Gone Lawn
a journal of literature
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Gone Lawn 13
Winter, 2013

Featured Novel Excerpt
New Works

Kim Peter Kovac

Gothic Lolita's Foxfire

At the west end of Jingu bridge stands a Gothic Lolita: be-banged amber hair, deep purple dress, silver crosses, off-white petticoats and bloomers. Slender and still, green eyes raccooned with kohl gaze at the groomed forest. The fashionista district of Harajuku bustles east of the bridge and its fifty meters teems with fellow cos-players who have trained in to the city sporting costumes and makeup; this particular Sunday it's a largely Lolita group, giggling and posing for the touristorazzis. Mostly Punk Lolitas - chained, spiked, pierced (but no ink, the mark of Yakuza thugs, not goofy suburban kids). A small bunch of Princess Lolitas (bustles, tiaras) and a matchy-matchy pair of Sweet-Lolis in palest pink with large hair-bows side-cocked like inquisitive Shiba Inu pups.

Civil twilight approaches, and the girl who calls herself Amber (did the hair color come from the name, or vice-versa?) bathes in the slant light as she walks west. Tacking north and passing under the large Torii gate into the forest, to the left is a flash of fur, then another, and another. Walking through the underbrush is something on two legs with – maybe? - a pointed face. Both creatures are calm as they walk parallel, on the path and not. As the Shinto Shrine peeks between distant trees and Amber stops to allow her eyes to feast, her shadow angles closer and is revealed: a large red fox with flashing bronze eyes. Amber smiles shyly at the Kitsune, whose three tails signal a young trickster priestess in fox-form.

The stillness is broken with a swirling wind-rustle bouncing from tree to tree to tree and then circling them both, spiraling up and down. A rushing sound: suddenly Amber stands alone because the Kitsune has snuck into her body underneath her fingernails, which begin to glow. Next her cheeks blush and her hair, impossibly, changes color, moving from her bangs back: it's now a luminous red-bronze with silver tips. She starts moving again after the transformation, with a staccato morph halving the more natural four-legged gait. Amber is thrilled to finally be Kitsuned, an aching wish since hearing the legends from her obaasan back when both could barely walk.

Nearing the Mejii Shrine, her smile broadens as she spots, under a red parasol, a bride and groom led by a Shinto priestess (robe with enormous sleeves, light turquoise pleated-over trousers, tall hat resembling a black fuzzy bowler). The rhythmic hum of the service loudens as the sky darkens with the setting sun, shifting to a minor key, and she begins her first shaman-act. As the rituals of the service play out, our Amber-fox gathers fan-shaped gingko leaves, rubs them in her hands with some rotting bark. As her hands begin to glow with a bluish green light, Amber flings the particles up, up, high into the evening, and their glow fills the sky as she chants "foxfire bless, foxfire bliss."

Kim Peter Kovac lives in Alexandria, VA, and works nationally/internationally in theater for young audiences with an emphasis on new play development and networking. His work is forthcoming or can be found in The Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Crack the Spine, Eunoia Review, Crunchable, Glint Literary Journal, The Metric, Mad March Hare, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts and Write Local Play Global.