Kitchen

Image result for kitchen banana book cover

 

The Narrator, Mikage begins with her most favorite spot being a kitchen, the size, kind, or location not an issue, preferably well used. Even if they’re spattered with food, which Mikage hopes happens to the larger kitchens she may visit, currently though, she leaning on a large fridge, viewing through a window the evening stars. Only she and the kitchen present whilst considering how she would be content with dying in a kitchen. She remembers when her grandmother died and couldn’t sleep, sleeping near the fridge easing her mind. Mikage’s parents died at a young age, she then living with her grandparents, when starting junior high, her grandfather died, and the previous day, her grandmother died, she shocked to learn she was now the last one in her family, after attending the funeral, moving her futon to the kitchen. When she realizes she must move, the list of apartment options overwhelms her, she buckling with the task, but as the days passed by, she is visited by a young man, Yuichi, as she’s glancing disinterestedly at the apartment list, and binding up old magazines with strings. Mikage thanks him for helping her at the funeral, they having attended the same university, and she taking bereavement leave.

Yuichi inquires after her apartment hunt and she informs him of its stagnation, Yuichi then inviting her to stay, he having discussed this with his mother, and giving her directions, setting a time she could visit later. Mikage accepts without thinking too much about it, he then leaving, she recalling Yuichi’s reaction of sadness at the funeral, she thinking he must’ve had a relationship with her grandmother she wasn’t aware of, but after he’d offered her his help there, he’d continued helping her. Then she remembers her grandmother talking of the boy, Tanabe, whom worked at the flower shop she frequented, Mikage sensing he was the solitary sort, since even after knowing him for a bit, he seemed stand-offish. It began raining as she walked to his house, their homes separated by a park, she walking through, and when seeing how high their floor was, considering how wonderful their view must be, she not thinking past their invitation. She’s greeted by Yuichi at their front door, and is hit with the size of the couch before seeing the large kitchen behind it, and loving it from the first viewing. Normally, when confronted with people she didn’t know well, in a different home, she felt isolated, but knowing how alone she already was, put a spin on the situation, giving her new perspective.

Mikage gets straight to the question of why she was there, Yuichi plainly stating how nice her grandmother had been to him and they having plenty of space to spare, the two interrupted by Yuichi’s mother, Eriko rushing in, Mikage captivated by her stunning features. Whilst getting through pleasantries, Eriko quickly changes to return to work at a nightclub, she mentioning how she expected Yuichi to convince her to stay over, Yuichi walked her out and suggests Mikage watch TV for a moment as he rushed out to speak with his mother, Mikage finally understanding what being enchanted was. When Yuichi returns, he inquires whether she’d felt timid around Eriko, she being honest and remarking on her exquisite features, Yuichi confides how she’d had surgery, and had been a man, Mikage at first thinking he was messing with her, but then listens to how his parents met when they were young, his mother’s family giving Eriko a home, he then running away to get married with his mother. After his mother died, Eriko decided to get the surgeries to become a woman and started the nightclub. So whilst she still didn’t know whether to trust him fully, she gave them a shot because she did have faith in their kitchen, the two’s “Buddha” smiles being nice, as well.

When they end their night, Yuichi shows her how the shower worked and gets her set up with blankets, pajamas and what not, she again making certain her staying was fine, he then leaving her to get settled. When she lays down, she’s quite content with the silence, view, plants, and kitchen so close, she going to sleep, content. When she’s greeted by Eriko in the morning, she forgets for a moment of her male genetics, but then offers to make breakfast when Eriko decides takeout would be easier, she leaving Mikage to work the kitchen. Eriko shows her healthy appetite and by afternoon, Mikage is reveling in the slow, calm atmosphere. Eriko then mentions how Yuichi had described her as looking like a dog they used to have (17 Again), Eriko insisting on seeing the resemblance and how amused she was by it the night they met, Mikage hoping the dog wasn’t a Saint Bernard. Eriko then explains how she understood why Yuichi was so attached to her was for this reason, and she regretting not being a better mother for recognizing his aloofness, but he turning into a good person; she recognizing the same of Mikage, relating how hard life could be, but wanting her to be comfortable. When Mikage offers to pay rent, Eriko instead request she make the soupy rice once in awhile, hers surpassing Yuichi’s.

Mikage then realizes upon review, how stressing living with the elderly could be, knowing they could die soon. She recalls how easy the relationship between she and her grandmother was and the times she may have mentioned Yuichi, but even during times Mikage was impaired by drink or love, she knew there was only one person left in her life, and while she was aware of having been loved, the loneliness of her life sobered her to how it was, so she didn’t take long to move in. She showed her appreciation with making food and tidying, still working her part-time job, the three of them working different hours so it feeling spacious, Mikage extremely grateful with how she’d gotten so lucky. When she’d gone to her old home for the remainder of her belongings, she already felt estranged, and as she cleaned the fridge, her house phone rang, she hearing her ex, whom was out of the picture when her grandmother got worse. He called to give condolences, having heard through classmates, they then making a time to see each other. Sotaro’s main interest is plants, he normally outside near parks and whatnot, but due to the winter season, they agree on a cafe near a park.

They have general chat until Sotaro brings up knowing she’d moved in with Yuichi, whom had been slapped by his now ex-girlfriend in school. As they walked through the park she was reminded why they weren’t good together, he not making her feel good about herself, but by nothing he outwardly said, only how he was, they then leave each other on good terms. As she’s watching TV later in the evening, Yuichi comes home with a word processor, Mikage noting Yuichi and his mother’s penchant for pricey electronics. When he questions her on when she would post her change-of-address forms and how she’d rather get it done when she moved for good, he reacts bluntly, but quickly lightens, Mikage again asking if her being there imposed on him, he acting oblivious. They get the forms ready to send out, she learning Yuichi wanted to help for despising spare time. As they continued, she asks about the issues her being there seemed to have for him, he finally catching on and as they worked, she sensed he was quite melancholy, she understanding the issue he’d had with his girlfriend, and if she stayed there, she’d only make his life more difficult, she also seeing how their intimate conversations could complicate her feelings toward him, so whilst making the new address forms, she attempted to convince herself of needing to move as soon as possible.

When Eriko comes in to drop off a newly bought juicer, she remembers a gift for Mikage upon seeing the address cards, Mikage overcome by the thoughtful banana glass (a nod to herself?). Mikage cleared out her stuff and finished cleaning the next day, she seeing the landlord and chatting amiably like she and her grandmother used to do. She was heading to her new home by nightfall and getting emotional about how she was truly done with her childhood home, but then getting cranky when riding a crowded bus, feeling better when seeing an airship. A grandmother and granddaughter sitting nearby, the girl seemingly in a bad mood is unphased when her grandmother points out the same airship to her. When the girl’s grandmother finally gets the girl to smile though, Mikage is overwhelmed by no longer getting to see her own grandmother, she rushing off the bus and crying violently, knowing it was because she hadn’t properly mourned, but she then noticing she had stopped at a kitchen, she immediately feeling better and continuing on her way. When she got back, she announced how tired she was to Yuichi and is almost fully asleep when he’d gone to the kitchen to make tea, she halfway aware of his commenting on how quickly she’d gone down. She dreamt about the kitchen in the old apartment, a floor color she once hated, now loving. She sees Yuichi cleaning the floor and she suggests they have a tea break.

They have an aimless chat, until Yuichi asks whether she was going to leave their apartment, and before she was able to answer, telling her not to, which confused her since he sounded like they’d already begun this topic. He explains how he’d considered carefully before inviting her, and believed being with them is what’s best for now, Mikage conveying her agreement and Yuichi returning to his task of cleaning the floor. They they begin singing together as they worked, Mikage believing she broke the dream-mode by requesting they stop in case her grandmother woke, he instead suggesting they go to a ramen noodle stand at the park when they were through. Mikage wakes up after this, it now two in the morning. Yuichi takes her by surprise whilst she’s in the kitchen pouring water for herself, he also having woken up and deciding to make ramen, Mikage offering to cook it for him and to sit on the couch. When she mentions in her dream he’d also wanted ramen, she notices his surprise, he then inquiring of the color of the kitchen floor, she confirming he was correct, and thanking him for mopping the floor, he then offering to get them both juice, Mikage letting the discussion about the dream lay, knowing they had plenty of time in the future to talk about the shared experience.

One night Eriko is watering the plants when she blurts how it isn’t simple being female, and learning one’s breaking points is healthy in truly having the ability to know happiness, she appreciating the hard times she’d gotten through. Mikage states how she believed she knew what Eriko meant, Eriko then complimenting Mikage’s grandmother for having been an extraordinary lady for having raised a truthful, good-hearted young woman, she loving Mikage for it and how she’d been fortunate. Mikage begins reading the magazine she had started before Eriko’s spontaneous chat, and also ponders how she’d have to move again at some point, she debating if she’d ever come back when she did or would only have her fond memories. She then decides to focus on ‘the now’ and enjoy them whilst she could, also considering how she planned on handling the tough times in the future. She then thinks about imagined and real kitchens she’d experience with many people or only one other, in every place she would live and knowing there would be plenty more.

Eriko was murdered by a crazed regular at her club after the man had seen her walking to work one night. Yuichi phones Mikage to let her know, waking her up and stating how Eriko had taken her murderer down with her, Mikage having difficulty allowing this to sink in due to grogginess. Another blow came when Yuichi confesses how long ago it had happened, he not able to let himself inform her before the funeral, begging her forgiveness. Mikage decides she’d rather have this talk in person and offers to come by (this being after she’d finished school and now worked in a cooking school as an assistant), she then remembering the last encounter she’d had with Eriko being at a store late one night, the two ending their passing with smiles. Mikage dashes through her apartment hurriedly to grab what she needed, finally getting her head together with the items she required and left. On her walk, she starts to get upset, her eyes blurring and making everything viewed in a pretty glaze. She was truly broken by the news though, life not seeming worth living, none of this showing . When she sees Yuichi, she’s quite happy since it’d been awhile, Yuichi surprised she wasn’t furious with him. Instead they sit on the couch drinking coffee, he at first asking about her job, she in the honeymoon phase, then relaying his state of mind being wildly out of sorts around the time of the funeral, he having her in his thoughts, but unable to confess for it becoming too real, regardless of Mikage and Eriko being so chummy.

Mikage handles his explanation by noting how they were a pair, having lost so many people already, she successfully lightening Yuichi’s mood and they proceeding with Eriko’s will, but Yuichi also giving her Eriko’s red sweater which one day she had guiltily admitted looked better on Mikage. She proceeds with reading the letter written to Yuichi by Eriko, she starting lightly, stating of the ridiculous possibility of her death by someone’s hand, but sensing the necessity, she glad Mikage had entered his life since Eriko was the last of Yuichi’s family, this before warning him to refrain communicating with his mother’s side. She then tells how she attempted writing as a man and failed, she then reminiscing about the good times throughout her life, Mikage living with them being one, then ending with what legal papers he would find and to phone the lawyer for further detail, everything but the club going to him. Mikage stayed up most of the night grieving, the two not getting up until after noon. Yuichi readies for school and inquires if Mikage planned on going home, she thoughtfully declaring she would wait until dinnertime, which lights the idea in Yuichi’s head she should make a fancy feast, she wholly into the idea and supplying a grocery list for him to retrieve for her, after he’d gone, she getting the empty-house feeling, prominent after a death.

Mikage treasured the six months she’d had with Eriko, she getting overcome with the empty feeling and sleepiness, but resisting for knowing nightmares would arise, she moving to the kitchen and upon inspection, cleans the place for not being used in awhile. As she made progress, the kitchen duties eased her mind, she realizing she had turned a corner. She remembers how the summer she was with Eriko and Yuichi had also been the one she’d learned to cook. She bought three books which covered all the necessary information to attempt the task. Yuichi and Eriko would tease her because of the flurry of excitement she’d display as she learned, she even finding how cooking made her feel when in negative moods. She realizes she had brought the family together due to how much she cooked, she looking back on those days fondly, then considering how the possibility of beginning the cooking process depended on if the heat was at the right temperature before cooking, believing this affected the taste and look of the dish, they certainly not looking like the pictures in her texts. Mikage then goes over how frustrated she had at first become upon failure of making a dish properly, but how she’d gotten through it, not changing her, but helping her discover her own process. The position of the celebrity cook she’d landed, she believed was acquired by the difference in temperament between herself and the other candidates, especially with only the three month study program (her three books) she’d given herself. The other women not living a life which would allow the same type of learning Mikage had gotten (those three months of heaven), enough to understand risks needed to be made for anything good to come from life.

All of Mikage’s cleaning had passed the day, Yuichi having her help him with two more bags of groceries in the car, he then seeing the moon looking nice, Mikage catching his attempt at changing the subject due to making her help him with bags having nothing to do with the dinner like he’d claimed. As they rode the elevator back up, Mikage came to the idea how Yuichi made her feel content, but unable to make sense of the emotion. Dinner took her two hours to finish, she mentioning how she wouldn’t be able to cope with Eriko’s death all at once, and noting how worn down Yuichi seemed, which is why neither brought up Eriko. After they had eaten all they could, Mikage saw an empty bottle of wine Yuichi must have drank by himself, he then conveying how it did help cause his putting off calling her about Eriko, being drunk for a month and his mind believing she’d hold his not confessing sooner against him. Yuichi then confides all the thoughts he’d built up about how he’d handled his mother’s death and not being brave enough to face Mikage, he then asking if she’d move back, she not knowing if he was too drunk to understand what he was saying, but stating of it on the table for debate. Yuichi brings down the mood with how he could end up becoming stuck in his gloom, she getting upset and deciding they should see how things would go. He passes out and Mikage cleans the dishes whilst she bawls over her isolation. When she is woken by the phone the next morning, she picks it up before remembering she wasn’t at home, the caller disconnecting after she says hello, she then going to work. After she learns she’d be let out early, she was also invited to a three-day research retreat for food, she immediately accepting, which answered her own question of whether she’d be staying with Yuichi. As she entered the prep area, she speaks with the two head assistants who couldn’t go to the three-day research retreat, due to golf lessons, the girls sweet, and Mikage pleased to work with them.

Then the three are visited by the defensive, know-it-all caller, a classmate of Yuichi whom is also in love with him, she attempting to demand Mikage leave him alone whilst also schooling her about how she’d gotten him in a rut, she mentioning how she’d comforted him after his mother had died, and before she could continue her selfish tirade, Mikage starts speaking about how the girl hadn’t even gotten her side of what happened, she feeling bad for the girl having wasted her time for a useless task. Once Mikage had said her peace, the girl left, the two assistants supporting Mikage’s side, she feeling worn down. When Yuichi returns home later, Mikage shares her news about work and planning on leaving to pack, but as he’d been driving her home, she craves some tea beforehand, and upon sitting, she mentions this being their first time out together. When he’d gotten her home, they discuss what he’d like for a souvenir, she burying her face in his arm when realizing how cold it was outside, then leaving and discovering her own jealousy, not knowing whom was “winning”. Mikage then relates a sad memory of Eriko when she was sharing a story about before she became a woman, his wife terribly ill and how he’d visit her before and after work every day. At one point, his wife asks for something alive to be with her in the hospital room, Eriko immediately out and buying a pineapple potted-plant, his wife extremely grateful. When she was about to get worse (Eriko not confessing to her the nature of her illness), she requests he take the plant home with him, his isolation shared with the pineapple, he also coming to his first realization of becoming a woman as he decided against hailing a taxi, after his wife’s death, planning on maintaining a bemused sunniness, he then transitions to become a lady. Mikage figures what she’d meant by sharing the story, she fighting her weaknesses as she tried to sleep.

The next morning Mikage gets a phone call from Chika, the head girl at Eriko’s club, whom now owned it by Eriko’s will. Chika was a transvestite, but quite pretty, he calling to speak with her about an important topic, mysteriously only giving the place they’d meet and hanging up. Upon meeting him at the noodle place, Mikage begins eating and then inquires what was so urgent, he usually exaggerating, but he talking about how Yuichi was acting oddly, usually so austere, but his emotions breaking through, he referring to Yuichi to an Inn since he’d not been sleeping well. Chika then confides his sense of they’re deep affection for each other and she should go after him, Mikage numbed with his deduction. He goes on to figure out what the hold up was besides Mikage’s trip, she relenting by deciding to give tracking him down some thought, Chika relaying how Yuichi’s state of mind needed changing what with his mother’s death affecting him in such a bad way. As Mikage walks Chika out, he breaking down loudly, he also gives her the information on the Inn. As he leaves, Mikage affected with his emotion, but still undecided about her next move, she end up doing nothing about it and begins her trip to Izu with Sensei, other staff, and a cameraman, Mikage reverting back to thinking this was best, the muddled feelings being too difficult to sort.

Later in the evening, Mikage goes to Sensei’s room to ask if she’d be allowed to go get a meal since the Inn served only veggies she didn’t like, she not minding, and once Mikage had gone out walking, she discovering she’d love to be on the road more often, but Yuichi having put too much of an impression on her. When reaching the first restaurant she still saw open with only one other patron, she goes in and gives her order. As she waits, she uses the phone sitting on the counter and dials Yuichi’s Inn, when he answers, he deduces how Mikage got the number, she asking about the food there, tofu being the answer, after they joking about not eating apart, together. Mikage asks about how long he’d stay, she not believing his reply of it not being long, the two hanging up soon after, Mikage’s sense of isolation returning, but once her katsudon was done and tasted, she abruptly deciding to order a second and both made to go, she remembering Sensei had mentioned this place and was disappointed they couldn’t hit it.

Mikage debated her next move, which is again made for her when a taxi pulls up, she getting him to agree to the longish fare, when they get there, the cabbie able to arrive in decent time, she then having to contemplate how she’d get into Yuichi’s room since no one at front desk was answering, it after midnight, and the lights in all the rooms being off, she then sensing which room it was and climbing to it, but getting stuck, and after a few moments, able to pull herself up, but sustaining an injury. Now bleeding and after take a rest, she knocks on the window, Yuichi answering after a minute, disbelieving he was seeing her at first, but once getting her inside, gives her tea whilst she insisted he eat the katsudon she’d gotten for him. Her original feeling of gloom permeated and dissipated with the memories they’d shared. Before leaving, she finally gets her thoughts out about wanting to be with him, but for him to think on it until he felt better, after the two joke about Yuichi wanting to exude masculinity when Mikage saw him, they part. Mikage is next awoken by footfalls outside her door, she viewing the snowstorm which moved in, and getting up when Sensei called. On their final day of the trip, they had a French menu, Mikage taking a walk on an unbearably cold day on the beach, only warmed by a can of coffee (I’ve had one before, heated with chemicals at the sealed bottom, not bad stuff), when returning and readying a hot shower and tea, Yuichi calls, she informing him of the foodstuffs she’d sent ahead, he declaring he’d be picking her up, and so giving him the information of when and where, contentedly.

This was a wonderful story, quite gripping and entertaining. The fact it didn’t really have chapters didn’t make it difficult to read due to the fascination the writing brought. I’m glad I decided to read this on a whim.

Moonlight Shadow

Hitoshi was given a bell which he carried with him on his case he used as a wallet, the Narrator giving this as a token of love, which he would keep close to him until the end (…of the story?). The two were in the same sophomore committee for a field trip, their time together brief since being in separate groups when arriving, they only spending time together on the train. When they’re about to join their groups, the Narrator, Satsuki (annoyingly not introduced until five pages later) gives Hitoshi a spur-of-the-moment gift of the bell left behind by her cat. She was impressed with his sensitivity in reacting to her present, all day the two thinking of the bell and their shared memory, upon returning, head-over-heels for each other. The bell had stayed with them for almost four years through all the poignant moments of their time together. Then Satsuki confesses to sensing Hitoshi’s fuzziness in reality to her, she considering if this thought was a bad omen of the future, it would be quite unfortunate.

Hitoshi was gone by the time Satsuki was twenty, she drastically changed by his death, feeling something terrible must now occur to her because of her instability. Her connection to him involved many major firsts in her life which they were able to learn together, but now she couldn’t stand living for not having Hitoshi. Satsuki takes up running for two months after Hitoshi’s death (Octopus Pie having a similar story when Hanna takes up running after splitting with Marek, more funny, but still sad), she getting terrible sleep with consistent dreams of Hitoshi. Her depression led to feeling nauseous and instead of becoming anxious for dawn to rise, she’d started jogging. During the day, she would distract herself with buddies, she awaiting the day she’d have her eureka moment. Even after Hitoshi’s death, Satsuki still enjoyed the river which he had lived on the other side of, they meeting on the bridge, frequently. She meditated how these times of rest helped her stay sane for the day.

The next morning she is woken with a nightmare, prepares to run, but finds when doing so, brought difficulty in breathing, deciding to push through it. When reaching the bridge and pouring some tea for herself, she’s snuck up on by a lady asking for a cup (presumptuous), Satsuki dropping her thermos over the ledge, the lady seeming friendly and light-spirited, so once taking a sip herself, offers the woman the rest, she offering to replace the thermos. The woman then states how she’d arrived recently from a fairly distant place to view a sight only seen once a century, she then inquiring if Satsuki knew of this, but when being told she hadn’t, agrees to share what the phenomenon was in some time. Satsuki doesn’t wait though, she realizing she needed to be heading back, then Urara introduces herself, she stating of hopefully seeing her again.

Satsuki thinks how strange Urara was, and when taking a second look at her, sees an expression which changed her features, but smiles and waves again when looking away from the river and sees her staring. She wonders about the type of person she could be as she continues on, then Hiiragi, Hitoshi’s brother is mentioned to stepping to the beat of his own drummer, his eighteenth birthday “this month”. When Satsuki meets him after his class, he was in full sailor girl uniform, Satsuki horrified, but able to act natural for his nonchalance. As they order tea, Satsuki notices a movement Hiiragi did, which reminded her of Hitoshi, the two now having a system of making light of it so as to throw away the sadness they felt. Then it’s elaborated on Hiiragi losing his girlfriend, Yumiko the same night Hitoshi had given her a ride to the train station, whilst Hitoshi not being at fault, both of their lives having been taken.

Hiiragi makes chit chat about her running, then suggests they go to a new spot with delicious tempura on rice, after how the running didn’t seem to help her getting chunky. Satsuki knew she’d been actually losing weight, but plays along, agreeing and then explains how the outfit was Yumiko’s, his late girlfriend, her parents attempting to have him stop, but he having a good laugh over it, Satsuki having asked about it and he explaining it made him hurt less. Satsuki realizes then they had a new expression for their faces which conveyed the attempt to bury the thought of their partners. Then Satsuki states of having to let her parents know she wasn’t coming home for dinner, Hiiragi planning on ordering out for delivery for his mother, she saying how nice the gesture was. When Satsuki had first been informed by Hitoshi of his younger brother, he’d specified how his weirdness made him worry whether it could affect Satsuki still liking him, also mentioning how adult-like he acted except around his family, but Hitoshi also stating it was most likely okay since Hiiragi enjoyed meeting “‘good people'”.

Then back to real time, they about to walk to the place across the river, Satsuki remembering she hadn’t seen Urara since the first morning they met, she getting another hit of pain when Hiiragi thought she’d hesitated and offering to drive her back, his kindness dripping of Hitoshi. Then Satsuki shares of meeting strange Urara, recalling the expression on her face seeming demonic and Satsuki thinking it was because she thought she shouldn’t have human feelings, then comparing how minor her melancholy seemed, wondering if she was in store for worse pain. As they neared the restaurant, they ended up having to go through the cross streets where Hitoshi and Yumiko had their accident, Satsuki and Hiiragi becoming solemn and trying to stay upbeat, she discovering how cells could get the feeling of people from the past, not comprehending the idea before, like when tour guides in castles would offer this possibility. She then begins to consider Hitoshi’s last thoughts and emotions, as well as how it would’ve looked at night and whether this night looked similarly. She noted how beautiful the moon was as Hiiragi nudged her to cross the street. They were eating when Satsuki regained a luster for life caused by the meal, she complimenting it so hard, the employee was embarrassed.

One afternoon, Satsuki had gotten sick, too ill to run, she realizing the phone was ringing and having to pick up for no one else at the house. She’s surprised to learn Urara was calling to see if she could meet up, Satsuki agreeing, but also asking how she’d discovered her number, Urara good-naturedly relating how she wanted it, so it came (synchronicity), Satsuki accepting this due to how she explained it. Urara then informs Satsuki to join her at a department store in the thermos area, Satsuki knowing she shouldn’t leave for her cold, but too intrigued, following her gut. Making sure to dress warmly, Satsuki rides her bicycle, noticing the weather promising spring, everyone outside seeming to go about their business pleasantly, whilst Satsuki remained insouciant, wanting her heart to finish the job of breaking already. When she sees Urara, she notes how she looked closer in age to herself this time, when Urara sees Satsuki, she notices immediately she was sick and getting straight down to showing the different sorts of thermoses available to choose from, she feeling much better for Urara’s exuberance.

After Satsuki detected one, they have tea, she then giving Satsuki a variety of tea to break in the new thermos with since a shop owner closing his shop gave away a bunch to her, Satsuki again grateful. She then asks once more about how Urara had come by her number, she divulging more information about how she’d become proficient in sensing them, allowing her finger to choose without thinking, Satsuki wanting to trust this since she felt like she’d known Urara a long time ago, and her nature made one susceptible to accepting her far-fetched explanations. Satsuki describes her gratitude in a strange way, she being as euphoric as a “lover”, Urara not missing a beat and advising Satsuki feel better by the day after next, Satsuki deducing the phenomenon must be the reason, which Urara admits, also relaying the hour to be at the bridge, she asking about what it could be and Urara finally confiding how if all progressed accordingly, Satsuki may see a kind of supernatural sight, she sensing Satsuki had a deep bond with the river making it more possible she’d succeed in seeing it, whatever it was being unique. Satsuki dazedly finalizes the meeting, she then flashing back to Hitoshi and her last time at the bridge being a fine one, he getting ready for a boys night, Satsuki a healthy amount plumper and much more content. When they say their goodnight’s, Satsuki hears the bell as he walks off. She then confesses how terrible their fights could be, the two also having affairs with others, they both wounding the other countless times, but overall their time together being happy.

Satsuki used to dream how she’d stop him from leaving, the memory consistently having the affect of upsetting her and bottling her pain in public hurting more. As Urara and she split later, she was wishing this something did happen, but also soothing herself with the thought of still being pleased by the both of them being at the river, regardless of the outcome. As she’s about to reach her bicycle, she spots Hiiragi, in normal-wear, she thinking he was playing hooky and instead of calling to him for weakness, walks in his direction, but he going off, fortunately in the direction she needed, unfortunately at a speed she couldn’t equal. Hiiragi soon stops in front of a tennis shop though, Yumiko having played, he blankly staring within, Satsuki not making herself known, she deciding she wouldn’t go up to him, seeing the look of a bird searching for its mother on his face, it being adorable, but also feeling down about how his presence soothed her because of reminding her of Hitoshi. When she had first met Yumiko, she couldn’t imagine the hold she had on Hiiragi, she seeming average in most ways, but for whatever reason, she complimenting him in her way. Hitoshi relays to her it was because of her tennis abilities, they watching a finals game, where the two realized Hiiragi was right, and her friendship to the girl budding, which made the events later even more terrible to think on. Satsuki leaves Hiiragi without saying hello and decides to not mention ever having seen him, her illness getting worse. She awakens from a dream again, still sick and debating her run, wanting dawn to break, instead making tea, returning to her room, and looking out her window to see Urara, whom mimes permission to pass their front gate, she nodding. Urara then explains being on her way home from work, noting how terrible Satsuki looked and offering a vitamin C candy and some comforting advice, afterwards closing her window for her, she feeling better enough to catch a few more z’s.

Satsuki gets much more rest, she awaking early in the evening, questioning whether she’d actually spoken with Urara, also wondering if more horrible nights were in her future, she then surprised by a visit from Hiiragi, whom had called, learned of the sickness from her mother and dropping by to see how she was feeling. He then shows her his get well gift of KFC, enough for them both so it being time to dig in. During this, Hiiragi opens up with letting her know of how concerned he’d been for her and to call him if she felt too alone, glad and surprised he’d said anything. Later, she sleeps better than she had been in a long time, the aid of medicine helping, she next waking at the right hour to prepare her meet up with Urara. She still goes for a run, and Urara is waiting for her at the designated spot, she greeting her warmly and warning her what to do as the time neared, she mentioning of their dimension about to change, and not to move or say anything when they viewed whatever they would see across the river. As the sky lightened, first Satsuki hears a bell, then notices Urara had disappeared, when looking back at the river, she sees Hitoshi at the other shore, breaking down, but not saying a word, he waving to her as his image faded with dawn, she again seeing Urara and telling her how worth the experience had been.

When Urara shares of the Weaver Festival Phenomenon whilst they drank tea in a shop, she explains how the vision was produced, she also having lost a significant other, she then mentioning of seeing Satsuki the first night and deciding to extend the invitation. Satsuki then wonders what plans Urara had next for herself, whom she’d seen, as well as still curious about the sort of person she truly was, unable to say anything to her. Urara states how the moment having allowed them to have a second chance with goodbye’s should ease their minds, Satsuki still in much agony over the memory, she finally inquiring after Urara’s next destination and she giving the vague answer of seeing each other again, as well as knowing Satsuki’s number, they parting, and she considering what Urara had done for her. Satsuki is next waiting at Hiiragi’s school to deliver his birthday present of a record to him, when he dashes out claiming to have seen Yumiko, he not wearing her uniform. He shares how one night he’d been woken up seeing Yumiko walk through his door (after opening it, of course) and taking the sailor suit, she then mouthing, “‘Bye-bye'”, waving, and he going back to sleep, the next morning unable to locate the outfit. When questioning his own sanity lightly, Satsuki suggests he start running when getting those emotions, he cracking up. Then from Hitoshi’s perspective, he states of having to be on the move, then giving an idea of Urara being a part of him and grateful of Satsuki waving goodbye to him.

This was an interesting and odd one, as well, but there’s something about Kitchen where the characters hold one’s attention more, connecting with Mikage, and the goodness of Eriko. Overall worth it, quite an easy read on top of everything, too.

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Ahmed and the Oblivion Machines

This story was inspired by Little Nemo in Slumberland, the comic. We begin with Ahmed who falls off of his camel and loses the caravan he was following and notices a bird, wondering where it was going and if he or his father would fly one day, his father replying it would be another year; In this sense the story is already strange, this conversation with his father occurring before he’d fallen and been left behind, asleep and getting covered by sand until morning, when he realizes he’s now alone and thinking of what he could have done wrong to be living with such a dire fate he expects will come from his current situation. Ahmed soon uncovers a figure under the sand and prays for direction and hope his life won’t end so young, not getting and answer until he wept upon the face. Ahmed doesn’t notice the first movements of the god though, until he speaks, surprising Ahmed, the two then introducing themselves and we learning the god is named Gonn-Ben-Allah. Gonn requests Ahmed to finish digging him up, stating he shouldn’t fear death any longer if he finishes releasing him. Soon Ahmed is seeing darkness surround them, asking Gonn what it was and getting the answer of it being the “Enemy” as the other half was the “Savior”.

We then learn what the enemy is, Gonn needing Ahmed’s help as strength to the cause. Soon Gonn is making it so Ahmed’s wish of flight will come true, speaking the words which would give Ahmed the gift of flight and upon getting his first taste of this, he then learns Gonn had the plan of needing to go to a place called Yestermorrow. Ahmed soon discovers what Gonn had in mind for him to see, which would be a place both in the past and future. When Ahmed soon believes he sees his father, it becomes a bad omen to Ahmed and brings both he and Gonn, falling to the sand. Gonn disappears beneath the sand and Ahmed tries to dig him out and only being able to again uncover him when he lets the thought of his father go, then being told he must dance and sing upon Gonn’s “grave”. When Ahmed had done enough, Gonn was able to burst out and take them both back into the air; This is reminding me a little of the Peter Pan way of thought, one needing to let go of their family: the past, in order to live freely for themselves in the future. With Ahmed properly letting go, he then sees the scenery has changed and creatures he hadn’t seen before soaring off of cliffs. The two then see recognizable characters from Greek mythology, a boy and his father and a set of golden wings about to be tried out and teaching Ahmed the value of trying everything worth experiencing, at least in Gonn’s words.

As Gonn explains his reasoning for this, they are distracted by an airship made of such delicate materials it’s blown away by Ahmed’s sneeze, they then seeing a hot-air balloon, one of the balloon’s not staying in the air for long, again giving Gonn the opportunity to remind Ahmed not to refuse any sight for they all will teach a lesson. Then they see another man trying to feel the gift of flight by attaching himself to a home-made kite, which takes him up in the air, only not for long; This part reminds me of a short story in The Flying Machine which is from the Emperor’s perspective, since the man on the kite is shot down by arrows with an Emperor’s sign on the darts. This gets no response from Ahmed this time and he then confides in Gonn of how he wishes he could see his father, the god then advising him he must be patient to help give him life, since he was more like a dream in this current state and Ahmed could help him become “real”. Gonn then shows Ahmed tall buildings which men would build so high as to touch the sky and saw men who wished to fly so badly as to fling themselves off buildings with carpets under them and shouting words of flight which didn’t help their cause. Ahmed then sees the sky fill with machines Gonn dictating what words Ahmed must say to insure their forever existing. Ahmed continues to be coached by Gonn to get those asleep in bed to see the grand sight of all the machines in the air, this being the moment Gonn is horror-stricken with the idea he was going to fall out of the sky.

Ahmed soon understands why Gonn has thought this, it having to do with the sleepers who won’t awaken or won’t believe the sight to be seen, the gluttons and lazy people who will only sleep. Gonn soon is noticeably thinning to which Ahmed then decides he’ll be the one to save him, being the only one awake and powerful enough, he “proving” this by informing Gonn so and he taking his former girth. Ahmed then shares how he wished to learn more from Gonn about how he can make those who don’t, hear what he would shout to them, in essence, to be able to fly higher, faster, and longer. Gonn then confirms Ahmed had learned enough to take over where he’d left off and to return them to where he’d found him so he could cry happy tears to let him move on. Gonn confessing how he’d left his thumbprint on Ahmed when he was born and going into deeper symbology as he explains. Before Gonn goes back the way he’d come he makes an agreement with Ahmed for when he can return to see him once more, then Ahmed cries to allow Gonn back into the sand. Gonn helps Ahmed remember how to fly once more from within the sand and Ahmed then sees the caravan, his father the only one awake and mourning Ahmed, who bumps into him and praises Allah he was found. When Ahmed is about to go to sleep he makes certain Gonn is still with him who wished to be called by another name, then giving Ahmed a dream of his future.

This story was an odd, but entertaining, definitely a learning tool for children still wondering why certain days are tough and how to get through hurt feelings. Worth the read.

Bone Vol. 4: The Dragonslayer

For the third volume. The Dragonslayer starts with the Heavy Metal – Stick-Eater Prologue I reviewed earlier. After, we see how far Fone, Thorn and Gran’ma have gotten from the farm to get to Barrelhaven, which isn’t known other than they’ve been travelling for days off-road so as not to be seen. They go uphill to get a look at the valley, when they reach the top Fone tries to discover if they’ll be staying in the valley once they reach the tavern, Gran’ma Ben not saying and trying to move them along until they’re relatively safe. Then we see what’s happening in the bar, which is some of the locals are sharing personal experiences with unsettling mysteries. One man describes what happened to a man’s wife when she had gone to the woodshed. As the man goes on with the story he declines a drink from Lucius but not one from Smiley. When Smiley puts in the order for more beers and snacks, he also questions Phoney on how he’s actually going to kill the dragons, Phoney revealing he had no intention of following through since the dragons weren’t actually dangerous and to keep it down for a customer walking up.

After getting another sale, Lucius demands to speak with Phoney in private to express he isn’t pleased how he’s using the dragon shtick to sell beer and wants to call the bet off. Phoney reasons Lucius must be jealous of them winning the bet and how funny it is Phoney is the one to be confessing the truth about the dragons whilst Lucius was lying, due to it being the other way around usually. Phoney then comes up with a compromise which doesn’t help Lucius much and walks back out to the bar, leaving Lucius steaming. Then we see Fone and his group walking through the wilderness when Thorn calls out to Gran’ma Ben, noticing she seems odd and she informs them she’s gotten the feeling “of bad things to come”, again. She then urges of they needing to move along quickly since she didn’t know what it was would be coming, but it was big, then we see someone speaking off-panel about Quiche and then we see them surrounded.

Gran’ma Ben tries to get the two to get behind her so they wouldn’t be surrounded. The rat creatures try to convince Gran’ma Ben to give up now and surrender to being made into a Quiche which is when the rat creatures then begin their usual quarrel, Gran’ma Ben trying to take advantage of the situation and failing, but getting the rat creatures to retreat a little ways away. Gran’ma then lets them know the rat creatures arrival isn’t what her “gitchy” feeling is warning them of, since it was still happening and foretold much worse to come, then giving Thorn her sword. Gran’ma Ben then realizes the woods are quiet and they shouldn’t be, so she goes after the rat creatures, capturing one to share with her of what’s going on and as the rat creature was about to spill his guts, Kingdok shows up and throws Gran’ma Ben further into the woods, but then picks her up and we get shown Fone’s perspective, he waking up with a cut on his head and looking for Thorn and Gran’ma Ben, soon calling for the dragon for help. We then go back to Barrelhaven and see Smiley taking a nap and saying Fone’s name before being woken by Phoney, informing him they had a problem of the business slowing down. Smiley suggests a new slogan could help, but Phoney thinks they can’t do better than his current one. Smiley then divulging perhaps the patrons were saving their funds for the summer picnic, which takes Phoney by surprise for not knowing of it and then getting angry Lucius could be trying to keep him from making more money.

Then Smiley hears Phoney yelling again, one of the patrons also hearing it, so Smiley goes off running to help Fone with Phoney trailing behind him. As the Bones run off after Fone, Lucius gets his customers to gather torches so they can follow. The Bones lose Fone since he stopped yelling after they’d gotten into the woods, the townspeople catching up to them now. Lucius doesn’t give up yet, though and gets everyone to scatter around for clues, someone observing blood on the ground. Then we see Kingdok throwing Gran’ma Ben to the ground, then into a tree and before he believes he’s about to make the killing blow, Thorn comes at him with the sword, taking one of his arms. Kingdok is so overcome with pain, he believes he’s seeing Gran’ma Ben and Thorn in their true forms. After, Kingdok screams for the rat creatures who come running and then all retreat deeper into the woods. Gran’ma Ben then comforts Thorn with the words of knowing the rat creatures wouldn’t be coming back anytime soon since it was their way, Fone then detecting them. Thorn notices his cut head, which he speaks of as looking worse than it was, Gran’ma Ben then believing she needs to admit to Thorn the important information of the Lord of the Locusts looking for her and she must keep herself hidden from him no matter what.

We then see the two rat creatures in panic-mode, first believing Kingdok is dead and then trying to stanch his wound, they discussing the fault of the incident being bandied between the two of them and then realizing if Kingdok did die, the Hooded One would torture them. When they realize Kingdok’s wound has stopped bleeding they decide their best course of action is to flee and not return which they immediately begin. We then go back to Thorn trying to inspect Gran’ma Ben’s arm as Fone fools around with the detached appendage on the ground. Gran’ma Ben continues to try and inform Thorn of something she doesn’t know yet whilst she tried to bandage her arm, she confiding Thorn was an “awakened one” and had a rough track ahead of her, she then explaining the details and how the Agents of the Locust will be hunting her, this being the reason they were heading for Atheia, Thorn declining this destination since she was now rebelling against her Gran’ma who tried to convince her what she was revealing was true, but Thorn wasn’t having it and walks off.

Gran’ma Ben then tries to convince Fone to go after her and bring her back, but Fone is having trouble agreeing with Gran’ma Ben now too, she giving Fone her sword and agreeing with the both of them in surrender, ordering Fone instead to get her back to Barrelhaven Tavern safely. Gran’ma Ben makes sure Fone relays the message of what the rat creatures were up to when Fone found Lucius and gave Fone her locket as proof and truth of the information about the Lord of the Locusts. Fone catches up to Thorn and they both head back to the tavern where they run in to a wall with Jonathan guarding it and being told of how he couldn’t let them in since whomever was in charge inside since Lucius hadn’t returned told him anyone outside the walls was a stranger, they then seeing who is giving the orders.

Then we see the Hooded one relaying word from the southern front and how the Lord of the Locusts was in charge of the East once more, he asking of Atheia. He describes the area awaiting the Lord of the Lucusts’ orders and he then informing where the Bones and Thorn were, the Hooded One promising the town’s destruction and the Lord of the Locusts giving voice to his approval of the Hooded One’s service. The Lord of the Locusts then disclosing if they failed to acquire Thorn alive, she must then be destroyed, but the Hooded One being commanded not to give way. The Hooded One then tries to convince the Lord of the Locusts to suffice with his service and he not needing Thorn, hoping to destroy her, but the Lord of the Locusts communicates of needing to keep her powers within his grasp if possible and won’t be forgetting the Hooded One’s loyalty, then going on to stroke the Hooded One’s ego in preference of one day releasing the Lord of the Locusts’ bonds so he could properly reward him. We then go back to Phoney asking the townspeople how long it had been since they’d last seen Lucius, Fone, and Thorn being let into the town. Fone then asks why he keeps hearing people refer to Phoney as the Dragonslayer, Smiley almost letting loose with what had occurred and Phoney shutting him up and escorting them indoors where dinner and drinks awaited them. Thorn decides to rest and Fone goes to dinner with his cousins, but before we join them, we see the Hooded One seeing Thorn in her imagined form as she slept.

When Fone enters his cousins new digs, he’s impressed with its royal touches and immediately asks what the blockade and upgraded lifestyle was all about, Fone displaying his disgust and Phoney defending himself by assuring the townspeople won’t be helped if they’d rather live in fear. Phoney then confesses of he having a plan which will eventually get them out of town and back to Boneville on the upswing of riches, Fone revealing his plans to stay. Phoney then figures the reason for Fone wanting to stay and tries to persuade him to forget about her since she didn’t see him the same way, Fone trying to make him realize he didn’t mean it the way it sounded and was referring to the issues of the rat creatures and problems involving them, leaving the two of them to wonder how they’d get a dragon without Fone’s help.

Fone is shone harrumphing outside about his sensing Phoney trying to get his help with something and of course Fone then having to figure a way to help him out of the issue when he hears something and hoping it’s only a small animal looking for food, when he’s confronted by the creature. He’s then rubbed up against by an iddy rat creature. We then see Thorn in her other form, following her Gran’ma looking like she had in her younger days, motioning toward a tunnel in a mountain. Thorn tries to shout to her not to enter, but then a hooded figure which also turns out to be her Gran’ma instructs her to allow her to proceed, stating she’ll chance upon shelter there, but whilst she tries to convince Thorn to go inside the cave with her, someone is waking Thorn up and we see the hooded Gran’ma get angry because of this. When Thorn is awakened, Fone updates her of their new problem and shows her the iddy rat creature, she not taking this well at all and demanding to get it out of her room or she would kill it.

Jonathan is first to see Lucius return, Phoney then is wakened to give him the news, Phoney ordering the person at his door to let Lucius in and keep him comfortable whilst getting Smiley to round up their militia. Lucius is caught up to what had been going on in the town and Fone gets Smiley’s attention for his help in the stables. Meanwhile Phoney is updating Lucius of how he’d kept up the protection of the town and once revealing where Lucius would now be staying, he not taking it well at all, but being protected by the townspeople so Lucius declines Phoney’s offerings of placement in preference to the barn. We then see Fone showing Smiley the tot rat creature and Smiley noticing how the ears were different and whether he knew any tricks. Smiley tests the iddy rat creature’s ability to listen and is impressed with his first attempt, Fone then noticing someone was coming in and trying to hide the rat creature, Lucius being the visitor and asking Fone of the whereabouts of Thorn and Gran’ma Ben.

Fone reports to him of everything he knows plus what Gran’ma Ben wanted him to relay which Lucius realizes is similar to an attack the rat creatures had implemented before. Fone continues to fret about Kingdok and their danger in the woods, Lucius realizing they needed to get to Thorn. Then we see the townspeople about a fire and how one realized Lucius did have a point in confessing there hadn’t been an invasion of dragons in the town and it had gotten him thinking. They began considering if they were stuck in there with a dragonslayer, they may as well get the slayer to go out and dispose of the dragons so they weren’t trapped indoors. We then see Lucius visiting Thorn and comforting her when she breaks down, Fone and Smiley standing nearby. Meanwhile the rat creatures are being given a speech by the Hooded One about the new laws the Lord of the Locusts has decided upon and ending with the declaration they will take what is theirs.

We then learn anyone who lived outside the village was given accommodations within the walls of the barricade. When Phoney reaches the point of not getting a hearty meal, Wendell informs him of what the townspeople had agreed upon. Phoney comes down hard on the man and reveals he’s aware of their midsummer’s day picnic, informing him to gather what they’ve hoarded and meet him in the center of the compound at dusk, ready to teach them a lesson. Phoney then circles his thoughts back around to where Smiley could have gotten to and still planning his escape from town. He then goes to Lucius to collect tax for the newly placed families, but Phoney uncovers they’ve already taken all of his chickens, putting a back tax on Lucius until the next day. We are then shown Fone swiping some foodstuffs from the kitchen and going to the stables where Smiley is with the iddy rat creature, to Fone’s surprise, discovering Smiley was collecting food for the iddy all day, but the food Fone had brought would be made of good use by Smiley, Fone relaying to him they’re going to have to change the iddy rat creature’s point of venue because of how close it was to Thorn still. Fone comes up with the plan of needing to at least get the cub out of the compound if not all the way to the eastern mountains, he then hearing someone approach and we discovering it to be Thorn. She confides to Fone of knowing the cub is in the barn and came to apologize for her behavior, she then confiding about her dreams becoming stronger and she not having been able to sleep, then confusing Fone with the talks of wanting to go home, but she meaning the farmhouse.

Fone reminds her of it being dangerous still, but she not caring so Fone tries to convince her to come with them to free the cub, but she doesn’t want in on the plan, Fone resorting to trying to get her to at least rationalize her decision before she went through with it. When Fone mentions Gran’ma Ben’s instructions for Thorn to go south to Atheia, Thorn gets irritated about Gran’ma Ben leaving them and Fone admits they don’t actually know what happened so they shouldn’t think about it. Thorn then gives Fone the sword with the intention of he returning the sword to Gran’ma Ben if he thought he’d be seeing her again, Fone declining, but Thorn already leaving. Fone goes out after her and Smiley follows, he noticing all the people gathering into the square.

Fone then sees Thorn head into the tavern, he chasing her and Smiley asking Lucius what everyone was doing, he sensing Phoney was about to make a speech. They soon ascertain Phoney had the intention of getting everyone to gather all their valuables since the hoarding of goods wouldn’t help them keep the dragons away. Lucius steps forward after and Phoney doesn’t spare him in the villagers eyes, going so far as to back him into a corner of silence and making it seem he was doing the bidding of the dragons. After Phoney then speaks of his plans on what they’d be doing with all the loot he ends the meeting and Smiley asks Lucius why he’d lied to everyone about the dragons existence. Fone then comes out to report Thorn locked herself in her room and how he wished Gran’ma Ben would return. Then we observe the Hooded One commanding the masses to destroy the enemies, Kingdok getting his own mission of bringing Thorn and the Bones to him.

We then see Thorn’s shadow in the woods and a letter in her room left for Fone, he being outside and looking for Thorn with Smiley, but they most likely having to get the cub out of the compound without her. They get out no problem, but Smiley keeps going, Fone chasing them now. Phoney is then seen with Jonathan and making sure everything was set for their trek with the treasure the next morning making sure Jonathan would uncover his cousins soon so he could implement his greatest plan, then Ted the bug shows up. At first Phoney doesn’t remember him, but then Ted admits to knowing where his cousins are and not saying since he’d heard Phoney was planning on dragon-extinguishing, Phoney resorting to confiding his plan to Ted so he’d offer him knowledge of where Fone was. Ted imparts the last place he’d seen him and then gives the imparting words of what was in for Phoney if he kept up his crooked ways, Phoney taking his words lightly. When Phoney reaches the barn, he steps on the abandoned sword and hears something still inside, thinking it’s Fone, but no one appearing and when he leaves, the one inside taking the sword.

Thorn is next seen in the woods sleeping and being discovered by a group of hooded figures, she next waking in the woods with the sword next to her and hearing noises, which makes her run and then fall right next to the Red Dragon who greets her. Thorn then realizes she’s dreaming and sees a throne in the distance, she seeing rat creatures and after being too frightened to see what else is there, but peeking to see Gran’ma Ben and possibly someone else, realizing it was Fone and Lucius then deciding she wants to wake up, determining she won’t be going down without a fight anymore and wished to return to her friends. Thorn awakens again and the sword is next to her, she running off and we next seeing the compound again with the townspeople awaiting Phoney to come who arrives after and relates of his cousins not returning the last night. Phoney then goes through with his plan since the people are aware if they wait any longer it will be after nightfall when they reach their destination, Phoney revving them up before getting on their way.

It’s well after nightfall and Phoney is driving them on even though the people nearest him thought they should stop near the bottom of the mountain, but they soon reaching the Dragon’s Stair. He gets the townspeople to set up before they leave him and whilst they’re setting up the first part of their trap, Ted shows up asking if Phoney was planning on leaving his cousins, he stating how they’d left him and then revealing how he was planning on leaving the town as planned with the treasure, Ted deciding to help get Phoney out of the valley, but then the townspeople come to him with the news they’d caught a dragon and sure enough, the red dragon is hog-tied in the trap to Phoney’s surprise. When Phoney approaches the dragon, asking how he could’ve gotten trapped, he determines the dragon was there to help him with the plan. Soon the men have moved in to tie the dragon a little more snugly including his mouth so he couldn’t breathe fire, Phoney trying to get them away from the dragon.

The townspeople were done waiting, though and make Phoney aware he’s at the end of his stalling, especially since the sun was now dawning. They threaten Phoney with being a part of the sacrifice if he didn’t complete the task, he ready and shielding his eyes when Thorn stops him. She then asks what mess he’s gotten himself into when they notice a fire coming from their town. The townspeople are close to hysteria, wanting the dragon to be killed and Thorn continues to try and get them to realize the dragons aren’t the trouble but the rat creatures who have started the fire and they needing to release the dragon. Although when the townspeople next insist upon the dragon’s death, they are supported by the rat creatures saying if the townspeople wouldn’t, they would which then brings the panic around to their presence. Thorn is ready to defend the dragon when the hooded figures come from behind her and fight off the rat creatures, Thorn unbinding the dragon, who promptly uses his flame to bathe the rat creatures which successfully makes them retreat. Thorn tries to ask where Fone and her Gran’ma are, but the dragon takes only enough time to let her know if she’s in trouble, where she can find the dragons and takes off, she then asking Phoney where Fone is, but he also not knowing, of course. When she learns Lucius is back in town she tries to get the townspeople to arm themselves with anything they have and they being in shock they’re actually at war.

Which ends this volume and setting up the upcoming awesomeness; I’m excited to continue with what comes next.

About a Boy/ High Fidelity/ Juliet, Naked/ Slam

I like it. The similarities between the book and the movie are many. It’s like watching over the movie in your head, pretty much, which I enjoyed. It does bring a bit more depth to the movie too, and the endings are different. It’s quite an easy read.

It was a good book, love the movie more though.

I liked the story, even though some people had a problem with Tucker being such a dick, he was none-the-less a character that made me want to keep reading and find out what happens to him. Only issue is I don’t really get what the big secret was with his eldest daughter and there wasn’t too much follow-up on what happens with him and Annie. Still a quick and fun read.

I liked the story, but I’m noticing some flaws in the narration that are getting kind of annoying. I understand Hornby is just trying to cover his bases when he explains what “skating” means, but there are some other ones similarly explained which get irritating. The story itself though is interesting enough to overlook the frustrating narrative, but I don’t think this one will be a keeper. Ending was a bit disappointing, but the story was still very good, worth the read, after all.