Disclaimer: I don't own Inuyasha, the same way I don't own say… the moon. Be cool if I did though. I don't even own this plot, I think Aladdin found the Genie thing first… oh well.
AN: A new story? Yes, I promised I would start some new ones, so here it is. Expect more from me soon though ^_^
Unearthing a Curse
"Kagome!" Souta thwapped her over the head with his school bag. "Wake up, we're here."
Kagome's brow drew together as she sucked in a deep breath of air and stretched in the passenger seat of the car. She felt the cold draught of air creep over her from where Souta had already scrambled out and left the door ajar in the back. She blinked slowly awake and fixed her gaze on the dark shadowy shape outlined in the moonlight before her.
"So he lives here, huh…?" Kagome managed intelligently to her mother beside her.
It was something short of a mansion… old fashioned and a little worn around the edges. But the place was larger than any house she had seen before…
Mrs Higurashi glanced across and must have seen Kagome's pensive expression because she reached over and patted her shoulder. "Don't worry, it's only until we get all this debt and money problems sorted out, then we can move back into the city again."
"I know." Kagome yawned slightly as she unfastened her belt and stepped out of the car.
Somehow it didn't seem entirely fair. They had money problems… so they moved out of their Shrine to moved into something akin to a palace. Not quite what you'd expect, but there was of course, a few catches to this arrangement. The first being they had to live with Grandpa now, but that wasn't so bad. He was quite cool after all (using that term in the vaguest way possible).
The other catch was of course that they had to move out of the town, out of their district and into the country. No malls, no people, no fast food joints and no cinemas for miles.
But out of all the luxuries and things that she'd have to give up, she'd miss her friends most… they all lived in central Tokyo… while Kagome was now stuck in rural Izu with a gas-bag for a Grandfather.
"Try not to look so down." Her mother told her lightly as they carried their bags to the archway which was supposed to be a porch. "You'll hurt his feelings."
"Do you think they have frogs and minnows in that river…?" Souta wondered idly, looking off through the nearby trees to where the sound of rushing water echoed. "Maybe we can go fishing."
"Maybe not." Kagome said somewhat dryly.
Mrs Higurashi moved to knock on the door when it opened suddenly and they found their beaming Grandpa in the doorway. Kagome's mother smiled at once. "Dad! How've you been?"
"All the better for seeing you three again." He cheerfully accepted her embrace and turned to his grandchildren. "Souta – you've grown at least a metre since I last saw you!"
Souta grinned proudly.
Kagome waited for her turn with grim acceptance. Her Grandpa turned to her and at once did the Grandpa thing… pinched her cheeks and patted her shoulder. "And little Kagome, growing prettier everyday."
Souta snorted in disbelief while Kagome just carried on smiling, though she felt her cheeks had had enough strain already that day.
"Come in, come in, out of this cold." Their grandpa beckoned them in and shut the door after them. "Set your bags down in the hall, we can collect the rest of the stuff from the car later. I suppose you want the tour now don't you. I'll show you where you'll all be sleeping."
What, no comment or questions about their father? Well… maybe her mother had already told Grandpa the full story over the phone… or maybe that would all come later. Meanwhile she dragged her feet as she followed the others through the hallway and up a staircase that creaked as they ascended it.
"Are you sure this is safe to walk up?" Kagome found herself asking impulsively.
"Of course." Her Grandpa waved off her concern. "It's been standing for two and a half centuries. It's not failed us yet."
That wasn't as comforting as he believed.
"Two and a half centuries this house has been standing in all." Grandpa started off. "Was built by the family Yoshimoto – their two sons slaved away with their four bare hands for years to build this place."
Oops, she'd set him off on one of his history lectures. She sighed and trailed after obediently, especially after that sharp glance her mother sent her when she sighed a little too loudly.
But actually it was quite impressive… considering the place had been built by only two people, the place was excessively large. There were probably rooms that Grandpa had never seen in that house… probably would never see. If she put her brains and brawn together with Souta… the best form of shelter they could come up with was usually two planks of wood propped together with maybe a blanket if they wanted to push the boat out…
"Do you think if we dig around in the yard we'll find some dead bodies?" Souta whispered quietly to Kagome as Grandpa continued to ramble, whilst their mother did her best in pretending to listen.
"Dead bodies of who?" Kagome frowned at him. "We've been here all of five minutes and your already planning to renovate the garden."
"Didn't you hear about the legend of this place?" Souta blinked at her.
"Legend?" Grandpa's ears perked up at the word. "I assure you that the legend is just a myth… a nice story that locals liked to pass around the pubs when there's nothing to talk about. Now, did you see the window over here? Very interesting the way…" and off into the rambles he went again.
Souta tugged on Kagome's sleeve. "See how quickly he changed the subject? There's obviously some serious paranormal activity around here."
"Paranormal activity going on in your brain for once more like." Kagome tugged her arm away from him. "Don't be so childish."
"You're just grumpy we left the city and the school behind."
"Oh, should I be smiling instead?" she asked sarcastically.
"You two." Their mother cut them both off before an argument could develop. She shook her head, indicating for them to be quiet. They both obliged, somewhat grudgingly and trailed after the adults to be shown where the bedrooms were.
Grandpa and his wife, also know as Granny, had lived in that house for at least thirty years now. A few years ago, Granny had died and that left Grandpa alone in the house. Kagome had to respect that he probably got quite lonely sometimes… not surprising if he lived in a house the size of a department store with nearly sixty acres of land around it to call his own. From what she'd seen, he only seemed to use to or three rooms in the entire house. The bedroom, the bathroom, the kitchen and the living room. All the other rooms were cold and dank and looked like no one had stepped into them for many, many years.
This was proven by the thick layer of sticky plaster dust that covered the floors of such rooms, undisturbed for years.
In his time, Grandpa had been quite the business man. He'd left the Shrine to his daughter and her family and moved on to greater things involving international trade. He'd become wealthy enough to buy this place with his wife, and had then retired to live out the rest of his days.
The house had been empty for quite some time before her Grandparents decided to purchase it and the surrounding land. She couldn't understand why… the place had a nice view, clean air and bags of space – something people would kill for these days.
"They say that a young woman owned the house fifty years ago." Souta told her as they unpacked their suitcases onto their beds. Unfortunately they both had to share a room until one of the other bedrooms could be cleaned up. "She died a mysterious death… they just found her lying cold stone dead in the attic, with no explanation for her death."
"Maybe her heart just stopped." Kagome said with a roll of her eyes, attempting to squash the story that seemed to be sprinting through his imagination. "It happens."
"She was eighteen, it couldn't have been a heart attack. And there was no other cause of death available…" he acquired a mysterious voice suddenly. "Except on her face she wore a happy smile, she must have been smiling when she died."
"Laughed her head off?" Kagome suggested.
Souta glared at her. "But don't it seem strange that after she died, the house was unoccupied for like, twenty years, even while other properties that were more expensive than this were being fought over all over the place?"
"Not really." Kagome put her socks away in the draw beside her underwear. "So a girl died? Big deal. A lot of people die in the world."
"They say she moved into the house with her father who also died with strange circumstances shortly before she did." Souta told her. "This place is probably haunted. At least two peopled have died here so far."
"And a third one shortly if you don't quit being so gullible." Kagome said breezily.
Souta shrugged and got on with unpacking until he suddenly looked up at her and grinned. "Hey – I bet Grandpa has never been into the attic has he."
"Not with his hips, probably not." Kagome glanced across at him. "Why?"
"Which means…" he turned his eyes upwards. "No ones been up there for fifty years…"
Kagome followed his gaze slowly to a square hole in the ceiling that was boarded up… the way to the attic. "You're probably right."
"You thinking what I'm thinking?" he grinned at her and she returned it.
When it came to adventure and exploration into the unknown, the two siblings were very like-minded.
"What do you see?" Souta called up to her.
Kagome hefted the board aside and climbed up the last few steps of the ladder into the loft space. She coughed as dust invaded her lungs, disturbed from the floor by her clumsy footing. Cobwebs tangled in her hair, but she'd never been incredibly squeamish and just brushed them off hastily, praying no spiders had been sitting on them.
"Well?" Souta called again.
"Gimme a minute." She switched on the old torch they'd swiped from the kitchen cupboard and had to slap it a few times to get it bright enough. "Um… I see… dead pigeon… dead pigeon… dead pigeon… and oh! Dead rat."
"I'm coming up as well." She heard him say before hearing the ladder begin creaking again. The held the top so it wouldn't accidentally fall suddenly with no one holding it beneath. She pulled him up into the attic as well and smiled in amusement as his reaction to the dust and cobwebs were a little more irrational than hers had been.
"Isn't there a light around here?" he asked, still looking himself over for spiders and webs.
"If there is, I doubt it works." She told him and shone her light around the loft space and squinted through the dust clouds that had risen like smoke, or fine mist. Amongst the dead pigeons and various old insulation material that lay around, forgotten, were several wooden crates and boxes. "What do you think's in them?"
"Not big enough."
"Chopped up bodies?"
Kagome ignored him and ducked under a timbre buttress to kneel beside the nearest set of boxes. She set her torch on one and began opening another. Souta stood behind her, watching over her shoulder as she pushed the lid aside and looked in.
"That's…" She started.
"Mould." Souta finished with a sigh. "Who'd pack mould up in a box?"
"They wouldn't." Kagome shook her head and looked upwards. "There must have been a leak in the roof… the water must have gotten into the boxes."
"Not all of them, right?" Souta watched her as she stood again.
"Well, maybe not the boxes stacked on top of the ones on the floor." She picked up the torch and handed it to him. "Hold this for me." She heaved down one of the topmost boxes and set it on top of the one she'd previously opened. She flapped her hands for a moment, trying to chase away the dust before digging her fingers under the rim of the box and opening it with a tug.
"Cool. No mould." Souta piped up beside her.
"No… just books… old smelly books…" Kagome lifted one out and flipped through it. The pages fell out in an instant and scattered over her lap and the floor. "Oops."
"No one's gonna miss it." Souta shrugged and tugged on her blouse. "Try the ones over here – they're labelled."
But whoever had labelled them had very illegible hand-writing. That or time had worn the characters down to just wiggles. Kagome pulled down the top box again from the stack and pried it open. The contents were slightly more interesting this time.
"What the hell is this stuff?" Souta pulled out one item from the box.
"A comb." Kagome sighed impatiently. "Haven't you ever brushed your hair with a – wait, don't answer that. What else have we got here…?"
A few moth eaten dresses, a hand held mirror, some perfume bottles and a shiny black leather case. Kagome picked it out carefully whilst Souta busied himself with the dresses. She opened the case slowly and frowned at the contents. Not another book…
Wait… no it wasn't another book. It was a journal.
Kagome picked it out with more care than she had with the previous book and opened the hardback cover to the first page.
"Kikyo…" Kagome frowned thoughtfully. "Was this the young woman?"
"Young woman with a seventy year old's taste in clothes." Souta wrinkled his nose as he put the clothes back and started sniffing around the perfume bottles. "How much do you suppose this stuff is worth? I mean, if we sold it to a museum we'd be back in the money right? Then maybe we could move back into our Shrine."
"I don't think so. It's only fifty years old… it's not really that ancient." Kagome flipped though the first few pages. "You want to sell something ancient, sell Grandpa, he's older than all this stuff put together."
"Do you think we'll find a murder weapon?" Souta asked, looking around the attic. "She died up here right?"
"If the police didn't find one fifty years ago, you think you'll find one today?" Kagome shot him an amused look.
"Maybe." He turned the other way and promptly forgot to duck the low hung timbre rafter. He nearly knocked himself out. "OW! Man…" he grumbled and rubbed his bumped head. "Maybe she died like that."
Kagome giggled at his expense.
"Glad you find my pain amusing, Kagome." He snapped.
"Not at all amusing. Hilarious more like." Kagome smiled mildly. Then she noticed the perfume bottles that Souta had been looking at. "These look cute… coloured glass… maybe they're worth something?"
"I fell like we're pillaging a corpse." Souta muttered, still rubbing his head.
"Nonsense. Grandpa bought all this stuff when he bought the house. He owns everything in this loft so we're no pillaging any dead girls today." Kagome told him as she carefully shut the journal and put it back in its black case. She didn't want to damage it.
"Where do you think they found the body…?" Souta went on wondering as he moved around the loft carefully, staring at the floor intently for some old blood stain.
Somewhere deep into the house below them they heard their mother's voice. "Souta?! Kagome?! Dinner!"
"Coming!" they both chorused, hoping their mother heard them from all the way up there.
"I smell spaghetti hoops!" Souta practically slid down the ladder in his hurry to get to the kitchen before Grandpa gobbled them all. They were both notorious spaghetti in tomato sauce fans. Kagome started to follow, before hesitating and looking back at the opened box. That journal looked interesting – maybe she should take it with her?
She scooped up the black case and the perfume bottles while she was at it. She cradled them in her blouse like a pocket as she carefully descended down the ladder.
She sat up late that night reading the faded entries in the old journal. She kept the light on beside her bed while Souta slept soundly in the bed opposite hers.
Kikyo was… she discovered… a very subdued kind of girl. She had been seventeen when she'd written these entries, though she seemed much older. Kagome knew seventeen year olds… they were probably more brainless than Souta in the extreme cases. And even while Kagome liked to think of herself as a mature sort of girl, she knew she'd never be mature as the girl she was reading about.
The entries were straight forward, efficient. One paragraph long usually, recounting interesting events of certain days with a little date on top to prove it. Kagome read the slightly longer entry she'd made on her eighteenth birthday. Kagome could already picture the girl from the tone of her writing… basically a girl who never cracked a smile, talked in a monotone voice and was very, very, very boring.
Kagome decided to skip a few pages on ahead until one entry caught her eye. It was two pages long. It was about her moving into the house with her father… and by the sound of it, she resented the thought of moving into such an old house, just as much as she seemed to resent her father.
"Looks like we have something in common…" Kagome whispered to herself.
After that there was somewhat of a large gap in dates. Three months in fact. And her next entry puzzled Kagome somewhat.
I wished for a humble palace. I got what I asked. How foolish I am…
Kagome flicked to the next page.
I wished to sing with the voice of an angel. I got what I asked. I can no longer sing.
Kagome reread the entry, not sure she was seeing the words correctly. They didn't make any sense… what was this girl on about?
I wished to be able to play the piano. I got what I asked. I can play, but I cannot read music, and I cannot learn pieces by heart. I cannot invent music either… I cannot play the piano.
"Ok…" Kagome said slowly, wondering what on earth was happening in this girl's mind at this point in time.
I wished my father would just leave me alone for good. They found his body in the river. My father is dead.
Now that downright chilled Kagome. She just stared at the words as a cold feeling swept over her, making her hair stand on end as if someone had scratched nails down a blackboard.
I wished to find love. I found it. But I cannot keep it.
The next entry was the last, dated 14th January 1954.
I wished I would die a happy woman in the end. I fear for my life.
Kagome slapped the journal shut and stared at it uneasily. That was just creepy… die a happy woman? The smiling dead woman in the attic was found in January 1954.
Maybe she was just dreaming… a tad thirsty though, so maybe not. She set down the journal again and swung her legs out of bed. Her gaze fell on the three bottles that sat on her bedside table. Blue tinted glass with purple glaze that shone in the light the wail oil shone colourfully in water sometimes. The stopper on each was just as blue as each bottle, but two were cracked and had obviously been glued back together, while the third remained in tact. Kagome had decided that the two broken stoppers probably set the value of the bottles down a little… but the third one?
She picked it up and turned it upside down. She pulled the stopper out and sniffed the inside. It smelled like sandalwood. Not very strong… but she put the stopper back anyway and set it back on the table. She'd speak to her Grandpa tomorrow and find out if they really were worth something, or just cheap tacky stuff that would be sold in car-boot sales.
That thirst was beginning to nag her and she slithered out of bed quietly, so as not to disturb Souta as she padded her way across the cold floor to the door. She must have wandered around aimlessly for at least five minutes before she eventually found the kitchen. It was the only modern part of the house, complete with upgraded cooker and microwave. Obviously Grandpa didn't plan to live in the stone-age where food was concerned.
Kagome took one of the clean glasses from the cupboard and filled it with water from the tap. Annoyingly, the tap refused to work properly and spluttered little dribbles of water at her… and just when she'd put her hand to it to see what the problem was, it shot out such a strong blast of water that she could have sworn it pierced right through her palm. "Son of a…"
She spun so fast the glass flew from her grip and shattered against the back of one of the kitchen chairs. The boy sitting on the edge of the table blinked in mild surprise as the glass shards spread across the floor. "I guess the plumbing hasn't changed much has it… though that's new." He skewed a glance at the microwave.
Kagome's mouth worked furiously. A million questions bursting inside her at once. Who the hell was he? How the hell did he get in the house without tripping the security alarm? Why did he have white hair? Why was he telling her about plumbing? And most of all – why the hell was he in the kitchen with her?!
"I-I'll scream!" she threatened with a trembling voice. "And my family will call the police."
He shrugged with a roll of his eyes. "I'm sure they will. You were the one who pulled the stopper right?"
"What?" Kagome stared at him.
"Right." He sighed and slid off the table onto his feet. "A newbie. I'll say this only once, so you have to listen."
"You listen to me – get out of this house!" Kagome demanded, groping around her for some kind of defensive weapon. Her hand landed on the rolling pin… well, good enough. "I'm warning you!"
"And I'm warning you." He folded his arms and scowled at her. "I'm only gonna say this once so you have to listen."
Kagome furiously tried to berate him again, but he cut her off.
"I'm a tenth generation so you get ten wishes. The rules are simple. No wishing for any more wishes than the ten you are given. You cannot reverse a wish, the only way to do that is to make another wish reversing the previous one. You cannot have me bring the dead back to life. You cannot have me conjure, whilst I can bend the rules of physics, I can't break them just yet. No wishing for me to be your sex slave, otherwise I am obliged to drop you in the middle of the ocean and find myself a new master. And last, but not least, you cannot expel me from what I do by using your last wish to set me free, though why on earth you'd want to do that is beyond me. Got that?"
Kagome stared at him. He must have been crazy…
"And a personal request. Try not to smash my bottle, it's happened eleven times already and I would appreciate if you people took some care once in a while." He gave a humourless smile. "Ten wishes. I'm not in the mood tonight, so call me again when you think of something you'd like."
"Call you…?" Kagome echoed in confusion. She wanted to know more, what he was talking about, who he was. Why was his hair so perfectly white and his eyes so bright and inhumanly gold? Why did his fingers taper off with those nails that were too much like talons to be real nails? Why was he wearing clothes that no one had seen for at least forty years? Best start with asking his name. "Who-"
"Not now!" he snapped, obviously grouchy. "I told you I'm not in the mood. Call me tomorrow or whatever."
With that he turned, as though he was going to walk out the door. But halfway there he seemed to melt into red smoke and faded from a sight. The smoke left behind made Kagome cough and waft her hand before her face to clear her vision.
It smelled like Sandalwood.
When the kitchen had cleared of the thick smoke, which was rather quickly because the stuff seemed to evaporate into thin air, Kagome stared at the spot he'd disappeared and blinked, trying to figure out what she'd just witnessed.
People didn't disappear into thin air. It was as simple as that.
Maybe there was something in that spaghetti sauce…
She finally shook herself and told herself she was just tired and under a lot of stress lately. Being thrown out of the Shrine because they couldn't pay the bills wasn't easy. Having to leave the city and all her friends wasn't easy. Having her father run off with some Swedish blonde and leave the family without any money had been what started it all. That hadn't been easy either. And now she was being forced to live in a creepy old haunted house. Not easy.
Yes, it was just stress, she decided as she bent down to sweep the shattered shards of glass into a pan so no one would walk into the kitchen tomorrow with bare feet and get any nasty surprises.
She got another drink and found her way back to bed, mostly by following the sound of Souta's snoring through the halls. She tucked herself into bed and turned off the light and tried to sleep.
No such luck.
After tossing and turning for god knows how long, she finally sat up and turned the light on. She looked at the three bottles on the bedside table and reckoned the third one with the undamaged stopper must have been the boy's bottle…
A Genie or something…?
No, that was a stupid notion. Genie's lived in lamps – besides the fact that they didn't even exist! She'd hallucinated, that's all. She was just tired… yet she didn't feel like she needed to sleep anymore.
She took Kikyo's journal and reread her last few entries. All this talk about wishes…
She flicked through the last few empty pages of the journal – but stopped at once when she spotted more writing close to the end of the book. Her throat went dry and her voice was a mere brittle whisper as she echoed the written words. "Beware the curse of the 10th Generation Wishbringer… Inuyasha…"
Kagome slammed it shut and nearly threw the book back onto the table, turned off the light and flopped down with her entire body buried under the covers.
She realised that she may have just stumbled in on something over her head…
AN: First chapter done and dusted. The second one should be posted soon I hope.