Akane had shown you the contract.

Your grandfather had always emphasized the theory of equivalent exchange, which seemed ironic when he received such good fortune. It is no longer ironic to you enlightened mind.

Akane is there, across from you at the bone ceremony, his face is serene, almost benevolent except for the faint smile on his affected lips, his fingers as still and calm when picking up the bone pieces as they were when he held out the contract, his lying hands coming together in a gesture of prayer for your grandfather's soul.

The pots that the bones that are not your grandfather's go in to are ridiculously expensive and ornamented. You don't have the heart to tell your grandmother that they will be wasted. And you doubt that the priests know that the oni favor spinal chords and apples in their diet. You hoped that whoever they were chanting for safely reached where they were going.

It wasn't fair that they looked so helpless when you held the small squirming green thing under your foot, nor for Akane to tell you that they were weak and powerless. You wondered, then, how they worked their miracles, but apparently they had separate knowledge. It isn't fair to explain that they are an endangered species. Your grandfather is unrecognizable. Akane's voice is like a lull in the day. You still have not slept.

You imagine a squirming near your thorax.

The monks drone on, even though your grandfather will never be able to visit the white room full of flowers for him, with no bones to manifest in. Three days a year seem ample payment for so many years of good fortune. You wonder what about Akane's part in this. You wonder where your grandfather is lost.

The monks drone on and their breath is lost in the incense.