In the next coming days both groups would go and travel around for themselves, at one point during their excursions to some shops Taryn came across something in which she called up her father outside of the store.
“Hey Dad, so remember how you mentioned about wanting a katana? I found one, well, technically it’s two, a katana and a wakizashi they come with a stand and I was also told if I pay extra, they can be blessed at Ryusen-ji Temple.”
“Whoa, whoa, slow down sweetie, your talking a bit too fast and it’s night over here.”
“Sorry,” she explained it again to him. “I thought that this would be better then just a normal katana. And since they said it could be blessed to drive or malicious spirits away…”
“You intend to get it blessed.” Her father finished for her. “Alright that should be fine. I actually went and placed some more money into your account, so it should cover the expenses of it and sending it home.”
That explains the sudden amount of cash in my account. She thought to herself since she had gone to take out some money that morning only to discover she had more then before. It scared for a moment but thought that this might have been the case. “It should arrive within a month or so, I can get the tracking information and send it to you, so it won’t be lost.”
“Alright, oh and…”
“No, never mind dear, thank you for the call. Oh, and your mother won’t be working tomorrow so you should give her a call alright?”
“I’ll be sure to do that, I’ll let you go have a good night Dad, send love to Mom too.”
“And you have a good day.”
* * *
Johnathan let out a breath as he leaned back in his chair as he ran a hand over his face. Exhausted from work, but he was glad to speak with his daughter, she sounded much more enthusiastic, the trip was a good idea in the long run. At first, he thought it was a bad idea, much like his wife, but given how much the whole event affected their daughter they honestly thought it’d be for the best that she went.
“Was that Taryn?” his wife Olivia came into his home office and leaned on the edge of his desk by his side. Her blonde hair was down as she was still dressed in a dark blue suite and white blouse. “How is she?”
“She’s well, but you’ll know tomorrow. I told her to give you a call since you won’t be working.”
“Good,” she said with a sigh of relief before looking her husband squarely in the eye. “Did you tell her?”
“About Markson’s previous lawyer? No, I figured it’d be best not to mention it, she sounded happy. Besides she’ll know all about it when she comes back.”
Olivia was silent as she rested her hand underneath her chin. “I still can’t forgive him for what he said to her on the stand.” She looked back to her husband. “Do you think it’s possible that Markson knows about it?”
He shook his head. “No, and even if he did, he’d probably be labelled crazy if he talked about it. I think that lawyer of his only said those things because of our family background, but also because of the recent events that have been surrounding her. There has been death around her these past few years.”
“That was four years ago, it’s not as though she can help it.” his wife stated. “Besides, if she hadn’t interacted with what that boy, she wouldn’t have seen what he did, and you wouldn’t have been able to have your men arrest him and those other boys for it.”
“I know Liv,” he said softly. “I just hope it doesn’t happen when she’s there, mirrors are one thing, its another thing entirely if she touches something and then sees something she doesn’t mean too. Even if she does have it under control now it can still happen.”
His wife fell silent again for a moment. “Still, none of that explains why the lawyer hung himself. I still feel that Markson is behind it, but he hasn’t even contacted his son.”
“Just be thankful he hasn’t fled the country; his kid deserved a better life.”
“I know, he’s on medication now as we now know, I was told that he even wished to speak with me. I feel he may wish to go with some sort of plea deal, but I feel there might be something more too it.”
“Maybe he wishes to speak with Taryn?” Johnathan offered.
“I can’t understand why he would want too considering…” she shook her head. “But I think you’re in the right. She doesn’t need to know this just yet, and maybe when all of this is over maybe we can all go on a vacation.”
Johnathan smiled as he gripped his wife’s hand. “That’d be something wouldn’t it? Why not invite Isaac as well? I’m sure after all the stress the young man would want to join? He’s currently working on tracking down the leak from the stands, right?”
She gave a half smile. “That man is more driven then me sometimes. I’ll ask him, he’s like family too after all.” She then tugged her husband to stand. “It’s late as it is, and you have a conference to attend in the morning if I’m not correct?”
He let out a tired breath. “Don’t remind me, I’d rather not have to talk to the Premier.”
His wife laughed. “Oh, pity you dear, but as insufferable as the Premier can be, you at least have some type of Japanese swords to look forward too at some point, to have in your office back at the precinct I suspect.”
He slowly shook his head, she must have over heard the conversation, not that it was a surprise, besides having a pension for eavesdropping from time to time, there wasn’t much she could keep from him as was the same with her. The two of them had faced much together in their lives, as did their only daughter, but they both knew that she would have to face far more then either of them in the future.
After all, there were many things that she could see and know that they could not. No matter how much they tried…
* * *
The rest of the day went on without too much issue, there had been one where Stephanie wished to take all of them to Mt. Fuji, but things didn’t go as planned.
“Sorry but I’m not going.” Taryn said causing Robert to look at her with a frown.
“Why not?” he demanded. “It’s not like there’s something bad there or anything.”
Taryn was hesitant, but in the end figured he at least had the right to know, since he didn’t seem to know what was there. “The forest a round the base of the mountain. It’s called Aokigahara also known as The Sea of Trees. But it also goes by another name, one that’s infamous around the world.”
“Right…” he said as though he didn’t really believe her, but then he clearly didn’t do research. “And what would that be?”
Ignoring his sudden tone, she continued. “Its other name is Suicide Forest. For a great number of people go there to end their lives. It also has a sad history where people would leave the elderly to die when they had no choice but to do so. In recent years, people who are at the end of their rope will go to this place to end their life.”
“Oh my god really?” Stephanie looked on with horror as Robert had flinched and fallen silent. “Wait, isn’t that the same place where…”
“Where some idiot youtuber went and filmed a dead body, yeah same one. Look, you guys can go to the mountain if you want but I have no intention. That forest is like a graveyard and I’d rather avoid it all the same.”
“Right, because you don’t go to them unless you need too.” Robert said, his words holding a double meaning as he looked at her with a knowing expression that soon quickly formed into a glare.
“Actually,” Rachael quickly stepped in between Robert and Taryn’s space. “I talked with Taryn about checking something out with me and she kind of already agreed to go. Sorry about not saying anything sooner. But you know, lots of stuff happening and uh yeah.”
“Whatever,” Robert turned and headed down the street, clearly annoyed, he wasn’t like this at the start of the trip. Taryn wasn’t sure if it was because she brushed him off before or if it was something that she was unaware of. Either way, it was clear that he wouldn’t tell her.
Stephanie sighed as she placed her hands on her hips and watched him walk away. “Oh boy.” She looked back to the two girls. “I’m going to go and see what that was all about, but you guys have fun okay?”
When Stephanie headed off Taryn looked to her friend. “Thanks for that.”
“No problem, it’s what I’m here for after all. Besides, if it was anything like that time in the hospital, I’d rather avoid it. And besides, who knows what would happen to you, if it was anything like that time before I met you, it’d probably be way worse in that forest.”
“But it’s Mt. Fuji.” Rachael had talked about it several times after Taryn invited her.
She merely shrugged. “Eh, I’ve seen pictures of it before, besides. I really did want to check out this museum with you. And you know you can’t say no to it.”
“Right, I suppose not.” Taryn admitted with a laugh. “Well you have the directions, so lead the way.”
“You know I intend too,” she said before singing the English opening to Sailor Moon as Taryn shook her head but followed her all the same.
* * *
The next day however, it seemed to be even worse with Robert. As when they were all checking out a store that seemed to be selling everything in pink. Which was a feat within itself. Taryn didn’t even know that certain items could even be in that colour. From anime figures to toasters, anything to everything was in different shades of pink. Both girls never knew that such a place could even exist. Stephanie said that today she was taking them to a special type of store, both girls were highly skeptical. That was until they stepped inside the place. Rachael was exited to the tenth degree about the place, and as interesting as it was however Taryn had to remove herself from the store before being blinded by it.
Silently excusing herself, Taryn took a step outside into the sweltering heat. It really did remind her much of Canada’s summers. She tugged at the V-neck of her T-shirt as she fanned herself with her left hand. Thankfully it wasn’t so stifling that she needed her asthma medication, but she kept it on hand in her bag just in case. She walked around for a bit looking into the windows of shops only to then stop in her tracks and say. “What do you want Robert?”
He stopped short when she turned to look at him. He looked at her with surprise, as though he didn’t expect her to know that he was following her. If only he knew the truth of that. “How’d you know it was me?” he asked.
Because you’ve been watching me for over the past hour. She thought. “What do you want Robert.” She said in a much firmer tone.
“Why are you even here?” he said, his tone holding a slight edge.
“You know why I’m here. Your girlfriend was the one who invited me.”
“Then why’d you accept it? Instead of just giving it back to her?”
She gave him a dull stare. “I did, three times even. Still ended up getting them back. Your girlfriend was insistent on it. She wanted me here. If you have that much of a problem with me being here, then why not talk to her about it rather then following me and try to get answers that won’t make you happy.”
He was silent for a moment. “You were never like this before, being dismissive and so closed off. Shouldn’t you be…”
“If you say, “shouldn’t you be over it by now” then don’t.” she practically growled at him causing him to look away. “Why are you even bloody surprised? Much like you I’ve suffered through trauma, but unlike you I still have to go through it again and again with damn trial.”
“You could just ignore it.”
She narrowed her gaze on him. She honestly couldn’t believe just how ignorant he sounded. “Do you ever hear yourself right now? How exactly should I just ignore it as you said? With the media, the internet, in my own damn house I can’t. Hell, I can’t even take a normal walk with my dog before I get a random stranger comes up to me and ask, “What was it like to deal with all of that?” not caring about my personal feelings. So, no Robert. I can’t ignore it, even if I wanted too.”
Robert glared. “Then you should have just…”
She cut him off. “Robert, whatever it is your going to say next I don’t want to hear it. I get that you were pissed at the whole suicide forest thing, but you didn’t know. So, I told you. That does not give you the right to take whatever anger you have on the matter out on me.”
He became silent once more, before changing the topic to something else that she really didn’t want to go into now. “Then are you still mad at me? For cheating on you? For god sakes it’s been two months why are you still hung up on it?”
She looked at him coldly before turning away she wasn’t hung up on at. At leas she believed she wasn’t. “Why don’t you answer that one yourself? I told you before when I ended the relationship, you can do whatever the hell it is you want. Just leave me be.”
“Where are you going?” he demanded as she walked away from him.
“No where important, I just want to be alone. If your girlfriend or Rachael wonder where I went, they can just text me.” She stopped to look at him. There was more she would have liked to say aloud, but decided against it, as if what she had to say would change anything between them now.
He opened his mouth to shout back, to tell her to come back but stopped. What the hell was her deal? “Shit…” in truth he just wanted things like they were before they had dated, so where was he going wrong with this?
* * *
With hands shoved in her pockets Taryn continued to walk with quick fast strides. Her sunglasses now back on her face as she walked past a few Japanese women, whispering at how pale her skin was before she stopped and let out a deep sigh.
With her lips pressed into a thin line she kicked a nearby stone. She didn’t want to be like this but didn’t know how she could move past it within her current state of mind. But what bothered her more was just what he had said. How the hell did he expect her to ignore the things that happened? It wasn’t in her nature to just forget and pretend like it never happened. Yet for some undiscernible reason, Robert just couldn’t understand, but then why would he when he never dealt with something like this himself? Her family life was vastly different from his own. If she wasn’t so damn quick to jump at his throat for saying such ignorant things, then maybe they could have had a conversation about it.
It honestly made her wish she was more like her Dad then her Mom in this regard, Taryn held the undisclosed amount of patience that her father had, but also the quick anger of her mother. With such a ying-yang combination of emotional traits from both of her parents she wondered if she would be more like her mother or her father in the future.
Who am I kidding, I’m more like my Mom… she thought as she walked past a store, only to stop and take a few steps back and look in the store’s window that caught her attention.
“Taryn!” Rachael called out as she came running with bags in her arms, she stopped and put her bags down, so she could catch her breath. “Where… where the heck are you going?” she said as she gasped for air.
“Getting away from another potential shouting match with my ex.” She stated.
“That explains… that.” She cleared her throat and stood up fully. “I saw you from the store window as you were walking away, I wondered what might have been wrong. But when I saw Robert and looking like he broke something I kind of figured what it might have been.”
“Sorry,” her gaze then fell to the number of pink bags on the ground. “Do you want help carrying that stuff?”
“No, no, I’m good. I’m just glad you stopped. What were you looking at?”
Taryn sidestepped away from the window to let her see what caught her eye. It was of a classic Japanese doll that had a necklace placed in its palm, the stone was of a deep red colour in a teardrop shape and had a silver chain.
“That’s a pretty necklace.”
“Seeing it made me remember how my Mom has been looking for a hairclip with some jade. So, I thought I might give this place a look.”
“First some swords and now a jade hairclip, you going to buy anything for yourself?”
“I bought this shirt,” she said indicating to the cream coloured V-neck T-shirt had had an artistic look to the Japanese sun. “And then there was that stuff at the Sailor Moon Museum. I bought that pen and notebook, oh and those crescent moon earrings?”
“Those were the only things you bought!”
It was an exaggeration, both knew it wasn’t true, but it still led Taryn into giving her a blank stare. “You do know the katana is expensive right?”
Rachael had to agree with her there. “Fair enough,” she said after a moment of pause. “So then, want to go inside and take a look?”
“You don’t mind?”
“I might see something I could get on the sale.” When Taryn merely looked at her, she added. “What do you want from me? I’m cheap.”
“Not when it comes to Sailor Moon your not.” Taryn said with a smile.
With a bit of a laugh Taryn entered the store and were then soon greeted by a woman who Taryn spoke with in Japanese asking about a jade hair pin or clip.
“Oh, you’re Japanese is really good.” The woman said with a smile. “Let me see if we have what you might be looking for. Our store is a bit unorthodox, there have been times where we have exactly what people are looking for. My grandfather would say that people tend to be drawn here from time to time.”
“Must be good business then,” Rachael said.
“It is indeed, now I will be back, just one moment ladies.” When the woman disappeared into the back an elderly man with a cane came out and went to take a seat in a nearby armchair. Perhaps it was the store owner’s grandparent that she had mentioned previously.
“Want to look around a bit while we wait?” Taryn offered, and Rachael merely shrugged in response, taking it as a yes, they looked around the store. Noting that they did indeed had several interesting things, from regular jewelry to ornate hair-combs and cigarette cases. They even had jade figures of the zodiac and several other things carved out different types of stones. It was certainly impressive to say the least.
And yet, with all that was there Taryn found herself being drawn back. Back to the necklace that the doll was holding. There was just something about it that pulled at her, she couldn’t figure out what it was.
“You’ve been staring at that for quite some time.” Taryn turned to see old man was now standing next to her. His grip on a polished wooden cane with an ivory headpiece. “It captivates you that much?”
She looked back to the necklace that the doll was holding. “Yes, but I’m not sure as to why that would be.”
Taking the necklace from the doll he held it in his palm, cradling it like it was something greatly precious. “Tell me young lady, do you know what kind of stone this is?”
She glanced at the man before looking back at the stone, wondering why he would ask such a thing but figured to just answer him. “Is it a garnet or a ruby?” with how dark red the stone was it could have been either one really, but then she didn’t know much about gem stones.
With a soft chuckle he said. “No, but those are some good guesses. It’s a diamond.”
Taryn felt a bit taken aback from that, she even did a double take, was it really a diamond? She had seen diamonds before, and knew that they could be in different colours but she never in her life knew that a red diamond could be so red. It looked more like it had been soaked in blood with just how red it was.
“I take from your surprise you’ve never seen such a thing.”
Taryn merely nodded. “I haven’t.”
The old man paused then said. “Do you wish to know the name of this piece?”
She frowned slightly in confusion. “It has a name?”
“Everything has a name; the only question is if you want to know the name of it or not. It does not matter if it is alive or an object.”
She remained quiet for a moment. “What is it?”
“Ningyō no namida.” He said in Japanese, he didn’t need to translate for her since she knew what that meant instantly.
Tears of the Doll.
“That’s an interesting name for a necklace.” She said truthfully.
Then the elderly man asked. “Tell me young lady, when were you born? Which month was it?”
“I was born in the beginning of April.” She answered but still wondered where this was even leading too with such a personal question.
“Then that explains why you are drawn to it.”
He held the necklace up closer to her face this time. “There is a saying that those born with a type of stone will always be drawn to it, more so when it is a certain color involved, though not all stones have a specific colour. If you are drawn to this then there is a reason.”
She thought about it for a moment. “Well I always did like the colour red growing up, well that and blue, but, I can only image the amount of money I’d need for something like that.”
“Young lady!” the Japanese woman returned from the back with a wave of her hand, a rather triumphant looking smile was clear on her face. “I think I found what you might be looking for. Could you please come over here?”
With a nod, Taryn then looked back to the elderly man and gave a slight bow. “Excuse me,” and headed over to the store owner who then handed her a box.
The box itself had a bit of weight too it, and when Taryn opened it the owner asked. “So, is this what you might have been looking for?”
The hairclip was a two piece, one where the person would have to slide in a rod to keep it all in place. It had both that of jade, silver and wood. The silver in the center was that of a dragon with jade surrounding it followed by both that of polished wood and more silver, the craftmanship of this was impressive.
“We also have a sale going for jade items, so you’re in luck.” The woman added. “But is this what you were looking for?”
“Yes, it is.” Taryn said as she covered the box. “Even if it wasn’t on sale, I’d probably still get it, so please.” After purchasing it Taryn found herself smiling. “I really think my Mom will love this for her birthday.”
“She’d better considering the cost.” Rachael said eyeing the price tag. “All my Mom wanted was some Japanese snacks.”
“Well that’s easy enough isn’t it?”
“It’s a lot less expensive that’s for sure,” with a frown she then said. “Actually, maybe I might buy something too. There was a ring I kind of had my eye on, if it’s on sale I might just get it. You don’t mind, do you?”
“No not at all,” Taryn said with a shake of her head.
As Rachael did some of her own shopping in the store, Taryn went back to wandering the store noting that the necklace from before was now gone. The elderly man had taken it and all that was left now was the doll.
It was a diamond necklace after all, something far too great and way out of her price range to ever obtain. Her attention was then pulled to the elderly man and the store owner as Rachael then came running over to her.
“Did you say something in particular to that man?”
With a look of confusion, she responded. “Uh, no, why?”
Rachael looked back at the two conversing when the owner gave a look of defeat. “Well you must have done something, because that man said he’s giving the necklace to you!”
“What?” Taryn nearly gaped, her confusion mounting even further. “You’re kidding right? Please tell me you mistranslated that or something, there’s no way that would happen.”
The two then saw the elderly man coming back over to them and stood in front of them with a rather pleasant smile on his face. “Apparently it just did.” Racheal said softly.
The man then held out his hand to Taryn, she hesitated, unsure as to why a total stranger would do such a thing. With uncertain hands she took it from him and asked. “I don’t mean to sound rude, but why? Why would you give this to me?”
“You may not realize this, but when you were staring at that doll, I noticed a change in you, your aura changed.”
His nod was firm. “Yes. Much like with names everyone has one, even that doll. Your aura changed meaning that something will happen. You yourself are not yet aware of. Keep the necklace child, it will protect you.” he then forced the small box into her hands. His grip surprisingly strong for someone of his age, as though he was determined to not have her let go.
“Protect me from what exactly?”
“From many things to come in your future…”
A sudden chill ran down Taryn’s spine, it was something in his words that made her feel extremely uneasy. Before she could say anything in return the man then took Rachael’s hand and placed a small purple pouch in her palm, with a slight frown Rachael opened it to see a gold ring with a pink stone in the middle.
“It’s a topaz, I overheard you and my granddaughter talking about birthstones, you were born in November yes?”
“Then that one is yours, topaz is also the stone of November, so this works well for you and if your anything like your friend here your aura will change also, best to have something like this to keep you safe also.”
Even she seemed completely baffled by the man’s actions. “But why is it pink?”
“I saw the bags of that store which sells everything pink; it doesn’t take a genius to know that’s probably your favorite color.”
After a word of thanks to the old man the two left the store both feeling humbled by this man’s generosity and deeply confused. Why would a man they never met give them something like that so easily?
“So…” Rachael spoke breaking the sudden silence between them. “That just happened.”
“It did.” Taryn agreed.
“The way that man was talking about auras and stuff, do you think… I don’t know. He might have something that’s kind of like you? Or something like it?”
“Maybe, but I’m no expert. I was told once that there are many people out there with different abilities that we can’t fully understand.” she changed the subject. “Hey while you went to get it sized correctly, did he say anything about a name for the ring?”
“He said to me all things had a name, do you know what the one for your ring is or not?”
Racheal was quite for a moment. “Kokoro no me no naka. In the Hearts Eye. That’s the name for the ring, at least that’s what he told me. What’s yours?”
“Ningyō no namida, Tears of the Doll.”
Rachael frowned. “Doll? Why would it be that?”
“The necklace was being held in the hands of a doll, so I can only assume that’s the reason for it.” She looked back at the store window and saw the doll, for some reason or another it looked as though it was faintly smiling. It had before but now she seemed to notice it even more, she could only assume it was due to what the man said. “Come on, let’s go get something food. I think after all this randomness we could do with something good in our stomachs.”
“Yeah, I need to agree with that, food would be good. But here’s hoping that we don’t have to deal with anything else too crazy. I’m not sure my heart could take it.” Even though Rachael said that, Taryn knew that there probably would be something out there that was worse further down the line. She understood that well enough.
There always was something worse after all.