TITLE: Ink Wash
GENRE: YA Urban Fantasy
Sixteen-year-old Katie moves to Japan and crosses paths with her school's arrogant and gorgeous kendo star, whose drawings come to life in sinister ways. When Yakuza gangsters hone in on Tomohiro's dark talent, Katie has to decide whether to stay away from the one person who's come to understand her, or to face running from the Yakuza--and from an even more dangerous gang that holds the key to Tomohiro's abilities.
I made it halfway across the courtyard before I realized I was still wearing my school slippers. No lie. I had to turn around and slink all the way back to the genkan, the stifled laughs from other students trailing me as I mustered what slippered dignity I could.
God, way to scream foreigner. I hoped it didn't get around.
I pulled open the door and lifted myself onto the raised wooden floor, sliding between the rows and rows of shoe cubbies looking for mine. It wasn't hard to find--it was the only one with a pair of leather shoes sticking out approximately a mile, surrounded by the neatly tucked-away slippers in everyone else's boxes.
As I reached for my shoes, a girl's high and whiny voice echoed from the hallway, muffled by the sliding door. I rolled my eyes--yet more drama. I pulled off the first slipper and then the other, clunking my shoes onto the floor and sliding my feet in.
And then the genkan door slid open with a crash.
I crouched down, jolted by the footsteps stomping towards me. I did not want in on this performance.
The girl's voice rapidly churned out Japanese words I didn't know yet. I caught a particle here and a past tense there, but I could only make out one thing--she was seriously pissed.
And she was definitely ranting and raving at somebody.
I peeked around the wall of cubbies, hugging the wooden frame so they wouldn't see me.