This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
The sleeping dragon and the smiling monkey/Jirou-man!
“He...he’s a monster!”
“Quick, let’s get out of here!”
The trio of thugs, all of them kids, still wearing their high school uniforms, all ran as fast as their spindly legs could manage.
Jirou sighed and collapsed backwards onto the grass. The sky would be all that he could see except for the fact that his eyes slammed shut as soon as he collided with the ground. A sun of pain was blazing on his forehead. Blood trickling out of the wound, he felt the bruises blooming. Already imagining the ugly colours that would dot his arms and torso.
“Jirou! Jirou! Oh please don’t die on me man. Come on Jirou, speak to me.”
He opened one eye, the other was already beginning to swell shut. There was his friend Hotaka. As always wearing a dark green samue, a necklace of wooden beads around his neck and a mighty weight of charms and supposed good luck items on his waist.
“I’m fine,” he said simply. It was true, he hurt, a lot, but he didn’t feel anything broken.
“Oh thank God,” Hotaka whipped away a puddle of nervous sweat that had coated his forehead. Then he grew a cheeky monkey smile on his face. “You see that is the power of the charms,” he said holding the mass out in front of him. “You owe your life to their good luck. And since I bought them, I think that means you owe me for your life.”
Hotaka leaned in so their faces where nearly touching. “You’re welcome.”
Jirou sighed then reached out and grabbed Hotaka’s nose. Immediately Hotaka began to squeal in pain, his arms flailing as if he was trying to fly away. He swung the arm that Hotaka was anchored to and sent his friend rolling away. Since they were on a slope Hotaka rolled all the way down, he couldn’t see it but he knew Hotaka hit the water when he heard the splash.
He sat up, his body grumbling. Those fresh sore spots reawakening. The sight of Hotaka sat up in the water brought a significant improvement to his mood. Like he knew he was auditioning for a gag manga character, Hotaka spat out a mouthful of river water.
“If those charms of yours worked so damn much why the hell were those punks chasing you in the first place?”
Hotaka searched for the answer, emitting a low hum as he did so. Finally finding the answer. “It is not my place to question the logic of the gods of luck. In fact, it was they who likely sent you to my aid. Once again the power of luck prevails.”
The sandal Jirou threw struck Hotaka right in the head, sending him back in the water. When he resurfaced Jirou spoke. “It wasn’t the gods of luck. It was my-that-idiot-is-in-massive-trouble-again sense.”
“Oh, and how to explain how you got here so quickly then?”
“I’ve used it so many times that it’s become very finely tuned.”
Hotaka in response puffed up his cheeks and looked to the side. Jirou sighed again. He was in his thirties, and sometimes wondered what it would be like to have kids. He doubted it was much different than dealing with Hotaka.
With much effort he stood up. He walked down to the river where his friend was bathing in the river, his gate altered by the one sandal he wore. When he was close he extended his hand out.
Hotaka looked at the outstretched hand, then up to Jirou’s face. That cheeky monkey smirk returned, his own hand reaching to grab it.
Then suddenly his other hand came swinging round, his hand opening and a projectile flew forwards. “Murayama Inspired Super Death Pitch!”
Jirou caught his returning sandal with a single hand. Hotaka’s arm was still outstretched his attack scream fading out, the corners of his mouth dropping whilst the mouth itself still remained open.
He shook his head, really treating Hotaka like a disobedient child. Then he summarily smacked Hotaka on the head with his Sandal. Once again submerging his head below the water. “Next time you want an attack to succeed, base it on someone from the Giants.”
Floating up, his mouth just above the surface of the river, Hotaka was conscious enough to speak. “The Giants suck.”
For once genuine anger rose up inside Jirou, he gripped his sandal like a club. “Blasphemy.” Then he made Hotaka pay for his insult.
Sometime later the pair of them were walking down the street. Jirou was pushing along his bicycle, Hotaka was walking alongside, looking mournfully at the soggy bundle of charms. “Oh man, why’d you have to get them all wet? Don’t you know that getting lucky items wet halves their power?”
Jirou doubted he needed to sigh for the umpteenth, instead he tried to put that in his tone of voice. “No I didn’t know that.”
“Seriously Jirou, I think you’ve been taking one too many hits to the head. That wouldn’t happen if you actually fought back instead of just letting punks wail on you all the time.”
“There was no point fighting back.”
“I knew that if I actually fought back then I’d seriously injure them. I’m not petty enough to prove it by putting them in the hospital.”
Hotaka seriously pondered on his words before jumping up and pulling, what he thought, was a dramatic pose. “Well if it was me I’d beat them so badly that their ancestors would be covering their balls!”
He stopped, looked grimly at his friend. “Like I said, I’m not that petty.”
“Huh? You say something?”
“Nothing that would have gotten through that dense head of yours,” as he spoke he had begun to walk onwards.
“Yeah, probably not. Hey…wait a minute!”
The island they were on was small. It was big enough for only one town that tried desperately to be a city. The house they were currently walking up to would look right in place in a Tokyo suburb. Brand new wooden skeletons surrounded them, signalling new houses were soon to be built.
You had this one rapidly modernizing part. The rest of the island hadn’t much changed since the Edo period. The man that came to the door nearly jumped back at the sight of Jirou all bloodied. Then slightly confused when he saw Hotaka soaked to his side.
Jirou held out a parcel. “Delivery for you sir,” to confirm his story he also held out a clipboard with the delivery company’s cartoon mascot in the corner.
The man pulled a nervous, overcompensating, smile as he signed. His hand jittered so much his signature became illegible. He snatched his parcel and dashed back into his house. The door slammed in Jirou’s face.
Hotaka’s body bristled, was stopped mid-stride to the door, his sleeves rolled up, by Jirou’s arm. As his friend looked at him imploringly Jirou bowed before the door. “Thank you for your custom. Please consider using our service in the future.”
When the door didn’t answer within a minute Jirou stood up and walked away. As the two of them walked away Hotaka began to yell. “What a jerk! Who does he think he is treating you like that? What makes him so special anyway, thinks he’s so big just because he can afford one of these fancy new houses.”
He put his hand on Hotaka’s shoulder. “It’s fine. I can’t blame him, I mean look at me. I wouldn’t exactly trust someone who showed up to my door all bloodied.”
Hotaka flinched, and looked down, kicking a small stone. “Yeah, well. He wouldn’t need a delivery service if he just got off his fat butt and picked it up himself. This island’s not so big.”
“He must have a demanding job,” he said, acting the devil’s advocate. “If he can afford a house like that then he must work hard. Maybe he just didn’t have the time to pick it up himself.”
Hotaka puffed up his cheeks again and kicked another small stone. “Well…”
He smiled, Hotaka acted an idiot, but one thing that could be said was that he did feel guilty when his actions affected others. It generally didn’t stop him doing stupid things, but it was like yelling at a small puppy for pissing on the rug.
“How about we grab some dinner?”
Hotaka’s face brightened, if it was capable of actually giving off light then it would be blinding.
PaulSenkel: If you like Arthur C. Clarke's Odyssey, especially The Final Odyssey, then you will probably also enjoy this book. I definitely did.It does, however, address a more adolescent public than the above-mentioned book.I enjoyed the story and finished it in a few days. The overall situation on earth an...
Ashley Stryker: So I'm writing this review, keeping in mind that this is a work in progress and it's part of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), so my "deeper" critiques will be saved until it's all finished up.+ Chapter One: A stewardess would not talk to anyone quite like that, particularly a clear minor...
aeratheninja: Interestingly enough, this story touches on different psychological states and was very informing, on top of being a solid story. Although somewhat predictable, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this; I could feel the fear and the frustration of the characters, and was happy when they were happy.Even ...
: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.
Alex Reltin: This is a great story! I love how well you go into detail and emotions of Capri, and Mel. You have amazing dialogue and overall it's just a thrill to read!The only critique I could find is that some of the paragraphs should be separated. For example:-"If Nia would have just let me take the car an...
Jessie: I wrote a review on fanfiction but I thought it would be fitting to write on on here too :) This story was honestly stunning. I am a budding writer myself and to read this- to FEEL this- reminded me of why I am honoured to have this passion and drive for a craft that is just so raw and beautiful.
Ben Gauger: Kudos go to Liz Aguilar, author of To Have And to Hold a fast-paced, gripping, adrenaline rush from start to finish, one of perhaps the finest pieces of writing I've ever read, in particular because of its' telenovela-like feel, May she continually find success as an author. Bravo my dear, bravo!
FreakyPoet: "you made me laugh, made me cry, both are hard to do. I spent most of the night reading your story, captivated. This is why you get full stars from me. Thanks for the great story!"
Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."