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A Hide and Seek Game of Dreams

By Selena He


A Hide and Seek Game of Dreams

Chrollo shuffled uncomfortably within the dark, cramped closet, filled with jackets and coats. It was definitely a good hiding spot but it certainly wasn't designed to fit a man of his size. Sighing for the hundredth time that day, he attempted to straighten out his work clothes (Geez. And he'd just ironed them in the morning) but his efforts were all in vain, making them even more crumpled. Unfortunately, working ten plus hours per day with a group of weird and eccentric partners didn't seem to stop his younger siblings from nagging and begging him to play hide and seek.

Shifting his position yet again, he rubbed his fingers against the cross-shaped tattoo on his forehead. It was a habit he had developed when he was younger; he'd always do it when felt nervous or frustrated. The simple motion was strangely comforting and gave him something to focus on other than the lack of air and closed space. The closet was miniature and it felt like the walls were slowly but surely closing in on him. The oxygen was also starting to run out, making him feel uneasy, bringing back many unwanted memories of his parents which he forcefully shoved to the back of his mind. They were both dead now, gone forever from this world, hopefully being punished in the depths of hell where they belonged. Nobody could hurt him or his siblings anymore.

Blinding Light. Snap. Pain. Crack. More pain.

The lightning around him crackled and spat, lighting up the room like fireworks. The heat seared his skin, leaving burn marks. Sudden electric shocks ran up and down his spine. Shivering and writhing in pain, his eyes rolled back and his body became limp, falling against the wall with a loud thump.

"Now now, Kuro-chan, this won't do at all. Your body must become stronger and more resilient. You need to be able to defeat even the most skilled fighters in the army quickly and efficiently with little to no effort. You understand that, don't you?"

Kuro gave a weak nod and attempted to pull himself upright again which was greeted with a seemingly warm and encouraging smile. However, large, rough hands pushed him against the wall again and hands crept down his back and stomach, lower and lower. He shuddered. Wet lips pressed against his, desperately searching for satisfaction before suddenly pulling away, gasping for air.

"Funny… didn't seem to enjoy that at all this time huh." the man panted breathlessly.

Kuro shook his head fervently, trying to avoid more special treatment. He hated it. The feeling of guilt and embarrassment that overcame him each time was overwhelming, worse than the actual training itself which was already tiring enough. Telling his mother would be like asking to be tortured but he had nobody to turn to-his siblings had either already ran away or was too young to understand what had happened. Tears spilled from under his long, black lashes. He wanted it to stop. He didn't ask for this, he didn't want it. Ever.

The tall and bulky man before him merely ruffled his messy, ebony hair affectionately like any proud father would and acted as if nothing out of the norm had just occurred.

"Very well then, now we'll move on to the poisons"

Blood spilled like waterfalls from the bodies, a richer color than any fully-bloomed Dame de Coeur rose. Kuro stared. His younger siblings, Killua and Kalluto, carried similar expressions of disgust and horror at what they'd done. They were covered from head to toe with blood and standing in pools of red at the site of the massacre. The moonlight shone on Kil's hair, bouncing off and reflecting the snow-white color, making the bloodstains appear even more noticeable than ever. In contrast, Kalluto's inky black strands blended into the dark, like a hunter of the night. A ruthless assassin pair of yin and yang.

Cold, lifeless bodies lied next to them like broken puppets, their strings cruelly snipped off and carelessly thrown away. Scarlet red eyes stared back at him blankly as if beseeching him why they could all be so cruel and inhumane. He turned away, closing his eyes. No, anything apart from this. Innocents slaughtered like pigs, left lying around to rot and decay like forgotten fruit. Why had they died-for wealth? Revenge? For the beautiful eyes they possessed? For no reason in particular? Or to fulfill his parents' sadistic desires...was this in his blood? To kill and kill until the day he finally died? He forced down the churning food in his stomach. He didn't want to see anymore.

Later that evening, he saw a young and petite boy with the same scarlet eyes as the dead bodies on the ground scramble away from the village. He didn't pursue.

Screams filled the mansion. High-pitched, feminine screams. Ear-piercing screams. Screams of anger. Definitely his mother's.

As he zoomed through the hallways to his mother's room, he heard the sound of skin painfully coming in contact with skin. He winced. Ouch. Kalluto was probably suffering at her hands right now; even though she smothered Kalluto with hugs and gifts all the time, she doted on Killua so much she wouldn't even raise a finger against him.

"Mother, are you feeling alright?" he asked politely, careful not to intrude and seem rude. Of course she wasn't alright. She never was and never would be. He managed to feign a concerned smile towards the monster he called 'mother'. His stare although polite and inquiring, seemed too intense to be interpreted as one of good intentions and he could barely conceal his murderous intent. Sadistic murderous intent.

"This….this rascal! This...this…..seductress… know what he was doing with your father? You know what he did? He betrayed my trust, he..." As his mother continued to explain what had happened and roll insults off her tongue, his shoulders stiffened. He had kept his and father's 'special sessions' a secret so that he wouldn't cause a ruckus. He had sincerely hoped that nothing of the similar sort had also been happening with other members of the family but now it was too late to turn back. His deepest, darkest worries had turned into reality, a twisted nightmare of a reality, one that they'd been trying to escape from since birth. Kuro felt a twinge of guilt overcome him. If only he had acted earlier, if only he had escaped with the youngsters, if only he'd killed his father, no, that monster, his father, that monster his father, that man...if only he'd killed that man nobody else would've suffered. If only, if only…it was all his fault….no...wasn't it his parents' fault? They were the ones to blame for all the blood spilt, all the pain caused, all the trauma inflicted, every single scar, everything. No, they were demons. They weren't his parents, couldn't be. They weren't. They weren't, couldn't be, weren't, couldn't be, weren't, maybe, couldn't be…..

Grey eyes snapped back to the rambling woman who was still whipping the poor, battered boy at her feet. Suddenly, a feral smile overcame his usually refined and controlled expressions. Whipping couldn't be legal, could it? This was child abuse, no human should suffer like this, at the hands of their 'loving' and 'doting' mother no less. His muscles flexed impatiently under his perfectly fitted suit, screaming for release in the form of violence. Eyes glinting madly, he reached out and grabbed his mother, no, that monster, the spawn of Satan called his mother, by the neck and...

Chrollo awoke with a start. His breaths came out rugged and uneven. Cold sweat was dripping down his face and his work clothes were now completely soaked. Hands shaking, he moved himself into a crouching position and banged his head and hands against the wall. He hated those dreams. These days, he even tried to drink cup after cup of coffee to keep himself awake in order to escape them. What happened after he grabbed her was utterly horrible. It was inhuman murder no matter how you looked at it. By the end, he was completely soaked in the blood of his mother and the wall had been painted a pretty crimson color, no, a terrible and disgusting red. All the limbs had been completely torn apart, crushed and then hidden. Nobody apart from him knew. Kalluto had gone into a state of shock and didn't eat, use nen, speak, drink, move or sleep for 3 weeks. Nothing would get him to respond. When he finally awoke, he had forgotten everything and would scream as if he was on fire when he was asked about it. He never wanted to go back to that day again, never. Never.

Stormy eyes gazed out into the not-so-far distance. It felt like hours had passed since the game had started and if he didn't get out soon, he'd risk getting suffocated to death for the sake of his pride. Just as he was about to drift back to dreamland again, the doors were thrust open and a bright light struck him, temporarily blinding him.

"Found him" Killua, his younger brother called out. His callous tone made him seem bored but his sea blue eyes hinted otherwise. His eyes were constantly glinting with mischief, always thinking up a new prank and how to get himself into trouble. With his sarcastic and cheeky personality, you would never guess he'd been through and what atrocities he had committed before.

"You look….terrible" Kalluto said as she caught sight of Chrollo, his usually delicate and expressionless features contorting into a slight frown. Pale amethyst eyes stared down at him, as if considering whether or not to force-feed him some of that disgusting herbal medicine they bought for Kil the other day. Kil had screamed and shouted to get the horrible thing away from him but in the end, he had fainted from the shock of the bitter taste. Poor thing. It had looked quite funny though.

"Do….I? I feel perfectly fine though." Chrollo managed a soft smile, hoping it wasn't a little too forced. It really was uncomfortable in that tiny closet. He was glad they had finally found him instead of leaving him there to die like they normally would have for anyone else. Killua just rolled his eyes in annoyance.

"You look like you just stepped into a freezing bath with shitty plumbing with your clothes still on and then stepped out into the porch in winter like an idiot."

Well then, how blunt. Chrollo managed a slight playful glare in Killua's direction before noticing that Killua had flinched away a bit from the intensity of the gaze. A small knot twisted tightly in Chrollo's stomach. Injuries would heal as long as you were alive, but some scars just wouldn't go away no matter how long you waited. Especially psychological ones.

Kalluto tentatively clasped their hands in his and led them to the dining room which was decorated with origami (Kalluto loved those), photos, sketches (he could tell right away whose was whose-Kalluto's were the meticulous product of a perfectionist whereas Killua's were slightly rough and goofy but still incredibly endearing) and the table was packed with food (mainly desserts, he noted dryly. They might all get diabetes one day). Smack in the middle of the table was a giant birthday cake.

"Happy birthday, big brother" two pairs of arms wrapped around his waist and he pulled them in closer, tightening their embrace. A single teardrop slid down his cheek, the first one in 10 years (not counting the ones that flowed down his face after watching Rurouni Kenshin which he'd related to greatly).

"Thank you" Despite all that they'd been through and although everything was far from perfect, he really couldn't ask for anything more.

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