Mecchen House - Chapter 16-1Chapter 16 – The Light and the Dark of Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 16-16 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
I just couldn’t articulate that name. I knew it with every fiber of my being, but I failed to find the words for it. It was something beyond the words I knew.
Still, I glared into the menacing dark and told it, “I know you.”
It laughed with deep, rumbling laughter.
“You think you are strong? You are weak. You think anything you do matters? None of it matters. It is pointless to try. What do you think you can achieve? Nothing. You are nothing. Give up. She is mine, and so are you.”
I clenched my fists until they burned. “Leave her alone. NOW!”
It slipped along behind Ami. “You are yelling in the dark. You have no power. You have no skill. You just watch and spin in circles. You are nothing. Let it all fade away. You will be happier.”
It was hard to breathe. Its presence felt like a cloak of dust sinking into me. I felt tired. I felt my head throb. It slipped clo
Mecchen House Chapter 20-2Chapter 20 - Hitomi & Akiko - Cont.Mecchen House Chapter 20-26 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
Though her answer tripped me up a little, it actually made the most sense. And it also told me she had knowledge of not only Brookville but of what I did in my own room.
I challenged her with this supposition and said, “I assume this means those three figures were…?”
“The images of my sisters.”
A straight answer.
I pressed my hands together. “Alright. Why…? Why would I put those figures of… sisterly forms… in my room?”
It wasn’t fully clear to me where I was leading this. I wondered about Jamie’s hypothesis that this girl just had the wrong trio. Perhaps there was some way to poke holes in her own assumptions and ultimately set things right.
“They were reminders. Shaky fragments of memory. I learned from them in making my own.” Hitomi’s gaze lingered low with distance to her words. It seemed almost like she was in a trance.
Mecchen House - Chapter 5Chapter 5 – Baths, Dress-ups, and Good Nights at Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 56 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
The wicked cackle from Katsumi made me reconsider for a moment. A door slid open, and Katsumi quickly covered her mouth. Her tension released when she realized it was just Miki with a container full of colorful items, a towel over her shoulder, and a toothbrush in her mouth.
Her gaze lingered on Katsumi before she walked into the bath area and closed the door behind her. Katsumi let her tension go and looked over at us. “Anyway. I’m glad you all agreed. Now my plan can go forward. As soon as your feminine materials are ready to wear. ‘Till then, I have a few things to prepare. Don’t go anywhere, or I will physically hunt you down and super glue you to every girlish thing I have for all eternity.”
This was becoming like revolving doors. No sooner did Katsumi exit, her weighty footfalls sounding on each step (how, I wondered, could she ever expect to sneak up on anyone when sh
Mecchen House - Chapter 20-1Chapter 20 – Hitomi & AkikoMecchen House - Chapter 20-16 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
I could smell her.
Her presence surrounded me.
This… ‘Hitomi’, whose name I couldn’t even bring myself to think about with much confidence, saturated me with closeness. Nana’s smell was still there; Warm metal with an accent of clay. But it was surrounded by the traces of countless other aromas that flowed from her.
She took a step back but kept her hands on me.
‘Akiko’ peered around my side with both eyes out.
‘Hitomi’ dashed back and her hands pulled away.
“What is that doing here?” ‘Hitomi’ brought an arm in front, as though she were readying a weapon.
‘Akiko’ flinched. She crouched and clutched my thigh to the point of numbness.
I answered, “What are you doing here?”
‘Hitomi’s voice trembled. “Please answer my question first, sister. Then I’ll answer yours.”
I looked behin
Mecchen House - Chapter 21-1Chapter 21 – ShardsMecchen House - Chapter 21-16 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
The chill became a sickly-warm feeling. “Took care of how?”
Hitomi staggered and braced herself against the wall. “With some difficulty.”
Countless possibilities burned through my thoughts. I leaned towards Hitomi.
“Did you kill anyone?”
She widened her darkened eyes at me in horror. “How could you think such a thing?! Of course not!”
At least she didn’t kill anyone. But there were far worse things than death.
I thought of Ami.
“Then what did you do?”
She stretched her fingers. “Something that was a lot harder than I expected.”
I was tiring of this. “Tell me… exactly what you did.”
She looked me in the eye, sighed, and said, “I dealt with three conflicting elements. A librarian, a barber, and a so-called ‘demon’.”
I dashed near and pressed my arms around her on the hallway wall. “They have names! Shioriko. Carolyn. And Ni
Mecchen House - Chapter 19-2Chapter 19 – The Black and White of MecchenMecchen House - Chapter 19-26 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
It was enough to make me want to come up with a persona of my own.
I watched the empty chairs and joined the others in saying “I receive this meal” before picking at a breaded ball.
It was as salty as I’d been warned.
I kept my glass of water near as I picked through the variety of seafood items Sumi made.
The crab and scallops were nice. I complimented Sumi on them.
Bad idea. It drew her attention to me.
She leaned on one arm, smiled, and crushed a crab leg with her hand.
“Thank you,“ she said, picking the meat out. “I’m glad you enjoy it.”
I gave my thanks to Reiko as well.
She slipped some hair behind her ear and looked at me. “I did very little.”
“I still give my thanks.”
She yanked the hair from behind her ear. “You devaluate it by giving it for nothing.”
Reiko hunched over her meal, signaling she was finished with talking.
Sumi was st
Mecchen House Chapter 23-2Chapter 23 - Mecchen House Rebuilding - ConclusionMecchen House Chapter 23-26 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
Downstairs, Hitomi had just woken up. Questions came at her from everyone in continual bursts. Reiko fired the hardest. She reached over to shake Hitomi but I stepped between them.
Reiko glared at me with her teeth bared. Hitomi covered her head protectively from Reiko’s advance. When she realized I’d stepped in her way, Hitomi’s lavender eyes looked up at me brightly.
“Sis!” She reached a hand out to touch me.
I took a step back and out of reach. Hitomi’s mouth slipped open and she reacted as though slapped.
I cleared my throat and said, “You have a lot to answer for.”
Hitomi clenched her necklace and nodded slowly. “I know. I tried my best to fix what I could…”
She looked to me and said, quietly. “I couldn’t bring Ami back but I helped her brother…as much as I could. I wish I could do more.”
Reiko hyperventilated through her teet
Mecchen House - Chapter 8Chapter 8 Messages Away from Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 86 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
Of course, the next question was when were they checked out? The lenders information said three days ago. The books had been checked out only this one time. Theyd been first stocked by the library early last August. Three of the publishing dates were thirty-years ago. The other two were brand-new, just published when they were stocked. No publisher given. Edited by Chosha Ikamono. This guy sure wrote a lot. His name was on all five of the books.
As the librarian moved back to close the window on the screen, I asked her about the author. She looked at me with those lime eyes of hers as though Id asked her for the color of the sky. When my confusion remained, she told me, Its a pseudonym. It means fake author. That could mean theyre all by the same person. Or it could be a group of people who dont want to be known for writing those books.
Nathan put a ha
Mecchen House - Chapter 10Chapter 10 – New Voices at Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 106 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
The next words Katsumi said were, “Okay, go ahead. Make them vanish. Or turn them into girls.”
This Nina girl looked at a loss for what she was supposed to do. Eventually she said softly, with a slight quiver in her words, “You do realize I’m not a priest or a mystic, right?”
Katsumi wobbled her head from side to side. “I get that. But I also know you have abilities because of… what we talked about.”
“Yeah. The ability to see spirits. Sometimes. As I tried to explain before, I think you want someone who is good with purification rituals. There’s a shrine not too far from here. There’s a few I know who would be quite willing to bless this house.”
Katsumi sighed through her nose. “I know. I’ve been there. When I tell them I want to purge the house of all past and future men, they give me strange looks.”
“I see.” This ‘Ni
Mecchen House - Chapter 3Chapter 3 Joining Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 36 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
It was a huge hypothetical to consider. What if we made it back home and wed been missing for all those months? At the very least, our rent wouldve gone unpaid. Surely our families would have given us up for dead. I could just imagine it now. Trio of young men last seen going for a walk.
Katsumi leaned over to whisper in Sumis ear. Sumi stood like a marble statue, then curled at Katsumi like a tiger, struck, You wouldnt dare!
Ill do whatever I must. Its your choice as to which. She looked rather solemn. Did having us here really bother her that much? I had to put the question to her.
Jamie edged back as Katsumi targeted me with her eyes in response. Her sour look could kill a flower.
Katsumi folded her arms and said, Imagine youre trapped in an old building. All the openings are barred. Theres no way out of this place. Then you hear echoing gigg
Mecchen House - Chapter 11Chapter 11 – Secrets at Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 116 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
Part of me still doubted the idea as soon as I’d said that. Katsumi had all but assumed that was the case. We sat down on the couch and looked at the recipe a few more times. I picked up a cup of tea and sipped it lightly. We couldn’t find anything else useful.
Ms. Ishida clutched her hands together. “Who do you think could be responsible?”
I wet my lips with the tea. I gave a small, cute cough. I didn’t actually feel like I was talking through helium. That implied something was changing my voice. This was my voice. It still didn’t quite feel like mine though. I wondered if I’d get used to it. Jamie didn’t seem too upset about it after belting out a song.
However, our voices had been changing subtly all the time we’d been here. I had to wonder though why none of us had the urge to leave earlier. To any normal group of guys it would’ve been a no-brainer, you leave and fi
Mecchen House - Chapter 12Chapter 12 – Truths and Lies at Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 126 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
I noticed another wave of wind this time, but I immediately knew the source. Nathan darted with all speed to Ami’s side. Even I couldn’t match that.
I did follow closely behind him. Nathan lifted her into his arms. He held her with the care a mother holds her child. He had a little trouble holding her, but Miki helped.
Ms. Ishida came from the stairs, gingerly lugging a futon across the floor. It was meant to be Nathan’s, if he stayed on the first floor. Nathan used it to make sure Ami was comfortable. She was still unconscious. Katsumi went to go get a moist pad to put on Ami’s head. Ms. Ishida brought some smelling salts and water.
My head was a storm of bewildering, unreconciled conflicts and questions. Ami’s state of being took precedence over all the rest, but in the back of my mind I wondered if Katsumi was serious about what she’d said about Nina. I figured Katsumi knew more abo
Mecchen House - Chapter 13-1Chapter 13 The Dreams of Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 13-16 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
Perhaps I ran a little too fast. I could feel my pants slipping, despite the best efforts of the safety pin. I tried to stop even faster. I saw Miki with her arms behind her head. Then everything started tilting to the right. I slid across the floor, and my pants stayed behind. Hitting the floor hurt a lot more without a Katsumi to break my fall.
My glasses were fuzzy and tipped to one side in front of me. I slipped them back on and tried to regain my composure. I saw two of the girls standing over me. Nathan was there too. Miki asked if I was okay. Nothing seemed to be hurting. Miki and Nathan each offered a hand, and I was able to get to my feet. I was down to my underwear but glad Katsumi wasnt around to sneer about my pants falling off again.
I dusted myself off and looked at the pants on the floor. Nana picked them up and held them. She looked down. I covered my front with my hands. I turned to Ms. Ishida. She had h
Mecchen House Chapter 23-1Chapter 23 – Mecchen House RebuildingMecchen House Chapter 23-16 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
Jamie pressed his hands together and shook his head. “Why didn’t she fix us? Why? Wake her up and ask her!”
Reiko bent forward with her legs holding fast to the floor. “Why does she force me to continue to exist in torment?! Ask her that!”
The questions came in fast waves. Aneko wanted to know about her mother. Mami asked, “What did she mean about ‘papers’?”
Miki seemed equally-curious about Hitomi’s words. Only Keiko and Tara didn’t offer a question to the rising torrent.
Tara stepped in front of me with her hands out. She smiled softly and said, “I can answer questions. Not everything, but I remember some things about my old life.”
She took the questions in the order they were asked and looked to Jamie first. “As you may have gathered, Hitomi’s wish was to fix you… and Keiko and Kelly-kun. That’s why she did all this.”
Mecchen House - Chapter 4Chapter 4 – Room Hunting at Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 46 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
To say that Katsumi was a bit upset by the final vote of five to four to let us stay is about the biggest understatement I can imagine. She flew around like a caged feline and hissed to the girls.
“I CANNOT believe this! This should’ve been UNANIMOUS! Fine, you want it that way. But I’ll have no part in moving them in and no part in any of them, period. I’ll only plot the demise of their manhood in one fell swoop. Don’t think I’m just bluffing. If you, all three of you, are staying, then all three of you will be wearing skirts before you know it. YOU’VE BEEN WARNED!” Her finger darted between us, and she trampled across the floor with her purse over a shoulder, put her phone to her ear, and continued up the steps.
Ami let out a long, slow breath.
“She’s actually a rather nice person. But we are always in conflict about stuff like this. She was really rou
Mecchen House - Chapter 13-2Chapter 13 – The Dreams of Mecchen House - Cont.Mecchen House - Chapter 13-26 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
I slipped into what now seemed to be my room and closed the door behind me. Just one futon remained. Most of the boxes were cleared out and the room had a stark, though beautiful, quality. I peeked around and slid open the closets. Once I’d seen all the spaces I could, I plopped on the futon and looked up at the ceiling. With all the items cleared out, it reminded me of my apartment room when I first started renting. I even considered decorating it like this back then but it turned out tatami violated the lease agreement.
I sat and stared at the ceiling for a little while. It was good to have a quiet moment alone to just relax. I didn’t hear any signs of Katsumi in the room over. I did hear Mami moving around the hall. I gave a little yawn. The floor didn’t feel bad to lay on, especially with the futon. I would’ve preferred my own bed but, considering it was stuck in a separate universe, this w
Mecchen House - Chapter 14Chapter 14 – The Hopes of Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 146 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
Ms. Ishida was the first to rush into the room. I tried to get out an apology for the glass, but she had me in her arms before I could say anything. Miki came next, assessed the situation, and went looking for a dust broom.
Ms. Ishida took a couple of first-aid items out of the closet in the corner of the room, led me over to Katsumi’s room, and sat me in a chair. Katsumi was sitting on her bed and didn’t offer anything in way of protest. Ms. Ishida kept hugging me until it felt like she’d squeezed all the tears out.
When they were gone, the embarrassment set in. Ms. Ishida wouldn’t let me apologize though. She just said, “Sit. Collect yourself. Don’t worry about it. I will take care of it.”
She gave me a little kiss on the cheek.
I tried a few breaths then finally said, “Umm…good morning.”
She smiled and said, “Good morning to you.”
I felt a little less
Mecchen House - Chapter 7Chapter 7 – Questions with Nana from Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 76 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
The wind seemed to push us forth along our way. It was calm, but vibrant. The trees nearby, with their triangles of green, barely moved under its influence. Jamie led, and I was in the middle. Nathan and Nana took up the rear.
My wallet and keys slid around as I walked on the pavement. I stopped a moment to stuff them both in the bag Ms. Ishida had given me. The sun shone bright in the east like the purest white paint. I shielded my eyes.
No one said much along the way. With Nana, that wasn’t much of a surprise, but Nathan and Jamie both looked subdued. I figured that was my fault.
I thought I saw Mami’s bright hair on someone in the distance. They wore the same uniform as the other girls. The girl carried herself like Mami as well. But they were going one way, and we were going the other. I gave them one last look before we turned at the gas station.
Nana finally broke the silence when we came to the cr
Mecchen House - Chapter 16-2Chapter 16 – The Light and the Dark of Mecchen House - Cont.Mecchen House - Chapter 16-26 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
Jamie checked himself when she was gone and let out a long sigh of relief. He turned to me. “So we take care of things with Ami’s room. And then we… what?”
I really didn’t have an answer for that but I had a few ideas. “We could try Carolyn. We could return to the library. Find Nina. Et cetera. There are tons of leads.”
“But very little time ‘till things run out for us.”
Never mind that Jamie was content to sit on his rear and let time run out a little while ago.
Ms. Ishida’s eyes dwindled. “You’re going to leave again? All three of you? How long will you be gone?” She looked concerned.
“We need to investigate beyond Mecchen, at the very least,” I told her.
She ground her hands together. “Of course. I understand that, but having you three around really means a lot to me, especially in the afternoon when e
Mecchen House - Chapter 19-1Chapter 19 – The Black and White of MecchenMecchen House - Chapter 19-16 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
A strange stillness followed. I slowed my breathing and set my legs. I watched the darkness for any changes. It felt like it was slowly turning.
“It is too late for her and too late for you.”
“I’m not going to talk to you. I’m only going to stop you and get Ami back.”
It felt a bit of flame curl through arm. I held my arm out.
The darkness receded.
“You have no chance. No hope.”
I said nothing in return. I just turned slowly in the darkness, watching for any changes.
“She suffered as a human. I have released her. I will release you too.”
I turned at the source of the voice. Ami stood before me, hands at her side and dressed in white.
She bowed her head. I knew it wasn’t really her.
“Don’t fight. There is peace to be found here. Stay with me, and I’ll make you happy.”
I flailed at the image of Ami and it vanished like a mirage.
Mecchen House - Chapter 2Chapter 2 Meeting the Girls of Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 26 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
After shaking off my confusion, I paused at the last step on my way back to the first floor. That delicious chestnut aroma enveloped me. I really was getting hungry. I planned to have something microwaveable after I finished my coding, but the udon which Ms. Ishida was warming up sounded a lot better. Of course, it was probably gonna be microwaved as well.
I peeked at the room I thought of as the living room. Katsumi had finished her job on Nathans hair and was blowing curling, white steam off her curry rice. Her mouth made a perfect, pink circle. Nathan was bright red with a sextet of bows in his hair in too-short but still cute braids. They looked utterly ridiculous. I gave Nathan a sympathetic smile.
Katsumi glared over at me. Ms. Ishida says your food is ready. If you stay any longer after eating then all three of you will face my full fury. Youll wish you merely faced death. Katsumis fi
Mecchen House - Chapter 6Chapter 6 – Morning at Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 66 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
I didn’t wake with the expectation that the previous evening was all a dream. One look at the ceiling swiftly killed any chance of that.
I didn’t wake feeling renewed and refreshed. More like sweaty and stiff, on my head especially. Katsumi’s wig didn’t breathe.
I also didn’t wake up alone. Fortunately, it was just Ms. Ishida with a bundle of clothes in her arms. Some of them looked like mine. I sat up.
She flashed me a grin like a caught thief. “Sorry to wake you. Pleasant morning to you.” I assured her I woke up on my own, hoarsely returned the greeting, and asked her what time it was.
“Six in the morning, or pretty close to it.” Earlier than I was used to. Surprising the sun was even up at this hour.
“Where are my… roommates?”
She tucked the clothes into a bag. “Nathan… I think he’s with Miki right now. And your other roomma
Mecchen House Chapter 21-2Chapter 21 – ShardsMecchen House Chapter 21-26 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
I went inside first with the others close behind. Carolyn was tidying up. I smiled. He smiled back and said, “Welcome to our shop. Can I help you girls?”
Jamie ground his fist into his hips. “I’ve had enough of your teasing!”
Carolyn straightened up. “Oh… my sincere apologies. Uh… sir?” He gave a mystified-looking blink at Jamie. I could already tell something wasn’t right about all this.
Jamie brushed a sleeve. “That’s better. I suppose you want an update on our situation. We still seem to be… female. And this is the one responsible!” He launched an accusing arm to point out Hitomi, who leaned against the glass. Her mouth clenched shut and her eyes narrowed.
Carolyn gave each of us a look. Akiko peeked over the side of my hip and seemed to pick at the scabs on her hand.
He scratched at his forehead a few times and flipped back a bit of hair. “I think you
Mecchen House - Chapter 9-1Chapter 9 – Reunions and a Recipe at Mecchen HouseMecchen House - Chapter 9-16 years ago in Fantasy More Like This
My eyes had always been vaguely gray-colored. But now they looked more like Jamie’s eyes used to. The contrast of red and blue was striking. I kept touching my hair ‘till I felt Nathan’s hand on my shoulder. The feeling of a breath at my neck was gone, but it was covered by a full set of locks now.
Nathan marveled at my hair and asked a quick, “Are you okay?”
I brushed at it, trying to keep the front locks away from my lenses. They defied all attempts at being brushed. At least what hung down was transparent enough that it didn’t block my vision. I rubbed my eyes. They felt the same as always.
I responded to Nathan, “Like I could really go for a haircut.”
Jamie, who I’d thought was asleep, said, “Me even worse. I’d even try a buzz-cut if it held all this at bay.” His hands raked at his locks with thinly-veiled malice. He sighed and said, “