The Moonlit Corridor

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 45 (v.1) - blue eyes

Submitted: August 29, 2019

Reads: 20

Comments: 1

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Submitted: August 29, 2019

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Sensei Hawk awoke from what he had hoped would be a deep and restful sleep. Before his eyes opened to the candlelight something told him that it was not yet dawn. Something else, an inner sense of danger he couldn’t fathom, told him he wasn’t alone. He quickly scanned the room, every nook and cranny, which was empty save for himself.

“A grown man,” he mouthed aloud, “sleeping in candlelight…afraid of nightmares. Intangible dreams…”

He continued muttering as he arose from his bed and walked over to the ornate antique mirror he had purchased from a sea faring trader. The mirror, opulently framed in hand-carved wood, was European he was told, and even there, only the very wealthy could afford to own such an expensive item. He had purchased it at a price much lower than first quoted. Hawk slowly withdrew his long dagger and feigned cleaning his fingernails, stopping from time to time to inspect the blade as the merchant awaited his reply.

“How much…?” Hawk asked as he rubbed the dagger with a cloth while staring at the nervous seafarer, who nervously began to lower the price. Eventually Hawk heard a number he could accept and dropped a few paltry coins into the man’s shaking hand before sending him on his way. Recalling that moment, he began to snicker, as he wondered how close the man might have come to soiling himself out of fear.

Abruptly he stopped laughing when he detected movement in the mirror. Quickly turning his head to look behind, he saw that he was still alone. Turning back to the mirror he gasped. There was something there, a ‘kage’ (shadow), darker than and moving in the shadows within which it had been standing. He turned to look behind himself again; there was nothing there. He anxiously faced the looking glass again. The kage had assumed human shape and had advanced from the black recess of the room. He gasped anew, louder this time as he recognized the girl he saw standing there; the girl with the red scarf and golden nimbus from his nightmares.

She stood just outside the shadows, her head lowered so he couldn’t see her eyes…but he could see her smile even though her long hair covered most of her face. The smile was derisive; a mischievous smile, as if she sensed his consternation and it pleased her. She was like a cat toying with its prey. He turned once more to look behind…there was no specter or wraith taunting him. The room was empty, but turning once again to the mirror he involuntarily took a step back when he saw that she had advanced. She was moving toward him and as he stared in disbelief he noticed she didn’t step, but glided. The sight terrified him and he reached for a weapon, not really knowing why. Ghost or demon, the apparition was a young woman, and he had no fear of women, even those trained in the fighting arts.

As he watched the mirror mesmerized, he shuddered as the girl, now within arm’s length of the surface of the glass, stretched out an arm, her index finger pointing. She appeared to be pointing at him…but no, he reasoned, she merely touched the surface of the glass ‘mirror side’. The moment her finger met the glass the surface distorted, forming circular ripples, as if she had placed her finger on the calm surface of a pool. In that instant she was in the room, her back to Sensei Hawk as she faced the glass, her finger still resting upon the surface of the mirror. Now on his side of the glass, she kept her back to him a moment more. The circular ripples slowly played themselves out and the surface of the looking glass returned to normal. He let go a muffled cry of fright and backed away from the wraith when he realized she cast no reflection.

Her head still bowed, she spoke, but not audibly. He heard her not with his ears, but with his mind… “Are you mad?” she asked. “Perhaps more than just a bit insane? Do you always believe what your eyes see?”

He trembled as she slowly began to turn, as though she was suspended in the air slightly above the wood surface of the floor. Impossible, he thought as he watched her revolve, her head turning much more than it should, her body following much too late. In spite of being almost immobile from fright, for the second time he reached for a weapon and managed to grab a dagger he kept bedside. He was holding it defensively as, first her head and then her body stopped rotating.

She was facing him directly now, still smiling and her head still lowered. He could make out the smile, but not the eyes. As he watched spellbound, she slowly began to raise her head. Even though he was several feet from her, in the candlelight he could see her eyes clearly; they were blue. ‘At this distance,’ the thought occurred to him, ‘I shouldn’t be able to see that. And no Japanese girl has blue eyes’. Then it occurred to him then that he could see them because she wanted him to. At that moment her eyes were mischievous, wickedly gleeful, as if she enjoyed torturing him. There was no malice there, until a thought entered his mind. He thought of how beautiful she was. At that instant her countenance morphed into a demonic visage of rage and she attacked, screaming, her outstretched hands reaching for his throat.

The scream, like her voice when ‘speaking’, was not audible; it ‘sounded’ in his mind, causing his soul to quiver. He yelled involuntarily as he thrust the dagger at her chest. Instantly she became a cloud of white mist-like dust that exploded and was immediately dispelled by a spectral wind out of nowhere, upsetting artifacts atop tables and shelves, knocking some of them to the floor.

He stumbled as he quickly backed away from the apparition, landing on his backside with a loud thud. Raising himself halfway, his frightened eyes darted all directions as he scanned the room for the specter. She was gone…he was alone, and the only signs that what just happened had indeed happened were the items strewn about the floor that were knocked from tables and shelves by the ghostly wind. Visibly shaken, Hawk stood up, just some of the young men he trained reached his chamber, banging on the door as they yelled… “Sensei! Are you well?”

“I’m well!” he responded angrily. “Return to your posts!”

He breathed deeply, then told himself… “It was only a nightmare…” he said quietly to himself as he tried to steady his shaking limbs. The initial fear had subsided, but its echoes remained. He was almost certain, just for a moment, that he ‘heard’ her voice repeat in his mind; … ‘only a nightmare’…she repeated, followed by laughter that slowly faded away. To see what is not there is one problem, he nervously decided, but to hear voices in one’s head…is quite another.

 

Not far from Hawk’s abode, Sung Ji, sleeping peacefully, dreamed of Asako chan. Unlike Sensei Hawk, his vision of her was not nightmarish; she. He dreamed of being near the falls beneath the mountain where Asako had lived with her parents. In the dream, she emerged out of the mist formed by the cascading water, as if innumerable sparkling white particles came together to form a beautiful image. She floated toward him, smiling; the same smile he remembered from in the corridor of the Moon Temple after his battle with Miyamoto. Without moving her lips, she spoke to him, her mind to his… “Wasure naide” (Do not forget me). It was neither a command, nor a plea, but rather a combination of both. Then… “Ai shite masu” (I love you).”

He awoke then, the image of her sweet countenance still in his mind. “Sarang hae…” (I love you…),” he heard himself speak, slowly and quietly.

“Na-ni (What)?” Silence questioned, still half asleep. “Are you talking to me?”

He was groggy himself, and just barely awake after hearing the ninja girl’s voice.

The twins, disturbed from sleep, awoke in unison at the sound of her voice and rose to seated positions… “What is it?” asked Fire.

“I think this samurai is trying to romance me,” Silence replied.

“Mu ah’ (What)?” protested Sung Ji, almost yelling. “I was dreaming…” he began to stammer.

“A likely story,” said Silence sarcastically.

“You’re lucky,” said Ice, addressing Sung Ji, “that it wasn’t our sister Storm you were trying to woo.”

“I wasn’t trying to woo anyone!” he protested, then asked, “Who is Storm?”

“Another shinobi sister,” Fire replied. “Her given name is Yuri, which means ‘Lily’, but no one dares call her that. She has no patience when it comes to men.. She is strong and powerful, like a force of nature. That’s why Chiharu named her Storm.”

“That is precisely why,” added Ice, “you’re lucky you were trying to woo Silence and not Storm.”

“I wasn’t trying to woo her! Enough of this nonsense! I’ve done nothing inappropriate,” he said indignantly as he gathered his cloak and bedding. “I’m going to find another place to sleep.”

He could still hear the three of them laughing as he lay down in the bushes close by… “You three are giggling like a trio of schoolgirls,” he bellowed. “Go to sleep!”

They did quiet down, and as each drifted off to slumber, they wondered what it might have been like to have had different pasts; to have actually been schoolgirls rather than orphaned and raised as ninja by Sensei Hawk.


© Copyright 2019 C Wm Bird. All rights reserved.

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