Okay, this is my first fanfic (sheepish grin). I hope you who read it enjoy it. And tell your friends. And forgive the completely generic qualities of it. I'd love reviews, if you have the time!

Disclaimer: I do not own Mushishi. If I did, Vic Mignogna would be in more than just episode 14 =3

For as long as I can remember, I have been able to see small creatures that nobody else can see. They used to scare me half to death, always somewhere lurking in a corner, watching me, following me. My father was the only one who believed I was seeing something nobody else had the ability to see. He always asked me to describe them to him, and told me how much he wished he could see what I saw. My mother wasn't so supportive. She thought I was lying, trying to get attention. I used to ask the creatures to show themselves to my mother, but either they either ignored me or weren't capable of making themselves visible to someone without the "sight".

My father died when I was nine. By the time I was twelve, I had run away from home, across mountains to get as far away as I could from my mother, her boyfriends, and the village I grew up in. During my journey, I started seeing other types of creatures that no one else could. Bigger ones, more menacing. They brushed against me as I slept, watched me constantly. I tried to ignore them, but I couldn't really.

As I passed through a village of fishermen, I heard of things that had been happening there every three years, about a thick fog that people would disappear into when they sailed into it, and how their bodies would come floating back to the shore three years later. They said a man had passed through their village once who could explain this phenomenon to them. The man had called himself Ginko, a mushi master. They told me mushi were small creatures nobody else could see, that could cause people to come down with bizarre illnesses and ailments. I longed to speak with this Ginko, to have him explain to me about the mushi that so few people could see. But nobody seemed to know where he was.

A little disheartened, I continued on to the next village and then the next, until I finally found a village that had less mushi than other villages hanging around it. I decided to make that village my home. About a mile outside of it was an abandoned house; a cottage, really. I settled down there, and started my campaign against the mushi. I tried everything to keep them away, until I finally figured out that they avoid the smell of incense. Now, my cottage is perfumed with the stuff 24/7. I used to choke on the overpowering scent of it, but I've grown used to it by now.

I lived my life in some seclusion. I would hunt using a bow and arrows, and gather berries that grew in the forest surrounding the village. If I happened to bring down extra game some days, I would drag it into the village and sell it to the butcher, who was fair in his purchases, if shrewd. I would use the money to buy clothes, new hunting tools, incense, and seeds for a garden. I was overly cautious about avoiding the mushi, so they couldn't affect my life. I lived like that for five years. Now, I'm seventeen, and the mushi have found a way at last to affect my life.

And they way the affected me was by infecting me.

The feel of rain falling softly over me was the cause for my awakening. It washed over me in a light drizzle, feeling so good. I was abnormally warm, and this was like a slice of Heaven. Even the grass I was lying upon was pleasantly cool. I could just lie there forever and ever...

Something stirred in the back of my mind. Something highly unsettling. But why am I outside...? I didn't fall asleep out here...did I?

No. No, I hadn't.

My head throbbed dully behind my left eye. It was all that remained of the massive headache I'd gotten yesterday.

I opened my eyes, afraid of what I might find. I was flat on my back, staring up at a gray sky, the tips of trees, and the falling rain. This was wrong. Where was I? How had I gotten here? I hadn't sleepwalked, surely. I've never sleepwalked before.

I bolted into a sitting position and had to clench my teeth to keep from moaning as my head gave one final agonizing throb, then receded into numbness. Maybe the worst was finally over.

My cottage was some hundred feet to my left; I could see it through the trees. My feet felt abused. I assessed what damage had been done to them. Several nasty cuts. My clothes were shredded, and covered with something that looked sinisterly like dried-

I gagged, rolling over and vomiting onto the grass. How did I get covered in...


I was sitting on the porch of my cottage a few days later, my knees pulled into my chest, reading an old book about a tragic romance, when my head felt like it exploded. I screamed and my hands flew to my temples on an impulse. My head! My head was being torn apart from the inside! Oh, dear God, someone save me! Someone kill me!

My book toppled onto the floor, and I went after it, writhing on the floor, pressing my hands against the side of my head so hard it only added to the pain. My skull was splitting, my brain had exploded, my head was messed up! It was the worst pain I'd ever felt, a thousand times worse than any of my past migraines combined. Kill me, somebody, KILL ME!

I could have been like that for hours, days, months, maybe years. It didn't matter, I didn't care. I just wanted my head to be normal again, to feel alive again, and not like I was dying. When the pain finally dulled, it was dusk, and although my heart was racing and there was blood roaring in my ears and I was gasping for air, all I wanted to do was sleep. Beautiful, delicious sleep. My eyes couldn't stay open. I had things to do, my stomach was complaining from lack of food, but how could I remain awake when the darkness was just so inviting...?

Blood. Blood everywhere. I could smell it, I could taste it.

I held a knife in one hand, hacking something to pieces with it...more blood... it spattered my face, and I licked my lips. Oh, the sweet taste... to have more...

I leaned in and lapped up the blood flowing from the wounds of the creature I'd killed. Oh, it was sweet, delectable...to bathe in it, to drown in it, to stay in it forever...let me stay here forever...

When I awoke, I was nearly half a mile from my cottage in the forest, shaking from horror. What did I do...? I looked at my hands and shrieked. Caked in blood. My clothes were covered in it...

I laid there, shaking and crying and screaming. Help me. Someone help me. There's something wrong with me. Help me...

I stared at the map, calculating how much it would cost to send a letter to each of the forty-six villages in the region. More than I could afford. Maybe if I could draw it out...a letter every couple of days. But no, what if one of my letters missed him? I needed help sooner than later. It might save lives. I needed to send a letter to every village in the region. Today.

I upended my money box and watched, with a heart crushing feeling, as only a handful of coins fell out. Taking a deep breath, I counted the money. I only had enough to send a letter to three, maybe four villages.

The man who ran our postal service in this village watched me with interest. "You want something delivered?" he asked in a gruff voice, eyeing me curiously. I'd never set foot in his store before today. He may have never even seen me before.

I pulled out the forty-six envelopes, each containing a letter pleading to the villages' heads to send Ginko the mushi master my way if he passed through their village, each envelope sealed. I bit my lip and pulled out four envelopes at random, saying a silent prayer with each one that they would go to the village Ginko would be making his way through. "Just these four," I sighed, handing the man my letters.

He raised an eyebrow. "I think you need a considerable amount more than four letters delivered. How many did you come here with?"

"Forty-six. One to each village," I mumbled. That was probably a first in the history of this region's postal service.

The man looked me over shrewdly, as if assessing something about me that I couldn't possibly guess at. At last, he held out his hand. "I'll have your letters delivered, sweetheart, for free. But only on one condition."

I was so relieved that by this stroke of luck, that this man was so philanthropically offering to get my letters delivered, that I would have done anything. "Oh, yes, of course!" I exclaimed, handing over the rest of my forty-two envelopes and swallowing back a cry of relief.

"I've seen you sometimes, dragging deer to the butcher shop. You see, my buddies are big into hunting for sport. They keep the heads of their game and mount them on their walls. I have a bad leg-" he stepped out from behind the counter to show me. I flinched. His left leg was twisted gruesomely. "So I can't go out hunting. But I'd really like to be able to hang a hunting trophy like that on my wall. I want you to bring me a buck so beautiful it will put all my friends to shame. Can you do that for me?"

A hunting job? That would be a piece of cake. Oh, what luck! "Don't worry, sir. I swear that you'll get that trophy if it's the last thing I do!" I promised, shaking the man's hand enthusiastically and racing out of his store.

I skipped back home, trying to imagine what this Ginko was like and what I'd say once I finally met him. First of all, I needed him to cure me. What was causing me to wake up covered in blood was not something a perfectly sane person suddenly begins to do on their own. And those headaches were definitely not normal. Whatever was wrong with me had to be something mushi related. I was certain of it.

And then I'd have him explain to me exactly what the mushi were, and how they infected people, and why. I'd get him to tell me everything I've longed to know since as long as I can remember. I only had to survive through this until he got here, if he ever did.

There you have it! Will Ginko come to her rescue? I'll post chapter two when I get, say, ten reviews. Please! For me! FOR THE CHILDREN!