The delicious scent of chowder blew up into Yakusoku’s sense of smell as he walked through the kitchen. Maria snatched him up by a handful of his hair like you would a rabbit by its scruff. Was it some new type of torture or kinky game? That’s what ran through Yakusoku’s head when Maria blindfolded him, lead him upstairs to her bed, and tied him up to the bedpost at his wrist and ankles, in a position that he’s laying his stomach.
“You think maybe one time it could be you who’s tied up?” The captive joked with a smile. “I might actually be really good at it.”
A loud thump sounded when something heavy enough to make a loud and deep sound got whacked against a side table. It slammed into the side table hard enough to break it if it had wanted. Yakusoku jumped out of his skin.
“Silence.” Maria hissed.
“Okay.” Still believing that its a game, he quiets.
“We’re gonna have a little Q and A session, and depending on your answers we’ll see what the outcome of it all will be.”
Starting to sense sincere agitation, he answers slowly. “Al.. right.” A frown on his lips, Yakusoku speaks softly and carefully. “Maria... what happened before? Are you not feeling ok? Is this about Atsuk-..”
“QUIET!” Whatever Maria held she used to frighten him by slamming it into the other thing once again.
“Okay... I’m sorry. Please, ask me anything.”
“Do you like anyone? I mean, romantically- and don’t fucking kid me by saying it’s only me!” The demented girl stabs him in the cheek with whatever it is she’s holding.
To Yakusoku it felt like a flexible Billy-club. It’s very possible. She could wind up beating him like the boys-in-blue would beat the tar out of someone in prison who maybe started a riot or got a little too physical with his cellmate.
“The truth, Promise.”
“Aside from Enid, who I don’t care about anymore, no.”
“Liar!” Maria struck him on the back with enough force that his body spazzed out in pain for a moment. “Answer” and she strikes the former object of the side table with each word. “the question!”
“There isn’t!” The captive teen shouted back.
Eyes narrow, she then shifts on the bed. “Fine. Perhaps a better wording...” Her fingernails drum against the dresser.
Now that he’s hearing where the sound is coming from, he can tell what the thing is that she’s slamming the night-stick against. Better that than himself. He’s not sure what she’s fishing for but he knows he has to think carefully before answering.
“Is there anyone that you’ve liked recently?”
His voice was feeble and on the brink of panic. “Like who?”
“You tell me! Because I’d really love to know the meaning behind your doing what you did!” And the dresser took a multitude of beating this time. It sounds like the beating a war drum or a rapidly beating heart.
“You’re losing it!” Yakusoku screams over her angered growling. “Just tell me what’s going on!”
“You... Yoouuuuuu,” Maria smiled when he yelped in pain as her nails dug into his neck. “kissed someone.”
“I did not,” Yakusoku swore. “I told you, Atsuko is our daughter- and even if she weren’t- I’m not some damned sicko that goes around kissing kids!”
“But you ARe SiCK!” She hollered to have torn her voice- granted she had one to tear. “You kissed him!” The stick slammed into his spine once again. “You fucking kissed him!” It struck his rear-end against the tailbone- hard!
Yakusoku can feel the sting turning into a swell. But he bit back his cries. It might stop her from hitting him if he shows it doesn’t hurt. And then her words came in.
“Him? What him? Orderly Dan molested me! I told you that... he forced himself on me. It wasn’t mutual..” He’s practically whining now. He doesn’t have time to be caught up in one of her delusions. Not when she’s this volatile.
Maria’s hand crept down his back and with her fingers, she parts his ass. “I’m not talking about Dan.”
His breathing picked up from hysterics looming. “Then who?”
Just as soon as he’d asked again he knew. Yakusoku had a dream about it three nights before she’d thrown him into the basement. Ludwig. It was like his mind were backtracking what had happened that got him where he is. And for some reason, he dreamt of that night in Ludwig’s room when the Canadian kissed him on the neck. But why is that so terrible to her? Why is he being punished for something he didn’t do?!
Then he recalled the rest of the dream as he listened to velcro tear away from itself. The two of them were over by the desk, Yakusoku couldn’t hear what they’d said, but he’d seen himself kissing Ludwig... and not on the cheek or forehead or neck- not any innocent place like that- but on the lips. And it’s so strange because even as he’d watched it he doesn’t believe it happened. But Yakusoku wasn’t about to believe that deep down that dream was what his mind wanted to do. It’s insane, especially with the way his skin crawled beneath the male’s lips when they were on his neck.
“Maria, you can’t be mad at me because of a dream- that doesn’t count!” Yakusoku’s shouting unintentionally because fear has raised his voice a great deal.
“Experiment time... your lips can lie, but your body can’t.” The bed shifts and dips while she climbs on behind him. Raising his hips to meet hers, he can feel the tip of the nightstick poking at his anal hole. “One moan out of you and you’re dead in life. But if you don’t... I’ll know that he’s the sick fucker, and I’ll love you again.”
“Maria, it’s a mistake... Don’t do this!”
Yakusoku’s fears and screams rang out everywhere in the house. And down in the kitchen, the flames beneath a pot of boiling stew begin to dance... Higher... Higher.
“Mrs. Land?” Ludwig practically shouts into the phone. “I think I’ve found him! I know where Yakusoku is!” He’s silent then asks. “What? Ai? I’m sorry, but I have to tell your parents. Where are they?”
“At the police station, the cops found a hair in the car that wasn’t any of yours.” The younger teen reports. “They called ten minutes ago and they’re discussing it now... But you said you found him, though! Is he with you?! Is he all right? Can I talk to him?!”
“No. But I called the cops, and I’m going with them right now. We’re about half an hour away, the blizzard is slowing us down a bit even with snow tires.” The excited teen has to take a moment to calm himself. He may really have a heart attack. “I’ll give you the address to give to them, you guys need to please hurry here!”
“We will- and Ludwig... thank you.”
Unsure of how to respond he simply says that he’ll call them back. And hanging up the phone, he closed his eyes and prayed that his missing friend is still alive. An old photo is just that, an old existence. Anything could have happened between then and now. He hoped that wasn’t the case. And as he rode in with the police he prayed.
Every muscle. Every bone. Every vein. Every limb, hair, thought, a pulse of his heart- everything! screamed as it lay engulfed in flames. Yakusoku didn’t expect it. Never planned for it, or thought out the scenario where it might happen and what he would say or could do to prevent it. He never expected what happened to happen. Not from Maria. Not when he trusted her, not when things had gotten better between them.
He... She... Why? Why did this have to happen? The pain had been so great he’d thrown up from it! The broken pile of bones suspected some things had gone on whenever he was unconscious in the ward, and that made sense. But this... this did not. One little accidental kiss.
The captive male shifts to draw his legs into his chest for some bit of comfort. His scream rang out of his throat hard enough to tear his voice away. He had never felt a pain like that before- something was torn, and he’s bleeding badly from his ass.
It wasn’t a night-stick that she’d had. It turns out she’d been slamming a very large, very long dildo against the side table. The used and bloody strap-on is sitting on top of there right now. Mocking him. Showing off its size. And bragging about being the cause of his pain. The cuffs at his ankles rattle when he tries again to bring his knees up. How could he forget that he was cuffed? Exhausted beyond reason he used his gift to unlatch the cuffs from the bedpost. He doesn’t trust his exhausted mind to not mutilate his wrist and ankles. And surely enough the bedpost splintered apart before it shattered away from the cuff.
His heart beat heavily... Slowly. The pulses in his body drummed in his ears deafening him to all going on around him. He felt his throat tighten before a cough erupted out. Why is the air so suffocating? Steadying his breathing as best he could, he tries to calm himself down. But every move he makes is like being caught in a razor wind. It even hurts just to lie there. But he’s got to get up!
Slowly. One move at a time, he sits himself up. Closing his eyes, he takes in a deep breath and let it out slowly over the sharp pains riding up and down his spinal cord. Then the house came to life.
A smoke detector caught his ears first. The sight of black smoking rolling above his head came next. The strange warmth all over the room. The air is charged with heat and tension. The thick smell has his dry used up throat in a coughing fit and tasting fumes in the process. Yakusoku didn’t so much move to the floor as he dropped onto it; like a strange sort of squid, he slid himself across the floor towards the door.
‘Come on legs, work!’ But the pain is so intense that he’s afraid that he won’t ever be able to walk again! No, he has to!
Grunting, he shoves himself up on gummy-legs. Like a band-aid being removed, he threw himself into the fray and just gone. His weight fell to the side, but he held himself on the doorframe. Tsukiko. He has to get her! She probably doesn’t even know... Moving forward, painfully, he heads down the hall to Lucian’s room. He’s pleasantly surprised when Tsukiko walks out of the room; she doesn’t shy away from his nudity, instead runs straight to his kneeling form and into his arms hugging him.
“I thought you were gone!” She signed frantically when pulling away.
He shakes his head, signing back. “Not without you.”
Though he’s moving as though he’s got rigor mortis in his entire body and he very well may have with as cold as he. His shaking legs stand him up; Tsukiko grabbed a hold of him to help him walk, she can tell that he’s in immense pain. The girl’s seen it from time to time when Maria is in a bad mood, but it’s never been like this. He placed a hand behind the girl’s back steering her towards the stairs with him.
“Stay low, and don’t breathe in the smoke.”
But she’s already coughing. Hurriedly he leads her down the long stairway at his injured pace, nearly sending them both toppling over twice. When they reach the landing, Tsukiko hid behind Yakusoku because she sees Maria in the kitchen. Yakusoku was moving almost like he was in a dream, head cocked to the side and just watching as the girl flailed and smacked at a fire raging on the stove top, across the counter upper and lower. She’s not doing a very good job at putting the fire out; the funny thing was that she hasn’t grabbed the extinguisher yet. Looking to where it's always been since he’s seen it last year over the Spring, he notices that it’s gone. Who could have taken it? And why? When?
Tsukiko squeezing his hand caught his attention, and he looked down at her before kneeling. “Tsukiko, you have to run... you have to get out, and go get help.”
“You come too!” She signed to his mental conversation.
“I can’t. If Maria sees us both leave, she’ll hurt you.” He brushes her hair behind her ear. “I can hold her off. But you have to go. There’s a diner just down the hill... it’s cold, but you can make it. I know you can.”
“But I’m scared...”
“Don’t be. No one will ever hurt you again, you just have to get out of this house.”
Tsukiko’s face puckered as tears and snot welled, she’s going to cry. The braved Land’s calm demeanor is frightening her more than his panic would have.
“No. Don’t cry. I promise... everything will be alright now.” He nods. “But you just need to go.” Looking at the door he pulls it open with his gift.
Wind and snow stalked in like a mountain lion, hungry and prowling around them while deciding who’s the first to kill with its icy bite. Hugging her close for luck, he then shoves her towards the door.
She took off running at a full sprint, but stopped once she got a few feet out the door. Looking over her shoulder, Tsukiko wipes her eyes with the back of her hand when the only response to her nerves is Yakusoku waving his hands that she keep going. Looking past him her dark eyes grew huge with fright. Yakusoku turned in time to see the knife come down on him!
He slams the door shut with his mind and blocked the attack with his forearm. Crying out when the blade sliced into his arm, it’s quickly gripped to his bare torso to staunch the bleeding. Bad enough the captive male feels like he’s paralyzed from the waist down, and has simply been using his gift to move him, but now he’s gonna get the shit sliced out of him. And on top of that, there’s a fire raging on in the next room and at the moment is making its way out!
“Can’t we make up? You don’t really wanna do this to me- to us!” Yakusoku begs just receiving another slash, this one landed him on the shoulder. “I love you... and what happened between Ludwig and me was a mistake on his part, not mine.”
“You never loved me,” She hisses while looming over his cowardice scooting. “if you did, then you would have seen me. Not who I made you see.”
Now she’s really not making any sense. How has he not been seeing her? She’s right there! And he can see that’s she’s very blatantly pissed.
Raising the knife again she swung it down catching the blade over the right brow. It was like Maria were a mad painter using flesh, bone, and blood as her canvas for dark art. The knife swung at him and swung at him, and he blocked the slashes as much as he could. But his arms are getting sluggish and so is he. The toxic smoke in the air is making the bleeding backwards dancer woozy, and sleepy. How is Maria not affected? She was standing in there for who knows how long trying to put it out. But she seems as healthy as ever!
“Maria, please! We have to get out of here!” Yakusoku shouts to her unlistening mind. “This place is burning down! Don’t you see it!?”
His exposed face only took a knifing to the jaw, blinding him to everything else when it touched bone. The pain was too much and he was through. “I’m sorry... I’m sorry.” Yakusoku heard himself apologizing, unsure of to whom.
Yakusoku’s lowered head has blood running down over his face, he wasn’t in time with a backhanded swipe to keep it from getting into his eye. Rubbing it out only made the stinging worse! Blinking rapidly, he looks up when hearing a loud thump.
Maria’s weight collapsed beneath her dropping the demented girl to the floor. Either the smoke was catching up to her, or she’d suddenly felt his sincerity and gave up on trying to hurt him. It was... he can’t even explain it, but when looking at the girl he doesn’t see the Maria he knows. He’s seeing something- or rather someone else. What happened to her hair!?
The blonde... it’s brown! Her skinny frame, lanky and lean, is now plumpish and curvy. Not quite fat, but not thin. Her face is different as well, cruel but in a jaded sort of way and not the sadistic one he’s come to know. Who is this woman? Not girl- woman! His body begins to tremble from fear... It’s his horror. The realization... it’s Her!
“Fucking... dumb... fucking... ass...” The knife stabbed into the floor. “Why can’t he see me?”
“No, no, no, no, no...” He whispers.
“I should just kill him... be done with him, and start all over.” She whimpers to herself. “Blind stupid piece of shit. ...Just see me.”
“I can see you... just... fine,” Mamoru says.
Maria didn’t have much time to look up when she’s slammed into the wall over the couch. With a thud she hits the wall, denting it in from the force of the shove then she bounced off the couch and onto the flame-licked wood floor. Her scramble to get up and out of the line of fire was spastic and creepy beyond all reason as far as Mamoru’s watching green were concerned. But it was that distraction of looking at her which had him miss the drawer of knives hurling from the kitchen and in his general direction.
The alternate stumbled backward avoiding as many as he could, but he caught a trio to side, thigh, and handle to the bridge of his nose. It seems there’s going to be a psychic showdown with ‘house rules’. And if anyone’s seen I Dream of Jeannie they know that it means anything in the home can be hurled as a weapon.
But he didn’t need items in the home to help in his resolve. Mamoru just needs his abilities, and he threw the mother-load at her. He telepathically grabbed her by the throat and began tossing her about the room, just as Yakusoku tossed orderly Dan. Only difference is that he’s not doing it out of fear, he’s getting revenge! For every twist, turn, anger, grievance, and hardship he’s ever suffered.
“Ah!” Mamoru spat when the back of his head smacked into the door knob.
He didn’t know Maria was good enough to use her gift while being battered about. Hissing in pain and holding the back of his head, he glares at her. Mamoru’s only real sadness for the screaming woman is that that he’d eventually have to end this little game. But as Yakusoku said, the house is coming down on them.
“I’ll teach you to forget me! Piece of shit!” She cursed at him, from the heap on the floor she’s become.
He cried out when trying to stand. “Damn this body!” Mamoru yelled at no one.
Mamoru’s head popped into the front door when a knife whizzed by and stabbed the door clean through. Maria was at it again, sitting on the floor just a mess in her own blood and steadily darkening and swelling bruises. But for every knife she raised to him, he used his own gift to drop it back down to the floor. It was like a scary but beautiful knife storm with the rise and fall of cutlery.
“STOP IIIIIITTT!” Maria hollered.
“Make me!” Mamoru challenged.
The woman’s face contorted to an evil sneer, and she screamed at him like a lioness would roar into the Savannah. That scream seemed to piss off even the house because at that moment it dropped a large ceiling column onto her back pinning her to the floor beneath its flaming weight.
“Whoa.” Mamoru laughed out.
He watched with a grin as the orange and bright yellow flames burned the color and identity off the woman. The smell of her burnt body could bring down a stampede. How could this get any better?! Crawling forward, he looks at her pained face. Sorrow is in her gaze, and a frown is on her lips. One of her arms is trapped down at her side, but the free arm is extended out, her hand is reaching for him. And her silent voice is mouthing “Please! Please!” while her mind screams and screams.
Head cocked he looks at her curiously. Extending his own reach to her, he folds his fingers in when her fingers almost touch his. “Bitte... Bitte.” He mocked her dying pleads. Mamoru has to jerk his arm a bit farther back when she reached for the hoop of the cuff dangling from his wrist.
Her face looked confused and concerned at the strange language she’s hearing, and also hurt when seeing his mockery. Then Maria’s vision went blank, and her reaching hand hit the floor.
“Is she... Dead?” Yakusoku asks from beyond the recesses of his mind.
“Yeah, she’s dead.” Replied Mamoru.
A cold wind blew against his back and before he knew what was going on Ludwig is standing at his side, while cops and firemen rush in all around them. They’re removing the plank from Maria and pulling her free from beneath its trap. Offering Ludwig a blank stare his dual colored eyes then roll up to the burning ceiling and he’s tilting.