A complicated mood filled Yuki after his park visit. Fear and excitement boiled around within his mind. Everything seemed to be expanding with each day. His personal world consistently kept changing in ways that he didn’t know if he could keep up with soon.
Pulling out the key to the front door, he unlocked the door. A step inside gave him a bit of a pause. Neither of his little siblings popped up. ‘Something’s off…they should be home already…’ He listened for some pattering of feet, but nothing. “I’m home!”
Then as though on cue, he heard a single pair of feet coming down to him. Stepping out of the entry, he saw around the wall, Jun ran down to meet him. And Ken suspiciously absent. “Hey Jun! Where’s your brother?” Silence came from Jun, not the usual sort, but actual silence. He just stood there looking a little anxious. “Is Ken getting into mischief?”
Jun darted his eyes away in guilt. A bit of panic and fear welled up in the tiny body. Before he could learn what trouble Ken got into, Yuki knelt down to Jun. “At worse, Momo might yell a little, but it’s probably nothing we can’t fix. So let’s go see what he’s doing, okay?” He offered a hand to Jun.
Chapter 12 - Dream Void
A few steps in and a familiar sound of rummaging and metal clanging together slipped through into the living room. It quickly became apparent Ken hid in the kitchen. Though perhaps hid wasn’t accurate, so much the island did well to provide cover.
Yuki leaned down to Jun. “Is Ken trying to make a snack?” More silence came from Jun, though enough visual language told him. ‘It’s not that aren’t old enough…I don’t want to treat him like he’s a child, but he is, but he’s ten…whatever, I need to see if he’s doing anything dangerous.’
Reaching the kitchen, he leaned on the island to look over to see what Ken might be doing without intruding. The young boy had about a dozen different boxes out on the floor, some not even snacks, but ingredients. Half of the cabinet doors were open and it seemed like he had to go tunneling through some with how many pots were pushed out on the floor. ‘This isn’t good…I thought we showed him where the ready made snacks were.’
Jun hurried along around the island standing next to Ken with a jitteriness to him. “What are you doing? You’re supposed to be keeping him busy!”
“Keeping me busy?”
“Oh! Uh, hey Yuki!”
“Would you believe looking for snacks?”
“You found four already.”
“Not the right ones.”
“Clearly.” Yuki moved around the island and came to the other side. He moved a few boxes around and sat down. Motioning with his hand, he tried to present less of a looming presence. “I’m not mad. Momo might be if she saw all this. So you want to tell me what you were doing?”
“Er…Jun…” Sheepishly, Ken looked back to Jun who stood next to him with a look to support him. “You see…we wanted to make you a snack before you got home!”
“Oh? How come?”
An unusual amount of silence came from Ken. He appeared to be thinking or maybe considering his words. Every few ticks, he looked back to Jun. There was a surprising amount of shyness that Yuki hadn’t seen from him in a while. “To cheer you up!”
“Huh? But I’m not sad.”
Ken shook his head quickly. “No! You’re different? Something’s off. You…don’t seem…yourself!”
It took Yuki back for a moment. ‘I’m surprised he picked up on that. I thought I kept my stress under wraps. He’s more observant than I gave him credit for…’ He motioned over to the two of them and gave them a hug. “Thanks you two.”
The two youngest started weeping softly against his shoulder. A release of emotions and stress for them came all at once. He patted them on the head and smiled letting them rest for a bit.
Once things calmed down, he looked around at the mess. It thankfully wasn’t the worst he had seen. They had done quite the number on the kitchen when they were four and five, though he wasn’t sure if they remembered it.
“What do you say? I help you clean things up here and then I show you something that you can make that’s safe. And you can surprise Momo with it. Sound good?” They both nodded eagerly. “Just remember Momo’s rules.”
“Safety first! And clean up…your mess?”
“And ask for help if you can’t reach something.”
“Now let’s see about putting all these things back.” He picked up a couple of the pots. “These are a little too soon for you guys. No fires yet and no knives without me watching you. Promise?”
“This snack won’t be with knives though, I need to teach you proper safety first. So let’s clean up!”
After nearly an hour in the kitchen, they finished. Jun and Ken had their snack and what they made for Momoko chilled in the fridge. A yawn caught him by surprise. His brow drew up in a curl curious. He didn’t think all that would tire him out. Then he remembered his day. “I’m going to take a nap. Can you two be good until Momo gets off from work?”
“Yes! Thank you, YukI!”
He smiled seeing them bounce off to the living room. His room felt oddly far away, but he trudged up there. A long morning proved itself to be a perfect prediction of what the rest of the day was going to be like for him. ‘Maids and fairies…samurai too. What’s tomorrow going to be like? Hopefully no maids waking me up….’ Yuki closed his eyes while resting on his bed. He still had a while before Momoko was back from work at the bookstore.
‘She’s going to teach me about this power. I understand if there are others like that sand and blood guy, I need to defend myself. But is this power important for the King to have? She hasn’t been very clear on how the two are connected.’ There were still too many things that he did not understand. The power that he had was the worst of them.
He had been safe during school for no outbreaks, but he didn’t know how long he could keep it up. It exhausted him to keep his mind as empty of thoughts as possible. Vivid images painted his mind by habit. The stress of not knowing what stray thought could spawn something left his heart pounding in class. ‘I don’t know if I can keep this up. Is school or others too much of a risk until I control this? Is isolation the best thing?’ He felt the black void of fear surrounding him leaving him alone and scared. This was more than he wanted. The power was beyond what he could control.
He felt his leg slip on his bed suddenly, but pulled it back thinking that it had somehow wandered off his bed. Once again his leg fell away and he pulled on it. A third time made him lift his head and open his eyes to find that there was a large dark vortex in his bed that his body slowly sank into.
His body jumped around struggling against the darkness that was like quicksand and holding like tar. He grabbed his legs with his hands when found that his muscles were not doing enough. “What’s going on?”
The circle expanded further encompassing more than half of his bed, preventing his escape and leaving little room for him to hold on. His futile struggle with his legs only made them be devoured faster, losing everything below his hips to the black. Its voracious appetite threatened to eat him whole.
He quickly retreated his hands back out while he still had them to take a hold of the nearest solid object, the frame of his bed. Soon after he found his anchor, he lost his waist bringing him firmly against his bed and the vortex. His head and chin rested against the edge of his mattress as a back up line of defense to support his hands. “Did I…create this too? What is this?” Yuki fought against what felt like inevitability dragging him down. His eyes darted around the room looking for something that would save him.
The edge of the expanding black circle had something written on it clearly labeling it for what it truly was. It had caught Yuki’s eye as he searched. “Black Void of Fear, trademark…really? My power has a sense of humor?” The almost ridiculous nature of what was eating him laid out in a nearly comedic manner would have made him laugh if it was not him being swallowed.
Pulling on the bedpost, he tried to get a little of his body free, anything to give hope. “My own worries are literally trying to eat me.” Yuki found a little extra strength to begin pulling back some of his body, but the substance of the void clung tightly on this uniform not willing to let him be free. ‘She said it could kill, but I thought I had time! I’ve got to get…free…’
Yuki’s hands were sweating badly and tired out from the constant strain to keep himself from being taken while pulling himself free. He could feel his fingers starting to slip free from his hold and pressure placed on his chin as the void took back what he had freed and some extra. ‘Is it really going to eat me?’
Yuki’s mind started to spin around trying to think about what would happen to him. The deadly fear overwhelmed him. His strength began to fail him and time wouldn’t last for him. Yuki closed his eyes struggling to keep his hands from coming free against the increasingly eager void. ‘What do I do? I can’t stop it. Am I going to die?’ His fingers were coming free suddenly as the pull against him rapidly increased.
He couldn’t keep his hold any longer as his right hand lost its hold quickly followed by his left hand. Yuki clawed the bed to hold on longer, but his fingers could not take hold. His face slid roughly across his comforter making it burn. ‘I can’t let it…’ A last futile effort from Yuki stopped his progress for a moment. He dug his teeth into his bed covers barely keeping from ripping the threads. However, his covers were not tightly held to the bed and he cursed his failure as the void won shortly. His chest was swallowed up, quickly dragging in his head and arms.
“Yuki are you still napping?”
“Momoko?! She’s home and going to see everything! She can’t know. But…” The door to his room was already being turned and panic returned to him pushing away the fear. He needed to hide it all from her, but that wouldn’t happen. There was nothing that he could do to prevent her and the door was opening. He closed his eyes not certain how long he had left before it ate him, accepting what was coming and the screams to follow.
“Oh you’re awake. I wanted to thank you.” Momoko leaned over looking at a confused and surprised Yuki.
Yuki pulled back on his bed completely forgetting everything in the moment. She didn’t react the way he expected. “Momoko I…um, oh.” He nearly melted on his bed realizing the void disappeared. His life saved. The pounding in his chest started to ease.
The puzzled look from Momoko snapped him quickly. “Oh, right. Um, thank me?”
“Ken explained things.”
“Ah, that. I mean…well, he didn’t need to, but I guess honesty’s a good thing.”
“Sure thing.” He straightened himself out and tried to fix the bed. Thankfully, the bed just looked like he had a rough sleep. He put a few things back in order and stood up.
Secret remained safe.
“Feeling up to helping with dinner?”
“Yeah definitely! I napped enough for my needs.” He hurried along in front of her, still feeling a mean look from his bed. It all felt in his head, but then again his head did try to kill him. So being afraid of his head apparently was a thing now.
He needed help.
After dinner was over Yuki went to the closet in the living room. He pulled out his white jacket with blue stripes down the sleeves and put it on. Momoko called out to him before he made it to the door. “Where are you going?”
“I promised to help Ayumi with some class work.”
“Don’t stay out too late!”
“Should only be an hour or two. If it goes long, I’ll call.” He rushed out of the house closing the door behind him and ran into the street. Memory of his near death experience freshly fueling his feet. He did not stop until he made it down in front of a house, the Nishimura house. Though he didn’t actually know if it was her’s. She didn’t live here, so how’d she get the house?
Yuki took a breath from the running and stood up straight. He stared down the house not knowing what he was going to be getting into. ‘I know she said she needed time, but she’s gotta have something to help! I need to learn how to control my power.’
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