Jigoku: Last Chance!
By Laura, age 14, California
Prologue, Part II
August 18, 1913 (Continental Year)
The illuminated colors of the tent glistened in the afternoon sun as the gentle wind blew past the trees waving their leaves, making them ride through the breeze. A group of young children ran along the dirt road kicking the dirt and occasionally coughing from the dust. Klutzy, a young girl A klutzy young girl ran right into a wooden post and fell on her behind with a loud thud, wincing from the impact. Small tears formed in the corners of her eyes, and she immediately stood up and kicked the post with all her might. The children behind her followed and laughed as they saw what had happened.
"It's not funny!" The little girl jumped in pain from the kick and fell back down with a pout on her lips.
"Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow, Ow," she repeated to herself in soft mutters, as her friends made it down the hill and ran to her side.
"H-hey!" Her small hands moved furiously across her face trying to get rid of the flyer that flew and stuck to her. She finally got it off, crumbled it up and threw it on the ground. One of the small boys in the group saw the crumbled piece of paper land near his bare feet and picked it up. He unfolded it and read it aloud.
"Come one and all to Le Cirque Lunar!"
"Le Cirque Lunar?" they all chimed at once. Each of them looked at the others, then at the young boy holding the paper, and they smiled.
"Let's go!" The group of children smiled and ran down the road and stopped in front of an enormous decorative tent. Leaves blew by in swirls around the tent as the children stared in awe. The glistening colors of gold, purple and green sparkled in the sunset. The children followed the crowd inside and took their seats in the front rows.
An adult's head popped out of the red folded stage curtains, and her eyes scanned the crowds of people. "Awwww, they're so innocent and so young," Sora sighed, her sparkling eyes still scanning the crowd made up of more children than adults. "Oh, how I wish I were young again. I'd do anything to be full of youth and beauty again, just like I was a few years ago!" She twirled around in a dreamlike state. She had an unusual audience staring at her, a little curious and at the same time looking a bit pompous.
"Yeah, yeah!" The girl giggled and smiled a devilish smile.
"What is it, Sora? Aren't you supposed to be at Central Command Station, or whatever that place is called? C'mon, SoSo, you're the First Captain, and you're supposed to be leading all of the squads, since you're second in command, instead of messing around at the Circ!" Pink haired Yui pranced around in circles in her pixie-like manner. "Why the hell are we covering here anyway? The information we're looking for isn't here, and why did we have dress up like circus people? SoSo? Do you even know what you're doing in your high ranked status?" She cocked her head to the side and smiled mockingly.
Sora balled up her hands into fists by her sides, gritted her teeth, and showed her flaming eyes. "Yui!"
"Uh-oh." Yui's eyes turned to those of innocence, and then grinned. "What's up with the look, SoSo?! You're always so serious! I guess you needed some vacation time away from Mr. Bossy Boss, huh?" She smirked and twirled around, her black dress folding and moving gracefully along with her.
"Five more minutes 'til showtime!" the intercom buzzed.
"Gotta go, SoSo!" With that, Yui pranced off, her dress jumping up and down as she did. "Oh boy, this is so aggravating!" Sora sighed and slumped down into a chair.
"Ikaku overworking you again? No wonder your entire spiritual vibe felt differently to me." Jigoku appeared behind her. She was performing as the ringmaster tonight. A black circus hat with a red stripe was placed upon her head, and a court jester's mask covered the face of the fifteen year old. Sora fell silent, becoming serious once again, as she stood up, grabbed her coat, and began to walk away. "Good luck, Ji-Shinigami." With that she left.
The crowd went silent as the music blasted around the tent. One spotlight shined its light on the ground, caged tigers roared and scratched the metal bars of their cages, and the ringmaster walked through the folds of the curtains towards center stage. "Welcome to Le Cirque Lunar!" Jigoku shouted to the crowd, as the children cheered with glee on seeing fountains of fire and sparklers turn on.
Giant steps could be heard in the darkness and acrobats began to fly across the top of the tent, as elephants marched in line with a few clowns on top of them. Lines of tired and amused people left the tent that night.
The midnight moon glistened across the deep dark sky. Jigoku sat on a wooden crate staring at the sparkling stars. Her mask lay beside her, her eyes lit blood red with the moonlight. The soft breeze of the night blew by, gently moving her black spiky hair.
"JiJi? It's getting late. You were a real downer tonight." Yui's small shadow followed behind her four foot figure. "Miki's kinda worried about you. Say, why not prank IchIch tonight?! You know we did that when we were little. Let's try it again!"
"Egh, um, kay" Yui left and went back into the bus.
"Get rid of all this stuff. There's no need for it." Jigoku stood up and looked at Kiyoko, then walked away. Kiyoko clapped her hands, spread them out as a bright blue light engulfed the area, and got rid of the animals and tent.
"Nice work, mage!" Ichiro smirked and walked into the woods. "My name's Kiyoko! K-I-Y-O-K-O! Kiyoko!" She threw her arms in the air and ranted on. Snickers could be heard in the background, as Yui and Jigoku fell to the ground laughing.
"Miki!!! Your two brats are going haywire again!!" Kiyoko stormed off into the bus. "Hey! Hey! Calm down, mage!" they yelled in unison.
It was rare seeing a mage around these parts of the land, but Kiyoko was an exception. She is called many names - magician, wizard, witch. Most use a staff or a wand to cast spells, but Kiyoko relies in her skill in alchemy. Most mages from her land are nobles, but her family was shunned and considered a mage of dirty blood.
"Jigoku! Yui! Time to get in! We're heading back ... and get Ichiro as well!" Miki's voiced could be heard within the bus. "Ya got it!" they both yelled in unison once again.
They made their way into the woods, shouting Ichiro's name. It began to get pitch black. Thorns tearing at their clothing and growls from the tigers that escaped could be heard within the shadows. As Yui tripped and fell, she felt a strong arm around her. Ichiro smirked and walked through the woods, able to see with his catlike eyes.
"Come here, Kitty Kitty Kitty," he said with a smug smirk on his face. Jigoku jumped out of the trees behind him and landed on her feet and hands, glaring at him. She stood up and walked in front of him, making her way through the woods and into the open area.
"Egh, egh, egh." She had her mouth opened in surprise and her finger pointing.
"What is it, Kitty?" Ichiro walked up behind her with a dizzy Yui in his arms. Yui looked at what Jigoku was pointing at and she noticed the bus wasn't there - it was driving off into the distance.
"I told you to hurry, didn't I?!" Miki shouted through the driver's window.
Kiyoko opened the window in the back and stuck her tongue out at them. "You'd better run!!" She happily waved them goodbye.
"Hey! Wait up!" The trio began to sprint off after the bus. Kiyoko smirked and created a hole on the dirt road behind the bus. "Kiyoko!" they cried, as her voice cracked the silence of night with taunting laughter.