Very Short Stories for Liminal Chronicles

10/20/2021
This Guardian stepping down, I don't #trust his #scent—faint blood and ammonia, fresh cedar, the reek of strong alcohol. It sends a shiver through me. My tails fluff and I back up a few steps. Has he been corrupted? —Nakamura Hisako
#Spooktober2021
 
10/19/2021 He draws his fingers through the #crimson tint on her lips. But when she doesn’t speak his language, he #hesitates. Was following a beautiful shape shifter fox a mistake? Bak Ai-Ri murmurs, “I may be Kumiho, but I’m not incapable of love.” #Spooktober2021
 
10/18/2021 This year’s #harvest is #stranger than last year. I swore the ears of corn a familiar face. But I don’t dare say a thing. The neighbors will think it looks like the girl who went missing. I buried her where the corn grew. #Spooktober2021
 
10/17/2021 In the silk kimono with #turtle shell hexagons edged in gold, I #shiver as the bearers carry my palanquin. But I am on display at the festival. No warm tea for any of us until we’ve finished the parade route. #Spooktober2021
 
10/16/2021
The surprise of his kiss surpassed the Harvest Festival #fun we had as we #danced to the beat of the drums under the full moon. He's cute, but I'm an employee and he was tipsy. The next day he confessed his feelings, so I took a risk.
Mie
#Spooktober2021
 
10/15/2021 The thrill of the chase didn't #ebb in her blood. It filled every muscle with the need to run. Through a fallen log, over a hill, across a stream, they zigged and zagged. She just had to push a little more to sink her #fangs into breakfast. #Spooktober2021
 
10/14/2021 He floated, carried by the #river to a new destination. His mangled, oozing form covered in muck and tangles of poisonous vines twitched with anticipation. Would he #ghast this community too? Oh he hoped so. The fear was the best of feasts. #Spooktober2021
 
10/13/2021 #Fireflies flittered, rising from their day’s hiding spot in the grass tufts and shrubs. They joined a #wild dance in these last warm days, hoping to find a partner before the frosts came. Was that flashing friendly or a foe ready to devour? #Spooktober2021
 
10/12/2021 Among the twisted, #tangled and #rotting roots, beady, red, eyes shone in the black void of what should have been a face. Don't blink. It will steal yours. #Spooktober2021
 
10/11/2021 #Heron swallowed a fish, #bones and all. Fish cried, “If don’t you eat me, I’ll give you the riches of my kingdom!” Heron asked, “And if I don't? Will you take me to see your kingdom?” The fish king fell silent. He couldn’t risk his people. #Spooktober2021
 
10/10/2021 The #rune was a single word from the language of dragons. He'd carved into the heartwood of a branch donated by the tallest tree in the sentient #woods. And he'd given it to her as a token of his trust. Would she use it to create or destroy? #Spooktober2021
 
10/9/2021
#Ice covered my whiskers in #silver tendrils. At least I'd grown in my winter coat. The fool had wrapped me in his jacket, thinking he was being chivalrous. Would we make it home before he froze?
#Spooktober
 
10/8/2021 Legends say, a three legged #blackbird led the emperor and his lost expedition out of the mountains. But they don’t recall the #stone he landed on. There, in a basin surrounded by vast mountain ranges, they established the first capital. #Spooktober2021
 
10/7/2021 Why hadn't she been allowed to attend? She #staggered into the cemetery. When she reached his #grave she crumpled, but her hands moved of their own accord. She had to have part of him with her because, even in death, he had her heart. #Spooktober2021
 
10/6/2021
Their father's music's #glow spread like #dandelion seeds in the wind, enchanting the tiny seahorses. They followed, confident that where ever he led, would it be safe. It was his last gift to them. I did not see him again.
#Spooktober2021
 
10/5/2021
Last #autumn after I was released from prison, I was so damned #hollow inside. I couldn’t trust anyone, because I was sure they’d write me off. Just a few months later, just one person believing in me started a cascade of events.
#Spooktober2021
 
10/4/2021
The #mist lifted as a chill #wind blew into the valley. I'd only been in the area four days, and each was foggy. Everyone bragged about Okayama Prefecture's beauty. Maybe I'd finally get to see the landscape of my new home?
#Spooktober2021
 
10/3/2021
#Blood drained from his face when we reached the #cemetery. Emptied urns littered the Hiragi clan plot. "I'm just glad they didn't get to Hiro's ashes. Any idea who it was or what they did with the remains of your yakuza brethren?"
Satou
#Spooktober2021
 
10/02/2021
Slinking from #shadow to shadow behind the kitsune witch, I witnessed her #hunt for a sacrifice that would bind us further. I did not want this, but the powers I could learn from her? That was another matter.
#Spooktober2021
 
10/01/2021
In the light of the #moon, a thick red drop fell from my bruised and broken hand onto his bloody face. "Wh-what have I done?" I #stuttered. 'Just following orders' would never cover such an atrocity. I'd become what I feared. A monster.
Hiro
#Spooktober2021
 
9/28/2021 He wiped away the #rivulet of sweat, erasing evidence of the day's heat. No matter what the weather, Hiro always wore a suit. He said it separated yakuza from the street thugs. At least he let me have a casual day here and there.
 
5/11/2021 A customer had the nerve to whisper #jailbird as I walked by. I bit my tongue instead of letting my arm shoot out and shove him into the shelves. When Matsuo walked away from helping the jerk, it was my victory for the day.
 
5/3/2021 As I cleaned his grave, #nightfall crept in so slowly I'd not noticed. Thankfully, my eyes were perfect for low-light conditions. I just couldn't shake the feeling of someone watching me.
 
4/28+29/2021 - I can't begin to #describe the #thousand swirling emotions screaming to do one very specific action when fight-or-flight kicks in. Though, in the yakuza, I learned to harness that compulsion. It saved my life many times. --Umeji
 
4/27/2021 - I was used to doing the #cooking. That wasn't the problem. I just didn't know how to cook for 1 or 2 people. Scaling down from making soup for a crowd to this? Satou-san and I were sick of eating the same thing over and over.
 
4/26/2021 - The #adoration I have toward her is unusual. She's not family nor even my species, yet I consider her so—even though just a few short weeks ago she was cussing me out publicly. How did it change so fast?
 
4/25/2021 - His horrified expression was #drawn into my memory with India ink before his ghost winked out of existence. He did not approve of my method of avenging him? Why? He'd killed more than I had.
 
4/24/2021 - How could anyone do this? I stared down at the concentric #rings of the tree that had been home to a kodama spirit—one I had known. The shaking started in my hands and spread. Red filled my vision. Someone would pay.
 
4/23/2021 - Why is there #thunder in January? Oh no. My gut clenches. That's not a storm in the sky. It's cannons firing. my country is at war again after more than two centuries and I'm in the middle of it.
 
4/22/2021 -Can you believe I had to argue with my superiors that I was not just going to #settle on this candidate to replace me? They were convinced I was making my choice only because my term is up. They didn’t see his humility, just his past.
 
4/21/2021 - “I #only want the truth. That isn’t too much to ask from your parole officer, is it?” Satou said. My hand tightened on the car’s door handle. What I saw was too crazy. He won’t believe me.
 
4/20/2021 - I try not to take it in a #personal way when people speak about how yokai have harmed them. Not all supernatural beings are like that, you know? --Nakamura
 
4/19/2021 - Did you #watch the news today? People are reporting they saw magic appear out of nowhere and protect a little boy. It had to be from somewhere, right? Was it the kami or a yokai? Or was it the boy?
 
4/18/2021 - Nakamura-san, stop being so vain. The #blessing of looking old is you can get away with more than a young person can. Think about it. I know you can put that to use. --Dr. Aya
 
4/17/2021 - The #language of kitsune and foxes is difficult to learn because much of it is gesture based. Without a tail, much of the meaning is lost. --Tsuchimikado Yukitada
 
4/16/2021 - Never will I feel #invisible with irezumi tattoos across my back. Now that I've gone straight, even when they're covered I could swear they're on fire when ever anyone glares at me or mentions yakuza. (--Umeji)
 
4/15/2021 - Why do I #feel nothing but the trembling of my hands as I drop the knife? The spattered gore and stench should evoke some reaction. Have I sold my soul only to never be alive again?
 
3/11/2021 - #Wear the Nakamura crest today. Let it be known you are part of our clan. Not a stray. Your mother may not claim you, but she hasn't seen the man you've become like I have.
 
3/10/2021 - I was #stuck between two choices with harsh consequences. Would I take go back to jail to protect the old lady who antagonized me? Or would I reveal her secret and anger beings I thought were just a myth and who far more powerful than myself?
 

Mini Character Background Story

Can you guess who?
  3/9/2021 - I'd been forced to take back some of the energy I'd given him to recover in order to deal with the traitor. When his #arms wrapped around me, I knew I was forgiven. His color was much improved as he said, "Forgive me. I did not know the treasure I had."   3/8/2021 - The fool thought he could hide that he was a spy from me forever. I wasn’t a stupid #horse that was led easily. But now the spy was dead, I dreaded telling my lover he’d been wrong in trusting that samurai. We will hunt them all. Let the purge begin.   3/7/2021 - When cracking the seal on a locked area of his mind, his hand darted up. How did he break my control? Shaking, he crushed my throat. "Stop!"   The secret? He was a double agent. The spy crumpled as I #shot electricity through him and his grip loosened.   3/6/2021 - "The #name of one who will cause much trouble for Lord Ii is Yoshida Shouin from Hagi. Find him and set me free to serve you both unhampered. I can help hunt down the others."   I probed his mind to verify the truth and he winced as his mental shield fell.   3/5/2021 - "Do you require #proof of my ability to protect you?" my thrall asked.   My eyebrow raised.   "Probe my mind again," he hissed.   He could sense the touching of his thoughts? I had underestimated this samurai. He'd hidden that he was a magic user.   3/4/2021 - “Then, I #request to be freed, to protect you from the rumors circulating that you’re manipulating him, my Lady.” my thrall said.   How did a thrall keep that knowledge from me? Could my spell be fading after so little time? “I will consider it.”   3/3/2021 - I’d spent my magic energy on helping him recover. My human guise failed, reverting me back to fox form. Curling up on his chest I let my #paws touch his precious face.   “You truly care for him,” my thrall murmured as he left a food tray.   “Yes.”   3/2/2021 - I #smoothed out the wrinkles in his forehead. He carried so many burdens for the country, and so few saw the his brilliance in his long term plan. At least the fever broke. Did this mean my prayer had been answered? Or was he doomed?   3/1/2021 - When my lover grew deathly ill, I knew he only lusted me. I had to act quickly. The best love potion and his favorite #spice were added to his dinner. Then I tucked a love charm into his pillow. Please, Kami-sama, let him care for me!   2/28/2021 - The guard’s tanto pressed to my neck as he hissed, “You will promise never to control Ii-sama.”   “Willingly. But you...” I growled, and gave a flick of magic to #rotate his arm so his dagger pointed at his eye. “You will be my thrall.”   He paled.   2/27/2021 - When I recovered my magic enough to show off my human form, he was so enamored with my beauty he commissioned a Western style #gown and two luxurious kimonos worthy of the Empress herself. Reveling in this worship, I allowed myself to be his consort.   2/26/2021 - I inspected the pair of #folded cranes on the low table as a maid served tea. This samurai must be high ranked to have such a spacious office and so many servants. He said, "Please enjoy, Kitsune-san. Then tell me why you led my dogs on a merry chase."   2/25/2021 - I was a #dart whizzing through the trees. With hounds on my tail and no ki for magic, I wracked my brain for options as my lungs burned.   Thundering hooves announced a presence. “Whoa! What have we here?” He met my eyes. He knew. “Call off the dogs!”   2/24/2021 - Her ears pricked and she froze. The #fox sniffed the air to see how much time there was before their approach. Her blood ran cold as the brays of a pack of hunting dogs filled the air. Not long enough! (#vssnature)
 
2/24/2021 - The deep set of #scratch marks in the door and the sulfureous stench in the air sent a shiver through me. The officer didn't know what that meant, but I did. An oni had been here and they were looking for my husband's manuscript.
 
2/23/2021 - I would not #cower despite the odds and recent loss of Yuki, who had always been at my side when I faced the vixen's attacks. It was time to stand on my own. So I whispered the word and blue fire lit in my hands.
 
2/22/2021 - Now that she knows my past, the metaphorical ice beneath my feet cracks menacingly. Any moment now I'll #plunge into the icy water of not being in her social circle anymore. Dammit! I really enjoyed her company.
 
2/21/2021 - My stomach was gnawing its way out of my belly and the #tendon on the table tempted me. But it would be better to pass out from hunger than eat food intended for the boss. (tendon = a bowl of rice with battered and deep-fried meat, fish, or vegetables)
 
2/20/2021 - The last time I held a weapon, was when I was out of ammo. Hiro was down and I had to #load a magazine from his pocket into his Sig Sauer. I’d pledged to defend him. So many people died that day and I added to the number. I don’t want to know how many. --Umeji
 
2/19/2021 - I had to #scramble to keep up with her as she yipped and sprinted, ears perked and tails wagging, up the stairs. Was she always this happy to visit such an out of the way place? Boy, was I wrong about these mythical creatures being reserved.
 
2/18/2021 - What do you #mean a kitsune revealed herself to you today? You know better than to go near a mythical fox. They're all vicious demons! I saw one lure and kill a man! --Matsuo Jun (Matsuo Eiji's father)
 
2/17/2021 - I don't care if we aren't on the right side of the law, boy. If I ever catch you doing #shoddy work again, there won't be enough of you left to ID your sorry carcass. --Hiro
 
2/16/2021 - Research to #curtail the resistance of the demon finally proved successful. The sacrifice of the old guardian was enough to bind the demon to take the magic drain for me, more than doubling my magic abilities for a good century.
 
2/15/2021 - "It was not #random chance that we met. You needed a purpose and another start in life, I need a replacement to watch over the shrine. Serving others will show your intention." She nodded as if it was decided.   Did she know how much I needed this?
 
2/14/2021 - It wasn't a command. It was his way of saying #goodbye in the few moments there were left, and the one kindness I could manage for him. But my obedience will haunt me for the rest of my days.
 
2/13/2021 - Was it even possible to become #lost in such a small town? I'd not thought so, until I held her in my arms. I'd been lost until that moment.
 
2/12/2021 - She walked away from the guy on #corner. When he grabbed her coat sleeve, I booked it toward her to intercept.
 
2/11/2021 - #Mistake number one was not recognizing her voice. Mistake number two was letting her trap me into a promise.
 
2/10/2021 - Coursing through the valley one more time, the #river dragon surveyed his domain. Something unidentifiable niggled inside warning him he should not go. But he had to. He’d given his word.
 
2/9/2021 - The #sunshine shoving through the hole in the clouds was the only warmth I had after the incident in the store today.
 

Start here and read UP

These Very Short Stories (VSS) posted on Twitter relate to my book series the Liminal Chronicles.   The newest ones are at the top. So start at the bottom of the page.
 
What is #VSS365? Fun daily prompts for tiny stories that fit in tweets. The # is the prompt of the day.


Cover image: by Odette.A.Bach (Art), AWV (text)

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