The Big Bad Wolf
Nancy decided to make the porta-potty her home. It seemed only the natural thing to do when at the fairgrounds. Being so far away from her real home and put in a difficult position one had to make up with substitutes.
“I told you things would go this way.”
She looked up into the face of a slender man with tricolored eyes and the mischievous expression of an animal. The space was tight, he made up for it by practically perching himself on the pocket-sized sink.
“What do you want?”
“Then why are you here?”
“A bit catty aren’t we. I did warn you that this would happen.”
“Just come to rub it in then?”
“Not at all I pity you, I really do.”
“Quit pretending, you don’t care about me at all, besides your just a figment of my imagination anyway.”
“Pleading insanity now? That is so very cruel of you, it cuts me to the quick. You really don’t consider my feelings at all, Nancy.”
“Oh, shut up. You’re not helping anything. And the way you always pronounce my name, like it’s something detestable. I’m sorry that was rude.”
“But you’re not offering me any help. You’re just making snarky comments and taking up the rest of the room in here.”
“I’m sorry, but last time you made it very clear you didn’t need me, so I kept my distance. As for the venue you call me to, well that’s none of my concern. Though I do have to admit it is rather intimate.”
“I don’t like the way you say that it makes it sound weird. And I didn’t call you here.”
“Oh yes you did. It was a thought inside that little head of yours. You asked me to come, so I came. So, blame yourself for the lack of space. As for my tone well, that’s just how I talk.”
“Alright. So what, I called you then. But did you come here just to rub this all in my face? Either help me or don’t. But if you don’t then go away and leave me alone.”
“I wouldn’t dare. You know very well I couldn’t live without you.”
A snort of distain, a glare of disbelief, “You always play that card.”
“Then let me help you. You know it would be more fun if I did. It’s easy for me to turn things around. I don’t live in a box like you. Besides this toilet is cramped, and I don’t know about you, but I don’t enjoy the smell much.”
A leer, “Mean it?”
“I mean it.”
“You’re not going to wish you hadn’t said that I hope.”
“At this point, I don’t care.”
“Fine then, have no fear. I’ll have it all fixed for you.”
A sense of apprehension. She faltered and then stood, leaving the porta-potty she met the long line that had formed in front of it during her repose. It was embarrassing to tuck around them. She tried to hide behind the collar of her jacket, but no matter how deep she was able to get the embarrassment seemed to follow her.
“Trying to hide again little turtle.”
The man from the bathroom was walking beside her now. His clothes had changed to something more suitable, long jeans, a loose t-shirt, and a thin hooded sweater with some indescribable logo scratched across the back. The visage of a teenager not far from her own age, and the epitome of the word gorgeous. She had seen him make himself up for many things, but never like this. Usually, he preferred being ugly because he knew it bothered her so much.
“Nice costume.” She diverted her eyes in an attempt to hide her own admiration for his appearance.
“Always a critic for being such a wall flower, but I suppose that comes from your deeply intellectual observations. Though I have to say, I think it’s strange you think this is a mask. If you look closely, you’ll see its just me, only a bit less mature.” A chittering grin, entered his eyes without fazing the rest of him, “Tell me though, do I look the part?”
“And do you think I’m pretty like this, with all my edges polished?”
“What kind of question is that?”
“She won’t answer. My, have I hit on something? Do you like what you see?”
“Don’t be ridiculous, you’re an old man.”
“Old man I may be, but I never age, so it doesn’t really matter. I forgot how nice it was to make young girls squirm. I could get used to this.”
“Stop saying things like that.”
“Oh my, what a frown. Have I displeased you? Promise me you’ll punish me later.”
“You’re standing too close.”
“I’m standing the perfect distance for my role. Anyway, if we’re going to be playing why don’t you pull yourself out of your torso and start acting like you’re a participant. It’s so demeaning to be commanded by someone like you, you know.”
“Well, I’m sorry, you probably don’t think I’m trying, but I am. It’s a lot harder for me then it is for you.”
“You think so, do you?”
“You wouldn’t understand what it’s like to be a teenager, you’ve never even been one.”
“Oh yes, and I’m sure I’ve missed so much. It must be difficult being over criticized by people who you will probably know for three or four years and the next time you think about them their names will be in an obituary.”
“So morbid. Besides, things aren’t like back in ancient days when you were young. You can’t get away from people these days. Just think about social media.”
“You’re so smart you even know what it’s like back in the woebegone days when I was still young. Forgive me mistress for not realizing. Tell me while we’re on the subject, can’t you block them?”
“People you don’t like.”
“Well, I could.”
“Oh, look we’re coming on your troop of gaggling hens. The cocks aren’t present, I wonder where they run off to. I suppose it doesn’t matter really. Shall we play nice, Nancy?”
There was no breath in her to answer. The heat of embarrassment flooding up into her head knocking back all rational thought. She should leave. The idea had presented itself to her when she was sitting there feeling pathetic in that plastic bathroom. She could call her mom to come and get her and leave. All she had to do to make up for it was text them and say she wasn’t feeling well and had to go home. That was it.
“Now, now, we’ll have none of that. You asked for my help, little coward. It’s been so long since I’ve had any fun. We’re going to see this through. If you say another word some accident might happen to your phone, and then you’ll have to punish me later.”
His hand slipped into hers, eyes flashing so wild with mischief it sent a terrified shiver up her spine. The girls turned toward them as they approached stifling their shock at seeing her return with someone else. It was a pleasant pong on his ego to see the way their eyes glittered when they looked at him, especially the one that reminded him of home.
“Nancy, your back. We were worried about you.”
Only she could perceive the playful twitch in her companion’s smile at this, the gentle curve concealing behind it an outright laugh.
“Sorry, that was my fault.” Their eyes diverted to him.
“Is that so?”
“Yes, it is. Sorry for worrying you all.”
“No, it’s fine of course, but… who are you?”
“Oh yes, sorry, I should introduce you,” Nancy attempted to free her hand, but he wouldn’t release it, “Hina, Megan, Dora, this is Hiroshi.”
“Hello ladies, it’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
“Where are the others?” Nancy asked, trying not to color as she did, desperate to change the subject.
“Oh, they went to get something to drink for everyone.”
“How kind of them.” Hiroshi kept a malignant expression always candy coated with a smile, hiding much of the worst of it.
“I’m sorry are you together?” Hina asked at last pointing to their hands.
“You haven’t told your new friends about me? I should be offended and would be if I didn’t know you so well. Yeah, we’re together though I suppose it was bound to happen. You could almost say I had no choice.”
Nancy colored. Her eyes darting to his, a devilish glint was the only response.
“Wait, your saying, the two of you are dating?”
Nancy bite her lip, eyes diverting, staring out at the carnival stands.
“Yes, we have been for the last year or so. Isn’t that right Nan?”
“Wow, I mean I had no idea,” Hina looked at Nancy and then throwing in what was obviously a coated jab she added, “Nancy has never told us about you that’s all. Oh, look their back.”
Three boys about their age walked up each carrying two drinks. The tallish boy, distinctly Latin in appearance glanced at Nancy and her companion with a level of marked surprise. He offered a beverage to Hina who had been doing all the talking up to this point.
“Noah, this is Hiroshi, Nancy’s boyfriend.”
“Aren’t you missing one.” Hiroshi broke in stalling the two of them.
“What do you mean?”
“Well you weren’t expecting me, but Nancy came here with all of you. Yet, I see you didn’t remember her when you were getting drinks.”
“Oh, he’s right Noah. Here Nancy, you can have mine.”
A forced smile, “No, I’m fine. Thank you though.”
“We didn’t mean to forget you Nan, you just hadn’t come back yet.” Noah’s eyes kept drifting back and forth from her to Hiroshi.
“No, I totally get it. I’m not really thirsty anyway.”
She could feel in his grasp that Hiroshi wasn’t happy with her answer.
“Why don’t we go try some of the games, we haven’t done that yet?” Dora took the hand of her date.
In a murmur of general agreement they began toward the stalls coated in prizes. All of them games you might have played at almost any event held for children. Hiroshi, not so happy to sit idle, or be idle in anything flicked a finger in Megan’s direction as they waited. A small divot appeared in the ground just where her heel came down. Tripping she stumbled into her date spilling the entirety of their dinks all over them. The group stopped.
“Are you okay?” It was Dora who spoke first though without putting much action behind her entreaty.
The pair managed to regain their footing, but not without noticing their sudden dampness.
“We’re sopping wet.”
“At least it was only a small drink.” In response to this Dora siphoned off a mouth full of her own.
“Here,” Hiroshi extended his sweater, “Until you dry off or find something else.”
“Thanks.” Megan took it with a shy smile giving her date an annoyed expression, “You should be more careful where you put your foot, Josh.”
“Me, but you’re…”
“Guys, let’s not waste the night arguing about whose fault it is.”
“Hina’s right, we should just do as we planned and play a few games.”
“Did you hear that, Nancy,” Hiroshi’s voice was a breath in her ear, “They want to play a few games.”
She shoved him, Hiroshi at once laughed in a way that drew the others’ attention. It was like nothing Nancy had heard before, if he was creating an illusion she had to be careful not to fall in it herself.
Everyone started getting into lines, Nancy remained back and so too did her unexpected date.
“So, do you think they will be able to win anything. What’s your guess, My Love?”
“Don’t call me that.”
“Why does it bother you? I thought you were supposed to be my woman while we were in the company of your friends.”
“Your woman? That is ridiculous, what kind of archaic world did you come out of?”
“You protest, but your face has gone flush. Isn’t that a sign of pleasure in you humans?”
“No, it can mean anger and a host of other things too. My gosh how long were you kept in that box?”
“Your grandmother and mother were very cruel, I’ve been locked in there since a decade after arriving in this land. Oh, look our host of toddling fetuses have made it to the front. You know you still haven’t taken a guess as to whether any of them will win or not.”
“I don’t think I need to. I’m pretty sure I know they’re all going to fail.”
“My, my, you see right through me, but what about you? I noticed you didn’t get in line.”
“What’s the point? I have no idea why I’m even here.”
“What drama. Oh, look your dearest Noah has failed for a second time, what a pity looks as though your rival will leave with not a thing to remind her of her time here.”
“What do you mean my rival? I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Really, are you attempting to be in denial. Wait you know yourself that’s a lie. You think that Noah child is lovely, don’t you?”
“Don’t be ridiculous.”
The last ball Noah pitched bounced off a table and hit him square in the face. Hina was comforting him, but he was desperately attempting to downplay his injury.
Hiroshi smiled, “I wonder if it will swell, but that ball wasn’t hard enough, darn I should have stiffened it before impact. Oh, but I’m sure there will be another opportunity, don’t you Nancy?”
The defeated parties gathered attempting to put off their dejection. They talked over their plans for a moment and decided they would go for the Ferris Wheel. The party began walking in that direction, Hiroshi and Nancy lagging toward the back.
“Oh no, aren’t you afraid of heights Nancy, however will you make it? Maybe we should sit this one out too and watch the love birds enjoy themselves?”
“No way, if we did you would send that thing rolling toward the parking lot. Absolutely not, we are getting on with them and that’s final.”
“Have it your way, but can you stand watching them, that beauty fawning over your heart’s desire. If you want, I could fix things for you. It will only take me a moment. If I did that then you could have him all to yourself and do with him just as you please.”
“I don’t want to force him to like me. That’s not what I want at all, but you wouldn’t understand.”
“It’s so funny hearing that from you, last time I checked your family had no qualms with enslaving others. Why shouldn’t I use my abilities to sway you and your lover. Better yet, I could always captivate the young ladies in the party, it has been a long time since I’ve…”
“Stop right there. The answer is no to everything you’re saying and going to suggest. We are not tricking anyone.”
“I knew coming as a boy wouldn’t serve me well. I shouldn’t have been swayed by your thoughts of a charming boyfriend to make them all jealous. Instead, I should have appeared as a girl. Now that would have been fun.”
“Please, I’m not interested in men, my dearest. I would only love to see those girls’ hearts ripped to shreds as I lead them away by the nose. Oh, wouldn’t it have been sweet to see them all playing for my affections. You don’t understand, but it’s very easy to tempt the stronger sex.”
“Stronger sex? No one says that anymore.”
“And am I supposed to care what people say? You humans prattle on about the stupidest things. All of you so easily offended and toyed with.”
Their conversation died when they entered the line for the Ferris Wheel, both it was impossible to keep it quiet enough or put enough distance between them to prevent the others from hearing them. They all began to talk amongst themselves. Hiroshi observed the chittering troop, eyes falling on Noah. A brown bruise had developed beneath one of his prominent cheekbones from where the ball had hit him earlier.
He talked as much as the rest of them, though his eyes now and then drifted to Nancy, who despite everything stood reserved from the rest though giving her own occasional laugh. Hina appeared to notice, wrapping her arm through Noah’s pulling him closer.
Hiroshi was aware of everything. How Hina had known about Nancy’s little crush. That she had invited her saying that he would be going with them as a group to the fair, without explaining that he would be attending it as Hina’s date, and that everyone else would be paired off as well. Nancy was the odd man out. She had withstood it for almost an hour before calling on him and now, though it was more difficult, they were attempting to do the same thing again.
“Do you mind if we get in first?”
It seemed to sooth the wrath of the masses. Hina was in an ear-to-ear smile over Hiroshi’s request, “Of course we don’t mind.”
He took Nancy’s hand once more leading her to the Ferris Wheel pod. She hesitated, he could feel her fear. Providing a stiff poke in her back no one could see she entered followed by her companion. The bar was placed over their laps and they were ratcheted up as the next car was being filled.
“Why did you do that? I could have skipped out if we waited.” Nancy’s finger had a white grip on the pole against her ribs.
“Weren’t you afraid a moment ago that I was going to send them rolling somewhere, and now you ask me why?”
“That was different, that was a moment ago.”
“To make my explanation quick, it was because now we’ll be in front of them, they’ll have to watch us the whole time.”
“Don’t worry, I have a plan.”
“Why am I not surprised.”
It moved again, her fingers convulsed releasing a terrified squeal. In a second her arms were wrapped tremulously around Hiroshi’s her eyes pressed shut. It brought him delight to see that it caught the attention of Noah and Hina who were just in the car behind them.
“Why are you laughing at me? Stop laughing.” Her body was shivering.
“Am I laughing? I was completely unaware, but in all honesty, you are making quite a show of yourself.”
“Don’t make fun of me. Don’t you dare make fun of me right now,” There was more movement which produced another shriek.
“Come now, allow a slave his pleasures. It’s not every day I get one up on my master or should I say mistress.”
“You talk about that now, of all times. Oh, don’t move, please don’t move.”
“You wouldn’t understand.”
“What are you saying? I wouldn’t understand? My grandmother told me all about you when you were given to me last year. If I let go of your soul you’ll kill us all. I wish this thing would stop moving.”
“Yes, I suppose I would kill you all, but in my defense you would deserve it. I have served your family for the last eight generations and your mother’s reign over me was the worst. As soon as she met your idiot father she sealed me away in a box again. For over twenty years, I could do nothing all because of him.”
“Don’t talk bad about my dad.”
“Oh yes, I forgot your one of Smiths offspring aren’t you? Nancy Smith, your name tastes horrifying.”
“Yes, yes you’ve told me that over and over again since I got you. I get it, you don’t like that my mother married someone who wasn’t Japanese.”
“Oh, that reminds me, if you do catch this Noah you love so much would you please return me to Japan and give me to a worthy family. I couldn’t stand to see the blood polluted anymore.”
“Oh, is it? Well I am a Yokai not some petty human who cares about your rules. I want to return to my homeland, not remain here in this hellhole that smells like corruption and stupidity.”
“And I suppose they don’t have any of that in Japan. Oh, I wish this would stop moving.”
“Yes, but they know how to respect my kind. Back in the day when I fell into the hands of your long-since-dead grandmother, with my power she went from poverty to the respected lady of a noble house. Before that, oh how I lived. And now what am I, the servant of a Smith who doesn’t even comprehend my value. I could serve you that girl on a platter and yet you reduce me to this.”
“I don’t want her on a platter.”
“Really, you could have fooled me.”
The Ferris Wheel had fully loaded with new passengers, it was time for the smooth once around before they were kicked off.
“You should worry about empathy. Maybe you just haven’t adjusted to the world. You need to learn more about it and stop being stuck in a time you can never go back to.”
“And what would you have me do then, grow attached to you? Would you like to make yourself the first master I ever mourned? The first person I shed tears for?”
Eyes opened she straightened, looking at him stunned by the change in his intonation.
“Will you teach me how to love your world? How to love you maybe? Oh, we’re at the zenith now, hold still for just a moment will you.”
As they were drifting down, Noah and Hina took their place, it was at that moment that Hiroshi leaned forward and kissed her. It was soft and quick.
“Why did you do that?”
“There the stage is set. His jealousy should be at its peak. I’ll disappear after today and you can just play off my leaving you in whatever mellow dramatic way is pleasing to the young population these days. I promise he’ll come running.”
“So, you took my… you kissed me just to do that?”
“You’re my mistress, you limited me in how I could interact with your friends. This was the best mode that would cause the least amount of problems for everyone. Trust me. If you’d like I can make an excuse to spend time with his date and pair you off right away, or you could just bide your time for a bit and let it happen gradually. I say if you go that way it won’t take more than a month or so. But it’s all up to you.”
They were almost at the bottom before she could get herself to speak again, “Hiroshi, if I let you go would you really kill us?”
He leaned into her, their faces very close, “I would eat you up in a second if I had my soul back and feel no remorse at all.”
Their car stopped and they were obliged to get out. Legs like jelly she had no choice but to lean on him. As she rested against him waiting for the others, she couldn’t help wondering if he meant what he said. Would he eat her? She looked up at him, catching his eye, turning in a hot flush the moment their eyes met. Why did she feel this way now?
“Do you need to sit down?”
Before she couldn’t answer the others were on them, their spirits up from the respite. A conversation ensued about what to do next.
“I was actually thinking about trying some of the games again,” It was Hiroshi’s voice, “I’m pretty good at them and it looks like the lines are shorter.”
“Your good at them?” Megan giggled, “I’d liked to see if your better than Josh and River.”
“Or how about Noah.” Dora smiled, “That is an awfully pretty bruise your sporting.”
“Ha, ha, yeah your right.”
“Well, I’m up for it, I might try this time myself.” Hina smiled, “Though afterwards I think I want to try that huge slide.”
“Nan, you gonna come?” Hiroshi lifted a brow at her.
Looking at him, it felt strange now, “No I think I’m going to just hang out.”
“Alright, I promise to win something for you then.”
They began to move, he smiled at Megan, “You look good in that, better than I did.” She blushed, the group began to descend into chaos. Noah was the one who stayed behind with her this time.
“How you doing?”
He approached her, “I know you don’t really like heights.”
“Is it that surprising?”
“Not really, I suppose, but then yes at the same time. Sorry about your bruise.”
“Oh, it’s no big deal, it’s not like you did it anyway.”
She couldn’t help a pathetic laugh knowing it never would have happened if she hadn’t called on Hiroshi for help.
“Still, I feel bad it happened.”
“Yeah, well it gave me a bit of an excuse to hang back. I don’t really want to embrace myself a second time.”
“I’m sure you wouldn’t.”
“Hey, I was wondering about Hiroshi, how did you meet? I mean you’ve never talked about him before.”
“Oh yeah, it was… last year actually, at a party.” She couldn’t tell him she had been given his soul orb by her mother on her sixteenth birthday.
“And you guys started dating then?”
“Not right away. Actually, you could say it’s a recent development, very recent.”
“Yeah, why do you ask?”
“I don’t know he just kind of came out of nowhere.”
“Oh yeah, I told him about this, but he wasn’t sure he could make it. And then what would you know he wrote me and said he was on his way. It’s funny how things work out.”
“So, you were just going to wait for him, you should have told us. I was worried about you.”
“Of course, we’re friends, right?”
“Of course. Yeah, we’re friends.” Hiroshi was laughing near the front of the stall, Hina right next to him smiling. The two looked as if they had forgotten about everyone else, “But I do think it’s awfully hypocritical for you to say I should have told you about Hiroshi when you didn’t tell me you were coming with Hina, and that this was a date.”
“Yeah that. I guess I wasn’t really taking it that seriously.”
“You should. It’s not fair to her to agree to go out and then treat it like that.”
Where was this coming from? She couldn’t be sure. Hiroshi was giving something to Megan, Nancy bit her lips remembering his kiss and the way his eyes had looked when he pulled away.
“Hey Nancy, do you like him? I mean are you two serious?”
Serious? What a funny thing to ask. They were tied together by a bond, tenuous though it was, she would spend potentially the rest of her life as his master and he her servant.
“Yeah, I guess as serious as it could be at this point.”
“So, I guess I did miss my chance.”
Noah’s words fell like a coin in a well, hitting the sides before colliding with the water. Missed his chance? So, he had like her too. But then, so much had happened in just the span of an hour. Was it so simple to say I like you or you have?
“It’s funny you saying that when were only seventeen.”
“Some things happen fast, and when they’ve happened you can’t go back on them.”
“Yeah,” A smile tricked across her lips, “You’re right.”
The group returned all laughing. Hina took Noah by the arm pulling him, the doll Hiroshi had won for her hanging on her pinky by its fabric loop, “Come on, it’s time to try the slide.”
Hiroshi took his place beside Nancy, the two of them beginning the trek after them at a slower pace.
“Give me your wrist.”
“Just give it to me.”
Hiroshi hit her wrist with a long flat piece of what seemed like golden fabric. It bent and came rolling around into a bracelet. A smile slid across her lips. It was a slap bracelet made to look like a jewel incrusted bracelet from a pirate’s treasure chest. Silly, childish, but for some reason she liked it almost the same as if it had been real.
“Wow, you won this.”
“You don’t have to make a big deal out of it, it’s not like it’s real gold.”
“Still, it’s pretty in its own way, to me at least.”
“What’s that intonation for?”
“The one you just used. It sounded, I don’t know, weird, out of character.”
“No, it didn’t.” She stroked the cuff, shamelessly tracing the false gems.
Eyes poised forward, he examined the backs of her friends, weighing the evening thus far in his mind, “So, how did it go?”
She tried not to look at him, “How did what go?”
“Your conversation. He confessed to you, didn’t he?”
“I guess, in a manner of speaking.”
“Alright, and how did you respond?”
“You know, your ears are really big.”
“And your teeth, their pretty long too.”
“What exactly are we doing here?”
“Nothing I was just thinking how much like the big bad wolf you are.”
His expression was cracked for a moment showing his disgust visibly, “You’re comparing me to a children’s story and one about a mongrel no less.”
“Well, if the shoe fits.”
“Please refrain from insulting me, I might not be able to harm you, but it puts me in a bad temper and…”
“Thanks for coming. Really, I would have been all alone without you.”
“Well, you’re welcome, I guess.”
A thought had edged its way into her mind as they walked side by side up the road. Maybe it would be fun to tame the big bad wolf, and maybe if she did, she could return his soul at last, and somehow he wouldn’t seek revenge. And possibly he would shed tears over her. Just maybe.
Thank you so much for reading everyone!!
Prompt Sentence: Nancy decided to make the porta-potty her home.
Word Count: 5073
Special thanks to Volodymyr Hryshchenko from Unsplash for the use of the image!
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