Karus; Lost Memories
Was that all…
I desperately tried recalling. But all I could remember was…
A smiling girl.
She was very beautiful.
Who was she?
A ringing noise suddenly interrupted my thoughts. It was the start of a new day.
Only three more days until the weekend.
I got prepared and headed down for breakfast. I was greeted by my family as usual.
While we ate, Dad turned on the TV to tune in to the daily morning news.
"Two new people have been found dead near a lake at Ashaka Park. Then corpses are reported to have multiple deep cuts around their body. Of course, this isn't anything new."
"Since last month, this serial killing has brought 48 people to a similar fate. All were reported with multiple deep lacerations. Police are desperately investigating to find the culprit-"
Wait a minute.
Wasn't this the same news from yesterday?
This has to be a rebroadcast.
“Aaahhh not like this! This means no more track club! The autumn tournament is coming soon. Aaaaahhhh!”
“Jeez nee-chan, you really are a muscle head, aren’t you? Risking your life for the track club…”
We had this conversation yesterday. This cannot be a coincidence, can it? Every word and sentence were exactly the same. What was going on? I froze for a second, unable to chew my food. A chill ran down my spine.
"Natsume, are you feeling sick? Did you not like the food?" Mom exclaimed her worry.
"Oh no no no, I'm feeling fine. The food tastes good too." I chuckled nervously.
"Hmmmm. Well, do let me know if you don't like something, alright?"
"Nii-chan must have been worried about my upcoming track event. Heh."
"Idiotic muscle head!"
"Nii-chan so cold. Booohooo."
Hina joked around but it was exactly what I needed. It really helped me regain my composure.
At least now I can finish my breakfast.
After breakfast, I headed towards the station. As I waited for the train, a familiar voice calls out my name.
"Heyyyyy! Natsume! Natsume!"
I turned around and it was no person other than Daichi.
"Why the heck are you screaming my name out loud? And don't you dare try slapping my back."
"Ahaha oops. It just a force of habit. Oh by the way. I have a new art I want to show you. It's very lewd."
I wonder what could it be. Yesterday it was the lewd art of Mushi, today must be something even better.
I should be very careful on the train today.
"Sure show me on the train. But do it secretly! I don't want women on board to look at us disgusted. It's embarrassing!"
The train eventually approached the station and we got on to it.
"Pssst. Natsume wanna see it now?"
Daichi whispered calling my name. I looked over my surrounding, checking for anyone that may take a glimpse.
"All clear. Now show me."
"Aight. Look at this man, Grapemaru is back at it again with another lewd WHALE GO art. This time it's Mushi, just look how beautiful her thighs are. Bless."
I stare at the screen dumbfoundedly. It was exactly the same art Daichi showed me yesterday.
"Wait you already showed me this before, remember?"
"Natsume, did you eat something bad today? This art was posted just 2 hours ago. "
I screamed out loud in confusion. It was happening again. Everything was repeating like yesterday.
Wait, what's the date today?
I quickly grabbed Daichi's phone and proceeded to check the date.
My eyes widened in shock.
The date was: Monday, 27th July 20XX.
The same date as yesterday.
I thought I had gone senile but this was not the case. The day really had repeated.
"Natsume chill man, no need to grab my phone like that. I understand you were getting horny over it. But I can just send the image to you."
"I ain't horny! Oh, sorry about that, just wanted to check the date. Here's your phone."
"Haha, no worries man. But if you want my pictures, I can send them to you anytime."
"Disgusting. How did you even come to that point?"
"I'm joking, I'm joking. Calm down, man. But if you have seen this already, then let me show you something else."
"I'm good. No thank you."
"Ehhhhhhh. Natsume so boring. Booooooo."
Usually, I would have accepted Daichi's offer but right now, I just needed a breather. I was exhausted from all the events that had occurred so far. I stared at the window wondering how the day would pass.
Thirty minutes later.
We reach the school gates and Daichi was greeted by his club members. The exchanges were the same, nothing had changed. Like before, I hurried towards my classroom, ready to meet another individual that would repeat the same lines as yesterday.
As I entered the classroom, an individual stood before me proudly with their hands on their waist.
"Good Morning, Natsume-kun!"
"Good job being on time. We need to win that class attendance award!"
It was no other than Chiyako, our class representative. Her words were exactly the same as yesterday.
I guess I will just have to bear with it today.
"Hey, Natsume-kun. You still there? Hey Natsume-kun. Hmmmm ignoring me huh. I see how it is."
"Ah my bad, my bad. Morning."
"Morning Natsume-kun." Chiyako smiled.
Well, it seems like not everything is the same after all. Based on my observations so far, a few things or two have definitely changed but the main events have remained the same.
I wonder what Chiyako would say if I asked her what day it was today. The answer was obvious but I couldn't hold my curiosity at bay.
"By the way. What day is it today?"
"Hmm Natsume-kun, don't you know?" Chiyako sighed. "Well, I will only tell you if you call me by my name, Natsume-kun. Else I won't speak, I'm sewing my mouth."
"Alright, alright. Please Chiyako-sama, please tell this commoner what day it is today. I will be humbly waiting for your gracious words."
"Natsume-kun, you making me blush. Is this how you see me? Hehe. Well, I guess I got no choice. Today is Tue- I mean Monday. Yes, today is Monday!"
Was Chiyako just about to say Tuesday?
Surely that must have been just a mistake from her. Or was it? What if Chiyako was also the same as me? I wanted to know desperately so I asked in desperation.
"Na-na-Natsume-kun? You shocked me there. Is something the matter?
"Sorry. But please listen, I gotta tell you something about today?"
"Hmm...? What is it Natsume-kun?"
"You see today everything has repea-."
Just as I was about to finish my sentence, Daichi appeared and interrupted my sentence. Followed by the homeroom teacher. I really wanted to tell Chiyako about today, but I guess that will have to wait.
"Oh looks like the class is about to start. Tell me later okay Natsume-kun?"
The class started. Everything I had learned yesterday, repeated once more. I waited for hours to pass by just so I could speak to Chiyako.
Four hours later.
It was finally lunchtime. I looked towards Chiyako's table hoping to share my experience today. But it seems that she had disappeared already. Where did she go? I then turned towards Daichi's table as he might know at least.
"Hey Daichi, where did Chiyako go?"
"Ah, she just went out to help the teach with the books."
"Ahhhhhhh. Not again!"
"You okay dude?"
"I'm fine. Don't worry."
"You don't look fine. You are not you when you are hungry you know."
"Natsume calm down man".
All I wanted to do, was to talk with Chiyako. Just how much more do I have to wait? Well, there is no point complaining I guess. After all, there was a bigger thing to worry about.
"Daichi, shall we head to the warfare zone?"
"You got it, buddy."
Daichi and I dashed towards to canteen. Like yesterday, the war had started. Luckily for me, I still remembered the path I had taken yesterday so I reached the counter with ease. But as for Daichi, he went missing in a matter of seconds.
I will pray for you Daichi, don't worry.
Like yesterday, I extended my arm ready to grab as much yakisoba bread as possible.
And this time, I managed to grab...
Three yakisoba breads were sitting right on my palm. This was a celebratory moment, as another record was broken yet again. However, I needed to get out of here as soon as possible. Else I would be a victim of a robbery. People do not have sanity here. They will not hesitate to hurt or steal from others who have acquired these possessions. I have seen plenty of these incidents in the past so I do not want to follow the same fate.
I quickly paid for the yakisoba breads and ran towards my haven, the rooftop. I had finally escaped the warfare zone and reached the stairs to the rooftop. As I started to climb the stairs, a fierce pain struck my head.
It was painful.
The more I climbed, the more painful it got. I violently grabbed my hair, trying to manage the pain. Just why? Why am I in so much pain? I wanted to visit the infirmary but the feelings in my guts urged me to continue climbing the stairs. I felt as if something was waiting for me at the other side of the door. Bearing the pain, I eventually reached the door of the rooftop. As I opened the door, the reminiscence of my memories from yesterday flooded my mind.
I finally remembered everything!
Now that I had remembered everything, there was a slight fear in my heart. But I had no choice to face what was waiting for me. I walked past the door and turned my head towards the roof.
The place where I met...
The mysterious girl with beautiful silver hair. The one who sent me to my demise. Well, I am alive so that would be an overstatement. As I looked over the roof, it was...
It was empty.
How could that be?
I was sure she would be there waiting for me. But it seems I was wrong. I even climbed the roof to check, and it seems that it was really empty after all. Does this mean everything that happens yesterday, was all just a dream? I felt a little relieved but there was still that feeling of unfulfillment.
My stomach growled in hunger. It was about time that I ate these yakisoba breads. I tore the pack in desperation and started gobbling the yakisoba breads.
Never felt this full.
Maybe I should have saved one for Daichi.
The school bell rang, signalling the end of the lunch. I returned to my classroom, preparing myself for another gruelling four more hours of lessons.
Four hours later.
The school bell rang. The day had finally come to an end. I felt drained after hearing the homeroom teacher spout every single word all over again.
Maybe I should relax on the rooftop for a while.
It would be nice to watch the sunset and catch some breeze.
I packed my stuff, ready to head out. I glimpsed at Daichi's desk. It was empty. It seems that he had already left. After all, he has an archery club every Monday.
I guess it is just me today.
I walked towards the classroom door. As I was about to leave, I felt a soft touch on my back. I turned around in response.
It was Chiyako.
Ah. Seems like I forgot.
"Say Natsume-kun, I heard you were looking for me during lunch. You wanna tell me what it is?"
Chiyako smiled, leaping forward. Her eyes shined in curiosity. She was like a puppy expecting a surprise.
"Oh right. I just wanted to talk to you about today's day."
"Well, do you find anything unusual today?"
"Unusual? Well, I don't recall anything unusual today. Although..."
"Well, you have been quite strange since the morning, Natsume-kun. Very aggressive and daring. So, I guess that was unusual today."
"Well, thanks a lot I guess..." I sighed in disappointment.
"Does this answer your question, Natsume kun?"
"That's fine, thank you."
"Happy to help you anytime, Natsume-kun. Well, I better let you leave. See you tomorrow."
"Yeah. Aren't you gonna head home too?"
"Oh, I will. Once I deliver some paper works to the student council president. She seems very moody today."
I have never met the student council president but, I have heard that she is a very scary person before. Rumours around the school state that a group of delinquents once kneeled down to her. And she may be the boss of delinquents in this area. I would be petrified if I were to meet her. But despite that, Chiyako is very close to the student council president.
I wonder how they get along when they meet.
"I see. She must be very scary then."
"Hmmmm. Natsume-kun! That's not a very nice thing to say to a girl you know. She is actually a sweetheart, you will understand once you meet her. Oh, how about we go meet her right now?"
"No thank you! She will slaughter me if I do!"
"Hmmm, Natsume-kun. What did I just tell you?" Chiyako pouts.
"My bad haha. Well, then I will see you tomorrow."
"See you tomorrow, Natsume-kun." smiled Chiyako.
We exchanged our final farewells and goodbyes as we headed towards our respective destinations. As for the irregularities today, Chiyako knew nothing after all. Why did I even stress over this the whole day? Although I should have asked her directly why she nearly stuttered Tuesday. But I guess it was just a simple mistake.
I eventually reached the door of the rooftop. As I opened the door, I was welcomed by scenery that bewildered my sight. The sunset blazed with warm colours. I could not help but feel somnolent about it. I grabbed my bag and placed it on the ground. I sat down and laid my head to rest on the bag. As I stared at sunset, my eyes slowly closed, my body was ready to fall asleep. My worries all began to fade away...
My body shuddered in response.
I opened my eyes.
Very dark. Above me, were stars that twinkled and a full moon that illuminated. Quickly, I stood up and looked around. The streets were lit up bright, only a few people were passing by.
I had fallen asleep.
I checked my phone wondering how long I had fallen asleep.
It was already 7 PM.
There was a far worse problem.
I had received 19 calls and 30 messages from Mom.
I guess I will be enjoying an hour of scolding tonight...
I grabbed my bag and ran towards the school gates. Fortunately, the gates were still open so there was no need for me to climb over. Or that would have been a big hassle.
I started my walk into the empty dark streets. It was fairly lit up, but the corners were really dark. Good thing I haven't watched any horror movies recently. But the deeper I went, the more silent it got.
A creaking noise.
It came from the front.
What was that?
Who was that?
These thoughts surrounded my head as the creaking noise continued over, and over again. My legs started to tremble in fear, my heart was beating rapidly, and my breathing had gotten heavier.
I panickily looked around.
There was no one.
It was just me.
I wasn't even sure where I was anymore. Even though I walked through these streets every day, everything felt different. I could not recognise a single signpost despite the street lights.
Just how on earth did I end up here?
Should I head back?
Take the left or right?
Or should I...
Follow the noise?
I continued to question myself hoping to make the best logical decision. But it was of course impossible to think logically, given the circumstances I was in. And as a result, my survival instincts kicked in, urging me to run back as far as possible. I quickly turned around in an attempt to dash away but...
My feet were unable to move!
Almost like my feet were glued to the ground, preventing me from proceeding onwards. Then I dashed towards the left path. Again, I could not proceed any further. My feet were glued to the ground. And then, I tried the right path, the same thing happened once more. I was like a rat trapped inside a cage, powerless, unable to do anything. However, there was one more option for me to take, an option that only a mad man would have taken.
And that was.
To walk straight ahead to where the danger lies.
It was the same as asking for death, but what other choice did I have. I even felt a small hint of curiosity and thrill in a crazy situation like this. I was gradually losing my sanity. My body started to move, trembling in each step. And this time, I was able to walk through, further than the other paths. My feet weren't even glued to the ground. Almost like this was all intended from the start. The more steps I took, the louder the noise got, it came from the right side of the street. I continued to creep closer, close enough to hear the noise right next to me. I turned my head towards the right in response.
It was a playground.
The creaking noise had come from the rusty swings. And there was a little figure playing on the swings. It was a little girl.
Almost like a doll.
Her head was facing down while she played alone on the swing. I could not figure out the expression she held. She must have felt very scared.
Why was she there?
In the dark with no one around.
Did she get lost?
Did she get separated?
I could not help but express my concern, as she reminded me of my sisters back at home. I walked towards the swings to check if she was fine.
"Hey there, are you lost? Where are your parents?"
The little girl suddenly stopped swinging.
"Wanna play with Suzu?" The little girl replied with a soft playful voice.
I am guessing that's her name.
"Uhm, maybe some other time, okay? It's getting late, why don't we go find your parents?"
"You won't play with Suzu? Why won't you play with Suzu? Please play with Suzu! Play with Suzu! Play with Suzu!! PLAY WITH SUZU!"
She screamed aggressively. Her voice muddled and sounded very demonic. She then raised her head, and my jaws dropped from what I saw.
Her face was exactly like a doll.
Stitched alongside each other which was the embodiment of her eyes. Below, was a zigzag sewed line which represented her mouth. It was almost like a scene straight out of a horror movie. I proceeded to pinch myself to make sure this wasn't a dream.
And this wasn't a dream.
This was real.
I took a step back, slowly retreating without making hostile movements. As I approached the playground's exit, my feet felt as if they were glued to the ground. Just like before, when I tried taking the other paths. It was then that I knew this was all the work of this girl standing before me.
"Suzu doesn't like you. Suzu doesn't need you. Suuuuuuuuuuzuuuuuuuuuuu-"
Her face started to tear apart. From the tear, emerged a big sharp pole. It looked almost identical to a large spider leg. More emerged one after another, tearing her whole body apart. And now I was standing before a large monster.
Eight legs, each sharp as a tungsten needle.
Very large, almost six meters high, four meters wide.
Its face was the same as of a spider.
It leapt forward, slowly crawling towards my direction with loud thumps. It continued to get louder and louder. And then the thuds stopped, it now stood before me. It looked at me with blood lusted expression.
I made one last attempt to move my feet. I felt the pain in my ankle, almost as if my feet were about to rip apart. But no matter how I much tried, it was impossible. I had become prey caught in a spider's net. My tears started to flow, as my body jittered in fear.
This really was the end.
The monster then raised its legs ready to skewer my body. Its first leg stabbed my left shoulder
Then its second leg stabbed my right.
I cried in pain, as its sharp legs went through the other side of my body, leaving a hollow wound. My blood dripped to the ground, forming a pool. I was slowly losing my consciousness.
"Sssss-stop! Ppppplease stop! I... I... I am sorry... I will play with ok" I reply with all my remaining strength.
But the monster was not able to understand my plea, and with its third leg, it thrusted my stomach. A waterfall of blood poured to the ground. It did not stop there, it aimed its fourth leg towards my head. Now that I think about it, this reminds me of the serial killing case with multiple lacerations. Two wounds to the left and right shoulder, one to the stomach and one to the head. It really was the work of this monster after all. All those victims met their ends.
I guess I will too.
I closed my eyes, surrendering myself to the monster before me.
This was it.
This was really it.
Thank you, Mom, thank you Dad for raising me. But your son will be passing away before you.
I will really miss my sisters, Daichi and Chiyako.
A red shining light.
Am I, entering heaven?
The light continued to grow brighter.
"Do you want to live?"
A gentlewomanly voice questioned me.
Who was she?
Could it be...
God was a woman all along!
I replied without hesitation. I did not understand the situation I was in, but I did not want to die.
I wanted to live!
"Then your feelings shall be my feelings. Your desires shall be my desires. I am your sword, and you are my shield. And from this day, I shall protect you with all my life, my dear master."
Hope this doesn't end up like the previous one. I still wonder where that mysterious girl go.
The red light then glowed brighter than before blinding my sight, I close my eyes in response and find myself back to reality. But this time a female figure stood before me.
She held a sword with her two arms facing the monster. Her sword however was half shattered. She then turned around towards me and smiled.
"Dear master, please let me do the honours in subduing this foul creature. I shall protect you with all my might!"
She exclaimed with pride as she reassured my safety. She held her sword up high. Her sword unleashed strange energy covering the shattered areas. And it was very strong energy, I could feel the pressure in my body. She charged towards the monster and attacked it with a big slash. The monster propelled back instantly, hard onto the walls of the streets.
She really actually beaten the monster.
I could not believe my eyes, I actually got saved, by a girl that I just met. A felt a huge relief, I was finally able to breathe freely.
"Dear master, are you holding up well?"
Oh right, my wounds!
That monster had given me deep wounds before and the pain was unbearable. I quickly checked my shoulders and stomach. There was no wounds nor mark at all. It was almost like I was fully healed.
"I'm fine, I guess. Thank you."
"Please, you do not need to thank me. I am doing my job to protect you, my dear master."
She has been referring to me as master for quite a time now.
I am her master?
How is this possible?
Just who is she?
"By the way, could you tell me who you are? And why do refer me as your master? Have we met before? Who are you?"
"It is you, my dear master. You have called me forth with your desires. I am your personal vassal, I will give my everything to protect you."
Is this another master and servant role play?
Women that I have met so far, have really been strange. But who am I complaining, she did save my dear life just now, so I will play along with it.
"I don't know what you mean, but thank you very much for saving me. Oh right, could you tell me your name?"
"It's my pleasure, my dear master. Unfortunately, I do not remember my name, but you may wish to call me whatever you please."
"Uhm... Then can call you Kuro? If that's fine with you?"
"I shall be named Kuro from today onwards, my dear master."
That definitely was not a good example of having good naming sense but she accepted it without putting thought into it. After all, her dark hair really was a thing of beauty, it glinted in the moonlight. I would have fallen in love, but I did not know how to express these feelings anymore. The events in the past two days have traumatised my mind, and most of all, it has shattered my...
I wanted to know more about her, she stated that she had forgotten her name and yet she displayed a monstrous strength. She struck the monster in one strike, compared to me who struggled to move my own damn feet. Despite her monstrous strength, she addressed me as her master. It was quite strange but I feel that I can trust her. She may even know about this whole situation and what that monster may be.
"Uhm, Kuro. Do you know anything about the situation we are in? And what that monster may be?"
I questioned her directly, hoping to receive the answers that I have seeking since this morning.
"I do not know much, my dear master. But what I do know is that, this field may have been created by that monster. Hence, we have been separated from reality and there are no one around but us. This field is a large invisible spider's net which is why you were unable to move freely, my dear master. As for the monster, I am not too sure what it is. But what I can say is that its purpose is similar to mine. It came forth because of someone else's desire like I had come forth for yours. I hope this solves your questions, my dear master."
Kuro gave a lengthy explanation, but it did answer my questions.
But what did she mean by desires?
What desires did I have, deep in my heart?
If Kuro did come forth from my desires, then does that mean, the monster came forth due to someone else's desire too? Then there is a possibility that, the person who called forth this monster is lurking very close. And they may be equally as dangerous as this monster. I had to ask Kuro if that was really the case.
"Kuro, does this mean there is someone like me who unleashed this monster?"
"Yes, that is correct. You pick up quite quickly, as expected from my master."
"You are making me blush. Haha."
"There are still a lot of things I am not sure of, but once I understand a bit more I will let you know, my dear master."
"Sure that will be great, thanks Kuro. And by the way, you don't have to keep calling me master, call me by my name Natsume."
"But my dear master, that would be very rude of me."
"It's fine don't worry. I prefer you call me by name."
"If you that is what you would like to addresses as, then I shall my dear mast-."
"I am very sorry, my dear master. Oh I am very sorry, I shall try again. Natssssssuuuu-"
A dark figure lunged towards Kuro. Kuro flung backwards over the walls.
It was the monster again.
It seems Kuro's strike was not enough to take down the monster. But her strike did leave a huge wound in its body, it was bleeding blue heavily. I looked over Kuro's direction, she was heavily injured. She stared at me intensely as if she was warning me.
"Ma... Master, please, please run away. My strike... My strike has weakened the spider's net. If you run... If you run towards the path you came from, you should be back to reality. Our time... Out time was short but I am glad... I am glad I was able to meet you. So, please... Please run away my dear, Master."
Kuro pleaded to me, breathing heavily. She smiled with a satisfied expression as she awaited her death. I felt very conflicted between running away and saving her.
I wasn't even able to save myself.
How do I expect myself to save her?
Maybe I really should run away. If I live then it's all worth it, right? And then her death won't be in vain. I mean she was very strong, surely she will have no problem handling this monster again, right? Right?
What the hell am I thinking? She just saved my life, and yet I am hesitant to save her? She might be strong but she still is a living person, she is a girl with feelings. If I leave her now, regrets will only haunt me. And I would not stop hating myself forever.
So that's why...
I am very sorry Kuro.
Not be listening to your request.
I want to save you the same way you have saved me. I may be weak but I don't care I will do my best to save you. Whether I have to face thousands of sharp needles or not, I believe we will manage this somehow. My thoughts disappear as I dashed in her direction in an attempt to save her.
She opened her eyes and looked at me in confusion.
"M-mmmaster! What are you doing! Please leave! If you don't leave now, I will never forgive myself."
"I don't care! I don't give a crap! If I left you to die alone, I wouldn't forgive myself either! I honestly don't know how I am gonna do it but I will find a way! Even if I have to fight God to save you, I'll do it! So please, let me save you this time. Kuro!"
"Master you really are a stubborn person." Kuro sighed with a soft smile.
"Well, I can't help it."
I eventually reached Kuro, and she was extremely injured. She had broken a lot of bones, had large visible bruises and deep cuts all over body. My tears flowed out my eyes, I could not bear to see her in such state.