Title: Ten Yen Forever
Author: Amanda Armstrong
Genre: Spiritual Thriller
Excerpt Heat Level: 1
Book Heat Level: 4
As an old monk comes to the end of his life, Amida bestows one final task upon him.
Too weak to perform this himself, the monk enlists the help of his little apprentice, Akira, passing four miraculous ten yen coins on to him. Though confused and uncertain of what he must do, this task takes Akira across the Pacific to help those that need saving and those that didn't even know they needed saving. As dark forces threaten them, Holly, Paul and Tommy must once again trust in the miracle of the ten yen coins. This is the sequel to Ten Yen True where the monk brings healing to westerners he has never met.
He stopped by the Uji River, gazing out at the little fishing boats bobbing gently atop the water. The sky, so recently filled with dark storms was now clear and calm and the light from the full moon created silver ripples in the water and shone off the nets cast out. He saw the distant figures of fishermen hauling their catch in.
He felt inside his jeans, carefully taking out the money that he began to count with shaking hands. He felt shame he had taken a stash of money from the old monk's wardrobe, but he assured himself it was the right thing to do if he were to help his friend and mentor.
"Anata wa otokonoko nē!" Hey, you boy! The sudden shout from the river made him jump. He gasped, his heart in his chest, preparing to run.
"Matsu!" Wait! A slight figure waved from a fishing boat.
The young boy stuffed the money back inside his pocket and began to run. A quick look over his shoulder confirmed the man had given chase and was climbing the banks. The boy picked up his pace, panting for breath as adrenalin and fear surged through his body. I must get away! Determination made him run faster still. If I'm caught, I'll surely be taken back to the temple, they'll find out I took the money and send me to prison! And without me, my master will die!
As his mind raced, he failed to notice the little tree stump in his path and he fell to the ground awkwardly, his heart sinking and tears stinging his eyes.
He looked up at the man approaching him who was heavily gasping for breath.
"Anata wa bujidesu ka?" Are you ok? The man wheezed, his hands on his knees as he tried to regain his breath.
The boy sat up, hanging his head between his knees and began to cry, desperation weighting his body, yet strangely, no more fear.
"Chotto, sore wa daijōbuda, nakanaide." Hey, it's ok, don't cry. The man crouched down beside him and gently patted his shoulder. "My name is Haruo."
Sudden warmth crept through the boy's body as if just this human touch had ignited his heart. He wiped his face with the sleeve of his jacket and tentatively turned his face toward the man, blinking in the darkness. The crinkly eyes and wizened face that smiled reassuringly at him reminded him of his master, albeit a younger version, and the boy felt relief flood through his body -- a feeling of safety suddenly overcame him.
"Why are you out so late?" the man asked.
The boy, suddenly realizing his task and the essence of time, began to cry again.
"Come." The man pulled him to his feet and placed his hands on the boy's shoulders.
The boy shrugged him away. "No, there is no time!" he shouted.
Confused, the man raised his eyebrows, waiting for an explanation.
The young boy realized he might as well tell this man. After all, he may be able to help him; if not, he was going to take him back to the temple anyway. What had he to lose?
He began telling him the story from the beginning. Of how the old monk had saved him from the Tsunami. How he had waded out to him and dragged the door with him clinging on top into the shore…
He took me back to the Temple in Uji, clothed me, fed me and healed my physical wounds. He tried to comfort me through my grief at the loss of my family, but I was angry and, I feel, so was he. He taught me meditation, explained that whilst I may never understand, I should try and accept.
Each day we would go together to the Ajiike pond and meditate. Eventually a sort of peace did settle within me. My master then told me to pray to Amida for my family, gone, but not forgotten and for the other poor souls, dead and living after this awful disaster.
"And now my master is dying!" The boy looked up at the man, anguish in his eyes.
"But he is an old man," the man explained gently. "It is his time."
"No, no! You don't understand!" The boy was agitated now, scrabbling in his pockets for the coins. "He gave me these coins. They are special."