RECOMMENDED FOR MATURE READERS
A full moon lit the sidewalk. Save for piles of trash the streets were empty.
What few occupied the midnight train scurried away from the platform like rats, while I swayed in the direction of home.
The wash of alcohol soaked into my veins and I was numb. Though Chiyoko’s face had been stripped away I could, at least for a while, pretend that nothing else existed; not even my mother, or the twenty seven messages she had left.
“I will be there soon,” I wrote; a third sweep for errors had the text read as sober. Only then did I hit send.
Perhaps I’d been foolish; after all, it was a school night, and coming home from impromptu parties were not a part of the Genkai guise. On the other hand, had I not worked hard? Had I not earned an amount of freedom for grinding with expectation on my shoulders?
I would certainly be chastised, but any guilt did not belong to me. Sometimes it is simply the price one must pay to live by their own terms.
My throat ached, but I continued to hum; “sa-ku-ra, sa-ku-ra,” the only lyric I could remember singing along with. Such moments of happiness required nurturing so their memory could be drawn upon when needed.
The crickets chirped, though it was a fact I only realized when they fell silent. Had I spooked them? I stood and listened, and that was when I knew; something was lingering in the shadows between street lights.
“Hey,” I grunted. “What are you doing back there?”
Whatever was following had stopped, and said nothing.
“Don’t be an asshole,” I called. “Go home.”
The mass of figures stepped from their hiding places and sauntered into the light. There weren’t as many as before, and those that remained were nursing cuts and bruises. The leader of the gang, his pompadour fallen, glared with clashing eyes; one white, and one stained red.
“Yeah,” the Black Soul Angel grinned; “deep shit.”
I dropped my bag and wrapped my fist around my keys. If nothing else I could make them hurt.
“You don’t want to do this,” I growled. “You have me cornered now, but what will you do tomorrow when the Hellbound Dolls finish this?”
“Tomorrow,” the leader mused, “there will be no Hellbound Dolls. Do you know the old saying? ‘Kill the head and the body will die.’”
They swarmed, six on one; their bodies vanished in the flurry of blows and the screen of pain that masked my senses. It soon became impossible to tell when one stopped and another began. Flashes blinked behind my eyes as my body was swallowed into their fury; no matter how hard I thrashed it was like stabbing at the ocean.
Soon they relented, no doubt because their fists were raw. I stumbled into a brick wall and winced; touch itself was a thousand knives driving shattered ribs deeper into my chest. My weight was too great a burden, so I crashed, one piece after another, until only a heaving wreck on the ground remained.
Perhaps I should have been afraid, but it was too far gone. There was only hate filling my lungs, pushing me through the shock.
“Fuck you… bastards…”
“You know, Chiyoko,” he scoffed; “that’s not even your name, is it? You’re the worst kind of homo. You’re the kind that gets off on tricking innocent men with your looks. You don’t care about what it means to be a man, even though you are one.”
In my mind I was flying, tearing at his face, shattering his jaw, ripping his tongue out with my bare hands; but he kept talking.
The Angel took a step closer and unzipped his fly. He reached inside and with a hand gripped his cock and aimed the tip.
“You’ve had this coming for a long time,” he grimaced.
A hot stream splashed in my face, filling my nostrils with acrid scents, bitter with a metal tang. I tried to shake it off, but was powerless to do so. It ran down my hair, my face and into my clothes, layering my body in the perfume of humiliation, while cuts screamed as they were filled.
The Black Soul Angels laughed; in the flash of faces I couldn’t make out a single frown.
They weren’t listening. One by one they turned to follow their leader, strolling into the night, seemingly unfazed by the horror they’d inflicted. I watched, and not a single one looked back to what they had done.
I was alone, laid out on the street in the middle of the night, with no way to help myself. As much as I willed my arms to move they could not, and in return they begged me to succumb to the weight falling over my eyes.
Was this the end? Was this death?
Something else was coming toward me; a dream perhaps, but to my eye it was a wolf. What was such a creature doing so far from the forest?
It padded to where I lay and sat, not panting but cutting me with its vision. What did it want with me? In my state I made a sorry excuse for prey, and wolves were not scavengers who sought out the broken.
In the end I decided it must have been a dream, because the wolf spoke; not with it’s mouth, but from the depths of my consciousness. Though he didn’t have a voice I knew that the words belonged to him.
“Yamaguchi Chiyoko,” he said. “You have been selected by fate. Are you ready to make a deal?”
To be continued…