The poison was gone and so was the pain. I was breathing normally. The girl kept twirling and dancing around. The bell kept tinkling and jingling.
“What is your name?”
“I don’t have a name.”
“But aren’t you my Paroxys?”
The girl stopped and nodded her head. My gaze shifted towards Xykoss who was peacefully sleeping behind her. I tilted my head and blinked several times. The realisation hit that it was not me who was in charge anymore. It was the little girl. Without a name, I would not be able to control her.
“You sure about not having a name?”
Her rainbow-coloured eyes averted mine. A smile was painted on her face.
“What did you do with the poison?”
“I ate it.”
She licked her lips after saying it. The headache had returned and was worse than before. The cameras had stopped filming too. In fact, they were broken. It was the doing of the girl.
“Can you control other Paroxys?”
She went through her long hair which reached her feet with her fingers. And then started twisting a strand.
“Will you help me get out of here?”
“I already did.”
She vanished and so did Xykoss. The doors opened and several soldiers ran inside. Colonel Voltra personally escorted me back to my cell where the boy was fast asleep. It had turned night. She didn’t ask any questions and I didn’t say anything. The key was turned, and the door was locked. I sat down and leaned against the wall. The aftereffects of the poison were tormenting me. My stomach was cramping, and I felt nauseous.
“Oh, you’re back.”
The boy rubbed his eyes and sat upright. Without saying anything else he opened up his fanny pack to then take out a gaming console. The display lit up and he started playing a video game.
“You know, I was waiting all day for you. I thought that you would return with your weapon, but it seems like I was mistaken.”
I didn’t respond and closed my eyes.
“Do you want to play with me? They made this game from an anime that is about pirates. Do you know about it? If yes, who is your favourite character?”
“What happened? Why did you run away?”
The characters in the game kept making weird noises. The music was loud.
“My best friend disappeared. After a while, no one seemed to care about finding him anymore, so I decided to find him myself.”
“So, you wanna play or not?”
“I think I’ll pass. I’m too tired.”
I heard his sigh of disappointment.
“My favourite character is the guy with the straw hat.”
He giggled and continued playing his game. I dozed off and as if only a second had gone by, the next morning was already here. To our surprise, we were told that we could go home. Apparently, someone had bailed us out. Ogawa Satoshi led the way. Before I exited the building, he handed me a folded piece of paper.
“You’ll find what you’re looking for at this address. I hope not to see you again on this island for your sake. Make sure to behave.”
“No. I’ll definitely be back.”
He lifted his eyebrows and smiled. I could see that he was taken aback by my words. I shoved the piece of paper into one of my trousers’ pockets and left with Jamal. The Major General had spoken the truth when he had told me that we were on an abandoned island. Buildings were run down and overgrown by plants. Stray cats were running around everywhere. Whoever it was who got us out was waiting for us at the port. I quietly made my way to it, but Jamal had other plans. He either sang loudly or wouldn’t shut up. The boat came into sight and the people who were standing in front of it. I stopped in my tracks when I realised who it was. She came running towards me and immediately hugged me tightly.
“Ayu, are you okay?”
“Mom, what are you doing here?”
Before she could answer me, Yuuma had made his way to me as well. He grabbed me by my hand. I could tell that he was about to cry.
“I came to get you. We both came to get our Ayumi.”
“You’re the one who bailed me out?”
She was sniffling but took off her scarf to wrap it around me.
“Of course. You’re my daughter. I would do anything for you.”
“I still have some contacts that I can rely on.”
I exhaled and a mist cloud escaped my mouth. It had gotten a lot colder. Or was it because we were at the ocean?
“But never mind that. Let’s quickly get on the boat. I’ll make you some miso soup at home.”
She pulled my arm, but my body didn’t budge.
“What’s wrong Ayu? Are you not feeling well?”
She placed her cold, red hand on my forehead to check my temperature.
“Mom, I can’t go home. I need to do something. Finish what I have started.”
Her face went pale.
“No. Don’t say that. You don’t have to do anything. You just have to come home with me and Yuuma.”
I looked her in the eyes.
“You need to stop or else you’ll end up like your father.”
I shook my head and without a warning, she slapped me across my face. It was the very first time. My cheek was throbbing.
“Oh god. I am so sorry, Ayu.”
She panicked and tears welled up in her eyes. Yuuma grabbed on to her leg. I took her hands and gently squeezed them.
“It’ll be okay. I will come back home.”
“No, Ayu. Please. My heart is telling me that it will not be okay. I can’t lose you too.”
I wiped away her tears and placed my hand on Yuuma’s head.
“I promise. It’ll be okay.”
We boarded the boat and left to get to the other side. Once we arrived, I made my way to the address that was written on the piece of paper. My mom and Yuuma went home and Jamal was taken away by someone who worked at our school. The door to the train opened and I stepped inside. It was rush hour. I was getting pushed and squeezed by other people. I opened up the piece of paper again to confirm that I was going in the right direction. The sky was grey, and it seemed like it was about to rain. My destination was the Yanaka Cemetery in Tokyo. I got off at Nippori station and bought a see-through umbrella from a nearby convenience store. The sound when entering and leaving felt nostalgic. Not many people were outside, thanks to the bad weather. I paused for a second before entering the graveyard. The wind was whistling, and the colourful leaves were falling from the trees. They crunched whenever I would step on them. I again looked at the piece of paper to make sure I was at the right grave. Someone was already visiting it. A man was sitting in front of it. In his hand was a children’s book. He was reading it out loud.
“Who are you?”
I asked, realising I had seen him before. Not once, but twice.
“Just a simple man.”
He answered and lifted his head to look at the grave in front of him.
“Can you tell me what happened?”
His clothes were plain and even his attitude. His every word felt soulless.
“My wife was stolen from me. And so was my child. She was an orphan and had nowhere to go. They came to kill her, so she defended herself. In their eyes, she was a criminal. A murderer. Something to be feared of. She didn’t have a surname, so I gave her mine. All she ever wanted was a family. A place where she could feel safe.”
Raindrops started to fall from the sky. I had forgotten that I was holding an umbrella.
“They sent my dead son in a box for me to bury. I only held him once in my arms. And that was when I had to lay him down in his tiny coffin. Justice is accessible to only certain types of people which does not include myself, nor my wife or my son. It’s a privilege that we’re not allowed to have.”
“Is that why you gathered people who are similar to you?”
“I only talked to them. Whoever decides to not use their powers for their own good is a fool. I’ve got one myself.”
“No. A fool.”
He turned his head to face me.
“Are you believing what I am saying?”
“There is no reason for me to believe you. Like there is no reason for me not to believe you. All I know is what I saw and felt when I experienced your wife’s memories.”
“Aimee. That’s her name. My name is Adohira.”
“I know. We have met before.”
“You promised to find the person I am looking for.”
I swallowed hard. What I was about to propose was out of lines.
“How? The door has been closed for years. And it won’t open.”
“Then use me. I’ll be your key and will open the door for you. But before that, let’s make another promise.”
I clenched my jaw. The rain had gotten worse. It was a proper downfall. Our voices were drowned, but my mouth kept moving.
“Also, tell that man that I want to meet him.”
I opened the umbrella and placed it next to him on the floor. My clothes were drenched. I silently made my way out of the graveyard and back to the train station. My phone vibrated to let me know that I had received a text message. One that I was expecting.
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
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