Chapter 11

Chapter 11

A Chapter by Iron K. Tager
"

The eleventh chapter.

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The next morning went as normal as it could:  wake up, breakfast, washing up, and a new set of the same clothes Lance had given him.  Jeremy was getting ready to leave for the shrine for more training when Lance called to him from the room behind the desk:  “Jeremy, do you have some time before you go?”  He walked out from the room and stopped behind the counter.
            “Hmm?” Jeremy stopped and turned around.  “I think so.  I thought I would go early.”
            “That sounds quite admirable of you,” Lance said, smiling.  “Then again, I do know there’s nothing for you to do here.”

Jeremy smiled sheepishly at Lance, shrugging.

 “Don’t worry, if that’s that case I’ll show you around a little later.  For now, could you sweep out the shop for me before you go, please?”
            “Sure, I guess,” Jeremy confirmed, and then walked to where the broom sat next to the door.
            “I’m going be in the back room for a few minutes.  Call me if anyone comes in, OK?” he smiled and walked through the doorway that was to the right of the desk.
            “Right,” Jeremy responded, took the broom and started to sweep the wooden floor of the shop.  First he swept the hallway, then around one side of the displays, the counter, back to the other side of the displays, and then finally around the door.  He then opened the door and proceeded to sweep the dust out of the building.  Before closing the door, he caught someone out of the corner of his eye walking towards him.  He looked up, getting ready to turn around and call Lance, to see a girl with blonde hair and black dress he had only seen one other time.  He recognized her right away as Alice.
            She walked over to him and looked up, smiling.  “Hello, Jeremy!  Whatcha doin’?”  She sang out with her hands locked together behind her back.
            “Well... cleaning I guess,” Jeremy slightly lifted the broom up once to show her.   “So, what can I do for you?”
            “Nothing,” Alice responded happily.

“So you came here for no reason?” he asked honestly.

“Yep!”  There was a short, odd silence, though the noise of those outside still protruded in, so it was not necessarily silent.
            “By the way, this may sound odd, but...” Jeremy began, looking straight at her and breaking the silence.  “Who are you?”  He tried not to sound too rude by the question.
            “I’m Alice,” the girl responded.
            “No no, I know your name, but really,” he tries to reason a way to explain, “Who are you?”
            I’m Alice,” she responded again, annoyed.
            Jeremy scratched his head and looked down trying to figure out how to word what he wants to ask.  “Ok.  You’re Alice, but where are you from?  Why do you come by here?” he asked, trying his best not to sound mean.
            “I’m from here.  And you’re my friend, right?” she asked looking up at him with sad little eyes that Jeremy tried his best not to fall over.  They both stood there looking at each other, then Alice put her eyes back to normal changed the subject.  “Can I come in?” she asked as she leaned towards the door.
            “Fine, I guess,” Jeremy turned around and Alice jumped in before he closed the door.  He suddenly remembered something, and turned back around to talk to her again.  ”You know... I actually have to go somewhere,” he said a little sadly.  “Sorry I can’t stay.”
            “Awww,” Alice looked at him disappointed, “why?”
            “I have somewhere to go for training,” he explained.
            Lucia walked up behind him.  “Who’re you talking too?” she asked.
            Jeremy turned around to face Lucia, a little surprised by her sudden appearance, who was only a few feet away.  “Alice,” he said, pointing his thumb over his shoulder.  Lucia leaned to the right to look around to the other side of him where he was pointing, back to him, and then back to the spot he was pointing at.
            “You know, there’s no one there, right?” she asked Jeremy quickly.
            He looked behind himself to see Alice still smiling and waving at him, back to Lucia’s confused look, and then back and forth once more.  “You’re... You’re kidding, right?” Jeremy asked Lucia uneasily.
            “No.  There is no one there.  None,” Lucia said, this time a little annoyed.  “Are you feeling alright?” she asked.
            “Y-yeah.  I think I should go to the shrine now...” Jeremy said feeling dizzy, “I think I might be late... I’m done anyway.” 

He put the broom back next to the door where it was and walked out of the shop.  Lucia watched at him as he left with an odd look on her face.
            “Was that Jeremy leaving?” Lance called from the back.
            “Yeah!” Lucia called back to him.  She looked at the spot where Alice was standing.  Alice stood where she was and waved at Lucia, still smiling, but only half-heartedly. 

“He must be seeing things,” Lucia said to herself, and then walked away to the hall. 

            You’re pretty early,” Soro commented as Jeremy came up the stairs leading to the shrine.  He walked over to where Soro was sitting against the shrine, just left of the sliding doors, and sat next to him.    “You aren’t supposed to be here til quite a bit later.  Something wrong?”
            “More or less,” Jeremy answered, shrugging.  “Apparently there’s someone I can see that no one else can.  And I’m starting to think I’m going crazy or something;” he shook his head and sighed.
            “Well, maybe you just are going crazy,” Soro looked at him seriously, with a blank gaze.  Jeremy looked back confused, and then slowly grew uncomfortable and a little apprehensive.  After a few seconds Soro’s face began to twitch, and then he busted out laughing.  “Ahh, it’s nice to scare the young ones every once in a while,” he choked out as he continued to laugh. 

Jeremy mustered up a chuckle, but in an awkward way.

 Once he had calmed down a bit, Soro rubbed the right side of his face.  “Yeah, it could be many things,” he explained, “a ghost, for example.  Some ghosts can only be seen by one person, or a few people, while others’ll never see them.  You might just have a ghost followin’ you ‘round,” he chuckled a bit.  “Either that, or you really might be goin’ crazy,” he grinned.
            “So, what do you think I should do?” he paused, “about the ghost.”
            “Nothing,” Soro responded plainly.  “Just do what you can to try and make it look like you aren’t going crazy to other people.”  He chuckled again.  “Some people just don’t believe ghosts exist, or will see it as an excuse for somethin’.  Anyway, just deal with the ghost however you would any other person and things should turn out ok.” 
            “Thanks,” Jeremy said.  “I’ll try to convince them if I can.”
            “Lance might believe you, but I’m not sure about the younger one,” Soro rubbed his chin and then shrugged his shoulders.  “Lucia, that’s her name.  It’s all up to you and how convincing you can make it sound,” he nudged Jeremy with his elbow.  “So, you ready for your training today?”
            “Yeah... but there is one thing that’s been bugging me for a little,” Jeremy said, not making a move.
            Soro arched his right eyebrow.  “Hm?  And what might that be?”
            Jeremy thought for a few seconds about how to word his question, and then asked Soro: “I know there were other transfer humans than me.  What’s the history of the past ones?”
            Soro looked up, thinking, and then looked back down at the ground.  “Transfer humans started to show up about a couple hundred years ago, maybe more.  ’Why’ is a mystery.  I mean sure, humans could slip through the boundary just as easily as anything else from your world, but they can easily find their way back on accident or on purpose, or are eaten by a spirit.  But transfers are different.”
            “Wait, any item?” Jeremy asked, “Any human?”
            “Sure,” Soro responded, “though most of it is useless junk like one of those things that flip open with numbers and glass.”  He wafted his right hand dismissively, “Anyway, transfer humans have only appeared one after the other, usually every 100ish years or so, quite a few years after the last one died.  They are different than other humans that fall through because they stay here, and have no way of getting’ back, among other things.”  He gestured towards Jeremy’s torso.  “Even those who have the ability to take ‘em back usually choose not to, sayin’ they can’t, which I guess is the case for all humans from your world. Probably just something we don’t know about.”
            “Like what?” Jeremy asked.
            “I don’t know.  I’d say it has something to do with them thinking transfers belong here somehow,” Soro answered.  “Actually, come to think of it, one of the shrine’s other duties is to help people from the outside world get back.  I almost forgot since I’ve never had to do it before.  Though it’s written well, the process just falls apart for a transfer.”  He looked upwards at nothing with an inquisitive look on his face, and then looked towards Jeremy.  “We could still try it, if you want.”

Jeremy stopped at that proposition, but not for long.  It was already drilled into his head that he could not go back, and he did not have much of a want to go back either.  Something felt foreboding as he tried to think about the world he came from, but nothing other than that feeling remained.  He turned to Soro and shook his head.

“But I digress.  The only thing you really need to know is that ya need to find your own path in this world, and do what you can to fit in like the last few tried.”
            “The last few transfers... are they the reason people hate me?” Jeremy asked.
            “I wouldn’t say people hate you here, but the last two weren’t all that pleasant, and that doesn’t do well for your reputation” Soro responded.  ”The one before the last one always had his head in the clouds, thinking that he was about to make somethin’ great with the world.  People just stopped listenin’ to ‘em after a few years and thought he was annoyin’ for the most part.  He did some… unacceptable things, I guess. The last one was a real pain to many people: Rude, noisy, no manners, aggressive… an all around mean person.  Though he never hurt anyone too bad, people still hated ‘em.”  Soro shook his head and sighed.  ”I think those two are where the anti-transfer attitude came from.  And again, it’s not a good idea to bring it up anywhere at anytime right now, really.”
            “So I will just stay here and lie to everyone to cover myself?” Jeremy said depressingly.
            Soro chuckled a little and put his left hand on Jeremy’s shoulder.  “No, no.  It might sound depressing when you say it like that, but we just need to keep this quiet ‘til we can work somethin’ out.  You wont be hidin’ forever, don’t worry.”  Soro stood up and walked down front of the wooden steps.  He turned around to face Jeremy and put his hands on his hips.  “Now then, enough of the talk, let’s get to your training!” 

 

I know this isn’t much, but it’s what we have,” Soro said in a half-apologetic way as he placed a tray down on a table between them.

He began removing each plate individually, followed by the cups: his filled with tea and Jeremy’s with water, just as he asked.  After sitting down, he looked over at Jeremy, who was sitting just outside of the door, which was slid all the way open to reveal a side part of the shrine’s yard and the border of the woods beyond that.  He was looking off, motionless, with a blank expression on his face and his eyes fixed in the distance.

“Lunch is ready,” Soro invited him.

Jeremy blinked, and then shook himself out of it and turned around quietly, picking up his utensils.  He watched his food, slowly and meticulously eating.

Soro watched him do so, and then sighed.  “What’s wrong?”

Jeremy looked up at him.  “Nothing, really,” he sounded distant.

“No, it’s defiantly something.  If you act like this, it has to be something,” Soro pointed out.  “Go ahead, you can tell me.”  He gave a reassuring, warm smile.

Jeremy let a smile slip for a second, and then it disappeared and he looked back down.  “I don’t feel like myself.”

“That’s only natural, I’d say.  You’ve been through quite a bit recently,” Soro reasoned.

“It’s not that,” Jeremy said, “never mind.”

“Come on now, we haven’t exactly known each other long, but it’d be nice if you could trust me,” Soro said encouragingly.

“I can’t… I can’t remember anything before I got here.  I feel like I’m lost.  How do I even know who I am?  I don’t know.”  He gave a short pause.  “Do I even belong here?”  He spoke it as if it were a statement rather than a question.  “I feel like I belong nowhere.”

Soro placed his bowl down.  “Of course you do,” he said resolutely, “if not, you wouldn’t be here.” 

Jeremy looked up at him in question, and Soro put his hand on his chin in thought.  “We’ll just have to fix that feelin’ right up,” Soro looked up smiling.  “Everything comes with time, and memories are no different.  I’m sure you’ll remember it sooner or later.”  He chuckled a little.  “I remember when I was your age and I didn’t know anything about myself, I felt at a loss.  It’s natural if anything.  You’ll do fine, I’m sure.”  Soro took a sip of his tea and sat up straight, popping his back along the way.  “Now I’m really starting to sound old, aren’t I?”  He gave a joking smile.

 Jeremy couldn’t help but put on a smile at that.  “Sorry,” he sighed after a short moment.  “I feel a little better.”

“Good.  And if you have anything else, don’t hesitate.  Ya aren’t alone here, not by a long-shot.”  Soro pointed at Jeremy and radiated another, wide smile.  “Just remember this one thing.”  He threw up his index finger towards the ceiling.

“What’s that?” Jeremy inquired.

“You become who you are, you don’t need to look.”  Soro pointed at Jeremy.

“Thanks.”  After a moment, he added on, “I don’t know anything at all, about here that is.”

“Don’t worry, I’m always here to help,” Soro reiterated.

Jeremy returned to eating what little they had for lunch, but Soro paused.  The smile that radiated from his face slowly began to dim back to normal, and he gradually began to eat again as he stared into space, thinking. 


            The late placement of the sun just barely above the horizon gave the village and its inhabitant’s long shadows and black silhouettes as the sky grew orange.  The streets weren’t as busy as usual, with a crow calling in the distance and many hot-weathered bugs getting ready for a night’s chorus.  Jeremy looked up at the pink and blue painted sky that bled down to the horizon’s deep amber, and noticed that clouds were building in the distance near a mountain range that was only barely visible from the street, but completely exposed from the shrine.
            Jeremy walked up to the shop’s door and sighed with his hand placed on the handle.  ‘Man was it tough today,’ he thought to himself, ‘the day seemed to fly by too.’  He turned the knob and opened the door, stepping inside and closing the door behind himself.  “I’m back,” Jeremy called out.
            “Welcome home!” a little girl chimed at him.  “Dinner should be ready soon.”
            “Thanks,” Jeremy took a step towards the hallway, but stopped himself and turned around to see Alice standing next to the middle display.  “Y... you’re still here...” Jeremy said with an odd smile.
            “Of course, I had nothing else to do today,” she smiled back and tilted her head.  “Is there something wrong with that?” she asked.
            Jeremy thought back to his conversation with Soro, and decided to ask her straight out.  “You know you’re a ghost, right?”
            “Yes, and?” she asked back.
            ‘Well, that was easy,’ Jeremy thought.  “Just checking since no one else seems to see you.”
            “Yeah, they can’t,” Alice responded back, leading to the next statement: “but you can!”  She smiled again, but wider, and with greater joy.  Jeremy felt a little odd, but somehow this made him feel better, so he smiled as well.
            “Hey, Jay,” Lucia walked up behind him from the hallway.  “Talking to yourself again?” she asked suspiciously.
            Jeremy turned around to face her direction.  “No… that’s not it,” he tried to explain, “It’s just that-”
            “Whatever,” Lucia interrupted him.  “There’s someone here to see you.  She’s upstairs.” 
            Just then, Jeremy could hear Lance calling from upstairs.  “Jeremy, is that you?”

            “Yes,” Jeremy called back as Lucia dodged around him to open the door and go outside.  He started making his way to the stairs when he began to hear what sounded like Lance and the guest talking to each other, but nothing was recognizable.  The stairs creaked as he began his ascent, and could only see Lance’s back in the room across from the stairs as he arrived on the second floor.

            “How was training today?”  Lance looked over his shoulder as Jeremy started towards the room.
            “A little tough, I guess,” Jeremy responded, shrugging.  “Who’s the visitor?”

Just as he had asked, Jeremy came to the room’s entrance where he could see over Lance’s shoulder.  Sitting opposite the short table in the middle was a girl who looked young, perhaps Mia’s age, but seemed to have an air of maturity and propriety about her.  She was dressed in a yellow-green robe, much like everyone else, but also had a darker green strip at the waist and at the bottom.  Under it a nicer looking white robe seemed to stick out of the outer one just a little around her collar and the skirt.  She had a small black pin pinned to the collar of the white robe, and what looked like fox ears on the top of her head.  Her light brown hair covered where her actual ears would be, and ended down only to her jaw-line.  She may dress like a villager, but she was definitely a spirit.

“This is Yunuli.”  Lance introduced her as Jeremy went to his side.  He hesitated a moment as they looked at each other.

“Hello Jeremy, it’s nice to finally meet you,” Yunuli commented.

“Ah, yes, hello,” Jeremy sat down next to Lance.  “You too.”

“Yunuli was just telling me about some news you might want to hear,” Lance prompted her.

“Yes, well, I came to tell you and Lance that there is a rumor going around about a new transfer hum.  Not many know it, but those who do also expect Soro to be involved with it, and Lance, you’re under suspicion because you have been seen with him more in the past few days.”  She motioned to the window behind her, talking to Jeremy more so than Lance.  “Rumors spread fast here.  Even though half of those I talked to don’t believe it, those that do are quite adamant.  I am surprised no one has come to see you yet.”

“They have,” Lance corrected her, “but most left once they got an answer they could accept.”

Jeremy sat still and tried to process this information, but it was difficult.  Something was making it hard for him to think, but he knew that everyone else knowing he was a transfer was not good.

“Yes, well, I simply wanted to give you what I learned.  It seemed important, and now I see it was.”

“Are you sure that so many people know?” Jeremy asked, as if he hoped she had made a mistake.

“If they didn’t, I wouldn’t have come here,” Yunuli said, sympathetic at Jeremy’s hope she was mistaken.  “I’m sorry, but that is what I know.  I assumed Lance would be holding you if Soro was involved.”

“Does Soro know?”  Jeremy asked.

“When I went there no one seemed to be home, so I came straight here.  If you just came from the shrine, I must have passed you on the way.”

“Thank you for telling us,” Lance nodded his head, and Jeremy gave a similar thanks.

“If I can help with stuff like this, then I will,” Yunuli said as she stood up.  “But now I must be on my way.  The sun has almost set.”

Jeremy and Lance watched her as she stood up and walked past them on her way to the stairs, keeping her air of control, but also displaying a feeling of some satisfaction as she walked along.  After only the first few steps she stopped and turned around.

“Also, please give my best regards to Velia, I haven’t been able to see her for quite some time.”

“Will do,” Lance confirmed as he watched her walk down the remaining steps.  “Have a good night!”

 Seconds later the front door opened, a short exchange of pleasantries between a returning Lucia and a leaving Yunuli occurred before the door was closed again. 




© 2013 Iron K. Tager


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Added on September 30, 2013
Last Updated on September 30, 2013
Tags: chapter 11, Break Down the Unknown, 11, Soro, Jeremy, Jay, Lucia, Lance, Alice, transfer, Yunuli, visitor, shrine, shop


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Iron K. Tager
Iron K. Tager

NC



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Hello! I'm not really that good of a writer at all, but I do enjoy writing. I tend to only write things when I feel like it, so sometimes I go long stretches without putting anything down. I wrote .. more..

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