I'm loving the magic system, characters and world so far. I'm trying some new things like writing Lust in this scene. Please let me know what you think about it or how it could improve. I'm still fairly new at it, so any advice is welcome and loved.
I've decided that, for my Nano updates, I'm going to post the first 3 chapters - the introductions of each of the 3 main POV characters - then whatever the most recent chapter I've finished unless anyone requests differently.
I hope you enjoy chapter 2 of BURNING POTATOES FOR THE GLORY OF PEACE aka BURNING.
Chapter 2 (Unable to confess)
Ami allowed the hot water to cascade off of her body for several more moments before cutting the shower off. That felt wonderful. She climbed out of the tub and opened the door.
Nearly falling, her feet slid across the floor. Steam rolled out of the bathroom while she toweled off. The warm, summer heat created a sheen of perspiration across her naked skin and maintained the fog that covered the mirror.
I wonder if John will be free tonight after kickboxing. Ami wiped the sweat off of her body and turned on the fan. Once she had the towel wrapped around her hair, she pranced about her apartment. I missed my chance the last time … . I cannot allow another girl to take him away from me this time … . This time —
The memory of what Haru did zipped through Ami’s thoughts. It was the reason that John had broken up with his girlfriend after only six months together.
Ami ground her teeth. That bitch … . Before turning on the TV, she took a deep calming breath. She would not allow Haru’s actions to ruin this opportunity. I will confess to him tonight.
Blood rushed to Ami’s face. Her foot began tapping on its own, and she found herself wringing her hands together.
“The Omiya Yankees struck again last night,” the reporter on the news said, “yesterday’s victim was a young couple walking their dog.”
Ami clenched her fists. Her anger calmed her brittle nerves. It allowed her to regroup before going over the confession plans again.
“This attack was only one of seven over this past week,” the reporter said, “and all of the victims were hospitalized on top of having all of their personal possessions stolen.”
Through gritted teeth, Ami growled. “I will bring them to justice,” she said towards the TV, “tonight —” Her breath caught. But … what about John?
The room seemed to drop in temperature.
Ami shivered. “I can,” she said to herself, “bring justice after my first date … probably.”
She continued to build herself up as she put on her gym clothes. After stuffing an extra set of clothes — for her date — into her backpack, she threw a pair of feathers, a ballpoint pen and a red-stringed bell into the side pocket. She zipped up her backpack and tossed the towel across the couch before tying her black hair into a ponytail. Then she headed out the front door, trying to maintain her confidence.
By the time Ami finished her workout and dropped the set of dumbbells onto the rack, she breathed heavily. It is finally time! She wiped the perspiration from her brow.
Grunting, groaning and the clank clank clank of weights created a cacophony of sound throughout the gym. As usual on Saturday nights, a large crowd of people packed into the weight room. The relaxing stink of sweat hung in the air.
Ami inhaled through her nose, and using the aroma of people working-out, steeled her nerves. She could do it. She would do it. From this day forward, John would be her boyfriend — he would be hers, and no one else’s.
A chime rang through the intercom, announcing that the hour had changed. Now, it was seven o’clock, time to go to kickboxing — time to confess her feelings to John.
Even though her fingernails dug into her palms, Ami told herself that she was not scared. Compared to fighting against thugs and yankees, this is nothing … right? She increased her pace and sped through the gym.
The elevator ride was the worst. Despite the minuscule amount of time she spent on the monster, the inability to move had her huffing and fidgeting out of control.
When the doors opened after the eternity of moments, Ami sprang into the Kickboxing gym and scanned the groups of people. Where is he?
John was normally with Keisuke and Taisei, but his two friends stood alone on the far wall. Upon another inspection, there was not a single foreigner in tonight’s class.
Ami’s throat dried. Do not tell me … . She shuffled towards Keisuke and Taisei. The blood drained from her face before she made it halfway across the room. It has only been a week since he broke up with Sara … . Her teeth chattered.
Keisuke nudged Taisei. “Watch your tongue … the monster is coming.”
“Keisuke … .” Ami chewed on her tongue, fear repressing her rage.
After curling her toes, Ami studied the floor. “Where is John?”
Keisuke whistled. “So, that’s what this is about.”
Ami turned to Taisei.
Taisei shook his head. “Me either. He hasn’t been responding to Emails all day and wasn’t in rock-climbing class either.” He shrugged. “If I had to guess, he is —”
Shaking his head, Keisuke placed a hand on Taisei’s shoulder. “If you don’t want to get punched, then I’d suggest not finishing that sentence.”
Ami glanced at her hands and found them balled into fists. When had that happened? “I only want to —”
“Confess to him?” Keisuke smirked.
Heat rose into Ami’s cheeks and explode throughout the rest of her face. “Wha— What … what are you—”
Taisei chuckled then softly jabbed Ami in the shoulder. “I understa—”
On instinct alone, Ami twisted her hips stepped in close to Taisei. She pulled her fist out of his gut and blinked. “Sorry!” Before he could fall to the floor, she caught him and kept him upright. “I’m so sorry.”
Taisei worked his mouth, but no words came out.
Holding onto his stomach, Keisuke fell to the floor laughing. “Didn’t they teach you in the police academy not to pet the goril—”
Ami spun and kicked Keisuke between the eyes.
His head thumped against the matted floor. His eyes rolled into the back of his head.
Heart racing, she bared her teeth. “What did I tell you about calling me that?”
Taisei croaked out a laugh. “Hanging out with the two of you is more entertaining than sitting up to watch Twenty-four Hours, No Laughing Allowed.” He rubbed at the place where Ami had hit him. “Albeit much more dangerous.”
Keisuke rustled and moved as if to trip Ami.
She leaped backwards. “I —”
The head instructor clapped his hands, and the other students lined up in the middle of the room.
Ami sighed before hanging her head. After working up her confidence, she no longer had any power left. For all she cared, tonight’s class was a waste of time. The only thing she wanted right now was John.
John wept into his hands, the salty taste of sadness coating his lips. How could this happen to me? He sniffled. How did I get caught up in this mess?
By the time the vault door clicked open, the blaring alarm had died, and he had burned all of the potatoes in his stomach. Goosebumps prickled across his arms. It was colder now than earlier, wasn’t it? Several things thumped across the ground from outside the vault.
John’s heart skipped a beat, and he looked up.
A large group of police officers filed into the vault, all with guns pointed in his direction. “Freeze,” the elderly said as one, “you dirty foreigner!”
Is this it? John chewed on his cheek and held his hands in the air.
The police officer with more wrinkles than Japan had trains stepped forward. He holstered his gun and narrowed his eyes. “Looks like you got caught in the act you diseased, foreign monkey.”
After blinking, John wiped his eyes on the sleeves of his shirt, making sure to keep his hands in the air. The last thing he wanted was to get shot. “I can explain?”
“Explain what?” The elderly police officer pulled a pair of handcuffs from his belt and approached John. “How you got caught doing what your kind always do?”
“My kind?” What’s going on?
“You bastards are all the same.”
John swallowed. While his eyes fixed on his bloody knuckles, he wished that he hadn’t wasted his potatoes of the feather. “Excu—”
A smack echoed throughout the vault after the elderly police officer laid his hand across John’s face.
Pain zipped from John’s right cheek down to his feet. He screamed out.
“Shut your lying mouth, you dirty foreigner.” The elderly officer snapped the handcuffs onto John’s wrists and dragged him to his feet. “I don’t want to hear any of your bullshit.”
Smack! The elderly police officer’s hand reddened John’s other cheek.
When tears began to reform in his eyes, John bit into his lower-lip. Why is this happening to me? His resolve melted.
After spitting into John’s face, the elderly officer smiled. “Go ahead … something.” He bared his teeth. “Just give me a reason to break every bone in your filthy body.”
John shook his head and kept his mouth closed. What did I do to deserve this? When the image of his mother’s face hit him, his knees buckled, and he fell limp in the elderly police officer’s grip. Droll rolled down his chin, and his muscles convulsed in a quick spasm. His mind contorted, and a spiraling darkness wrapped around his thoughts.
The other police officers holstered their guns and grabbed John by his arms and legs.
While they dragged him from the vault, John once again found himself fantasizing about his peaceful weekend, and how great it would have been if not for Hyuga, and his magic bullshit.
Ami stumbled from the gym with her eyes glazed over. I cannot believe he did not show up for the entire class. He cannot have found a new girlfriend already, can he?
The cool night are bristled against her skin, and the hair on the back of her neck rose. Without the refreshing stink of bodies at work to calm her emotions, she found her rage screaming inside of her head.
While grinding her teeth, Ami glanced about the dwindling crowd. I know the perfect thing to help me relax after such a stressful night. She focused and felt for the lump of potatoes in her stomach.
It was still there in all of its golden glory.
Ami smiled before burning. A light-blue light bathed the sidewalk around her while she walked away from the gym.
First, she touched the feathers to make sure they still enhanced her physical abilities. Then, she switched to the ballpoint pen, and her skin hardened into steel. Finally, after checking to make sure that no one was watching her, she caressed the red-stringed bell. Fire sprang to life in her hands, leaping onto her fingers and dancing in the air by her command.
Reluctantly, Ami stopped burning.
An icy wave swept through her body.
Her joints ached, and her movements were sluggish. It is time to deliver some justice.
By the time she had reached Omiya Park, it was as if all the people had vanished. Chirping crickets filled the night sky with their song. The park smelled wrong with its lack of body odor, tobacco and car-exhaust.
Ami rolled her neck; the withdrawal after burning passed. Where should I start looking for these yankees? While glancing about, she pouted her lips and widened her eyes, trying to appear innocent and afraid.
Something crunched in the distance.
Ami’s heart tried to leap into her mouth. She reached for the potatoes, pulling her mental hand up short when she heard a flapping sound come from the same area as the crunch. Before moving deeper into the poorly lit park, she settled her nerves with a deep breath.
Power-walking as an excuse to be in the park so late, she made her way to the backend of Omiya Park. Few people visited this area, and sparse trees grew out of control. So many shadows and bushes made this an ideal place to rob someone. And the silence? Pure, unabashed silence? Well, it was just creepy.
Whenever Ami passed a bush, she checked behind it, to make sure that she would not get jumped from behind. This made the search feel like trudging through waist-high mud. I wonder if —
“It — it — it — it — it is time!” a scruffy voice said.
Ami screamed and nearly jumped out of her skin.
“It — it — it — it — it is time!” the voice said again, followed by music.
Inhaling sharply, Ami reached into her backpack and pulled her cellphone out.
“It — it — it — it — it is time!” her ringtone said again.
If this is not John … . Ami glared at her phone, hands still shaking. “Fuck you, Taisei!”
Her voice rolled into the night and across the Omiya Park Lake.
Ami’s hand shot to her mouth, and she cursed herself for losing control. Without a second thought, she cut her phone off and shoved her cellphone into her backpack. I would say that I am going to give Taisei a facelift with fist, but I already punished him enough earlier tonight.
A bit closer to the lake, the smell of burned potatoes pushed her into a run towards its source. There were two distinct strands of the scent.
When she reached its origin, Ami’s jaw went slack and her mouth fell open.
Eight unconscious men lay in heaps on the ground. They were all clearly yankees as shown by their hair and manner of dress. Two of them had pipes wrapped around their heads, and not even one of the yankees moved so much as to be called a twitch.
Ami leaned down and checked each of their vitals, admiring the breaks and bruises while she worked. Whoever did this was really good. After turning burning, she gathered the yankees and used their clothes to tie them together. The least I can do is turn them over to the police. She grabbed ahold of the feather and began dragging the string of unconscious bodies.
When Ami finally made it back to her apartment, she felt the desire for another shower overcome her weariness. She sniffed then shook her head. Why do I smell this bad?
The chill in the air vanished soon after heater started up. Though, the fact that the heater had to be used in the summer was a testament to the strangeness of the day. With luck, there would still be hope.
Ami smothered her desires before undressing and tossing her rancid clothes into the washing machine. Why do they stink worse than rotten grapes?
Once in the shower, she scrubbed her body with the roughest brush she owned. Then, while the water soaked her hair, she ran her fingers across her smooth skin. The laser hair-removal surgery would ensure that no one ever called her a gorilla again.
The thought brought Ami’s mind back to Keisuke which led it to John. I will call him wh— She moaned the moment her fingers brushed across her nipples. Once her fingers slid between her legs, she allowed desire to consume her.
Pleasure stretched time. Nothing existed except for the image of John in her mind. A beeping sound echoed from the other room — she had used too much hot water.
Sighing, Ami cleaned up and cut the water off. It is time to call him! Heat flushed her face while she dried her hair and body.
The air in the living room was thick like a sauna. Each breath needed to be chewed, but it was better than being cold.
Ami cut off the heater and turned on the TV. She had to create a natural atmosphere. If I can lull him —
“This just in,” a reporter said when the news interrupted the TV drama. “A foreigner has been caught trying to rob the Omiya West-Bank Securities Firm. He is currently being held and questioned. When more information comes to light, we will be sure to shed it here on NHK.”
While shaking her head in disbelief, Ami pulled her cellphone out. I cannot believe that anyone is that dumb.
Once her cellphone was turned on, it vibrated out of control. Fifty missed calls and twenty Emails.
Ami ignored the Emails and opened her missed-call log.
Most of the calls had come from Taisei. None from John. Though, surprisingly, some were from Keisuke.
Ami blinked. Well … this is odd.
It had been — what? — seven years since Keisuke had initiated contact with her. Well, without being forced by Moe at least.
What the fuck could he want? Ami licked her lips before flipping to John’s phone number. Here goes nothing. She hit the call button.
It rang and rang and rang.
When his generic voice mail answered, Ami cursed before calling again.
Time and time again, each call received the same result.
Ami screamed. After cocking her fist back, she prepared to chuck the cellphone across the room. “What is he doing?”
“It — it — it — it — it is time.”
Before flipping the cellphone open, Ami swallowed. “John?”
“No … .” Taisei said from the other line.
“Fuck! What do you want?” Ami ground her teeth, still thinking about throwing her cellphone through the window.
“It’s about John.”
Ami’s heart stopped. She froze in place. “Did … did … did something happen to him?”
Taisei’s audible gulp set Ami’s nerves on edge. He took a deep breath. “Yes … sort of.”
Oh no! Tears flowed down Ami’s cheeks. “Is he dea—”
“No! Just … in jail.”
“Jail … ?” The phone slipped from Ami’s grip and crashed against the floor. The … foreigner arrested … was John … . She found herself sprinting towards the front door, wallet in hand.
Next: BURNING Chapter 3