By late autumn, we arrived in London. It feels nice to be in a country that speaks English for a change. The accents and the slang may be a bit confusing, but I could handle it. What I couldn’t take was what my master would say next
I sat on the hotel bed with a confused look on my face.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“It’s just as I said,” my master said. “We will not be staying together.”
“But…” I said.
“I will not argue with you,” he said. “We’ve been over this. You can’t stay with me. I am immortal and you are not. You will eventually grow old and die. This is why you can’t stay with me.” Mikado flicked out his cigarette.
“I will stay with you until we get to New York,” he said. “Then, you have to promise me that you will not look for me after I leave you.” I closed my mouth at the way he said it.
“Good,” he said. My master flicked out his cigarette. It hurt to hear him say that. Sure, I had the feeling that time would come soon. But he didn’t have to say it like that. He made me so mad.
We didn’t talk for days. I was just that mad. Akira tilted his head at me one evening.
“What’s wrong, nee-san?” he asked. I frowned and shook my head.
“Your daddy said something hurtful to me,” I said.
“Why would he do that?” Akira-kun asked. I shrugged and shook my head.
“I don’t know what you Papa is thinking at times,” I said. He rested his head on my lap. I gently patted the child on the head. I don’t think he can cheer me up this time. Now what?
Days later, it was Halloween. So many pumpkins everywhere. The orange made my eyes hurt. My master glanced over his shoulder.
“Care to go out with me tonight?” he asked. I tilted my head.
“I thought you didn’t want anything to do with me,” I said. Mikado frowned with that usual dull look in his eyes.
“Come on, don’t be like that,” he said. “I’m extending an olive branch here. I am not taking back what I said. We can’t stay together. But I want us to part on a positive note.”
“You hurt me,” I said.
“I know,” he said.
“You didn’t have to say it like that!”
“I know.” His calm tone made me want to scream. He always did to me when I was mad at him in an argument. My master would still stay calm even if I jumped up and started strangling him. I puffed up my cheeks and dropped my shoulders.
“Fine,” I grumbled. “I accept your invitation.”
“Thank you,” Mikado said. “I left you a dress in the closet.”
“Okay,” I said.
I bit down into a candied apple. Oh god, when was the last time I had one of these. Akira-kun seemed to be enjoying his as well. Everybody around us was dressed in costumes. Mostly like British royals from ancient times. I did see quite a few vampires. Some werewolves. Even a few anime characters from the past. I felt underdressed in my long red dress with tan leggings.
“It’s like an anime convention,” I said.
“Hm,” Mikado said. He appeared to be looking around for something. I tilted my head.
“What are you looking for?” I asked. My master turned his head.
“Hm?” he asked.
“You’re doing it again,” I said. “Can you stop staring off into space for a change and enjoy tonight?” I knelt down and picked up Akira-kun.
“Look at this little face,” I said. “He’s having such a good time. Are you going to rob him of his little joy?” Akira-kun put on a pouty face to my pleasant surprise.
“Good grief,” Mikado said with a sigh. “Fine.” He started to walk ahead of us into the crowd. Akira-kun and I high-fived once I put him back down.
Nothing else happened during this festival. At least now my master tried to look more engaged. Akira-kun took in the sights and sounds around him. I could be rich with every time he said “wow” and “so cool”. I couldn’t help but smile. This little boy might not know it, but he was the glue that kept us together.
“Nee-san,” I heard Jessie said. “Where’s Papa?”
“Huh?” I asked. I looked up and Mikado was nowhere in sight. The crowd cheered louder around us.
“Where is he?” I asked. I pulled Akira-kun close to my side as I began my search through the crowd.
“Mikado-san!” I shouted. “Mikado-san!” I couldn’t hear my own voice over the crowd. I should’ve known he would do something like this. Akira-kun grabbed onto my leg. I patted him on the head.
“It’s okay,” I said. “We’ll find him.” Akira-kun looked so worried. It took hours, but I finally spotted my master across the street in an alley. But, he wasn’t alone. A pale-looking woman with long dark hair stood in front of him. She had on a brown corset and a brown short skirt. I was wondering if she was cold with no coat on. I tilted my head. She didn’t look like one of his girlfriends. Who was that?
I hadn’t expected to see her again. I thought she had died with the rest of the nightcomers. So, imagine my shock when I saw Hecate Mayfair out in the crowds tonight. Jessie, Akira-kun, and I were in the streets among the crowd when I spotted her across the street.
She spoke to me.
We have to talk. Come and find me.
I couldn’t forget her voice if I tried. I started to remember the say Ikebukuro fell to the plague. Hecate had a hand in this. I vowed to myself that if I saw her again that I would strangle her. But something tells me if I was going to try and fix everything, I would have to hear her out.
Okay, where do you want to me.
Look up and follow me.
I lifted my head. Hecate was across the street, watching me. She hadn’t changed at all from all of those years. She turned and disappeared down an alley way. I turned behind me. Jessie and Akira-kun were too distracted with a lady selling paper lanterns. It sounds like a trap, but I don’t think it will take me too long. I vanished into thin air while my son and my companion were still distracted.
“What do you want?” I asked. Hecate looked so much smaller than what I remembered. Even in her high-heeled boots her head came up to my chest. Her corset closed in on her rib chest. She looked up at me with a cat-like smile on her face.
“I want to see you thrive,” she said. “You have been doing so world in this new world.” I all but laughed.
“Why are you so interested in me? I asked.
“Because I support the winners,” she said.
“Me? A winner?”
“You’re winning, are you not?”
“It doesn’t feel like it.”
She caressed my left cheek. “You have survived so far. And you will survive even longer than anyone I know.”
“What do you want, Hecate-san?”
“You don’t have to be so formal with me.”
“What do you want? I have to get back to my son and my companion. So please quick screwing around with me.”
“Fine, fine. I have something to give you.”
Hecate reached down into her corset and pulled out a small bronze key. “Here you are.”
“What is this for?”
“Take it to New York and you will see.” She winked and turned to walk away.
“Wait!” I shouted. Hecate stopped and looked over her shoulder.
“Hm?” she asked. I shifted in place for a bit as I pressed my lips together.
“I don’t understand it,” I said.
“Understand what?” he asked.
“Why are you helping me like this?” I asked. Hecate only smiled.
“Because,” she said. “I support the winners.” And then, she was gone just as the midnight firework display began. I was left with a key that could go to nowhere. After all these years, I still don’t know what the hell that crazy woman is thinking. It annoys me that she toys with me like this. I should’ve strangled her when I had the chance. Then again, she’d probably enjoy it.
“Mikado-san!” I heard behind me. I turned to see Jessie and Akira-kun running towards.
“Oh,” I said. Jessie stopped to catch her breath when they caught up.
“Why did you run off like that?” she asked. “What’s going on? Who was that?” I clutched the key in my hand.
“No one,” I muttered. “Just a waste of time.” I wanted back to the festival.
“You coming?” I asked.
“Oh, right,” Jessie said. She and my son ran to follow me back.