Halo Fourteen: F:
I was slowly dying away back then. They kept me in a cage in the basement of Chou Mori. I hated my existence. I should have died when they injected me with that light green fluid. I felt all of it, the moment I died. I had a seizure. My heart stopped. I had even stopped breathing. I heard the disappointment in his voice as I passed away. That should have been it.
But somehow, I came back.
I came back to life on that basement floor among the pile of bodies. I was so weak that I couldn’t move. But I heard everything just as clear as when I died. One by one, someone was taking the bodies and throwing them somewhere. My brain wasn’t back, but I could still feel the fear seizing my chest. This caused me to start breathing like I have been running for miles.
That drew one of the orderlies’ attention. His footsteps were a clear indication that my suffering would get worse. That pipe came down on my head about five or six times, yes I felt each blow, but I wouldn’t die. He gave up on trying to kill me and stuffed me in a cage.
For days, I couldn’t move. I lay there in that cold cage floating between death and life. They didn’t know what to do with me. They couldn’t kill no matter how many times they tried. Was this going to be my fate? Trapped in a cage for the rest of my life?
But then, an odd scent filled my nose. I couldn’t describe it other than the faint smell of mental. One little sniff was it took for my body to convulse. I shook as I started panting heavily. Once that cage door was opened, I shot out and crawled to the source. I licked up that blood on the ground like it was life-giving water. In that moment, I had sealed my fate.
Now, they used me to dispose of all the rejects of their twisted experiments. I ate all of the bodies. Something inside of me wouldn’t let me stop. The more I ate, the more I had to have. They were rather happy to keep feeding me. I hadn’t seen what I looked like since I was first captured. I probably looked like a fright. But the more I ate, the more my body started to heal. I could move more freely and my breathing became stable. My senses became sharper. I could see and hear things much better. I grew accustomed to the taste of flesh and blood. (That was I could eat after all.)
But, I still couldn’t speak.
I wasn’t human anymore. I didn’t act, think or speak like a human. I just knew that I was in a cage in a basement of Chou Mori. I wasn’t alone either. More like me started to fill the basement. They too ate the bodies of the dead rejects. What did they want to do with us? Why were we made? I didn’t want to think about the implications of our existence.
I tell you this as background to the decision I had made to survive.
Years later, I started to get back some of my humanity. I was more aware of my surroundings. The smells of the damp and blood made me want to vomit. They always kept the basement so dark. The classical music being played every day made me want to scream. I still couldn’t speak. I grew to resent everything that I had become. I would not let myself be doomed to this life in this body forever.
So, I just simply left my body.
It didn’t take so effect. My soul just left that hideous shell in its cage and flew away. That was the first time I saw what looked like. My skin looked so pale as my long black hair covered my face. Blood was stained on my clothes and my face. Such a sight made me shudder. I never wanted to see that body again.
With that, I flew away.
I flew above the city for months. It felt good to be in the sunlight again. The air smelt clean enough to shock me back into reality. Yes, this really did happen. I was free. I didn’t know what I was going to do next. I didn’t have to be in a cage anymore. Since I didn’t have a body, I wouldn’t need to eat corpses or blood anymore. I closed my eyes and took everything in.
I spent my days flying around Tokyo alone. I didn’t have to suffer through classical music day in and day out. Plus, there was no screeching of beasts in pain either. The cities had changed so much in the years before I was kidnapped and turned into a beast. I didn’t remember my life when I was human. That must have died when I died the first time. I didn’t think much about it. I just relished in the freedom.
Over time, I started to get lonely. I couldn’t explain what it was within me. I didn’t exactly need a friend per say. Someone to talk to would be nice. Float around above the city can only go on for so long. I began to listen for someone, anyone to reach out to me. I didn’t think someone would actually do it.
But one day, I heard the sound of a lady crying.
I looked down to see a bench near a park. I can’t exactly remember where this took place, but it was near a hospital. I saw a woman sitting on the bench sobbing. My heart ached for her so much that I floated down towards her. I didn’t think much about my appearance at the time. When the woman looked up, I paused. I had left my body years ago and was now a floating piece of empty space. What would she think of me?
To my surprise, she didn’t look scared at all.
“Hello?” she asked. I got a good look at her from this angle. She had on a nice lavender dress suit with pearl and gold jewelry. Her dark brown hair came down to her shoulders. Tears didn’t look good on her round face. I didn’t know what to say at first.
“Uh… hello…” I said. “Why are you crying?” The woman wiped away her tears. She moved her hands to her belly.
“I lost my baby today,” she said.
What happened to it?
“They said that the heart just stopped. The doctor said they don’t know what caused it.” Tears began to well up in her eyes. I gave her a puzzled look, not that she would be able to see my face.
Do you want a baby?
I don’t know why did this next. It just popped out. I wasn’t really thinking about it to be honest. I only realized what I had said after it came out.
I… can be your baby. Why did I say that? The woman of course gave me a strange look.
“What?” she asked. The way she asked that confirmed my fears.
The woman nodded with tears in her eyes.
So were you lying about wanting a baby before?
She quickly shook her head. “No, no, no. I do still want another child. You just surprised me like that.”
Will you take me as your baby?
Thank you. I bowed and disappeared back into the sky.
I ended up watching over this woman from the skies. She was an activist for mental patients. This woman worked to fight for the rights of the abuses taking place in Chou Mori. It’s almost ironic that she was fighting to shut down the place that turned me into a monster. She wanted to get the patients the help that they needed and have they treated like human beings. This woman was happily married to a man who worked for the same causes she did. They had a son about six years old. He has his little friend made origami cranes for the new baby that died on the die I met his mother. The family lived outside of Ikebukuro in Shibuya. She went to the doctors in Ikebukuro for the baby because of better care. I think that was the reason. It’s not relevant to the story.
I met that woman in April when the cherry blossoms were in full bloom. Three weeks later, she had her deceased baby removed from her womb. I saw the child’s underdeveloped body. It would’ve been a boy and he would’ve been born in November. The woman kept a brave face in the days leading up to this moment. But at home, she broke down. One night, that woman cried for twenty minutes straight in what was going to be the baby’s room. I wanted to reach out and comfort her.
We made a promise for me to become her new baby. When was I going to act on it? Through the spring and summer, no day felt right. First, I had to let her grieve. Her work seemed to help her keep going. I whispered to her to talk to someone about her loss. Aside from our promise, I had grown to care about this woman. I was realized that she finally talked to a support group about her miscarriage.
I grew closer to her and her family. But, I still felt distant from them. I didn’t know how to describe why this was so. Probably because I was afraid of something. I couldn’t put my finger on it. But, I knew that I couldn’t keep her waiting. On November sixth, I made good on my end of the promise. This was the day that the other child would’ve been born. It just felt right to pick out that particular day. I remember that night so well too. I was floating above the city as per usual. Only, something was a little bit different. The hazy lights below came from couple in copulation. I couldn’t see exact detail, just the hazy of outlines of people. It was then I had to go “home”. The warmth drew me closer to that woman’s apartment. I was drawn straight to her bedroom. She and her husband were in the middle of their own copulation while their son slept in his room across the hall. That woman lay on her back with her gaze at the ceiling. I felt myself descending towards her. I travelled down between her thighs.
“Come inside me,” she whispered to her husband as it slowly grew dark around me.
It was like being in the cage in the basement, but this was different. Everything was dark. I was used to the darkness by now. Only, this place felt so much warmer. Like there was love surrounding me. If I could smile, I would. I made it in. She didn’t know I was here yet. That woman would have that second child she wept over months earlier. I couldn’t wait to feel her reaction.
Three weeks later, she started to feel the symptoms. I couldn’t see or hear anything from inside of her. But, I could feel her emotions. At first, she felt uncertain about this happening for a third time to her. I predicted what was coming next. The test, the waiting, and the results. She did all of those and I felt her excitement run through my non-existent body. But with that excitement came fear.
What if I lose this one too? I can’t bear to lose another one. What will I do if that happens?
It’s okay. I won’t go anywhere. You will carry me to full-term. I will see you in the summer.
That woman told her husband, I’m sure of it. I could only feel her emotions. I didn’t even have a body. That was going to change gradually. At the moment, I rested in my warm cage. Every day, she kept watch over me through the doctors. I could hear how anxious she was. I wanted to give her some sign that I would survive and be born. The only thing I could do was wait.
The months wore on and my new body began to develop. This actually excited me. I could have feet and hands again. Every little body of me took shape. I had been so long since I had an actual body. It wasn’t just my limbs forming either. My own heart started beating too. I began to hear the sounds of the outside as well. I could feel everything from the outside from that woman’s belly. My warm cage wasn’t so dark anymore. The soft colors washed over my little developing body. They didn’t go slowly either. I had to struggle to keep up with each one. It felt like they were dancing. I moved around to take in the warmth around me. That woman would say that she could feel me kicking inside of her. I still couldn’t see. My eyes hadn’t fully developed yet. I was still happy to have a new home, family, and body of my own.
It all clicked together when that woman and her husband when in for a check-up about four to five months in. I could barely understand what was being said, but I felt how happy she was to see me on the screen for the first time. She held her husband’s hand.
“It’s so beautiful,” she said. “I love it.” Right then, I grew to call that woman ‘mother’, her husband ‘father’, and their son ‘brother’. Mother would talk to me every day. She said that she loved me and couldn’t wait to meet me. I felt the same way about her. As good as this sounded, I realized something around the end of the eighth month.
Once I was born, I would lose myself for good. I wouldn’t remember all of my suffering back at Chou Mori. But, I wouldn’t remember meeting my mother before she conceived me. I wouldn’t remember watching over her life. I didn’t know how I could handle this. I wanted to meet my mother again, but I wouldn’t remember her anymore. After weeks of pondering this, I grew to accept this trade-off.
I was going to be born in July. Mother carried me to full term with no problems. There was a miscarriage scare about six weeks in, but I was fine. By the thirtieth, I knew that it was time. That day was supposed to be important to mother and father. She was going to give a speech at a luncheon today. I could feel how excited she was all day. Father tried to get her to calm down and take it easy.
“You look like you’re about to pop at any moment now,” he said. I loved the sound of my mother’s laughter.
“I will be fine,” she said. “I just need to do the speech and then I’ll sit down. You don’t have to worry about me.” Father gave her a quick kiss.
“You’re going to do good,” he said.
“Thank you,” my mother said.
“Are you ready to go?” my father asked.
“Yes,” she said. He took her by the arm and off we went. The location of the luncheon felt so warm as I felt the sun shining down on mother’s belly. She was mostly in a good mood talking to the people there. They touched the outside of my cage as they talked to me. Close to nine months and I still wasn’t used to that. Luckily, my father got them off of me. The rest of the luncheon went well. I got to enjoy some of the food my mother ate. I could feel the butterflies in her stomach as she counted down to the speech. She’s going to do well. I’ve seen her give the speech several times. This would be nothing new to her.
Finally, my mother goes up to the front and gives her speech to all of the people in the crowd. Just as predicted it starts off well. But then in the middle of it, her water broke. It was then I knew that the time had come. As my mother was rushed to the hospital, I readied myself to disappear and reborn as a human. I had already accepted that I wouldn’t remember anything about myself or my time leading up to now. I took comfort in knowing that I would get to meet my mother again and embrace her love to the fullest. I am ready now.
On July 30th at 9:57 p.m., a baby girl was born to Hashimoto-san and her husband. It was love at first sight to her mother. Once the chord was cut, life began.
The second-time parents named their new daughter Chiharu.