A long while ago, when I was young I remember my grandfather telling me a load of shit.
Well, at the time I believed it was. Still in pigtails any talk other than fantasy tales seemed boing and pointless. But one day he trapped me. I recall being cornered in the kitchen, with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich smashed between my fingers. My cheeks were stuffed with sticky goodness.
My grandfather was an older gentleman. With the proper manners of a wise farmer and the heart of devoted father which earned him respect over the years. With hunched shoulders and a slight limp he made his way towards me. His slippers squeaked with every step.
"Let me give ya some advice, kid." He would say.
I took a sip of milk.
"Its hard work raising kids." He sighed as he took a seat in a small iron chair, "Boys are difficult. Why do you think that is, kid?" He asked me. The wrinkles made him look squinty, but I knew my grandfather and the softy he truly was.
I shrugged. Then proceeded to take another chomp out of my sandwich.
"Its difficult cuz, you never want your boy to grow up harsh or barbaric. You know? You don't want him rude and unruly. None of that laziness to plague him either." He let out a grumbled cough. I chewed slowly savoring every bite of my meal. My attention else where.
"But you don't want to baby him 'ither. You want your boy to be a man. To have some wits about him and know when to throw a punch. To know how to protect his family, but still be a daddy in the evening." My grandfather scratched his white wavy hair. He whistled which usually snapped me out of my daze. Then he lightly pointed an aged finger at me.
"Remember, you don't ever want to break a boy's spirit."
"What a load of horse shit." I whispered to myself. The class lecture was long and bordering on painful. My back was aching from leaning over my desk. And my thighs screamed at me to get up and move. I watched the clock.
Yup, still an hour left.
I groaned. Was an education really that important? I starred at the front of the classroom where the professor was purposely speaking a foreign language…math. I looked at the messy scribbles of infinite formulas etched into the board. Then I glanced at my notebook to realize all I had were doodles.
I sighed. Convincing myself that I was on the verge of a headache, I closed my book and a quickly packed up and exited the torture chamber. Though, the outside was not fantastic either. Dark clouds loomed over the town and before long I found myself caught in down pour. Wonderful.
With soaked hair I briskly headed down the street. Rain coated my face and drenched me down to the bone. After a ten-minute walk I surrendered to the storm and found myself pushing open a glass door to a familiar café.
A cool gust of air greeted my chilled body and I shivered before the warmth of the building chased away the cold. I wasn't the least surprised to see the place booming with business, Anteiku was a popular place in the evenings. With wet shoes I headed towards the bar stools and took a seat.
Distant thunder roared outside.
"Are you blind, F/N?"
"The usual please- thanks for asking." I gave an annoyed grin. The waitress huffed the proceeded with her abrasive lecture.
"F/N, you want to kill someone? Seriously, look at the damn floor!" She pointed in the direction of my previous path. I slightly turned in my chair to see the puddles of footprints.
"Where's my coffee?" I asked with a fake shock on my face.
"F/N, you cause me more work than needed. Instead of money why don't you pay with labor for once? Teach you the meaning of work." She stomped off. I could have sworn smoke had erupted out of her ears.
"Don't be mad because I go to class and you don't." I gave a smirk. The waitress fumed as she pored the hot liquid into a small cup. She shoved the drink in my direction with such force it nearly toppled over. "Cream. Sugar." I commanded. A loud gruff of agitation echoed before my sides where handed to me.
I scooped multiple spoonfuls of sweetness into my drink when the angry waitress returned. Her arms firmly planted on the counter before she leaned close to me.
"You know that's not true, N/F. Because I know you don't really attend class." She glanced at the cloak, "Because normally- you don't get here until around 6:10. Its only 5." This time she had the privilege to smirk.
"Hence the reason I never question why we are such good friends, Touka. Cheers!" I sarcastically chimed as I raised my cup.
My friend simply rolled her eyes. She grabbed a recently clean glass and began whipping the moisture out with a rag.
"So- weren't feeling the mathematics today, huh?"
I added another pinch of sugar and then drowned my drink in the crème, "Like taking a drill to your head. You would know if you attended. Why don't you come with me? We can be prisoners together."
"I have no place for school. Not my thing." She looked at me, "Not really your thing either." I laughed before taking a sip.
"Agreed. Just need to please the parents before I'm off to explore the unknown. Well, clarify, I will go wherever my art takes me."
Touka finished with her current glass, then quickly snatched another. All she did was clean. I could never work here.
"I see your point. But you should really take class more seriously. You are enrolled in a top collage and have the funds to breeze through without care! And yet, you still want to float along with being an artist? Really, N/F get your priorities straight." I raised a brow of amusement.
"Alright, mom. Go out of state to escape and instead I get her clone before me." I gesture at my frowning friend. "Besides, you don't like school anyway. When have you ever cared?"
Touka went silent.
I pursed my lips, "Say-" I decided to change the topic, "Haven't seen that new guy around. You know the one with the dark hair who wore that goofy eye path?" A small snicker escaped my lips. "Where's the charming greater?" Touka seemed to fumble with her words.
"Ah well- he-he um, he left." She wiped the glass harder. I pinched my brows together.
"Quite? Him-really?" I had to say I was a little stunned. Touka simply nodded.
"Why?" I asked.
Touka jolted from a daze, "Huh?"
"Why did he leave?" I placed my empty cup back on the counter.
"I don't know. Complications I guess." She finished her drying duty. Then pulled out a new puffy towel and began scrubbing the bar I was at.
"Wow, first school, then an eye patch, then a disappearance from work." I tisked my tongue.
Being typically annoyed Touka she mumbled a 'what'.
"You know what this means don't you." I whispered. Touka squinted up her face and shook her head. "He's a terrorist."
And with that I received a frown from my friend and a bill.
The rain had yet to cease. It was as if a curse had decided to plague me home. My boots splashed tiny pools of water along the way. Cars honked and lights flickered as the town came to life. The day was ending but the Friday night was revving up.
I rounded a corner and traveled under an overpass. I envied those who could afford a taxi. Though I justified the empty wallet on money well spent at both the café and art market. However, not sharing my ideals with my parents would be a better plan. In between mutters of whines I had not realized the dwindling of people.
I hardly ever walked home in the evening. Usually I found a ride or at rare times crashed at a friend's place. I was experiencing first hand the creepiness of being alone. Honestly, could you blame me? The reports of Ghouls roaming the streets were enough to send shivers through your blood.
"Gross. Can't imagine being gnawed on by one of those things. Yuck!" I gagged at the thought. My feet continued to carry me onward. Suddenly, my pocket vibrated. I turned my attention to my phone's screen when I realized it was none other than my mother.
Her short message read;
: Honey, reminder we will be visiting this Sunday. Will see you around noon. I've bought toilet paper ;)xoxoxo
I let out a sigh. I loved her but the last sentence did not need to be in print. My fingers started to send a reply when a strange sound caught my ears. My legs slowed. The air was still even though the sky never stopped crying. It wasn't the rain from the rooftops I heard or the motors from the cars down the way.
It took me a moment to register the noise. Was that breathing? I hesitated. My hands drifted to my sides as I did a 360 spin. I did a speedy surveillance of the area however; I was not surprised when I didn't discover anything. I wanted to shrug off the weird feeling in my gut. You know-that little voice that tells you to run? But, I figured I was overreacting. Besides, Ghouls were just a theory, right?
A crash of metal tins clamored to my right. I froze. The husky deep breathing felt as though it was looming over my shoulders. It tickled like a buzzing bug. I swatted at my ears hoping that was the cause of the peculiar sound. Oddly enough- it did stop. But only for a second before the annoy noise returned.
My eyes caught sight of dark shadow. A figure? My unnerving stomach twisted. I starred as the body's flickering frame from under a broken light. For a moment, I wondered if my eyes were playing tricks. Was I just imagining? That thought was cut short quickly.
I nearly screamed when I saw a long thick tentacle wiggle out of the shadow. Its pulsing red skin snaked around the air like a shark looking for pray. After a few stumbles I bolted down the side walk. My heart hammered my chest. I could feel my lungs constricting rapidly for air. My heavy feet were doing their best to carry the shaking weight.
I was about to prepare myself to jump the approaching chain link fence when my ankle was encased with a bulkily warm muscle. I yelped as I tumbled to the ground. My chin smacked the pavement with a loud, thud. My fingers clawed at the cement as my body was being dragged backwards. The scrapping of my skin, the burning sensation I felt in my arms and knees seemed like an after thought. Under my fingernails blood seeped out and streaked the terrain before me.
Tears pricked my eyes. Pain-death-those were stories you hear on the news or saw in movies. They weren't suppose to happen to ordinary students, to happy people, to me!
"H-Help! Someone Help!" I chocked out.
Unexpectedly, my body was slammed against the brick wall. My head spun after the collision. My wrists were bound by the same texture from around my ankle and there I was... pressed against the wall-a helpless victim. My body began to ache as my vision started to come to. I wanted to pass out. I didn't want to see my death.
"Pl-Please-no-please!" A single blood shot eye starred at me, "Oh God- no-no please!" I squirmed and begged. I nearly bashed my own brain out thrashing about. The flickering bulb from before seemed to angle the light enough for me to catch a glimpse of my attacker.
The highlights of their silver white hair shinned from the pouring rain. Their unshadow skin was almost iridescent looking compared to the evening day. I could see slender lips growing hungry. I hoped it was the rain and not salivation leaking from the corners.
"Please, let me go! I-" My cries were cut off when a pair of human arms were braced against the wall, one on each side of my head.
I was caged.
Hyperventilation set in. My breathing turned raspy and shallow. I could feel my chest tighten in fear. I was causing my own suffocation. I couldn't breathe!
"Shhh." My attacker whispered.
I shook my head. My adrenaline was radiating through me. My body temp soared and my gut turned like a blender. Dying was one thing. But dying this way…
He leaned in, his cool breath lightly touching my neck, "Don't squirm. It will only make more of a mess." His words were blunt. No mercy were hinted in them.
"No-No-no!" tears poured from eyes, "This isn't happening! Help-Help!" I desperately tried to pry my wrists free. It hurt- all of it hurt. "Let go-" I whinned.
His moist tongue gently trailed down my jugular vein toward my collarbone. I cried. I wasn't going to fake not being scared. I wasn't unrealistic; I never saw myself as a stoic person. I was afraid more like terrified. The thought of being consumed, feeling my flesh torn apart, blood spilling down the street, the idea of the police having to find my lifeless body. Was I even a good enough person to live on in a next life?
I wasn't ready. I couldn't picture myself not getting to see my friends, my family, and my parents. My lip quivered at the idea of not being able to hug my mom ever again. Her warm embrace would fade away like my soul. I could picture the police having to make my mom confirm my body. Her weak knees would give out at the sight of my half mulled corpse.
Through sobs I pleaded, "Please- Please let me just send a message. One message-" My attacker halted. His tongue's slimy trail pulled away. But his head never rose to meet my tear stained face.
"It will be over shortly. I will try to be quick." A rough hand grabbed my throat under my jaw. Slowly my head was tilted to give him a better angle.
"Wait! Please-I just-I just want to tell my mom I love her. " I felt his hand slightly loosen. "I never really-" I swallowed a lump, "we don't talk much anymore. And I want her to know that she really means that much to me. I love her. Please, I just want to send that to her. Just one last time." I sniffed my congested nose. And let out a wheezing breath. It took all my nerve to deliver that conversation.
He was silent.
It was almost worse than hearing about my death. I inhaled deeply before turning my phone over in my palm. A tense hand stopped my movements.
"I promise-"My voice was low, "its just that message."
The flickering light bounced towards us once more. Slowly, my attacker's head lifted from the crease of my neck. His heavy eyelid gave him a stern look. His Ghoul eye was still as menacing as before and his white bangs were plastered to his forehead. The rain pounded down as we stared at one another. Both creatures locked in a dual.
"Be the person who gets hurt, she said." My eyes widen as my predator removed his tentacle arms from around my limbs. My frame skidded down the brick. My weary feet were still standing and my hand managed to cling to my phone. I wanted to dial for help. I wanted to screech for someone. My lungs were burning to erupt a cry.
But I remained stiff -my body refusing my mind's desires.
I watched as his hand lifted mine. His crimson orb eyed my bleeding fingers. I bawled my hand into a fist. I did my best to prevent any of my digits from being appetizers. With his power he opened my hand again. The red liquid dripped down my skin. His tongue appeared again. I shut my eyes hoping to forget about the pain to come. I felt that wet horrid texture devour the spill from my wounds. I cringed.
Each finger, on each hand was tenderly wiped clean. However, the shakes in me never left.
"Don't be the person who hurts others." He quietly spoke.
My eyes spot open. His wispy white hair was the only image I saw before he fled.
I stood there, alone.
The sky still cried.
Sorry for the lack of editing. Too busy. Characters have been added to fit the style of the story.