tagRomanceSparks of Moonlight

Sparks of Moonlight


Sparks of Moonlight

© Lily Rockmore, 2009

Halloween Story Competition

Hey guys,

This is my entry for the Halloween story competition. It's a tale of love, loss and death. Even so, I hope you enjoy it. Please keep an open mind as you read this. I believe it's the only way to read, and to appreciate this story.

Thank you so much for reading me. Don't forget to vote and comment. Thank you!

<3 Lily.

1956, Japan.

They called it the witching hour; the sixty minutes when the dividing line between the dead and alive became too fine to notice. It would be the time when the witch doctors in town would go into trances, ordering the people about them to bring them fresh blood or unborn babies. It would also be the time when all the virginal young ladies would stay indoors, for it was said that during that hour, Yurei -- spirits that had unfulfilled wants - would be roaming the streets, looking for weak victims to manipulate. And virgins were very easy to manipulate.

It was a frightening prospect, having one's body possessed by a spirit, but Nami didn't feel even a morsel of fear as she slipped out of the back door that night. After all, she was neither a virgin nor a coward.

She started down the pathway towards the large pond, tall grass shielding her from any prying eyes that might glimpse her pale form sneaking away in the night. Excitement thrummed through her body as she caught sight of the soft grass around the lake --the soft grass which she'd laid on with her lover only the night before.

He'd promised to be back this night to take her away, as the full moon lit their way to the future.

She shivered as she remembered the night before; his fingers sliding along her unblemished flesh, his mouth catching her sigh of pleasure as his skin heated hers to a climax. Her body shuddered as she remembered the almost animalistic passion that took over her body when he was near.

She tucked her long red kimono beneath her as she sat on the grass -- a kimono that she'd seen dyed only that afternoon. She hoped that the material pleased him, for it was pure Japanese silk that she'd sewn with her own hands. She'd also tied the Obi as tightly as possible, a deliberate effort to entice him. She giggled girlishly, hoping desperately that her ploy would work. She waited for him beneath the scrutiny of the night, dipping her ringed finger into the warm water of the pond, creating tiny ripples in the smooth waves. The movement of the water stroked a memory in her, a memory of a song long forgotten.

A lullaby.

She hummed the haunting tune, her voice like a well-tuned harp, performing to the breathing trees. From far away, she heard a wolf call.

"Where is he?" she wondered minutes later, her brows creasing with worry. He should be here by now. Was he coming? He had to come. Had he gotten into some sort of trouble? What if he had been attacked by the rebels? What if...

Her nurse's words came back to mock her.

"American men only come to beautiful Japanese women for one reason, Nami-chan. Do not put your faith in him. You've given him too much as it is."

But Nami hadn't believed the old coot. She had sniffed in her direction, giving the excuse that her lover adored her. She knew that he did. His bright grey eyes had told her just that as he found his release in her body the night before. She loved him as well, more than any other being on earth. It was impossible that her heart could hold so much love for one person. But it did, and as she thought about him, the love in her heart overflowed into tears that trickled down onto her cheeks.

She would wait, she thought desperately. He would come to take her away like he'd said. He had to.

Nami waited as the warmth of the air faded around her, causing her to shiver in the cold. The silk felt suddenly cool on her body, reminding her that she'd deliberately forgot to put on her slip that day. She hugged herself, rocking back on her heels as she watched the shadows of the clouds dancing around the moon's light. Its glow can't rival the glow of your skin, he'd told her. She looked at her arm. It was pale. It didn't glow.

Nami waited, head bowed, as the unrelenting wind blew at her tresses, tangling it into a dark mess. She waited as the night sky faded by the heat of the oncoming morning sun. And she waited as the heart in her breast shattered into a million, indiscernible pieces.

When the first sign of dawn tinged the horizon, Nami rose from where she had perched all night on the grass. Her knees would be an angry red if she ever cared to look, or to feel. She teetered slightly on weak muscles and the water from the pond enveloped her ankles, inviting her into its liquid warmth. She looked down at it, and saw herself looking back. Except it wasn't herself. The woman with the tangled hair and wild eyes wasn't Nami. It was the look of a fallen woman, a cheated one. Someone lied to. She took one step further into it, feeling as the wetness swirled around her knees. A second later, the water was caressing her breasts, the way she had let herself be caressed the night before.

Anguish and anger rose inside her, nearly overpowering the abundance of love in her heart. She whispered his name as the water flowed up to her neck, her mouth parting on the silent words that echoed through her mind like a gong. She chanted his name as the red dye of her dress oozed out from the silk and tinged the water like blood. Her blood. She chanted as the water closed in around her, enfolding her in its warmth.

And she chanted as the darkness engulfed her body, stilling her bleeding heart at last.


The Present

"Hey, Mum. Yeah, yeah, I'm all right. The IT fair in Tokyo was over yesterday. I'm going sightseeing with the gang for a couple of days."

Caleb waited patiently as his mother went through her usual list of safety precautions. Don't wander to places where they don't speak English; always carry your phone with you; retrace your steps if you get lost. It was the smothering any guy would expect if he was the only boy in a family of five elder sisters.

But when his mother moved on to personal hygiene, Caleb decided that he'd better put a stop to the conversation before it became embarrassing. He was twenty, for god's sake, and had been living alone for more than two years. He could handle his shit, though he knew that his mother doubted that. In her eyes, he was still the toddler who woke her up in the middle of the night when he needed to pee. It was for that reason she made him call her everyday before he started his day, especially now that he was doing a summer tour in Japan to promote the gang's new Anime website.

"Cale, get your ass up here!" Jess, the only girl in their group -- though one could hardly call her a girl -- called through the window of the small tour van. Caleb gestured to her to give him a moment.

"Uh Mum, I gotta go, OK? I'll call you tomorrow. Don't worry about me. Yeah, all right. Bye."

Switching his phone off to avoid the off chance that she call him again, Caleb jogged to the van and got in, joining his friends just as Frankie, the fucker, finished his latest joke. As the rest laughed, Caleb settled into his seat and signaled the driver that everyone was here.

"So where are we going today?" he asked Jess. She was in charge of planning the itinerary for the two days they had away from the IT fair.

"The mountains," Jess said, pulling out a map from the back pocket of her loose jeans. "It's a bit of a touristy spot, but at night, it's like the RLD of Japan."

"Are you serious?" Curiosities peaked, the guys peered over her shoulder at the map.

"Are you just saying it to tease us?" Lloyd asked, poking Jess in the shoulder.

"No, fucker. I'm dead serious. You can ask the driver if you'd like."

Frankie launched himself at Jess. "I love you, Jessie!"

"Ah, shit. Get offa me, pervert!"

Caleb watched the tussle and shook his head. He never understood his friends' obsession with sex. Sex was OK, good for releasing stress, but Caleb never had a craving for it. Yeah, he'd been attracted to pretty chicks now and again, but that was it. He'd never had an addiction to anything related to sex. Curiosity, perhaps. But never an addiction. Not like these guys.

"Hey, hey. Guess what?" Teddy called from the back of the van. The group turned to find Teddy pulling a long string of condoms from his backpack. The others hooted, but Caleb had to shake his head again. Jess patted his knee.

"You OK, bro?"

"Yeah, but look at those suckers, Jess." Lloyd and Frankie were attacking Ted for a few of the condoms. "That's just sad."

She laughed, then as she'd done a gazillion times before, plonked herself onto Caleb's lap. As they were like siblings, and as Jess was so gay she should be purple, he didn't mind it. "Why don't you get excited about it, huh? You're young, cute and got the whole package."

Caleb blushed when Jess reminded him of the time she'd walked in on him in the shower. Since then, she couldn't resist bringing up his a-little-larger-than-average dick whenever she got the chance. She got some sort of perverse lesbian pleasure from it.

"I have a healthy enough interest in women, Jess," he commented, picking at the straggly denim at the end of her jeans.

"Healthy?" she made a face. "God, you're not gay, are you? Only a gay guy would use 'healthy' do describe his attraction to women. But if you are gay, I'd totally understand. Totally."

He gave her the 'shut up, bitch' look. "Yeah, I'm gay, Jess. I get so turned on at the thought of screwing one of those things."

He gestured toward the trio at the back and rolled his eyes. They were making animal noises now.

Jess laughed and tugged at his dirty blonde hair. "You know what you need, bro?"

"What do I need, Ms. Psychologist?"

"A really good girl to fuck you silly."

"If I want one, I'll go get one. Now get offa my lap before my legs get so numb, they fall off."

Chuckling, Jess kissed his cheek before crawling off him. A check with the driver told them that they had a couple more hours before they reached the mountains. Caleb sighed and took his Mac out from his backpack.

He just hoped he could get access to the internet.


"One more, guys. The last one wasn't so good," Caleb called and the group groaned. They were standing in front of the Imperial Mountain Palace, the last rays of sunset giving it an unearthly glow. Caleb wanted a great picture of it, but the rest were so uncooperative, not to mention impatient.

"Come on, dude. I want to hit the pussies already," Lloyd groused loudly and a few other tourists glanced their way. Jess whacked him with the map. "Shut up, bitch. We're not the only ones who know English."

"Oh, whoops," Lloyd's eyes widened. "I meant to say cunts. I want to hit the cunts already, man, so hurry up!"

Frankie and Ted guffawed and Caleb shook his head with a slight smile when the tourists started making a wide circle around them. He inserted himself in between the group, held the camera out and took a quick shot of all of them.

"All right, Cale, enough with the pictures already." Ted grabbed the camera from his hands. "You've taken a million today already."

Caleb shrugged and reached to get his camera back. "It's a good way to remember things."

"Fuck that, man. Let's get going. The ticket guy at the palace told me to visit this place near the big inn."

The group started walking in the direction of the inn, but Caleb lagged behind, wanting to grab a couple more shots of the place. It was really beautiful, more beautiful than he'd expected and he wanted to cover it on his blog.

"You not coming, Cale?" Jess called, jogging back to him.

"Nah. I wanna take a couple more pictures. You guys go ahead. I'll see you guys back at the hotel."

"Oh, come on. You can't spend the night all alone. You'll have fun with us, I promise you."

"No, really, Jess. This place is too beautiful for me not to take more pictures of it. But you have fun for me, OK?"

"Well, if you're sure…"

"Yes, definitely."

"Then we'll see you back at the hotel by ten tomorrow."

She gave him a quick hug and ran back to the group, wedging herself between Ted and Lloyd. Caleb angled a shot of the quartet before turning to face the palace again.

He took several pictures of the palace from different angles in the night, then of the splendid greenery that surrounded it. Walking between lovely cherry blossom trees, he felt a sense of calm surround him. Unlike the bustle of the city, this place was barely touched by human hands. He ran his fingers over one cluster of cherry blossoms and raised it to his nose. Sweet, he thought. And tangy. He took a picture of that as well.

He wandered far, until the palace seemed at least a mile away. But he couldn't bring himself to walk back to the hotel just yet. There was something in him that said there had to be more to all of this. Like a paradise. Somewhere, and he had to find it.

After about ten minutes or so of trudging between tall grass, he emerged to find himself at a rather large pond. It wasn't exactly what he'd expected to find, but it was a nice surprise. He took shots of it, briefly considered climbing the low tree to get a better angle, before dismissing the idea when his camera gave its customary beep to signal that the memory card was nearly full.

Someone had placed a wooden bench beside the pond, probably to watch the fish during the day. Thinking that it was as good a time as any, he folded himself onto the bench and booted his Mac. There wasn't internet access, but at least he'd be able to load the pictures into the laptop so he could take more on the way back.

He'd just deleted the pictures that weren't quite nice when something at the end of the pond caught his eye. It was glinting under the moonlight. He strained his eyes to get a better look at it, but it was quite a distance away. Curiosity peaked, he set his laptop and camera away before walking over to it.

It looked like a ring, but he couldn't be sure. He knelt next to it, brows furrowing. Yes, it was a gold ring that looked like a wedding band. He reached out to pick it out of the water, but just as he was about to touch it, a small hand covered his, making him start.

He retracted his hand immediately, his eyes rising to the figure that was crouched beside him. A flowery, feminine scent wafted over to him and he wondered if he'd smelt it somewhere before tonight. It was vaguely familiar.

"I have been looking for this for a long time," the girl said, her voice soft and lyrical. It hit him like a punch in the gut. Such a beautiful voice, he thought. Like something out of a fantasy.

Her head was bowed and her long, dark hair was tucked behind her ears. She plucked the ring out of the water and slid it onto her index finger. It fit her perfectly; it had to be hers.

He rose and offered her a hand, but she didn't take it.

"Um, I'm Caleb," he found himself saying, trying to initiate conversation, but her head remained bowed, the lovely, pale skin at her collar intriguing him. He wanted her to look up so he could see how she looked like, but he didn't know if it would be rude to ask her to do so.

"Isn't it a little late for you to be out her alone?" he blurted when she didn't give him her name in return for his. He thought he heard her laugh slightly, her head turning imperceptibly towards the pond.

"Yes. I never should have left the house."

Caleb found himself scrambling at a chance to be gallant. "Would you like me to escort you home?"

"You are busy," she said softly, jerking her head towards the bench. Caleb didn't spare his Mac and beloved camera a glance. He didn't want his eyes to stray from the girl for a minute, just in case he could've glimpsed her features in that minute.

"Nah, I'm not. I can pack in a second if I need to. Do you live far from here?"

Again, he thought her chin tilted towards the pond. "No, not far."

"Then give me a moment. I'll walk you."

She nodded, hands clasping each other in front of her. They were so small, almost like a child's. But the rest of her was definitely not child-like. The beautiful kimono that she wore, made of silk, molded to her figure, highlighting the gentle swell of her breasts above the thick belt. Caleb looked away from her, as though embarrassed by his thoughts. He'd never been one to take stock of a woman through her assets, but he couldn't seem to help himself now. He was intrigued by the woman with soft words and even softer hands.

As quickly as possible, he stuffed the Mac and camera into the backpack, zipping it up as he turned around. He nearly bumped into her, for she'd been standing so close to him. Damn, he hadn't even heard her move.

He took a step back. "You're very quiet," he commented, shrugging his backpack on.

"I cannot be otherwise," she replied, and he wondered at the oddity of it. Perhaps she was referring to her culture? "My house is north from here. Thank you for offering to escort me."

"It's no problem. I couldn't possibly let you walk home alone this late, especially dressed as you are."

She turned away from him and began walking in the direction which he'd come from. He trudged behind her, shoving his hands into the pockets of his khaki slacks.

"So what do you do for a living?" he asked as they maneuvered between tall grass.

She seemed to look at him over her shoulder. Yet her face was still masked by shadows. "I do not work."

"Oh, but your parents do, then?"

She turned back, no longer facing him. "Yes. My father does… work."

There was a silence following her statement, and the sky seemed to grow darker. He looked up to find that clouds had hidden the moon.

"My friends and I just released an Anime series online. We're promoting it on the IT tour in Tokyo. Have you heard of it?"

"I do not believe so," she murmured.

"Oh." He shrugged. "That's OK."

They left the scattering of tall grass and entered the extensive gardens of the palace. There was at least another half a mile to walk in order to get to the palace itself. A breeze blew in their direction, and he smelt rain on it.

"It's going to rain," he told her. Apparently, she sensed it, too, for she quickened her steps.

They were almost near the back entrance of the palace when the first droplet of rain hit Caleb's head. Immediately, he switched his backpack to the front and hunched over it to protect it from the rapidly increasing amount of raindrops.

"Come, I know of a place," the woman said and he followed her blindly, just wanting to be out of the rain. In fact, with her voice, he would've followed her into hell if she'd just so much as asked.

She led him to a small hut off the garden, both of them half-running to avoid the rain. They'd just entered the hut when the rain began to pour in earnest, pounding on the wooden roof.

"I will get candles," the woman said as soon as they were inside the house. She disappeared before he could protest. He stood in the dark, sweeping droplets of water off his backpack so that it would not affect his electronic stuff. He'd just taken his Mac out to let it dry when she reappeared with a lit candle in her hand.

At first, he didn't pay her much notice, the primary purpose of getting his things dry weighing heavily on his mind. But when she came around the corner, the lovely golden glow of the candle illuminating her features, he forgot that oxygen was essential for living, much less that his Mac might be wet.

God, she was beautiful. But then again, he'd known she would be. Her skin was pale, yet her eyes seemed bright with life. Dark and slanted upwards at the sides, they locked with his as she brought forth the candle, cupping the base in her small hands. He felt his mouth become unbelievably dry and his muscles slacken.

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