This is officially out of hiatus! I've encountered the biggest writer's block with my other story, Tomorrow Cases. Hopefully, it'll pass. In the meantime, here is Child!
6. A new life
The man would not let go of me. I pleaded, begged and promised anything to him. All he had to do was let me go.
In the end, I gave up. What was the point? My life was in shambles, I was in an unfamiliar city and I was lost in every sense of the word.
"I don't care," I said, "do what you want with me. Sell me to a prostitute ring, kill me. I don't care anymore."
His hands loosened from my shoulder. "I would never do that to you," his hands went to his sides.
I stiffened. I could not understand his reasoning for the mood swing.
"I can never hurt you," he smiled, as both of his hands made their way to my face.
Before the stranger could touch me, I heard a click. We turned to see Araki-sama standing, with a gun out. He was pointing it at the man.
"Don't even think about your gun," he said, coldly.
Again, the man's hands dropped to his sides. If he was afraid of Araki-sama, he did not show it. "I see that children still play with adult toys," he sneered, "I always believed that was twisted."
He turned around to look at me again and smiled, gently, "Hopefully, I'll be seeing you around."
With that said, he walked away.
Quickly, I glanced at Araki-sama. He placed the gun behind his back.
"Let's go, " he sighed. He sounded exhausted to me.
Simply, I nodded and followed him.
Our new life started in the Shibuya district of Tokyo. He was a famous photographer known as JJ. I was a visiting cousin from Osaka. My new name was Oguta Rei and I was eighteen years old. He was twenty. Our appearances were transformed to accommodate our new identities. My hair was dyed to light brown, my eyes became blue and I received a light tan. Araki-sama got to keep his pale skin. He chose to apply a beauty mark on the left side of his chin, shoulder-length extensions and get hazel contacts.
All of this was done in the comfort of our new place. To be precise, in the bathroom. The most excruciating part of the transformation was the extensions on him and I was the one to attach it to his head.
He wanted it to be perfect, natural. I had no experience in the hair-care or anything related to the works of beauticians. I had to research, visit hair salons and buy magazines to figure out how to do it. It took me hours to finally get him to approve of the hair.
"Mirror," he said, holding out his hand.
"Um, you've already checked a million times. Can't you give it a rest?"
"No. How can I trust a hillbilly like you?"
He snatched the mirror from my hands and began to resume glancing at his face. Left side, right side. Up, down. The latest addition to Araki-sama's character: vanity.
"I will accept this for now," he ripped the salon cape from his neck and headed towards the large oval mirror over the sink.
Hillbilly? My eye twitched at the memory. I was not a hillbilly. I came from a respectable family from a well-established resort town, not a hick town.
"Frowning like that will give you wrinkles before the age of twenty."
He was impossible!
I turned around, determined to not explode. It was awhile since I felt so angry. Lately, all I felt was grief. For Michiko and Kawajiri-sensei. Images of their lifeless bodies came to my mind. I covered my mouth, feeling the need to gag.
"Are you ok," Araki-sama said, glancing lazily from the mirror.
"I'm fine," I said, quietly.
This was a first for me. I was too overwhelmed by their deaths that these images never popped out. Why did it happen now?
I rushed to my new bedroom and collapsed face down onto my bed. I did not understand why I closed my eyes. All it did was make the images worse.
Michiko's body was covered by a white sheet. Every few seconds, the sheet was pulled aside and revealed her pale corpse. Her neck was was covered which disturbed me. Underneath the cloth, I knew there was a large gash. That was the cause of her death. "It was not suicide," I repeated to myself.
Kawajiri-sensei's forehead was pierced with a clear hole. I could see him falling backwards with shock written all over his face. He could not believe it was his time to die. It was so unexpected. So perfect. A bullet through his skull, his blood spewing from behind his head and his body falling over. His body fell over and over again in my mind. He was sitting down, then his body was sprawled on the floor and his blood spreading everywhere. "It was murder," I concluded.
My mind was jumbled with thoughts, images, plots, and conspiracies. Was the person who killed Michiko the same as Kawajiri-sensei's murderer? Was her blond rapist trying to kill me because I knew he killed her? Did he miss his target?
"Hey," Araki-sama knocked on the door, "are you ok?"
"Yes," I tried my best to sound normal, "I'm just laying down."
"If you say so...I'm going out for a bit. Do you need anything?"
I wanted to forget everything. I wanted to not me anymore. I wanted...I wanted...
"You're coming," Araki-sama's eyes widened when he saw me leaving the apartment.
"Yeah," I smiled, "I just remembered we need to buy real food. No more take out."
I did not want to be Miyaboshi Kagura.
"Are you sure we needed all of this," Araki-sama asked, as we left the grocery store nearest to the new home.
Our shopping was not a lot. I was carrying four bags and he was carrying six. I was used to more grocery. In Hijako, I went with Obaa-san, Okaa-san and my aunt. On average, we bought 20 bags worth of food. That was enough to feed the family for a couple of days. When my parents and Obaa-san died, Michiko and her brothers took on the job. Even though the family decreased in number, we continued to buy the same amount.
"Quit whining. We'll be lucky to make left overs for a week."
"This will last us a millenium," he mumbled.
"Do you really not make your own food?"
We stopped at a stoplight. " What's the point? People always make me food."
"What if no one can make it? You'd have to rely on yourself. I bet you'll die if such a situation occurs."
"Hey! Don't get all judgemental on me. When push comes to shove, I will take care of myself."
I could already picture him withering away in the kitchen unable to make anything.
"When the day comes, I will make food and I'll call you up. Then, you will be in awe of my amazing cooking skills."
I laughed, "I doubt that."
"Wait," I stopped walking, " did you just say you'll call me?"
He turned around and appeared to be confused, "Yeah...You seem to be the type that needs proof."
My body began to tremble.
"What d-do you mean by that?"
"Rei-chan," I hated how he was becoming suddenly concerned.
"Don't call me that," I cried, throwing the bags at him.
Everyone around us halted to witness this scene between 'lovers'. If they knew the circumstances of us being here, maybe someone would intervene. Someone would call the police, I would return home and Araki-sama would be placed in jail on kidnapping charges. I would not speak up to voice his innocence, because I would be out of my mind. I would be forced to be around everything reminding me of Michiko, leading back to my new visions.
"Get a hold of yourself," he grasped my arms in a tight grip.
"Let go of me," I pleaded.
"Please, please. Calm down. I promise this will be over soon."
No matter how sincere he was, I was never going to believe him. "Don't make empty promises," I was becoming hysterical, " you can't stop me from seeing them. You can't stop me from seeing other things."
"What are you talking about," his voice becoming frantic.
I pushed him away. We both stood there, confused about what was happening.
"I can't be here," my voice cracked.
I ran away.
I did not want to be me anymore.
I looked like a crazy person with mascara running down my face. People at every stop avoided standing next to me. I did not care about them, because they clearly did not care about me. Who cared about the girl loosing her mind?
"You know it's too early in the day for someone like you to be wearing such make-up," I heard someone say at one of the stops.
I sniffed, "I was experimenting with looks."
"Isn't the time of experiementing when you're thirteen," the woman asked.
"I never did that when I was that age."
I waited for her to talk about her being thirteen, but all I got was silence. When we crossed the street she talked again. " Do you want to go for coffee? You seem like you need to vent and I'm happy to be your listener."
"No," I shook my head, "I'm fine. But thank you for offering tho-,"
She grabbed my arm and led me into the nearest Starbucks. She did not release me until we ordered our drinks. I was forced to pick something, so I went a hot chocolate even though it was not the season for it.
We sat down in the front patio, open to the rest of the world. As time progressed, I began to feel more ashamed of the scene I caused. I did not want everyone to see my red, puffy eyes or my messed-up face.
"Spill everything," she said, "I'm all ears."
"I can't," I bit my lower lip.
"He cheated on you?"
I shook my head.
"Lied to you?"
I shook my head again.
I hesitated for a bit, but decided to shake my head.
"Then what is it?"
I looked away from her and stared at the people passing us. Were their lives complex too? Were there people who experienced worse things than I? My eyes widened. Walking across the street, I saw a familiar red-headed girl in a school uniform.
"Mascara girl," the woman said, snapping my attention back to her.
"Sorry," I got up and bowed, " I just saw someone I know. Thank you so much for the coffee."
"No prob-," I did not listen to the rest of what she said. All I could thing about was getting to that girl. I needed her in my new life. I needed her to be friends with 'Rei-chan', just like she was with 'Nozomi-chan'.
"Excuse me," I said, touching her shoulder, "can you help me get back to Shibuya?"
"Why would I help a stranger," she asked coldly, making me remove my hand.
"You should've thought about directions before you set out."
I looked away from her glowering face. In her hand, she was clasping something tightly. A newspaper?
She noticed me staring at the paper and quickly stuffed it into her schoolbag. "This is none of your business."
I failed. She did not want to be part of my new world. I lost my only friend.
I was surprised to hear someone calling my name. Maybe it was for some other Kagura, I thought.
The red-headed girl was already gone.
I became curious. I wondered who was looking for this Kagura.
My heart stopped. Across the street, I saw Araki-sama wandering aimlessly. "Kagura," he yelled out. He was the one calling out? He was calling for me?
He looked across the street. His worried face became one of joy. "Kagura," he called out again, his hand cupped to make him louder, "stay there! I'll come to you."
Simply, I nodded. Maybe I was not alone, I thought as I watched him make his way through the crowds to the nearest crosswalk. I did not know why he was so concerned, but I liked it. There was someone near me who I could learn to call a friend. Maybe it would take awhile. At this moment, I was just happy.
The girl returned next to me. I was surprised to see her. I was sure she was out of my life.
All she said was, "Thief," and she pushed me.
I could not believe that I was falling into oncoming traffic. Out of nowhere, Araki-sama appeared. He crashed against my body, throwing us back to the sidewalks.
My head throbbed with pain. My vision went hazy and my hearing was weak.
"Kagura," was all I heard. Was it a guy's voice? Or was it a girl's?