Halo Six: Satoshi:
[A boy of seventeen lay on the ground bruised and beaten up.]
I live in hell.
My name is Aida Satoshi. I used to be a happy child. Okay, there was an incident that happened to me when I was really little. I think there was an accident involving my dad and uncle. Because of that, I used to get really bad headaches and not be able to walk straight. Mom always treated me like I was a fragile piece of art. Dad, on the other hand, tried to toughen me up.
“You aren’t girl,” he would tell me. “You aren’t a weakling. I expect you to be strong like me.” Mom always hated when he talked like that. In fact, she hadn’t gotten over the incident in question. She wouldn’t trust dad alone with me ever again.
[The boy stared up at the sky through the alley. His blood splattered the trampled on snow. His bruised ribs made it difficult for him to breathe. The boy laughed painfully to himself as he could see the look on Shiori’s face if she saw him like this.]
I have a secret.
[The boy looked down at his chest. His shirt was ripped open, revealing torn bandages used to cover up breasts the size of a B-cup at most. Seeing those bruised and bloodied boobs made him grit his teeth sore.]
My body is of a girl’s. Breasts on my chest. I have periods, but I don’t bleed like a girl does. I wasn’t born like this. I used to be a normal boy. I used to have a have male body. This is not my body anymore!
I ended up in Chou Mori last year.
-Chou Mori Institution, One Year Earlier-
Most of the former patients in the Tadpole Project don’t remember anything about being trapped in that Hell Hole. But I do. I remember every injection, every test, every beating, every smell—everything! Mom dropped me off at Chou Mori as a way to “shield” me from Dad when things got uglier as she tried to justify it as. I remember that morning very well. The night before, she came into my room and collapsed onto my bed, crying.
“Mom?” I asked. She lifted her head with tears in her eyes.
“I am sorry, my baby boy,” Mom whispered. “I have not been a good mother to you. If I had… If I had…” She cried on my lap. I didn’t know what she was talking about. Mom probably blamed herself for the accident that left me with a serious head injury that I was still suffering from.
But then she pulled me into her arms as if to squeeze me to death.
“Don’t worry, I’m going to make it all better,” she whispered in my hair. Around three in the morning, she loaded me into the car and drove me to that god awful place. She just walked through the building, filled off the paperwork, kissed me goodbye, and left.
To this day, I wondered if she really just wanted to get rid me because she couldn’t take the stress of dealing with my condition and the mistrust of Dad.
The moment Mom walked out of those doors was when my nightmare began.
You see, I was dropped off at Chou Mori on September thirtieth, four days before they started the third round of the Tadpole Project. Lucky me ended up being enrolled it by Kitano-sensei.
Ah yes, him. He said this was going to cure us, make us better. All that’s done bring us hell.
-Ikebukuro, Present Day-
[The boy struggled to himself to his feet. The slightest movement made his body ache. His stomach grumbled once he leaned up against the cold brick wall. The boy stopped to catch his breath.]
I am a mess. It’s gotten worse ever since Chou Mori was shut down in the spring. You would think after that hell was shut down things would get better. I had to struggle to live a normal life again.
-Chou Mori Institution, One Year Earlier-
[The boy lay in his bed, half-dazed. His wrists and ankles were tied down so tight that he could barely feel his hands and feet. Yayoi walked into his room with her chart in her hand.]
“Good morning, Satoshi-kun!” she chirped. “How are you this morning?” I glared at her, mumbling something along the lines, “I want to die.” I resisted the urge to spit on that big-breasted whore as she giggled. She began by checking my stats on her chart, or at least pretending to, before looking around. I hated the way she looked at as her hand went down to my chest. I could already guess where this was headed. That hand with those crimson nails would go down my pants and she would try to fondle me while talking dirty. However, she leaned down to my ear.
“I want to try something different today,” that orderly whispered. She lifted up my shirt. However, that bitch froze, covering her agape mouth.
“Sensei!” she screamed as she ran out of the room. I happened to glanced down when she screamed and began to see the reason why.
“What are you talking about now?” I heard Kitano-sensei ask as he walked into my room with that bitch orderly.
“There!” she shouted, pointing at my chest. That bastard walked over for a better look. When he came around for a better look at my body, he raised his eyebrow.
“I’ve never seen it do that before,” he said. My eyes widened when he said those words. Wait… what?!
“Looks like we’ll have to take him to exam room for a better look,” Kitano-sensei said. They untied me and dragged me down the hall. The exam room was dimly lit and felt cold. I remember it being early March and it freezing that week. Kitano-sensei held out a small hand-held computer and ran a scan over my body before putting me into the bigger machine for second scan. Asato-sensei stared at the screen when I was pulled back out.
“He has Gynecomastia. The hormones have become unbalanced,” she said.
“Have you seen anything like it?” Kitano-sensei asked.
“What do you think caused this?”
“I’m not really sure yet, but I would probably take a guess between the Oyamatsumi drug and the Raijin drug.”
“It looks like we’re going to have to scan all of the tadpoles now.” He sighed as he sat back in his chair. “It’s a good thing that we castrated him.”
My stomach dropped. Not only did I have breasts and had my hormones out of whack, they had sterilized me too? I thought I would die.
Turns out, only I had more hormones changed. Everyone else passed for those bastards’ idea of normal. Even they couldn’t figure out what caused my body to change like this and worked to find answer out for themselves.
They still ran experiments on me. Only now, I was labeled of defective. Some of the others would stare at me and whisper about me. I bet they were laughing at me behind my back. I hated when they looked at me in pity. I didn’t want their sympathy. It made me sick.
The “defective” tag also made me a walking target.
There was an orderly named Roc. He didn’t seem to like any of us tadpoles. Sometimes, he would beat up the boys and men just for fun. Ever since everyone involved in Tadpole learned that I was defective, I turned into his favorite punching bag. He did a good job of hitting me in places where I could hide injuries with my clothes. I couldn’t remember a time when I didn’t have bruised ribs, broken bones, cuts, or bruises from his daily beatings. I couldn’t understand why he singled me out.
“Why?” I asked him one day in the men’s bathroom. Roc raised his eyebrow at me.
“Why?” he asked. “Why what?” I sat on the floor with tears in my eyes.
“Why… are… you… doing… this… to… me?” I said in between breathes.
He all but laughed at me. “Why am I doing this to you?”
I sniffled as I nodded. Roc gave me a kick to the stomach as a reply. He laughed as I doubled in pain. That monster leaned down to my face. His smirk still gives me nightmares.
“Because I hate you tadpole freaks,” Roc said in a low voice. “And you are the worst.” He kicked me about four more times bored he got bored. The beatings only got worse because I asked him why.
But one day, something changed.
I think this was about mid-March when this particular incident occurred. Some of us were in the activity room at the time. I sat in the corner, trying to stay quiet when Roc walked into the room. Just by the look in his eyes, I could tell that he was in a foul mood. He was out for blood and didn’t care which patient he grabbed.
Unfortunately, he spotted me.
For some reason, I didn’t move. It was as if I waited to be beaten to death. Roc walked over to me with a doubled pace. I closed my eyes and waited for the punches. First one landed in my ribs. The blow took out almost all of my breath, but I didn’t scream. Part of me didn’t care anymore. Roc kept hitting and kicking me in the stomach, head, and ribs. At this point, I didn’t care if anyone would try to come and save me. The patients were too afraid of the orderlies and doctors in this hell. They beg for mercy and promise to be good when they are about to be beaten themselves. Most of the staff were overworked and stressed, that they couldn’t be bothered. The people who ran Chou Mori either didn’t care or didn’t know the full extent of how bad things got. No matter what the reasoning was, I had counted on it being the end of me that morning.
That was when I heard screaming.
When I looked up, a boy with spikey black hair lay on the ground inches away from Roc. I remembered seeing that boy around here before. He had an eye patch over his right eye two months earlier. That boy lay on his side, panting. Roc sat up looking like a bull that had red paint spilled all over its face. It didn’t take me long to figure out what happened.
Why would he do that?
“You!” Roc shouted at the boy lying on the ground. “I’m already having shitty morning and now I’m really mad!” He leapt to his feet and started beating on the boy worse than he was with me. I sat, looking so confused. Why would that boy try to save me? I didn’t even know him too well. Still, he just ran over and tried to stop Roc from beating me to death. I shook my head, dazed.
The other patients were too afraid to help the boy getting beat up on the ground. I bit on my nails as I silently prayed that someone would come to his rescue.
“What’s going on here?” we heard someone asked. I turned to see Asato-sensei standing in the doorway with her hands on her hips. I think that was the first time I was happy to see her. Part of me hoped that she would actually care enough to save that boy if not me. Roc let go of the boy and snorted.
“I was trying to teach him a lesson,” he lied. Asato-sensei turned to me with a cold look in her eye.
“Is this true?” she asked. I almost jumped when she spoke to me. I trembled as I shook my head. Asato-sensei turned her attention back to Roc looked like he wanted to kill me now.
“Segawa, in my office! Now!” she commanded. I pretended not to see Roc when he mouthed, “I’m going to kill” at me. After that day, he pretty much left me alone.
-Ikebukuro, Present Day-
Looking back, it would’ve been better if that boy would’ve left me to be beaten to death.
[The boy dragged himself along the wall as he walked down the crowded street. The sun had started to set and most of the people were rushing home. He ignored the stares that he got as he walked by passersby. The boy gritted his teeth.]
After Chou Mori was shut down, I bounced around from shelter to shelter. I kept going to school. I thought that if I pretended that everything was normal, I would be okay. Unlike most of the other Tadpole patients, I still had my memories of the hell and torture in Chou Mori. I got angry when I saw news about the horror stories on the news. Where were they six months earlier? Also, why weren’t they talking about the horrors of the Tadpole Project? Not a single news story talked about the real hell that twenty-seven others and I went through in those six months. What were they covering up there? Thinking about it pissed me off.
I didn’t let anyone see me naked. It was horrifying to think about how my classmates would react if they saw my body. I couldn’t afford to relive more beatings because of my breasts. Up until now, I had done a good job of hiding them under wraps and bandages.
Luckily, I had Shiori by my side. She and I had been friends since we were three years old. I saw her like an older sister with the way she always helped me keep my balance when I stood up too fast. Whenever I had a problem, I always ran to Shiori. She never asked for anything in return. To my surprise, Shiori was the only one to ask me where I had been when I was released from Chou Mori. As much I wanted to tell her everything, I could only tell her the lightest details of what I went through.
“Why would your mom drop you off at place like that?” she asked me on the swing set in the park. I lowered my head.
“I can’t fully explain it either,” I said. “Maybe she wanted to get rid of me after everything that had been going on.” Shiori pulled me into her arms.
“Your mom wouldn’t abandon you like that,” she said. “She probably didn’t know about Chou Mori’s reputation as well. They probably did a good job of covering up the abuse.” As much as it left a bitter taste in my mouth, Shiori was right. That bastard doctor must have had some way to lie and keep Project Tadpole a secret. But what could I do? Nobody would believe me on that part of the nightmare. How could I even tell all of Ikebukuro if I couldn’t even tell my best friend? The best that I could do was pretend that I was getting better and that everything was going back to normal.
That plan fell through six days ago.
My awakening began when I first came to school. My head was aching so badly I thought that it would split open. I sank to my knees panting. However, I froze when I heard soft murmuring in my ears. My ears darted around for the source. Other students walked by me, talking. However, some of them weren’t moving their lips at all. The whispering doubled in my ears as I tried to find the source.
What is this? Where is all of this coming from?
The pain in my head got worse I heard more whispering around me. Make it stop! Please!
“Satoshi-kun?” I heard someone ask as they touched me on the shoulder. I whirled around and saw Shiori looking at me with a worried look on her face. I stared at her with big eyes.
“Are you feeling okay?” Shiori asked. I quickly shook my head.
“I just had a slight headache,” I lied. I pushed myself to my feet and walked into the school. I tried not to make eye contact or talk to Shiori until we made it inside.
For the next five days, it got worse. The voices I had been hearing got louder and louder until they were practically shouting at me. At first, I didn’t know what to do. I hoped that I wasn’t going crazy. Deep in my gut, I began to suspect that the experiments of Project Tadpole had caught up to me. I shuddered when that thought first crossed my mind.
I thought I had gotten away from those bastards.
-Five Days Ago-
I reached around for my cell phone ringing on the floor. Something inside of me told me to let it ring.
“Hello?” I asked once I answered it.
“Good morning, Satoshi-kun.”
That voice made me jolt upwards in my futon. “No…”
“Why yes, I see that you’ve had your awakening, Satoshi-kun.”
All of the color drained from my face. “Awakening?”
“Why yes,” that bastard told me. “Tell me, have you been hearing voices in your head lately?”
My eyes widened as I shook my head. “N-N-No!”
“It doesn’t help to lie. I have been watching you for some time now.”
“You’ve been spying on me?”
“I had to. Despite you being defective, you are still a test subject. Now, I am going to ask you again. Have you been hearing voices in your head lately? Don’t bother lying this time.”
My hands trembled as I lowered my eyes. “Yes.”
“Why am I hearing them?”
“Oh, so you can hear thoughts?”
I jerked my head upwards. “I can hear thoughts now?”
“That’s what my sources tell me.”
I gritted my teeth as my panic turned into a slow anger. “What have you done to me? Why are you doing this to us?”
“For the what, you will see as you develop. As for why, I am not inclined to give that out yet. In any case, work on using your powers before your body rots from the inside and those cells kill you. Oh and it won’t be long until you find the others as well. I wish you good luck, Satoshi-kun.” Kitano-sensei hung up as I opened my mouth. I sat in the darkness in a wash of anger. My nightmare wasn’t finished with me yet.
[The boy stopped in front of a shop window. His battered image only made his anger heavier. Two girls walking by him, sped away when they noticed his appearance reflected from the glass.]
Ever since that phone call, I have tried to stay away from people. All of those thoughts, everyone’s secrets. They keep pouring into my head and I can’t turn them off. I had done my best to stay away from Shiori because of my new powers. I was too afraid to know what she really thought of me. Was she being my friend because of me or out of pity? She called me last night. I lied and said that I was asleep and that I would see her in the morning in a text. It already hurt to lie about where I was living now or my body. She probably couldn’t handle everything that I had been through.
Some of my classmates think that I am weird. This didn’t bother me before, but now that I can’t pretend to be normal anymore, it’s made it that much worse.
There is another reason for that.
In fact, it happened today at gym class. This has always been a difficult time for me before my breasts. I had always been so care not to change clothes in front of other boys. I had managed to find a small space for me to dress out. I would take my clothes off, tighten up my wrapping, and pull on my gym clothes. Nobody would notice a thing.
That all changed with one e-mail.
By the time we got to our afternoon classes, my phone started buzzed. I just had to open it up and check all of those messages.
Do you even have a dick?
When I scrolled down to the main message, my stomach dropped as my phone hit the floor. Someone had snapped a picture of me unwrapping the wrap around my chest and sent it around the school. My breasts were in full view in the clear shot. I felt like I wanted to die as all eyes stayed on me. Their thoughts might have been knives into my body. Three senior boys cornered me as I was trying to leave school. Judging by their thoughts, I could tell they wanted to add onto my misery. I tried not to make eye contact as I walked by them.
That’s when the biggest one grabbed me by the shoulder and spun me around. Their faces looked like grinning Halloween masks. My legs felt like jelly as I began to have flashbacks about Roc about to beat me up. I shielded my arms over my head.
“Please! I don’t want any trouble!” I wailed. Their laughter reminded me of Roc when he laughed at me for asking why he kept beating me up.
“Did you hear that?” one of the senior boys asked. “The little bitch doesn’t want any trouble.” He grabbed me by the hair.
“You look here,” the senior boy with the piercing in his left ear told me. “We don’t like your kind around here!”
“My kind?” I asked.
“Yeah!” his shorter friend said. “We don’t like creepy perverts like you!”
“I’m not a pervert,” I said. “It’s not my fault my body turned out like this. I am not a molester.”
“What was that?” Earring asked, gritting his teeth.
My stupid mouth had to go on and say, “I’m not like your uncle who touched you when you were younger. It wasn’t your fault. You are just a child.” His friends whispered between each other as Earring got angrier.
“How the fuck do you know that?!” he snapped. “What are you some sort of a stalker?!” Earring punched me in face. I hit the ground with a thud. I had been through this scenario before back in Chou Mori. I could already see what was coming next.
However, something inside of me wouldn’t stay down. This time, I jumped to my feet and took off running. Probably wasn’t the best move, but I was only thinking about getting away. That planned didn’t work out as those boys gave way to chase. We ended up in an alley and Earring tackled me to the ground. He and his friends beat me until I lost consciousness.
The weirdest thing about this beating? I was actually… smiling. Their punches and kicks were nothing compared to Roc’s abuse back in Chou Mori. I could feel his hate and rage towards me. These boys were uneasy and Earring was scared and repressing memories of his uncle. I didn’t even try to fight back. Maybe deep down inside, I wanted them to try and finish me off. This would be the end and I wouldn’t have to suffer anymore.
Yes, do it! I can’t take this life anymore! You will be doing me a favor. I will be free at last.
[The boy happened to reach into his coat and feel hard plastic. Curious, he reached into the pocket. To his surprise, he realized that he had pulled out knife.]
The shine of the blade drew my fingers towards the dull side. I didn’t remember putting it into my jacket this morning. Wait a second…
I slid back the jacket and looked at the tag. As expected, the tag read “Kuno”. I guess my jacket got mixed up from out of the other guys in the shelter. However, my attention returned to the knife in my hand. Looking at that blade made me think back to the hell that I had been dragged into from September. Kitano-sensei’s words echoed in my head.
“In any case, work on using your powers before your body rots from the inside and those cells kill you. Oh and it won’t be long until you find the others as well. I wish you good luck, Satoshi-kun.”
Remembering all of that made me grit my teeth. Suddenly, I felt a tingling going up my spine. Another one like me was nearby. As if on instinct, I closed my eyes. I about jumped when I saw his face. I ripped opened my eyes as my heart jumped in my chest. Of course, they are starting up that stupid project with him as the centerpiece!
I knew what I had to do to get my life back.
Once I put away the knife and cleaned myself up the best that I could, I walked down the dimly-lit street.
Further into the crowd, Mikado froze when a tingling sensation ran down his spine.
“Masaomi, somebody’s following us,” he whispered.