My eyes opened and I was no longer in the prison anymore. Instead, I was standing in a pool of blood. And before me, was a sea of corpses. Before I could process what my eyes were seeing, I blinked, and the scenery changed. It was raining. I was sitting in a back alley that I had never seen. My body felt frozen, and I could barely breathe. A feeling of being watched overcame me. I blinked again. It was like the toy for children, where whenever you would push down on the lever, it would show you another photograph. But instead, I was blinking. And every time, my surroundings changed. A man was sitting next to me. I did not recognise him, but for some reason I felt warm inside.
“You can have my name.”
He said to me. It made me really happy. The next scene was me saying something back to him.
“You are my home.”
Tears of joy welled up in my eyes. I looked down and saw a bump. The next thing I knew was that I was surrounded by darkness. No matter how many times I blinked, nothing would change. The darkness remained and I felt trapped. I panicked and tried to scream, but no sound was coming out of my mouth. I was dragged back to reality by a strong, unpleasant smell. My eyes opened and I took a deep breath. A woman was staring down at me. At first, I got confused and thought that it was the Major General. She had the same tanned skin and grey eyes. Her white hair was braided and neatly put into a bun. Her body was muscular, and she was wearing a similar uniform like the Major General.
“Colonel Voltra, I checked on the subject and they are unconscious.”
“It doesn’t matter. Increase the dose and double the security.”
The soldier saluted and quickly walked away. I noticed that both of her high arched eyebrows were pierced when she lifted them while looking down on me.
My mouth opened but I couldn’t bring out a word. My confusion was overwhelming me to the point where my legs gave in. She caught me midair and decided to leap my body on to her shoulder.
“Ignore whatever happened to you right now. Major General Voltra is waiting for you.”
My head was spinning but the headache was gone. I stayed quiet as she carried me to a big chamber that was made out of thick glass. In the middle was standing the Major General. She dropped me to the floor and left.
“Moriuchi Ayumi, you are currently on an abandoned island, just off the Japanese coast. At least that is what we tell the public. It is actually a military base equipped with the highest security military prison in the whole country. Do you know why you’re here?”
“Not to have a cup of tea with you. That’s for sure.”
I heaved my body off the ground and stood up.
“To answer for your crimes.”
“Which would be?”
I asked and looked him in the eyes.
“You tell me.”
I scoffed and tipped the ground with the heel of my boot.
“Before you start your proper interrogation, I have a few questions to ask you.”
He kept silent.
“What just happened to me in the hallway? Clearly, your Colonel knew about it. Who was that woman?”
The LED lights on the roof were bright and made his shadow look bigger.
“A prisoner and her Paroxys. Someone who shouldn’t exist but does. And now they can’t die.”
“What crime did she commit? And where are her husband and baby?”
He laughed out loud.
“I’m glad that you’re asking. She is kept here in prison as an example, for all of you Outliners. To keep it short, she killed a dozen of my men. Her husband is still alive, and her baby died during transit.”
My hand twitched. Whatever I saw back then were the memories of that woman.
“What do you mean by the baby died in transit?”
“Well, we were not aware that she was pregnant when she was arrested. The drugs that we administered to sedate her caused a miscarriage.”
“And what do you mean by she is kept as an example?”
“She got out of control and killed people. Her Paroxys is a threat to the entire world. To humankind. So, we did our duty and locked her away from society. She is still alive, just unconscious. You’re not the first one who saw her memories. Always keep her story in the back of your head. As a reminder what not to end up as. You’re a problematic child, just like that brat who is staying in the same cell as you are.”
“Aoki Jamal? He is a boy who clearly needs help and is lost. He hasn’t done anything wrong.”
I clenched my teeth.
“It’s plain as day that the boy hasn’t killed anyone, but he needs to be punished, nonetheless. I must teach him a lesson, so he won’t make the same mistake again. I mean, look at him. He joined an organised crime organisation. I can’t turn a blind eye to that, can I? His parent didn’t do their job right, so I’ll have to step in.”
His voice was monotone and didn’t have an ounce of emotion in it. He was a cold-hearted man.
“Do you tell that yourself so you can sleep at night? Who do you think you are?”
I let out a laugh.
“God. Anyone who sets foot on this island is under my jurisdiction and already guilty.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing and took a few steps back.
“You’re insane. You’re crazy. What about Yabumi-sensei then? He didn’t do anything wrong. At least not in the beginning. Why didn’t the military help him find his wife?”
“His wife died during that accident, but I needed his ability, so I did what had to be done for the greater good. His only condition was to find his wife, so the wife needed to go missing.”
My eyes widened.
“What the hell are you saying? What greater good? He killed himself! He shot himself in the head! He is gone without knowing the truth!”
I shouted at him. My body was trembling.
“Truth is overrated. I did him a favour. Gave him hope.”
“That’s bullshit. You used him. You’re no different than those people.”
“By those people, are you talking about the RIP?”
I didn’t answer him. My nails were digging into my thighs, and I exhaled.
“Let me give you some advice. As long as you respect me and follow the rules, we won’t be having any issues.”
I glared at him.
“One earns respect. It is not given freely. And I don’t think you will ever earn my respect.”
“Then you might end up even worse than the unconscious woman. Remember Dimitri, a member of the RIP? The one you fought and Fujinomiya Yu caught? He was sent to this very prison and was killed by my hands as punishment for his crimes and murders he committed.”
The floor underneath us rumbled and split open. The ground beneath it was covered in gravestones.
“He is laying down there. I don’t allow any of my prisoners to be buried in a public graveyard or next to their family. It is part of the punishment.”
I fell to my knees and placed my hands against the glass floor.
“Moriuchi Ayumi, you are a threat too. I brought you here to crush your soul.”
“If you think you can crush my soul, try me. I went through hell and came back.”
I sharply said back to him.
“We will see about that. Are you aware of what kind of Paroxys I possess?”
“Does it matter?”
“It will greatly to you in a moment. And that kid, Aoki Jamal.”
I punched the glass floor and got up.
“You leave him out of this. Whatever you want to do to him, do it to me. I’ll take his punishment too.”
A massive grin appeared on his face and his white teeth were glistening.
“As you wish. My Paroxys, Akuji is both poison and acid. A deadly combination one might say. Because you said you’ll take on Aoki Jamal’s punishment as well, you’ll be exposed to my odourless and tasteless poison for one hour and not thirty minutes. Be assured that no antidote to my poison exists. You’ll either survive and be in agonising pain or drop dead. Good luck.”
He said while walking past me. I was determined to survive. He gave me one last look and left the room. I could hear the heavy door closing and locking shut. The four vents of each side of the room opened and a dark green mist started to float towards me.
“Xykoss. Devour those who stand in thy way.”
I told him to cover my entire body and held my breath for as long as I could. He did the same. I couldn’t tell how much time had passed and was focused on the cameras that were recording my entire ordeal. The moment I opened my mouth, it felt like I was struck by a thousand needles. The pain was sharp and piercing my lungs. My muscles started spasming and I fell to the ground. Foam was coming out of my mouth and my lungs were burning. Xykoss howled and fell to the ground as well. I could see in his eyes that he was in excruciating pain too. My consciousness was slipping, and it was hard to breathe. My body was not listening to me and went into a full-blown seizure. I wasn’t even able to scream. Tears were running down my cheeks, or it could have been blood. My eyes were on fire. I closed my eyes and prayed for it to end. Suddenly, one hour felt like an eternity. I wasn’t so sure of myself anymore. My body rolled around on the floor and all I could see were the gravestones underneath me. I thought to myself that I inevitably would end up there myself.
“Do you want me to get rid of them?”
A little girl’s voice asked, and my body responded by pulsating. It felt like my heart was about to leap out of my chest and my body would be torn to pieces.
“Who do you mean?”
I managed to stutter.
“The ones who hurt you.”
I was laying on my stomach, but my head was up. A girl wearing black overalls and a wine-red jumper with puff sleeves and a peter pan collar underneath it was crouching in front of me. Her multi-coloured eyes were only millimetres away from mine and staring into my soul. Her long, black hair was flowing in the air behind her. I knew that she was barefoot and that she was wearing a black ankle bracelet that had a little bell attached to it. Whenever she even moved slightly, it would chime and make a heavenly sound.
“I’ll make them all go away.”
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