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Empathetic Eyes

A story about a boy and his spirit guide

Empathetic Eyes

Not too long ago, in a city very like your own there lived a boy. One who possessed a very special gift. He was able to see the world around him and all manner of spirits which lived in it. Because of this he also had a close relationship with his spirit guide who took the form of black cat with both a blue eye and a green one. Always at his side she stayed guiding him towards the truth and his ideal self. Although they shared many great tales together this one in particular boasts great interest.
It was mid-summer and he was on his way home from a nearby park, walking through the shaded trees that he felt something calling him. Although he couldn’t explain why there was a path apart from his usual that seemed to stand out calling to him. As with us all such paths open but people seldom follow. On this day however he took this new road towards an unknown fate. With his kind hearted guide alongside he was lead to a large building that seemed abandoned. Against better judgment the boy entered to find out the reason behind this calling.
As he entered the lights slowly dulled and the atmosphere thickened. What was evening now seemed the dead of night. Looking to his guide for answers she answered him with a worried expression. This was not the world they were in mere moments ago, but why? Progressing further into the building they're breath became heavy and the decay around them seemed even greater. They soon found themselves in a large room with a small band of people chanting. As he walked closer through the darkness a lamp became lit to reveal a room full of monsters. Although startled at first he saw that they didn’t seem to mean him any harm so walked closer to this group of creatures and with each step the words to the chant became clearer, "namu amida butsu".

Taking a seat at a nearby table also occupied by a few monsters he tried to talk with them yet they couldn’t understand him. Suddenly in his ear he could hear a voice whispering, Namu amida butsu....say it....". At first he ignored it thinking it was his imagination. Then it called again, " namu amida butsu....SAY IT". Giving in he complied with this request. Taking a deep breath and calming his climbing sense of uneasiness he said the words, "namu amida butsu". As if by magic the once room of monsters turned to people. It must have been a spell of some sort, or perhaps a curse?

One of the nearby people approached him, " So you can understand us now? We were once people but became trapped in this place by a black haired woman in a demons mask". After a brief exchange of words the boy came to understand that these people were victims, kept against their will. He could feel that his guide was in agreement with him that something had to be done, there was a reason he was led here. The main problem here however was even though ten to twelve people had been taken none had any idea who the spirit was or how to escape her.

Just when he felt he was getting a small grasp on the situation the building began to quake and the lights flickered. Immediately everyone scurried in various directions seeking refuge crying, "she’s coming again! This time she will change us for good!". The boy and his guide took cover hiding behind a tattered curtain. A resonating echo could be heard throughout the room, quivering with rage, “you who dwell here cannot hide...this realm is my domain. It was with that that a hand appeared from the darkness, boney and pale with sharpened claws that grabbed one of the people. Kicking and screaming he was dragged into the darkness. Only the beaming eyes of something nefarious could be seen as his figure disappeared from the room.

Slowly the building began to stop shaking and the lighting returned. Those left behind were shaken and broken by these new actions. The boy urged them that they needed to stand together. No matter the foe together they would be stronger together. He went on to say, " In each of you there is a great strength, unknown to you it may be, but it is something this spirit won’t be able to face so be strong for your ideal self is beyond this place". It was something he was told by his father before when he was picked on. The ideal self is your true strength, you have simply to ask for it, to believe in it.

Although a bit untrusting the remaining people gathered to him, this was their chance as well. Many of them had been here for a long time, beyond the hands of time. They were spirits longing only to rejoin they're loved ones. This wouldn’t be an easy thing to do as the boy was trapped in a different world bound by the rules of his oppressor. Even still something had to be done.

A short while later while they were all formulating a plan the demon appeared. This time all the lights but one went out, the room shook and the walls cracked and creaked. It seemed as if the very ground beneath them would crumble. She was coming, coming for all of them, but what they didn’t know was this time she wasn’t alone. Along with her eyes beaming in the darkness there was another. Just beyond the lights reach there was another creature, eyes filled with hate, with anger, and with sorrow. It let out a horrid cry, an inhuman shriek that made their bodies quiver in fear. Sadly, it was not it shriek that they needed to worry about.

It lunged at one of the people, claws digging into them, its corrupted figure piercing into everyone’s mind. Instinctively the boy moved forward to pull it off. As he tried the creature swung back its arm tossing the boy against the wall. It was far too fearsome a foe to be dealt with so lightly. However, it is often in the hands of defeat that one grasps victory.

As the boy laid there, losing consciousness, his head pounding and throbbing that his guide’s eyes shined even brighter. His guide came to him and brushed his hand with her head and then disappeared. It was as she disappeared the her glow enveloped the boy. He felt his body lighten, his head no longer hurt. As he stood up he felt something deep within himself, they were one and her strength was added to his. Again he heard that voice, " namu amida butsu...namu anida butsu...you must say it". He ran over the creature again, but this time he wasn’t alone. Grabbing its arm he glared directly into its eyes and yelled NAMU AMIDA BUTSU, NAMU AMIDA BUTSU, THIS IS NOT YOUR TRUE SELF!

The creature cried out and flung itself back. In the darkness it was changing and it’s form reverting. The very creature that hunted them was himself a captured spirit, but the battle was not over. Out of the darkness again the demon’s hand came and it clenched firmly onto the boys neck. As he grabbed the demon, its mask did little to hide the glowing eyes behind it; its intent was his end. Even now though the boy stayed strong, even at such moments when you’re at your most vulnerable you are never truly alone. Pushing back the two struggled with one another, twisting throughout the room; the people still cowering, and recovering from what had been done to their comrad.

As they fought the lights finally went out and the boy was nearly pushed out a window. The woman held him there, nearly out, nearly into the abyss, the realm of the dead. The boy was worried, he was scarred he would lose, but even then he couldn’t let himself. He still had a family waiting for him, and these people here must be set free as well. Slowly as he was being pushed back the boy thought to himself, “there are people here for me, it’s not my place to lose!". With his will reinforced the boy glowed brighter, now twisting back the demon to where he once stood. The tides had changed and as the boy was about to release the demon into the abyss, to a new prison from this evil when the voice came once more. It whispered, “Once more...namu amida butsu, please forgive all that I have done...I tried....please". The demons eyes this time showed no glow, but rather tears, it was weak, but something was off.

It was then that the boy remembered how the demon had changed the people’s spirits, and how it had corrupted this one. He knew what he had to do. The boy took his hand and removed the demons mask and threw it into the abyss. After this the room calmed and the lights slowly returned. What once was this evil creature, this overwhelming evil was really just a girl, frightened and crying. It was the mask; it was always the mask, for no person is truly that evil. It had corrupted her as she corrupted them but now they were all free.

One by one the spirits disappeared, smiling and thanking him they were now free to pass on. The girl was finally able to rest in peace. The realm they were once stuck in had reverted; the power that grasped this place was no more. It was with that the boy noticed his guide at his side once more, she seemed pleased. The experience was frightening, but all people need help sometimes, even the dead ones. He knew to be strong that he needed to be kind, for it was the opposite that brought this place about.

Although it was now much later the boy returned home to his loving family, his guide ever at his side as he journeyed through life. There is always someone watching over you, even if you can’t always see them.

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