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Yuumei Naito (Knights of Light and Darkness)
by: Elyse McConnell
Chapter One: New Beginnings
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      “A whole week that she’s been here, and no new friends.” A girl in Okaeshi’s class whispered to her friend loudly enough for Okaeshi to hear.
      “You would think someone would come and talk to her.” Her friend agreed.
      Okaeshi pretended to be reading.
      The first girl noticed her. “Hey! What are you reading?” She asked.
      Okaeshi opened her mouth to protest, but the book was already out of her hands.
      “Sailor Moon?” The first girl snorted, and tossed her hair back, her shoulder length hair like a ripple.
      The second girl rolled her eyes, “Yeah. Sailor Moon was out years ago.”
      Okaeshi’s face was burning. “Sailor Moon is a beautiful manga, explaining the power or love and encouraging girls to do whatever their hearts tell them to. Any ways,” She said quietly, “Reading is what keeps me going, day after day.”
      Okaeshi was given her manga back. The two girls turned back around, and heard one say, “And to think we were wondering why she doesn’t have any friends!”
      Okaeshi turned away. Tears welled in her eyes.
      ‘Yes, tonight,’ She thought, ‘Tonight will be the night when I stop getting teased and my parents stop being bothered.’
      The words were of little comfort, as a big tear ran down her cheek.

- - - - -


      Okaeshi sat in her room, reading.
      A loud, slightly slurred voice screamed up the stairs, “Okaeshi! I want you to do some work around here! Come down here!”
      Okaeshi sat, petrified, at the sound of her dad’s voice; Her drunken dad’s voice.
      She dropped her book.
      “Down here now!” He screamed, louder this time.
      She closed her eyes.
      Now he was coming up the stairs.
      He was still screaming at her, and coming closer and closer with each step.
      Her mother was the only one who could stop him now. As if by some miracle, she was there by him, coaxing him that she would talk with Okaeshi. The footsteps stopped coming closer, and instead began to fade away.
      Quiet footsteps started up the steps. Her mother’s footsteps. But she would not find Okaeshi. Okaeshi was gone.
      She jumped out the window onto the porch roof, then all across her neighbor’s roofs. She reached the grocery store and slid down the blue and yellow awning, right into a huge crate of oranges.
      The shopkeeper came running out, his face red with fury. “Hey! What do you think you’re doing?” He waved his chubby arms.
      Okaeshi snorted. She picked up two oranges as she scrambled out of the crate. She threw one at him. Hard.
      SMACK! An indent even redder than his already beet-red face was left, right between the eyes.
      “Sucka!” She called, and raced off.
      She began to tear off the skin of the orange as she ran.
      Finally, his yells faded into the afternoon. Okaeshi slowed to a walk, laughing so hard that her ribs ached.
      She ate the remains of the orange.
      Suddenly, it hit her what she was out there to do. Now she remembered.
      Solemnly, she walked the rest of the way to the San Francisco Bridge. Okaeshi stared down at the turbulent waters below.
      ‘I’d better do this right.’ She thought. She had this all planned out.
      Finally! Freedom from her parents. Her alcoholic father, her striptease mother. Terribly poor, her father jobless. Both criminals. And not to mention her new baby brother.
      She slapped her forehead. Why hadn’t she thought of it before? She could’ve just thrown him into the water while she was at it! No matter, though.
      Her baby brother was pure evil. She didn’t understand why her parents couldn’t sense it. She was so happy that he had turned out looking more Caucasian than Japanese. She took after her mother, whom was pure Japanese...until her mother married her father.
      “Terrible Americans!” She spat to the river.
      Her mother could have been a singer back in Tokyo. She had a lovely voice. But what was it that made her come all the way to America for this drunk?
      School. How could she forget about that? It was a total nightmare. Okaeshi was very smart, but her social status was bringing down her grades.
      Now was the time. This was a time for action, not for thinking.
      Shaking, Okaeshi climbed up onto the handrail of the bridge.
      Okaeshi’s last thoughts were wishing that she wasn’t sent away from heaven for her actions.
      Her last feeling was a sensation of water, lots of cold, cold water.
      It was the middle of the night when Okaeshi awoke again. It took her a moment to realize what had happened.
      “Damn it!”
      She got out her pocket knife, set on destroying herself any way she could. She was just about to plunge it into herself when...
      “Stop.” Came a voice. The knife flew out of her hands.
      Somehow, Okaeshi was under the bridge. She searched for where the voice came from.
      “Come now,” The voice again, “You don’t really want to do this.”
      “How would you know what I want to do?” She muttered.
      “Fine then.” The voice paused, “Then why would you want to do it? What brought you to this?”
      The whole of her life began to pour out in story. How her dad had been mostly sober when she was a toddler, but how he had slowly progressed into a beast over the years - a violent beast, set on beating anyone who dared to stand in his way, even if it was just on his way to get more beer. She had seen the bruises on her mother, whom had taken the beatings for her. Okaeshi’s father had been so drunk that he couldn’t tell the different any ways.
      She told the mysterious voice everything.
      Okaeshi began to sob, her whole body shaking with the pain.
      Coldness embraced her. Her shaking stopped as she felt the darkness run through her.
      She tried to see what it was that talked, but, it was but a shadow that she saw.
      “Come, be like me. You can become immortal. You can finally gain revenge on the people making your life so miserable.”
      The voice was soothing.
      Okaeshi gave in. “What must I do?” She asked, mimicking the coolness and perfect talk of the voice.
      “Do whatever you like. It’s your life, after all. I recommend getting revenge then heading on over to Tokyo.” Okaeshi couldn’t get over the voice.
      She shivered. That icy coolness. Was it from the river, or from this person?
      “How can I find you?” She asked.
      “There is no need to worry about such things. If you need me, I am here.”
      Okaeshi smiled. She liked that.
      All at once, the feeling of pure ice was gone, and Okaeshi was left debating what to do first.
      ‘I’d better get home now. No, I think I’ll find a phone in the city.’ Okaeshi thought.
      She took a step, but stubbed her toe.
      “What’s this?” She asked.
      She leaned over to pick it up.
      “What a pretty amulet, and my pocket knife too!” She said happily. She picked up the amulet, and turned it over in her hand. One side was cold, smooth silver, and the other was a pure black stone, edged by the silver.
      Okaeshi concluded that it must belong to whoever she had talked to. She placed it around her neck and told herself that she would give it back when she talked to him again. She kicked her pocket knife into the river.
      Okaeshi looked at the bridge above. She’d find a pay phone and report her parent’s crimes. Sweet revenge! She licked her lips in anticipation, then started to climb.

- - - - -


      “But judge, what do we do with the children?” Okaeshi’s lawyer asked.
      “I suppose that we should find a place for the two children to live in this general area so they can go to the same school as they did before. Or...as Okaeshi went to before.” The judge sat back.
      Okaeshi caught her breath.
      “I’m sure that there would be a family who would adopt them both together. After all, after the death penalty, Okaeshi will only have her brother.” The judge paused.
      Okaeshi jumped out of her seat, and went to stand in front of the judge. She dropped down to her knees. “Oh, God, no! You can’t make me live with that little kid! Please, find him a home here in America. But don’t make me live with him! I could go live in Tokyo! I...I know Japanese quite well, and, and...PLEASE!”
      Out of the corner of her eye, Okaeshi saw her father turning bright red with anger. His blood veins stuck out on the back of his neck.
      The judge looked over her head to her lawyer.
      Okaeshi got up, and looked pleadingly at her lawyer.
      Her lawyer nodded ever so slightly.
      “Alright.” The judge agreed. “We’ll find you a good family in Tokyo.”
      Okaeshi felt like a child at Christmas, gleeful and like everything was perfect. Still, she kept herself composed. She dusted off her jeans, then sat down, a look of pure satisfaction on her face.
      “Thank you, sir. I appreciate it.” She used the smooth talking voice that she had used under the San Francisco Bridge.

- - - - -


      There was a loud commotion in the hallway.
      Okaeshi placed her book mark in her book. She took off her reading glasses and put the book and glasses on the coffee table. She pulled her feet up onto the chair she was sitting in.
      The opening to the hallway streaked with a long, golden hair.
      Okaeshi raised her eyebrows as the girl ran by.
      “Seisatsu! Wait!” She heard calls.
      “We’re slow! Wait!” Another voice yelled.
      The girl that had gone past the door ran back and looked into the room Okaeshi was in.
      Their eyes met, then the sound of bamboo shoes running down the hall made Seisatsu look away.
      “Stop!” She shrieked as her friends ran into her.
      Okaeshi chewed her lip and waited for the three girls to untangle themselves.
      Finally, Seisatsu asked Okaeshi, “Hi. You must be mom’s new student.”
      Okaeshi shook her head.
      “She’s your tutor then? Don’t worry. I won’t tell anyone. Does she know you’re here?” Seisatsu peered around the doorway for her mother.
      Okaeshi cleared her throat. “No, I’m your new sister.”
      Seisatsu gaped at her. Then, she breathed, “Oh, wow!”
      Her blue eyes were sparkling as she stepped forward. “It’s great to meet you!”
      “Okaeshi. Moudou Okaeshi.” She had changed her last name to her mother’s maiden name. It just sounded better, after all.
      Seisatsu seemed to be struggling whether to shake Okaeshi’s hand or hug her.
      So, she gave her a hug, and helped her out of the chair. “Kashoku Seisatsu.”
      Okaeshi nodded.
      “And these are my friends,” She nodded to a girl with a waif of black hair, and green eyes. “That’s Kontan Tsuyayaka.” The other girl shifted uncomfortably. She stood almost a head taller than Tsuyayaka. her red hair was done up in a series of curls, loops, and braids. She looked at her feet. “And that’s Kasai Nenshou.”
      “Hello. It’s so nice to meet you.” Okaeshi smiled a genuine smile, though she felt that they would reject her just like everyone else.
      The two girls nodded.
      “Should we get a snack?” Tsuyayaka asked.
      “Alright!” Nenshou spoke now.
      Okaeshi, for once in her life, felt as if there actually might be someone that liked her.
      But, for the moment, her happy thoughts were interrupted.
      Seisatsu pulled her friends off to the next room, leaving Okaeshi all alone.
      She strained to hear what they were saying, but couldn’t make out a word.
      “It’s strange, but I think there’s something very odd going on around here.” Nenshou said quietly.
      “Yeah. And it all started when she moved here!” Tsuyayaka said indignantly.
      “Certainly you don’t mean my new sister, do you, Tsuyayaka?” Seisatsu murmured.
      Tsuyayaka seemed to be considering what to say. “Well...” She said slowly. She shook her head. “No. No. You tell us.”
      Seisatsu pulled out her amulet of reflection from under her shirt. She stared into its sky blue depths.
      “I...I guess we should be on the look out.” Seisatsu admitted.
      With that, she slipped the amulet back under her shirt.
      The friends went back to join Okaeshi again. She looked blankly at them.
      “They were talking about you. They hate you. That’s why they were making fun of you.” A voice hissed through her brain. “They will embarrass you. How could you believe that they actually want to be friends with you? You’ve fallen for another one of their tricks. Surely you are not so gullible?”
      Okaeshi sat perfectly still, listening to the voice. This could not be! Could it? Could they be trying to deceive her?
      “I...I’m...going to my room now. Bye.” Okaeshi ran off to her bedroom.
      “Strange girl.” Tsuyayaka commented.
      Seisatsu’s brow furrowed. She watched Okaeshi leave, and took note of the pale expression on her face.

- - - - -


      Okaeshi was awakened by movement in the hallway. She tried to make out the numbers on her clock - 12:16PM. She turned back over to look into the hall.
      A shadow figure tiptoed past. Then, a taller figure.
      Three. That would make three figures. Could it be her new friends? Well, then! She wasn’t about to be left out!
      Okaeshi put on the closest thing to a robe - a kimono - and followed them silently.
      They went out the door and down the fire escape. Okaeshi was amazed that they didn’t see her through the bars. Their minds seemed to be on something else.
      They raced past houses and down alleyways.
      “We’ve been spotted!” Seisatsu called. Okaeshi wondered if she meant by her.
      No sooner had the words come out of Seisatsu’s mouth that Okaeshi’s question was answered. A loud crash pierced the night air, and a cry rang out.
      “Now!” Seisatsu yelled.
      Okaeshi hid.
      Seisatsu’s amulet appeared and began to glow a light blue.
      An amulet, green in colour, began to glow around Tsuyayaka’s neck.
      Then, Nenshou’s amulet engulfed her in a bright yellow.
      Each girl was swallowed by her own light.
      Okaeshi pressed herself farther up against the side of the wall, behind an old cardboard box. She suddenly got a cold feeling around her. She felt the amulet emitting an eerie black light.
      ‘What’s happening?’ Okaeshi thought in panic, ‘I’m...being controlled!’
      She opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. There was no one to help her now.

- - - - -


Chapter 2 is comming in the next volume, so be sure to subscribe to eDAN trough http://go.to/evilness or http://dive.to/edan. Copyright is owned by author.