The day after she closed the door leading to that cold and frozen place, something had been…. Off. She couldn't put her paw on it, much to her sadness and worry. Her parents had been acting weird since the whole ordeal too. She glanced down at her still bandaged paws that were sure to leave scars. Her mother had told her not to speak about what had happened that day, and even though she really wanted to—to ask questions about what had happened—she did as she was told and kept silent about it all.

Despite that fact, the whole thing haunted the little kitten. She had nightmares of the odd creatures that stared back at her with hungry eyes and claws that wanted to grip her snow-white fur and pull her into the icy realm. She'd wake up, screaming into the dead of night. Her mother or father would come in and help her calm down enough to fall back asleep.

Tonight was no different, save for the fact that she was alone in her room. It was late and dark—she felt her breath catch in her throat—but she didn't call out for her mother or father. It would be useless to do it anyway. They had been working downstairs in the basement all day and she doubted they'd be able to hear her if she called for them.

Instead, the snow-white she-kit curled up into a fluffy ball of fur and cried. The silence settled in like the fear did with the night. The kitten hiccuped and wiped her face when she heard it. It sounded like a breeze from her window, a soft whisper. But a voice grew behind it into disoriented words. Somehow, she heard it.

"Please, don't cry."

She quickly lifted her head, thinking maybe one of her parents had heard her, but her door closed, and she was still alone. The kitten sat there for a moment, before she asked, "Who's there?"

There was only silence.

Kussa looked around the room and realized she should turn on the lights. It was dark, cold, and very quiet. But the switch seemed too far away and anything could grab her from the long distance from the end of her bed to the floor. She sat still for a little while, continuing to hiccup, but distracted from crying.

Then the wind-like voice came again. "You…. Can hear… me?"

It sounded very far away, but very smooth. It seemed different from a normal. It was soft and young, but unique. Beautiful almost. Like mystical tones wrapped together in perfect harmony.

From what the kitten could tell, it sounded like a boy.

"Who are you?" Kussa asked quickly. She jumped off the bed even faster, ignoring any chance of a monster grabbing her from underneath. "Why are you in my room? Where are you?"

When the voice didn't answer, she ran to her door.

"Wait!" it called out just as fast as she had questioned before. "Don't leave… not yet."

She stopped at her door. As fast as she could, she flipped on the lights. Nothing revealed itself from the shadows. "Why not?"

There was a moment of silence again. "I… wish to talk… to you…"

The kitten stood by the door for a moment. Her paws were feeling sore again, but she had stopped crying. She searched the dull room with her eyes. "Who are you? Why can't I see you?"

The voice hesitated. "It's complicated…"

Kussa rubbed her face dry, suddenly interested in this very whimsical voice that echoed gently through her room. "Well, are you a boy or a girl?"

"I'm a male."

The she-kit almost laughed. "You talk weird."

"Well… I'm not like you."

She hesitated. Slowly, she walked back to her bed. "What do you mean?"

Silence again. The kit gripped the end frame of her bed until her paws ached again.

"I'm not… a normal animal…"

Kussa held in a gasp. "Not-uh."

"Don't believe me?"

The kitten paused. Was she dreaming? Or was this a fairy tale? A true one, like her parents had said? Should she go and get one of them?

But they said not to talk about it…

"Are you bad?" she asked suddenly. "Like, do you go and steal people or help them?"

That breeze came in again, whisking around her in a light chuckle. His voice was slowly coming in clearer, stronger. "Considering this… recent incident, what do you think?" he asked slowly.

Kussa still searched the room, but all she saw was shadows. She wanted to look around the place, maybe physically search for him, but the fear of the darkness coming from outside kept her in her bedroom. Besides, whatever she was going to find in the closet or under her bed was too frightening to imagine. Instead, she thought about it. A slight chill ran up her spine, giving her goose bumps under her fur, and she hugged herself. It was the pain she felt in her hands that made her think about it. The ice. The power. The monsters….

"Are you one of those… things from the basement?"

The laughing breeze came again, only softer. "You could say that."

The she-kit glared then, but she didn't know where to glare. She stood up tall and pointed firmly at the door with a dark orange paw. "Then get out! I don't like you."

"You don't know me."

"You hurt Mommy and Daddy. Get out."

"That wasn't me."

Kussa pouted. "I don't care. I want you to leave."

She could clearly hear his laugh now. It was almost cruel, but not as cold as she expected. "I wouldn't even if the option was available."

"What does that mean?"

"It means I'm stuck," the boy said simply, but with a little enthusiasm in his tone. "Here. With you. Your parents trapped me here."

"In the basement?"

"You could say that."

Kussa crossed her arms stubbornly. It was too confusing for her to figure out. All she knew was that she was tired, her paws and eyes were sore, and she wanted… she wanted to know.

"That can't happen."

"Can it?"

"If you're in the basement, how come I can hear you?"

His voice tweaked a little, like it was unsure of its own answer. "Let's just say I'm strong enough to send my voice this far…"

The kitten climbed back into her bed, rubbing her paws. "You don't sound very strong. You sound weird." He laughed again and the kit looked around the room curiously. "Can I see you?"

To that, the boy didn't answer. The kit waited, even called out, but he didn't answer. So she smiled.

"I guess you're not so strong after all."

"You have no idea."

Satisfied with the returning voice, Kussa got off the bed again. "Where are you? Can you see me?" She started waving her arms around until he answered.

"Yes," he said in a slight chuckle.

She dropped her arms. "Then what do I look like?"

"You have snow-white fur with orange front paws, tips of your ears, tail-tip, stripes on it, a black nose, one blue eye and one green eye that shine like emeralds and sapphires."

Kussa grew a little timid after that. She wasn't expecting that kind of answer. "For a monster, you don't sound very evil."

"I'm more evil than you'd believe."

"How come?"

"I just am."

"How do I know you're not lying?"

"You'll just have to trust my word then."

Kussa paused. "Can I trust you?" she asked honestly.

The boy took a moment too. "No," he replied blankly. "Not at all."

The kitten stood still for a few heartbeats. She was thinking of other things to ask, things she wanted to find out, but ended up yawning widely. The day had been long and she hadn't gotten much sleep before this incident occurred.

"Do you sleep?" she asked quietly.

"Not exactly."

Kussa sat back on her bed. "Are you real?"

The voice actually got quiet. "I don't know." He sounded a lot weaker now.

"Are you going to hurt me?"

There was a long pause that little Kussa didn't know how to feel about. There wasn't even an attempt of an answer. Too tired to figure it out, the kitten wrapped herself in the hand-woven blanket, but refused to lay down just yet.

"If someone fell asleep in front of you, would you kidnap them?"

"Depends…" he answered.

The kit laid down, yawning again. "On what?"

"It'll have to be a certain person."

The warmth was too much and sleep started to drag her away. She mumbled, so she didn't think the boy had heard her. Still he answered her.

"How about you call me Yokai? However, it's all right. I won't hurt you, Kussa. Trust me…"