My knee was on his back and his wrist was being twisted by my hand. He was laying on the floor, face down. I had restrained him the moment he said that he was with the RIP.
“Please stop. How many times do I have to say that I give in before you believe me? The military caught me too and for some reason they put us in the same cell. Which I am not complaining about. If you don’t trust my words, talk to a soldier. They’ll tell you.”
He kept slamming his free hand on the ground and tried to wriggle his way out. I let go of him completely and stood up.
“Fine, I’ll believe you.”
“Thank you. Also, don’t even think to activate your Paroxys. They warned me that if I did, they would kill me immediately. But truthfully, I’m dying to see your Paroxys. Well, at least that sick weapon you have.”
I pressed down on my tear ducts and scrunched up my face. The headache was gradually getting worse. My head was throbbing.
“I don’t think we have met each other before. How do you know about my Paroxys and the weapon I use?”
I asked him while my eyes were still closed.
“I saw you and your hammer that turns into a claw when you were fighting with that guy and the giant.”
“That guy? He was with the RIP and you don’t know his name?”
I opened my eyes and looked at him. He was looking back at me with his innocent puppy eyes.
“Nope. I actually joined the RIP yesterday on a whim. I’m just a huge weapon fanatic.”
He kept smiling at me and nodded his head. I inhaled sharply and couldn’t believe what I was hearing. He was either an idiot or a maniac.
“What do you mean “on a whim”? How can you join a group that kills people on a whim? Do your parents know about what you’re up to? What’s your name and how old are you?”
His smile suddenly disappeared, and his eyes went cold.
“I’m Aoki Jamal and 14 years old. My parents don’t know anything because I ran away from home months ago.”
My curiosity was peaked, but something was telling me not to poke any further. I went through my hair with both of my hands and pressed my lips. A feeling that I knew too well was slowly growing inside of me.
“Can I see your weapon now?”
He asked while pouting and took a step closer to me. I let out a big sigh and put my hands up.
“Sorry to disappoint you, but they took my hammer away from me.”
His mouth immediately dropped open and his eyes widened.
“Aw shucks! I really wanted to see it and touch it and use it.”
You could see the disappointment in his face.
“If I get it back, I’ll let you see it. But forget about touching and using it. Not like you’ll be able to do it anyway.”
His big smile returned on his face, and he jumped excitedly.
“On one condition.”
I continued and he stopped his celebration.
“Answering my questions honestly.”
He kept quiet and I took it as him agreeing to my condition.
“How many people have you killed? Or hurt?”
He answered without a delay and any hesitation. I decided to believe him. To me, he looked like a lost little lamb.
“I had nowhere to go, and they offered me a place to stay. My Paroxys is this fanny pack right here.”
He continued on and pointed towards his shoulder.
“I can collect anything, no matter how big and keep it inside and take it out whenever I want. Most of the items that I have in here are different kinds of weapons.”
I was too tired to ask any more questions and the conversation ended there. The boy grabbed on to the metal bars with both of his hands and started humming a song. I sat down and leaned my back against the wall, trying to take a nap. But my mind was too occupied with wild thoughts, preventing me from falling asleep. What could the military want from me? How much are they involved with us Outliners? How do the Major General and Himura know each other? And the most pressing question would be, what does the Major General want from me? It didn’t take long for a soldier to appear and get me out of the cell. The boy was left behind and the soldier told me to follow in silence. I couldn’t tell where we were. Everything was made out of stone and there were only a few small windows here and there. We got on an elevator that took us down many floors. The doors opened and the view changed completely. The walls were smooth and white. No natural light was coming through anywhere, but there were still colourful plants growing in different kinds of spots. Our footsteps echoed through the empty hallway while I was led into what seemed like an interrogation room and was told to wait. I sat down on the chair next to the metal table. Everything looked and felt clean and sterile. After a while the doorknob was twisted, and the door opened up to reveal the person behind it. He adjusted his green glasses and without saying a word sat down on the other chair, opposite of mine. I sank down in my seat and didn’t know what to make out of the situation I was currently in.
It felt like I was in a badly scripted comedy show. The constant clicking sound of him pressing on his fancy-looking green pen broke the silence between us. I scratched my eyebrow and looked away. The feeling of betrayal that had sprouted with Yabumi-sensei was now growing bigger after seeing Ogawa Satoshi sitting right in front of me.
“Don’t you have anything to say to me?”
He pressed one of his earlobes with his thumb and index finger and waited for an answer. I kept quiet.
“You don’t seem surprised at all. Or angry.”
“Yeah. I don’t think anything can surprise me anymore. I’ve had those one too many. And if I remember correctly, you did say that your job is infiltration and sneaky missions. Was that you blatantly admitting that you were a spy?”
He tucked away his pen back behind his ear and smiled at me.
“So, was everything a lie?”
“No. None of it was a lie. You know my Paroxys and I do have a fiancée. My role was just to get to know every single one of the Outliners, do background checks and to collect data.”
The door opened behind him, and two soldiers entered with several piles of papers in their arms. They dropped them on the table and left without saying a word. The one that was at the very top caught my attention and I grabbed it. A picture of myself was staring back at me.
“Moriuchi Ayumi. Cause, unknown. Toshiko Kei. Cause, thanatophobia. Kadenokoji Tomochi. Cause, his wife and son were kidnapped for ransom. Himura Jun. Cause, he was an orphan and became an assassin who killed the parents of the girl called Rin, among many others. Hoshi Rin. Cause, despair. Kawaguchi Hibiki. Cause, appetitive aggression. Fujinomiya Yu. Cause, autophobia. Minami Sayuri. Cause, neglection by parents. Maeda Nina. Cause, abuse by stepmother due to her being an illegitimate child. Shiraishi Akihiko. Cause, parents committed suicide. Uehara Yuzuki. Cause, loss of younger brother.”
“You’re disgusting. That’s enough.”
I shouted and crumbled the paper in my hand.
“You’re right. I’m not here to tell you about your friends. I am here to get to know you better. Was it really the death of your father that triggered it?”
“Triggered what exactly? For Xykoss to come to me?”
“Yes. I’m pretty sure you know by know that you have your own Paroxys, besides your father’s. Even a fool would be able to figure it out. Otherwise, there is no way that you would be able to hold on to such a monster.”
The little girl who was sleeping and was submerged under water flashed before my eyes. I didn’t feel anything. There was no connection, but I knew that he was talking about her. She was my Paroxys that I had never met before until yesterday. I refused to say anything else and after a couple of minutes had passed of us staring at each other, he let me go, saying that someone else was waiting to see me. I had a pretty good guess who it was. The same soldier came back and told me to follow him again. Every hallway and corner looked the same. My footsteps felt heavy, and my mind went blank. Both of my hands were made into fists. What am I supposed to believe? Who am I supposed to believe? Who am I supposed to fight? Is it okay for me to continue fighting? But for who am I fighting for?
“Where are you?”
A woman’s voice broke my train of thoughts.
“Where are you?”
It was a whisper. Where was it coming from? I looked around but couldn’t see anyone else besides me and the soldier.
“What do you think you’re doing? Keep on walking.”
The soldier got angry and pointed his gun at me.
“Where are you?”
I turned my back towards him and saw a light coming from the end of the hallway. It swallowed me up like a big wave and I disappeared.
Please leave a like, comment and follow if you like what you're reading! It would help out a lot! Reminder: The semi-finals will take place from October 24 to October 30, 2021 for the prompt I have chosen. You can vote for my novel (if it gets chosen) on the MAL app. The finals will take place from November 14 to November 30, 2021. Thank you! <3