Events in The Inugami run concurrently with the events in The Shrine War. In The Inugami, American Kelly Robbins moves to Tokyo for language studies at the University. Renting an apartment in the Motoyawata neighborhood, she discovers the crawlspace is inhabited by an unfriendly Inugami, a yokai in the form of an anthropomorphic dog left behind by a previous resident, an evil Taoist sorcerer.
What follows is a very rough draft and may be radically different from the finished story.
by Alan Loewen
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Kelly nodded at the real estate agent who held the front door open for her. Carefully removing her shoes as was the Japanese custom, she wrinkled her nose at the the smell of an old house unused. Underneath the aroma of mold, came the smell of something else, like a faulty sewer line.
The Japanese real estate agent was a bubbly personality and immediately launched into her spiel. “The house has been on the market for some time,” she said, “but I think it would be perfect for you.”
Suddenly, as if on cue, the house vibrated with the roar overhead of a jet engine as it came in low over the roof. The agent smiled nervously. “It is located closely to the Narita International Airport so you won’t have to travel far when you revisit the United States, yes?”
Kelly smiled back. “I lived under the flight path of the Charlotteville-Albermarle Airport,” she said calmly. “It will be just like home.” Kelly kept her face expressionless, wanting to laugh at the sudden look of relief on the agent’s face. “And the Metro?”
Once again, the agent slipped into her programmed sales pitch. “Just eight minutes away with a brisk walk,” she said. “The Tozai line will connect you to the Chiyoda line and you can walk to the University from either the Nezu or Yoshima stations.”
The agent gracefully slid open a door to show a large, furnished living room. “There is also an eat-in kitchen, a combination bedroom and study and the bathroom has a shower.” She wrinkled her nose. “With a little airing out it will be perfect for you and at 70,000 yen a month, it’s very affordable.”
Kelly looked around the spacious room. It was not that she was going to be spending a lot of her time here. Her responsibilities at the University as well as her studies basically meant she just needed a place to sleep and eat breakfast and dinner. “Is the upstairs apartment rented? Are there neighbors?”
“No, the upstairs needs to be refurbished, but the workmen only come during the day when you will most likely be at school.” The smile never left the agent’s face. “Motoyawata is a quiet neighborhood.”
"Oh, dear. Look at the time. I'm so sorry to have taken up so much of it."
"No problem. I always enjoy your visits, and my goodness, the time surely has flown. Well, you know the old cliché about time flying when you are having fun."
"Yes, yes. Nonetheless, thank you so much for the trip down memory lane. We have had some adventures together."
"Quite. Quite. I'll still never forget the time you almost destroyed New York City with that warp bomb. That was quite a challenge."
"Oh, come, come. You're flattering me now. I'm convinced you had that under control from the first moment."
"We'll, let me tell you a secret, my old friend. You really had me worried there for awhile. That genetically mutated pit bull that you had guarding the thing gave me quite a nasty turn."
"Really? You're not just kidding me now? That big mutt actually gave you a run for the money?"
"Yes, he did, and I don't want to see that posted to the Internet. In fact, let me tell you the truth. Of all the bad guys I fought in my 40 years in the superhero biz, you were always the most challenging. Whenever, the police called me and told me Doom Storm was on the loose, I knew I was in for a fight."
"That is so kind of you to say. And since we're reminiscing, I'll tell you that whenever I heard it was the Grey Ghost hot on my trail, I confess I felt sort of proud."
"And now here we both sit in a nursing home. Being in this wheelchair, I couldn't chase you now if my life depended on it."
"And I wouldn't get very far with this walker, but I hope you don't mind if I leave you a parting gift. I put a bomb under your seat."
"Ho, ho, ho! You rascal, you! I'll bet I defuse it before you toddle out the door."
"Well, if I don't see you in the cafeteria, I'll know you failed, and I got the final say."
Yes, I honestly thought I'd have this released in time for Christmas, but I have strong standards and kept finding errors. I think the fifth time through the approval process should do the trick and the result is a paperback and an eBook I'm proud of.
I stripped the cost down as far as Amazon would allow me so the paperback is $5.49 and the eBook is around $1.49.
This book is not yet released, but I will announce its Amazon advent within the next five days.
The ten tales are:
For The Reader - a anthropomorphic vixen goddess introduces the collection with a shocking revelation of what you actually hold in your hands.
Adrift Off the Great Red Spot, 22°51’23.14”S, 98°49’24.40”W - in the near future, a gas miner flying the clouds of Jupiter finds himself adrift and approaching certain death in Jupiter's centuries old storm known as The Great Red Spot.
The Case of the Missing Glasses - Detective Nick Weaver discovers his new client is not only beautiful, but visually impaired.
Timely Revenge - a sf tale of discovery, creation, and cold-hearted revenge.
The Furry Con Mystery - once again we go into the world of detective noir where the detective searches for his client's son who went missing at a furry convention.
Gray Matter - what if alien abductions were reversed and we started abducting them?
Kill Your Darlings - a writer's dream turns into a nightmare when one of his literary creations vows revenge.
I Have Seen the Future and the Future Is Diesel - diesel punk in a dystopian world of oppression and liberation.
Wolf Hunter - a fantasy tale reversing the tropes of Little Red Riding Hood.
Leywood Manor - formerly known as Yew Manor, Leywood Manor is the philosophical companion to my seminal work, Coventry House.
I have had the pleasure of knowing author A.R. Mitchell for some years now and I was one of the original test readers for her work in progress, The Wind Walker. Recently she released a short story collection, Goldlust, that I reviewed here.
This is A.R. Mitchell's story.
1. Quick biography?
I’ve been writing fiction since about fifth grade. Even before then, I
was the kid who was never intimidated by the teacher’s threats of, ‘you will
have to write a report’. That was easy. Math is difficult. Math is
still difficult. If you want me to confess my background like a resume,
there’s about twenty writing awards. A good bit of them are from the
national Scholastic Art and Writing Awards… and most of those stories do appear in my first short story collection Goldlust. I also have a blog.
2. What genre do you write in?
I tell people I write pulp. Pulp isn’t so much a specific genre as it is an attitude or a style. People tend to think of it as just detective stories – and that’s part of it, but during the 1930s, 1940s, and into the 1950s it was actually a class of literature. The moniker 'pulp' came about because the titles were printed on cheap paper made from tree pulp. It was slightly above comic books, which at that time were considered foolish and only for children, and definitely far below literature. Pulp encompassed action adventure stories, science fiction, sword and sorcery, fantasy and westerns, as well as detective stories and… the last hold over… the cheesy romance novels you find in grocery stores. That’s considered women’s pulp, now renamed ‘chick lit’. I don’t write that. Ever. I would bore myself to death.
3. What drew you to the pulps?
I started reading Raymond Chandler in fifth grade. While my peers were reading the Harry Potter series – I was reading The Big Sleep and Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon. Both are listed as a post college reading levels – which destroys a common belief among people that pulps are lower class, predictable and not to be enjoyed and consumed by anyone with an iota of intelligence.
It was actually the women of the pulps which pulled me in. Growing up I was the ‘good girl’ – which is incredibly boring. The wisecracking private eye Phil Marlowe said all the things I couldn’t say, and the women did all the things I couldn’t do. Vivian Sternwood from The Big Sleep is a favorite character of mine. She knows men, she knows how to work with them, and control them using the resources at hand, her money, wits, and looks, yet will work tirelessly to protect her father and her younger sister. She’s flawed and as tough as any of the dystopian fiction heroines we see today. She was also less noble, and a perfect foil for leading smart-mouthed narrator, Phil Marlowe. And I’m also a sucker for a snazzy and sassy turn of phrase coupled with an image which makes me chuckle. You’ll see some of that in my work.
4. You mentioned the 1940s – you are an active World War II reenactor. Does that play a role in your genre and subject matter? What came first?
I’ve always been a history nerd, and it wasn’t long after I started writing in historical time periods that I realized I needed to live my characters in order to understand them. That’s not to say that I get into barfights on a regular basis – but I do learn the experiences of my characters as much as possible… including a trench warfare night battle against the Germans on the Eastern Front, the perils of the French Resistance, and the surprise of rolling over in your 1940s shelter half (a two man tent) and whacking your eyeball on the tent pole.
The writing came first. The reenacting started as research. I had a character who needed paperwork and because it was German identification papers, I couldn’t call them passports. The internet frequently fails me in matters such as this, so I had to go talk to some people. Eventually I fell in with the US 36th Infantry Division, or the Lost Battalion, a unit who’s history I may end up writing about in the future. I’m their representation of the females of the French Resistance, since, unlike the Russians, during the 1940s women were not in the American infantry and generally not on the front lines. Although some of them did have combat roles in the Army Air Corp, nursing and in the Press Corp.
An the best stories come from real life. At a living history event this past year, we had the honor of meeting one of the veterans who had served beside the 36th and actually was part of the unit who rescued the 36th Infantry in the forests of France. He told me, “We had a man from the French Resistance named Jacques, who lead us through the forest. Without him, and the people like you (portray), we could not have rescued the 36th Infantry.”
My Facebook author page is also full of reenacting events, military history, author updates, and my blog, which is updated every Monday morning. Its more active during the summer months because of reenacting events – but there are plenty of photographs to look over and see what kind of historical events and adventures I’ve had.
I’ve also enjoyed portraying Russian infantry, where women served on the front lines, in all aspects of the Russian military. Red Trouble, which I hope to have published in the coming weeks features one of these women. Here’s a sample without too many spoilers.
5. Back to Goldlust, your short story collection… what is its genesis?
Goldlust is a short story collection. It began in a dry spell of writing with the goal of me seeing what I could put together. My goal this past year was to get published. Goldlust is the fruit of that project. It’s a collection of twenty award-winning stories – and some new ones too. They span the genre gamut – I’ve got science fiction, fantasy, action adventure, dystopia, humor, sword and sorcery, a tad of romance, a western, cop stories, military fiction, and spies.
6. Some of Goldlust’s stories appear to have a nebulous ending. Are you going to expand these stories at any time?
I hope to. There are several characters whom I love dearly, and multiple worlds which I would like to revisit, the dystopia of Armageddon's Grace and The Pursuit Cycle are two of them. Also, if I can, without giving away too many spoilers, you will be seeing more of the 1930s German scientists at the end of the opening action adventure story, Goldlust. The black blood from Remember Me is significant as well. The Angel of Death will return and arms dealer Mason Jaymes from Storms of Life has a habit of walking into loaded situations with that dashing brazen charisma and those stunning bright blue eyes saying, “Honey, you need me.”
7. You’ve mentioned Red Trouble, and Goldlust, which is available through Amazon.com. Have you any other works in the hopper that we should look forward to?
Yes. I am an author who never rests. Writing is like breathing. After Red Trouble my next project is a novel titled, The Mist Walker. – We’ll start with calling it a novel because in the seven years I’ve been working on it, it’s spiraled into more adventures than I can handle. The Mist Walker is a modern thriller mixed with dark fantasy and international intrigue. It features a detective narrator working with an international terrorism investigation team facing a serial killer who’s straight out of ancient legend. There are also World War II connections, ancient curses, a high body count, lots of gunfire and plenty of suspicious characters. Its like Indiana Jones with the cynical voice of Raymond Chandler meets Xena in the world of Tom Clancy.
I hope to have The Mist Walker edited and published this summer.