Scene II: Open Your Eyes
Kanagawa Hospital. Japan. 2014, February
The past few days had been filled with nothing but the rhythmic beep coming from the heart monitor every few seconds.
Chiberri was used to the routine of sitting at Yujin’s bedside, although he never really did anything. Sometimes he would stand up and walk around the bed, just to stop his legs from cramping. He had only stepped out of the hospital to smoke once in the last forty-eight hours. He needed a shower, needed to eat something other than vending machine bars and soda.
“Toi,” Chiberri murmured, leaning forward. He propped his elbows upon the bed’s mattress. His chin rested against his open palms and he forced his eyes to stay open. He began to hum a tune, a French melody his mother used to sing him years ago.
Yujin laid still. His surgery had been over two days ago to mend his fractured hip. Apparently it had been a success, yet his continuing deterioration made it difficult to assess just how well he would be able to stand again should he ever wake up. He would wake up!
“Kokutan likes to check up on you, too. But since she’s been tagged, she’s only allowed to go so far.” Chiberri mumbled. Red eyes flickered as he examined Yujin’s chest, watching it rise and fall ever so gently. “I think she’s worried. So, you better not go anywhere because I can’t take care of her and myself. I’m not strong like you.”
Shuffling closer, Chiberri’s hands fell away from his chin and he rested his head against the bed’s mattress. His forehead brushed Yujin’s hand. He was so cold and Chiberri moved to keep those bony fingers warm as he succumbed to slumber.
Kanagawa, Yuugen. Japan. 2005, May
Yokubo jogged across the campus, making his way towards the academy and through the hallways. It irked him to know his son had been sent straight to the academy cellar. There had been times in the past where strangers had wound up on Yuugen’s doorstep, claiming to be The Chairman’s son in hopes to gain wealth and fortune. Since then, security was on high alert. Yokubo could never see why someone would seek out the chance to be The Chairman of Yuugen. It was hardly a thrill. Besides, he never got to make any direct decisions. That side of things were left his vice-chairman, Okui Boushoku.
As if on cue, Okui strolled down the corridors towards Yokubo. He looked irritable, with his jaw tense and muscles tight. He was on high alert and Yokubo would have wondered why if he had not seen Gekido storming after the vice-chairman. Okui had turned, strong arms practically shoving Gekido back into his classroom.
“Ah, Chairman. Could I speak with you for a minute?” Okui mused, stepping in front of Yokubo.
Gekido appeared from the classroom, rubbing his chest to ease the shove. His lime eyes were full of fury when The Chairman drew closer. His balled fists looked ready to knock Okui off his feet at any minute. Yokubo could only roll his eyes. They had never gotten along.
“Please be quick. I’m in a bit of a hurry.”
“Your son, yes. We know.” Okui motioned towards Gekido. “Our dear friend here claims there are not enough students within his Coven to continue his experiments.”
“We talked about this, Gekido.” Yokubo inwardly sighed. “What experiments?”
“What experiments, indeed.” Okui mused.
Gekido’s eye twitched with annoyance. He looked ready to lash out or explode; alas, before he could even get a say – a young girl appeared from the classroom and grabbed the side of Gekido’s leg. The collision was enough to make the man stumble. He inwardly groaned, prying the girl off.
“Hikari,” Gekido reached out a hand. “I told you to stay in class with everyone else.”
Hikari grabbed Gekido’s hand and swung around, pivoting on her heel with a loud whine. “I was bored. Everyone else is so much younger than me. Tsuyo and Supido keep bullying everyone and the lights don’t work in the room.”
“Come on.” Gekido grunted, tugging the girl along. He dismissed Yokubo and Okui’s judging eyes as he slipped back into the classroom. Hikari could not stop herself from looking back. She waved her hand before the door shut.
Okui hummed, following Yokubo down the corridor. He smirked at the way Yokubo carried himself; clearly hanging from last night’s great ball. “When I asked you to get me a drink of wine at the party, did you give it to the woman on the balcony instead?”
Yokubo wished he could laugh. He would have, if not for the thought of seeing his son after so many years. “Have you seen him yet?” He dismissed Okui’s query and jogged down a flight of steps.
“I have.” Okui replied, missing two steps at a time. “He’s already causing a lot of trouble, you know.”
“Has anyone tried to speak with him? Anyone told him why he’s here?”
“He only speaks French.” Okui chuckled. His eyes wandered to the end of the corridor where shouts and swears could be heard. “I have tried to make conversation with him, but he won’t even listen to me. And I’m fluent!”
“Fine.” Yokubo turned, stopping Okui. “Could you get the nurse? I’ll try and settle the kid down, but if he kicks off we may need a sedative or something.”
As Okui walked away, Yokubo turned to the end of the corridor. The door up ahead was rattling from the arguments and presumable fights happening. Yokubo would be lying if he said he was not concerned. Everything being shouted behind the door was being yelled in French and before he could reach for the handle, he was knocked to the side as the door flew open and a flash of black and purple zipped past him with no mercy.
Yokubo cursed loudly before turning to give chase. He watched the teen up ahead as he practically climbed the banister of the stairwell and burst into the main hall of the academy above. If he happened to find the exit, there was a likely chance Yokubo would lose his son forever. He had to battle against the boy’s speed and haul himself forward. The nearest exit was only a few turns and a foyer away!
The corridor they ran in was long, bright. Yokubo watched the way his son’s hoodie swayed behind him in a rapid motion. His legs kicked up from the ground, powerful calves keeping him moving. Yokubo guessed he must have ran in school. His messy, purple hair was bouncing all over the place – and for a brief second – Yokubo could see the hues of red eyes when the young man glanced back. Then everything stopped.
As the teen turned the corner, the nurse appeared and caught him around the waist. He was quick, forcing The Chairman’s son to the ground and pressed a needle into his throat. It took seconds of writhing around and swearing in French before he turned limp.
“You got here just in time.” Yokubo sighed breathlessly, reaching for the wall to rest on as he caught his breath. He looked from his unconscious son and up to the nurse’s face. “Good job, Yujin.”
Yujin had been kind enough to haul The Chairman’s son into his arms and carry him up the infirmary. He said nothing the whole time, silently moving into his office to lay the boy on one of the empty beds made up behind thin curtains.
“Thank you again for this, Yujin.” Yokubo stood in the door, watching Yujin pull the curtain around to give the kid some privacy while he slept off his aggression and jetlag. “He would have been a lost cause out there in the real world if you hadn’t stopped him.”
Yujin dropped himself into a large swivel chair. His messy blond hair hung across tired, ruby eyes as he stared at The Chairman. “I’ll keep an eye on him, if that’s what you’re wondering.”
“Thank you, really.” Yokubo forced a smile to his flawless face. He glanced to the curtained bed, inwardly sighing. “I know things haven’t been the best for you lately, what with your family-”
“Don’t.” Yujin cut in.
“I’m sorry.” Yokubo shook his head. “I’m an idiot. I shouldn’t speak sometimes.”
“It’s fine.” Yujin grumbled as he turned to the clutter and stacks of paper spilling across his desk. It was something to sort through so he would not have to look at The Chairman. “Just don’t mention it.”
With little left to say, Yokubo began to turn when he was taken back by the man running past the infirmary. He knew who it was from his scent alone. Honey and buttermilk. And fire. Yokubo ducked through the threshold to stare down the hall and shout. “Senbo!”
It was enough to stop the man from running. Senbo visibly shook as he turned. His face was covered with ash and soot. His clothes were bloodied and ruffled. He was panting, sweating. He looked like a deer in headlights and looked right through The Chairman.
“What on earth-” Yokubo could hardly get his words out when another man ran past. The Chairman managed to snag his arm before he could reach Senbo and pulled; hard. “Hokori! The hell is going on?”
“We cannot stop!” Hokori shrugged Yokubo’s hand off with ease. “We need help, now! Gather everyone in the academy!”
“Just tell me what’s going on for God’s sake!”
“It’s the Orphanage!” Senbo shrieked, breaking his own trance with a shrill cry. He slammed his foot on the ground, hard enough to shake grime from his clothes. “It’s on fire!”