I was overly warm.
My body heat was so unbearable I nearly fainted back into my unconscious. I had barely sat up when I rapidly untangled myself out of the blanket and covers that surrounded me. My forehead dripped with perspiration. My gut felt empty, almost hollow as if I had sweated all the fluid out of me. My legs draped over the side of the bed. Soaked from the bubbling fever, my body leaned over like a wet noodle.
I couldn't control myself. I wasn't thinking of anything other than getting out of those thick suffocating clothes. I flung myself off the bed and zoomed to the door. The sweat trickled down my neck and clumped into my matted hair. Funny-my memory had not register with me until my hand jiggled the knob to the exit.
Now, I recalled everything. My heart hammered at the thought. He, the Ghoul, was still here. The storm, the walk home, the injuries, I glanced at my dried blood nails, were all-real. He was real. He was here! I twisted and jerked on the handle. My ticket to freedom wasn't letting me pass. I bit my lip so hard that I managed to peel another layer of skin off.
"Damnit! Common-Common! Please-" My pitiful whines were pointless. The heat continued to swell inside me. I was boiling so badly I could have been an oven for a row of pies. I leaned my head against the door. My skull rolled over the wood, hoping-praying that some wave of coolness would happen.
Forgetting everything, I pushed myself off the door and began stripping off my top and pants. Instantly, my temperature dropped to a more comfortable range. I grabbed a cool sheet from the bed and sprawled myself out the floor. I lay there panting as the invisible steam evaporated off. There was nothing more I could do. I was a victim, a prisoner. I felt so defenseless, venerable even in my own home. Even here- I couldn't go to my bedroom and retrieve the proper clothes I wanted. I was confined, sealed like tight like an envelope in this damn room because of him!
As my back rested on the floor it dawned on me-I was alone.
This startled me more so than him actually being here. It left the eerie feeling of the unknown. Which was, in my opinion like a silent death sentence. Out of sight he was unpredictable. It was the same ideals he had about me. I weakly raised a hand to my neck. I winced. Soreness stretched from under my jaw to a couple of inches down. Why did this part of me hurt?
For the last half hour I had checked every nook and crack in the room. I peered around every piece of furniture, searched the closet, and even went as far as to tare the bed apart. No phone.
The window, my first try at escape, was somehow bared or magically glued shut. I nearly dislodged my shoulder blades attempting to pry those shutters open. The strange part wasn't just waking up alone, but the fact of how sporadic my confinement was.
"The window is perfectly thought out but-" I toyed with the door knob once more, "this-this isn't." I examined it more closely.
After hours of lying around, blaming the universe, and pitying myself I decided that complaining wasn't going to save me. Neither was allowing my sickness of nerves going to be the reason I would die. I collected myself. I fixed my clothes back on and began plotting. If the police had to find my body they would see I fought until the end. Mom would know I at least tried…
I leaned my ear closer to the handle.
Click, click, snap.
Click, click, snap, went the knob again.
"This isn't locked." My eyes went wide, "Oh my god!" Relief washed over me. Exit. There was an exit! That's all that mattered at the moment; there was a way out. For the fist time since yesterday a smile spread on my face.
"I must have missed it earlier!" I shocked myself when a tiny laugh erupted from me. I was beyond giddy. I was getting out of here. I was already picturing myself running down the road and into the arms of protectors. I was going to see my friends and family again. I was going to live! Before I could walk on Cloud 9 any longer my heart sank.
"Wait-no-no-no!" I kept yanking on the door. I leaned all my weight back but nothing. I stopped. Clenching my teeth I let out a round of curses. This was the door that had been hinged on backwards. "It swings into the room and out into the hallway." I kicked the base. My anger boiled like a pot on the stove.
Thunder still roared in the distance.
"Son of a bitch-" I swore. I should have known he wouldn't slip up that easily. My brows pinched together. "Then how did he-?" I went to my knees, doing my best not to fall from my still pounding head, and glanced under the gap between the door and the floor. I could somewhat make out a type of barrier. Was that the legs of the table from my bedroom? Without a moments hesitation I staggered to my feet and shoved with all my might.
I got winded frequently, however after several strenuous heaves my passage started to budge. The table groaned as it rubbed against the carpet. Another round and I was finally able to widen the door enough to fit threw. I knew it was strange. I mentioned it earlier how odd it was that the window was so perfectly executed where as this, the main route of freedom, was so pathetically fixed.
I had to swallow another sticky lump that had balled in my throat. Was this wise?
"Common-F/N. You've got to move-you've got to go!" I commanded myself to lift my heavy limbs. It took every power in my body not to ditch this idea. The haunting fear suddenly leached onto me. Ignoring my warning gut I pushed myself threw the narrow crack. I held my breath as I crept into the hallway.
No source of orange light was visible anywhere. I had to bit my lip and squeeze my hands to keep myself moving forward. It was as if I was a blind person walking a maze. I started to gain courage once I realized my attacker wasn't in site. Everything looked normal. It was quiet just like when I woke up. Had he left? With shocking pins of adrenaline I managed to gain the strength to half trot down toward the main room.
I came to the edge of the wall's corner. I took multiple breaths to refuel my tense muscles. I went to take a step forward and nearly wet myself when the arch of my foot met with a foreign object. I gasped. Daring myself I allowed my eyes to look.
There staring back at me was my grinning screen.
"No way." I whispered. I couldn't believe my sight. I bent down and snatched my phone like I spotted gold. With darting fingers I pressed all the keys that was going to send aid.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
I let my guard down as I ventured toward the kitchen. I had the police on the line and everything was going to be fine. My reassurance got the better of me.
"911 what's your emergency?" A dual women's voice asked.
"Yes-yes-hello. I'm reporting an attack that happened today-no yesterday. Yeah-yesterday by the corner-no-" I fumbled.
"Miss- I'm going to need you to slow down. Are you in any current danger?" She asked calmly and orderly. Embarrassment flooded me. I was sounding like a child.
I sighed, "No."
"Alright, let me start again. What's your name?"
"F/N, L/N." I replied to her question as I neared the kitchen table.
"F/N, can you explain to me in order what happened?"
"Yes-I was-" I never got the next words out since in less than a second I was no longer standing up. My spine had smacked the title floor. I hissed in pain.
"Miss? Hello-Miss?" I heard the other line call. My phone slid slightly from my grasp, as I weakly propped myself up on my elbows. The soreness pounded my back.
"Ow. Ow-Ow-" I could barely breath. The fall had knocked the wind out of me. However, It took me only a second to adjust. I scooted my arms forward then my skin crawled with horror. A wet stocky substance slimed under my weight. I lifted my hand to my face. Queasiness stirred in my stomach. My mouth went dry as I recognized the dark thick liquid drenched on my palm.
"O-oh god." My shaking lips mustered.
"Hello? Miss are you ok? Hello-" The operator's voice was only background noise. My body was jolted upright in a flash. However, trying to get up was like keeping sea legs on a ship. My feet slipped and twisted out from under me. I managed to grip the table but only for a second before I fell frontwards into the mess. My torso and neck were coated in the murky stench. I squealed as I frantically got to my feet.
My lungs were about to burst as I noticed the blood was no small spot. The sight was so disturbing I turned to my side and spit up any fright I had. The scarlet lake flooded under the entire kitchen table and beyond.
"Holy shit! Oh my god. Oh my god!" I screamed. My stained hands wrapped around me as I skidded backwards. It wasn't just blood, it was a massacre of decapitated body parts.
Legs, arms, organs, flesh covered a massive portion of the kitchen.
I tripped onto the carpet. The terror pulsed through me. I wasn't going to live past this nightmare. I can't do this… I can't do this… I'm going to die…. A gushing noise of chomping teeth knocked into my conscious. My shoulders instantly rose and shivers of imaginary ants scattered down my spine.
"Oh, F/N-" His voice spoke in between chews.
With clamped eyes I shook my head. My stained body refused to look to my left. I heard another slurp of flesh being sucked down. I can't do this… But I did. I managed to spin my frame to the side to see the monster before me ripping the tissue out of a corpse. My jaw dropped.
My attacker sat on the floor, meal in hand, a stern expression chiseled on his face.
"I didn't want you to see me like this." He spoke through overflowing mouthfuls. He gulped a final chew before taking his sleeve and attempting to wipe the waterfall from his lips. He stood up smoothly. His Ghoul eye burned into me. "I was hoping you would just sleep through it all." His words were not of endearment.
My defensive instincts kicked in as I eyed the smiling steak knife on the counter. It was in arm's reach and without hesitation I gripped it with intent to kill.
"Miss! Miss-Hello! Are you in danger? Hello-are you there?" The phone screeched.
"Stay away from me." I said through chattering teeth. My predator simply glared.
"You called for help?" His voice was heated.
"That-That's right. They're coming. They know you're here!" I yelled. My knife was pointed directly at him.
"You called the police-" His brows pushed down as his jaw clenched tighter. "Fantastic." He said deeply sarcastically. The hair stood up on my neck.
In a blink, the creature flashed around me. His body no longer in front instead I sensed him from behind. "Back off!" I spun on my heel and stabbed my weapon into his chest. I was mortified to see the knife lay shattered in the pool of blood. Its once grinning shine was now soaked in crimson. My wrists were instantly gripped and shoved above my head. I yelped in pain.
"I should have known you would have woken up." My attacker's unhappy voice was apparent. I wormed under his hold. My fever returned. I could feel the nausea and sweltering heat brewing in me. "I'll hold you tighter next time."
"Let go!" Even through sickness I swung a hefty kick at him. Though it did little good.
"You're really making me lose my temper." Suddenly I was shoved to the floor. I skidded in the mess once again. I tried to stagger to my feet but resistance was bared onto me. I familiar hand dug into my shoulder. A slimy intestine coiled at my side.
I watched as the enemy picked up my phone. He checked the screen before handing me the device. I nervously took it. Why would he hand me this?
She was still there.
"Try to sound convincing." Were his calm words to me. I desperately fought to get away from him. I wasn't gong to listen.
"Please-Help-" Without warning a stinging pain burst from the hold he had on me. I hacked at the sudden onset agony. I couldn't even voice a scream.
"Now, if you don't think I won't shred you to pieces your wrong. " The tips of his nails dug deeper. I tucked my chin to my chest holding back any yelps that were brewing to escape. Using the phone he lifted my chin. "You're fine." He motioned for me to take the device. Stifling both aid urges and hissing pain I pressed the phone to my ear.
"Hello?" I asked with my voice choking.
"Oh miss! Is that you? Are you alright?" Worry was blaring in her tone. My eyes locked with my attacker and I was reminded where I stood.
"I-" The Ghoul clenched my shoulder harder, "Yes ma'am. I'm fine."
"Are you sure? Sounded like a crash? I can send an ambulance and police-" I cut her off.
"N-No that won't be necessary. I was just moving things and a box fell. Please-Please don't send anyone." I purposely sounded stressed. I prayed to god she would figure it out. My attacker knew and leaned in closer, daring me to make any more stupid moves.
"Miss-Miss I really think it's best if I go ahead and send for help." Her concern was making me on edge.
"No!" I yelled. There was a long pause on both ends. My capture starred and me as my eyes darted and my mind tried to think of a solution. "I-I have company over."
"Miss, it really won't take that long to send someone. Just hang on a sec and I'm sure your company will understand-" The operator was stuck in her job's protocol. I wanted to pull my hair out. My rescuer was going to be the cause of my death!
"No you don't understand. I-I-" I paused, "My family's over and if they find out I do drugs there going to kill me." I weakly lied.
Never had there been a more awkward tense scenario in my life.
I held my breath.
"Well Miss if-"
A blood-curdling scream erupted from my mouth. My frantic eyes had caught the glimpse of mulled corpse crawling towards me. Bits of its skin were missing and its mouth was agape as blood and drool leaked down its sides. Ghoul eyes, coals with lava veins were wide with sought out hunger. I could see a broken beating red tentacle twitch under the monster's control.
It gurgled a clogged laugh, "Mine-all mine! I will have you! I will devour you!" Its hanging jaw still attempted to smile as its stained hand latched my shirt.
In a fit a panic I didn't realize I had scooted myself into my first predator's arms. I basically flew myself into a trap. His blood soaked limbs gripped me before he launched both of us backwards. Controlling both situations, again his hand covered my cries as he handled the phone. Even in the moment of chaos his voice was flat and reassuring.
"Sorry you had to hear that Ma'am." The Ghoul was on the line now. The operator wasn't sure what to make of the situation. "This is her brother. No worries I will make sure she receives help. Thank you for your time."
The monster before us lunged. Its smacking jaws with wads of salivation came flying in our direction with fingers like daggers. A nail nearly touched my face but never came as I was roughly thrown to the floor. The terrain of blood caused my body to spin across the infested swamp of human remains. In a flash, I collided with the wooden chairs and legs of the table. My head bounced off the furniture while my tongue accidently tasted the floor's metallic mess.
As I vomited the foreign substance the two Ghoul's behind me were progressing in their war. I could hear the punches and growls that were being thrown at one another. Cabinet doors were smashed, kitchen supplies were tossed, and glass shattered as the battle continued. Curses and starving words of she's mine and eat were jumbled along with the physical wrestle.
Being the petrified pray, I pushed forward and used the opportunity to escape. It wasn't a thought or even a conscience decision; instead I went with a stomach intuition. Like a bat out of hell I found myself crawling my way to the front door. I passed the kitchen corner, zoomed by the main room, and then headed for the exit. Each time my hand gripped the fibers of the carpet I begged.
I prayed that the door would let me go.
And for once, my prayers had been answered.
Just keep going-
Just keep going-
I had long since vacated from my apartment. My socks splashed on the wet pavement as I frantically jogged down a back street. The rain had finally quieted to a light drizzle but the dense fog wasn't helping matters. It seemed like an eternity until I reached the edge of town. I finally had to slow my pace.
With my hands on my knees I let out several long pants in attempt to calm both my nerves and my adrenaline. I was beyond ill at this point. My body had the same symptoms of someone riding a roller coaster for the last 24 hours.
A black cat scampered along my path.
I wish I had heeded the omen.
Nothing, could have prepared me for what I encountered down the main road. If I hadn't been so exhausted I would have gorged my eyes out and cried. An endless count of bodies, mostly human, filled the street. Some corpses were hanging out of windows while others were open and splattered across the concrete. The stench of soggy rotten flesh penetrated my nose. It was more repulsive than bags of spoiled eggs.
"This must have been the cause of all the sirens and gun fire. How long had this been plotted?" I asked myself.
A deadly still silence filled the air as I slid down the sides of the abandoned buildings. I passed countless Ghouls devouring helpless people, many still alive. I had to cringe and force myself to move on. I couldn't save them anymore than I could myself. I merged from behind a dumpster. Thankfully, I had gone unnoticed for several blocks. All I wanted was to obtain a phone that was my goal.
"Just contact mom and dad. Then everything will be fine. Get to a phone-" I had to verbally give myself instructions as each street corner was more horrible than the last. A group of decease soldiers was the last landmark I recall.
I will spare myself the memorable details.
I don't want to discuss the events that took place that lead to my capture. It's embarrassing enough to say I'm sitting bound to a chair with a blindfold preventing my sight. And its worse to say that the reason this happened was all due to me setting off a store alarm.
That's all it took and my butt had a target painted on it.
I bit the rag that was cutting into my cheeks. It stung and burned. My entire body ached from the tangle I encountered with a new Ghoul. Lucky me-to have found a monster more menacing than the one eye creep.
Wait, one eye? I thought.
A heavy door creaked open. Footsteps trailed in but all I could do was sit there. I was a fish caught in a net. Was this even fair? I jerked at the rope that raked harshly against my wrists. I tried to flare my legs but they were held against their will as well. Was it fair that I had lived a good life and this is the payment? I was a decent person who never caused trouble. I followed the rules! I didn't gossip nor did I lie. I even stayed home on Saturday nights! I shouldn't be punished. I don't deserve this!
"Here's the bitch. "
I have a new hate.
"No wonder you couldn't handler her Kaneki. She's straight out of hell itself. Wasn't till I bit her that she finally passed out. Shit that was difficult -she nearly knocked my fucking teeth out. " I turned my head to the side as I listened.
"That's enough Ayato-" Kaneki snapped. I grimaced knowing all to well who he was.
"Fine-fuck it." I heard him distancing himself from the room before making a last statement. "Make sure you spare me the heart. Love the organs." I heard a slight gruff of enthusiasm from him. I shuttered.
"Touch her again and I'll cut your tongue out." My attacker was now my defender?
"Tch. Fuck you." Ayato snorted. Well I assumed it was him. Stomping boots echoed as they left. My shoulders slightly fell. One less problem to worry about, I thought to myself. However, I was once again paired alone with Kaneki.
Realization flooded me like a broken dam.
It couldn't be…
It had to be…
Touka, the café, the one eye, the eye patch! It all came together, yes that was his name! Oh my god. It was him all along? No-it couldn't be. The boy from before had dark brown or black hair with a sweet smile every time I came in. He was the guy who stuttered with his words and talked about books. He's the guy who was at the top of his class-the gifted student who literally was perfect-an angel!
The rope was gently removed from my irritated mouth. My mind raced. Even the fabric that was wedged slightly into my cuts couldn't silence me from spilling the confession.
"Kaneki-?" I hesitantly asked. I was surprised he answered.
"So-you've figured it out." He sounded defeated.
"It is you-Its you. This entire time its been you?"
"Yes." His soft voice held no denial. It was almost more painful to realize it was someone I knew.
"Why would you do this to me?" The tears were coming. Surprisingly my blindfold was removed followed by my wrists then feet. His unmasked, emotionless gazed wasn't directed at me. "What happened to you?"
"It wasn't personal-honestly." He looked at me, as he remained kneeled on the floor.
"Wasn't personal? You tried to eat me!" I clenched the chair as my knuckles turned white.
"Yes-Yes that's true. But I didn't. You're still alive. Aren't you?" His hand stoked my face. I shot him a twisted expression.
"You've got to be fucking kidding. " The anger brewed inside of me as I smacked his hand away. "Look at me! Do I look alive to you?" He knew what I meant. I could still feel the semi dried blood caked all over me. The new scars and wounds were only a fraction of the damage.
Ignoring my question Kaneki strolled over to an industrial sink. On top of it he snatched an old looking shirt, turned on the water, before he rang the shirt out. He returned to me and knelt in the same position as before. He tried to hand me the rag but I refused. My glaring eyes never left his.
He took a breath, "You should know I saved you twice."
"Bullshit." I retorted.
I received a chuckle, "Confident now that you know its me-huh?"
"How come you're not dead-?" I asked harshly. An evil smirk crossed his face.
"Bummed aren't you-? Well, to your amazement I can fight pretty well. That was just one of the times I was on duty protecting you." Cautiously, he placed the cool rag on my neck. I couldn't believe it-it was as if he had switched personalities. "I'm sorry you had to see that."
He flipped the rag over and began wiping my dirty bruised face. I just sat there. Nothing really made sense anymore. The damp fabric felt so relieving. But my chest still ached. I was still upset. I was taken from my home, the town had been massacred, and people were dead. Their corpses were still left broken on the streets.
"Don't cry F/N." I allowed him to clean away the tears.
"Is Touka alright? Is-Is she alive?" I could barely ask the question. He hesitated.
"No. Hardly any human has survived this-"
I completely lost it. I hunched over my heaving body and spilled all the bundled cries that had been plaguing me during this entire nightmare. This news was more painful than my injuries. My heart screamed as an invisible knife stabbed deeper and deeper. It twisted and toyed with the strings in my chest. I shook and hiccupped my way through the pain.
"Pl-Please Kaneki-" I begged for a different reason this time, "Please kill me. Please!" I didn't occur to me his tiny efforts to comfort me. I was too hysterical. I just kept repeating my plea to him. Finally I found myself surrounded in his embrace. I had been lifted off the chair and pulled into his lap. My eyes wept their salty tears into his clothing. His warm chest stifled my cries.
I asked again, "Please."
He hugged me tighter before he pulled me back and lifted my chin. He examined my hideous complexion and stroked my tangled locks. He knew he had caused all of this…
"I'll protect you." He rested his forehead on mine. Our breaths circulated each other. One was warm another cold from grief. I had closed my eyes hoping to avoid reality. "Always." I didn't believe it nor did I care at the moment.
The stained rag slightly cleaned my cheeks then over my mouth. I was lost before I felt a pair of tender lips lightly brush mine. My eyes widened.
"Kan-" He hushed me by leaning in closer. His moist lips coated mine as gentle reminder of the control he had. He braced my back and allowed himself to cradle me more. I was stunned. He parted slightly before coming back and playing his tongue around inside of my mouth. He hugged me closer. Then left a final peck was panted on me once more before he lifting my heavy chin.
"You're forever mine, F/N."
He firmly gripped the back on my shirt.
The rag's water soaked the bathroom floor. Its tinted water droplets bled into its cracks. And it looked as though there was enough to fill the bucket an inch deep.
Well, well-we have a OCD Kaneki ;)
Probably done with the story. Not sure. If so-that was the longest one-shot of the century lol
Anyway, Hope you liked the chapter!