"Is that Sumire-chan?! It's been so long! You never come by anymore" Sumire smiled slightly at the bartender, Haruka.
"Hi, Haruka-kun. I'm actually not here for a drink, I'm just here to meetup with my brothers" she said. Haruka frowned.
"Meetup? That doesn't sound any fun. How are those two?" Haruka asked while leaning on the counter. It was pretty empty in the bar since it was still the afternoon but then again, this place didn't really see much business anyways...not that Sumire was going to tell him that.
"I'd say they're okay. Haruhito is Haruhito and Gin is...well Gin" Sumire said with a chuckle. Haruka hummed and nodded his head, before taking a look at the doors that had just opened.
"Oh, ask and you shall receive" Haruka said amusedly. Haruhito and Gin were walking over and Haruhito was the first to greet the two.
"Hey, you guys. Haruka, long time no see" He said giving Haruka a hand shake and Haruka nodded. Haruka turned his eyes to Gin who just in turn shot him a disinterested look.
"Why the cold eyes? We're friends aren't we?" Haruka said and Gin just rolled his eyes before muttering a short 'hi'.
"Thank you for coming you guys" Sumire said.
"Of course. Why wouldn't we come?" Haruhito said before ruffling Sumire's hair and she frowned.
"I really wish you wouldn't do that" She said while fixing her hair and Haruhito just grinned.
"I have to tell you guys something but please hear me out before deeming me crazy okay?" Sumire said and Haruka raised an eyebrow at her serious face.
"If this is a private matter, I'll leave you guys to it" Haruka said and Sumire shook her head.
"Actually, please stay. I need all the opinions I can get" Sumire said and Haruka nodded.
"So...the other day my coworker told me about the old shrine that gramps had taken us to once, the one that's in the forest" Sumire said slowly.
"Why would you want to go there? It's probably dirty and abandoned" Gin said with a look of distaste on his face. Sumire shook her head.
"That's besides the point. I heard that it was going to be torn down and remodeled but I just couldn't agree with that so I went there after my shift at work. When I got there, it was abandoned. At first," Sumire paused to look at her brothers and then Haruka who were all listening intently. Even Gin was listening, despite his uninterested face.
"It wasn't until I walked when I heard the footsteps and at first I thought it was nothing. However, when I turned around, there was a child...standing right there in front of me" Sumire explained and Haruhito frowned.
"What was a child doing there? Did you find his parents?" He asked and Sumire let out a shaky breath. She really hoped that they wouldn't deem her as crazy, well at least Haruka and Haruhito. Gin was a firm believer of 'If I haven't seen it then it doesn't exist', so he was sure to think she had lost it.
"He asked me if I could see him. I didn't understand what he meant but then he explained his story to me and I just wanted to-"
"Sumire, we don't have time for ghost stories. You of all people should know that ghosts aren't real" Gin cut Sumire off with a sharp look and she faltered before looking him in the eye.
"It isn't a ghost story, Gin! He said he couldn't leave the shrine and other people can't see him. He doesn't even get hungry. His parents had left him on the steps as if he was garbage to be taken out and left on the curb!" Sumire exclaimed before standing up swiftly, no longer wanting to stay seated.
Gin leveled her stare as he returned her sharp one with an even sharper glare.
"Sumi-chan...Ginny…calm down" Haruhito muttered and Gin glanced over at Haruhito before huffing and crossing his arms over his chest.
"You could have been hallucinating. Your work has been pretty heavy as of late, hasn't it?" Haruka asked and Sumire shook her head vehemently.
"I know what I saw. In fact, after that night, I went back the next morning and he was still there" She said and Haruhito sighed.
"So the simple thing to do is for you to take us to him" He said and Gin's eyes widened.
"Take us to the middle of nowhere? Where there's no one, and nothing? Yeah, no. That's a waste of my energy and my time" Gin said stubbornly. Sumire frowned.
"Gin, why are you so against this?" She asked and Gin just ignored her question as he grabbed his jacket.
"As I said previously, it's a waste of my time. I'm out of here" Gin said before leaving the bar, not even stopping when Haruhito called his name.
"Geez, what's his problem? It's not like it'll hurt just to take a look…" Haruka said looking at Gin's fading figure.
"I don't know" Sumire said and Haruhito just stayed quiet. He had a pretty fair idea of why Gin didn't want to go back to the shrine but he kept it to himself deciding that this problem could be talked about at another time.
"Welcome to Ishikawa Convenience" Shizue drawled tiredly as the doorbell rang once again, signaling another customer had arrived in their store, which meant another unwanted conversation she would have to endure.
Shizue glanced over at her coworker, Kirie, who was stocking the shelves and somehow she envied the girl. She wished that she wasn't stuck on cashier duty but doing stocking was also a pretty annoying task as well.
Two guys and a girl came up to Shizue with a basket full of things (to which she internally groaned) and she greeted them with a low, 'hello'.
"Do you think this will be enough?" The girl asked the guy next to her who Shizue noticed had strikingly similar features to her. She assumed that they were brother and sister. Shizue tried not to listen in on their conversation 1) because she didn't really care what they were talking about and 2) because it was rude but it was pretty hard to ignore the conversation when it was happening right in front of her.
"Well, since you said he doesn't need food then I guess this is really for that little girl, right? I think it'll be more than enough" The gray haired man had said as Shizue finished ringing up their items.
"Your total is-" a crash had interrupted the transaction and Shizue's eyes widened as she saw Kirie being pelted in medical supplies.
"Kirie!" She exclaimed running over to the girl.
"What happened?" Shizue asked and Kirie winced as she held onto her arm.
"U-Uh...I-I was carrying the box and I guess it was too heavy...I bumped into the shelf" Kirie said, her face red and her eyes glistening with unshed tears.
"Is she alright?" the girl and her friends from the counter were helping to pick up the fallen items and Shizue sighed.
"You don't need to do that. She's fine, just please go" Shizue said and the green haired girl furrowed her brow.
"But we haven't"
"It's fine, just go" Shizue said throwing a glare and the three slowly nodded before leaving the store with their items. Hearing a sniffle, Shizue turned her attention back to Kirie.
"You didn't have to do that…" Kirie said with a sniffle at the end.
"They would have only caused more trouble for you" Shizue muttered. Shizue was well aware that Kirie didn't do well around strangers, which was pretty ironic for the line of work she was in but if there was one thing Shizue was sure of, it was that Kirie was trying. She hadn't known Kirie for too long but they did sort of bond during their breaks.
"Let me see that arm" Shizue said and Kirie lifted her arm up for Shizue to see. Shizue hummed in relief when she saw that it was just a small scratch, nothing to be worried.
"Go patch yourself up, I'll handle this" Shizue said and Kirie gave Shizue an unsure look.
"Are you sure? This was my fault…" Kirie said and Shizue bopped Kirie on her head lightly.
"Go. And the next time a box is too heavy, or you feel that you need help, ask for it. You need to communicate" Shizue said and Kirie nodded slowly before thanking Shizue and going off the find the first aid kit.
After cleaning everything up, Shizue explained to the manager what had happened and the manager was extremely understanding and let the girls have the rest of the day off to which Shizue was more than grateful for.
She bid Kirie a short goodbye before heading her own separate way to her apartment.
Shizue yawned as she walked slowly on home. There was still a tiny bit of light coming out from the sun that was slowly fading below the horizon and it illuminated Shizue's way home.
Another yawn escaped Shizue as the gnawing feeling of hunger had once again stabbed at her stomach and she had begun to wonder when was the last time she had eaten. Could have been a couple days, maybe even a week? She rarely ate and mainly took supplements to keep her through the day since Shizue never really had an appetite for anything.
"What are you doing?!" A loud shout caught Shizue's attention and she felt the wind get knocked out of her as she was tackled to the ground. The sound of a car horn fading as it sped off made Shizue look around her.
A heavy weight on top of her brought Shizue back to her senses and she groaned at the pain in her back. The heavy weight, which was a person, lifted off of her and she was met with piercing angry golden eyes.
"What the hell is wrong with you?! Just cause yer goin' through somethin' doesn't make it alright to end your life!" Shizue was speechless. She was still trying to understand how she ended up in the situation and when she saw the people around her whispering and pointing at her she took another look and saw that they were on the sidewalk.
Oh geez, she had spaced out and wasn't paying attention to the cross sign.
"I-I'm sorry...I spaced out…" Shizue muttered and to her surprise, the man had became angrier. He had helped her up before giving her a deadly glare.
"Spacing out is not an excuse, have more consideration for your life and get some sleep or something. You look like shit" he said pointing at the obvious bags underneath Shizue's eyes. Shizue reached up to touch them before sighing.
"Thank you for-"
"Stop. I don't need your thanks. Just don't do that again you hear me?" The guy said and Shizue nodded slowly. Shizue winced when she rubbed her arm, it had gotten scraped on the ground during the fall.
"Are you hurt?' the man's face had softened up slightly and Shizue just nodded.
"I'm fine. It isn't something that peroxide and bandages can't take care of" She said and he nodded.
"Get home safe and don't space out again" he said and just like that, the man was gone. Shizue sighed.
This was one of the most tiring days she had experienced in a while.