Andon Monogatari

Discussion in 'ROLEPLAY GRAVEYARD' started by Zypher, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. [​IMG]

    Yamagawakoshi (open)


    Haruko Ishikawa, humble miko at the shrine of Yamagawakoshi Village was having a rather exciting time with the large influx of travelers looking for charms and prayers, even though it was still somewhat early in the day. The crowds had gathered in promise of a spectacular performance at the theatre tonight, one that the actors had made into a weekly tradition, the Hyaku Monogatari. From what little bits of knowledge Haruko could glean, outside the shrine there were festival carts popping up and she was sure that the head monk would soon allow them to come inside. All of this for a theatrical ghost story, how fascinating! She thought as she continued to pass out charms.

    As she watched the crowds pass by the shrine's entrance it appeared to her as if the whole of Japan had come to this small town, rumors saying that everyone from the local daimyo to the shogun himself would be in attendance. It was all so interesting to Haruko, but she was stuck here, in the inner courtyard of the shrine, passing out talismans and charms to those that needed them for protection from the demon this theatre act supposedly brings. The stories about what this act would bring unnerved Haruko a bit. She was already planning on going, if only to hold the demon back as best she could should it appear for real. Following that thought she took a few of the charms and put them in her little satchel that sat on the ground next to her, where they would be kept safe and she would be able to set them up around the theatre as soon as another one of the miko, or maybe a monk would take her place out here.

    As if the kami were answering her unspoken prayer another miko came to relieve her of her duties and allowed her to head off into the festival-like atmosphere of the newly dubbed Monogatari Matsuri. All around her was a flurry of people chatting loudly, getting festival food and generally enjoying the quiet town, a far cry from how it was normally. She managed to find her way to a small street mostly empty of people where she could walk to the theatre in peace, although she might want to purchase some dango on the way, she turned on another street and found herself being taken by the stream of people towards the sake shop, the opposite direction of where she wanted to go, but it was no use fighting her way back, so with a sigh she continued along, at least she was more likely to find someone selling dango this direction.

  2. Passing the stalls on his way to the theatre, Wataru was glad to see the charms to ward off evil spirits but he knew that this was only a reaction from his innate trust in the objects. They would have no effect, of course, since the spirits were being invited into the show... he furrowed his brow and continued his slow walk. Many people moved away from him, giving him a polite distance. This was not his wish but his carriage and uniform bespoke a samurai, especially with the sword strapped to his side.

    Wataru patted him stomach, deciding that he would like to eat before settling in to see the show. This caused him to stop dead in his tracks and the people around his hushed and paused as well, unaware of hat he was doing. He wished that he did not attract so much attention. A plaintive grumble from his stomach set him moving once more, this time keeping close to the stands in hopes of finding one that would sell him something to eat.

    Wataru noticed one girl a little ahead who seemed to be moving purposely. She looked like the type that was not easily scared, so he hurried to catch up to her.

    "Excuse me, honorable young miss, but would you know where a person could find something to eat?"
  3. Haruko was caught off guard as she was joined by another person, asking where he could find someone to eat. She smiled and turned her head to find that he was one of the daimyo's samurai. She gasped and bowed deeply towards him.

    "Of course honorable one, the sake house is this direction, as well as a few restaurants. Of course if you aren't from around here I'd be certainly willing to escort you in that direction as it appears all of the others are giving you a wide berth to walk." She giggled momentarily. It appeared that everyone was intimidated by the samurai, or at very least the daisho with the deadly katana on his hip. "Follow me." She stated, as she turned on her heel and started hiking up the street, continuing along, if the samurai fell behind that would be his loss after all.
  4. A busy day in Yamagawakoshi. Since the rising of the sun, the village burst with excitement. It was time to set up for the festival! People walked up and down the streets with their carts of goods, while others exchanged stories about past Hyaku Monogatari. This was an event that everyone looked forward too; both the carefree, fun-loving goers and the paranoid superstitious.

    Someone who enjoyed the festivity was Kokone. Every year, she'd sit by her lonesome, out of the way so she could listen in on the ghost stories. There was always a hopefulness that something fearsome would arise. She always wanted to see something come to life and terrorize the villagers. Doing that herself was fun, of course, but being an audience to a good show was an entirely different experience. Perhaps this year, things would be different.

    Where was the bakeneko now? Laying upon the rooftop of the local sake house.

    Kokone was sprawled out on the roof, just enjoying the sunlight that warmed her fur. All four limbs were stretched out as far as they could reach and her tail laid flat, flicking back and forth from time to time. She had her eyes closed, too. Although she was not asleep, she was enjoying a very nice rest.

    The more observing passers could see the cat quite easily. Even from a distance, she was quick to spot. Just a ball of black fur laying where it didn't belong. Sometimes, people just dismissed the sight. Kokone always rested there, in that exact spot. Not only because it was comfortable; it annoyed the shop owner. Not a single day could pass without her antagonizing the owner of this very sake house.

    With a lazy yawn, one of her front paws lifted from the roof to scratch at her belly. That was a human-like habit of hers. No cat has ever been seen behaving in such a way, so anyone who noticed could assume her to be an oddball feline. It was obvious that she was old, too. Not just because she looked it. The cat was always more interested in sleeping instead of playing.

    Nighttime is when she was most active, and when she was least normal looking.

  5. Wataru dipped his head in a small bow towards the woman who was offering to escort him towards his destination. Before he could rspond, the woman had already begun to walk ahead of him, cutting away any opportunity to tell her that if it was out of her way to take him to that place, she shouldn't bother. The woman seemed determined to lead him there, despite having phrased the offer to him as though he were welcome to accept or deny her help. He felt guilty for her leading him here when it might well have been different from the direction she was intending to go.

    Though he could have easily caught up with the woman, Wataru lingered behind to follow her. He did not want to sully her reputation or keep others from talking to her simply because he was intimidating and unfamiliar. The way to the sake house, Wataru found, was fairly straightforward and this made him feel worse about asking the woman for help. He should have simply done by himself instead of burdening others. When they reached the place, he dipped his head to her in a grateful bow.

    "Thank you for leading me here. I am sorry for the trouble that I have caused you. Please have a magnificent day."

    Embarrassed at himself, Wataru turned quickly and entered the sake house, his stomach reminding him of his goal. The sight of a bowl of unadon in front of another patron made his mouth water. Wataru moved to try to get the cook's attention.
  6. Busy!

    It was much busier in the sake house, the refuge to many locals, then it normally would be at this time of day. Regulars were there, but many unfamiliar faces were mixed in as well. The staff, women of varying ages, were quickly filling glasses, brining food and taking coins. Each woman would go home with a little extra for herself then a normal work day as well.

    Hard work should be payed for properly.

    Smiling she stopped peeking from the curtain in the back of the shop. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits and Ame-ko found herself smiling for it. "It will be quiet enough once the next show starts," she told one of the women who was taking a quick break for water. Their tips depended upon their service, so Ame-ko never bothered to pay attention to how long someone's break was. They took as much time as they needed. The older woman doing the cooking smirked and nodded, her pay also was in relation to how things went out front and the cut in the tips. Everyone of course also got a standard wage. When the shop did well, everyone prospered, which was how it should be.

    Ame-ko herself felt a break was in order. She had been chatting and mingling with the assorted people that had come to visit their small town, ensuring they were having a good time, and were not abusing any of her girls. After all a stranger might get the wrong idea, and Ame-ko did not wish for any sort of tensions in her place.

    Everyone was happy though, so out the back door she went and then she glanced up at the roof of her shop and her smile shrunk, though it did not disappear.
  7. So many humans... Satoshi's gentle gaze traveled from face to face as he lightly stepped through the crowd, a hand on his katana so that it wouldn't be stolen. He knew very well that the village wasn't always this occupied and that it must have been the festival drawing in all of these people that smelled nothing like the mountain or the valley. They must have traveled far, he thought, finally turning his gaze to the items the carts were selling. He caught sight of some charms and stopped so suddenly that the people behind him nearly knocked him right over! They grumbled as they passed by, though Satoshi only sighed and stepped out of the flow of the crowd to get a better look at the cause of the collision. There were a variety of charms, most to ward away evil spirits, some for good luck, love, and such other innocent themes. A smile graced his lips as he spotted a charm for dog demons and he chuckled softly. His faith in the charms was lax, though he decided to buy one anyway for the sake of having a souvenir.

    Back in the flow once more, Satoshi tucked his good luck charm away in the waist of his hakama and let the crowd carry him along. He didn't exactly have a destination any more specific than the village for the time being so he decided to let fate lead the way instead. People often passed right by what they were searching for simply because they were too set in their ways. Ahead was a sake house, and though he didn't drink, he was definitely in the mood to eat a little human food, so much that the approaching smell of ramen made his mouth water. He was about ten feet away from the door when a familiar feeling tugged at his attention and his head immediately swiveled in the direction of the roof, eyes locking onto an old black cat. He watched it for a few seconds before smiling and turning away again, heading into the sake house. He wasn't at all surprised that he wasn't the
    only yokai or oni present at the festival and though he couldn't be sure that the cat was anything more than a cat, he was certain there was more than the eye could see.

    "Hello sir," one of the hostesses said, popping Satoshi's thought bubble and drawing his attention away from the cat. "May I get you something?"

    He was surprised to find he'd already taken a seat at one of the tables. Shifting off of his knees and crossing his legs, he looked up at the woman and smiled at her. "A bowl of pork ramen, please," he replied, drawing a money pouch from inside his kimono. He placed a few coins in the woman's hand, then put the
    pouch back. When she left, he turned to untie his katana from his side and set it on the table so that he could sit comfortably and keep an eye on it. To him, it wasn't a weapon but rather a priceless gift given to him by a traveler long ago. For over twenty years, the man had climbed the mountain to pray and each time, Satoshi had been his guide and protector. When the man grew too old to travel, he gave Satoshi the sword, then climbed the mountain one last time and never returned.

    Satoshi smiled as he sat there, reminiscent. Because of that man, the wolf knew the meaning of "friend".
  8. [​IMG]

    That Night

    The day had continued on much as it had begun, people from all over the country had stopped by the village, and some of the villagers found it rather unsettling. To them it felt like Edo itself had come to rest with them, and when people gathered they brought spirits with them, most of the time unknowingly. The crowds surged and grew the longer the day grew and by late afternoon people were being turned away from the town simply because there was nowhere left to fit them. This truly was a glorious event as the promoters continued to harp, but fear was among the native peoples of the town, worried that it would go too far and summon something that nobody could handle.

    As the night drew closer the throngs of visitors and locals both began to swarm towards the theatre. Amongst the crowds were the faces of a samurai, a bakeneko, a kitsune, an yama-inu and a miko, all converging on the same area knowing little of the strings of fate grasping onto each of them and tying them together for some unknown purpose.

    Haruko proceeded to the theatre, large amounts of paper talismans and other barrier seals against dark forces were being smuggled under her sleeves and in the band of her hakama, although she believed that if anyone found them they wouldn't ask to many questions and would trust her with them. It was, after all, part of her job to have at least a few on her, she just knew that the sheer amount would register as odd for most people.

    Her feet came to a stop before the theatre. She had made it there far sooner than the main crowd but yet a sizable crowd had come to gather and wait for the theatre to open their doors and let the groups of people inside. She pondered how everyone would fit, especially if the daimyo were to attend with his entourage, since they would need a private viewing area behind a slatted screen as to not be seem mingling with the commoners. The thought was pushed to the back of her mind as she set to work, pulling the charms from her sleeve she set to work, placing the strips of paper in inconspicuous areas, making sure that each opening was sealed magically from allowing dark spirits exiting or entering. Although when she was younger she often wondered what really made a spirit evil or good, if those were even traits lowly humans could assign to each creature they came across. Were kappa evil because they ate the entrails of humans swimming in their waters or were they noble because they were protecting their land as any samurai or daimyo would? Who was to say evil and good were even things that could be decided upon, maybe neither truly existed and there were only actions...

    Those were bigger questions than she could or wanted to seek answers to on her own. She decided instead to focus on her self-given task and returned to placing the charms around the building, even as far inside as the theatre owners would allow her. "I'm here to bless this place as best I can." She had told them, and they allowed her in, but only a little. It seemed as if they wanted something to appear, as if they were waiting to let loose a beast. Of course their strange costumes and chittering way of speaking made Haruko not wish to speak with them any longer, it was like they were strange monkeys or something of the sort. She quickly finished placing what she charms she could and retreated outside and away from the theatre troop, back to the safety of the crowd.

    However, her wait outside wasn't long in the least, for soon the Hyaku Monogatari would start, the doors had been opened. Haruko was driven inside by the crowd of people surging forward, everyone trying to find a place to sit and watch the excitement, the story, and hope that the creature would appear. (Or at least it would be an actor playing the part of the monster to give the people a good fright!) It wasn't far inside that the floor was set, a circle of blue rice-paper lanterns sat in the center of the floor, the actors standing next to them, facing out in a circle. Her seat was close to the front of the crowd, right in the center of the west side, opposite a small crowd of spectators who were sitting in front of the slatted screens the daimyo was sure to be behind. She waited, her breath catching in the air, the room was almost unnaturally cold (or was she just that afraid?) as the rest of the spectators filed in and sat down to watch.

  9. With the show soon to begin, Wataru had left the place after getting some food. Though he had left the guide that had shown him here, he could at least find his way to the theatre without any trouble. He had insured that his seat was near the back of the theatre for two purposes, one to keep watch at the doorways and two, he did not wish to make others uncomfortable as they seemed to be around him.

    The girl from earlier, though, he spotted attaching charms to places within the building. He thought it oddly coincidental that he would see the girl again, but wrote it off. Despite his intentions for being at the show, Wataru was also excited for being able to see this most talked about performance and when he sat down, he felt perfectly excited. Wataru settled himself happily at his mat, a small smile on his face.
  10. Belly full, Satoshi wandered the stands a while longer, buying a few sweets to snack on later. It wasn't long before the excitement of the upcoming play could be heard in pretty much every conversation his ears tuned in to and he decided it might be best to attend the event. After all, he did owe certain people for holding the festival so often; it was the reason he was wide awake now and free of his slumber land prison.

    Once again following the flow of the crowd, Satoshi ended up at the theater, floating through the crowd in search for a place to sit. More than once, he passed by a hidden charm or talisman but felt nothing more than a gentle tingle that made the hair on his arms stand on end. These spells were to ward off malicious intent, not a peaceful heart like his. Well... He was peaceful for now...

    Most of the seats had already been taken by now, as it was so close to the start of the first play. Just when he was about to give up his search, he spotted an area where there were few people sitting and at first he was confused. Once he drew closer, he realized the reason. A samurai, seated gracefully and patiently waiting, was being avoided by most of the other play attendees. Satoshi wondered why that was the case. Were they afraid of his fighting ability? Or were they simply uncomfortable with the fact that he had most likely taken a life? Surely he was a dangerous man, but Satoshi felt nothing but relief for finally finding a spot to sit.

    Nodding his head as a friendly gesture to the samurai, the young okami settled on the cushion directly next to the man, folding his legs and laying his katana across his knees.
  11. The show was about to begin! Kokone was looking forward to it. Part of her was already bored, though. Nothing unfortunate ever happened to the people involved with the event. Every year, she attended with hopes of something... Exciting! Perhaps this year would be different?

    For this occasion, she took on the form of her long gone and dead pet owner, that being her most common human form. She took a seat far from the rest of the crowd, hoping it would stay that way, if just for a little while longer. Her parasol was laid down on her lap after she got herself comfortably adjusted. There were a lot of pretty women here, she noticed. Learning more and more about the images of females, she came to realize how not-so-pretty her owner was.

    It was no wonder the only man that lady attracted was a grubby farmer.

    Kokone then let out a long, loud yawn while patting at her mouth with one hand. Sitting here was boring. To entertain herself, she looked around the place from where she sat, letting the surroundings sink in. More than once, she distracted herself with ideas in her mind. Violent ones that involved getting into fights with the strangers around her. Nothing put a bigger smile on her face than the thought of splattering a human's blood.

    A curious wonder, that smile on her face...
  12. Chapter 1: Hyaku Monogatari


    The whispers around the theatre were hushed as the troupe of performers closed all the windows and shut the doors and the lanterns providing light were snuffed out, all except the ones that held a eerie blue glow were lit in the center of the room. All eyes focused on them and the actors standing just inside the ring of flames, their faces barely illuminated by the blue glow.

    One of the actors stood, holding his lantern before him as to not lose his face in the darkness, a grin spread across his face as he looked out to the shadowed figures of the guests in attendance. The theatre was in truth packed to capacity and then some, and it made the troupe even more excited for the ritual to begin.

    He started, "Ladies, Gentlemen, Spirits, and all manner of beasts, welcome to our humble theatre here in Yamagawakoshi. Tonight we promise you a show unlike any other that you have seen! Ladies and Gentlemen, Hyaku Monogatari." He stepped back into the circle and lowered himself back into the circle, starting on a story of a woman who found her husband in the thrall of a spirit of a vengeful samurai and when he was finished a quick puff of breath from his lips extinguished the blue flame in his lantern and he faded into the shadows of the other lamps, drawing the inky darkness about himself as well as some of the crowd like a blanket.

    Each actor took a turn to speak and share a story of dark and somewhat gruesome or depressing tale involving spirits and death. Each time a story finished another blue flame was extinguished and the darkness nestled in amongst the crowd just a little tighter. Everyone was excited and nervous, the feeling of tension was so thick even a samurai's katana couldn't penetrate it.

    Finally it came down to the final actor, who smiled the wildest grin amongst the bunch, it almost seemed as though the man deranged, or possibly some sort of strange spirit here to enhance the stories to the people. And so, his face the sole one lit by a flickering blue flamed lantern he began his story,

    "Many many years ago there was a loving and nurturing woman who lived alone with a dog and a cat, not knowing that the cat was indeed a strong spirit itself. For many moons the three lived in humble harmony until one day the woman found one soul that she could cling to, a man who would take care of her and her pets having previously feared herself not beautiful enough. It wasn't long before the dog and the cat were left alone for long periods of time, and though the woman had tried her best to take care of them the love she had felt for the man had begun to consume her.

    As she continued to spend her time with the farmer she began to cling to the man more and more, truly and completely in love so when she returned to the house with the man she was mortified to find that her animals had created a mess and began to weep. The cat spirit had become dark, purposefully creating trouble for the poor woman who simply wanted the love of something other than her animals. A season later the farmer decided to leave the poor woman in favor of another, much to the woman's confusion. She sought out a miko who explained to her that the malevolent spirit of her cat was out to get her and she had appeared in the dreams of the farmer to make him fear the woman and to leave her.

    Distraught at the loss of her love she tried to drive the evil spirit from her home with the aid of her trusty dog to some moderate success, however the spirit returned in anger and it is said that it layed in wait for the woman to return, instead tearing the dog inside out for taking the side of his master, leaving another, bloody mess of the dog's innard all over the house. When the woman returned all that could be heard for hours were her sobbing screams as the cat slowly tortured her and killed her for loving the man instead of her. They say that the spirit of the owner still appears to those who are seeking unrequited love and to warn them of the demonic cat creature, even though the cat spirit still lives, tearing apart fresh love, so beware dear patrons, BEWARE!" The crazed smile once again returned to the man's face as his lips pursed.

    The tension in the room rose as he blew out the candle and the sounds of the actors moving the blue flame lanterns could be heard then each of their voices rang out one at a time, all eight of them, counting off, one after the other, each of the human guests feeling their breath catch as it neared the end,





    Silence permiated the entire theatre, as according to the stories at the end of the count their should be another with them, a spirit or some other presence. Those closest to the circle of actors could make out one extra lamp in the center of the circle begin to flicker to life yet all of the actors had formed a larger circle outside the other lanterns. From somewhere near the lamp a loud crackling noise erupted only to stop and a woman's voice cried out,

    "NINE!" It screeched, the blue flame bursting into full strength, illuminating a ghostly vision of a woman.


    The spirit flew around the room, it's scream intensifying into a shrill screech, the actors ducked for cover and it appeared that they hadn't prepared for this. The spirit slowed it's whirlwind flight around the room and peered down at the audience, staring at the daimyo. With a sudden plunge the spirit vanished and the light at the center of the room was extinguished, plunging the audience back into complete darkness.
  13. Kokone was surprised to hear the tale being told to the audience. The story of her past was passed down by some families, but she never expected it to be on a stage. With interest, she listened on, comparing the current perspective to what truly happened that hundred years ago.

    Anger was swelling up within her. Aside from the reminder of her abusive owner, this was told in a way that made her the bad guy. Yes, she was a chaotic soul, but she wasn't to begin with. Kokone was an obedient feline, always there to console her human when needed. She never ever wanted to hurt anybody. Even when she was banished from home, she was sad and confused.

    Oh, that dog... That damn dog. A creature she thought to be her friend. Or an ally, at least. No, though. That mutt betrayed her just to get pat on the head. Kokone had her revenge, though. The most sweetest revenge of all.

    Rage burned in her dark eyes as a spirit flew about, striking fear into the hearts of the visitors. The entire time, she did not take her eyes off the ghostly image. A hint of her upper fang appeared as she scowled. No one was likely to notice, especially after the room went pitch black. Was that supposed to happen? Kokone wondered. Either way, she was upset by it. Every single bit of it.

    Using the darkness to her advantage, Kokone's image shifted from the disguise of her past owner to her feline form. The cat scurried away from the seat to investigate the area, as well as hide from everybody else. Expertly, she made leaped to a support beam with other objects as help. She even made use of peoples' heads. A woman screamed when she felt the paws and claws of something jump on and off her head, leaving a mess of tangles behind.

    That made Kokone snicker.

    From above, she looked down at everyone, her eyes glowing faintly in the dark. As she sat, she pondered terrorizing the audience. That would make this night, the greatest night of all. And, if would relieve her of the fury she currently had.
  14. Waiting patiently while the actors set the ambience, Satoshi stretched his senses outward, searching for anything supernatural that might have been lurking nearby. When the theatre grew dark save for lanterns, he sniffed the air not unlike a dog, but could only catch fleeting whisps of inhuman scents. There was too much human odor stifling his sense of smell for him to really pinpoint a location or even determine what kind of creatures there were in the audience. Nevertheless, he was unafraid of their attendance and quickly settled back down comfortably.

    The stories began and Satoshi found each one more interesting than the previous and by the final story, he had become ensnared by the actor, mindlessly munching on a few of the sweets he'd stowed away in his kimono. It was a sad story, Satoshi would agree on that, though he hardly believed it to be the full truth. In his eyes, creatures of the supernatural were often innocent in their actions until riled into malicious forms by the hand of humans. Not always, but often enough. Perhaps, he thought, this cat made to look like the villain was really the victim. Or perhaps the owner and cat had misunderstood one another. He felt sorry for them both.

    And then the countdown began and, unaccustomed with human rituals, Satoshi was not expecting what happened next. The enraged ghost struck terror into the audience's hearts and the young okami could smell their perspiration and sense their panic. Satoshi, however, remained calm even as the woman vanished and the room fell into utter darkness. Nibbling on his sweets, he gazed around with the eyes of a noctunal hunter. Everyone seemed so scared... Was this not supposed to have happened? Surely they knew that calling on a spirit would win them one?

    He was about to ask the kind samurai next to him about the show when out of the corner of his eye he spotted movement. Not human movement, but something small, something lurking purposely. Whipping his head in its direction, Satoshi caught sight of a cat gracefully making its way up onto a support beam. Not a cat... The very same one that had been lounging on the sake house roof earlier. With a smile, he watched her and nibbled more sweets, wondering what would happen next.
  15. Haruko stared intently at the ceremony as it proceeded. Each time one light was snuffed out Haruko steeled her resolve against the encroaching darkness. She refused to let the fear that she would normally feel come over her. She determined herself to be brave and to face whatever demons the darkness or the performers might conjure.

    At the conclusion of the final story there was enough time for Haruko to ponder the ramifications of what that last story might contain but she was caught off guard as a the shrieking ghost appeared and her scream was swallowed in the wails of the creature. When the spirit dissipated Haruko got a chance to catch her breath, ignoring a couple of screams from others nearby claiming they felt paws on their necks and backs. The actors lit lamps around them, pushing the blackness back and from what Haruko could see half of the patrons had shrank back and were standing towards the walls, and Haruko could faintly make out the smell of urine, probably from those who fear got a little overwhelming.

    Haruko sighed and clutched her chest, it appeared as though the anti-evil barrier least, it stopped it from getting out, what happened next caught her off guard. Another scream pierced the oddly serene theatre, and it came from behind the daimyo's screen. It didn't take long for the news to circulate the small theatre that the daimyo had been murdered! With his own katana no less! It didn't take long for panic to roll throughout the theatre and the doors were flung open and the populous scattered out into the night, back to the safety of their ryoken and making plans to escape the city. Haruko stayed behind, she wanted to know what had happened, maybe she could help, maybe not. In any case she wanted to get to the truth of what happened. Something told her that the woman's spirit she saw wasn't the culprit but nothing was certain when it came to the spirits.

  16. For the most part, the play had amused the steadfast Wataru. The ghost stories had been creepy, but there was no indication of supernatural things nor did he feel that strange prickling at the back of his neck. The lights began to extinguish and the show was about over. It had not been a waste at all, he decided to himself, getting ready to stand. When the vision flew around the room, Wataru cringed back a little. He still, though, did not feel uneasy.

    Seconds later, however, was when the hairs at the back of his neck seemed to stand on end. There was a hissing, like that of a true cat and a disgruntled woman seemed to have been clawed by a feline. This matter was curious to Wataru and would have gotten his undivided attention had it not been for what happened next. Wataru had been so focused on the cat that he hadn't been as alert as he should have been.

    A scream cut through the air, from the direction of the daimyo's screen. Instantly, Wataru was on his feet and running toward the screen. The look of panic across his face as he ran to the screen was frozen like that when he arrived.

    "My lord" he breathed, dropping to his knee.
  17. The panic in the room did not die down. In fact, it seemed to be getting worse. People were fussing for several reasons; it was giving Kokone a headache. The black feline put her paws over her ears and muttered colourful words to herself while staring down at the lost crowd with angry red eyes. Perhaps, a little more scaring would clear the theatre of all the cowards?

    Kokone's front paws went back to the support beam so she could make a good leap from there, to mid-air. The room lit with a faint glow of crimson, blinking off and on like a dying lantern. And during her jump, the cat went from an ordinary looking animal to something ghostly. A large, transparent picture of a carnivorous monster roared above the crowd, sharp claws reaching out towards them with blood dripping from the tips. Kokone's tongue lashed back and forth crazily, that too dripping with blood. As her cackle filled the room, her eyes widened with an emotionless stare.

    Everything was an illusion, of course. There was no crimson fluid or saliva spilling onto the crowd, nor was the bakeneko tangible. Freely, she floated through the room with an open mouth, hissing savagely whenever her gaze met with another's. That was enough to send people on their way out of the room. People scrambled for the door, while others pounded helplessly against the walls with hopes of breaking them open. The humans were so desperate to escape this nightmare; how pleasant.

    To finish off the show, Kokone let out a pathetic mewl and paused her flying above a trio of women who attended the show together. The cat's body turned onto her back with all four limbs spread out, her chest and stomach splitting down the middle as if an invisible knife were slicing through. From there, a fountain of red spurted from the body.

    Never did she stop smiling that malicious smile.

    When she felt she had done enough, Kokone's grotesque, ghostly image disappeared. Still floating in the darkness, though, was a very pleased feline with dark fur, laughing madly into her front paws while kicking one of her back legs into the air.
  18. The scream that filled the silence was a sign that things had definitely gone too far. The hair on the back of Satoshi's neck stood on end and he struggled with himself to remain in his human form and not expose himself to these people. Just by the scream and the static in the air, he could tell something horrible had happened . So when the samurai got to his feet and hurried over to a secluded portion of the theatre, Satoshi rose as well and followed.

    I suppose that man must have been important, he thought to himself when he heard the corpse being addressed as "lord". This was exactly what happened when selfish people played around with the supernatural. Satoshi simply shook his head and turned away. He wondered where that black cat had gone, for she was no longer perched on the support beam above.

    Eyes darting about, he finally spotted her... Floating? So she really was more than just a cat. In the blink of an eye, she'd disappeared, replaced by a horrifying monster that snarled and terrorized the people still stuck in the theatre. Yes, it was a remarkable sight, though a fellow supernatural beast like Satoshi was not fooled, not even when the beast became a gushing fountain of blood.

    Stepping closer, he reached a hand out to touch the cascading blood and smiled a little. By this point, very few people were left in the theatre, so he spoke softly. "Are you upset about that story? Or do you just enjoy scaring these silly humans?" he asked, tilting his head upward to smile at the cat when her illusion vanished. "I don't think I liked that story at all. It sounded very biased, don't you agree?"