wanted to say goodbye to her son one more time. So, I took her to see him. Before she returned to Meifu, Yuka made an interesting suggestion to me.
"You should try to do this comfort thing for a living!" she told me. At first, I just brushed it off of me. Besides, Asato-kun and the boys wouldn't like me using my power due to my condition. Too risky. So, I just went on with my life.
That was until this morning.
I sat at my laptop checking my e-mail. Nothing special at first. Not even e-mail from Kyoko-san. Just junk mail and a newsletter from an interpreter company I used to work for. Oh, the old days. I shudder to think about them now. Suddenly, I came across an address I didn't recognize. I blinked at the message title.
Hm? Sell Me Something New? It looked like spam to me. Yet, it didn't feel like it. Part of me wanted to throw the message away. Still�
Before I knew it, I had already clicked on the message. My eyes read the contents word by word.
I have heard of how your powers helped a young boy see his mother once more and this is why I have come to you. I want to be able to see my daughter again, one more time to ease my conscience. Meet me by Sumida River at six o'clock this evening and I will tell you more. You will find me standing by my '08 navy Toyota hybrid parked near the road.
I stared at the message for a long time. Whatever, I thought as I was ready to throw the message in the trash. But then, the next line caught my eyes.
I can give you information about your family. I will give you a package about your father's blood from the hospital.
I had to read over that last bit about two times. Sounded like a trap to me, but I couldn't help but to wonder. This couldn't give me a chance to learn more about my kitsune and try out my powers. I pressed my lips together as I weighed my options. At last, I hit reply and typed my own message.
I will be there to take your request. The information you give me will be payment.
I clicked "send" and breathed out. Part of me wasn't too sure about this. I shook my head to myself. Nah, it's just a soul that I'm reuniting with a mother. How bad could it be?
At six in the evening, I slipped out of the house and quietly headed out to the city. I hitched a taxi down to Sumida River. I looked around for the car in question. I spotted that '08 navy Toyota hybrid just a few feet ahead of me. A woman stood by her car, looking around. I walked over to her.
"Hey," I said. "Are you firstname.lastname@example.org?" I asked. The woman looked up at me. I got a better look at her when I got closer. She looked to be in her mid-thirties with long black hair tied behind her head. She still had on her nurse's uniform with grey-blue eyes. This woman already had crow's feet and laugh lines on her face. The woman blinked at me.
"Who wants to know?" she asked. I showed her a copy of the e-mail.
"Did you write this?" I asked. The woman read over the paper for a quick moment. Her eyes trailed back up to me.
"Are you Kimoto-san?" she asked.
"Yes," I replied. "Why?" The woman smiled at me and bowed her head.
"I am so happy that I was able to contact you," she said. I raised an eyebrow at her.
"How did you get my e-mail?" I asked. The woman gave me a calm smile.
"Takana-san listed your address as an emergency contact for her daughter at the school I work at," she replied.
"You're a school nurse?" I asked.
"Yes, yes," she said. "I just put two and two together after Ryokuki-kun talked about seeing his mother one last time a couple of weeks ago. He described what you were like after I asked him a couple of questions since the story peaked my interest. I thought about what he said and looked you up on-line. It all came together when I came across the article about your death." I blinked at her.
"Okay?" I asked. "But why come to me?" The school nurse gave me a little smile.
"I wanted to see if it's true for myself," she said. I looked at her still. I kept a professor face.
"Alright," I said. "Who do you wish to bring back to you?"
"My daughter," she said.
"Your daughter?" I asked.
"Last year," the woman explained. "I had an affair with a teacher who worked in the same school I did. For six months, I tried to get him to leave his wife. In July, my teenage daughter, Asami, walked in on me with my lover. She was so ashamed of me that she committed suicide in this very river."
"And you want me to summon her soul to apologize?" I asked.
"Yes," the nurse said. "I have been shamed in my apartment and job ever since." My heart ached for this poor woman. She just wanted to see her daughter one more time to help her move on with her life. I pressed my lips together.
"I will help you," I said. The woman's eyes widened with relief.
"Thank you, Kimoto-sama!" she said with a bow. I blinked at her a bit.
"Please, call me Anna," I said.
"Alright," she said. "My name is Nancy. Ono Nancy."
"Okay," I said. "Before we start, give me the files on my father."
"Oh, right," Nancy replied. She reached into her coat and handed me the file. I took it and looked over it. I looked up at her with big eyes.
"Where did you get this?" I asked.
"I used to work in a hospital in Kobe in the 90's," she said.
"Really?" I asked.
"Yeah," she said. "He asked me to do a blood test on him."
"For what?" I asked.
"To test if his blood had seir potential," Nancy replied.
"Seir potential?" I asked.
"To give birth to mother kitsune," the nurse replied. I went quiet from there as my eyes trailed down to the file.
"Oh," I said in a quiet voice. I shook my head to bring myself back into professional mode.
"Do you have a picture of your daughter?" I asked.
"Yes san," Nancy replied. She reached into her pocket and handed me a picture.
"May I ask what this is for?" the nurse asked me.
"Just to keep it down to one specific soul," I told her. "I have to have the loved one in my head when I bring it to Chijou. Otherwise, I'll just be summoning random souls all day until I come to the right one. That does too much work on my body."
"I see," Nancy replied. I took in a breath.
"Okay, I'm all set now," I said. I walked over to the mind river. I held up Asami's photo and studied it for a moment. She was a pretty child. This girl looked like you just got about fifteen years away from Nancy and put her in a school uniform. I rolled my shoulders a bit before lowering the photo. Here goes�
I held out my hand and shut my eyes. "I beseech the twelve gods before me. Bring forth your innocent to me," I chanted to the water. An icy feeling entered in my fingers. I trembled a bit, but forced myself to stay focused on the job. I felt the water shooting upwards to the sky and dancing in front of me. In twenty seconds, the water and wind all died down in front of me. I drew my eyes open to see Asami's soul floating before me over the water. The girl from the water had bags under her eyes and looked rather cold from her watery grave.
"Asami-chan!" I heard Nancy cry as she raced over to her daughter's soul. I smiled at the happiness I brought to my client. But then, I noticed something that wasn't right with this picture before me. Asami's soul had two bright red hand prints around her throat.
"Nancy, that's not a suicide�" I said in a low voice.
"I know," the nurse replied in the same tone. "I killed her."
"What?" I asked.
"Yes," Nancy replied. "After she caught me with my lover, we got into a fight and I drowned her in this very river. My lover was so disgusted with what I had done that he left me." My stomach dropped at her explanation.
"A vengeful soul will go after the ones that hurt them first," I explained.
"If that is what she wants," the nurse said in a calm voice. I bit on my lower lip as my eyes darted around for any vain sign of help. Oh shit! I had not counted on a suicide tonight. I have to act fast.
Two water wings like a dragon sprouted out from Asami's back and wrapped around Nancy's neck like a noose. The nurse didn't even bother to try and resist. She just stood there and took it as the water drew tighter and tighter around her neck. I dug faster and faster into my mind for the spell that could send the dead back to Meifu.
Come on, think! You studied Papa's notes on this subject for hours. Think! I breathed to help me calm down and collect my thoughts. Nancy made gagging noises as her daughter choked her harder and harder with the water. It all came back to me piece by piece. I thought that I had it right there on the spot. I only had one shot at this. If I mess this up, I'll get into bigger trouble.
"Oh soul of the fallen ravished by grief, woo unto me, become liberated from your suffering and return in peace!" I screamed to Asami. There came a pause and the soul's dead blue-grey eyes turned to me. I felt my heart stop short for only one second. Asami's noose loosened from Nancy's neck, dropping her to the ground. I crawled over to the river as the daughter's soul and the mother's lifeless body sank down into water below. I stared as the surface became calm again. I sank back and sighed aloud. I'm in serious trouble now.
I reached into my jeans pocket and pulled out my cell phone. I dialed the exact number right away in this situation.
"Hello?" a voice asked on the other line.
"Asato-kun," I said. "I screwed up big time."
"What? What happened? What did you do?" Asato-kun asked on the other line. I breathed out a heavy sigh.
"Can we talk when I get home?" I asked. "My first client gave me some useful information about Papa."
"Client? What are you talking?" he asked.
"I'll talk to you when I get home," I said.
"Anna-can!" I heard Asato-kun say as I hung up. My eyes turned up to the sky as I breathed out again. Oh crap. I'm really screwed now. I probably won't hear the end of this any time soon. Well, too late to bitch about what happened.
I pushed myself to my feet and headed back up to the road, leaving Nancy and her forgiveness in the black, swirling water below.
But if you need forgiveness, I don't know