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A House, A Home

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Reigen lowered the match from his mouth, snuffing out the flame with a quick shake of his hand. He took a long, deep drag from his cigarette and waited to feel the smoke fill his lungs before tossing the matchbox onto the table.

Man, what was he even doing?

He pulled the cigarette from his mouth and exhaled, his breath forming a cloud of smoke. He leaned back in his chair and watched the cloud dissipate.

At this point, he was nothing more than a glorified masseur. He spent more of his time giving massages and advice to clients than he did actually exorcising evil spirits. He couldn’t even remember the last time he had gotten a job that involved anything even remotely supernatural.

Perhaps , he wondered to himself, I should just give up and find a real job.

But the idea of going back to his old career, sitting in a cubicle for hours on end, answering phone call after phone call, filling out mountains of paperwork…

No . He thought to himself, placing the cigarette back onto his lips. I can’t go back there again .

“Excuse me?”

Reigen had been so lost in thought, he hadn’t heard the footsteps approaching the door. He quickly reached out his arm to the ashtray, smothering his cigarette before the client could see it.

“Ah- yes! How may I help you?” he cried out. His voice faltered at the end of his sentence as his eyes caught ahold of the figure standing at the doorway.

It was a young boy, that couldn’t have been older than five… maybe six? His face peeked out from behind the door frame, his eyes partially obscured by his silky black hair, which had been trimmed into the shape of a bowl-cut. He wore a baby blue shirt, and his hand gripped tightly onto the strap of his little black backpack.

It’s just a kid, he thought to himself

“What do you want boy?” he asked irritably.

“Um, I-I’m an Esper,” the boy muttered.

“What-?” Reigen gasped.

“Y-yeah. And there are times when- when I can’t control my powers. It’s scary.”

You little brat, he thought to himself. This had to be a prank. Perhaps the boy’s older brother put him up to this?

“Did someone tell you to come here and say that?”

“N-no!” he exclaimed, clenching the strap of his backpack even tighter.  “I haven’t been able to talk to anyone about this…”

His eyes trailed down to the floor, his voice growing even smaller.

“I thought you might be the same as me…”

Something didn’t seem right to Reigen. There was no way this kid could be acting, he we much too young for that. A pathological liar perhaps? Or maybe he just had an overactive imagination?

The boy was shaking. His eyes darted back and forth across the room.

Whatever it was, the kid seemed genuinely troubled. Reigen couldn’t just turn him away like this.

“Well alright, come on in.”


 

The boy sat across from Reigen, his tiny hands grasping onto the steaming cup of tea that Reigen gave him. His little legs dangled over the chair. His bright, wide eyes fixated on Reigen.

What’s with this kid?

The more Reigen spoke to him, the more he was certain that this boy genuinely believed he was a psychic.

Reigen thumbed the side of his teacup. He wasn’t sure what to do. He could try and convince him that his powers weren’t real, but he knew that wouldn’t work. Reigen could tell from the kid’s face that to him, these powers were a very, very real thing.

So instead, Reigen did what he did best.

He pulled some advice out of his ass.

“Listen kid. Having psychic powers that doesn’t make you any less human, okay?”

The boy nodded vigorously.

“You see, it’s the same as people who are fast, people who are book smart, and people who have strong body odor. Psychic powers are just another characteristic you can have.”

Reigen rose from his seat and sat himself down on the low-rising table so that he could place his hand onto the boy’s shoulder.

“You must embrace your powers as a part of yourself, and continue to live positively,” he continued. “The truth behind one’s charm is their kindness! What’s important, in the end, is being a good person.”

The boy’s face split with the widest smile. His eyes brimmed with hope and wonder.

“May I come talk to you again?” he asked enthusiastically.

Oh boy , Reigen thought to himself. He had been hoping to get him to finally leave, not entice the kid into continuing to pester him.  

“Yeah, I don’t know about that… I’m a busy man, you know?” Reigen lifted the cup of tea in his hands to his lips. “And anyways, you should probably go home for today-”

Reigen stopped. Talking to the boy, he had been so distracted that he had almost sipped scalding hot tea.

That would have been a dumb mistake , he thought to himself, as he blew onto the hot drink.

“But Sir-”

“I’m sorry kid, I don’t have time for this. Okay?” He blew on his tea again. “I’m sure you’ll do just fine on your own. Just remember everything I told you, and you’ll be okay. Alright?”

The boy nodded, but looked down at his feet in disappointment.

“I’m sorry, but I’m going to need you to leave now, okay? I could have clients coming in here at any moment. You need any help getting home?”

The boy shook his head. “I can walk back by myself.”

“You sure?”

The boy nodded, and set his cup of tea back onto the table. He hadn’t taken a single sip since he had entered Reigen’s office.

“Thank you. For the advice… Sir.”

Reigen could hear the hint of disappointment in his voice.

He tried to ignore the twinge of guilt in his stomach as he waved goodbye to the little boy. It wasn’t his job, after all, to babysit every random kid that came walking into his office.

Reigen watched from the window as the little blue figure of the boy grew smaller and smaller, before finally disappearing into the crowd below.