Chapter 6:



Puddles of grass battled a sea of blood as Yuki charged. Each step echoed through momentarily cleansing, yet altering as well. Brief for only a blink and gone, no permanent change found purchase. All the foreigner needed was such a sign to finally commit.

An easily telegraphed punch stopped with little effort. But the man raised an eyebrow and pushed back against Yuki with his open hand. Though Yuki slid away in an unnatural way as though something pulled him rather than force from the hand and merely acted as cover. “I felt that punch, kid. Seems you’ve finally got your heart in this.”

“This isn’t a game!” Yuki ground his teeth at his second attempt. He had to do more to be able to save everyone.

“Quite right. I’m glad you understand the situation.”

“Shut up!” Pushing his foot against the floor, he jumped back. ‘I need more…remember…more…’ He had to let his body think. Closed away, it hadn’t been long enough to forget. Leaping back into the fight, Yuki tried to think less about each strike and let the feeling flow through his arms. Each swing improved in form and strength, still lacking what he needed.

Deflected and turned away, nothing broke through the man’s defenses. He hardly seemed to try with Yuki. Judging from appearance, he had training in a far greater capacity than Yuki. A clear disadvantage not even counting the added wrinkle of a reality warping power. Which remained unused in the fight from all that Yuki could glean. Not that he even understood it. It could be doing everything for all he knew.

“You’re going to need more than your physical body. Fight me with everything!”

“What?!” Yuki leapt back, his body’s instincts noticing it before himself, but he wasn’t fast enough. A quick counter blow to his gut kicked him back. Coughing as he dropped to one knee, it would have been worse. ‘This isn’t like what I’m used to…but who’s ever fought in an actual hellscape?’

Chapter 6 - Subconscious

Echoes of his siblings' pain pushed him back to the fight. He dove in with greater intensity as if that were the only thing the man wanted from him. And yet in spite of it all, he hardly seemed engaged in the fight. Frustration built up in Yuki at a man that would use his own family just to get satisfaction.

How did such depravity get fostered?

A grin suddenly appeared on the foreigner out of nowhere. Yuki drew in a heavy breath pausing to understand what pleased him so after their latest exchange.

“Finally you’re making things interesting!”

“What the hell are you going on about?!”

“You should pay attention to your surroundings.”

“Surroundings? What are you…” Caught up in his own thoughts, his mind hadn’t been focused on the fight just going through the motions. He looked around, not finding anything out of place. Blood and flesh stretched out everywhere that he looked. Looking up at the ceiling he saw Jun and Momo. Nearby him in front of him, Ken laid on the floor.

Ceiling? Floor?

Finally everything sped up to his mind as the whole room rotated ninety degrees. Fixing his perspective of the living room, he knelt on the wall. Somehow. Down at his feet he could see a small circle of grass where he stood rather than blood, but the two battled in what almost looked like a glitch in a game where the two clashed. Blades of grass floated or stopped abruptly becoming blood in a shaking line. “I don’t under-” Before he could finish, the wall ceased to hold him.

“Ugh…thankfully it wasn’t a far drop…but…” He thought back to the moment before to what he saw. Grass grew on the wall, about as strange as blood. Visually, it had more appeal. It reminded him a little of the park down the street. Stopping the old memories, he stood up needing to focus on the threat over nostalgia. “Don’t know what that was, but he seemed excited about it. It’d be nice to use that again, I’d be able to get a little more creative…”

Unfortunately, he didn’t know how it happened or if it was even him doing it. As little sense as it would have made, it could have even been the foreigner with how eager he acted. Yuki however just focused on what he could do.

Such an answer turned out about as he expected though. His punches batted away and him being tossed. Yet Yuki once more found himself stuck to anything but the floor, this time the ceiling. But upon noticing it, he dropped again, though falling on the couch at least. “Dammit…” It gave him a little more certainty.

He jumped forward to the chair and then into the air against the man. As Yuki expected, a counter sent him back, but he landed on the ceiling. Jumping forward, he ran over the ceiling. ‘It’s working…’ That moment, his feet lost their hold and he fell. However, he grabbed onto some limb and swung himself toward the man with a flying kick.

Bracing the kick with his arm, the foreigner staggered a moment before grabbing Yuki. A quick swing threw Yuki’s body against the wall, knocking the wind out of him. “Is this all you’ve got? Make it more interesting before I end this!”

Yuki coughed and drew in a long breath feeling the stinging pain all over his body. Apart from the bullying, which never went this far, it had been a while since he tasted such pain. “This is getting me nowhere…but what can I do?”

Pushing himself back up to his feet, he felt a little comforted that his guy wanted a fight. ‘If only I could take advantage of his cockiness…’

Confusion suffused with desperation, Yuki charged in feeling the ticking clock on his family. Feinting with a strike, he slid past the man and under his counter. A quick sweep of his legs to the back of the man’s knee gave a moment of stagger for Yuki to capitalize on. He leapt up landing on the ceiling and grabbed on the upper arms using the gravity that kept him attached to slam the man on his back.

The moment he released the man, he fell once more back to the floor. Yuki dropped down with his foot to hopefully stun or knock the man out. However, a limb came up, a boney hand grabbed his ankle and threw him away towards the kitchen.

Yuki caught himself on the island only feeling a little sting. There was something different in that last moment. Seeing the man stand up gave him all the confirmation. He no longer had the defensive stance and actually started to walk towards him. ‘Seems like he’s got what he wanted…now he wants to kill me…Momo, guys…’

“Don’t slow down on me kid!” The foreigner clutched his hand as the blood on the island jumped out in all directions as hardened spikes.

Sprays of blood arced through the air as Yuki dropped to the floor. Despite how it looked, he somehow managed to come out of it with only wounds on his arms and back. “Not going to question luck now…” However, Yuki didn’t get much time to think as he saw more spikes and jumped away.

Continuing to back away, Yuki caught himself in the corner looking for an option. But more spikes jumped out at him.

Nothing happened.

No blood, no pain. Confused, he looked down to see that just like with the grass before, the spikes stopped near to where the grass appeared. The small circle around him seemed to have grown in size. “Hm… I think I’m understanding some of this…”

“Impressive, kid! You’re making this more interesting by the minute! Making me have to put in effort now!”

Suddenly the spikes that were cut off materialized as the grass around Yuki’s feet shrank to a smaller circle. Yuki jumped into the air latching onto the wall to escape the spikes. “He got stronger?” Yuki looked over at the foreigner trying to put together the new information.

More spikes jumped out at him. Some cut through and others didn’t make it. Pain filled his body again as the tension started to rise once more.

The pressure poured off the foreigner as a murderous intent built. His game ended now. He marched forward and the circle around Yuki’s feet tightened up even further. The spikes dug deeper into his flesh.

Yuki dropped down, losing his focus. Unguarded, the man grabbed his arm and flipped him into spikes. Blood sprayed up once more as pain ran through his body.

“Yuki! No!”

“Big bro! Stop hurting him!”

His family’s screams faded from his ears as the pain overrode everything. A dull mix of noises stirred around in his ears. Yuki groaned no longer sure how badly his body bled out.

A shadow cast over him with the foreigner standing before him. Pulled up by his arm, Yuki hung loosely with his eye half closed in pain. His body suddenly bounced with more dull pain echoing through him. Yuki coughed up blood struggling to keep his focus. ‘Am I going to die this time?’

Cast off, Yuki’s body flew through the living room and smashed against the window frame. Dropped to the floor, his arm caught on the window frame as he half leaned against the wall. Panting heavily, all he could hear was his heart beating out of his chest.

As everything faded more, his mind went to this family. ‘What will happen to them?’ Disturbing imagery ran through his mind constructed from what already happened. It snapped him back to reality. Yuki coughed suddenly, feeling the acute pain clearly.

“Yuki! Run! Don’t worry about us!”

“...Momo…” Pulling himself up by the window ledge, he fought with his eyes to focus. “I can’t abandon you…”

“Still got a little fight you, kid. I was worried you’d disappoint being a soft boy in this safe peaceful land.”

“I don’t know what’s going on here, but we’re not going to let you do whatever you want!” Yuki felt his lungs burning. His chest barely contained his pounding heart. He was pretty sure only adrenaline kept him standing. Survival instinct and guts remained his last options.

He prayed it would be enough.

Finding his strength once more, he charged back around the couch for the man. Skating around, he evaded spikes and limbs. Yuki stopped around behind his opponent. Grabbing a chair, he flung it through the air.

Blood spikes jumped up from the floor and ceiling catching the chair. Yuki leapt away as the chair slowly broke into wood shards. Bouncing off the floor and wall, he flung more objects as he jumped around. Yuki landed on the bone chest that held Momoko in place. He paused breathing heavily and dropped to the floor.

Rolling over, he kicked the end table over at the foreigner. Yuki leapt into the air following after it. Kicking off the wall, he punched through the blood spike connecting with the jaw of the man finally. The follow through landed him back on the opposite side once more.

The blood spikes around him thickened and destroyed all of the thrown objects. He turned to face Yuki rubbing his jaw as it turned purplish-red under the skin. “That actually did some damage, kid! I’m starting to like you!” Gathering up blood around him, it forged itself into a flamberge. He started to march towards Yuki.

Yuki stood up preparing to charge straight into the danger. “It’s time!” He sprinted forward smashing through the blood spikes as they came up.

From behind the man, Momoko slid in kicking the back of his knees and grabbing the man’s waist to pull him down. The foreigner looked in shock to see her free, but noticed the play seeing Yuki charging in.

Ignoring the clear signs, Yuki threw in his right arm as the flamberge swung, sacrificing it. While the sword pushed past him, he swung down his left into the ribcage down by the man’s kidneys. Almost immediately, he coughed up an unusual amount of blood for a seemingly shallow hit.

Yuki tumbled past both missing half of his right arm as blood poured out. The invader remained stunned, blood pooling in his mouth and starting to cover his face with Momoko trapped underneath.

The house went silent.