A/n: I'm not dead. I updated! And only after...one year? I'll try harder next time. Sorry. T_T

A/n: ugh...It took so long to PM/email all of my readers to inform you guys of the change in account...

A/n: This chapter is kind of all over the place. I could have probably made it more than one chapter. However, I hate reading short chapters and so won't make anyone else read short chapters. Tell me if I have any spelling errors. My skimming was the proofreading. I kinda rushed this.

Chapter 2: A Dog from the Grave

The tired and troubled girl shifted underneath the warm covers one last time before giving up completely, "I can't sleep..." She reached over to her nightstand and dragged the cat shaped clock to her face. Determining that it most definitely was too early, Kagome groaned before sitting up. Her limbs mechanically went about her daily routine-collecting her school clothes, walking to the bathroom, brushing her teeth, showering, drying, dressing, etc-while her detached mind wandered to dwell on the events of the day before.

Did her grandfather already contact animal control, or whoever, to pick up the corpse? Hopefully not yet. She really wanted to go visit the dog again. She looked at herself in the mirror and traced a small cut on her cheek. Kagome felt like something was weighing down her heart. Maybe it was regret. Yes, the icky feeling that was coating her heart, soul, and conscience was regret. She stared sadly into the chocolate eyes of her reflection. The poor white dog most likely passed away while all alone. Then, when someone finally found its body so that the animal's spirit could rest in peace, that someone, Higurashi Kagome, freaked out and may have erased all hopes of peace for the animal.

Alright, so most animals did die alone anyway. Mourning death and having ceremonies for such things was exclusively a human experience as far as she knew. Kagome firmly believed that everything happened for a reason, and sometimes (most of the time) those reasons were beyond human understanding. In her frazzled mind, Kagome thought that stumbling upon the dead animal must mean she was supposed to help it.

She glanced at the clock to see how much time she had to spare before the warning bell of school would sound. She never experienced burying anything bigger than her pet rock when she was four and even that took her a while to do, so she didn't know how long it would take to bury and perform a prayer for such a big animal. Maybe she would go after school. That would be the best option. Maybe she could weasel her way out of the drama club activities. That'd be perfect. Kagome would have an excuse of why she would be home so late. Extracurricular activities took forever anyway.

Seeing that she had a least two hours before the start of school, Kagome scavenged for leftovers in her refrigerator. She'd do her mother a favor and make her own lunch today. The young schoolgirl was a bit guilty that she was lying about going to drama club today and breaking her promise to not go into the woods again. Kagome made a silent oath to drag herself out of bed early for the next few weeks and make her own food and lunch, maybe making her other family members breakfast too.

Taking out a plastic bento box from the cabinet, she started stuffing a volume of food into the limited space. It was amazing how much food could be packed into such a small-seeming box. She packed in pork friend rice with last night's sauteed vegetables and pork chops. She also stuck in some leftover fried fish and a whole boiled egg. She stared at the box that was filled to the brim. It would suffice. Glancing at the clock again, she saw she still had an hour and forty-five minutes left. It took twenty to thirty minutes to speed walk to school.

It was a little unusual to eat for breakfast but she quickly made her family a couple neat looking onigiri stuffed with umeboshi, pickled plums. She left them in the fridge. Her mother didn't have work today, so she was not awake yet. Sota did not need to awaken for another hour. Her grandfather was a late riser anyway. So, Kagome slipped on her black shoes, shouldered her brown backpack, and exited the sleeping house without much noise.

The next few hours were outwardly routine.

"The Tokugawa era and the edo era…1600s through the mid 1800s...," the professor drawled on.

Kagome paid less attention than she normally did. Her thoughts strayed to the miniature forest in the distance. Behind Kagome, Eri sat and shared worried looks with Yuka, who sat to Kagome's right. Kagome barely made it into the classroom for homeroom again that morning, so her friends did not have time to throw questions at Kagome about the numerous scratches marring her pale skin. Ayumi, being the nerd of the group, sat at the front of the class and so could not look back in concern without being scolded. However, she was only using half her attention towards note taking.

The sound of the chalk being put down accompanied the lunch break bell. Immediately, Kagome was forcefully snapped out of her thoughts when three girls swarmed her desk. Ayumi tapped the corner of her spiral notebook onto Kagome's desk and asked the sitting girl, "So what happened?"

"What do you mean?" Kagome asked nervously.

"What do you mean 'what do you mean?'?! Did you look in the mirror today? Your all scratched up!" shouted Eri. To Kagome's relief, the room was mostly empty.

"Oh that...I...tripped and fell?"

They all gave her serious looks.

"Okay okay... I was playing in the woods yesterday after school. Realized I was late and didn't want my mom to worry. So I ran through the woods and got scratched up by branches. No biggie." It was partly true...

Her friends weren't sure whether to believe Kagome or not. It kind of sounded like what Kagome would do. At least, when she was younger.

Ayumi was still giving Kagome "the look".

Kagome felt uncomfortable but put on a cheery voice, "Hey, guess what! I think I might go for the Juliet role for the club's play."

Eri and Yuka immediately squealed. Ayumi let the previous subject drop but decided to keep an observant eye on her friend just in case. For Kagome's protection.

"Oh my god! Finally! Higurashi Kagome on stage!" Eri got starry eyed.

"So why the change of heart all of a sudden?" questioned Yuka. Kagome, with her two years of drama club, had never ever acted in any production. She always just helped out: costumes, directing, props, odd jobs, etc. The club president had always begged Kagome to audition for a role. Kagome was good. That girl could act, but Kagome never showed off her acting. The only reason why club members knew she could act was because Kagome sometimes helped people run through scenes and practice lines. This year's club president, Asuka-san, had been begging Kagome to play the role of Juliet in Shakespeare's play "Romeo and Juliet" for a month. The current person cast for the role of Juliet was okay, but this was Kagome's last year in junior high and this was probably going to be the drama club's biggest production of the year. Asuka wanted Kagome to play the role.

'Why the change of heart?' Kagome thought. 'Because I wanted you to change the subject.' "Well, I guess I wanted to make this school year memorable."

Running steps were heard getting louder and louder. Suddenly, a panting student banged opened the classroom door. "D-did...I...hear right...?" The girl took deep breaths. "Kagome-san...will play Juliet?"

"Asuka-san? How'd you hear this so fast?" Yuka asked.

"Nevermind that! Finally! Our dearest Higurashi Kagome-san is going to be our lovely Juliet!" The drama club president exclaimed.

A shorter girl with round glasses and a runny nose came up behind Asuka. "But...I'm Juliet...aren't I?" She wiped her nose.

"Um...sorry Sarah-san. But you know. This is Kagome's last year. You can be the sub for Juliet." Asuka apologized.

Kagome looked with remorse at the sniffling girl who obviously had a cold of something. But the bad news probably wasn't helping the runny nose and wet eyes.

Sarah looked at Kagome and then at Asuka. She attempted to smile, "...oh...it's alright then I guess..." She departed without another word.

People started to come back into the classroom as the break came closer to its end.

"Oh I can't wait to tell the other members!" Asuka was ready to do a happy dance but contained herself and left before the bell would ring. The learning resumed. Kagome sighed. She didn't even get to eat her lunch.

It was time for club activities. As aforementioned, Kagome was part of the drama club. She liked theater, but she didn't at the same time. Bottom line, Kagome didn't like having the spotlight on her. No, Kagome didn't plan on being an actress, but she did help the stage crew, costume designers, set designers, and well…everyone. She worked darn hard in the club. Because of her hard work and her declaration to make her acting skills public for the first time, the members had unanimously decided to give her the day off, saying there was not much work needing attention today anyway and to keep Kagome in a good mood so that she would not change her mind. Basically, her fellow drama club members had kicked her out for the day.

But only the drama club people knew Kagome was not allowed to attend to activities on this given day. So, Kagome effectively used her extracurricular as an excuse to aid in her objectives. She spotted her target.

"Hojo-kun!" she flagged a brown haired boy down. He turned surprised eyes towards the girl's voice, but soon his wide eyes smiled. The two teenagers met each other halfway. Hojo was a tall boy but he still held a boyish face and innocent aura. He was slender, cute, gentlemanly, and smart. Hojo was on most girls top ten list of most desirable guys in the school, including Kagome's list.

Usually, she was more nervous when talking to Hojo, especially because her friends were usually in accompaniment. They always made the situation more embarrassing, whether they intended to do so or not. However, today, Kagome had gathered up her courage to talk to him in order to help her cause.

"Kagome-san! How are you? You look good today." He paused and then rushed, "Not that you don't look good on other days! I mean, you always look good! I mean, not that I'm staring at you or anything. Not that you aren't pretty or anything. Uh…." His face was painted red and he rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment. Usually he was not so nervous. He was usually rather polite and calm. Maybe that was because Higurashi Kagome had never been the first to approach him and without her more lively friends. It felt more personal, talking to Kagome alone. Even if it was just a 'how are you'.

She blushed lightly but her mind refocused on her task. "I'm doing fine, Hojo-kun. Um...I just came to ask for a favor. See, the drama club wants to do a scene rehearsal today with a prop, a shovel. Eri was supposed to bring one but she forgot. Do you think I can just borrow one from the gardening club? You are the president right?" She looked up at him through her eyelashes.

"Uh...," He really was supposed to keep gardening club property within the club and for only his club's purposes but..., "...no problem Kagome-san!"

"Really?! Great! Thanks Hojo-kun! I'll have it back to you by tomorrow. Promise!" Kagome beamed up at him.

Ten minutes later, Kagome was speed walking towards the woods carrying a shovel with her two hands. As she reached the edge of the woods, she turned her head to look around her. Good. Nobody was around. It looked a little suspicious, a young teenager carrying a big shovel going into the woods. She moved slower than she normally would through the bramble and other foliage but she did eventually get to her destination.

The dog lay exactly where she found it yesterday. She stared for a bit. Where should she make the grave? She looked at the ground. The grave should be where the dog died, but the roots prevented any digging. She picked a spot a small distance away and stuck the shovel into packed earth.

Half an hour later, sweat stuck to her skin. She lifted one hand from the shovel's handle to wipe her face and then flex her aching hand. Was the hole big enough? She wasn't sure. It looked kind of shallow. Digging was harder than she thought. Kagome glanced over at the mass of white. Deciding to move the canine, she stepped over to it. Kneeling by the body, she put her hands together in prayer and spoke in this land's native tongue.

"Kami-sama, please bring peace to this dog's soul."

Kagome reached for the animal and fleetingly brushed the guard hairs of the fur. Taking a deep breath, she let her hand fall deeper into the fur of the animal's side. Her brows furrowed and she whispered, "It's...warm?"

As soon as the last syllable left her lips, the head of the seemingly dead animal swung up and around. The ribs beneath her fingers vibrated as snarls ripped forth from the dog. Eyes widened as the alarmed girl pulled back her hand, but she was not quick enough. Kagome gave a gasping yell as sharp teeth forced through the flesh of her forearm.

She tried tugging her arm out of the gripping jaws but soon stopped that as red blood dribbled down the white fur of the dog's muzzle. The very much alive creature no longer made noise, but it did not loosen its jaws either. Her eyes darted around and her other hand somehow found the handle of her shovel.

"LET GO!" Two seconds later, the scoop of the shovel came down on the dog's head. A second later, Kagome held her bitten arm close to her body, got up and ran, leaving everything behind her.

As she ran, she loosened the neckerchief of her sailor fuku and used it to tie her arm. She didn't want to leave a trail of blood behind her. Kagome did not stop running until she closed the door of her home's upstairs bathroom behind her. Thank goodness her mother was out picking up Souta and her grandfather was out in the shed.

With tears in her eyes, she peeled away the wet cloth on her arm. She dropped the neckerchief in the sink and put her arm underneath the running water. Her other hand came up to cover her mouth as she got a look at her forearm. The punctured flesh was red and new blood kept on flooding the holes in her arm as the old fluid was washed down the drain. Dark bluish puple marks spotted around the wounds from teeth that did not manage to break the took deep breaths. It could be worse. If she had struggled more or if the dog decided to thrash its head around, her arm would not have so much flesh still left on it, if she still had an arm at all.

A light headedness settled in so she decided to sit next to the bathtub and put her arm over the edge of it. Hopefully, the slightly elevated position would slow the blood flow. With a clean washcloth, she applied pressure to her injury and rested her head against the cold tiles of the wall.

Maybe she blacked out for a bit. She wasn't sure, but ten minutes seemed to go by in a second. The wound had stopped bleeding. A first aid kit sat, largely unused, under the sink. She fetched it and took out a bottle of saline solution. With her bad arm still over the tub, she poured the bottle's contents over her wound. She gently cleaned away any dried blood that happened to be on the untorn portions of her skin and then covered the open wounds with gauze pads that had some antibiotic ointment on them. Using her good hand and her teeth, she managed to use surgical tape to keep the gauze in place. She then did a half decent job of wrapping clean, white bandages around her forearm to cover the gauze.

It took a while, but she tidied up the bathroom, and now lay on her bed in her darkened bedroom. It was evening now and she was just completely exhausted. She lay on her side, her injured arm resting on top of a small pillow underneath the cover of her comforter. Her mother knocked and entered.

"Kagome-chan, dinner's ready. Why is it so dark in here?"

"I'm not feeling so well Okaa-san. I just want to sleep."

"Hmm...?" The mother approached Kagome and put a hand on both their foreheads. Nervous, Kagome's fingers twitched underneath the covers. Her mother had enough to worry about. Kagome didn't want her to worry more. "You do feel a little warm. Alright, honey. Just rest for a while."

The older woman left the room, and Kagome sighed, falling asleep after being calmed by her mother's voice.

The next day in the early morning when the dew had yet to evaporate from the grass, Kagome found herself hiding behind a large tree not too far away from the spot where all her misfortune took place. She scanned around the area and then quickly moved behind another tree, one a bit closer to the spot. Again, she darted towards another tree. Then a bush, a rock, another bush, and another tree. She watched the mass of white by the tree trunk that lay nearly motionless except for the rise and fall of its chest. About a meter away from the viscous dog was the abandoned shovel. A few more meters away was her backpack. Everything was not where she had left it yesterday. Her backpack was open, its contents littering the ground. Yesterday's uneaten bento was now eaten it seemed. The box was broken open and nothing was left inside it except a leaf or two of vegetables and some grains of white rice.

What normal, sane person would come back to this spot? Nobody, so Kagome must not have been normal. She would have sighed at herself if she didn't fear making noise. Yesterday, she promised she would return the gardening club's shovel. She'd have a lot of explaining to do if she didn't bring it back. Plus, she couldn't very well replace her backpack and all the textbooks in it without raising questions.

On all fours now (well, threes since one arm was kind of being favored over the other), she crept closer to her backpack. Afer arriving at it without incident, she moved all the necessary items into her bag and shouldered it. She crept again. This time towards the shovel and incidentedly towards the resting animal. Screw the bento box.

Chocolate eyes lit up in triumph as her hand fell on the wooden handle of the shovel. She sat up and lifted the shovel with her. A growl. 'Oh darn...,' ran through her mind.

Her eyes moved from the shovel to the growling dog. Sweet chocolate was no match for the molten gold that fixated on Kagome. When had it gotten up? The canine was on all fours in a slightly crouched position, still standing taller than Kagome's sitting up form. Its tail stood straight out, parallel to the ground and its ears were pulled back. Kagome moved backwards a little, but the dog growled louder, baring those white fangs that so easily cut into her flesh. All the frightened girl could do was stare. Those gold yellow eyes were frightening. Thank Kami they weren't looking directly into her eyes. Those eyes narrowed at the shovel? She slowly put down the gardening tool and pulled away her hand. The growls didn't cease and now those eyes trapped hers. Oh great. That didn't help at all. She tried moving away again. The beast lifted its black lips to gleam those teeth at her. Her eyes moved towards those fangs for a split second. The image of those sharp, white fangs pierced through her brain and made her utter one word.


It was a vocabulary word that her grandfather had taught her. The Japanese word for "fang" was "Kiba", and this dog certainly had some...impressive fangs.

Hearing the word, the dog stopped growling and its ears perked. It didn't look much less intimidating though, especially with the dried blood on its maw and side. The balls of her feet that Kagome had been sitting on the whole time could handle no more and Kagome fell back onto her bottom.

The staring match began.