I do not own Sailor Moon or Ghost Whisperer.
Echoes of the Past
Melinda was working in the back office of her antique store when her husband came in and surprised her. "Happy Anniversary."
"Jim!" she exclaimed. "Our anniversary isn't for another two weeks—but thank you still the same."
"Open your present," he said, handing her an envelope.
Melinda took it, looking at her husband with that what-did-you-do look. She opened the envelope and shrieked.
"Tickets to Japan?" she cried. "So soon?"
"Just in time for our anniversary," he said. "We didn't have a honeymoon after the wedding. I know Japan was a place you wanted to see. We'll be there for a month."
"I'd love to go," she said, "but the store?"
"We'll handle it!" Ned said excitedly, bursting in the room. He couldn't handle the suspense. Jim had told him what he had planned to give Melinda from the start and it was hard for him to keep quiet. "We'll watch the store, just as long as you promise to bring back tons of manga."
"Ned!" Delia scolded. Her face became softer as she looked at Melinda and Jim. "Don't worry. Ned and I will take care of things here."
"I knew I could count on you two," said Melinda.
"Absolutely,' said Delia. "Though if you could find some cool Japanese figurines, that would be nice too."
Melinda smiled. "I'll keep my eyes open."
Though Melinda took a Japanese course in college, she brought a Japanese dictionary and a tour guide with her. When Melinda and Jim were over their jetlag, they went to see the sites. They went to the park, the zoo, Tokyo Tower and finished the evening with the Kabuki-za Theatre. It was one of the best attractions of Tokyo. They were to see a play set in the Feudal Era of Japan, and the actors were dressed in medieval kimonos and armored suits.
Before the play began, Melinda saw a woman walk down the isles. She was soaking wet. Melinda turned to Jim.
"Jim, was it raining when we came in?" she asked.
"No," he answered.
"Then why is that woman all wet?" Melinda wondered out loud. She nodded to the woman she saw.
"What woman?" he inquired, glancing in the direction. "I don't see her."
"She's right—oh!" Melinda gasped as the woman turned back around, heading for the exit. Melinda saw something about the woman she didn't notice before. She had a large gash on her head, blood trailing down her face and onto her shirt. She was a ghost and Melinda went white, realizing she saw what no one else could see.
The woman walked right through door. Melinda jumped and followed her.
"Mel, where are you going?" Jim asked.
"I'll be right back!" she told him. She pushed the door open and found the woman talking to a man.
"He wasn't in there," she said, her voice distraught. "Where can he be?"
"Calm down, Sakura," the man soothed. "We'll find him."
As Melinda got closer, she saw that the man also had head injuries. "Who are you looking for? What happened?"
The couple gasped when they heard Melinda's voice. "You can see us?" said the woman.
"Yes," said Melinda. "I've been able to see spirits since I was a kid. Can you tell me what happened? I can help."
"Our son…he's missing!" cried the woman. "We haven't been able to find him anywhere!"
"What's his name?" Melinda inquired. "How old is he?"
"Darien," said the woman's husband as she sobbed into her hands. "He's just a boy."
"Excuse me, ma'am," said a young man's voice.
Melinda turned to see an employee of the theatre. "Yes?"
"The show is going to start," he said. "You should take your seat."
"Sorry I was…" Melinda looked behind her. The ghost couple was gone. "I…thought I saw someone I knew." She chuckled nervously and joined her husband in theatre.
"Ghost?" Jim guessed.
Melinda nodded. "I'll explain when we get back."
The performers put on a play about battles in the Feudal Era of Japan. Because Melinda had her mind on the couple she had met earlier, she could not get into the play. Jim on the other hand, seemed to enjoy the fights. It was so well choreographed that if someone had gotten hurt, Jim was ready to jump on the stage with his medic bag in hand.
"Well that was exciting!" Jim declared once they got to their hotel. "We should go again before we return to the States."
"Yeah, sure," murmured Melinda.
"Sorry, you must've been thinking about your ghost," said Jim, turning to her.
"Ghosts actually," confirmed Melinda. "Two. A man and a woman looking for their child."
"How did they die?" asked Jim.
"We didn't get to that yet," answered Melinda. "But they had head injuries, both of them and I think the woman had a limp.
"Hmm," said Jim, thinking of the many injuries he had seen in his career of a paramedic. "Car crash maybe? Gunshot, fall down the stairs?"
"Possibly," sighed Melinda, crawling into bed and lying back onto her pillow. "I can't believe it. Even in Japan, I can't get away from the spirits.'
Jim joined her. "Don't worry, Mel. Maybe they can be our own personal tour guides."
Melinda smirked. "Thanks, Jim."
Melinda couldn't sleep. She was having a dream, or a vision of sorts, of a car driving on a dark and wet road. It lost control and it went over a cliff. She woke up and went to the window. It was raining outside. The rain somehow made her thirsty. Taking her key, and some change, she went to the vending machines. She looked over the different and strange different types of soft drinks.
Pepsi cucumber. Hot Calpis. Mother's Milk. Coolpis.
"Coolpis?" Melinda murmured. "You've got to be kidding, me."
"It's peach," said a soft woman's voice. "It was his favorite."
Melinda turned and gasped. Beside her stood the rain and blood-soaked woman. Despite her appearance, she looked friendly.
"You should try it," she said, pointing to the strange-named soft drink. "It's delicious."
"I saw you," said Melinda. "At the theatre. Isn't your name Sakura?"
Sakura nodded. "Yes."
"Where did your husband and you go?"
"We left so your secret would be safe," said the woman. "We don't know what others would think about foreigners talking to ghosts."
"Thanks," said Melinda. "I think."
"Akio, my husband, is looking at other places where our son might be," said Sakura. "I decided to follow you. Tokyo…looks a little different from what I remember."
"Can you remember how you got hurt?" said Melinda, pointing at her wound. "How you died?"
"Last thing I remember was leaving the theatre," she admitted. "We were going home, but I don't remember ever making it home."
"Do you think you and your husband died in a car accident?" Melinda added, remembering her dream."
"M-maybe," Sakura answered. "I think I remember us standing by our car, but it's so blurry. Home was the first place we looked. Akio and I waited and waited for Darien to come, but he never did. We thought he might have died with us, but we would be together now wouldn't we?"
"Perhaps he crossed over," Melinda suggested.
"But wouldn't I…know? I'm his mother."
"Some ghosts are confused," said Melinda. "Don't worry. I will help you find your family. I'll start looking right away."
"Thank you," said Sakura and she gave a quick bow of thanks, her injured face looking slightly clearer.
Jim and Melinda left the hotel to have breakfast. As they walked, a few ghosts approached her, asking her to solve some of their cases.
"I'm already helping somebody," she hissed. "Take a number!"
They sat at a café outside and ordered their breakfast. "I've never had this many ghosts come up to me at a time in Grandview," Melinda complained.
"They probably have never met a living person that could see them," suggested Jim. "Have you seen the couple again?"
"I've seen the woman," answered Melinda, stabbing her eggs with her fork. "She believes she and her husband died in a car accident. Maybe if we can find the library, I can do a computer search for car accidents." She groaned. "I knew I should've brought my laptop with me!"
"Don't worry, Mel," said Jim. "We'll figure this out."
A group of girls were walking by Jim and Melinda. A tall brunette with her hair in a topknot ponytail was carrying a sobbing blond in pigtails. The blond was sporting a bloody nose and a black eye, and she seemed to be complaining of a hurt ankle.
"Think of it this way, Serena," said a fairer blond with a red bow. "You already have something blue!"
"That's so not funny!" screamed the girl named Serena. "I can't have Darien see me like this!"
"Darien?" mumbled Melinda, bringing down her coffee cup so fast that coffee slopped out. Had she been drinking, she would've choked on it. Wasn't Darien the name of the child Sakura was looking for?
"I told you not to stand so close to the doors, Serena," scolded a girl with black hair. "People can get killed in these things!"
"We really need to get her to a doctor," said a girl with blue hair.
"Where do you think we're going, Ami?" demanded the brunette that was carrying Serena. "I just felt like giving Serena a piggy back ride?"
Jim grabbed his medic bag and approached the girls. "I'm an EMT. I can help."
"A what?" mumbled Serena.
"Emergency Medical Technician," stated Ami. "A paramedic."
"Oh good," said the girl with the ponytail and she sat Serena down in a chair. "I've been carrying her for about an hour!"
"Did you say you hurt your ankle too?" asked Jim, handing Serena a wet handkerchief for Serena to plug her nose with.
"Yes sir," said Serena. "I—ow—ow—ow!"
"My meatball headed friend here is getting married in a month," said the raven-haired girl. "And we just came from a big sale for wedding gowns. But it's one of those door busters, you know? When the doors opened, Serena got elbowed in the face by one of the shoppers and twisted her ankle when tried to avoid being trampled by the rest of them. I told you wearing heels would be a bad idea, Serena!"
Serena shot an angry look at her.
"She got very lucky," said Ami.
"Yeah," said the girl with the ponytail. "I had to punch some people's lights out to get her out of there."
"My wedding's ruined!" wailed Serena. "I'll have to postpone! I can't dance with my Darien with my foot in a cast!"
"Your ankle has an inversion ankle sprain said Jim softly. "It's quite common. You must've rolled on the outside of your foot trying to get away."
Ami gasped. "That's what I thought it was!"
"Really?" asked Melinda walking up.
"Yes, I'm studying to become a doctor, like my mother," Ami explained. "She lets me use her medical books to study so I'll be prepared for med school."
Serena's nosebleed clotted and she held an ice pack on her face as Jim held one to her ankle. While telling her how to take care of her ankle, Melinda decided to get to know the other girls. She learned their names, they had just graduated from high school and were planning their futures.
"What an exciting time for you all!" said Melinda. She looked at Ami, nodding. "So, you plan on being a doctor. Serena here is getting married…the rest of you?"
"I'm going to study culinary arts," said Lita. "I want to own my own restaurant someday."
"I'm not quite sure," said Mina. "It's either acting, singing or modeling. I want to be an idol, you see."
"Most girls do," Melinda said and she turned to Raye. "What about you?"
"Huh?" mumbled Raye, blinking. She was feeling strange vibes coming from Melinda, not negative vibes. She knew she had nothing to fear from Melinda, but she didn't understand the vibes either. All she could gather was that Melinda wasn't a normal human.
"Oh, sorry." said Raye. "I uh…thought I heard something."
"What do you plan to do now that you're out of high school?" Melinda inquired.
"Hmm, well, for now I'm helping my grandfather at our family shrine," said Raye. "Then I want to study business."
"Well good luck to all of you!" said Melinda.
The girls all gave their thanks. Melinda decided to ask a question that was nagging her.
"Sorry, but you don't know of any car accidents that may have happened recently, do you?" she inquired.
The blank faces told Melinda that she shouldn't have asked. Then Ami spoke up.
"Well there is a highway that gets really dangerous when it gets wet," she explained. "It's out of the city limits. Highway 39 I think. Some teenagers like to play chicken on it."
"Thanks," said Melinda.
"Why do you ask?" Raye inquired.
"Er, well," said Melinda, "so we know which roads not to be on. It's hard getting around in a foreign city."
"Makes sense," said Lita.
"One more thing, could you probably show us where we can find the library?" said Melinda.
All the girls pointed to Ami. "She's your girl!"
After getting to know the girls and Jim telling Serena to keep her foot iced and elevated, Jim and Melinda finished their breakfast. They used Ami's directions to the library and Melinda began researching for car accidents. She couldn't find any that happened recently involving a young couple and a child. Coming up with nothing, they decided to follow Ami's tip about the dangerous highway.
After driving for a few minutes, Melinda saw Akio's ghost walking across the road.
"Jim, stop!" Melinda cried.
Jim slammed on the breaks and turned to his wife. "Melinda—you scared me! A simple, 'stop right here,' would have worked fine."
"I'm sorry," Melinda apologized. They climbed out of their rental car and Melinda approached Akio.
"Is this where it happened?" Melinda inquired.
"Yes," he answered. "I fell asleep at the wheel. It was so late and I was tired. We broke through this." He nodded at the barrier on the edge of the road. "It woke me up…but I died right when we crashed."
On the bottom of the cliff was Sakura, staring where she had spent her last few moments of life. She looked up at Melinda and appeared next to her.
"I remember yelling at Akio to wake up," she said. "I didn't want to believe he was dead. I began calling for Darien. He never answered me. I couldn't see behind me. He must've been thrown out of the car."
Realizing how they died, Akio and Sakura's wounds faded away. "Did you see a light, after you died?"
"I blamed myself for what happened," said Akio as Sakura nodded. "I should have known better than to drive this road at night. I remember seeing the light, but I couldn't go into it. I felt too guilty. Sakura didn't want to leave until we found Darien."
"Don't blame yourself," said Melinda. "You didn't know this would have happened. I searched for accidents on this road, but nothing I found was a match. Do you remember when this happened? It could have been years."
"No, we couldn't have been dead that long, have we?" questioned Akio.
"Sakura, you told me you have waited at your house for him for a long time," said Melinda. "You began searching for him. While you were waiting and looking, you didn't notice the passing of time."
"I don't believe you," said Sakura. "Do you mean to say…that Darien may have died and already went into the light?"
"I don't know for sure," said Melinda. "Please try to calm down."
"What's going on, Mel?" inquired Jim.
"They don't know how long they've been dead," said Melinda. "Maybe Darien has already gone into the light and if he had survived, he can be a man by now."
"No, that can't be!" Sakura exclaimed. "My Darien is only a boy. He had only just turned six!"
"She might be right, Sakura," said Akio.
"We met a girl today engaged to someone with the name Darien," Melinda said.
"You mean Serena?" said Jim. "You think this Darien…is their Darien?"
"We'll know for sure once we meet him," said Melinda. "We can ask about his parents. If his parents are still alive, then we know he isn't the right Darien."
"It is worth a try, Sakura darling," soothed Akio.
"All right," muttered Sakura. "We'll have a look and I'll prove to you that this man is not my son!"
Melinda turned to her husband. "You didn't happen to get an address from Serena, did you?"
TO BE CONTINUED