Either make yourself useful and help your grandmother settle in, or take Toshi outside and play. Just...stop being underfoot.
High up in the safety of the tree house, Shiro stared down at the unearthly pale arm scrabbling at the bark of the base. He wished he had chosen to play mahjong with Grandma Kiyo.
His ninth summer began the same as as every other. Shiro's grandmother, Kiyo, traveled from the shrine for her yearly visit. In previous years, she'd tell him stories (They're all true, boy. I was there.), play games (Pay attention! You drew the Spring Wind. What does it mean?), and drive his parents crazy with her efforts to "protect" their home (Ofuda work! Now I have to make you another one!). As beloved as she was, the end of her month long visits were usually greeted with sighs of relief. They were a modern family, and Kiyo's way of life were only traditions of faith and the past.
That had been what Shiro had thought.
He'd thrown Toshi's favorite blue ball down the hill when he felt something cold touch his foot. Looking down to his sandal, the dark haired boy screamed when he saw the white hand, rising up from the lawn. As the fingers inched forward, heading for his ankle, Shiro jumped back, turned and began sprinting towards the house.
A third of the way there, he tripped and fell, slamming hard against the ground. His mouth filled with the tang of blood while he tried to get his feet under him. An icy cold finger stroked his cheek. Shiro yelled again, rolling away from the terrifying touch. He wasn't going to make it to the house. The hand was too fast!! Where was his mother?!
Up and running again, he veered to his tree house. He jumped to the second rung of the ladder and sped his way up. The hand, now on the end of a long arm, slapped against the bottom of the third rung, then slipped back into the ground.
Moments passed as little Shiro tried to catch his breath. He circled the deck, peering over the rail to find where the hand had disappeared to. Was it gone? Did he imagine it?
A yip from Toshi jerked his attention to the hill. There was his fearless Shikoku, quivering against the corner of the fence as the hand crept closer. No. "NO!!!!" Shiro shouted! Dashing to the ladder, he'd nearly made it to the bottom when arm shot up from the dirt and roots. "Shit!", he roared, heart hammering in fright. There were TWO hands! Quickly, he scrambled back up to the top, wondering how many more there were.
Toshi's blood-curdling yips had turned to snarls as he bared his teeth and lunged forward to the fearsome hand. Each time, the appendage would slide away, returning to a different side, trying to get a hold of his furry brother.
If that thing hurt his Toshi, Shiro would never forgive himself. He had to do something. But, what? Yelling didn't scare it and if he left the fort....
A hiss and shriek sounded from the base of the tree. Turning, Shiro gazed down, his eyes meeting Grandma Kiyo's angry glare. The hand was gone, nothing remaining but a pile of salt from the bag in her hands. She moved past the base and headed down the hill. Her firm voice, carried on the breeze, rose up to the shocked boy.
"I told you. Never go anywhere without the salt. Now. Quit playing around and get your butt down here."
art and flair courtesy of @PegasusPhysics