You don't have permission to post in this thread.
[size10 Night turned into day, then back into night again. It had gone by in a blur for Fuyumi. She remembers bits and pieces, but nothing concrete. A hot pain, the taste of copper, then nothing. Her eyes flutter open slowly; she looks around, but it’s pitch black. Still, she can tell she isn’t outside. Her eyes adjust, and finally she notices the blood on her clothes. The blood that most likely belongs to the corpse next to her. A feeling of horror sinks into the pit of her stomach. She was still unused to seeing bodies, and quickly found herself vomiting. There was no food present, only a thick, red liquid. “.”
Regaining her composure, she takes a closer look at the body. It belonged to an older man, probably in his 40s. Clearly single, judging by the fact that no one else found them. Fuyumi tries to stand up, but is quickly brought to her knees by overwhelming vertigo. Her vision blurs, and she finds herself falling to the rest of the way to the ground. She’s passed out, no longer aware of her surroundings, or the fact that she’s now laying in blood. Reality is quickly replaced with dreams. Her consciousness expects the dreams to be much of the same; flashbacks to recent events, but her mind surprises her.
Fuyumi finds herself watching the moment she met Ache for the first time. She couldn’t have been more than what, five? She hadn’t been living in their town for long, and the neighborhood kids made sure she knew that. As if she could forget. Given her heritage, she was treated poorly, and the day she met Ache was no different. It was just another hot summer day, at least that was what the young girl had thought when she first went outside. The day quickly changed, however, when she heard a commotion nearby. There was a small gathering of kids, all crowded around [i something]. She wasn’t too sure what it was though.
Fuyumi warily approached the crowd, trying to figure out what was going on. Once she was close enough, she realized that some of the kids were attacking an animal, while the others watched. [i “Please stop!”] The girl pushed her way through the crowd, and quickly cradled the animal in her arms. It didn’t take long for the kids to turn their aggressions towards Fuyumi. She used her body to shield the animal, hoping that the others would stop soon. They did, but she would soon find out that it wasn’t because they were willing to.
[i “Are you ok?”]
A voice startled her, and Fuyumi opened her eyes to see a hand extended towards her. She didn’t take the hand, and instead looked up at whoever was offering to help her. Tears were starting to well in her eyes; she just now realized how bad her body hurt. She looked down at the animal that was still in her arms, [i finally] seeing the cat that she had just saved. After shedding a few more tears, Fuyumi accepted the hand.
Of course, the dream couldn’t last, as much she wanted it to. Now she was back to reality, and the stench of the nearby body was becoming overwhelming. She knew it was time to go, but she couldn’t before at least cleaning herself up. “No need to cause alarm. It’ll just make things harder anyways ..” The woman wipes off the blood that isn’t on her clothes, then removes her clothes after finding something that’s tolerable to wear amongst the man’s belongings.
Once all cleaned up, she slips out the back of the house, taking care not to be seen. She knows she must move quickly, since she has no idea how much of the night has passed. Traveling at night is easier in terms of not being seen, and she’s begun to realize that she has an aversion to the sun, and it’s grown since that initial day back at the camp. It did not make much sense to Fuyumi, but she also didn’t care enough to question it. She found herself wishing that she could at least talk to someone, anyone about it. But for the time being, she had no one.
All Fuyumi could hope was that someone back where she lives could understand what was going on with her.
Achaeus wakes up in a grey world. He lifts his head from the street, his hair heavy and clumped together. A dark shadow stains the ground where his head had just been, some infernal combination of long dry blood and crusted vomit. A sharp pain rocks his guts, sends tremors from his esophagus to his bowels. Ache blinks away haze, collects his own perception, spots the splatter of black blood on the brick wall before him.
He remembers. His hands instinctively shoot to his throat, presses his fingers into what he imagines is a gaping rift of gore. He finds skin, clean, unblemished. Ache pushes himself to his feet, tries to take a step forward. His knees buckle. He falls, his face crashing into a plastic trash bag, the weight of his head crushing a glass beer bottle. A brown shard shreds the bridge of his nose, cuts cartilage. Blood squirts from the wound down his lips, chin, neck. Ache groans, rolls over, uses a pointer finger to prod his new cut. Why can't he stand? It's not so much that his legs have stopped working, but something to do with balance and the distribution of his weight. He feels much lighter, as if he's shed entire pounds. Did blood have any real weight? How much had he lost when he'd been maimed?
Ache had seen men with their throats cut in his first and only battle, watched as a squad mate dragged the serrated edge of his knife across a German's throat. The enemy had died almost immediately, and Carlos had fallen back on his ass in disbelief over the amount of blood that hit the grass before the German had even fallen over. How was it that Ache was able to wake up, that his throat had pieced itself back together?
Another ache rocks his belly. Achaeus presses the palm of his hand against the brick wall, his fingers brushing over his dried blood. He manages to stand, to lean against the wall for support. Step one. Step two... probably learn to walk again. He takes a few slow steps, gets a feel for his new weight. He feels like paper or thin cloth, like a breeze would rip him in two.
Ache realizes now that he's starving, parched. He feels like he's simultaneously having a heat stroke and freezing to death. As he becomes more accustom to walking, his shoulder continues to drag along the brick, picking at his crimson shirt sleeve, his skin beneath. Did his letter get sent? He flinches at his mental image of Fuyumi, the memory of her serene skin, the taste of her neck and blood as it rushed over his tongue and down his throat. Ache shakes his head. That's no memory, it's something else. A desire born of hunger and maybe some carnality, some fusion of conflicting feelings that makes his veins pulsate and his belly burn.
He wipes away a spot of drool that forms at the corner of his mouth, stumbles down the empty street in the light of the setting moon, the sun's rays beginning to peek out over the horizon. Ache hears the sound of a key jiggling in a lock, a muttered swear, a frenzied knock at a metal door. He turns to his left, spots an older apartment building. There's a man trying to get in, unsuccessful at getting his key to turn.
Ache's hunger is overwhelming, almost brings him to his knees with each passing moment. He doesn't think it's been that long since he's last eaten, and he knows he went longer stretches between meals when in the service. Maybe he's fallen ill, maybe he's losing his mind, maybe the monster he's seen twice now never existed at all. He faces the man across the street, sees the guy's long black hair shake as he still fumbles at the lock. Ache tries to call out for help, finds his throat almost too dry to speak.
The man jolts at the sound of Ache's voice, turns to face him. He stands still without speaking, but Achaeus' vision is blurring, leaving him unable to make out the man's expression. Then he hears his voice, a sound that's guttural and low.
"Son of a bitch."
He moves across the street at a speed too quick for Ache to process. [i He really wants to help me.] Ache would smile if he didn't feel like his lips would split apart from the motion.
"So it's true, huh." The man is closer now and Ache can really see his face, see his sharp features, a look that he'd describe as both damaged and beautiful. "I'd never mistake the taste of vamp blood, but there was something off about yours." Ache's starvation is fades, replaced by a mounting realization, a fear of the man before him. He's different now, but as Ache scans him he notices the familiar shape, the thinness of the man's arms, the long fingers that close around his throat. The monster leans closer, his lips parting into a grimace. Ache is close enough to see the blood in his teeth, to smell himself on the man's breath.
His brain is screaming, sending electric impulses through his limbs in a desperate bid to flee, to gain as much distance as he can from this man, but his legs don't move. Ache realizes that his body has rooted itself, that he isn't tense, feels no threat from the man before him. Instead there's a kind of kinship, some ingrained instinctual tie that connects them.
"You killed me," Ache chokes out. He shakes his head, raises his hands to grip the man's wrist, to pry it away from his own throat. He finds the action easy despite feeling weak.
"I damn well tried to." The man sighs, pushes Ache down with ease. Ache feels his ass hit concrete but finds that there is no pain. "But then I found out that we're the same. I don't know why I couldn't smell it on you when I ran into you a few nights ago, but I guess I was too deeply frenzied."
"Frenzied? You were- you [i are] a monster." He licks his lips with a dry tongue. "I'm nothing like you. What the hell are you talking about?"
"Come off it. What is this, some kind of test? We both know what we are. I don't know what you Germans call it."
"Whatever, kid." The man runs a thin hand through his hair, flinches at the first real ray of sunlight. Ache notices the skin of the man's cheeks begin to sink, the bones beneath becoming more prominent. "I need to get inside before I'm incinerated. Stay out here and become smoke if you want." He turns back to the front door and then stops short, looking back at Ache. "Actually, I can't get my key to work. You got a place nearby or what?"
[size10 Fuyumi mutters out a thank you while rushing out of the car, suddenly feeling the urge to distance herself from any and all people. A feeling of dread settles in the pit of her stomach. She couldn’t explain why, but she always chose to follow her instincts. This time would be no different. Once the car is out of sight, the woman slips into the shadows of a darkened alley, watching as the sun slowly starts to rise. The sight of the sun should have been a welcome sight, but it didn’t make the woman feel any better. In fact, it made her feel all that much more uneasy.
Shaking her head, she tries to calm the emotions she felt, to no avail. Her heart felt as heavy as her eyelids did. Slinking down to the ground, she leans against a wall, well hidden behind a set of forgotten boxes. Her eyes flutter closed; she was no longer able to keep them open. After the long days she’d had, it wasn’t all too surprising to her. It was far from ideal, but with no money to her name, Fuyumi had little choices as to where she slept. Her whole body ached, and despite how much she wanted to at least try and find another place to sleep, she couldn’t will her body to move anymore..
Sleep came quickly despite how uneasy the woman felt. Her dreams were uneventful, nothing more than scattered thoughts really. Fuyumi saw her parents, reliving the last moments she had with her mom. Ache, Carlos. The rest of the small town they lived in. She was sitting in the diner, remembering Carlos’ confession. How she told him that she’d respond when he came back from the war. The truth was, she just couldn’t bring it in her heart to reject him. Not then, right before he and Ache, and the others left.
Suddenly, she was there; watching them all leave. She could still feel the pain of it; compounded by the fact that Achaeus didn’t even say goodbye. She never truly admitted it, but it left a wound. It was like a knife to the heart for her. They had been friends for so long, as long as she could remember, and the fact that he just [i left], saddened her more than she could ever imagine. Fuyumi knew that she should have seen it coming ── Ache had become more and more distant before he left. They went from talking multiple times a day and hanging out quite a lot, to barely speaking and never spending time together.
This still weighed heavy on her heart; she wanted to know [i why]. Did she do something wrong? What was going on with Ache? There were so many questions - questions she’d never really get the answer for now. Ache was gone, and she was lost somewhere in the United States, far far from where she grew up. Gods only knew where Achaeus was.
Fuyumi’s dreams took a turn from memories, into something much darker. She wakes with a start, not remembering anything from her last dream. Her vision is hazy, she glances around, barely able to make out the boxes sitting next to her. She feels something cold and slick, almost as if someone dumped water on her. It was too … thick to be water though.
Her vision finally recovers from sleep; it was nearly dark again. The sun was setting. Still, there was just enough light for Fuyumi to see what she was covered in. She didn’t recognize it, but whatever it was was very very red. She was just about to shrug it off when her brain finally registered the smell. [i Copper]. The woman’s eyes grew wide, her vision clouding all over again. “B-blood …?”
Confusion and fear was apparent in her voice. She scans her body, looking for any source that could explain the blood. She comes up with nothing. Absolute dread fills her heart; she shakingly checks the alley around her. There. She sees a body nearby; a person laying on their stomach. She gets up to walk towards them, but suddenly stops. She doesn’t need to. She can see the pool of blood surrounding the body. Panic quickly replaces the dread she felt. “What’s going on ?!”
Fuyumi speaks in a loud whisper. She spends a few seconds more looking at the body before bolting. Her fight or flight response triggered from the stress of it all. She’s running down the streets, not paying attention to her surroundings. There has to be a road out of here somewhere! She spends very little time thinking before running straight into … something. She staggers backwards, looking at just what she ran into. Another person … “すみません !” She apologizes in her native tongue. She quickly recovers and bows, about to start running again. [i I don’t want them to see all the blood]. She thinks better of this though, and instead asks, “Which road leads out of here?”
The person gives instructions, starting to look at Fuyumi suspiciously. She says a quick thank you, and walks the way they gave, only starting to run again after the person is fully out of sight. Just as she’s near being out of the town, she hears yelling in the distance. All the woman can assume is that they found the body. She runs as quickly as she can, hiding in the shadows when she’s able to.
Thirty full minutes pass from the time she spoke to that person. She’s far away from the town now; it’s nothing more than a speck in the distance. “Back in the desert again, huh.” She’s mumbling to herself, looking for a place to collapse for the night. She finds a cluster of rocks, where a well hidden cave lies behind. The woman ducks inside, quickly sitting on the cold ground. It was dangerous, she knew, seeing as how she had no way to make a fire, and the Arizona desert always became very cold at night. However, it didn’t seem to be bothering her in the slightest. Now that the adrenaline had worn off, all she felt was thirst and hunger. There were cacti nearby, but she no longer had the energy to move. Her body was at its limit. All she could do now was rest.
Like the night before, sleep came easily to Fuyumi. This time, her mind was too tired to plague her with nightmares and memories.
By the time Fuyumi woke up again, the entire day had passed. The sun was nearly set by the time she ventured out of the cave. Her thirst was nigh unbearable, and she could feel a fever coloring her cheeks. [i Great]. Things were starting to get dangerous, and Fuyumi wasn’t sure what to do. The town she left was still 30 minutes behind her, and her clothes were still all bloody. There was no way she could return. “If only I was on the east coast …” It would’ve been easier for her. She was somewhat familiar with the flora and climate. Arizona was new to her, and it was very barren. The east contained forests and rivers. There was plenty of water, and she could’ve easily washed off in a river. With a sigh, she wandered to a nearby cactus. Careful to avoid the spines, she manages to break a piece of the cactus off, being extremely careful so that the liquid won’t spill out.
This barely staves off her thirst. A sigh escaped the woman’s lips; she felt as though her hope was running out. She looks back at where she came from the night before. As much as she didn’t want to, she knew she had to go back. She’d have to be sneaky about it, in order to not draw attention. She listed off the supplies she’d need in her mind, hoping she’d be able to easily break into a store or two that was in the town.
Fuyumi lets out one final sigh and begins the trek back into town; from there, she intended on heading east, if she managed to steal a compass.
── Much to Fuyumi’s surprise, she manages to find all that she needs relatively easy. She was now outside of the town; a small bag on her back containing supplies. She had on all new clothing; it was a bit too big, but she couldn’t complain since there was a lack of blood on these clothes. She disposed of her old clothing before leaving the town, making sure no one else would find it. Not that it would mean much if they did. She looked down at the compass she had acquired, continuing to make sure that she was going west. She had a crude map in her bag as well. It gave the name of a few bigger towns, along with the names of every state. It wasn’t the most helpful, but she figured that it would be better than fumbling around blindly. Not that she had much of an idea as to where she was going. Suddenly, she pictured Ache, the last time she saw him. His back was turned to her. The memory brought back the intense pain in her heart that she had forgotten about. It was made worse from the recent losses of her family. She had no one in this world now ── her family was gone and her best friend was in another country, if he wasn’t dead. Still, she made the resolve in her heart to decide where she was going to go.
She was going home, back to the town that she grew up in.]
He finishes his uneventful shift, steps into the night. His shirt reeks of onion, coffee. Achaeus walks home quicker than he usually does, looking over his shoulder every few minutes to be sure there are no monsters trailing behind. He scales the steps to his apartment, each metallic clang of his feet against fire escape triggering a fight-or-flight response in his brain. He resists images of the beast, feels the fear of the night before flood into him.
He sits on his bed, begins to unbutton his shirt. Another picture forms ins his head, a view of Fuyumi's back. Recently he can't see her face in his mind, only her figure from behind. Maybe there was some forced symbolism there, some romanticism his brain developed in relation to his memories of the girl. Unspoken feelings can do the body harm, he knows, and letting his decade-long crush rage without ever putting words to it had the opposite effect than what he'd hoped for. Ache naively believed that ignoring Fuyumi, turning his back on her and everyone else he knew would help to harden him and turn his heart off. Instead he spent his short time on the battlefield haunted by memories of the friend he loved, finding reminders of her soft face in everything from fields of flowers to the grime on his gun barrel.
But everyone loved Fuyumi. She was a rare beauty in their small town, her Japanese heritage making her stand out among a class of pale kids. Ache never understood her decision to continue speaking with him as they became teenagers and then young adults, childhood friends who became wildly different but somehow remained close. She had everyone's attention, but still elected to spend her own time with him. He didn't deserve it. Ache knew it then, and he knows it now. Someone like Carlos did, broader than Ache and a face with roguish features that conflicted with Ache's sunken eyes and sharp cheeks. [i Better than me in every way.] Carlos had been bold enough to tell Fuyumi he was interested. She was all he talked about up until his death. Ache feels a dull pain his hand, a clench of muscle. He remembers squeezing Carlos's dead hand so tightly that his friend's fingers broke within his own, remembers bellowing to any god to bring his friend back to life or wind time back just a few minutes.
Ache runs his fingertips over his bare chest, absently traces a scar near his collarbone. He finds a piece of paper in his mess of a room, grabs a pen from his nightstand, and begins to scribble words on the page. Ache addresses the letter to Fuyumi, writes down every thought plaguing his heart, his brain. He tells her about his feelings, about their depth, their duration. He tells her about Carlos, what it was like to watch him die. He writes about the monster.
Achaeus stops. No, not that.
He finds an envelope that held an electricity bill, empties it, replaces the information on the front. Ache doesn't know what's come over him, what's possessed him to send this letter right this very second, but he feels like he'll die if he doesn't. He seals the envelope, bursts out of his apartment, descends the fire escape steps.
The night is quieter than usual. Typically a resident of Ache's area can expect to hear plenty of police sirens, drunk people walking home from the local bars, but the air is absent of sound. He runs three blocks, gripping the envelope as if it's an expression of his very soul. He's scribbled down the address she kept in high school, knowing she probably doesn't live there anymore. She was always smarter than he was, she probably went to school somewhere far away, made something of herself while he rotted away in Germany, hiding from the horrors of the world.
Ache pushes through the doors of the unmanned post office, drops his letter off in the huge outgoing mailbox. With his release of the envelope comes a huge release of breath. He sinks to his knees, then falls back on his ass. It's done. He's made his best attempt at unraveling his brain on paper, of inviting in the one person in the world he really wants to know him, to see him and his all-consuming damage and still accept him anyway.
After a moment of rest, Ache is ready to go back home. He stands, pushes out of the post office. The night air fills his lungs and it tastes different, better than it has in forever.
A tremendous weight crashes into him from above, his body crumbling beneath it. Ache feels the bones in his legs break from the sudden crunch of being shoved straight downward with a monstrous force. He tries to cry out for help, but something about the stillness of the sky silences him. He feels himself being lifted and then thrown, feels something shatter in his left shoulder as he collides with the wall of a nearby building.
Ache opens his eyes wide and stares forward, clinging to consciousness. Everything is wrong. The sheer impossibility of the encounter forces him to grin. His lower lip splits. He sees the monster from his memory barrel down the street toward him, realizes how powerful it has to be in order to hurl him what must be a hundred feet or more. Memory of combat training slows Ache's pulse. He tries to stand but the pain fills his head with white light. The monster lifts him and Ache tries to make out a face beneath the curtain of greasy black hair, its almost translucent skin revealing a complicated map of grey veins.
He strikes out with a move he mastered in his short CQC training, driving the hard part of his hand into the beast's neck. The hit is mostly ineffective, but it slows the monster enough for Ache to twist his body in one hard jerk, ripping himself free of the thing's grip and falling on his palms and useless knees. He looks up to find his face inches from the brick wall he was thrown into. Ache feels the monster tangle its long fingers into his hair, rip his head back with a supernatural strength. His throat is ripped open in one quick move. The last thing Ache sees is his blood spraying in a single beautiful arc, splattering against the bricks.
[size11 Morning had come and gone. It was late afternoon. By the time Fuyumi had found the rest of her family, it was too late. They suffered the same fate as her mother. She was alone, with nowhere to go, and she was so so tired. She kept walking though with no destination in mind. All the woman wanted was to put the carnage that was behind her far far into the distance. If only she could have distanced it from her mind.
Scenes of blood and viscera surrounded her. The aftermath of what took place the night before. Adults and children alike were not spared, though the woman found herself confused as to why she was. Why, out of everyone there, out of her family, was she the one spared? It made no sense to her at all. Her heart ached from the loss of her family, and her throat ached even more. It was dry; she was thirsty. Grabbing water hadn’t occurred to her, and now she was at the exit of the camp. Fuyumi knew she could’ve turned back, but attempting to find water could take hours; hours that she no longer had.
After taking one last look at the camp behind her, the woman pushed open the gate, walking out into an even more unforgiving environment: the desert. She could vaguely remember where she and her family were being taken during the ride there. [i Arizona.] Fuyumi knew next to nothing about Arizona. She had never been there before, and she had no idea where exactly in Arizona she was. From what she could see, there was nothing around for miles. Nothing but dry, arid desert. The kind of area that could easily kill, if she wasn’t careful. With this thought in her mind, she felt a pang of regret that she did not prepare better.
Though, if she was being honest with herself, there would have been no way, or time, to prepare. The slaughter that took place the night before guaranteed that. With a sigh, she began her trek into the wilderness. All she could hope was that she found civilization, or at the very least a road. Without those, she had no chance of surviving.
Hours had passed. Fuyumi’s thirst was unbearable, but at least she had found a road. In the distance she saw headlights. Her thirst and exhaustion made it impossible for her to guess just how far away they were. She could only hope that they weren’t too far away.
Blanking her mind, the woman continued walking forward, keeping the headlights in sight. After what felt like an everlasting time, the source of the headlights was in view; a car was coming in the direction of Fuyumi, slowing down as they got closer. She barely registered the person in the car ask her if she needed a ride ─ her exhaustion was getting to her. She muttered out a yes and got into the car after hearing an offer for a ride. The person asked her where she was going; Fuyumi mumbled an “anywhere” before immediately passing out.
It was unlike her to fall asleep around a complete stranger, but her body had had enough. She couldn’t keep her eyes open longer. She was instantly in a deep sleep, nothing going through her mind except for fleeting dreams. Reminders of home, her family, those she loved. She saw her friends; she was reliving seeing her friends off to war; this was before her and her family had been taken away. Achaeus was in her dreams. She was saying goodbye, just in case she never saw him again. Even in her sleep, she felt a pang in her heart. Surely now, she never would see him again. Fuyumi didn’t know where she was or where she was going. The chances of her finding Ache again were slim to none.
Her dreams quickly took a turn. She was once again back at the camp. Screams were coming from everywhere, along with the sound of ripping flesh. She feels a warmth on her hands and looks down; they’re covered in blood. On the ground, at her feet, lies her mother; dead. Fuyumi puts her hands to her face, covering her eyes. [i Please, I don’t want to remember this.]
With a start, she’s suddenly woken up. The car has stopped, and she sees that they’re now in a city. She looks around for any indication of where exactly, but she can’t find anything. Now that she isn’t so exhausted, Fuyumi realizes just how thirsty she really is.]
He wakes up the next day at 2:00 PM. Ache reaches up and presses his fingers against the stiff muscles of his neck and stands on tired legs. He tries to remember when he fell asleep, how much time he got away from the land of the living.
He remembers dreaming. A vision of his days as an American high school student played out in his brain overnight, one he's seen time and again in his sleep. Passing out in class, his vision of a droning lecture interrupted by his dropping eyelids. He and his friends shoving each other in the halls, the feeling of cold locker doors slamming into his bare elbows. Fuyumi's dark hair, the way she tied it back with ease, her high ponytail that seemed unending.
Ache splashes cold water over his face. He notices the shadows around his eyes, their darkness contrasting with his ivory skin. How long has it been since he's seen Fuyumi, or the guys he'd grown up with? He remembers a teary goodbye, his unenlisted buddies choking back sobs as he and Carlos prepared to be shipped away, the giant boat looming behind them. He can still see the girl, his old friend, standing off to the side, remember the curl in his gut that reigned within him each time she noticed his gaze. And then suddenly something more recent, a monster screeching in the blackness of the night, lunging for him with blood spilling from its mouth.
Achaeus pushes back his thick bangs, frowns as they fall back down despite his best efforts. He ties a black tie around his neck, folds down the collar of his white work shirt to conceal it. The restaurant wouldn't care about his encounter with a walking nightmare the evening before. And besides, he was already half an hour late.
As Ache slides from his bedroom and window and descends the same fire escape he had desperately climbed the night before, he fights back memories of his brief attempt at war. He'd enlisted immediately upon graduating. Only seventeen with an August birthday, he'd always been younger than the other students in his class, more often than not viewed as the perennial younger brother. He'd needed to get away from Lake George but wanted to avoid the fate of every other kid from the New York country and not become a bum in the big city. Things were tense with his mom, a woman who'd looked at him as if he was the spitting image of a father he never knew, a man who hurt her in some unspoken way years before Ache was old enough to memorize names and faces. His buddy Carlos had already planned to enlist despite the worries of the other guys they'd known forever, and Ache decided to join him after a particularly nasty argument with his mom.
This same Carlos had his head obliterated during their first taste of combat in some German field, the fragments of his skull exploding outward and burying into Ache's face. The burst of gunfire that killed his childhood friend was followed by a stray grenade, and its blast ripped what was left of Carlos into bits and splattered Achaeus with dirt, blood, and grass, knocking him unconscious. When Ache saw the sun again he had been left among the bodies. He remembers standing, unable to bring himself to look down at the corpses around him, stripping away the coat of a soldier and leaving it on the battlefield. He walked back to the nearest German city and over the course of a year assimilated with its small town hustle, inventing a name he forgets to answer to half the time.
As Ache pushes through the front doors of the restaurant where he puts in 35 hours a week, an unusual cold air settles over the back of his neck. [i What is this?] The joint is empty save for his bald manager, a thick-shouldered man who runs his finger tips over his scalp.
"String of murders occurred last night around the block." The manager shakes his head, restrains a heavy sigh. "Had to be the work of some kind of monster. Throats all ripped to shreds."
For the first time that day, Ache notices how heavy his eyes feel.
[size11 The war had been going on for some time now, and things were not getting any easier for Fuyumi and her family. With Japan joining the war on the "wrong" side, in the eyes of many Americans and the American government, any Japanese person in the United States was viewed as the enemy, whether they were born in the United States or not. This led to fear and persecution. Many Japanese and Japanese Americans were isolated in internment camps. This is where Fuyumi and her family ended up. It was bleak and boring; there was little entertainment to be had, and Fuyumi did not get along with many of the other people living in the camp.
The young woman, in her late teens, was sitting on her cot, staring blankly at the wall. She could hear children running, a few of which were no doubt her younger siblings. The camp was an awful place to be, given the fact that there was less regulation, so things were often left in poor condition. The cots were uncomfortable, the internees were given little money for food, and the buildings were most certainly not soundly built. It was hard for her and her siblings, who were [i Nisei], but was most certainly harder for their parents who were [i Issei]. Though, Fuyumi supposed that it truly didn't matter in the eyes of the white Americans. They were all an equal threat, and whether or not they were born in America mattered not. They looked like their enemy, thus they were the enemy.
She hated every second of being in the camp, but there was nothing she could do. Her parents told her just to wait, because things had to get better eventually. Sooner or later, they’d get out of the camp. Still, she hated being there, not because of boredom or how she personally was treated, but because she wanted better for her siblings. This was a less than ideal place for her siblings, or any of the children for that matter, to grow up. Still, there was nothing to be done, due to the war continuing to rage on, and Japan’s involvement in the war made living a normal life, near impossible.
All Fuyumi could do was accept her fate, and wait for things to change. It felt like change would never come; neither good nor bad. Everything felt so static, including Fuyumi herself. If she didn’t know better, she would’ve found herself believing that time had stopped, and that the war would continue on forever.
With a sigh, Fuyumi closed her eyes, not wanting to deal with the reality that was before her. Sleep was her only escape; the only time that she wasn’t constantly thinking about where she was, and how nothing seemed to ever change. Her dreams were always unpleasant, but it beat having to deal with her parents passivity and the rather cruel guards that littered the camp.
It took around half an hour for the young woman to fall asleep, but when she finally did, it was pleasant. Even her dream was pleasant, which was a rarity. She was dreaming of an old friend that she hadn’t seen since before the war started.
The dream wasn’t eventful, which was fine by Fuyumi. Truthfully, she was nothing more than a passenger in the dream, watching old memories of her and her friend. She wondered if he even knew where she was. She knew that he couldn’t possibly. He was overseas, fighting in the war. All she could hope was that he was alive, and that once all of this was over, they’d meet again.
Fuyumi was woken up by loud noises. She was unsure of what the noise was, and grumbled, wanting to go back to sleep. “Quick, Fuyumi!”
She was jolted fully awake by the sound of someone saying her name. In the doorway was her mom, motioning for her to come. “We have to go, now!”
“Why, okaa-san? Is everything alright?”
Fuyumi’s mother shook her head, a grim look on her face. “Something is happening, we need to get out of here.”
The young woman wanted to question her mother more, but the look on her face told her now wasn’t the time. She slipped on her shoes and quickly followed her mother out of the tent. Immediately as she stepped outside, she caught the scent of acrid smoke. She could see no cause, but didn’t really care. At this point, all she wanted to know is where the rest of her family was. They ran past other people who were screaming and running themselves. “Where are the others,” Fuyumi finally asked her mom.
“I left them by the play area, we have to hurry!”
In the middle of the chaos, Fuyumi noticed something odd. There were other … humans that were running towards everyone else, instead of running with everyone else. She noticed that they were covered in blood, and had a feral look on their face. She couldn’t take the time to pay attention, as they were nearing the rest of her family.
A smile spread across her face as she saw them, safe and sound. It didn’t last long, as she was tackled to the ground and quickly felt claws on her arms. “Ah!”
The young woman screamed out, trying to get the person off of her. After a few, excruciatingly long minutes, the person was off of her. Fuyumi shot up and looked around. Her mother was hovering over the now dead person, panting heavily. In her hands was a metal pole, most likely taken from one of the nearby tents that were destroyed. “Let’s go!”
Before Fuyumi could even react to her mother’s words, another person showed up and began attacking her mom. She tried her best to get the person off her mom, but failed. After a few minutes of struggling, her mother lay there motionless. Tears streamed down the young woman’s face, but she knew she didn’t have the time to mourn. Things were still dangerous, and she still had to find the rest of her family.
She could only hope that they’re still alive.
He clambers up the fire escape, checks behind himself to make sure no one is in pursuit. He breathes out once, heavy, slides the glass of his bedroom window open, rolls into the bed whose head he keeps tucked beneath the room's single windowsill.
He stretches out in his bed, squeezes his eyes closed, ignores the hum of the ceiling fan above him. He can't remember if he cleaned off the tops of the fan's blades. Particles of dust descend from the whirling wood as if on cue, landing in soft clumps among his carpet and mattress. Ache feels a small wad of it touch his forehead.
The teenager tries to roll back the last few terrifying hours in his brain, recalls the glowing red eyes of the monster that chased him, the blood dripping from its long teeth. What had he come across? He sits up, runs the tip of an index finger over the bottom of his own canines. A little rough, but definitely not fangs. He pulls his hand away from his mouth, glances down at his quivering knuckles.
It had been one wrong turn. Coming home from one of his two part-time jobs, Ache decided to cut down an alley, one he didn't regularly embark down but that he was familiar enough with all the same. He remembered noticing how pale his own palms were in the dim moonlight, how the sky's white glow reflected from the metal garbage containers around him. It had rained all morning, and he remembered feeling something soft clump to the sole of his boot, drag across the ground with soft noises as he took each new step. Achaeus had reached down and unfurled a withered Star of David, no doubt fallen from some Jewish citizen's torso in an altercation with a German officer earlier that day. He had grimaced, feeling lucky to be born in Greece, the product of a Japanese woman and a father he'd never known. Not that being Asian was much better with the rise of the Third Reich, but at least he wasn't interned.
A sucking sound had drawn Ache from his own thoughts, caused him to glance over behind a bloated black trash bag, see the plastic ripple from the force of motion behind it. Curiosity pulled him forward and Ache peeked around the garbage only to withdraw with such a jerk that he stumbled and fell flat on his ass into a puddle, feeling the water soak through his dark pants and into his underwear.
Before him was something ungodly, all elbows and hair, pale skin stretched tight over its bones. The only color splashed over the almost translucent body were red splotches of blood, no doubt wrenched from the corpse the monster slurped at. The sound of Ache's ass hitting the asphalt drew the creature's attention back toward him, eliciting a grin from it, revealing its long fangs, scraps of skin in its teeth. Ache immediately bolted, heard the monster give chase. He ran until he was out of breath and then kept going, only stopping to leap onto the ladder hanging from his one room apartment's fire escape.
Ache stands from his bed, strips off his damp pants and replaces them with a pair of light shorts. He sits on the floor, runs a single hand through his black hair, and shivers as the sun begins to rise in the city he where he lives.
All posts are either in parody or to be taken as literature. This is a roleplay site. Sexual content is forbidden.