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Candyland and Witches

Chapter 2

Chapter 2:  Candyland and Witches




     Kagome and Shiro walked into the house. She turned to shut the door.


     "So, Shiro, what do you want to do… first?" Kagome's voice trailed off as she got a good look at the living area. To say it was a mess would be an understatement. It looked like a tornado had passed through.


     Empty fast food containers littered every available surface. Laundry, some clean and some dirty, lay in piles. A red sock hung from the overhead light. Kagome didn't want to think about how it got there. The only clean spot was a glass case fastened to the wall over the couch. It contained a rusty-looking katana in a cracked scabbard. The glass was well cleaned, without the dust, smears, or fingerprints that coated everything else.


     She felt a tug on her hand and looked down to see Shiro staring up at her. "Can we play a game, Miss Hirasi?"


     "You don't have to call me Miss Higurashi, Shiro. My name is Kagome. Can you say that?"


     "'Gome," Shiro said.


     "Close enough." Kagome accepted Shiro's attempt. "Let's find a game to play."


     Shiro nodded and bounced over to a closet. He opened the door. A mountain of board games and puzzles teetered in a haphazard stack. Choosing one near the middle, he started to pull. The pile wobbled.


     "Shiro!" Kagome cried. She rushed forward and grabbed him just as everything came crashing down.


     "Neat, 'Gome!" Shiro laughed, his chosen game clutched in his arms. The nearest boxes had just missed them.


     Kagome took deep gulps of air, trying to calm her racing heart. Maybe babysitting wasn't going to be as easy as she thought.




     Kagome frowned down at the game board. Shiro drew a card and moved his piece to one space away from the finish line. 'I knew it,' she thought. 'Nobody over the age of five can play Candyland and win.'


     The two of them had cleared a small area in the middle of the floor. They had been playing Candyland for almost an hour, with Shiro beating her two games out of three. And it looked like he was going to win the fourth. She glanced over to find him staring at her.


     "What's up, Shiro?" she asked as an excuse to take a break from the game.


     "Where's your black kitty and pointy hat?"


     "Um, I have a cat named Buyo." Kagome floundered, unsure why he was asking. "But he's not black. And I don't own any pointy hats. Why do you ask?"


     "Daddy said all women were witches." Shiro looked disappointed. "All witches have black cats and pointy hats and fly on broomsticks. I never met a witch before."


     Kagome clenched her fists, digging her nails into the soft flesh of her palms. She forced herself to relax.


     "I'm sure Daddy didn't mean it," she reassured Shiro.


     "But that's what Daddy said," Shiro protested.


     Kagome changed the subject. "That's enough of Candyland. Let's go have a snack."


     'When I see your Daddy, I'm going to strangle him,' she thought angrily, taking Shiro by the hand. 'Imagine saying stuff like that to an impressionable child.'


     She sat Shiro down at the table and opened the fridge. There were a couple of chocolate pudding cups, a six pack of Pepsi, a milk carton, and a lump of cheese with blue, fuzzy stuff growing on it. She pulled out the milk and took a cautious sniff.


     "Ugh!" Kagome fought the urge to gag. "The milk has definitely turned. Let's put it over here." She set the carton on the counter with all the care due a live grenade. Keeping an eye on the cheese which looked like it would soon be able to walk out of the fridge under its own power; she fished out a pudding and a Pepsi and found a clean spoon in the back of the silverware drawer.


     "Here you go," she said, handing him the pudding and the spoon.


     Shiro sat on the edge of his chair with his feet swinging a good foot above the floor. Pudding ended up smeared all around his mouth and the tip of his nose. Kagome sipped her Pepsi, wondering if there was more chocolate on him than in him.


     "So, Shiro," Kagome asked. "Where's your mommy?"


     Shiro stopped trying to lick pudding off his nose. "She doesn't live here."


     "Why not?"


     "I don't know." Shiro shrugged. "Daddy takes me to visit her sometimes."


     "Poor little guy." Kagome tousled his hair. How did he get pudding up there? "I bet you miss her."


     "No. Daddy's more fun. I'm finished, 'Gome."


     "Okay. Let's wash up and get you into bed."




     "Shiro?" Kagome called. "Where are you, Shiro?" She turned her back on the kid for a minute and he disappeared.


     "This isn't funny, Shiro." She looked in the hamper. No Shiro. Kagome was beginning to panic. She had looked everywhere at least twice. She knelt down and reached under the couch. Her fingers touched cloth. She pulled out a pair of Shiro's pants and a shirt. Maybe he was hiding under the bed in his room. Wait, was that a giggle?


     "Catch me, 'Gome!" Kagome turned in time to see Shiro launch himself from the top of the bookcase. How did he get up there? She lunged, catching his small body and twisting so that he landed on top of her.


     "Oof. I think I hurt myself," Kagome groaned.


     "That was fun!" Shiro laughed and clapped his hands. "Let's do it again!"


     Kagome stood up, clasping the boy in her arms. "Time for bed. It's already 8:30." She marched upstairs and deposited Shiro on his bed. At least he was already wearing pajamas.


     "I need Doggy," Shiro whined in a last effort to avoid going to bed. He dove under the covers and emerged holding a fluffy white dog with pointed ears. "May I have a glass of water?"


     "You already had one."


     "Read me a story, 'Gome."


     "I've read two. Now go to sleep." Kagome stayed in the room and watched Shiro snuggle under the covers. She would leave once she was sure he was asleep. That was why she had spent the last thirty minutes looking for him. He had snuck out of bed as soon as she left. She watched Shiro's eyes close, silently counting to one hundred just to be safe.


     "'Gome?" She froze with her fingers just inches from the doorknob.


     "Yes, Shiro?"


     "Can I have a goodnight kiss?"


     Kagome smiled. "Of course." She walked to the bed, leaning over to give him a kiss on the forehead. He smelled like soap and pudding.


     "Night, 'Gome."


     "Goodnight, Shiro." She closed the door softly after her. The smile left her face when she almost twisted an ankle tripping over a toy on the stairs.


     "I'm sure Mr. Takashi won't mind if I clean the place a little.”




     Inuyasha Takashi dragged himself up the walk at 11:39pm. The meeting was hell. The first two hours were spent listening to one group of morons telling another group of morons what they were doing wrong. During the second two hours the second group accused the first group of being major screw-ups. A grand total of thirty minutes was devoted to taking care of business. His head hurt, his feet hurt, and his hand hurt from punching the moron who called him an asshole. Tomorrow he was going to spend all day playing with his son and forget about work.


     He opened the door and wearily kicked off his shoes in the entryway. Scrubbing a hand through his hair, he yawned and then wrinkled his nose. What was that funky smell? He took a good look around for the first time since coming home. For a minute he thought he had the wrong house. Then it hit him -- the place was clean. Following his nose to the source of the smell, he found Kagome on her hands and knees in the kitchen. She was scrubbing industriously at an apple juice stain on the floor.


     "What the hell do you think you're doing?" Inuyasha yelled.


     Kagome jumped, slipped on the wet floor, and fell on her rear. "Don't do that!" she yelled back.


     Inuyasha grabbed her arm and pulled her to her feet. "I hired you to baby-sit, not clean house."


     Kagome's eyes narrowed in anger. "You should be thanking me. How can you raise such a sweet little boy in this pigsty?"


     "I don't need parenting advice from a child!"


     "I am not a child! For your information I'm almost 19."


     "19, huh? You're probably still in school." Inuyasha crossed his arms and looked down his nose at her.


     "Well, I graduate this summer." She dropped her gaze to the floor. "All I did was pick things up after nearly twisting my ankle on the stairs.


     "I'm not paying for housekeeping."


     Kagome looked up. "I didn't ask you to!" she yelled.


     He dropped his arms and tried to shush her. "Stop yelling! You'll wake Shiro!"


     "I am not yelling!"


     "Daddy?" They both turned at a small voice in the kitchen doorway. Shiro stood there, clutching his white dog.


     Inuyasha knelt and held out his arms. Shiro ran to him. "I'm sorry we woke you," Inuyasha said, smoothing his son's sleep-tousled hair.


     "I heard yelling." He wiggled out of his father's embrace. "Why were you fighting?"


     "We weren't fighting, Shiro," Inuyasha replied. "We were just discussing some things very loudly. Say goodbye to Miss Higurashi. She's leaving."


     Shiro ran forward to give Kagome a hug. "Do you have to go?"


     She nodded. "I'm afraid so."


     "I had fun, 'Gome. Come play with me again."


     "Maybe. Be a good boy, Shiro." Inuyasha came up beside him and took his hand.


     "'Gome?" he questioned.


     She favored him with a withering glare. "Goodbye, Mr. Takashi." She gathered her jacket and shoes and flounced out the door. She was halfway home when she remembered something.


     "Shoot. I forgot to get paid."




Food for thought:  The smile on your face is the light in the window that tells people you’re at home.


copyright: The Literary Dragon 2004