Tea Leaves and Diamond Bracelets


Match Three: Amabie:

Kiku found himself in a familiar place. Only, it gets darker each day. It doesn’t happen right away either.

“It’s not that bad,” she tells him. Her voice made her shudder each day. She was the cause of his pain. This woman him the beauty of Lucifer himself. Sure, she looked elegant with her long dark red hair and long red dress. Her glowing red eyes made his stomach turn.

“Why must you look so sick when you see me?” she asked. “I haven’t done anything to physically hurt you.” She speaks in lies. She may “love” him, but he doesn’t see it that way. No, this was not love. Kiku drew his knees to his chest.

There are floating days. There are bad days. Then are days where the nightmare goes on and on.

All of yesterday was a nightmare day.

It started out as one of those rare times he slept. (Ha, him sleeping? That almost never wants to be around him anymore. It’s like even that can sense he has become toxic.) Kiku woke up alone in his futon. Sena let him a note on her pillow.

“I headed out. Please get some rest. Also, please eat something.”

Kiku’s heart sank as he read the note. He stopped being able to hide the pain from Sena. Things grew worse after she saw the Woman in Red for the first time. His wife added like nothing happened. But Kiku could see traces of fear in her eyes. They barely speak to each other anymore. If Kiku looked closely, he could see her trembling.

“I am fine,” she would tell him. He shook his head. No, you have seen what hell comes with her. Turn away before it gets worse. She keeps pulling me further down.

Kiku only saw the darkness as he sank further into the Woman in Red’s trap. He tried to grasp the light, but it fell out of his reach. He could see her hand pushing him further down.

Sena wouldn’t let him leave the house. She had already told everyone that he was taking the day off.

“You don’t need to be out,” Sena said. “Try and get some rest tomorrow, okay?” She kissed him on the forehead before going to bed. Unfortunately, not being at work just made things worse. She only came out when he was alone. She didn’t leave him alone that.

But, the Woman in Red brought more with her.

He’s trapped between two hells. The present one is starting to show cracks. Their voices sound so faint. Kiku could still make out what they were saying.

Are you okay, man?

You don’t look so well.

What is going on with you?

Have you been eating?

Talk to me, please.

He can’t reach out. Kiku knew that he could get help if he would just ask for it. But, she had his hands over his mouth.

“I can’t let you tell them about me,” she purred in his ear. “That would spoil my surprise.” His eyes darted behind him. His captor smiled like a hungry cat.

Then, there is his past life.

The young bride tried to a good wife to him. His father needed this marriage to work. She and her new husband felt awkward around each other. He wasn’t used to talking to real people, especially girls. It didn’t help that she looked so cute. She was always so patient with him.

“It’s nice to meet you,” the bride said the day before the wedding. “I hope you treat me well.” He looked at her with a puzzled look on his face. Somehow, he ended up hurting her. He couldn’t remember saying a day where she wasn’t crying. He didn’t know how to fix the problem. The more and more he tried, the worse the problems became. The family’s money started dwelling down. Just before the end, they had lost almost everything. On top of that, the wife’s health circled the drain. The final straw was when her hair start falling out.

He ended up pushed up to the only way out.

Kiku pulled back to reality, panting. A hand rested atop his head. The Woman in Red smiled down at him.

“This type of thing is normal,” she said. “I know you didn’t mean to hurt her like that.” Kiku looked up at her.

“Why are you showing me this?” he asked.

“That’s not just me, my love,” that vile woman said. “Your past is coming back to you just as clear as ever as all of the gates are being opened.”

“I don’t want to see this!”

“It can’t be helped. Your old memories will keep flowing into your head. You will soon have the whole picture once my power comes back.”

Kiku began to tremble. “And what am I supposed to do with all of that?”

“That’s up to you,” she said. She leaned down and kissed him again. He wanted to push her away. When did she break him down that much? He was supposed to be the strong and silent man in his family. Kiku would even try to stand up to Sena when he felt that she was out of line. He could stand his ground when the need called for it. But with this woman…

“Aw,” she said. “Why are you so scared of me?” She pulled him into her arms. “You shouldn’t be afraid of me like that. You and I will be getting really close soon.”

“Let me go,” he said in a soft voice.

“Hm?” she asked.

“Please… let me go,” Kiku pleaded. She gave him a sweet little pout as she shook her head.

“I’m afraid I can’t do that,” she said. “You know why.” Kiku lowered his head. He hated to admit it, but she was right. She keeps digging her claws in deeper into him. She dragged him further into his darkness. This path didn’t seem to have an end either. He kept sinking further and further down.

But he won’t be alone for long.

“There will be others following you,” she said. Kiku shook his head quickly.

“No!” he cried.

“That’s how it is,” she said. Her words stung worse than before. He wanted to run, but he wouldn’t get far. The other countries won’t have much luck either.

“I’m home!” Sena called from the front door. Kiku and the Woman in Red turned her head.

“Oh, she’s home again,” she purred. “I might have to pay her another visit soon.”

“Please… don’t. Leave her alone. She isn’t involved with this.”

“Too late. She’s already seen me. And believe it or not, she’s starting to see my world closing in on her as well.”

Kiku shook his head, trembling. “No…”

“Kiku?” another woman’s voice asked. The Japanese man turned to see Sena standing in the doorway, staring at him.

“Darling?” she asked. “What’s the matter? Did you have another episode?” Sena ran over to her husband. She tried pull him into her arms.

“No!” Kiku shouted.

“Darling?” his wife asked.

“Please…” He huddled up into a ball and trembled. “Stay away from me. She’ll pull you into the darkness too and corrupt your soul! Please stay away from me! I am toxic!”

“What are you talking about?” Sena asked. Kiku buried his head in hands. His wife wanted to reach out and touch him.

“Just… please…” Kiku pleaded. His wife took a step back with her hand to her chest.

The Woman in Red watched them from the other side of the room, smirking.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.