The best distraction is not always awkward, but it can be- Oooh shiny!
“Checked out,” Jade shrieked, “Wha-what do you mean he’s been checked out!”
“I mean that the Inukami has already been returned to his owners,” the nurse wasn’t exactly frightened of Jade, but she knew what could happen if a rich girl like Jade became angry enough.
“That’s impossible! He can’t a have an owner!”
“Well, he was claimed…”
“Let’s see,” the nurse brought it up on her computer, “a Mr. Gary Bondell claimed that particular Inukami, around noon today.”
“How could you let him take my Inukami?”
The nurse huffed for a second. Jade wasn’t the first kid who’s tried to claim a Yokai that wasn’t theirs. ’Course more people wanted the white Phoenix, but still.
“Look… They came in. Showed us his ownership forms and he went with them willingly. We had no reason to believe that he didn’t belong to them.”
“How about a lack of a Seal?”
“Jade…,” Louis tugged for her, so that he could whisper in her ear, “I still can’t remember anything.”
“I know Lou…,” irritated Jade stood up straight again, but Louis pulled her down again.
“I mean anything,” Lou frowned so hard that he blushed.
“I’ll change you back soon, alright,” Jade whispered back, “But first I need to check up on Tyrone, okay?”
“How am I supposed to go…?”
“Go? Go wher-oooh…,” Jade turned to the nurse again, “Um, where’s the restroom?”
“Oh, all the way down that hall, to the left.”
“Thank you,” Jade picked Louis up and ran for it, “Make way! Kid’s gonna hurl!!”
Everyone else in the clinic flattened themselves against the walls to avoid the boy’s alleged sickness.
The stationed nurse just shook her head and got back to her paperwork.
A few seconds passed… then a rumble.
It was a strange noise. Almost like an explosion had taken place, yet there was no aftershock. Only the lights flickered a little bit. Wondering what it was, this nurse and everyone else moved themselves to the source of the soft explosion. In the middle of a vacant operating room, an Umibozu standing on a shadow dropped off a small green creature.
“(Take care of him.),” the Umibozu shouted as he rose on his shadow surfboard, “(So long, dudes!)”
He then vanished. All that was left of the creature’s arrival was the Kodoma and two small oval holes in the clinic’s roof leading all the way to the sky. The missing parts of the roof wouldn’t be found, but Kodoma was still there. A good doctor was the first to get by his side.
“It’s still alive, but it’s fading fast,” she shouted, “Get a gurney stat.”
“I’m on it,” the nurse from the counter rushed back down the hallway, but found someone was behind the counter.
“What do you think you are you doing?”
Jade was looking up the personal information on Leo, the nurse had conveniently forgotten to put the information away. Jade barely had enough time to see the address.
“Nothing! Have a great day,” Jade clicked off the screen then hopped back over the desk. The nurse didn’t have time to worry about her.
The Kodoma needed help ASAP.
“So let me get this straight,” I asked the twins, “After Karen and I chased after Eddie, you both decided to play with Tyler for a little while. He disappeared, then you found him and played with him some more. You brought him back here, and without Miss Kay’s approval, put him back in the barnyard.”
“Then the others seemed to ecstatic to see him,” Kayla explained, “Then one went wild and attacked him until he fainted. Christen tried to get him out of there but…”
“This other Phoenix attacked the first one and tried to keep everyone away from Tyler,” Christen cried.
“Then that’s how you hurt your hand,” Miss Kay asked, Christen nodded.
“So then one of the older Phoenixes took Tyler into the coop,” I asked again, “and he hasn’t come out yet?”
“Yeah, that sums up our afternoon,” Kayla sighed, “Is she going to be okay?”
“She’ll be just fine,” Mrs. Lawrence assured her, “You’ll need to keep it bandaged for a couple of days, though. You’re handling this very well, you know that?”
“Thank you…,” Christen cried softly.
“You two best be getting home,” Miss Kay led them out the door, “It’s getting late and we don’t want your parents to worry.”
“Would it be alright if I stayed the night again, Miss Kay?”
“It’s certainly fine with me,” Miss Kay said, “But my friend is going to stay with us tonight too.”
“Really who,” I asked, Miss Kay simply motioned Mrs. Lawrence, “Oh… ”
“Won't your parents be worried about you, Brandy,” Mrs. Lawrence asked.
“I called them already,” I explained, “I’ve already told them the situation and they said that they could handle the Day Care for another day without me there.”
When I had woken up, it was night time again. I had found myself inside that hen house. The elder Phoenix, Jyrotika was sitting above me, watching me recover.
“(Could you not stare at me like that?)”
“(So you’re awake…),” she smiled, “(That’s good. I was afraid that Adian had put you in a comma.)”
“(So, how long was I out?)”
“(Long enough for everyone to grow bored of watching you sleep.),” the old Phoenix yawned, “(Fiametta left not long ago herself.)”
“(That long, huh?),” I laughed, “(Must have been years…)”
“(Yes, she would not leave your side for a second.),” Jyrotika laughed to herself, “(She pecked at Adian, and even the humans to keep them away from you. She barely let me carry you inside. I’ll go get her for you if you like.)”
“(NO!),” I screamed, “(Um, I mean… that’s okay. I’d like to just rest quietly here for a bit longer.)”
“(Yes, I understand…),” Jyrotika sat her self back down, “(Might I ask you a personal question?)”
“(Sure, go ahead. I’ve got nothing to lose.)”
“(Did you have a brother?)”
“(No… I was an only child. My parents had me, and that’s more than they could handle.),” I sighed, “(Why do you ask?)”
“(No reason…),” she waved her wing in the air. My bullshit sensor was going off. She was hiding something. After thinking back about the last few hours of my existence, I figured what it had to be.
“(I was talking in my sleep again, wasn’t I?)”
“(Oh, no no no no, no no… no… maybe a little…),” the old Phoenix admitted, I glared at her, “(Okay, maybe a lot. Fia thought you were talking to her at first, but we sort of figured it out when you started calling her ‘Brother’.)”
“(Yeah, I’ve been having these weird dreams for a while now.)”
“(Ah, we figured that much.)”
“(They’re also not really my dreams.)”
“(We didn’t figure that out.)”
“(I keep dreaming that I’m this Kitsune or something. I just don’t understand why I do. I just do.)”
“(Perhaps you’ve been reborn.)”
“(And you were a Kitsune in a past life.)”
“(I doubt that),” I tried to laugh it off, “(She’s nothing like me.)”
“(That’s what many would say about their past selves.)”
“(No, you don’t understand. She so much more…)”
“(Yiiiieeeee!!!!),” Fia shrieked, and tackled me, “(Tyler’s awake!)”
“(Easy child, He’s just woken up.),” Jyrotika lifted Fia off of me.
“(Come on Tyler! Everyone’s at the bonfire!)”
“(Come on!),” Fia tugged on me, “(Hurry up! Banhi’s about to tell stories!)”
Something that I never knew before about the Phoenix Yokai family: they were sentient beings. I mean… That should be obvious to anyone, but I’ve always seen them as pests, like rats or fleas. Yet, they are capable of human traditions and lifestyles. The only real difference between us is that water baths are not recommended and showing any physical form of emotion is nearly impossible. The world’s first bonfire might not have even been performed by humans at all, but rather Fire Yokai.
“And then just as the little Yokai turned around,” Banhi spoke low and eerily, “(Nothing, was there. His friends were, gone… He was all alone… The last one for the ghost to-)”
“(Hey everybody!),” Fia announced to everyone at the fire. They all screamed their heads off.
“(Perfect timing there Fia.),” Banhi congratulated her.
Fia just stood there blinking. She didn’t realize what she had just done, “(Look who’s awake!)”
“(Nice to see you too, Tyler.)”
“(Ooh! Tyler come sit with me!),” that new Phoenix shouted, “(I’m picking the next story!)”
“(No! He’s sitting with me!),” Fia pulled in close to me again, “(Right, Tyler?)”
“(Could you knock me out again Adian?),” I asked the next closest Phoenix.
“(I’m Kegan. Adian went to sleep a while ago…)”
“(Figures… but could you knock me out anyway?)”
“(Come on! Sit with me.),” Fia pulled me to sit next to Banhi and herself.
“(Okay, who wants to hear another one?),” Banhi asked.
The chicks went crazy with excitement. I’ve never experienced a bonfire before. I wanted to be just as excited, but the Cub Scouts weren’t exactly my thing. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Well, except the lack of smores.
“(Okay, which one do you want to hear about first?),” Banhi’s voice got real low as he listed, “(The Wrath of the Drowned Mother, The Call of the Carnival, Or the Terrible Tale of the Radial Reaper?)”
“(Radical Reaper!),” I said out loud. Truthfully, I’ve heard the other stories before.
“(Oh, come on! We’ve heard that one so many times before.),” the group groaned together.
“(Besides it is Siggy’s turn to pick, but I’ll have to tell you that one later, Tyler. It's a good one.)”
“(What about the one about Twin Kitsune!),” Siggy asked happily.
Everyone went quiet. I wasn’t going to be the first one to break that silence, even if you could turn me human again.
“(Where on earth did you hear about that one, Siggy?)”
“(I don’t know…),” she shifted her feet in the dirt a little, “(I might have overheard some other Wild Yokai talking about it once or twice.)”
“(I don’t think that any of you are old enough to hear that one.)”
“(I’m older than you are Banhi.),” Enya announced to everyone, “(And I haven’t even heard of that story.)”
“(Maybe after you’ve made it past the chick stage for once.),” Banhi took a step back.
“(I will never let that happen! I was Born a Chick and I’ll Die a Chick!),” Enya screamed loudly, “(Now, tell us the story or I’ll tell Adian how Fia really fell into that whitewash.)”
“(Alright! Fine… I’ll tell you all the story.),” Banhi whispered to everyone as they gathered closer to the fire, “(But I want you all to understand that sometimes things aren’t always as they seem…)”
“(We know…),” some of them groaned.
“(You all must promise me that you won't breath a word of this story to anyone else. Ever. Especially, to your Aunt Kiki and Jyrotika.)”
“(Good…),” Banhi leaned in closer to the fire everyone mimicked him, “(Also some stories are not always just for fun and games. They’re there to-)”
“(Just get on with the story!),” I shouted.
“(Okay… um, how to start…),” Banhi was stalling again.
“(How about “Once upon a time…”?),” Fia asked.
“(This isn’t that kind of story, Fia.),” he sighed, “(This story’s more of a legend really…)”
“Well good night everybody,” Brandy announced to the pair of women as he headed off to the guest bedroom.
“Good night,” they said together as Brandy disappeared inside.
Brandy quickly did everything that he was supposed to do to be ready for bed, but only halfheartedly. He had to read some more of that book. He felt compelled to read more… like his life depended on it. What was this exception to the laws of Good and Evil? And what does it have to do with Kyuubi?