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Re: Heat

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 4:38 am
by Mirage_GSM
I was going to comment that most mothers lose their "heavy sleeper" disadvantage (perk?) by default.
If you want to fix it, just remove the "always has been" from the story, but it's not really neccessary.

Re: Heat

Posted: Sat Aug 16, 2014 5:04 am
by Ozymil
oh no a wizard came by and edited my post

Re: Heat

Posted: Thu Aug 21, 2014 5:56 pm
by AntonSlavik020
I can't really say anything that hasn't already been said better than I can say, so I'll just say that this was a very good story. As other people said, the idea of a maternal Rin is very interesting and rarely explored. I can't think of anything wrong with it, it's just very well done.

Loose Leaf

Posted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:12 pm
by Ozymil
Another short character piece I wrote up just to keep my writing from getting rusty. This was a bit more cerebral than my Rin piece, but I think that's largely due to the difference between her's and Hanako's personalities. Hope you guys enjoy.


Black tea was a source of great relief for Hanako. She would never drink more than one cup at a time. The excess caffeine set her nerves on edge. But in a single cup she found solace. One cup sent a buzzing warmth through her body and eased her focus. Hisao quickly discovered that a sure remedy for calming Hanako was to brew her a cup and go out for a walk. Many nights had ended with the two settling into a park bench and enjoying the pleasant silence of the night. Oftentimes Hisao would fall asleep but Hanako could never bring herself to wake him up. There was something indescribably serene about the way Hisao’s soft snoring and her own breathing mingled with the nighttime air.

The beauty of black tea was that Hanako could find it most anywhere. Whether it was the loose-leaf she prepared in the comfort of her own home or a 300 yen cup on her way to work, Hanako always had ready access to her tea. No matter what, she could count on it to relax her. Which is why she now sat in a cafe at 8:05 AM on a Tuesday, her hands wrapped covetously around a warm ceramic mug. A cup of tea was just what she needed to stave off the nervousness of her impending interview.

Hanako had certainly enjoyed tea with Lily back at Yamaku, but it wasn’t until a sleepless night in college that it became an intensely personal ritual for her. That particular evening was a stressful one. She and Hisao had gotten into a fight, her half-finished twenty-page research paper was due the next morning, and she was growing increasingly unsure of where life would take her once graduation came around.

There wasn’t any particular reason she chose Earl Grey. All she asked the worker behind the counter for was a hot drink that would keep her awake. In retrospect, it wasn’t even a very good cup of tea. But when it was brought to her table what immediately struck her was the scent. A warm, smooth, earthy smell that crept into her nose and filled her head. Settling into her seat, she reached for the mug and nestled her hands around the warm container. Her fraying, fatigued mind immediately relaxed and a slight shiver ran from the top of her head, down behind her ears, and into her fingertips.

The beverage was wholly unassuming otherwise. Peering into the cup revealed a murky auburn liquid; she had refrained from adding any milk or sugar. Her first tentative sip revealed a somewhat bitter flavor that spread across her tongue. Quickly becoming accustomed to the taste, she held the drink up to her nose and inhaled its scent. The oaky aroma filling her senses, she followed with a larger sip. The warm liquid reached her stomach and a pleasant heat blossomed from within her. The fatigue and stress were slowly seeping out of her body, replaced by a comforting haze. Before long she had reached the bottom of the mug. Despite that she still clung to the tepid ceramic. She closed her eyes and focused on the heat both creeping into her palms and exuding from her body.

It was nearly closing time when she opened her eyes. She was embarrassed at having apparently sat doing nothing for so long, but the tea-shop worker assured her she was more than welcome to sit as long as she liked. Hanako was fairly certain she would stop by again and take up that offer.


One of the interviewers, Professor Fujimoto, casually looked over her file while the other, Professor Matsushita, smiled pleasantly. Laying down the papers, Fujimoto looked up at Hanako and threw her a similar smile. She was unable to tell what the intention was behind their looks. Perhaps it was just her nervousness that made it seem as if they were trying to be anything other than welcoming.

“Well Miss Ikezawa,” Fujimoto said, “I must say you have a very impressive resume.”

“Thank you.”

Today was the interview portion of her application process. She had dressed smartly, something a prospective professor would wear (according to Hisao), and had her hair pulled back into a ponytail.

Matsushita picked up her file and scanned over the pages. “It’s always a nice surprise to see someone as young as you interested in pursuing Theatre Studies. The department is rather small and the pool of new applicants even smaller. Still, we offer a highly robust and competitive program.” He paused to address her directly. “Tell me, what sort of work do you want to engage in?”

“I…” Hanako breathed. “I want to direct.”

“In your cover letter you mentioned you were interested in researching Western performance. You realize our department specializes in Japanese performance?”

“I know… but I… I don’t think… that the two are mutually exclusive.”

“Oh?” Fujimoto piped in.

“Both of them have… have something to offer about the human condition, don’t they? The only…” Hanako breathed. “The only difference would be in how they express those views and beliefs. What creates these dichotomies between two worlds of performance and what ties them together? … That is what I want to study.”


“Professor Ikezawa has a nice ring to it.”

Hanako chuckled and relaxed further into Hisao’s embrace, tangling the bedsheets amongst their limbs. “Not Professor Nakai?”

Hisao smirked in response. “That’s rather presumptuous of you.”

“Is this your way of breaking up with me?”

“Please, I have more tact than that.”

Hanako simply smiled and buried her face in the crook of Hisao’s neck. “Hisao,” she murmured, her smile shifting into a frown, “W… W-What if they don’t take me? What if they h-hated my interview and were just humoring me.”

“Well…” Hanako didn’t realize it but she was holding her breath, waiting for Hisao’s next few words. “I guess you’ll cross that bridge when you get to it.”

She sighed. “...I know… I still don’t like that answer…”

“Would you prefer I say you absolutely bombed and have no hope of ever doing theatre again?” He rolled around the mattress with her in his arms and jabbed lightly at her sides. “That you were so bad they called the academic police and put out a warrant for your arrest?”

She giggled a bit at that. “I suppose I wouldn’t…”

Hisao yawned and stretched his arms. “I’d say don’t sweat the small stuff, but I don’t think it’d help.” He laughed as she pouted and poked his face. Snaking his arms around her waist, he rested his chin on the top of her head. “Just remember, you have a lot to offer and are worth being in the room.”

As much as she hated the uncertainty of not knowing, she knew Hisao was right.

“I had a thought,” Hisao said.


“How does a cup of tea and a walk sound?”

Hanako smiled and felt a pleasant warmth spreading out through her body and into her fingertips. “... I’d like that…”

Re: Shorts by Ozymil (Updated 6/19)

Posted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 9:12 am
by HoneyBakedHam
A ponytail? Well...good job, Hisao! I don't know how you got her to, but good to hear she's less-focused on her scars anymore.

Re: Shorts by Ozymil (Updated 6/19)

Posted: Sat Jun 20, 2015 10:28 am
by brythain
Well, clearly your writing rust dissolved away in an 'auburn liquid'. :)

This short is pleasant but... too short? It seems more like a vignette in a longer story than a story that stands on its own.

Re: Shorts by Ozymil (Updated 6/19)

Posted: Sun Jun 21, 2015 5:49 pm
by Ozymil
brythain wrote:Well, clearly your writing rust dissolved away in an 'auburn liquid'. :)

This short is pleasant but... too short? It seems more like a vignette in a longer story than a story that stands on its own.
Thanks! Yeah, both Heat and Loose Leaf are basically short exercises that I used to practice my general prose writing. I might try my hand at a longer project if I find the right inspiration!
HoneyBakedHam wrote:A ponytail? Well...good job, Hisao! I don't know how you got her to, but good to hear she's less-focused on her scars anymore.
Haha, yup. She's grown to point where she doesn't let the superficial bother her anymore. That said, she still has issues of self-doubt and confidence. With Loose Leaf I wanted to focus on Hanako as an older, wiser person who was still overcoming deep-rooted insecurities. She's still figuring out this whole "self-worth" concept.

Re: Shorts by Ozymil (Updated 6/19)

Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2015 11:25 am
by Blank Mage
I don't drink tea, but apparently I friggen have to, because it sounds like the shit.

Safe and Sound

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 1:13 am
by Ozymil
Haha what I'm not dead? Here's something that was sitting on my hard-drive that I decided to finish up and put out there.

. . .

Hisao was a dork. This was a fact Rin constantly reminded him of, well into their late 20s. If the sweatervest wasn’t indication enough, watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy had become an annual occurrence in their home. Rin wasn’t nearly as invested in the series as he was, but she had come to like it in her own way.

“That’s mean,” she’d once said.


“The spider. She just wanted to eat.”

“But she’s a being borne of evil and darkness! And she tried to kill Frodo!”

“That’s rather judgmental of you. Giant monsters have needs too. What if I poked you with a fork every time you had dinner?”

“Would you?”


“Now who’s mean?”

“Except in my case I’m using this as a demonstration to advocate the rights of oppressed spider-folk. You can’t keep arachno-citizens under your boot forever. The eight-legged demand equal treatment.” Her tone was all too serious; only a quick smirk betrayed any sense of playfulness.

“I never realized you were so interested in the well-being of spiders.”

It was no surprise that Hisao was still a dork. What was surprising was that he had let Mayu watch with them. Their five-year-old daughter seemed to be enjoying, particularly the short, angry, bearded man, but by the end of the second movie she appeared somewhat shaken. Neither Hisao nor Rin noticed when it had happened. She had sat through the first film completely enthralled. It wasn’t until Hisao got up to switch it out for the second that he noticed his daughter was clenching tightly onto a pillow. When asked if she was alright, she simply groaned a non-verbal protest in response. A few nights, later Mayu finally gave voice to what was on her mind.

. . .

Rin noticed the door to the bedroom had opened just the slightest bit. A soft, electric pressure disrupted the quiet rhythms of the nighttime. She closed her eyes and reached out to meet this intruding presence. It wasn’t Hisao, who would often open the door and survey the room before entering. He wasn’t home anyways; something about meeting with important gallery curators. She never cared much for the business end of things. Too stuffy. A lot of talk about art when she could actually be creating art. If the intruder wasn’t Hisao then neither was it Emi, who would ask for permission to enter before barging in all the same. Rin might also have questioned what Emi was doing in her home this late at night. She knew immediately it was her daughter.

The air laid heavy with unspoken thoughts. Mayu possessed the same inquisitive nature that characterized her mother and father. You would never guess it; her timidity and soft-spokenness gave her a certain quality that some would describe as cold or aloof. The careful observer could see that this was far from the truth. Rather, it belied a maturity that was well beyond someone of her age. Beneath Mayu’s restrained demeanor were eyes full of life and hunger. For every word she spoke a hundred more swam in her head.

Already Rin could tell that something was bothering her daughter. Short, careful steps approached her from the door and sent out faint ripples through the dim stillness. An eternity quickly passed before she suddenly felt a small hand brush through her hair. A small gesture, but one that she reveled in. Rin took her time in turning over to face Mayu. As she came face to face with her daughter she lay against the tiny open palm and smiled knowingly.

“You should be asleep.”

“I know…” Mayu replied groggily.

Whatever little sleep Mayu had been getting was clearly not enough. Dressed in one of Hisao’s ratty old shirts, she clung to the loose fabric with her free hand. Lines of exhaustion surrounded her tired emerald eyes. Russet-colored locks splayed out wildly, defying gravity and brushes alike. In spite of that all her gaze was focused and steeped with intent. There was no mistaking this child for anyone other than Rin’s.

“Something is wrong,” Rin bluntly stated. “Is the apartment on fire?”

Mayu’s eyebrows furrowed in mild consternation. “Of course not, Mama.”

Rin offered her a slight grin. “Good. I didn’t think so.”

A moment of breath passed between the two. The ripples had subsided and the twilit surroundings settled once more into their nightly rhythms. A solitary car droning by. Neighbors moving about in rooms and lives of their own. Mayu answered her mother with a little smile of her own, then pressed her lips into a thin line.

“I can’t sleep,” she explained. Without speaking further she lifted the covers and climbed into bed with Rin. In practiced movements Mayu settled alongside her mother and wrapped her arms around her neck.

“No, you can’t. Why?”

“I had a bad dream.”

“Mmm. It was scary.”

“Yeah, really scary.”

“What was it about?”

Mayu tightened her arms and embedded herself deeper against Rin. “I don’t wanna say…” she murmured.

How long they remained like that, neither could say. It seemed sleep would escape them both tonight.

. . .

This was the first time Mayu had ever held one of her mother’s brushes. She had been in her studio plenty of times, but she never wanted to disturb the work her mother was doing. She knew it was important. In her mind, any physical contact with Rin’s workspace was tantamount to the gravest of crimes against her mother.

“Mama, is it okay?”

“Was your bad dream about evil paintbrushes?”

Now fully awake, Mayu puffed out her cheeks in response. “Don’t be silly, Mama.”

“I’m sorry. It seems I’ve been forgetting to take my anti-silly medicine.” Rin chuckled and gently nudged her daughter forward. “Go on, use anything you want.”

“... Even the paint?”

“Especially the paint.”

Mayu’s eyes widened at the invitation. With bated breath she swept a furtive hand across her mother’s art supplies. The smooth, worn handles of the paintbrushes and the cool plastic tubing of the paints lit something up inside the young girl. She set forth at her task with all the fervor a five-year-old could muster.

Any hesitation the child had exhibited was completely gone, replaced by something that could only be described as halfway between reverence and playful abandon. Rin settled onto a stool next to Mayu and began working on her own piece. She began speaking to her daughter plainly and gently.

“When I was little I would paint in the middle of the night. My mother tried to get me to drop the habit. Said I wouldn’t grow. I told her I didn’t need to grow as much as the other kids.” Rin wiggled her stumps, a gesture which elicited a laugh from Mayu. “She stopped after it happened for the fourth night in a row. Sometimes I still do it. Can’t sleep, so I paint. Your Papa likes to complain that sometimes he wakes up looking like a rainbow.”

Mayu giggled as she smeared herself and the canvas in a wide spectrum of colors. “Papa can’t be a rainbow. He’s too grumpy.”

Rin gave a light chuckle. “Yes. Rainbows shouldn’t be grumpy. Clouds, maybe. Or plastic chairs.”

“Or turtles!” exclaimed Mayu.


They continued working like this: splashing dabs of color and conversation onto their canvases. Their artistic tempo was broken up only by a brief sojourn into the kitchen for tea.

Rin glanced at the clock as they entered the room. Its proud green fluorescence and sheets of moonlight sifting through the blinds were the only sources of light in the dark room.

“1:30. It’s late.”

“I’m sorry, Mama,” Mayu replied as she flicked the lights on.

“This is more fun than sleep. Now help Mama and get the water boiling. Be careful with the stove.”

“I know.”

“What kind of tea do you want?” Rin asked, sifting through cabinets.


“Green it is.”

. . .

Their apartment complex had a narrow glass door that led out onto a small balcony. Here Rin and Mayu passed the time in a pleasant silence. The moon was out in full force tonight, its luminescent rays halted only by the occasional wisp of cloud that rolled by.



“How big can spiders get?”

Rin paused for a sip of tea. “Well, that depends. Is it a good little spider that drinks all of its milk?”

“Uh-huh!” Mayu replied, shaking her head vigorously in agreement.

“As far as I’m aware, if a spider gets any bigger than your hand that’s reasonable cause for alarm. But I could be wrong. I’m an artist, not a scientist.”

“Oh… Okay. That’s good.”

Rin eyed her daughter nonchalantly. “Spiders are pretty cool though.”


“You know mosquitoes?”


“That’s what spiders eat.”

“Ewww!” Mayu proclaimed disgust but her smiling face said otherwise.

“Yeah, eww.”

“What else do they eat?”

“Hmm… Cockroaches. Crickets. That sort of thing.” Rin leaned in as if to whisper a secret. “They’re also pretty good at fighting crime.”

“No way!”

“Yes, most definitely way. Your Papa can tell you about it in the morning. Just ask him about his dork-books.” Rin took one last sip of the now chilly tea. The moon had long since disappeared behind a stubborn patch of grey in the horizon. “Speaking of, it’s getting late. Bedtime take-two, kiddo.”

As if caught under some spell, the young girl let out a mighty yawn. She followed her mother back into the warm confines of the apartment. Contrary to her fears, no giant spiders awaited her inside. Mayu took some comfort in that. She’d have to get the story straight with her Papa in the morning. No way something that gross and creepy could beat up criminals.

Maybe if they were mosquito criminals.

It just might happen.

Re: Shorts by Ozymil (Updated 1/26)

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:04 pm
by Rhodri
Heat is one of my favourite shorts on this site and to see an extension of its continuity makes me all the more happier.

Re: Shorts by Ozymil (Updated 1/26)

Posted: Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:14 pm
by Oscar Wildecat
Rhodri wrote:Heat is one of my favourite shorts on this site and to see an extension of its continuity makes me all the more happier.

Also, for some reason, I visualize Mayu painting with her feet, while sipping from a carton of strawberry milk held in her hands.

Re: Shorts by Ozymil (Updated 1/26)

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:45 am
by Ozymil
Rhodri wrote:Heat is one of my favourite shorts on this site and to see an extension of its continuity makes me all the more happier.
I've greatly enjoyed writing Mayu and the interactions with her mother. She'll most definitely make a return at some point.
Oscar Wildecat wrote: Seconded!

Also, for some reason, I visualize Mayu painting with her feet, while sipping from a carton of strawberry milk held in her hands.
Haha, perhaps. She does like taking after her mother.

Glad you guys liked it! I missed writing for KS and would like to come back for a bit.

Re: Shorts by Ozymil (Updated 1/26)

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 12:04 pm
by Mirage_GSM
See, that's why movies come with age recommendations!
Your Papa can tell you about it in the morning. Just ask him about his dork-books.
And cue the nightmares about walking octopi... :lol:

Re: Shorts by Ozymil (Updated 1/26)

Posted: Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:24 pm
by Sharp-O
Echoing everyone else, this is my favourite short on the sight and I second the idea of Mayu painting with her feet! I had a smile on my face from start to finish :D

Re: Shorts by Ozymil (Updated 1/26)

Posted: Mon May 09, 2016 6:37 am
by Oddball
The first story felt just about perfect. It's nice seeing Rin moving on and maturing without loosing what makes her who she is. Short sweet and to the point.

Hanako's story actually makes me want to see more of what's going on with her now. This feels like it should be chapter three or four in a longer work and I'm wondering exactly how she got to this point in her life and what's going to come next. Having her mature to the point where she can wear a pony tail was nice, but then going back to her stuttering makes me feel like maybe there should have at least been a stray thought where she suspected people of judging her by her looks. Her interest in directing was a nice change as well.

The second Rin story, Rin feels like maybe she's changed a bit too much. Granted that's almost a given with her having to be a mother now, but it is rather jarring. Also referring to Hisao as a dork and having him strongly defending his movies felt out of place. Not quite as good as the original story.