15.166.Introducing Imagination

The La-Iin Series
Chapter 166
“Introducing Imagination”

“Where are we going, La-Iin? I don’t think you’ve ever taken me to this part of town….it’s kind of spooky here.”
“I don’t think many people live here.”
“Is it abandoned?”
“How am I supposed to know?”
La-Iin, along with Choungetsu, led Fer-Shi down a familiar path. Fer-Shi glanced around constantly, as if she were nervous, though her expression was calm.
“So, um, you never answered my question….where are we going?”
“To a graveyard.”
Fer-Shi shrieked. “A GRAVEYARD!? La-Iin, you’ve gone too far now! I won’t be an accomplice in whatever it is you want to do! I’m going home!”
“We’re not going to the graveyard to dig up dead bodies.” ‘Although that would be fun.’ “There’s something I want to see near there.”
“A corpse!?”
“Fer-Shi, I need you to follow me all the way. I want to see something!”
“La-Iin, you want to see something. Near a graveyard. That’s exactly why I’m out of here!” She turned to leave. La-Iin grabbed her by the collar of her dress.
“Do you want me to suck your blood straight from your jugular?”
Fer-Shi swallowed hard. “U-um, n-no….”
“Then come with me.” She dragged Fer-Shi along by her collar. Fer-Shi struggled against La-Iin, but it seemed to be to no avail. La-Iin heard her choke more than once.
Once she reached the entrance of the graveyard, she called out a name.
“Imagination.”
No response.
“Imagination!”
“Why is someone calling for me? ….oh, is that you, La-Iin?”
La-Iin stood in place. Imagination peeked her head out of the graveyard. “Hello again, La-Iin. It’s nice to see that we didn’t forget each other. And you brought your dog again too!”
Choungetsu’s ears folded back to his head as Imagination reached out a strange-looking hand. “And you brought someone else with you too? Who’s this?”
“Fer-Shi, can you see her?” La-Iin asked. Fer-Shi blinked at her in confusion. “Wh-why wouldn’t I be able to?”
“Oh, I see,” Imagination said. “You were trying to prove whether I was a ghost or not!”
“A ghost!?”
“Oh, calm down, Fer-Shi. I can see her, Choungetsu can see her, and you can see her. She’s probably not a ghost.”
“Hello there. My name is Imagination. La-Iin doesn’t think I’m a ghost, but I know I am. Hi!”
“U-um….” Fer-Shi’s face had gone pale. “I’m…Sanhuun Fer-Shi….nice to meet you?”
“Nice to meet you too! I’m sorry, is the graveyard scaring you?”
“More than a little bit…” Fer-Shi said. “U-um, Imagination, was it? Can I….talk to La-Iin for a little bit before I get to know you?”
“Of course.”
Fer-Shi grabbed La-Iin’s hand and walked a short distance away from Imagination.
“La-Iin?”
“What now?”
“Did you bring me all the way out here to meet her?”
“Yes. I wanted to see if you could see her. You heard her say she’s a ghost. I figured if she was really a ghost, maybe only me and Choungetsu could see her.”
“I see….well, she is kind of transparent-looking….and she’s really close to a graveyard….she seems nice enough, but having a graveyard as a backdrop for a meeting place is kinda creepy!”
“You tell her that yourself.”
“Ho-how did you meet her anyway?”
“I was taking a walk and she decided to talk to me. It was kind of annoying, but I like the graveyard. She sort of reminds me of you, if you went off the deep end.”
“Why!?”
“I don’t know.”
“W-well, I guess we should get back to her, then…” Fer-Shi turned around and walked somewhat stiffly back to Imagination, whose ears perked up.
“So you’re Sanhuun?”
“Yes…um, Imagination?”
“Mm-hm?”
“Can we, um….talk somewhere away from the graveyard? It’s kind of freaking me out…”
Imagination smiled. “Of course. See, you seem so much more normal, Sanhuun. La-Iin was interested in the graveyard and even went in.”
“YOU WENT IN!?” Fer-Shi screeched. La-Iin’s wings gave an involuntary flap. “What did you expect?”
Fer-Shi took a deep breath. “Yeah, what was I expecting with you?”
“Have you two been friends a long time?”
“Well, I guess you could say that….”
“Since you were babies?”
“No, not that long…”
‘They’re getting along pretty well.’ La-Iin realized. She sighed.
“So, um, Imagination? Are you really, um….a ghost?”
Imagination nodded. “I remember dying, and I remember watching my funeral. Unless I was just watching the funeral of some girl who looked a lot like me….I know people would think I’m crazy, but I’m pretty sure I’m dead. Also, I haven’t grown up at all since I saw my funeral, and it feels like it’s been a really long time since then…”
“Um…”
“I’m sorry! Was I weirding you out? I’ve just been kind of lonely. When La-Iin came by, I was happy because somebody could see me again. Nobody else has been able to see me, and not many people walk around this area either. I’m glad it was La-Iin too, because she actually wanted to go in the graveyard. Other people might be scared by a graveyard girl.”
“I was scared, definitely.”
“See? And then after La-Iin visited, she didn’t come by for a while. But then when she did come back, she came back with you, and you can see me too! That made me happy. Although…are your parents okay with you being this far?”
“Mm-hm! They’re pretty much okay with me going anywhere in Bledger so long as I’m with somebody.” La-Iin noticed that Fer-Shi’s tone was starting to steady.
“It’s like that with me too.”
“That seems weird…you’re only with each other.”
“To my Mom and Dad, La-Iin counts!”
“And Choungetsu already counted for me. Fer-Shi’s an extra.”
“Hey!”
“I’m jealous of you two. You seem so close…”
“I guess we are pretty close!” Fer-Shi said. “But don’t be jealous. I’m sure you’ll find a really good friend someday!”
La-Iin stared at both Imagination and Fer-Shi in silence, blocking out the two’s conversation. An idea had popped into her mind.
“Fer-Shi, can you go ahead? There’s something I want to ask Imagination. …a secret something.”
“What? Can’t you ask me?”
“No. Also, Choungetsu looks impatient. If you could take him ahead, that would be…nice.”
“Why are you so eager to get rid of me?”
“I’m not. I’m just curious about something about Imagination, and I don’t know if she’d want you to know what it is.”
Fer-Shi pouted. “Is it something bad?”
Choungetsu whimpered and tugged on La-Iin’s leash. “Forget what I want to ask her. You should at least take Choungetsu ahead.”
“But I–”
Choungetsu whimpered again.
“Fine,” Fer-Shi sighed. She took the leash from La-Iin. “Come on, Choungetsu!”
A look of surprise crossed her face as Choungetsu bolted off.
“….what did you want to ask, La-Iin?”
“You say you’re a ghost, right? Then I want you to do something that I think would be good proof.”
“What?”
“Scare Fer-Shi. I mean not a normal scare. Scare her badly. Pop out of something you shouldn’t be able to go through or something.”
“Why?”
“To prove you’re a ghost.”
“Does she like scares?”
La-Iin grinned. “She’s used to them…”
“If you say so…okay, I’ll do my best.”
Imagination walked ahead of La-Iin. La-Iin glanced at Fer-Shi briefly. When she turned back to Imagination, the girl was gone. She braced herself for whatever scare Imagination was planning and walked up to Fer-Shi.
“Hi, La-Iin.” She glanced around. “Where’s Imagination?”
“She said she wanted to go back.”
Fer-Shi glared. “Did you ask her something strange, La-Iin?”
“No. I didn’t do anything. I guess she just wanted to leave.”
“Well, I wish she’d told me…I wanted to talk to her more!”
A scream sounded behind Fer-Shi. Fer-Shi turned around. The color drained from her face before she let out a scream of her own and fell to the ground. La-Iin watched in awe before taking Choungetsu’s leash from her. By now, Choungetsu looked ready to run away, and he tugged hard at the leash.
“Did you see that, La-Iin? Is that proof enough for you? Because it looks like it was proof enough for her.”
“That was cool!” La-Iin said. “What did you do to get her to scream like that?”
“I stuck myself halfway in the ground…didn’t you see?”
“No.”
Imagination sighed. “There goes my proof…”
“It was never about proof, Imagination. I just wanted to scare Fer-Shi.”
“That’s kind of mean…”
“I don’t care.” She smiled. “It was worth it.”

—–
“La-Iin….?”
“Oh, you’re finally awake. It’s getting late. We should go home.”
“Ah!” Fer-Shi sat up abruptly and glanced around. “Where’s Imagination!? Is she alright!?”
“I’m fine,” Imagination said. Fer-Shi took one look at her and gasped.
“M-maybe you’re right. My Mom and Dad are probably worried about me…” She stood up and walked away. La-Iin turned back to Imagination and grinned.
“You did a really good job of scaring her.”
“I know….but is she gonna be scared of me forever? I don’t want that…”
“Oh, she won’t be. I’ll get her to come back here. She’ll get used to you.”
“Are you sure she’ll want to come back?”
“I’ll make her come back, whether she wants to or not.”
La-Iin turned away from Imagination, then glanced back at her and waved. “See you, Imagination.”

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