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Quote of the Week: "A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within." - Will Durant, American historian (1885-1981)


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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2012-10-19 11:14am
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Sith Devotee
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Joined: 2008-03-14 07:47am
Posts: 3497
hah! enjoying this as ever.



"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2012-10-19 08:41pm
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is a laughing fool.
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Joined: 2003-04-30 10:24pm
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Location: Painesville TWP, Ohio
MORE!

If you ever get this done, try to get it published if possible. :)



ASVS('97)/SDN('03)

"Peppercorn Tomatoes slathered in broken guacamole sauce. Put it in the microwave and press puree. 5 seconds in the dumpster and it is ready to be cooked in the freezer at -350 degrees for twenty minutes. Apply pressure in various hamster spots and scream like a psychotic banshee." My reply when asked what was on my mind.

"Whilst human alchemists refer to the combustion triangle, some of their orcish counterparts see it as more of a hexagon: heat, fuel, air, laughter, screaming, fun." - Dawn of the Dragons

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2012-10-19 10:04pm
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Jedi Master
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Joined: 2006-12-11 10:44pm
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Location: Rhode Island
Just started reading this now and it's fantastic.

Little nitpick though, in Chapter 8 you said the AK-74 was firing 7.92mm rounds. AK-74s fire 5.45mm rounds, and as far as I can tell the USSR/Russia has never used a 7.92mm cartridge in any weapon.

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2012-10-23 10:32am
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 182
Location: Philippines
:)

Thank you guys for the comments. And also, before I completely forget, I am also giving credit to the reviewer of what I am writing before I publish them, Lady Tevar.

And other thing. In the last parts of chapter 9, is the flow of the conversation...natural? As in...soething that might actually happen to you in real life?

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-01-04 12:41pm
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 182
Location: Philippines
Chapter 10

Poor kid.

Connla had just expressed his jealousy to someone who never had an inkling of his feelings about her. As a fellow man and in line with his own feelings on this matter, as he had said before, I have to help him cover this up.

...God help me, think of something Herbert, QUICK!

Thuc suddenly saves the day for Connla.

"What I think Connla here means,” Thuc says in the same way one tries to reason with a superior officer, which instantly drew Annan’s attention towards him “is that he is very concerned, as a friend, about this Ebisu of yours, seeing as he doesn't know anything about this man, and this person is on such...shockingly close terms with you."

"What Thuc said." I agree with a serious expression, for lack of anything better to add.

We are right now drawing Annan's attention from Connla towards us.

"What is Ebisu to you, your holiness?" Yung Ho and Javin both ask Annan at the same time, in the kind of tone that a person who is successfully hiding the fact that he is panicking makes.

Then the two immediately notice what they had just done and slightly wince.

‘Damn it you two idiots’

I thought to myself as I slightly shake my head.

Just agree with whoever had managed to think of something if you can’t do so. And to ask something so obviously meant for an acquaintance in love? And at the same freaking time?

…does it take being a grandparent to understand these kinds of things? Honestly?

The kid looked at each and every one of us, starting from Yung Ho and Javin, and ending with a stare at Connla, who is still pale, silent, and is just looking at the scene that went FUBAR the same way one wonders what they did to deserve something unfortunate in their view.

And then she shifts her eyes away from him like a shy girl, and ends up staring at the floor like a scientist, or a philosopher deep in thought over a problem.

…wait a minute. Like a shy girl?

I look at Connla, who is still out of it, and then I look at Thuc, who noticed the same thing I did.

We look at each other for a moment, and then unexpectedly, he points his left index finger at Annan and the right at Connla…and then brings them next to each other out of sight of the two.

And then another time.

…Is he asking me if we should act as Cupid for Connla and Annan?

While the idea of us grandfathers being the matchmakers this time around is tickling me pink with laughter and giddiness at the same time deep in my mind…I had mentioned before that Annan isn’t exactly what I would want to see in a daughter or granddaughter in law.

‘Later’ I mouth off to Thuc, and then I turn towards Annan to tell her to call Ebisu now, only to be interrupted by the kid trying to say something first.

“I…well…” After two words, she stopped speaking.

“…go on.” Connla urges her, his presence of mind returned instantly by the kid’s voice.

“…Ebisu is indeed a recent close friend and a fellow otaku, make no mistake about that Connla. But he isn’t…he isn’t as close to me as the girls and…and you.”

“…You never gave me a nickname. Yet he has one.” Connla points…grumbles out.

The kid shook her head, chuckling.

“He started it, I’m telling you. I just went along with him, since he is just so friendly. Besides, him,a s my husband? I…I don’t see it. I just don’t see the possibility.”

This, I feel, gives Connla much renewed hope…I think, seeing as this is just my feeling.

“And another reason why him as a husband is impossible is because he is already married.”

I blink.

And Connla, without noticing it himself, lets out a sigh of relief and slightly smiles.

“Ebisu is married? Since when?” Idiot number 1…I mean Yung Ho, asks.

Annan grins.

“He married the goddess who saved him.”

“…Is it an Ainu?” Yung Ho asks with…glee?

Why is he grinning widely?

The kid looks at him strangely.

“Well technically, she is Emishi, not Ainu, seeing as Ebisu floated not all the way to Hokkaido but somewhere in Chiba prefecture thanks to the Kuroshio current, but yes. Why are you so happy to hear that?”

Yung Ho…softly cackles.

…Imagine Stallone or Norris cackling.

That’s how awkward the sight is.

And as Yung Ho is cackling he is saying something.

“Ha-ha ha. Married an Ainu…the first bitch and first asshole’s first son married someone not Japanese…bwahahaha! I would have paid a lot to see the faces of these Japs when they learn that!”

And then Yung Ho continues laughing.

…I sigh.

…I’ll admit that a long time ago, deep, deep down inside my mind, I used to have some…discomfort with blacks, something I learned through the example of my parents and elders. But that had been beaten to death by the fact that some of my fellow squad members are blacks, and they had saved my life on more than one occasion during the Vietnam War.

The Vietnamese also contributed to the removal that little racist part of me. You couldn’t think of them as little, irritating, less impressive people than you. You respect them as the dangerous and capable and just as equal as you are opponents that they are.
Yung Ho’s cackling and comments here instantly brings to my mind…segregation, Jim Crow, Martin Luther and the Civil Rights movement, and everything related to that topic in the 60’s that I hear over the radio and see in the newspapers.
It’s…It’s something I really don’t want to remember, you know?

Annan didn’t look impressed.

“Do you have a problem with Waka-ush or the Ainu? And while Ebisu is estranged from his parents, they are still his parents, you know?”

Yung Ho quickly gets his laughter under control.

“No your holiness,” he said while waving his hand in negation. “I don’t have a problem with Waka-ush. In fact, I am happy to hear about this. And as for Izanagi and Izanami, fuck them.”

Annan looks at him for a few more moments, nodded while looking uncertain about the truth, and looks away from him towards Connla, who was also looking at Yung Ho with raised eyebrows until the kid looked toward him.

They both shrug at each other, and then Annan starts scrutinizing Connla, deep in thought over something. And Connla starts fidgeting under her attention.

…well at least something good came from this, although we also lost something else: that friendly looking priest back there is looking hatefully at Yung Ho…something that reminded me of the 60’s, again.

After a few moments, Annan looked away from Connla, and then shakes her head and mutters something, the only word of which I heard clearly is ‘later’.

“Well, I’m going to call Ebisu now.” she declares.

First, she closed her eyes, raised her hands to around her chest, and claps her hands twice. In that moment, I felt the air change. It was…sort of like the feeling one gets when there is a storm about to come about. Then next, she singsonged the next words.

“Ebisu, Ebisu, where are you? Annan has come calling for you, and wants to pay her debt. Ebisu, Ebisu, come on out and greet me. If you do not come out, I will come back another day.”

As she said the final words, she clapped her hands twice, again, and then opens her eyes and look around the temple grounds.

…wait a minute.

“You will come and pay your debt another day? I thought today is the due date? That’s why we rushed here, no?” I ask her.

Annan looked at me and says “Well it’s his fault for not being here at the agreed date. Honestly, the only important thing is that your payment must be as important to the creditor as the favor you had asked for is to you.”

I raise my eyebrows.

“That system of payment sounds complicated.” Thuc suddenly says, taking the words right out of my mouth.

“Actually, it’s not.” Yung Ho answers.

“I agree.” Connla adds.

I notice that Javin had not been saying anything for a while now since Connla’s slip up, and upon looking I saw him looking around us with a watchful eye.

…oh yeah, I couldn’t expect him to mentally be with us all the time since he is searching for his wife.

Back to the others, Yung Ho is saying that in the supernatural world the value of certain actions and things are easily known through following your instincts and experience.

“Really? How come this is the first time I ever heard of measuring the value of favors since I died?” Thuc asks him.

“You’ve been dead how long Thuc?”

“Three years” Thuc said, and then he suddenly looks puzzled. A moment later he looked at Yung Ho and says “You aren’t telling me this has something to do with-“

“Seniority in ancestor worship? Not really Thuc, I just asked to see how much you know about the afterlife. You see, it has more to do with the human spirits in general.”

“…explain.” Thuc demanded.

“Since when do ancestors trade favors? All they do is just look out for their descendants from wherever they are, as long as the descendants worship and respect them properly. The only time they would have to trade favors, to my knowledge that is, is when they have to deal with gods and non-human spirits or when they are turned INTO gods.”

“…I think you are forgetting former priests and shamans.” Thuc comments.

Connla, Annan and Yung Ho laugh.

Their laughter surprises the rest of the group and the priest, who keeps giving side glances at us while finishing up the ceremony, ignoring the curious glances of the people over whose blessing ceremony he is presiding over.

“Really? Come on, really Mr. Thuc?” Annan manages to say through her laughter.

“What is funny about what Mr. Thuc said, your holiness?” Javin asks.

“If a dead shaman or priest get’s called on to help the gods or their successors with something, sure they will do it. But they will not initiate favors by themselves. After all, they are retired and loving it, like me.” Yung Ho answers with a grin.

…retired and loving it.

Retired and loving it?! What the…

…God, heaven must be such a funny place…on the other hand, maybe it really is a funny place.

“What’s a retirement?” Javin suddenly asks while I was thinking about the implications of heaven being a funny place.

Everyone, including me and surprisingly Connla, looks at Javin, who shrugged and repeats his question.

“It’s when you are too old to work. You just stay at home or a retirement home and laze the days away doing whatever you want.” I answer, remembering that this guy, out of everyone present, is the only one with completely no idea of the way things work nowadays, seeing as Connla does have internet access.

Javin looked at everyone present. And then he says “Oh. Old age” And then he nods his head in the way one does after learning something new, complete with the his right hand stroking his beard in that…way…I know I’ve seen that on TV sometime, I just don’t remember which show or movie.

He then shakes his head and asks the kid if Ebisu had responded to her call.

“Well…just give it more time” she says.

“How long is your ‘more time’ going to take kid?” I ask while sitting Indian style on the temple grounds.

It is cold, it is ALREADY night, no worshippers are left in the temple which had already closed for the night and…oh dear Lord.
It’s starting to drizzle.

I quickly rummage around in my backpack for the poncho, and then suddenly something comes to me.

“Kid, you’re a goddess. Make that rain go away!” I…’request’ impatiently.

“Sorry old man. No can do. It’s considered very impolite to perform major magic in the territory of another being, especially one as major as stopping the rain.” Annan says in an irritated and worried voice.

“The word you used is major. How about making the light rain stay a light rain Annan? That counts as minor, right?” Connla asks, while he pulls out a…a 10 cm tall dunce cap made out of metal, with metal flaps for his ears and neck, and whose opening is wide enough that the hat’s edges are at the same level as his eyebrows. And on the top is a bristle of…dark colored hair.
…is that supposed to be a helmet? Really?

He puts the dunce cap helmet…I can’t believe I just said that.

Let me redo the previous words.

He puts on the dunce cap SHAPED helmet and tugs his cloak closer to his body, at the same time putting his backpack between his legs.

Annan looks at him, and then at the dark night sky lit up by the lights of the city like she is searching for something or someone up there, and then nodded a few moments later.

Afew moments later she looks at us and said one word. “Done.”

“Done?” I ask.

And then I feel the sensation of...the kind of sensation wherein you are walking on the sidewalk while a strong wind is blowing against you. And this sensation is coming from the sky.

“What did you do your holiness?” Yung Ho asks, obviously feeling the same sensation.

“Umm…something like adjusting the valve of a water main. I asked for permission from the assistants of the rain kami and they said it is fine as long as I don’t completely stop…wait a minute. Where the hell is Kuraokami?” She looks upwards again, this time looking worried.

“Kuraokami?” Javin asked, not minding the rain starting to wet his white clothes.

“Japanese rain god. One of the most…well…he doesn’t like anyone telling him how to do his job or anyone else doing his job. Me tweaking his rain without his permission should have had him going here and yelling at me for that.” She paused for a while and then continues. “First, Ebisu, Daikokuten and Masakado are not here, and now Kuraokami, that proud workaholic, is not in his workplace. Something is wrong here.”

I feel cold at that moment, when she said those last three words.

Suddenly we hear the sound of a footstep.

I and everyone else whirl towards the origin of the sound.

I have my hands raised up and clenched in the classic boxing stance, ready for anything, only to find out that it was just the same Shinshoku as before, who is raising his hands in surrender with an expression saying ‘I’m not here to start a fight’.

“Oh. Sorry sir.” I apologize as I lower my arms, feeling embarrassed at almost raising my arms against a priest.

I also hear all the others say their apologies and lowered their own hands, including Yung Ho, who said his with reluctance.

The Shinshoku, understanding our gesture, raises his hands, shakes his head and says something that felt to me like ‘no problem’.
The kid replies in the same language with something, and then she paused and looks back at us, realizing something.

Except for Yung Ho and the kid, we don’t know Japanese.

Annan sighs, raises her two hands and says the first incantation that I heard clearly since the start of this whole FUBAR, in a tone that says she is embarrassed about the fact that she forgot.

“I, Annan of the island of trees, will that these people can understand Japanese and can be understood by the Japanese, wherever they are.”

And then she claps her hands once, and then lowers them.

For a second, I felt something strange, other than that strong wind sensation that I talked about a while earlier.

And then that sensation instantly went away.

“Do you understand me now?” Annan says to us in the same language the Shinshoku used earlier.

To describe the effects of the spell, it was…like your seatmate is translating the foreign movie, word for word and sentence for sentence, in your ear while in the background the movie is droning on in its original language. The only difference is that it is happening in your mind, and there are no discrepancies in the translation.

All of us reply with several kinds of affirmation at around the same time.

A moment later I turn towards the Shinshoku.

“I also apologize for earlier.” I say to him.

“No problem” the Shinshoku says to us in English.

…what.

The Shinshoku smile at our dumbfounded expressions, which includes Annan.

“I never knew you know English Takayama.” the kid tells him.

“I liked singing English songs at the karaoke bar in my youth.” Takayama says in a playful tone. He then turned towards us and bows a little, saying the following.

“Good evening gentlemen. My name is Takayama Kojiro, the Guji of Kanda Myojin. I welcome you to our temple, so please follow me.”
Upon coming out of his bow, I notice he is smiling, but suddenly and for just a moment, it dims as his sight comes across Yung Ho, and then returns to normal as he looks at the others.

…that reminds me, he heard Yung Ho badmouth two Japanese gods earlier. In a VERY provocative way.

God help us. I don’t want to get involved in a fight over religion…well…actually, I am willing to defend and debate the tenets of my faith, as I understand them, when someone badmouths it, but I will not START a fight about religion, more so now that I learned that God does exist, and he is some sort of superpower over all the other…deities of the other religions.

Takayama turned around, and beckons to us to follow him. This prompts all of us to pack up the rainwear as fast as we can and follow him.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We came to the priest’s quarters. It is in a 12 story apartment building, located on the right side of the temple gate (that is, if you are going to enter Kanda shrine), which Takayama told us is called the Zuishin-mon. The apartment building is distinctive because it is the closest multistory building to the Kanda shrine, easily seen from the middle of the temple grounds, and because of the two blue billboards attached to the side of the building that is advertising a company called Fujita (which I understood only because the name of the company is painted in the English alphabet).

We followed Takayama through the entrance of the building, up the stairs (there were people in the elevator, enough that if our party entered that elevator it would overload, and confuse the other people in it since they couldn’t see any reason for it to do so. Speaking of which, Annan still had that ‘don’t notice me’ spell up and working), and to the door of his room on the 3rd floor. On the way, Annan was apologized to Takayama for the inconvenience.

In response he said that he needed the exercise, since he is getting old nowadays.

I agree. I lightly exercise for the same reason. That, and since if I die, I want to be able to face God and say that I didn’t waste the body that he gave to me at birth.

Speaking of Takayama, he is a short (Thuc or Yung Ho are around the same height as my nose. Takeyama is shorter, reaching only to my shoulder), old man around my age, wearing a red shirt under a grey suit and cream colored pants.

As of this moment, we were already at the front of his door and are just waiting for Takayama to open the door and enter.
Takeyama knocked on the door and shouts.

“Juri! It’s me! Open up the door!”

’His wife?’ I thought to myself.

The door opens. The one who opened it is a bespectacled teenage girl with black and shoulder length ponytail who is taller than Takeyama but shorter than Thuc. She is wearing a loose, yellow shirt and white pajamas, and is wearing white flip-flops.
“What took you so long grandfather?” Juri asks. And then she suddenly stops talking.

Her eyes are shifting, looking around her grandfather. Then she leaned over him, trying to look at the space behind him, which is where we were standing. Yet it appears she can’t see us, but she knows there is something there.

Takayama smiled and nods to himself.

“Good. Good. I see you are keeping up with your training. Now, we have guests from the supernatural world Juri, so dress up in something better than your sleepwear.”

Juri blushed, quickly nods, and closes the door.

Takeyama chuckled a little, and then he turns towards us.

“I’m sorry for the accidental peepshow. My granddaughter likes to change into her sleepwear immediately whenever she is at home, and she just won’t listen to me or her parents.” he says this with an apologetic and embarrassed smile.

“Ha! If you think that’s embarrassing, you should have seen that one time, when Thien left my daughter with my little sister, who is 14 at the time, along with my little sister’s friend. You know what my daughter did? She grabbed my little sister’s left tit and bit it, thinking she would get milk from there, right in front of the boy.” Thuc replies, in a curiously proud way.

“How did you know of the story? You said that as if you were not there” Takayama asks.
Thuc grins.

“That boy became my brother in law later on. Come to think of it, he said he felt jealous when that happened.”

“The hell Thuc?!” I ask, not believing the gall of the brother in law.

Thuc chuckled and says “Of course he said that AFTER he married her. Otherwise, I would have punched him.”

He delivers the last sentence in a serious voice.

I shake my head in amuse…wait a minute...has this turned a competition between grandfathers?

Dang it, I’m joining in! I am a grandfather too! I got LOTS of embarrassing stories here.

“That’s all Thuc? Well, I got an embarrassing story about my offspring, told by my son Arnold to me. When his daughter, Regina was around 8 years old, they once visited the house of his brother in law. So, the adults are talking while the kids are running around playing. Now, Regina is quite a curious kid even back then, so she was looking around the house when she stumbled upon some magazines. Apparently, after an hour of looking at the pictures, she took the magazines and went to her parents and uncle asking what the people are doing there, with a particular page opened to the whole world, and why she isn’t fat in her chest.”

“Are you telling me what I think you are telling me?” Thuc asks me with an open mouth.

I nod with a grin.

“Yeah. It’s a Playboy magazine, full of naked women and porn pictures.”

Takayama laughs.

“That must have been awkward.” Thuc comments.

“Very awkward. That was the day Regina learned about the birds and the bees.” I shake my head while saying that, remembering when it was mine and Mary’s turn to talk about THAT topic with our kids.

Well…just as it should be, I say. The parents must not leave teaching about sex to some government employee, no matter how noble the job of teaching is. They should contribute too.

“Well, Juri here did almost same thing when she was 10. The only difference is she got hold of her elder brother’s pornographic tape. What’s worse, it was an uncensored one. I almost got a heart attack when the girl asked us if having sex really feels good, while in the background the woman is being fucked from behind by some man and moaning very shamelessly, and in such a way that you can see everything. E-VERY-THING.”

“Us?” I ask him, trying to imagine the scene in my head, and cringing at the result.

“Me, my son and daughter in law, and then my grandson. We went to buy a cake for Juri since it was her birthday.”
“I have one that would top that.” Thuc says.

“Oh really?” Yung Ho suddenly enters our conversation.

I notice Takayama frown very briefly from the side of my left eye, while Thuc and me are looking at Yung Ho, who looks very interested in our conversation.

“Yes. I have one. Has any of your children or grandchildren ever peeked in on you and your wife while having sex?”

…Mother of God.

Both me and Takayama are looking at him, open mouthed and in amazement, at the fact that Thuc can say such a thing while looking so…so nonchalant. Yung Ho, on the other hand, is biting his lip and red faced in laughter.

“I don’t believe you man. No one can say that with a straight face.” I tell him.

“I agree.” Takayama answered.

“I’m amazed that I’m agreeing with a Japanese, but I have the same sentiment Thuc.” Yung Ho says.

Immediately after he said this sentence, Takayama looks at Yung Ho with the same look one would have when they are wondering if this person is deliberately picking a fight or not.

Me and Thuc are also starting to look at Yung Ho disagreeably, because of the barely disguised…eagerness. Yung Ho has a professional face on, but the words he spouts when referring to the Japanese, are…well…full of baits for a fight.

Looking back at Takayama, he doesn’t look like he has any apprehension about fighting, instead, it looks like he is also very eager to swallow the bait hook line and sinker.

And he looks like he knows how to fight.

I quickly look back at Thuc, only to see him about to scold Yung Ho. I decide my job for now is to try and calm Takayama down.
“How is your children seeing you have sex impossible? That happens all the time back home.” Javin suddenly butts in.

We all look at him, surprised at his sudden interruption and amazed at his statement. And a moment later I see that Javin said that on purpose, because he is looking at the all of us with an imploring look that says please don’t fight.

Connla also joins in the conversation with a statement that completely brought everyone’s thoughts to a halt, finishing Javin’s attempt to stop a fight.

“I also happened to see my mother having sex once.”

…I have no words to use at this moment.

…why, oh why did I think it is a good idea to throw in THAT story about Regina and Arnold? I feel like doing a facepalm, right about now.

“I think I must have heard that wrong. Care to repeat that Con?” Annan asks him from where she is standing silently (Takeyama, Thuc and me are in front, Javin and Yung Ho are behind and to the left of me, and Connla and Annan behind and to right of me) in a tone I couldn’t describe.

“Con?” Connla turns to Annan with a questioning look.

“You want a nickname, you got it. Now answer me Con.” she asks in that feminine tone of voice that tells you the woman (or girl) will get her answer or things will get nasty.

“I said I once saw my mother having sex once, around 3 or 4 months before I went to Ireland.” Connla says in a straight voice, just like a Private reporting to the Sergeant.

…good times. Good times.

A few moments passed in silence after Connla’s last sentence. And then Annan presses on.

“Well, that’s all?”

“I promised mother that I will not tell anything more about that accident other than I found her having sex with a man.” Connla
replies.

The kid opens her mouth, about to say something, when Connla beats her to it with just one word.

“Annan.” he says…in the same tone of voice that a wife uses to say no to the husband when…well…when us men are feeling a little…frisky.

…Oh never mind THOSE blueball memories, but this is hilarious.

This is a role reversal! Usually it is the missus who says that, not the HUSBAND. Now the only question is…will it work?

The kid and Connla stare at each other for a few more moments, and then Annan sighs.

“Would you tell me about it one of these days?” she asks, in the same way a child pleads their parent for just this one toy, and they will be a good boy for the whole year.

“ No” Connla says in a tone that says the conversation is finished.

The kid sighed, momentarily looks down, and then looks up and says “Fine. You win.”





He did it. He…he…

I clap.

All the men there slowly clap at the historic moment we just witnessed.

One small step for a boy, a historical moment for all loving and non wife-beating husbands.

“What are you elders clapping for?” Connla asks us in a tone of equal parts confused, curious and embarrassed.

“Don’t mind them Con.” the kid told him. Then she glares at us and says “And stop clapping! I know what you old men are thinking and we aren’t like that.”

Connla looks at her when she said the words ‘we aren’t like that’ and has a…wondering and worried look on his face a moment later.
The kid looks back to him, and add two more words.

“For now.”

…I smile and wished Connla luck.

“Juri, what’s taking you so long?” Takayama says in loud voice.

“Putting on the work clothes! It’s a kami grandfather! You expect me to wear casual clothing in front of a kami?!” came the muffled shout of Juri from the other side of the door.

“With this gaijin kami? Yes! Just put on a bra, a panty, a shirt and pants and you are fine Juri. Now MOVE! We’re waiting and hungry!” Takayama is starting to yell.

Thankfully, no one else is in the hallway at the time.

I slightly shake my head. And then I notice Thuc and Yung Ho talking to each other very softly a little distance away, out of Takayama’s line of sight. Thuc looks furious while Yung Ho is gritting his teeth.

Well…I think that’s a general dressing down his subordinate…except I have never seen any lower ranked personnel show their emotions so openly to the superior officer.

…Not good for military discipline but a good deal better than fragging.

I look down, trying to give them privacy. It was only then I notice that the floor tiles are shiny enough to reflect images. Looking down therefore only let me their reflections.

…well I AM curious, and I did try to look away once…

It’s God who placed those floor tiles there, so that means he wants me to see, no?

A few moments later I finally gave in to my curiosity.

Yung Ho has just said something to Thuc that slowly wipes of the fury on his face and has Thuc looking at Yung Ho in shock. He quickly looks away, ruffles his hair quickly thinking of something, and he looks back at him, suddenly clutching both of Yung Ho’s shoulders.

He moves his face closer to Thuc, looking him in the eyes, and starts saying something, more softly than ever before. The gritted jaw slowly went away from Yung Ho’s features and his face finally becomes relaxed.

A few moments later he then nods.

Upon seeing him nod, Thuc smiled and pats Yung Ho’s left shoulder, saying something at the same time.

I wish I knew what they just talked about.

The door suddenly opens, along with Takayama saying “Finally!” in an exasperated tone.

Juri is now wearing a red and white outfit composed of a white shirt with long and extremely loose sleeves, tucked in a pleated, ankle length, red skirt. She also isn’t wearing eyeglasses anymore.

Maybe she is wearing contact lenses now.

“That is fast.” Takayama mutters.

“What are you complaining about now Grandpa? You want ‘fast’, I did ‘fast’.” Juri replies back in an exasperated tone, her hands resting on her waist.

“Alright, alright. Let me and the guests enter.”

“But I still can’t see them” Juri complained, looking in our general direction.

Takayama looked at Annan and asks.

“With your permission, Annan?”

The kid nods.

Takayama smiles, and suddenly brings his hands up in prayer and says the following.

“In Ebisu’s name, DISPEL!”

…I feel nothing-

Juri suddenly leans back with a surprised expression. And then she quickly manages to calm down and bow to us.

“My name is Takayama Juri, honored guests. I welcome you to the temporary home of the Takayama family.”

Oh. Now I remember. It’s the same deal as with Vietnamese, Chinese and Korean names.

Juri steps aside from the door, letting us enter.

But before I am able to do so (I was the one in the front), Kojiro extends his right arm, blocking the doorway and says the following.
“Wait, I forgot to mention something. Here in Japan, when you enter someone’s home, you take off your shoes, and if needed, the socks.”

I look down at my boots.

Well, they ARE dirty. I then look at Kojiro’s floor tiles.

They are white, square ceramic tiles with slightly irregular surface for better contact.

The slightest amount of dirt would be very noticeable on this floor. Never mind mud.

Understanding the need for taking off my footwear, I bend down and start to untie the laces on my boots, only to see the legs of Annan, Connla, Javin and Thuc quickly slip off their sandals and step into the living room.

The only ones left at the entrance of the door are me and Yung Ho, who had already taken off one of his boots and is untying the laces on the other one.

Stupid sandals. Stupid laces. Stupid, stupid…there!

I have slipped off one of my boots, only to see Yung Ho entering already.

Damn it.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Once I had finished taking off my boots and socks (which I put in the boots) and putting them near where the others put theirs, I stepped into the apartment while Takayama closed the door and followed.

I see that the room is a cozy family apartment.

In the middle of the shoebox shaped room is a low wooden table, at the side of the room to my left is a TV, showing a local baseball game, showing a stadium filled with people.

I remember that the Japanese are also a baseball loving people.

Above the TV is a picture frame showing a picture of a happy family. I recognize Kojiro, a woman who appears to be his wife, a younger looking Juri dressed in a uniform that would not be out of place of those Catholic run schools, and a man and woman dressed in business suits who I assume must be Juri’s parents.

To my front, opposite the doorway, is a tabletop complete with a faucet and sink built into it, and beside is another counter with an electric stove (occupied by a pot and kettle) and a rice cooker on it. Beside that is the refrigerator, while above the tabletop is a cabinet with plates and glasses.

And to my left is a door to a sizable room of some sort. And finally, to the northeast of where I am standing is a hallway leading to a balcony with a sliding glass door, and a clothes rack where clothes are being dried off in the wind. And slightly out of sight is another door.

All in all, it’s a room that I approve of.

I wonder how much they are paying for this room?

I walk up to beside Yung Ho and stand beside the low table. Except for Juri, who is tending to the soup, everyone is standing around the low table.

“Sit, sit honored guests. You must be thirsty by now, no? Let me get some water.” Kojiro tells us with a smile and gesturing with his right hand toward the floor. Then he immediately goes to the refrigerator and takes out a green plastic pitcher of water.
He immediately frowned, shaking the pitcher slightly. Then he looks inside and ‘tsk’ed.

“Juri, do we still have more drinking water for our guests?”

Juri looks at Takayama, and then says.

“I’m sorry grandfather, we just ran out when I drank some. That’s why I am boiling some water.”

“Don’t worry Kojiro. We have water of our own.” I answer as I, along with the others, sit Indian style on the floor.

…we could use a carpet or a pillow here. The floor is warm enough, but it’s hard on the rear.

Kojiro looks at me strangely for a moment. And then his expression changes to one that says he realized something.

“What?” I ask.

“Calling people by their first names without any honorifics are only done when you are a very close friend of the person in question or married to them.” the kid says.

“Is that it? Well, thanks kid.” I say.

“Would you stop calling me kid? I am starting to get pissed off with that name.” Annan suddenly snaps at me.

I look at her, and then pretend to think about it, complete with usual motions of someone doing so.

Actually, I had something I want her to start learning since this afternoon.

“Well,” I look up at her and put my hand down. Then I continue speaking. “You could ask politely.”

Annan glares at me, and she looks like she wants to hit me with the wooden stick she has. Then she looks down at her left arm, where Connla’s right hand is lightly holding her. Upon looking at his face, she sees Connla shaking his head.

Annan looks at him in the eyes, with a facial expression that says ‘I want to hit him, and hit him hard’.

Connla’s eyes narrow, conveying the expression of disapproval.

“But-” Annan softly mutters.

“You can ask politely Annan” Connla interrupts with a mutter.

Annan closes her eyes, sighs, and then looks at me with a neutral expression.

“Can you please stop calling me kid and call me by my name?”

“Well, alright little lady. From now on you are either Annan or little lady.”

Annan glares at me again.

“Little lady is better than kid, isn’t it Annan?” Connla asks Annan.


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2013-03-31 05:25am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-01-04 12:41pm
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Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 182
Location: Philippines
“Not much better” she comments.

“But it IS better, right?”

“…yes.” Annan admits. Then she continues, “But I still prefer my real name.”

I smile.

Well, it is getting tiring, constantly calling Annan ‘kid’. ‘Little lady’ is also a bit much for the mouth if you use it all the time. I will be calling her Annan more often than not from now on.

“Moving on” Connla said, trying to make some talk, “Kojiro, if you want you can have water from us. After all, we are the ones imposing here.”

Kojiro puts down the pitcher of water on the countertop and shakes his head.

“Oh no, dear guest. That would be embarassing. I am supposed to serve you here-“

“But we insist Kojiro” Thuc joins in persuading Kojiro, at the same time opening his bag ready to pull something out.

“But…” Kojiro looks like he is refusing because he is following some script…then he suddenly improvises away from it.

“Where would you have water?” he asked, curious.

While I open my bag, and hearing the others open theirs, I ask Annan “Does my bag have that infinite something magic, Annan?”
“Yes” she says.

“Good” I say while pulling out a 1-liter water bottle.

I see Yung Ho put his metal water canteen on the table, while Thuc pulls a 1 liter bottle of water with Vietnamese writings…and a flag of the United States on it.

“What on earth is the Stars and Stripes doing on a Vietnamese water bottle?” I incredulously asked Thuc, pointing at the bottle with my right hand.

Thuc smiled and says one word.

“Franchising.”

…well, can’t say anything bad about that. It helps the U.S. economy, I think. I just wish the dollars also go to us low income folks.

I nod to show I understood. Then I see what Javin took out.

He took out 2 wineskins that would not look out of place in the Bible. And speaking of the content…

“What do those waterskins contain? Wine or water?” I ask, curious about it.

Well…this is as close as I am going to get to Abraham. And…I’m not a drunkard but I do like to taste wine. At most, half a glass of wine in a party.

“One is clean water from the Ganges, and the other is Soma.” He says.

“Soma?” Yung Ho asks, interested.

“It’s a drink made from the juice of a certain species of lotus from India.” Annan says. A moment later she continues. “But I advise against drinking it yourself.”

“Why? How high is the proof?” I ask.

“Proof? It’s an entheogen. The proof isn’t high, YOU go high.”

That surprises me.

“What’s an entheogen?” Yung Ho asks while I am speechless.

“It was coined by some botanists and mythology experts in the 70’s. Basically its drugs used for religion like-“

“Amanita Muscaria.” he interrupts in a slow voice filled with realization.

Annan blinked and then says “Yes. Fly agaric is one. How did-” she suddenly stopped, and then had this enlightened look on her face.
“…oh right. Siberia. Does this mean you have tried the mushroom before?”

“Paksu Mudang, your holiness. Paksu Mudang. It’s part of my religious training.” he grins.

While they are talking about fly agaric I am… the implication of what they just said…

This topic…is strange to me.

This practice is strange for me.

Religion and drugs? Drugs…and Religion?

I…I…drugs are bad. A religion that uses them…isn’t religion supposed to be good?

I immediately clear my mind. No good dwelling on strange practices for now.

“So, you get yourself high for religious purposes?” Thuc says in a curious tone of voice.

…and he unwittingly lets me down.

I sighed, very silently.

“It’s one way of contacting the spirits among a lot of others, but its seldom used because it is dangerous. I myself only plan to use it when I have no other choice.”

“Oh. How about this Soma?”

“It’s from India, so I never heard of it. Javin, how is it?”

“The Soma works as it is said in the myths, but you don’t get high.”

“…excuse me?” Yung Ho asks, blinking twice.

I have the same thought.

“My body is healed and rendered immortal from the inside, I can see things bathed in light while inside a cave, but I can never get addicted to Soma no matter how much I drink, nor will I get poisoned since I will just naturally let it out as piss, but most important of all, I am still sober all the time.”

I look at Yung Ho and Thuc, who are looking at each other and at me.

“Sounds like the only thing better is if Jesus is the combat medic.” I say.

“Or me healing people.” Annan butts in.

We nod nevertheless.

“Sounds like a health pack or potion from a computer game crossed with a night vision gear” I hear Juri say from the stove.

I quickly look at her and see she is already turning off the electric stove.

“Finally.” Kojiro says from where he is standing, looking at his granddaughter.

It seems he had put the pitcher of water inside the refrigerator some time ago.

Juri, after turning the stove off, reached into the cabinet above her and starts taking out bowls.

I turn back towards the table.

“Will you also drink that Soma for night vision?” I ask, thinking about the moon rock pendants we have around our necks.

“The moon rock pendants?” Javin asks, raising the one he has.

I nod.

“Just in case. I don’t remember her holiness Daesun saying these are unbreakable.”

…there is that.

Javin suddenly looked like he thought of something new, and then looks at Annan.

“You holiness, how do magic with the same intent cast by different gods interact with each other if they are working at the same time?”

“At the same time?” she said, at the same time making space for Juri who is already putting the bowls filled with soup one by one on the table.

“Well” she continued. “it either works or one of the magic cast on the subject will refuse to work while the other is still on. It depends, really. Let’s try it later, for now let’s just eat the food.”

Javin nods.

“Before that, can I ask what how effective is that Soma when it comes to wounds?” Yung Ho says to him.

“I will demonstrate it, but I have to use a sword for it.” he turns towards Kojiro. “May I ask for your permission to draw my sword in your home?”

Kojiro looks surprised.

Not that I don’t understand his feelings. I will have the same expression if someone asks for permission to draw their gun inside the cabin.

“Weapon? Are you all armed?” he manages to ask, looking at us.

“We are all armed.” Yung Ho says in a smug voice.

Kojiro looks at him, and quickly look away.

“As long as it is just a sword.” he says.

Javin reached for his backpack beside him, opens the flap, and puts his left hand in. When he withdraws it, he has his sword still in its sheath.

“What kind of sword is that?” Juri asked, as she starts putting down bowls filled with rice on the table one by one, glancing as often as she can at the sword that Javin is holding.

“This is called a Talwar.” he said as he slides the sheath off.

The blade of his Talwar is rusty and unadorned, but looking at it gives me the feeling of…regret and the kind of determination associated with the phrase ‘Not this day.’ It also smells of gunpowder and blood, and inexplicably makes me taste…salt on my tongue.

“It’s haunted.” Yung Ho says.

“Agreed.” Thuc says.

Kojiro and Juri nod.

Haunted swords?

“Of course it is haunted. I was holding this Talwar when I died.” Javin says.

“What?” Kojiro asks in a dumbfounded way.

“I am holding this Talwar when-“

“Not that one. When you died? But?” he points to him, obviously referring to Javin’s body being here physically. And then he points to Connla and said “I can tell he is a spirit given physical form from the magic around him. Not you.”

“What? No Japanese god can raise a person from death?”

Kojiro just stares at him, openmouthed.

Silence reigned for a few moments on the part of the Japanese, except for the noises made by Juri.

“The nearest thing to that in Japan is when Izanagi tried to bring Izanami from Yomi no kuni, the land of the dead. He didn’t succeed.” Juri responds for her dumbfounded grandfather. Then she looks at Javin, one hand on her waist and another hand hanging down by her side, having just finished putting chopsticks and Chinese spoons on the table.

She continues.

“You know Mr. Javin, this is honestly the first time I have ever seen anyone who had been raised from the dead. How did it feel like?”

“Feel like?”

“Getting raised from the dead” Kojiro asks, finally snapping out of it.

“One moment I was dead, and I don’t need to breath. The other I am gasping for air, feeling cold and shaking in awe from the holiness of the goddesses who raised me from death.”

“How did they do it?”

“They just said, altogether, ‘You are alive again’ and it happened.”

“That’s a little different from mine.” Yung Ho says.

“You too, sir?” Juri asks.

I raise my hand and absentmindedly say, “I am the only human here who is still alive.” I then turn to the others and ask “How did it go for you guys?”

“Her holiness Daesun sang and danced, and shone moonlight at me.” Yung Ho says to us.

Thuc also gives his own experience.

“Au Co and Lac Long Quan suddenly doused me with water from a wooden bucket they both held together.”

The Japanese are quiet for a while.

I am also quiet, because I am…the situation has finally caught up with my faith, and I am in denial.

The only being that I am willing to acknowledge as being able to raise the dead is Jesus, the Son of God. And yet…here these guys are…and here I am in another place, and gods and spirits and magic…

…God is real, they said so.

God is real and I believe in him.

I believe in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
I believe in God. I believein God.IbelieveinGod.IbelieveBelieveBELIEVE.

“Herbert?” a voice suddenly interrupts my thoughts.

I blink to see Thuc looking at me with a concerned face.

I blink once, and then one more time. And then I finally calm down.

Thank God for friends.

I look to see that everyone is already seated around the table, about to dig in to the rice and the soup, both coming from two pots that were placed in the middle of the table. But instead they are looking at me with the same expression as Thuc.

“…did I miss anything?” I manage to say, feeling some sweat trickle down my face, which I quickly wipe away with my handkerchief.
“You missed my demonstration” Javin says while he is holding his left hand.

“You were just staring off into the air elder Ward. Are you alright?” Connla asks me.

“…just thinking about something” I reply.

They look at me for a few more moments, and then Thuc, Javin and Yung Ho slowly goes back to for their chopsticks and bowls of rice.

“So what did I miss?” I nonchalantly ask while picking up my own chopsticks and rice bowl.

…don’t look at me like that. I may not have learned the language and have forgotten what I do know, but I did know how to eat Asian style in Vietnam.

“You missed seeing a stab wound knit itself back to normal, and the blood literally poured back into the wound like a slow motion camera in reverse.” Thuc says as he is about to put in his mouth a piece of potato.

Kojiro suddenly coughs.

Those of us who are holding chopsticks look to see the other four staring at us with an expression of mixed shock, disbelief and outrage.

I blink.

“Did we do something wrong elders and ladies?” Javin asked, putting down his chopsticks and bowl.

I notice that Juri had her hands in the prayer position.

Oh. Grace before meals.

“Are we supposed to say Grace? Sorry about that. I often forget to do so.” I sheepishly say.

Annan is about to say something but Kojiro beat her to it.

“Never mind.It isn’t really expected from someone not familiar with Japan.”

“What are we supposed to do?” Thuc asks.

“Say Itadakimasu before eating.” Connla answers.

“And that means?” I ask.

“I gratefully receive.” Yung Ho and Kojiro both answer at the same time, making them both look at each other, and then down at their food.

“Oh…I’ll stick with Grace?”

“Go ahead. I’m all for religious diversity.” he says to me.

I quickly make the sign of the cross, clasp my hands in prayer, close my eyes and recited the prayer as it was taught to me.
“Bless us oh Lord and these thy gifts, which we have received from thy bounty through Christ our Lord, Amen.”

I open my eyes and lay my hands on the table.

“At this rate we are all going to take turns saying a prayer before the meal.” Javin says.

“You also want a turn at this?” I ask.

He smiles.

“Why not? I am proud of my religion.”

He quickly bow his head a little and then did his own prayer.

“Brahmaarpanam Brahma Havir, Brahmaagnau Brahmanaa Hutam, Brahmaiva Tena Gantavyam, Brahma Karma Samaadhinaha.”

“And what does that mean?” I ask.

“Brahman is the oblation; Brahman is everything constituting the offerings; by Brahman is the oblation poured into the fire of Brahman; Brahman verily shall be reached by him who always sees Brahman in all actions.”

“That…that sounds beautiful, in a religious way. As beautiful as the church songs back home.” I say.

And I mean it.

Javin suddenly grins.

“Thanks Mr. Ward. Still, that’s the complicated word for word translation. The gist of it is that the food is God, the plates, table, spoons and chopsticks is God, The eater is God, hunger is God, even the act of eating is God”

As he said the second sentence, he pointed to each object that he named, from the food to himself, and even pointing to his stomach when he said ‘hunger’ and his mouth with the word ‘eating’.

“So everything is Brahman, Elder Lad?” Connla asks Javin in a curious tone.

“Yes.”

“Even me and An here?”

Javin paused and then said “That’s what we Hindus believe, no offense Connla.”

“None taken.” he says with a smile.

“So does anyone else want to say their own version of a prayer before meals?” Annan asks.

Yung Ho quickly reacted.

“In Korea we just say ‘Jal Meokgesseumnida’ before we eat. It means ‘I will eat well’.”

“It is not religious in origin?” I ask.

“No.”

“Neither is ours” Kojiro butts in.

“How about you Thuc?” Yung Ho asks him.

Thuc shrugs.

“We don’t really have a prayer before meal tradition back home.”

Yung Ho made an ‘oh’ sound, nodding at the same time.

“But in the spirit of things, I might as well make one up. I can’t remember what the Buddhists say before their meals anyways.”
He then looks down at the food in front of him and muses on the words he would use.

“Let’s see…I thank my ancestors for the opportunity to taste the food of another country, I…thank the spirits and gods involved with making this rice and tofu, this fish and seaweed and the water used for this meal.”

He paused for a few moments, and then ends his prayer with “Thank you everyone”. He then looks up and shrug at us.
“I’m sure they got the message Thuc.” Annan said, with a thumbs up.

Thuc also looks at her for a moment.

“How about you and Connla, you holiness?” he asks.

Annan raises her eyebrow.

“You want me, a goddess, to pray for the food that is offered to me? Who am I going to pray to? Myself?”

Thuc face palms with a smile, shaking his head while the others, including me, chuckle in amusement.

“And you Connla?” Yung Ho ask.

Connla smiles.

“Why pray when the goddess I worship is beside me?”

We all looked at him, especially Annan, who…slightly blushes from the words he used.

The only other individual of note who did something else is Juri, who has the same facial expression as my wife did when she saw a pair of children holding hands and said something about them being married someday.

Which reminds me, those two did marry twenty years ago.

Annan manages to finally say something after a few moment of blushing while looking at Connla.

“You silly joker. You silly, silly joker” she says, shaking her head.

I have to smile at the scene. And something pops into my mind.

“Well, since you are a goddess, why don’t you bless the food?” I say.

All the others look at me, and all the other humans suddenly had this look about them, the one that you see on a person who knows they are going to see something that has barely been seen before.

“I have never heard of anything like that myself.” Kojiro says to himself.

“A deity blessing the food they are about to eat in the presence of their worshippers. Unseen before.” Juri also joined in, while nodding.

I take exception to that.

“Actually, Jesus of Nazareth did that during the Last Supper.” I correct them.

Juri snaps her fingers.

“Oh yeah. I think I heard about that.”

…I think I heard about that.

I sigh.
Now I know how a foreigner feels when an American says that regarding a piece of history related to us.

“Now an American knows how it feels like.” Yung Ho comments.

I look up to see Thuc, Yung Ho, Juri and Kojiro slightly smiling at the spectacle of me sighing at those words.

And I can’t fault them for it.

Teachers of America, need any help from us senior citizens?

“So” Annan said, steering the conversation back at her “You guys want me to bless, to actually bless the food we are about to eat?”
We said yes.

“Alright, I will, but…” she pauses for a moment.

“But?” Connla asks.

“I wanna hear your prayer first Con.” she looks at him.

“Oh come on, really?”

She looks at him with pleading eyes.

“Oh all right, alright. Here goes.”

Connla coughs once and then continues.

“Blessed be to the provider of this meal. May his roof never fall on him, may he never fall down to the floor, may he have a bountiful life and may he die a good death, all these I pray to Annan.”

Immediately after this he asks Javin “May I?” pointing at the wineskin filled with water.

Javin gives it to him. Connla quickly toasts Kojiro and then drinks from the wineskin.

After giving it back to Javin, he looked at Annan and asks her.

“There. Satisfied?”

“Actually I’m happy. It’s been a long time since anyone properly prayed to me.”

As she said the latter part of that sentence she glances at me from the corner of her eyes.

…definitely not letting the girls near anything alcoholic for the rest of my life. Definitely.

“With that done,” Annan looked towards the food and holds her hands over the table. And the next moment she looks as ancient as the forests, smells like the water of a sea and a lake and a river with a forest beside it, and feels like the unknown forests and the mountains that one has just newly discovered on a mission for humankind itself.

“I will the food to never run out until the owner wishes it to run out. I will the food to never spoil until the food runs out. I will the plates, the bowls, the soup spoon and the chopsticks to never break, and I will this abode to never collapse, to never break until the gods will it to, and when they will it, to give the host prior notice before breaking it. All these I give as a blessing to my host.”
After she said that, she looks at everyone and asks.

“Satisfied?”

I look at the owners of the apartment room, and see them with the same faces that a Powerball winner has.

“You look like you won a lotto.” I comment with that in mind.

“In a way, they did win the jackpot.” Thuc answeres me.

“They only expected a blessing for the food, something like good luck for a day or that they have healthy lives. Instead they got food to last them for as long as they want to and an apartment that will never collapse in an earthquake, in a part of the world famous for its earthquakes.” Yung Ho further explains.

I nod to show my understanding.

“I thank you for that, but you didn’t have to go that far your holiness.” Kojiro says in a weak voice.

“Grandpa.” Juri hisses at him.

Annan chuckles.

“I know I didn’t have to go that far, but it has been a long time since I even acted as a deity. I don’t want to pass up this chance.”

‘Meaning you have been more a demon than a god these past years?’ I thought to myself.

“Well now that is over, when do we eat?” Annan ask.

This jolts Kojiro and Juri into action. They quickly said “Itadakimasu” and pick up their eating utensils.

“Eat, my guests. Eat.” Kojiro said, gesturing to the food with his right hand while pointing the chopsticks in that hand towards himself.
Most of us reached for our own eating utensils at this point, with only one exception. Yung Ho.

Yung Ho said “Jal Meokgesseumnida.” before reaching for his chopsticks, making him the last one to start eating.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The food is something new to my taste. It has been a long time since I had tasted rice, and to be honest I had actually forgotten the taste due to eating my wife’s Kentuckian cuisine, with her specialty being, of all things, that of Chili con carne and frog leg flavored johnnycakes.

Back to the food at present, I used to only eat plain rice as it was served to me by the waiter, but this time I experimented. I doused the rice in miso soup and ended up using the soup spoon to eat the rice as a result, but the taste is worth it for me.

Imagine the taste of dried anchovies and seaweed, along with potatoes, all mixed up and into the miso paste used for the soup. Now imagine that permeating the rice while you chew left to right, right to left.

Now imagine eating that rice with the cooked ingredients themselves in your mouth.

Potatoes and flavored rice? Delicious.

Anchovies and rice? The taste doesn’t mix that well but it is still good.

Seaweeds and rice? The seaweeds had already been leached of their entire flavor from the cooking process so I didn’t notice any particular taste which belongs to seaweed.

And then when you drink the miso soup itself with nothing else in your mouth? Heavenly.

I feel the urge to compliment the cook after finishing one bowl of rice and soup.

“Juri, as a grandfather I tell you this. Whoever marries you is going to be one lucky son of a gun, if he is going to be eating food this heavenly all the time.”

Juri blushes and says “Thank you, Mr…” she then had an uncertain look on her face.

I look towards the others and ask.

“Just asking, did we all introduce ourselves?”

A few moments of silence reigns, and then we all feel embarrassed.

We forgot to introduce ourselves! God help us! How embarrassing.

We quickly took turns introducing ourselves to them.

“My name is Herbert Ward of Kentucky, United States.” I say with an apologetic smile.

“Cha Yung Ho. Paksu Mudang. Pusan, South Korea.” Yung Ho says in a slightly grumpy voice.

“I am Lieu Van Thuc, from Binh Phuoc, Vietnam. A Thieu Thuong in the Vietnam People’s Army.” he says in a happy voice.

“Javin Buddhapriya Lad, a Kshatriya of Jhansi, India, young lady.” he says in the kind of tone a happily married man gives to a young female acquaintance.

“Connla, son of Setanta, of the land of Letha, or what is now France.” Connla said to her.

We expected something from Annan, only to be disappointed with silence.

When we looked at her, she responds with “What? Her grandfather knows who I am.”

We stare at her a little more.

“Oh all right. My name is Annan, originally the goddess of earth of Ireland, formerly goddess of predicting death in battle, now the goddess of fertility, cattle and prosperity.”

“Fertility? As in pregnancy?” I ask.

“Yes. That fertility. And no, I have no relation with the process of getting a girl pregnant.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“No, really. I deal with,” she suddenly turns to Juri and Koijro, saying “Sorry for the next few words I will be saying, these will be vulgar,” then she turns back to me “I deal with making girls menstruate timely and have healthy eggs, making sure men have healthy sperms, making sure everything inside the body is ok for fertilization. But sex itself? That’s not me, that’s the jurisdiction of the love and lust gods like Eros, also known as Cupid.”

I nod to show understanding, but I still have a hard time separating the words fertility and sex from each other.

I then notice Juri blushing from the words Annan just said in front of the dinner table.

“And yours is?” I ask her, trying to take her mind off the conversation about fertility.

She starts at my words, and then controls herself and lightly bends her head to us and says “My name is Takayama Juri, daughter of Takayama Shinichi and Miya, granddaughter of Takayama Kojiro and Ayako, one of the miko of Kanda Myojin and current 3rd year student of History in Kokugakuin University.”

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After the introductions were made, we continued eating. And in the middle of the dinner Juri’s parents finally came into the room, back from whatever work they came from.

After another round of introductions were made and the two persons had finished changing clothes and being informed of the blessings given to their family, we continued to eat until all of us are full.

And after finishing the meal and cleaning up the table, we all settle down and watch Kojiro outlining his plan to call Ebisu on our behalf.

“Now, we could call him with an all out Kagura, your holiness, but I am not sure we should call him now…I think the kami were called for an emergency meeting three days ago.”

“Why didn’t you say so earlier?” Annan asks Kojiro in irritation.

Kojiro shrugs.

“You already sent him a message. I thought a message from a friend would get his attention, but apparently not.”

“Meaning we must wait somewhere for the night and try again tomorrow.” Annan grumbles.

“Or we could try that Kagura now and if he shows up pissed off, I blame you. Your choice, your holiness.”

Annan scratches her head for a few moments, looking to the side. Then she grimaces. And then she nods.

“Please do it.”

Kojiro nodded and then turns to Juri.

“You heard the kami. We have a Kagura to do.”

Juri nodded, stands up and then walks towards the middle of the room, while most of us moved towards the walls, moving the table at the same time. The only person who did not is Shinichi.

“Father, I know that you and Juri are the experts here, but I have to ask. Where are the props?”

“The props?” I ask.

“Props?” Kojiro asks.

Shinichi nods

Kojiro briefly laughs, leaving his son confused.

“Father?”

“You mean this?” he holds out his right palm up, and suddenly appearing on it is a…stick with a white paper streamer.

“Or this?” a musical instrument of some kind appeared in his left hand. It is a stick, with 3 tiers of little bells.

Shinichi looks from one of them, to the other, and then looks up to Kojiro’s face and shrugs.

Kojiro rolls his eyes with a smile, and then tosses the stick with the paper streamer to Juri, who is in the middle of the room. The musical instrument he…disappeared into thin air and in its place are two thin wooden sticks.

“Ready?” he asks her.

Juri nodded and then assumes her position, both her hands clasping the stick upright, and to her chest as in a prayer. And then she bows to the direction she is facing and assumes her position again.

Kojiro starts chanting, the only sounds coming from his mouth a continuous sound that goes like this.
“o-o-o-o-O-O-O-O-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-” and so on and so forth, with the wooden sticks banging against each other the moment Kojiro’s voice…tone goes higher or lower or…whatever the musical term is.

With the first clap of the stick, Juri swing out her hands in a circular motion, with the stick held in the right hand. Her hands end in a position where it looks like she is praying only with the hands clasped above her head. Then she swings them back the other way, towards her chest again.

With the fourth clap of the stick, Juri turns 90 degrees to her right and did the same thing. With the seventh clap of the stick, she turns 180 degrees to her right and then had only the hand holding the stick do the circular motion, ending with it raised above her head while the other hand is just at her chest.

And while she is doing all these her eyes are closed.

This dance continued on for a few more minutes when suddenly Kojiro and Juri suddenly stop the ritual and looked towards the balcony.

At the same time Annan and Yung Ho stiffen up and look in the same direction.

“What took you so…long?” Annan said with a smile that ended with an uncertain tone seeing the expression of the man…no, god before us.

He is wearing a tall, black hat of some sort, a red shirt and white pants, with a white cloth serving as a belt. He is also a slightly chubby man with large earlobes, a mustache and a slightly crippled gait.

And as for the feeling that I get when I look at this god…this is a fisherman among fishermen. This is a fisherman that will make every recreational fisherman in North America weep in envy and seethe with jealousy. Where others will only catch a tuna or a marlin, he will catch a salmon swallowed by a tuna swallowed by a marlin and how on earth do I know that is what will happen when he catches fish?

…oh forget it.

Behind him is a woman with beautiful waist length dark hair tied into a pony tail. She is wearing a dress with geometric designs at the fringes, a headband with the same designs, and…she looks surprisingly European, with fair skin and with eyes you commonly see from us White people.

And at the same time I smell the scent of fresh water and hear the sound of rivers deep in the background as I look at her.

And she looks worried for the god, who is wearing a tired and angry expression, the one a person has after a very frustrating day at work.

“You alright there Leech man?” Annan said, looking worriedly at Ebisu.

“You think this face shows the word ‘alright’ to you D-Cup? Do you? Do you?” he says in a deadpan voice that nevertheless has a hint of irritation in it while looking at her and then pointing at his face.

We all shake our heads in negation.

Ebisu sighed and then mussed his hair with his right hand.

“Sorry D-Cup. Just had a CRAPPY!” Ebisu suddenly starts yelling.

“CRAPPY, CRAPPY DAY, HAVING MY JOB AND MY OWN PET PEEVE MESSED ABOUT WITH BY SOME INSULT TO BEAUREUCRATS EVERYWHERE IN SOME USELESS LITTLE TOWN IN-“

“Sit down dear!” the woman suddenly yellS, cutting off Ebisu and stamping her left foot.

Ebisu suddenly sits down cross-legged on the floor, his face full of surprise.

When he looks back at the woman (who I assume is Waka-ush, the wife that Annan mentioned earlier) with his mouth opened wide and about to complain, she cuts him off.

“I understand you are angry dear. As angry as when the Yamato kami flung insults and slander at me that first time you introduced me, but this time you are not in the right. You will stop this embarrassing outburst in the abode of ANOTHER FAMILY, you will APOLOGIZE to the others HERE, especially to the Takayamas, and you will sit down and eat of their fare and tell stories or else…”
Waka-ush trails off in a threatening way.

“Else?” Ebisu softly asks her in the same way one watches an accident happen from far away, unable to tear their eyes off the tragedy.

“I shall not have sex with you for ten years.” she says to him.

Ebisu chokes.

Except for Connla, all of us men wince.

“Too much information, Waka.” Annan mutters loud enough to reach my ears.

Waka-ush ignores her.

“You are my first, dear husband of mine. I never had sex all that time before I met you, and I can bear not having sex for ten years after all this time of our marriage.” she tells him slowly, while putting her face near his.

“Understand?” Waka-ush finally asks him.

Ebisu only nods.

…well, that’s another henpecked husband I now know, besides Thuc.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After Annan introduced us to Ebisu and Waka-ush, and after they had eaten their fill of the reheated pots of infinite food that Juri brought out of the refrigerator, Annan finally got around to asking Ebisu about the outburst from earlier.

“What on earth’s got into you earlier, Leech man? All I got from your rant is that some lower ranked kami pissed you off at your job and also got your pet peeve. So? Talk.” Annan demands.

Ebisu sighs.

“It’s about a number of dead children whom I blessed.”

The words ‘dead children’ instantly get everyone’s undivided attention.

“Annan may not have explained it earlier,” he continued, looking at me and the others in Annan’s party “but I am the Japanese kami of fishermen, luck, workingmen and guardian of the health of small children.”

We nod to show we understand how he is related to the kids.

“Since 8 months ago, I started hearing prayers to me asking for my help in searching for the kids who went missing. Naturally, I started investigating when all of a sudden one of the prayers stopped in the middle of a sentence around 4 days ago.”

“Stopped in the middle?” Kojiro asked in a serious tone of voice.

“Stopped in the middle.” Ebisu replies.

“Doesn’t that usually happen when the one praying suddenly died?” Annan said.

“That’s what I thought too, so I quickly followed the prayer to its source in Miyazaki city, only to see this lower ranked kami over the sleeping bodies of the whole family, weaving magic over their minds. Naturally he was shocked to see me there, and then he ran.”

“He ran?” Annan asked with an incredulous voice.

“He ran. After a chase scene out of an action movie that lasted a whole day and night, complete with magic just shooting everywhere like it is an honest to myself gunfight and actual blows to each other here and there, I finally cornered the little asshole somewhere in Hokkaido, along with Waka-ush here and Ainu friends of ours. After a while of trying to peacefully coax the story out of him I finally gave up and just dragged him to Izumo in Shimane. And it was an event that had never been seen before.” he grins, and yet that grin had hints of frustration in it.

“Event never seen before…it’s October here now right? Kannazuki?”

“Dragged him there on the last day of Kannazuki, actually. It shocked everyone there to see Ebisu the deaf,”

Deaf? This guy’s deaf?

“ the one who always never shows up in Izumo during Kannazuki due to several reasons show up for once, along with the never invited before Ainu kamuis, so naturally everyone of the kami there watched me and my friends drag him in front of my father and siblings, and stated what happened. Naturally, since it is father himself who is now asking the questions, the little asshole confessed…and it was bad.”

“I don’t like the sound of that, your holiness.” Kojiro says.

“Whatever it sounds like, the reality is worse. The story, it turns out, is the biggest cover-up in the history of the Japanese pantheon, including so many minor and major kami whom I will not name concerning one little-”

Ebisu’s voice started heating up again, but this time he controlled it, certainly because of his wife’s threat.

“ fuck up in the job of one little asshole. And this fuck up touched the territory of so many kami at the same time, including mine.”
We are all hooked on his words.

“How does it relate to the dead kids?” Annan asks.

“It’s the story of a certain elementary school. It all started with the murder of a mother and child in 1953 in that same school, due to the principal. It was supposed to end there but…circumstances happened. The mother’s ghost is stuck in location, and lonely…while the child is…touched, insane. Couldn’t find any peace even after slowly driving the principal insane. So…she started killing children by suicide and accidents for…years…to not let her mother be lonely. This continued until 1973, when she somehow went into corporeal form, killed three children herself and implicated the son of the principal that she is using as the vehicle for the murders, driving himmore crazy later on and making him commit suicide in the end. And then that is where the story went from bad to worse.”

Oh God, a real life horror story.

It’s starting to sound like Amityville ain’t got nothing on what Ebisu is telling us.

“From that time on, the girl started killing everyone who went into this…this alternate dimension that she had somehow made. We then fast forward to twelve months ago. A popular occult high school personality had posted a charm on her website before disappearing, a bullshit something charm that will make your friendship with the other people doing it with you ‘unbreakable’.”

At the word unbreakable he made an air quote.

“What she didn’t say is that it doesn’t work in the first place if you do it right, and even so, the instructions she posted on the blog are wrong. And if you go do this charm wrong-POOF! Straight to the alternate dimension you go. Since she is popular, and since it is on the internet…it’s popular with kids ages 8 up…”

Ebisu shakes his head in anger and frustration.

“Oh my God” I muttered to myself, feeling tears threatening to break out.

“Now…three months ago some kids finally managed to send off the girl to peace and then became the first ones to successfully escape that hellhole. But it turns out the alternate dimension…has become something of a sentient being of itself, and has replaced the girl with one of the other kid ghosts she murdered in ’73 as the head ghost. Now…now there are hundreds of kids 8 or10 up dead, maybe even thousands. And this asshole, along with his cohorts that dropped the ball on this so badly their only answer is to literally erase or damage the memory and record of the dead from this world, from pictures to birth certificates to finally, the human memory…It is atrocious, horrific, a fuck up as bad as the Americans are doing in Iraq right now.”

“Now wait a minute here Mr. Ebisu!-“ I yell.

Ebisu interrupts me.

“Well it’s true, isn’t it Mr. Ward?! Iraq right now is on the verge of civil war, Shiites and Sunnis are killing each other thanks to this al-Sadr character, regardless of the presence of the American army there, no? Just this day somebody blew up a bus station in Karbala, killing at least 37 and wounding more than 150, if you listened to NHK an hour ago.”

…I can’t answer back and honestly say to myself that I believe it with all of my heart.

I just look away from him in frustration.

I hear Ebisu make the kind of sound one tries to stifle out after getting pinched, and then heard him say moments later “For what’s it worth, sorry Mr. Ward for making that example.”

I look back to see Ebisu offering his right hand in a handshake.

He feels sincere with it.

I take his hand and shakes it, showing I accept his apology.

“I still protest the comparison. Also, we went in there sincerely believing in the best.”

He made a ‘hmm’ sound, and then shakes his head, saying “Well, now I know. Again I apologize.”

I nod this time.

“Ebisu, about the girl you told us about.” Annan asked him in…what?

We all look at her to see a goddess in absolute horror, complete with wide eyes and pale skin and shaking oh so slightly.
“Annan?” Waka-ush asks in concern for her friend.

“The girl’s name wouldn’t be Shinozaki Sachiko, is it?”

“How did you know that?!” Ebisu quickly asks in shock.

Waka-ush stares at her with pretty much the same emotion.

Annan opened her mouth, closed it, opens it but her voice failed her.

On the next try, she opens her mouth and manages to say the following, in the most horrified tone of voice I have ever heard, complete with chokes in between.

“C…Cor…Corpse Party. Corpse Party Blood Covered”


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2013-10-04 12:36pm, edited 3 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-01-04 12:46pm
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Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 182
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People, from here on out, it is unknown territory to me. I...this is the first time I am actually going to portray fictional characters from a real series in a story so...I guess I am afraid I might get things wrong. Make a mistake somewhere.

To fans of Corpse Party, please guide me on the way until I finish it.

Thanks to maddoctor and Lady Tevar for the beta'ing.

I couldn't have done it without you folks.

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-01-04 09:25pm
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Joined: 2011-03-05 03:18am
Posts: 5
This is very different from what I normal expect on SD or read but I am enjoying it greatly.
You have assembled an interesting cast and your characterisations work well.
The story itself also intrigues me. Is this a cross between the Labours of Hercules and various fantasy games?
Thanks for sharing and looking forward to more.

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-01-05 01:35am
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Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
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Comments people?

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-01-05 11:50am
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It all seems strangely familiar :)



"Aid, trade, green technology and peace." - Hans Rosling.
"Welcome to SDN, where we can't see the forest because walking into trees repeatedly feels good, bro." - Mr Coffee

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-01-08 10:54am
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 182
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richard3116 wrote:
This is very different from what I normal expect on SD or read but I am enjoying it greatly.
You have assembled an interesting cast and your characterisations work well.
The story itself also intrigues me. Is this a cross between the Labours of Hercules and various fantasy games?
Thanks for sharing and looking forward to more.


Umm...I never thought about the Labours of Hercules before. I was thinking of more of the movie "The Rundown", the one with The Rock and Sean William Scott in 2003. And of the Oddysey.

But oh well...it also works.

And...not fantasy games. Well...you ever search for Corpse Party?

Also, one sci-fi strategy game that I think I read somewhere...here or on Spacebattles say is the best strategy game of all time, is on the list of crossovers.

Hmm...wonder how magic, ancient warriors, kshatriya and Vietnam Vets would perform against a sci-fi opponent many of you guys would have a lot of knowledge about.

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-01-27 12:37pm
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Chapter 11

“Corpse what?” Ebisu asks her, still in shock.

“It is…it is” Annan keeps on trying to say something.

“What? Come on, speak D-cup!”

“You…you know that one anime? Title is Magical Abenobashi Shopping Arcade?”

“Not-” Ebisu immediately stopped talking, mouth still open for another word and looking at Annan suspiciously.

“How about breaking the fourth wall? Like…like Rika in Higurashi no Naku Koro Ni?” Annan continues.

Connla looks oddly at her upon the phrase ‘breaking the fourth wall’.

After a few moments of openmouthed silence, Ebisu continues talking, in a tone of denial.

“No. No, no, no-” he says, to be interrupted by Annan.

“But according to what you said, it appears that is the case-“

“I can accept that I am the product of the imagination of man, there is evidence of that for everything supernatural. However, I refuse to believe that the entire world I live in is the product of the fantasy of someone from your world D-cup.”

…what the hell.

What. The. Hell.

“Hey. We once speculated this might happen, after all we are all proof that many-worlds theory is correct, no?”

She points to herself, to us, and then upwards for some reason.

Why upwards?

“Speculation. Speculation in our first get together eight years ago, drinking bottle after bottle of mead and sake along with the other supernatural friends of otaku ilk from different worlds. Not actual…proof.”

He says the word proof in a faint voice.

“Ebisu, dear? Can you explain to me just what is it that you and Annan are talking about?” Waka-ush asks him.

Ebisu looks at her, and then at Annan in desperation, with the kind of look one gives when asking for help.

Help arrives from an unexpected quarter.

“Your holiness, I think what Annan and Ebisu are talking about is this. The situation that was covered up by the lower rank kami that you helped capture is the setting of something fictional in Annan’s world.” Juri answers Waka-ush’s question.

Waka-ush looks at her, and then at Ebisu and Annan with a face that says ‘Really?’

Both nod at her.

“And what fictional medium is the situation based on? Novels?Anime? Manga?” she asks.

“Corpse Party Blood Covered is one of the most famous dojin games ever made for the PC-98 series-“

“NEC’s cash cow? That computer I have at home?”

“Ye- what?” Annan asked, blinking in confusion.

“I bought one eight years ago, as a birthday present for my husband.” Waka-ush admits with a smile.

Annan looks at both of them and then shakes her head, getting back on topic.

“Anyways, the original game, Corpse Party, appeared in 1996, winning the creator 5 million yen for second place in a competition by ASCII Entertainment. It then next appeared as a Microsoft Windows game whose title is Corpse Party: Blood Covered in 2008-“

“2008? How can that be? It’s just 2007 right now” I interrupt her.

“-in 2008,” she continues, ignoring me “which I have the privilege of playing a few months ago thanks to Thalia, Muse of comedy who also happens to be a fan of manga. She resides in a universe that is 5 years in advance of ours. And as of three weeks ago, I received the sequel Corpse Party: Book of Shadows, released in 2011. And I finished it a week ago.”

Annan then turns to me.

“That answer your question?”

I nod.

She turns back towards Ebisu.

“The basic premise of the franchise is the same as what you said, although it also showcases several bad endings. Tell me, what is happening to the kids that got out as of right now?”

“Well, Nakashima Naomi is believed to be insane by everyone else other than those who survived by insisting that Shinohara Seiko is real. Shinozaki Ayumi is delving deeper into the magical arts trying to counteract the magic woven by the kami’s involved in the cover-up. Mochida Satoshi and Yuka and Kishinuma Yoshiki are…mid-level in their academics, worrying about Nakashima and Shinozaki.”

“So Yuka is alive. Chapter 5 Real Ending then.” Annan mutters to herself.

“Real ending?” I ask to myself in dismay. I then turn to the others of my own generation and before in that room.

“You guys still follow what they are talking about?” I softly ask while in the background the gods were talking to each other.

“Nothing regarding computer games. Otherwise yes.” Thuc answers.

“I don’t even know what a computer is.” Javin said.

Yung Ho pretty much said the same thing.

“I…think I have my granddaughter, son and daughter-in-law to explain that to me…some time from now.” Kojiro looks at the said people, who look at each other and…had expressions of wondering how to explain things to someone…old.

“I know the terms since I also played one.” Connla raises his hand.

I look at him in wonder.

“What’s the deal with that anyway? How come you learned how to operate a computer, and even play a computer game?” Thuc ask him.

Connla shrugs.

“Annan. I saw her assembling a computer along with Daesun and Ratri back when they were just new friends. I joined in.”

I see.

Well, that’s enough reason for me.

I turn back to the gods, to hear Annan asking what is the plan of the Japanese gods in dealing with the situation.

“The plan…the plan.” Ebisu slowly said as if unwilling to release his thoughts.

“I don’t like the sound of that” Annan replies to that.

“You shouldn’t, Annan.”

At Annan’s curious look Ebisu explains further.

“Well…there is a big argument over it. Mixed feelings were everywhere, the kami were even taking sides to defend or put down those involved. Some did it for family shame, and some did it for friendship. My mother came in the middle of the interrogation. Then when it ended, she declared that she doesn’t know whether to applaud the fool lower kami who started it for helping her goal…or to curse him for a hundred years for barging in to her work.”

“Izanami said that?”

“Yeah. After that the assembly erupted into accusing mother that she orchestrated this event. She denied it and then asked the implicated kamis what they were thinking by hiding like worms and not trying to solve this thing.”

“And?”

“The one who started it all said he had no other option. He could not seal the place away eternally since it was already very, very big by the time he discovered it. And he tried exorcising it once from the inside. And he said he almost never got out alive.”
The last sentence silences the whole room.

A god almost never got out alive? I thought a god isn’t supposed to die, right?

Right?

“He then asked for help from friends and levered favors from others. They went in there as a group, and again they barely managed to get out alive. What they saw inside convinced them that exorcising human souls is an impossible task if the souls can’t get out of that place. And it is much more of an impossible task when they are outnumbered by enough grudge bearing ghosts to form a private army. They then tried sealing the place away even further from reality but it only ended up making things worse since now they, and by extension any other kami, can’t even get back into the place to try again…and in the meantime that place is still getting more victims.”

“Ouch.” Annan whispers with a wince.

“Scared of what they had done by turning a previously accessible place into an inaccessible one, and rightfully thinking that they are the ones who will be blamed, they started a cover-up of massive proportions. Or should I say the first cover-up in Japanese supernatural history. They wiped the memories of everyone involved and erased their own spiritual tracks to hide that there was ever a problem there in the first place. They even set up wards to hide it from any other kami's notice.”

I shake my head at the ass-covering assholes. I honestly expected that bureaucrats in another religion’s heaven would be better than those here on Earth by virtue of being gods.

“So, now it is in the open. The full force of the Yamato pantheon, and possibly the Ainu kamui, is looking over the problem. What is their plan?”

Ebisu remained silent and looks down at the floor. His wife is just as sad and she reaches over the table to hold his left hand tightly.

We waited for a few more moments until it dawns on everyone there that there was no plan.

“What a fuck up.” Annan says, quickly glancing at the corner of her eyes to Kojiro and his family.

“Kids are dying every day…some of them were entrusted to me by their parents…and we can’t help them. We, the kami…can’t help them.” Ebisu whispers to himself.

Annan shakes her head and went ahead.

“Well, I feel bad for that so let’s move on to other topics.”

“Like?”

“Well, you still remember that favor I asked of you? And remember me asking three weeks ago how I can pay it back? Well…here I am and a retinue of bodyguards.”

She points at us with an almost brilliant smile.

Ebisu stayed silent and dejected. Annan is left pointing to us in mid-air and smiling like an idiot, waiting for any sign of life from him.
“What is the condition again?” Waka-ush saves Annan’s dignity, taking over for her husband with an apologetic smile at her.

“It has to be something a human can do-“

“Something a human can do.” Ebisu interrupts her.

He suddenly looks up at Annan, and then at us, his eyes brightened up as if his head suddenly had a storm of thoughts.

“Humans.” he says while looking at us.

“Favor.” he looks at Annan with a manic kind of hope starting to show on his face.

“Reel.” he looks down at the most beautiful fishing pole I have ever seen that he is suddenly holding in his right hand.

He then looks up with a grin.

“Yur…orika…oh never mind. I have an idea!”

He shouted out, looking rejuvenated with a manic grin full of hope.

“I have a bad feeling about this” I heard Thuc say from beside me.

I nodd, since I also had the same sentiment.

“What is your idea?” Annan asks him, interested in Ebisu’s idea.

“Your retinue could perform the Sachiko ever after ritual to go into the dimension where the school is located. In the meantime, us kamis will use them as the fish hook to pull the dimension the elementary school is in back here to the real world by the use of magic that is attached to them.”

He ends his explanation with a smile, only to be met by silence from our group.

“There’s a problem with that Leech man.” Annan sais moments later while raising a finger into the air.

“What?” Ebisu quickly replies.

“It has to be something that a human can do safely. That’s the agreement remember?”

His smile turns dim and his hopeful expression looked like it was poleaxed by reality.

“But some human kids escaped.” Ebisu tries to complain.

“And three members of the group from Kisaragi Academy died in there. That does not count as safe Ebisu.” Annan states.

“Oh.” he finally says moments later, his joy gone.

Poor children…

Poor children?

…That agreement is because of me right?

Even without me, my granddaughters already had Ratri’s protection from the curse of Annan.

…But at stake here is the eternal peace of hundreds of kids, no?

…Couldn’t somebody else do this? It’s not my job. It is not…

Something deep inside me is compelling me to ask a question that suddenly came into my mind.

I feel that I had the choice to refuse, and yet I am compelled to ask, knowing that I will make a decision that might result in death when I do ask this question.

And yet if I say yes to this decision I feel that I will be happy and joyful doing His…

…His work…and that He will walk me through the valley of the shadow of death, thus I…will not die.

Is this you, God?

God, give me a sign here.

“Annan, what are the souls of the dead doing in that dimension? Are they just trapped there?” I ask.

She looked at me sadly.

“They are trapped there forever feeling the pain that they experienced when they died, and driven to insanity by it and the despair of never getting relief from the pain. In short, they are in hell without being condemned to the everlasting fires of hell.”

I close my eyes, while in the background I hear Annan mutter “What on Fiodh-Inis did I just say?”

I see…

I see.

God has called, and I…

I shall answer.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“You know, that was very unexpected of you Ward” Annan says to me while she is seated in front of me.

“Children’s lives…afterlives are at stake here. You think I will not risk my life when I am in the position to save them?” I reply back at her, peeved at the disbelief in her voice.

“When you already said you want to return alive to your granddaughters? Well yes. I do think so.” she said in a matter-of-factly tone.

I gritted my teeth in the face of her disbelief.

I never thought anything could become a pet peeve of mine in just a matter of minutes, yet here I am. Someone I dislike not believing I can do something so self-sacrificing, something good, irritated me more than anything else in my adult life.

“Don’t underestimate us veterans, your holiness” Yung Ho defends me “Look at me. I admit I still hate the Japanese, but here I am going along on an exorcism to free some young Japanese souls from eternal torture they did not merit yet.”

“Yet?” Thuc blurts out, looking incredulously at Yung Ho.

Yung Ho crosses his arms and says “I’m sorry. Never mind what I said.”

“Do you hate these people that much?” I ask him, worried about Yung Ho.

“Herbert, please stop.” Yung Ho pleads with me with a tired look on his face.

I concede to his request, but I swear I will talk this over with Yung Ho…someday before I return home.

I now look at the other two members of our group in our coach, seated behind me.

Javin and Connla are both staring in awe at the morning scenery that our train is passing by outside at the speed of 120 kilometers an hour.

We are currently riding a train towards a town called Kasamatsu in the province of Gifu two days after I made my decision.
That night, moments after I made my decision known to the gods, Thuc excused the both of us and led me to a quiet corner of the room. He asked me if I am sure of my decision while the others are looking in the background. After I had assured him that I am completely serious with my decision, he patted me on the shoulder and grinned.

He then looked behind him and said that it looks like we have a mission.

Except for Annan, who still looks confused on why she spouted off something straight from the Bible, and for Yung Ho, who just grunted and looked away with a neutral expression, everyone else looked…like they are anticipating a victory that will inevitably come.

Other than Juri and her parents, who went off to sleep since they had jobs and a school to go to the next day, everyone sat up the whole night discussing and revising the plan that Ebisu had just cooked up. And then we, as in Annan’s human bodyguards, slept the whole day.

In the end, the resulting plan went like this.

First off, the highest levels of the Japanese government, who will be debriefed by a possessed 6 year old imperial princess, will order an evacuation of the town due to something that they will invent, and at the same time a nationwide internet blackout will be ordered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to stop the inflow of victims into the place. At the same time the Japanese gods will weave magic so as to make Japan believe it and quickly follow orders.

After the town has been evacuated a ring of checkpoints is established by the Japanese Self Defense Forces outside the town, the immediate area around Kisaragi Academy will be cordoned off by as many human specialists that could be brought to the area as possible, with the provincial police assisting them in certain tasks. Needless to say, the Japanese gods will be present, disguising themselves from the police by intermingling in with the exorcists and psychics, who would doubtlessly know their identities and help with the disguises.

After that is where our party comes in. We will go into the grounds of Kisaragi Academy and perform the Sachiko ritual in plain sight of everyone there, while a metaphysical thread of magic is woven around us. After we had already been in there, the Japanese gods will immediately start…pulling at the dimension that Tenjin Elementary School is inside of, and bring it to the real world, where all the gods and the specialists will subdue the ghosts and bring them back to their senses.

In short, we were the fish hook, the gods were doing the role of the fisherman, magic is the fishing reel, line and pole. And the haunted elementary school is the fish.

“Are you two enjoying the scenery?” Kojiro asks from the opposite seat from those of Connla and Javin.

“Yes, elder Takayama. I have never been in the countryside of another country other than Letha and Eriu. There is…a different feeling to these forests, compared to those back home.” Connla replied, looking towards the mountains.

“It should be. Japan and France are on opposite sides of the world, so the very trees must be different.” Javin says while looking at the people we pass by.

“How about you, Mr. Lad?”

“What meets my eye here Connla, is how much humans can do to the countryside in…a hundred and fifty years after I died.” Javin says.

He points at the mountains that we are passing by, giving special attention to the roads, the houses and the electric posts built on the mountainside.

“In my day no one would build their houses on a mountainside, and yet I see what appears to be a city that is built on the mountainside, with roads and rails and tunnels literally carved out of the mountains, and telegraph wires crossing over the mountains not far from the city.”

“Does it marvel you?” Kojiro asks.

“It horrifies me! Where would you get wood if all the forests would be cut down for homes and roads wider than one needed? And are those houses safe where they are? No landslides, no wild predators lurking around those houses? A dense forest is not a sign of how firm the soil is, and is more a place that wild animals may be around. And the houses are built on the seaward side of the mountain. Would they stand strong in the face of a storm coming in from the sea?”

Kojiro has an awkward expression at Javin’s answer.

“Oh. So that is what is bothering me.” Connla mutters to himself as he looks toward the windows on the other side of the train. In the distance, the sea is visible by reflecting the light of a rising sun.

I softly chuckle in deprecation and looked back to my own window, looking at the scenery of the pleasing structures in the midst of the mountains.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We arrived at Kasugacho temple, a temple that is close to Kisaragi Academy around 11:30 in the morning. We were quickly introduced by Kojiro to the Shinshoku there named Momoi Hayato. It felt like he WAS not pleased to see us, human and goddess alike. Nevertheless Momoi welcomed us into his temple and gave us a vacant room in the temple’s administrative office. After that, Kojiro said that he has to return to Tokyo, since he still has priestly duties do perform.

He did say that we will see him and Juri again after the plan had started, since they are among those who will be in the cordon. Before he left, Annan gave him three 10,000 Japanese Yen paper bills and three honest to goodness golden necklaces just like the one she is wearing as her show of appreciation for escorting us to Kasamatsu.

Kojiro thanked her profusely and left with a big grin on his face.

An hour after that, Momoi informed us that a room for dining in the temple is available but apologizes for the fact that he could not provide us food since his temple is short on funds. So we told him that all we need is a place where we can cook with fire since we had brought our own food.

He brought us to what appears to be the backyard of the administrative office, which is a garden full of bushes with flowers. There he gave each one of us a plastic chair and then he bowed down to us and went back into the building.

“Friends, do you have the feeling that this particular Brahmin does not want us here?” Javin softly says to us while he pulls out a mat from his bag, laying on top of it a napkin wrapped around something. When he unwraps it, it turned out to be a stack of flatbread.

“I don’t think it is us Elder Javin. It is more likely that fact that he is living only a few hundred meters from a cursed site without noticing it. That would have made him look bad in front of his contemporaries.” Connla said as he was looking at Javin’s flatbreads.

“Then why is he taking it out on us?” I grumble as I open up a can of sardines and gives it to Annan.

At her raised eyebrow, I say “Can you please heat this up?”

She tak it in her hands, blew on the content, and then gives it back to me with the contents already cooked and hot.

I then offer the sardines to Javin saying “Here’s some filling for those flatbread. I just want some, ok?”

Then something came to mind and I continue.

“By the way, do you also have unlimited food by way of a magical bag?”

“Why yes I do Mr. Ward. And I thank her holiness Ratri for it…Connla, do you want a Chapati?” Javin took one of the chapatis and holds it out to Connla.

Connla shakes his head, saying “No need to. Annan will give me the game that I will eat, right Annan?” he turned his head towards Annan with an expectant look on his face.

Annan is looking everywhere but at him.

“Right Annan?” Connla repeats the words again, this time with uncertainty in his tone.

Annan points up to the sky, where birds are circling around our position.

“You want some Japanese quail?”

I looked up for a closer look at the birds. And as Annan said, those are quails.

Suddenly a fast, flying object collided with one of the birds, bringing it down a few meters away from us.

Then another object went flying, to bring another of the birds down.

I look down to the source of those objects, to see Connla putting away his sling and the bag of stones into his backpack.

He then walks towards the dead birds.

“I think that is illegal.” I comment.

“It would be illegal if someone were to say something to the Japanese authorities.” Annan replies in a sing-song.

I sigh as Connla goes back to our chairs and starts the process of…preparing the two dead birds.

I look away and try to get back to the prior conversation.

“As I was saying, why on earth is Momoi taking his frustration out on us?”

“I bet it’s because we are foreigners.” Yung Ho remarks as he set about eating an MCI ration just heated up by Annan.

“Here we go again.” I mutter while looking up the sky.

“Maybe that is the reason” Annan speaks up, surprisingly.

I look at her in surprise, prompting her to explain further.

“Well, many members of the Yamato supernatural world are…what do you call this…right wing nationalists. Anyway, those people would think we are outsiders who have no right to meddle around in ‘internal affairs’.”

“And Momoi’s one of them right wingers?” I say in an incredulous tone.

How on God’s green earth is saving tormented souls mixed in with POLITICS?

Jesus Christ, help us.

“Maybe.” she shrugs with indifference.

I am speechless.

“Might we not make the whole plan go faster so we do not…offend these right-wingers more, you holiness? I know their like back home and believe me when I say you do not want to become their target.” Thuc asks with a little urgency in his tone as he is eating Banh Mi from a Styrofoam package with a corporate logo of some Vietnamese fast food chain on the cover.

“Well…I’ll check with Ebisu.” she said, taking out her cell phone and calling him.

I quickly say my Grace and then finally start to eat, taking a chapati from Javin’s mat, using it as a wrapper for a sardine the same way, and biting into it.

It tastes like that tortilla from that shop in Louisville near Annie’s home, only with the addition of sardine and butter flavors.

The experience is spoiled only by the smell of blood from Connla’s butchering of the quails. Speaking of which…

“That’s fast.” I commented.

He’s already done with the heads, entrails and the skins of two quails in…less than five minutes.

“It is because I had a lot of practice, elder Ward.” he proudly replies to me as he is washing the bodies with water from Yung Ho’s canteen.

“Where are you going to put those entrails?” Thuc asks.

“Bury them in-“

“I’ll do it.” Annan interrupts Connla while she is texting Ebisu with her right hand.

She snaps her left finger and suddenly the entrails, heads and the blood on the soil of the temple sank down like quicksand, leaving a barren patch of ground. And then suddenly grass covered the barren patch, leaving no trace of the butchering done there by Connla.

“Thanks An.” Connla said and continue to wash the quail breasts.

“Just cook me a good meal Con.” Annan continues texting.

I see Thuc grin, hidden behind the Styrofoam container.

I also have the same sentiment.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

After we had eaten our fill, and in my case said Grace again, an hour later, Annan informed us to the current state of affairs regarding the Kisaragi Accademy situation.

It was a FUBAR.

Less than 30 specialists would be able to go to Kasamatsu in the next seven days. Everyone else is busy with other exorcisms and other things. Fortunately that number would increase to around 1000 in twenty days.

The Japanese government however, is surprisingly making two demands in exchange for following the lead of the Japanese gods in regards to Kasamatsu. The first demand is that they want a ‘closer’ working relationship between the native Japanese specialists and the JSDF (which I interpret as ‘draft into the JSDF’) and between the Japanese gods of luck and the Ministry of Trade and Industry.

The second demand is the non-participation of foreigners, meaning our group in particular, in what they consider an ‘internal matter’ of Japan.

To replace us, they insist on sending their own people from the JSDF’s Japanese Special Operations Group along with a Japanese god who wants to volunteer for the job of leading them inside.

A further complication is the Japanese Imperial family who were just informed about what happened to their precious child. Now they not only face a crisis of faith, meeting their supposed ancestor, but their child is possessed by a god almost 24/7, leaving the child’s body only to let the child eat and sleep.

The mother and father had only been able to talk to the child during mealtimes.

…we choose to concentrate on the problem that would affect us.

“So, do we give over Annan?” Connla asks Annan.

“Are you joking? Me and Leech man have already agreed that this would be my payment of the favor. I can’t see any way of renegotiating without breaking the agreement, which would be bad.”

“How bad would breaking an agreement be for you in the first place? All I got is that something bad will happen.” I ask in curiosity, remembering that topic during my first time meeting with Ratri.

Except for Javin, who seems clueless about the deal with agreements, they all looked at me in mild terror. Then they look at each other, seemingly trying to find someone to be the spokesperson.

After a few more moments, Thuc volunteers to do it. He turns to me and ponders for a while. Then he starts speaking.

“Imagine that you lied to your mother regarding the promise that you will not look into a certain kind of website again. Now one night you looked at one such website, again. Where do you expect your punishment will come from? How severe will it be?” he asks me.
“I think I will be banned from the computer.” I answer.

“No. What happens next is that your computer suddenly bursts into fire. In the process of putting out the fire you also get electrocuted and end up with a partially burned and permanently paralyzed hand. And before I forget, your house also burnt down, taking with it the houses of your neighbors.”

What comes into mind from Thuc’s story is this one event from the Bible. Numbers, Chapter 16. Dathan and Abiram rebelled against Moses’ orders. So they were swallowed up by the earth, along with their tents, their wives and their children and their servants.

All of them dead.

…damn.

It’s the Old Testament wrath of God kind of bad thing.

Damn it.

Thuc continues to speak.

“Whatever bad thing that will happen, it always comes from the object that you made an agreement for in the first place. And even with magic, the gods and spirits can only mitigate the damage. And worse, it is disproportionate AND indiscriminate.”

…double damn.

Yung Ho suddenly adds in his own input.

“Don’t worry Herbert. Us humans only die once. It’s the gods that have to worry about dying permanently.”

“Is that supposed to be reassuring?” I ask him in a flat voice.

Yung Ho nods.

That nod broke the camel’s back.

I quickly turn towards Annan.

“Who are these Japanese, to stop us from doing the Lord’s work? I say we go train as a group tomorrow, and then go into the Kisaragi hellhole the next day.”

“And who is going to pull us out of that place?” she asks with a raised eyebrow.

“Ebisu and Waka-ush?” I ask rhetorically.

“No, no, no. We already talked about this. We need more magic here. More Magic.” She emphasizes the word ‘more’ by extending both of her arms to her sides.

“How about some more gods? Volunteers?” I suggest.

“I know Ratri and Daesun will help. And maybe they could bring their siblings here. But at most that would account only for…less than eight gods. We need more than that! But if I ask more unrelated gods to help, I would have more debts! More of them! What’s the point of paying off a debt with more debts?!” she complains.

“Then what if Tokyo managed to convince the Japanese gods to use Japanese Special Forces? Where does that leave us?!” I am starting to lose my patience here.

I don’t want to die here because of some unavoidable bad luck!

I want to die with my head held up high! Fighting!

“I don’t know! I DON’T KNOW!” Annan is starting to panic, her hands curling up in distress, her eyes dilated and her hair starting to sway in a non-existent breeze.

“Well is there any other source of magic we can tap into?” I ask, feeling desperation coming on to me.

“Well, there are you humans but-“ Annan suddenly cuts herself off.

She has this openmouthed look on her face that says ‘how did I not think of that before?’

“Annan?” Connla asks from beside her.

“Human belief” she mumbles.

Human beli-

Thuan Thien and 4444th gun!

“Hallelujah” I softly mumble to myself.

“No, we need a lot of people to do that. Besides, who is going to contain or exorcise the ghosts once Tenjin elementary has been dragged into the real world?” Annan says to herself while massaging her forehead with her left hand.

“Why not leave a message for Ebisu telling what just happened? Once we have the people to believe in what we want to happen, the Japanese will have no choice but to follow the plan, or risk hundreds of deaths from rampaging ghosts.” Yung Ho said.

“So we will make an accomplished fact? Won’t the Japanese be angry with us for forcing their hand?” Javin questions.

“What if we had Ebisu smooth things out for us? After all he is the one who wanted this crisis solved by us” I ask, looking at Annan.

She thinks about it, with her hands crossed over her chest while looking at the ground. Then she looks up at me.

“On one hand Ebisu is a controversial figure in the Japanese Yamato supernatural world, with who he married and his very friendly ties to the Ainu. On the other hand, Izanami has been trying to make up with Ebisu all this time. She is just…a crappy mother to Ebisu.”

I wince at the image that brought.

“If Ebisu says to her that this will bring them closer to reconciliation, Izanami will give all her support to Ebisu, and by extension, us.” Annan continues.

Well, at least the mother is trying hard to reconcile.

May God help them.

“…yeah. Yeah. Ebisu can do it. Now the only question is, who will we get to pray and believe Tenjin elementary into the real world? We can’t make more people know about the presence of the supernatural.”

Annan went silent after that monologue.

Silence reigned in the backyard.

A minute passed.

An hour passed.

The sun is almost coming down and we cleaned up after ourselves.

“How about those survivors and the relatives of those who died?” Connla suddenly asks.

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-04-11 09:51am
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Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 182
Location: Philippines
Well...at last I have finished putting the whole thing into as near the present tense as I can.

Now...I can proceed.

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-05-07 12:48am
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 182
Location: Philippines
AND NOW! CHAPTER 12 IS HERE! HERE.........WE............GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Chapter 12

It is the night of April 21, five days after arriving in Kasamatsu.

We decided to get the relatives of those who died and the survivors of Tenjin elementary into the act, as the ones who will believe the school back to the real world, while the gods and the politicians were still arguing over things.

However since there are so many affected families, we decided to just inform the survivors first and let them, along with Ebisu and Waka-ush, handle the job of informing the other relatives while we go and enter the other dimension.

Annan believed that it is best to find Nakashima Naomi and Shinozaki Ayumi first. The first was because she could not get over her best friend’s death and proved, according to this computer game of Annan’s, willing to deal with black magic to raise her back to life, and the other girl because she was sensitive to ghosts.

So, with the help of Momoi, Annan searched for them.

But even with his help, she only found out the location of their houses a day ago. The goddess went there and asked their mothers, and found out they had already left for a place called Kishi.

This information had her panicking and saying ‘shit’ and ‘Blood Drive’s happening’ over and over again. She immediately called Ebisu over, and asked him for help in searching for this Kishi, along with an estate there, belonging to a family called the Shinozaki.

After hours of frantic searching using magic, the internet and the Japanese government's records, they finally found out that Kishi is a place in the jurisdiction of Shimada city in the province of Shizuoka, more than two hours away by train from Kasamatsu.

Four hours later, after getting down from the train, we were quickly walking towards a faraway rice field where no one could see us. Annan stopped, and two horse-drawn chariots and an extra horse suddenly... appeared out of nowhere, with just a clap of her hands.

I rode with Connla, Yung Ho with Annan, and Thuc sat behind Javin on horseback. That chariot was not as bumpy as I thought it would be, even though we were moving fast over deserted dirt and pebble roads.

Around two hours after that we finally arrived in front of the Shinozaki estate, a two story mansion. It was already past sunset.

“Somebody is still living here?” I ask Annan in incredulity. She dismisses the horses, which run off into a cloud of mist and disappears.

The mansion is a wood and plaster building that had seen better days, with jagged holes in the walls, a corroded roof with patches of newer G.I. sheets, and covered by spider webs and wooden window shutters full of broken slats.

Meanwhile, the lawn is overgrown with waist-high weeds and wild flowers, the gate is very rusty, and the pathway was speckled bright yellow and green with mold. It looked centuries old even though the materials are from the 20th century.

The only new thing in the whole place is the padlock and the oiled hinges of the opened gate.

“No, but the Shinozaki family is still paying for the taxes of this property.” She says.

“And they leave it…like this?” I continue.

“No. They are waiting for buyers. Unfortunately for them, no one wants to buy this lot even though the price is the cheapest in the whole town of Kishi because of rumors about the place being haunted.”

“Then why not purify this place, you holiness? I would not have charged too high an amount for purifying a place like this when I was still alive. It would actually be a public service.” Yung Ho asked while looking at the house the same way one does looking at the entrance to a VC tunnel system.

“The family tried to have it done once. The specialist’s head was suddenly torn off from his body in front of the family’s very eyes.”

Everyone winces at the image.

“Also, there is magic afoot in this place. Didn’t anyone notice that something has been possessing people around us to watch us the very moment we start heading towards this place?” she asked, making a nod toward the town that we had just come through.

“Wait, possessed?” I blurt out.

Then I look at the others in disbelief when they raise their hands in the way one says ‘yes’.

“Hey guys, why didn’t you tell me they were possessed? I thought it was just the small town mentality at work there.”

“Because there is no need to be battle ready all of the time. You will just get exhausted.” Thuc answers me.

“You’re joking.” I say in disbelief.

“Really, Herbert?” he looked at me and sighs.

“Yeah. What if those possessed people suddenly attacked us?”

“If it was an ordinary human mob, maybe. But one single spirit against a group of resurrected humans, a spirit given physical form, a goddess, and a human that had killed supernatural beings before, all armed with magical weapons?”
Thuc’s answer made me think about it.

…yeah, we outnumber and outgun one single ghost.

“I get Connla and Annan. But how come you three knew it was possession as opposed to a simple dislike of outsiders? And should we take arms now?” I asked, putting down my backpack and pulling out the Peacemaker’s holster (which I asked Annan to make the day after we arrived in Kasamatsu), with the gun in it, while looking up at them.

“We were dead Mr. Ward. Even resurrected, certain things that one receives with death are still present with us in a second life.” Javin answers while looking at me.

After that he looked at Annan with the same question about arming ourselves in his eyes. He is also pulling out his rifle from his own backpack.

“Get your guns and everything out now. The moment we step into that field we really are in enemy territory.” she says as she takes her shillelagh out of her cloak with her right hand while two revolving disks of light appeared beside her left ear.
We all took out our weapons and ammunition out of the bags.

As I pull out ‘Annie’, she greets me.

Hello again. Is it another day of practice?

The practice that ‘Annie’ is expressing here to me is when we all trained together for the last five days.

We taught the three heroes as much of modern combat (as we knew it from Vietnam) as we can, and then they taught us what battle experience they had to offer in return.

And what all we found out about each other in those five days was…interesting.

‘No Annie. It’s the real deal this time’ I thought back to her.

Before she could express anything back to me she is interrupted by Thuc. “All right. Your holiness, Connla, Javin. You remember what we practiced?” Thuc asks them.

They nod.

“All right. We-“

He is interrupted by the sound of a car.

We all look behind us to see the headlights of an approaching car in the distance.

“Who is that?” Thuc asks in confusion and suspicion. We had seen absolutely no one in our two hour horse-ride to the abandoned mansion.

“Quick! Follow me!” Annan suddenly yells, making hurried ‘come here’ gestures with her left hand.

We quickly follow her into the lawn.

She looks to her left, and then back to us.

“Lie down in the grass and hide. Quick!” she says, pointing to where she wants us to go.

We run into the indicated area and went prone on the grass, putting our weapons beside us.

Annan, at the same time, stands up straight, stretches her arms out to her sides and started saying something.

“I, Annan of the island of trees, of the noble island, of the island before the ends of the world, declare that we who hide in the grass be hidden from all the senses of that who is coming here.”

She slightly glows, clothes and all…no, the surroundings became less colored in contrast to her.

The grasses, most of them dried up and dead, suddenly become healthy and alive and as colorful as her. And they suddenly move to cover us the way a blanket does.

As for Annan herself, she jumps into the grass and lie down flat in it.

A few moments later the lawn is illuminated by a car’s headlights. And then we hear a loud noise, the one a car makes when braking suddenly from a high speed over a rocky ground.

We patiently and nervously wait as we hear the slam of a car door and the loud steps on gravel of someone in a hurry.
Eventually the person comes into view, running past our position towards the house.

It was a woman in her late 20’s. She has a long ponytail, and is wearing a white, long sleeved sweater with a pink camisole underneath, denim pants and leather sandals. A faintly glowing blue crystal pendant hangs on her neck.

All of a sudden we can hear the screams of two girls from the house.

I flinch upon hearing those screams, while the woman runs even faster towards the doorway. Upon reaching it, she did not open the sliding door so much as ram it open and running her way in.

“Wait for it.” Annan suddenly said while looking at the house, while her left hand is stretched parallel to the ground, as if blocking our way.

“Wait? Something’s happening up there, Annan.” Connla says, looking at her from the side.

“Waait for iiit.” she says again, looking very intently at the house.

What is this young lady waiting for! ‘Annie’ screams into my thoughts. At the same time the bayonet at my waist is emanating a feeling of anger and murderous intent.

A second went by, the screams continuing.

I grit my teeth.

Two seconds went by. The anguished screams grow louder.

I am at this point glaring at Annan, along with everyone else, both human and weapon.

Annan at the same time is staring with wide eyes and clenched teeth at the house.

“NOW!” she suddenly said.

We all leap out of the grass and run to the open door.

Suddenly everyone else stops while I am still running towards the door.

“What the-“ I quickly look back at the others-

LOOK OUT!

-back to the door to see two crazed, bloodshot eyes behind the closi-



Darkness.



“You alright Herbert?” Thuc asks me. On the other side is Javin, plugging up his wineskin, which I assume is why my face is wet.

I begin to realize I am on the ground, and they are leaning over me.

“Did I pass out?” I say, feeling the headache that slamming door gave to me.

In the background I hear an explosion.

“For a few seconds Mr. Ward.” Javin says to me.

Herbert are you well now? Is your sight okay? Can you stand? Annie expresses to me from beside me.

“I just have this painful headache ‘Annie’. Guys, help me stand up, would you?” I ask, raising both arms upwards.

Javin and Thuc pull me up into a sitting position. From there I was able to stand by myself, grabbing ‘Annie’ along the way.
I look towards the doorway to see Annan…

Shit.

Her eyes were literally glowing green and gold. Her long hair was blowing like she is only a few meters from a tornado. Her skin is both glowing and not glowing and her arms were stretched outwards from her sides. Her clothes too were glowing gold and green and white and the spiral vines were moving and moving and moving, across the fabric, across her skin, and out into reality.

I heard drums, beating in time with the song of an ancient tongue I didn’t know but in my beating heart I knew that this tongue is what one line of my ancestors spoke in humanity’s hoary past.

Before her is Connla, holding up his shield in front of him and weathering a fierce barrage of sharp, flying objects and...something invisible. And behind the two is Yung Ho, trying to aim his K1 carbine at something inside but not firing since Annan is in the way, not to mention the barrage of projectiles suppressing them.

“I cast away. I cast away. I fucking cast away those that are proving themselves my foe back to their abode. This I say in my name, Annan of the noble island!”

After saying those words, out of the window next to the door someone jumps… no. A vaguely human shaped, smoky shadow with the same eyes that I saw behind the door is thrown out of the window. It slams face-first into the lawn.
The shadow then grabs at the grass as if something is dragging it away.

Yung Ho suddenly steps in front of it, aims his gun at the face, and says “You heard her holiness. Begone Jap.” He promptly empties his magazine at its face.

The shadow let go of the grass, holding its face in pain, and is pulled away to the distance until we couldn’t see it anymore by some force.

Then we hear more screaming from the second floor. Whereas before there were screams of pain, these were now screams of horror and sorrow.

“We’ve got to get up there! Quick!” I said out loud. At the same time the others pour into the house, Annan going last of all when she suddenly blocks my way, saying “Wait a moment, Ward.”

“What?!”

“If you didn’t feel the presence of that ghost before it revealed itself, you wouldn’t have had your nose broken and knocked out in the first place. This is a liability I forgot you have, since everyone else here can do it. Now I’m going to make you able to see them.”

She then held my eyes open wide with her fingers and…

“What on earth?!” I yelled, blinking my eyes.

She spat in them.

SHE SPAT IN THEM!

“What is that!-“

I yell at her, only to stop.

It did work as advertised. I could now see ghosts inside the house.

Teenage looking, pale blue colored ghosts were blocking the staircase in a standoff with the others.

“I thought you just cast away all the spirits that are in this mansion?” I ask her.

“I said ‘those that prove themselves my foes’. They aren’t attacking us right now.” she said as she went ahead of me and walked over to the other guys.

Semantics. She did not get them all because of semantics. Unbelievable. ‘Annie’ thought to me.

‘I agree’ I thought back. When I reached them, I ask “Well, what now Annan?”

“Now? I take care of them-WOAH!” she suddenly yells while stepping backwards while at the same time she stretched her right hand forward.

A force field made of gold and green light, decorated with vines suddenly appears 5 meters in front of our group, intercepting a sudden rush by a new mob of ghosts on the staircase.

And then the attacking ghosts are suddenly dragged off the shield into the distance through the windows.

The ghosts that didn’t attack yet looked shocked and confused as to what happened.

Annan taunts them from behind the shield. “I said ‘those that prove themselves my foes’, you idiots! You think that is only a one time spell, huh?” She then laughs at the end of that sentence.

‘What is she doing?’ Annie expresses to me.

‘I think she wants to infuriate the ghosts into attacking’ I thought back to Annie.

And I think it was working. All the ghosts scowl.

And scowl…and then they close ranks, forming a human barricade at all the entrances into the house.

"Well, what now?" Yung Ho muttered to himself, while putting his hand near the ammo pouch. It is clear he intends to clear the way with grenades.

“Your holiness, we are on a time limit here” Thuc grimly says to Annan.

“A few more seconds Thuc. A few more…” Annan softly says to him while she is smirking at the ghosts.

It was only then that I notice she is muttering something inaudible.

Suddenly she said one word:

“BEGONE!”

The remaining ghosts tried to charge, realizing they were somehow tricked.

It was to no avail, since they were dragged out the house by Annan’s magic.

“Let’s go!” Connla yelled, running up the stairs.

The rest of us followed him up the stairs.

“Which door is it?!” Connla asked when we had already reached the stair landing.

"There!" Yung Ho pointed to a door, with candlelight shining from the gap between the floor and the door.

We would have continued on and opened the door if only it was not shrouded with a black mist that, upon looking at it, makes you feel cold and feel its hatred…

… and right there it felt like it was saying everything that will easily make you angry.

No, not angry. That mist was saying things that will have you punch it as fast as you can and beat it to the ground, no questions asked.

“What kind of magic is that? And who is the gae saekki that made it up, because right now I want to shoot that person dead” Yung Ho says, his tone clearly saying ‘can I please shoot this thing now? Can I? Can I?’

“I don’t know who made it, but the kind of magic feels like it is made by someone sadistic with a very, very bad sense of humor.” Annan deadpans.

She then walks toward the door. The rest of us are behind her, watching the door and the rear for any possible threats.

Once she is in front of the door, she spat on her palms, rub them against each other, and then slams them on the door.
The mist thins out, but it is still there, as if fighting Annan tooth and nail.

Suddenly the cries of the two girls became audible again from the room behind the door, one of them crying 'sister' over and over again.

After a few more moments Annan turns her head to our direction.

“Get me an electric megaphone Thuc. I have to tell the girls to get out of the way. And Cha? Get a shotgun ready.”

“You can’t dispel it, your holiness?” Thuc asks her while he is rummaging around his backpack.

“Not fast enough. I'm brute forcing this thing already, and it's fighting back, a magic word for every two of mine.”

Annan turns back towards the door with a snarl, trying to…push the mist away just a little bit more.

Thuc finally pulls out a small and brand new electric megaphone, with the price tag still attached to it. He then rummages around for a pair of batteries.

After he inserts the batteries into the megaphone, he hands it to Annan, who takes it with her left hand.

She then starts to speak.

“Shinozaki Ayumi! Nakashima Naomi! Are you two still alive in there! Hoooy!”

After a while, the crying stops.

“Is… is someone there?!” one of the voices yells. “Who…who are you?”

“My name is Annan, a kami from Europe. I am a friend of Ebisu, also known as Hiruko, also known as Kotoshiro nushi no kami, one of the 7 gods of fortune, who has heard of your troubles. I am a friend of your family. I am helping him deal with our mutual problem, Tenjin Elementary. You girls still with me?”

“Ye-yes” one of the girls yell. “Please! Help us! Let us out!”

“Alright. I want you two to get yourselves and Shinozaki Hinoe’s body and head as far away from the door as possible. We are going to use magical guns on this door. Ok?”

“What do you want with my sister’s corpse?” one of the girls yells, in mixed confusion, nervousness and suspicion.
“I’m a goddess girl! I can bring her back to life!” Annan shouts back. “Now please move away from the doorway. And before I forget, we are holding weapons so DO. NOT. FREAK. OUT.”

For a few moments the two girls are silent.

“What about Mayu?” the other girl audibly asks.

“That isn’t Mayu, Naomi. It is just a faceless, lifeless lump of flesh and bones.” the first girl…Ayumi replied to Naomi. “Well, you heard what the kami said. Let’s move my sister there.”

We then hear the sounds of something heavy being dragged across the wooden floor.

Then a few more footsteps, and then something lighter than the object before is put down on the floor.

“Alright Annan-kami-sama. We are out of the way already.”

“Ok. Let’s go Yung Ho.” she says, moving away from the door.

Yung Ho takes Annan’s place and put his K1 into his rucksack. He then pulled out a pump action shotgun (a Mossberg 500) from it.

After checking if the shotgun was loaded, basic trigger control, he then points it at the space around the door lock, intending to separate the door lock from the rest of the door.

“Breaching!” he yells and starts firing.

He fires three times, and then he kicks the door open.

Connla goes in first, followed by Yung Ho. Then, in order of entry: Thuc, Javin, me and Annan.

Inside is…on the side of the room to my left was a creepy feeling book, laying a meter away from a carved wooden circle with some designs, that had candles placed on top of the lines in instinctively important points and two paper dolls in the middle of the circle, one partly burnt and the other not.

Near that was the…faceless, lifeless lump of flesh that the girls mentioned earlier.

The body is distinguished only by the female school uniform it was wearing, as well as the small ponytail at the top of its head, tied with a hair band composed of 2 pink spheres. And the fact that it is covered in blood and the head, arms and legs are separated from the torso.

In the middle of the room is a puddle of blood, and from the puddle there was a trail leading towards the right side of the room.

That is where two girls pale with fright and soaked in blood were huddling close to each other and the body of the woman from earlier.

They look at us in fear.

The small, thin one on the left, with her hand on the…woman’s head (which still had parts of the spine, as well as some blood vessels and muscles dangling from what remains of the neck) had long blue hair tied into 2 pigtails by red ties. And she is also injured, judging by the blood that is slowly but continuously trickling from her shoulders and legs.

The more fleshed out and uninjured one on the right, holding the rest of the woman’s body (which also had dangling parts from its side of the neck), had black, straight, above shoulder length hair.

Suddenly, the sound of clothes dropping on something came from my left. Upon looking, I see it was just Annan finishing wrapping up the book in her cloak.

After finishing, she looks up at the rest of the room and says “Can’t have the source of our mutual problems know what we are doing.” at the same time lifting the wrapped book in front of her for emphasis.

“Annan-kami-sama…a-about my sister.” the pigtailed girl asks in a heartrending tone of voice.

“Lay her on the ground, and place the head back on her shoulders.” she says while walking towards them, at the same time she stretches out her left arm.

Suddenly, the puddle of blood…all the blood in the room, including those on the girl’s clothes, disappeared. Only for blood to slowly start trickling again from the wounded girl.

The girls quickly followed Annan’s instructions, placing the head of the woman on her shoulder.

Annan then kneels down on the floor and places her hand on the neck.

One moment the corpse is composed of the head and the rest of the body, the next instant it is an ordinary body that looks like it is sleeping.

The girls hug each other in joy, seeing that Annan can back up her words.

Annan then puts her hands over the woman’s face…and then she hesitates.

After a few moments of indecision on Annan’s part, Connla asks her what is the problem.

The rest of us are looking at her in concern.

“Well, so much for my first kiss.” Annan loudly complains.

“Wait-What!” Connla yells, but he is too late to stop her.

Annan parts the woman’s lips and then…performs mouth to mouth on her.

A second later the woman’s eyes opened up in panic.

She pushes Annan off her and chokes.

A few moments later she manages to breathe normally. It was then that she was tackled by the pigtailed girl, who was crying “Sister” over and over again, while the other girl smiles at the siblings with tears of hope in her eyes.

You smell that? ‘Annie’ suddenly thought to me.

…something is burning.

Burning?

Aside from me, the others in the room had also smelled the burning thing, including the woman and the two girls.
They were looking around for whatever it is.

It is the older sister who sees what the burning thing was first.

“Look over there!” she yelled in a hoarse voice, pointing towards my back.

When I whirled around, looking for what she is pointing to, I see that Annan’s cloak had started smoldering.

It is also slowly rising up into the air.

“Oh no, you cursed Franco-German atrocity against magic-”

That was awfully specific.

“-you will stop burning my favorite cloak, you hear me! STOP BURNING IT!”

The book did not listen. Instead it burns her cloak into ashes in an instant.

Annan is pissed off.

She is shaking in anger, her teeth are clenched tightly, and breathing hard… like she just ran a race?

“Alright, you pile of recycled skin. You want a fight-” she takes another deep breath “-you got it!”

Annan glows bright, as a meadow does under the light of the sun at noon. Her hair stopped moving the way it had always flowed around whenever she unleashes her power, but this was a stillness that makes one feel that something dangerous is about to happen.

Something very dangerous is about to happen.

Yung Ho and Javin flank her, chanting in their own languages and holding not guns but swords.

Javin is standing there, chanting in his language at a speed where I can’t distinguish where one word starts and where it ends, except they had one thing in common: something called a ‘narasimha’ is said between every other word.

And with his left hand he is waving his sword as if he is writing with it in the air.

And looking at him, he…he smells (?) like…like a lion I once saw at the Louisville zoo with Mary and the kids, while at the same time he smells like a man does after a day’s hard work in the fields, under the harsh yet friendly glare of the sun.
Yung Ho on the other hand is dancing while chanting.

He is whirling around, and around, and around on one spot of the floor while waving the stone sword.

And his voice changed to something…holy and bigger than him, his eyes still looked normal and yet at the same time they are glowing white.

And his was a voice that makes one think of the voice that echoes through the mountains as one yells from a mountaintop while the sun is starting to peek over the forested mountains, a voice that greets the sun and the land in thanks for just existing.

And then Thuc and Connla step forward as well…wait.

Why am I just looking?

I whirl towards the book and started making the sign of the cross, while holding ‘Annie’ by my hand.

“Our Father who art in heaven,” I started praying loudly…no.

I am chanting, with something…something urging me to go on.

Go on.

"Holy be your name,"

I lose myself in my own prayer.

"Your kingdom come-"

"In the name of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, you are under arrest for the crime of murder! You will be treated with the due process accorded to humans by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, by the authorities of this land! Should you fail to surrender or have the foolishness to fight back, you will be exterminated with extreme prejudice!"

Thuc suddenly shouts in a commanding voice.

He breaks the mood in the room, getting everyone, including the book, to look at this crazy man.

"Lie down on the floor and let yourself be bound or you will be destroyed! Now!"

He shouts, aiming the magical SKS at the book.

...his words are crazy and godless and...and...communist, but how on earth is Thuc making everyone feel that this is only an ordinary police standoff, and that the book really will be tried and punished under the law like an ordinary criminal, and that it is within his power to do so to that unholy abomination of a book?

I wonder about that while softly muttering the Lord's prayer.

I turn back to the book, to see...

...the book's cover has eyes and a mouth where there were none before, and is looking at Thuc.

And it is indignant, furious, glaring, hissing and snarling at Thuc's direction. Probably because it is irritated at the...disrespect just shown to it.

"You have 5 seconds to surrender!" He shouts.

The book stops its actions and start glowing. That glow makes the viewer, me, feel that the book had just seen red, and will start killing us, and that it is going to pull out everything it has to do so.

"4!"

I start praying again, this time bringing 'Annie' to bear on the book and cocking the cock, ready to fire on this thing.

"3!"

Again I feel that sense of being not alone, of someone or something beside, no, inside me as I chant and letting me know I am in good hands as long as I have faith.

And from behind me I sense several sources of feelings of holiness and righteousness and voices of chanting all starting up.
And this time, all of these...are stronger.

So much more stronger than before.
"2!"

Whereas before, looking at the book makes me feel that it is about to murder us with everything it has, now it makes me feel that it is quickly calculating its chances against all of us at the same time, while we are being empowered by faith.

"1!"

The book flies towards the window shutter at high speed.

I fire-
An SKS fires two times-
A cast and forget force field places itself in the path of the book-
A javelin flies past my head and inexplicably follows the book through the window shutter like a Redeye missile-
Two figures from the sides of my vision give chase with swords-

-but the shot misses.
-and misses.
-but the book smashes through it and the window shutter.
-but the book is much, much faster than the javelin. The javelin falls to the ground outside the house in the end.
-but the book has flown out of the house before they have taken their third step.

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-05-07 12:49am
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Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 182
Location: Philippines
"It ran like a coward." Annan comments in amazement.

We cheer at this achievement.

A few moments later that cheer suddenly died upon hearing the house suddenly...creaking. And then suddenly something made of wood, somewhere in the house, snaps.

It is followed by another one, and more sounds of creaking wood.

I know that kind of sound. I am a carpenter.

“What is that noise?” Yung Ho asks in a suspicious tone.

"I do believe that the house is going to collapse." I reply with a frown. At the same moment I draw the Peacemaker out of its holster and cock the hammer to a firing position.

"And the one doing it is that book." Annan snarls from behind me.

I hear people suddenly moving quickly. Among the noises are those of the pigtailed girl, who is grunting in pain.
Something collapses in the hallway. My guess is the ceiling.

"The hallway's floor collapsed!" The fleshed out girl screams, while the other girl starts hyperventilating loudly.

Wrong guess. Oh well.

"Anyone has an idea?" I hear Connla calmly ask the others over the din of snapping wooden boards.

"I do." I reply.

I aim the Peacemaker at the wall separating the room from the outside world, think of the USS Iowa and pull the trigger.

The whole wall is blasted outwards into tiny splinters by one 16 inch shell, which explodes hundreds of meters away from the house, just the way I planned it.

The huge explosion momentarily stops the collapsing house, as if the one making the house collapse has been shocked by the explosion happening out of nowhere.

"We jump." I reply as I quickly put the Peacemaker in the holster and then run towards the edge.

When I reach the edge, I look back to see the others, except for Javin, pausing at the edge of the floor, looking for somewhere to jump onto.

Javin is quickly carrying the pigtailed girl in a bridal carry, his rifle slung over his shoulder and sword in its sheathe. The older sister is slowly and unsteadily walking behind him, leaning with one hand on the fleshed out girl’s right shoulder, while the other hand is rubbing her neck.

…must be some side effect of being decapitated.

“Come on! Hurry up people!” Annan yells with gestures, as a luminescent green force field that is tilted towards the ground, appears in front of us,

I think we are supposed to slide down the force field from this bedroom.

“Pardon me, but how about her?” Javin asks, nodding off towards the older sister, whose legs are wobbling badly.

“Shibal.” I hear Yung Ho say.

I look at him, to see him throw off his rucksack and rifle down the force field and run towards the older sister.

The older sister squeaks in surprise when Yung Ho suddenly carries her over his shoulder.

“Be careful!” The fleshed out girl scolds Yung Ho.

At the same moment that Yung Ho is turning around to snap at the girl, all the planks that compose the wall that divides the bedroom and the hallway snaps in half, and inexplicably flies into the house, as if pulled in by a vacuum.

Javin, Yung Ho and the girl quickly run towards us, panicked for their lives.

I did not wait for them and jumped feet first onto the force field.

Moments later, I land on my fe-



“Ouch.” I say in a painful tone of voice while lying face up on the grass, clutching the back of my head.

The girl hit me right in the legs with her shoes, making me fall onto the force field and on her.

I-

‘There's more!’



“God damn it.” I curse from the bottom of…two other people burying me, I think.

I am quite sure it is Yung Ho and the elder sister, since what hit me in the face is a combat boot.

And God Almighty that hurts!

“Get off me, you idiots!” I yell through the pain.

Yung Ho moves off me, along with the elder sister leaving me finally able to get on my knees, get off the fleshed out girl and help her stand up, and glare at them.

But before I manage to let off one word the mansion collapses with an almighty cacophony of snapping wood and grinding porcelain.

I look toward it to see a sight that will stay with me to the end of my life.

The mansion did not fall to the ground. It is sucked into a…a flying ball of material as big as an SUV in size and as smooth as a billiard ball.

“…we could have been killed by that.” I hear the pigtailed girl comment from somewhere to my left.”

‘Agreed’ ‘Annie’ thoughts to me.

And then suddenly the ball of former mansion…pulsed with the sound effect of an electronic beep.

“What now?” Connla says, in a cautious tone.

The ball continues pulsing with beeps.

“Is it just me or is that sound…familiar?” Thuc asks.

…now that I think about it, he IS right. It seems familiar…

“It’s like the beeping of a time bomb in the movies.” The fleshed out girl says from one meter in front of me.
A second of silence passes.

“Oh Shit!” I yell, at the same time slinging ‘Annie’ on my right shoulder and then taking hold of the girl’s left hand, pulling her along with me to safety.

In that same instant I glimpse Yung Ho carrying the older sister over his shoulder again. The only difference is this time the older sister is hugging Yung Ho’s rucksack.

“Take Cover!” Annan yells from somewhere to the right and behind me.

A few seconds later all of us are about 9 to 10 steps into the woods that surround the Shinozaki estate when the ball emitted a continuous beep.

“Down!” Me and two other voices yell.

At the same moment I yank the girl towards the forest ground, and then throw myself on top of her.

Better me than her, if something happens.

A second later, an explosion happens.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I recognized the explosion as that of a fougasse, and the heat that I felt and the light that can only come from flames confirmed it.

A few seconds passed, and the fire was slowly dying out.

I was halfway getting off the girl when another fougasse detonation happened.

I immediately dropped down, again, causing the girl to let out a gasp of air.

"Sorry kid." I muttered.

"It's alright." the girl said back to me.

After a few more seconds passed, another explosion happens, and this time I had the novelty of being pelted by heated powder coming from the direction of the former mansion.

And another explosion happened.

Then another.

And another.

It is now around 5 minutes after that first explosion happened, and I count the one that just exploded as the 30th explosion.

"How many more petroleum does that ball have!" I hear Yung Ho shout from somewhere to my left.

"I don't think there is any petroleum there in the first place!" I yell back at him.

"Can we just crawl away now ladies and sirs?! I think the fire is getting closer!" Javin shouts from somewhere to my rear.
"And let the mountain burn down?!" Annan yells in outrage from in front of me.

"What is it now kid?!" I shout back at her in exasperation.

"Annan of the island of TREES! Hello?!" She shouts back.

...well...that's understandable.

"How do you propose we dismantle that fougasse, your holiness?!" Thuc shouts from further beyond Yung Ho.

"You got that bag that connects to your country! Get a fire hose and start hosing that ball down!"

"I don't think water works with petroleum very well, your holiness!" I hear the woman shout to Annan.

"Then what do we do?! I'm still recovering from resurrecting you just now!" Annan yells back.

"I think we can let the Japanese authorities deal with the flames!" Connla shouts from a little ways beyond Javin.

We then hear the sounds of helicopters approaching.

"Quick! Crawl away or we will get caught by the Japs!" Yung Ho shouts.

"I apologize for my friend's words." I say with extreme embarrassment to the girl under me as I roll over from above her.

"What does he have against us Japanese?" the fleshed out girl asks as she starts crawling forward.

"He is a Korean." I reply.

"Korean...why are they still so angry for what happened in the past?" She asks in a mystified tone.

"FUCK! YOU!" I hear Yung Ho curse the girl beside me with a voice filled by extreme outrage, disbelief and horror.

The girl beside me flinches. And then she crawls onwards with a sad face.

...I am getting the feeling that Yung Ho's racist attitude is not something taught to him, but something personal.

...God, please help my friend.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By the time we reach the foot of other side of the mountain, daylight is illuminating the sky over the mountains to the east.

Behind us, we can hear the magical fougasse still exploding up to this moment, with the addition of dozens of helicopters and fire truck sirens added to the cacophony.

A hundred meters in front of us, another road can be seen through the woods, winding through another valley, and on it we see families being evacuated from their homes by the police, bringing along with them whatever belongings they consider valuable enough on their cars and trucks.

“What have we done?” I hear the fleshed out girl audibly mutters from beside me in a guilt ridden voice.

I suddenly have this urge to look at the other girl. Upon doing so, I see her face also full of shame and guilt, while her older sister’s hands are on her shoulder, looking at the same scene with sadness.

“You girls went to a haunted house without protection or backup. Frankly, the fact that your misadventure only ended up with an unintended terrorist attack is a miracle.” Yung Ho gruffly replies to her.

The girls look shocked and extremely worried at being pointed out as terrorists. The woman, on the other hand, glares at Yung Ho.

“Pardon me, but is there anything else that is going to come out of your mouth that is not insulting?” she says in a polite voice that is filled with steel and ice.

“Yes there is. But that is reserved for those that did not just denigrate the past. Or professionals.”

The woman’s glare turns absolutely venomous when the last few words are uttered, which Yung Ho answers with an amused look in his eyes.

I step between them to stop a fight from breaking out.

“Ok people. That’s enough. You,” I point my right index finger at Yung Ho “stop baiting for a fight. You,” I look at the woman “you know you can choose to ignore him. Now,” I look back and forth between the two of them “we are going to walk away from each other and then ignore each other, as much as possible, for the rest of the trip. Understand?” I say in the same tone of voice I used to break up my children’s fights.

A few moments passed…

Thank God they follow what I just suggested, Yung Ho moving left and the Japanese moving to the right.

At that same moment I notice that Annan is saying something with her hands stretched out to her sides, but I only hear the last few words.

“-that we be unseen, unheard and avoided by the other humans.”

And again that feeling that I now associate with magic comes over me.

Shaking off that sensation, I move towards Yung Ho and ask him something about his antagonism as the whole group walks through the forest, towards the road.

“Do you mind if I ask you something personal?”

He stops, and then looks at me from the side.

Someone claps me on my shoulder.

I whirl around, to see Thuc looking at me sadly and shaking his head in negation.

“Wha-“

“Don’t ask him Herbert. Trust me, don’t.”

I blink in surprise, not expecting someone defending Yung Ho’s actions.

“Is it something that gives one the right to always act antagonistic towards a particular group of people, all the time?” I answer back while navigating my way through some steep slopes.

“Yes.” I hear Yung Ho growl.

When I look back at him, I see him glaring at the ground, as if remembering something bad.

…not just one of them, but a lot of them.



“Yung Ho, that’s not-“

“This nation took away something from me, and then to add insult to injury it gave me a curse that would not let go off me. Not even being the apprentice of the most powerful mudang in Gyeongsangnam-do would let those-“

Yung Ho cuts himself off with a hiss.

“Those?” I ask.

Yung Ho shakes his head, refusing to say anything further.

I look at Thuc, wanting something more.

Thuc looks at Yung Ho, and then back to me, and at Yung Ho again.

After a moment of consideration, he gives off something that eases my curiosity.

“Trust me when I say that Yung Ho’s description of his situation is accurate. I have only heard of his…situation in regards to the legacy of some Americans in Saigon.”

…ok. That narrows the field somehow.

What did us Yanks leave in Vietnam as a legacy?

…there’s Agent Orange for one…but that's in the countryside...unexploded ordnance is another…no not those, he said only left by some Americans. Both sides left those everywhere...but Saigon?

What would be left as a legacy by only some Yanks in Saigon? Only notable places in Saigon that I could-

I immediately stop my train of thought and do everything in my power to act like I am still mystified.

I realize what that legacy is, and agree that it is cruel for someone who is born immediately after World War 2, especially when it appears that the people who Yung Ho referred to with “Those” are probably his neighbors.

I return my attention back to the two, to see Yung Ho glaring at Thuc, who shrugs it off with his own stare.

I put on an act, for his sake.

First, I look intently at Yung Ho's face. This act has him stop walking and look at me in suspense.

After a moment or two, I shake my head, at the same time saying "Nah. Couldn't be."

Yung Ho silently lets out a breath of relief.

I continue.

"Whatever the reason is, whatever is bedeviling you up till now, just know that you've got a friend with me...with us," I nod my head towards Thuc "and you can talk with us anytime you want."

Yung Ho looks at me for a few moments.

"Anytime." I repeat.

After a few more moments, Yung Ho finally says something.

" I wish had friends like you when I was young. Unfortunately, after this job is over, I don't think we will see each other again."

I blink.

"Stupid kid." Thuc suddenly scolds Yung Ho.

Yung Ho looks taken aback by his words.

"We ARE dead. That means we don't need passports or money to travel around the world."

Yung Ho looks confused.

I also can't help voicing out my own question.

"Wait, are you saying ghosts can travel away from their haunting places?"

"No. But souls that have gone on to their respective afterlives can go visit other places." Thuc answers back.

"I didn't know that. Are you sure?" Yung Ho asks.

Thuc scoffs.

"I regularly travel the 30 kilometers between my house and the military base as a ghost. I know what I'm saying."

Yung Ho stares at him for a few moments.

Suddenly he looks embarrassed and walks away from us at a fast trot, not saying anything else. But there is one thing that has changed for the better.

He has a slight smile on his face.

Well that's one go-

"You've got a friend in me?" Thuc suddenly asks.

I turn to look at him with trepidation.

"You quoted from Toy Story." He slowly says with an amused look in his eyes.

"Well...it is an appropriate line for the situation." I defend myself, my cheeks heating up in embarrassment.

Thuc shakes his head, snickering at me.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A few hours later, around 9:00 in the evening, we finally reached Kasamatsu via train.

The reason it took us so long is because we had to avoid the various CCTV cameras in and around Shimada.

Annan explained to us that while people would not see us or hear us by any means, even if it is through watching a CCTV tape, that does not mean that a camera would not show people avoiding a blank spot that is moving through a crowd.

Now that the Japanese government is aware of the supernatural, they would quickly ask for help from specialists. And when that happens...we would be persons of interest for the Japanese authorities, eventually caught, and then get the whiplash from not fulfilling a contract while in custody. Not to mention avoiding legal liabilities for the girl and the woman.

That is a nightmare we wanted to avoid, so we decided to hike through the mountains. But this option presented us two more problems: The two girls and the woman are not prepared for this kind of mountain hiking, and we had no idea how to get to Shimada station without revealing ourselves to the cameras.

Thankfully Annan had called Ebisu, and explained the situation. Ebisu immediately sent us help.

The help came in the form of three mikos from the Keiju-Ji temple further down the valley where we saw the evacuation happening. The three then proceeded to lead us through hidden forest trails that head towards the north, ending at the locally renowned Chibasan Chiman-ji temple on the top of Mount Chiba. From there, we were driven down the road towards the northeast, passing through Fujieda city, to Shizuoka city by one of the Shinshoku at the temple.

We were then dropped by Shizuoka Station sometime after 5 in the afternoon.

Annan gave the Shinshoku fifteen 10,000 yen bills in payment for the gas used on the roadtrip. This made the Shinshoku blush and say thank you.

Later, after boarding the train and finding seats that are a little distance away from the other passengers of our train car, Annan proceeded to explain the situation to the three girls.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"So why are we needed to gather the relatives? I presume the Japanese government can do that for us."

Shinozaki Hinoe, the older sister, said while walking towards the Shinozaki residence in Kasamatsu minutes after we had stepped off Kasamatsu station.

"Well, it is because the government doesn't want us foreigners around. They will never involve you guys and the other relatives in this matter. It is even likely that they will simply just destroy the remains of everyone who died in Tenjin elementary."

"They can't do that! They can't!" Nakashima Naomi, the fleshed out girl, stops walking and protests.

This brings the whole group to a halt.

"Naomi, the government can do so in the name of public safety." Hinoe says to Naomi.

"What possible reason would make destroying the only things we have left of our friends be in the interests of public safety?" Naomi protests further.

"If I may answer that?" Thuc replies at the same time as Yung Ho saying "The answer's simple."

This had them looking at each other, Thuc in particular looking at Yung Ho warily.

I am also looking at him the same way.

"I would be a hypocrite if I supported destroying the bodies just to spite the relatives." Yung Ho casually says in response to our stare.

Thuc nods once to let him go on talking.

"Kid, forget about the supernatural being revealed to the world and focus on this question. How would the Japanese government look like in the eyes of the world when it is revealed that there has been an ongoing massacre happening under their noses all this time?"

"They would look...incompetent." Shinozaki Ayumi, the small, thin and formerly wounded girl.

She is formerly wounded thanks to Javin's Soma.

"And how many nationalists are in the current government?" Yung Ho continues.

"...Abe...Abe is far more right wing than any Prime Minister we ever had before." Hinoe admits reluctantly.

Yung Ho smiles, but quickly frowns a moment later.

"Wait a minute. You Japanese elected a right winger as your Prime Minister? Have you forgotten Tojo?" He asks incredulously.

"Japan is a parliamentary system. We elect the Diet members, they choose the Prime Minister." Hinoe replies to Yung Ho.
Yung Ho still frowns at Hinoe, but he moves back to his topic.

"Since Japan is now headed by a right wing nationalist, it is reasonable to expect that the policy regarding this particular incident we are involved in, is one of not letting the image of Japan getting tarnished in the minds of those warmongers or the world."

"So the government will cover up the whole thing?" Ayumi asks.

"Naturally." Yung Ho answers.

They stay silent for a few moments. And during those few moments we all start walking again.

"If we do this...would the dead be resurrected?" Ayumi asks Annan.

"...I'm not sure. I could justify resurrecting your sister in that she is just newly dead and that I, a god, have decided that this is not to be. But I don't know about all the others. They have been dead for quite a while so right now they may have their places in the Buddhist reincarnation cycle or Yomi just waiting for them."

Naomi stops walking and sniffles. And then tears start trickling down her eyes.

Then she hides her face behind her palms and cries.

Ayumi behind her also cries, looking away and wiping her own tears.

Yung Ho's face twitches, and then he starts lecturing.

"You stupid kids. Do you think you are the only ones in this world who wants to raise their loved ones from the dead?"

Hinoe glares at Yung Ho, while the two crying girls look at him like hurt puppies do.

Yung Ho continues with a stern voice.

"My mother is the first apprentice of the most powerful mudang in Gyeongsangnam-do. Among the greatest of things that she and I learned, is how to bring someone back from the dead. Do you know what she did with it?...Nothing."

"Nothing?" Annan asks in surprise.

"Nothing. She did not use it to raise her mother, her father or her brothers from the dead. Do you know why?"

We are all looking at him, mesmerized by his story.

"Because sometimes...sometimes it is just one's time to die."

Because sometimes, it is just one's time to die?

"And when it is just their time to die...reversing that death is just...wrong. Too many things...make that act wrong."

"So you are saying that Seiko's death is good? Shishido sensei's death is good? Everyone who died in that place is...is for the sake of some plan by some fucking god up there so it is good?!" Naomi hysterically screams at him with bloodshot eyes-
Woah!

She just tried to rush him!

She is only stopped by Hinoe and Ayumi tightly holding her back.

"Just the opposite actually. Evil happens. Evil always happens. And there doesn't have to be a reason for why it happens, all one can do is accept it, even if one has the ability to say otherwise and make it so." Yung Ho calmly says to her...with a tone of sympathy in his voice.

...God I thank you for your miracles. Thank You.

And also, thank you for the fact that we are on a street deserted of pedestrians, with only a handful of vehicles passing by each minute.

Naomi suddenly snickers, but her snicker is that of a person that is angry, hysterical and unbelieving of what just happened.

"That's your answer for Seiko? That's your answer for Sensei?"

She then outright laughs.

A moment later it stops. And she looks at him with the...the eyes of someone who is prepared to kill.

"Remove the spell that is erasing the memories of my friend from this world, give me the phone and cellphone numbers of the families of all those that died in Tenjin elementary along with a continuous supply of money for the bills to NTT and Docomo, and some more people who will assist me. I will have all the relatives here in Kasamatsu in seven days."

I comment on that last sentence.

"That's quite a tall order you are setting on-"

Naomi interrupts me.

"Seven. Days." She says, her voice full of the conviction that she can call every relative....that calling all the relatives is an inevitable event.

She then continues.

"I expect you to do your part to free my friend."

Naomi then turns around and walks-

she suddenly turns back to look back at Yung Ho.

"And now I turn your words back to you. Fuck. You."

This time she finally walks away. Ayumi quickly bows one time to us in apology for her friend's words, and then chases after Naomi.

"Smart girl. She knew what I want her to do, except for one little detail that she got wrong." Annan comments once Naomi and Ayumi are out of sight after rounding the corner ten meters away.

"What is it, your holiness?" Hinoe asks, standing where she is and looking at us.

"I just need all you humans to pray and believe that Tenjin elementary will go into the real world. No need to get them to come here and put themselves in the line of fire." Annan replies.

"I want to raise a few more questions before I take my leave. What are they, the survivors, supposed to do when the government does evacuate Kasamatsu and then brings in the specialists?"

"Are you one of those contacted to cordon off Kisaragi Academy?"

"I am one of the very first contacted by the Ministry of Justice."

"Don't you mean PSIA? This event is something that any country would like to be kept secret, after all."

Hinoe does not give an answer to Annan's question.

I presume this PSIA is the Japanese counterpart to the CIA, because they both have IA acronyms.

Annan smirks, as if she has received an answer, and continues.

"If you are one of those that will cordon the place, I think you could ask the government to let them stay in the area, since they are connected to this incident in the first place. I'll ask Ebisu to back you up on that request. But if that does not pass, then they could carry on with the prayers and believing from outside the town."

"Very well. But how long will it take for you to bring Tenjin elementary back to the real world?"

Annan looks at Hinoe.

"Our job is to be the hook. It is you, the specialists and the kami who are going to pull us, and Tenjin elementary along with us, back to the real world."

"So it depends on us?"

"Yes. Why? Concerned about the effect on your sister's education?"

"Ayumi is enrolled at Kisaragi Academy, after all" Hinoe replies in a droll tone.

Annan slowly facepalms into her right hand, saying "Sorry, I forgot about that."

"A last question, your holiness. When do we start?"

Annan looks up from her palm.

"April 23, 4:00 in the morning. This night? We're sleeping this night."

Hinoe bows down to Annan and says "Thank you and good night, your holiness." and then turns away from us.

Suddenly she turns back and asks Annan.

"Your holiness, are we still under your spell of being ignored?"

Annan looks at Hinoe with wide eyes.

"Oh."

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

'Is this the place?' 'Annie' asks me while she is slung over my shoulder.

'Yes.' I thought back to her as I stand on the open grounds of Kisaragi academy in the early morning.

It is a 4 story, concrete building that is laid out like a square with overshooting lines when seen from above. Along the more notable features of the place, aside from the impressively big multipurpose playing field, is that all the rooms have sliding glass doors with blue curtains behind them.

And then there are the air conditioners.

A lot of them.

I presume that Kisaragi Academy is a private school for the rich, since it looks like every room inside that school is air conditioned.

'Back in my day we had to make do with no electric fans.' I thought to 'Annie' in some jealousy.

'Don't worry. You now have the prerogative of lording it out over these kids when the topic does come up.' She thinks back to me.

Shaking my head and sighing, letting out a visible fog of warm breath, I look around at my fellow posse members.

There is Thuc, dressed green fatigues, an Ssh-68 helmet and green high top sneakers instead of the rubber sandals.

And he is suffering for his choice of attire by shivering in the cold morning air of Japan.

"I think you need an overcoat or something Thuc." I comment.

"This is nothing." He replies with a chatter.

Yung Ho interrupts.

"You aren't used to winter since there is no snow in Vietnam. We on the other hand have snow back home. Take Herbert's advice and get an overcoat Thuc. You're shivering."

Yung Ho, dressed again in olive green jungle fatigues, looks at Thuc with worry in his features.

Thuc only looks at Yung Ho, and asks "What is an overcoat?"

Yung Ho points to...

'Redcoat?' 'Annie inadvertently thinks out.

...Javin?

Javin is a wearing a greatcoat in addition to the white turban, coat and pants. But of all things...the greatcoat is colored red.

"Why are you wearing a red colored coat? Isn't that...something British?" I ask him in a mystified tone.

"I like red." Javin replies nonchalantly.

...ah never mind.

"Annan can you give Thuc here an overcoat?" I turn to her.

Annan is not wearing a cloak this time over her shining gold colored, sleeveless dress, since the evil magical book destroyed it. This time she is wearing...chainmail.

And this isn't the kind of armor that is thought of by those with a fetish.

This is actual, functional armor covering her from shoulders to her hands and her mid-calf.

And she has also tied up her waist length hair into a big ponytail bun.

"You mean something like what Javin's wearing right now?" she asks.

"Yes." I answer.

She raises her right hand and snaps her fingers.

A red greatcoat suddenly falls on Thuc from above.

"I said give one, not drop one." I say in a droll tone.

"Sorry." She says, complete with a shrug.

I look towards Connla, seeing a glance of Thuc trying to wear the greatcoat in the process, to see Connla standing there with closed eyes, spear in one hand and shied in another, and murmuring what I feel must be prayers.

He is also still wearing the same tartan pants and brown shirt, while the cloak is nowhere to be seen.

I decide not to disturb him.

I then look at the Japanese who are a little ways behind us.

There is Hinoe and Waka-ush, both dressed in light jackets, long sleeved shirts of a black or dark brown color and jeans.

No one else is present.

The reason for that, when I asked earlier, is that Ebisu, along with all the other survivors and the relatives of their dead friends…had been drafted by Naomi into helping her call up all the relatives last night.

I then look down at myself.

I am dressed this time in a surplus DBDU, along with new socks, underwear and another Ssh-68 helmet I got from Thuc.

“Is everyone ready?” Annan suddenly speaks up, at the same time clapping her hands, to get the attention of the everyone.

After she determines that she has everyone attention, she then nods to Waka-ush.

Waka-ush starts speaking.

“You already know the general outline of the plan, but I am sure you don’t know the specifics of the magic involved. I will not bother you with details other than that the spell that me and Ms. Shinozaki here will use to tie you to the real world…only works with living humans and gods. Therefore, you have to remain alive in there.”

I don’t know about the others, but I nod my head.

“For the spell to work, I need all of you living beings to spill your blood on this fishing rod.”

Waka-ush then pulls out from nowhere the…most beautiful fishing rod of its kind that I had ever seen.

It is only a stick with a thread of sinew tied to one end, and a gorge made of bone on the other end of the sinew, but looking at it, I see a vision, of one man…

…ten men…

…hundreds and thousands of Japanese men dressed in different kinds of clothes from every point of time, all doing one thing: fishing with a fishing hook.

And when I see them finally catching a fish, I feel…no, I share in their exultation.

I then throw the fish into the boat/onto the shore and then promptly start gutting it with my flint knife/bronze knife/steel knife.

The vision finally ends with me blinking once and looking around with only my eyes.

Apparently that vision only took less than a second in the real world.

“And how much blood is needed to…accomplish spilling our blood onto it?” Thuc warily asks.

A sentiment that I am also feeling.

“Well, a few drops ought to do it.” Waka-ush replies with a shrug.

Us living beings look at each other, and then grimace at the same time as we pull out our melee weapons, or in Annan’s case, borrow Connla’s dagger.

A minute later, I squeeze out three drops of my blood onto the rod from my left index finger using my right hand, and then quickly stretch out the arm to my left for Javin to pour Soma onto the bloody finger.

Annan then takes my place and drops her blood onto the fishing rod, as the last one to do so.

Once Annan finishes, Waka-ush steps back from us and stand beside Hinoe.

The two then both hold onto the fishing rod’s handle in this…pattern is the only word that comes to mind: Hinoe’s left hand is at the bottom, then Waka-ush’s hand, then Hinoe’s other hand, and then Waka-ush’s hand at the top.

Then they both start chanting at the same time.

Waka-ush used another language other than Japanese so I did not understand them, but I understand those that are coming from Hinoe, and it is the following:

“I, Shinozaki Hinoe, of the Gifted Line of the children of the Great country of 8 islands, tie the blood offerors to this world with the power of all the kami of the land.

I tie them to live.
I tie them to survive.
I tie them to succeed.
I tie them to create a story.
I tie them to history.
I tie them to future.
I tie them to fate.

I do so, I do so, I do so, I do so, I do so, I do so, I do so, I do so.

It is done, it is done, it is done, it is done, it is done, it is done and it is done.”

Just as the chant ends, I immediately feel my heart palpitate.

As if it teleported, my right hand is clutching at my chest, and I am left fearing that I am having a heart attack right this moment.

‘Herbert! ‘ ’Annie’ thinks to me.

…the palpitation quickly subsides, to be replaced by the feeling of my heart…

I can’t describe the feeling of my heart!

“What on earth is that?!” I yell and say in shock at the Ainu goddess, who flinches in response.

“I-I presume that is the spell working.” She replies in a tone of voice that is almost like she is asking a question.

“One of the words is live, so I presume that the spell is conceptually wrapped around our hearts, giving off the impression that someone tied ribbons on our hearts.” Annan says in a deadpan voice.

Waka-ush just stares. And then she apologizes.

“I’m so sorry. The heart? Wha-that’s bad right?”

“Can you even do household chores when you feel you are on the verge of having a heart attack all the time?” I reply.

She looks away for a moment.

“On the other hand, the spell is doing perfect in its job.” Yung Ho says in approval.

I look at him, to see him looking down at his chest, as if he is seeing something…and his eyes are visible in the darkness.

It is like I am looking at his eyes in the middle of noon, but the fact is that right now it is 4 in the morning and it is dark outside, the only illumination coming from the streetlights outside the school and the stars on this moonless night.

“There is that. This thing is very fault tolerant, like an AK…Waka-ush, you alright girl?” Annan asks her with concern.

I look up to see Waka-ush leaning onto Hinoe, as if all her strength drained out.

“Fine. Just need to rest. Long time since I did that level of magic. You do the rest.”

Annan looks at her for a little while, and then nods.

“Wait, we are just going to go into a magical hellhole while feeling on the verge of a heart attack all the time?” I complain.

“I could fix that, you know?” She pointedly looks at me.

…yeah, I forgot. Goddess.

Annan then turns around and lightly slaps Thuc on his chest.

Blinking, he then massages his chest, with a slowly growing look of relief on his face.

She did it to Javin too, leaving aside Connla, who does not seem affected and Yung Ho, who just breathes on his own chest, with…mist.

It seems to me that Yung Ho is quite the magic user himself.

Annan then approaches me and-

I glare at her for the light punch she just gave me to the chest.

“You need it.” She says with a shit eating smile.

I shake my head at this.

After that, she then gathers everyone around her and then proceeds to brief us.

“To enter Tenjin elementary, we need to purposely flub this charm that I am going to instruct you. Once we flub it, we will…based on the games, we, and only we, will experience an earthquake that will split up the ground under us and let us fall into Tenjin elementary.”

“Would the drop hurt us?” Thuc asks in a serious tone.

“Well, the characters faint from dropping and then wake up there...so I don’t really know.”

Annan frowns and starts thinking to herself. Suddenly she brightens up.

“Ah, let’s do it this way! When the earthquake starts and the ground starts opening up, we jump into the chasm before the earthquake gets worse. At the same time we should close our eyes and prepare to land on our feet. This way we get into Tenjin elementary immediately ready to fight. Next is what is going to happen inside. All we need to do is stay alive, or sane in my case. But it is certain that we will have to fend off the ghosts that went wacko a long time ago…in our own…ah damn.”

Annan immediately spits on her palms, closes them, and then chants something inaudible.

She then opens up her palms…and now there are 6 single piece headsets with those arms where the microphone is located.
The only difference is there is no jack, and these headsets are made of gold.

Yes, golden headsets.

She gives one to each one of us, teaches Connla and Javin how to wear them, and then proceeds to speak to us through her own headset.

“Now we have a means of communication that would not be cut off by being in our own pockets of space. Otherwise, we would be cut off from each other until I forcibly fix the time and space in Tenjin elementary, which would give us away and have everything insane there try to kill us immediately.”

I nod at the sensibility of this while I adjust the earpiece, making it so that it is only half covering my left ear.

I need to hear from my left ear as well in the first place.

“Now, to the charm. We have to hold onto this paper doll and then recite this phrase: “Sachiko, we beg of you.” To succeed we need to recite that once for each participant, and then one more time altogether for Sachiko and then pull the paper doll apart. However, since we want to flub it…we only say that phrase once and then we pull the paper. Now, there are other details about the scraps of paper but our goal is not to escape, but to drag the school with us back to the real world so just…eat it.”

“Excuse me?” I ask.

‘Did she just say eat the paper?’

‘Yes. And here is her explanation.’

“Yes. Eat the paper. That way you don’t lose it, but also this paper I have? It’s also going to give you a sort of…danger intuition.”

Danger Intuition? As in Spiderman’s “spidy” senses?

What a godsend!

“What sort of danger intuition?” Connla asks.

…I’m already happy with being given Spider senses. Now there are different types?

“Well, you would feel a sensation if someone is looking at you with the intent to hurt or kill you. And…that’s all.”

“That’s all? Why not include being able to tell where the person is coming from?” I ask, feeling a little bit disappointed at the revelation that it is a less powerful version of Spiderman’s senses.

“Keeping things simple. I want something that is too simple to break, especially when we are dealing with an evil, sentient, magical book.”

‘I see…but that does not help with your stomach’

‘There is that.’

Before I am able to raise a point, Annan renders it useless by saying “And if you roll the paper into a small ball, it would turn into a pill. I hope that helps?”

…it helps.

“Now that I have explained everything…let’s go!” She yells with gusto.

“See you in a few days Waka-ush! Drag us and the place as soon as you can, ok!” Annan cheerfully says to her in a loud voice.

A house dozens of meters down the street lights up.

Waka-ush weakly nods and then says “May everything well be with you.”

Annan chuckles as she pulls out a pink paper doll from thin air, asking “Ebisu showed you Star Wars?”

“All 6 movies.” Waka-ush replies with a grin, which has Hinoe looking at her in amazement.

Annan turns back to us with a smile, and then stretches out her right hand, holding the paper doll in it.

The arm is slightly shaking.

Most of us give her understanding looks.

Connla says something else.

“Don’t worry An. I’m with you.”

We each take hold of one part of the paper doll, and then we look to Annan and wait.

“Ok. On the count of three.” She says with a slightly trembling voice.

“One.” I start the count.

“Two.” Thuc, Yung Ho and Javin says.

“Three.” Connla and Annan says.

“Sachiko, we beg of you!” We all said out loudly, and then pull.


Last edited by kilopi505 on 2013-06-29 11:27am, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-05-07 12:53am
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
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Many thanks to maddoctor and Lady Tevar, and bluepencil of Spacebattles.com for being betas.

Couldn't have done it without you.

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-05-15 07:14am
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Ok. So...does anyone wants to volunteer to be a beta reader?

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-08-27 09:07am
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I am in need of beta readers since the ones I depended on are busy. Does anyone else want to volunteer?

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 Post subject: Well, this is chapter 13. Enjoy. PostPosted: 2013-08-30 12:26pm
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Chapter 13

After we pull the paper doll into pieces, we ready ourselves for the incoming earthquake.

It hits a few seconds later.

At first it was a slight shaking sensation coming from the ground, but as the seconds pass the tremor becomes stronger and stronger. And then a few meters from us, the ground starts falling away into a chasm.

A second passes.

I start to move towards the widening chasm.

Javin suddenly runs past me, with paper turned pill in his mouth and rifle in hand.

As he reaches the edge, he shouts out "Har Har Mahadeo!" in a shrill tone and jumps into it.

The next one to jump in is Connla, dragging Annan by hand and yelling “Veneti and Annan!”

Annan screams “Shut up!” with a blushing face before they both jump in.

By the time I reach the edge a few seconds later, I see Yung Ho and Thuc, who also reached it at the same time as me, looking in amazement.

“That's less hesitation than they showed before.” Yung Ho comments.

“Forget it. Jump on three.” I say, looking down at the chasm.

“Three!” Thuc surprises my by suddenly yelling, at the same time jumping in.

I don’t know about Yung Ho, but I immediately jump in a second later on impulse and close my eyes.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Son of a gun, that hurts.” I moan, holding my nose in pain.

How did that happen?! I was falling down feet first! So why did I belly flop onto the floor, and smash something (which I presume to be made of wood) in half with my face?

Herbert? Annie thought to me.

“What?” I growl out as I sit up and look at my right hand.

Dear God there’s blood on it.

I tenderly touched my nose, to find out that thankfully it’s not broken.

There’s a corpse around 5 meters behind you. And the ghost is still in the corpse-IT SAW US!

I whirl around, cocking ‘Annie’ at the same time and bringing it to bear on a…

A glowing deep red colored, basketball sized ball of fire 2 meters away from my face that instantly stopped once I had my gun aimed at it.

Suddenly I get the feeling that the ghost is raising both its arms in surrender, even if all I see is just a glowing ball.

In light of my experiences with magic, I take it as fact and react accordingly, to make the ghost think twice before saying anything funny.

“United States Army! Don’t move or I’ll shoot you dead!”

A few seconds of silence passes. And then the ghost, a female from the sound of it, speaks to me in a disbelieving tone of voice.

“Old man, I am already dead.”

She’s right ‘Annie’ thinks to me.



Well, that’s embarrassing.

“Well then…I’ll make you feel more pain.” I try to recover my dignity.

It is then I remember that the dead here in Tenjin elementary school have been feeling the pain that they felt when they died, all the time.

…won’t that mean they are kind of doped up on pain?

The female ghost laughs hysterically, making me feel even more embarrassed. And then it attacks me.

It screams as I shot it.

Suddenly, the ball changes appearances.

Where there was a ball, there now is a screaming girl, of around 13 years of age and with a red glow around her body, rolling on the wooden floor in pain while clutching one of her breasts, from which a pale yellowish brown light is shining through gaps between the fingers.

...ouch.

…on the other hand, this shows they can be incapacitated by more pain.

What did you do to the poor thing?! ‘Annie asks me in dismay.

‘She was a ball of fire. I can’t see any signs of her body anatomy.’

‘Annie’ has no answer to that, but she still conveyed a strong feeling of disapproval.

…can’t win them all.

I focus my attention back to the female ghost.

By now, she is whimpering and all curled up on herself while tightly clutching the breast I shot with both hands.

I bite my lip.

I look towards the door, and then back at the girl.

I let out my breath.

Why do I feel like a villain?

I pull the arm of my headphone near my mouth and speak into it.

“Annan, you there? Thuc? Yung Ho?...Anyone?”

“I hear you, elder Ward.” Connla says to me through the headphone.

“With Connla. I’m just…doing something right now.” I hear Annan’s sheepish voice.

“I heard your shot with my own ears. I’m currently trying to navigate my way to your part of the school.”

That accounts for Javin.

“I’m here with Victor Charlie, Yankee.” I hear Yung Ho’s voice.

“And I’m here with Kilo Mike.” And that would be Thuc.

…I’m gonna ask them about that later. For now…

“A question. I just shot an insane ghost here, but right now she’s whimpering in pain from the bullet in her chest. Can I restrain her and get that out of her chest?”

Silence greets me.

“Why would you take out the only thing stopping her from going after you again?” Thuc asks me.

“This is a dead 13 year old girl.”

I take off the headphone and aim the mike at the ghost’s direction, where she is still whimpering in pain.

I do so for half a minute, and then I wear them again.

“Now you understand?” I ask them.

“…you need to restrain her before trying to do something, just in case…” Yung Ho says through the headphone.

Before I am able to respond, Javin cuts in.

“Do not worry, I think I have some rope that can restrain her. Just wait there until I arrive at your location, Mr. Ward.”

“I’ll be waiting Javin.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

"I will rip your eyes out slowly, and then I will rip your tongue out, and then I will rip your guts out...no, that won't-ouch...that won't do. I will rip out your guts first, and then your wee-wee, and then your tongue, and finally your eyes." The girl angrily curses me from where she is curling on herself.

"And again, without any sarcasm, I apologize for shooting you in self-defense." I boringly say to her while leaning on the doorway, peeking outside every now and then for any sign of Javin.

It has been fifteen minutes or so since I shot the girl. Three minutes after I shot her, she finally got used to the pain the bullet is causing her, and started cursing at me.

Since then, I had to weather the most disturbing vulgarities I ever had the displeasure to encounter in my whole life.

It’s not the vulgarities themselves that are disturbing me. I heard worse in the Army and from the TV. It's the person delivering it, and the voice that is used delivering it changing in tone every few seconds.

One minute she was saying “May you and your whore of a mother be raped by burakumin,” in the tone of voice you use to beg for kindness or mercy, the other she said “I will cut off your wee-wee and stick it in your mouth, and make you chew it,” in the tone Mary used when she is putting Fiona or Arnold to sleep.

And in yet another minute she said she would like to play around with my dismembered limbs as I watch on, bleeding to death, in the same tone of voice as an honors student confidently reciting an answer in class.

All this, from a cute, black haired, 13 year old girl with two shoulder length pigtails done in the style of a girl from the Midwest, and dressed in a school uniform.

And this girl is glaring at me with eyes that belong to a drug addict.

"Javin, I am getting really disturbed here. How long is it going to take you to get here?" I plead into the microphone.

I hear a very quiet noise through the headset, a ‘shush’ sound.

I immediately go silent, hoping that whatever the reason he wants silence, I did not just give away his position.

A few moments later, Javin speaks up in a very soft voice..

“That was a close one.”

“What happened?” I ask, at the same time as the others.

“A ghost just passed the hallway in front of me. Thankfully it didn’t see me.” Javin replies.

“Did you see any others?” I peek out the door and looking left and right for any other ghosts.

“Except for this one, none.”

“That’s strange…” I hear Annan mutter. She then asks him this question.

“What did the ghost look like?”

“It was glowing blue, a child of around ten years of age...and she is missing half of her head from the jawline.”

“…Son of a bitch.” I curse for the first time in quite a while.

I pray to God that I can leave this place untraumatized.

“That girl is Tokiko Tsuji. She kills her victims by beheading them.” Annan reveals to us.

“Shibal.” Yung Ho says out loud.

“Anyways, do you think you can get here any time soon?” I ask him.

“…I don’t think so, Mr. Ward. I know your general direction, that being above of the floor I am on, but I have to navigate around these collapsed wooden floors.”

“Take care.” I lean back on the floor and look back into the classroom I am in, taking a look once again for anything else that is out of the ordinary.

The classroom is divided into two. The rear half is gone, the wooden floor board and everything on it collapsed onto the floor below. The front half is what is left.

The front half contains objects that are always present in a classroom, but presently they can be divided into two: those that do not look safe to use and those that are still sturdy.

Those belonging to the former are all the chairs and tables for the student’s use, the platform that the teacher always stands up on, and the teacher’s chair, which had already collapsed a long time ago.
Those belonging to the latter category are the teacher’s table and the blackboard, on which some Japanese words are written in chalk.

…the Japanese sure know how to make their blackboards. And kudos to the carpenter who made the table. As a fellow carpenter, I could not help but admire his work.

The only thing out of place in the classroom…aside from the collapsed floorboards in the rear, is the corpse of the girl ghost on the other side of the blackboard and platform, laying in the space between the two and the wall.

It was dressed in the same school uniform, and has the same pigtails that ghost has. It has its eyes closed, the mouth open, and the position of the corpse is one of laying on its side, while curling around its stomach, the arms tightly wrapped around the stomach in death.

The cause of death is extremely unlikely to be from violent means, from the lack of any bloodstains around the classroom. I judge it to be starvation, due to the way the skin is tight against the bones and how the corpse is positioned.

…that’s a nasty way to die. Thankfully, I’m not going to go the same route, what with having supplies on me.

I suddenly hear a shot from my headset. And then another.

And then Yung Ho lets loose several bursts of full auto fire, with occasional shots from the SKS heard in the background.

“What’s happening there people?” I ask in serious concern.

“We just ran into a lot of ghosts here, Yankee!” Thuc yelled into the headset, making me wince in pain.

“Reloading!” Yung Ho yells.

Thuc provides some covering fire while I presume Yung Ho reloads.

The K1 barks with full auto bursts again.

Thuc stops shooting for some rea-

“Fire in the hole!”

I quickly tear the headphone off my ear.

I hear a very muffled explosion through the headphone.

“What’s the matter? Did your friends run into something?” the girl asks me in a happily, malicious tone of voice.

I ignore her and don the headphone on my head as fast as possible.

“They ran away from an ordinary grenade?” Yung Ho comments in amazement.

“Must have been scared by the explosion.” Thuc replies candidly.

“But they were charging two men who are shooting at them.” Yung Ho counters in a tone full of amazement and…and some other emotion I can only guess at.

I offer my input.

“Maybe they thought that the guns are fakes?”

“Fakes? Really Herbert?” Thuc asks me amidst the sound of crying and moaning ghosts from the background.

“It is possible. I highly doubt these kids have even seen a real gun, what with Japan having the strictest laws about gun possession in the world.” Annan says.

“…she IS our expert on modern Japan.” Thuc admits.

“If I may interrupt, gentlemen and your holiness?” Javin asks us.

A moment passes.

“Well, elder?” Connla asks him.

“What are we going to do with the ghosts that were just incapacitated?”

“I do think it would help the others if we just tie up and gag everyone we incapacitate. That way the exorcists and the kami have less ghosts to subdue.”

“An, I think we have more pressing matters to answer than what to do with our enemies.” Connla suddenly says.

“Such as?” she replies.

“What do we do now that we have just gained the attention of everyone in this place?”

“Well...”

Annan ponders upon it, from the sound of it.

A moment passes.

“You have no idea either?” Connla asks.

“I hardly think we have gained the attention of everyone in the place.”

“Are you sure An?”

“…no.”

“Oh for the love of…” I say, looking up above to the ceiling above me-

To see the face of a ghost suddenly pass through the ceiling.

Herbert!

Before ‘Annie’ finishes shouting that to my mind, I already cocked her, and have her aimed at the ghost, all in just one move.

The ghost, that of a boy and glowing blue as opposed to the girl’s red, freezes at the sight of a gun aimed at him. He then suddenly jumps back through the ceiling with a shriek of fear.

I move away from the doorway and put myself in the middle of the classroom’s front half, keeping my distance from all the walls and the girl ghost.

“Annan, just how many ghosts are currently in Tenjin elementary?” I ask candidly.

“As of last count, a total of around 10,400 dead people in here, accumulated through the years when Sachiko started this thing.”



“Can you please repeat that again?” I request in dumbfound disbelief.

“More than 10, 400. As of two days ago.”

“And WHY didn’t you inform us of this before?!” Yung Ho almost, almost shouts at her.

“Because I am confident that our arms and magic can scare the malevolent ghosts off, while we can talk with the sane ghosts.”

“And how many of those ten thousand ghosts are sane?” Connla asks her in a tone that I associate with someone who is face palming.

“I am sure around half are still sane.”

“That still leaves us incredibly outnumbered.” Thuc says.

“We are heavily armed people, with magic of our own. We can take the whole school on if necessary.” She says confidently.

A moment passes.

“Cambodia is a much safer place than this.” Thuc mutters.

I agree.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I hear the sound of the bullet dropping down onto the plate.

A moment later Javin says “It is done.” in a nasal tone of voice.

I turn around from my vigil near the door, to see Javin sitting on the floor, holding his bloody nose with his right hand and wincing in pain.

Beside him are the tweezers and forceps that he used to take the bullet from the girl’s breast and the metal platter where he dropped the bullet.

And in front of him is the ghost, who is tied up with ropes that are glowing bright blue, and glaring at Javin in a drunk way.

“Javin, can that Soma of yours heal your nose?” I ask him in concern and guilt.

“It will. I just need to wash my nose in it.” He says in a pained tone of voice. He then reaches for his wineskin.

I feel responsible for his nosebleed. How was I supposed to know these ghosts also have psychic powers, especially when the intel source on this place is in contact?

I should have asked before Javin started removing the bullet.

Thankfully, Javin’s Soma suppressed her powers, in addition to the extremely unexpected side effect of rendering her drunk.

My attention snaps back to the present when Javin asks me if I have any plan on what to do next.

I look at him to see his nose is back to normal, and his face is wet.

“I think we should move out. This place is pretty much compromised to anyone around us.”

I then take a look around the room.

…this is no place to fight with anything less than an automatic firearm, which neither of the two of us have.

“Do we leave her?” He asks, making a movement with his head to indicate the girl ghost, while grabbing a handkerchief from his backpack and wiping his face with it.

I think about it for a moment.

“Yes. I think the insane ghosts are…insane enough not to help her out if one did see her.”

My headphone crackles.

“Are you finally done with your humanitarian project?” Yung Ho asks me.

“Yes.”

I couldn’t really blame him, this place is like a warzone...will become a warzone with us in it.

If this was a normal one, I would leave the girl to die. But the circumstances as they are demand different actions…thus my act of mercy.

“What did you do with your ghosts?” Javin asks from beside me as we both walk to the door.

“I cast a spell that is supposed to repel ghosts, and put it into physical form, that of a rope.” Yung Ho replies.

“You…tied them up physically with a spell that is supposed to repel ghosts?” Annan asks in a disbelieving tone.

“Your holiness, I did not do that without a good reason.”

“What is the problem here?” I warily ask as I start walking in the hallway.

“A spell that is supposed to repel ghosts…is for a ghost what an electrified fence or barbed wire is for a living human being.” Thuc answers me.

I stop walking and put my left hand on the headphone, trying to hear more clearly.

“Come again?”

“Yung Ho tied them up with the ghostly equivalent of electrified wire fences.” Thuc repeats.

“…Yung Ho?” I ask in dismay.

What on Earth is the guy doing?

“A rope blessed with holy water can be cut by a ghost if they use a sharp object. A spell tied around a ghost will not be cut or destroyed if they do not have any magic.”

“So you did that just to make sure?” I look back at the room we just came from, wondering if the girl is trying to cut her ropes right this moment.

“Yes I did…I think so.”

“You…think so?” Javin asks in disbelief.

“To be honest, I have to consider the fact that I do hate Japan, and…maybe deep down I might be liking this…I don’t know.”

Yung Ho finishes his sentence with a sigh.

Well, at least he is honest.

“Careful. You could become an evil spirit Yung Ho.” Thuc warns him.

“I know.” Yung Ho answers back wearily.

“No one is turning into an evil anything on my watch.” I interject.

“What Thuc said is just a small possibility people, Herbert. There is no need to worry.“

“Small possibility he says.” I loudly scoff while looking at Javin and making a gesture towards the room we just came from.

Javin nods and stealthily walks towards the door.

I disguise the sound of his walking by talking loudly into the microphone.

“Whether it be a small possibility or not, I ain’t letting that happen to a friend of mine, especially a fellow Vietnam veteran. We vets stick together! If it means I have to kick you in the balls to bring you back to your senses, then yes, I Will Do So.”

I can feel the wince from all the men in the network.

“Why the testicles?” Connla asks me.

“Why not?” I answer back. “When you say evil spirit, you think of a spirit that is consumed with negative emotions. And it’s common knowledge that pain of some kind is needed to snap some sense back into someone in that situation.”

“Therefore, a kick at my balls?” Yung Ho asks incredulously.

“I think you are referring to drunkards, Herbert.” Thuc says.

“What do you mean?”

“Pain of some kind is needed to snap some sense into a raging, violent drunkard.”

I remain silent for a few moments, wallowing in embarrassment.

What is it with me and embarrassing statements this day?

Quick Herbert, think of something to say. Something…that’s it.

“…evil spirits are drunk on negative emotions.”

A moment later Annan and Connla laugh at my words, while Thuc groans loudly

“I better…I better watch myself before you geld me with that…that kick.” Yung Ho says, the sentence interrupted here and there by his snickers.

Thank God.

Looks like he is back to his normal self.

“TV Tropes, we now have a new entry to “Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!” It’s called the Ward kick!”
Annan breaks down into giggles.

…resist it.

Resist the temptation to ask…oh forget it.

“What is TV Tropes?”

“Maybe it is something on the internet?” Thuc answers.

I shrug. Then upon remembering he can’t see me, I answer.

“Beats me. That’s why I’m asking.”

“I don’t even have an idea what an internet is.” Yung Ho grumbles into the headphone.

“Mr. Ward, it appears Mr. Cha does have a point.” Javin suddenly says.

I look at him.

He is looking at me with a frown on his face.

“The girl is trying to crawl towards the broken wooden boards.”

A moment passes.

“Give me more rope. And some more of that Soma.” I reply.

Damn it.

You do something good and someone inevitably abuses it.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

“Well. That’s that.” I say as I walk out of the room.

“That is an excessive amount of rope, Mr. Ward.” Javin comments beside me, while looking back at the girl ghost.

“If it keeps her from moving.” I shrug.

“What did you do Herbert?” Thuc asks.

“Mr. Ward did not simply tie up the girl. He wrapped her in a cocoon of rope.” Javin answers his question.

“Like a caterpillar?”

“Yes.” I answer.

A moment of silence passes.

“If it keeps her incapacitated, why not?” Yung Ho says.

Javin has no reply to that.

“Annan,” I ask into the microphone “what do we do now?”

“For now? Ultimately, we are just supposed to stay alive or sane while the kami pull the school into the real world. But we could also try to save the other people still living inside.” She muses.

“Try? Why only try? Should we not-”

Connla suddenly pauses. A second later he exclaims “What is this room for? It reeks of piss!”

“This is the boy’s lavatory. And we are going to get the help of a very pivotal character here. Everyone, cover your ears because this is going to be loud.”

I quickly detach the headphone from my ear and hold it 10 cm. away from it, to no avail as I wince at the volume of a deep loud voice emanating from the headphone, saying “SHUT THE GODDAMNED DOOR!”

My word. That is loud. ‘Annie’ deigns to speak to me again.

‘Indeed…thank you for talking to me again.’ I think back to her while rubbing my left ear in pain.

I am still not happy with what you did to the girl. But since you did have the bullet extracted…I forgive you in the name of all women everywhere.

In the name of all women everywhere?

I shake my head and focus my attention back to the headphone (by wearing it again) as I hear Annan knocking on the door loudly.

“You bespectacled old ghost! Is that what you say to the people who are helping the Japanese destroy this school’s curse, Shimoda?!”

I hear the noise of a door slamming open, and the man who shouted earlier yelling “What!”

“Allow me to introduce myself. I am Annan, former earth goddess of one of the European countries. I am a friend of Ebisu, who asked me to help the Japanese with this problem.”

After that Annan stops speaking. The only reaction by the ghost Annan called Shimoda is silence.

I stop listening to the ensuing conversation upon following the turn of the hallway to the left, to see a gaping, impassable hole in the hallway’s wooden floor a few meters in front of me.

“Quite shoddy construction the Japanese have here.” Javin comments from beside me upon seeing the floor.

I look back from where we came a while ago.

The floorboards there are as pristine as properly maintained floorboards can be. I contrast that to what is in front of us, floorboards that are extremely weathered by time and rot, with some parts of the floor even collapsed into the story below us.

I look back at the hallway in front of us, wondering if the contractor did something illegal, to see Javin suddenly whirling around with a surprised look in his eyes, and his rifle at the ready.

Look behind you Herbert. ‘Annie’ hurriedly says to me at the same time as I cock her and whirl around, the rifle ready to fire.

Only to see the hallway behind me in the same condition as the one in front of me.

“That wasn’t like that a second ago. What happened?” I ask the two of them, staring in shock.

The hallway changed like switching a TV channel, only it’s too fast for even my sight.

“I just felt something strange suddenly happen.”

I rapidly bring the microphone to my lips and ask away.

“Annan, any idea what just happened?”

“The hallways changed, right?”

“Yes.” I answer while I uncock the rifle.

“The good news is that is supposed to happen. This place is tailored to mess with the minds of those who are trapped here. The bad news is, it is supposed to happen only when you are inside a room, and it is always accompanied by an earthquake.”

“Damn it, your holiness. Are you saying your information is now outdated?” Yung Ho asks in slight anger.

“Wait one moment, I’m asking Shimoda.”

“Can we go outside this room? It reeks.” Connla pleads.

I stop paying attention to my earphone and nudge Javin with my right hand. Upon looking at me, I point to the classroom doorway to our front and left, and at its pair at the other side of the gap in the floor.

He nods, and follows me through the doorway.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We enter a classroom not unlike the one I first came into a while ago.

Unlike the first one, this classroom has a sturdy looking wooden cabinet with dust stained, sliding glass doors and a man sized broken hole in the floorboards in the left center of the room, while the blackboard is decorated with a stick drawing of a big man with scissors chasing three or four smaller figures.

And it’s as cold as winter all of a sudden.

It gives me a bad feeling.

“I don’t think we should proceed any further.” Javin suddenly says.

“Let’s try the-“

The doors suddenly slamming shut behind us cuts me off in mid-speech. It also cuts off any route out of the classroom other than the gap in the floor.

Which currently has red light shining through it.

“Ambush.” We snarl at the same time, cocking and aiming our guns at the hole.

Damn it.

I hear voices through my headphone but I ignore it, focusing all my attention on the hole in the flooring.

Duck! ‘Annie’ suddenly yells.

I duck just in time, for a red ball whirrs through where my head was a second ago, at a speed that is sure to kill someone regardless of a helmet or not.

I curse and angrily leap to my feet, whirling around and trying to get space between me and the wall so I can start shooting. In the process, I unintentionally smack the face of a ghost kid of elementary age coming out of the wall with the rifle’s forestock. The ghost screams in response, clutching his face like the rifle is a hot iron, and drops on the floor, writhing in pain.

That’s good to kno–

The skin on my back suddenly drags me off the floor, into the air…

“Fuck.”

I twist my back in pain, feeling chalk dust on my skin.

My skin hurts. My spine hurts. Everything in my back hurts, and the only reason I am not unconscious is because of the helmet I am wearing.

It hurts like nothing since Vietnam.

Something just threw me across the room and into the blackboard, making a hole in it. And from the blackboard I fell down onto the platform, taking the chalk ledge with my butt in the process.

I wait for a few seconds, eyes shut tight in pain and breathing heavily.

In the meantime, I hear an occasional shot, and screams from the other end of the classroom. None of the screams are Javin’s.

I wait a few more moments, and then open my eyes, to see Javin violently thrust his bayonet into a girl’s throat, and then slash it out towards his left and out of the throat, into the eye of another boy. Both of them drop in pain, yelling incoherently and clutching the wounded parts of their body.

I slowly grab the cocked rifle lying in front of me, go into a crouched firing position, and aim at the ghosts still coming from the opposite side of the wall, all the while trying my best to ignore the pain in my back.

The effort to do so makes my eyes water a bit.

I breathe in, breathe out, and then shoot a pitiful ghost kid with no eyes. He falls down clutching his shoulder, crying for his mother.

I quickly re-cock, re-aim, and shoot another ghost , this time a teenager who looks half eaten by someone. He falls down screaming, clutching his stomach and hoarsely screaming “Fuck” over and over again.

Javin steps backwards over his form, withdrawing from a thrust at a girl’s diaphragm.

I cock the gun again–

Behind!

Two ghostly, red and cold arms suddenly wrap around my neck and violently slams my head into the wall, making me let go of ‘Annie’ and sit against the wall.

And did I mention making me see bright lights?

I try to claw the skin off, but my fingers just go through it like jelly, and scratch my own throat instead.

The knife! Use the knife! ‘Annie’ yells to me.

I quickly grab my bayonet with my left hand and stab one of the arms, eliciting a female cry of pain from the wall itself.

“How do you like this?!”

I cut down the length of the arm, making the ghost scream more.

The ghost finally let me go, to which I respond by rolling away from the wall, over ‘Annie’, and coming up crouched once again, bayonet in my left hand and the cocked back Peacemaker in the right.

More ghosts start jumping out of the blackboard and wall it is on, much like sweat appears on an active person’s skin.

I quickly shoot one teenage girl in the face, and drag ‘Annie’ by her sling away from the blackboard’s side of the wall with my left index finger, pushing chairs and tables out of the way with my rear.

Cock. Aim. Shoot.

An elementary student whose head was smashed open gets another hole in it for his trouble around three and a half meters away from me.

Behind me, shots and screams still ring out, with Javin loudly, fervently chanting a prayer that has a lot of ‘Narasimha’ in it.

Cock. Aim. Shoot.

A half foreign teenage girl with a slit throat gets her chin shot off at three meters from me.

Cock. Aim Shoot.

Another elementary school girl who starved or thirsted to death gets a hole in her diaphragm.

This isn’t working.

This isn’t working! There’s too many of them! No single action firearm is not good enough for this mob!

Javin’s voice is close to my back now, and the sound of it now immediately makes me stop backtracking.

It is no longer fervent. It is both something scary and reassuring. It is both something that gives me the confidence that someone is watching my back and something that urges me to step away from it and into the crowd of ghosts.

My mind tells me that if I take one more step I might, no, I will get stabbed, slashed or shot dead by Javin.

Stick the knife on me and start bayoneting! ‘Annie screams at me.

“There’s no lug on you.” I protest while shooting a girl, dead from a broken neck, in the chest two and a half meters away from me.

Just put it near my muzzle. I will do the rest.

…seems I don’t have a choice here.

I throw the Peacemaker into the crowd of ghosts, based on a suspicion I have from earlier.

Two voices scream in surprised pain, and then an empty space quickly forms in the crowd, centered on where the Peacemaker dropped.

In the time this happened, I grabbed ‘Annie’ with my right hand, and put the bayonet near ‘Annie’s muzzle with my left. And to my great surprise, the bayonet sprung out of my hand and attached itself by the handle to the ramrod, as if there are magnets involved.

But whatever ‘Annie’ did, it is much better than a magnet. The M7 bayonet refuses to move from the ramrod when I try to wiggle it, as if it was forged WITH the ramrod –

Here they come, some of them swinging wooden chairs around.

I rapidly move my body and rifle into the bayonet fighting position simply called the attack position. I barely manage to do so when a teenage boy with smashed skull starts to swing a wooden chair at me over his head, with two others behind him.

I parry it to my left with ‘Annie’s barrel and guide it down to the floor. With the same movement, I turn the parry into a butt stroke to his left temple, pivoting on my left foot and moving the right foot forward at the same time.

The boy goes down without making a word.

I instantly reposition for a long thrust to a surprised boy with a destroyed left eyeball, formerly to the rear left of the first ghost but now in front of me, who still has not even begun to swing his bludgeon.

I thrust the bayonet to the hilt in his neck, and push forward with my left foot to get out of harm’s way from my current rear. To my surprise, the bayonet effortlessly slices upward through the neck, and the jawbone, and the skull, dividing them in half and making the boy scream the weirdest scream I have ever heard.

…magical blades are going to take some time to get used to.

The sound of something swinging through the air, tearing my BDU at my backside, and then smashing into the floor, refocuses my attention.

I swiftly pivot on both heels, and face a girl with a face smashed into her skull, in position for a short thrust to her diaphragm.

I quickly stab her there and withdraw, watching her crumple to the floor.

Right! ‘Annie yells.

I pivot to my right, away from the screaming girl clutching her midsection, and see a chair slowly swinging towards my head.

I do a high block, only for the blow to make me fall onto my rear because I got out of balance.

Suddenly the ghost in front of me, a teenage boy with stab wounds in his stomach, is thrown backwards by a shot in his face.

Immediately after that a screaming, decapitated head of a girl is thrown over me and into the crowd of ghosts that are now looking uncertain.

“Thanks Javin.” I yell raggedly while I stand up from the ground.

Javin just continues chanting, shooting and making ghosts scream in pain.

I then reposition myself into another attack position facing the slightly frightened crowd of insane ghosts, some of them staring back and forth from me and the decapitated screaming head.

I just stand there, breathing heavily, and glaring them into submission…oh God, the PAIN.

Now that I have stopped moving, the pain is hitting my back again, making my body want to twist and do something, anything for the pain to go away.

You alright Herbert? ‘Annie’ asks.

‘No.’

I grit my teeth, willing myself to not let any pain show on my face.

This is because I must look too bas-ass for them to deal with. That will make them think twice, and then see that I am too dangerous to attack.

I must be seen as such, if I am to survive.

How about doing what you did in Cambodia. The gun suddenly suggests.

‘Which one?’ I ask as I growl at an elementary kid whose neck was torn open by a slash and enlarged by bare human hands. The kid steps back fearfully, boosting my confidence.

Chanting ‘Our Father’ and Psalms 23.

I think about it for two seconds.

“Couldn’t hurt to try.”

I clear my mind of all other distractions other than the ghosts in front of me, my rifle, and my own body.

After doing so, I take a deep breath, and then start.

“In the name of the Father,”

Upon uttering the very first syllable, something in the air around me changes.

“and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen.”

The pain in my back starts…changing. The pain before now was one that hurt me whether or not I moved, but now, it is not.

“Our Father which art in Heaven, Hallowed be thy name,”

It is…I am still experiencing pain but contrary to the definition of pain it does not hurt me. It is…it is… I am sharing in the pain of One who is infinitely greater than me, and by doing so I am participating in his work, leading to me becoming…better than before.

…purified is the closest description I can think of.

“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done,”

The…purification freed me from the helplessness imposed by pain, and that allows me to start moving normally again. Towards the ghosts that are now unsure, nervous and scared of me.

And this is what I want.

“on Earth as it is in Heaven,”

A few ghosts suddenly have a burst of courage and charge me from the crowd of ghosts, yelling incoherent screams that make me slightly shudder, even in the state of being that I am currently in.

“give us this day our daily bread,”

I quickly shoot from the hip at a teenage girl in midstride, hitting her in her in the middle of her disemboweled stomach, and then slash right at the right arm of a teenage boy with a broken neck who was swinging a chair at me. The slash outright cuts off the arm from the middle of the upper arm downwards, making the boy drop beside the girl howling in pain.

“and forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors,”

Something suddenly smashes down on my left shoulder, breaking itself into pieces and sending splinters onto my neck. It hurt bad, really bad, but I did not sense anything getting broken in my body. In addition I feel the holiness permeating me increase because of the pain.

Slowly (relatively speaking compared to my movements before) facing towards my left like a slow, dim witted but furious giant, I look down at an astonished kid looking at me with an open mouth, in confused and frightened as to why I did not drop to the floor in pain.

I move my left foot between her two feet, and quickly butt-smash her between her bloody eye sockets, with all the power I can muster in my body.

The girl only has time to let out a squawk before the butt smash drives her head, and by extension her whole body, into the floorboards. And to my great surprise the floor gives in from my action. As a result, the girl falls headfirst through the hole, towards the floor below us.

“and lead us not into temptation,”

Seeing movement from the edge of my eyesight, I move my right foot slightly forward and lunge to my front and right, impaling a boy’s neck to the hilt with a long thrust.

“but deliver us from Evil,”

Feeling more movement from around me, I twist the rifle and slash leftwards, out of the boy’s neck, to instinctively do something I was never taught to do: Swinging a rifle with a bayonet by its small of stock using both my hands, just like Mel Gibson does with a claymore in Braveheart.

And doing so while calmly chanting Our Lord’s prayer.

“For thine is the Kingdom, and the power,”

I feel the bayonet slash through several objects, as evidenced by yelps and screams of pain. But the only one that I actually see is when I slash through the breasts of a teenage girl with no tongue, cutting the two big lumps of flesh into four all the way down to the bone.

“and the glory,”

A boy suddenly goes on a banzai attack, charging straight towards me armed with only his fists.

Something tells me that this is the time to do something outrageous. And it imparts into my mind what I should do.

When the boy is in range, I quickly let go of ‘Annie’s small of stock with my right hand, and suddenly drive my right hand through the the open hole in his skull.

And I squeeze. Hard.

“Forever,”

I take one final step forward.

“Amen.”

I am now looking down at a pigtailed kid with a severed tongue stub who just comes to around the height of my stomach. To my right is the twitching body of the teenage boy, who is continuosly spasming, gibbering and leaking drool as my right hand is squeezing what stands for his brains.

Moments pass with me standing there, having a staring contest with the kid.

The air around the two of us feels like one that would be around a small pack of hungry rats cornered by a cougar whose cub the rats just killed. The rats can bite back, and if they are desperate enough, they COULD kill the cougar. But the cougar is very, very angry. And maybe a little bit hungry.

“Next.” I hiss at her.

The two of us knows which one of us is the rat and which is the cougar.

The ghosts behind and beside her suddenly move backwards, away from me. Then the rout suddenly starts.

I hear shrieks of fear, multiple voices asking themselves why did they attack us in the first place, and the other noises that are part of the cacophony of a rout. I ignore them all in favor of staring at the girl.

Moments later, all is silent except for the groans of the wounded ghosts.

And now the girl who keeps staring at me is the only remaining ghost standing unhurt in the room.

More moments pass, with me thinking how I should put her down.

…I give up. I can’t hurt this one.

She looks so pitiful. It’s obvious she is scared dumb by me.

I take pity on her and point to the door with my right hand, letting go of the ghost that I abused greatly drop to his side, still convulsing.

The glow around the kid slowly changes colors, from red to blue. When the glow finally turned entirely blue, the girl slowly and shakily nods to me. She turns to her left and marches toward the doors, opens and closes them after her very, very slowly, in the manner of someone doing things in such a way as to not provoke anything.

I take several deep breaths, and look behind me to see Javin looking at me with an impressed look on his face.

“That is a marvelous way to end a fight.” He comments.

I open my mouth to answer with a ‘thank you’. But what comes out is something else.

“Ouch.”

I squeak, and then faint from all the pain suddenly turning normal back on me, and returning with a vengeance.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Many thanks to all the people who gave me advice.

Thanks to Lady Tevar and maddoctor here on stardestroyer.net
And thanks to Aleph and Thy-Robocop at Spacebattles.com

I could not have done this without any input from you guys.

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-09-05 10:42am
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Padawan Learner

Joined: 2010-02-24 11:07pm
Posts: 182
Location: Philippines
Just a thought exercise here people. Please do give a comment:

"You and many many teenagers and middle school kids and assorted civilians with employment in the field of education or journalism, are the mob of ghosts 1000+ in number, that want to rip/bite/stab/dismember to death a squad of Taliban fighters holed up in a building...no, a dead end hallway, trying to protect one of their higher ups.

As ghosts' you have ridiculously high pain tolerance to weapons that are made to hurt the dead, the power to pass through physical obstructions or teleport into places.

Your only problem is you can't do any of those with a weapon in hand, so you guys and girls can only kille them with your bare hands and feet and teeth.

How would you approach it, given these guys are extremely prepared for a conventional assault by any number of ordinary American soldiers, only difference is that they are also carrying swords along with bandoleers and crates of ammunition in there."

So, thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: "6 jobs from hell" PostPosted: 2013-09-05 02:01pm
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Jedi Knight
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Joined: 2005-03-24 12:55pm
Posts: 689
Location: McPherson, Kansas
There is a floor, can you grab ankles and pull them through. There is walls and ceiling, attack from above and the sides. Full frontal assault is almost always bad juju, escpecially when you have other ways to attack. If you can teleport well, to what range? If far enough and can teleport with another being you grab one and teleport several thousand feet into the air and let go.

Of course there is also the possibility of pickpocketing an explosive and setting it off in the ammo.

Oh yeah, just realized, even if you cant teleport or pull them through walls you can grab one from ceiling and play the drums with his head against the ceiling without exposing much of yourself.



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