Sometimes Rei saw things she wished she didn't have to see. The man by the street corner who looks and looks but never sees. The glowing children in the air who turns to firefly lights in the dark. The bright, white woman who never stops dancing around the lamp-posts of deserted streets. The wondering shadows in the park that detaches itself and moves like water across the grass.

When she was very small, she used to stare at them with wonder. Then, it had not been so strange to her, ghosts. There was the time her hand went through a lady's sleeve when she had rushed passed, trying to inconspicuously touch the red silk that had look so vivid and bright to her eyes. There was the chill of a passing man who she tried to avoid bumping into too late, only to realize he was not a man at all. There was the crying girl on the playground she had tried to comfort, only to be teased about talking to air by the children who watched.

When she got older, she learned not to stare as much. She learned the hard way that she only looked like she was only staring into space to those who saw her do it. So she cast them glances as she passed by and only surprised herself when she was too preoccupied to watch where she walked. When her mother died, she had wondered for days why everyone was so sad when mother stood for the first time in months and look so lovely and radiant by her father's side. She had been angry at him for a very long time for never looking, for making her mother cry even after passing. Yet, perhaps it was when her mother's shadow faded and her father's back disappeared under the red torrii that she really hated him. She was still alive, and yet her own father treated her like others treated her ghosts.

Nowadays, there were only frightened, hesitant people who asked for her Grandfather's services. They came solemn and grave, stressed and perplexed, requesting that he exorcise the would-be phantoms and weeping voices from homes and offices. She never went with him on any of these exotic excursions though, not even when he asked it of her. She could not make herself go. It was the one aspect of temple life she never participated in. Somehow, no matter how malevolent, it had seemed one of the saddest things she would ever have to witness. A helpless tragedy that was painful to watch. Strange how she thought that, even after becoming a Senshi. After youma and monsters, and especially after her own death at the hands of Beryl, that she could still feel an overwhelming sympathy for the small menaces and unnoticed specters that preyed and lived off of the superstitions of the Japanese people. She feared Death a little more and understood it a little better than she ever wished to. The memories of their lingering, living selves were something she had always felt a great melancholy for whenever she thought of erasing these shadows and phantoms that lived on the sidewalks of her life.

She had crossed that threshold once. She had been on the edge of an eternal farewell, one she had once thought she understood when her mother died, but realized she never understood at all. Somehow, it always reminded her of the day Mother truly disappeared from her sight and from her life...


For sm-monthly LJ community challenge, concerning the deviantart picture:

spec- . deviantart . com / art / Ghost - 4544679