2 - A Slice of Life by misterq
Happy Lucky Bar – Shanghai, China – March 1958
It was a small, dingy place located near an equally small, dingy movie theatre that alternatively showed Elvis in Jailhouse Rock and Japanese films of a more adult nature. The perfect place to hide a demon bar in the city where everything was for sale, provided the price was right. Near midnight, the bartender, a fat greasy man, wiped the bar with a greasy rag until he overheard part of a conversation. Naturally, he had to intrude.
"You don't want to go there. Sure, it's been more than ten years since the war ended, but that place ain't safe."
The two vampires who were talking amongst themselves looked at each other before turning to the man. "What do ya mean, Bill?" asked the one who was wearing a British world war one Royal Flying Corps (RFC) jacket.
"Look, all I know is that during the war, Japan was full of vampires. They came through here on their way over there and back. Only after the war ended, they only came through here on their way over there to the Tokyo hellmouth. None came back. Not ever. And no one knows what happens to them. There have been demons that went looking only to vanish themselves." Bill, the bartender pulled himself a seat and sat facing the back of the chair. "I'm just saying this because you guys are regulars, but some say it was the American bombs. Think about it! The bombs work just like the sun does. That radiation stuff lingered, turning the entire country into a permanent dawn for vampires."
The two vampires looked skeptical. "The papers said the radiation's been dispersed already. Could it be something else? Maybe native demons or something?"
"I doubt it. The native demons in Japan have been mostly neutral since before the Edo era. They resemble forest spirits or the Fay of Western Europe more than any proper demons. The Kitsune and the Tanuki tend to blend in with the human population, but most of the others live in hidden cities and such. They don't bother you if you don't bother them."
"Fine, Daddy-o." Said the greaser vampire that sat with the RFC one. "How about demon hunters? Did they get better in Japan or something?"
The bartender laughed. "Hardly. Most of them were killed in the war. They're still trying to rebuild their population. There are a few girls around with magic, last I heard – but they tend to be on the more noticeable and destructive side. Well, whatever you choose, you're in for some interesting times. Good luck."
The two vampires looked at each other. "So what do you think, Steve?" said the vampire in the black leather jacket.
"I think he's full of hot air. Japan is ripe for the picking. No matter how bad a situation could be, there are always survivors. I think Bill's just trying to keep us and our money here in his bar." The RFC vampire stood up and made to leave.Port of Kobe - Kobe Japan – April 1958
Two figures made their way out from between the recently unloaded storage containers. There was a small splash in the water signifying the final fate of the midshipman who, until recently, actually had blood on the inside of his body.
The two vampires were sulking around the shadows of the docks, talking. "So you see, that is why you don't kill everyone on board a ship you are traveling. One, it's rude. Two, it raises too many questions when found. And three, it can actually make a ghost ship."
"Ghost ship? You're kidding me!" said the black leather clad vampire.
"No joke. I've heard it happen. The ship, itself, calls back the souls of the people who used to call it home. Happened to this bloke of a vampire I've heard of. One night, he was doing fine. The next, a lookout in a passing ship sees his torso tied up on the mast waiting for sunrise. The ghosts fed his limbs to the sharks while he watched."
"Mmm… sounds tasty." The new high pitched voice revealed itself to be a black haired Japanese lady in her late twenties wearing a poodle skirt. "Those lucky sharks got themselves a free dinner."
The RFC vampire took a step back cautiously while the greaser vampire smiled evilly and shifted into game face. "Speaking of a free dinner…"
The woman smiled. "Hmm? Oh, don't mind if I do." The movement was almost too fast for the other vampire to follow. Her arm shifted into a long black tentacle that lashed out, wrapped itself around the greaser vamp's neck, and yanked him into the girl with a slight ripple effect, as though she was made of water. To a normal unenhanced human, it would have looked like the black leather jacket-wearing vampire simply vanished for no reason.
"Aww.. not good. Not good." The RFC vampire started to back away before realizing something. "You ate Kenny! You bitch!!"
He rushed forward towards the unmoving smiling woman at full vampire speed. He never even saw the backhand that sent him flying through three empty wooden packaging containers. Surprisingly, none of the splintered wood made it into his heart. It was all moot as the woman was suddenly standing over his bruised and broken form.
"Mmm, tenderized vampire."
"Wait!" The RFC vampire held up his unbroken hand. "Who.. What are you?"
"Me? Well, I'm… Hey, in a moment, you won't even care." With a flash of movement, the last vampire was gone. The woman looked around and then over at the calm waters of the Sea of Japan. "I guess I have time for a short swim. Maybe I can stretch out a little."Shrine of the Sun Goddess' Flame - Osaka, Japan - April 1958
"I'm home!" Mitsy entered the rebuilt private temple house next to the shrine itself as the morning dawned.
"Hi, shadow blossom. Any luck tonight?" Her husband and Qwa'ha Xahn sat on a western style recliner, drinking breakfast tea and reading the paper. He glanced up at his wife and smiled. "First the poodle skirt, now the leather jacket. You look like a reject from some American public school prom dance."
"Hey! I'll not have you belittle my trophies!" Mitsy glanced over at a wall mirror and giggled. "I kind of like the look. But, you should have seen these vampires. One was straight out of a James Dean flick. The other.. oh wait, I got you something."
She concentrated and a WWI bomber jacket was quickly expelled from her body and fell to the floor. "There you go, Hitori. I think it's about your size. But together, these two vampire half-breeds had a good amount of cash between them. Oh, and the Yumimaras finally want to sell to me. Another crematorium to add to my collection."
"Have I told you that I still find what you do with those businesses disturbing lately?"
"Yes! And like I said, how about you think of a good alternative when my dietary requirements include the phrase 'metric tons'? Bodies go in, ashes come out – so what if the fire is illusionary. Maybe you want to put in a food order that reads like 'ten head of cattle, twenty sheep, fifty pigs, a cargo container full of chickens, and sprinkle in a goat or two for flavor. What? What country is this all going to? Oh, it's just that my wife gets cranky when she's hungry.'"
"You ate and you're still cranky." Hitori rolled his eyes.
"You're still cranky!" Mitsy stuck out her tongue at her husband.
Hitori smiled. "Have I told you how much I love you, recently, shadow blossom?"
Mitsy huffed and turned her back to him. "You're just saying that because I can change my shape to whatever you like."
Her husband looked offended. "I'd love you no matter what form you took. Although it would be a bit more difficult with your natural form."
Mitsy laughed. "Alright, just for that, how about Marilyn Monroe tonight?"
"Like I said, your form doesn't matter." Hitori stood up and kissed his wife.
When they broke their kiss, the perfect imitation of Marilyn Monroe looked guiltily and said, "I took a swim today before portaling home. I think a fishing boat saw me. They probably think I was a kraken or giant squid or something."
Being with Ametsaru for thirteen years had taught Hitori to sometimes just relax and take things in stride. "Yes, Marilyn Monroe, the giant squid." He said and then just kissed her again. "Besides, it's not like Japan will become known for giant tentacled monsters or anything."