Elsewhere on the Night of the 17th…

Elsewhere on the Night of the 17th…


Reader’s Note: text in brackets is translated from Japanese

“<And where are you going young lady?>”

The young girl froze in place, half in and half out of the open window. She was 12 or 13, dressed in simple loose clothing, holding a backpack which contained a simple costume and mask, and her arsenal of knives. She thought she had been so careful! Several colorful words came to mind to express her frustration at this moment; she wisely kept them all to herself. Instead she climbed back into the house, turned around, and said, “<Good evening, mother.>”

The girl’s mother calmly walked over to the window and slowly closed it. She secured the latch and turned to face her impetuous daughter. “<I trained you better than this,>” she said with heavy disapproval. “<If you can’t even sneak away from your father and I then you are not ready to sneak around the city.>”

“<But I am ready!,>” she pleaded in response. “<Do you think this is my first night going out?”>

Her mother raised her eyebrows at that statement. What that true? No matter, it didn’t change her carelessness tonight. “<Then it’s even better I caught you tonight. You are overconfident and making mistakes. Return to bed. We’ll adjust your training tomorrow appropriately.>”

“<Ugh, this is so unfair! I have an invitation – I need to go tonight! Who knows if I’ll get another chance like this?>” She whined and pleaded to her mother as she pulled out a note she had received two days prior and showed it to her.

“<What is this?>” Her mother asked, genuinely curious. She took it and read through the note. Her expression changed from disappointment to quiet anger the more she read. “<So not only did I catch you tonight, but this strange man has also spotted you while you were out? And then he had the nerve to invite you to this… this… gathering of unsanctioned vigilantes?>” She asked with incredulous anger.

“<Just because they don’t want to be paid stooges of a government like you and dad were doesn’t mean they’re bad!>” She knew the moment the words left her mouth they were the wrong thing to say. But she was angry and didn’t care.

Her mother couldn’t have been more cold as she spoke next. “<Go. To. Bed. We will talk of this no more. Your training routine has now doubled.>”

“What? No, that’s-” she began, but her mother cut her off.

“<Tripled.>”

Petulantly the girl turned away and stormed off to her bedroom. There was no attempt at stealth or subtlety as her feet pounded on the floor the whole way there. A few moments passed and the door to her room loudly slammed shut. Her mother simply sighed. She carried the note with her back to her bedroom.

“What was that about, babe?” Her husband asked sleepily in his lazy Texan drawl.

She handed him the note. “Our daughter thinks she’s ready for this. I disagree.”

He sat up and carefully read the note. “I remember this guy. I haven’t heard about him in years though. I’m surprised he’s still around and hasn’t retired or died. I guess that goes to show he’s still as good as he used to be.”

“Well I don’t like him,” she said quickly. She snatched the note away and it disappeared into the folds of her robe. She stood there silently, thinking.

“I know that look.” He yawned. “What are you planning?”

“This man tried to recruit our daughter to this meeting of fools, and without even talking to us. She’s just 13!” she said coldly. “I think the Century Station police might be interested to know about this gathering tonight.”

Her husband rolled over to go back to sleep, too tired to argue. “I don’t think you give her enough credit. You’re the one who said she could go out if she could make it past you.” The woman glared and grunted at her husband. He quickly added, “But I agree with you, The Geist should’ve contacted us first. Don’t stay up too late.”

She was already pulling on her clothes to go out. An anonymous tip to the right person should be enough; she just needed to make sure the call was made from somewhere that couldn’t be traced back to her family.


 


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