Anna looks like any other little girl when she’s asleep. It’s funny how in some ways she reminds me of Angela, when she was little. There are so many ways Anna is different from mi hermanita, though energy level isn’t one of them. I wondered if Anna would stay up all night. But she’s out like a light now.
I thought Angela and Fernando would be the hardest to convince to let her stay over. But they were so thrilled to have an evening to themselves, that it didn’t seem to matter that they normally think of me as strange, and possibly not the greatest role model for their imaginative child. Maybe this was an olive branch from Angela for the years we spent not talking to each other.
No, it was Yuuki who had difficulty letting Anna stay by herself. I don’t know what I expected Ajani to find when I asked him to investigate the presence I felt, but realizing that Fernando has Japanese ancestors if you go back far enough, and by the way, hundreds of years ago one of them managed to trap a fox spirit into serving them, was a little bit of a shock. Oh and said fox spirit had questions about me. And my ability to protect my own niece.
So yeah, I showed off a thing or two. Magdalena would have been proud. The fox seemed satisfied enough to go with Ajani to Philly tonight, doing whatever fae in a city do.
I guess it’s fair to say I have my doubts about Yuuki too. Yeah, I believe that there's genuine affection there. But I’ve done a little research. How far can a creature known for tricks and general mischief be trusted with the welfare of a child, even when they do mean well?
Anna adores Yuki. Even her taste in cartoons shows that (tonight’s feature was Anna’s choice – some Japanese cartoon where a little girl goes into a fae world with a giant bathhouse at its center).
But does she know this world isn’t as cute as a cartoon one? And that for every Yuuki there are things that don’t care she’s only a little girl and wouldn’t hesitate to cause her harm?
Tonight between cartoons, pizza, and toenail painting I taught her some basics. How to ground, center and most importantly, shield. She took to it quickly, just another fun game for her and her crazy Tía to play. I tucked her in and reminded her to do it again before sleeping because it would help keep nightmares away. She told me she never worried about that before. Yuuki always keeps her safe. And she said she knew that I would too.
It would have been nice to have someone like that when I started seeing and feeling things. It was months before I understood what was happening to me, before I found Magdalena. And it was years before I felt competent enough to deal with it. There was no fox spirit standing at the gate for me to make sure the dead were at least polite when they tried to get my attention.
I’m looking out the window now. The usual assortment of ghosts are there, flitting around, trying to get someone to listen, and annoyed at that heavy shield I have up. I'm grown though, so they’re mostly harmless, just annoying. There’s one, a little bolder than the others, who is floating right at the edge of my shield. When she noticed me looking, she put a finger to her lips.
I don’t know if Anna has a hard time sensing the dead, the same way I have a hard time sensing fae, but I don’t feel like finding out now. I let them know that for tonight at least, I’m not taking any visitors, even the ones I do know, no matter how quiet they promise to be.
But I think I’ll check on Anna one more time before I go to sleep.
Song Choice: Dragon Boy from the Spirited Away soundtrack
This bit of flash fiction was written as a response to the picture prompt given by Magpie Tales. For previous stories about Anna and Yuuki, check here.