Chapter 2:

Shadow Of The Day

Soul Nemesis [VOLUME I]

The young boy pushed the door of the establishment open, and walked inside, as he has plenty of times in the past.

“Welcome to- Eiji?” The bartender frowned briefly at the sight of the kid waltzing into his shop so late at night.

“Yo, Hayato.” Eiji greeted, and walked up to the counter. Despite their 20 year-or-so age gap, the kid seemed as casual as ever.

The man behind the counter, Hayato, ultimately chuckled to himself, as he threw a towel over his shoulder, in typical bartender fashion “Yo, he says…” With a sigh, he pointed up at the classic clock hanging from the wall to his left. “There’s more hours on that clock than you’ve got years in this world, pal.”

Without heeding the man’s words, Eiji climbed to one of the stools in front of the counter. The bar had a gothic type of look, with low lighting, dark brown seats and wooden flooring, as well as a LED sign reading the shop’s name in a striking purple, right next to the glass pane, and behind the wooden counter.

Searching through his pockets like a broke college student who just payed rent, Eiji fished out a handful of coins “One juice, please.” He smirked.

“Okay, one juice, and then I’m sending you home.” Hayato ultimately agreed, and got to prepping his young friend’s beverage. Their friendship really was an unusual one, but it definitely seemed real. Eiji had made a habit of visiting Hayato’s establishment ever since Asahi had brought him there once. He and Hayato were undoubtedly good friends, so it wasn’t long before Eiji took the liberty of visiting himself. In truth though, for a young boy like him with no friends his age, “Dream” was the only place he could really relax, and avoid having to sit all alone or in the company of those peculiar translucent figures.

Ultimately, even Hayato didn’t mind the kid’s presence, despite his protesting, which he most likely demonstrated in the event Hifumi barged into the establishment.

Hayato was quite afraid of her in fact, despite being several years her elder.

As it was evident. Haraguchi Hayato was the owner of the establishment. He had his long brown hair tied in a bun and a light stubble on his chin. He looked about as charming as a guy could look in his 30s. He was always seen by Eiji, wearing a white shirt, a black bowtie and black dress pants. His humble shop’s dress code, as he said so himself.

“So what’s with that face again?” Hayato asked, clearly referring to the Band-Aids on Eiji’s face.

“Long story…”

“Hayato… where do I put those?” Suddenly, a man came through the back of the shop carrying a crate. Or more like, barely carrying it. His knees were wobbly, and his thin arms strained to keep hold of the load.

“Oh, just put them down before—“

An evidently loud crash ensued, as the thin man was eventually defeated by the heavy crate in his arms.

“You fall…” Hayato sighed, as he looked upon the mess the man had made on the floor. The crate had toppled and all kinds of snack packs had scattered across the room. It was a good thing there weren’t any other customers besides Eiji to see that. Or was it?

Luckily enough though, the packages hadn’t burst open, minizing the mess to a bare minimum.

Eiji picked one up and read the label “Mixed nuts?”

“No matter how nice you ask, I won’t let you have it. You’re only getting juice.” Hayato pointed out, and held out his hand across the counter.

What was with everyone being so strict today? Eiji thought.

While Eiji was handing over the goods, the fallen soldier beside him writhed in pain “Ow…”

“Who is he, anyway?” The young boy asked, looking over.

“Oh yeah, I haven’t introduced you yet.” The bartender, and shop owner, cleared his throat, “He’s Ueno Shigeru. The newest employee.”

“Hehe, nice to meet you.” The man’s pained expression soon transformed into a goofy grin, as he greeted the boy. It was rather odd how he didn’t even question the fact how an 11-year-old boy came to be lounging in a bar almost past 12.

“Yo… Kanzaki Eiji.” The boy answered nonchalantly nonetheless. The man acted too aloof for seemingly being the same age as Hayato. His hair was a dirty blonde, with brown markings the deeper it got, as if the dye was wearing off, and his stature was unusually thin. With that physic it was a matter of time before such a big container got the better of him. He was wearing the same attire as Hayato although it barely fitted him at all. Yet the real question was…

“With hardly any customers, can you really afford to have an employee…?”

“Wow, why’s this kid making sense all of a sudden?!” Hayato took a step back, quite literally.

“Eiji-kun is smart…” Shigeru pointed out, still lying on the floor.

“Look, we do get customers, it’s just too early for them yet, okay?” the man behind the counter explained, as he got to cleaning another glass. “And you…” He cast a side glance at Shigeru, who was still lying on the floor like a sleepy cat, “Get to cleaning will you?”

“R-roger…” Albeit reluctantly, the man hid the boss’s words, and started picking up the packages scattered on the floor.

“Listen…” Hayato leaned over the counter and beckoned the kid over, “I kept seeing him roaming around the streets and sleeping on benches so I decided to let him stay here in exchange for some light work. I’m not paying him much but I think it’s better than just leaving him in the street.”

“Is it okay though to trust a stranger like that?” Eiji whispered back.

“He’s a good guy. I’ve already asked around the neighborhood. He wouldn’t hurt a fly.” Hayato seemed adamant on the matter.

“If you say so…”

“Mhmm… those mixed nuts are really good.” Shigeru squirmed in delight, as he munched on the nuts he was about to collect.

“I told you to put them back in the crate, not eat them for fuck’s sake!” Hayato retorted, seemingly fed up with his new employee.

Eiji looked on in amusement, trying to figure out if Shigeru was stupid, drunk or just unnaturally senile.

Soon, the time for Eiji to go home had drawn near, and despite Hayato insisting Shigeru escorts him back home, the fact he fell asleep on the backroom nulled that possibility out.

So, the young boy went on home by himself, which consequently wasn’t anything new to him.

Tonight was really lively, Eiji seemed to think, recalling the constant bickering between the two men from earlier. Deep inside though, Eiji really felt like everything was much more exciting during the night.

As he was walking by the park, Eiji caught a glimpse of the figures from before. Still as ever they were, just standing by the side of the road.

Why wouldn’t they move? The boy couldn’t understand. He always wondered if those were the kind of spirits the two onmyouji brothers fought in the anime he would watch every night.

As he was lost in thought though, that’s when his eye caught glimpse of a weird movement.


He turned around to see a familiar, hideous abomination staring back at him. It had the shape and make of a beast, yet its features weren’t recognizable. No eyes and no nose either, just one big mouth, opening wider and wider, with each step forward.

Eiji was struck speechless for a few seconds, but when the mysterious creature lunged at him, the boy quickly turned tail and ran back down the road.


With a terrified scream he kicked off the ground time and again, his house now almost in sight. What was happening? He couldn’t comprehend. He’s seen such an abomination before, but it never even noticed him. Yet now, it was coming for him, and if he weren’t fast enough…

He shook his head and kept running, his room was now within reach! With a big leap, he flew through the threshold, and landed head-first on his futon.

“Woah!” His momentum though caused him to topple over and smack his foot against his night stand.

Neglecting the pain completely, he turned around in a flash to see that the monster that had been chasing him was nowhere to be found.

“Phew…” With a flop, he laid against his futon, and exhaled in relief. “Ouch…” Before the pain from before caught up.

“What was that?” Hifumi’s muffled voice suddenly made its way into the room.

Like a skilled practitioner, Eiji pulled the sheets over his body, and slid off his shoes, in an attempt to sweep his whole adventure beneath the rug.

It wasn’t long before the door opened a crack, and a small beam of light shone in. With it, Hifumi’s head peeked through, who gazed at her brother for a good 10 seconds before nodding and closing the door.

Mission, accomplished… The young boy thought. After all, he would rather not tell his sister about his late-night escapades, or the monster that had just chased him back on the way home. Before long, he drifted off into a dreamless sleep.


What’s for breakfast?”



The morning of the next day began with Eiji grumbling lowly over his plate like a grumpy old man.

“Again.” Hifumi replied sternly, before pulling a carton out the fridge “Juice?”

“Nah, I had jui—“ Eiji stopped himself just in time before he blew the lid off his own late-night operation.

Hifumi raised a brow, “You didn’t have juice yesterday though…”

“Sure. Can I?”

“Weirdo…” Hifumi smiled to herself as she poured some for him on a glass.

“When wilf Aahi bfe bach?”

“Chew first, speak later.” His sister chuckled, picking up the empty plate off the table. “He’ll be back in a bit, he’s off work today. But I need YOU out of the house ‘till the evening,”

“What for?” Eiji asked. Were his suspicions about Hifumi leaving him behind justified after all?

“I need to set up the decorations for your party. It’s a surprise and all that.”

Despite heaving a silent sigh of relief, Eiji retorted “It’s not much of a surprise if you tell me beforehand.”

“You’re getting cockier by the day, dear brother…”

Despite their constant back and forth, it was evident how much Hifumi cared for her little brother.

After breakfast, Eiji quickly got ready for another day underneath the blazing sun of the summer. His bruises from yesterday, had mostly healed meaning he was all ready for yet another fight if push came to shove, much to his sister’s dismay. Eiji always had a knack of getting into fights wherever he went after all, and funnily enough half of them were even justified.

As he got on his bike, Asahi came over to see him off, while Hifumi silently watched on from the porch.

“Be careful not to crash anywhere, okay?” Asahi said, half-jokingly.

“Of course not!” Eiji smirked, “Never mind the bicycle, I’ll get me a bike as cool as yours in no time…. just you wait!”

Asahi was quick to laugh at that remark, “You’ve still got quite some time ahead of you pal, no rush!”

Hearing Asahi say that annoyed Eiji. He wanted to grow up as fast as possible after all. Yet, he couldn’t ever argue with him. To the young boy, Asahi felt like the male role model he never had. Without ever knowing a father, Eiji subconsciously replaced that figure with that of the dependable, and cool officer that was Asahi. In his mind, it was pretty much a given that he’d turn out like him one day. The word “officer” sounded cool in and of itself after all.

“Yeah, yeah…” Eiji sighed briefly, as he strapped on his red helmet.

“Oh, now that I remember, Eiji.” Hifumi walked over with a bill in hand. “Could you pick up the photograph I sent to that local photography studio yesterday? It’s right next to the park.”

“Hm.” Eiji smirked. Despite being called up for an errand, he felt slightly more depended on than before, which gave him a new sense of maturity, albeit only briefly. “Sure.”

“Good boy, now off you go!” Hifumi tapped him on the back.

“See you later, little menace.” Asahi joked too, as Eiji stepped on the pedals and waved back at the two of them, an absent-minded smile on his face, as he rode away.

To Hifumi, Eiji would always be her baby brother. A small, helpless boy. But even she, in the face of his growth, was left unable to not recognize the passage of time.

“See ya Nee-chan… Asahi.”

Hifumi sighed momentarily, and Asahi was quick to notice.

“Hey, don’t worry about him, he’s a big kid, he can take care of himself.” The man sitting beside her commented, as Hifumi nodded along.

“He’s really grown, huh? When did he ever grow so much? It feels like yesterday he was just a baby…”

“Feeling sentimental are we?” Asahi joked once more.

“I just can’t help but worry… He doesn’t even have any friends yet.”

“Well, we just gotta watch over him ‘till then, right?”

The two of them nodded, as Eiji’s silhouette grew even more distant.


After picking up the photograph near the park, Eiji continued riding around the neighborhood, in search of something fun. Eiji always enjoyed riding his bike, and he thought it would be even cooler when he got his own cool motorcycle in the future.

On his way around town, he spotted a familiar, thin figure leaving “Dream”

Eiji quickly hit the brakes and came to a stop “Ueno…san?”

“Oh, Eiji-kun!” The man turned around with an aloof grin, seemingly as relaxed as ever.

“Where are you headed, Ueno-san?”

“Hayato sent me on an errand to the convenience store…” Shigeru replied calmly and steadily. “And please, call me Shig. I’m not fond of my family name.”

“Okay, Shig? The convenience store is this way though…” Eiji pointed out somewhat hesitantly.

“Heh, I’ll just go around then. I need to feed the pigeons in the park too.”

“Feed… the pigeons, huh?’ It was already evident to Eiji how carefree and “my-pace” person Shig was. Quite frankly, it baffled the young boy, since it felt like he was in a constant state of nirvana.

As Eiji turned to pedal forward, his eye twitched just slightly “Eh?”

There, in front of Eiji, and around the corner of the shop the same monstrous figure from yesterday night had appeared. Although this time, and to the boy’s delight, it wasn’t fixated on him at all. The mysterious creature loitered around the back of the shop, and disappeared into an alley.

“Wait!” Eiji cried.

“What’s wrong, Eiji-kun?” Shig cocked his head, but the young boy quickly pedaled forward, following the entity. For some weird reason, Eiji was drawn to it, like a moth to a flame. Besides, he didn’t really believe it would attack him in broad daylight.

As the boy rounded the corner, the monster was nowhere to be seen, like it had just vanished into thin air.


Although the thought of it wasn’t quite as puzzling, the event of it appearing altogether seemed quite unnerving to Eiji. Why would it appear at a time like this?

“Eiji-kun, something the matter?” Shig rounded the corner too, looking as clueless as ever.

“No I just…” Eiji stuttered for a moment, not sure it would be wise to say anything. Yet, judging by Shig’s potential brain capacity, would it hurt if he tried?

“There was a monster, so…”

“A monster?” Shig looked on, unfazed.

“Yeah, and I thought about following it—“

“You can see… monsters?” Shig asked, appearing almost intrigued.


“You must be special then, Eiji-kun.”


Such a simple statement, yet it never occurred to him before. He’s seeing things, his sister and Asahi can’t see, so he has to be… Special?

What did that entail?

“Never mind that, I need to go. The pigeons are waiting. See you, Eiji-kun…”

Wasn’t Hayato waiting too? Eiji wanted to say, but decided against it. It wouldn’t be wise to stress out such a carefree person after all.

As he watched the man leave though, Eiji stood and pondered on those words over and over.

“Special, huh?”

Lucid Levia