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On The River's Edge by Priestess Skye


The tiny seaside town was slowly filling up as tourist season began. Kagome could feel the charge in the air already, the buzz felt by local shopkeepers and business owners as the summer season was moving ever closer. The early birds always came around this time, when the air was fresh, crisp and cool. There was still morning dew on the grass when the sun rose, and the flowers were just beginning to bloom.

“Good morning,” she nearly sang as she walked down the steps of her cottage. Her neighbours, ever predictable, were already out tending to their gardens. And they would tend to hers too, she thought fondly. While she enjoyed gardening, the weather was still much too cold and much too damp to be spending her time on her knees playing in the dirt. Her neighbour’s son, though only thirteen, seemed to enjoy earning his keep doing work outdoors. He had his eye on an mp3 player, she knew, and she was more than happy to help him earn it.

It was going to rain today. She could see the dark storm clouds to the west. It didn’t matter though. It always rained this time of year and they needed it. The parklands were beginning to look lush and full and it didn’t hurt to have the grass that much more greener. Three more weeks and she knew that the park would be filled with young lovers and young families enjoying a picnic. The local talent would showcase itself in the gazebo every weekend and many local artists would be out painting or sketching pictures. She had one of herself up on her wall from when she was a child and her parents had taken her here one summer. She hadn’t even known the artist had drawn it until she stumbled upon it five summers ago when she returned.

The river was still a little high, she noted as she crossed over the bridge. High water was fine for now. Within a few weeks it would settle, the weather would warm and the river would be combing with tourists riding paddle boats and canoes. Terraces of nearby restaurants would be full of people sitting by the water’s edge. Every summer it was the same, but she looked forward to it.

Pulling up to the sand’s edge where the mouth of the river met the bay, Kagome dismounted her bike and walked it to the side of the large beach front store. Her baby, she thought when she went to unlock the door. The shop had been handed down for three generations. Her own grandfather had built some of the canoes and boats that they still rented out. She wished her brother had taken some interest in the business, but he enjoyed the more spiritual side of life. She had followed the dreams of one grandfather; he had followed the dreams of the other. And really, it worked out because she could always find work with him during the winter season.

A thick layer of dust covered everything despite the fact that all of her wares were covered in tarps. It was amazing how much dust would settle over winter break, and each year she told herself that she should be there more often cleaning up after everything. The water was too cold yet for her to worry about her inflatable stock, or even her wakeboards and surf boards, but local canoers and fisherman would be on her doorstep soon enough. She could always look forward to the early arrivals. She had known many of them for years already and was sure she would see many of them for years to come.

Reaching beneath a cupboard, Kagome pulled out several bottles of cleaner to help dust off the bottoms of the early season boats. By the end of next week she would have them all cleaned and moved out to the boat racks on the side of the building. Give her another week and she would have the shop itself cleaned, water skis inspected and inventoried and her order of inflatable toys and towels would have arrived. She had already contacted a local mechanic to come down to the docks and check out the motorized rental boats. She expected to hear from him soon with regards to costs.

In reality, she was well on her way to summer though there would be several hard days of work beforehand. Removing one of the tarps, Kagome stood a moment to admire her grandfather’s work. Even after all of these years the wood was still shiny and strong. They would work as well tomorrow as they did sixty years ago when he had built them. Her store-bought canoes didn’t last this long, though they were durable and had a good life on them. More than their durability though was the memories that came with them. Every year at this time she grew nostalgic. She remembered being young and canoeing with her grandfather. The river water was peaceful during those early mornings, the sun barely breaking in the distant horizon. Some days they would fish, and fry their morning catch for breakfast. Other days she just sat and listened while he told stories.  She could still smell the water, feel the way the boat shifted as wave upon gentle wave brushed against the side.  

She ran her fingers over the name carved on the side. The last gift from her grandfather, a canoe all her own. This one would be kept in the back of the room, away from prying eyes. It was his best work, and it was all hers. Even when she had been sold out last summer and had a wait list of people wishing to rent one, this one remained untouched. Her heart would break if it was returned in the condition as some of the others had been.  Grabbing the shammy she kept nearby, and a can of oil soap, she watched as the dust slowly began to wash away. All of the canoes and kayaks would receive the same treatment. All would be washed with the oil soap, and all would be coated with a vinyl protectant. Then she could begin to put the canoe safety kits together.

The morning silence was broken as she heard the crunch of gravel beneath tires. It was entirely too early for any tourist to be on the waterfront, given that the few early bird stores around didn’t open for another few hours, and she knew that none of her retail neighbours drove. She certainly wasn’t expecting company. Standing up, she walked to the front door and brushed aside the small, white curtain blocking the window. The silver car pulled easily between the parallel white lines of one of the parking spots in front of her building. Definitely wasn’t her customer, she mused. Anybody who arrived in a car like that either brought their own boats or were looking to purchase one, not that a purchased one would be any better than her grandfather’s.

A solitary passenger stepped out, shutting the door behind him. She caught a quick glance of his profile, noted the pale skin, the crisp white linen of his shirt, and the black slacks. He didn’t wear a tie, but somehow she thought he should. But none of that stood out compared to the long length of silver hair. She knew that silver hair, she would recognize it anywhere. She had spent years dreaming of that silver hair. He stepped forward toward the bay, his hair blowing in the wind. Pressing her hand against the window, she longed to touch it once more. He looked so lonely. “I know you,” she murmured more to herself than anybody else. “I remember you.”



AN: This story is being written to prompts offered by Dokuga_Contest. It is considered a one shot collection as some chapters will be full one shot pieces, others will be short drabbles.

This chapter was written for Dokuga_contest Oneshot prompt: Parallel


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