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Author Topic: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave  (Read 6431 times)

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Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« on: December 21, 2015, 11:58:40 PM »
Welcome! I finished this a little while ago but never got around to sharing it. This story is called Anzu: A Friend From the Grave, or Anzu for short.

Synopsis: Anzu focuses on the lives of  22 year old Giuseppe Himura and a mysterious 17 year old girl he meets in an abandoned church named Anzu. After spending the night with her in the church, Giuseppe learns that Anzu is dead, and is merely a ghost stuck in the mortal world, unable to pass on properly. A friendship forms between the two, who have shared similar tragedies in their lives, as they learn about each other, themselves, and about life itself.

Genre: Comedy, drama, some slice of life elements.

It's a long read, but I hope someone likes it!  :clapping:

Fallen Apricots
It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Sapporo, or at least it was for all but one man who stayed in his apartment and didn't even bother to open the blinds after waking up. That sorry, sorry man is Giuseppe Himura. If you were to look upon his frizzy, curly mess of a hairstyle, you'd weep for his lack of care and grooming. If you were to look into his dark, baggy eyes, you'd weep for his criminally poor sleeping habits. If you were to look through his closet, only to find shirts and shorts, you'd weep for his savagely disgusting sense of fashion. The truth is, Giuseppe is just a normal, working man like everyone else. And today, he had no reason to be happy. He promised to visit his father today, early in the morning. In prison.

Giuseppe drove all the way out to the prison for what amounted to a 45 minute drive. When he got in and sat down behind the glass barrier between him and his father, he immediately wanted to get out.

Giuseppe: Hey. How are you holding up?

Nori Himura, Giuseppe's father, smiled at his son.

Nori: I'm doing alright. What about you?

Nori's face was scarred with wrinkles. His hair was straight and neat unlike his son's, though it was kept at a short length. He was a fairly muscular man, and he had a gentle smile.

Giuseppe: I'm alright I guess.

Nori: Make any friends lately?

Giuseppe: No...

Nori: Well, you know, friends will help you get through tough times in life. It's always good to have some friends. You should go out more. You're young, you're handsome, and you've got your whole life ahead of you still. 22 years old is the prime of a man's life, my son.

Giuseppe: Look, please stop calling me that. I hate it when you call me your son.

Nori's smile turned into sadness.

Nori: I know you can never forgive me. But I swear on every vein in my body that I....I love you deeply.

Giuseppe: So did Mom...

Nori: Just....just promise me you'll make some friends, okay? Just go out into the world. Laugh, cry, get angry, get jealous, fall in love, accomplish your dreams. Don't let my mistakes stop you from being you.

Giuseppe: I'll try.

Giuseppe left the prison, happy he no longer had to look his father in the eye. Giuseppe's mother, Maria, was a beautiful woman from Italy. She was the one who gave him his last name. She met Nori when Maria moved to Japan to pursue work opportunities in Hokkaido, and the two would have a child together in due time. But, as there are all kinds of flowers on the Earth, there are all kinds of fathers as well.

Giuseppe returned home and spent most of the day watching T.V., attempting and failing at continuing his artwork, and listening to the 70's hard rock records his mother had given him when he was 12. On this day, however, Giuseppe couldn't shake his father's image out of his head. He had photos of his mother, himself, and his father laying around the house. Even though they had his mother in them, he didn't believe his father deserved a place in his home. He began taking the photos and ripping him out of them, putting the ripped sections into the garbage. When his fit of resentment subsided, he grabbed his phone and keys and took out the garbage. By now, the sun was close to setting. Even someone as miserable as Giuseppe could see that despite the negative events of the day, it was still a beautiful day. And beautiful days, in his mind, deserved walks. And so he walked, and walked, and walked. Through the busy streets and into the more quiet and secluded areas of the neighborhood. Giuseppe often had a problem with talking to himself when he was alone. He had done it ever since he was a child.

Giuseppe: What kind of father tries to say sorry after all these years for what he's done? I don't know, maybe a jackass. Well, that's not really a good thing to say, is it? Oh f*ck off, he deserves it. I can't wait until he's put down. Damn it, I'm having conversations with myself again.

Giuseppe took a deep breath and tried to kickstart his mood back into happy mode.

Giuseppe: But at least it's a beautiful Sunday! Sunday is funday as they say! Hahahahaha! Oh man, that is so not me. Happy people are such cunts. I mean, did you see that asshole back there smiling about nothing? What have you got to smile ab- DAMN IT I'M DOING IT AGAIN!

Giuseppe stopped walking when he realized he was completely alone now. He had walked into a hilly area covered with meadows of flowers. There was a dirt road leading up the hill and to an old abandoned church. From where he was standing, the glass from the church reflected the light of the setting sun so intensely, it hurt his eyes to look directly at it.

Giuseppe: Is that a church? Hmm...Well, I'm all the way out here, may as well check it out. At the very worst, it will be a messy building. At best, I'll get to sit alone in church like I used to do.

Giuseppe walked and walked up the hill and arrived at the creaky doors of the abandoned church, which he shut as he walked in. There were statues of the Virgin Mary, of child angels, a Pieta replica, and high ceilings. There were rows of seats separated by a long red rug that led all the way down to the Pastor's podium. Behind the podium was a large statue of Jesus nailed to the cross, and an organ that sat facing the podium and away from the cross. The sun shined through the solid colored glass panel windows, converting the color of the sunlight to the individual color of the window panels. Blues, pinks, reds, yellows, greens, it all shone gloriously on the seats and on the statue of Christ.

The church itself was wide, with plenty of space between the walls. It looked as if the church could hold about 200 people at once. The floor was messy as some bits of the roof had fallen off. Being abandoned, this was never cleaned up. There were some plastic sheets draped in the back section of the church, as well as some crucifixes and other religious ornaments next to the podium.

Giuseppe liked this building. It wasn't overly filthy, and the glass made the sunlight colorful and beautiful to look at . He walked down the aisle and sat down at one of the seats.

Giuseppe: I gotta say, for an old building, this is pretty cool. It's so peaceful here.

Giuseppe lowered his butt on the seat, only to find he had rudely sat on what looked like a diary.

Giuseppe: Ah crap! Good thing nobody was around to witness that. Hmm? "Anzu's diary, donut steel"? Anzu? What the hell is donut steel? Did this person mean "Do not steal"? Man, kids these days.

Suddenly, there was a loud yell in the church, right in front of Giuseppe. A girl appeared out of nowhere and tackled him to the ground, wrestling him for the diary.

Anzu: Give it back! Give it back you clumsy idiot!

Giuseppe: I'm sorry, I'm very sorry!

Giuseppe caught his breath and let go of the diary. He sat up and was able to look at the girl. She wore an open floral kimono cardigan with a black shirt underneath and black jeans. Her hair was long, black, and curly, adorning her face and blue eyes beautifully as it continued down to the end of her back. She wore a silver, sparkly choker around her neck, and had very mild freckles on her face, particularly around her nose.

Giuseppe: I'm sorry, I didn't know that was yours! My sincerest apologies....uhm....uhhh...

Anzu: It's Anzu! You literally JUST had the diary in your hands! You read my name out loud and you already forgot it!

Giuseppe: Ah crap! I mean, sh*t! I mean, god damn it!

Giuseppe covered his mouth so he could stop cursing.

Anzu: Wow, cursing on a church on a Sunday? Man, you're pathetic!

Giuseppe: It's not my fault! I'm just a little surprised to see someone else in here. I thought I was here alone.

Anzu: Well, your certainly not, are you? I'm here too! Wait a minute...

Giuseppe: What?

Anzu brought her face closer to Giuseppe's face, as if to inspect him up close.

Anzu: How exactly are you able to see me and talk to me right now? Are you dead too?

Giuseppe: Well, I'm certainly dead inside if that's what you mean.

Anzu: No no no. I mean, have you passed away recently or something?

Giuseppe: Well if I had, I wouldn't be here, would I?

Anzu: Hmmmm....

Anzu turned around to think, turned around again, and delivered a swift and mighty kick to Giuseppe's manhood. He fought very hard not to cry out in pain, but spoke in a high pitched voice because of the kick.

Giuseppe: Why did you do that?!?!?

Anzu: I'm so actually felt that?

Giuseppe: Of course I could feel it, anyone could've felt that! I may be a loser but I intend on having kids some day!

Anzu pondered to herself while Giuseppe eased his manhood, asking it if it was okay and to forgive the mean stranger girl for hurting it.

Giusppe: Why are you so perplexed to see another human being here?

Anzu: It's just...I'm dead. You shouldn't be able to see, hear, or feel me.

Giuseppe: Hold on, red light. You're dead? What do you mean?

Anzu: It means I'm in love with you, and I want to do all those bad things those naughty girls do in those JAV films

Anzu let off a suggestive gesture, which seemed as if she was stroking two phallic objects in the air.

Giuseppe: Whoa, what?!?!

Anzu: It means I'm dead, you idiot! Deceased! I'm a ghost!

Giuseppe: Are you trying to pull a fast one on me or something?

Anzu: Ugh! Just forget it! How did you even end up here anyway? Nobody's come up here, ever!

Giuseppe: Well, I uh...I just kinda took a walk, made some turns, and then whoosh! I was here all of a sudden. Haha, funny right?

Anzu: More like pathetic.

Giuseppe: Yeah, I know. But wait, how would you know if people come here often? Do you stay here frequently?

Anzu: I live here.

Giuseppe: Really? How old are you?

Anzu: 17 years and not counting! Ghosts don't age, you know.

Giuseppe: Right...ghosts...

Anzu: Oh hey, you have my name, but I don't have yours.

Giuseppe: Ah, right! It's Giuseppe, nice to meet you!

Anzu and Giuseppe shook hands.

Anzu: It's a pleasure to meet you too, Giuseppe. Sorry about tackling you earlier. I just don't like it when people touch my stuff.

Anzu and Giuseppe sat down together in the empty, abandoned church, adorned by the colors of the window panels.

Giuseppe closed his eyes and brushed off the tackling like a gentleman.

Giuseppe: It's no biggie, honestly! So, do you like sitting in empty churches too?

Anzu: Yeah, I love it! It's so peaceful, isn't it?

Giuseppe: Absolutely! I used to do it all the time when I was a child, when my mother......

Anzu: Hmm? What's wrong?

Giuseppe: Ah! Nothing!

The two conversed about their interest, their hobbies, and what makes them tick. The sun had fallen and the moon had risen. Moonlight shone through the colored window panels, and the church grew cold and dark.

Giuseppe: Ah crap! I didn't realize I stayed here so long. I should get going. It was wonderful meeting you, Anzu.

Anzu: You're going?

Giuseppe: Yeah, I've got work tomorrow. I'll stop by again sometime though, I hope

Giuseppe yawned and his eyes grew heavy.

Giuseppe: Oh, I'm sorry. Do you live near here? I can walk you home if you'd like.

Anzu: No, that's fine. As I said. I live here.

Giuseppe: There's no way a girl as young as you seriously lives in an abandoned building all by yourself, with no power or anything.

Anzu: I do, though. I wasn't lying to you.

Giuseppe yawned again.

Anzu: Are you sure you want to walk all the way back? You can sleep here if you want. I have extra blankets and pillows.

Giuseppe: Oh, no. That's kind of you but I-

Anzu: Please. Please don't go...

Giuseppe: Are you okay?

Anzu: Ah! I'm sorry. I don't want to trap you here! Haha!

Giuseppe: ......I like to sleep with 2 pillows.

Anzu looked up at Giuseppe and smiled a true smile of happiness.

Anzu: You'll sleep over?! I'll go get the blankets and pillows right now! Come up on the podium!

Giuseppe stepped up on the podium, and Anzu brought out a portable lantern to illuminate the area. She laid down two sets of blankets and 2 pillows for each set. She even had a spare mattress to share with Giuseppe.

Anzu: I don't even remember the last time I had a sleepover!

Giuseppe: Really? Girls your age tend to do that a lot now though, don't they?

Anzu: Yeah, I suppose. But I'm not like other girls.

Giuseppe: Yeah, I get where you're coming from there.

Anzu: Alright, we're all set for sleepy time! I think this is better than making you walk home in the middle of the night like this, since I'm the one that kept you here so late.

Giuseppe: Don't worry about it....uhhh.....uhhh..... crap....

Anzu: It's Anzu!

Giuseppe: Oh! Right! Haha, sorry about that! Goodnight Anzu!

Anzu: Hmph!

Anzu jumped on her mattress and pulled the sheets over her head, facing the opposite direction of Giuseppe.

Anzu: Turn off the lantern!

Her blanket muffled her voice, but Giuseppe could still understand what she was saying.

Giuseppe: Alright. Good night, Anzu. Thanks for letting me sleep here tonight.

With that, the light was turned off and the two went to sleep. Giuseppe thought nothing of the nonsense Anzu was spouting about being dead. A young girl always does tend to have a good imagination anyway. Giuseppe awoke at about 5:45 AM. The sky was turning into a deep blue as the sun began to rise. He reached over to Anzu to wake her from her slumber.

Giuseppe: Hey, Anzu. You gotta get up, I have to go soon.

Anzu slowly opened her eyes and sprung up out of bed faster than lightning can strike.

Anzu: Alright! Let's go! Wait....I don't even live anywhere besides for here.

Giuseppe: Not this again. Listen, you have a great imagination, but you really should get home now.

Anzu: I told you I wasn't lying to you! What do I have to do to prove to you that I'm dead?

Giuseppe: Well, first of all-

Anzu: Don't answer that! I know exactly how to prove it to you! Let me follow you home.

Giuseppe: What? Damn, I think you got up way too fast.

Anzu: I'm serious! Let me follow you around. Watch how people walk right through me! They can't even hear me when I scream!

Giuseppe: If you somehow manage to pull that off, I'll bake you brownies. How about that?

Anzu gasped in delightful excitement.

Anzu: They don't have nuts in them do they?

Giuseppe: No, I hate nuts.

Anzu's face grew closer to Giuseppe's face.

Anzu: And they'll be crusted on the top and soft and moist in the middle, right?

Giuseppe: Of course they will.

Anzu's forehead was now just inches away from Giuseppe's.

Anzu: And I can have vanilla ice cream on top, right?

Giuseppe was clearly uncomfortable with the lack of respect for one's personal space.

Giuseppe: Y-yes...

Anzu: Then let's go! You're gonna make me those brownies, bitch!

Anzu opened the door to the church, letting in a powerful gust of morning wind that blew around her voluminous hair. At least Anzu had a better sense of hair care than Giuseppe ever did. Anzu and Giuseppe walked back into town. On their way there, Anzu yelled and screamed at the people walking by, but nobody paid any attention to her. Giuseppe was shocked that nobody would even bat an eye to a screaming girl this early in the morning.

Anzu: Oh look! Someone's coming my way! If this doesn't prove to you that I'm dead, I don't know what will!

A jogging woman came down the path, directly towards Anzu.

Giuseppe: Enough games, you should move out of-

To his dumbfounded astonishment, the woman quite literally ran right through Anzu, as if she wasn't even there.

Anzu: See?

Giuseppe: no no no. No way! I must still be tired. There's no way any of that just happened because it's just not even possible.

Anzu: Why are you such a nonbeliever? I really am dead, Giuseppe. I guess this means you can worship me now and do stuff like lick my feet and feed me strawberries!

Giuseppe: Like hell!

Another civilian was passing by them, and Giuseppe initiated the final test to see if Anzu was telling the truth.

Giuseppe: Uh, excuse me, sir! Do you see this young girl right next to me?

Anzu: He can't see me, idiot.

Man: Hmm? What girl?

Giuseppe: Oh! Uh, nevermind. Sorry to bother you.

Giuseppe walked onwards with Anzu, his heart beating faster than a drum solo at a rock concert.

Anzu: Are you okay? You look like you're about to give birth or something.

Giuseppe: You''re really dead. Hang on, I need a minute to catch my breath.

Anzu: Oh come on, it's not that big a deal.

Giuseppe: You're dead! It's a huge deal!

Anzu: Well I wouldn't have even told you if I knew you were gonna be such a biggity bitch about it.

Giuseppe and Anzu finally arrived back at Giuseppe's apartment. He unlocked the door and allowed Anzu to enter first, since she was a lady.

Anzu: How chivalrous of you, I appreciate it.

Giuseppe shut the door, locked it, and stared at it like a madman stuck staring at the walls of a prison cell.

Anzu: Wow! You made good use of the square footage of the apartment.

Giuseppe: Anzu....

Anzu: Yep?

Giuseppe grabbed Anzu by the shoulders and pushed her against the wall.

Giuseppe: If you're dead then how come you're still here in the world of the living?!?! Don't spirits pass on somewhere else when they die? You know, heaven, hell, or even reincarnation?!?!

Anzu: Your breath smells like cocks.

Giuseppe backed away and covered his mouth

Giuseppe: You just did that to trip me out, didn't you!

Anzu: Yep! And to answer your question, I honestly don't know why I'm still here. But then again, I don't even remember much about my life before I died, or even how I died in the first place.

Giuseppe's shock began to turn into sympathy for the young girl as her expression mirrored the many expressions he himself would have on his face when he felt lonely.

Anzu: All I know is that I awoke in the graveyard next to the church 3 years ago, and I stayed there ever since. I tried talking to people, but they never even looked at me. I tried singing to people, but they couldn't hear me. I even saw a woman crying in the park once, but she didn't respond when I tried to console her. I realized I was dead, and that nobody cares about me. It's been that way for 3 years. But the good news is, I met you! And for some reason, you can see me.

Giuseppe: I noticed you immediately after I sat on your diary. Maybe that has something to do with it? If so, we could run around making everyone touch the diary if you want.

Anzu: "Oh hey, I have a great idea! Let's just go ahead and let a bunch of strangers touch a 17 year old girl's diary! Wow, I'm so smart, I'm drowning in cocks! Hyuk hyuk hyuk hyuk!" That's exactly what you just sounded like! And what if this diary gets reported to the news or something! Everyone from every corner of the world would see it! It's bad being completely alone, but it's just as bad being completely surrounded by people who can only make you feel alone!

Giuseppe felt those words hit him in his heart. It seemed that He and Anzu were alone in different ways. It's possible to be surrounded by people and still be just as miserable as being in solitude.

Giuseppe: You're right. It was a stupid idea. Sorry.

Anzu: Well, you don't have to apologize for being retarded. You're apparently born with it. Oh, and by the way, you owe me brownies.

Giuseppe: Crap, I have to get ready for work. The brownies will have to wait. Stay here, alright?

Anzu: I can't come with you?

Giuseppe: No! You'll be a distraction! I still need to grasp the fact that you're not actually alive right now. Feel free to use my T.V., listen to my music, and eat my snacks. Just don't break anything, alright?

Anzu: Aww! But being home alone for so long is boring!

Giuseppe: My house, my rules.

Anzu crossed her arms and puffed her cheeks in a pout.

Anzu: Fine. But you'll be back, right?

Giuseppe: Of course, where else would I go?

Anzu: A gentleman's club or maybe a child prostitution ring.

Giuseppe: Of course you'd say something like that.

Anzu laughed delightfully.

Anzu: You're starting to know me already! Well, alright then. Have a good day at work and do your best out there! I'll hold the fort down for ya!

Giuseppe got his suit on, fixed his tie, and headed off for work. Anzu took the time to get used to her surroundings. She noticed the stacks of records on Giuseppe's desk, as well as an extensive digital music collection.

Anzu: Hmm....what's this? "Buffalo-Shylock"? I hope he won't mind if I play something off of his computer.

Anzu hit play on the song Shylock, and was blown away the instant she heard it. She had never heard music quiet like this, at least not in the time she's been dead. When the song kicked in, she couldn't help but rock her head and dance around to the powerful drums and the dark, distorted guitar.

Anzu: Oh hell yes!

Perhaps Anzu took it too far when she began to do an air guitar solo, but for a girl that's been dead, she had never felt so alive. Besides, who was there to judge her?

For hours, she listened to that one song, and even managed to learn the lyrics just from repeated listening. Giuseppe finally returned home, able to hear the music before even opening the door.

Giuseppe: Hmm? Is that Shylock? She must've found my music collection.

Giuseppe stepped inside and shut the door, but Anzu seemed to be more caught up in the music.

Anzu: Giuseppe! You didn't tell me you had such awesome music! Oh wait, wait! Here comes the best part!

Giuseppe: Ohh...the false ending before it picks up again!

When the song picked up again, Anzu rocked her head and jumped on top of the couch. Giuseppe had taken off his tie and shoes and joined her on Mount Sofa, where they sang the final part of the song together.

Giuseppe & Anzu: Pay me! Oh Shylock! Pay me! Oh Shylock, babe!

Did their neighbors wonder why someone was playing music so loudly in the evening? Perhaps. But it didn't seem to matter at all to Giuseppe and Anzu. When the song finished, Anzu questioned Giuseppe as to what was to be had for dinner.

Anzu: Whew! So then! What should we eat?

Giuseppe: I don't know. I've got left over chicken salad. Wait a minute, do dead girls really need to eat anything?

Anzu: I sure do. I still get hungry.

Giuseppe: Seriously? Hmm. Are you alright with chicken salad, or do you want something else?

Anzu: Chicken salad is fine if you have potato bread.

Giuseppe: Aha! Even you know that potato bread is the best kind of bread there is! Well done, Anzu.

Anzu: You know it, baby!

That night, that blissful night under the pale moon and evening winds, was consummated by nothing more simple and straightforward than chicken salad sandwiches and cheesy horror films on television. Before they knew it, the time to go to sleep again had come. Anzu and Giuseppe took turns brushing their teeth and taking showers, that is, before Anzu realized she didn't actually have to do anything like that. The two sat in the bedroom when they finished cleaning up.

Giuseppe: Well. Did you want to head back to the church? You said you lived there.

Anzu: Oh! Uhhmm....the church is nice and all, but....

Giuseppe: Hahaha!

Anzu blushed and guarded herself.

Anzu: What's so funny?!

Giuseppe: Come on, just say it. You want to live here, don't you? You don't have to be shy about it, it's not like I'd really kick you out of here just to make you go back to an abandoned building by yourself. You said that you've been alone for 3 years since you died, right? It wouldn't be fair if you went back to the church after having so much fun here today, even when I wasn't home.

Anzu: Is that really okay then? Can I live here?

Giuseppe: Hmm. Maybe.

Anzu: Don't blueball me like that!

Giuseppe: I don't think it's really "blueballing" if you're a girl...

Anzu: Blue cunting! Dry pussy-ing! Snatch tightening!

Giuseppe covered her dirty mouth with his hand until she stopped saying such foul thing.

Giuseppe: I was just messing with you. Of course you can live here. But if you're gonna live here, and especially if you're gonna listen to my music, you'll also be responsible for the upkeep of the house, understood?

Anzu smiled and blushed.

Anzu: Of course! I know how to do housework, I think!

Giuseppe: Well, that's halfway reassuring...

Anzu: But....I'd still like to visit the church from time to time, with you if that's possible. Just to break up any monotony.

Giuseppe: Alright, sure. I like that church anyway. I've got some extra pillows and blankets here but I don't have a mattress to share with you.

Anzu: Oh! Don't worry about that, I'm fine sleeping on the floor.

Giuseppe: Hmm...Nope. That certainly won't do. My mother would curse me from the grave if she ever found out I made a 17 year old girl sleep on the floor. You can have my bed. I'll be the one to sleep on the floor.

Anzu: Really?! I feel terrible now!

Giuseppe: Oh, okay then. I'll just keep the bed th-


Giuseppe: Take it then!

Anzu leaped up and spread her arms and legs wide as she landed on Giuseppe's soft and comfortable queen sized bed and dug herself into the covers. Giuseppe turned out the light and prepared to go to bed.

Anzu: Hey, Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: Yeah?

Anzu: Thanks for letting me stay with you.

Giuseppe: Anytime. Now get to sleep. We do it all again tomorrow.

Anzu: Yes sir! Power sleep, activate!

As childish and playful as it was, it seemed as if Anzu seriously went to sleep the minute she activated her "power sleep".

Giuseppe: Anzu? Anzu? Wow, she's really sleeping. Lucky her. I still can't believe she's dead. She's pretty lively for someone who's supposed to be deceased. Though, I wonder. She said she was 17, right? What on earth, or who on earth would kill a 17 year old girl?

Two souls, one living and one dead, were now bound together. There was still much for Giuseppe to discover in Anzu and vice versa. Perhaps they were both too caught up in their happiness to realize it, but this day and the day before were the only times in a long time that they had both enjoyed the company of someone else. Two different kinds of solitude broken by one friendship.

I'm gonna have to spread these chapters out due to conflicts with the character limit, but do drop your thoughts  ;D
« Last Edit: November 09, 2016, 05:08:17 AM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2015, 05:16:46 PM »
And I Sang Holy Holy
It was the same throughout the work week. Giuseppe would come home at 7 to find Anzu either rocking out to more of his music, watching television, or sleeping on the couch. He'd carry her to bed if she was sleeping, and always made sure to leave a note behind in case she slept in while he had to leave. Tonight was a Friday, and Giuseppe wouldn't have to work for the weekend. He returned home to find Anzu listening to his music as usual. She kept it at a lower volume, as to not disturb the neighbors.

Giuseppe: I'm home.

Anzu: Welcome back Giuseppe! How was work?

Anzu shut off the music, devoting her attention to Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Hey, was that Smokestack Lightning just now?

Anzu: Oh, yeah! I'm starting to get into all the bluesy stuff, Howlin' Wolf especially. But don't change the subject! Tell me how your day was!

Giuseppe: Geez, get off my back. It was a regular work day as always.

Anzu: Okay, but you got paid, right? We should do something fun tomorrow!

Giuseppe: Hmm...alright. Did you have anything in mind?

Anzu: Well that's not very manly of you, you should surprise me.

Anzu grabbed a hair tie from her pocket and wrapped her hair in a voluminous pony tail, still letting bangs of her hair drape over her face.

Giuseppe collapsed on the couch, talking with his face buried in the cushion.

Giuseppe: I just wanna die. Go away and let me sink into the fires of hell.

Anzu: You're not going anywhere until you come up with something! Now get up off your ass!

Giuseppe: I'm not on my ass, I'm on my face.

Anzu: Ugh! Get into something more comfortable, we're spending the night at the church!

Giuseppe rose his face up from the cushion.

Giuseppe: The church? Alright, I'll put something on.

Anzu: Good! That's a start!

Giuseppe went in his room to change into a black thermal and a pair of red, baggy sweatpants. Anzu peeked through the door while he was changing, poking her head in the room and taunting him. She made a flirtatious whistling noise to get Giuseppe's attention.

Anzu: Nice underwear, baby. What kind of service can I get for 20,000 yen?

Giuseppe: You snoopy little bitch! Get out of here!

Anzu shut the door and snickered quietly to herself. She waited outside the front door, staring up at the moon while she waited. Giuseppe finally came out, and the two began their walk to the abandoned church together.

Anzu: Hey, I forget. How exactly did you come across the church?

Giuseppe: I just went for a walk and got a little lost. Before I knew it, I stopped walking and saw the church up on the hill. That's really all there is too it.

Anzu laughed quietly.

Anzu: Maybe it was fate, right?

Giuseppe: Yeah right. More like blind luck and idiocy.

Anzu: Maybe, but you got to meet a dead girl because of it! Pretty cool huh?

Giuseppe: really don't remember anything about your life? Like, how you died?

Anzu: Nope, not at all. Just my name, some of my favorite foods, possessions, and minor stuff like that. But I don't remember how I died or anything.

Giuseppe: That diary. Is it still at the church? Maybe there will be some clues in there.

Anzu: You think so? I hadn't actually read it since I awoke in the graveyard. Learning about how I died sounds a little scary, honestly.

Giuseppe: But, you were so young. Aren't you curious?

Anzu: Of course I'm curious, but also terrified.

Giuseppe: Maybe you were kidnapped by a group of old men with foot fetishes and tickled to death with a feather!

Anzu crossed her arms, closed her eyes, and looked away from Giuseppe.

Anzu: I'd rather die choking on brownies, like the brownies you still haven't made me for proving I'm a ghost!

Giuseppe: Ah crap. That's right...

The two arrived and entered the church. There was an eery silence as the moon shone through the colored windows of the abandoned building.

Anzu: Oh look! Our beds are still on the podium! The lantern is probably there too.

Anzu ran towards the podium, jumping on top of it and turning on the lantern that was left in between the mattresses. She waved from the podium, signaling Giuseppe to come up and join her. They both sat down on the mattresses together as Anzu prepared to open her diary. As she opened it, she kept the book away from Giuseppe's view, blushing as she held it close to her chest.

Giuseppe: What's wrong?

Anzu: Even if we're trying to figure out what happened to me, this is still a girl's diary.

Giuseppe: Okay, fine! Take your time and read whatever you want from it.

Anzu skimmed through the pages, looking for an appropriate entry to read out loud.

Anzu: Ah! Found one! Dear Diary, today is the day Mom leaves. She's taking my sister with her, but Dad said I have to stay with him. We have to move out of our house in just a few weeks. I'm really gonna miss this place, and my mother and sister. Dad says this is happening because he and Mom can't get along any more, but nobody will tell me why that means we all have to separate. I'll pray to god and ask him not to let my Mom and sister leave. I really hope he answers.

Giuseppe: That...that sounds a lot like a divorce. Do you remember anything about your parents?

Anzu: No, I don't. This all sounds depressing though. Should I keep reading?

Giuseppe: We don't have to go through all of it in one sitting. Let's just take it a step at a time and work from there. Maybe you'll remember something that way.

Anzu: Alright. I'll read the next one. Dear Dia-

Anzu suddenly got and up in freight and yelled.

Giuseppe: What's wrong?!?

Anzu: There was a spider on my blanket!

Giuseppe facepalmed.

Giuseppe: You've got to be kidding, you're scared of spiders? You realize it wouldn't even be able to touch you, right? So far, we learned that living things pass right through you and can't sense you at all.

Anzu: I...I knew that! I was just pretending to be scared.

Giuseppe threw his pillow at her face.

Giuseppe: Just keep reading!

Anzu: God, you're so abusive. Where was I....oh, yeah! Dear Diary, today is the day me and Dad move. We're going to a small house in a more quiet neighborhood, and I'll have to say goodbye to the few friends I have here. I'll miss my teachers most of all, since my classmates always picked on me. Whoa, whoa whoa. Wait a minute. I was bullied? Me?!?! What a crock of sh*t, why would anyone bully me?!?! I'm f*cking fabulous!

Giuseppe: Source: Anzu.

Anzu invaded Giuseppe's personal space again, putting her fist up to his face and bearing a sinister expression

Anzu: You're asking for a mighty fist f*cking if you're gonna sit here and tell me I'm not amazing! Just say it! Anzu is the bees knees!

Giuseppe: I'm more worried as to why you even know what that is!

Anzu: It's not the stone age, troglodyte. Girls watch porn too.

Giuseppe: What kind of girl your age watches THAT kind of porn?!?

Anzu: A freaky girl, god damn it!

Anzu covered her mouth.

Anzu: Oh no, I said "god damn it" in a church!

Giuseppe: After everything you've just said, you cover your mouth for the tamest thing. Can we please stop talking about fisting and get back to reading the excerpt?

Anzu: Sorry, I know all this rough fisting talk is making you have saucy fantasies about me! Anywho. I'm not ready to go. I really don't want to leave. But I want Dad to be happy and for Mom to stop crying. Please God, I'll do anything to make them both stop hurting.

Giuseppe sat in silence for a few moments, thinking about what Anzu was going through during her time alive. It reminded him of the fights his own parents would have from time to time.

Anzu: Looks like I had it pretty rough when I was still alive. Bullying, divorce, a move nobody wants.

Giuseppe: If you died here in Sapporo, maybe it would be possible to find records pertaining to your death. We could search for them, if you want.

Anzu sighed and stood up to stretch her body.

Anzu: I'm done for tonight. Let's not talk about this anymore, it's so depressing. Hey, wanna head over to the convenience store? I'm getting a little hungry

Giuseppe: We can go, but just don't pick anything up. It'll just look like a floating item and people will freak out.

Anzu: Understood, komandir! Let's go!

Giuseppe: .....Komandir?

Giuseppe walked alongside Anzu in the night, with his hands in his pockets as they passed by the park, crossed the streets, and walked by the local stores. Anzu walked with her hands behind her back, a smile on her face, and her hair blowing in the wind.

Giuseppe: How can you remain so calm after reading that kind of stuff? You must've gone through a lot during your life.

Anzu: Well, I suppose it's take my mind off of it!

Giuseppe felt a deep sense of worry inside, but if what Anzu said was true, how could he dare question it? It's her life, and he didn't have much of a right to make her accept any of it. The two walked into the store together, though the cashier could only see Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Alright, what do you want?

Anzu seemed delightfully overwhelmed by all of the fun snacks in the store, evident by her ear-to-ear smile.

Anzu: Ooo! What are these?

Giuseppe: Huh? You've never had Mochi before?

Anzu: Nuh uh! Never! My dad never let me have those when I was young!

Anzu gasped in shock and covered her mouth upon those words leaving her mouth.

Giuseppe: Whoa...wait a minute...I thought you said you didn't remember any of that stuff...

Anzu closed her eyes tightly, still keeping hand hand over her mouth. Like a long dead friend coming back for a drink, her memories about her father seemed to be piecing together. She couldn't decide whether she should be feeling anger, sadness, or longing. So, instead, she began to cry. It was the first time Giuseppe had ever seen the usually energetic Anzu cry. It occurred to him just how lonely Anzu's existence had been these past 3 years, for nobody could hear her laugh, sing, or even cry. Giuseppe embraced her as she wept, trying his best to comfort her.

Giuseppe: I know, Anzu. I know. It's alright. Everything is gonna be alright. Do you still want the Mochi?

Though her face was buried in his chest, Anzu shook her head as if she was saying yes. Giuseppe grabbed the box of Mochi and made his way to the cashier. Anzu let go of Giuseppe, knowing that if he kept holding her, it would look odd to the cashier. The two walked close together as they left the store and made their way back to the abandoned church.

Giuseppe: Are you okay? Anzu?

Anzu: Oh! Yeah, I'm fine. Just a little shaken, you know?

Giuseppe: You remembered something about your father shortly after reading from the diary. Maybe your memories are slowly starting to come back?

Anzu: Yeah, I guess so. It was like recovering from memory loss and recognizing someone you'd completely forgotten.

Giuseppe: But isn't that EXACTLY what just happened?

Anzu: Oh hush up!

They made their way to the dirt path, where they could see the church up on the hill, the moon shining upon it from the left side of the building.

Anzu: Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: Yeah?

Anzu: Do you wanna share my Mochi with me?

Giuseppe: Of course, I haven't had some in a while!

Anzu: Okay but leave the strawberry ones for me! I love strawberries!

Giuseppe: Whatever you say, princess.

And now, they were back inside the church. They sat on their beds with the lantern between the heads of the mattresses, far up enough so that it wouldn't melt the mochi. They ate the entire box together, but Giuseppe made sure to let Anzu have most of it. Anzu yawned and stretched her arms in the air.

Giuseppe: Sounds like it's time for bed.

Anzu: No way, I'm still up! C'mon let's do something else, like play tic-tac-toe or something!

Giuseppe: Don't try to hide it, your eyes look tired as all hell. It was a big day for you after all.

Anzu: Was it? We didn't really do anything.

Giuseppe: Of course we did! We read your diary, learned more about your past, you remembered something about your father, and you got to eat mochi for the very first time, as a dead girl I might add. I'm sure all the other dead girls are crying from the heavens.

Anzu: Hah! You mean hell! It's a sin to not be as stylin' as Young Money over here!

Giuseppe: Erm....Young Money?

Anzu: Yeah! You know, it means like "Cool" or "really successful gentleman" in America.

Giuseppe: I think you consume too much Western media. That stuff will kill your brain cells.

Anzu: Nah, I only caught glimpses of it since some of the performers played in Japan. It's easy sneaking into concerts when you're a ghost! I still prefer your music though.

Giuseppe: Well, hell. I'm glad my tastes are so highly praised! Well, I'm getting sleepy. Goodnight, Anzu.

Giuseppe turned off the lantern and got comfortable in the covers. Anzu sat on the bed on her knees, pouting at the sudden dropping of the coversation.

Anzu: Hey!

Giuseppe got up from his bed.

Giuseppe: What? I said goodnight.

Anzu inched her way over to Giuseppe on her knees, hugging him tightly when she was in arm's length. Giuseppe had never received a hug from anyone like this in years.

Anzu: Thank god I met you. That was the first time someone has held me while I was crying since I died. Thank you for that.

Giuseppe: Of course...we're friends, after all.

Anzu: Smiled , put her hands on Giuseppe's cheeks and kissed his forehead. She crawled back over to her bed, said goodnight, and the two went to sleep. They slept in that day, and were awoken by the sun shining directly through the colored window panels, making it hard to even look in their direction because of the brightness of the sun. Giuseppe shook out his hair and checked the time on his phone. As he checked, Anzu moved and moaned in her bed, as if she was just waking up as well.

Anzu: What time is it?

Giuseppe: 11:02

Anzu: Crap, really?! I always get up early but I slept in this time around.

Giuseppe: It's alright. I don't have work today or tomorrow. If you're still tired we could go back to sleep.

Anzu: Nah, I'd feel like such a douchebag. Let's get up and get out of here.

Anzu helped Giuseppe up, and the two put back their beds and prepared to head back to the apartment.

Giuseppe: Did you still want to eat breakfast?

Anzu: Can we? I'm starving. Natto and a fried egg on rice sounds delicious right about now.

Giuseppe: Sure, let's go get that for you.

Giuseppe smiled and held the church door open for Anzu, letting her go out first since she was the woman. Anzu walked by and smiled back, thinking back to just about a week ago, when she first entered Giuseppe's apartment.

Anzu: My my, how chivalrous of you!

It was another beautiful day for Giuseppe and Anzu, a great day to have a late breakfast, and a chat with a friend. Though she was dead, Anzu felt as if she was very much alive. And now, she understood what it feels like to have someone to count on.

Why Have You Forsaken Me
Some days are exciting and easy to get into, providing us with great times, laughter, and memories. Other days are seemingly endless loops of continuous boredom until the person experiencing it feels the urge to jump off of a bridge. Such was this day for Anzu and Giuseppe. Anzu took up her responsibilities, and with nothing better to do, began to clean around the house. She tied back her hair and began wiping the floor, cleaning the dishes, and wiping all of the glass in the house. Meanwhile, Giuseppe laid on the couch watching television, looking half asleep and half suicidal. Anzu was tired of Giuseppe being so lazy today, and stood in front of the tv with her hands on her hip and an angry expression on her face.

Giuseppe: What's up?

Anzu: What do you mean "what's up?"? Aren't you gonna get off your ass and clean up your own living space?

Giuseppe: I will soon. Just....just let me die here. I'll be right back, I promise.

Anzu: Why are you such a sh*t shark? There's things to do around the house AND it's a beautiful day outside. So get up! The mirrors need to be cleaned, the counters need to be wiped, and the toilet needs to be scrubbed!

Giuseppe: Please don't tell me what to do.

Anzu went into the bathroom to grab the toilet scrubber and handed it to Giuseppe.

Anzu: Get up. At least help out. I'm not the only one who lives here.

Giuseppe unenthusiastically got up from the couch, grabbed the scrubber, and asked for the toilet cleaner so he can help out. He was still tired and was half asleep as he scrubbed the toilet, thinking about all the better things he could be doing.

Giuseppe: Here I am scrubbing toilets, thinking about all the bullsh*t in my life. Being commanded by a girl who isn't even alive anymore.

Giuseppe's stomach began to rumble.

Giuseppe: Damn it.

He finished scrubbing the toilet and proceeded to wash his hands. In the mirror, he noticed his hair was getting longer than usual. His curly, messy hair now covered his ears and almost touched his shoulder blade.

Giuseppe: I should probably cut this soon.

Anzu: Staring at yourself in the mirror trying to convince yourself you're beautiful?

Giuseppe yelped as he was caught off guard by Anzu's sudden appearance in the doorway.

Giuseppe: Why don't you ever say something or make some noise before you talk! You almost gave me heart attack!

Anzu: It's like you have a bag of doggy treats where your brain should be. How did you manage to get spooked in such a small space when you know it's only me and you here?

Giuseppe: I get tense when I haven't had alcohol in my system for over a week

Giuseppe began to hug the toilet and pout at the absence of alcohol in his life, which he believed was the answer to most of everything.

Anzu: Alcohol? What does alcohol taste like?

Giuseppe: Like fornication and regret, with a sprinkle of misery and self-loathing. It's delicious!

Anzu: You make it sound awful though. Are you done with the toilet? Help me load up the dishes, we're almost done.

Giuseppe: Yes ma'am.

Giuseppe got up off of the floor and proceeded to help Anzu clean the dishes. Anzu scrubbed the plates, bowls and glass, handing them to Giuseppe to put away in the dishwasher. When the last dish was put in, the dishwasher was closed and the sink was wiped clean to avoid the silver getting stained.

Giuseppe: Hey, let me show you how to do this real quick. When you're done cleaning the dishes, you just-

Anzu: Yeah, I already know. Turn the knob clockwise on the Light Wash option.

Giuseppe: Oh.....well okay then. You can do it.

Anzu: Is that complacency I'm hearing in your tone?

Giuseppe crossed his arms and looked the other way.

Giuseppe: No, I'm just surprised you caught on so quickly.

Anzu: You know, I can do things for you that you can't do by yourself, you know what I mean?

Anzu locked her arm with Giuseppe's arm and leaned her head gently on his chest. She could feel Giuseppe's heart rate speed up and his muscles begin to shake. He was clearly distressed, his expression a cross between a strong smile and inexplicable suffering. Anzu got on her tippy toes and whispered in his ear.

Anzu: You know, the age of consent in Japan can be as low as just 13 years old.

Giuseppe, about to lose it, pushed her off his arm and feverishly ran his hands through his messy hair.

Giuseppe: Holy hot *censored* on a stick! What is wrong with you!?!?!

Anzu snickered.

Anzu: I was only kidding, no need to be such a prude! Though, I wonder....

Anzu lifted up her shirt and peeked inside her pants, making Giuseppe freak out and the sudden gesture.

Giuseppe: Please for the love of all that is righteous in the world, be decent for once!

Anzu: I was only checking to see if I was still shaven!

Anzu gasped and covered her mouth, clearly embarrassed by the slip up of that little detail.

Anzu: Crap! I didn't mean to tell you that! I'm sorry!

Giuseppe: You shaved?!?! What for?!?! Wait....did you shave while you were alive?

Anzu realized that she indeed used to shave when she was still living, her eyes lit up as the memory came back to her.

Anzu: Oh my god, I did! I remember sitting on top of the sink naked and-

Giuseppe: Yeah, there's no need to go any further than that.

Anzu: Right! Sorry! Things just keep slipping out today.

Giuseppe: But that's good. Even if it is just a minor detail, it still means you're beginning to remember stuff.

Anzu: Yeah, I guess so. Well, the chores are all done. Did you want to do anything today?

Giuseppe: Nah, I didn't really have anything in mind.

Anzu looked out of the apartment window to see what the weather was going to be like

Anzu: Ah! It looks like it's going to snow!

Giuseppe: Huh? I thought you said today was a beautiful day earlier.

Anzu: Snow is beautiful! I don't know what people have against cold weather! It's much better than warm weather if you ask me. Fall and Winter are just so nice, you know?

Anzu sat down next to Giuseppe on the couch. Giuseppe stared at the television, trying to find something to watch. Anzu did as well, but soon glanced over to Giuseppe.

Anzu: Hey, do you mind if I ask you something?

Giuseppe: Sure. What is it?

Anzu: Well, you know a little bit about my parents after reading from my diary. But I don't know anything about your parents. I noticed the pictures of you and someone whom I can only guess is your mommy.

Giuseppe's head sunk as the troublesome situation with his family reminded him of memories he had been trying to forget. He didn't answer her question at first. He just sat in heavy silence.

Anzu: Oh, I'm sorry....should I have just kept my mouth shut?

Giuseppe: No, it's fine. I'll tell you.

Anzu sat on the couch cross-legged, eager to hear about Giuseppe's parents.

Giuseppe: Let's see. You were right. That woman is my mother. Or, was. Her name was Maria, she was born and raised in Italy. She moved to Japan for some work opportunity or something, and she ended up meeting my dad here. The two hit it off immediately, and 4 years later, I was born. I had a pretty good childhood, more or less. My father worked, so he wasn't around throughout the week, but my mother would always keep me company. She was actually the one who got me into music from the 70's, mostly obscure hard rock records.

Anzu: Wow, your mom sounds amazing. I'm sorry for your loss.

Giuseppe: It's alright.

Anzu: Where's your father these days, if it's okay to ask.

Giuseppe: Prison.

Anzu: What?! What for?

Giuseppe: For killing my mom.

Anzu looked horrified, but also greatly saddened. She hadn't realized Giuseppe had gone through something so horrible.

Anzu: Giuseppe...I-I'm so sorry, I didn't know....

Giuseppe: Nah, really. It's okay. I was 17 when it happened, so it still kinda lives with me. I haven't even gotten around to visiting Mom's gravestone yet.

Anzu: Wait, if it was really murder, as in a clear act of malice, then....

Giuseppe: Yep. Dad's on death row. His execution is in just a few months.

Anzu: Why aren't you more bothered by that? You're dad is gonna die!

Giuseppe: Because he was a scumbag who never loved me and took the one person on this earth that ever did. Nobody has cared about me since she was taken. At the very least, he can go to and apologize to her.

Anzu: But....that's not true....

Giuseppe: Man, now I know how you felt. This really is depressing. I gotta say, you're kinda lucky you can't remember anything about your life. I'd kill for that ability right now. Ah crap, probably not the best expression to use after that conversation.

Anzu: Giuseppe. Promise me you'll visit your mom's grave sometime, okay? There's no reason to be scared.

Giuseppe: It's not that I'm scared. It's just....ah forget it. I really need some alcohol. Let's go grab some sake or some shochu

Anzu: Wait what?! But I can't just walk into a liquor store!

Giuseppe: "It's like you have a bag of doggy treats where your brain should be". Nobody would be able to see you but me.

Anzu: Oh that's right! I'll go get my shoes!

Giuseppe and Anzu ventured out into the streets, heading towards the local liquor store. The clouds had gotten darker, and the air had gotten colder. It definitely looked as if it was going to snow. The two walked side by side, with some people passing right through Anzu

Anzu: Hey, would it be possible for me to get some warmer clothes? I'm hardly ever prepared for January weather and this cardigan isn't going to be enough.

Giuseppe did not answer here, he simply looked at her and put his finger on his lip, signaling to her that he can't speak to her while there are still people on the street.

Anzu: Oh, I get it. But we will get clothes, yeah?

Giuseppe nodded in agreement.

Anzu: Thanks Giuseppe!

Giuseppe entered the liquor store first , followed by Anzu. Anzu was amazed at the collection of beers, malts, and varying kinds of wine. Giuseppe browsed the shelves for a suitable drink for his alcohol needs.

Anzu: Wow! I've never seen so many bottles of alcohol!

Giuseppe: My mother was Italian, so wine was her thing. It caught on to me when I was legally allowed to drink.

Anzu: I wonder how they make wine. Something involving grapes, right?

Giuseppe: Well, it varies from place to place. It can be relatively simple or really complex. It usually isn't just grapes though, it's a mixture of different kinds of fruits and produce. You have to cut them up, bust the skin, bruise the produce, all sorts of stuff. Than you have to stir all of it, mix it with yeast and let it all ferment, which converts the natural sugars of the fruit and produce into ethanol and carbon dioxide. There's a whole lot of natural bacterial and molecular processes that have to take place before you can even start cold stabilization and bulk aging of the wine.

Anzu: Wow, you sure know a lot about it.

Giuseppe: You can thank my mom for that.

Giuseppe grabbed a bottle of red wine, payed for it, and walked back home with Anzu. It had now begun to snow lightly, just as Anzu had predicted. What Giuseppe saw as a sad sky of grey was a happy sky of beautiful darkness to Anzu. They got back to the apartment, took their shoes off at the door, and sat down at the table as Giuseppe opened up the bottle of wine.

Giuseppe: Oh baby, I've missed you sooo much!

Giuseppe rubbed the bottle of wine against his face as if it was the chalice that Jesus himself drank from.

Anzu: Alcoholics, I swear.

Giuseppe: I'm not an alcoholic, just an alcohol enthusiast! Wanna try some?

Anzu: What?!?! But I'm only 17!

Giuseppe: You're also dead. Come on, it's not like you're gonna go to jail or something.

Anzu blushed and put her hands flat on her face, closing here eyes and dreadfully imagining the possibility of getting intoxicated.

Anzu: But what if I get drunk and you decide to have your way with me!

Giuseppe: I'm not a kiddy diddler!

Anzu: I appreciate you being a gentleman but what kind of kid has a cup size of D-36?

Giuseppe: Wait...what?

Giuseppe looked at Anzu's breasts. It's not like they were easy to see through Anzu's rather loose and baggy shirt, but it was the first time he had actually noticed the huge bulges sticking out of Anzu's chest.

Giuseppe: Good lord them titties! How did you do it!?

Anzu's expression was smug and proud.

Anzu: Oh you know, drinking lots of milk.

Giuseppe: Wait a minute! There you go again! You remembered something else!

Anzu: Well, no. I always knew I loved milk!

Giuseppe: Old habits die hard, huh? Here, have a glass.

Giuseppe handed Anzu a glass of red wine, as red as the devil himself. The tempting glass of liquified sin almost seemed to speak to Anzu, begging her to drink it. Anzu spoke with her hands over her mouth, as if she was speaking of something forbidden.

Anzu: Will it burn?

Giuseppe: Maybe a little. The ethanol content and acidity of wine varies from who makes it and how it's made.

Anzu: Well....okay. Down the hatch then.

Anzu took the glass and began to sip away at the wine. To Giuseppe's surprise, and to her surprise, she absolutely loved it. It would take her some time to get used to the smell and the taste of alcohol itself, but one glass ended up turning into half of the bottle in just a few hours.

Anzu: You know, I...I just.....pfffffttttthahahahaha! I'm so *censored*ing wasted!

Unfortunately, Anzu had too much wine and really did get intoxicated, just as she predicted.

Giuseppe: Uh, are you okay? You may have had too much to drink.

Anzu: Are you kidding me?

Anzu burped.

Giuseppe: Damn it....forgive me mom. I didn't know she'd get drunk so easily.

Anzu: Hey, l-let's go to the churchy churh. Come on, right now. Let's go!

Giuseppe: The church? Are you sure you'll make it over there?

Anzu: Of course I will! I'm gonna praise the good lord and thank him for the wine! Now get your shoes on!

Giuseppe sighed, regretting his decision to let a 17 year old girl have alcohol. Regardless, Anzu and Giuseppe went back to the church, walking along the dirt path leading up to the church as the snow still fell gently onto the earth. The church was filled with ambient and dull indirect light from the outside, so much so the light piercing through the colored window panels didn't extend past the window sills. Giuseppe and Anzu stepped inside and closed the door, rubbing their arms to stay warm from the cold.

Anzu: Oh hey, have you ever been back here?

Anzu pointed to the room covered by a thick plastic sheet.

Giuseppe: No, I haven't actually. Have you?

Anzu: Sure have, but I only peeked inside. The whole room has these plastic sheets draped on the windows and stuff too, so I never bothered taking any of it down. May as well do it since we're here, right?

Giuseppe: Your sense of adventure spikes when you've had alcohol. Alright. Let's do it.

Giuseppe lifted up the plastic sheet covering the doorway, allowing Anzu to step in as he followed behind her. One by one, they began taking down the sheets draped over the windows, revealing beautifully blue stained glass images depicting various scenes from the bible. Even without much light, the room seemed to be engulfed in a shade of light blue. It was small, and looked as if it may have been an office or private talking place. All of the furniture was removed from the room.

Anzu: I didn't know this place could be so beautiful. The room I mean. The rest of the church is lovely, even if it's been abandoned.

Giuseppe: Yeah, I'm pretty impressed. It must've been amazing when it was still being cared for.

Anzu: You know, if we end up sleeping here again tonight, we could sleep in here instead. It's smaller so it will keep us warm. Unless you're tired of sleeping here.

Giuseppe: Well, we'll see how the night goes. If it's still early, we'll head back. If we end up staying late, we'll sleep here.

Giuseppe and Anzu exited the room and sat in the 5th row of seats in the church. They simply sat, took in the atmosphere, stared at the high ceilings, the statues, and even stared into space. Giuseppe broke the silence.

Giuseppe: Hey, Anzu?

Anzu: Yeah?

Giuseppe: Did you want to go over your diary again? We could read more if you want.

Anzu: I'm honestly scared of knowing the truth. But, yeah. I'll go get it.

Anzu retrieved her diary from the podium, bringing it back to the 5th row to read with Giuseppe.

Anzu: Okay, let's see. Dear Diary. Mom doesn't want me. She can't want me. She doesn't seem bothered at all that she might not ever see me again. I wanted to tell her I loved her, but that I also hated her. I hate her for making it all look so easy, so simple. She didn't cry a single tear, and I could hardly keep my eyes open. I might not see her or my sister again, and I still can't stop crying. I don't like our apartment, I miss living in the house with my mom and sister. It's cold here, it's small, and my dad just stays in his room all day. I prayed all night for the past 18 nights, but god never answered me and still let my family get torn apart. But I just want to know why. Just the "why" part would be enough. But nobody talks to me. Nobody tries to heal the real victims in all of this; me and my sister. Without each other and without our parents together. I'm going to stop praying. It doesn't work anyway.

Anzu flipped the page and cleared her throat, preparing to read another excerpt.

Anzu: Dear Diary. When I went to knock on Dad's door, he just told me to go away. It sounded like he was crying. For once, I disobeyed father and entered his room. I'll always regret it. When I tried to hold him like Mom used to when she was around, he snapped and threw me on the ground. He threw a bottle at me and scratched my head, the bleeding still hasn't stopped all the way. I cried and screamed at him to stop, but he just kept punching me and kicking me. This wasn't the most heartbreaking part of it. It wasn't until he was done and began laughing did I truly feel any pain. I don't know what happened to Dad, but I'll have to cover up my bruises and cuts before I can go back to school. I just wonder how Megumi is doing. I hope she and mom are alright, wherever they are.

Anzu kept her head down, her hair draped over her face as she refused to look up and face Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: You were beaten? Your father beat you? Why?

Anzu: Dear Diary. Dad kept telling me he hates me, he wishes I was never born, he wishes he never became a Dad, and that I'm nothing but a heavy burden on him, the only thing restricting him from a happy life. He said he hates my hair, my smile, my eyes, everything. I wanted to believe he was just saying that because he's under so much stress. But ever since that day, he never even looks at me anymore. Maybe he's right. Maybe I am worthless. If me or my sister weren't born, Mom and Dad would still be together, living their dreams. Maybe having us prevented them from being able to do that. I hope God isn't watching, because I've started cutting myself in the past few days. It helps with getting rid of the anxiety and the pressure, without the trouble of making someone listen to my troubles. If nothing I do is ever good enough for him, if nothing I could ever be could ever satisfy him, then let there be at least one thing that I can do that will make him happy. Destroy myself until I'm just like him. Maybe then, we could understand each other. Maybe then, I could figure out why I keep crying when it's time to go to sleep.

Giuseppe closed his eyes tightly as he heard the last entry. It was hard for him to listen to as he imagined Anzu going through all of that. But it also reminded him of the depression he had faced for a while after his mother's passing. Now, more than ever, Giuseppe felt awful for Anzu. But to his surprise, Anzu laughed. It wasn't a sincere laugh, it was Anzu clearly trying to cheer herself up. For now, they've simply read the entry. But soon, very soon, the actual memories of those events would flood back into Anzu's mind.

Giuseppe: Anzu?

Anzu: Don't worry, I'm fine. Reading all of this just makes me glad I'm dead. I don't have to be burdened with any of that anymore, so that's an upside in all of this.

Anzu looked up at the magnificent statue of Jesus on the cross, right behind the podium and the organ.

Giuseppe: Still, it doesn't mean ghosts can't feel pain.

Anzu smiled.

Anzu: It's alright for now. I'll deal with the pain when it gets here. I've already spent 3 years alone.

Giuseppe also looked up at the statue of Jesus.

Giuseppe: "Father, Father, why have you forsaken me?"

Anzu glanced over at Giuseppe in confusion.

Anzu: What's that from?

Giuseppe: It's what Jesus cried out when he was suffering on the cross.

Anzu: So you've read the bible?

Giuseppe: Nah, just saw a few movies.

Anzu: You're smart, Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: And you're brave.

Anzu: Brave? How come?

Giuseppe: To go through all of that when you were so young, to die, and to still smile like you do in death are things I wish I could do myself if I were in your position. But, I'm just hopeless like that. With you though, you just never really give up hope, do you?

Anzu: That's not true. I do give up hope. That's why I started cutting. It was because I lost hope in life, my dad, and myself. Perhaps even my mother too. Giuseppe.....

Giuseppe: Yeah?

Anzu's voice began to shake as her tears built up.

Anzu: If Jesus can cry out on the cross like that, is it okay if I cry too?

Giuseppe: Of course you can.

Anzu, in death, let out 2 years worth of tears that had built up. Her head leaned on Giuseppe's shoulder as her cries filled the empty church. Giuseppe remembered crying exactly the same way when he was her age. Before they knew it, it had gotten late, and the church grew dark.

Giuseppe: Do you want to head home or sleep here?

Anzu: Let's go home.

Giuseppe: Alright.

Giuseppe scooched out of the seats first, helping Anzu get out as well.

Giuseppe: You look tired.

Anzu: Yeah, I kinda am. I think I did too much today.

Giuseppe: Get on my back, I'll carry you.

Anzu: Come on, that's not funny.

Giuseppe knelt down.

Giuseppe: I'm not kidding, I'll seriously carry you home. Get on.

Anzu: My my, how chivalrous of you.

Giuseppe carried Anzu on his back, her long hair draped over her shoulder and onto his shoulders. As they walked home in the peaceful, silent, and cold night under the winter moon, neither of them said any words. Giuseppe was troubled on the inside however. He wondered how the constant flow of memories would affect Anzu in the future.

As they got home, Giuseppe got into a shirt and sweatpants and readied himself for bed. He let Anzu borrow his pants as well, which she had to tie to make it fit around her waist. While Giuseppe slept, Anzu said she would stay up and listen to music until she felt tired. The lights in the living room remained on, but Giuseppe's room was completely dark. Anzu was at least able to get her mind off of things with the various kinds of music Giuseppe had stored on his computer. She remained entertained until one song came on. It was one of Giuseppe's favorites; Otis Redding's version of A Change Is Gonna Come. Anzu rested her eyes and laid her head on the desk as the song played, but soon fell asleep. Giuseppe couldn't quite sleep knowing Anzu was still out there, so he went to go check on her, to see if she was still doing okay.

He found her sleeping, with the earbuds still plugged in her ears. He took them out and held them up to his ears, noting it was one of his favorite songs. Once more, Giuseppe carried Anzu on his back, shut off the light, and put her on his bed. He covered her up as warmly as possible and proceeded to sleep on the floor.

He began to wonder it maybe, just maybe, their meeting really was a work of fate. For two people to share such similar circumstances and meet by chance seemed to perfect to him. Whatever the case was, he sincerely wanted to help Anzu get through the tough journey of piecing her memories back together.

He'd be there, to carry that weight.

Offline ThinkingAce

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2015, 05:57:55 AM »
Oh my gosh!, I love the story, I enjoy the type of relationship Anzu and Giuseppe have. I only read the first post, but I'm interested in reading more. :thumbsup: With that being said, keep up the good work.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2015, 04:16:02 PM »
Thank you! I really enjoyed writing this, so I hope that shines through  :D

Next few chapters

Sweetness and a Set of Scales
Anzu awoke early in the deep blue morning from her heavy slumber in the darkness of Giuseppe's bedroom, the morning light lightly piercing through the blinds. Rubbing the tiredness from her eyes, she looked down onto the floor next to the bed to find Giuseppe's blanket folded up neatly, as he had already left for work. She scooched over to the edge of the bed, resting her feet on the floor and rubbing out her eyes once more before getting up and opening the door to the living room. She opened up all of the blinds and saw that it looked as if it was going to snow again. The dull grey light of the sky was more like a bittersweet benediction to her than an unpleasant inconvenience. Anzu tied her hair in a half-up and proceeded to make herself breakfast. She would make herself a hot bowl of ramen, complete with chopped green onions, a hard boiled egg, and slices of pan-fried beef. It wasn't often that she sat down and ate breakfast by herself, but she had slept in today. The clock already said 11:35 A.M., and Anzu was just now eating her breakfast. After breakfast, Anzu washed out her bowl and wiped the counters, unsure of what to do with her time since Giuseppe was gone for work. She sat down on the couch cross-legged, the short sleeves of her shirt rolled up past her shoulders.

After all of that, Anzu still felt tired. She laid down on the couch and decided to take a nap, just for a bit. When she closed her eyes however, she could see images of her father yelling at her, punching her, kicking her, insulting her. She saw faint images of her mother, and Anzu reached out to her to greet her after all of these years. But whenever she would get close, her mother would fade away. Her desires and inner troubles were lost in an eternal sea of haze and confusion. Incomprehensible and unattainable. She awoke in a cold sweat, strands of her hair glistened as they stuck to her face, chin, and neck. She breathed heavily when she initially awoke but calmed down when she realized it was all merely a dream.

That's when she had enough. Her sadness turned into an angry curiosity. She got up, found her shoes, and ventured out to the church. She walked through the cold snow with nothing but her usual black shirt, black pants, and usual floral kimono cardigan. She stormed up the dirt road and opened the doors to the church. When she closed the doors, a flock of red-crowned cranes flew around and about the building before flying out of a hole in the ceiling. Anzu found her diary, sat down, and opened it up. Chills began to surface on her body, but she could not tell if she was cold or curious. And then, her voice began to echo through the church.

Anzu: Dear Diary, I have just one word for you. Emotion. It is something I wonder if I still have. I don't know how much more of this I can truly take. Every day, every single day, I hope for a miracle. I hope I can smile and laugh and feel good again, but every time I wake up and go out there into the big, vast, cruel world, I am beaten and defeated. I'm not being bullied in my new school, but I still can't make friends. I'm so tired of eating alone at lunch, sitting alone after school, suffering alone in the afternoon, and crying alone at night. I only wanted to live a good life. What did I do wrong? I was a good daughter, wasn't I? I'm a good student, aren't I? I can listen to people, I'm pretty good at singing, and I'm as kind as a bundle of flowers and apricots. I swear it, I'm a good person. But everyone keeps treating me like I don't exist, like I'm less than nothing. I just wanted to smile in my life. That's all I'm asking for. There's no point in living if you're already fading away.

Anzu's head began to painfully pulsate as her memories began to rush back into her head. She grabbed her temple with one hand in a knee-jerk reaction to the agony.

Anzu: I remember....I remember writing this shortly before that night.

Anzu remembered a particular night when she was still alive. It was another night of screaming and insulting abuse from her father. That night, she snapped. When bedtime came, she went into her bathroom, closed the door, and slouched down against it as she cried. Anzu pulled back her sleeves, unveiling a long road of horizontal cuts along her arm. She ran her fingers over the cuts, which had only just begun to heal. That night, Anzu got up, stood on the bathroom stool, and hung herself with her bathroom towel.

Anzu: I remember...trying to kill myself that night.

Anzu didn't die that night however. Her father found her in the bathroom when she failed to come to his room when he called her. Anzu awoke in the morning in a hospital. It was in that moment she remembered the face of her mother, but could not yet remember her name. She looked so much like her. Anzu's mother had the same kind of bad-girl rebellious look to her. The same long black hair, blue eyes, and she often wore leather jackets when it was cold. That morning, Anzu awoke in the hospital bed besides her father, who couldn't stop crying even after she awoke. He had stayed by her side through the night. To Anzu's right was her mother, who hugged her tightly as she was just faintly waking up.

Mother: You're so stupid! So very, very stupid! We almost lost you!

Anzu remembered that moment with her mother clearly. Her eyes swelled with tears as she remembered the sweetness of that moment, but also the bitterness that came after.

Anzu: Mom...even back didn't tell me you loved me.

Anzu thought back to that morning in the hospital as she recalled her mother getting up and leaving shortly after that, with her father trailing behind her. He could hear their whispers, but couldn't comprehend what they were saying. She closed her eyes again, catching some rest before she was discharged from the hospital. She remembered that was the last time that she saw her mother. And it would be the last time her father would cry for her.

Anzu: I know those tears weren't for me, dad. You went right back to your drunken ways after that. It was probably just an act for the hospital staff. You had to look like a good and caring father, didn't you?

Anzu closed her diary and made her way back home to Giuseppe's apartment. For the rest of the day, Anzu simply sat and watched tv, but her mind was unable to escape the thoughts of her past, her mother, and her father. Right on the hour, Giuseppe returned home at 7:00 PM, staggering into the house and clumsily closing the door before falling onto the floor.

Anzu: Giuseppe?! Are you okay?

Giuseppe got back up by himself.

Giuseppe: Yep! Just a little bit drunk!

Anzu: Oh dear, did you go drinking after work?

Giuseppe: Yepper dapper doo! Don't worry about it though, this time it wasn't with some cute girl that ended up being a cute transvestite. I mean, he had a penis but it was my co-worker.

Anzu's face blushed as she misinterpreted the sentence and her head began to fill with saucy thoughts about intense and passionate man-on-man action

Anzu: Oh no! Did you sleep with a male co-worker!?!?!?!

Giuseppe: Wha? No, of course not. We just went drinking together. His name is Oda, he's really down-to-earth but he knows how to party! He's uhhh...what did you call it? Cash money? Young money? Something like that? Ah, it doesn't matter, he's really cool.

Anzu: Wait a minute, did you drive here?

Giuseppe: Yep! Almost killed a woman and her 3 kids too! Pretty funny huh?

Anzu did not find it funny at all. She took her index finger and thumb and squeezed Giuseppe's nose so he couldn't breath. Giuseppe snorted and coughed, almost feeling like he had to throw up.

Giuseppe: Oh god I f*cking hate you, you sly bitch.

Anzu: Your nose is oily. When was the last time you scrubbed your face?

Giuseppe: This morning!

Anzu sighed.

Anzu: Liar. Come on, get undressed and let's wash your face.

Giuseppe: Yeah you're probably right.

Giuseppe put his usual house clothes on and met Anzu in the bathroom as she waited for the water to get hot.

Giuseppe: Hey, are you okay? You seem a little...I don't know....down.

Anzu: I found out some things today.

Giuseppe sat down on the counter and put a towel over his shirt. Anzu soaked a face towel in the sink, making sure it was nice and hot.

Anzu: Hot towel. I'm gonna put it on slowly.

Anzu gently draped the hot towel over Giuseppe's face, pressing it down to ensure his pores would open. When the towel cooled, she removed it. Giuseppe's face felt as if it was breathing.

Giuseppe: What kind of things? It must've been disturbing.

Anzu grabbed a face scrubbing pad and put three squirts of face wash on it. She began to scrub Giuseppe's face, especially around his nose.

Anzu: I found out that I tried to kill myself. I survived the attempt. My mother came to see me in the hospital.

Giuseppe: You tried to commit suicide?

Anzu: Yeah. I hung myself with my bathroom towel.

Giuseppe: I'm sorry, Anzu.

Anzu: Why are you apologizing? It's not like its your fault.

Giuseppe: I'm just sorry you had to go through any of that.

Anzu stopped scrubbing Giuseppe's face.

Anzu: Time to rinse.

Anzu turned the water back on and Giuseppe rinsed off his face. Anzu handed him a brown town to dry with, and Giuseppe felt like a new man from that one wash.

Giuseppe: You did pretty well, Anzu.

Anzu: Nothing I did was special, you just have to stop being such a lard queen and wash your face every now and then. How you've managed to go this long without acne is beyond me.

Giuseppe smiled smugly in the mirror.

Giuseppe: Because my mom had some amazing genes. I never really had any kind of bad acne even when I ate junk food a lot. Didn't even get fat either, can you believe that?

Anzu: Honestly? I really can.

Giuseppe shut off the bathroom light and entered the bedroom with Anzu.

Giuseppe: So then, do you remember anything about your mom?

Anzu: Just the fact that she looked a lot like me. I can't recall her name just yet though.

Giuseppe: Hmm. Well, what about your father's name? If we can track him down, we can probably find your mother too.

Anzu: Unfortunately, I don't quite remember that either. We're SOL for now.

Giuseppe: Damn. Well, no biggie, right? We'll get there when we get there.

Anzu's eyes were filled with a profound sadness. Her head was low as she uttered out her next words.

Anzu: You're lucky, Giuseppe. To have had a loving mother.

Giuseppe: Yeah. But my father took that from me. He says he loves me but....I don't know.

Anzu lifted her head and smiled.

Anzu: If it's any consolation, I love you! Even if you're a lazy slacker from time to time!

Giuseppe laughed.

Giuseppe: Good to know I can even get some love from the dead. Oh hey, I got something for you.

Anzu: What?

Giuseppe: Come into the kitchen with me!

Giuseppe took Anzu's hand and guided her into the kitchen. He opened one of the lower cabinets and reached his arm inside, clearly searching for something. When he pulled it out, Anzu's curious eyes lit up with excitement. It was a box of brownie mix.

Giuseppe: I'm sorry it took so long, Anzu. But I owe you these brownies, don't I?

Anzu: It's about time you butthead! How do we make them?!?

Anzu suddenly had the energy of a 9 year old child on crack and 8 cans of soda. She was unable to keep her legs and feet still, as if she had to pee.

Giuseppe: Well first, we're going to need our mixing bowl, whisk, sugar, butter, and a little bit of salt. Oh and get the eggs too!

Anzu handed Giuseppe his apron and put one on herself too before rushing through every corner of the kitchen to get the ingredients.

Anzu: We'll need milk too, right?!

Giuseppe: Yep! Grab it!

Anzu: Oh my god Giuseppe I love you so much! Thank you thank you thank you!

Giuseppe: Calm down already! Can you mix in all the dry ingredients and then add the liquid ingredients?

Anzu: Aye aye, captain!

Anzu suddenly turned into Japan's Greatest Chef and hastily yet skillfully put together the necessary ingredients for her brownies while Giuseppe prepped the baking dish and the oven.

Anzu: Finished!

Giuseppe: Wow, already? Let's taste the batter then.

Anzu took an entire spoonful while Giuseppe only tasted a bit off of his finger. Anzu's heart was about to melt from the taste of the sweet chocolate decadence.

Anzu: It's so good it should be a sin! We're gonna go to hell for eating these!

Giuseppe: Yeah, if you don't eat all of the batter first...

Anzu: Don't judge me! But we should get this in the dish before I really do devour all of it.

Giuseppe: Anzu...

Anzu: Hmm? What is it?

Giuseppe laughed so hard he had to bend over and place his hands on his knees.

Anzu: What's so funny?! Are my nipples sticking out of my shirt or something? I didn't have a bra when I woke up you know!

Giuseppe: No no, it's not that. You've got chocolate all over your mouth!

Anzu hadn't noticed, but her mouth was literally covered in the brownie batter. She tried eating much more than she could actually fit in her mouth with that large spoon. Anzu wiped her mouth with a finger to make sure Giuseppe wasn't deceiving her.

Anzu: Oh no! Don't look! I'm shameful and hideous!

Giuseppe: Oh my god! Let me get my camera, this is too rich!

Anzu: No!!! Giuseppe you assh*ole!

Giuseppe came back with a professional camera in his hands, already recording a frantic Anzu who raced to hide herself from the camera and wipe her mouth clean.

Giuseppe: Smile for the camera, beautiful!

Anzu: Go to hell!

Anzu flicked some water at Giuseppe's direction, trying to make him back off and yield from seeing her in such disgraceful form.

Giuseppe: Time for your close up, darling! Let's get a shot of that mouth!

Anzu: Ha! I already wiped it off!

Giuseppe had only managed to capture a minute of the madness.

Giuseppe: Ahhhh, you're such a poor sport, Anzu.

Anzu: Hmph!

Anzu crossed her arms and puffed her cheeks, looking away from Giuseppe as if the sight of him made her sick.

Giuseppe: You should've seen your face though! It looked like you were either really stupid or you were having a very slow seizure!

Anzu's face reflected anger at first, but her expression changed to a happy one. She put her hands behind her back, smiled, and closed her eyes.

Anzu: Oh Guiseppe!~

Giuseppe: Huh?

The last thing Giuseppe saw was Anzu's fist coming right for his nose. The hit was so hard he blacked out for a few minutes. When he awoke, he was propped up on the couch with tissues plugged up his bleeding nose. Anzu had come out of the kitchen with a fresh plate of hot brownies.

Anzu: Brownies are done!

Giuseppe: You didn't have to punch me...

Anzu: You're lucky I didn't kick you in the nads! Anyway, try them! Let's see if they're good!

Giuseppe: Wow, perfectly crusted...

Giuseppe and Anzu bit into them and tasted exactly what they wanted to. It was as if all the pleasures of the earth had manifested themselves into those soft, hot, moist squares of chocolate goodness.

Giuseppe: Hehehe! It's good! We made some good brownies, Anzu!

Anzu: I know! High five!

Anzu put up her hand for a high five, but was overwhelmed when Giuseppe furiously slapped Anzu's hand. She let out a screech of pain as Giuseppe's revenge was exacted.

Anzu: I hate you so much!

Giuseppe: Talk sh*t, get hit, Anzu. Talk sh*t, get hit.

Anzu: I hope your next drinking buddy is an ugly tranny with a really big chin and stubby penis! And I hope he gets you pregnant and you give birth to puppies!

Giuseppe: Where the hell did that come from?

Anzu: My tomato-red hand!

Giuseppe: Aww, did I hurt the poor wittle baby?

Anzu: Don't make me run to a cop with my diary butt naked and scream that you raped me!

Giuseppe: Okay okay you win! That's evil of you though, Anzu.

Anzu: Hah! Anzu-1, Giuseppe- negative 0

Giuseppe: There's no such thing as negative zero...

Anzu: There is in Anzu's world, bitch!

Giuseppe and Anzu ate all of the brownies on the plate and still had some left over to last them a few days. They both retired to bed and shut the lights off for the night.

Anzu: Psst. Pssssssst! Giuseppe!

Giuseppe: I can hear you.

Anzu: Let's go to the church when you're done with work on Friday.

Giuseppe: Sure, we can do that. Try not to take it too fast though, alright? I know these memories aren't really the happiest.

Anzu: Don't worry. I can handle it. Goodnight!

Giuseppe: Good n-


Giuseppe sighed as Anzu began to snore. Yet another typical day with Anzu had ended. Giuseppe finally payed off his debt to her, in full, and in brownies.

It Looks Like Rain Today
It Looks Like Rain Today

While Giuseppe worked for the rest of the week, Anzu did as she usually did at home. She cleaned, she cooked, and she listened to as much of Giuseppe's music as possible. Almost every day for the rest of that week, it snowed gently upon the city and cloaked the area under thick white clouds. It was another Friday, and as he always does, Giuseppe arrived home exactly at 7:00. As he opened the door, he found Anzu laying on the couch with a blanket and pillow, as if she had just finished taking a nap.

Giuseppe: I'm home!

Anzu: Welcome home Giuseppe! How was work?

Giuseppe: Eh, the usual. My boss is a prick and my co-workers are bearable at best. Were you just sleeping?

Anzu: Yeah I was a few hours ago, but I've been up since 4:30.

Giuseppe: Cool. Did you want to head to the church?

Anzu: Can we? It's okay if you want to relax for tonight.

Giuseppe: Nah, I'll relax at the church. Get your shoes on and let's head out.

Anzu and Giuseppe ventured outside in the night as the streets were filled with people making their way home from their jobs. They ventured off through the park, deep into the trees, and onto the dirt path that leads straight uphill, to they place where Anzu and Giuseppe met for the first time. Anzu looked up into the sky, noticing the clouds were starting to part and the holy glow of the winter moon revealed itself to the earth.

Anzu: It's always so beautiful, the moon.

Giuseppe and Anzu stopped on their way up the hill to watch the moon together. Giuseppe also loved the moon, even going so far as to favor it over the sunset.

Giuseppe: So you're a fan of the moon too? It really doesn't get enough love these days. Now it's all about the setting sun and other cheesy romantic crap.

Anzu: Tell me about it! At least you understand where I'm coming from, Gissy Poo!

Anzu wrapped herself around Giuseppe's arms and smiled as the moon shined down on them.

Giuseppe: Gissy Poo? No way, hell will freeze over before I ever allow you to call me Gissy Poo.

Anzu: Oh come on, not even just this once? Do you really want to make a girl cry, Giuseppe?

Anzu put on her best puppy face, positioning her self in a way that allowed the moonlight to reflect off of her eyes. Her beautiful blue eyes, her long black hair, her gentle cheeks and small nose, it all nearly captivated Giuseppe. That is until he realized what she was doing.

Giuseppe: You're gonna have to try a lot harder than that to convince me to do jack sh*t, Anzu.

Anzu: Fine, I'll blow you. Right here, right now. Get your pants off!

Giuseppe: Do you ever listen to yourself when you say things like this??!

Anzu: You know what....scratch that.

Giuseppe exhaled a sigh of relief.

Anzu: Just whip it out through the zipper. I won't catch any pubic hairs that way!

Giuseppe: You're lucky the snow doesn't pile that much until February, otherwise I'd throw a snowball in your face.

Anzu: You'd do anything to cover my face in white stuff, won't ya?

Giuseppe: Get in the god damn church!!!

Anzu: Oops! Didn't mean to pop your cherry there, honey!

Giuseppe: How do you even live with such a dirty mouth!

Giuseppe and Anzu continued walking up the hill and made their way into the church. There they were once more in their sacred place. Anzu ran up to the podium to retrieve her portable lantern, to give the dark church some light. Anzu called out to Giuseppe from the podium, with the lantern in her hand.

Anzu: Hey, Giuseppe! Since it's gotten colder we should probably sleep in the small room!

Giuseppe: Yeah, you're right! I'll help you move the bedding!

Giuseppe ran up to the podium as Anzu leaned one of the futon off of the stage to hand it to Giuseppe.

Anzu: Got it?

Giuseppe: Yeah, I'm good.

Anzu carried the other futon into the room with the blue shaded glass frames, arranging them as comfortably as possible so there would be no issues when it came time to sleep.

Anzu ran back to gather the pillows and blankets, and then once more to get the lantern and her diary. Anzu shut the door when all of the necessary items were retrieved and sat down on her futon with Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: This room is much more comfortable than I once thought! I could get drunk here and not freak out when I wake up and don't know where I am!

Anzu: You'd drink in a church, you heathen?!?!

Giuseppe: Have some humor puffy face, I was just joking. Besides, weren't you talking about hardcore butt fisting the time before last we were here?

Anzu: I have no idea what you're talking about! Anzu is a good girl and I will not have my reputation sullied by a common salaryman!

Giuseppe: Reputation? Gotta look good for all your adoring boy-fans out there, right?

Anzu imagined herself as a world-famous icon and idol, loved by boys from across the world. She could see it all, her name in lights, her face on magazines, her cute laugh broadcasted on televsion.

Anzu: Oh yes! What a dream that would be! Uh, don't distract me! We should read more from my diary!

Giuseppe: Yeah, sorry about the derailment. You said you tried to kill yourself, right?

Anzu: Yep, but that attempt failed.

Giuseppe: And then your mother came to visit you...

Anzu: That's how I remember it.

Giuseppe: So, what's next?

Anzu: I'm getting there, asshole!

Giuseppe: Fine, jeez....

Anzu cleared her throat and prepared to read.

Anzu: Dear Diary, I'm afraid I won't have much time to keep writing. My responsibilities are taking over my free time. Especially now, after my failed attempt at death, my father is insisting I opt for therapy. How foolish of him. "Just go to therapy" he says. "Just be happy" he says. "Stop letting yourself be so down" he says. How can a father be so oblivious, so blind and ignorant. Even when Death itself plays with his daughter's life, he still doesn't get it. There is no greater therapy than love, the kind of therapy that always seems to be sold out everywhere I go. It was when he said these things that I decided to stop cutting myself. Not because I was happy, nor was I sad. But because I was disappointed. So disappointed that I was almost angry. I had an epiphany, I suppose. Either I would save myself from my own despair, or I would become victim to it. I declare here and now, I want to live.

Giuseppe's eyes lit up with surprise.

Giuseppe: What a shift in attitude! Anzu, you actually got tired of what you were going through and decided to rise above it! That's absolutely amazing.

Anzu: I guess it is, isn't it?

Anzu had a smug expression on her face as she went on another ego stroke.

Anzu: Hah! Anzu ain't no killer-selfer, no ma'am, not in this house!

Anzu stood up and did a remarkably stupid dance that anyone should feel ashamed of doing.

Giuseppe: Man, this just ended up being another power trip for you, didn't it?

Anzu: Power? I've got power in my legs, power in my feet! Lord help me, I'm on fire!

Anzu's dance grew more intense and equally more stupid.

Giuseppe: Would you stop that already?

Anzu jumped, crossing her legs in mid air and landing perfectly on her futon with her arms crossed and face full of anger.

Anzu: You're just jealous of my moves.

Giuseppe: I'm more jealous of your lack of shame. Can we handle another excerpt?

Anzu: Sure can!

Anzu cleared her throat and lowered her diary by the lantern so she could see read the words written inside.

Anzu: Dear Diary, I've done it. I've really done it. I've gone a full week without cutting, and it wasn't even that difficult. I've refused to go to therapy, and I've made my mind up. I want to settle things with Natsumi. But until I can, I refuse to call her "mom". I wouldn't even know how to react if I ever saw her again. Would I be happy and cling to her, or would I just get angry and scream at her? I can hardly tell, my heart is in such a daze whenever I think about her. But for now, my mind is made. I'm going to stop writing these entries soon, so I can refocus on school and get my grades out of the gutter. I want to work longer hours at Satoshi's Grill, so I can scratch up even more money for myself. I want to be my old productive self once more. I no longer wish to be constrained by my father, or haunted by my mother. I just want happiness, and I cannot be given such a thing, then I will try my hardest to take it.

Giuseppe: Now that sounds like the Anzu I know!

Anzu: I know, right?! I didn't know I worked at Satoshi's Grill though, I used to steal food from there all the time when I was alone. They'd never catch me either because I'm a ghost!

Giuseppe: Yeah! Way to go, Anzu! Wait, what? You stole food?!

Anzu: Yeah, it's not like I can just go get a job and pay for it.

Giuseppe: Well, I guess. If you were alive and you kept stealing things like that, you could end up in jail or stabbed in some alleyway somewhere. You're pretty lucky to be dead!

Anzu yawned and covered herself in the futon.

Anzu: Yeah, breaking the law with no consequences is fun! Have you ever fought the law, Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: Nope. But I'm pretty sure if I did, it would've won.

Anzu: Oh you're such a pissbaby.

Giuseppe laughed at his own joke.

Giuseppe: C'mon, you set me up for that one. Time to go to bed?

Anzu: Yeah, I'm pretty tired, I didn't get a good sleep last night

Anzu yawned as Giuseppe reached to turn out the lantern.

Anzu: Goodnight, Giuseppe, don't let the bed bugs bite.

Giuseppe: Goodnight Anzu, sweet dreams.

Giuseppe and Anzu fell asleep together in the small room with blue shaded windows. But instead of waking up in the morning, Giuseppe was awoken in the middle of the night by the sounds of a crying and hyperventilating Anzu, who sat in the corner of the room.

Giuseppe: Anzu?!

Giuseppe jolted out of bed and rushed to Anzu's side, trying to get her to calm down. He didn't know what was wrong, but he assumed it had something to do with her memories coming back to her. It must've been bad if it sent her into such a fit.

Giuseppe: Anzu! Anzu, look at me! You have to tell me what's wrong!

Anzu lifted her head to look into Giuseppe's eyes as she continued to cry and have trouble breathing.

Anzu: I remember everything now! I remember how I died!

Giuseppe: What happened?

Anzu: It was my own f*cking father! My father!

Anzu wanted to explain more, but more than 3 years after her death, she's learned who was responsible for killing her. Her cries were loud, miserable, and heartbreaking. Her head fell onto Giuseppe's shirt, which only did so much to muffle her cries. Her anguish was so transparent that even Giuseppe was almost moved to tears. Both of their fathers had taken something from them. For Giuseppe, it was his mother. For Anzu, it was her own life.

Giuseppe: We don't have to talk about it now if you don't want to. You can tell me all about it another time.

Anzu began to calm down out of her fit of sadness and anger. Slowly, but not peacefully, the two were able to return to sleep. And just like the night before, the sleep was awful for Anzu. Both of them slept in, but were at least greeted by the sun shining through the blue windows of the room. Giuseppe awoke first and poked Anzu's puffy cheeks to wake her up. She tossed around in her futon, sounding aggravated as she groaned.

Anzu: Don't tell me it's time to get up already.

Giuseppe: I had no idea you drool in your sleep, Anzu. That's so cute.

Anzu shot out of bed and pointed her finger at Giuseppe to set the record straight.

Anzu: Hold up, I do not drool in my sleep!

Anzu said that I she wiped her cheek with her sleeve.

Giuseppe: I'm not even gonna say anything. You've made it too easy.

Anzu could only blush with her flustered and angry expression, but soon let the incident go as she prepared to walk home with Giuseppe. The main gathering place of the church was especially illuminated with bright shafts of light passing through the individual colored window frames. Seats, statues, and arches supporting the ceiling were all adorned with long, bright squares of blues, greens, oranges, reds, yellows, and purples.

Anzu: It's always so beautiful here when the sun is shining.

Giuseppe: The sun is really out today, I guess the clouds are letting up for now.

Giuseppe opened the door for Anzu, which seemed to be an instinct now rather than just a habit.

Anzu & Giuseppe: My my, how chivalrous of you.

Giuseppe: Yeah, I know. Let's just go home.

Anzu: Asshole.

One side of the morning sky carried thick and dark clouds, while the other was kissed by the sun and its accompanying light. Giuseppe and Anzu walked towards the darker side in order to get home. Giuseppe wanted to bring up what Anzu memorized last night, and what exactly happened between her and her old man. However, Anzu's sadly distant eyes were like a warning to him, that if he crossed that threshold before Anzu was ready, it would hurt her. It hurt him to keep his lips sealed. As they finally made their way back into the urban area, Giuseppe and Anzu passed the convenience store they went to last time. Giuseppe remembered that Anzu loved the Mochi sold there and wanted to buy some for her. He stopped and smiled.

Giuseppe: Hey, do you wanna go in and get some Mochi? I've got plenty of cash to blow on-

Anzu: I'm fine. Thanks.

Giuseppe's smile reverted back into solemn sadness and Anzu kept walking homewards in the cold morning breeze. At this point, he was more disappointed in himself than anything. There was a feeling of complacency and helplessness within Giuseppe as he walked at least ten paces behind Anzu, with his hands in his pockets and his head down low. When they arrived home, Anzu still had those distant eyes, the kind of eyes one has when their heart has been shaken, but their pain has not been voiced. Perhaps the most tragic aspect of Anzu, is that in both life and death, she was still very much a human. But in neither planes of existence was she ever treated as such. Anzu and Giuseppe took off their shoes and got back into their house clothes. It was still early enough for breakfast, so Giuseppe ventured out to the kitchen while Anzu got undressed.

Giuseppe began making tamago kake gohan for breakfast, served with sliced scallions, soy sauce, and a touch of freshly ground black pepper. Anzu emerged from the bedroom wearing Giuseppe's grey sweater and black sweatpants, her hair tied in a very messy bun. She sat at the dining table, watching Giuseppe cook.

Giuseppe: Oh, did you want some too?

Anzu: If it's not too much trouble...

Giuseppe: Nah, it's all good. I'm just making raw egg on rice. You don't mind soy sauce or scallions, do you?

Anzu: Not at all, I love them actually.

Giuseppe: Ah, good.

Giuseppe yawned as the rice cooked and the scallions were prepared for chopping. In his tiredness, he nearly dropped the large kitchen knife on his own foot, fumbling for it in mid air before anything bad could happen.

Giuseppe: The last thing I need is to have an Achilles heel...

Anzu: Are you sure you're okay? You look really tired. I don't think you should be working with sharp objects if you can't even keep a good grip.

Giuseppe: What? Who do you think you're talking to?

Anzu: An idiot, obviously.

Giuseppe continued to chop the scallions.

Giuseppe: Don't worry about me, I'll be fine. Nothing can possibly go wrong!

Anzu: If this were some kind of manga or light novel, something would definitely go wrong right about now!

The room filled with a sudden yell of pain from Giuseppe. It seems Anzu's prediction came true. The knife hit hard against Giuseppe's fingers, cracking his nails and slicing the skin around them.

Anzu: Oh my god! Are you okay!? I told you to stop!

Giuseppe turned around and slouched onto the floor, holding his bleeding hand while trying his best not to cry out.

Giuseppe: It's fine, this is nothing!

Anzu: It's not nothing! I'll go get some paper towel and alcohol!

Giuseppe: We don't have rubbing alcohol, Anzu!

Anzu ran out of the kitchen to retrieve the supplies, shouting across the apartment so Giuseppe could hear her.

Anzu: Not rubbing alcohol, the wine!

Giuseppe: Huh? Damn, that's actually pretty neat of her.

Anzu returned to the kitchen with the bottle of red wine and a sheet of paper towel, sitting on the kitchen floor and examining Giuseppe's hand.

Anzu: How do they feel?

Giuseppe: Like prolapsed assholes.

Anzu: Yeah I bet, you really *censored*ed yourself with this one. Your nails are completely crushed and you have fragments stuck in the skin bed underneath them

Giuseppe: Me?!

Anzu: Yes you, who else? Should I just say the knife got mad you looked at his wife the wrong way and attacked you?

Giuseppe: Damn

Anzu: Let me try to pick out the crushed bits of nail. It might hurt a little bit.

As Anzu cared for Giuseppe's hand, Giuseppe couldn't help but ask the dreaded question he's had since last night.

Giuseppe: Anzu. Forgive me if this is going too far.

Anzu: Oh god, do you want me to breastfeed you too?

Giuseppe: What?!? Of course not! I just....I'm wondering how you died. You said your father did it.

Anzu: I was sleeping that night. I was dead before I even realized what happened.

Anzu's thoughts traveled back in time to the day that she died, starting from when she woke up. Anzu always got up early and hated sleeping in. She washed her face, brushed her teeth, and put on her school uniform. Her father was almost always still asleep by this time.

Anzu: It was another regular day at school. Most of the kids I hated left me alone during this time. My grades were picking up again too. I even managed to score 95/100 on my math test, which is a miracle for me since math has always been my weakness. I always prepared my own bento and usually ate it alone, since nobody really wanted to talk to me. But perhaps that was my fault too, for being so distant. Immediately after the day ended, I would change my clothes in the locker rooms before walking to Satoshi's Grill for work. The boss wasn't in the day, but his daughter Myu was. She usually took care of the shop in his absence.

Anzu recalled Myu's cheerful attitude as she welcomed customers into the store. She had beautiful brown hair almost about as long as Giuseppe's. Anzu snickered when she remembered her hair.

Giuseppe: Why the laugh?

Anzu: I just remembered. Her hair looked a lot like yours. And I was always kind of jealous of her hazel eyes, but she'd always say she wished she had my blue eyes.

Anzu recalled ending the work day with Myu and cleaning up the shop as the sun began to set. They wiped the counters, mopped the floors, wiped the windows, and wiped the tables before taking their aprons off for the day.

Myu: Whew! Another good day of work! Great job today Anzu.

Anzu: Oh, thank you! It's always a pleasure being with you.

Myu: Are you going straight home?

Anzu: Yeah, I have to be home before it gets dark.

Myu: I can ride you to your place if you'd like. I need to go your way to get home, so it's no problem!

Anzu: I would love that, thank you.

Myu was just slightly older than Anzu, so she was able to drive a car all by herself. As they drove, Anzu looked out of the window, admiring the passing views of pedestrians, cherry blossoms, and natural features of the land. Myu's voice broke her out of her dozing.

Myu: Do you always sit quietly and stare out of the window?

Anzu: Oh! Yes actually. I've been that way my whole life, I'm sorry. I hope you don't think I don't want to talk to your or anything.

Myu: Nah, don't sweat it. I'm like that too. Never had too many friends in my life, you know? So I never had the urge to talk like most kids. My dad says I didn't even cry when I was born.

Anzu: Wow really? That's pretty amazing.

Myu: It's the opposite of amazing, trust me.

Traffic held off their arrival and made the drive 20 minutes longer than usual, but Anzu was now home safely.

Myu: I love this area, it's so pretty and peaceful. I should move out here some day, the city is awful!

Anzu: I always felt the same way. Funny how a place with so much life can be so dead, right?

Myu: You said it, Anzu. Well, you're home safe and sound. See you tomorrow at work?

Anzu: Absolutely! Thanks for driving me, have a good evening!

Anzu exited the car and waved goodbye as Myu drove off. She stood outside of her house for a few moments, admiring the dim glow of the streetlights that traveled down the road of the suburb, and the moon shining down from above, casting brilliantly blue light on the neighborhood and the clouds around the moon itself. She grabbed her house key and let herself in. None of the lights had been turned on, so Anzu turned on the lamp by the front door as she removed her shoes and took off her cardigan.

Anzu: That would be the last time I would ever see Myu. We weren't exactly close, but she was one of the only people that talked to me and laughed with me. One of the only things that brought light to my days, even if it was only just a beam. I didn't know it when I walked through that door, but within just a matter of what felt like a few hours, I'd be dead.

Giuseppe:.....What happened next?

Anzu: My father....I saw him sitting in the kitchen, drinking....and reading my diary.

Giuseppe: He read your diary?!?!

Anzu: You have no idea how much I wished I had tossed it out faster. To this day, I can't quite trace why father had spiraled so low. I know the split and losing the house took a lot out of him. But I was still young. I wasn't told much.

Anzu remembered walking into the kitchen in slow, careful steps. She feared her father when he drank.

Anzu: Dad? Are you okay? It's late, we should get you-

Masato: Don't touch me!!!

Anzu's father violently pushed Anzu away from him. His breathing was deep, and his face was distraught, cloaked halfway in shadow as the other half of his face shied away from the indirect light of the lamp. He slowly rose out of his chair, giving his own daughter a piercing stare of drunken rage.

Masato: You *censored*ing ungrateful bitch. I sacrifice my whole life for you, spend my days working for you, feeding you, clothing you. I even *censored*ing named you!

Anzu: Father, please-

Masato: Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!

Masato grabbed Anzu's diary off of the table, holding it to Anzu's face.

Masato: Every word you've ever written in here is garbage, the ignorant rantings of a child who doesn't understand the gravity of her own father's sacrifices!

Anzu's eyes began to fill with tears. They were not born of sadness, but of fear. Fear of her own father.

Masato: Come here.

Anzu slowly backed away as her father slowly came closer to her. Angered by her defiance, Masato grabbed her violently by the hair, forcing her to get on her knees and submit to his anger. Anzu cried and tried to release her father's grip from her hair.

Masato: Where were you when I had no idea how to pay the rent? In a warm bed, in warm clothes, eating a warm plate of food! Where were you when your mother left me and took your sister?! Shielded away from what you couldn't handle! Who is the one who suffered and survived alone all of these years to take care of you?! It was me! It was always me!

Anzu: Father, please stop! I'm sorry!

Masato: You have no idea what sorry is!

Masato threw Anzu by the hair, into a mirror that leaned against the wall, shattering the glass and cutting Anzu's cheek and forehead.

Giuseppe could not believe what he was hearing.

Giuseppe: I knew he beat you....but like that? That's horrible, Anzu.

Anzu:....We all have different kinds of fathers, Giuseppe. Mine was not kind. He was burdened with my life rather than blessed by it.

Anzu remembered getting up from that floor, scratching her hands on the broken shards of glass that were spread across the floor.

Masato: This accursed diary. And all of your ungrateful bull*censored* in it!

Masato threw the diary and Anzu's face, hitting her in the eye and knocking her back onto the ground. Both Anzu's blood and tears dripped onto the floor.

Anzu: What do you want me to do? How do you want me to make sense of anything if you won't tell me anything?

Masato: If I were you, I'd get a good rope, and look for a sturdy tree.

Those words confirmed Anzu's greatest fears. Her gentle tears turned into sobbing as her father walked away from the mess and retreated into his room. Anzu was left alone in the half-lit room to her agony. Alone like always. She would eventually get up and clean the mess, setting the mirror back on the wall even though the glass had broken. She wiped the floors, cleaned the blood off of her face, and departed to her bedroom. Her sadness brought on a sense of lassitude to her slow movement across the house.

Anzu: I turned out my light that night, and just tried my best to go to bed. I was more worried about how I was going to explain the cuts on my face to my teachers and to Myu. The next thing I remember is feeling immense pain in my chest.

Anzu placed her hand over her heart.

Masato creeped out of his room, with a kitchen knife in his hand. He opened Anzu's door slowly as she slept in her bed with her tv on but muted. The light of the television flickered around the room, casting shadows on Anzu's posters and old pictures of her and her dad, many of them taken when she was still a baby. Masato put his hand over Anzu's mouth and did an unspeakable thing.

Anzu: The next thing I remember was feeling a massive and burning pain in my chest. When I opened my eyes, I saw father's hand loosening its grip on a kitchen knife that was plunged into my chest. I wonder if I felt about it in that moment as I do now in this moment....

Giuseppe: What do you mean?

Anzu: I guess I'm mostly bothered by the fact that my father.......looked happy. It was the same smile he'd give me when I was a little girl yanking at his hair. It was the smile I had missed for so long, Giuseppe. But he was smiling because he finally got rid of me. There was no more Anzu for him.

Anzu began to cry, but stifled her tears enough so that she could finish recounting her heartbreaking demise.

Anzu: I closed my eyes after that. Everything was fading, but I could still hear and feel things for a few more moments. I can only remember smelling gasoline and feeling the blood rush out of my chest. I could hardly feel my own heartbeat, my hearing grew fuzzy, my body felt like it was floating in mid air. I tried my best to stay conscious. But there was no hope in that situation. I was losing a lot of blood. He must've stabbed me in or close to my heart. So I just gave up, and I passed on. We all have different kinds of fathers. Mines hated me. I hate him right back.

Anzu's tears kept falling, but she didn't sob. In fact, she smiled at Giuseppe, who was nearly in tears himself.

Giuseppe: Anzu....

Anzu: That's how I died. That's how I wandered this world for 3 years by myself. But now I...

Anzu's voice began to tremble.

Anzu: Even though I hate him so much, I still wonder if it was my fault! If there was anything, absolutely anything I could've done, I would've given everything! I would've given my arms, my legs, and my heart! Just so that rotten bastard could smile genuinely without watching me die!

Anzu now erupted into the most painful and heartbreaking crying Giuseppe had ever heard in his life. He held Anzu close as he too cried for her sake. He couldn't believe that someone would make Anzu go through all of that and take her life away far sooner than it should've been taken.

Giuseppe: It's not your fault Anzu. You were a brilliant girl, and you still are. You're funny, you're charming, you're beautiful, you're helpful, you're refreshingly silly, and you're incredibly kind inside. You were the best daughter than man could've ever wished for, but he just didn't realize it.

Anzu tightened her grip around Giuseppe as she cried.

Giuseppe now figured out the mystery behind Anzu's death. His weeks old question of wondering what could've taken this poor girls' life was answered bitterly.

When Giuseppe looked out of the window as Anzu continued to cry, he had a peculiar thought in his head, amongst the pain and sympathy he felt for Anzu.

A simple, yet symbolically depressing thought.

It looked like it was going to rain today.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2015, 06:02:11 AM »

Hallelujah, She is Risen

The ordeal had physically exhausted Anzu. In the late afternoon, she had fallen asleep on the cough with Giuseppe by her side. Giuseppe placed his arms under the bend of her legs and across her back to pick her up and carry her to bed, so she may sleep in peace. At about 8:00 PM, Giuseppe went into the bedroom to check if Anzu had awoken from her sad slumber yet.

But there she was, still sleeping as the moonlight shined brightly through the opened window, and the breeze made dancers out of the thin curtains. She looked as if someone had fixed her pose for a funeral, with her hands laying on her stomach. Her hair was spread out on the bed, curling and stretching in every direction, like rays of black sunshine around her head. As Giuseppe was about to leave her to sleep, Anzu awoke and opened her eyes towards Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Ah, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to wake you.

Anzu: No, not at all.

Giuseppe: Are you feeling any better?

Anzu: A little bit, yeah.

Anzu sat up in bed, letting her hair drape down to her hands.

Giuseppe: Hey, listen. There are a couple things we have to do this weekend.

Anzu: Hmm? Like what?

Giuseppe: I have to go visit my dad in prison and we need to get you warmer clothes, so we're gonna have to go shopping.

Anzu: Oh thank you! Let's not get too much, yeah? I'd hate to break the bank.

Giuseppe: Whatever you want is fine with me. Also, there are some things I was hoping to add to that list. I found Satoshi's Grill, the one not too far from the school you attended. I heard that lady Myu still works there. How about you go see her?

Anzu's heart raced when she heard Myu's name, as she had not even thought about going to see her.

Anzu: You want me to go visit her? Does she seriously still work there?!?!

Giuseppe: Well, we'll have to check and make sure, so we'll need to go in person. Tomorrow is Saturday, so they'll be open in the morning.

Anzu: I would absolutely love to go and see her!

Giuseppe: Good! We'll go early tomorrow then. Sound good?

Anzu: Absolutely! I bet she's even prettier than she was before! Oh, and you know Giuseppe, she's about your age!

Anzu gave Giuseppe a flirtatious wink, obviously making lewd implications.

Giuseppe: What the hell does that have to do anything? I'm doing this for you, not to get my dick wet.

Anzu: Awww....So you don't wanna ravage her ass while I cradle your balls from behind?

Giuseppe: Of course not!!!!!

Anzu: Or maybe you'd prefer if we both sucked you off, right?

Giuseppe: What on earth is wrong with you?!?!??

Anzu: Oh, I know! You want her to ride your dick while I sit on your face and moan your name so the neighbors can hear!

Anzu slid her shirt off of one of her shoulders, exposing her shoulder skin while she grabbed her breasts and shouted Giuseppe's name in jest. Very harmful jest.

Anzu: Oh Giuseppe! Right there! Yes! Yes! I'm gonna! I'm gonna! Oh baby I'm so close!

Giuseppe threw a pair of his socks at her face, shutting her up and making her land on her back on the bed.

Giuseppe: Goodness, you may have been telling the truth when you said you watched porn....

Anzu took the socks off of her face and sat right back up.

Anzu: Do you think I'd ejaculate ectoplasm all over your face, like, from Ghostbusters?

Giuseppe: Don't tell me you're a squirter....

Anzu: Sure am!

Giuseppe: What did I just say!?!?! How did you even figure that out? Oh damn it, I don't even want to know. Don't say anything about it! Nothing! Zip!

Anzu: Hmm? How the hell do you think I kept calm during all of that bull*censored* in my life?

Giuseppe: By watching fisting videos on the internet!

Anzu: Wow! You know me so well!

Giuseppe: Yeah, whatever. Did you want dinner?

Anzu: Yes sir!

Giuseppe: What do you want?

Anzu: Hmm...Baked fish, rice, miso soup, and some raspberry tea, please!

Giuseppe: Alrighty then, let's make it.

Giuseppe and Anzu got up to make their dinner. The kitchen was filled with their usual cooking antics, bumping each other's hips when they were next to each other, racing to see who could prepare their proponent of the dish fastest, and of course, Anzu getting food stuck around her mouth and having to frantically wipe it off before Giuseppe could take a picture of her. They ate, fought over which channel to leave the tv on, and cleaned up the kitchen before retiring for the night.

Giuseppe would wake up with Anzu already dressed and ready to go, sitting on top of him and staring closely into his sleeping face.

Giuseppe: A...Anzu?

Anzu: You're such a bum! Get up! Satoshi's Grill opened an hour and a half ago!

Giuseppe: Geez, I didn't mean right when they open. So it must be 11:30, huh? I'll get ready right now.

Giuseppe tiredly stood up, gathered his clothes for a shower, and headed off to the bathroom.

Anzu: Hurry! I want to see her!

For Anzu, the seconds were like years. She grew tired of knocking on the bathroom door, urging Giuseppe to hurry. So, she waited outside on the steps and enjoyed the breeze of the overcast morning. Giuseppe emerged from the apartment wearing black jeans, a red cardigan over a black shirt, and a red scarf.

Giuseppe: Alright, let's go.

Anzu: Geez, you'd think you were shaving your ass in there or something.

They got in Giuseppe's car, pulled out of the garage, and drove through the rather empty streets of the city. Anzu saw some familiar sights along the way, including streets that led to her old neighborhood. Her heart got excited when they finally stopped in the parking lot of Satoshi's Grill. As they got out, Anzu was anxious, smiling, and a little scared.

Giuseppe: Well. Looks like this is it. Pretty nice place. Let's go see if this Myu girl still works here.

Giuseppe led the way inside the shop, knowing it would look weird to others if Anzu opened the door first. The floors were checkered, the seats were made of red leather, the tables were a polished dark brown, and all of them were adorned with napkins and menus. Windows ran up the left side of the restaurant vertically, while windows ran horizontally down the front. The place was obviously still in fantastic shape. Since it was so early, they were the only ones in at the time and nobody greeted them when they walked in. Giuseppe and Anzu walked towards the counter, ringing the bell to summon the staff. From inside the kitchen, a voice erupted as the ring of the bell went off.

Voice: I'm very sorry! I'll be with you in just a minute!

Giuseppe looked over at Anzu and saw the anticipation and worry in her face.

Giuseppe: You know, if I were a food critic that wanted to review your place, I'd be pretty ticked off right about now!

Anzu: Giuseppe! There's no need to be rude!

Giuseppe: Damn. Guess you guys don't want my money then. Maybe I should head over to that other nice grill three blocks down!

Like a furious strike of lighting, Myu rushed out of the kitchen with a giant, bloodied meat cleaver in her hands and unleashed her fury on Giuseppe's poor soul.

Myu: Now you listen here! Order something from this god damn menu and I'll cook it better than your wife ever could for you, you son of a bitch! Don't you ever joke about giving my competitors time instead of me!

Giuseppe: What the hell is with that meat cleaver?!?!

Myu:....Oh, this? Whoops! Sorry! I was cutting up some chicken in the back. My apologies.

Giuseppe: Uhh huh....

Anzu stared at Myu as if she were a goddess. She was so beautiful it was almost sad. Her hair had gotten as long as Anzu's, her skin was vibrant like the sun, and she was the same goofy, energetic girl that Anzu knew when she was alive.

Anzu: really is you. You look so beautiful now!

Myu couldn't see or hear Anzu, of course.

Giuseppe took mental not of what Anzu had just said. This woman was Myu. But just so he didn't look like a psychic or a stalker, her made doubly sure by asking her directly.

Giuseppe: Hey...I didn't really come here to buy anything. I'm looking for a girl named Myu.

Myu: Myu? Why, look no further! I'm guessing you heard about me on some food blog or something ri....wait a minute?!?! You're not here to buy anything!?!

Giuseppe: Uh, nope! Sorry! Just looking for a girl names Myu, and you're her.

Myu: Damn! Well, okay. What do you want with me?

Giuseppe: You knew a girl named Anzu, right?

Myu gasped, as she had not heard that name in years, but she remembered exactly who she was.

Myu: You mean Anzu Hinode? The girl who passed away 3 years ago? Yeah, I knew her. Were you a friend or family member?

Giuseppe: Yeah, a friend. Something like that. Can I talk to you about it in private?

Myu: Sure, come into the back with me.

To Myu, it looked like only Giuseppe was following her. But really, it was Giusppe and Anzu walking behind her. They all sat in the back office of the restaurant, where privacy was assured. Anzu stood up instead of pulling up a chair, for obvious reasons.

Myu: Anzu was a brilliant girl, she was like a ray of sunshine. She was always a little distant, but maybe that's what made me want to talk to her. We worked here together for 2 years until her death. I was really shocked to hear about it. Even more so when I learned how it happened. I still kind of feel like it was my fault.

Giuseppe: How so? Nothing that happened was your fault.

Myu: I just wish I got her to open up more, you know?

Anzu: Myu...

Myu: Maybe, just maybe, if I asked about her home life, she would've told me about her father. If that happened, I would've taken her back to my place and barricaded her home with me. But it didn't work out that way...

Giuseppe: We hardly ever know when people are going to pass. We spend a lot of our lives regretting the moments that we didn't spend with them. Myu, what would you tell Anzu if you could see her right now?

Myu: What would I tell her? Just...that I lover her and I miss her sorely. I haven't forgotten about her one bit. And I'd show her my hair too! I grew it out because hers was so long when she worked here!

Anzu began crying, burying her face in her hands to hide her tears. Giuseppe looked over at her and knew how great it must've felt for her to know that someone on this earth still thought of her when her life was tragically cut short. At the same time, it must've been painful not being able to return the compliment to her.

Giuseppe: Myu, what if I told you you can see her?

Myu: What? You can't see the dead, weirdo.

Giuseppe stood up and reached into his back pocket, where he had shoved in Anzu's diary before leaving the house.

Anzu: Giuseppe! My diary! Are you really going to let her see me?

Giuseppe: Myu. Just place your hand on this diary, and your life will change forever.

Myu: And what if this is just some crazy prank, which it is?

Giuseppe: Then I will leave and never come back.

Myu hesitated.

Myu: This says Anzu's Diary on it....Donut Steel?

Giuseppe remembered the first time he read the title of the diary too, and his face was flushed with second-hand embarrassment.

Giuseppe: Yep, she wasn't always a good speller.

Anzu: I didn't mess the words up! I did that on purpose!

Giuseppe: Go ahead and touch the diary, Myu.

Myu softly placed her hand on the diary, not believing for a second that it truly belonged to Anzu. But the moment she made physical contact with it, she was able to see and hear Anzu, who still stood with tears in her eyes, though they were tears of embarrassment from Giuseppe making fun of her writing. There she was, she still looked the same as she did years ago. Her hair, hey eyes, and the unmistakable mild freckling around her nose and under her eyes.

Myu: Anzu....I can't believe what I'm seeing!

Anzu: Myu. Your hair has gotten so long! But you're still a copy cat, stealing my style!

Myu got up from her chair and walked towards Anzu. She had to take a closer look to believe her eyes.

Myu: I can't believe this, you're really her! I've missed you so much, Anzu!

Myu and Anzu cried together as the dead and the living were reunited on earth, in this small little office in a restaurant.

Giuseppe: I met her the exact same way. I found an abandoned church sitting atop a hill, and I figured I would go inside. When I sat down, I accidentally sat on this diary. Then, she came out of nowhere and tackled me. From that day on, we've become friends. She's been living with me for almost a month now, and I've been helping her remember what led to her death.

Myu: Remember? You mean she lost her memory?

Giuseppe: Yeah, but I think we've pieced it all together.

Anzu: This man here has helped me in unbelievable ways. He even took the time to track down this place.

Myu: Anzu! I don't even know what to say! It's been a long, long, long time. But now I can see you and feel you! Have you been on earth all these years?!

Anzu: Yeah, for 3 years. I'm certainly dead, but it seems I haven't been able to pass on. I don't know why. But when I met Giuseppe, it wasn't lonely anymore. He accidentally figured out the touching the diary allows people to see me.

Myu: This is a miracle! An absolute miracle1

Giuseppe: I understand you're excited, but you can't tell anyone about this diary, or about Anzu.

Myu: Hmm? Why not?

Anzu: It would cause a sensation since it's so easy to prove real. It would only burden Giuseppe with trouble, and it might mean that I won't able to live with him anymore.

Myu: Oh my, I didn't even think about that! Absolutely, my lips are sealed!

Anzu: Thank you, Myu. You're a true friend.

Myu: Look who's talking, beautiful!

The sound of the restaurant door opening abruptly cut the conversation short.

Myu: Crap! I have to get back to work!

Giuseppe: Uh, do you mind if I borrow some of this paper and a pen? I can write down my number here so you can call me and spend time with Anzu.

Myu: Yes, please do that! Anzu, dear. I'm in disbelief! But it's really you, there's no mistaking it!

Myu hugged Anzu as tight as she could, so much that it almost hurt.

Myu: I'll see you guys later. Tomorrow is Sunday, so I'll be off work. I'll call you and work out the details, Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Yeah, sounds good. Call anytime!

Myu: I'll walk you guys out. Thank you so, so much for coming, Giuseppe, and you too Anzu! I'm at a loss for words!

Myu lead Giuseppe and Anzu out of the restaurant and committed herself to her duties once more. Giuseppe and Anzu drove home together, in a silent but pleasant car ride. Giuseppe could feel Anzu's happiness as if it were the warmth of the sun. When they parked in the garage and exited the car, Anzu stopped in her tracks as they headed towards the front door.

Giuseppe: What's up? Something wrong?

Anzu: Nothing at all, Giuseppe. Can we walk over to the church?

Giuseppe: Sure we can.

The clouds had begun to part, and the sun shined through whatever openings the sky allowed it. They walked the same road to the church and made their way up the hill. The sun shined on the entrance side of the church and light pierced through the colored window frames, making everything near the entrance side of the church explode with color. Giuseppe and Anzu sat in a row of seats that was mostly brightly illuminated by the light coming through the purple window frame, as purple light shined on the seats, tables, and supportive pillars. Anzu was smiling the entire time, with her eyes closed. As if she had just died again, happy this time.

Giuseppe: You looked really happy back there. You still do.

Anzu: Yeah. I'm so glad she was able to see me. I finally reunited with her.

Giuseppe: Now all three of us can be around you! Or I might get shoved out of the picture, who knows.

Anzu: Depends! If you're not a complete weirdo around her, I won't mind it at all.

Giuseppe: Well that's reassuring.....Anzu?

Anzu: Yep?

Giuseppe: Is life better now that you're dead?

Anzu: That's a no brainer. I'm much happier in death than I am in life. I was just unfortunate enough to have my life taken, you know? But now, now I can be with you, and I even got to see Myu. Thank you, Giuseppe. None of this would've ever happened if we didn't cross paths.

Giuseppe: Yeah,'re welcome.

Anzu: So, what do we do now?

Giuseppe: I'm in the mood for a nap, honestly.

Anzu: Seriously?! You sleep in and now you want to take a nap?!

Giuseppe: Yep! Incoming!

Giuseppe put his feet up on the seat and laid his head on Anzu's lap.

Anzu: What the hell do you think you're doing?! I'm not a bed!

Giuseppe: Sorry....I'm.....just so tired for some reason. Just let me sleep this once, okay?

Anzu's disgusted expression turned into a warm smile.

Anzu: Alright, fine. Just this once you can sleep on my lap. Rest well, Giuseppe. And thank you for today.

Under the purple sunlight, under the eye of Christ, the watchful eyes of the child angels, and of Mary, Giuseppe and Anzu spent that afternoon in the church together.

Anzu was no longer alone. She had 2 friends she could count on, who hugged her and held her close.

Her tears, screams, and laughs could be heard and shared with those she loved.

Hour of Separation
It was a cold day filled with white clouds that reigned frozen tears down on the land. But on this day, Giuseppe and Anzu finally went shopping. Sweaters, jackets, scarves, and even beanies all paid for by Giuseppe, who nearly broke the bank buying all of it. But Anzu demanded clothes for the weather, so he could he deny? The shopping bags were stuffed in the back seat of the car, and Giuseppe got ready to drive Anzu back home. As they got on the road, Anzu slid a disc inside of the music player titled "20 Buck Spin- Pentagram".

Giuseppe: Whew! That's done. And now I have no money to buy any god damn alcohol!

Anzu: Oh take a break, you're like a recovering catholic or something!

Giuseppe: Why don't you just ask me to put my balls on a hot stove.

Anzu: Drama queen!Let's just go home already, I wanna try on this stuff!

Giuseppe: Just change in the car if you're so damn happy about it.

Anzu: Hmm...

Anzu began to take off her pants, putting her feet up against the windshield to do it. To Giuseppe's surprise, Anzu wore rather grown up underwear, thin and black laced.

Giuseppe: Holy crap, Anzu! I was just joking!

Anzu: You sounded pretty serious to me. Besides, it's not like anyone can see me.

Anzu tried on all her different pants in the car until they got home. Giuseppe, being a man of decency in every area besides liquor, made sure not to gawk at her legs or underwear. But no matter how you slice it, it was absolute torture. To top it all off, Giuseppe had to carry all the bags in himself, as Anzu was apparently too good for physical strain. She did open the apartment door however, allowing Giuseppe to walk in and fall on the floor to rest, spilling the clothes and bags everywhere.

Anzu: Oh come on, not again! Get up!

Giuseppe: Anzu....I....I can see it....I can see the's not's fire.....a sea of holy fire....there is nothing but fire and misery awaiting us, Anzu. We should just overdose on Zanax and end our lives here and now.

Anzu: I'm already dead, dumb ass. I was a murder victim for heaven's sake!

Giuseppe: What if we commit Seppuku? The kitchen knives are sharp enough!

Anzu: You're contemplating suicide all over my nice new clothes.

Giuseppe jolted up off of the fallen bags.

Giuseppe: Crap, sorry. Well, let's see how this stuff looks on you.

Anzu dressed in the kitchen where Anzu couldn't see her. With every outfit, she came out so that Giuseppe could give his thoughts. For the first outfit, Anzu wore a white blouse with a woolen overcoat and black pants. Her hair was tied in usual half up

Anzu: What do you think?

Giuseppe: You look like the bear that killed Timothy Treadwell.

Anzu: *censored* you!

For the next outfit, Anzu wore a fuzzy long sleeve shirt, black with pink star patterns and black jeans. She also wore a black ushanka on her head.

Anzu: Well?

Giuseppe: My name is Anzu and I love the color black because it's dark, misunderstood, and brooding, JUST LIKE MY SOUL!

Anzu: *censored* you!

For her last outfit, Anzu wore a ruffly black short skirt with white ugg boots, black leggings, a white shirt depicting Raijin and the tomoe symbol drawn in the style of classic Japanese art, and a necklace with a crescent moon pendant on it.

Anzu: How do I look?

Giuseppe: Like a baishunpu who may or may not have stab wounds.

Anzu stretched down her skirt and pouted her face in flustered anger, her cheeks growing as pink as roses.

Giuseppe: In other words, you like absolutely dashing!

Anzu's flustered face faded into an ear-to-ear smile as she held one thumb up as a sign of approval.

Anzu: Great! Now we know what I look good in! You didn't have to call me a baishunpu though, dickhead.

Giuseppe: My apologies.

The brief silence in the room as Anzu gathered the bags was disrupted by the sound of Giuseppe's cell phone ringing.

Anzu: Oh my, is that your secret gay lover calling you to profess his love and his desire to rub sausages with you on a fur rug in front of the romantic glow of his fire place?

Giuseppe: It's Hell calling, saying they want their demon bitch back. Hello?

Anzu: Oooh! You did NOT just answer the phone and take away my chance for a come back!

Giuseppe: Myu?! Oh yes, we're both home right now! Uhh, sure, you can come over. How long will it take you?

Anzu: She's coming over?!

Giuseppe: 15 minutes?

Giuseppe had a worried facial expression, which was all the alert Anzu needed to spring into action and get to cleaning as Giuseppe wrapped up the phone call.

Giuseppe: Yeah, she's here. As I've said, we live together. We actually just got home from shopping, so she's been trying on different outfits. Hah! Yeah. Alright, see you soon. Drive safely, it's snowing out there. Okay. Bye. Anzu!

Anzu: Yeah, I know! I'm cleaning everything now!

Giuseppe: Good.

Within a 15 minute time spanned, the two raced to tidy up the house as they dusted tables, wiped counters, scrubbed dishes, and fluffed pillows. Then came the dreaded knock on the door.

Giuseppe: Coming!

Anzu: Wait don't open it!

Giuseppe: What? Why not?

Anzu: I get really nervous when people come over and it always makes me have to pee and now I feel like I'm gonna tinkle myself! Oh god, it's starting! It's worse than having 'Nam flashbacks!

Giuseppe grabbed Anzu by her shoulders and shook her like a hurricane, even slapping her across the face a few times.

Giuseppe: Pull yourself together, man!

Myu knocked on the door once more, alerting Giuseppe to rush to the door and grant her access to his home. Myu let her hair down and kept it behind her ears as best as she could. Her eyes radiated happiness and joy to be at Giuseppe's home.

Myu: I'm so sorry to call you on such short notice. May I come in?

Giuseppe: Of course, come on in and make yourself at home.

Myu stepped in and saw an obviously shy Anzu standing in the middle of the living room. Myu almost got choked up by just looking at her and how beautiful she is.

Myu: Man, I'm gonna have to get used to this. Hello, Anzu!

Anzu: Hi Myu!

The two hugged each other is two old friends ought to hug each other. Seeing them united and embracing one another made Giuseppe happy for Anzu. Myu took off her coat and the three of them sat down together, discussing how the two met and why Myu is a ghost now.

Myu: So, you said you guys met in an abandoned church, right?

Giuseppe: Yep, that's how it happened. We still go there pretty frequently together.

Anzu: We sleep over sometimes! Now that we're done reading up on my memories, we can just go there for fun now. Well, some things are still just a bit fuzzy, but I'll remember everything soon enough.

Myu: I wonder...what exactly are you here for, Anzu? You should've passed when you died. But you're still here.

Giuseppe looked over at Anzu as she bowed her head in ponderance.

Anzu: I really don't know the answer to that question...

Myu: Hmm....well, it could be a few things.

Anzu: Like what?

Myu: I'm just going off what my psychic mother used to tell me. She said sometimes people don't pass on if they've had their life taken from them suddenly, not realizing why they've died. Sometimes they don't pass because they're still angry, sad, or jealous. Other times, it's because there's still things they badly wanted to do, or someone they wanted to say goodbye to.

Giuseppe: Anzu seems to fit quite a few of those categories. It's not solid, but it's a good place to start.

Anzu: Yeah, I agree. What I badly want to do right now is find my mother and confront her. If she's still alive, that is. And Myu, what about my father? What happened to him after I died?

Myu: According to the local news paper at the time, you both died together. He killed himself after he killed you. Both of your scorched corpses were found...

Giuseppe: He killed himself too?!

Anzu: I that's what happened...

Giuseppe: Anzu?

Anzu: It's alright. I hated him anyway.

Myu: You only have one father, Anzu.

Anzu: Yeah and the bastard beat me and treated me like I was less than nothing.

Myu: Be wary, Anzu. It's feelings like those that chain ghosts to the earth, never to find peace.

Anzu: I'll sort it out on my own. What I really want right now is to find my mother. I finally remembered her name. Well, her first name at least. It was Natsumi. Perhaps it's Nastumi Hodane? But I don't know if she still has that name after divorcing my father.

Myu: We should definitely try. If we look hard enough, I know we can track her down!

Giuseppe: And if Hodane isn't her last name? We'll be searching all throughout the country for girls named Natsumi. Actually, you say it like that and it sounds pretty wonderful!

Anzu: Be quiet, darling. Men are talking.

Giuseppe: I'm too tired to even give a clever rebuttal to that.

Myu got up and helped herself to Giuseppe's computer, sitting at his desk and getting to work trying to find any digital footprint left behind by Anzu's mother. Anzu and Giuseppe got up and stood behind her, watching in awe as she worked hastily and carefully.

Giuseppe: Why does everyone insist on just jumping on my computer without asking me!

Myu: It's not like I'm gonna go digging through your game directories and find your hidden porn folders.

Giuseppe: I don't even have a porn folder! How would a girl even know about that kind of thing anyway?

Myu: Because I did the same thing when I was younger.

Giuseppe: Oh for *censored*'s sake...

Anzu: Oh my god, you too Myu?!?

Myu: It's not the stone age, Giuseppe. Girls flick the bean as much as guys wipe the pole.

Giuseppe: De ja *censored*in' vu....

Myu: This is definitely gonna be harder than I thought....

Myu moved aside to show Anzu and Giuseppe the innumerable results that come up for Natsumi Hodane.

Giuseppe: Crap, that many?!

Anzu: It'll take forever to find my mom if we search profile by profile!

Myu: Until we have more information, that's the best we can manage. We'll find her soon, Anzu. But it's gonna take time.

Anzu: I understand.

Myu: Well? You guys gonna show me this abandoned church?

Anzu: Right away! Let me get my shoes!

Giuseppe: Right now? It's cold enough to make your balls turn black!

Anzu: Oh just get your shoes on, sissy!

Giuseppe: Dominated by a bunch of girls....

The three of them left Giuseppe's apartment with their coats on, ready for the snow and the accompanying cold. As they walked through the streets, Anzu held hands with Myu, smiling and showing her all the places she and Giuseppe had been.

Anzu: Giuseppe bought me mochi over at that convenience store over there! I never had it before that, so I didn't know it would be so good. I ate most of the box and kinda hate myself for that, but I don't think ghosts can gain weight!

Myu: Lucky you! I gained 4 pounds in just 3 weeks!

Giuseppe: Please kill me...

Up the snow covered hill was the abandoned church, donning a white cloak of fleeting snow. The three stood at the foot of the hill, admiring its beauty from afar like painters adoring their finished works.

Giuseppe: There it is. The place where I met this turbo-skank.

Anzu: Say that again and I'll key your car harder than an alcoholic ex-girlfriend on speed and bath salts!

Myu: So it was here? Wow, looks beautiful from down here.

Giuseppe: It's even prettier inside, more-so on days with a clear sky.

Myu: Why's that?

Giuseppe: Whoever built it had a great sense of aesthetic. Instead of putting your average stained glass frames in the sanctuary area, they put in straight up solid colored frames. So, when the sun shines through, the whole area is lit up like a rainbow. Plus the ceilings are pretty high and the building itself is spacious. It's a very Gothic design. It's a shame such a building ended up being abandoned.

Myu: My, that sounds lovely!

Giuseppe, Myu, and Anzu tread up the hill, and walked through the heavy doors of the church. They were greeted by the chilled air of the interior and the peaceful silence and vacancy of its sanctuary.

Myu: Wow!

Anzu: Pretty beautiful, huh?

Myu: You guys were right! This place is lovely! Pretty romantic place to meet if you ask me.

Anzu: R-r-r-r-r-r-r-r-romantic!?! We're not like that! I'm only 17, he's 25!

Giuseppe: I'm 22 you idiot!

Myu: As I thought, you guys are a match made in heaven.

Giuseppe: We usually stay here during the night, but I may have to go back home before it gets dark. I have to visit my father tomorrow.

Anzu: Oh yeah! In prison, right?

Giuseppe: Why do you have such a fat mouth??!?!

Anzu: It's only slightly fatter than my tummy!

Myu: Your dad is in prison, Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: Yeah. It's kind of a long story, but he killed my mom.

Myu: Oh my god, I'm so sorry!

Giuseppe: It's alright.

Anzu: Hey, wait a minute. Didn't you say his execution is just a few months from now?

Myu: Execution?!

Giuseppe: Yeah, it is. But I don't wanna talk about the rotten bastard.

Anzu: Giuseppe, you can't keep-

Giuseppe: Stop it! He's trash and nothing more.

Anzu, more than ever, was scared for Giuseppe. If he harbored these feelings up until the moment he dies, he could very well live the same life of loneliness that she had to go through.

Myu: I won't press into your family life since we don't know each other that well yet. But I will say that unlike Anzu, you still have a father. You don't have to forgive him for anything he's done. You don't even have to still love him. But with the time he has left in this world, you should make peace with him, and lay your quarrels to rest. So many people fail to do that, and it just leads to scars down the line that always bleed and never heal. Giuseppe, your mother is gone, but Anzu still has hers. So she should find her mother and lay their quarrels to rest. Anzu no longer has a father, but you still have yours. So you need to do what she wants to do, but for your dad. It's the only way to live and the only way to embrace the pain and hardship that life will constantly throw at you if you let it.

Giuseppe: You guys make it sound so easy. How would you feel if your father killed your mother? How would you feel if nobody was there to wake you up in the morning, or wish you a good day at school, or have dinner made for you when you got home, or told you they loved you every day? It's not as easy as just letting go that pain.

Myu: Someday then, when the hour of separation draws near, I think you'll know. And you'll understand the words that you heard now.

Giuseppe: I hope you're right, Myu.

Anzu: I'll be sure to beat the lesson into you if I need to! When you die, you don't want to roam around the earth like I did! It's lonely and nobody laughs when you tell a really good joke and when you try to remember the joke the next day you can't and it's just really painful and awful and makes you want to scream!

Giuseppe: It's cute when your sentences run on, Anzu.

Anzu: Wha?!?!

Myu: I have to say, it is pretty cute, Apricot!

Anzu: Don't call me that!

The silence in the cold church was countered by the warm laughter of the three friends. It was as if a holy spirit had entered in the building and dispelled any fears, doubts, or worries, even if for just a moment.

Giuseppe knew that with time, he'd learn that these moments are the ones worth living for.

« Last Edit: December 29, 2015, 06:03:57 AM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2015, 06:10:21 AM »
Holy is Her Smile, Holy are Her Tears
Giuseppe, Anzu, and Myu ended up staying at the church that night, against Giuseppe's initial wishes. While the other two were asleep, Giuseppe awoke and decided to sit in the sanctuary alone until he felt tired again. It was unlike him to wake up like this.

Giuseppe: Damn it. You always gotta wake up like this on the cusp of an important day.

Anzu also woke up and walked out to the sanctuary to check on Giuseppe.

Anzu: Couldn't sleep?

Giuseppe: You too, huh?

Anzu: You kind of woke me up actually, so thanks for that, pencil dick.

Giuseppe: Crap! I'm very sorry!

Anzu: Chill out! I'm a ghost after all. I don't have any obligations.

Giuseppe: I guess so.

Anzu sat down next to Giuseppe in the 3rd row.

Anzu: Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Yeah?

Anzu: Take me with you to go see your father.

Giuseppe: What? Why?

Anzu: Because I know you'll be in less pain if we go together.

Anzu's kindness touched Giuseppe's heart. It shook him on the inside, and already made him feel better about having to go see his father.

Giuseppe: Alright, if that's what you want. His name is Nori. He won't be able to see you or anything.

Anzu: That's perfectly fine. Hey, have you ever wondered what those things are up there?

Giuseppe: Where?

Anzu: On those walls enclosing the statue of Christ. They have these white fragments in the wall, but I don't know what they are.

Giuseppe: White fragments? Oh wait, I think I can see them a little bit.

Anzu got up from her seat and walked towards the statue and its surrounding walls, which acted as walls for the doorway and halls on the left and rise side of the statue.

Anzu touched the white fragments and began caressing them. Giuseppe stood up from his seat, whispering as loudly as possible to Anzu, as to not wake Myu up.

Giuseppe: Don't just go touching things, you idiot!

Anzu: Oh relax, grandma! It's not like Ted Bundy is gonna pop out of these things and stab me in the tits.

As Anzu caressed the fragments in the wall, they began to light up. It turns out, they were lights built into the walls, meant to mimick the way in which the image of stained glass patterns shine on surfaces with sunlight. Each wall has 8 vertical columns of the lights, all of them depicting religious figures. They were convincing. At first glance, you'd probably think there were columns of stained glass shining behind you, but they really were just lights built into the wall. They were mainly blue, but some of the columns also had reds and yellows as their primary colors. The lights shined from the podium and reflected off of the smooth, wooden surfaces of the seats.

Giuseppe: Wait a minute, this is an abandoned building! It shouldn't have any electricity. Did you do it, Anzu?

Anzu: I just gave it a handjob and it got all excited!

Giuseppe: Don't say it like that! Still, it's very beautiful.

Anzu: Yeah, I agree!

Giuseppe: It seems you might be able to pass energy onto equipment that is devoid of it. In that case....

Giuseppe imagined himself using Anzu's talents to trick the foolish peasants and peons of his neighborhood into believing that he was a magician, or a newly reincarnated god who bring power back to dead lights, and even good fortune for extra cash. Giuseppe gripped his hands together and lifted one of his legs, like a girl who had just fallen in love.

Giuseppe: Oh man! I'll be swimming in Yen! I could buy all the hookers and blow I want!

Anzu: Are you having exploitative thoughts about me?!?

Giuseppe: Of course not!

Anzu: Then why are you smiling!?

Giuseppe: Don't be silly, I'm not smiling!

Giuseppe wasn't smiling. He was grinning like a stingy god of money and fortune.

Anzu placed her hand on Giuseppe's shoulder.

Anzu: Listen, it's pretty late. We gotta see your father, remember? Don't wanna sleep in and get stuck in heavy traffic.

Giuseppe yawned, and his eyes grew heavy with the burden of exhaustion.

Giuseppe: Yeah, I guess you're right. Let's get back to bed.

Giuseppe's heart ached in a strange way as Anzu's smile was dressed by the deep blue glow of the lights in the wall. To him, a church was a fitting place for such a smile. To him, Anzu's happiness and her very spirit were something too holy to be placed anywhere else. The two silently climbed back into bed and fell asleep, waking up early in the morning in the natural blue light coming from the sun shining through the actual stained glass in the small room in the back.

Giuseppe: Morning.

Anzu: Morning.

Myu: Morning!

Giuseppe and Anzu looked miserably tired, but Myu was as refreshed as ever.

Anzu: She....she actually got decent sleep...

Giuseppe: Anzu?

Anzu was so angry and jealous that all she could do was laugh.

Myu: What's happening?!

Giuseppe: I think Anzu has gone off the deep end!

Anzu crawled over to Myu, grabbing her by her shirt and dragging her tired head down her chest.

Anzu: I...I hate you....I hate you so much.......

Myu: Aww, didn't sleep well? I'd try sleeping with some eye shades, they're pretty handy!

Anzu: I hope the man of your dreams gets you pregnant, takes you baby shopping, and then suddenly decides he wants to abort it!

Myu: Hehe....too bad there's no abortion de jure in this country.

Giuseppe: Ah crap, we gotta get home. Get up, Anzu.

Anzu: Bring some eye shades next time, Myu! I want to try some!

Myu: Sure thing!

The three of them ran out of the church and back towards Giuseppe's house. Myu had to go back to get her car and drive home, and Giuseppe promised to take Anzu with her to go see his father. The two finally got back, out of breath, and probably 3 pounds lighter than they were before they started running.

Giuseppe: Alright, we're back. It was a pleasure seeing you, Myu. Come over whenever you like.

Myu: Oh thank you! You too! The shop closes at 7:00 but if you guys ever wanna hang out during the night like this, we could always hang there and eat up all the food! We tend to have a bit of surplus anyway.

Anzu's eyes lit up with joy.

Anzu: Free food?!

Myu: Yep! Well, I know you guys are in a hurry.

Myu bowed and blew a kiss to Anzu.

Myu: See ya later!

Giuseppe: See ya!

Anzu: Bye Myu!

As Myu drove off, Giuseppe and Anzu hurriedly get into their car and began their journey to the prison. Bored from the long drive, Anzu asked to play some CD's.

Anzu: Hurricane...Tough Nuts....oh, what's this?

Giuseppe: That? Oh man, you picked out a great one. That's Bone of My Own by Night Sun. One of the best guitar riffs I've ever heard.

Anzu: That sounds awesome! I'll play this one.

Anzu put in the disc, and was captivated by the ambient sounds of distorted guitar and drifting keyboards.

Giuseppe: It's a slow start, there's like three minutes of just ambient noise. But just listen.

Anzu had the expression of a child learning how to cook. She was invested in the music completely. Just as Giuseppe promised, the main riff began to kick in when the ambient noise and feedback ended.

Anzu: Holy crap! And he solos in the beginning of the song too! Ugh, and this guitar tone! It's perfect!

Giuseppe: Yep, one of my favorite hard rock records honestly.

Anzu: Hallelujah! I think that's how you say it!

Giuseppe: Huh? Why the hallelujah?

Anzu: Because, who else could've shown me these kind of tunes? I could've been stuck with a naggy old grandma or a pervy pedophile, but I was blessed with a no-life, paycheck by paycheck lose like you!

Giuseppe: Gee, thanks. I don't know what to say.

As Giuseppe got closer to the prison, he grew more silent in that car ride. Anzu could feel Giuseppe's happiness and inner peace fade as they walked out of their cars, and started towards the prison entrance.

Giuseppe: Oh *censored*. Hey, Anzu.

Anzu: Yeah?

Giuseppe: I don't know how you were able to turn on those lights last night, but let's assume you have some kind of electromagnetism thing going on with your spirit. It might interfere with their metal detection equipment.

Anzu: Oh! I didn't even think about that. Okay, I'll just stay back then.

Giuseppe: Alright. You can come after they've scanned me, but just keep your distance while it's still going on.

Anzu: Right!

Anzu watched from afar as Giuseppe was scanned and frisked for any potentially harmful objects, standard procedure for the prison of course. When he was cleared, Anzu walked right past the guards, completely unnoticed. Anzu had never been in a prison before, so she kept as close to Giuseppe as possible. Giuseppe could feel Anzu tremble as she held his arm.

Giuseppe: Nervous?

Anzu: I've never been in this place before. I know I'm a ghost and all, but it's still scary.

Giuseppe: Don't worry, we're just here to visit my old man. We'll head back home after this.

Anzu followed Giuseppe until they came to the visitation room. The first thing she noticed was the sentence painted on the top of the wall that divided prisoners from visitors. It simply read, "Please Keep Hands Visible At All Times". There were other people visiting their loved ones, but they sat in the seats to the far left and far right. Giuseppe's father sat in the middle, waiting for his son to show up. Nori smiled as Giuseppe walked into the room, but Anzu still couldn't sense that happiness in Giuseppe. Giuseppe sat down and picked up the phone that allowed him to speak with Nori from the other side.

Nori: Wow, your hair's gotten longer. Going for a new look?

Giuseppe: Not really, I've just been a little too lazy to cut it.

Anzu: So this is your dad...

Nori: How have you been? Your visits are becoming less frequent. I assume you're doing good out there.

Anzu: Yeah! Giuseppe has been doing very good! He's been hanging out with me a lot and he even got along with my friend Myu!

Giuseppe wanted to remind Anzu that Nori can't actually hear her. He did his best to filter out her interjections.

Giuseppe: I've been doing much better. I've made some good friends in just this past month.

Nori: That's good. I'm proud of you.

Anzu: Giuseppe, you jerk! Ask how he's doing!

Giuseppe continued to ignore Anzu.

Giuseppe: It took me this long to rebuild what you took from me. That's why I can't understand you...

Nori seemed confused.

Giuseppe: How dare you look me in the eyes and smile, asking me how my day was, if I made any friends, noticing my hair when it grows or when I cut it, wishing me the best in life, saying petty things like "Make some nice friends, Son.". None of it will ever make you the father you should've been.

Anzu: Giuseppe, stop!

Giuseppe: You can't die soon enough you rotten cunt!

Nori's face expressed a profound sadness. He had always known Giuseppe probably harbored feelings of hatred against him. But to hear those words come out from the mouth of the only person he has left, it broke him inside. He wiped away the tears that ran down his face, and didn't dare look into Giuseppe's eyes anymore.

Nori: Giuseppe, I'm sorry.

Giuseppe: You should be.

Giuseppe got up and hung up the phone, leaving Nori to cry on the other end.

Anzu, to the confusion and annoyance of Giuseppe, was much more emotional about this than Giuseppe himself. Her eyes sparkled as she held back tears.

Anzu: Giuseppe, you asshole! I know hey may not be the best person in the world, and I know he took your mom from you! But you can't keep doing this!

Anzu blocked Giuseppe's path and fiercely locked eyes with him. All she could see was anger, immaturity, and guarded vulnerability.

Giuseppe: Why the hell not?! He says he feels bad, and he should! That's what happens when people do horrible things! They should all feel like *censored*ing garbage!

Anzu: There are billions of people but you only have one dad! Once he dies, Giuseppe, there's no bringing him back! There's no saying sorry for the things you've said. There's no making amends. There's no forgiving him, no hope, and no resolution to either of your aching pains! Remember what Myu, told you? You still have your dad! You still have the opportunity to give yourself that peace and resolution! Don't rob yourself of that! I don't have my father anymore, so I can't say I'm sorry, I can't ask him why, I can't hug him, play with his hair, eat his rice cakes, or talk about what it was like for him when he brought me home from the hospital!

Anzu held her chest as her tears fell from eyes and down on the floor like a gentle rain.

Anzu: I'm not crying for him as much as I'm crying for you! Because I know that if you keep doing this, you'll bear the same pain that I bear everyday. The pain of regret, of feeling like you didn't do as much as you could with the people that passed on. It will ruin you forever, Giuseppe. I don't want you to hurt like that.

Giuseppe: I'm....I'm sorry, Anzu.

Giuseppe felt like trash. He had made Anzu cry because of his own selfishness. Maybe he didn't quite yet feel obligated to take her words to heart, but it was clear his attitude towards his father was going to take him down a road that Anzu was already familiar with.

The drive back home was uncomfortably silent.

Upon finally returning to the apartment for the day, Giuseppe collapsed on his couch and nearly gave in to his temptations to take a nap. Anzu took off her shoes, got in her house clothes, and put her hair in a half-up like she usually does.

Giuseppe: Hey, Anzu. Thanks for caring.

Anzu: Hmm? I only care because I'm stuck with you. If you got super depressed and killed yourself or something stupid like that, who'd take care of me?

Giuseppe: Myu would, of course.

Anzu: That's not the point! I just don't want anything to happen to you that you might regret later down the line. Like having kids or marrying a transvestite. That includes the situation with your father.

Giuseppe flipped over on his back and smiled at Anzu, who stood over him with her arms crossed.

Giuseppe: Still, thanks.

Anzu: Yeah, whatever. Can we just make some food already? I could eat entire block of cheese.

Giuseppe: Sure thing, pal.

The fires of tribulation and hardship are the heat and pressure needed to forge the unbendable iron that is a true friendship. And for Anzu, that also included some good food. A warm meal in a warm home, with a warm friend to enjoy it all with.

Her tears were as holy as her smile.

The Litany of Self-Forgiveness
Another work week ended for Giuseppe, and it was as dull and bland as usual. Anzu did her best not to push Giuseppe too hard about what happened at the prison whenever he got home. But ever since that day, Anzu noticed Giuseppe would often stare off into space, often missing whatever Anzu was saying in a conversation.

Wanting to return the favor for Myu's visit last week, Giuseppe and Anzu drove out to Myu's shop as 7:00, after Giuseppe got off of work. The atmosphere between them seemed to get a little better, as conversation wasn't so hard to maintain during the ride, even if it was merely petty small talk. They were surprised as they walked in Myu's restaurant, as it appeared Myu had made some additions to the aesthetic of the shop. Red and purple rope lights were placed along the walls and window sills, turning the place into a neon beacon of red and purple at night. Myu stepped out from behind the kitchen and took off her apron. She was sweaty, visibly exhausted, and trying to catch her breath. She had obviously been working hard all week. She tied her hair in a pony tail as she smiled and greeted Giuseppe and Anzu.

Myu: Welcome back, lovelies!

Anzu: Myu, did you add all of this? It looks amazing!

Myu: Yeah, I wanted to give the restaurant a nicer vibe, you know? The rope lights were pretty cheap too! And I've got plenty more of it if it needs replacing. What about you guys? How's your week been? Can I get you anything?

Giuseppe: Yes I'll have a beer, please.

Myu: Alright, do you want that with a side of anger, or a side of misery?

Giuseppe: Hmm...make it both.

Myu: Got ya.

Myu went behind the counter to grab some beverages for everyone, and a soda for Anzu since she was still too young to drink.

Anzu: To answer your question, the week has been absolutely *censored* and balls because mister Mopeface Mc*censored*ForBrains over here has daddy issues.

Giuseppe laid his head on the table and covered himself with his arms.

Giuseppe: Why do you have to bully me immediately after the work week?

Myu & Anzu: Tough love!

Anzu: Oh my god! See, Myu gets it!

MYU returned with the beverages and sat down with Giuseppe and Anzu at the table, dressed in deep red light.

Myu: So, Giuseppe? You gonna tell me what happened?

Giuseppe: Do I have to?

Anzu stepped on Giuseppe's toes under the table, keeping up her smile as if nothing happened. Giuseppe's face scrunch up with pain as he tried not to cry out.

Giuseppe: I mean, uh...I kind of blew up on my dad. It wasn't really warranted.

Myu: Oh Giuseppe, I told you last time, didn't I? You've got to make peace with him, not war.

Giuseppe: That isn't so easy when you're dealing with a murderer.

Myu: Whether you like it or not, he's your father first, and a criminal second.

Myu looked outside of the window and noticed it had begun to snow.

Myu: Looks like the snow is back tonight.

Giuseppe: I see...

Myu stood up, slamming her hands on the table and shaking the drinks

Myu: Hey, you guys wanna sneak into an ice rink?

Anzu: What?!? Are you drunk?

Myu: Of course not, I've only had 5 beers. I'm still rarin' to go!

Giuseppe: What if we get caught, dumb ass?

Myu: Then Anzu will distract the guards with her tits and you and I will make a run for it!

Anzu: Oh, go to hell!

Giuseppe realized just what Myu was trying to do. It may have been a silly idea, but Myu was trying to bring his spirits up. He hadn't even known her that long, and yet she had already been so kind to him.

Giuseppe: *censored* it. Let's go. But let's down the rest of these beers first.

Myu: Last one to finish has to massage my feet!

Anzu joined in, even if she only had a soda

Myu: Go!

All three of them chugged their beverages like Japan was going to sink into the ocean in 10 seconds. Myu put her glass down first, then Giuseppe, and lastly, Anzu.

Myu: Wooo!

Giuseppe: *censored*!

Anzu squirted soda out of her nose as she panicked when she realized she was the last to finish. Her face blushed and she wiped her face with a napkin.

Anzu: God damn it! That's not fair! Soda hurts when you drink it too fast!

Giuseppe: I'll be sure to buy you some oil, Anzu.

Anzu groaned as everyone got up to head out to the ice rink, which was long closed by now. Myu locked up shop and led the way in her car, with Giuseppe and Anzu following right behind her. Within 20 minutes, they were able to get to the parking lot of the ice rink. They met up with Myu by her car, who guided them on how they were going to bust in.

Myu: Alright fellas, let's get down to business. We're gonna walk right through the front door.

Giuseppe: that it?

Anzu: Wow. You are so *censored*ing stupid, Myu.

Myu: Fine then, go ahead and walk inside since you're a ghost!

Anzu: I can't! Only living things pass right through me.

Giuseppe: Myu, would you happen to know if the lock on the front is electrical or mechanical?

Myu: Ah! The lock on the front is indeed electrical!

Giuseppe looked over at Anzu as a nonverbal way of saying, "you know what to do".

Anzu: You guys owe me.

With Anzu's new-found ability to mess with electronics, the three of them were able to get inside the ice rink. They walked through the halls and took some of the figure skates from the fitting area before heading out onto the ice. The ice rink was massive, allowing light from outside to pass through large, tear shaped colored windows, much like those back at the shaped. There were seats underneath the tear shaped windows, allowing for people to sit and watch under the colorful filters of sunlight. Next to the exit on the ground floor was the balcony, also tear shaped, overlooking the ice rink. The walls were decorated all the way across. On the right, closest to the entrance, the wall was painted with a depiction of Raijin and Fujin fighting among clusters of clouds. The clouds extended all across from the right to the left side of the wall, on the other side of the rink.

Myu: Wooo! Echo!

Anzu: I can't believe I just broke into a building like this! I'm so ashamed, I'm a delinquent now!

Giuseppe: No you're not, you're dead.

Myu: Calm down, Anzu. Not like anyone could see you right? You've got invisibility on your side, so learn to live it down!

Anzu didn't bring it up, as it was already apparent the moment she stepped on the ice, that she had never been ice skating before. Though she couldn't have possible dreamed that it would happen this way, she was eternally thankful on the inside, as evidenced by her warm smile in such a cold place. Giuseppe's smile, however, was nothing but insincere. Anzu could tell better than anyone when his smile was made of glass.

It was midnight now, and everyone was exhausted. Despite the illegality of their actions, Giuseppe and Anzu thanked Myu for the great time before they drove off into their separate directions homewards. Giuseppe and Anzu were hardly awake as they returned home and finally got into their house clothes. Still, Anzu needlessly kept up her hygiene and brushed her teeth as Giuseppe prepared for bed. Anzu finished up and climbed on her bed, still worried for Giuseppe.

Anzu: Hey, Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: Yep? What is it?

Anzu: When are you gonna visit your mom's grave?

Giuseppe: I don't know, Anzu. Can we just go to sleep now?

Anzu grabbed Giuseppe's hand as he reached out with it to turn off the light.

Anzu: No! You always avoid things and run away! I'm just trying to tell you that it will hurt if you keep doing that. It's one thing to run when someone is alive, but it's different when they're about to die.

Giuseppe turned over the other way, avoiding eye contact with Anzu as he tried to sleep.

Anzu: I won't tell you to go tomorrow, or next week, or even next month. But please, let's go soon, okay? I want to thank her for giving me two amazing gifts.

Giuseppe: What do you mean?

Anzu put her legs against the wall, laying down across the bed so she could speak to Giuseppe and see him.

Anzu: I want to thank her for you, and for the music. Goodnight, Giuseppe. Don't have any nightmares.

Anzu turned out the light, and immediately went to sleep. Giuseppe still couldn't face Anzu. Especially not after those words, which left him in silent tears through the night.

Giuseppe and Anzu slept in the next day, and didn't awake until 2:00 in the afternoon. The two of them awoke at the same time, still yawning as they arose from their beds.

Anzu: Damn it, I slept in again. Good afternoon.

Giuseppe: Good afternoon. You hungry?

Anzu: No, not yet.

Giuseppe: Good. I wanna visit my mom.

Anzu subtly gasped in shock of Giuseppe's change of heart.

Anzu: Do you really mean it? You'll visit her?

Giuseppe: Yeah, so get ready. We shouldn't be there too long.

Both of them brushed their teeth in the bathroom together as Giuseppe noted his hair was getting even longer. It now reached just past his shoulder blade. With toothpaste still in her mouth, Anzu reassured Giuseppe that he still looked good.

Anzu: I quite like it actually. Did you used to have it shorter?

Giuseppe: Yeah, I always kept it short, but I just haven't been keeping up with it these past two months.

Anzu tied Giuseppe's hair back in a ponytail, still leaving waves of hair to drape over his face.

Anzu: I like it, keep it just like that!

Giuseppe and Anzu spit out their toothpaste and turned off the water.

Giuseppe: In a sissy little pony tail? No way.

Anzu: Aww....

Giuseppe sighed.

Giuseppe: Alright, just for today, I'll wear it in a ponytail. Alright?

Anzu's joy built up like the insides of an active volcano, and exploded when she jumped on and hugged Giuseppe, rubbing her cheek against his cheek.

Anzu: Yaay! I finally did something cool and you accepted it!

Giuseppe: Yeah, I know. Can we just get going already?

Anzu wore her stitched sweater and black scarf to shield herself from the cold on the overcast day. Giuseppe sported a black shirt with a black cardigan over it, and dark grey jeans. They left the apartment and drove out to the cemetery to find Maria's gravestone. When they arrived, they walked along the path through the cemetery, which held hundreds upon hundreds of gravestones and crypts. Some of the crypts were small, probably meant for children who had their lives cut much too short. The path they walked had arches adorned with flowers and vines, the petals fell all along the path, covering the path in small purple flower petals. There were komainu statues around the cemetery as well, acting as symbolic guardians of the souls of the dead.

Giuseppe finally came across what he had always been shielding himself from. It was the permanent reminder and proof of his mother's eternal absence. Her gravestone.

Anzu: Maria Himura. 1978-2010. Beloved Mother and gentle spirit. Do you want me to leave you alone for a few minutes? Oh, and I hope it's okay if I talk to her after you're done.

Giuseppe: Yes, please do that. And you can talk to her all you want once I'm done here.

Giuseppe knelt down and burned incense for his mother.

Giuseppe: Hey mom, it's been a long time. I'm awfully sorry it took me this long to get to you. I guess I just didn't want to face your grave like this. It's just a symbol of everything truly being over. Of you no longer being here. It hasn't been easy, you know? Living life without you here. Waking up every morning and missing your cooking. Not being to hear the sound of your singing, or the music you'd always play. Every time I think of you, everything still pains my heart. It's been so very, very hard without you. But don't get the wrong idea, I'm doing pretty well for myself. I'm still not the most social creature on the planet, but I've made two great friends, Anzu and Myu. I've got a good job and enough money to take care of myself. I'm even a decent cook now. No more instant ramen for this kid. I regret not coming here sooner, and not letting you know much I love you while you and I still had time together. But I hope you're doing well, mom. I'll try to visit more often, so I can talk to you like this more. Be sure to stay warm too, February can get very cold. Goodbye.

Giuseppe stood up, clasped his hands, and bowed his head. He walked over to Anzu and let her know he was done now.

Giuseppe: She's all yours.

Anzu: Okay! Be right back!

Anzu ran over to Maria's gravestone and sat on her knees with her hands clasped.

Anzu: Hey Maria, my name is Anzu. I'm one of Giuseppe's friends. I wanted to thank you for giving birth to Giuseppe, and for raising him up for all of those years. I know it must not have been easy for you, considering the way you died. Truthfully, I'm a ghost, and I was killed the same way you were. So, I understand that you may have died with worries or regrets. But I want to reassure you that you have nothing you need to worry about! Giuseppe is a beautiful human being who can only get better from where he is now. He's been a kind spirit ever since we met, and I'm eternally thankful for him. If he ever gets lost or stumbles, you can know that I'll be there to pick him up for as long as I can. I don't know how much time I have left, since I am a ghost after all. I have to pass on someday. But for as long as I'm here, I'll be there for Giuseppe! I promise! Oh! And thank you for the records you left behind. You had such wonderful taste in music. When the day comes and I pass on, I hope to see you wherever I go. I'll tell you all about the wonderful things me and Giuseppe did on earth. Well, goodbye, and thank you. Rest in peace, Maria.

Anzu bowed her head and left the cemetery with Giuseppe. Giuseppe's face grew woeful as tears ran down his cheeks, but he was given solace by Anzu's blessed touch on his shoulder. It was a touch that reminded him that for as long as time permitted her to linger on the earth, Anzu would be there to share his happiness and his sorrows.

The two decided to go over to the church for the rest of the day. The late afternoon sun had now broken through the clouds, turning the church into a beacon of light as the windows reflected sunlight off of their surface. Giuseppe, as he always did for her, opened the church doors for Anzu, smiling at the inside joke bound to be recited like a sacred litany.

Anzu: My my, how chivalrous of you!

Giuseppe and Anzu sat in the sanctuary as sunlight radiated through each of the massive window frames, splashing the area in a vibrant rainbow of colors and bright light. They sat in a row of seats caught in the vibrant light passing through the orange window frame. Orange light soaked the statues next to the window, and soaked the seats and supporting pillars around the window. Giuseppe sat with his arms resting on the back of the seats in front of him. His head rested in his arms as well as he looked up at the statue of Christ.

Giuseppe: Thank you, Anzu.

Anzu: For what?

Giuseppe: For giving me the strength to visit her.

Anzu: That was me?

Giuseppe: It was because of what you said last night. I had always thought that my mother's death signified the departure of the last person in this world that cared for me. But then I realized that you were here too. Now, I see that her death wasn't the end of my life. It was the beginning. Somewhere along the way, in the curious mess of chances and coincidences that make up life, I stumbled upon you right here in this church. And we've grown together since. I can't thank you enough, even for just existing. I could've have done it if you weren't here.

Anzu: I promised your mom I'd be here with you, for however much time I have left until I can pass on. Someday, I'll be able to pass, and I vowed to tell her about all the things you and I accomplished during my time on earth with you. So, whenever you have a hard time, or you stumble along your path, I'll be there to pick you.

Anzu smiled.

Giuseppe: Thanks, Anzu. For being my friend.

Anzu rested her head on Giuseppe's shoulder.

Anzu: No problem, bone head.

There they sat, in their sacred place, under their sacred colored sunlight. Life and death united like old friends.

Chapter Extra
Anzu: Oh dear, what is this! I'm scared!

Giuseppe: It appears we're in some sort of....*gulp*.....CHAPTER EXTRA!

Anzu: What?!?!

Giuseppe: Thank god we're not drawn yet, we'd probably look like rejected character designs from Shin Chan!

Anzu: If that means you'll actually tell a good joke for once, I'm fine with looking like that!

Giuseppe: Why must you be so hard on me, even in the extras?

Anzu: Because I love you, silly! I'd be a crappy friend if I wasn't an asshole too!

Giuseppe: You know what? You're right!

Anzu: Do you think everyone here will keep reading? I sure hope our story hasn't bored them or anything. If it has, the author may have to make me bring out my breasts to attract more attention!

Giuseppe: No, no, no. He's not THAT scummy. There will be no bare, 17 year old breasts in this story! No-sir-ee!

Anzu: I guess we'll find out sooner or later just how far off the deep end of desparation and degeneracy we're willing to go in order to keep people reading! Stick around for me, Anzu, a Friend From the Grave! Do it because I'm cute! Pretty please! I'll love you forever!

Giuseppe: Really? Begging? You?!?! That's so low, Anzu.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #6 on: December 31, 2015, 10:08:27 PM »
Things You Can't Replace

Like sand in an hourglass, time seemed to be slipping past Giuseppe. Yet another work week had passed, and before he knew it, it was already March. He thought how if Anzu was still alive, she'd be getting ready to go back to school soon. She'd be living like any other normal person her age. But instead, she's dead, and only two people can see and talk to her. His insides would feel cold whenever he gazed at her while she stared up at the moon from the bedroom window, or whenever she went and bowed to the statue of Christ in the church, while the colors of the windows bled onto her body. He wondered, under what circumstances can Anzu finally pass on? How soon will that be? The thought of it all drove Giuseppe just a little mad. Hoping to find some peace of mind, he and Anzu traveled to the church one more once he came home from work. As Giuseppe opened the door, Anzu chanted the usual mantra to praise Giuseppe's manners.

Anzu: My my, how chivalrous of you!

The two walked in the dark church, which was illuminated only by the moonlight, and the slight color bleed of the windows. Instead of grabbing her stained glass lantern, Anzu did what she did before and touched the lights along the walls surrounding the statue of Christ. The whole church was soaked in the warm blue radiance of the lights built into the walls and reflected brightly off of the smooth wooden backrests of the seats in the sanctuary. Together, in peaceful blue, Giuseppe and Anzu seat in the second row, adoring the lights and their depiction of holy figures. Giuseppe took off his scarf, and Anzu removed her fur coat. They both wore black shirts and dark blue jeans.

Anzu: Who would've guessed I could actually give power to dead lights? Are we sure I'm dead and I'm not just a lightning spirit? Like Ajisukitakahikone or Raijin?

Giuseppe remained silent. Anzu could tell something was troubling him.

Anzu: Gissy Poo? You okay?

Giuseppe snapped out of his blank stare.

Giuseppe: Oh! Yeah, I'm fine. Just zoned out there for a second.

Anzu: But it's not really like you to zone out. I mean, you may be a braindead, hopeless retard who should've been tossed into a volcano after your mom gave birth to you, but you're not a zone out kind of person at all.

Giuseppe: Gee, thanks for the kind words! They're like roses for my *censored*ing soul!

Anzu: Oh I get it're on crack.

Giuseppe: What the hell?!

Anzu sat with her knees on the seat, facing Giuseppe and pointing her index finger at him. In her mind, she just busted a crack whore.

Anzu: Don't play dumb with me!

Anzu grabbed Giuseppe's shirt and began to shake him violently.

Anzu: Who sold you the drugs?!!

Giuseppe: I'm not on drugs!

Anzu: Says every drug addict ever! Look at you, your pupils are all big!

Giuseppe: That's because it's dark in here!

Anzu: Not with the light of God burning into your retina it's not!

Anzu ceased her shaking and sat back down normally, her eyes closed in frustration as she couldn't figure out what was bothering Giuseppe.

Anzu: Is it about your dad again?

Giuseppe:'s just...what's going to happen? When you do everything you want to do and make the amends you wanted to make?

Anzu placed her finger on her chin, setting her contemplative eyes skyward.

Anzu: Hmm...if Myu was right at all, I'll probably pass on! Pretty cool, huh?

Giuseppe: That's what I'm worried about.

Anzu set her eyes on Giuseppe. The lights in front of them glimmered in Anzu's worried eyes.

Giuseppe: If you just up and disappear, what am I supposed to do? It may sound selfish, but I don't really want you to pass on. Why can't you stay here, joke with me, laugh with me, and live with me?

Anzu closed her eyes, faced towards the podium, and smiled.

Anzu: Because that would mean that I don't end up seeing my mom again. It would mean I skipped out on getting the answers I've been asking since I was alive. In other words, it would mean I'd forever be carrying an earthly burden, despite being free from my earthly body. It's just not right, it's not how we find peace. I need that peace Giuseppe. I need it so I can truly let go of the sadness and pain I went through up until my death, and even now. That's why I can't skip out!

Perhaps it was Anzu's smile that caused Giuseppe's heart to crack in that moment. What she wanted and what he wanted were two conflicting things. He knew that her peace must come above everything else, otherwise she'll wander the earth forever tormented by her life and the tragedies that ensued. And when Giuseppe is dead and gone, it would mean they couldn't join each other once more in the afterlife. Separation from those you love is true hell, he thought.

Giuseppe: Guess there's no arguing there, huh?

Anzu: Nope. No arguing at all.

Giuseppe sighed and stood up from his seat. For now, he would bury his sadness and extend his hand to Anzu, guiding her to their mattresses. Anzu, pure-hearted to her core, smiled under the deep blue light that filled the church as she wrapped herself in her blanket.

Anzu: Nighty night, Gissy Poo!

Giuseppe: Goodnight, Anzu.

Like the blink of a tired eye, the night faded into nothingness as the sun shined through the windows of the church. Early in the morning, Giuseppe and Anzu were awakened by the ring of a cell phone. Giuseppe rose out of bed yawning, scratching his hair and eyes as he checked to see who was calling him.

Giuseppe: Hello?

Anzu squirmed in bed as the noise interrupted her slumber.

Giuseppe: Oda? Hey, what's up, man! Why are you calling so early? What?! No *censored*ing way!

Anzu: Jesus Christ, open your mouth any wider and I'd think you're trying to blow the guy over the phone.

Giuseppe: Why didn't you say anything, man? When are you leaving? No way..... so far too. Ok, well I'm up right now, can I come over in a few minutes? Alright. Yeah, don't worry about it man, I'm happy to help. Okay, see you soon. Bye.

Anzu: Have fun at your gay orgy party.

Giuseppe: It's my friend, Oda. He's moving out of Hokkaido in a week.

Anzu rose out of bed as a lightbulb went off in her head.

Anzu: Oda?! I remember that name, that's the guy you said you went drinking with when you came home drunk!

Giuseppe: I wasn't....okay, yeah. That guy. He's leaving soon.

Anzu: Wow. Maybe he told his boss but didn't want the news to be a distraction at the workplace?

Giuseppe: Yeah, maybe. That sounds like him. He's always thinking of others. I've been working with that guy for 3 years now. So I figured the least I can do is go over and help him pack, for all the good times he's shown me.

Anzu placed her hand on Giuseppe's shoulder, as the news seemed to have brought a visible mood of sadness to his mind.

Anzu: Are you okay?

Giuseppe: Huh? Oh, yeah, sorry I'm just really tired. Do you wanna come along?

Anzu: Me? He'll have to see me though. It would be weird if boxes started floating around the house.

Giuseppe: I think we can make that work. Just let me bring your diary and I'll 'accidentally' bump into him with it or something. Then, you can come right out.

Anzu: Okay then. Just don't mess it up.

Giuseppe and Anzu put away their mattresses and departed the church, and as always, Giuseppe opened the door for Anzu on the way out, illuminating the doorway with radiant morning sunlight. A gentle and cold breeze blew into the building, running through Anzu's hair as she passed by.

Anzu: My my, how chivalrous of you!

Spring was revealing its glory through the freshly blossoming leaves of the wisteria trees that now seemed to completely shield the dirt road away from the sun as they grew overhead and overlapped into each other. The hanging leaves of the wisteria, soaked from the rain that washed them earlier in the morning, would occasionally have drops of water pour down from them and onto the ground. Giuseppe and Anzu walked through this path, eager to make their way back home and help Oda pack his things.

Anzu: You know, I've been at this church for 3 years, and the wisteria trees never grew quite this large before. Their leaves are fanning out even wider than they used to. You can't even see the sky if you look up.

Giuseppe: That's the sign of a good spring! Looks like we're gonna have to get you some Spring clothes soon too. It's only going to get hotter as the months go on.

Anzu pounded both her fists into the air and kicked her head back in springtime joy.

Anzu: Yes! I can wear booty shorts again!

Giuseppe: You're kidding, right?

Anzu: Okay, I've never worn booty shorts. I'm honestly more of a skirt person.

Giuseppe walked with his hands in his pockets, hardly looking Anzu in the eye.

Anzu: Are you sure you're okay? It must be tough seeing your pal go away so suddenly.

Giuseppe: Nah, I should've noticed. He hadn't shown up to work as often as he normally did. He'd talk with the boss privately a lot. I should've asked him when I had the chance.

Anzu: Did he say where he was moving?

Giuseppe: All the way out to the Kanto region.

Anzu: Wow, that far? Did he say why?

Giuseppe stopped walking and closed his eyes. Anzu looked back at him, carrying a curious and troubled expression.

Giuseppe: His brother killed himself recently, and his girlfriend is pregnant too. I guess he wants to get away from it all. The office job, the death of his brother. So he could raise the child in a better environment.

Anzu: He sounds very kind-hearted.

Giuseppe and Anzu finally made their way home and immediately got in the car. The drive to Oda's house was quiet, with nothing but the sound of music and wind rushing through the open windows. Giuseppe wondered if people who kill themselves also have their souls tethered to the earth. But if someone truly wanted it and had no regrets, would they just move on? And then, a thought that he almost hated himself for having, Giuseppe was glad Anzu died the way she did. If her death had been under any other circumstances, he probably would've never met Anzu. In a few minutes, they had arrived. Oda's neighborhood was a bit nicer and wealthier than Giuseppe's, mostly thanks to his working wife compounding her salary with his. They rented a small house just for themselves, but would need a bigger place to make room for the baby. Oda walked outside and into the garage, gathering up all the items he had and putting them in their boxes. He noticed Giuseppe as he parked on the sidewalk and entered the property. Giuseppe told Anzu to wait in the car as he prepared to touch Oda and his girlfriend Kyo with Anzu's diary, so they could see her.

Kyo: Giuseppe! I'm so glad you could make it!

Kyo kept her long black her tied back, with bangs that parted over the sides of her faces. She had a warm smile and kind brown eyes that welcomed Giuseppe into her home.

Giuseppe: Man, it's really happening, huh? You guys are moving?

Kyo: Yeah. I'm really sorry we couldn't let you know sooner. Me and Oda have been working really hard lately to gather up all the money we could. He even got his parents to pitch in for the move.

Giuseppe: Don't worry about it, I'm just glad to help! Oh, can you hold this for me? My shoe laces are a little loose.

Giuseppe handed over Anzu's diary, sneakily getting Kyo to hold it while he pretend-tied his shoes. Anzu could see it all from the car.

Anzu: The good-ol 'please hold this' trick! Nice one! Just one more to go!

Giuseppe: So, where is the big guy?

Kyo: He's in the garage right now packing things up. I'm making some food, you're more than welcome to eat with us when you guys take a break!

Giuseppe: Thank you so much, that's very kind of you.

Giuseppe walked out and around to the garage, his shaved headed, tied bearded friend and drinking buddy was gathering up his possessions, wearing sweatpants and a dirty white t-shirt. Oda smiled and waved as Giuseppe walked into the garage.

Giuseppe: Man, you look pretty good tod-

Giuseppe pretended to slip and fall, prompting Oda to catch him and giving Giuseppe the opportunity to have the diary rub up against Oda.

Oda: Careful there, partner!

Giuseppe: Hah! My bad. So, I'm here! How can I help?

Oda: I love it, you have a 'right to work' attitude I've always adored. Can you help with the tools and machinery? I've got bubble wrap and shredded newspaper if you need to cushion some items before putting them in. You cans tart with all the tools on that table.

Giuseppe: Sure thing! Oh, I also brought my niece here. Her name is Anzu. Hey Anzu! Come out of the car!

Anzu: Man, he's good.

Anzu stepped out of the car and rushed towards the garage. Oda extended his hand out to Anzu to greet her, not even knowing that she's the ghost of a woman who's been dead for years.

Oda: Pleasure to meet you, Anzu. You're very pretty. Too pretty to be related to this eyesore.

Anzu: Oh stop! I just lucked out on the genetic lottery, that's all!

Giuseppe: Please don't brag...

Giuseppe and Anzu gathered some boxes and began putting the tools away. Anzu would construct the boxes, hand them to Giuseppe so he could pack them, and he would hand them back to Anzu for her to tape up and label with a marker.

Giuseppe: So, Oda. How far along is Kyo?

Oda: A month and a half now, she's pretty excited. About the baby. Not about the morning sickness, cramps, and tender breasts.

Anzu: One of my whore classmates in middle school got pregnant. Everyone started calling her a slut and she left the school because her whore feelings got hurt.

Oda: Yes...well....I hope you're not calling Kyo a whore, Anzu.

Anzu: Oh no! I didn't mean it like that! Just that that's my only experience with pregnant women.

Giuseppe: You don't always choose the right expression, Anzu.

Anzu: I'm sorry!

Oda: Don't sweat it!

Giuseppe picked up an old skateboard from the pile of things he had to put away, not knowing Oda skated.

Giuseppe: Is this yours? You're kind of old to be skating around, aren't you?

Oda: Hah! That was mine, but I gave it to my brother a while ago.

Giuseppe's smile faded as he realized he was holding the possession of someone who's no longer on the earth.

Giuseppe: I'm sorry. How have you been handling it?

Oda: I manage. The nights are rough, but Kyo always wakes up when I step outside the house at night. It's like she can just sense when there's something wrong with me. I try not to worry her while she has the baby, you know? I'm trying not to think too much about it while we're moving. I'll probably miss the funeral, but I want to visit his grave when I head out to the Kanto region.

Giuseppe: Yeah, that's probably the best thing to do.

Anzu: It took Giuseppe for-*censored*ing-ever to visit his mom's grave.

Giuseppe: Hey!

Oda: Oh, did you finally go there? What took you so long, man? That's your mother. Her grave was probably lonely without you there.

Giuseppe: Believe me, that's a completely different story.

Oda: Hold on tight to whatever you have right now, Giuseppe. We used to be two young men who thought we could do and endure anything in the world. In just 3 years, we both learned, in our own ways, that we were wrong. We've reached the age where life stops giving us things and starts taking them away, leaving us to figure out why all by ourselves. Now, more than ever, is the time to hang on close to the things you can't replace.

Kyo suddenly walked into the garage, like a hawk who preys on the sadness of others.

Kyo: Was that a melancholy mood I was sensing in here?!?!

Oda: Ah crap, the jig is up!

Giuseppe: She caught us! Make a run for it!

Anzu: Wait, what's going on!?!?!

Kyo: Don't you dare run! Come over here so I can hug you both to death!

Giuseppe and Oda overpowered Kyo and ran past her, out into the street and up the block.

Kyo: I'll get you next time Oda! Giuseppe!

Anzu taped up the last few boxes in the garage and walked outside to the drive way, standing next to Kyo.

Anzu: Has Oda always been as stupid as Giuseppe?

Kyo: Yep, always. Damn them! I just want my man to be happy! Is that such a bad thing?

Anzu: I don't think so at all. Maybe men don't like to face what pains them in front of their women because they expect something so high of them. We always want them to be strong and happy all the time, even when they're going through hell. That's just not possible. We have to give them some slack. Time to avoid it, time to deny it, time to be angry about it, and finally, time to let it all out and cry.

Kyo was amazed and touched by Anzu's wise words. She sat down on the sidewalk, succumbing to her inner and honest thoughts about Oda and Giuseppe.

Kyo: You're spot on. We have to understand how people grieve. We can't rush or disrupt that process. Oda lost his brother, and poor Giuseppe lost his mother. Before he moved here, Oda's stepmom passed away. So I think he sympathized with Giuseppe, and the two were able to get along since they suffered similar tragedies. Though, thankfully, Oda's stepmother passed from natural causes, not murder. I feel bad, you know? I know part of his heart will always be here, and with Giuseppe. But at the same time, we've gotta get a breath of fresh air. We've been through a lot in this town. I want him and the baby to have a fresh start.

Anzu: You know, you're a pretty bitchin' girlfriend! No wonder Oda knocked your ass up and wants to marry you!

Kyo: Oh wow! Thanks, Anzu! It means a lot coming from you. Do you have a boyfriend by any chance? Girls your age are getting more and more promiscuous. And I see they're also developing a lot more thoroughly these days.

Anzu: B-boyfriend?! No way! Boys are hopeless losers and booty chasing idiots who think with their dicks. Besides, I don't want a boy calling me and texting me every morning, afternoon, and night. It's annoying. And if you're talking about my tits, I only got these because I drank a lot of milk when I was younger!

Kyo: No need to tense up. We're both two women talking.

Anzu: In that case, can I ask you something?

Kyo: Of course you can, dear!

Anzu: When you masturbate, do you do it with 2 fingers, 3 fingers, or do you just stick your whole fist in there and go to town on it?

Kyo blushed, and ironically, got tense herself.

Kyo: Why would you ask something like that!?!?

Anzu: And does it sound like your stirring mac & cheese when you're rubbing it really fast? Because I get dripping wet sometimes and it makes these weird gushy sounds when I start rubbing.

Kyo: Anzu!!!!

Anzu: Do you try to lick your tits when you do it too? I can actually fit mines in my mouth without having to bend my neck too far. Oh hey, and what about those big black dildos? Do you have one of those?

Kyo: Okay, I get it! I'm sorry! Sheesh, you are one devilish girl.

Anzu: I have a dirty mouth and I'm not afraid to use it! Not like *that* though.

Kyo began to laugh.

Kyo: We need more bundles of joy like you in the world, Anzu. Even if you're not the most normal bundle of joy. I want to thank you for coming here, even though you don't know me or Oda.

Anzu: Giuseppe felt pretty strongly about it, so I thought I'd come along and help.

Giuseppe and Oda came back down the street, apparently racing each other back as the sun had almost finished setting, leaving a blue sky with a pink hue and pink clouds to adorn it.

Anzu: Looks like it turned into a race.

Kyo: Hey, boneheads! Come inside and let's eat! The ox tail soup is ready!

Oda & Giuseppe: *censored* yeah, Ox Tail Soup!

Everyone gathered inside for the end of the day, after successfully packing up the garage. The house was a decent size for two people and had many pictures of Oda and Kyo framed and hung on the walls. They all sat on the floor and ate together, consummating the day with a hot meal after their hard work.

Giuseppe: Kyo, what did you do to this broth? Because it's absolutely delicious!

Kyo: Salt, whole peppercorn, red pepper seeds, and ox bones. That's what I usually do.

Giuseppe: That's it? Holy crap!

Oda: She's a genius, ain't she?

Anzu: Ahhh! Why don't you learn how to cook like her, Giuseppe?!?

Giuseppe: Come on! You love my cooking!

Anzu: That's true but this is even better!

When the moon rose and the streetlight came on, Oda and Kyo waved goodbye as Giuseppe and Anzu drove back home. There weren't too many people out on the road at this hour, so the ride didn't last very long.

Giuseppe: Had a good time?

Anzu: Yep, they're amazing people! Sucks they're leaving.

Giuseppe: I'm sure they'll be back some day. They love this town. Kyo was pretty kind too, right?

Anzu: One of the kindest. She can be too brash when she's comfortable though. She thought she can just ask about my boobies all willy nilly like that, so I freaked her out by asking her for some masturbation tips!

Giuseppe: Anzu! What the hell?!? You always choose the pervy route!

Anzu: She asked for it! Plus, I just realized this, but ghosts don't get periods!

Giuseppe: But they can eat up all the sweet *censored* in the house apparently...

Anzu: Whatever!

Finally home and finally through the door, Giuseppe and Anzu turned the lights in the house as they got out of their clothes and began to freshen up for bed. Like they did most of the time, they brushed their teeth together in the bathroom.

Anzu: You know, you might want to get a haircut

Anzu's voice was a little slurred as she talked with toothpaste still in her mouth.

Giuseppe: Damn, you think so?

Anzu: Yeah. I like the look but it may give unprofressional vibes when you're at work.

Anzu rinsed her tooth brush, brushed her tongue, and finally rinsed her mouth. Giuseppe handed her a towel for her to dry off.

Anzu: And you should probably get a better toothpaste. It's like this *censored* is made of cyanide and hydrochloric acid.

Giuseppe: That's just because it's strong, get over it. C'mon, it's time for bed.

Giuseppe lied down on the floor with his pillows and blankets as Anzu climbed onto the bed, closed the blinds, and wrapped her hair in a ponytail and bangs. She got herself cozy in the covers, taking a sigh of long-awaited relief as she could finally rest for the day.

Giuseppe: You good?

Anzu: All good sir!

Giuseppe: Alrighty then, lights out. Goodnight, Anzu.

Anzu: Goodnight, Gissy Poo.

The light was turned out, leaving nothing but lines of moonlight shining through the blinds. And off they went. Into their deep slumber, to be awakened by the blessed sun tomorrow.

Chapter Extra
Giuseppe: Finally, a new chapter! What the *censored* has the author been doing?!?

Anzu: Probably abandoned us for those bitches and whores in 6 Cataclysms! "Muh magic! Muh planet powers! Muh generic shounen action! Muh evil plot to destroy humanity and restore a one world order that has no living witnesses to whether it was as peaceful as Dharja says it was!"

Giuseppe: Well you sure know a lot about it for someone who supposedly hates it.

Anzu: I don't hate it! I've read all the Katyanaishka chapters! I just hate when they get more love than us! I mean, sure they came first, but what about us?! This story is setting up to be a real tear jerker!

Giuseppe: I don't think the readers will think that once they see our bloopers.

Anzu: Wait! Giuseppe don't show them that!

*static on tv screen*

Director: Okay, scene 4, Giuseppe and Anzu sit in the church after visiting Maria's grave. Are we ready?

Anzu: Just *censored*ing do it already, sheesh.

Director: Cunt....Okay, ACTION!

Anzu: *burp*

*Sounds of film crew booing in displeasure*

Anzu: God damn it! I'm sorry!

*Giuseppe laughs*

Giuseppe: I'm sorry, I just had to give her a soda before this scene!

Anzu: Damn you!

Director: CUT!


Director: Okay, sidewalk scene with Kyo. Ready? ACTION!

Anzu: So tell me, darling. Do you finger your clitoris like a good little girl who's only just now discovering the joys of carnal pleasure, or do you get your fist wet and just dunk it in there like the little whore-slut-bitch you are?

Kyo: A-Anzu?!

Anzu: C'mon, bitch. You can tell me. Your boyfriend ain't around to remind you you love men. You can share those secrets with me, baby.

Director: CUT! Damn it, Anzu! It's supposed to be awkard, not yuri!

Anzu: *censored*, really? Okay okay, let's try again..............anytime, dick face.

Director: ACTION

Anzu: Do you ever fantasize about taking black dick when Oda isn't home?

Director: GOD *censored*ING DAMN IT! CUT CUT CUT!


Director: Okay people, last scene for the day. Giuseppe and Anzu are about to fall asleep on the podium of the church for the first time. ACTION

Giuseppe: I hate it when you have to take a really big *censored* right as the *censored*ing scene starts.

Anzu: Dude, I feel your pain. I've been wanting to pee since this morning. I feel like my bladder is going to burst open.

Giuseppe: Hehe, hey did you get that picture I sent you last night?

Anzu: Ah dude! Please tell me you *censored*ed that chick! She was so pretty!


Anzu: What?!? You're insane!

Director: THAT'S *censored*ING IT! *censored* this stupid story! I'm going to go direct for the 6 Cataclysms cast! *censored* you guys! Even Vera and Phaedra were much easier to work with! Get that *censored*ing camera out of my *censored*ing face, I'm leaving! *censored* this!

Anzu: You just had to show them that, didn't you.

Giuseppe: Hey, full disclosure! We need to be honest to our readers!

Anzu: You're a first class cunt, you know that?

Giuseppe: Keep talking like that and you won't get a sequel to the Katyanaishka chronicles!

Anzu: There's gonna be a sequel?!? Oh my god, they're probably gonna go over when Hita is born! We can finally read about the main character! When does the first chapter come out??!?!

Giuseppe: Well, soon is all I can say. I can't say too much. The author would get a little mad.

Anzu: My god damn reader-cock is bulging right now and you decide to leave me blueballed like this?!?! Until I get an exact date, I'm going on strike! We're forming a union, Giuseppe! Grab your construction hat and be as much of a whining cunt as possible!

Giuseppe: Oh dear....

The Holy Ghost is Sleeping
Anzu: Giuseppe. Oi, Giuseppe! Gissy Poo!

Giuseppe heard Anzu's voice constantly call for him, but it was dark and he could not move. He tried reaching out and opening his eyes, but it was as if every part of his body was dead stiff.

Anzu: Wooooow. That's some huge Morning Wood you got there.

Giuseppe immediately sprang up out of his slumber in a cold sweat, realizing none of it was a dream. None of it. Anzu stood over him, wearing his apron and holding a spatula in her hands with her hair tied in a half-up.

Giuseppe: Damn it, Anzu!

Giuseppe hesitated for a moment before blushing and covering his manhood with his blanket.

Anzu: Why do guys' penises get hard every morning? Did you have a dream about Annabel or something?

Giuseppe: Her music is great but she's not my type! Why do girls, or at least you, have to be such perverts all the damn time?!

Anzu: Because *censored* you, that's why.

Giuseppe groaned and scratched out his hair, leaving it in a puffy, frizzy mess.

Anzu: I was gonna make us some pancakes, as a treat. I know we don't normally have sweet breakfast foods, but it is Sunday after all.

Giuseppe: What? You cooking meals for me now? Oh! I see what's going on here, Anzu~

Smugness took over Giuseppe's expression as he stood up and inched his face closer to Anzu's as she blushed and tried not to look at him.

Giuseppe: Is it that you're falling for me? Or perhaps there's something you want? Oh, I bet the pancakes are heart shaped, aren't they? C'mon, gorgeous, you can tell me? Do I make you randy? Am I too sexy of a beast for you to handle?

Anzu: You're a cocksucking, limpdicked, full blown pussified semen queen! And you're smelly! Really really smelly!

Giuseppe gasped in absolute, soul crushing horror.

Giuseppe: My pride! How could you! something burning?

Anzu took a few whiffs of air, realizing her pancakes were still cooking on medium heat.

Anzu: *censored*!

Anzu and Giuseppe raced out of the room to take the pancake off of the heat and open up the windows before the fire alarm could be set off.

Anzu: Gissy, open the front door and start fanning the air out!

Giuseppe: On it!

Anzu opened all the windows and threw the pan into the sink, causing the water to rapidly evaporate and sizzle as it hit the pan and created a cloud of smoke and steam.

Anzu: *censored* me rotten! One good pancake wasted!

Giuseppe stopped fanning the door as the smell of smoke seemed to have subsided.

Giuseppe: What did you put in them? I had no idea you could make pancakes.

Anzu: Besides for the basic ingredients, vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, bananas, and walnuts. I even made apricot syrup!

Giuseppe: Wow, seriously? That's actually pretty amazing.

Giuseppe's phone began to ring from the bedroom.

Giuseppe: Crap, be right back.

Giuseppe fumbled as he looked through the blankets for his phone, finding it and seeing the name Myu pop up on the screen.

Giuseppe: Hello?

Myu: Good morning!

Giuseppe: Hah, good morning Myu. What's up?

Myu: Well, I was out earlier running some errands and I realized that I'm right in your neighborhood, so I thought I'd come over and chill with you and Anzu!

Giuseppe: Small world. Sure, we're not doing anything today. I'll leave the door unlocked so just come on up and come in.

Myu: Awesome! See you in a few minutes!

Giuseppe: Alright, bye.

Giuseppe walked back out to the kitchen with his phone in-hand. Anzu had cleaned the pan and gotten another pancake on the heat.

Anzu: Who was that?

Giuseppe: Myu. She's on her way here.

Anzu: Seriously?!? I have to make enough for all 3 of us then!

Giuseppe: I'll hop on another pan and help you out then!

Giuseppe ran into the kitchen, grabbing another large pan and cooking on the burner next to Anzu. Anzu handed him the bowl of pancake mix and a ladle. Giuseppe applied almost two tlbs. of butter to the pan and scooped up some mix, adding it to the pan when the butter began to sizzle. The house turned into a pancake diner. A plate was set aside for all of the finished pancakes to rest on and to be served when ready. Myu walked into the house wearing a Christmas sweater, jeans, and a bow in her hair.

Myu: Wow, smells great in here!

Anzu: Myu! I'd hug you but I'm covered in pancake mix! Air hugs!

Anzu, being the bright child she is, "hugged" Myu by hovering her body close to hers, but not actually touching her, knowing it would be a shame if she ruined her nice sweater.

Myu: Hey Giuseppe, you guys making pancakes?

Giuseppe greeted Myu with a hug and guided her into the kitchen.

Giuseppe: Yep, Anzu made it herself. Uh, why exactly are you wearing a sweater at this time of year?

Myu: I've always wore sweaters and jeans no matter the weather. I'm just an odd person I guess. And Anzu made it herself? Good job!

Anzu: No help to this jerk-off! He was sleeping all morning, probably dreaming about putting his thingy in my mouth

Giuseppe: It's a natural part of being male and nothing more! Besides, don't girls discharge in their sleep sometimes?

Anzu and Myu gasped from embarrassment of the sheer thought of such a dirty thing.

Myu: I've ruined so many good panties like that! Don't joke about such a thing!

Anzu: Thankfully, ghosts don't have to go through that kind of hell anymore.

Without further due, everyone served themselves some pancakes, topped with Anzu's apricot syrup.

Giuseppe: Alright, let's dig in!

Giuseppe took the first bite. Anzu was a bit nervous since this particular batch was one of her more ambitious ways of making pancakes.

Giuseppe: Anzu....

Anzu: Y-yeah?

Giuseppe: What the *censored* did you do to these pancakes?

Anzu: What?! Are they bad? I'm so sorry, Gi-

Giuseppe: Because they are out of this *censored*ing world! Holy *censored*! You are one beautiful bastard, you know that?! Come here, let me kiss you!

Myu laughed and began to eat her pancakes as Anzu physically warded off Giuseppe's playful advances.

Myu: Oh my god, they are good!

Anzu: Yes! Thank you both!

All three of them ate blissfully consumed Anzu's pancakes. They sat on the couch watching tv as they rested their stomachs. Later in the day, as Myu was braiding Anzu's hair, Giuseppe's phone rang.

Giuseppe: Yellow mellow jello.

Oda: Hey, sorry to bother you, man. Are you busy?

Giuseppe: I'm with Anzu and my friend Myu right now, but we're not really doing anything. Why? Did you need my help?

Oda: Yeah, we're almost done getting the furniture out of here. We have a few more things to pack up and we should be leaving early Tuesday morning.

Giuseppe: Tuesday!? I thought we'd have until the end of the week.

Oda: Yeah, but considering the funeral and the job opportunities, I've gotta move a little sooner. I'm really sorry.

Giuseppe: I'll see what I can do, man.

Oda: Alright, thanks.

Giuseppe hung up and laid his head back, staring up at the ceiling. Anzu turned her head a bit as she was getting her hair braided.

Anzu: Was that Oda?

Giuseppe: Yeah, he needs our help. Their leaving Tuesday morning.

Anzu: Tuesday?!?!

Giuseppe: I'd go but that would mean Myu would have to go home unless she wants to come with us.

Anzu: Myu?

Myu: Hmm....ah hell. It's Sunday! I've got nothing better to do anyway, may as well use the day to help some folks out.

Giuseppe: Alrighty then, if you say so. Anzu, let's get dressed.

Anzu: Roger that!

Giuseppe and Anzu quickly cleaned up the plates, got dressed, and got in the car with Myu, who sat in the back of the car. As they drove up next to Oda's home, they saw movers carrying furniture out of the house and loading it onto a truck that was packed with other pieces of furniture and large boxes. Anzu, Myu, and Giuseppe walked into the house, which had its doors and windows opened, Oda helped the movers get rid of the furniture while Kyo began cleaning the house, starting with the kitchen after she had finished scrubbing the walls.

Oda: Hey there! Who's this?

Myu: I'm Myu, a friend of Giuseppe! Nice to meet you.

Oda shook Myu's hand and greeted her with a warm smile for her willingness to help.

Oda: Thank you, Myu. You're a stranger but you still volunteered to help. I wish I could treat you to a meal like I did for Giuseppe and Anzu.

Myu kept her shock on the inside, as Giuseppe forgot to mention that Oda and Kyo are aware of Anzu's existence.

Myu: Oh, it's no biggie! I'm just glad to help. I remember all the times when I moved. It wasn't fun at all.

Giuseppe and Anzu walked inside the living room, which was completely devoid of furniture now. The place seemed much bigger with all of it gone.

Giuseppe: Damn...

Oda walked over to Giuseppe, hanging his arm off of Giuseppe's shoulder and joining him in gazing at the empty living room.

Oda: It's really happening, man. I'm leaving this place.

Kyo walked out of the kitchen, and into the living room with the others.

Kyo: Kitchen is clean! Hi Giuseppe, Anzu!

Anzu: Kyo! You're really leaving I can't believe it! Why don't you stay with me and we can get away from Giuseppe and Oda! We could get our nails done and do our hair and gossip about stupid, petty girl *censored*!

Anzu hugged Kyo as tight as she could. Kyo patted her head to comfort her.

Kyo: Some day, Anzu. Some day.

Giuseppe: What is there left to do?

Kyo: Oh, well, we could use some help moving the dining room furniture. You men can handle all of that, Anzu and....I'm sorry, what's your name? I should've asked!

Myu: It's Myu! A pleasure to meet you. Feel free to use me, I'm here to help out.

Kyo: Oh, thank you! Okay, so me, Anzu, and Myu can handle the smaller objects. There's still clothes we have to pack upstairs.

Oda: After that, we can get the furniture out of the 2nd floor.

Giuseppe: Great, heavy lifting. Thanks, Kyo. I mean, really. Are we just forklifts to you or something?

Kyo: Forklifts with dicks who don't have to give birth in 9 months! Now stop complaining and go *censored*ing get it done! Now!

Giuseppe and Oda, intimidated by Kyo's pregnant fury, saluted like members of the JSDF and helped the movers with the furniture while the women went upstairs and packed the clothes. Giuseppe remembered how busy and stressful moves can be, not to mention physically tiring. Large wooden dining tables, chairs, stools, all of it had to go. After a few hours, Giuseppe and Oda sat down to rest on the floor of the living room, preparing to move the furniture from the 2nd floor.

Giuseppe: Let me tell ya. I don't envy you at all, man. Moves suck.

Oda: True, but this is at least going smoothly. I'll be able to visit my brother's grave, be a father, get a better job. There's a lot of opportunities waiting, so "moving" isn't really that bad.

Giuseppe: You always were the most forward thinking out of the both of us.

Oda: It's not like it has to be that way. You just gotta have the right frame of mind.

Oda got up and stretched.

Oda: Ready to move upstairs?

Giuseppe: Let's do it.

As the walked to the staircase, they could hear Anzu's voice calling out to them from one of the rooms.

Anzu: Oda, Giuseppe!

Giuseppe: What is it?

Anzu: We've got the clothes and personal items all boxed up here, can you come take them down and hand them to the movers?

Oda: We're coming up now!

The house was like a colony of worker ants. Anzu and Myu handed boxes over to Oda and Giuseppe, and they would hand the boxes to the movers to put in their trucks. With time and teamwork, the only thing left was the upstairs furniture. Kyo took a rest and everyone else managed to get the furniture out. Everything, including the beds were all taken out. The only thing left was a tv set in the living room, and two futons. Kyo and Oda still had until Tuesday until they were to actually leave. Carrying only the necessities now, they'd be able to sleep comfortably and be prepared to leave early Tuesday. The house was nearly empty, and seemingly much bigger now. Everyone gathered in the kitchen for food and drinks, sitting down on the floor and eating on the counters in lieu of chairs or tables. Oda opened the fridge and pulled out 4 beers.

Oda: Well, last 4 beers in the house. May as well drink it up.

Oda took his, Giuseppe took his, and Myu took hers. Oda, not wanting to give a 17 year old girl alcohol and not wanting to let his pregnant soon-to-be wife drink, took the last beer for himself.

Oda: Cheers!

Giuseppe & Myu: Cheers!

Anzu: Not fair, I wish I could drink.

Giuseppe: Maybe when you get older, huh?

Anzu: That's not funny, Giuseppe.

Everyone sat in a circle on the floor, enjoying the meals and drinks, and passing the time away as the moon began to rise.

Kyo: I remember when we first moved here and Oda was so excited! You just couldn't wait to be able to go to Hokkaido, huh, cutie?

Kyo pinched Oda's cheek as he was bombarded with the smiles and laughs of everyone, a bit too embarrassing for his tastes.

Oda: It's like an island away from the island, what can I say? Housing prices are jacked up though, I'll tell you that much. I won't miss these bills.

Giuseppe: You're just cheap, that's all.

Oda: Alright, I plead guilty to that.

Anzu: The Kanto region is still pretty expensive though, isn't it?

Oda: True, but I'll have better job opportunities to balance the expenses out, so it's not that bad. it's like what we paid here, just at a different ratio of earnings and expenses.

Myu: And population density, don't forget that *censored*.

Kyo: That's the only thing I'm scared of being *censored*ed by! God damn colony cities! Oda, you won't work yourself to death and kill yourself, will you?!

Oda: Well, do I work myself to death or do I kill myself? I can't do both.

Kyo punched Oda's shoulder for calling her out like that.

Kyo: Asshole!

Oda: I swear to god, one time I came home, ate dinner, showered, and when I came out, Kyo literally told me "Hey hun, look! I saw on Facebook that some guy burned to death in a fire and survived! They say if I like and share it, they'll donate a dollar to him so he can recover!"

Everyone began laughing. Giuseppe almost choked on his drink as he laughed.

Anzu: Seriously?! Holy *censored*, Kyo!

Kyo: You already embarrassed me once for that, there's no need to do it again!

Oda: Oh please, the man you marry is always going to make fun of you.

Giuseppe: That's my boy!

At about 10:00, it was time to leave. Giuseppe still had work that week. Kyo turned on the tv and prepared the futons as Oda waved goodbye to Anzu, Giuseppe, and Myu. Their help was much appreciated. Now they could spend their last two nights in the house in peace. Giuseppe drove into the garage, pulling up next to Myu's car.

Myu: That was fun! They're really good people. So sad to see them go.

Giuseppe: You're telling me.

Anzu: You leaving now?

Myu: Yeah, I've got work tomorrow. Can't keep customers waiting! Good night, Anzu. Love you!

Anzu hugged Myu and wished her a good night.

Giuseppe: Thanks for coming out with us. Today was a lot more fun because of you.

Myu: Of course, of course. Plus we got free beer out of it! Good night.

Myu hugged Giuseppe and exited the vehicle, getting in her car and driving home. Giuseppe and Anzu stood and watched her drive out as the garage door closed. To Giuseppe's surprise, Anzu began to yawn.

Giuseppe: Tired?

Anzu: No!

Giuseppe: Liar.

Anzu: You win. Let's get ready for bed.

Giuseppe and Anzu got inside and started their usual evening routine. Change clothes, brush teeth, go to sleep. As they brushed their teeth together, Anzu reminded Giuseppe of something rather important.

Anzu: You know, you still need to cut your hair.

Giuseppe: *censored*. I completely forgot.

Anzu rinsed her mouth.

Anzu: I'll go get the scissors! Just sit down on the toilet or something.

Giuseppe sat down, but was a little worried. He called out to Anzu from the bathroom.

Giuseppe: Anzu, do you have any experience with cutting hair?

Anzu: Relax, we're not doing that much, I'm just gonna shape you up a bit. Besides, I used to cut my own hair all the time. Didn't have anyone else to do it for me.

Anzu returned with scissors and gave Giuseppe a towel to wrap over himself, so hair doesn't get in his shirt.

Anzu: Alright, let's see. It's mainly your sides that are a little too long. I think it looks cute but it might be seen as unprofressional.

Giuseppe: Cut away, princess.

Anzu snipped Giuseppe's sides, and a little bit off of his front. Already, he was looking much more like a properly groomed man.

Anzu: Let me see the back.

Giuseppe turned around as Anzu snipped the back of his hair, turning back around when she was done.

Giuseppe: How do I look?

Anzu: If only we were in a bathroom and bathrooms had *censored*ing mirrors.

Giuseppe realized how stupid he was being and got up to check himself. Anzu actually did a really good job. It wasn't particularly hard, but she definitely knew her way around hair.

Giuseppe: Wow, thanks! Every day, you reveal a new talent.

Anzu: Happy to help! Now you just gotta go to bed early, and knock your work out of the park tomorrow!

Anzu put her hands together to pray.

Anzu: Fukurokuju, blessed god of wealth, longevity, and happiness! Please smile down on us mortals, as Giuseppe prepares for another work week! May he not be tempted by cheap drinks, cheap whores, or cheap escort services!

Giuseppe: Uhh, Anzu?

Anzu: May he not be tempted by that one hot co-worker with the great tits, who's most likely a D-cup, maybe even an E-cup! I mean, god damn, we all have a co-worker like that right? Oops! I cursed during the prayer. Are we gonna get evicted now?

Giuseppe began to laugh.

Giuseppe: Nah, I think he heard you loud and clear, Anzu. But just so this is clear, I absolutely do not mess with whores, nor do I god drinking that often, nor do I have a busty co-worker! I'd appreciate it, but I don't have one.

Anzu: And that's okay, because you've got a young, hot, bangin', voluptuous ghost girl living with you, right? We even brush our teeth together. All that's left now is to shower together.

Giuseppe: You have the strangest mind, I swear.

Anzu: Hey, weird question. But do you think if I had lived just a little longer, someone would've fallen in love with me?

Giuseppe felt a pain in his heart as he heard those words. He remembered just how much Anzu really missed having died at such a young age. He really began to wonder where she'd be, and if she'd be married by now had she not died.

Giuseppe: You've got a dirty mouth, a brash personality, you nag too often, you assume direct control, and you always get food all over your mouth when you eat it by the spoonful.

Anzu: How rude!

Giuseppe: But you're also a very sweet and caring girl on the inside, you watch out for those you love, you do your best to provide for them in any way you can, and on top of that, for someone who's gone through such a bitter life, you haven't let it affect you that much. Most people get jaded or hateful after going through traumatic experiences, but you never did that. Not as a ghost, anyway. So, yeah. I think some lucky guy would've been able to see that in you and claimed you as his own. You would've been a great wife, maybe even a wonderful mother....crap, I went on a tangent there, didn't I?

As Giuseppe looked up, he saw Anzu wipe her teary eyes and smile.

Anzu: You're the first person who's ever said that to me. Thank you very much. I wish I heard words like that when I was alive.

Giuseppe: You know, it hurts me too.

Anzu: What does?

Giuseppe: Knowing how much a young woman like you missed.

Anzu: I did miss a lot, didn't I? But at the same time, you've filled those gaps for me, Giuseppe. I thank you dearly for that, for being my friend. I really don't know what I'd do without you.

Anzu kissed Giuseppe's forehead and removed his towel.

Giuseppe: Go on ahead, I have to take a *censored*.

Anzu: Way to ruin the moment, cocksucker!

Call it love, call it friendship, call it the holy spirit, or call it the holy moon. Anzu truly thanked Giuseppe for being her friend. Whether it was just dumb luck or the hand of fate, she and him were eternally thankful for the opportunity to meet. A new week awaited the both of them as the lights were turned out and darkness filled the apartment.

Silence. For the holy ghost is sleeping.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #7 on: December 31, 2015, 10:21:05 PM »
Unclench Your Fists
Early on Tuesday morning, Giuseppe woke Anzu up at 5:30 AM, just as the sky was turning a dark blue. She had kept her hair tied in a ponytail as she slept.

Giuseppe: Hey, get up. Oda and Kyo leave soon.

Anzu stretched and yawned as she worked up the strength to get out of bed. She untied her hair and shook it out, running her fingers through her long and voluminous black hair.

Anzu: I'll put some pants on.

Giuseppe: You can just wear some sweatpants. I'll bring you back here so you can rest.

Anzu: Okay, sounds good.

Anzu was sluggish as she moved, but Giuseppe knew he had to go to work soon. He couldn't afford to be sluggish. They brushed their teeth together and quickly got dressed. Anzu wore one of Giuseppe's hoodies for the cold while Anzu wore his suit and coat. The car was cold from the morning air seeping into it, causing Anzu to rub her arms and keep the hood over her head. The sun began to rise over the horizon when they arrived at Oda's door. Oda let them in as Kyo packed the last personal belonging in her bag. They were the last items owned by them in the house.

Kyo: Good morning, Giuseppe, Anzu. Thanks for coming out so early to see us off.

Giuseppe hugged Kyo as tight as he could, knowing it would be a while if they ever see each other again.

Giuseppe: No problem. You all set to go?

Kyo: Yeah, just have to roll and buckle the futons.

Anzu: I'll help with that.

Kyo: Thank you so much, Anzu.

Anzu and Oda rolled up the futons and buckled them. They were to be placed in the backseat of the car. All four of them stood in the living room, adorned with faint morning sunlight, and blue atmospheric light shining through the windows.

Kyo: Well, I guess that's it. Everything is packed, cleaned, and ready for a new inhabitant.

Anzu: Moving sure does suck.

Oda hugged and kissed Kyo as she began to cry. With so many years spent in one place, it's difficult to let go of the house, even if there are bigger and better opportunities ahead. Nobody ever forgets the places where they smiled, cried, and bled. Hugs were exchanged between everyone as they took in the interior of the house before setting off to leave. With the futons put in the car and everything ready to go, there was but one thing left to do.

Oda: Alright everyone, line up.

Oda bowed to the house after closing the car door.

Oda: Thank you for taking care of us, and thank you for the memories.

Kyo, Anzu, & Giuseppe: Thank you for taking care of us, and for the memories.

Kyo hugged Anzu one last time, holding onto her for so long it seemed the hug would never end.

Giuseppe: So. This is it, man.

Oda: Yep.

Giuseppe: Get yourself a good job, earn lots of money, and take care of your girl. Also, it's improper to have a child and not be married, so make sure you do that as soon as you have the money.

Oda: Hah! I know that.

Giuseppe: And leave some nice flowers for your brother for me and Anzu, yeah?

Oda: Of course, man. Don't worry about it.

The two men shook hands. Just as they met, they would also say goodbye.

Oda: You take care of yourself too. And since you're putting goals on me, let me put one on you.

Giuseppe: Huh?

Oda: Reconcile with your father. You don't have to forgive or excuse his actions. But I'm telling you, there are things I wish I had the chance to tell my brother. Once people die, you never have the chance to say those things. Time will be lost and you can never turn it backwards.

Giuseppe: How am I supposed to do that?

Oda: In my experience, a conversation is enough to rebuild a burnt bridge. Even if it's just slow and casual. So, just have a conversation. Let love take it from there.

Giuseppe absorbed Oda's parting words into his heart and bowed to thank him. As Oda and Kyo got in the car, Kyo stuck her upper body out of the car window, blowing kisses to Giuseppe and Anzu.

Kyo: We love you both! Goodbye! We'll send pictures of the baby and the wedding and everything! I promise! I love you!

Anzu was brought to tears and waved goodbye, followed by Giuseppe.

Anzu: Goodbye Kyo! I love you too!

Giuseppe: Love you too, Kyo! Take good care!

Giuseppe and Anzu had their arms around each other as they watched them drive off into the next chapter of their lives. The house was now empty and locked.

Anzu: There they go.

Giuseppe: Yep. C'mon, I'll get you home.

Anzu was dropped off home and went back to bed as Giuseppe went to work. The work week continued as usual, and so did the week after that, even if a bit more somber because of the absence of Oda and Kyo. On Friday, at 7:00, Giuseppe came home and was greeted by Anzu, already dressed and ready to go spend the night at the church. Giuseppe got into some more comfortable clothes, and the two walked to the church together. And of course, Anzu said her usual line when Giuseppe opened the door for her.

Anzu: My my, how chivalrous of you!

Anzu re-energized the lights built into the walls on the left and right of the statue of Jesus, and once more, the church was drowned in deep blue, red, and yellow. The two sat together in the 2nd row.

Anzu: So.

Giuseppe: So.

Anzu: How you holding up?

Giuseppe: Getting better I guess. It's just unpleasantly different with Oda being gone. The solitude at work is killing me, honestly.

Anzu: Must be tough.

Giuseppe: Yeah...I have to visit my dad tomorrow. I want to make things right again. I don't know how, but...

Anzu laid her head on Giuseppe's shoulder.

Anzu: You don't have to know how. You just have to unclench your fist so that he can take your hand. Then, it all starts from there.

Giuseppe: Thanks, Anzu.

Anzu: Any time.

Giuseppe: Hey, we should make brownies again soon.

Anzu gasped out of pure, childish excitement. She put her face close to Giuseppe's.

Anzu: Will they be delicious like last time?

Giuseppe: Of course they *censored*ing will.

Anzu got closer.

Anzu: They still won't have nuts in them, right?

Giuseppe: Nuts are of the devil.

Anzu got even closer.

Anzu: And we'll eat them all together and laugh and have happy fun times?!?

Giuseppe: Of course we will!

Anzu kissed Giuseppe's forehead and sat back down, squealing in excitement.

Giuseppe: Gosh, you're such a child.

Anzu: I am not! Everyone loves brownies, you can't deny that!

Giuseppe: Yeah, guess you've got a point there.

In a few hours, the futons were brought out. Anzu and and Giuseppe laid down facing each other, Anzu awkwardly staring into Giuseppe's eyes.

Giuseppe: What is it?

Anzu: Take my hand.

Giuseppe: Huh? What for?

Anzu: If I can fill the lights with power, I hope I can fill you with the power to overcome one of your demons. And whenever you feel weak, or worried, just take my hand and I'll lend you my energy!

Giuseppe smiled.

Giuseppe: You really are an odd child.

Anzu placed her hand on top of Giuseppe's, hoping it would grant him good luck tomorrow.

Giuseppe and Anzu slept on the podium together, awaiting the sunshine of tomorrow to wake them up in the morning. The church was blessed by light shining through the colored window frames and the stained glass clerestories the next morning. It was time for Giuseppe to make his amends. As they walked, Anzu could see worry and sadness on Giuseppe's face.

Anzu: Hey! Hold your head up high! There's nothing you need to worry about!

Giuseppe: Right, sorry!

Giuseppe was able to wind himself back up for the car ride to the prison. His heart felt like it was about to explode as he was cleared by security and led to his father, who was on the other side of the glass. They picked up the phone, and like Anzu said, it all began from there. Nori was still greatly hurt by the last visit, but still found it to be his responsibility to be the one to apologize.

Nori: Listen, Giuseppe. I'm sorry about....about last time. I guess I shouldn't expect so much out of someone I've only managed to hurt, right? If me dying makes you happy...

Giuseppe: Hey, dad...

Nori: Dad....uh, what is it?

Giuseppe: Have you been watching any baseball lately?

Nori was a bit surprised by the off topic question.

Anzu: What are you doing?

Nori: Well, yes actually. I was watching the game yesterday.

Giuseppe: How about those Hanshin Tigers, huh?

Nori: Their batters are complete garbage.

Giuseppe: What?! Are you insane? Sure, they're not the brightest lot, but to say that they're garbage is stretching it. There weren't that many strikeouts in the last game.

Nori: I'm still routing for the Golden Eagles, personally.

Giuseppe: Even when they haven't won jack *censored* and were only created as leftovers?

Nori: You always have to put down the little guy, huh?

Anzu realized what Giuseppe was doing. She was so proud of Giuseppe she had to fight back tears. Just a small conversation about baseball, and the atmosphere between them was so different. There wasn't any anger or sadness to be exchanged. There were laughs to be had all around as the two debated about teams, batters, pitches, and W/L statistics of the teams they argued for.

Giuseppe: Well, I should head back. I've got some cooking to do.

Nori: Ah, alright. It was fun talking to you Giuseppe! Take care, yeah?

Giuseppe: Sure will, and you better too! Just because you're on death row doesn't mean that you still shouldn't look good.

Giuseppe and Nori hung up and waved goodbye. Anzu placed her hand on Giuseppe's shoulder and spoke to him from behind.

Anzu: You have no idea how proud of you I am. You were amazing, Giuseppe.

Giuseppe exhaled, as if he was holding his breath the whole time.

Giuseppe: It wasn't easy. But at least our bridge is under repairs.

Anzu: And that's all that matters.

Giuseppe: Yeah. Let's go make some brownies, then we'll take them over to Myu's and enjoy them with her.

Anzu: Sounds good to me!

The rest of the day was spent on cooking the brownies. This time, Anzu made sure not to get any chocolate on her face in fear of being taped.

Anzu: I'm not eating from the bowl! You'll take pictures and probably send them to Girls Gone Wild or something!

Giuseppe: Fine, fine! Do whatever you want!

The brownies came out perfectly and the kitchen was cleaned. Dishes were scrubbed, washed, and the counters were wiped down of any flower, milk, or eggs. Anzu wrapped the trap in foil and took them with her in the car as they drove to Myu's restaurant, which was just about hitting its closing hour. Giuseppe knocked on the glass door, and Myu saw Giuseppe and Anzu standing their with smiles and a tray covered in foil. She opened the door and welcomed them inside.

Myu: Welcome!

Anzu: Hello! How's it going?

Myu: Just finished cleaning up! Whatcha got there?

Giuseppe: Brownies!

Myu: Oh god I'm gonna get so fat....ah what the hell! Better to die of a heart attack than die a joyless vegan or some *censored*, right? Let's dig in!

They all sat down together and ate brownies from the tray as Anzu told Myu what happened at the prison. She spoke as if she saw a superhero fly in the sky.

Myu: So, you finally did it? I know it wasn't easy Giuseppe, but I'm proud of you.

Myu extended her fist, and Giuseppe responded with a fistbump.

Giuseppe: Thank you, Myu.

The words Oda left Giuseppe seemed to ring true. A conversation really can be enough to repair what's been broken. But it all starts when two people unclench their fists and love each other enough to take their hand.

Look at What the Lord Has Done
Hot. Hot. Heat. Humidity. Cicadas. Hot. Sun. These were the only words flowing through Giuseppe's mind as he sat on the couch in a t-shirt and boxers, cursing Amaterasu for being so cruel. Anzu was cooking herself some food in the kitchen, stopping whenever she could to glance at whatever Giuseppe was watching on the tv from the kitchen. Things slowly got better over the past few months between Giuseppe and his father. But now that June has arrived and brought the heat with it, going anywhere outside was like taking a morning stroll through hell.

Giuseppe: Just another boring summer day.

Anzu was definitely feeling the heat too. Her forehead and hairs surrounding it were covered in sweat.

Anzu: Did you want some orange chicken, Giuseppe? There's plenty here.

Giuseppe: Oh really? I'm fine right now but I'll have some later. Thanks for making it.

Anzu: No problem!

Anzu sat down with her plate of food, watching tv with Giuseppe on a long, hot, boring summer day with nothing to do.

Anzu: Kids will be out of school soon.

Giuseppe: Yep.

Anzu: So we should probably go to the store and get some ice cream while it's still stocked high

Giuseppe: *censored*. That's actually a good idea. At least summer brings thunderstorms.

Anzu: You actually like thunderstorms?!

Giuseppe: Yeah, don't you?

Anzu: Never! They're so scary! I always just stay away from the windows and pray for the lightning to be warded off!

Giuseppe laughed at Anzu's fear of thunder and lightning. Anzu finished eating and scrubbed her plate in the kitchen, leaving it in the other side of the sink, which was filled with soap, water, and other dishes, to soak until she was ready to load them in the dishwasher. She walked back to the living room and untied her hair.

Anzu: I'm gonna go take a shower, I'm all sweaty.

Giuseppe: Understood. Do you have fresh towels in there?

Anzu walked into the bathroom to check and shouted from the bathroom to answer Giuseppe.

Anzu: Yeah there's a spare towel here! But it's time to wash the whites again, Giuseppe!

Giuseppe: Alright! I'll do that right now, just leave the hamper out.

Anzu left the hamper full of dirty clothes for Giuseppe to wash while she started the shower and undressed. Giuseppe could never see it given that it was an indecent area of her body, but there was a scar between her breasts on her lower chest. It was like a reminder of how she died in her life. Months ago, every time she'd take a shower, she'd caress the wound, and it would bring her an unpleasant feeling. By the time she regained her memories, it was a grim reminder of how cruel her life was. But now, she didn't mind it so much.

Giuseppe: Damn it. Why did I say that? Now I have to get up and be a productive human being.

Giuseppe got up anyway, even if it was reluctantly. He separated the loads and washed the whites first, including the white towels. He walked past the bathroom door to try and get back to the couch in the living room, when Anzu suddenly burst out the bathroom screaming with a towel wrapped around her naked and wet body, tackling Giuseppe down to the ground.

Giuseppe: *censored*! My head!

Anzu: Oh my god, I'm so sorry! I didn't mean to, there-

Anzu's towel came loose as she was on top of Giuseppe, giving him a close up and rather embarrassing view of the front of her body, naked and bare.

Giuseppe: Anzu! Cover yourself! You're indecent! And you're getting my shirt wet!

Anzu: I'm so sorry! Please forgive me!

Anzu backed off, sitting next to Giuseppe as he slowly got up.

Anzu: Are you okay?

Giuseppe: Yeah, I'm alright. Are you blushing?

Anzu: W-w-w-w-w-what?!?! What are you trying to imply?!?!?

Anzu stuck her face into Giuseppe's personal space like it was a sword aimed right between his eyes.

Giuseppe: Nothing! It's just that your skin is so red!

Anzu: I'm not blushing! The water was hot and I was scared!

Giuseppe: Wait, scared? Scared of what?

Anzu: I'll show you!

Anzu helped Giuseppe up and told him to look in the shower. The water was still running.

Giuseppe: Okay, I don't see anything...

Anzu: Interior base of the tub!

Giuseppe looked down on the floor of the tub and saw a large cricket with very long antennae. He had trouble trying to climb up the shower and on the wall since he was now wet.

Giuseppe: I can't believe you. You're scared of a cricket?

Anzu: Bugs are gross! Kill it!

Giuseppe: Kill it? This poor little guy? Come on, I'm not that cruel.

Anzu puffed her cheeks and pouted. Her desire for the bug's life to be taken away would not be denied.

Anzu: I'll go find a spider and force them to have a gladiator match!

Giuseppe: Stop right there!

Anzu froze in her pose as she began to run.

Giuseppe: You're not going anywhere. Take care of the cricket. Just let it outside or something.

Anzu: You idiot! It came inside to escape from the heat and you want me to touch that thing just so it can crawl back in?!?! Look at it! Seriously, *censored*ing look at it! Doesn't look like the monster int he shadows of the night that feasts on the innocence of young children and the hopes of old men!?! It's death incarnate, existing only to strain our souls of life and happiness! It's probably even a shinigami in disguise! Touch it and you will suffer!

Giuseppe: My've lost your marbles....

Anzu shook Giuseppe by his shirt.

Anzu: You'll lose your marbles and have them shoved up your tight little ass if you don't get rid of it! Hurry! I'm getting cold! And you wouldn't want to see what happens to nipples when they get cold!

Giuseppe: Damn you! You can't threaten a man with temptation! Alright, fine. I'll get rid of the stupid cricket.

Anzu: Yaay! Thank you Giuseppe, you're the best! Love you, sweetie!

Giuseppe: I hate my life...

The cricket proved hard to catch, by Giuseppe managed to enclose it in his hands.

Giuseppe: Hey, open the door, I'm about to let it out.

Anzu opened the front door and Giuseppe tossed the cricket out into the plants so it could find a new home under the soil.

Anzu: Pay some rent if you want to stay, asshole! *censored*ing crickets What *censored*ing deadbeats. *censored* them.

Giuseppe closed the front door.

Giuseppe: Shower's ready for you.

Anzu: Thanks for putting up with that. I'm just a big scaredy cat when it comes to bugs.

Giuseppe: Whatever makes you happy, Anzu.

Anzu was finally able to take a shower, and Giuseppe was finally able to sit back down on the couch. Until his phone rang, that is. He got up again to answer it.

Giuseppe: Hello mellow jello.

Myu: Giuseppe! It's Myu!

Giuseppe: Oh hey, Myu! What's up?

Myu: Is Anzu there?

Giuseppe: Yeah, of course she is, she's in the shower.

Myu: So she's not next to you?

Giuseppe: Hmm? What is this about?

Myu: Listen carefully to me. I think I finally found Anzu's sister.

Giuseppe: What?! Seriously?

Myu: I'm coming over now to talk to you guys about it. Is that alright?

Giuseppe: Yeah, come on over. I'll leave the door unlocked.

Myu: Gotcha. See you in a bit.

Giuseppe could hear Anzu singing in the shower. He wanted to knock on the door and tell her, but he had a bad feeling about all of it. He figured it would probably be best to wait for Myu to say what she needs to say, and let Anzu decide what happens next from there. Myu arrived in a sports bra and jogging pants. Her hair was tied and she looked like she just finished working out.

Myu: Hey there!

Giuseppe: Were you running?

Myu: Yeah! Gotta keep my cardio up, you know? I take it she's in the shower?

Giuseppe: Yeah. Myu, what exactly did you-

Myu: Shh. Wait until she gets out. Then, we'll talk about this together.

Giuseppe: Today is definitely a titties day....

Anzu got out of the shower, dried off, and dressed in the bathroom. She wore one of Giuseppe's basketball shorts and a black shirt with a faded white tomoe on the front. She emerged from the bathroom, surprised to see Myu there and sat down with everyone.

Anzu: Hey there Myu! When did you get here?

Myu: Just a few minutes ago, actually! How are you guys doing?

Anzu: Excellent as always! This heat is killing us though, my boobs get a little sweaty someti- oops! Sorry Giuseppe. It's just girl problem *censored*.

Giuseppe: Why are girls so gross....

Myu: Anzu, there's something I need to tell you.

Anzu: Well sure, you can tell me anything, Myu. What's up?

Myu: Your sister. Is her name Akahana Hodane?

Anzu's eyes lit up as the name instantly brought her images of her sister from her childhood. The sister that left with Natsumi while Anzu stayed with her father.

Anzu: How did you....did you find her?!

Myu: Yeah. I did.

Myu went on Giuseppe's computer to show her. She had a few social media profiles up with accessible pictures, giving Anzu the opportunity to confirm her identity. The two looked so alike, almost like twins. Akahana liked to keep her hair long, though she usually pressed it straight. She had a strawberry necklace around her neck, wore earrings, and had the same gorgeous blue eyes as Anzu.

Anzu: That's her! Oh my god, that's her! Oh my god...

Giuseppe held Anzu close as she began to cry. Following his initial instinct to wait was the right thing to do after all.

Anzu: She's so beautiful and all grown up.

Giuseppe: You haven't seen even a picture of her since your mom and dad split?

Anzu: Not a thing! I missed her every single day! I thought about her all the time! She even still has the strawberry necklace I gave her.

Myu: I knew you'd be happy. Through her, we can also find your mother. But there's something else I wanted to ask you.

Anzu: What?

Myu: Do you want to see her?

Anzu thought hard about the answer to that question. She glanced back at her pictures, smiled, and face Myu again.

Anzu: No.

Giuseppe: What?! But, Anzu! You're this happy just to see what she looks like these days! Why don't you want to let her know you're still here?! You're her sister, I'm sure she misses your sorely!

Anzu: That's exactly why I can't show myself to her, can't let her know I'm still here.

Giuseppe didn't quite understand Anzu's position, but she would set the record straight for Giuseppe and Myu.

Anzu: It's true. I love her. So, so much. And I know she loves me too. But that's why I can't let her know I'm lingering the earth. If she sees me, I'm scared the sight of my face will bring sadness and regret to her. She'll start wondering why I haven't passed, if certain things when I was alive were her fault, if there's anything she can do. I know her. She'll never stop apologizing, never stop blaming herself. Seeing me may only tear open more wounds than it closes. It must've been hard for her to get over, but now she's smiling and living life. My life and death, whether I like it or not, are part of her past. They should never be part of her present, nor her future. So, even if it breaks my heart that I can't hold her, tell her how much I loved and missed her, how beautiful she looks, how her hair is better than mines, how are eyes are a deeper blue than mines, I'll take that heartbreak if it means she can remain being happy. By now, she's already at peace with the fact that I've died. Please, don't ruin that peace. Don't ruin that smile.

Myu: Anzu...

Anzu: She must be 20 years old by now. Out of her teens! I can't believe 3 years could feel so long. She's lived long enough to be able to know the taste of alcohol. That's all I could've ever asked for. Thank you for showing me this, Myu. It makes me happy that she's happy.

Myu was saddened by it, but what Anzu said was the truth. She can't go around recklessly revealing to her loved ones that she's alive. The sadness, blame, and trauma that engulfed them when Anzu died would only resurface and overshadow their happiness. It would be counterproductive to Anzu's very existence as a soul who has yet to pass on if her death continued to leave people's hearts in chaos, even if there's only a few of them.

Myu: No problem, Anzu. Anything for you. Though, I have been talking to her. I told her we used to work in Satoshi's Grill together and that we were friends. I'm waiting for the right time to ask where your mother is these days. Is that alright with you?

Anzu: That much is fine, Myu. Thank you.

Myu left the computer open for Anzu and Giuseppe as she departed from the apartment. Above anything else, she couldn't stop thinking about just how kind and considerate Anzu is. To the point where she'd sacrifice the ability to see, touch, and talk to her long lost sister, just so she can remain happy.

Anzu continued to cry as she glanced at Akahana's pictures. Giuseppe looked at them with her and recognized they were both tears of sadness and happiness. For Anzu, the days must have been so long, yet the years must have wasted away faster than a sand castle kissed by the sea. Anzu closed the computer and got up off of the desk chair.

Giuseppe: What's up?

Anzu: I want to go to the church. Is that alright?

Giuseppe: Of course it is.

Giuseppe and Anzu ventured out to the church once more in the late afternoon. Given that it was summer, it still looked as if it was the early afternoon, and it was definitely still hot outside. As they walked up the path, Giuseppe looked over to Anzu, who was walking slightly ahead. Even though she was moving fast, Giuseppe had the feeling she was bearing a cross of some sort, and was going to the church to finally lay it to rest. He opened the door for her as usual, but she walked right past him and down the aisle of the sanctuary, stopping at the 2nd row.

Giuseppe walked in but kept his distance, sensing something might be wrong. Anzu had her back turned to Giuseppe as she looked up at the statue of Christ.

Giuseppe: Anzu?

Anzu dropped down on her knees, placed her head and hands on the floor and bowed to whatever god was watching her. She wept. Simply wept and prayed.

Anzu: Thank you! Thank you! Thank you so much! Thank you for keeping her safe!

There was nothing for Giuseppe to worry about. Anzu was experiencing a happiness that was just so overwhelming, she couldn't stand on her knees anymore. So overwhelming, she just had to bow down to the mastermind of it all. Whoever he, she, or it was that decided that the way things were were the way they ought to be, she thanked that deity. Giuseppe knelt down beside her. Anzu looked up at him with her tearful eyes, which Giuseppe wiped away with his finger. Giuseppe than bowed himself and also thanked the mastermind behind the miracle that brought Anzu to tears.

Giuseppe: Thank you for keeping Akahana safe.

Anzu smiled, putting her hand on Giuseppe's head.

Anzu: Thank you, Giuseppe.

The two sat together in the glow of the green window in the 4th row and looked onwards at the 3rd, 2nd, and 1st row as they were adorned by the glow of the red, purple, and orange windows, spreading their light wide across the rows and even seeping into the aisle.

Giuseppe: Next up is your mother.

Anzu: Yeah!

Anzu looked unbelievably happy. As if she had stumbled across the biggest mochi collection in the world.

Anzu: I can only hope she's doing okay too, you know?

Giuseppe: Yeah. I know.

Anzu: Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: Yeah?

Anzu: It's been a few months. Your father....

Giuseppe: I know. He's gonna die soon. This fall I believe.

Anzu was silent in her worry.

Anzu: Are you....are you ready for that?

Giuseppe: I don't know. I won't know until...

Anzu: Until the hour of separation. That's what Myu would say.

Giuseppe: Yeah, something like that.

Anzu: Giuseppe. It will probably hurt. A lot. There's nothing I can say in advance or after that will ever stop that pain. But just know that you won't be going through it alone. When you're in pain, it hurts me too. We'll hurt together.

Giuseppe closed his eyes and smiled.

Giuseppe: Thank you, Anzu.

It was odd. Despite it being summer, this day in particular was cloudy, and it was evident that it was going to rain soon. Anzu sat at the table in the kitchen, peering out of the window in her "fire" kanji shirt and underwear while Giuseppe cooked apple smoked salmon with white rice, ginger, and some strawberries for Anzu.

Anzu: Man, talk about ominous. You can never really predict summer rains, huh?

Giuseppe: Yeah. I guess so.

Giuseppe brought the plates over to the table and sat down with Anzu.

Giuseppe: You shouldn't use your leg as a rest like that if you're going to walk around in a shirt and underwear. I could see your privates like that.

Anzu sat down with both legs on the ground, hastily tucking her shirt between her legs and blushing from her inability to notice her own mistake.

Anzu: Geez. Ah what the hell. It's just you so it's not that bad. As long as I'm at home I guess.

Giuseppe: I mean, it's fine. I'm kind of numb to seeing lady parts at this age. But, I'm just saying, in public settings or whenever Myu comes over.

Anzu: Yeah, I understand.

Anzu watched Giuseppe eat his breakfast, noticing he looked rather empty today. She had a sneaking suspicion it had to do with his father, knowing his time was short before he'd be executed.

Anzu: Is something bothering you? You're usually more energetic than this.

Giuseppe: We're just sitting down and having breakfast. It's not like I'm gonna wear a party hat or something.

Anzu: I'm not asking you to. I'm just asking you to be yourself.

Giuseppe: I am being myself.

Anzu puffed up her cheeks and stretched over the table to blow on Giuseppe's face, who stood up off of his chair in annoyance.

Giuseppe: What the hell are you doing?

Anzu: Trying to cheer you up!

Giuseppe: And your method of doing that is by blowing on people's faces?

Anzu: No, just your face! I heard that brains are like computers, so when they're overworking themselves, I bet the head gets overheated right? So I was just trying to keep your head cool!

Giuseppe said nothing. He took his food and ventured off into his room. His silence and lack of reaction or protest is what troubled her heart the most. So, she sat there, and ate her strawberries alone. Giuseppe didn't come out of his room for a few hours, leaving Anzu to contemplate if she should go in or not. She had faith in Giuseppe, that whatever he was going through internally, he'd either conquer it or go to her for help. But the hours passed by and by until night came. Anzu did whatever she could to pass the time for all of those hours, but her worry for Giuseppe never left her mind at all. She finally got up and knocked on the door, nervous, scared, and worried for Giuseppe all at the same time.

Giuseppe: What is it?

Anzu: Umm...if...if you leave your plates in the room, the room will start to smell like the food you ate.

Anzu opened the door and saw Giuseppe sitting crosslegged on the bed with his head down. Anzu held her hand to her chest, as she could feel her heart ache inside.

Anzu: Giuseppe...

Anzu reached her hand out to pat Giuseppe on the head, but he gently pushed it out of the way, rejecting her consolation.

Giuseppe: I'm sorry, Anzu. I just want to be alone today.

Anzu: Oh. No, I understand. I'll move these plates out of here.

Anzu gathered the plates of unfinished food, throwing it in the garbage and washing the plates off. There was definitely something horribly wrong inside Giuseppe. When she finished and walked back into the living room, Giuseppe was casually dressed and headed for the door.

Anzu: Are you going somewhere?

Giuseppe: Not in particular. I'm just gonna take a little drive and clear my head. Thanks for taking those plates out for me. I left the door and window open for the room so it could air out. See you soon.

Anzu: Okay...

Giuseppe grabbed his keys out of the bowl and exited the apartment. At this point, it was getting a little late, and Anzu was feeling sleepy. Not wanting to sleep in the bedroom alone, she brought some blankets and pillows out to the living room, so she could lay down and watch tv until she felt sleepy. Giuseppe drove and drove until he couldn't even recognize the streets anymore. As Anzu worried, Giuseppe's head was clouded by images and thoughts, not only of his father, but of his mother too. Now, after all these years, even if it was just a normal conversation, Giuseppe felt like the burnt bridge between him and his father might've actually started to be repairing. But those repairs came too late. By the time it was fully repaired, Nori would be gone. He would have lost both of his parents.

The streets were getting emptier as people went home, and Giuseppe decided he had ridden around long enough. It was time to leave. He made a U-turn and made way for the apartment the brightened headlights of an SUV blared into his peripheral vision from the right side of the intersection. Giuseppe was sure that he didn't run a red light, and the confusion froze him up and the SUV smashed into his car, rolling it over multiple times, shattering windows, and rendering Giuseppe unconscious for a few minutes. Dazed and confused, Giuseppe began to open his eyes and tried to determine his surroundings. His car was flipped upside down, his seat belt was still in, and something was dripping onto the roof of the car. He looked over to the right and saw the headlights of the other car, but the driver had not exited the vehicle. He then stretched his neck to look at his stomach, where he felt a burning pain. A piece of wreckage found its way into Giuseppe's gut, and the dripping was Giuseppe own blood from his wound. He realized what was going on as the siren of the other car continued to blare into the nearly empty streets and tried to free himself from the seatbelt. The seatbelt disengaged, but he landed right on his stomach, pushing in the piece of wreckage further. Giuseppe's pain and shock caused him to scream out with all of his might in agony in the empty streets. He looked for his phone, which he found not far from the glove box. It was still in good condition.

First, he called for Myu, to let her know what was happening. The phone rang and rang, and Giuseppe knew she wasn't going to pick up. As he was about to hang up the phone, Myu did indeed pick up and sounded out of breath.

Myu: Hey Giuseppe! I'm sorry, I just got out of the shower. What's up?

Giuseppe began to realize how difficult it was to talk over the pain of his wound.

Giusppe: Myu...I'm hurt really bad. I'm losing a lot of blood.

Myu: What? Giuseppe, what's going on? Where are you?

Giuseppe: Hana Street. I got into an accident, and there's something lodged in my stomach.

Myu: Oh my god! Listen to me! I'll call an ambulance for you, okay? Just stay on the line, alright? Hang on!

Myu called for paramedics, who drove all the way up the street in search for Giuseppe. Their sirens were like a song of hope as they exited the trucks and first tried to get the other driver out of their car. Giuseppe could see them drag him out of the vehicle, his head and shirt covered in blood, his arm completely mangled. Another pair of paramedics made their way to Giuseppe's car, using all their might to pull the door off of its hinges and dragging Giuseppe out, dragging his back on broken glass and concrete. Once they saw the wreckage in his stomach, they immediately and gently moved him onto a gurney and prepped him for movement to the hospital. For now, the medics called out to Giuseppe frequently to make sure he was still conscious, lucid, and aware. They did all they could to give him oxygen and to slow down the bleeding on their way to the hospital.

Myu made her way down there, seeing the street blocked off and the wreckage ahead. She saw Giuseppe's car completely flipped over and a lot of blood inside and outside of the car. The sight alone tore her apart inside as she fought back tears so she could call Anzu, who was still at Giuseppe's house. Giuseppe's house phone rang, waking Anzu up, who expected for Giuseppe's voice to come through.

Anzu: Hello?

Myu: Anzu! Honey, where are you?

Anzu: Myu? I'm at Giuseppe's house. What's wrong? You sound upset.

Myu: Anzu! Giuseppe got in a really bad car accident! I'm looking at the wreckage now and it's crushed, shattered, and there's a lot of blood in and around his car! I called an ambulance for him, they should've taken him the hospital by now.

Anzu's heart was shattered upon hearing those words. She couldn't bear to imagine a world where Giuseppe was no longer here. She didn't want to wake up and go to sleep alone, to have his smile completely forgotten. He didn't want Nori to have his son die before he did, as she knows that no parent should ever have to bury their child. Tears were streaming down her face, but at the same time, she immediately got up and threw on a jacket, asking for Myu to pick her up. Myu raced down to Giuseppe's apartment and picked up Myu. They drove as fast and as legally as possible to the hospital. Myu was crying, and Anzu was incredibly anxious.

Anzu: How bad was it?

Myu: Awful! I saw them...I saw them trying to revive the person who crashed into him, but they just covered him up and put him in the truck!

Anzu was more worried than ever. She held her own hands tightly, as a physical way to keep her stress form overbearing her. She badly wanted to see Giuseppe, make sure he was okay, and tell him he was stupid for driving so late into the night where drunks and careless drivers often populate the roads. Myu and Anzu finally arrived at the hospital, though of course, nobody could see or notice Anzu. Because Giuseppe's mother was dead and his father was in prison, Myu was the closest person to Giuseppe and was allowed to wait for him in the hall. For Anzu, seeing all the sick and wounded people worried her, and also brought back memories of the time she herself ended up in a hospital after she tried to kill herself. Anzu began to wonder, did Giuseppe try to kill himself?

For hours, and hours, and hours, they waited. Sitting alongside each other at almost 4 in the morning.

Anzu: Myu? Hey, do you want to go sit in the car, maybe get some sleep? You've been up for almost 24 hours.

Myu sighed and rubbed her eyes.

Myu: Yeah, but I'm really worried about him. Why did that asshole have to get in such an awful accident?

Myu began to cry as Anzu rubbed her back to console her.

Anzu: He's just really stupid. But don't worry, he's also really strong. I can sit and wait for him. Please, get some rest and wait for us.

Myu hugged Anzu tightly and longingly before she left, leaving the rest up to her. After a few minutes, Anzu put her hands together and closed her eyes. She began to do what she quit doing shortly before her death. She began to pray.

Anzu: God. I've asked a lot from you over these years, haven't I? I just need to ask you for one more thing right now. Please don't take Giuseppe. Giuseppe isn't a perfect human being, and neither am I. But ever since I met him, I've been able to discover myself, and he's been able to discover himself. When I met him, it was so great to have someone actually be able to see me, to notice me, to feel me and hear me. We aren't perfect, but we're always trying. I especially try so hard for the both of us, to make us both laugh. Because I know the loneliness he's had to live with up until now. Sure, he's stupid, stubborn, and likes to film me when I have food all over my mouth. But there's nobody else but him. There can't be anybody besides him. It always had to be him! He's the only one who can fix me, and I'm the only one who can fix him. I will give you all of me, if you could just save him. I would gladly wander around in nothingness if it meant he could survive this. He's my best friend and I love him so, so, so much, God. Please don't take him. He's too young and foolish to die before I do. Let him live. Let him learn. Let him smile and cry. Just heal him, God. Heal him and let him come back to our small apartment. Just let him come home. Please, let him come home.

Anzu laid back and began to fall asleep. She just couldn't stay awake any longer. However, shortly after she fell asleep, she was woken up again when the doctors exited the room. When the halls were clear, Anzu opened the door, entered, and shut the door behind her. There he was. Not necessarily okay, but he was going to live and walk out of the hospital in short time. He sat up, with the support of a pillow on his back. His head was bandaged as well as a his arm, foot, and of course, his stomach. He was hooked up to an IV, which helped him replace the fluids he lost in the crash. Upon hearing the door open, Giuseppe turned towards Anzu, expecting to see the doctor.

Giuseppe: Anzu?! When did you...

Anzu: You''re okay....

Giuseppe: Yeah, sort of. A few broken bones, minor cuts and stuff. The real doozie was a piece of shrapnel that struck me right in the belly. Thankfully, I didn't lose too much blood, but I'm gonna need to stay here for at least 4 or 6 weeks. I need to keep up with the IV, drink lots of water, and eat lots of proteins to recover the blood volume I lost. Still hurts like a bitch, but I'm alright! In fact, I think they're gonna give me painkillers for that.

Anzu began to lose her balance and placed her hand against the wall. Oddly, she started to smile.

Anzu: You're alive. You really survived that.

Anzu began to laugh, much to the awkward confusion of Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Yeah, yeah. Laugh it up. I got into a car crash, so funny.

Anzu's laughter turned into tears. Tears turned into crying. Crying turned into sobbing. As if she was bowing before God himself, Anzu was on her knees, covering her face with her hands.

Giuseppe: Anzu? Are you okay?

Anzu stood up and looked Giuseppe in the eyes as she angrily cried.

Anzu: No! I'm not okay! I waited 6 hours for you to wake up so I could see you, praying to God that you don't die before me or your dad, and I was scared the whole time that I was about to lose one of the only people I have left in this world! What the *censored* do you mean, "are you okay?"? Would you be okay if your best friend almost died?! I'm hurt! I'm heartbroken! I'm sad! I'm really *censored*ing pissed at you! And I'm really, really happy! I don't know what I would do if I lost you! Please don't ever leave me, Giuseppe! You're all I have left! If you pass on before me, I could never return to that apartment. I would be hearing your voice when it isn't there, seeing your face when it isn't there. I can't return to the church, because it would all remind me of when we first met, and when I begged you to have a sleep over with me. You gave me a home, memories that could make a lifetime worth living, you helped me conquered my fears, memories of my past life, you gave me my first box of mochi, you complimented my pancakes, bought me new clothes even though you don't have a lot of spare money, you helped me reconnect with Myu, you've shown me beautiful music, you let me pray for your mom over her grave, you rebuilt your relationship with your dad both for yourself and for me, and you...

Anzu held her chest and she fell down to the floor again. Her emotions were so overwhelming, she could no longer find the strength to stand up.

Anzu: You gave me a friendship I never could've deserved in a thousand life times...

As Anzu cried on the floor, she couldn't see that her outpouring of affection had moved Giuseppe to tears. Giuseppe tried to get off of the bed, but only made it to the edge with his feet on the ground before Anzu immediately got up and stopped him from moving too much.

Anzu: Idiot! Don't get out of bed! You might tear open something if you push yourself!

Giuseppe: I'm sorry, Anzu. I didn't do it on purpose. It really was an accident.

Giuseppe buried his face in Anzu's stomach and held her tightly, as tightly as he would hug his mother.

Giuseppe: I'm really sorry, Anzu. Please forgive me. I would never leave you.

Anzu held and caressed Giuseppe's head as he cried into her stomach. The sun finally began to rise and shine through the windows. Anzu's sadness turned into a tearful smile, as the sunlight was like God's confirmation of a prayer well heard. He could've been ripped away from the world of the living by pure chance, but he was lucky enough to survive. And they were both lucky to have each other. Myu woke up and decided to check on Anzu in the hospital, breaking into tears when she saw Anzu and Giuseppe smiling and holding each other. Perhaps it wasn't very wise, but her hug felt more like a choke to Giuseppe. It almost felt like he would just explode if she hugged him any tighter.

Giuseppe: Thank you so much, Myu.

Myu was too overcome by tears to speak. She was just glad that Giuseppe was okay and that Anzu was still happy.

Unfortunately, the car was totaled, but Giuseppe did have auto insurance and could find a replacement in due time. He'd have to spend about a month and half in the hospital, which ruined any plans he had of taking Anzu anywhere for the summer. But, for reasons that weren't so strange anymore, Anzu always smiled during those weeks, never leaving the hospital or Giuseppe. She was fine with being stuck in one place, if that one place had her best friend in it.

Chapter Extra
Giuseppe: Ahhhh. Nice and peaceful in the chapter extras

Anzu: I know, right? These last two chapters made me tear up!

Giuseppe: Well, I mean, you ARE in them.

Anzu: No *censored*! I meant, just as a reader looking over the finished product. We're a pretty good pair!

Giuseppe: Yep, I think so too. So, how do you think this is gonna end?

Anzu: End?!?! Shhh! We're not allowed to talk about that! OGHM would be so mad!

Giuseppe: Come on, it's just speculation. What do you think is gonna happen?

Anzu: It would be great if we fell in love and got married and have 44 kids!

Giuseppe: Yeah, I think the author laid down one ground rule for this story; we can't fall in love.

Anzu: What?! Why not?

Giuseppe: Too cliche. Not every relationship has to be romantic for it to completely change your life for the better. I mean, you can always have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, but good friends are rare these days.

Anzu: That's just some pussy *censored*. *censored*, I got good tits and a good overall body, right? You're telling me you're not gonna hit that while you have the chance? I always knew you were a queer.

Giuseppe: Now now, don't alienate our gay audience.

Anzu: If I pretend I have a penis, will you gay it up with me?

Giuseppe: What kind of question is that?!

Anzu: Come on! Let's rub our dicks together!

Giuseppe: You don't even have one!

Anzu: Just pretend my vagina is a dick! Come on!

Giuseppe: I said no!

Anzu: Ugh! It's supposed to be the male protagonist who gets blueballed in these kinds of stories, but instead, it's me all the time!

Giuseppe: Sucks to be you.

Anzu: Will you at least just "accidentally" grab my tits from time to time? Or "accidentally" stick your hand in my panties when you're sleeping? We can even do it off-story! Nobody could read it!

Giuseppe: Now that's just blueballing the audience!

Anzu: Sucks to be them!

Giuseppe: You're really one of a kind, Anzu.

Anzu: Yeah, I know!

Giuseppe: What do we......uhh......what do we do now? It's the end of this thing. What do we usually do?

Anzu: *censored*! Promotional *censored*! Be sure to keep up with 6 Cataclysms: Red Rose Chronicles! Hita is in it! Isn't he cute?! And of course, keep up with Anzu: A Friend From the Grave! We'll end this *censored* like Clannad After Story if you don't!

Giuseppe: How did they end that again?

Anzu: Listen to the first few seconds of "Juicy" by Biggie Smalls. That's how they ended it. Grrr! I'm still mad! What a giant *censored*ing cop out! *censored* them!

Giuseppe: Okay, okay. We're not supposed to bad mouth other works in promotions, Anzu.

Anzu: Alright, alright. Well, bye everybody! See you next chapter! Muah! Muah! Love you!

Giuseppe: See you next chapter, everybody!

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #8 on: December 31, 2015, 10:28:28 PM »
The Only Ones Who Can Lay Me to Rest
June passed and went. Then, July passed. Giuseppe was kept company 24/7 by Anzu, who never left his side for those 6 weeks. She always made sure that Giuseppe got enough fluids, always drank at least 8 cups of water, always ate his meals, and even took the time to feed him when he felt too weak. It was August now. His recovery was slow but steady. Anzu helped him take walks occasionally throughout the latter period of his recovery. On the final night before he could be discharged, Giuseppe was given a checkup from the doctor, who monitored his progress over the weeks. His blood volume had largely been restored. He was advised to keep wearing his bandages and return every week for a checkup, but he would be largely capable of taking care of himself. Anzu, although she could not be seen, sported her radiant smile upon hearing the good news.

Giuseppe: Whew. Glad to have finally healed. Being injured gives you an overbearing sense of complacency. Myu said she'll pick us up tomorrow.

Anzu: How nice of her! Otherwise we'd have to walk all the way home.

Giuseppe: Not to call you a troglodyte or anything, but public transportation is a thing now.

Anzu: As if I'd ride on a bus or a train!

Giuseppe: Geez. I've really spoiled you, haven't I?

Anzu: All your fault, sweetie!

Giuseppe: Yeah well, whatever. Let's just go to sleep and end this day. I wanna go home.

Anzu: Yes sir.

Anzu climbed into the hospital bed with Giuseppe, something she did every night while she was with him. Together, they slept until sunrise. The next day, Giuseppe was able to walk out of the hospital with Anzu. Myu waved and smiled as he emerged, and the three happily drove back to their own neighborhood, to Giuseppe's apartment. Myu and Anzu guided Giuseppe into the building, which still had all of the blinds closed from the night Anzu left. Giuseppe yawned as soon as he walked inside.

Giuseppe: Finally home! Thank god. Now I can sleep!

Anzu: Stop right there chuckle*censored*! You're not about to come back and just go right back to sleep! It's still early in the day, so why don't you do something?

Giuseppe: What do you mean do something? I was in a damn car accident!

Anzu: Ugh! Why are you such a butt!

Myu: Uhm, if I may announce something....

Giuseppe and Myu stopped their fighting and gave their attention to Myu.

Myu: So, I've taken the weeks to get to know Akahana better. A few days ago, I was able to ask her about your mom.

Anzu: R-really? What did she say?

Myu: Your mother, Natsumi. She's alive and still lives in this city. But...

Giuseppe: But?

Myu: Anzu. You're mother went to the hospital a few years ago, shortly after you died. For cancer. Akahana said it started in her colon. They underwent the necessary treatment, and the cancer in her colon regressed and went away. But, by the time it did, spots began to show up in her liver. That meant that it was already traveling through her bloodstream, and could start affecting other organs and parts of her body. Once that kind of thing happens, the average person only has 2 or 3 years to live. It's been over 2 and a half years for your mother. Anzu, your mother doesn't have very long to live. I still have to ask what hospital she's been admitted to. If she's lived this long, then she must've done everything she could until now.

Giuseppe: Oh my god. Anzu....

Anzu's head was low, and her hair obscured her face.

Myu: I'm....I'm sorry, Anzu. If there's anything we can do...

Anzu raised her head, refusing to allow the tears welling up in her eyes to stain her face on the day that Giuseppe finally returned home.

Anzu: Thank you for telling me this. If it's not too much trouble, please ask Akahana where she's currently staying.

Giuseppe: Anzu, are you okay?

Anzu turned around and smiled.

Anzu: Why do you always have to ask the silliest questions? I'd be lying if I said I was fine. But you don't have to worry about me.

Giuseppe began to realize that he still couldn't fully fathom just how much anguish Anzu was shouldering all by herself. Her memories, her life regrets and missed chances, her constant worry for him, her abundant love for her sister, and now, she'd soon have to face the death of her mother.

Anzu: Listen to me. Find out where she is. Before she passes, there are things I need to set straight with her. Things I never had the chance to say. I'm sure that she's lived her life with her own regrets. I don't want her to be wandering the earth, a soul without a resting place like me. Whatever she's done in her life, she doesn't deserve that. When I speak to her, it will be both for me, and for her. And we'll settle everything. Once and for all.

Anzu's intent was not contested. The more loose ends that Anzu tied, the closer she would be to passing on. Her wish was always a dying wish. That was the beautiful tragedy of her existence.

Within the next few hours, Anzu, Myu, and Giuseppe found themselves in the church, sitting in the the bay of the red window as the sunlight shining through washed the surrounding area in bright red. The three just sat there together, all of them clearly thinking about what's ahead. After a while, Myu got up, straightening her shirt and stretching her arms.

Giuseppe: You going?

Myu: Yeah, I've gotta get home. I've got laundry, dishes, I have to cook dinner, and I've got work tomorrow. Will you guys be okay?

Anzu locked her arm with Giuseppe's and leaned her head on his shoulder.

Anzu: We'll be okay. Thank you so much for your help, Myu. You're the best.

Giuseppe: Yeah, you're a real life saver. Hah, except you literally are a life saver. I would've died without you.

Myu: Don't mention it, loser. You're my friend after all, so it's not like I was gonna let you bleed out or anything. Well, see you guys later. Oh....and good luck, you two. It's gonna be a rough ride for the both of you. If you need anything, you just call me.

Anzu: Thank you, dear.

Myu opened the door and waved goodbye before she left, leaving Anzu and Giuseppe by the window bay. Giuseppe got up, groaning as he stood up straight, and helped Anzu up as well.

Anzu: You alright? Don't stretch anything too hard.

Giuseppe: I'm alright. Thanks for worrying.

Giuseppe and Anzu sat together in the sanctuary as they always did, talking and wasting the time away. What they didn't know is that Myu wasn't being completely honest with them. She didn't have work tomorrow. She left to meet with Akahana at Satoshi's Grill, which was closed that day and the day after. Akahana was waiting outside for her in a summer dress, clearly enjoying the last few weeks of blissful sunshine before the cold makes its return again. She had a beautiful smile just like her sister. It was so beautiful it was almost sad.

Myu greeted her and opened the shop so they could talk, allowing her to step in first. When Akahana untied her hair, she looked even more like Anzu. She still wore the strawberry necklace that Anzu got her when they were children.

Akahana: Thank you so much for having me.

Myu: Are you kidding? You're the one who cleared up your schedule for me! Extreme generosity really flows the family like blood, doesn't it?

Akahana: Yeah, I always got teased for that in school honestly. How have you been?

Myu: I've been alright, how about you?

Akahana: A little uneasy. Very worried.

Akahana's smile was traded for a more serious and nervous expression.

Akahana: I have a work opportunity coming up. It's going to take me from here to Honshu. I'm gonna be gone for a while. Actually, I'm probably gonna have to move there.

Myu: Being a skilled surgeon has its pros and cons, I suppose.

Akahana: Like not being able to save your own mother.

Myu: Hey, don't talk like that. You sound like you're blaming yourself. It's not your fault.

Akahana: I know, but I just wish I had the power to do more. I lost a father, a sister, and now I'm going to lose the only piece of direct family I have left.

Myu: You're mom doesn't have anyone else here?

Akahana: No. It's just me. My mother hails from a rather rich and proud family. Natsumi wasn't really the most...uhm...proper child. She was very rebellious and forceful. She always went against the familial current and aspired to be her own person rather than inherit the shadow of her family. Then, she met her man, got pregnant with me and Anzu at 19 and...well, her family disowned her. Running away and having children with a man with a lower social standing was unacceptable for them. Everyone excommunicated her, even her mother and father. From then on, it was her and Masato, and her two kids. The rest is history.

Myu twiddled her thumbs, hesitating to ask the next question.

Myu: Aka, if I may call you Aka for short...

Akahana: Oh sure, that's fine!

Myu: Thank you. Aka, where exactly is your mother? Where is she staying?

Akahana: Hmm? Why, did you want to see her?

Myu: I mean, if you won't be here, I would love to meet her and keep her company, seeing as I was Anzu's friend. I just want to thank her for giving the world such a wonderful soul. I'm sorry if it's asking too much

Akahana: No. Actually, I would like it very much if you kept her company. I won't be here, and she doesn't want me to pass up on this opportunity because of her. She's just too loving for her own good. She'd rather die alone than inconvenience me in any way. She's staying at the Hasunohana Cancer Center. Room 82.

Myu: Thank you! I'll be sure to pay her a visit!

Myu got up, stretched, and went behind the counter.

Myu: While you're here, did you want anything? It's your last couple of weeks here in Sapporo, so I won't mind if you want to take something from here. It's on me!

Akahana: My my, how generous of you! I'd love a slice of cake and some iced tea! I'm easy to please.

Myu: Coming right up!

Giuseppe and Anzu had stayed all the way up until the night in the church. When it grew dark, Anzu took out her trusty stained glass lantern. The colored patterns of the glass were cast onto her, Giuseppe, and the surrounding area. For good measure, she also gave power to the lights built into the walls surrounding the statue of Christ. The two stood on the podium, in front of the lights.

Anzu: Man, it's already so late. Did you want to head home?

Giuseppe: Nah. I can't go back to work with these injuries, so there's no need for me to go home today. It's been a while since we've slept in the church, so let's take the futons out.

Anzu had the peachiest smile as she jumped up in the air in excitement, and her voice talking at a higher octave out of happiness.

Anzu: Okay! I'll go get them!

Anzu pulled the futons from the curvature of the wall and laid them out on the podium, blankets and all.

Anzu: Man, every time we sleep on the podium, it reminds me of old times. Remember?

Giuseppe: Yep. We slept here the day we met and multiple times over the past 9 months. Er...

Anzu stood up as she just realized what Giuseppe said.

Anzu: Wait, it's been 9 months? Already?

Giuseppe: Let's see. We met in January and it's already the middle of August now, so.... yeah, over 9 months.

Anzu's smile seemed bittersweet.

Anzu: Time sure does pass you by when you're not looking. So much has happened these past 9 months.

Giuseppe: Yep. The days are slow, the months are fast, and the years are like lightning in the sky.

Anzu: Bed's all set, your majesty!

Anzu patted the pillow, signaling Giuseppe to his finished futon.

Giuseppe: Thank you. Now I can get some rest

Giuseppe and Anzu laid on their futons, set next to each other. Anzu had her head laying in the direction of the right side of the building, and Giuseppe the left side. Anzu's long hair flowed in all directions like a bloomed flower. Under the deep blue light from the walls, the two never looked so peaceful until now. It was as if they were both dead, ready to be mourned for at a wake.

The peace was interrupted by a late phone call from Myu, who wanted to deliver the news. Still laying down, Giuseppe answered his phone.

Giuseppe: What's up?

Myu: Hasunohana Cancer Center. That's where Natsumi is.

Giuseppe: Whoa, she told you?

Myu: She's leaving for Honshu in a few weeks. She might not come back here, and Natsumi has no friends or family left. She's all alone, so she actually wanted me to be able to see her.

Giuseppe: You're amazing, Myu. Thank you so much for this.

Myu: Just hurry. Natsumi doesn't have much time left.

Giuseppe: Right. I'll let Anzu know.

Myu: Actually, Giuseppe...

Giuseppe: Hmm?

Myu: Don't tell her yet. We need to talk about something. Walk down the path from the church, I'm sitting on one of the park benches.

Giuseppe: Right now? Sure, I guess I can do that.

Myu: Alright. See you soon.

Giuseppe got up, to the confusion of Anzu who was ready to sleep.

Anzu: Are you going somewhere?

Giuseppe: Yeah, Myu wants to talk with me real quick. I'll be back.

Anzu: Aww man. I don't like sleeping alone.

Giuseppe: Don't worry, I'll be back soon. She's just in the park.

Anzu: Okay, whatever you say.

Giuseppe smiled and left the church. As he walked down the dirt path descending from the hill, he noticed the crescent moon in the sky. Having been in the hospital for 6 weeks, he really hadn't been able to see the moon in a while. He walked further down until he saw Myu, sitting on a park bench under the light of a lamp post. Pathway lights lit the entire path ahead as well. Giuseppe sat down with Myu, slowly as to not hurt his still aching body.

Myu: Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Myu.

Myu: If Anzu sees her mother, will she fade away?

Giuseppe looked over to Myu, who had never seemed to worried about anything concerning Anzu until now. But it seems, she too has bottled in her anxieties.

Myu: I have this nagging feeling, since Natsumi is really the last loose end, that she'll disappear soon afterwards. And, as selfish as it sounds, I don't want that. For years, I had always wished I had done something more to help Anzu the night I dropped her off. I had wished I took her home instead of surrendering her to her own death. I just don't want to lose her again. It hurt so much the first time, you know? The energy in Satoshi's Grill....nothing could ever make up for the joy and happiness she brought in. You could have a whole circus in there and it still wouldn't be enough to match what it's like to Anzu just be near you. God, I know these are the wrong thoughts to have, but-

Giuseppe put his hand on her shoulder and spoke as honestly as possible.

Giuseppe: I've had the same thoughts for a long time. My life has changed because I met Anzu, and I just don't want her to go. But the tragedy of all of this is this; she was supposed to receive that kind of love when she was alive. We can't keep her here when she's dead. Anzu won't age. Time is forever frozen for her. While we grow taller and older, she'll stay the same. When we find spouses and have children, she will remain invisible, unable to breathe life into the world. I think that would make Anzu more sad than anything. Not being able to be young, grow into an adult, grow old, and die along with the people she cherishes. Not being able to be apart of the natural cycle of living and dying would just be torture for her. When we're gone, who will she have? That's why we have to help her. We have to help her soul pass on to where it needs to be. If she's dead, then we have to be the ones to gently lay her in her coffin, and lay her to rest.

Myu: Even if it pains your heart?

Giuseppe: Yes. The greatest miracle of all of this is that Anzu isn't supposed to be here. Her life, like her diary, was left unfinished, with so many pages still left blank. Right now, day by day, we're filling in the pages of her life. We're helping her wrap up the things she left behind. And then, when it's all done, it will be time to end the final sentence with a period, and close the book for good. Then, we place it on the shelf with all the other finished books and blow out the candles. That is our job. And I couldn't feel luckier. It's not about whether she lives or not, because she's already dead. It's about helping her leave behind something.

Myu was consoled by Giuseppe's perspective of the matter. Her heart was put at ease.

Myu: No point arguing, huh?

Giuseppe: Nope. I think I've got it all right.

Myu tilted her head back to look at the moon

Myu: What a beautiful moon tonight.

Giuseppe: Yeah.

After some moon gazing, Myu went home and Giuseppe walked back up to the church, opening the doors silently in case Anzu was sleeping. Anzu was still up, but clearly exhausted. Giuseppe walked down the aisle of the sanctuary and up to the podium to climb back into bed.

Anzu: You're back...

Giuseppe: And you sound really tired.

Anzu: Yeah...I'm kind of....half asleep.

Giuseppe: Don't talk anymore then. Let's go to bed. Good night, Anzu.

Anzu: Nighty night, Gissy Poo.

Though the church was empty, Giuseppe felt as if there was a choir chanting a wordless prayer for Anzu. Each day, she grew closer to passing on. Each victory was like the toll of a funeral bell. Indeed, every one of Anzu's wishes were all dying wishes. It was all a final will and testament. That's why, without fail, it had to be done.

Eternal Slumber
As they always did when they slept there, Anzu and Giuseppe awoke under the rainbow of colors, light, and shade in the church as the sun shined through the windows. Anzu yawned and scratched out her thick, full head of hair. Even when she awoke from her slumbers, her ocean-blue eyes were still beautiful. Giuseppe got up besides her as he yawned and greeted her for the morning.

Giuseppe: Morning. Sleep well?

Anzu: Yeah, I actually did. You?

Giuseppe: I've had better nights.

Anzu: I'm sorry.

Giuseppe and Anzu sat at the edge of the podium, letting their feet dangle off the edge.

Giuseppe: Your mother. She's at Hasunohana Cancer Center. We can see her whenever you like, especially since Myu's gotten permission. But still, I don't know why your mom would choose to die alone...

Anzu: She's punishing herself. She probably thinks she failed me. That's why she's been giving her all to Akahana, to make up for that. Did Myu say where my sister would be or why she isn't going to be there when she passes?

Giuseppe: Not specifically, I don't think. But given her profession, she probably has to jump on an opportunity soon. Maybe Natsumi doesn't want her to miss out on that.

Anzu: Of course.

Giuseppe: We can visit her whenever you want, Anzu. Just let me know when, alright?

Anzu: Giuseppe? When does your father die?

Giuseppe found it difficult to answer that question. Not because he didn't know the answer. In fact, it was quite the opposite. Knowing the answer to that question was a special kind of torment.

Giuseppe: October 5th. Just a few weeks now. As the date draws closer, I just....I don't know. I find it harder to look at him again. It's not because I still hate him or anything.

Anzu: It's because you know it will hurt.

Giuseppe: Yeah...

Anzu: Before we even dare to see my mother, we need to take care of your father first. We'll make sure he passes on peacefully. If he dies in a state of contrition, he'll wander around just like me.

Giuseppe: What? Anzu, you don't have to do that for me. This is your mom we're talking about!

Anzu: You and I are friends, right? I've told you before, we're in this together.

Anzu got up and extended her smile and her hand to Giuseppe. In that moment, she looked more majestic, more angelic than ever as the rainbow filtered sunlight bled onto her body and the rest of the church.

Anzu: You won't go through this alone, Giuseppe. I'll be smiling and crying with you, no matter how long the path winds.

Giuseppe took Anzu's hand, using it to help himself up. The two of them simply looked at each other with smiles. They both knew there was great sorrow ahead, but for good reason, that only united them. Anzu and Giuseppe now made their way out of the church. As Giuseppe opened the door, he closed his eyes and waited for Anzu's voice.

Anzu: My my, how chivalrous of you!

Giuseppe: Like clockwork!

Giuseppe and Anzu walked down the dirt road, through the park, through the neighborhood, and all the way back home. They both got back into their house clothes and intended on starting their lazy day together.

Giuseppe: Did you want breakfast?

Anzu: Yeah, can we make pancakes again?

Anzu tied her hair back, with her long backs extending down the sides.

Giuseppe: I'm no good with pancakes.

Anzu: Don't fret, dickless! I can teach you all about it! First, let's get a mixing bowl, flour, eggs, and milk.

Giuseppe: Understood!

Giuseppe retrieved all the items as Anzu put on her apron.

Anzu: Good. Now we'll need baking powder, vegetable oil, vanilla extract, almond extract, bananas, and strawberries.

Giuseppe: You're just busting my balls now, right?

Anzu: I'll bust on your chest and face if you don't hurry the *censored* up!

Giuseppe! Yes ma'am!

Once again, Giuseppe gathered the listed ingredients. Anzu took out a wire whisk, cutting board, knives, and some measuring cups.

Anzu: Okay, I'll handle the mix. Can you cut up those strawberries and put them in a plastic bag? When you're done, can you macerate them and then cut up the bananas?

Giuseppe: Simple enough.

Anzu got right to work getting the pancake mix together, measuring her ingredients and whisking them all together. Giuseppe handled the fruit quite well and placed the macerated strawberries in the fridge.

Anzu: Cut those bananas at a bias. They'll last longer inside the mix.

Giuseppe: You sure are good at this, Anzu.

Anzu: Every woman should know how to cook. Unless she wants to become a fat, complacent, cat-lady. I have too good a personality and too tight an ass for that to happen.

Giuseppe: True, but it's not like you can age as a dead girl.

Anzu: But I can still look either pretty or ugly. Just for my sake, I'd rather be beautiful.

Giuseppe handed Anzu the bananas, which she added along with the extracts. By the time the mix was done, the strawberries were beautifully macerated. They were served on top of the banana pancakes and topped with honey. Hot green tea was also served as the morning beverage. Anzu placed her hands together in prayer.

Anzu: Thank you for the food.

Giuseppe: Rub a dub dub, thanks for the grub.

They dug into their food and watched the news together. It was the usual boring stories of weird social behavior, rescued animals, and crimes. The world was spinning as usual. They day was dominated mainly by the two watching movies together and laying on the couch. To them, the lazy days were also some of the best days. To just be was peaceful for them. Then, in the late afternoon, the house phone rang. Giuseppe got up to answer it and noticed the call was coming from the prison. Anzu continued watching the movie, thinking the phone call would be quick and petty.

Giuseppe: Hello?

Nori: Hey, son. I was allowed to call you today.

Giuseppe: Dad?!

Nori: Yeah, I'm sorry for calling like this.

Giuseppe: No, no. It's okay.

Anzu sat up on her knees and kept her curious eyes on Giuseppe as he spoke on the phone.

Nori: So, we both know what's going to happen soon.

Giuseppe couldn't muster up a response to such a blunt statement.

Nori: I'm going to ask only this of you. Don't come visit me again. And before you get defensive about it, just listen. Our last visit is exactly how I want to remember you. By a normal conversation between father and son, about something as trivial as baseball. It was a small conversation, but there was laughter, smiles, and healing in our words. I know you, Giuseppe. I know that you're probably breaking on the inside. So, I also want our last visit to be how you remember me as well.

Giuseppe: Dad...

Nori: I've robbed you of a lot of chances in your life. I was hardly ever the best husband or father. I always went to sleep at night knowing you were disgraced by me. That my existence was nothing but a burden on you. A lifetime of apologies couldn't possibly make up for the years of darkness between us. But I can only hope that you understand that I do love you. You're my flesh and blood, my final legacy. But at the same time, Giuseppe, you're your own person. So don't let my death put you in a slump.

Giuseppe: You've come to peace with it, then?

Nori: Yeah. I'm at peace. I'm sorry I've resorted to something as impersonal as a phone call, but I just needed to tell you this. Take good care of yourself, son. Keep living your life. Go far beyond into the world. I know it sounds really cliche, but you really do need to chase down your dreams in this life, Giuseppe. Once you die, the hands of time can never be moved backwards. When you're close to passing, the only thing you can do is accept it instead of driving yourself mad trying to escape it. But while you've still got your life in your hands, you've still got time to mold yourself. You are both the marble and the sculptor.

Giuseppe: Dad?

Nori: Yes?

Giuseppe fought back tears as he uttered the next three words.

Giuseppe: I forgive you.

Anzu covered her mouth in shock.

Giuseppe: True, you killed mom. You displaced me at a very crucial time in my life. Your careless mistake back then cost me my peace of mind. I really hated you. I was ashamed to wear your blood and bear your name. But, now I forgive you for it. All of it. I've had time to prepare for this as well. I'm honestly still not completely at peace with it. But, I do know that when people die, their earthly burdens remain here. Regret, sadness, anger, all of those things, you just can't take them with you into the next world. So, I'm saying I forgive you, and that you don't have to keep apologizing. You may not have always been a good dad, but you were my dad. You're the only dad I'm ever going to have, you know that. It's okay, Nori. It's all okay. I've learned for myself that I'm both the marble and the sculptor. So, I want to sculpt a crest of forgiveness on myself. And I want you to go as peacefully as possible.

Although Giuseppe could not lay eyes on him, he could hear in Nori's vocal expressions that a great weight was lifted off of his very soul. One of the greatest acts of love one can ever do is to find the heart to forgive one of his sins. Giuseppe knew that so many people struggle with forgiveness, because there's a core element of forgiveness that leaves one much to vulnerable to his own emotions and the truth behind them. At the core of forgiveness was, and always will be, surrender.

Nori: Thank you. Thank you very much for that. I'll tell Maria all about our conversations and how much you've grown up.

Giuseppe lowered his head as he began to cry. Anzu stood next to him, placing her gentle hand on his back to soothe him.

Giuseppe: You do that. And please...thank her for the music.

Nori: You know I will. Goodbye, Giuseppe. Thank you for being born to me.

Nori hung up the phone knowing it would be the last time he would hear his son's voice. He had expected to be sad as he approached his death. But Giuseppe's forgiveness now made him not mind it so much. He had fully accepted his own fate. Contrition had no hold on his heart.

Giuseppe: I should've been better to him. I should've talked with him more, laughed with him more. Now I can't get that time back. He's really going to die...

Anzu: You forgave him. Forgiveness is the single greatest thing you can bestow upon a soul like Nori's. Now, he can journey into the next life without any earthly burdens tying him down. You freed him. Giuseppe. You freed your father from his sins and his guilt. When he passes, he isn't going to be up there ridiculing you or blaming you. He's going to be in a state of blissful peace. You did for him what so many people fail to do for others. What my own parents couldn't do for me.

Anzu held Giuseppe's face in her hands and made sure to look him in the eyes as she spoke.

Anzu: It may sound cruel, but by asking you to not see him for a final time, he's also sparing you a lot of trouble. If your last meeting remains your final memory of him, that's enough to say that you both settled things. He wants you to forgive yourself as well, Giuseppe. So, please. Forgive yourself.

Anzu and Giuseppe closed their eyes as their foreheads touched one another, as if Anzu was transferring the peace and understanding in her own mind over to Giuseppe.

Anzu: Forgive him and yourself. And no matter how dark and cruel life may seem in moments like these. You must make peace with it. And let it be.

Giuseppe: Thank you, Anzu.

From that day forth, the hours seemed to go as slow as a funeral march for Giuseppe. Mornings were long, afternoons were long, nights were long. No matter how long it seemed, Anzu always had the rights words nesting in her heart. And how could she not? Every step she took to repair her own loose ends was a step closer to truly dying. Anzu and Nori really weren't all that different. Both would be called upon to meet their fate. Perhaps the luxury that Anzu had was that she could take her time, even if death walked behind her every day. This aura of drowsy despair crossed over into the month of October as the air began to return to its nostalgic autumn chill. Clouds often filled the sky again, and the first week of October was brought it by generous rains. It was late into the night, on October 4th as Giuseppe was sleeping, that Anzu had gotten up, put her clothes on, and took her diary with her outside. She remembered the route to the cemetery and ventured out by herself to pay a crucial visit to Maria's grave. The rain from the had still left the area soaked. Komainu statues glistened with the heavenly water still on them and tiny sculptures of Buddha rested on graves as rain ran down their faces like tears. Anzu found Maria's grave and sat in front of it on her knees.

Anzu: Hello, Maria. Giuseppe isn't feeling very good right now, so I thought I should be the one to make this visit. Nori's time is up. He will be joining you shortly. But I think you'll be happy to know that Giuseppe made up with his dad! The last time they sat down together, they had the most amusing conversation about baseball! I was never into baseball, so the whole thing was like watching a bridge get built to me. But they were laughing together and bonding. Nori was so fond of that moment, that he wanted it to be the memory of Giuseppe that he takes with him to the grave, and to you. The road so far has been so hard for Giuseppe. And though I know these clouds won't pass without their due rain, I also know that Giuseppe has found the courage in his heart to forgive his father. They both really needed that. I've been keeping my promise. I'll continue making sure that he's okay for you.

Anzu extended her hand and placed it on Maria's gravestone.

Anzu: I hope that's alright with y-

Anzu felt her body jolt like she was in a car that was traveling at fast speed before suddenly stopping. Nausea filled her head, and she began to wonder what was happening. As she clenched her eyes shut and held her head in pain, she could feel the warmth of someone's hand embrace her head, and the pain was gone. She opened her eyes and saw a woman with long, black, curly hair, dressed in a thin white robe that was almost entirely transparent. The woman was crying, apparently from happiness. All around the two was nothing but warm light.

Anzu: Don't tell me you're...Maria?

Maria: Anzu. Thank god for you. Thank you for everything you've done. Thank you for visiting me too.

Anzu: Did I die? How come I can see you?

Maria: No, it doesn't seem like you've passed on. Rather, you're merely visiting.

Anzu: Wow! I'd seen your pictures, but I didn't realize you were this beautiful!

Maria: Oh my! Really? Come on, I'm not that pretty.

Anzu: Nonsense, you're a complete darling! Maybe if I had lived longer, I would've grown up to look like you!

Maria: Oh stop! You're plenty alluring for what you are now.

Maria had such a great smile that was even more beautiful to witness in person. Anzu was utterly delighted to be able to see her.

Maria: Thank you for taking such good care of my son. I had a feeling he took a turn for the worse when he never visited my grave. Still, I never blamed him or anything. I only wished for him to remember how much I loved him. I wished I could tell him there was no need to cry or to shoulder everything alone. But it looks like you did that for me. I can't show you enough gratitude, Anzu.

Anzu: Well, he can be a big potato head sometimes. But you raised one hell of a man.

Maria: I had hoped that would be the case. It seems that you can communicate with the dead by touching their graves. Or at least, that's the hunch.

Anzu: Hot damn, being a ghost is cool! But, I've touched other graves before and this has never happened to me. I wonder why exactly you're so special...

Maria: If I had to make a guess....maybe it's because we share the same wishes for the same person. We're connected in that way. I've been counting on you since the moment you first prayed at my grave.

Anzu: You made the right choice then.

Maria hugged Anzu and kissed her on the cheek as if she were her own daughter. Anzu was too shocked to even move as it happened. Her eyes lit up like dying stars in the darkness of space. Anzu rubbed her cheek where she could still feel the press of Maria's soft lips.

Maria: It doesn't look like we can talk for very long, and I have way too many things to thank you for. So, I hope that kiss says everything it needs to. I only ever kiss my family and those I love. And I love you, Anzu. I would've loved to meet you and have you over in my life time. Giuseppe needs friends like you, so take good care of him for as long as you can, okay?

For Anzu, that moment reminded her of her childhood years when Natsumi would kiss her like that. It was a kind of love and appreciation that is so hard to replace, so hard to duplicate. But Maria did it as honestly and perfectly as she could. There was no deceit in her gesture.

Anzu: I promise you! Until the day I pass on, I will make sure Giuseppe pulls through in life! You have my word! And when I finally pass on, let's spend more time together, okay? We can get to know each other here for as long as we need to!

Maria: Sounds lovely, Anzu!

Anzu: Oh, I forgot one thing! Here!

Anzu pulled out her diary and took out a taped together and crinkled picture of Giuseppe, Nori, and Maria together.

Anzu: He doesn't know I took this. One of the first things I noticed when I moved in with Giuseppe was that he had pictures of you and him, but not of his father. He had thrown the ones with his father in them in the garbage. I...kinda stumbled across it when I was taking out the garbage one day. I put it off for a while, but I managed to tape the photograph back together.

Maria took the photo and laid her sunken eyes on it. It represented the horror that shook the family apart, and the friend from the grave that binded them all back together. Maria hugged Anzu for the last time, hardly able to talk past her tears. She whispered only two words before Anzu awoke in the cemetery again. "Thank you." Anzu was smiling when she opened her eyes. She knew that somewhere, in a space between spaces, Maria was smiling too. Anzu's own knowledge of the permanence of death allowed her to understand the feelings of those who have died, and those who know their time is short. That's why, despite being worlds apart, Anzu could bond so well with Maria. She decided to keep this visit a secret. She was always wary of the possibility of these kinds of visits only tearing open old wounds for those they left behind. She would remind Giuseppe of the love his mother had for him in her own way. Anzu would channel her own love and the love of Giuseppe's mother and father through her.

Early in the morning, as it drizzled down upon the city, Nori awaited for the guards to guide him into God's hands. He wasn't fearful, angry, jealous, doubtful, resentful, or contrite. He was at peace. He could feel the forgiveness of his son bestowed upon him. With that, he was free of the burden of regret. His cell was unlocked, and two prison guards and a monk greeted him.

Monk: Nori. It's time. Are you ready? Are there any final prayers you'd like to say?

Nori: No. Everything that needed to be said has already been said. Thank you, pastor.

Nori got up and walked calmly and tranquilly down the halls of the prison, catching a glimpse of the drizzle outside as he passed by the windows. It truly was a big world outside. He wanted his son to explore as much of it as he possibly could. The monk opened the door leading out of the prison and was transported to the site where he would face execution. He was led to a rather clean and relaxing room. The walls were made of wood, and a Buddhist sutra played over a sound system. The floor was marked with a square, indicated where Nori needed to stand. Nori closed his eyes and paid attention only to the sutra as guards prepped the rope. A statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, sat in the antechamber of the execution room. Everything was prepared, including Nori himself. The monk chanted one more prayer for Nori, to ensure he would find rest in death and escape the pains of being reborn again and again. Nori was blindfolded, and the countdown began. From this moment on to the last moment, the only thing Nori could hear was his own thoughts. And in his thoughts, he saw and heard his son as a little boy, as a teenager, as the man he was now, and as the man he hoped he'd be in the future. At the mere press of a button, Nori's body descended down into the floor below, suspended only by the rope. As instantly as life was given to him, it was taken from him. All went dark and quiet, like the blowing out of a candle.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #9 on: December 31, 2015, 10:32:49 PM »
It Awaits Her, the Great White Tomb in the Sky
The long dreaded day had arrived. Because of Giuseppe's inability to financially support a funeral for Nori, his corpse was handled under prefecture regulations. His body was buried in a cemetery not too far away from the prison where he was held. In the cool of the overcast autumn day, Giuseppe wept over Nori's tomb stone while Anzu prayed behind him. Giuseppe stood up and walked backwards to stand alongside Anzu, and they began to pray together. Though she didn't have clothing appropriate for mourning the dead, she did dress in black jeans and a somewhat formal black button-up. She brought incense with her, and burned two sticks of them at the foot of Nori's grave. One was for Nori, and the other was for Maria. Giuseppe dried his eyes, and his crying turned into a shallow feeling of numbness.

Giuseppe: We should head home soon. Any last words?

Anzu: Goodbye, Nori.

Giuseppe: Goodbye, father.

The atmosphere at home was as gray as the sky. But that was a given since it was the day after Nori was executed. Still, Anzu was there for him. Oda and Kyo even called to offer their sympathies and respects. Like with most deaths, Giuseppe, day by day, took time to heal. It was a slow and painful healing, but it was steady as well. Myu had resisted the urge to try and bring Giuseppe out of his shell of gloom for the next two weeks, knowing that trying to pressure Giuseppe too soon could only be hurtful for him. In the evening, Giuseppe's phone rang as he sat down with Anzu and ate dinner, sweet onion ramen. Slowly and clumsily, he picked up the phone, knowing it was Myu.

Giuseppe: Hello?

Myu: Hey there. How are you?

Giuseppe: *censored*. But, that's just how this kind of thing works, right?

Myu: Right. Are you able to eat yet?

Giuseppe: Yeah, Anzu got me eating again after the third day or something like that. It was pretty rough, but I've been eating at least 2 meals a day since then.

Myu: That's good. Would it be too much to ask you guys over for drinks at the grill?

Giuseppe: No, I guess not. I need to get out of the house anyway.

Myu: Alright, you guys get ready. I'll pick you up. Drinks are on me tonight.

Giuseppe: You're too kind, Myu. Alright, we'll see you soon. Anzu, finish up. Myu's offering to take us out of the house for a bit.

Anzu: Ah, alright.

Anzu seemingly swallowed all of the remainder of her food at once, like a black hole sucks up the light of a star.

Anzu: All done!

Giuseppe: You're gonna get a massive tummy ache now, you *censored*ing moron!

Anzu: *censored* you, I won't do what you tell me.

Giuseppe and Anzu smiled at each other. Such vulgar language and insults were like a lingua franca for them. They brushed their teeth together, gargled mouthwash together, got dressed together, and were picked up by Myu, who waited outside in her car. Anzu rode shotgun while Giuseppe sat in the back. Headlights blared by, street lights illuminated every turn, and moonlight was largely obscured by the clouds. The three of them had Satoshi's Grill all to themselves. With the colder seasons making their return, Myu had brought back the rope lights. Red, blue, and purple rope lights provided the primary illumination inside the diner. In the spirit of getting Giuseppe back on his feet, Myu, not surprisingly, was the first to get piss drunk.

Myu: Wooo! I haven't been this wasted since that night we snuck into the ice rink! You guys remember that?

Giuseppe: Geez, how could we not. It was single handedly the stupidest idea you've ever had. That place did look really nice though...

Myu: Don't be such a *censored*ing girl! You love it, just admit it! There's nothing wrong with saying "Myu was right!". I mean, I do change lives, after all!

Anzu: It's true, one way or another!

Giuseppe just didn't quite look like he was having all that much fun. Not because Myu wasn't entertaining, but because he had difficulty getting things off of his mind.

Myu: Aww come on! Cheer up, Giuseppe! I mean, I know it's not that easy, but we're all still here, right? People die, and life goes on.

Giuseppe: You're surprisingly inspiring when you're inebriated.

Anzu: Yeah, well, *censored* the both of you. I'm having lots of fun drinking my iced tea. I don't need your Devil's Holy Water.

Anzu's stomach growled while she sipped through the straw of her iced tea. She grabbed her stomach and tried to conceal the pain she was in.

Giuseppe: See! What did I tell you?! Myu, I swear to god, Anzu just scarfed down her entire dinner like it was a box of donuts! I told her she'd get a stomach ache and she was all like "hurrrr don't tell me what to do!"! And now look at you! What do you have now, huh?

Anzu: A stomach ache!

Giuseppe: What's that? Can't hear you.

Anzu: A stomach ache! Giuseppe!

Myu: Oh Anzu, you know better than that...

Anzu looked like she was about to cry from the embarrassment.

Anzu: D-d-don't bully me! I just wanted to get here as fast as I could!

Myu: Forcing that much food down your stomach is like trying to fit the entire Persian Empire through the narrow cliffs of Thermopylae. Lesson learned, huh Anzu?

Anzu: You guys are dicks!

Myu was able to stay lucid enough to lock the doors of Satoshi's Grill, but she was obviously in no condition to drive. With no other options, Myu gave the keys to Giuseppe, who drove everyone back to his apartment. This way, Myu's car could stay in the garage and everyone could just walk over to the church to sleep. Anzu helped Myu walk, just to make sure she didn't walk into a street light or roar at the stray cats on the street. Giuseppe opened the doors of the church, allowing for Anzu and Myu to enter first and closing the door behind him.

Giuseppe: Here, I got here. Turn on the lights and grab the futons.

Anzu: Okay!

Anzu turned on the lights built into the wall and grabbed both futons off of the podium, dashing her way back to Giuseppe so he could lay a near sleeping Myu down on a soft place.

Giuseppe: She's overdone it again. But she did it for my sake.

Giuseppe pinched Myu's cheeks, causing her drunk reflexes to push his hand away. Not quite ready to pack it in for the night, Giuseppe and Anzu sit together in the 4th row, the deep blue glow of the stained-glass style lights in the wall dazzling from the podium.

Anzu: Well, we made it.

Giuseppe: Yeah, I guess we did. And just like you said, you're here with me. And so is Myu.

Anzu: I keep my promises!

Giuseppe: Thanks for sticking all of this out with me, Anzu. It's been a real hurricane lately. Tell you what though. Halloween is coming up soon. Even if we don't go out that day, we can still have our own spooky party, if you'd like.

Anzu gasped in exhilarated shock. She put her hands and knees on the seats and leaned in closer to Giuseppe with every question.

Giuseppe: Oh dear god, not this again...

Anzu: Will there be spooky scary skeletons?!?!

Giuseppe: Yeah, of course there will.

Anzu leaned in closer, her blue eyes widening with every answer.

Anzu: Will there be delicious candy!

Giuseppe: Yeah, we can get some from the store. They'll be selling it in bulk.

Anzu leaned in even closer.

Anzu: Will you dress up as a maid and have forbidden intercourse with me?!?

Giuseppe: What? No!

Anzu backed off and snickered as she sat on her knees.

Anzu: Come on! I was just joking with you!

Giuseppe: Yeah, well that stomach ache earlier wasn't a joke, was it?

Anzu blushed and angrily crossed her arms.

Anzu: Don't you dare say you told me so!

Giuseppe: Fine. I won't.

Anzu: What? Just like that?

Giuseppe: Yeah, you win.

Anzu:....Now I feel like an asshole.

Giuseppe: Hey, Anzu. How long do you intend to wait until you see your mother?

Anzu: Until I know exactly what to say to her. I'm scared that if I see her now, I might utter something that I'll regret in the future.

Giuseppe: You intend to reveal yourself?

Anzu: I'm really not sure yet. I just don't even know what the hell to do.

Giuseppe: Don't worry. You still have time, so take that time to think about it. Remember, it's your mother's soul we're talking about here. We only have one shot.

Anzu: You're right. Looks like you've learned a lot from me, huh?

Giuseppe: Well, I do exert quite a bit of influence on people, you know? You've got the shine on.

Anzu: The....shine?

Giuseppe: Yeah! You know, that "thing". That magic. You've got it.

Anzu was delighted to be complimented in such a way.

Anzu: Thanks, Gissy Poo. For everything. I wouldn't choose anyone else to help me pass from this world.

Giuseppe: You make it sound like you want to leave.

Anzu: No, that's not it. But I know I don't belong here. I've already lived and died. There's nothing left for me. To me, at least that much is axiomatic. I used to life was all one big, vitriolic game of schadenfreude, where God laughed and humans suffered. But then, meeting you helped me see it differently. I couldn't be more blessed to be as I am now, where I am now.

Giuseppe's thoughts of doubt and self-loathing sprang up. To Giuseppe, Anzu was a ghost who had to wade through painful recollections of her awful life in order to remember the manner in which she died, all while resolving her feelings and emotions in an awe-inspiring yet melancholy march to the afterlife. But Giuseppe had to remember that guiding a soul to where it belongs isn't a tragedy. It's a virtue, a task of labor and love for the well-being of another soul. Giuseppe's job was to help Anzu bear her cross, for she was not meant to linger here among flesh and blood.

Giuseppe: Well, whatever you need, I'll be there.

Anzu smiled graciously.

Anzu: I know you will, buddy! Let's head to bed now. It's been a long night.

Giuseppe: Yep, sure has.

Anzu shared her futon with Myu while Giuseppe slept on his own. Trying not to wake and adorably exhausted Myu, Anzu whispered from her futon.

Anzu: Psssst! Psssssssssssssst! Goodnight! See ya tomorrow!

Giuseppe: Goodnight, Anzu.

With that, another day passed along the constantly flowing waters of time. Giuseppe had gotten so used to the warm weather of Spring, and the even warmer weather of Summer, that he was caught off guard when he was awoken by the sound of light rain beating against the blue stained glass in the antechamber in the back of the church. When he opened his eyes, he saw that Myu was the first to wake up, with a massive hangover however. She was already sitting up, hair frazzled, and her face buried in her hands.

Giuseppe: Morning.

Myu: Morning. God, I feel like *censored*.

Myu removed her hands from her face. Her eyes had never looked so tired before.

Myu: Anzu's still sleeping. It's almost 10:30, so I was wondering if I should wake her. Maybe I'll just let her sleep longer.

Giuseppe: Yeah, why not. We'll wake her at 11:00.

Myu sat in a fetal position, hugging her legs and occasionally laying her head on them.

Myu: Do you feel any better? I was hoping bringing you out would help you get out of the posthumous slump, even just a little bit. I really didn't intend on getting drunk and passing out though. Sorry about that.

Giuseppe: Nah, don't worry about it. You're actually really cute when you're drunk. And it did cheer me up a bit. I'm a lot more comfortable going out of the house now. So, thank you for that, Myu.

Myu: That's what friends are f- what a *censored*ing minute! Did you just say I look cute when I'm wasted? Don't tell me

Giuseppe: Oh god! No! I would never do that!

Myu: Damn straight! Not that I think you're that kind of person. You're not the hurtful type, nor the abusive type. I can tell. Anzu always smiles when you're around, even when she's sleeping.

Giuseppe: Come on, I'm just some regular schmuck who was lucky enough to run into her in this church. Well, thinking back, she was the one who ran into me....literally.

Myu: But you're glad, right?

Giuseppe: Every single day.

11:00 had arrived, but Anzu was still sleeping. Giuseppe knew it was a collective kind of exhaust. One created for the days she spent looking after Giuseppe after the death of Nori. Despite being exhausted back then, she stayed up all night with Giuseppe. She was too kind for this world. Giuseppe carefully carried her on his back, with the help of Myu. Anzu's arms were slung tight over his neck, and her head rested over his shoulder. It was like piggybacking a sleeping child. Myu draped her coat over Giuseppe's shoulders, keeping them both warm in the light rain and cool winds of the October morning. Myu drove them both home, safe and sound, helping Giuseppe get the door open while he carried Anzu on his back. He carried her to the bedroom and gently laid her on his bed. She was still very peaceful looking, and had beads of rain adorning her hair. Myu walked in the room to say bye, keeping her voice low so Anzu can continue to sleep.

Myu: You know, even when she would take naps at work, she looked just as tranquil and beautiful. As still as a corpse in a coffin. Almost formless.

Giuseppe: One of these days, she'll go to sleep like this, and she won't wake up again.

Myu: I know. But we're not losing her, Giuseppe. We're guiding her. Giving her directions, sticking with her until we arrive at her stop. It would a painful existence, don't you think? The world and all of the people moving on, changing, and evolving. But you're still the same you you've always been. Nobody sees you or notices you. Nobody is there to comfort you. Anzu doesn't want that. It's better to live for a short time with people that you love then to live forever without them. That's why I'm ready for the day she moves on.

Giuseppe: People have got to start paying you for your wisdom. Seriously, Myu.

Myu: Either that or sucking cock in an alleyway, right? Anyway, I've got to go. It was nice hanging out with you. Keep eating regular meals and get to sleep at good times.

Giuseppe: Thanks, I will. I'll open the garage from here.

Myu: Thanks! See ya!

Giuseppe: See ya.

Giuseppe clicked open the garage from the kitchen and went back to Anzu's side. As the rain continued, Giuseppe took himself to the couch for a nap until Anzu woke up. If there was at least one thing to look forward to, it was Halloween.

God bless the dead, say only the living.

If There Are Angels in Heaven
How lovely it is when the cold half of the year returns! Anzu went back to wearing Giuseppe's sweaters, the two stocked up on hot cocoa, and most of the days were ruled by clouds, wind, and rains. All of the bugs were gone, burrowed or dying. Though, Giuseppe was careful to remind her that ants like to find their way into homes when it gets cold. Many lazy days were spent sitting on the couch, wrapped in sweaters and blankets. Soon, Giuseppe would feel well enough to return back to work, and even found it comfortable to remove his bandages for good. A scar on his stomach still remained from the car crash that nearly killed him, but he had the luxury of laughing at it since he survived. On the day before Halloween, Giuseppe and Anzu headed out together, walking to the store to find good costumes. Coincidentally, they both wore matching clothes this day. Leather jackets, black shirts, and dark jeans. The only difference was that Anzu balanced out the black with her silver choker.

Anzu: I tell ya, after a long spring and summer, it feels good to have the autumn back! I love when it gets darker sooner in the day!

Giuseppe: Really? It always makes me really sleepy.

Anzu: Same for me, but that's why I like it. It feels like home, ya know? Like it can't get any comfier than this.

Giuseppe: Well, I certainly won't miss those *censored*ing bees. *censored* bees.

Anzu: I know, right?! *censored* bees! Oh man, but it's hornets that are the real assholes. They just go around *censored*ing *censored* up for no reason.

Giuseppe: Hornets are the mafia of the insect world. But you know what I really hate the most?

Anzu: Ooo! I wanna guess! Roaches!

Giuseppe: God help us all if yamato roaches survive longer than the country itself.

Anzu: They probably will! A lot of the species on earth survived up to now because they were both herbivores and carnivores. Couple that with good adaption to an ever-changing environment and you can be sure you'll last for a few thousand years unless a meteorite obliterates your sorry ass. But assuming the awesomely destructive forces of the universe don't lick the sugar off of your candy ass, you'd survive even longer if you were a roach. They eat dust, hair, dry food, wet food, *censored*ing anything.

Giuseppe: Now you've got me genuinely wishing butts were made of candy.

Anzu: The fact that they aren't proves there's no such thing as hope in this world.

Giuseppe and Anzu walked into the store. The left section was filled with various Halloween costumes as people searched and searched for the perfect costumes to wear.

Giuseppe: Any idea what you want to be?

Anzu: A kunoichi!

Giuseppe: What? That's *censored*ing lame, pick something else.

Anzu: If not a kunoichi, then a sexy maid.

Giuseppe: Sexy....maid??!?!

Anzu: Yeah, I'll get one of those dresses with the frills on them, a corset, and wear it nice and tight.

Anzu stood on her tippy toes to whisper into Giuseppe's ear.

Anzu: With no underwear.

Giuseppe: Now you're just *censored*ing with me.

Anzu: Damn it! You know me too well now. It was fun being able to pull that on you when we first met.

Giuseppe: Yeah, you were always the joker. Good material too, never got old.

Anzu picked out the French maid costume she wanted.

Anzu: This looks good! What about you?

Giuseppe: I always sucked at these things. Maybe....

Giuseppe picked out a skeleton suit. A rather lazy choice, but still acceptable for Halloween. Content with their findings, Giuseppe and Anzu bought their costumes and went home for the rest of the day. After a long day of doing basically nothing, Anzu shut off the television and yawned as she straightened up the couch. Giuseppe got the bathroom water ready for them both to brush their teeth and hit the hay for the night.

Anzu: Hey, Giuseppe. Your hair is growing out again.

Giuseppe: Aw *censored*, really? It grows so fast, it's difficult to keep it groomed.

Giuseppe's dark hair had grown to his collar bone again. With all that had gone on in the past few months, he never really noticed it.

Anzu: I still think you look great!

Giuseppe: For a man that almost died, sure.

Anzu: For a man that's learning to live, sure.

Giuseppe didn't have anything to really say to that. But he was glad that Anzu knew how much she meant to him. Their teeth clean and shiny, Giuseppe turned off the lights and got into bed. Anzu tied up her hair in a long ponytail and wrapped herself in the covers.

Anzu: Nighty night Gissy Poo.

Giuseppe: Goodnight Anzu.

In the morning, the two started their usual routine. They made breakfast, fried egg over rice with a side of soup, brushed their teeth, and did a little home cleaning. Which really means that Anzu did a little home cleaning while Giuseppe was half asleep on the couch. Still, Anzu didn't bug him about it. Around noon, Giuseppe got a call from Myu, who said she had bought everything that they needed for tonight and was coming over to set it all up. When she arrived in her car, Giuseppe and Anzu went outside to help her take everything out. It was a breezy, cloudy day outside.

Myu: Heya! The trunk's open, go ahead and grab what you can!

Giuseppe took out the bags with the food and desserts in them, while Anzu handled the decorations.

Anzu: This is a lot of stuff, Myu! You didn't have to do this for us.

Myu: Nonsense! Of course I did. I'm no cheap *censored*, after all.

Giuseppe laid out the desserts on the counter. Cupcakes, cookies, candies galore! Anzu's eyes sparkled like quasar, as she had never seen so many sweets in one place.

Giuseppe: Now, now. Hold your excitement. Don't start eating any of this until tonight.

Myu walked in with the remainder of the goods.

Myu: I also got some pumpkin pie and eggnog.

Anzu: I've never had either of those things before!

Giuseppe: Seriously? You've never had pumpkin pie?

Anzu: No, not at all. Is it good?

Giuseppe: It's absolutely delicious! I think you'll love it.

Anzu couldn't be more hyped if a clown rode in on a unicycle and threw a pie at her face. The hours passed slowly and delightfully for her as she waited impatiently for Halloween, something she hadn't experienced even as a bystander since she was alive and little. Myu dressed up as Amaterasu and even powdered her face. Giuseppe put on his skeleton suit one-piece and waited with Myu as Anzu changed in the bathroom.

Myu: So, what exactly did she want to dress up as?

Giuseppe: I think it's better if you just wait and see.

Myu: Oh boy...

Anzu: Okay, I think I got it on right! I'm coming out!

Anzu stepped out of the bathroom and revealed her skimpy French maid costume. Her already large breasts looked even bigger in the tight and sleek costume.

Anzu: What do you think? Pretty good, huh? Giuseppe helped me pick it out.

Myu: You've got her picking out skimpy outfits you perv?!?!?!

Giuseppe: What?! No! She chose that herself! I swear!

Anzu snickered.

Anzu: I'm just kidding. I really did choose this myself, but he was nice enough to buy it for me.

Giuseppe: It's not like ghosts can get a job and make money.

Myu: All considered, you look fantastic Anzu! You're as beautiful as ever! I'm actually a little jealous.

Anzu: Aww! Thank you, Myu! I hoped you'd like it.

It had gotten completely dark, and people were roaming through the streets in their costumes, gathering all sorts of treats from house to house.

Myu: Alright! Halloween is officially on! Let's go see if someone's doing a haunted house this year!

Anzu: Whoa, that sounds so cool!

Giuseppe: No way. You assholes can go through one of those yourselves.

Myu: Awww. It's okay, Giuseppe. I understand. You're a chicken *censored*.

Anzu: Oh *censored*! Giuseppe, are you okay? I'll go call the nearest burn center!

Giuseppe: Harty har har. You chuckle*censored*s are both so funny. Anyway, let's just go out and have some fun.

Anzu took a container of cupcakes with her, to pass out to whoever walked by. To them, it would just look like a floating container of cupcakes and spook them to death. There were pirates, ninjas, shoguns, undead brides, vampires, werewolves, and medusas galore out on the streets. Anzu's smile lit up as she finally witnessed Halloween again. A group of little kids came running towards them, all of them already had large bags of candy. One of them was a little girl and was startled by the apparently floating container of cupcakes. She looked fearfully at Giuseppe and Myu, the only ones she could see.

Girl: H-how is it floating like that?

Giuseppe: How? It's spook magic!

Girl: Spook magic!?

Myu: Giuseppe! You're gonna scare her!

Giuseppe: You see, little girl, it's a ghost that's holding these cupcakes. But don't worry, she's actually a very kind ghost. In fact, she wants you to have one of the cupcakes.

Girl: R-really?

Giuseppe: Sure does!

Anzu knelt down and opened up the container, allowing the girl to choose whichever cupcakes she wanted. The same sparkle that was in Anzu's eyes were now being given to the little girl, dressed as a geisha. She had taken one cupcake for her and another for her friends ahead.

Girl: Wow! What's the ghost's name?

Myu: Her name is Anzu!

The little girl smiled and bowed her head in gratitude.

Girl: Thank you for the cupcakes Anzu! Have a great Halloween!

The little girl ran off to her friends and continued her Halloween. Anzu was moved by the experience, as she's never had anyone who couldn't see her thank her for anything.

Anzu: She's so cute I could cry! She looks adorable as a geisha!

Giuseppe: Thank god she can't see you, your outfit would've only given out bad influences.

Anzu: Shut it!

They continued walking through the neighborhood, spooking people and handing out cupcakes along the way. The last cupcakes were given to a group of teenage girls on their way out from a haunted house event near a high school they went to. It was public and open to anyone. Jack-'o-lanterns decorated the house , along with ghosts hanging from trees, ambient sounds of laughing witches, and flickering lights dimly illuminating the inside of the house, inviting anyone who dared to step in.

Anzu: Ha! Okay! Time to go home now!

Myu: Oh no you don't, sexy maid! We're going in there and you're gonna have the time of your life!

Anzu: I don't think it works like that if you're already dead!

Giuseppe: But it's not like you can be spooked into a heart attack and die again, is it?

Anzu was nervous since she'd never been in a haunted house before. Even just the outside looked scary. Sure enough, her sense of adventure and the presence of her friends gave her the courage to go in despite her fears. They walked in slowly and followed the signs, which led them to the wife of the owner of the house, who acted as a receptionist. She was dressed as a mad scientist and had her hair frazzled and aloof. They were apparently doing this for free and for the spirit of it, requiring only that Giuseppe and Myu sign in and out with their names, just to make sure everyone who goes in gets out safely.

The sounds of screams and running chainsaws filled the halls as Anzu held on tightly to Giuseppe's arm. Myu was probably the bravest one there, she kept walking through and encouraged the others to hurry. The halls were lit by dozens and dozens of candles sitting along the halls. All three of them were startled by skeleton props with red eyes that popped out of the creaks of doors without warning, accompanied by loud screams. With every scare, Anzu held on tighter than a boa constrictor on Giuseppe's arm. As they approached the dining room, they were greeted by the sounds of a funeral song being played on the piano. It was a lone man, dressed in black robes, playing the song. He looked back at Anzu, Giuseppe, and Myu before the room went completely black. Anzu was close to wetting herself. An ominous, blood-red light shone from the hall ahead, casting the long shadow of a woman standing in the middle of the hallway and threatening to eat the three if they didn't leave. She screamed and began chasing them, even leaving Myu running scared. They ran through the halls and out to where they started again. It was both terrifying and exhilarating for Anzu, and it was her first time being in a haunted house.

Wife: Did you guys have a good time in there?

Myu: That was excellent! You guys are good at bringing the scares! I can't believe you're doing this for free, I'd be happy to compensate you.

Wife: Oh no! It's all about the spirit for us! You two have a wonderful Halloween! Get home safely.

Giuseppe: Thanks miss!

The night was complete. Cupcakes successfully handed out, neighborhood successfully explored, and a haunted house successfully explored. Myu, Anzu, and Giuseppe walked back home, and so did everyone else in the neighborhood. Everyone retrieved their Halloween spoils, and now it was time to consume them. Right before walking through the door, the wind began to pick up, blowing the leaves of trees and every loose and light object around, including Anzu's outfit. Turns out, she really stuck to the commitment she made in the store when she bought the outfit. Giuseppe and Myu were both blushing at what they saw as Anzu hurriedly pinned her costume down with her hands.

Giuseppe: Lord really didn't wear any......

Myu: That takes some serious balls...

Anzu: Why did you both look?!?!? Just pretend it was an axe wound or something!

Myu: Okay, it was an axe wound. Right, Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: Yep. What a shame. Glad you survived the massacre, Anzu.

Anzu went inside and put some underwear on before joining Myu and Giuseppe in the kitchen to pig out on the desserts.

Giuseppe: Man, that was a blast. I hadn't done anything for Halloween in a long time. Thanks for doing all of this and taking us out, Myu.

Myu: You don't have to thank me for everything, you know.

Giuseppe: I know, but you really did help us out.

Anzu: I'm glad I got to spend the time with you guys. I'd like to say something really quick, if you don't mind.

Giuseppe: Of course not. Spill the beans!

Anzu: Tomorrow, I'd like to see my mother. I don't know if I'll reveal myself to her just yet, but I just want to see her. November may be her last month if not December.

Myu: Alright. We can do that. Right, Giuseppe?

Giuseppe recalled the fact that with every loose end that Anzu ties up, she's one step closer to a true death. But how could he say no to Anzu's face? Her face silently begged him to let her go on with this. So, Giuseppe surrendered and endured.

Giuseppe: Right. We'll make sure everything you need to do gets done, Anzu. Don't even worry about it!

Anzu: Thanks, Giuseppe!

Myu: Well, alright then. Now can someone help me eat all of these *censored*ing oatmeal cookies?! I bought way too much!!

Giuseppe: Why did you even by 2 boxes of them? You're taking some home with you!

Myu: But I'm really trying not to gain weight!

Anzu: You'll look great if it goes to your ass, honey!

Lo and behold, the spirits come out at Halloween! Anzu, a real dead girl, walked among the not-so-dead mortals around here that night. But perhaps she was braver than anyone. Anzu was walking in the direction of the world beyond life, yet, she showed no fear. If there are angels in heaven, let them chant their wordless prayer for Anzu, Giuseppe thought. Let them sing the holy melody of passing, and guide her to her resting place.

Never to return.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #10 on: December 31, 2015, 10:39:13 PM »
Agony of the Pallbearer
When Giuseppe woke up, it was under the splash of indirect light from the morning sun shining through the bedroom window. That sunshine would soon be covered up by the autumn clouds rolling by, giving their light rains and winds back to the earth. Anzu had also woken up just a few minutes before Giuseppe. She was brushing out her hair in bed, the view out of the window obscured by the bright sun shining through

Anzu: It's you again.

Giuseppe: It's you again. What time is it?

Anzu: 10:24

Giuseppe: Seriously? That late? Damn...Oh, happy November.

Anzu: And a happy slappy November to you to.

Anzu's voice was much more mellow and calm than it usually was at this hour. Even if she just woke up, by the time she began brushing her hair, she was usually a little more outgoing. But Giuseppe knew why she was like that on this day.

Giuseppe: So. When do you want to go?

Anzu: Oh, can we go early in the afternoon? I want to eat breakfast first. Maybe, 12:30 or 1:00?

Giuseppe: Sure. Myu said she's available all day, so we just need to let her know when to pick us up.

Anzu: Understood.

Giuseppe and Anzu made a breakfast consisting of mandarin salad, grilled fish, steamed rice, and 1 hard boiled egg for each of them. Breakfast was mostly silent for them, but the silence wasn't odd at all, nor did it feel awkward. That could be because Giuseppe understood what Anzu was probably feeling inside.

Giuseppe: You know, sooner or later, we're gonna have to get a Christmas tree. Nobody really celebrates it religiously, but the spirit of Christmas is still pretty universal.

Anzu: I think that would be nice.

Anzu looked beautifully sad with her half smile as she held her bowl of rice close to her face. She put down the bowl and her chopsticks and looked Giuseppe in the eyes.

Anzu: I had words planned out for this. But when I look at you now, I don't know what I should say.

Giuseppe: What do you mean?

Anzu: After I square things out with my mother, how long do you think I have left here?

The question upset Giuseppe to the point where he could no longer eat.

Anzu: Oh! I'm sorry! I didn't mean to ruin your appetite...

Giuseppe: No, it's fine. It's a natural question to ask.

Anzu: I'm just scared. I've gotten used to being here.

Giuseppe: Well, surely you'll still have some kind of wish tethering you here after your mother is gone, right? I don't think you'll just fade away the moment she passes.

Anzu: Yeah, I guess you're right.

Giuseppe: So, don't worry about it, Anzu. We just have to make that time count. If you spend your days worrying about the fact that you'll be gone, you'll never truly be among the living.

Anzu: Thank you. Giuseppe...

Giuseppe: Yeah?

Anzu: We met in that gorgeous abandoned church on the hill. Well, I think it's gorgeous. When the time comes, I want you to take me there, just the two of us. I want to 'die' where you and I first met.

Giuseppe could see how serious Anzu was in her eyes. Already, it felt like he was a pallbearer.

Giuseppe: You're not dying. You're just finally being laid to rest. I'll be sure it's in the place where you want it to be.

Anzu's smile was bigger now. She stood up and kissed Giuseppe on his forehead and went to rinse off her plates and bowls. Soon, Giuseppe phoned Myu to pick them up while he and Anzu got ready. For the first time in a long time, Anzu could feel her body tremble on the inside. They locked up and met with Myu by her car on the sidewalk.

Myu: Good afternoon you guys. Are you ready, Anzu?

Anzu: Yeah. Let's go see her.

It was a long ride, or at least, it felt that way for everyone. Right about then, the clouds finally blocked the sun, and a light drizzle began. Myu found a place to park in front of the facility, and together, the three of them walked in. Though, to the hospital staff, it would only look like two. Myu walked up to the lady at the front desk to sign in for a visit.

Myu: Here to see Hodane, Natsumi.

Lady: Name and ID?

Myu took out her driver's license and presented it to her.

Myu: Myu Kobashigawa. Natsumi's daughter wanted us to visit her.

Lady: Oh yes, she did call about that. She's on the 3rd floor, room 96.

Myu: Thank you kindly.

Myu guided Giuseppe and Anzu upstairs and up to room 96, where Natsumi laid alone and close to the brink of death. Anzu got her long, thick, and beautiful hair from her mother, but she had already lost all of it. Anzu got her ocean-blue eyes from her mother, but now they spent most of their time shut, their color slowly dimming away. Anzu's skin was soft, glowing, and almost flawless. But now Natsumi's skin had grown tired and pale. Anzu saw all of this when she walked in with Giuseppe and Myu. She couldn't help the tears of agony that she cried in that moment.

Anzu: Mom...oh god...

Myu held Anzu's hand tightly to give her the strength to look on. As painful as it was, in order for Anzu to properly make her amends, she needed to let the harsh reality of her mother's health sink in. She truly was not long for this world.

Myu: There she is. Funny how just a few years slip away and people change so drastically.

Natusmi began to wake up. Her eyes fixated on Giuseppe and Myu. She was as gentle as a withering flower, trying to survive in the middle of a blizzard.

Nastumi: Are you....Myu?

Myu smiled and held Natsumi's hand.

Myu: Yeah! Akahana told you about me, right? I was Anzu's friend and co-worker in her last years.

Natsumi: Ah, yes. Akahana did tell me all about you. She said you're a bright girl with a warm spirit. How was Anzu? In her last days?

Myu: She was absolutely beautiful, always smiling. She really livened the place up. She was kind, always ready to get to work, a little clumsy in the kitchen at first, but she refined her skills and became a great cook.

Giuseppe looked back at Anzu, but was careful not to ask out loud. It finally started to make sense how Anzu could cook so well. She learned from Myu during their time together in Satoshi's Grill.

Natsumi: She learned to cook? That's amazing. Thank you for teaching her that, Myu. I couldn't stick around long enough for that to happen. Oh my, I'm sorry, young man. I've been ignoring you. Please excuse me, my brain gets all scattered sometimes. Who are you?

Giuseppe: Oh! I'm Myu's friend. I uh...didn't know Anzu when she was alive, but I've heard great things about her. Anzu was a big part of Myu's life, so I wanted to see the woman who gave birth to her and named her.

Natsumi: How kind of you. Your name?

Giuseppe: Giuseppe. A pleasure.

Natsumi: I think Anzu would've loved a friend like you

Giuseppe certainly didn't need to be told that now. He and Anzu were already good friends.

Giuseppe: Yeah, I'm sure she would've.

Natsumi: Sorry that this is how we first meet. I'm not one to brag, but I used to be quite the darling just a few years ago. But, cancer isn't very kind, you know? It takes and takes and takes.

Myu: You have Anzu's eyes. I can see where she got her looks from. I see a big piece of her when I look at you.

Natsumi: Thank you, honey. I really needed that.

Anzu walked up to Natsumi and attempted to hold her hand. She had almost forgotten, living objects that haven't touched her diary will pass right through her, never to notice, feel, hear, or sense her.

Natsumi: I know I don't have long, but I hope you guys won't worry too much about me. Dying should be easier than going to sleep. Plus, I'll get to see Anzu soon. So, Myu, Giuseppe. Live the best lives you possibly can. Do it for me, if not for yourselves, alright?

Myu: We will. We promise! Right, Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: I suck at keeping promises, but what the hell. It's something I've been working on myself.

Natsumi: Thank you both.

Anzu simply watched with a smile as she witnessed Myu and Giuseppe meeting her mother. If things had gone better in life, perhaps they would've been able to met her and her mother together in a nice place like a diner instead of a hospital. Anzu hated that she was invisible to her, but was also kind of thankful for it when Natsumi started telling embarrassing childhood stories about Anzu running out of the tub and around the house naked and covered in soap. Or when Anzu was caught eating sugar out of a bag with a spoon. Or the time when Anzu cried the first time she was on a boat because the rocking movements of the water scared her. If there was ever a time to be invisible, it was whenever Natsumi opened her big fat mouth about what was supposed to be a forgotten secret. Giuseppe and Myu got to know Anzu in a completely different way thanks to Natusmi, for better or worse. As embarrassing as it was, if it did anything, it showed Anzu how much Natsumi still loves her and thinks about her. Simply watching her eased away any hard feeling accumulated in her lifetime. If the mother loved her daughter even after she's gone, then the daughter would love the mother the exact same way.

After spending the day with her, Myu, Giuseppe, and Anzu left the hospital and made their way home. The car ride back home was peaceful, in contrast with the anxious car ride getting there. It had begun to really rain now and the smell of the wet streets filled the air. Myu parked just outside the apartment.

Giuseppe: Once again, Myu. Thank you for today.

Anzu: Yeah, you're a real champ. I finally got to see what my mother thought of me. Turns out I worried all these years for nothing. She never stopped loving me.

Myu: Of course she didn't, she's your mom. Moms never stop loving their children, Anzu. Well, you two enjoy the rest of the day.

Giuseppe: Yeah, you too, Myu. Drive safe yeah? This rain is getting crazy.

Myu: I will! Bye!

Giuseppe: Bye!

Anzu blew kisses to Myu as she exited the car.

Anzu: Buh-bye!

As Myu drove off, her tires splashing around the rain on the streets, Giuseppe and Anzu hurried inside from their long day at the hospital.

Anzu: Oh man! I'm so glad to be home!

Anzu stretched and fell onto the couch, something Giuseppe often did.

Giuseppe: That's my shtick, asshole!

Anzu: Kiss my ass! What's yours is mine!

Giuseppe: How typical of you.

Anzu: Thanks for today, Giuseppe. You helped give me peace again. I'll be ready when she's set to leave this world.

Giuseppe: Yeah, well...she's a very kind and interesting woman. Sad to know she won't be here much longer though.

Anzu: You just leave that part to me.

Giuseppe had a good feeling that Anzu was indeed capable of handling it. She may only be 17, but she's proven to have a heart beyond her years in age. Giuseppe sat down with Anzu on the couch. Just the sound of the rain beating against the windows accompanying them

Anzu: Thank you.

Giuseppe: Huh? For what? I didn't do anything.

Anzu: For being my pallbearer.

Another wave of silence loomed over the room. Anzu got up from the couch and decided she'd play a song on Giuseppe's computer.

Giuseppe: What are you doing?

Anzu: I always loved playing Monsoon Jungle when it rained.

Giuseppe: No *censored*ing way. Are you saying you played Wario Land 4?

Anzu: Sure did! The music in that game was great. May as well play something nice during this weather. Oh, did you want to make dinner, too?

Giuseppe: Yeah, that sounds nice. Let's see what we got to eat.

The beautiful tragedy of life is that it only moves in one direction. When Anzu understood her mother was dying, she didn't worry about trying to keep her here, or bring her back to life. It was foolish, for Natsumi would soon join Anzu in death. Anzu was simply her guide. Giuseppe understood this fact as well. He cannot keep Anzu here. She was a wandering spirit, meant to find her place in whatever lies beyond life. He would guide her to her resting place until he himself would join her.

Although every step a pallbearer takes is soaked in agony, each step is necessary for what must be done. Thine will be done.

When a Mother's Work is Finally Done
Those cold November days were the same as they used to be. Giuseppe worked throughout the week, leaving Anzu to take care of the house. She always treated the space like it was her own. She kept every inch of it as clean as could be. Every day, she'd have dinner ready for Giuseppe and herself, brush her teeth with Giuseppe, and then the two would fall asleep and do it all over again. Anzu wanted for her daily life to remain the same, even when she knew what was coming ahead. She was just that kind of person, both in life and in death. Giuseppe always did manage to stay level headed, but it would be a lie if it wasn't driving his heart down into a hole. He simply had to remember the wisdom imparted to him by people like Oda, Nori, Natsumi, and Myu. Life only flows in one direction. All who live must die and all who die must be laid to rest. There is no other way to go about it.

On this day, Giuseppe had planned to get his mind out of the slump. As soon as he woke up, he waited for Anzu to awaken too, so he can share his surprise with her. Anzu hadn't even finished rubbing out her eyes when Giuseppe's voiced gutted her ears.

Giuseppe: Hey hey hey, rise and shine! It's a beautiful Saturday morning in the middle of November!

Anzu: It's raining. Again. Unless you finally share my sentiments that cold weather is beautiful.

Giuseppe: Not in a million *censored*ing years. You're wrong, you'll always be wrong, and you should feel like *censored* for being so *censored*ing wrong! Ahem. Anyway...beautiful day! So, I was thinking, wanna take a visit to the aquarium? There's one nearby that's pretty cool, so, you know, I thought you might want to check it out or something. I mean, you don't have to if you don't want to.

Anzu: Fishies?!?!?! What the *censored* are we waiting for, you silly bitch! Let's get dressed and go!

Giuseppe: W-wait! Hang on a second!

Like a bullet from a handgun, Anzu darted into the bathroom and got herself ready. Giuseppe didn't know she'd be that excited to stop by the aquarium to see some fish. At least now he knew another thing about her. Anzu was so excited that he could actually hear here humming and singing as she got ready. Without much time, and seemingly with large amounts of effort, Anzu got out of the bathroom as Giuseppe waited on the couch, dressed up and ready to go.

Anzu: I'm ready! Let's go see some fishies!

Giuseppe: Alright, alright. Calm down! It's not very far away, so we can actually walk there It's a little short of the church actually.

Anzu: Sounds great! The rain is really light today so I don't mind.

It's like Anzu was a child again. She kept humming even as they walked the streets soaked with gentle rain. The wind blew through their hair and the clouds covered the entire sky in a thick, white blanket. The streets were relatively empty, at least where the sidewalks were concerned.

Anzu: Say, Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Yep?

Anzu: Do you like apples?

Giuseppe: What kind of question is that?

Anzu: A curious question!

Giuseppe: Geez, have you always been this cute? Yes. I like apples quite a lot actually.

Anzu: Okay, well, what about grapes?

Giuseppe: You're asking the guy who loves wine if he loves grapes?

Anzu: Damn! Okay then, how about pineapple?

Giuseppe: Good *censored*, but I can't eat too much of it since it's so acidic. Makes for some great juice too. Definitely not the best thing to eat if you have a cut in your mouth. What's brought on the onslaught of fruit questions?

Anzu: I don't know, I was just wondering. I mean, It's already the middle of November, right? Kinro Kansha no Hi is coming up soon. It would be nice to know what kind of fruits you like.

Giuseppe: It's not you'd be the one buying the food.

Anzu: I know, I know. But I still want to know. Hey, how are Oda and Kyo doing?

Giuseppe: Ah *censored*. You know what? Now that you reminded me, it's been 8 months since they left and Kyo was a month and a half pregnant.

Anzu: What!?! She's sure to have had her baby now!

Giuseppe: Between the car crash and Kyo's pregnancy, we haven't had much time to talk. I'll shoot Oda a message when we get home and I'll tell them you said hi.

Anzu: Thank you! I can't wait to see the baby!

Giuseppe: Yeah and it won't be able to see you.

Anzu: Ugh! Way to kill my high, cocklock!

Giuseppe laughed as they continued their way to the aquarium and finally stepped inside the large, lavishly designed building and away from the rain. Once again, there weren't too many people inside. The front hub of the aquarium was designed much like a Roman-styled dome. Here were many of the guides, assistants, and physical artifacts of ancient species of sea life that had long been extinct. Perfectly constructed skeletons from real bones, or sometimes reconstructed for visualization purposes. Along the front wall where the entrance door was installed, the windows were shaped like roaring waves of the waver, and were colored a deep blue with white at the top of the waves. The dull light from outside shone through those windows, bleeding blue on the floor, ceiling, window sill, and people walking by. Anzu was amazed by the skeletal remains of the fish she saw, finding it amazing that the remains of those who die can be found even millions of years later if nature preserves them well enough.

Anzu: You know what this has me thinking? Is my corpse still buried near that church? What if we dug it out and took a look? Wait, no! That's a *censored*ty idea! Don't look at me, I'm hideous!

Anzu covered her face with her sleeves.

Giuseppe: Well obviously, you're not the one buried in the ground. Besides, how long has it been? Nearly 4 years now? You're definitely a skeleton by now, princess.

Anzu: I'm a spooky scary skeleton?!?! Oh no! Why me! I was so hot too!

Giuseppe: Your ghost is still you though, obviously.

Anzu: True...

They continued deeper into the aquarium, where they got to see large tanks of live fish. Eels, squid, pink salmon, and even small sharks. The bigger fish could be seen in the much larger section of the aquarium which held millions of liters of water to house the fish. At this point, guests walked through a glass tube built in the water, where they could see the fish swim by. Anzu and Giuseppe were both excited to witness something like that, to be so close to large fish swimming right over their heads, traveling through the bright blue tube of aqua paradise.

Anzu: Whoa! It's so big! Giuseppe, this is awesome!

Giuseppe: I gotta say, I've never spent this much time in the aquarium. I really should go here more often. Even if I am kinda freaked out that we're literally underwater...

Anzu: Oh come on, don't be a fish-whipped little bitch.

Giuseppe: You have the luxury of already being dead! You don't have to worry!

Anzu: Even if something did happen, I'd protect you! Well, unless one of these fish feel like eating you. Then I can't really help you with that. Let's keep going, though! There's much more to see!

Anzu ran ahead and Giuseppe watched her like a father watches his young daughter as she learns to ride a bike. The next section of the aquarium was a large room with dozens of very large tanks holding all sort of different fish. Krill, starfish, sea urchins, you name it. Music was playing over the intercom in the room, to which Anzu expressed her scorn at generic J-pop. There was one room that was completely empty however, almost completely dark except for the dark blue ambient light of the water in the tanks on the left, right, and front of the room. Anzu, with her compass of curiosity decided to go there, and Giuseppe followed her, also curious about what was in the dark room. At first, it looked like there was nothing. The music changed on the intercom as the song ended, and Anzu immediately recognized it as Above Your Hand.

Anzu: Now THAT'S a kickass song! That's my baby, Annabel!

Giuseppe: You don't have to be an elitist, you know, There's absolutely nothing wrong with cute girls singing cute J-Pop

Anzu: It's tasteless garbage and you know it!

The argument was ended when their eyes detected light glowing from the tanks. They walked deeper into the room to see exactly what was happening. This room was filled with jellyfish, dozens of them, in all sorts of different sizes and shapes. Given the darkness of the room, the jellyfish were glowing to illuminate the area and see all the other jellyfish around them. Some glowed orange, others were green, some were blue, and others were purple. Anzu's breath was taken away by this phenomenon of glowing jellyfish, washing the room in a rainbow of color.

Anzu: Unbelievable! How are they doing that?!

Giuseppe: Ah yeah. That's called bioluminescence. A lot of different species can do that. It's light produced by the jellyfish themselves. Either to illuminate dark areas, warn predators, attract mates, or whatever. But to see so many of them do it is quite astonishing. Wanna walk through the glass and swim with them?

Anzu: Huh?!?!

Giuseppe: I'm just kidding! It's not like they'd be able to sting you anyway.

Anzu: I ought to just push you in there and watch you get stung.

Giuseppe: Ahhh, that's so cruel, Anzu.

Giuseppe and Anzu stayed there for a while, enjoying the light show being put on by the descendants of mother nature. The rest of the day was blessed by happiness and excitement. On the way out of the aquarium in the late afternoon, Giuseppe bought Anzu and himself shirts from the aquarium. Anzu's shirt was white and depicted carp drawn in a traditional Japanese art style, with strong, thick lines and colors filling them in. Of course though, she couldn't hold the shirt while they were still out in public. The rain had stopped, but the wind was still mighty strong. Instead of going home, they decided to wait inside the church until the wind died down. They got a little lost, but were able to find their way to the path the led to the church. As always, Giuseppe opened the door for Anzu so she may enter first.

Anzu: My my, how chivalrous of you!

Giuseppe: Damn right it was chivalrous. That shirt costed 7000 yen...

Anzu: What was that?!?

Giuseppe: Nothing!

Anzu sat down in the 3rd row in the sanctuary and was soon joined by Giuseppe.

Anzu: Thanks for today, it was really fun! I never knew jellyfish could glow like that.

Giuseppe: Yeah, well you learn something new every day. Glad you had a good time, Anzu.

Anzu: Aww, and you bought me the largest size possible! You didn't have to. Now that it's colder, I doubt I'll be walking around the house in a shirt and underwear.

Giuseppe: Crap, did you want me to get you some sweatpants or something?

Anzu: Nah, yours are fine. They're baggy and comfy.

Giuseppe: Whatever you say then.

The wind was still blowing strong, knocking the twigs of trees against the windows and chilling the church.

Anzu: I can't believe it. One day, we're here shortly before your father's passing, and now we're here mere weeks before my mother passes.

Giuseppe: That's right! She doesn't have much longer now...

Anzu: Don't worry. I don't know what to say to her, but I have a big heart. I'll pull through.

Giuseppe: We'll pull through.

Anzu remembered her own words, that they were in this together. She smiled and closed her eyes, a silent gesture of thanks, and an even more subtle gesture of apology.

Anzu: Alright. Thanks for sticking with me all of this time, Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: No problem. That's what friends do for friends, right?

Anzu: Right. I wouldn't want it any other way. Hey, next week, let's celebrate Kinro Kansha no Hi, alright? You work hard to provide for both of us! It's time for you to take a break!

Giuseppe: I don't know...

Anzu got sat on her seat with both of her knees and clenched her fists as she tried to convince Giuseppe.

Anzu: Oh come on! We can even make brownies again!

Giuseppe: I'm just kidding, Anzu. I'd love to celebrate it with you. We'll invite Myu too. That okay?

Anzu: Sounds absolutely delightful! You're much more willing to do things now. Have you ever noticed that?

Giuseppe: Yeah, because I had a ghost lady shout in my ear until I didn't have any other choice!

Anzu: You're very welcome!

What's more fun than a boring autumn day with nothing to do? They say the heart is warmest when the earth is coldest, and there was certainly a kind of love and comfort in the air. Just ahead lay the final obstacle in Anzu's path towards rest. Many times, Natsumi prayed to see her daughter again.

She would see her sooner than she thought.

Mother's Kiss
Alas, the 23rd of November has come! Today was the day, Kinro Kansha no Hi! The day of workers and laborers. Anzu and Myu had gotten together to purchase plenty of foods and drinks, with Giuseppe's credit card of course. They had gotten plenty of fish, shrimp, lobster, fruits, beef, ingredients for soup, seasonings, and some deserts to go with the wine. Many people were in the store, hoping to celebrate their families and the men and women who worked hard to keep society flowing and productive. Anzu and Myu loaded up the grocery bags in the car and drove back to Giuseppe's place. The weather was a bit nice, but still cloudy and very windy. Anzu quite liked this kind of weather too. Spring and Summer were much to warm and full of insects for her tastes. Myu kicked the door open with her feet, given that her hands were full and Giuseppe left the door unlocked for them.

Myu: We're home! We got lots of good stuff! Even found some kobe beef for a good price.

Giuseppe: Oh nice! Bring it up to the counter and let's get cooking!

Anzu usually took charge as lead chef, but now that Myu was here, she watched Myu cook like a child would watch a magician make a quarter disappear.

Anzu: Here! I usually wear this apron, but you can have it today, Myu! Show us your cooking skills!

Myu: Thanks, love. Alright! How do you want the kobe? Want it prepared as sukiyaki, teppanyaki, sashimi?

Anzu leaped in the air as she declared what she wanted.

Anzu: Sukiyaki! Sukiyaki! Sukiyaki! Pretty please!

Giuseppe: Sounds good to me.

Myu: Sukiyaki it is then.

Giuseppe: I'll handle the meat. Your poor, weak, fragile women can handle the vegetables while the man takes care of the protein.

Myu: Butt*censored*, I work had too!

Giuseppe: Nuh uh uh! You're in my home, so today is all about me. It may as well just be Giuseppe day.

Giuseppe couldn't look more smug if I he suddenly had 100,000,000 million yen in his bank account.

Myu: Ok, fine. Whatever. You did almost die this year anyway, so I'll let it slide. Just don't *censored* up the meat. We need thin slices but that doesn't mean you can shred the *censored* up into doggy chew.

Giuseppe: Thanks, Myu!

Anzu: Watching you suck your own dick like that was pathetic, Giuseppe.

Myu: I'll get the broth ready. Anzu, help Giuseppe with the kobe and then get to work on the negi, okay?

Anzu: Yes ma'am!

The house was filled with the aroma of delicious kobe sukiyaki and its various components. Myu's years of working at Satoshi's Grill really taught her a lot about cooking and culinary chemistry. Giuseppe could easily see how Anzu could get so good at cooking herself. Giuseppe remembered in that moment that cooking is yet another thing that's capable of bringing people together. With Myu's precise and calculated instruction, the course was finished and the bowls were laid out on the table for the 3 to enjoy.

Giuseppe: Thank you for the food.

Anzu: Thanks for the grub!

Myu: My *censored*ing head hurts.

Giuseppe pulled out the sake that Myu bought and handed it to her. They simply had to wait and see if the soft and delicate Myu would turn into loud, rude, and adventurous Bitch-Myu when enough alcohol had touched her lips. For now, it was safe. Myu seemed to have gotten a bit more control over her ability to hold liquor and the almost criminal ideas that accompany the devilish elixir.

Anzu: This is so good! I've never had kobe before!

Myu: Kobe in particular has a good amount of intramuscular fat in it, so it gives off a great aroma, texture, and taste when it's cooked. It's expensive as hell here in Hokkaido though. Most of it is produced in the Hyogo prefecture, so maybe it's cheaper where it's sourced from. But still, I got it at a relatively good price!

Anzu: I should also mention Myu is smart with money, Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Oh believe me, I don't think that even needs to be said at this point.

Myu: Sake, Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: Ah, yes please!

Anzu: Don't get drunk and pass out. I'm not gonna lay on your side just so you can puke or *censored* the bed.

Giuseppe: As if I ever would! I can control myself, damn it. I only came home drunk once, remember?

Anzu: Oh that's right! You got home from a gay orgy or something that night? I think you won an award for the most dicks sucked in an orgy.

Myu: Ouch! That's gotta burn!

Giuseppe: Yep, you're 17 alright.

Anzu tipped over Giuseppe's sake as he was about to drink it, causing the shot to spill all over his face. He was not amused, but Anzu and Myu looked very entertained.

Giuseppe: Alright. Laugh it up. Go ahead.

Course after hearty course was consumed in good spirits, cheers, and appreciation for one another. Between the food, drinking games, charades, and arguments over whether or not boobs are better than butts, all of them could say it was a great day to be alive, as the people they were born as. Myu's last gift to Giuseppe was an invitation for him to keep the sake and desserts for himself. And for Anzu, she prepared a crown of flowers, roses and lotuses.

Myu: That's for you both. For being two of the most amazing people I've ever met. Giuseppe, I know I kid around with you a lot, but I really do enjoy your presence in my life. And Anzu, you know already how much I love you. I'm glad you and I got to see each other again. I've gotta go now before it gets dark. It's supposed to rain tonight! So, I'll see you both later! Oh, and Giuseppe, do share with Anzu, yeah?

Giuseppe: Oh come on, she's the one who eats all the snacks in the house! But...yeah.. I will. And thank you for your words, Myu. They mean a lot to me. Thank you.

Anzu bowed to Myu and held her hands to her heart.

Anzu: Thank you, Myu.

Myu: Good luck. I assume you're going to see her soon. I trust that you'll know what to do when the hour of separation arrives once more.

Anzu: I will. Thank you for everything you've done for me, both of you. I won't let you down. I promise, Mom will pass on properly.

Myu: I believe in you. See you guys later. And send her my love!

Anzu: I will!

Myu was walked out of the apartment by Giuseppe, and made a safe journey home as Giuseppe went back inside and locked up.

Giuseppe: Well! That was a great time, huh?

Anzu: Yep! Now we have a bunch of cookies and rice cakes to eat.

Giuseppe: Well, I trust you can help me with that. C'mon, let's get these dishes done.

Anzu: I'll put away the left overs!

Anzu put the remaining food in containers and put them in the fridge while Giuseppe collected the dishes and began washing them. With their usual household teamwork, they were getting two things done at once. Once Anzu was finished putting away the food, she rolled up her sleeves and helped Giuseppe finish washing the dishes. Perhaps, doing household chores was one of many things Anzu did to make herself still feel connected with the world of the living. Since she's dead, there's no real reason to do such things, but what else is one supposed to do when they're in a form of existence they're not familiar with, in a world that they're all too familiar with?

By the time the moon had risen, Giuseppe and Anzu were ready for bed, having finished brushing their teeth. Anzu tied her hair in a half-up and jumped into the covers, ready to wrap herself in the warmth of the bed and blankets.

Giuseppe: So....tomorrow?

Anzu: Yeah. Tomorrow. We'll go early in the morning. Wish me luck, okay?

Giuseppe extended his fist up towards the bed.

Giuseppe: Fistbump of good luck. You'll know what to do once you see her, just how I knew what to do when I saw my dad. You can make it right, Anzu. I believe in you, and I'll be cheering you out.

Anzu, instead of fistbumping, opened up Giuseppe's hand and locked fingers with him, like two hands locked together in prayer.

Anzu: I prefer it like this, if that's okay with you.

Giuseppe: Yeah, that's fine too...

Giuseppe turned out the light, and the two prepared for a hard day tomorrow.

Anzu: Good night, Gissy Poo.

Giuseppe: Good night, Apricot.

The two friends fated to meet each other had now fallen asleep with the gentle rain as their lullaby. Some time very late into the night, Anzu began to dream. In the dream, she was confronted by Maria once more, who smiled when she laid eyes on Anzu.

Maria: My, I didn't think we'd meet so soon again.

Anzu: Maria! Wait, why am I here? Oh crap! Did I pass on!?!

Maria: No, it doesn't seem like it. Once again, I think you're just here for a visit. You're not at my gravestone, right?

Anzu: No! I was asleep in bed with Giuseppe!

Maria: W-w-w-with!?!

Anzu: Oh! No no no no! I sleep on his bed but Giuseppe sleeps on the floor! I didn't mean, like, "together" together.

Maria: Whew! I see. That's a relief. You intend to make peace with your mother?

Anzu: How did you know that?! I don't think I told you that, did I?

Maria: I just knew. Maybe that's why you're here? What if we're able to interact without the gravestone because you're getting closer to finding peace? You're slowly letting go of your earthly burdens, the things tying you to the world of the living. Who knows?

Anzu: might be right. But yes, I do intend to make peace with her. She can die any time now, and I just want to make sure she gets here in one piece, you know? My mom doesn't have anyone, and I don't know if Misato ended up here in the same place as you. So, if you see her, please, keep her company, okay? Please!

Maria: I will, sweet little Anzu! I'll be waiting for you too, when you finally pass on. We'll get to know each other more. In the meantime, keep looking after Giuseppe.

Anzu: I will! Thank you, Maria. See you soon.

Everything faded to white, as if Anzu were looking up directly at the sun. When she woke up, it was early in the morning. She and Giuseppe had woken up at the same time. It had apparently kept raining while they were sleeping, as water was still dripping from the dying leaves of trees by the window. The streets and buildings were soaked, with the clouds in the sky reflecting in the settled puddles of water. Giuseppe and Anzu both sat up at the same time and looked each other in the eye. Today was the day.

Giuseppe: Are you ready?

Anzu: Yeah.

Giuseppe: Do you want to eat some breakfast?

Anzu: I'm sorry, Giuseppe. I don't really have an apatite.

Giuseppe: Ah...I understand. Well then, let's just go ahead and get dressed. I'll call Myu.

Anzu's eyes were dead as she thought of all the words she could say to her mother, expressing all the years of the feelings of abandonment, failure, and the feeling of being forsaken. Years and a tragically short lifetime that seemingly passed like the rain in the night, leaving behind only water droplets. Anzu grabbed her diary from under her pillow and dusted off the front cover. She got up off of the bed and began getting dressed. After brushing her hair and her teeth, she took her diary with her to the front door, where Giuseppe waited for her.

Giuseppe: All set? Myu's downstairs.

Anzu: All set.

Thus, the door was closed and locked. Until next time. Myu opened the car door for Anzu and greeted her with a hug.

Myu: It's time, dear. I'll hold your diary for you.

Anzu: Thank you.

With everyone in the car, the interior chilled as it stayed out in the morning rain, Myu drove off towards the hospital for what would be perhaps the final time, to see Natsumi. It was completely silent, a very long moment of silence. They finally arrived at Hasunohana, in a near empty parking lot.

Myu: I never have the bravery for these kinds of things. Already been through it once with you, Anzu. Please do give her my love and appreciation.

Anzu: Alright, I will.

Myu: I'll walk you guys in. I'll be waiting in the car while you're up there.

Anzu: Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: I'll go along with you, walk you in and out. We're in this together.

The three got out of the car and walked into the hospital, as tranquil as it could be so early in the day. The receptionist recognized Myu and Giuseppe and allowed them to go up to the 3rd floor to see Natsumi, who even the nurses knew wasn't going to be alive much longer.

Myu: Alright, you guys remember how to get up there? It's room 96, don't forget.

Giuseppe: Understood, I got it.

Myu: Oh, and of course, you'll need this, Anzu.

Myu handed Anzu her diary back. It was vital for this day to be a success.

Anzu: Thank you for everything.

Anzu bowed her head in heartfelt appreciation, and then she and Giuseppe were off to room 96. Giuseppe and Anzu stood in front of the door to the room as if they had climbed a mountain and were looking at the earth from the top.

Giuseppe: It's all you from here, Anzu. I'll be waiting for you right out here.

Anzu hugged Giuseppe and flashed a sad smile. She opened the door and saw her mother there, alone and clearly weakened. She closed the door behind her and organized her thoughts. All of the pondering over what words to say were meaningless now that she had seen her.

Anzu: Hi Mom. Long time, no see...

Anzu walked closer to her mother, with her diary in her hand.

Anzu: I had wanted to see you again since I remembered who you were. You were there for me that day, when I tried to kill myself. Now, I'm here, in your final days.

Anzu touched Natsumi with her diary and woke her up with a kiss to her forehead. Natsumi's eyes began to open, ever so faintly.

Natsumi: Anzu? Baby, is that you? I...I must be dreaming.

Anzu: Maybe you are, Mom.

Anzu held Natusmi's hand, noticing her grip was weak.

Natsumi: Anzu...I don't know if I'm just dreaming or not, but please...let me apologize to you. I tried my best. I thought of you and prayed for you every single day.

Anzu: Mom...I still love you. And I forgive you. It wasn't your fault, Mom. You did everything you could. You gave me years of great memories. You messed up sometimes, but no parent is perfect. The fact is, you're my mother. My god-given mother. There's nobody else who can replace the woman who named me. There's no other Natsumi, no other "Mom" in my life but you.

Natsumi: Oh god....Oh my god...I...Anzu....

Anzu held Natsumi's hand with both of her hands and held it up to her forehead.

Natsumi: I love you so much, Anzu. A thousand years could pass, and that would never change.

Anzu: I know. And that's why you don't have to apologize. You have nothing to be sorry for, Mom. It's okay. It's okay to forgive yourself as much as I forgive you. Thank you for taking such good care of Aka. She's so beautiful now...

Anzu's voice broke as she started crying.

Anzu: Thank you for your tears, your prayers, your kisses, your hugs, the band aids for my cuts, the birthday parties, the presents, the pictures, the teddy bears, and all of the work you did to put up with what you did. I know it wasn't easy for you, Mom. So, please, for me, forgive yourself. Forgive yourself and get some rest. You deserve it, much more than I do.

Natsumi, as weak as she was, was able to smile. It was the kind of smile one shows when a great burden had been lifted off of their shoulders.

Natsumi: Thank you. Thank you so much. I worried all of these years...but it's okay now. I love you, Anzu. And Aka too.

Anzu: I passed on that kiss you always gave me. Remember? You'd kiss my forehead whenever I was sad, and it would always make me feel better. I passed it own to someone I love. I'm happy now. Aka is happy too. You did a fantastic job. Thank you, for being my mother. I wouldn't have asked for a different one.

Anzu got up and kissed Natsumi's forehead once more.

Anzu: You know, I wrote horrible things about you in this diary. Looking back on it now, I realize how foolish I was being, blaming you for everything. I wish I could take it all back. I should've thought you in a better way. I should've tried to understand what being with Dad was like for you.

Natsumi: No, dear. It's get angry. To be frustrated, lost, and confused. That's part of life. It's part of our daily ups and downs. It's okay, dear. Those feelings make you human, a beautifully imperfect human. Whether you're alive or not, you are still a gorgeous spirit. Keep it as it is. Just try to write out the good days from now on, dear. Write out whatever's in your heart. Whether you hated me or loved me, I had always loved you.

Anzu: Thank you, Mom. I will. I promise, I will. I'll join you soon, and I'll tell you all about the things I wrote down. About Myu, Giuseppe, and all the great times we had.

Natsumi: That sounds wonderful, my love. I'll see you soon then, Little Apricot.

Anzu smiled, her soul finally at peace.

Anzu: See you soon.

Natsumi slipped back into a slumber, and Anzu rested her hand back on the bed. She stood up, and for one last time, kissed Natsumi's forehead. Giuseppe had never known that Anzu's strange forehead kisses were passed on to her from her mother and meant only for those that were close to one's heart. Anzu thought that maybe one day soon, she would tell him. For now, the last obstacle between her and eternal rest was lifted. She made peace with her mother, and they were both able to forgive each other and themselves. Anzu had no worries now, no suffering, no burdens. She grabbed her diary and exited the room, gently closing the door behind her. Giuseppe got up from his chair, eager to her what happened. The look on her face was all that was needed.

Anzu: It's done. We've finally made peace. She can die and pass on peacefully now.

Giuseppe: I see. You did a wonderful job, Anzu.

Anzu nodded, unable to speak as she broke down again. Giuseppe patted her head and hugged her as tightly as he could to comfort her. She had done a beautifully courageous thing. Together, the two walked out of the hospital and back into Myu's car. Myu simply took a glance at Anzu's tranquil face, the face of someone who forgave and had been forgiven.

Myu: I won't say anything. Let's get you two home.

Anzu: Church, actually.

Myu: You got it.

The clouds began to part, and the sun shined over the wet land below. The clouds would return again, but for now, the sun ruled the sky. Myu dropped them off by the park that led to the path that went up to the church.

Myu: Are you gonna be okay?

Anzu: Yes, thank you. I'll be more than okay. I'm very grateful for your help, Myu. I couldn't have done it without you.

Giuseppe: I'm here too...

Giuseppe and Anzu walked through the park, among the fallen autumn leaves, and up the dirt path leading up to the church. The church was like a beacon of divine light as the sun shined down on it. Giuseppe would open the door for Anzu once more.

Anzu: My my, how chivalrous of you!

The door was closed, and once more, under the roof where they first met, peace after a turbulent time was found. The sun shined through the large row of rainbow colored windows on the right side of the sanctuary, washing the seats and window bay in multicolored illumination. Together they sat, in the glow of the green window.

Giuseppe: You did it. You really did it, Anzu.

Anzu: We did it. I couldn't have ever gotten this far without you, Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: So, what happens now?

Anzu looked up at the statue of Christ.

Anzu: Now....we wait. The only left to do is to pass on. I don't know how long that will be from now, Giuseppe.

Giuseppe was genuinely happy for Anzu, but also greatly saddened that it would all be coming to an end very soon. It was a bittersweet mix of feelings. But, in the end...

Giuseppe: We'll make sure you pass on, Anzu. So you may meet her again.

With clemency and forgiveness purifying her tethered soul, all that was left for Anzu is what should've happened the moment she died. For her to be put to rest.

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #11 on: December 31, 2015, 10:44:13 PM »
Glory of the Holy Ghost
Life and time can only move in one direction. And so, as a few days passed, Natsumi Hodane, mother of Anzu and Akahana Hodane, passed along with them. On December 1st, her spirit left this world. Her nurses found her laying peacefully in bed, with her hands clutching her prayer beads as the blessed light of the morning sun coated the room in its cold radiance. Akahana was notified soon after death could be confirmed, and she in turn let Myu know over the phone. Natsumi’s soul could rest peacefully, in the place where it belonged, thanks to the soul of her late daughter. The news was passed on to Anzu that morning as well.

Giuseppe had received a phone call from Myu, who wanted to let them know that Natsumi was gone. As Giuseppe broke the news to Anzu, she, in all of her stunning brilliance, laughed and cried at the same time. Nothing more needed to be said in Giuseppe’s eyes. And so, Natsumi was cremated, and her ashes were given to Akahana, where she was ready to take them back to Honshu with her. Akahana met with Myu and Giuseppe in Satoshi’s Grill, the urn of ashes in her possession and sealed.

 Giuseppe found it surreal. How could a kind woman who was alive a short time ago now able to fit in such a small container? Purple rope lights along the windows shone upon the inside of the restaurant, a tradition Myu enacted only last year when the weather had gotten colder.

Akahana: I want to thank you both, from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for being there for her. Your company meant a lot to Mother. She never had anyone besides Misato, me, and Anzu.

Giuseppe: Of course. It was a pleasure to be able to meet her.

Myu: What do you intend to do with her ashes?

Akahana: I’ll take them home with me. There’s not much for her here anymore. Whether I’ll spread them or not is still up in the air at the moment. I…I don’t want to her, honestly.

Giuseppe placed his hand on top of Akahana’s hand, and put the wisdom he learned over the past year to use.

Giuseppe: You aren’t losing her. You’re putting her to rest.

Akahana: You’re a wonderful soul, Giuseppe. I’ll spread them somewhere beautiful. Somewhere near an apricot tree. She always loved those. That’s why she gave Anzu her name.

Myu: Sounds great to me, Akahana. When will you be going back to Honshu prefecture?

Akahana: Early tomorrow morning. I’m actually gonna go now. Maybe take a short walk and head back home. Again, thank you so much for your benevolence. This all means so much to me. I wish you both only the best blessings in life.

Giuseppe thought to himself that he already had the best blessings in life. Anzu was one of them.

Giuseppe: The gratitude is mutual. Make it back home safely, spread those ashes, and make Natsumi and Anzu proud.

Akahana stood up and hugged Giuseppe and Myu on her way out. She waved goodbye one more time as she took a walk through the cold December night. She walked through the windy streets, where most of the trees had lost their leaves. The moon, bright and blue look the eyes of her late sister and now deceased mother, lingered over the land and gave her light in the night’s darkness. She walked into the park that leads to the woodlands where the church is located. It was largely empty, for most people had already gone home.

As if the night was destined by fate, Anzu had also been walking through the park. She had come back from the church as a way to get her mind off of things. To the surprise of the dead young lady, she saw her only and beloved sister sitting on the park bench, next to a double-headed park lantern. Though she could not see her, Anzu walked to the bench and sat down right next to Anzu. Still, as close as she was, Anzu still held firm that revealing herself would only tear up old wounds and bring regret and guilt to the surface of Akahana’s heart. Akahana held the urn of ashes in her lap.

Akahana: I’m so sorry mom. I would’ve given anything to take your pain away. Thank you for everything. For the days you spent with me, and for the nights you spent crying for both of your children. I think I speak for Anzu too when I say I love you….always and forever….

Akahana held the ashes to her chest.

Akahana: I hope you’re both watching the moon right now. It’s almost as beautiful as you two.

As Akahana smiled at the graceful glow of the moon, Anzu sat next to her crying, with her head buried in her hands. Akahan soon got up and left, her spirit hurt by her loss, but motivated to give life everything she’s got. Anzu knew that she didn’t have to be the one to tell her how beautiful she was, how eloquent she was, how being in her presence made her want to close her eyes and laugh at the sky. Aka was already the woman that Anzu never had the chance to grow up to be. Someday, she’d be the wife that

Anzu never got to grow up to be. The people and experiences she will encounter in life will be the testament to how beautiful she is, inside and out. As Akahana left, Anzu too dried her eyes and walked back home, coincidentally arriving back the same time as Giuseppe. Anzu bumped into Giuseppe as he unlocked the front door of the apartment.

Giuseppe: Huh? You went out?

Anzu: Yeah. Sorry, I just thought it would be nice to take a walk, you know?

Giuseppe: You two really do think alike. Well, uh….Myu gave us some food for dinner.

Giuseppe held up a plastic bag filled with Styrofoam containers of food.

Anzu: Sounds wonderful!

With the food still warm, Giuseppe and Anzu dug right in to their dinner.

Anzu: When is Aka leaving?

Giuseppe: She said she’d be gone by tomorrow morning. She’s taking the ashes back to Honshu and wants to spread them somewhere beautiful, preferably where there are apricot trees.

Anzu: She’s always been amazingly thoughtful.

Giuseppe: Yep. I guess it runs in the family, eh?

Anzu: Oh stop it, you! Flattery alone can’t win me over.

Giuseppe: Oh right, they have to be dead too, right?

Anzu: Hey, I wouldn’t even mind if I could find a cute ghost boy!

The two laughed together once again in the resolution to their loss. Life really did just keep moving. Giuseppe and Anzu brushed their teeth together and hopped into their beds, ready for the day ahead. Anzu tied her hair up into a bun, with strands of hair streaming down her face and the back of her neck.

Anzu: Nighty night, Gissy Poo.

Giuseppe: Good night, Anzu.

Giuseppe turned out the light, and the two fell asleep. Once more, in the middle of the night, Anzu slipped into a dream and was confronted by Maria again. In an instant, Maria wrapped her arms around Anzu, somehow knowing she needed to be embraced.

Maria: You did it. Natsumi is here, safe and sound. You did a fantastic job, Anzu.

Anzu: She…she’s really here? Thank god! She can rest.

Maria pulled away from Anzu, keeping her hands on her shoulders.

Maria: There is but one thing left, sweetie. You know all too well what that last thing is, right?

Indeed, Anzu did know. She had known ever since she regained her memories and set out to tie up the loose ends left behind by her early death.

Anzu: Yes ma’am. I’m next. Do you happen to know how much time I have?

Maria: That I don’t know. But our encounters are becoming more and more frequent. It must mean you’re slipping closer to death. At least, that’s my guess on it. I think there’s still something holding you to the world of the living. Do you have any idea what that could be?

Anzu: Yes. There is still one thing I badly want to do now.

Maria: And what would that be, love?

Anzu: I’ve made a best friend. I got to eat mochi, brownies, and all sorts of different foods and snacks. I got to take walks through the park and go into abandoned buildings. I got to take initiative and teach my best friend how to take better care of himself, his home, and his life. I was able to see my sister again, guide my mother’s soul into the afterlife, and even help Giuseppe make amends with his father.

 I met Myu again for the first time since the night I died, got to eat with them, laugh with them, and go on adventures with them. I got to see the snow and the rain again. I cried, got angry, pretended I didn’t care when I really did, and I learned how to be honest with myself, and with others. I even got to pass on Mother’s kiss to someone I love and hold dear. I’ve done everything I wanted to. I guess…the only thing my heart is aching to do now…

Maria smiled, as she already knew Anzu’s answer.

Anzu: Is to say a proper goodbye!

Maria: Then go, Anzu. The final task is finally at hand.

Anzu: See you soon, Maria. I won’t keep you waiting too long.

The dream faded away, and Anzu awoke to the dull light of a morning shrouded in white clouds, like the body of a loved one wrapped in a white shroud. Giuseppe had apparently already gotten up, and was outside in the living room on his computer, listening to his vast collection of music. Anzu untied her hair and took a deep breath out of the cold, morning air that filled the apartment. She got up out of bed and walked outside, surprising Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Oh, you’re up. It’s still a little early, so you can go back to sleep if you want.

Anzu: Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: What’s wrong?

Anzu: I keep having these dreams. Your mother is in them. She’s always warm and kind, always ready to comfort me. She’s been preparing me emotionally and mentally for some of the most recent challenges I’ve faced.

Giuseppe: What? Are you saying you can talk to my mother?

Anzu: It first happened when I touched her gravestone. Now it happens in dreams, on its own. As I get closer to fixing the unresolved areas of my life, the dreams become more frequent. Just last night, she told me that my mother made it to the other side.

Giuseppe: What….what are you trying to say?

Anzu: There’s one last thing I want to do, Giuseppe. I want to make sure I say a proper goodbye to both you and Myu. After that, I’ll probably pass on.

Giuseppe knew the day would come. He knew every moment they shared together could only end in beautiful pain. This is what Anzu was destined to do in her form. She had to finally be put to rest.

Anzu: I promised your mom we’d get to know each other after I pass on. So, I’ll make sure to tell her all about how her little man has grown up!

Giuseppe stood up from his chair.

Giuseppe: Well then…how do we go about saying goodbye?

Anzu: Well, let’s not rush. There’re still things that need to be taken care of before that. Small things.

Giuseppe: Like what?

Anzu: Well, first….my clothes. You’ve graciously spent your hard-earned money to keep me warm in the cold and cool in the heat. But, since I’ll be gone soon, I won’t need them. Please, gather them all and bag them up. If there’s a receptacle nearby for charity, please dump them there. There are some other things, mostly house chores I want to tend to.

Giuseppe: Well then, let’s get started.

Anzu: Thank you.

As Anzu took out all of her clothes bought by Giuseppe, Giuseppe took them and bagged them up, ready to be dropped into a receptacle the next time he leaves.

Anzu: Oh, can you leave a scarf out? I think that’s all I’ll need until I actually disappear.

Giuseppe: Yeah, sure thing.

Anzu: I can’t thank you enough for buying me all of this. Only my mother ever bought me so many clothes.

Giuseppe: Dead or not, I’ve got to make sure you’ve got everything you need, right?

Anzu: Right.

As Giuseppe pulled all the bags out of the room and by the front door, Anzu began to take the sheets off of the bed. Pillowcases and all.

Giuseppe: What are you doing now?

Anzu: Well, I never really washed these sheets since I started sleeping on your bed. I mean, I probably don’t need to since I am just a ghost after all. But still, I want to make sure your sheets are clean before I leave instead of making you wash them after you gave up your bed to me.

Giuseppe: “Gave up”…heh….I guess you still remember how that night went down. You tried to pretend you didn’t want the bed.

Anzu’s flustered face turned pink when she remembered how selfish she was back then. Thanks to Giuseppe, it all came up to the surface of her mind.

Anzu: Hey man, give me a break! I thought I was immortal and I could rule this house! Besides, you were practically baiting me into taking this bed. Probably wanted to sniff it for my scent and collect my hair strands too, *censored*ing degenerate.

Giuseppe: The go- to ad hominem for a girl who knows she just got called out! What’s next? Denial? Deflection? Oh, maybe blackmailing!

Anzu: Ohhh, you’re asking for it now! You grape suckers sure have smart mouths!

Giuseppe: Grape suckers? Hey, is that because I’m part Italian? Low blow, Anzu. Low Blow.

Anzu jumped at Giuseppe like a snake from the grass, attempting to tackle him down and teach him why messing with Anzu Hodane only ends in suffering. Instead, she found herself face-planting a drawer, Giuseppe completely unharmed. Anzu rubbed her head in pain.

Anzu: Owwie! I can’t believe I missed!

Giuseppe: You had me by surprise back then in the church. Not this time though. I’m wise to your dirty tricks.

Giuseppe noticed his camera was knocked over when Anzu hit the dresser. He knelt down to pick it up.

Giuseppe: Geez, Anzu. You’ve got to be more careful. You could’ve damaged the camera.

Anzu: I almost died!

Giuseppe: You’re already dead!

Anzu facepalmed herself as she remembered that she can’t die twice.

Anzu: Why am I such a retard today!

Giuseppe: Wow….

Anzu: What is it?

Giuseppe sat down on the sheetless bed, looking into the camera and watching the time he filmed Anzu when she had chocolate batter all over her mouth and desperately tried to wash it off.

Anzu: Is that….

Giuseppe: Yeah.

Anzu sat down with Giuseppe, in silence, watching the moment unfold all over again. It was like going through an old picture book for them both.

Giuseppe: Those brownies ended up being really delicious.

Anzu: Yeah, I remember.

Like all things in the world, the recording ended. They both sat there motionless for a while, but soon resumed their work. Anzu put the sheets in the washer and Giuseppe made sure to leave out a scarf for Anzu. Giuseppe almost couldn’t let go of the scarf. It was the last thing that belonged to her that hung in the closet. Besides that, Anzu had her initial outfit folded and put to the side, the floral kimono cardigan, black shirt, black jeans, and golden choker. Anzu’s voice ripped him out of the sentimental moment.

Anzu: Giuseppe! Come on! Let’s decide on breakfast!

Giuseppe got up and rushed out of the bedroom.

Giuseppe: Coming!

Life and time can only go in one direction. As such, as the days passed, so would Anzu. It was almost time for her to ascend, to leave behind the all too familiar green earth. The wordless prayer of the sun, moon, and stars chanted out to her. Her memories and her impact would be her glory.

Pray For the Dead
Anzu and Giuseppe decided on pancakes for breakfast. Banana and walnut pancakes to be exact. Anzu knew it may be the last time she makes a fresh batch on pancake mix for Giuseppe, so she decided to leave behind a recipe for him. As Giuseppe applied the mix to the hot pan, Anzu tore out a page of her diary and wrote down the basic recipe for pancake mix.

Anzu: When I’m gone, I don’t want you eating that store bought horse *censored*. I’ll never forgive you if you die young and fat.

Giuseppe: Please, I’m a complete stud.

Anzu: Yes, well….it’s fun to pretend. Anyway, I’m leaving my recipe in your care. It’s really simple. Two cups of flour, a tablespoon of baking powder, 3/4ths cup of sugar, a capful of vanilla extract, make sure it’s pure vanilla, a capful of almond extract, 1 egg, 1 ½ cups of milk, and two tablespoons of melted butter or oil. Whisk thoroughly. Then, you can add other things to it, like walnuts, bananas, strawberries, blueberries. You get the idea.

Giuseppe: Thanks, I really appreciate it. I’ve never made pancakes before you waltzed into my life.

Anzu: Some change in pace is good! Sometimes you gotta have sweet breakfast foods instead of constant feedings of starches and fish.

Giuseppe: Yeah, I know.

Anzu sat on the kitchen counter as Giuseppe continued cooking pancakes for them both. The morning was cold and cloudy, so Anzu prepared some hot cocoa to go along with their breakfast. The meal was enjoyed on the kitchen table.

Anzu: Today, I want to hang out with Myu.

Giuseppe: That’s fine. Just you two?

Anzu: Yes, just us two. I hope you don’t mind.

Giuseppe: No, it’s alright. You’re going to say goodbye to her, right?

Anzu: Yeah…

The reality of Anzu’s situation didn’t rest well on either of their minds.

Giuseppe: First you have me prepare your clothes for donation, then you wash the sheets, then you leave me your pancake recipe, and now you want to spend the night with Myu. It’s almost like you’re leaving me your last will or something.

Giuseppe said that jokingly, in a very light hearted manner. For Anzu, however, every word of it was the hard truth.

Anzu: I am. This is my last will. And you’re following it bravely. I know it isn’t easy for you either, but thank you for….well, for everything. You gave me friendship and a home. I’m forever in your debt.

Giuseppe: You don’t owe me a single thing, Anzu. I was glad to let you stay here and to wake up with you every day. I’m sorry your home had to be this small apartment.

Anzu: Don’t be. I quite like our little apartment!

Giuseppe: A home you like will always like you back.

Anzu: Whoa there, Nietzsche! Where did that wisdom come from?

Giuseppe: Just kinda pulled it out of my ass honestly.

Anzu: Keep talking like that and you’ll have to find yourself a tranny boyfriend and start pulling dicks out of your ass!

Giuseppe: Ahh, there’s that filthy mouth again. I actually missed it.

Giuseppe could only smile at the sound of Anzu’s laughter and the sight of her joyful face. What a human being she must have been, taken from her living body at an age far too young. As pallbearer, Giuseppe knew he simply had to keep going. Keep facilitating the success of her wishes, even if he’s aching on the inside.

The night came, and Myu was finally off of work. Anzu was dressed in the outfit Giuseppe found her in, wearing only the scarf for extra protection against the cold. Myu picked her up, and together, they drove to Satoshi’s Grill. They had the grill all to themselves, and it painfully reminded Myu of the old days when they would work together there. Myu and Anzu sat together at a table, drinking root beer together.

Myu: Man, can’t believe I never thought about it. But you and I used to be alone in this shop together quite a lot. We didn’t have too many customers back then, but then you showed up and people kept coming back! They always told me you had gorgeous eyes.

Anzu: Hah…I doubt it was my eyes they were looking at.

Myu: Oh please, they’re both alluring. Whether it was your eyes or your tits, anyone would be equally lost in either.

Anzu: It’s the milk these days, isn’t it? Giving young girls torpedo tits and moon butts! It’s probably a conspiracy to make girls sexier so we can mate with guys and help combat the declining birth rate in Japan!

Myu: Or maybe you just won the Darwin Lottery and were blessed by the fruitful gifts of genetics?

Anzu: I’ll accept that too…

Myu: You know, Anzu. When you died, people left candles outside the grill for you.

Anzu: What? Really?

Myu: Yep. One of the customers must’ve heard me and Father talking about it behind the kitchen and told everyone else about it. One night, I came out of the office, and there they all were, lining up the entire wall of the grill with candles, notes, and flowers. I still have some of the notes they left. Things like “Rest in peace, blue eyed angel.” And “We’ll miss your contagious spirit.

 Please find peace in the next world”. And I thought I had cried hard enough when I first heard what happened to you. I completely lost it when I saw that. It was hard to come back here, but I had a feeling you would’ve wanted Satoshi’s Grill to grow. Father left that duty in my hands, and I’ve been taking care of it ever since. This place, this small restaurant, is my eternal gift to you.

Anzu had no idea she had touched anyone’s life like that. For strangers to bother coming out of their way to leave behind candles and notes for her, it was astonishing. She wished she could go back in time and spend more time with them, bring them their food, crack jokes with them, and make even something as small as eating more enjoyable for them. Anzu was that kind of person. She loved spreading happiness. If nobody else, she owed it to them to find peace.

Anzu: I wish I could thank them all. They’ll never know how much that really means to me. If I had a choice, I would’ve never left this world without saying goodbye to everyone if I could’ve.

Myu: We would betray our customers if you never moved on, right? That’s why I’ve been so determined in helping you do that, even though it hurts to have you and see you disappear again. And we certainly can’t ever do that, right?

Anzu: You’re right. Thank you, Myu. For keeping Satoshi’s grill alive and prosperous. I’m proud of you.

Snow began to fall, and the moon was surrounded by clouds, but still shining its light down through a narrow opening. Anzu looked out the window and noticed it had begun to snow. It reminded her of just last year, around the time she first met Giuseppe.

Anzu: There it is again. The snow.

My stood up and finished her root beer before slamming it down on the table.

Myu: C’mon! It’s getting late, but we can still do one more thing together. Wanna go back to that ice rink we found?

Anzu: Yeah, I’d love to!

Myu locked up the restaurant for the night. As she walked to her car, Anzu stayed in front of the restaurant, with her hands pressed together, her eyes closed, and her head bowed. She was saying goodbye to the place where she met her first true friend. She rushed into Myu’s car, and the two drove to the ice rink together. It was long closed for the night, so Anzu and Myu broke in the same way they did the first time, by having Anzu mess with the electronic locks. Even without alcohol, Myu still had an adventurous streak about her.

 With fitting ice skates found, they glided out into the ice, enjoying the colored view of the snow through the massive, colored, tear-drop windows that left their outlines on the ice, walls, and seats. It was peaceful, to be able to glide around and feel the chill of the ice just below their feet. For someone her never got to go ice skating in her life, Anzu had adjusted quite well to the initially awkward feeling of ice skates. No words were said, but there were instances of laughter, glances, and smiles. It was a silent ceremony for Anzu. Another memory for her to take with her.

At around midnight, Myu and Anzu snuck back out of the ice rink and prepared to return home.

Anzu: Thanks for spending time with me, Myu.

Myu: Of course! It was my pleasure, Anzu.

Myu pulled up outside of Giuseppe’s building.

Myu: Well, here we are, love.

Anzu: Myu….I….

Myu showed no despair. She knew it was all for the best.

Myu: The last time I drove you anywhere, it was into the arms of the madman who took your life. I’m glad, Anzu, that our final drive together landed us outside the home of someone who loves and cares for you as much as I do. For me, promise me you’ll bid farewell to him. He may not realize it, but that guy changed both of our lives by connecting us together again.

Anzu: That’s Giuseppe. Always being a blessing and never realizing it.

Myu: I love you, Anzu. I always will.

Anzu fought back her tears of thanks and smiled.

Anzu: I love you too, Myu. Thank you for everything. Keep on taking care of the restaurant! And if you ever have kids someday, teach them how to cook as well as you!

Myu: Of course I will!

Anzu opened the car door, and prepared to head upstairs, back home.

Anzu: Goodbye.

Myu: Goodbye, my friend. Rest in peace.

Anzu closed the door and ascended upstairs. She was given the spare key and was able to walk back in herself. She took off her scarf and put the keys back into the bowl.

Anzu: I’m home.

Anzu kept her voice down, as she wasn’t sure if Giuseppe was asleep or not. She walked into Giuseppe’s room and was able to see that Giuseppe had already gone to sleep. She sat on her knees next to Giuseppe, kissing him on the forehead and wishing him sweet dreams. Anzu wasn’t quite sleepy yet, and decided she’d pick up on her mother’s advice and write down positive things in her diary. The crudely titled “Donut Steel” diary still provided Anzu with a laugh as she opened it up to find blank pages to write on.

An hour she spent there, sitting at the desk in the living room and writing out the best moments of her existence, both dead and alive. The diary was like the human heart, filled with all sorts of negative and positive emotions. In the end, one must come to terms with their circumstances and try to fill those pages with positive things. When she finished writing, she closed the diary and carried it with her to bed, carefully and silently putting on Giuseppe’s spare sleeping clothes, tying her hair, and going to sleep.

Again, for the final time, she began to dream. It was Maria yet again. It was a short dream, as not much needed to be said between the two anymore. Anzu would soon join Maria on the other side.

Maria: It’s nearly time, dear.

Anzu: I know. I just have to say goodbye to your son. It’s my final day, isn’t it?

Maria: It would appear so. You are awfully close to passing on.

Anzu: Alright then. I’ll be with you shortly. Please, tell my mother I love her and I’ll see her soon, okay?

Maria: Definitely. Take your time, sweetheart. Never be hasty when you’re saying farewell.

Anzu: Right. I won’t

Anzu awoke in the bright gleam of the morning sunlight, still in Giuseppe’s bed. There were thick clouds in the sky, but it seemed for now, they had parted away from the sun, allowing light to shine through. The ground, dead trees, and sidewalks were covered with snow and water droplets. Anzu sat up, untied her hair, and began brushing it. Giuseppe woke up as well, thankful Anzu was still there.

Giuseppe: You’re still here. Did you come home late last night?

Anzu: Yeah, I’m really sorry.

Giuseppe: Nah, don’t be. It’s good you spent that time with Myu.

Anzu: Yeah. It’s just you now. Today may very well be my last day here, Giuseppe.

Giuseppe and Anzu both stared at each other, frozen by the fact that the time had come. The hour of separation dawned on them. Giuseppe trembled on the inside, but maintained his composure. If the pallbearer lost his cool, the casket would fall. He must always be steady in his walk, and strong in his heart.

Giuseppe: Well, is there anything you want to do, Anzu? Anything at all? I don’t care how much it costs, I’ll take you anywhere.

Anzu: Yes, there is. But it won’t cost you anything. Remember what I wanted you to do? Just take me up there. To the church. Now is the perfect time. The sun is out, so the church must be absolutely soaked in a rainbow of color. Just like when we first met.

Giuseppe indeed remembered what his final task was. That church was a home and safe haven for Anzu. It made every bit of sense for her to want to return there for her final day in the world of the living.

Anzu: Let’s head there now. Go ahead and get ready, I still have to take your sheets out of the dryer.

Giuseppe: Sure thing, Anzu. Let me know when you’re ready to go.

Giuseppe got up and went into the bathroom while Anzu took the sheets out of the dryer before they could wrinkle up. She folded them neatly and left them on Giuseppe’s bed. She also put the pillows and blankets on the floor that Giuseppe slept on all this time back into his closet, knowing he wouldn’t need to sleep on the floor anymore. Anzu fluffed her pillows, opened the blinds, and made sure everything that belonged to her or was used by her frequently was either out or cleaned.

The room was the way it was when she first entered. She got back into her outfit and put Giuseppe’s sweater and sweatpants in the washer, having used them as pajamas for so long. Everything had been taken care of and accounted for. Giuseppe got out of the bathroom, dressed in an orange thermal with a black undershirt, and dark blue jeans. At first, the two just stared and smiled at each other and walked towards the front door.

They looked back at the apartment before opening the door to leave, and it seemed like the memories of the past year all played out before their eyes in an instant. When Anzu lived with him, the apartment became more than a place to live. It became a home.

Giuseppe: Well? Any last words?

Anzu bowed her head.

Anzu: Thank you for taking care of me for so long. Thank you for being my home. I’m forever grateful.

Anzu stood up straight again and faced Giuseppe.

Anzu: I put your sweats in the washer, so you’ll need to dry them when you get back. Besides that, your sheets are folded up and placed on the bed for you to put on later, and I put away all the stuff you used to sleep on the floor, since I’ll be gone.

Giuseppe: Thank you. You’re a miracle, Anzu.

Anzu: Don’t say things that will make me cry, asshole!

The two laughed as they walked out of the apartment and walked together, through the chilly December air, up to the sacred place where they first met. The wind danced through their hair, Anzu’s hair especially. It flowed like a flame in the wind. They walked through the neighborhood, past the convenience store, through the park, and up to the hill ahead.

The church gleamed like a diamond in the sun on top of the hill as the sun shined on it. Giuseppe felt uneasy, but comforted by Anzu’s own sense of peace. In the end, he really just wanted her to do what she was okay with. If it was supposed to end here, then that was the way it was going to be. The dirt road took them all the way up the hill and to the front door of the abandoned church. Giuseppe opened the door for Anzu, allowing her to enter first. She couldn’t resist, for the final time.

Anzu: My my, how chivalrous of you!

Giuseppe was always happy to hear that. They closed the door and walked into the sanctuary. As Anzu predicted, sunlight dazzled through the row of colored windows on the side of the building, and the clerestory of stained glass windows above them. Everything was as colorful as it was when Giuseppe first set foot inside of the church.

Anzu: Here we are.

Giuseppe: Here we are.

Giuseppe and Anzu sat in the 4th row, where the sun shined through the purple window, dressing the walls, seats, candles, and statues around it in a bright purple light. Together they sat, for Anzu’s final day in the world of the living. So, for one last time, they would enjoy a long day here, talking, and enjoying each other’s company.

Every word was a eulogy. Words shared between the living and the dead, before the dead are laid to rest. At long last, Anzu will soon be free.

« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 05:16:19 AM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #12 on: December 31, 2015, 10:48:58 PM »
I Shall Always Be Watching

There they were. Together for the final time, just like the first time. For a while they just sat together in tranquil relaxation under the rainbow of light coming in from the sun-pierced, colored windows that stretched up the length of the sanctuary, all of them washing the pillars, statues, and glossy, wooden pews in bright, delightful, indirect light more radiant than their individual color let on.

Anzu had her eyes closed, and her hands tucked between her knees, simply enjoying the silence and atmosphere of the church, which sheltered her for a very lonely three years. Giuseppe’s eyes admired the beauty of the worn out and abandoned building, with his arm resting on the top of the seat, and his eyes mesmerized by the glaring, colored windows, and the radiant rows of color they shined into the church's interior.

Giuseppe: You know…

Giuseppe’s voice interrupted the silence, and Anzu turned her attention to him.

Giuseppe: I think I’m very lucky to have sat on your diary that day. Very lucky to have been tackled by you.

Anzu smiled.

Anzu: I’m lucky you’re the idiot that stumbled across this place and sat your filthy, monkey ass on the only thing I have left in this world.

Giuseppe: Geez, I know you’re just kidding, but you make me look really evil when you say it like that.

Anzu: No, no. Not at all. I’m actually really happy that you found me. Besides, I gained more things in this world by meeting you.

Giuseppe: Yeah? Like what?

Anzu: Come on! You already know! Don’t make me say it.

Giuseppe: It’s because I know that I want you to say it.

Anzu: What, so it can make you feel good?

Giuseppe: Sure, why the hell not?

Anzu: Fine. I gained you, for one. You’re something I can only have once and can never be replaced.

Giuseppe was infinitely happy to hear those words come out of Anzu’s mouth. She even had the heart to look him in the eyes as she said that, her hair and cheek touched by the purple light of the window behind her.

Giuseppe: Thanks, Anzu.

Anzu: Yeah, no problem, Gissy Poo.

Giuseppe: Oh, I almost forgot.

Giuseppe took out his phone and leaned in towards Anzu.

Giuseppe: Look at that. His name is Oda Miyamoto II. Kyo gave birth to him in late November.

Anzu saw a picture of an adorable sleeping baby, taken by Kyo. Oda was cradling him and smiling.

Giuseppe: They sent me that when I asked about the baby. Pretty cool, huh? Kyo said it hurt like hell but the painkillers helped immensely.

Anzu: Wow, she finally a mommy now! And Oda’s a daddy! I trust Kyo, but are we sure Oda won’t accidentally leave his kid in the park at night or something?

Giuseppe: Nah. He’s more responsible than that, especially with Kyo hounding on him every 5 minutes.

Anzu: Good, I’m happy for them. Hey, Giuseppe?

Giuseppe: What’s up?

Anzu: If you were to die right now and you saw me in heaven? What would be the first thing you say to me?

Giuseppe: The first thing? Hmmm….. Hallelujah.

Anzu: Hallelujah?

Giuseppe: Yep.

Anzu: God, you’re such a nerd.

Giuseppe laughed, as he found that statement to hold some truth.

Giuseppe: Yep, that’s me alright. But admit it, you love me. Come on, just come out of the closet and say it.

Anzu: No!

Giuseppe: You might not get another chance, Anzu. May as well spill the beans.

Anzu: Fine! I love you! I love you to the moon and back, from Jupiter to the sun, from life to death, I love you!

Anzu slapped her hand over her mouth to stop herself from talking too, taking time to calm down and hopefully stop blushing so much.

Giuseppe: Well, you sure overdid it there. Nerd.

Anzu: Whatever…

Giuseppe: I love you too, Anzu. There’s no replacement for you either. You really are one of a kind. I hope you know that. I’m sure my mom loved talking to you, right?

Anzu: Actually, yeah, she did. Your mom was a great woman, Giuseppe! And she gave birth to an even better man.

Giuseppe: I try, I try.

Anzu: Boy, you are just so damn smug right now.

Giuseppe: Am not!

Anzu: Am too! It’s like you just know that you’re better than everyone else!

Giuseppe: Maybe you should stop feeding my ego then.

Anzu: Maybe you should stop being so awesome in the first place! Ever thought of that?

Giuseppe paused for a minute. He didn’t quite have a rebuttal for that.

Giuseppe: Damn, no I haven’t. I’d have to lose you for that to happen.

Anzu’s heart swooned upon hearing those words.

Anzu: Are you saying I make you awesome?

Giuseppe: Yeah. I mean, come on, do you really think I could’ve gone to my mother’s grave alone? Or handled my father alone? You think I could’ve gone out and had fun alone? It was all because of you. You give me a lot of credit for things, but I don’t think you realize that you and I both needed each other in our lives. You knew how to help me confront my problems, and I knew how to help you confront yours.

Anzu: Makes you think it was all destined to be, doesn’t it?

Giuseppe: Maybe so. I do believe in fate, after all.

Anzu: Looks like I have a lot to tell Maria about when I pass on then. I’m sure she’ll be delighted.

Giuseppe: She used to gush over me the same way Natsumi gushed over you. So, I have no doubt she’ll be glad. I was pretty glad to hear she was resting in a good place when you told me about the dreams. Kinda makes you drop all your worries about death and leaving things behind. If people can still smile after dying, it only means they’re at peace with everything that occurred on earth. So, I was just glad that she’s not angry or upset over having lost her life.

Anzu: Yeah, I understand. I think most people obsess over things that they can’t take with them, or end up being scavenged by others after they die. If you ask me, if you’re remembered for the virtue in your heart, you never really die. *censored*, that sounded really corny.

Giuseppe: It was, but it was still very true.

Anzu: Can I just thank you again, please? I feel like I haven’t said it enough.

Giuseppe: You have though. Once is enough. Don’t get the idea that you owe me anything.

Anzu: But I do. If you hadn’t come here, who knows how long I’d just be wandering around the earth, completely alone. I just want you to know that you gave me everything anyone could’ve ever asked for in life. In one year, you gave me the memories and laughter that I really wanted when I was alive. So, Giuseppe, someday, when you grow old and grey and you eventually die as well, I want to be the first to see you on the other side. And I’ll greet you like an old friend. We’ll continue our friendship in a much better place than we left.

Giuseppe: After I die? That won’t be for a long time.

Anzu: Good! I’d be pissed off if you came to me to early! Grow old, get married, have lots of kids, and leave behind something dear to you.

Giuseppe knew what that meant. Anzu was asking Giuseppe to one day join her again, and be with her forever, to join his friend from the grave in the world of the dead.

Giuseppe: So, no getting murdered?

Anzu: Hell no.

Giuseppe: No overdosing on drugs or getting into car accidents?

Anzu: No plane crashes, no choking on olives, no choking your future wife’s strap-on either.

Giuseppe: Oh god! Now that’s an image I never wanted in my head. But, I get the point. I promise you, I’ll live for a long time, Anzu. When I die, I’ll tell you all about my life and the things I experienced, and how sorely I missed you.

Anzu wiped her eyes and looked away.

Anzu: I told you not to say things that will make me cry, idiot.

Giuseppe wrapped his arm around Anzu and held her close.

December brings the night sky very early. By 5:00, the sky was already getting dark, and the thick clouds covered the moon like a shroud over Anzu’s blue eyes. She walked up to the walls surrounding the statue of Christ and laid her hand on the light in the wall. The neon imitation of stained glass bled its dark blue color across the entire sanctuary. Anzu walked back to the 4th row on the left side of the church to sit back down with Giuseppe.

Giuseppe: Magnificent lights. Whoever put those in is a genius.

Anzu: …When I’m gone, would you mind tidying up the church? There won’t be much reason for you to come here anymore. So I want you to go ahead and throw out those futons and pillows. You can keep my electric lantern if you want, I’d hate to see that thrown away.

Giuseppe: I absolutely will, Anzu. I’ll be keeping the lantern too, so don’t you worry about that. You’re probably right, too. There won’t be much of a reason to come back to this place if you’re not here anymore. Sooner or later, this church will be torn down and something will be built on top of it. Who knows when that will be, but it still kinda scares me.

Anzu: Places, like people, pass on as well. The only thing you can carry from it are the memories. And that’s perfectly fine.

Anzu’s smile reassured Giuseppe that even if something does happen to the church, it’s all okay. It’s okay to let go of the places and things that are destined to disappear. It was the nature of life and time to move on with or without you.

Giuseppe: Wise as ever, Anzu.

It was just like that first day. They had spent all day in the church, conversing and laughing together. Nothing had changed, even if the seasons changed. Even if they themselves had changed. The time for Anzu’s departure drew near, and so did the desire to sleep. It would be Anzu’s last sleepover with Giuseppe. She rolled out the futon and handed Giuseppe his pillow. They sat together on the futons, atop the podium.

Anzu: I want to sleep here, with you, one more time. I venture to guess, that when you awake, I won’t be here anymore. If that’s the case, please don’t cry, and don’t feel sad. Because of you, I’ll be able to see my mother again, and I’ll be able to befriend your mother. Who knows, maybe even Nori is up there with them. In the meantime, I’m going to pass this on to you, but you have to promise me that you’ll take good care of it.

Giuseppe: Okay. What is it?

Anzu handed Giuseppe her diary and bowed her head.

Anzu: If this diary is my life and my heart, then I want you to have it. I want to leave this behind in your care, so you can read through it and get to know me better, even if I’ll be gone. When you pass on some day, be sure to leave it in the care of your children, or you can even have it buried with you if you want. Either way, Giuseppe, you can have it.

Giuseppe couldn’t believe it. Anzu was seriously leaving her diary to him. Something as sacred and personal as her diary, and out of all the people in the world, she trusted him with all of those written feelings and thoughts.

Giuseppe: “Donut Steel”…

Anzu: Please don’t make fun of my writing. I was very young when I got this diary.

Giuseppe, who had been stifling the pain of his woeful task as pallbearer, took the diary and held it against his head, covering his crying face. Anzu kept her head bowed, and could hear Giuseppe’s quiet cries of pain. She crawled over to him on her knees and hugged him as tightly as possible.

Anzu: Thank you. You’ve been so brave and so supportive. You kept all of this inside so you wouldn’t make me sad. Now you see why I wanted to thank you so much. I can’t express my gratitude to you enough, for taking on this burden for me, for my sake. I love you, Giuseppe. Dead or alive, I will always be your friend. If you ever need me to listen to you, just pray. I’ll hear it. And I promise, I’ll be laughing and crying with you, wherever you may be in the world. Even though living day to day in life is difficult, we hardly ever see why what we’re doing is important until we finish. So, I implore you to live a whole life, Giuseppe. Keep on being an enduring spirit. Do that and I just know in my heart that you’ll live a fantastic life.

Giuseppe: I’m sorry I held it all in. I just…

Anzu: Don’t even worry about it. What matters is that you let it all go. Everything must go.

The futons were pushed closer together, with only the diary between them. As the late night approached, Anzu and Giuseppe laid in their futons, facing each other. Giuseppe looked sad, but Anzu was ready to leave this world.

Anzu: Gissy Poo. Hold my hand. It’ll give you strength to fall asleep. I don’t want you staying up watching me when you know I’m going to disappear at some point. It’ll ruin your sleep schedule.

Giuseppe: Right…

Giuseppe extended his hand and Anzu held onto it. Anzu didn’t tie her hair this time. She laid on her back, with her hair spread out like the rays of the sun, or the gold paint that always surrounded a figure of importance in religious artwork.

Giuseppe: You’ll be watching me, right?

Anzu: I always will. Until we meet again.

Giuseppe: Until we meet again. Thank you for existing, Anzu. For being the miracle that you are. Keep my mother company, and tell her I love her.

Anzu: She already knows.

Giuseppe was happy to know that even in death, his mother understood that deep down inside, he never feared her, never ran from her. He loved her. It just took a special kind of bravery to stand before a gravestone and say that. A kind of bravery he didn’t have before he met Anzu.

Anzu stretched from her futon and kissed Giuseppe on the forehead. She covered herself back up with blankets and smiled. Her smile was always genuine, always beautiful, and always memorable.

Anzu: Goodnight, Gissy Poo.

Giuseppe: Goodnight, Anzu.

Perhaps it was true that holding Anzu’s hand gave Giuseppe inner strength to do very difficult things. He wanted to keep his eyes on her for every second that she remained on the earth. He wanted to keep her hair and sleeping face in his sights for the whole night until she woke up again. But he went to sleep with her, closing his eyes and letting the hours pass by him. In the early hours of the morning, before the sun had risen, Anzu Hodane, the beautiful soul with the bright blue eyes, tender smile, and extraordinary ability to love and care for those around her, was finally laid to rest after 4 long years. She faded away and joined Maria and Natsumi on the other side, who both greeted her with smiles and praise. All of her earthly burdens were eased off of her with the help of the young man who coincidentally found her. Because she met Giuseppe, she was now able to get some long deserved rest, and to be where she belonged, with those she loved. Never to cry or hurt ever again.

When Giuseppe awoke, the first thing he saw was Anzu’s empty futon. He sprang up out of bed, almost in a panic, and looked around for her. He calmed down when he realized she had truly passed on. Anzu was gone, and yet, not too far away. For life always leads to death. The morning sun gleamed through the windows, providing the last sight of a rainbow of color washing over the inside of the church.

Giuseppe: Thank god. You made it, Anzu. Rest easy up there, beautiful. I promise, I’ll live a damned good life. I’ll have a lot of stories to tell you.

For Giuseppe, his burden as pallbearer was finished. Anzu’s wish was fulfilled. He remembered the diary that was left between the futons and opened it. He had the full right to, since it was left to him. He skimmed to some of the last pages in the diary and saw that Anzu had written another entry.

Giuseppe: Dear Diary, I have quite a story to tell Maria and my mother when I pass on. About how I was saved from loneliness, was given a home, and made a friend all at the same time. I used to pray to god every night, in hopes he’d make my life better, and cursed him when he didn’t. But you know what? Life is beautiful! There are so many beautiful people in the world. I wish I could meet them all! Perhaps that’s a little excessive. It would be difficult to meet them all, right? Well, that’s fine. I already know two great people. Giuseppe and my old pal Myu. Giuseppe may be dimwitted at times, and perhaps a bit too stoic. But he’s an amazing human being. Without whom, I wouldn’t have ever found the peace I needed. Let this diary be a record of how much I love waking up next to him, cooking with him, laughing with him, and lazing about with him. I would do it all again and again if I could. And of course, Myu, who is all too brilliant. She cooks, she cleans, she smiles, and she listens. She was my first true friend in life, and I owe her so much. I want to thank her, and the people who left candles and blessings outside of Satoshi’s Grill after I died. Let this diary be a record of how much I love everyone who loved me, and how I hope this love will never change, even as people and places disappear in the locomotive currents of time. Let this diary be proof that I overcame my inner darkness and made great friends in the process. Let this diary be proof that I have left behind something of value on the earth, and that I have entrusted it to the people I hold within my heart. I love you both, Giuseppe and Myu. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you. I always will. Don’t either of you ever forget that. See you soon, but hopefully not too soon. Cordially yours, Anzu, your friend from the grave.

Giuseppe’s sad expression turned into a smile, for he was there to witness it all. He witnessed Anzu overcome her problems, confront them, and make peace with them. He was determined to live the rest of his life the same way that Anzu lived in her death. It was a promise between two best friends, one never to be broken. Giuseppe got up, scratched out his hair, and committed himself to wrapping up the last of Anzu’s will. He rolled up the futons, gathered up the blankets and pillows, and put them by the front door. He checked the antechamber to make sure it was clean before throwing up the plastic drape back over the door of the room. Last but not least, he took Anzu’s stained glass lantern, deciding he’d hang onto it. Giuseppe carried all of it out of the church and shut the door before bowing his head to the building.

Giuseppe: Thank you, for allowing me to meet my best friend.

With that, Giuseppe was on his way. He tossed out the futon and other bedding accessories into a nearby garbage bin as he walked by the neighborhood. With one hand in his pocket, and another holding onto the lantern, he slowly made his way back home, enjoying the sight of the clouds coming back in front of the sun, and the breeze blowing through his hair. It looked like it was going to snow soon. As he hot closer to his apartment, Giuseppe could see Myu’s car, and Myu herself standing by it, apparently waiting for Giuseppe. Myu saw Giuseppe and stood up straight, waiting for him to approach her. When she saw Giuseppe’s face and the lantern, she knew what had happened.

Myu: So, she made it, huh? She passed on?

Giuseppe: Yeah. She should be having a grand old time with my mother right about now. She asked me to take of this for her, and she left her diary in my care. There’re still some things I have to do inside the house.

Myu: May I help you?

Giuseppe: Of course you can.

Giuseppe and Myu went inside and set the lantern down on the living room table. The clothes were already taken out and given away. All that was left was to make up the bed and put the sweats in the dryer. Giuseppe began making up the bed and Myu handled Giuseppe’s sleeping clothes. After that, she joined him in setting up the bed.

Myu: She really cleaned up for you. She was always like that. Always considerate of other people’s space. It makes sense tidying the place up and sorting everything out would be on her list of final things to do.

Giuseppe: Yeah. That definitely sounds like Anzu.

The bed was made, the clothes were dry and put away, and the apartment was as it was before Anzu set foot in there. Except, even after she was gone, her energy lingered.

Giuseppe: Well. That’s it. That’s the last of everything.

Myu: She’s really gone. But at least now, she can get some much deserved rest. Anzu always had it rough.

Myu slapped Giuseppe on the back to get his attention and pull him out of his zone.

Myu: Well? Don’t be a mopy sadsack just because she’s not here. Come hang out with me! We can do anything you want, anytime! Just call on me and I’ll be there!

Giuseppe smiled and nodded.

Giuseppe: Wanna catch a movie soon? Maybe we can find something interesting to watch.

Myu: I’d love to!

Myu lead Giuseppe out of the apartment by his hand

Giuseppe: Holy crap, right now?! I don’t even know what’s out!

Myu: We’ll find something when we get there, birdbrains! Live a little!

Anzu’s diary laid on Giuseppe’s kitchen table as soft light from the windows illuminated the kitchen. There was an inexplicable joy to be found by meeting Anzu. The joy of life and the act of living. It took a young girl who knew she didn’t have much time on earth anymore to teach a man who had many years ahead of him how to live and love life. Somewhere, in a peaceful, beautiful place, Anzu was smiling.

The people were alive, and the holy ghost, at long last, was laid to rest. Her work was done, and Giuseppe's life was destined to blossom from what it once was, like a lotus out of dirty water.

Hallelujah, for both the living and the dead are free.

(END) Together in the Grave
Under the summer heat beneath a blooming cherry tree, two young girls played with their dolls. Minatsuki and Kotone were out with a friend of their grandmother, who volunteered to take them out for the day. That friend was Akahana, who had grown old and almost grey in the head. Minatsuki and Kotone also had a diary beside them, the very same diary that belonged to Anzu, and was given to Giuseppe for him to pass on. Akahana’s voice rang through the air and called out to them both.

Akahana: Minatsuki! Kotone! Come on, get up here!

Kotone: Coming!

Both girls had long brown hair and hazel eyes. Kotone wore a strawberry necklace and kept some of her hair up in pigtails. Minatsuki always preferred to have her hair grown out long and hardly tampered with. They both wore beautiful purple and yellow summer dresses that were perfect for the weather. They ran through the cemetery and caught up with Akahana, who sat on her knees in front of a gravestone.

Akahana: Alright. Sorry to keep you waiting. I almost forgot where the gravestone was!

Minatsuki: Aka! You can’t forget something so important!

Akahana: I’m sorry! My memory isn’t all too sharp these days. At any rate, let’s pray.

They all pressed their hands together and closed their eyes.

Akahana: Dearest Giuseppe, we hope you’re doing well in the afterlife. I’ve come to burn incense for you and to offer you blessings. Keep watching over us, especially your beautiful grandchildren. Rest in peace.

Akahana lit the incense and the three stood up.

Kotone: Rest in peace, grandpa.

Minatsuki: Rest in peace.

Kotone and Minatsuki kissed the gravestone and held Akahana’s hand as they made their way out of the cemetery. Akahana noticed the diary Kotone was holding as they walked.

Akahana: Oh, were you reading some more of that?

Kotone: Yes, ma’am. It’s really funny and a sad too.

Minatsuki: It’s a really good book though!

Akahana: Yes, darlings. Yes it is. Now then, looks like the sun is about to set. Let’s get you home to your grandmother before it gets dark.

Minatsuki: Okie dokie!

After all this time, some place, somewhere, the two best friends were reunited. And many great stories of sadness and happiness were shared. No matter how much things change, there are bonds that will remain, like fossils invisible to the eye, and forever felt by the souls that were involved and witnessed it.

Finally and forever, together in the grave.

« Last Edit: March 28, 2017, 05:14:33 AM by OhGodHelpMe »

Offline Coryn

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #13 on: December 31, 2015, 10:49:43 PM »
Yo man, don't double post so much. If you know you got more to post, just post it in one big go.

Will review stories upon request. My latest arc:

Offline OhGodHelpMe

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Re: Anzu: A Friend From the Grave
« Reply #14 on: December 31, 2015, 10:52:07 PM »
I know but I keep hitting character limits past 2 or 3 chapters in a single post, depending on how long each one is