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Kaze sat on the bus staring out the window, watching the fields and mountains pass him by. His little brother had already fallen asleep next to him, and was quietly enjoying the scenery. He continued staring, knowing he had plenty of time to doze off for a nap. He didn’t understand why he couldn’t go with his parents to America, but he’d finally get to see his Aunt Chizuru again. He hadn’t seen her since he was really tiny, and couldn’t remember exactly what she looked like. He just remembered giant choking hugs. He shook his head as sleep quickly took him.
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A soft song began to touch Kaze’s ears. The piano keys singing sweetly, yet eerily in his head. He slowly opened his eyes, and was met with a room of blue and black colors. He blinked as he slowly took in the scene before him. A hunchbacked man with a short nose sat before him, and on either side of the man were two blue clad twin children with hats one a boy, the other a girl. Their yellow eyes caught Kaze’s attention, as he shook his head slowly, realizing he must be dreaming.
“Ah, our guest has finally awoken. Welcome to the Velvet Room, one with a strange destiny. I am Quasimodo, current stand in for Igor.” He said.
The girl then interjected. “Sir, you’ve said it wrong.”
“After all that practicing too.” The boy said.
“Details, details.” Quasimodo said waving them off. “First, tell us your name.”
Kaze was confused momentarily as to who these strange people were. Finally, he concluded this had to be a strange dream, so he decided to play along.
“Ah, very well Kaze. Now, how would you like to have your fortune told?” Quasimodo said, holding a deck of cards closely to himself. Kaze nodded, as Quasimodo quickly set to work. He then laid out a number of cards and had Kaze pick 3. He then flipped the cards, revealing the Fool, The Wheel of Fortune, and the Inverted Tower. Kaze looked quizzically at the cards, as Quasimodo snapped his fingers towards the boy twin, who then produced a small book from his pocket. Quasimodo then thumbed through it and began talking again.
“Ok, let’s see…Ah, here it is, the Fool. This symbolizes a sense of Newness in your life.”
Kaze nodded, that was reasonable as he was to soon be living in a new town for a year. Quasimodo then continued to thumb through.
“Next is the Wheel…symbolizing changing, that may or may not pass.”
Kaze shrugged. He guessed it would take some time getting used to a new town.
“And the Tower… Inverted. So it means…more change…basically. It may be good, may be bad. Don’t hold onto friendships or something.” He said this one, closing the book. Kaze was skeptical about that last one, especially the way the man said it.
“It seems our time is up. I have a feeling that we will be seeing each other again soon.” He said as he waved, the world slowly fading to black.
Kaze’s eyes snapped open, and he looked around confused, the sudden movement waking the dirty blonde next to him.
4/7 Afternoon - Bus Stop
“Huh? Are we there yet Onii-chan?” Ishidaiku asked him. Kaze looked out towards the Bus Stop, and saw, it was indeed their stop. He nodded in reply. Ishi then stretched and hopped up, his bright blue hoodie flopping over his head, which he then unflopped.
“Good. I’m tired of sitting on this bus.” Ishidaiku said. Kaze shook his head smirking, and then stood as they began to get out. As they, and a few other passengers got out to grab their baggage from the storage area of the bus, a car drove up as a tall busty blonde woman stepped out. She wore brown flats, with a pair of black slacks, a blue denim jacket, and a yellow floral designed shirt.
“Hey boys. Long time no see. Your mother sent me photos so I could recognize you two now that you’re all grown up.” She said as she walked up to them.
“Yeah. Good to see you, Aunt Chizuru.” Kaze said as he was brought into a big hug by her, and began suffocating in her breasts momentarily before she turned towards his younger brother. She finished her bear hug and grabbed both of the boys’ heavy bags easily. “Come on you two. We’ll be late for dinner.” She said as she headed back to the car. Kaze turned and waved towards the bus, a purple haired girl his age waving back as the Bus left.
“Friend of your’s Kaze?” Chizuru said nudging him.
“I guess. We traded emails, and promised to talk online.” Kaze said.
“Long distance relationships never last you know.”
“It’s not like that at all.” Kaze said slightly irritated.
“I see you blushing.”
“You do not.”
“Yes I do.”
“Yes she does Onii-chan!” Ishidaiku chimed in.
“Who asked you?” Kaze said.
They all laughed and got into the car heading back down the road towards town.
“You see that big tower there?” Chizuru said pointing at a large Tee Shaped tower made of Brown Stone.
“I own the tower, thanks to the City Hall, and I am normally running the shop. Luckily, I had a couple of part timers and a manager to watch it tonight. From there, you can see all the sites where weird and mysterious happenings go on.” Kaze looked at her skeptically.
“No worries. Most of them are just silly things that no one thinks to really investigate, but are usually really simple to point out. Like the Train Whistle Tunnel. You can read about it at the tower if you come to visit up there.” Chizuru continued pointing out places until they arrived at the house. Chizuru handed Kaze a map of the town.
“You should read and memorize this map. It’ll really help you out, especially when I’m too busy to meet you at the house.” Kaze nodded. “Don’t forget to Text me if you need anything while you’re out. I may be a bit to get to you on it though. This place is popular for the paranormal believers.” Kaze nodded.
“You believe in spirits right?” Chizuru asked. “Because if you don’t, you might be visited by the Sleepy Lady.” Chizuru said trying her best to make a scary face to Kaze, who stood unphased.
“Aw. You use to be so easy to scare. Guess I’ll have to get Ishi-kun.” She said laughing. As she turned the door knob.
Inside the furnishings of the house were modest, very normal for a Japanese family. A young blonde girl sat at the table coloring something. She looked up from her paper upon hearing the door open.
“Hi mom.” She says to Chizuru as she enters.
“Hi Sakura these are your cousins,” she said “Can you say hello to them.” Sakura shyly hid behind her mother.
“H-hello.” Sakura said.
“Nice to meet you.” Kaze said.
“Hi.” Ishidaiku said waving happily.
“Well, now that we are all acquainted, let’s get your bags up to your rooms upstairs, and then we can eat.” Chizuru said.
“Yay! Curry Chicken is mom’s best.” Sakura said.
4/7 Evening - Chizuru Tsukishima's Residence.
They then got the bags upstairs, and unpacked before dinner around the floor table. They ate dinner and caught up with each other.
“So, 1st Vanguard in your Kendo Club. Not bad.” Chizuru said.
The News then broke on at that moment.
“Welcome to the 9 o’clock news. Our top story tonight, Hunny Tea, break out Pop idol has gone on an unexpected vacation at the town of Hinasho. We’ve received reports that she is staying at the Tenkai Onsen Inn. According to one person’s audio recording captured by their phone, Hunny Tea stated to them that she is needing a break after her 4 week tour. We’ll keep you updated throughout the week, back to you Yuri.”
“Hmm… News spreads like wildfire.” Chizuru says.
“Oh, nothing. Just forget I said anything.” Chizuru said. “Sakura, make sure you’re ready to come help me at work tomorrow.” She then turned back to Kaze. “You can use tomorrow to get acquainted with the town. Have fun, go to the mall, maybe the shopping district, or the Park. Just, don’t go to that weird abandoned house.”
“Why not?” Kaze asked.
“Because it’s haunted!” Chizuru says trying to scare Kaze again. “Oh, you’re no fun. It’s fine. People just think it’s haunted, but every time I go up there, nothing has happened. It’s just a waste of time if you aske me.” She says.
They continued talking through dinner, did the dishes, and then headed to their rooms. Kaze marked on his calendar that tomorrow, he would explore town. Then he circled the day after, writing down ‘School Starts’. He then turned in for the night.