Fireflies. They're something magical, mysterious and beautiful. Like some childhood memories, running along in this forest - an old forest, full of power and whispering kami - chasing after the tiny dancing lights. A little boy was dancing alongside them, trying to catch a few with his tiny hands. At the corner of his eyes he saw a flash of light, flickering blue among the golden fireflies, and he decided to follow it. Follow, follow, deeper into the woods, around trees and stumps, bushes and rocks. The little boy kept following the strange blue light and, little did he knew, he'd walked around in circle and emerged in front of the shrine to Hachiman, of which his parents were the guardians. The ball of light danced in front of the doorway, making the little metallic bell ring and the wooden doors rattle; yet the little boy wasn't afraid and he extended a hand to try and touch it.
"Don't touch it, my love." Came a melodious yet commanding voice, speaking Japanese. A young woman in a kimono made her way to the boy and crouched beside him. "This is an 'hitodama', the soul of someone's who died. Maybe it served the same kami as us, for it to come here. Or is sensed the great power here."
"Why is it making so much noise, Okaasan?" The boy asked, turning his curious gaze toward her.
"You can hear it, Katsuro? Oh, if only you knew how happy that makes me! You may have the gift, my love. A connection to the spirits. Who knows, maybe that's why it came here. And through you, it found the shrine." His mother smiled at him.
"So I did good? Is the spirit happy too? Is there more souls flying in the woods?" Came the flow of questions; quite normal for a boy his age.
His mother let out a sweet little laugh. "Yes you did good. And I think it's happy. Someday you'll be able to sense it yourself. Until then, if you see more hitodama in the woods, you'll know you have to guide them here. But be careful my love. There are many other things in this world, not all of them are good. And some may not be bad but can be lost, or scared, and they might hurt you without realizing."
The little boy, Katsuro, gave his mother a worried look. To which she just ruffled his black hair and smiled at him again. "I'll be there to teach you what you need to know. But tonight we celebrate, for you met your first spirit! I think we may have some sparklers left from the Star Festival."
Hand in hand, the little boy and his mother walked back to the house, leaving the soul to rest.