Hot As The Sun

Mar 12, 2022, 6:59:07 PM

While Catherine livestreamed, Natsumi took to her other credible source of news on the whereabouts of supernatural beings in the city: social media. She flipped through the feed of her Chirpr app with the local filter turned on. In face-to-face conversation most people might hold their beliefs close to their heart or deny them to save face, but on Chirpr anything went.

Most of the posts were from people out and about in Roppongi enjoying the late night scene. There were candid photos from raves and parties held all around the area — a seemingly secret aspect of Tokyo nightlife unless one knew where to look.

When Natsumi started, she wandered to most of the venues herself to scope them out. At first, she was denied access to a lot of venues because she looked too boy-ish or simply not cool enough to gain entry. Some of the wilder late night raves and dances required a different kind of dress code not one her usual slacks and disheveled hoodie would allow her to pass. But a pair of four inch stiletto heels, a miniskirt, and stylized hair let her smile her way through everything without an invitation.

When talking to the folks inside, Natsumi realized how many were simply normal people looking to blow off some steam from the day-to-day grind. Late hours. Buttoned down attire. Overworked and over-stressed. All of that was washed away with a night of screaming and dancing with a karaoke chaser afterwards. The signature work day black suits replaced with clothing exploding with color. The louder and bolder the better.

Visiting the clubs let her know the local bouncers, owners, and musical acts and some of the more photogenic party people giving her eyes and ears across Tokyo. They followed each other on Chirpr, but Natsumi spent more of her time browsing her feed than adding to it. Her “friend’s” list was for searching for the strange and unknown lurking about the night after all, and the tactic had worked for a few instances. Drunken revelers partying late night would catch specters out of the corner of their eye. Occasionally there’d be a shaky-cam footage of someone running for their lives and laughing about it.

She swiped through looking for references to a tall lady, but the closest she got was a grainy video of a woman in stilts at one of the underground raves. She also came across a few shots of Catherine. La Dominatrice, some of the photos read.

She changed filters to view chirps from the local area and turned her attention to the buttoned-down folks who were either leaving work late or having a quiet night at home. Most of their posts were about whatever was on TV or a game they were playing, but once and a while there’d be vague chirp about a something outside. Someone being startled by a noise in a dark alleyway. Growls that sounded a little to deep to be stray cats fighting under the lamplight. On occasion a hapless person even managed to snag a photo of a green shard of light hovering in the air or a human-shaped being making odd and stilted movements under a street lamp.

Tonight there was nothing irregular. No weird photos. Once Natsumi found herself encountering posts from local night clubs and hostess bars she knew it was time to quit the app and snap back to reality. She set the phone down in her lap. The day finally caught up with her. Waking earlier and going to bed late wasn’t a good combination.

She yawned again and turned her attention to Catherine’s sing-song voice whispering to her livestream audience members and answering their questions with a candidness that should have embarrassed Natsumi. She only heard snippets about her past clients and subs who sought her out as a dominatrix.

“Hey Cunninglinguist,” Catherine said. “I hope you’re having a good night too. Cunning asks, of all the clients and subs you’ve had in the past have any of them developed into a closer relationship? Hmm.” Catherine leaned back against the bench. “Not quite. Maybe the longest relationship I had was about a year, but even that was strictly business. What’s my type?” She laughed. “I haven’t thought about that in a long time.”

Natsumi closed her eyes and tuned her out, but her little laughs and her whispers broke through to her. How exactly did she end up with this strange woman sitting next to her again? She thought back to the two-headed dog. It was a simple enough task. Exorcise the demon and sent it away. The pup should have been fine, but did merging with the monster grant it some seed to renew or mutate its demonic nature? She sighed and wondered if any of the yokai or demons she went after were really closed and shut cases once she put her Heartwing staff to them.

Natsumi awoke to find her head resting against Catherine’s shoulder, the left cheek of her face pressed against the supple and smooth leather of her dress.

As Catherine continued to answer questions, Natsumi’s eyes fixed on her stockings and she traced the line where her dress began and the gleam of light sparkling against the gold zipper.

Catherine’s arm was draped around her and the warmth of her body kept Natsumi still so she could leech a little more from it to combat the cooler night air. Her hair had been flipped over her face to conceal her identity, but through her bangs, Natsumi made out the phone showing Catherine’s face along with a stream of text overlapping it.

“Hmm… I don’t know her,” Natsumi heard Catherine say. “I only met her tonight. We had an agreement. She would help me out and I would help her out. I guess you could say we’ve been on a stakeout for quite a while here and nothing’s really happened yet. It’s dark and quiet out here. AJ asks do you often do this?”

Natsumi lifted her head. “That’s a good question,” her voice was still groggy.

They shared a glance, a little too close for comfort. Catherine's face and golden locks were surrounded by a halo of white hot light. The wisps of her loose hair looked like solar prominences spiraling off the surface of the sun into space. Natsumi raised her arm to shade herself. The bright of her aura blinded her and she waited until the heat and light subsided. She gave Catherine a side-long glance and she looked normal. The only light came from the street lamp above them.

What the heck was that? Not even Natsumi was used to every supernatural aspect of her eyesight. It was one thing to see space jellies blooping through the air and other strange fauna and yokai. It was another to be privy to someone’s true nature. Without the Goddess of Love around or the Old Lady, there was no one to turn to with her burning questions, but with enough time the answers would reveal themselves to her. She needed the patience to cross that divide.

“Huh?” Catherine said turning away from her phone. “Oh hey! Look who’s awake!”

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