In the quiet lonely hours of the night, she lay staring at the ceiling. Walls of dancing moonlight shift and crawl while the heavy clock down the hall ticks off the intolerable seconds of her life. It was all fine, bearable even until he brought home his 'gift'. Life was boring. Life was predictable. Days could be counted on to follow certain rhythms, certain patterns. Every night an eventual release from the doldrums, washed away by dreamless sleep. Sleep was all but impossible now. Taken from her like so many other things. Robbed. Obliterated. Yesterday's hopes stored. Yet still she plotted. Only the shifting shadows knowing her mind, her inanity, her... Unraveling.
(EDIT- I just realized I did this prompt wrong.... I did first letter of first word of each sentence, so sorry if you read and it made no sense!!)
Craftiness is a quality in the mind and a vice in the character
When the manilla folder stack teetering precariously on the edge of the desk began to smell like Brooklyn Pizza instead of dust, Easton knew that he had worked so late that his last remaining brain cells were suffocating in their own coffee-drowned cerebral juices. His left hand continued to scrawl across the toner-scented A4 form V-1445 while his right hand groped blindly across the desk, brushing papers, notes, dust bunnies, and eventually the cold ceramic of his coffee mug, which he drank air from.
He willed his writing hand to finish the form, as if adrenaline was made from force of will like crime was made of darkness and desire. At last, he danced his initials and signature on the page, whisked it into its folder, and stood, wiping away the bleariness in his eyes and finding that it was actually in his glasses. He cleaned the fog with his tie, which had cleaned his lenses too many times today.
Easton actually hated pizza. It was where his half-brother had been shot advising on a case that had turned out an entirely new breed of organized crime. It was always too cold, too greasy, or too tomatoey for his picky taste buds. So when he smelled it like a nicotine craving, he knew that it was time to turn in for the day. His case paperwork would still be there in the morning, unless the cleaning staff finally bumped it onto the floor, which he secretly hoped for as it would mean twenty minutes of not thinking about bastards, psychopaths, and everyone else with a chip on their shoulder and the means to prove it.
A curious thing happened when he opened his office door and stepped outside of it. First, he couldn't breathe. Second, his head hurt. And third, there was something else standing there. He took a step back, unslicking himself from a tall and leggy courier with wild hair peeking out of his bicycle helmet and the branding of one of the local message delivery services for the technologically disabled, technologically barred, and would-be-criminals with a tail watching their every move. If it had been any other hour but this one, he would have asked questions, made small talk, or at least looked presentable but the wee hours of the morning was a cruel mistress and had extracted the last of his energy, words, and facial expressions.
The courier, however, was a good one. He placed a small envelope into Easton's hands, gave a curteous smile, said his line about the time of the message, sender, and worth of the envelope, and nothing about Easton's bad breath, collision, or body sweat that had been traded. He was a good messenger. He turned and jogged the last few steps out of the building, picking up his bike from the view of the glass windows, and riding off with it in an easy but dutiful speed.
It was a day for staring and Easton did not neglect the new envelope. Eventually a car went by with a bass so low that it reverberated the windows and an instant headache in his brain. It was enough to free him from the stupor of his exhaustion, and his fingers clumbsily tore along the opening and retrieved a single page of personal stationary.
The stationary bore the initials of KJL, a rare and magical antiques dealer he had consulted with a few times on the north end of town. But the message was from his kid sister, something about how she just loved the book that he'd gotten for her last Christmas and how she'd just now found the package. Except that he hadn't seen her last Christmas, hadn't gotten her any gift, much less a book, and had never seen her read her homework much less a book. He searched the paper for indications of time and date, then remembered the envelope, which was dated twenty minutes ago.
He willed his furloughed braincells to work, hoping to put the puzzle peices together. Was this some sort of 3am treasure hunt? A game? A challenge? He checked the envelope again, scanning the rush delivery stamp, the timestamp, the location of the courier's station. He checked the message and noticed that not all of the sentences flowed together into one cohesive thought, that all grammar punctuation but the period were gone and that they were super enlarged, and that some of the first words had been re-written, no, not the first word, the first letter. He checked them like a word search, going down the page and putting them together until he had the word "Help".
He dropped the letter in his haste as he dashed out the door, ran into the door, then successfully out of it, and hailed a taxi to the oppulent north side. KJL had a lot of explaining to do. Unless he knew already. Shit. He fumbled in his pocket and dialed some precautionary favors.
Tiny specks of white are so gentle and soft, and they sparkle in the light of the dawn. Harmoniously they join the flawless blanket that smothers the earth, the rivers, the rocks. Even the structures of men are enveloped in the lovely grace of winter's embrace. Through the winter, however, this is only the beginning of the cold. It is just the very start, when the wind is kind and the snowfall is modest. Going forward through the season, it certainly becomes vicious like the most vile of yokai. Everything becomes submerged in the snow, drowned in it's weight, and the winds shred through even the thickest of cotton. Rains pierce frozen through all but the most reinforced walls with more power than a hail of arrows from the enemy.
Of course, despite the long months of the winter there is always hope. Faith that it will eventually subside and the grasses will reemerge green and vibrant, and the trees will find their color - most of all, the revered sakura trees with their soft pinks and whites and their wonderfully sweet scent. These are the pride of the lowly and royal alike. Heaven graces the land in the wonders of spring time, as some say. Everyone, from the smallest child that wobbles their first steps to the elder that hobbles on three legs, embraces the coming spring and prays for it even through the deepest of the winter before it.
Ribbons adorn the trees of the cities, their parks, when summer settles in on the heels of the vibrant season. Evenings are alight in lanterns contained in color. Dusk is a time for somber recollection, and a time to welcome back to departed - if only for a short time, but it is enough to find peace in the company of those we cherished when they breathed, and even more so when they do no longer. Soon we will see them again when we take our own last breath and we, too, find the quiet sleep of eternity.
Night of the blood moon looms during the autumn time. Over time, through the hollowing month when whispers rattle the evenings and haunt the sleep, the moon grows day by day. When it reaches the perfect orb in the perfect height in the sky, the shifting tones of pink before now are a horrifying red as the crimson rivers of war. In the hours before it's peak, the doors and windows are barred and the terrified wait out the night as the shriek, scream and cackle of the angered yokai parade the streets and seem to tear down the very world outside. Soon will the sun rise to vanquish the moon and seal the void to cast the vile back to their plane - just hold on to your loved ones tight, and do not go outside until the silence falls.
Currents of cool air return as they had before, and it is apparent the cycle runs it's course again as the final colors of nature disappear with autumn's leave. Oh, by the spirits is has been another prosperous year, and by the grace of Heaven and the Emperor we are here to see it come to another snow. Many rejoice just as they had when the previous snows had melted away to the spring. In each season, in each year, there is reason to give praise and thanks no matter what good or ill come with them. None are more or less important than the other, as they all bring about life and Heaven's will. Gaining enlightenment to this cause of life will bring about happiness to all - honor thy family, the living and the deceased, and long live the Emperor that he may bring us the word of Heaven.