This is the thirty-eighth (and final) part of my first serialized giant monster novel!
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38. Concluding Reports
~ Kobe – July, 1966 – A Week Later ~
Akiko strode through the lobby of the Kobe Tribune with her chin held high, feeling like she had the whole world in her hand. She resisted the urge to keep glancing at the newly minted press pass pinned to her lapel.
Shinobu Shindo, wearing a sling on his right arm, intercepted her before she could reach the front door.
“So, Arota gave you the promotion, did he?” Shin said, dragging on a cigarette. “You’re a full-fledged reporter now?”
“Yes,” she replied, trying not to feel too pleased with herself. She was out from under Shin’s thumb now—both professionally and personally—for good.
“Well, congratulations,” he said, smiling in a manner that, just a few weeks ago, Aki would have found very alluring. “Want to have a drink with me to celebrate?”
She laughed. “Shin Shindo, I wouldn’t have a drink alone with you if you were the last man on earth.”
Shindo scowled. “I suppose Arota didn’t have much choice about that promotion,” he said. “With me out with a bad wing, he needed another body to throw into the breach. I wouldn’t get too attached to the position if I were you.” He blew smoke in her direction.
“He gave me the promotion because I deserve it,” Aki snapped. “My pictures have sold a million more copies of the Tribune than any of your articles have. And besides…”
She paused to let him walk into it.
Aki grinned. “I’m a better man than you are, Shin Shindo.”
And with that, she brushed past him and walked out the front door.
The city lay gleaming before her, untouched by the predations of the daikaiju.
Akiko took a deep breath of warm summer air and savored its fragrance.
The rest of Japan would rebuild, she knew. If they could survive World War II, they could bounce back from a few weeks of giant monster attacks.
Would the creatures return? Who could say?
But the Cold War was running hot, and conflict between America and the Soviet Union might break out at any moment.
To Akiko that seemed a far more likely threat than the return of the giant monsters.
And whatever happened next, she was the captain of her own destiny—the most well-known photo-journalist in all of Japan (at least for the moment). She might even need to take on an agent to handle all the publicity booking requests she was being offered.
But as she climbed into the driver’s seat of her Datsun Fairlady 1500, none of that mattered to Akiko. She’d put the top down, and it was a beautiful evening—with not even one falling meteor in sight.
Plus, she had the whole weekend off: a reward to go with her promotion and for, as Editor Arota had told her, “courage above and beyond the call of journalism.”
She deserved it.
In fact, maybe she deserved a nice, relaxing drive down the coast.
And while she was there, maybe she’d stop in and see Professor Benten at his home near Okayama.
Now if only she could find that slip of paper where she’d written down his phone number…
She rummaged through her purse, but couldn’t locate it.
She could always dig it up once she got there.
After all, she was a reporter.
Akiko Natsuke smiled as she pulled out of the Tribune parking lot and aimed the Fairlady south, toward the coastal highway.
The evening sun felt warm on her shoulders, and ahead … the road lay wide open.
Thanks to Kiff, Chris, Vicki, and Doris—and everyone else—for all the beta reading throughout the novel!
All contents TM & © 2014 Stephen D. Sullivan. All Rights Reserved.