The kami no kami

Of all the creatures that exist in the realm unseen by human eyes, there exists a creature some believe is too good to be true: the kami no kami (髪の神) or "hair god".

Unlike the kamikari, or the "hair cutting spirit", the hair god is a creature that is hairier than a monkey yet is claimed to have bare arms and legs like that of a human child. What it does exactly is up for speculation. Some believe it is the creature which cases baldness and consumes this loss of hair, others say it gives hair to children it deems worthy to live, and most believe it is the spirit which makes a child become an adult through a gradual trial.

Even the most experienced mediums and monks rarely see the hair god despite the fact it isn't of even the lowest gods which leave many to think it is simply a myth. The longest and most descriptive account comes from a simple monk named Kai who supposedly beheld the creature while meditating in the woods, yet even his written account has seen the test of the elements.

'I stood up to see before mine eyes a spirit that looked that of a monkey yet too wild in thy fur. I walked behind a tree to gaze upon this creature better to find it indeed have a mouth for it drank from a gourd. This creature's arms looked like that of a woman and bare of dark hair yet found no signs of anything else womanly. It beheld me and my legs became stiff and without feeling. I woke up to find mine body striped of hair in all places and fur stolen yet my cloth and money remained. Mine advice to ye reading is to stay far from this for thou hope not to find.'

Where this creature can be found is unknown, though it seems to favor deep and ancient woods.

A look into Darkness

Humanity: truly we are a blessed species with a great curse. While the ordinary animal has no time to think outside of "When can I eat?" or "Where is food?", we are a creature that has a unique ability. That ability, my friends and readers, is the ability to create abstract thought. One such abstraction is darkness. Not the physical definition such as "the absence of light" but rather it's symbolic definition, it's poetic meaning, the impact it has on our abstract minds, and our religious or moral ideas. The opinions I express aren't entirely mine but rather the generalizations I have picked up from various pieces of media, culture, and observations I made myself.

It's symbolic and poetic meaning is generally that which most Humans have: darkness is unknown, foreign, strange, dangerous, even sinful. Here be dragons if you will. During the 19th century in a string of events most historians of the West declare as the "last land grab" in which the major European imperialist powers cut Africa into areas of control from the British, French, Germans, Belgian, the big powers of the time if you will while America was building it's little empire in the Pacific as a result of "Manifest Destiny" mentality and is notably marked with the Spanish-American War, the Philippines War, and the Indian Wars of the western frontier. These major western powers, primarily those of Europe, referred to deeper and deeper territory as "Dark Africa" in which most of the lush jungle and land was not touched by Western hands. The best example is the famous novella written by Joseph Conrad called Heart of Darkness, in which the main character recants a tale of him traveling into the Congo to find a dubious ivory collector. While examples of the piece will ruin plot points of the story, the imagery of the story being told at dusk and finishing at night while the man's name is spoken of without his true motifs and doings done shows greed in humanity.

But what of our minds? We see darkness, we acknowledge it, and yet we fear it. While it is typically in our nature to fear what we can't see, darkness has an interesting category in that we fear what is in it. Take, for example, our eyes. Only able to take in a certain area of the electromagnetic spectrum, our vision is actually very limited in that we need light. In darkness, we are blind and unable to see anything. When a single sense is eliminated, our remaining ones increase to compensate. A single stirring startles us, bumping into a table hurts more, we can smell and taste things more vividly, and even our supposed "sixth" sense makes us begin to hear and see things not present. Our minds begin to race: make sense, make sense, make sense dammit! As creatures of light and day, we have the predisposition to get tired with the night. Some of us even embrace the night as a friend, a companion, a creature that allows us to be at peace with our souls and minds. It's not too surprising to understand that for some the night is a time of sanctuary, salvation, even a thing to be worshiped. Though such people in a predominately Judeo-Christian or Muslim society might find such things with the devil or against the Creator, so little do we forget that it was by a star that signaled the birth of Christ or the miracle of the oil now celebrated as Hanukkah.

Why do most religious people find the darkness fearful? The primary case I've observed is that all religions declare themselves right thus, by default, their god or gods are those which reside in the sky and are beacons of light in a world of darkness. In nearly every establish culture and civilization of the ancient world, from the Aztecs to the Sumerians, there has been a god or goddess of the sun and a god or goddess of the moon. Some scholars believe that this duality might be the startings of the modern monotheistic religions in which the worshiped god is a graceful yet powerful being (like the sun) while the opposing force is more associated with lunatics and the creatures of the night (like the moon). In most religious stories, there is never total darkness. When Moses led the people of Israel through the desert, there was fire to guide the way with the fire being symbolic of the sun, or light, and thus Yahweh divinely guided His people. It is almost a universal idea that dark clouds or a dark day in a story is foreboding, ominous, a sign of danger. Again, this derives from the basic essence of darkness: the unknown. That which is foreign and wrong to us is dark.

What is darkness? Darkness is that fear which can't be explained, that knowledge and desire which can't be spoken of, and all things beyond our comfort zone.

The Best Fan Fiction, Evar!

"Well, it appears we have won the battle," stated Kakashi Hatake as he put away his Sharigan.

"Yeah, who'd have thought taking down Sasuke would be so easy?" replied Naruto Uzumaki as he tightened his headband.

"Is it over?" asked Sakura.

"Yes. Sasuke took his own life when it seemed all was lost for him. He took Madara with him though," Kakashi answered.

Sakura looked down at the ground as she tried to hold back her tears.

"Sasuke... you fool!" she spoke to herself quietly. Naruto placed his hand upon her shoulder and she looked up.

"I'm sorry Sakura... I couldn't keep my promise," he replied. "I failed you..."

"Naruto... it's okay. You did all that you could. Even when staring down death from Sasuke, Madara, Akatsuki, even Danzo, you never gave up... all for me."

", not just for you," he said. "At first it was just for you. I wanted us to be a team again, but that wouldn't be. With so much as stake, I stopped thinking about only you. Konohamaru, Iruka-sensei, Grandma Tsunade, our friends, their families, and everyone who died in the name of defending our village... I thought of them all. Sasuke wouldn't allow himself to be saved. In the end, he wanted to die more by his own hand than be saved by mine. I finally understand what Jiraiya told me long ago..."

As Naruto entered the village, still rebuilding after the attack with aid from the other villages, people stood in the streets cheering his name and Kakashi's as well. He stood before the very village that would've scorned him three years ago a hero much like his father.

"Way to go knucklehead!"
"Go Naruto!"
"Three cheers for Naruto!"

All of a sudden, a great rumbling shook the ground as Naruto and the rest of the Hidden Leaf Village looked above their heads to find giant robots coming out of a tear in space and time. One looked streamlined with glittery green trails jetting from it as it moved. One looked more cube like with a giant sword in one of its blocky hands. And the last one was more biological in structure and design.

"Take this! My love, my pain, and all of my sorrow! SHINING FINGER!"
"Eureka, watch out! Readings show that blast will destroy anything in its path!"
"Just you watch! I'm better than Shinji and Rae. I AM BETTER!"

"Hey, what's going on?" asked a guy in a black suit with a red shirt and green scarf hanging over his shoulders.
"Looks like an anime mecha fight," said a skinny man with a panda on his head.

"Hey! That's from Neon Genisis Evangelion! Oh, and that one is from the original Gundam series. And that's from Eureka 7!" spouted a man with nice hair, a lab coat, and glasses.
"Otacon, what happened?" said a man in camo coming out from under a cardboard box.
"I'm not sure Snake. It seems like some crazy transdimetional convergence is occuring in which time and space no longer have boundaries or even a sense of reality. This is like one of my Japanese animes!"
"Dammit Otacon, get a grip!"

"Well, looks like we'll be having more people than I thought," Kakashi replied.

So despite not knowing what was going on, everybody ate ramen and only showed real concern when strange metal creatures who yelled "Exterminate!" came raining from the sky and killing everyone in sight. Luckily, this never happened so Naruto can wake up after drinking bad milk again.

Memories of Life

And so here I sit
On valley's edge today.
The end is near, so do not fit
It's simply nature's way.

From Pole to Pole, day to night
The echoes ring quite well
I see the end in sight
And destined to heaven's hell.

I stand before the river
Ancient and long
And feel no spine to shiver
Only to hear the ending song.

Nobody wishes to pay the toll
To the aged ferryman
Yet I must, for inner peace
And to dwell no more on lan'.

And so I knock before thy door
To bid one final farewell
My travels have took me o'er
Like a hermit in his shell.

Memories of Life seep from me
Like a wave born of sea.
I'll drift on like foam
'til my memory no more.

The Lonely Medium

I often stay up at night and look at the ceiling. Not for fun mind you, but the fact that every time around this time of the year I can’t help but wonder could things have turned out differently before my birth. Why does it happen? What purpose do I have this for? Am I touched by the hand of the Lord or cursed by the spirit of the Devil? I hate not knowing. I hate this. I hate it all. Suicide comes to mind sometimes then I look to my left. I can’t leave her alone. Who am I? I know who I am, but the what keeps me up… especially this time of the year.

It started when I was young. Very young. I’m often told I played alone as a child. I had no friends, at least none to speak of, until I was maybe 9 or 10. I’m told I spoke to myself all the time. They didn’t know what was wrong with me. I didn’t know there was anything wrong with me. I knew I was different. Old people were afraid of me. My own grandparents always did a façade when around me but I could see in their eyes a fear. My parents didn’t fear me; they were worried for me. I wasn’t creepy. I wasn’t mean. I was never sociable to anyone except the ones I saw. My friends where of the realm of magic and spirit. My friends were ghosts. My friends were only noticed by me. We were alone together.

I remember my first friend. He was often left alone, even by the teacher, just like me. It started when I decided to eat lunch with him once, or at least once was what I thought. He knew how I felt being alone. He knew the adults couldn’t understand us. ‘Kids can’t be sad! Kids can’t be depressed! Stop imitating what you see on TV!’, we heard them all. He had a secret like me. After school one day we were together behind an old portable building which had been stuck due to the elements crashing against them. He held out his hand with a leaf in it and closed his eyes: it began to burn. I wasn’t afraid of this. I told him my secret and didn’t believe me at first. Starting fires with your mind is one thing, but talking to ghosts is harder to prove. That was until I learned something new: I could tell ghosts to come into me.

Finding ghosts is never an easy task. One would think a graveyard is an ideal place to find them, yet only one or two out of maybe a thousand graves had ghosts. No… a graveyard is where the body rests for eternity, not the spirit. Sometimes they go to wherever it is spirits go after my help, but for the most part stay here in the realm of the living. The most ghosts I’ve found are in common places: streets, factories long been abandoned, old homes, sometimes at school. One day the ghost of a girl came into me. She would be as old as my mother had she not died. It felt weird to have a girl inside when you are only 10. She was killed by her father in a fit of rage and was never tried for it. She wasn’t alone… many ghosts stayed in our world because they had such anger and hatred for those that killed them. My friend believed I could talk to ghosts now. Apparently my voice changes, my face morphs a bit, and the color of my eyes changed when possessed. I have never seen me when possessed.

I decided that I would become a lawyer at a young age, yet found that it was harder than I had imagined. I figured that talking to ghosts wasn’t an important skill but it was a gift… or my curse. It was not until I met Miranda that I knew what to become. She worked at a pharmacy when she was alive. She found doctors to be overrated and being a surgeon too gruesome a profession yet wanted to help people get better. She decided medicine was the best route. Several times she broke the law in order to give people the medicine they needed at a price that wouldn’t hurt their wallets. Eventually she was found out and was poisoned with her own prescription for her thyroid. Police filed it as a suicide from drug overdose. I wanted to become a private investigator. I wanted to bring justice to those who escape the system or were able to escape because of it. Some might call this vigilantism. I call it a living.

One Halloween night I was analyzing evidence when my friend walked in. He looked pale and upset so I asked him to sit down. He had come to tell me good bye. I asked for what. He told me he just died and came to say good bye to me. I wanted to ask him so many questions but he held no regrets. He told me where he was and wanted me to tell his parents he loved them. I shook my head. ‘No,’ I said, ‘You can’t do this to me. You were the first friend I ever had.’ And then what he told me then has been with me in my mind. ‘Death won’t separate us. It can’t.’ Some things we can never forget. His last words to me are one of those things. That night was the first time since I was a boy that I cried. When I found him the next day, he had burned his apartment complex down. I tried to find the cause of why he’d do such a thing, but to no avail. It was on November 2nd that I told his parents. ‘¡Dios mío ...! ¡Mi hijo!’ his poor mother yelled in Spanish among other things. His father hugged her and thanked me for telling them. I didn’t want to inquire why this might’ve happened to their son. Losing their only child was bad enough. They didn’t need some guy asking questions.

I couldn’t find any trace of arson, any faulty wiring, no starting point. The entire complex, for the lack of better terms, caught fire all at once. So many people died, yet he had no regrets.

So here I lay on my back, staring at the ceiling. Another Halloween passes me by. My wife sound asleep next to me within her dreams. I can neither thank God nor curse Satan. I can’t curse God nor thank Satan. I’m simply alone in my ability. I wonder if I am even Human sometimes, yet can’t come to an answer. Perhaps he killed himself for the very same reason I wonder if I should. If that’s the case, I should live long enough to find that answer.

I don’t fear death. I can’t. I fear its aftermath.