Mysterious Ways

“Well sure,” I grumbled to myself as I walked back to the room I was renting from the small shop where I’d seen the statue, “I’d love a wealth spirit in my life, I could use cash flow. But I’d need something to set up an altar on, and offerings, and dishes for the offerings, and I dunno…”

I dropped by to see Daiyu on the way. She was in the front by herself fussing over her mortar and pestle.

“Oh! Robin!” she startled. “My heart is elsewhere right now and I’m not getting any sleep.”

“How’s your grandfather?”

“The same,” she shrugged. “Hey, do you need any incense? I’ve been so distracted I mixed up a weird batch earlier.”

I thanked her and didn’t think anything of it when I put it in my jacket pocket, already distracted by asking about her grandfather. She promised to keep me updated, and I told her to let me know if I could do anything to help out.

Several blocks later, I passed a box labelled ‘free’ on someone’s lawn. I looked out of habit. Most of it was random clothing, but I saw a almost-full packet of candles and bent down to grab it. Underneath it were two saucer-sized green dishes that I didn’t have a use for, but something about them caught my eye, so I put all three things into my bag and continued walking.

The sky was starting to cloud over, so I sped up, ignoring the fact that it made my limp more obvious. It still hadn’t started raining as I came up to the house I was renting in. The door of the house next door was open, and an older woman was wrestling some furniture out to an almost-full moving van.

I looked up at the clouds, and then back at her. “Do you need a hand, ma’am?”

She looked me up and down like she wasn’t sure what to think, but then she looked at the sky too. “Thank you, son, yes.” I left my bag next to her door and grabbed one end of the table she was wrangling. It wasn’t heavy, but it was long enough to be awkward to carry by herself.

“My son hurt himself and had to go to the emergency care,” she explained as we walked back to the house for the next pieces. She picked up a tufted stool, and I grabbed the small table that went with it.

The next time we were returning to the house, she stopped me. “I don’t want you to hurt yourself as well,” she said, looking down at my leg.

“Old injury,” I told her with a shrug. “Don’t worry about it.”

She nodded, and we carried some dining chairs out. I stacked them for her and strapped them down. Then she pointed me toward some trash that needed to be taken around to the alley.

“That’s just about everything,” she told me as she brought me the final box of trash. “There’s just one other thing in the house.”

“What’s that?” I asked her.

“An old cabinet,” she said, leading me into the empty sitting room to show it to me. It was the only thing left in the room aside from the woman’s suitcases. The cabinet came up a little higher than my waist, with one visible shelf and two more inside the doors. It reminded me of furniture in my grandmother’s house, enough that I smiled when I saw it.

“Do you like it?” she asked.

“It reminds me of my Grandmother Dee,” I told her. “I think I can get it by myself for you.” I slipped my hand under the top piece and was able to pick it up and balance it against my side, carrying it slowly but without much trouble.

“I was going to throw it away,” she said behind me. “If you’d like it, though, you can have it.”

I almost said no, and then I realized. An altar. Offerings. Dishware.

“Thank you so much,” I said, both to the woman in front of me and the spirit who had apparently heard me. Then, just to the woman, I asked if she needed anything else.

She shooed me on my way, so I grabbed my bag and resumed awkwardly carrying the cabinet over to the share house and through the narrow hall to my room in the back. It wasn’t a large space and most of the floor was covered in wire and circuit boards and scrap metal, but I kicked aside enough mess to set the cabinet down. I unpacked the candles, the dishes, and the incense, and then, despite first drops of rain, I hurried back the way I’d come.

I had to see a man about a statue…

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