Chapter Twenty-Two: Toshima Letters:
Six whole days of research and Anna worked to study her father's notes. She struggled on the first day. So much detail, she thought. Papa sure was thorough. How will I get through all of this without going crazy with too much information? I know; I'll break it up into sections. Now let's seeï¿½
Anna looked through the many pages. There, ten pages a night. Shouldn't be too bad. I should be up to chapter two in a week. Anna smiled to herself. If I can learn different languages without much work, this should be child's play!
Six days led to no sleep, not much time to eat, polishing the glass box, and reflection overkill. Her own notes buried her futon and by day seven, she sat back and took a breath.
"I did it," she whispered. Anna then passed out asleep. Save the celebrating for the morning. Sleep is good.
By noon, Anna came to and remembered her triumph achieved just hours earlier, at three a.m. She gave herself a little smile. I've got the foundation down. What to do next? Her stomach rumbled for a real meal this time.
"Oh yeahï¿½" she mumbled with a sweat drop on her head. ï¿½Probably should eat firstï¿½" Rightï¿½ Anna rose to her feet and went to the kitchen. While she ate, she reflected on what she learned. One spell pegged her curiosity. Was does it do? Papa didn't fully explain. Like normal students, Anna became tempted to try it out as she took another sip of tea.
"I beseech the twelve gods before me. Bring forth your innocent to me," the woman murmured. A cool breeze blew past her and stopped. Anna looked around.
"Nothing happened," she said. Suddenly, a low groan caught her ear.
"Seita?" she asked as she turned her head. A young woman her age sat across from her. She looked hung-over from a rough night. Judging by her short kimono and make-up, "working girl" described her best.
"Oh god," the woman moaned. "What a night." Anna sat there, blinking. Okayï¿½ The other woman looked up. Anna gave her a little wave.
"Hiï¿½" she mumbled. The "guest" blinked at her. She looked at her surroundings.
"Where am I?" she asked.
"My houseï¿½" Anna replied.
"Uhï¿½ I summoned you, I guess."
The other woman blinked. "How?"
"I guess I said a summoning spell."
"A summoning spell?"
"Yeah, but where did you come from?"
Anna blinked at her. "What?"
The other woman nodded. "Yeah. I was in Heaven, and then I came here."
Anna tried to grasp what she just heard. "Soï¿½ you're dead?"
"Okayï¿½" Anna hadn't expected this. I just summoned a spirit from the dead? That's what that spell does? Anna looked at the woman.
"What is your name?" she asked.
"Yuka," the spirit replied. Anna nodded. Guess it's safe to tell her.
"I'm Anna," the kitsune tsukai replied. Yuka gave her a funny look.
"Anna?" she asked. "Why an American name?"
"I was told I was named after my mother's grandmother," Anna replied. "In fact, both of my names come from her grandmothers."
"Where is your mother?" the hooker asked. Anna felt herself weaken inside.
"Dead," she said. "She died after I was born."
"Ohï¿½" Yuka murmured. Anna pressed her lips together.
"Soï¿½" she said. ï¿½Anything you want?"
"Hm?" Yuka asked.
"Is there anything you want while I have you here?" Anna asked.
"I don't knowï¿½" the spirit said.
"Come on," Anna said. "There must be something." The spirit thought about this offer.
"Wellï¿½" she said. ï¿½I never got to say goodbye to my son."
"Alright then," Anna said. "Where does he live?"
"Toshima," the spirit said. The other woman nodded.
"Fine," she said. "I'll take you there." As she stood up, a giddy feeling came over her.
Anna had to keep her identity hidden while out in public. Nobu could be anywhere looking for her. Yet, Anna's mind went back to her client.
"So," she said. "Tell me about yourself."
"Well," Yuka said. "I used to be a call girl." Anna almost stopped dead in her tracks. She looked up before boarding the subway.
"What?" the woman asked. The spirit shushed her.
"Not so loud," she said.
"Ah," Anna replied. They sat down on the subway.
"Anyway," Yuka said. "I used to be a call girl in Toshima. I had a rough start in life. My mom left me at a young age. My dad and I didn't get on so good. We didn't really have a relationship at all. In fact, he and I lived two separate lives. He drank all day. I studied and worked." Yuka smiled as she sat back. "I had a bright future. I wanted to get out of the city for a quieter life. I worked to achieve this goal day and night. But then, I met a beautiful boy."
"And then what happened?" Anna asked. Yuka lowered her head.
"One thing led to another, and then I got pregnant. My plans became delayed. I don't hold any grudges against that beautiful boy. Neither one of us were thinking. Just two dumb kids in lust." She chuckled to herself. "The only good thing to come out of that relationship was my son, Gaho."
"So why become a call girl?" Anna asked. Yuka breathed out as the subway pulled to a halt at the stop at Toshima. She turned to Anna as she stood up.
"Desperation and poor decisions," she replied. "All of which led to my death."
"How did you die?"
"An overzealous client accidentally over-drugged me with sake, weed, and pills. Yeah."
Anna's jaw dropped. "Wowï¿½"
Yuka nodded. "Yeah." Anna accompanied the dead call girl to her apartment. As she watched mother and son reunite for last time, an idea came into her head. I can make good use of this new trick, she thought.