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Yokai Manor by Inuyaoi

Prologue -The Good Demon

 

Caution: Darkness ahead 

 

OoOoOoOoO

 

Tokyo, Japan

June 13th, 1998

 

Ominous storm clouds churned above a group of children as they sped over the neglected grass of Yoi Orphanage. It was the only home most had ever known, and sadly, what most would likely ever know. But Ignorance was bliss, and the children had laid down the weight of their grim reality. In the meantime, until their statistical probability, games needed playing and muscles needed stretching, and all participated.

All saving one.

The resident black sheep was not permitted to join in with the other children. Shunned by her peers for her strange mannerisms, it was treatment the frail girl was accustomed to. Alternatively, she busied herself with a game of jacks a reasonable distance away on the far outmost edge of the property, the extent of which any of the youngsters could stray.

“Come children!” A senior matron beckoned. “Let us wash before dinner.”

Jolting at the call, the girl moved quickly. If slow to make haste, there would be no share of bread for her—the most reliably edible share of her meals. Scrambling onto her feet, hurriedly, she gathered the small metal bits and turned to run, but in her peckish urgency, she dropped the tiny rubber ball.

The child let out a plaintive whine as she watched her vibrant, blue ball bounce beyond where she was allowed to venture. She lingered at the edge of the sidewalk, hesitant to retrieve one of the few items she could genuinely call hers.

“Ball, you mustn't go over the curb!”

“Rin,” the caretaker’s authoritative voice rang. Rin turned and stared down the stretch of the dry estate. “Supper is not a suggestion.” The matron’s forewarning corroborated with what the child had been wise to.

“Yes, Soto-san,” she strained merrily, resisting her rising fret, “Rin is coming!”

Shifting anxiously on her scrawny, mosquito-bitten legs, the girl waited until Soto-san concentrated on the clambering children. Opportunity chanced itself, and Rin reverted to the ball and saw that the brown loafers of a tall man had stopped its escape.

His sudden arrival startled her. Rin was sure he hadn't been there before. Her eyes cast down the street, seeking a logical explanation of his coming.

She shrugged and beamed the brightest of smiles at him, and with a friendly wave, she said, “Hello, Mister. Could you do Rin a favor and retrieve that ball for me? Rin is not allowed to take even the tiniest of steps beyond—” She waned as she marked an invisible line with her foot. “... there, and I am sure to become most melancholy without it."

A silent gaze lowered to the object of her desire.

“Yes! That ball right there,” Rin coached. Delighted, she squealed and clasped her hands together as the mute figured moved. So strong was her elation that not only did she dismiss the man’s otherly features, she also dismissed his starchy gait. She gasped. “Not a mister but a youkai. Why are you in our side of town, Mr. Demon?”

Forgoing words, the demon followed Rin’s next move—her small hand shoving forward and dangling expectantly between them. His own advanced, trembling and dwarfing hers. She eyed him curiously as her property was released into her custody.

“Why do you shake? It’s too hot to shiver.”

He did not speak.

“No, far too hot to be cold,” Rin digressed, jumping to her next hypothesis. "Are you are afraid of humans?”

He did not speak.

“Soto-san has told Rin that I should fear demons because they are bad and scary.”

He did not speak.

“But Rin does not think you are scary or bad. Rin does think you are pretty and good.”

He did not speak.

“Mm-hmm. Yup,” she nodded, “you retrieved Rin’s ball. That means you're a good demon. Right?”

He answered with a nod of his own, pulling an even brighter smile from her until his neck cracked most disgustingly. A ‘yes’ abruptly morphed into a ‘no.' Rin bristled at the harrowing display. She withdrew knowing necks weren’t supposed to bend in that way, nor were eyes supposed to appear as depthless holes.

And too, like her jacks and ball, the child's blood-curdling screams were hers and hers alone.

__

A/N: REVISED 1/26/19

My apologies if you liked what was originally written. I didn't like the direction this story was taking and how wordy it was. The pace was slow too. The first several chapters haven't changed much, but they were polished and severely cut. 

 

INUYASHA © Rumiko Takahashi/Shogakukan • Yomiuri TV • Sunrise 2000
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