Very Short Stories for Liminal Chronicles - 2022

Tweeted story snippets using vssCollab and #vss365 prompts.  

Pulling Strings

1 - Yakuza don’t apologize to those lower in the clan. My silent command to stand down had cost my little brother respect, but saved him from arrest. I resolved to introduce him to Chisa, who stole glances at him all night. It was our renewal.   2 - I straddled a liminal space between the worlds of crime and law—an infinity apart. Kicking myself for the deception did me no good. So despite qualms of Chisa being a hostess, I made the intro. The two took to each other like white on rice.   3 - "Hiro-san, where would you take a girl on a first date?" Tatsuya shoved his hands deep in his pockets.   Idiot punk. "The way she kissed you? You’re way past that stage."   He scowled.   "Fine. I’ll suggest Shibuya Sky Solarium. Great view."   4 - He shared pictures of their date—the pair poised against the cityscape beyond the glass—a perfect couple. But the glint in her eyes was anything but tranquil. Prickles ran down my neck. Was my little brother a target or just her boy toy?   5 - Ghosts of my lies plagued me in the dawn hours. I dragged myself out of bed and paced to work out the current problem—how to protect Tatsuya. First, have Chisa tailed. The curly, twisted workings of a criminal mind could protect people too.   6 - Chisa was the top hostess and booked solid for several weeks. Spies partook of chat and drink with other girls in the club. Finally, one got in! Chisa coyly shared memories of rival-clan ties. Truth or not, it could spell trouble for Tatsuya.   7 - It was tricky to arrange with my superiors to bring Tatsuya on board. Being yakuza was his last choice. But I’d have to clean house before proceeding. Chisa couldn’t get him further tangled in the underground. Now, how to make her leave?   8 - Hypnosis and coercion were out. But a background check of her origins confirmed a possibility. My partner contacted her parents, telling them about her risky job and the danger she was in due to her relationship with a rival clan yakuza.   9 - Chisa’s family responded, they’d intervene. My guts twisted. I should’ve never made the connection for the pair. They were so amorous, even publicly! For him, it wasn’t just lust. But how she bragged made me wonder if she really cared.   10 - When Tatsuya relayed Chisa’s parents had miraculously found her and they begged the prodigal to come home, guilt rode me like a desperate druggie. My little brother’s infatuation with the girl was intense and I was the true meaning of fake.   11 - To her credit, Chisa called him daily. The glimmer of hope in his eyes when he heard her voice will haunt me for a long time. But I needed him for another purpose and Chisa would only get in the way. Zero connections was the best policy.   12 - Finally, Chisa announced her engagement. Had I not been his big brother, watching Tatsuya so floored would’ve been *comic. It was the *code that her family had completed the couple’s breakup. We drank hard that night, for different reasons.   13 - My superiors, hesitant to launch an operation with an unknown, said to push Tatsuya hard. It’d prove his loyalty to me, plus help him get over Chisa. Our serenade of jumping through their endless hoops lacked response. Time was running out.   14 - When the midnight deadline for the job arrived, I resigned myself. The higher ups couldn’t see Tatsuya as hero material. The kid hated being yakuza and I couldn’t save him nor tell him.   Morning brought the permission. Perhaps not too late?   15 - Tatsuya arrived at my place with breakfast in hand. I was about to leap into the offer when I got a call. Attackers were streaming into our clan’s HQ. We rushed over, straight into heavy gunfire. My heart sank. I’d missed my opportunity.   16 - By the time the special assault team arrived, twenty odd bodies lay scattered and I’d been shot. They arrested us. My remaining option? Fight to minimize Tatsuya’s sentence. His years in prison wouldn’t be a walk among daisies. I drank alone.


The Search

1 - After the birth of my second son to Taro, I found it hard to keep up with both Guardian duties and being a mother. It didn’t take perspicacity to see I needed a replacement. How long would the search take? Candidates didn’t appear on command.   2 - I rose and cut watermelon slices for my eldest daughter while I listed possible contacts to query. The one I dreaded most was the most obvious one. If I was ever to retire, there was no procrastinating a meeting with the annoying tanuki.   3 - When I said I needed to chat, Dr. Aya had invited me to his house for tea. He was in the middle of calligraphy practice when I arrived. Nothing could have muffled the tanuki’s swearing—a wailing siren that the meeting would not start well.   4 - Would an arcade trip with my eldest son have been a better use of my time? Well, I was here and would make the most of it, but not without giving the old tanuki guff first. “Aya-sensei? Did are you so senile you forgot you had guests today?”   5 - Aya’s thrashing to the entryway wasn’t my first introduction to his temper. I’d get called liar if I said tanuki weren’t only jovial drunkards. They dealt with anger like anyone else, except nosily and in private. “Come in,” he grumbled.


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

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


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