ADDENDUM: Though I love this part, I realized this would make a terrible intro to the story. The emphasis is on the conflict between the Kitsune and the Inugami so I'm changing the introductory scene and starting right with the Kitsune at the Inari Shrine preparing for an invasion of Inugami and meeting with their representative. Then, I segue into this part of the story introducing Brennan Woodbrygg.
by Alan Loewen
by Alan Loewen
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Brennan Woodbrygg slid the dish of lavender ice cream across the table. Around him, people chattered gaily in Japanese enjoying the open air cafe. The town of Kamifurano reeked of lavender as the locals and visitors celebrated the middle of the growing season and not only did the scent of lavender fill the air, everybody ate lavender ice cream and drank lavender-flavored beverages.
For Brennan, though he loved the exotic, he could find little appreciation of an entire town reeking of a lady’s boudoir.
His cell phone buzzed and he picked it up from the table top and flipped it open.
“Brennan here,” he said.
He listened for a few moments, thoughtfully chewing on both his bottom lip and his thoughts.
“I know, Alyssa” he said, his tone hinting at an air of impatience and irritation. “I already know the grant money is gone, but I’m on a great lead. I’ll pay for the expenses from here on out on my own and you purchased the return flight for me when you ordered the tickets and that’s the biggest expense so far and already taken care of.” He looked around to see if his English had attracted any attention, but conversations around the cafe had drowned out any ability to hear him.
“I’m on Hokkaido in the Kamikawa District. The town is Kamifurano. You’d really enjoy it here. Smells like that perfume you love so much. Alyssa listen to me.” He dropped his voice to a whisper. “I think I have a lead on an Inari shrine near here that predates the 5th century. Yeah, well before Buddhism came to the islands. It’s in a forest near Mount Tomuraushi and it’s not even listed with the Jinja Honcho.”
He paused as Alyssa’s voice buzzed in his ear. “Okay, tell you what. I’ll wrap everything up with this trip. I’ll get some great pictures and you’ll get your book and I’ll complete my thesis, deal?
Again, he paused as he listened. “Okay and one other thing. I won’t have cell phone access at the mountain. I barely have coverage here. Yeah, I’ll call you tomorrow sometime. Bye.”
He flipped his cell phone closed, stared at his melting lavender-flavored ice cream and decided that the 300 yen was a suitable price to pay for just a taste.