A Modern Myth

Chapter 9

“Hey, get up.”

I held absolutely still, hoping whoever it was would think I was still asleep and walk away.

“I know you’re awake, Bob. You’re holding your breath.”

I fought back a smile and opened my eyes. “Curse you, Ray.”

“Come on, you’ve got to see this.”

I crawled out of bed and followed him to the front of the bus. I noticed with a grim smile that the rest of the guys were awake, and all their eyes were trained on me. Surprisingly, no one looked angry, but I was only concerned with Gerard. He wasn’t glaring at me, but he wasn’t smiling, either. It was almost how he looked right before a concert: patient, focused, and trying to keep himself calm.

“In other news, popular actor and musician Jared Leto has been reported missing as of last night…”

My eyes flicked up to the TV screen to see a photo of him accompanied by a physical description and a phone number to call if he was spotted. I smirked a little. They would only find him once he wanted to be found.

“Where do you think he is, Bob?” asked Frank as he sipped his coffee.

I shrugged. “Hiding, most likely. The Order will be looking for him.”

“Are they gonna kill him?” Mikey asking, biting his lip.

“Only if they can find him.”

“I hope they do.”

All of us glanced at Gerard. His face had fallen just slightly, lips pressed into a thin line. He was glaring heavily at the screen and had his arms folded in front of him.

“I hope he pays for this.”

“He saved your life, Gee,” I told him. I felt horrible that I hadn’t been able to figure out what was going on sooner, but it was certainly a situation unlike anything I had experienced before. “And he’s already in a ton of trouble.”

“I don’t care!” he cried suddenly. “He tried to kill me. I do not care.”

“He’s just grumpy because he hasn’t had his coffee yet,” Frank said with a smirk. Gerard promptly flipped him off.

The quiet noise of a window clicking shut caught my attention. I slowly crept to the back of the bus and looked around for anything that had changed in the few minutes since I had left it. It didn’t take long to spot the fresh Starbucks coffee and the folded note resting on top of my bed. I almost smirked. No one could balance something like that on such a surface. No normal person, anyway.

I picked up the note and opened it. Everything was written in Japanese, naturally. It took me a minute to figure out what the symbols meant.

Tell Gerard I’m sorry about what happened. I couldn’t risk telling you my plan in case something went wrong. They’re always listening, you know.

I left my throwing knife behind on purpose. I was going to take it back, but you can keep it.

I glanced out the window in time to see a mass of black flicker into view and vanish just as quickly. I smiled and picked up the coffee from its precarious position, then walked back to the group and handed it to Gerard. He looked up at me with a mix of confusion and thanks.

“Where’d you get this?” he asked as he took it from my grasp.

“It’s from a friend,” I told him. He stared at it for a second, frowning slightly.

“Hope it’s not poisoned.”

I sighed. “He said to tell you he was sorry. It’s not a good idea to talk about our plans and missions out in the open; ninjas are everywhere.”

“Yeah, because I’m really going to believe that,” he scoffed.

I fought the urge to yell at him. I had never dreamed that any of them would continue to disbelieve me after such an event, even going so far as to mock my profession. I knew they were unfamiliar with the idea that ninjas were real – a thriving society, even – but it still set me on edge that they would respond as they did.

“Get over it, Gee,” said Frank. “You’re still alive, aren’t you?”


“I’m pretty sure if he wanted you dead, you’d be dead,” Ray continued. I had to nod in agreement.

“I’m sorry I didn’t tell all of you sooner. But I didn’t want any of you to get hurt because of me.”

“Whatever,” Gerard muttered as he finally surrendered and took a much-needed sip of the coffee. I could almost see the wave of serenity washing over him. He sighed. “What did I even do wrong, though?”

“We may never know, Gee,” I said with a hint of remorse. The Order never revealed why they wanted someone dead because those of us assigned to missions were never to question their judgment. It had frustrated me on any number of occasions, and this one was no different. “I do know one thing, though. I won’t let any of you get hurt if I can help it.”

Ray’s smile dropped slightly. “You don’t have to put yourself in danger for us,” he said, looking worried. I shook my head.

“I’ll do whatever I have to.”

The life of a ninja is not one closely associated with friendships. We are expected to follow our own separate paths, to become attached to nothing. We are taught that nothing can be destroyed more fleetingly and easily than friends.

And maybe I’m making everything ten times more difficult for myself by staying with them. Maybe it would really be easier if I ran off one day and never returned. If I really wanted to do that, I might even be able to become as advanced as Leto in whatever strange shadow arts he had pursued.

Until then, though, I would rather let Frank destroy my drums.
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...yeah...that's the end.