So, this was a well written short story.
I'm not much of a short story reader (usually, the longer the better). It takes me a while to really get into a narrative (but enough about me...). So, the length is probably the main factor why this story doesn't rank in the 5-star bracket (as in: it was short there wasn't enough time to build up that much emotion about it); though, for the length, this story did a good job of pulling me in.
The world building was very elaborate; so elaborate, I really feel that I need to read more of the saga to get a good understanding or picture of the gritty-fantasy (Japanese fantasy?) world.
The narrative switches back and forth between two encounters, one shedding light on the other-- it works really well. Though the story is violence and romance free (unlike everything else I read), it's still really exciting. The 'twist' really wasn't something I could have ever expected, and that's always special.
The characters are wonderfully despicable. Christine--my gosh, she’s awful. And Darren isn't much better. But, yet both were easy to relate with, in their way. So, in short: An ambitious short story that's impressively well written, if a little shorter than I would have liked.