And So Begins the End

"Daddy, won't you take me to the libary today? I'm done with my other book!" a small girl pleaded, tugging at her father's shirt sleeve. The man looked down at his four-year-old daughter and smiled sourly.

"I have, ahm...plans, today, Tori." The girl looked down at the ground, letting go of her father's shirt. A sad expression overcame her face. She may have been very young, but she knew quite well that what the man had said meant "no." She was unsure of him, thought, and so persisted.

"Aww, but Daddy!" Tori protested. By the look on her father's face now, it was obvious: she knew there was no changing his mind. He would not take her to the library.

"And Tori, the word is pronounced 'library,' not 'libary.'" the man said coldly, ignoring his daughter's plea. She growled and pulled almost violently at his arm.

"Daddy, stop ignoring me! Why won't you take me to the library?" Tori demanded with childish impatience, careful to correct her speech, as to give her father nothing else to default on. The man at her side knelt down and shook her roughly by the shoulders, glaring down at her furiously.

"Toralyn, stop it now! No is no, is that clear?" Her father's paralyzing leer and harsh words combined with his low, guttural intonations created a fear in Tori that made her stiff; she mumbled timid submission.

Tori and her father walked silently the rest of the way to the car. They were at the supermarket, only to buy a gallon of milk and a loaf of bread, and were presently on their way home. The little brown-haired girl was not used to her father being home enough even to do that, and was extremely disappointed in him for it. Mommy always took her to get another book to read, she reasoned, the library was within walking distance of the house. Why wouldn't Daddy?

Tori was near tears for her father's commanding diction. She looked up at his black hair and eyes, darker than a cloudy midnight, his face, it seemed, was petrified in a mean-looking grimace. Tori suddenly had a strange compulsion to run; run away, as fast as her will could take her. But within moments the feeling passed, and she ignored it with a characteristically human act of strangling the instincts. As she and her father drove back home, Tori felt vulnerable and exposed, and couldn't wait to go back to her mother. Daddy, she decided, was too scary.

When Tori and her father were finally home, after what seemed like forever to the uneasy four-year-old, she ran inside as quickly as she could and hugged her mother, crying. The woman gasped in surprise.

"Tori! Oh, Tori, what's wrong, honey, what happened?" She knelt down to hold the wailing child. Tori's cry grew louder as her father come in, shutting the door behind him with a telling slam. Tori's mother saw him roll his eyes displeasingly. She directed a glare of her own toward him, though it never could be as darkly intense as the one he often sported.

"Toru, what did you do to her? Look what you've done! What did you say?" The mother's angry upset was dangerously apparent as she raised her voice to the dark-featured man walking fluidly across the room toward the couch. He did not reply. "Toru!" He just rolled his eyes again. Tori's mother did the same, redirecting her attention to the sobbing girl hugging her tightly.

"Shh, Tori. It's okay. C'mon, now. Tell me what's wrong."

"All I did, Lindsey, was tell her that she couldn't go to the library, so I don't know what the hell is wrong with her!" he interjected latently from his tense position on the sofa, obviously annoyed. The woman ignored Toru's protest and looked at Tori sympathetically. This had happened before. Toru, she thought, must have frightened her again. He had an inexplicable way of doing that to Tori, and no one knew why; even family and friends found it strange and unexplainable. Tori cried in her mother's embrace, being visibly sure to hide her face from her father.

"You're never around, Toru, that's probably why she's afraid of you," Lindsey said, almost calmly. "She doesn't even know you! You're like a stranger to her." Toru looked at her sharply, then rolled his eyes once again, silent all the while. It was true. Nobody even knew what the man did when he was at work, constantly at the office, it seemed, never home. It was more than rarely suspected that he had been drinking, but he showed no signs of any such thing. Something like that is, after all, hard to hide, and so Lindsey ruled against it. Her main concern at this moment, though, was her daughter. Why was the small girl so terribly frightened of her own father? Lindsey never could tell. Sometimes she did not even know anymore why she had stayed with Toru for so long in the first place. She considered this as Tori's crying began to subside.

"Are you all right, honey? Shh, it's okay, c'mon now." Lindsey smiled at her daughter, who smiled back innocently through dry and reddening green eyes. "Now you go on to your room and read for a little while, Tori, all right?" Tori thought a minute and shook her head.

"I finished Peter Pan, Mama. I don't have anything to read any more." The smile quickly turned into a frown. So did Lindsey's.

"I will take you to the library later on, Tori. For now, though, would you like to read some poetry?" Tori's eyes brightened at the suggestion. Lindsey smiled again. "I have some limericks, haiku, a book of Robert Frost's..." she said in an enticing way, knowing, however, that Tori did not understand. "...and one or two Shel Silverstein collections I know you haven't read yet." This was even more tempting, not just in voice but in mention, and she smiled slyly as she said it. Tori jumped up at the idea of those funny rhymes she loved so much. Lindsey ignored the sulking Toru as he walked, grumbling, down the hall to his room beside Tori's. She fingered out a certain white hardcover book labeled "Falling Up." Tori took it with much enthusiasm and ran down the hall to her room, lifting the cover as she went. Lindsey shot a scolding glance at Toru's back and returned to the kitchen, cheerful in its tangerine motif, to wash the dishes. Tori settled in her room, meanwhile, to the increasingly familiar sound of her father's quiet, rhythmic muttering next door.

After what may have been an hour of reading, Tori's head snapped up to the unsettling sound of feminine screams ringing through the moonlit twilight. She subconsciously recognized the shrieking voice as her mother's, slammed the book down on the bed where she had been reading it, and ran out to the living room. She gasped at the sight of her mother high up against the wall, head pressed up against the ceiling, holding something invisible at her neck and trying to yank it off. There seemed nothing there to hold her in that impossible position. What was this? Tori's father, however, stood before the levitating, strangling woman, one arm raised in an ancient gesture of power and control. There seemed a peculiar, impossible glow in his moonless-midnight eyes and a bloodthirsty rage in his expression and posture.

"Mama!!" The little girl screamed, catching Toru's attention. He lost his apparent concentration and Lindsey fell to the floor, choking, grasping her neck in an attempt to pump air into her dying lungs. Out of nowhere, Tori put up her hands and squinted her eyes, forming the stance of a seasoned fighter. She had scarcely seen this acted out by other people, but the knowledge of it seemed to rise up from the faded parts of her memory, summoning an instinct that fused with her psyche in a thundering rush of hot adrenaline. Tori's blood boiled, and she felt fierce, frightened, and invincible all at once.

"Tori..." Lindsey coughed out, and tried to tell her daughter to run. Her words barely came out, but even if they had been clear, Tori could hear nothing. Rage blinded her in more ways than one, blocking her every conscious thought from uprising to the surface of her mind. Even more despair developed in her heart as she saw her mother fall unconscious on the floor before the black-haired man, who laughed at both her and her mother. Her young and as yet innocent mind was quickly devoured by the need to hurt him, the need to kill him.

She wanted to kill him. She found herself yearning for a weapon of destruction, a sword for to plunge it into his very core, she wanted to see the bloody eruption of a crimson volcano emerging from his fatally wounded flesh. Her trapped consciousness fought the morbid desperation as violently as its passion for blood was running, but in its youthful immaturity was completely subdued by the want, the need to destroy.

Tori's eyes blazed neon green flame and she charged, yelling and crying, at her father, who laughed uncontrollably now. She hit him hard, but he did not even respond. His eyes suddenly flared up in a red hue, and Tori was thrown away, psychokinetically forced against the ground. She could not escape the invisible force which held her down, but struggled ceaselessly nonetheless, trying to tear her way through it. Toru echoed anew an evil roar of laughter that filled the entire room, bouncing off every surface into Tori's fragile ears. Her eyes glowed brightly, just as his red ones had done when his mysterious power had flung her to the floor, their green pushing through a thick blackness that appeared to cloud her vision. All her efforts were futile. When she found she could do no more, she broke down to defiant tears.

Then her mother awoke from her unconsciousness. A flicker of hope shone through the darkness in Tori's mind...for the shortest moment. And then there was the knife.

The knife. It was there, almost casually, as though it had been there all along. Toru lifted it above his head, eyes fixed on Lindsey's barely live body. He held it poised in the dead air for what seemed like forever. Tori shrieked, but no sound could be heard. Then, suddenly: down it came, fast as lightning, hard as rain on a hot summer's night, down came the dagger, straight toward Tori's mother. A horrifying ploosh sound rippled through time as the blade sank into her breast through her blouse. She uncontrollably screamed to the darkening clouds as the ethereal metal tore apart her skin, and made a horrendous zip, as scissors cutting fabric, as it was thrust upward in the direction of her neck. Then came the scarlet magma waterfall Tori had so yearned to watch fall from her father's impaling, unstoppably flowing instead from her mother's chest. Tori was choked up in teras, and could not help but hear the long screams of pain her mother yielded.

The slashing did not stop there. Toru had the still relatively young woman sliced what must have been fifty times across the chest and torso. Her legs were also cut up, and her neck had slits around it to the point where patterns could almost be noticed, gushing out red resolve that left the peaceful off-white carpet horridly bloodstained as Toru's hands now were. Figuratively; there was not a spot on Toru to prove his wrong. Tori felt the grip on her body loosen, but before she could react, Toru flicked out a snakelike black tongue and hissed. Tori couldn't even let out a scream before his form burst into a thousand serpents--all hissing viciously--which slithered into the shadows, disappearing without the slightest trace.

Crying desparingly and uncontrollably heaving with sobs, Tori left. Afraid. What had her father done? What was her father? Was he her father? She knew he was, but how could she believe it still now? She thought about this as she walked. The ambulance and police had been called. Nothing turned up. All that was left of the sudden and life-shattering murder was the large carmine bloodstain seemingly in the design of the deepest red rose, and Toralyn Raiden, who walked southward, never knowing where she was going or why. She walked, no questions asked, pondering in her suddenly newfound understanding and maturity, passing the library but not stopping.

Author's Notes: This is the very beginning of our story, you might say. ^_^ It didn't come at the beginning; this is a sort of prologue.
This is a re-issue because I looked at this story and decided it needed some updating. So I arduously retyped the whole thing manually into a new HTML document and revised as I went along. The story hasn't changed, just its presentation. The words got a little bigger and fancier and I believe the story is more fluid and descriptive the way it is now. Doesn't matter, since most of you who are reading this have not previously read it before. ^_^; Anyway...I assure you, it's better now than it was before. Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it; there are more Tori stories posted if you are interested!! ~MJ
Reissued: Thursday, May 13, 2004