GHOSTBUSTERS RISING SUN
FROM THE ASHES
The snow began to fall by the time twins, Mihana and Mirai made it to the top of the hill in Hiyoriyama Park. They stood near the torii gate that looked over part of the town, specifically the mouth of the Kyukitakami River. More and more people filed up the stairs filling the park. The noise of the crowd was not one of terror but there was concern in their tones. Evidence of the quake littered the grounds. Broken pottery, knocked over displays, even the casing of a street light hung open.
The quake was the strongest the twins had ever felt. It lasted for several minutes and that is forever for a quake. Reports of a 3 meter tsunami was being broadcast on the loudspeakers prompting everyone to get away from the coast and reach higher ground. Aside from more people joining the group nothing was happening. Volunteers dressed in white held up a tarp for the elderly to stand under to get out of the snow. Most people stood on the edge of the platform watching the water. The twins looked around hoping to see anyone they knew. There wasn't anyone they immediately recognized from their little community of stores. The twins, at the end of their third year of college, ran a tiny bookstore on the waterfront that was left to them by their parents. It sold a variety of genres, even had some books in English. There was an unusually large section of paranormal books. The largest in Japan. The twins didn't mind as they enjoyed reading about the supernatural. That section had a steady interest with the customers.
"Hey," a girl called rushing over to the twins wrapping her arms around them. "I'm glad you guys made it up here." Rei was a childhood friend of the twins. Next to the twins' bookstore was a family owned bento shop where Rei worked and looked to take over when it was time.
"Do you think there will actually be a tsunami?" Rei asked.
"That's what people are saying," Mihana said. "We've been having strong quakes all week but this one was really strong."
"Anything supernatural?" Rei asked.
"Maybe if we were any other country outside of the Ring of Fire," Mirai said. "Although, I was thinking back to an old article I read that talked about a guy in New York who was given special powers and he tried to end the world but the Ghostbusters stopped him."
Mihana nodded. "I remember that one. He was angry because some girl broke his heart or something."
"You think something like that is happening?"
The twins shrugged.
Suddenly, the tsunami sirens blared all throughout the area. The trio, along with everyone else at the park, shot their attention to the river's mouth.
"That is much higher than three meters," Mihana said. A giant wave came crashing through the town, using the river as a tool to get further inland. Houses were ripped from their foundations, some even caught fire. Nothing stood a chance against the might of the wave. On the hilltop, there was some crying but most of the people stood by silently as the tsunami destroyed the town. An eternity later, the wave receded taking debris and bodies back with it out to sea. The debris that was left covered the ground. The way everyone came was blocked by debris forcing people to leave another way. The twins' house was near the park and wouldn't have been touched by the wave. However, Rei's house was close to their shop and in the inundation zone.
"I have to get home," Rei said slamming her cell phone shut. "My mom isn't answering. I have to get to them." She began down the stairs but Mihana grabbed her arm.
"It's getting dark. We can't let you go out in all of that. You're coming home with us."
"I have to let them know I'm safe. I have to know they're safe."
"You won't be safe going out in that. You'll get hurt before you even make it down the street," Mirai said. "If your parents are safe then they'll stay that way until we find them tomorrow."
"Where were they?" Mihana asked.
"They said they were heading to one of the evacuation shelters. I was coming back from Sendai when the quake hit. I was told to come here because of the tsunami warning."
"Maybe they got to high ground. There isn't anything we can do right now. Come back to our house and then tomorrow we'll help you look."
The next day, the trio entered the godless land of destruction left by the tsunami. Carefully watching where they stepped, they maneuvered around mounds of debris and with broken bodies protruding from them. Rei trembled at each sight of a body, not because she was scared of dead bodies but because she feared the thought of her parents being one of them.
The site of what was left of their stores floored all three of them despite them expecting it. No longer was the book store and bento shop next to it. Now it was just a hollowed out shell full of debris. Soldiers of the Self-defense Force were out looking for bodies. The trio ran up to a group of soldiers.
"Are people still at the evacuation shelter?" Rei asked.
"Yeah, which one are you looking for?"
"The old Ishiminato school. I'm looking for my parents."
The soldiers all froze and looked at each other. The soldier talking to the trio let out a breath before turning to Rei. He could see on her face that she understood their hesitation but he had to tell her anyway. "That place was in the inundation zone."
"That was a tsunami shelter," Mihana said taking over Rei who lost her ability to speak. "It was fifteen meters above sea level."
"The tsunami was at least twenty," the soldier said. "We weren't prepared for one of that size. We're getting similar reports up and down the coast."
A week passed since the disaster and much of the debris had been relocated into several giant mounds throughout the inundation zone. A Kamen Rider statue had survived the onslaught of the wave despite its surroundings being completely wiped out. The trio returned to the site of where their businesses once stood. Much of the surrounding debris had been hauled away. Search teams had spray painted an X on both buildings to signify it had been checked.
Rei gripped Mirai's arm as they entered the gutted bookstore. She didn't want to enter what was left of her parents bento shop. She was still fighting with all her might not to break down again. Her mother's body was found two days after the disaster but her father's hadn't been found yet.
They ventured deeper into the store. Walls had been ripped away turning the two business into one giant room. Anything that wasn't industrially bolted down had been pulled from the floor and officially relocated. Mirai and Rei stood near the steps that led to the upper level while Mihana kicked away debris to get to the floor safe.
"It's still here," she said with a sight of relief. "I'm glad it didn't end up at the bottom of the ocean."
"What are you looking for?" Rei asked.
"Something our parents left for us in case something happened to the store," Mirai said. Mihana threw all the contents of the safe into her backpack except for an envelope that had the instructions: "DO NOT OPEN UNLESS THERE'S AN EMERGENCY!"
"I'd say this qualifies as an emergency," Mihana said opening it. Her brow furrowed when she found a single note.
"That doesn't look like a check or anything," Mirai said.
"No, it's not that. I was thinking it would be money or something that would get us back on our feet but I guess that's what the high insurance policy was for. This is just a safe combination with instructions to enter this code into the safe."
Uncertain, Mihana returned to the safe and spun the dial around entering the numbers. A loud hiss and wood retracting away on the upper level startled the three of them. Mihana turned and jumped the three steps to the upper level rushing to the edge of the opening. Mirai mirrored her sister's enthusiasm while Rei was a bit more cautious, waiting for some creature to jump out.
A ladder led down into a basement that was starting to light up. Mihana peered around the opening for a moment before jumping on the ladder. At the base of the ladder was a reinforced door with a sensor that scanned Mihana as she approached. A light flashed green and the door opened revealing a room full of electronics. Computers switched on with the lights. The trio wandered around the room trying to understand the meaning of the room.
Mirai pulled open a drawer that was heavy to open. Her eyes widened at what she found. Before she could say anything about her discovery, her father's voice startled her. A computer screen had switched on showing the face of the twins' parents. The video was recorded in the hidden room.
"Our beautiful twins," he said. "It looks like you found our little hideout. Something must've happened to the store that caused you to open that envelope and that we're no longer around. I'm going to assume the store is no longer around. That being the case, this video will help you understand what this place is."
"Which is?" Mihana asked in the short pause her father took before continuing.
"It's an option for a new beginning."
"That doesn't help," Mihana said to herself.
"There are two options laid out in front of you. You can either make an insurance claim which will cover the expenses of rebuilding the store and take care of its inventory and you can go back to being owners of a bookstore. Let me be clear that's a great idea and not some boring path. Or you can call the number next to the phone. That will connect you to an old friend in New York. He will understand the situation. This will require you to fly to New York for special training."
"What kind of training?" Mihana asked expecting an answer. Mirai nudged her sister and motioned her to look into the drawer she pulled open earlier.
"I think it means Ghostbuster training." Mihana mirrored her sister's earlier reaction to the drawer's contents. Inside were four fully functional proton packs.