30 March 2014


Moose reminded me that I wrote this story. This is a Fan Fiction piece based on characters from the anime series Ghost Hound. This is a series that Moose and I really enjoyed. It is a psychological horror. It is not what I expected it to be.

Taro wished he could dream. Since being at the university in Tokyo he hadn’t been able to dream let alone travel to the Unseen Realm. After five years he wasn’t sure he would ever do it again. He had hoped to Soul Traveled when he reached the island. His sleep was plagued by the pain in his chest.

He used the sleeve of is coat to clear the condensation from the glass as he looked at the passing scenery. He focused on the mountains. They seemed to have aged thousands of years in the time he’d been gone. He couldn’t see the shrine hidden among the trees. He wondered if Miyako would even be willing to talk to him again. He pressed on his chest and gasped as another round of pain threatened to crush his heart.

No one stood at the bus stop. He hadn’t told anyone he was coming home.

The winding road up to his house was slick from the light rain. Every step increased his heart rate. Puffs of breath accented the raspy breathing.

He watched the still from a distance, trying to regain his breath. People milled around the brewery, their focus on the product. One person paused in their movements and looked over at him, standing in the yellowed street light.

“Taro, is that you?”

Taro dropped his bags to accept a hug from Kei, the Master brewer. She nearly bowled him over.

“Why didn’t you tell us you were coming? We would have sent a car to meet you. Come on out of the rain.” She kept an arm around him. He couldn’t even his breathing. “Are you alright?”

“I’m fine.”

“Did you hear about Miyako?” she asked. Her brows were drawn together.

“Yes.” Taro picked up his bags again and hurried to the house.


The next morning the sun peeked out over the trees as Taro rode his old bike into town. The pavement still showed wet patches but would be gone before lunch. The newsroom was packed with desks and chairs. One man sat in his chair with his feet propped up on the desk typing on a laptop that looked like any movement would send it crashing to the floor.

“Can we help you?” someone asked.

Taro tried to catch the eye of the man who was typing. “I was just hoping to have a few words with Masayuki.”

The man’s head popped up and a grin split his features. “Taro, why didn’t you tell me you were coming for a visit? How long are you here?” He just caught the laptop before it fell and set it on his desk.

Masayuki directed Taro to a small bakery down the street from his office.

“You’ve gotten taller,” Taro said as he looked at his friend. “And you cut your hair. I almost didn’t recognize you.”

Masayuki ran a hand through his hair and grinned. “It just wasn’t cutting it for me anymore. It’s good to see you. How long are you in town?”

“I’m back. I just graduated and got a job.”

“You got a job back here? Why would you do that?”

“I’m the high school’s new psychological counselor,” Taro said peeling his pastry apart and hiding pieces of it in his napkin.

“Have you visited the others? I’m sure they would love to see you as well.”

“I plan on visiting everyone. But there’s something else.” Taro tossed his uneaten pastery in the garbage. “Have you seen anything in the Unseen World?”

Masayuki let out his breath. “I haven’t had an O.B.E. for almost three years now.”

“Do you know why?” Taro looked up, searching for any sign of pain on his friend’s face.

This time it was Masayuki who paused. “I moved in with Reika.”

Taro counted to three before he felt his voice would be normal. “I hope you and Dr. Otori are happy together.”

“We are,” Masayuki replied. “Most of the time.”


Taro sat on the steps leading up to the shrine. He held a letter in his hands that he had folded and refolded hundreds of times over the years. The year after he started his Masters he had received the letter in the mail: Taro, I’m getting married. The pain in his chest had started shortly after this.

“Taro? I hadn’t heard you were visiting.”

Taro was shaken from his reverie by the low voice. Makoto had gotten taller but nothing else had changed. His long hair was pushed back from his face, and no smile lines even hinted. He held a guitar case in his hand.

“It’s nice to see you, Makoto.” Taro stood and brushed at his trousers to clear the dirt. “What are you doing here?”

“I always come to the shrine at this time of day.” He paused and raised an eyebrow. “She’s not dead.”

Taro stuffed the letter back in his pocket. “I know she’s not dead.”

“Do you regret leaving?”

They started the climb up to the shrine. The steps had been repaired in a few places and Taro focused on the new patches as he tried to keep his breathing even.

“I didn’t think it would be this hard.” Taro paused on the stairs, trying to regain his breath. The stairs continued upwards into the trees. “I feel the weight of everything I left behind. I wonder if I made a mistake and lost something irrevocably.”

“College made you speak in big words.” Makoto stood a few steps above him, his breathing catching only here and there.

“Did you ever want to leave?” Taro asked and winced at an especially sharp pain.

Makoto turned his back and started up the stairs again. When Taro reached the top Makoto was there with a glass of water.



Miyako stood a few feet from him. She looked exactly how Taro pictured her. Her hair was still tied in two parts behind her ears. She didn’t wear her shrine maiden’s regalia, but rather plain clothes. There were holes starting in the knees of her trousers. Her mouth was the thin line of somberness that often covered it when she was young.

“Miyako-san.” Taro winced as he stuttered. “I hope I am not disturbing you, but I would like to talk to you and your husband.”

She folded her arms and looked him up and down before giving a nod. “Come into the shrine.”


Miyako’s husband was a thin fellow who often had to push his glasses back in place. He explained that he had come to the shrine to study with Miyako’s father. Taro nodded and clenched his hands. He had chosen to leave. There had never been anything between him and Miyako more than Taro’s childish infatuation.


He looked up and met her steel gaze. It was the same look as always. When she turned towards her husband it soften. A faint smile played across her lips and the corners of her eyes crinkled.

“I wish to express my congratulations. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to make it to the wedding.” Taro held out a gift and bowed his head.

“That was thoughtful of you,” Miyako’s husband said taking the gift. “I have heard a lot about your adventures when you were all in high school. It is good to finally meet the last of the group.”

Taro smiled, taking in the sight of Miyako smiling. He still wondered what would have happened if he had stayed. Voices of children could be heard outside. Makoto sat in the corner the case across his lap. He set it aside and stood up.

Miyako’s husband waved him back in place. “I’ll go take care of that. Would any of you like something to drink or eat?”

All three shook their heads. Taro stared at the floor, a buzzing in his ears. He held his breath.

After Miyako’s husband disappeared, Miyako turned towards Taro.

“Are you alright?”

Taro shook his head, his breath coming in labored gasps.

“College made you soft. We used to run up and down those stairs all the time,” Makoto said.

Taro pressed a hand too his chest. “It hurts. It’s like part of me is missing and my body can’t fix it.” His vision blackened around the edges. “I can’t do this anymore.”


Taro lay on a futon and stared up at the ceiling. Candlelight flickered across the rafters and he could just make out thin trails of smoke. Music thrummed. He tried to sit up and settled for rolling to his side. Makoto sat in the corner a child asleep on the floor in front of him. He held a guitar and picked at the notes softly.

“Is she yours?” Taro asked in a hoarse voice.

Makoto looked up from what his fingers were doing and nodded, not missing a note that Taro could tell.

“I didn’t realize you had a child. Are you married?”

Another nod.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

“There are a lot of things you would know if you had bothered to keep in touch,” Makoto said.

“I tried — I wanted to. I didn’t want to leave.”

“No one forced you to.”

“Once I decided not to take over the family business, I had to find my own path. I always planned on coming back.”

“At least you could have come to visit us.” Makoto’s voice was soft. “You were the glue that held us together.”

“You and Miyako still seem close.”

“Our daughter’s enjoy each other’s company. And my wife is religious. She finds it important, so I find it important.”

Taro pushed himself up and his breath caught.

“You should see a doctor.”

“I have. There is nothing physically wrong with me. I thought that seeing Miyako—” he trailed off. “But that was apparently a stupid conclusion.”

Makoto strummed another chord. “How is your spirit doing?”

Taro shook his head and lay back down. “Nothing’s there. I can’t enter the Unseen World anymore.”

“We all tried to leave. And we all came crawling back. Even Masayuki can’t last more than a month away from the shrine.”

“What do you think it is?”

Makoto leaned his head back and closed his eyes. “Our spirits are tied here. Our bodies can go, but our spirits stay. I’ve seen flashes of your spirit in the unseen realm. I didn’t realize it wasn’t your conscious self. I thought you were just ignoring me.”

“I wouldn’t ignore you.”

“That’s what I kept telling myself, but then you never contacted me in the Apparent World.”


Taro sat on the steps and looked down the long flight.

“I won’t carry you.” Makoto said. His still sleeping daughter was on his back secured with some cloth. From the way Makoto moved, Taro assumed he had often carried her in this fashion.

“But you would give me a push?” Taro said with a half-smile.

“See you around.” Makoto gave him a small smile and started down the path. His flashlight beam focused on the stairs.


He turned to look at Miyako. He rubbed the back of his head and blushed.

“I’m sorry I was such a bother this afternoon. I really am happy for you.”

She brushed a strand of hair from her face. “I want you to have this. Whenever we go visit my husband’s family I feel ill. This always helps make it better. Wear it especially when you sleep.”

Taro took the small charm bag from her. “Thank you Miyako-san.”

With the borrowed flashlight, Taro crept down the stairs. His bike rested at the bottom, leaning against the arch. How he always left it. A note lay in the basket. Makoto’s address and phone number.

“Come to dinner next week.”


Back at the still Taro lay on his old futon. His crystal radio sat on his desk untouched save for his mother’s habitual dusting. With the charm around his neck, Taro realized that his breathing hadn’t been quite so labored as he walked up the hill. The pain in his chest eased just enough that Taro slipped into a dream.

24 March 2014


Every year Moose and I go to an Anime Convention. One of the things that we enjoy is the Anime Music Videos. These are videos that people have creating splicing different scenes and putting it to music. Moose decided that he wanted to try his hand at it so he used his birthday money to get the needed software. We knew the good videos took a lot of time. Not only do they have to splice them perfectly but they have to find the perfect clip in the first place.

My own opinion on what makes a good AMV are as follows:

1. It has to work with the chosen song.
2. It has to make me want to watch the anime, especially if I've never seen the anime.
3. It has to draw an emotion from me.

So here are a few of our favorite AMVs. We watch these on a regular basis because we like them.

It's Tough to be a Host
Beyond the Boundary
Usagi Drop

16 March 2014

Wild Imaginations

I believe I've mentioned before that my little sister loves dogs. When she was young we went to the Albuquerque Balloon Festival. My parents bought one of the child leases because they didn't want to loose her among the thousands of people that attend. Babe took to that lease and every time she wore it she would crawl around on hands and knees and insist we call her Twinkles.

I have seen other children pretend to be animals. It isn't anything new. What was new was the little girl I work with pretending to be a dog.

The class I work in is amazing. They love and adore Little Miss. On Friday one of the girls was walking around on her knees saying "I'm a baby." Little Miss thought this was funny and she got down on her knees. And then she got down on her hands and started to bark. It took me by surprise. Usually she imitates what she sees the others doing. She has never shown any sign of being able to imagine herself as something different. In fact Little Miss gets affronted if she thinks someone is calling her the wrong name. All during afternoon recess, outside on the blacktop, she crawled around on her hands and knees and barked. It was really cute.

The day before during lunch, before Little Miss came out, I noticed a young man who was behaving differently from the other kids on the playground. He had a rolled up paper in his hand and was hiding behind a basketball pole. He would peer around it, make shooting motions, and hide again. (Granted at another school he might be suspended for such behavior, but I knew his behavior was harmless. How did I know? Because he was doing what I used to do when I was his age.) I walked over to him and asked if he was enjoying himself. He looked up in a shock and put the paper behind his back. I said it was nice seeing someone with such a vivid imagination and wished him fun.

A few minutes later he and another boy ran by yelling something about an enemy soldier on their tail and they had to hide. They were doing it on Friday too. It is nice to see kids being kids. 

13 March 2014

Feeling like a Mother

Yesterday I truly felt it. The motherly feeling. I now understand the sinking in the pit of my stomach as I wonder if everything is alright. Of seeing the child cry and wanting to help but not knowing what to say. Of being disappointed in the child's actions and wishing it could have happened differently. Of hoping it will never happen again and yet preparing for when it does. Of trying to apologize to someone for something your child did when the child doesn't have an understanding of what he did wrong. Of staying awake at night while trying to determine how to get through the next day. Of wondering if there was something I could have done earlier to prevent it from happening.

I was expecting it to happen eventually. I have felt some of these feelings before, but it really is different when the feelings are regarding someone who is under your care. Who would have trouble surviving on their own. Who is still learning about life, how to interact with others, and deal appropriately in situations.

As my dad would say: Isn't this journey exciting?

And now that you are all thinking the worse I will add that Tech is safe, we are safe, it was just an unfortunate situation. No more details will be given.

12 March 2014

Quick and Easy

Moose and I were sitting at church when Tech sat down and folded up his leg. At that point we noticed that underneath his church trousers was a pair of Levis. We looked at each other and shrugged. As we drove home we asked him why he was wearing two pairs of trousers.

Tech: Because you told me I have to change after church. Now I can just pull of my pants and be ready to go. I can be quick.

I just laughed. I mean, wouldn't that be uncomfortable? It isn't even like when I wear long-johns under my clothes. He was wearing two pairs of trousers. As Moose and I were changing out of our clothes he admitted to something.

Moose: When I was a kid, we would put our pajamas on over our street clothes so when we woke up in the morning we would just pull off our pajamas and be ready to go.

Maybe it is a guy thing?

08 March 2014

Prom Week

This week was supposed to be devoted to reading. It wasn't. *sniff* Instead I took on a new project. I altered two prom dresses. I didn't tell the customers this, but I have never altered clothing for anyone beyond myself and Moose. On Monday I had one of Moose's coworkers come over with her daughter. They had purchased a prom dress at a discount price, The zipper needed to be fixed and a strap added for extra support. I took a look. It took me less than an hour to fix. She asked if I would be willing to look at another girl's dress. The second dress came in on Tuesday. This dress needed to be hemmed up, a strap added, the sides taken in, and a few other tweaks here and there. It would take me hours. (I need to learn how to say no.) Instead of reading I spent Tuesday night, Wednesday morning, Thursday morning, Thursday night, and Friday morning doing the various alterations and having two more fittings. Did I mention that Prom was Saturday? I was terrified. The last thing I wanted was to ruin someone's prom, but the only thing I wanted to do was read "Words of Radiance" which appeared on my doorstep Tuesday afternoon.

Both girls were happy. I felt a real sense of accomplishment. I got spending money. Will I do it again? If I can have more than three days to get it done, yeah, probably.

03 March 2014

No Need for Reading

Moose and I have different opinions on reading. As I mentioned previously, reading is a priority for me. For Moose it was something that he didn't enjoy, until I took away his cable, and gave him books he found interesting.

This week we have been working with Tech on his reading skills. Due to his situation he needs help with school. As we were working one night he threw up his hands in frustration.

Tech: I don't need to learn this.

Me: You don't need to learn to read?

Tech: No I don't.

Me: Yes you do. You can't get a driver's license or a job if you can't read.

Tech: That doesn't matter because I am going to own my own business. I don't need to read.

Moose and I are worried. I am kind of hoping he knows he has to read and that this is just him letting out his frustration. Kind of like how I often say "I hate my hair, I am going to shave my head."

Now all we have to do is get his confidence up. We have motivated him to read because reading is tied to his screen time. He always gets between 8 and 9, if he gets his homework/studying done. If he wants any more time he has to read. Bwahaha. What a maniacal plot we have hatched.