Back of the Head Murmurs
Lying around in your own drool while smelling your urine and jerking off to keep yourself warm can be damned humbling if Yakusoku could say so himself. His breaths shuddered from his throat as the cold swept through him again once the warmth from stroking himself rubbed off.
“Maria! I’m sorry!” He screamed again over a dry throat. “Please come back!”
His stomach growled again. The hunger was getting to him severely. It would only be a matter of time before his insides turned on themselves. How long has he been down here? A day? A week? Alone. Frozen. Dare he admit to it, frightened. The cold was making him confused too. At one point he was sure he was sitting outside of his house on the porch swing, throwing snowballs at the fence with Ai. The two of them were talking about hot places, seeing if it would warm them up if they had nothing but the power of suggestion on their side. It, of course, wasn’t working.
He was awake one minute, then asleep the next, then asleep but dreaming that he was awake. Yakusoku is so stuck that he actually dreamt of himself screaming for help and begging for Maria to come back and help him. And if that weren’t bad enough, something kept touching the bottom of his foot. His feet were in combat with each other trying to brush the offending thing away, but it wouldn’t let up.
Probably a mouse looking for seconds after it finished polishing off that bowl of stew left beside the bed. Ohhh, the bed. He’d give anything to be laying on that rickety thing with its flimsy blanket.
“Got your toe.” Declared the voice he’d heard upstairs earlier.
And it was like he’d been stabbed in the ankle with a searing hot knife when a bony fingertip tapped him.
“Aaaahh!” He flailed, writhed, and spun like a wild animal pulling at a gag.
The voice from upstairs laughed. It is definitely in the room with him!
Stupidity came from cold, obviously, because through chattering teeth Yakusoku tried the friendly approach. “Who’s there?” He asked.
He remembered this game from when he’d first woken up down here. He asked this and that only to be repeated.
“Who’s there?” Repeated the voice. Teasing him like it read his memory of the situation.
“Please don’t do this to me. If someone is there, we can help each other.” He pleaded to the disembodied voice.
“Mmm. Would you reeeeally let me help you? Hm?”
“Yes! Yes, I would! Please help me.”
Again Yakusoku shrank himself up into a fetal position. “Maria! Maria!” He called out.
Clearly, whomever this person is in his cell has lost touch with reality, and now he plans on screwing with the new guy. Maria said it herself everyone she speaks to about him is jealous and angry. This nut might try to kill him while he’s pinned by the neck to the floor.
“Maria help me! He’s down here!” Yakusoku screamed with a raw voice that’s only getting worse.
“Poke! Poke! Poke!” Teased the intruder continually stabbing him while howling with laughter.
“Mariaaaa!” Yakusoku shrieked away. “He’s down here! He’s down here!”
The lights flickered on and remained so. He could hear the door groan and rapid footsteps coming down the stairs before the cell bar shrieked higher than his own panicked cries.
“What? What?!” Kneeling down beside Yakusoku, Maria got a hold onto the male with one hand to keep him from climbing on top of her, while she unhooks him from the stud.
Realizing he’s free Yakusoku bolted for the corner of the cell where the door isn’t located. Bad enough he’s got some nut in his cell, the last thing he wants is for Maria to think he’s trying to flee. But could he? He looked over at the open door, which swung shut instantly and locked.
“Now what is going on in here?” Asked the tiny blonde, who seemed like a mighty tree in a forest of shrubs.
A shaking arm raised to point a finger by the bed. “Your friend from upstairs got in, and he’s been touching me.”
“My friend?” Maria cocked her head. Looking to where Yakusoku is pointing she moves over to the bed. “Under here?” Leaning over she looks beneath the bed. “Nothing. No one. It’s empty. Surely you can see that.”
Standing, Maria walked over to Yakusoku giving him a scrutinizing look. She can’t tell if he’s faking it or not, but she didn’t feel it necessary to not believe him. If someone was touching him, someone touched him.
Sighing, she placed her hands on her hips. “For God’s sake, you’re blue.” Shaking her head as if staying down in the tomb were his idea, she grabs him beneath his arm to help his shaking body from the floor. “Come on. We’ll get you warmed up.”
Yakusoku followed her, all the while casting weary glances over his shoulder at the laughter filling his ears. Someone is in his cell with him. He just can’t figure out where they’re hiding in such a sparse space. Nothing but a bed, small dresser and a sink and toilet. Not exactly a department store full of this and that to shield yourself.
‘Could he have hidden in the mattress?’ Wondered the male. He turned his head when hearing Maria laugh. ‘She thinks I’m lying?’ He cocks his head; a displeased look on his face.
“I didn’t say that. I just think it’s a pretty lame trick into getting upstairs when you know that I might still be mad at you- which I’m not. I was actually coming to get you when I heard you screaming for me.”
He would never get used to her being in his head. Trembling limbs climb the stairs with help from Maria tugging him. His heart actually came to a standstill once the door opened. Someone is at the kitchen table. Eyes wide with morbid wonder, Yakusoku eyes the large male on his way by into the living room.
“As you can see all are accounted for- well- except for Al’. But then who knows where he wandered to.”
Maria continued speaking about how the male was there one day then gone the next. But that was a year ago. Yakusoku paid no attention to that, only the stranger at the table. Thick brown hair, curly like a pile of Cheerio ringlets strewn about someone’s head. He’s big, gotta be 6′ tall. Yakusoku can’t see the male’s face since its downcast at the table while he’s eating. He’s lean, muscled. Looks like if he wanted, he could really mess a guy up. He could have been the one down in the cell with him. If he could just get the male to talk.
“That’s Lucian, by the way. Say hello, Lucian.”
“Hello,” Lucian spoke with his voice.
‘It wasn’t him.’ Thinks Yakusoku.
He would know that voice in his head instantly whether it was out loud or not. This guy’s voice wasn’t raspy, it wasn’t snide, it wasn’t teasing or messing around. It was... sad. Beaten. Broken. Maybe this guy would be the one to help him out of this situation?
“Nope. It wasn’t him.” Maria chimed in. “Let’s watch a holiday movie. Lucian, get Promise a blanket from upstairs.”
“Yes, miss.” The chair sounded as it’s pushed back. Lucian promptly left the kitchen, brushing past the two without touching them, he hurried up the stairs for a blanket.
“And as you can see” Maria points to the rocking chair where a little Japanese girl, couldn’t be more than six, sat.
She has a large cup of cocoa on her lap. Yakusoku can smell it as they approach.
“Atsuko hasn’t done it either.”
Yakusoku didn’t dare to argue, not now when he’s made it beyond the frozen tundra and is now in the main part of the house with the central warmth. Maria knows that it’s wrong to kidnap people, and she knows that eventually they’ll all be found, and she’ll be imprisoned. Hopefully for forever.
The captured teen cupped his genitals to prevent the young girl from seeing them. He’s not sure of what’s happened to her in this house, but he’d like to keep some modesty between them so that she won’t believe he’ll harm her as Lucian may have. He could be the boyfriend that Maria was talking about over the phone when she was pretending to be Amari. God! How could he be so stupid as to fall for that?!
“Have a seat,” Maria instructed the man of her dreams. “Speed it up up there!” She hollered at Lucian.
The beaten male appeared at the top of the stairs almost instantly and in a rush brought a thick blanket downstairs for Yakusoku. He held it out to him, but Maria snapped it away and handed it to Yakusoku herself.
“What do we say?”
Yakusoku sincerely said. “Thank you.”
That put a smile on her face. Yakusoku quickly wrapped himself in the blanket and rubbed himself to remove the chill from his bones. He didn’t think he’d ever get warm.
“Here. Take it.” Lucian held a cup out to him.
Reaching for it, Yakusoku took it. “Thank you.”
“Whoops!” Maria knocks the cup from its course of exchange. “I didn’t say you could give him a drink, Lucian. Promise has been bad, so he doesn’t get a drink of cocoa. Maybe you’ll get him some water instead?”
“Yes, miss.” He left for the kitchen.
With a shrug, Maria says to her new captive. “Oh well.”
Yakusoku had to ask. Curiosity always gets the better of him, that’s how he ended up where he is now. Being too damned curious. Why does Maria do this? Why does she say that? All his fault? But what about them? What did these two do to deserve this fate?
“Maria, can I ask you something?”
Maria is currently flipping through channels for a movie to watch. But she glances at him to show she’s listening.
“How long have you had them with you?”
“Atsuko has been with me for two years. Lucian has been with me for a long time, and Al... only about 4 years.”
Slowly, he shakes his head. “How can you be doing this?”
“You can do whatever you want to when you really wanna do it,” Maria replied coolly. “Nothing is impossible for me... It’ll be the same way for you once you restore your gift. These two don’t have one, just us- and Al. We’re very special, you and me.”
“But you’re wrong about me... I don’t do the things you can do- I can’t!”
Maria shrugged. “Not yet.” Wrapping her arms around his arm, she rests her head on the teen’s shoulder. “I’m sorry anyway.”
“For what?” He wanted to add ‘abducting him’, but he kept his mouth shut. And hard as it was to not think the words, he kept his mind shut too and instead chose to pull the blanket up a little higher around his shivering body.
“Leaving you down there as long as I did... But I was really mad at you, ya know? But then I remembered that this is all new to you, and you’re bound to lash out from time to time.” Kissing his shoulder, she ignored the cringe it received. “It’s the holidays, so, I’ll play nice as well.”
“You’re too kind.” He replied sarcastically.
“Do you want something to eat? I made chili, and baked some cookies.”
“Yes, please.” Yakusoku actually closed his eyes in the pleasure of having something to eat. He really is starving. He thought his only sustenance would be water.
“I’ll fix you a bowl, and while I’m in the kitchen you need to be thinking of a holiday movie.” Getting up from the couch she moves to the kitchen, still speaking to him as she disappears beyond the room. “It wasn’t always bad at home; growing up, over the holidays, we would pick a Christmas movie that we believed was playing on more than one channel, and whoever guessed right would get something very special in their stocking. It was always so much fun- I never lost.”
Letting Maria babble on, Yakusoku turned his attention to Atsuko. She’s looking at him as well. Smiling, he waved a hand. Atsuko smiled timidly and bowed. Yakusoku could recall a time when Maria was timid about being around him. Now she’s over confident, and cruel. He had to wonder if it were all an act from the get go. Probably. God, he’s stupid.
“My name is Yakusoku.” He says to the young girl.
“Hello. Nice to meet you.” She signed it to him. Atsuko can speak through sign language?
‘Thank you, Sophie.’ Yakusoku looked to the ceiling as if the girl would smile at him. Returning his attention to Atsuko, he signed to her. “Are you ok? Have you been hurt?”
“I’m ok. I... Sometimes Lucian comes into my room, but I’m ok. Miss Maria told me that your name is Promise; she talks about you a lot. My real name is Tsukiko. What’s yours?”
“It’s Promise, translated from Yakusoku.”
“I know. I can speak some Japanese.”
“Oh.” Silenced, he lowers his hands back beneath the blanket when spotting Maria at the kitchen entry.
“Did you think of a movie?” She asked.
Maria gave no indication as to whether or not she’s heard the conversation between them or not. She just set the bowl down on Yakusoku’s lap.
A small, very small serving it was at that, and half a cookie too. He could definitely repeat himself when saying "you’re too kind". But he shut his mouth and ate a spoonful.
“I choose The Grinch. That’s usually on three channels at once before you even get to see it the one time.” Maria announced.
“A Christmas Story.”
That got the demented girl laughing. “Are you kidding? Whatever made you pick that?” She glanced up when Lucian exited the kitchen; done with his meal, and took a seat on the sofa beside Maria.
“I always see it on TBS and they’ve started showing it on TMC.” The captured male shrugged.
“If you say so.”
The television flipped channels to the TV Guide. They watched silently as it rolled up, 3 titles at a time displaying what’s on. Sure enough The Grinch was making an appearance on ABC, but they had yet to see it again. And on TBS there was the all-day marathon of Yakusoku’s choice. Both only needed to see their selection one more time to win this special something in their stocking. Yakusoku was sure that either way he was screwed. Maria would believe he wanted her, and her prize would be fucking around with him.
“Are you listening?” Asks the voice from down in his cell.
Yakusoku almost knocked his bowl over from jumping so hard. ‘Where are you?’
“Mmm. Around.” Replied the disembodied voice. “Don’t be dumb, finish your food and talk to me verbally, she won’t hear you- Lucian will, but he won’t say anything. He’s sort of the, speak, but only when spoken to type.”
Shoveling his chili down; he burnt his tongue on it a couple times but did as he was told and placed the plate down on the table. Raising the blanket up over his mouth, he whispered. “Are you Al?”
“I might be.” Giggles the voice. “But then, I might not be.”
‘Great. riddles.’ Thinks Yakusoku.
Maria looked at him but paid it no mind. Instead, she noticed that he was covering his mouth with the blanket and helped him warm up by removing herself from his arm to tuck the blanket all around him. That movement reminded him, and he asked.
“Can she hear you?”
“I’m a whole other level over her. She definitely can’t hear me... unless I want her to.”
“As I said before, I wanna help you get out of here... but you’re gonna have to do something for me in return.”
“Anything,” Yakusoku whispered desperately.
“Wonderful. I’ll see you downstairs; Maria won’t keep you up there with her forever. We’ll talk then.”
And just like that, the buzzing in his head went away. It was weird. It hurt a lot more than when Maria invades his mind to speak. He’s used to her by now, she’s just a tingling sensation compared to that war roiling around his brain waves. He slowly let out a held breath.
“Looks like I win. The Grinch is playing on three channels.” She held up three fingers for emphasis. “Eat it, loser!” She chuckled.
“Oh, that’s real cute on a girl.” Despite his hatred of the girl, he laughed.
“You know what I want as a gift?”
His hesitation was ignored, and she replied. “To get you cleaned up. You stink like urine and sex.” Getting up from the couch, Maria smooths a hand down her thick wool skirt. “Don’t worry, I won’t molest you. I’m not in the mood for your foreplay.”
Yakusoku shook his head, still amazed at how she makes it seem as though it’s all his idea. “Maria, I don’t care what you say to me... but can you please keep it Y-rated when Atsuko is around?”
“Don’t ask me for favors.” She practically spat. “Besides, Atsuko can only hear me when I want her to hear me. This conversation is just between us.”
“Just because my lips are moving it doesn’t mean that everyone can hear me.” She shrugged. “I can’t help it. Call it years of conditioning from trying to be normal.”
“If you want to be normal, then why would you do all this?” Asks the male. “Why have me restore my gift, as you keep saying; why not keep us both normal?”
“Waaatch iiiit.” Sang the disembodied voice.
Maria’s eyes narrowed to razor slits, and she ground out. “I don’t have time to bring water and the tub, so just come upstairs and use the shower in my room. Okay?”
The two were in a staring contest until Lucian sneezed, snapping them out of it; kind of like spraying water on two dueling cats.
“Okay.” Says Yakusoku. But only because he agreed with her... He needs a bath.
“This is going to be interesting.” Murmured the voice in Yakusoku’s head.