Ep 18 – A Day without Dog

INTRO: Mirai is now off the bus, due to the smoke in it. 

MIRAI:

(Still coughing) We had to stop the bus since a bunch of smoke was filling up. I don’t know what exactly happened but one minute Fox Ears was there and the next I thought I saw an actual fox! 

And the weird thing is, I talked to the bus driver about Fox Ears and they said they don’t remember seeing someone else besides me! How is that possible?

It’s like an actual Kitsune or Fox Spirit appeared before me. I believe a lot of fox creatures are similar. Mischievous, smart, and really beautiful. And well, master shapeshifters. But there’s no way that I saw one!

SCENE STARTS: (“Proserpina Bops” plays as Alina enters the cafe, greeting Drew and Jun.) 

ALINA:

Hey! You guys, I’ve got news— Oh, no Dog today?

JUN: 

Mom’s taken her for the day. It’s the monthly “Show Off Your Dog” Tea Party she goes to.

DREW:

(Snorts) Nice. I can imagine Dog must be having a great time. Whatcha got Alina?

ALINA:

Remember how I found the park? Well, I set up an alert for the website so that if anyone else comments on it, I’ll know.

JUN:

And someone responded?

ALINA:

Yes, get this, last night, someone posted a new comment that honestly sounded like a warning: To whoever tries to find this park. Don’t. It’s not what you think it is. A few years ago, I was tricked into coming and nearly died when two of my classmates tried to kill me with some kind of wild animal. I ran for what felt like hours until I somehow managed to appear back onto familiar streets again. 

DREW:

Sounds like us a few weeks ago…

ALINA:

Yes, but the question is, who were the two people this person met at the park? There’s no way it was Sam. Might be Terry. But that still means that more people have been in the park. 

JUN:

And let me guess, you messaged this guy.

ALINA:   

Correct! Seems like Jun has become very acquainted with our group.

DREW:

Wait, the guy actually responded?

ALINA:

Well yes and no. I asked for more information but they declined to meet me. But the silly person had their full name in their profile. One quick internet search and I found out where they worked.

DREW:

Oh, Alina… Guess I should pack a pastry to go in case we need to apologize.

NEXT SCENE: (The gang goes to a bookstore in the downtown area.)

JUN:

Okay, we’re here. What does this person look like?

ALINA:

Oh! That’s them right there! Good timing as well, looks like they’re going on a break.

DREW:    

All right Alina, let’s see your journalism skills at work then.

ALINA:

Hmph, watch and learn.

SOUND: (They walk up to the person.)

ALINA:

Excuse me, would you mind if I asked you some questions?

BULLY:

Look, I just started my break, my co-workers would be more than happy to help with any questions you have—

ALINA:

Oh no, actually this is about the post you wrote on a forum yesterday, about the park? I have a few more questions if you wouldn’t mind answering them!

MUSIC: (“Funky Chicken” plays.)

BULLY:

Wait, Jun?

JUN:

Oh no, I can’t take any more strangers knowing my name…

BULLY:

Why ask me about the park when you’re hanging out with the very person who tried to kill me there?

DREW:

Wait, what?

JUN:

Hold up, I just found out about the park like a month ago. And even then, I don’t know you! Why would I want to kill you?

BULLY:

Hello? It’s me? We went to college here together. Look, I know our relationship sucked but how could you possibly forget me that easily?

JUN:

Uh, I didn’t go to school here. I went out of state. You must be talking about my brother. 

BULLY:Of all the dumb cliches—  Let me guess you’re twins and you somehow have a similar name?

JUN:

I’m Junpei. My brother’s name is Junichi. We both simplified, but I thought he went by Juni… It was easier. Look, (pulls out his wallet) uhh a photo of my family. 

ALINA:

Oh my god, you really are a twin. Then, that probably means Sam was referring to your brother last time, not you! How did you not connect that together?

JUN:

I don’t know who my brother knows! And you have to admit, even with a twin, it’s weird when someone approaches you and just starts yelling your name at you!

ALINA:

Ugh anyways, tell us more. You said your relationship sucked with Junichi. Why? 

BULLY:

Uhh, do I really have to say it? 

DREW:

Aw, come on it can’t be that bad, what, did you like bully the guy or something? 

SOUND: (Awkward silence.)

DREW:   

Oh.

ALINA:

Come on, really? That’s pretty pathetic. 

BULLY:

He just… flew through life way too easily! H-he needed to be ruffled up a little bit. He was always hogging the girls and acing all of his tests despite reading comic books in class. 

ALINA:

So you bullied him for being better than you and then he suddenly had enough and tried to kill you? 

JUN:

Whoa okay, my brother and I might not be that close, but even then I know he wouldn’t do anything like that.

ALINA:

Well… who else was he with at the park? 

BULLY:

Who else but that Jessica girl he always hung out with. 

ALINA:

Jessica…

DREW:

It’s that name again… Oh boy. Hey, I think we’re slowly getting to the big picture. 

BULLY:

Yeah, she used a random phone number and tricked me into meeting her somewhere and the next thing I know, I’m in a park and I’m running for my life.

DREW:   

Classic, so uh maybe Jessica’s the main culprit?

JUN:

Maybe… but wasn’t Dog looking for her? She said Jessica was a friend of hers and Sam’s. 

BULLY:

You guys know someone named Dog?

ALINA:

Uh y-yeah, it’s a… pet name! Uh, anyways can you d-describe the animal you saw?

BULLY:

Eh, I mean, it was kinda hard to see at night, but it was like uh, big creature… like maybe a bear or a lion. You know, I was kinda more focused on running away from it, not really checking to see what it was.

ALINA:

Fair enough, I guess that makes sense. Uh, I think we got everything we needed. Just, I don’t know, get some therapy, uh, forget about what happened in the park. Oh, and stop bullying people. I mean, huh, thank you for the info! Drew, g-give them the pastry. Uh, here you go. Bye!

BULLY:   

Thanks? I guess…

SOUND: (They all leave the downtown area to a quieter neighborhood.)

JUN:   

So what now?

DREW:

Uh, shouldn’t we request to take down the forum? You know, in case other people try and find the park as well? It is a really bad idea to go there if you don’t know what to expect.

ALINA:

Oh yeah, I’ll look into that… But also, what do you guys think the creature he saw was?

DREW:   

It could be literally any kind of boogeyman!

ALINA:   

True, got any ideas?

JUN:

If my brother really had something to do with this, then… I guess most likely the creature had to be Japanese as well right?

ALINA:

Oh boy, well if we know anything about Japanese creatures, they’re sure to be interesting…

JUN:

There are some big creatures in Japan… Just to name one off the top of my head, maybe the Nue?

DREW:

Well, that doesn’t sound scary.

JUN:

It’s basically like Japan’s own chimera creature. It’s got the face of a monkey, body like a tiger, and a tail that’s a snake’s. 

DREW:

Yup, definitely a chimera. 

ALINA:

What’s that again? 

DREW:

You know, just an animal with multiple different body parts. Like JD! However, the Greeks have a very specific creature that they refer to as the Chimera. It has the heads of a lion, a goat, and a snake on its body. 

ALINA:

Uh, that’s too many heads on one creature.

JUN:

Didn’t you see Cerberus all the time in the park? Because he had more than one head.

ALINA:

That’s different! At least they were all the same animal!

DREW:

Anyways, I’m assuming this Nue is bad news?

JUN:

Yeah, definitely a boogie man type. They bring bad dreams and illness if it preys on you.

SOUND: (The rain takes over as someone whimpers under the thunder. A sound of a bird unnaturally chirps in the background.)

There’s a famous story of a Japanese Emperor becoming ill after having nightmares day after day. They soon discovered that there was a dark cloud appearing every night where the Nue was hiding and giving the emperor bad dreams. They were eventually able to save the emperor when a skilled samurai appeared with a legendary bow and shot the Nue out of the clouds.

SOUND: (An arrow shoots out into the air and the chirping stops. The rain switches to a stream.)

The body was said to eventually be sent away by the stream and was then dismembered and buried in a small village.

ALINA:

Wait, it died? Then how could it be the creature from that night?

JUN:

I mean, there’s probably more than one I would assume?

DREW:

There’s gotta be more than one. Unless it’s like the Beast of Gevaudan or something.

ALINA:

I guess… I-is there any reason, in particular, you’d think this is a Nue, and not something else? 

JUN:

Well, it’s one of the most well-known creatures in Japan, so my brother would definitely know about it. And honestly, any other beast that would be big enough to be mistaken as a wild animal would either be a dragon or snake and those things slither.

ALINA:

Okay, well, it’s definitely not those guys then…

JUN:

I mean we’ve got some dogs and fox types as well but I don’t think those are big enough to seem like a bear.

DREW:

So the Nue really is the only possible creature.

JUN:

There’s one more thing about the Nue. It has a very distinct call. But I don’t think he said anything about that. 

ALINA:

W-wait, what does it sound like?

SOUND: ( a bird-like call rings out.)

JUN:

Like one of those birds that call at night. It’s why it’s called Nue. The characters to spell it in Japanese are night and bird. 

DREW:

Ugh, I know exactly which ones you’re talking about. They’re the ones that never let me sleep right before I have morning shift.

ALINA:

Regardless, this is a start. Let’s take our findings and talk to JD about them. Maybe they know something about that night.

JUN:

What about Dog?

ALINA:

This is gonna sound bad, but… Should we tell her about this? I mean, she seemed really excited to find Jessica again. 

JUN:

Wait, we said we would all work together!

DREW:

Yeah, but how do we explain to her that her friend attempted murder?

JUN:

I— don’t know.

ALINA:

I’m not saying we hide this from her, I’m saying we should get all the information we can about this situation, so when we present this to her, we’re not just outright accusing her friend with no evidence.

DREW:

Yeah and, I think there’s also another big question we need answered here. Jun, how does your brother know about the park? And even more, how is he able to control a creature?

JUN:   

I… I don’t know!

ALINA:

Okay, okay. We’re meeting again soon to talk with Terry anyways. Let’s… deal with that first and then we can figure out what’s up with this Jessica person next. 

DREW:

How did we end up with such a long to-do list…

OUTRO: (We return to Mirai. “Proserpina Bop” plays as the sound of the bus comes back in. Mirai is back on the road.) 

MIRAI:

Sooo is this the whole tie in with Jun-nii and this story? That he’s a possible helper in attempted murder and he ran away to deny any consequences?! There’s no way Jun-nii could possibly be in some scheme to murder somebody, even if that person was a bully. I’m betting it’s all on this mysterious Jessica. Regardless, if this story isn’t actually a story… then are creatures real?

FOX EYES:

Well of course we are.

MIRAI:

AHHH! 

Lavender Evening Fog

[Iphone ringtone]

A-G [on phone]: Hello. 

[Pause] 

Yes, this is Dr. Anna-Georgina Plume.

[Pause] 

Oh, the carousel company. Yes, I can see how, given the report of events, you would want to confirm.

[Pause] 

So, yes, Daryl did come out to service the carousel on [date]

[Pause]

Yes, he is absolutely correct, I do live in an old school with the carousel in the gymnasium.

[Pause]

I don’t know if I would describe the building as haunted… but I can understand why he might reach that conclusion, so I would not chastise him for embellishing

[Pause]

Yes, that is exactly what happened, down to the holy water and the whole thing spinning backwards.

[Pause]

He’s your employee, I don’t know why he had holy water in his truck. Something about Larm

[Pause]

Larp. That’s what it was. At any rate. I was highly satisfied with the service Daryl provided. The carousel isn’t fixed, per se, but he went above and beyond his remit as carousel repair technician, and for that I am incredibly grateful.

[Pause]

Thank you. Have a wonderful day.

[Carousel music outro plays under the next portion, only backwards]

Lavender Evening Fog is a Haunted Fiction podcast with new episodes on the last day of each month. Find it wherever you get your podcasts.

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