So Shines A Good Deed
by Rob Morris
The plans of a deceased madman had borne fruit, and what would come to be called The War Of The Horns had begun in earnest. Across the world, odd girls of various ages were killing people in numbers to numb the soul. Again, the schemer behind all this was dead, as was the girl who would have led these other girls. Yet some for alienation, some for payback and some just because it was fun, these girls were coming very close to lighting the fuse on the apocalypse.
But not in Kamakura. Partly, this was because for many years, no hospitals received the kind of scrutiny those in Kamakura did. The other reason was one born of superstition and legendry. These girls knew on some level that their queen had been brought down in the Kanagawa prefecture, and rather than declaring vengeance, they wanted nothing to do with it till their numbers were overwhelming. In short, anything that could bring down Lucy was something the Diclonii did not want to mess with. And the tragic part is, the power that brought Lucy down was one that could have saved them all, if given early enough. But the Humans who had scorned them didn't offer it, and they would no longer take it if offered.
There was exactly one of these girls in the entire Kanto region, and her major beef was her best friend's dog waking her up in the morning by way of endless playful licks on the face. Besides, government forces knew all about her and were in fact depending on her existence as a means to figure out strategy. She was safe, and would one day soon be the only one of her kind. One might think this would make her sad, but she and her own kind had never really gotten along.
Now, we join this special girl as she makes a purchase at a boardwalk bakery stand.
"Three of those, please."
The girl handed the merchant a yen-note far larger than the amount needed to pay for the small pastries, and then turned to leave at a good clip. The merchant shook her head.
"Oh no you don't!"
Darting out from behind her counter, the merchant, Ani, cornered the girl by way of a short cut.
"Trying to pass counterfeit bills, young lady?"
The girl gulped and was so nervous, her limbs were in danger of falling off.
"Nana wouldn't pass phony money-that money came from Papa!"
"Yet you paid and ran off-rather suspicious, don't you think?"
A voice came from what had been a hiding place.
"If it were counterfeit, wouldn't she have gotten change from it, or bought a lot more?"
The merchant was ready for this.
"She could just be nervous, or not very good at this."
Nana rolled her eyes and talked to the hiding place.
"I told you this wasn't a good idea."
"You there-come out and join your friend."
The girl in hiding emerged, and was known to the surprised merchant.
"Ani-San, the money is real. I just didn't know how to get it to you so that you couldn't say no."
The woman ignored the situation at hand and asked a question that had been on her mind for over a year.
"Are you all right, Mayu-chan?"
"The people at Kaede House took me in, and I go to a nearby school. Kouta and Yuka are very nice to me, and I always have plenty to eat."
A small figure walked out from behind Mayu and happily yelped.
"So does Wanta."
If, for reasons of propriety, the woman was hesitant to embrace the once-homeless child, she was much less so with the small dog, who knew her and made his positive opinion of her known.
"Oh, I've missed the two of you! Mayu-chan, why did you try this?"
Mayu took Ani's hand.
"You have to ask?"
"For bread crumbs? Stuff I would have thrown away?"
Mayu seemed ready as well.
"You could have sold those to ladies who wanted to use them for croutons, or as coatings for meat. On bad days, those sales could have made all the difference. But you gave me that, and then-that beautiful birthday cake. Please accept the money, Ani-San. I can't overlook a debt like this. Not when you kept me and Wanta alive long enough for things to get better."
This time, rules and protocol were not enough to keep them from embracing.
"You don't know how many kids like you I see, wherever I set up shop. You don't know how often I've wanted to do something, anything, but so many of them have been hurt so much, they can't trust enough to even ask for help anymore. You say you're in my debt? No, silly-I'm in yours. Helping you in the small ways I did helped me to sleep at night."
The tears were abundant and flowed freely and loudly. Just not from either Mayu or the woman nicknamed Ani.
"Oh, this is so beautiful! Nana is so moved by this joyous reunion!"
Mayu pointed at the weeper.
"That-is my sister, Nana. She's a little strange, but she's a good egg."
Ani raised a finger in the air.
"Umm-just how many young women live in that place?"
The two 'sisters' responded as one.
"That's really complicated."
Ani took the hint and returned the note.
"The bread crumbs, like the cake, were gifts freely given. As to the pastries you purchased? Business is really good right now, except for now in the mid-afternoon. If you two help me load and unload some supplies, we're all even, alright? Can you handle that?"
Nana's right arm fell off, but was quickly reattached.
"Yeah, we can."
Ani led them over to put them to work. Both had stories of a happier life since entering Kaede House, and she was overjoyed to hear every last word.
"Wait-should you call anyone?"
"Don't worry-they usually show up anyway. She gets upset a lot, and he always asks a lot of questions-but mostly we ignore her getting upset and we don't answer the questions."
Ani smiled and pulled out her cell-phone.
"In other words, you have to call your Mom and Dad."
Outside of Kamakura and the surrounding area, a great war continued. Inside it, three people celebrated the simple act of giving a damn about the fate of a fellow Human being. In short, they celebrated caring.