Tuesday, 07 February 2023 01:00

No Good Deed

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A Second Generation Whateley Academy Story

No Good Deed

by Domoviye


Calgary Zen Garden Temple
Calgary, Canada
March 23rd, 2016

The incense that filled the air calmed Emiko Mori's thoughts.

Breathe in.

The small fountain in the courtyard was a pleasant background noise that helped relax the body.

Breathe out.

She concentrated on her breathing, feeling her belly pushed the air out.

Breathe in.

She listened to the five other girls breathing around her.

Breathe out.

It was all background sensations. Her mind was clear.

Breathe in.

She accepted the noise, the smells, and even the occasional thoughts that rose in her mind.

Breathe out.

She didn't react to them, allowing them to fade away, leaving no impression on her.

Breathe in.

A faint bell told her it was time to end the meditation.

Opening her eyes, she allowed herself a moment to adjust to the light streaming in through the windows of the temple. The small room of the Calgary Zen Garden Temple was simply made. Her parents had tried to build it respecting the traditional Zen Buddhist temples of Japan, while accepting the reality of the harsh Calgary winters, and their limited funds. There were simple fake wooden floors, large sliding doors, white washed walls, large windows to allow in the sun with Japanese art painted on canvas acting as blinds as needed, incense burners sat in each corner of the room. Finishing off the look, there was a statue of Kannon a popular compassionate bodhisattva, in flowing robes and draped in sashes.

Next, she looked at the teens who were a little older than her own fourteen years. They either wanted to learn to meditate and de-stress or their parents wanted them to. It had taken a few classes to get them comfortable and listening, and she'd lost a few students who didn't find it helpful. The ones who stuck with her seemed to enjoy it and were helping her fine tune her classes.

“Time to talk,” she said quietly.

The girls stretched out any kinks they'd gotten. Only one of them was sitting on the simple pad like she was, the other four were sitting on a plump cushion or the comfy chairs that were available. How they meditated wasn't important, only the results.

While they did that, she went to a small table by the door where an electric kettle was keeping the water hot, and poured two cups of green tea and four of hot chocolate. Walking back she handed out the drinks, making sure each girl got her favourite.

Taking her seat again, she sipped her tea before beginning. “Now that we've had a chance to let go of some of our stress, the venting session can begin,” she said, smiling at the name the girls had decided to give to the talking part of the class. “Who would like to start?”

“Why don't you start?” McKenzie said. “We never hear you bitch about anything. You have to have something that annoys you.”

Blushing at the unexpected question, Emiko ran a hand through her short hair. The simple hairstyle was shorter than some boys, and easy to take care of which she liked. “Well, there is my sister.”

The girls leaned in, eager to hear more.

“She's doing stuff like sneaking out to go to parties and disobeying our parents. Since we share a room I know when she sneaks out, and I have to either snitch on her or let her do it and not tell our parents. But if my mom and dad ask me about it, I don't want to lie. So I usually end up with her angry at me for telling on her when I'm asked, and they're angry at me because I didn't tell them before I was asked. I don't like being stuck in the middle.”

“Can't you plead the fifth?”

“I can, but they keep asking until I give in.”

“Why don't you just lie to them and say you don't know?” another girl asked.

“I'm planning on becoming a Buddhist nun when I'm old enough, lying is one of the big no-no's. I don't want to get in the habit of it,” she explained.

“A nun. So you'll never date anyone? That sounds boring.”

Looking down at her hands, she wondered if she should try to get the talk onto them. She very softly shook her head, this was one way to get the girls comfortable and to open up, and they were honestly curious. “I can date, and even marry someone. I'm a Japanese Zen Buddhist, marriage and having a family is encouraged for monks and allowed for nuns. My family ran a family temple in Japan for four hundred years, until we came to Canada, and we want to do the same with this temple. So I'll eventually find a boyfriend, I just want to be careful about it and make sure he's the right guy for me.”

“Maybe I should try the whole waiting thing,” Jenna, the oldest girl said. “I've had three boyfriends and each of them has turned out to be a jerk. My current ones the worst, I think he's cheating on me.”

Happy to have the spotlight off of her, Emiko gently encouraged the girl to keep going.

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Cleaning up after the session, Emiko grinned. She'd been really worried that she'd make a fool of herself when she'd brought up the idea of a meditation class for stressed teenagers. She was a teen, what did she know about life and relaxing? Still she'd watched her mother and father teach similar classes, and she'd been taught to meditate since she was a little girl, it seemed like a good idea. And the temple could use the money.

Things weren't as bad as when she was a child and her parents had had to leave their family temple in Japan when she was two. The village that had supported it had dwindled down to a few hundred seniors, and there was no way her parents could support her or her sister, they could barely survive by themselves. Then when they'd arrived in Calgary, all of their savings from selling the temple to a hot springs resort developer had gone into buying land and building their new temple. She remembered plenty of meals from her early years that were just rice, a few mouthfuls of vegetables and water.

Things were better now. They'd even hired two more priests to help, but the monthly budget was still tight. So she helped out however she could, which so far meant cleaning up the temple, making calligraphy for her mom to sell online, and now teaching meditation. Her parents made sure half of the money went into her college fund, the rest went to the family budget. It felt good knowing she was helping out.

She was almost done mopping the floor when her mom, Chiha, came to the door.

“Emiko, can you come here? I have some good news,” her mom said in Japanese, standing by the door so as not to get the wet floor dirty.

“What is it?” she asked in the same language, leaning the mop against the wall.

“Jenna's mother called, she said her daughter seems much calmer since she started taking your class. She has several friends who want their daughters to join.”

Her grin somehow grew bigger. “How many?”

“At least six of them.”

“I don't think I could handle six new girls in my group. We have barely enough time for everyone to talk as it is. How about I teach another class?”

Her mom frowned. “Are you sure? You already do so much around here. I don't want your grades to fall.”

“I think I can manage it. And I'm enjoying it. The girls really seem to be getting help from meditating and talking without worrying about people gossiping or laughing at them. Lets try it for a month, and if my homework or test scores go down, we can end it.”

Her mom pursed her lips, thinking it over. “OK, one month. You really do seem to be doing good work.”

“Thanks. And this will be good practice for when I become a nun and start working here for real.”

“You work here for real already. And here's your first paycheck. It's not much, but you deserve it,” she said, holding out five twenty dollar bills.

“I can't take that! You already gave me my allowance.”

“Like I said you deserve it. This is coming directly from your class, and we can afford it. You're not a nun yet, go get yourself something nice.”

Emiko resisted the temptation for a few seconds, then she took the money and put it into her pants pocket. “Thanks, mom,” she said, giving her a hug.

“Now finish up here, then wash up for supper. It's almost ready.”

“I'll be there on time. I just need to finish mopping and put it away.”

Patting her pocket, she tried to think about what she should get. She usually had to save her allowance for weeks to get anything more than some snacks, or a little charm for her phone or jacket. Maybe she could get a nice pair of pants and cute shirt. It would surprise her friends when they saw her actually buy something on one of their shopping expeditions.

Turning back to the room, she let out a shriek.

A figure with greyish-green, rotten looking skin was kneeling on the ground. She couldn't make out its face, long greasy clumps of hair on its head hung down, touching the floor, hiding its features. A long, thin tongue the colour of dried blood flicked up the mop water, making it moan. It sounded almost orgasmic. The creature turned following a line of drops. She could see its neck, it was long and as thin as a coffee stir stick. It's arms and legs were skin and bone and it's ribs stuck out almost like a skeleton. The only part of it that wasn't painfully thin was it's enormous bloated stomach.

She realized she was looking at a hungry ghost.

Her mother came running in. “What's wrong?!”

Emiko pointed at the cursed soul. “There. W-we need to help it.”

“What are pointing at, Emiko?”

“A hungry ghost. It's right there, licking up the water. Dad needs to- needs to- exorcise it, so it can move on!”

Her dad, Riku Mori, and Hinata another monk, rushed into the room, wearing their black robes and rakusu, that hung over their necks looking something like a bib.

“Dad!” she shouted in relief. “There's a hungry ghost, we need to help it!”

“Are you feeling all right Emiko?” he asked.

“Yes! Can't you see it? It's right there,” she said, pointing at the ghost.

Her dad and Hinata walked over to where she was pointing, while her mom hugged her. They seemed to be looking closely, but they walked past it and then came back. She cringed as her dads leg passed through the ghosts head.

“There's nothing there, Emiko,” her dad said, kneeling down to look her in the face. “What happened to your eyes?”

It was her turn to be confused. “What?”

“Your eyes, they're like the night sky. Come with me, we need to get to the hospital.” He grabbed her arm and started pulling her out of the room.

Yanking her arm away, she pointed at the hungry ghost. “We need to do something about the ghost. It's hurting.”

“Emiko, there is nothing there. You're ill, we need to get you to the hospital now,” he said, pushing her out of the room. “Chiha, go get her health card and meet us at the car,” he told her mom.

She struggled to get out of his grip, but he was too strong. Unwillingly she found herself being put in the car. With no one believing her, she put on her seat belt and didn't say anything as her parents drove her to the hospital.

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Late that night

Emiko ate her sandwich, wishing she had another one. She'd missed supper and the wait in the emergency room had taken hours. Her parents hadn't wanted to leave her alone, so she'd only had a small bag of chips and a bottle of water from a vending machine until now.

“Mr. and Mrs. Mori,” the doctor said, “I can happily say your daughter is physically healthy.”

“But what about her eyes, and why is she seeing things?” Riku asked.

She was wondering about her eyes as well. They really did look like the night sky, a blue so dark it was nearly black, flecked with silvery dots like so many stars that seemed to glow. If she wasn't so worried about them, she'd say they were pretty.

“Your daughter is a mutant, and has just manifested. That's why her eyes have taken their odd appearance. It's not harmful, simply one of the possible side affects of manifesting.”

She noticed that the doctor was watching her parents very closely. He'd asked her a lot of questions about her home life, if her parents were overly strict, how they punished her if she did something wrong, if they ever hurt her, and finally how they felt about mutants. She'd told him the truth of course, her parents were fairly strict, but very fair and wouldn't hurt a fly, and they'd never really talked about mutants, at least not with her.

She now realized that the doctor was worried she might be in danger for manifesting. She almost laughed, she'd never even heard her parents raise their voices in anger. They showed their disappointent in softer ways that always  left her feel guilty for hurting them.

Her parents let out a sigh of relief. “Thank you,” her dad said. “That is a relief to hear. But what about her vision. That has never happened before.”

“I'm sorry but I can't answer that yet. I would like to run some tests to see see if there is a possible physical cause for the visions, but that will take some time. I've tentatively set an appointment next month for a mental health specialist to see her, they'll be able to diagnose any potential mental issues. Or it could be a part of her mutation, she might actually have seen something that a baseline human can't see.”

“How can we know if it's her powers?”

“I'd recommend setting up an appointment for testing with the MCO or the Ministry of Supernatural Affairs. They can properly test her powers, and might be able to explain why she's getting these visions. If you call first thing tomorrow they may be able to fit you in the same day. I understand they work quickly for new mutants.”

She watched her father rub his shaved head, in a mix of relief that she wasn't in danger, and fear that they still didn't know why she had seen the hungry ghost. She felt the same way. If she really was hallucinating, at least she hadn't really seen the horrifying figure. But if it wasn't real, what did that mean for her sanity?

“Excuse me,” she said. “Can I go into the hallway, I think I need some air.”

Emiko's parents looked at the doctor who nodded. “It might be best if I talk to your parents alone.”

Her mother handed her a toonie, “Go get yourself a drink from the vending machine, but don't go far.”

The heavy two dollar coin felt good in her hand, it was solid and real, something she could focus on. “I won't,” she said.

Stepping out into the hallway it was relatively quiet. Walking to the vending machine she wondered what her powers could be. She wasn't too worried about manifesting overall. Her parents were Japanese, they saw most mutants as a blessing, especially mutants who could build their incredible machines. She didn't think she was one of those. She didn't have any desire to pick up a wrench and start building a robot or jet pack.

“I'm cold.”

She looked around and saw a small boy. He was wearing pajamas and was all alone. “What was that?” she asked.

“I'm cold.”

She looked around for help, but there was no one around. She heard someone shouting in the emergency waiting room and a nurse ran out of a room heading for the commotion.

“Wait here, I'll go get the doctor, he can-” she stopped, realizing the boy was walking away. “Hey come back here.”

She needed to run to catch up with him halfway down the hall. “Where are you going? I was going to get the doctor, he'll be able to help you.”

“I need to go this way,” the boy said.

“Is this the way to your parents?”

“Can you come with me? I'm scared,” he said, holding out his hand.

She felt a tremor race down her spine, fear ran through her. The boy was probably sick or confused. If she let him wander away he could get hurt. “OK. Let's go to your parents,” she said.

Taking his hand she fought off a shiver. He really was cold, his hand felt like ice. She needed to get him back to his room or to someone who could get him some proper clothes. They came to a stairway and the boy went through the door, and started going down to the basement.

Something felt wrong to Emiko. “Um, I don't think we're supposed to be here. Let's go get a nurse, or my doctor.”

“I need to go this way.”

“You need to see a nurse so we can figure out where your parents are.”

“What are you doing wandering away like this, Emiko. You scared me half to death,” her mom said.

“This little boy nee-” Her voice faded away. The boy was gone. She hadn't let go of his hand and there was no way he could have gotten out of sight in less than a second. He was just gone.

“Little boy? What are you talking about?”

“I-I don't know.”

Wrapping an arm around her shoulder, her mom led her back to the hospital room.

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Laying in bed, listening to her sister snore, Emiko wondered if she was going insane. Why was she seeing people and things that weren't there. Did she have a brain tumour? She'd watched a TV show where a character had started hallucinating because of a tumour.

Or was her mutant power driving her mad?

She just wanted to sleep, but she was too worried. She couldn't even meditate properly. Sitting up she reached for her mala beads. Crossing her legs, she held the one-hundred and eight beads in her left hand, and gently grasped the first bead between her right thumb and middle finger. She took a deep breath and let it out. Her fingers grasped the next bead, and she took another deep breath.

She hadn't needed to use the beads to help meditate since she was ten. The hungry ghost and vanishing boy had left her frazzled and on edge. The repetitive and familiar motion of sliding the beads over her fingers helped, her worries faded away into the nothingness. Slowly her mind quieted. Exhaustion made her slump down.

An electric jolt seemed to go through her. She jumped out of bed, heart racing, certain something was about to kill her.

“I'm cold.”

She felt a child's bitterly cold hand grab hers. She shrieked in terror.

Nothing came out.

“I'm cold,” the little boy from the hospital repeated.

She tried to scream again, she didn't make a sound.

“You can warm me up,” the boy said, walking towards the door, dragging her along after him.

Emiko stamped her feet, slapped the wall, tried to make any kind of noise to wake up her sister. Nothing worked. She couldn't even hear her heart beating. Grabbing the door frame, with her free hand, she clung to it like her life depended on it.

“I need to get warm. You can help me. You'll make me warm again.” The boy yanked her arm. Her fingers were ripped from the door frame, it felt like they were broken.

Fighting every step of the way, trying to scream for help, she was dragged out of her family apartment at the back of the temple. They passed through the halls of the temple, she looked at the Buddha statues, pleading for help. Nothing happened.

They were almost at the small courtyard.

She saw her dad's shakujō, his monk staff, leaning against the wall where he'd left it when she'd screamed hours ago. In desperation she grabbed it, the ancient wood felt warm in her hands. The large metal ring at the top of the staff had four smaller rings dangling from it. as the boy jerked her through the door, the rings chimed like a bell.

Emiko screamed. Her voice echoing in the night.

The boy kept pulling her.

The rings of the staff chimed again. A sense of peace filled her. The ghost, she knew the boy was a ghost now, was confused. He was dangerous, he was going to kill her and may even take her shape, but he was to be pitied, he was lost and alone.

She began to chant the Tisarana, the Triple Refuge.

Buddham saranam gacchami
I take refuge in the Buddha.

Dhammam saranam gacchami
I take refuge in the Dharma.

Sangham saranam gacchami
I take refuge in the Sangha.

The ghost hissed at the words.

He yanked on her arm, trying to jerk her off her feet. It had no affect, it felt like she had a shield around her.

She kept chanting the mantra over and over again, shaking the staff with each word, keeping the rings chiming. She could hear her heart beat again. The fear had completely vanished.

The ghost had stopped trying to pull her to the fountain, now he was trying to get away. His face was twisted with anger, he hit her hand, kicked her, even bit her. She didn't feel any of it. Now she was holding him rooted to the spot, as likely to move as a mountain. He couldn't get away, he was trapped with her as long as she kept chanting.

Her father came running. He almost fell coming to a stop at the sight of her and the ghost. For a moment he was speechless with horror and shock, seemingly unable to believe his eyes.

He recovered quickly and began reciting the mantra of Avalokitesvara, the Bodhisattva representative of compassion. His voice was shaky at first, but it grew in strength as he continued.

She began repeating his words, still shaking the shakujō.

The ghost seemed to shrink, losing its substance. It's movements became slower, his blows weaker, losing the force behind them. Slowly it began to fade away.

With a final sobbing cry the little boy disappeared.

Emiko stopped chanting, she was dripping with sweat. Her body shook from exhaustion. “You saved me,” she whispered, falling into her dads arms.

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Ministry of Supernatural Affairs Testing Office,
Calgary, Canada
March 26th, 2016

Baby's Breath, the only magic using superhero in Calgary, smiled at Emiko. The smile was a little odd, since only the womans lips and eyes were visible under the porcelain white mask. “Well I can safely say you're a wizard, probably a Wiz-1, Herupa,” the hero said.

Emiko smiled back. She hadn't known she needed a codename when she came in for testing, and had picked the first one she could think of. Herupa meant Helper in Japanese, and it seemed right considering what she wanted to do with her life.

“What about my seeing ghosts?” she asked.

“Unfortunately that is hard to rate, because I don't happen to have any ghosts handy. After talking with your father, I'm tentatively putting you down as ESP-1, that means Extra Sensory Perception, as a medium and with a danger sense.”

She nodded, that made sense. “So how can I practice as a medium? I don't really want to have to deal with another ghost without knowing what I can do.”

“I can provide you some charms to give you a bit more protection. And I can tutor you once a week in magic, so you'll at least be able to protect yourself. For the medium ability, there isn't really anyone in the city who can help. But there is a school in the US that would be perfect for you.”

“I'd have to go to the US?”

“I've heard a lot of good things about Whateley, but I've never been there so I'm not the best person to ask. Let's get you back to your father, he's talking with the MSA man right now going over your options. He's got all the forms and papers you'll need to see if it's right for you, and if not there are other things they can do for you.”

Emiko nodded. Despite feeling better at knowing what she could do and why she was seeing ghosts, a whole swarm of butterflies were in her belly. She'd had her whole life planned out and orderly, just the way she liked it, now everything seemed so chaotic and confusing. It wasn't a pleasant experience.

Touching the mala beads wrapped around her wrist like a bracelet, she felt a calm come over her. No matter how much she didn't want to change, and no matter what happened, she would accept it and live as best she could.

Following Baby's Breath out of the office, she went to face her future.

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September 7th, 2016

Emiko sat in the grass, eyes closed, her shakujō resting on her knees. The whole day had been an overwhelming rush of unpacking, meeting her new Dickinson cottage mates, and learning about the school. She'd finally had to go into the forest to find some time to be alone and just let herself exist.

A tingle ran up her spine.

Opening her eyes she saw an ugly goblin jog past her almost close enough to touch. Jumping to her feet, she held her staff in front of her, readying a mantra if it tried to attack. It stared at her with beady, black eyes, then took off running.

A large gray cat came charging out of the bushes, followed by a tough looking girl in shorts and a t-shirt, wearing leather gloves and sunglasses.

“Did you see something run past here? It was probably hard to see, but it would have moved the grass and bushes,” the girl said.

“Yeah. A green goblin went that way,” she said pointing in the direction it had run.

“Thanks,” the girl said, and took off running along with the cat.

“Wait a minute!” Emiko shouted, running after them. “What was that thing?”


The End

Read 945 times Last modified on Monday, 06 February 2023 04:16
Dan Formerly Domoviye

Find out what I'm working on in and out of Whately, by checking me out on Twitter.


1 month ago
Nice link to Helsing.
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Dan Formerly Domoviye
Dan Formerly Domoviye
4 days ago
Thanks, I was hoping it would work.
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