Each Chapter is its own short story. There is an underlying, continuous story, but it dies away....
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The Spell Of Secrecy Is A Storm Front
Winter’s bane arrived, and for their part of the world brought nothing but heavy rain. For Liru, it was bliss. “Yahoo!” she yelled, running out into it and sliding across the mud and grass on her knees. She crawled and rolled around in the puddles, yelping like a puppy. She stood and stared at the water, a toad bounced out and her tail stood straight up, she jumped down and chased it for a while. She opened her mouth and let the rain water fall in and she drank it. Then she transformed to that small, fluffy golden puppy she was and rolled around some more.
Yuuma had opened a window from the tree house and stared out at her, arms folded on the windowsill, “It’s so boring when it rains all day!”
Pachira read a book next to her and Aiko was drying some clothes. “It’s never dry this time of year, is it?” Aiko said, fiddling with it. She looked out at the puppy, “and I just finished washing all of Liru’s clothes.” And sighed.
Liru was out again and even happier than yesterday.
Yuuma was sitting with her arms folded at the table, “It’s so boring when it rains all day!”
“You’ve been saying that a lot.” Pachira remarked, sitting across from her, “It’s been like this since the beginning of winter. It’s so annoying.”
“But… geez. I wish there was some way to make the rain go away, like with magic or something.”
“Do it yourself.” Pachira replied bitterly.
“Huh? Oh haha,” she blushed, “you’re right! Then…” she grabbed her wand and twirled it in the air, “O great lord of the clouds, jimejime iyaiya, here and now, lend me your power!” she flicked her arm out but lost her grip, and the wand flew out the open window. Nothing happened. Liru saw it, ran over to it and picked it up with her teeth, buried it and howled triumphantly.
The two girls watched from out the window.
“Wow.” Said Pachira, coolly.
“Alright, I give up. I don’t care anymore.” Yuuma said, falling back onto the carpet next to the table.
“Yuuma,” Aiko called, “Yuuma your clothes are a pain to wash, so at leeeaaast you could help inste-stead of lying around.” She finished, still tending to the clothes. Her voice was metallic, and cutting in and out. Yuuma and Pachira looked at each other, puzzled.
“What’s-at’s the m-matter, you-you t-two?”
“There’s something strange about you, Aiko.” Yuuma said.
“Your voice sounded really odd just now.”
“You think so? There-ere’s some-omething wrong?” she noticed herself and cupped her hand over her mouth.
“Are you alright?” asked Pachira, “do you feel sick at all?”
“Let’s see…” she thought, “Right now, my bod-ody does-oes feel a little sluggish.”
“Then let us take a look!” she said sweetly.
“Please do!” she was flattered they wanted to help. She turned and pulled down the back of her top and commanded the vent opening on her back to open, and green, moldy air escaped. It smelled awful. The two gasped as it evaporated. “What’s the matter? Is something’s wrong, please tell me.”
“Um, everything’s just fine!” Pachira said in a panic, “don’t worry about a thing!” All the metal inside her, they saw now, was molded over. “What do we do?” Pachira whispered to Yuuma.
But Yuuma had already pulled a chip from the center of the mechanics, which shut Aiko off. Her eyes went black and her body pitched forward from its knelt position.
“What are you doing?!” Pachira yelled, pointing to the chip in Yuuma’s hand, “are you sure you should do that?!”
“Can you put it back in the right spot?”
“But… if I just put it back where it was it should be fine.” She scrambled to stuff it back in. “There!” but it got no results.
“I-It’s no use.” Pachira remarked terrified. “It’s you, you did it!” she kept pointing.
“I did, I did do it, but she’s not going to die!”
“And just what are you going to do about it?”
“What do we do?”
“Don’t ask me.”
“What do we do…”
They stared back into the opening on her back.
“Let’s at least try to remove all the mildew. We can’t just leave her like this.” Pachira said, after they’d stared for a while. Yuuma grabbed her hand and nodded, it sounded like a very mature idea to her.
They moved her to a small balcony that overlooked the grassy opening Liru still relentlessly played in. They put on gloves and masks and everything, then some sponges, and mildew killer spray. Pachira sprayed for a long while, and waited for it to dissipate, then she took a rag and rubbed all the excess off. It smelled terrible and looked gross. They looked back inside her: “Eww, its growing really far down. What should we do?” Pachira asked.
“What do you think?”
“We really ought to give her a thorough cleaning.”
They brought the hose up to the balcony, along the way they saw Liru still rolling around, totally unaware of the goings-on. They got up there and Yuuma ran down and turned it on, Pachira wasn’t ready for the force of it, and it sprayed everywhere at first, then she got a grip and aimed it directly in the opening. Yuuma ran back up excited to watch. “That’s right!” she remembered, watching Pachira direct it in, “you know, I saw something on TV that said precision machines aren’t affected by water!”
“Yeah, yeah! We’re trying to clean out all the mildew, so we’re not doing anything wrong!”
“Lookie lookie, it’s coming off!”
They felt like professionals.
“Wait, there’s a little bit left on that side there.” Yuuma directed, “the water won’t take it off?”
“Darn, it won’t come off.”
“Then I’ll just increase the pressure.”
“Right on,” she waited for Yuuma to turn it further, “oh look, there, it’s coming off!”
“Calm down, everything’s fine!” Yuuma giggled to Pachira as she walked back up.
“There’s nothing to be afraid of!”
“This isn’t such a big problem after all.”
“You think so?”
“Of course not!”
They laughed uncontrollably.
The rain stopped. Liru stared at the sky and held out her hand to catch the remaining drips.
The two moved Aiko inside and took all her pieces apart.
“If we leave them out like this, they’ll probably rust.” Pachira said.
“Yeah, they’ll rust.”
“Let’s dry them off!” she pulled out a blow-dryer.
“Let’s dry them off!” Yuuma repeated, giving a thumbs-up.
Pachira started on them, and Yuuma grabbed a manual fan to try and help, “dry them off like this!” she said, waving the fan back and forth on the pieces.
Liru decided she was done for the day and headed to an outdoor shower they made behind the tree house.
“This is the last one.” Pachira said, holding the chip up to Yuuma. They’d put everything back, and in the chip went, defiantly.
They stared down at her, in that genuflected position. Her skin was pale and her glasses still like black holes. The girls blinked, puzzled, waiting.
Then those black eye glasses turned a sky blue and a window came up, a series of codes and their loading bars was in the window, everything was loading fast and evenly, then the screen faded and you could see Aiko’s closed eyes, which slowly opened. The sound she emitted was that of a computer turning on. Because that’s what it was. After a moment she slowly stood up, the farther she rose, the bigger the two girls’ smiles got. “How do you feel?” the two said in unison. Aiko’s blank stare scared them.
“Yuuma, Pachira, what did you do to me?” she said still blankly. The two girls froze, then Aiko twirled around to face them, the sun came out and a rainbow started to form: “I feel like I’ve been reborn! I feel great! Thank you so much! Really, thank you so much!” she bowed to the two girls, who were still recovering from the frightening notion that they might have done something terribly wrong. “As a token of my appreciation, I’ll cook an extra special dinner tonight!” and with that Aiko ran through the door. The two girls took a great big sigh to relax themselves from their stiff positions, and they turned to each other and hugged.
“Thank goodness!” Pachira said, “it all worked out somehow!”
“We must be geniuses or something!” Yuuma returned, half-kidding.
“You’re right, you’re probably right!” Pachira said, lifting her head from her shoulder to look at her face.
“Yay!” they said together, giving a double high-five.
Liru was finishing up a bath as the sun set, and Pachira and Yuuma were watching TV as Aiko cooked them the dinner. Liru came in finally, exhausted: “Ah,” she sighed, “that was fun! Is dinner ready yet? Ouch!” she was cut off by something sharp hitting her foot. She picked it up, “what’s this, a screw? That’s dangerous. I’ll set it here.” She said putting it on the table and heading to her room.
Pachira and Yuuma kept staring at the TV, frozen, then slowly turned their heads to see it themselves. Then they looked at Aiko.
“Liru!” Aiko called. She hadn’t noticed. “Dinner will be ready soon! Tonight will be a real feast!”
Yuuma went to her room just before dinner started, and took the screw. She’d found more small pieces around the house since, and collected them. She sat on her bed staring at them all in the palm of her hand, then she glanced to a chest she had at the foot of her bed. She got on the ground and opened the chest and stared at the pieces some more, then carefully set them in.