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(Contains: violence/gore)
Dear Journal,

My psychologist recommended that I begin a journal to record my thoughts and emotions. She stated it might help me relax more if I was able to express myself in writing. I will be keeping this private journal for myself. The date is exactly November 30, 2012.

The experience with Metatron and Hisaye was never disclosed to Lawrence. He returned a week later to a perfectly normal mother and daughter. The only problem was we were not normal, not anymore. I was the mother to a demonic child and Hisaye was forever doomed to live in fear of becoming a monster. That is enough to wear on any person.

Still, the return of Lawrence brought a sense of normalcy back to us. Lawrence, with his realistic perspective and rejection of anything mythological, was able to make us forget about that night. I remember the way Hisaye ran into his arms when he opened the door to the apartment. I never saw such happiness in my daughter’s eyes. Even I was feeling a sense of such excitement that I pulled Lawrence into an embrace and held him there. His presence and warmth filled me with such security that I almost burst into tears.

The onslaught of affection confused him. I remember the way his eyes widened when I hugged him. Such affection was rare if not nonexistent between us.

“Are you alright, Yoi?” Lawrence asked, placing his hands gingerly on my shoulders and pushing me back. He looked into my face as if searching for the source of my sudden affection. If only he could see that I have been in love with him for years now. “Everything went normally while I was away?”

I nodded and blinked back the emotion that threatened to spill down my face. Sebastian entered the home behind him, removing his hat and coat and hanging them up. He looked at me and smiled.

“Greetings,” He said.

“Welcome home,” I replied.

Lawrence took Hisaye to her bedroom. It was late when they came home. I heard him talking fondly to her of his travel as they went. Sebastian stayed behind with me.

“It was a long flight,” He said. I could see the dark circles under his eyes. “How is everything?”

“Well,” I replied. I was not about to disclose what happened to either of them. Lawrence wouldn’t believe it anyways. “For Hisaye’s birthday we bought a cake and watched old cartoons.”

“Oh?” Sebastian said.

I wondered if he didn’t believe me. I watched him, trying to gauge his thoughts. Unfortunately, I was nothing like Lawrence. Lawrence could easily read people. I could not. Sometimes I tried to be as astute and observant as him only to fall flat on my analysis. I felt prickles of anxiety and discomfort. I still wonder if Sebastian sensed that something happened between Hisaye and me. I wonder what he assumed and even feared his assumption.

“Yes,” I stuttered. “She wanted it to be a private, minimal affair. We watched Fox and the Hound. She gave me a rather in-depth observation on it, too.”

There was a sick feeling in my stomach by then. I gave Sebastian a forced smile and excused myself to Lawrence and I’s bedroom. I was surprised to find him there, actually dressed in dark grey pajamas. My eyes widened. Lawrence rarely slept and when he did, he more often than not passed out in his armchair.

“Lawrence?” I said. “I didn’t think you would be coming to bed.”
He looked up at me and gave me a smile. My heart fluttered and I felt my cheeks immediately turn a shade of red. His smiles always unsettled me in this way, probably because they were so rarely thrown in my direction.

“It was a long flight,” He replied, making his way to the bed and sitting. “I figured I would sleep tonight and take a break. I will continue my work tomorrow…” Lawrence paused. “But later in the evening. I promised Hisaye I would spend the day with her to make up for missing her birthday.”

“Oh.”

I moved to the dresser and grabbed my pajamas—the same silk pajamas with apple designs that I’d worn the night I told Lawrence I was pregnant—and quickly proceeded to change. I could feel Lawrence’s eyes on me as I did. I saw him in the reflection of the wardrobe’s mirror. My cheeks grew hotter. The look in his eyes was not predatory or even sexual as I removed my shirt—back turned to him. His eyes laid on my back. There was a look of morbid curiosity in them.

My shirt was partway off, covering my chest, when he slipped from the bed and came closer. I knew what he was looking at. It was not often that I changed in front of him. In fact, I cannot think of a time before that moment. His dark eyes were centered on my back and the multitude of scars that remained. They were the byproducts of being whipped, sliced, smacked and bruised. They were my
punishments for my disobedience.

“Yoi,” Lawrence said, stopping directly behind me. I shivered at how close he was. He leaned closer to my back, his fingers hovering over the scars as if to trace them. I could feel my heart begin to beat faster and my breath quicken. I felt on the verge of a panic attack, yet at the same time excited to have him so close. “I have never been able to see the full extent of your scarring. Only the slashes down your wrists have been most noticeable, but never your back.”

I felt his hands on my shoulders, watched him place them there. I felt an urge to cry at the touch yet at the same time I always dreamed he’d touch my bare skin. My body, emotions, and mind were in constant conflict over what they wanted. While I was curious about his touch, my mind revolted without my consent and caused my body to panic. Even when I willingly laid a hand on Lawrence, I always experienced the flutters of anxiety in my chest. It was inescapable and another byproduct of my past.

“May I touch your back, Yoi?” Lawrence asked. He watched my eyes through the mirror. His own searched mine, asking for consent. “May I take a closer look at the scars?”

My lips trembled. I tried to whisper the word yes, but nothing would come out. I wanted him to do it. I wanted to allow him to explore me if only because he showed interest, but my body screamed no. My mind continued to rebel against my desires. So instead, I began to nod. I hoped it was firm enough to convey to him that yes, I wanted him to look. I wanted him to touch.

“Are you sure?” He pressed. He narrowed his eyes some. “I would prefer you say it, Yoi. I won’t touch you if you don’t want me to.”

“I-I…” My throat closed. I felt a lump raising in it. The throngs of anxiety made my eyes begin to water. I fought them back. I was holding back the shaking. I held back the memories that threatened to burst through the mental wall I had built long ago. I hated reliving the nightmare of the beatings, the rape, and the verbal abuse. I relived it every night in my dreams. I was not going to let it control my waking life. “Yes….Yes, I give you permission.”

I kept still while he explored my back. His fingertips lightly traced the scars one-by-one. I could hear him murmuring behind me, quietly reciting to himself the origin of each scar. Knife. Whip. Fire. Razors. Brass knuckles. Ice pick. Drill.

The list went on.

I tried to tune it out as to not trigger any memories of back then, but I could feel my body giving him. I was beginning to shake. My breathing was picking up so fast that my head was beginning to feel light. My eyes grew wet. His words. His touch. It became overwhelming until I broke.

A shuddered sob escaped my lips. I was unable to hold it back anymore. I burst into a raging fit of shaking and sobs. My breaths hitched. I could feel the world begin to spin as I spiraled into the abyss that is a panic attack.

Most of what happened is a blur to me, but I remember Lawrence drawing his hands away. Then I remember him turning me to face him. He was speaking to me, but his words fell on deaf ears. I felt like I was stuck in a bathtub and everything reaching me was forcing its way through the water. It made a memory come crashing back to me—a time when my head was held under water until I nearly drowned. Another punishment for my disobedience.

Lawrence took me in his arms and held me. I recall the way he stroked my hair, the way he murmured words to me. He held me there until I came down off my panic attack. I nearly passed out.

Once I began to breathe normally, Lawrence took my nightshirt. He gently slipped it over my head, pulling my other shirt away from me as he did. His gentleness touched me. For a moment, I was almost fooled into thinking he felt something akin to love for me after all. That moment of him soothing my panic attack is forever seared in my mind.

“Yoi, I apologize,” Lawrence said. “I feel like I pushed too far.”

There is always a numbness to Lawrence’s apologies. A formality that says he only apologizes because it is expected and appropriate. This time was no different and I know that Lawrence was pleased to have inspected my scars. Still, I nodded and accepted his apology. In reality, I’m not sure if Lawrence is capable of a true apology. I’m not sure he has the capacity to be sincere in things such as remorse. But he tries. And maybe, just maybe, I do, too. And maybe that’s why I always forgive him.

Lawrence turned so I could finish dressing into my pajamas. Afterward he led me to the bed and laid down with me. A clap of his hands and the lights were out. We became enshrouded in darkness. I listened to his steady breathing for a time, feeling again the fluttering in my chest. It hurts to love someone as much as I love Lawrence, especially when the feeling is not mutual.

“Lawrence?” I whispered, wishing I was closer to him. Wishing I could snuggle up to him and be encased in his presence. “Are you awake?”

“Yes, Yoi. Is there something you need?” Lawrence responded after a few moments. “Does your head hurt?”

“No,” I hesitated. “Just, I wanted to talk to you some about Hisaye.”

I daringly scooted closer to him. It was appropriate to do so since I wanted to speak in a soft voice. Lawrence wouldn’t think anything of it. It was my chance to be close to him.

“I feel like Hisaye is…stuck…in here too much,” I began. “She’s so isolated. I’m worried about her. I know we are trying to protect her from being taken, but…She’s a little girl, Lawrence. She needs to go out into the world.” I bit my lip, rummaging over my words. I’m not sure why I worried so much at that point. I knew Lawrence would agree with me. “I think we should sign her up for some activities. Maybe she could do dancing. Martial arts? Some kind of extracurricular activity.”

In a way, I knew the real reason I was asking Lawrence to consider this. It wasn’t that I felt Hisaye was isolated. It was because of what happened on her birthday. I thought of Metatron’s words. Hisaye had to learn control. She had to control her emotions and keep herself from turning into a monster. It feels like such a burden on a young girl. Extracurriculars such as martial arts would let her release her energy and emotions without her being overwhelmed.  I was trying to find an escape for my daughter.

Lawrence was quiet, as if deliberating over what I said. Then I heard him sigh and shift in the bed. “You are correct, Yoi. Hisaye is a young girl, and despite the dangers, we should let her flourish. An extracurricular activity is something we can monitor. It’s also something scheduled. I feel this is a good idea. We shall speak with her tomorrow and try to gauge her interest. How does that sound?”

I smiled. “That sounds wonderful.”

I dared to scoot closer to Lawrence. Suddenly, our bodies were close. I nudged myself into his arms and laid my head in the crook of his neck. Surprisingly, he wrapped his arms around me and held me. It was another moment where I thought…that maybe Lawrence did have some kind of hidden affection for me. Maybe, deep down, he loved me in his own way. On the other hand, maybe he humored me and my snuggling because of the panic attack he earlier incited.

I laid there in his arms, listening to him breathe. I began to again think about how I wished he would touch me. Despite my mind and body’s revulsion to the idea of sex, I was always curious of it with Lawrence. I wonder about consensual sex and its differences from my experiences. I yearn for Lawrence to press his lips against mine and desire me in such a manner so that I could experience it.

I wonder if Lawrence ever has sexual urges. He never makes any indications of being interested at all. It seems, to me, that Lawrence is just as asexual as I am. If only he were more sexual, then maybe it would be possible for us to attempt consensual sex. Even if I am sent into another flurry of panic, I want to try it. I want to know what it is like to be intimate with someone who you agreed to be intimate with. I want to feel the difference.

I remember hearing Lawrence’s breaths become more labored and deep. I remember the way I brushed his hair with my fingertips and ran them over his lips. I remember the urge I had to kiss him. Maybe if I kiss him, he will let me go further. Maybe he will humor me and show me the difference between rape and consensual sex.

But I didn’t kiss him. Instead, I closed my eyes and fell asleep in his arms, feeling the gaping hole in my heart that remained every time I was in his presence.
                                                     …
Dear Journal,

Hisaye has been enrolled in a few different activities. She chose to join a dojo for capoeira and a contemporary dance class. On top of that, she is learning meditation.

I’m happy that Lawrence agreed with me. I can see the light in her eyes while she participates with the outside world. Her boredom has been cured and now, aside from schooling, she has other things to focus on. I’m hopeful she will even make friends in her classes.

It is mostly Sebastian and I that take Hisaye to her classes. Lawrence is back to his busy schedule, though sometimes Hisaye manages to coax him into attending a lesson. It makes her happy to show off her new skills to him, I know. I can tell she wants nothing more than for Lawrence to be proud of her. I’m sure he is.

Leaving the isolation of the apartment is something new for me, too. I sit and watch her classes along with other mothers. I notice the way they look at me sometimes. They can tell I am not one of them. They know that, somehow, I am different. It makes me uncomfortable. In addition, upon first meeting them, they threw an off-color comment on how young I am. They inquired about my age, and I was unable to truly answer them.

According to my documents, I am nearing 27. In reality, I believe I may actually be closer to 25. When I was rescued, I estimated my age anywhere from 16 to 18. Lawrence had me stand firm at 18 so that we could marry. However, I believe I was 16 at the time of our marriage and 17 when Hisaye was born. I realize in Japan that birthing a child so young is taboo and I understand their looks of disdain. It has made it very difficult to communicate with anyone other than Sebastian.

I notice that Hisaye is better at things than other kids are. In the dojo, she is quicker and stronger. Her accuracy is impeccable. In dance, her moves are tight and well executed. She has more balance. Even when it comes to knowledge, Hisaye picks it up faster and retains it better. The comparison is amazing and I think the other mothers feel jealousy over my daughter’s success. If only they knew why Hisaye was better. However, I believe it would be a bad idea for anyone to ever know what Hisaye is. Therefore, the secret shall remain and I will take a quiet satisfaction in my daughter’s achievements over other children.

If I am to be honest, I believe Hisaye would excel at these activities over those children even if she wasn’t a Cambion. I’m confident about that.

My daughter can do anything she sets her mind to.
                                                    …
Dear Journal,

The date is October 12, 2016.

On October 10th, I received a phone call that could only be described as devastating. It felt as if the Earth was falling from under my feet. No amount of trauma in my past prepared me for this call. I was floored.

The call came from a hospital. They told me it was Lawrence. He was in the hospital after a mysterious attacker brutally attacked him.

I’ve been staying with him since that call. Hisaye is at home with Sebastian. I told Sebastian where I was going, but not a word was said to Hisaye. Somehow, I feel like she knew. The way she looked at me as I left indicated to me that she sensed the situation. I wondered if it was because she was a Cambion.

The doctors managed to stabilize him, but they keep telling me to prepare for the worst. They don’t expect Lawrence to survive his injuries. I admit I almost was unable to walk in the room. When I saw him, I almost ran out.

Lawrence already looked dead. He was unconscious, his skin was pale and clammy, and bandages covered him from head to toe. One covered his eye. I’m told whoever attacked him cut it out. A sickening feeling settles in my stomach whenever I think about it.

I felt helpless. All I could do was sit there and stare at him. There was no expectation that he was going to wake up. The doctors thought he was going to pass on in his sleep. That was for the best, they told me. At least if he is asleep he will never wake up to the pain. Lawrence would go peacefully. Still, I was unwilling to accept that Lawrence was going to die. Strong, confident Lawrence who always felt invincible to me. Nothing could overtake Lawrence, not even death. I sat there with the feeble hope that he would wake up and everything would be okay.

Lawrence didn’t wake up that day.

The next day I sat there with his hand in mine. Everyone was surprised he survived the night. It only made me more hopeful. I squeezed his hand. It felt so cold to touch. It reminded me of when Hisaye was a baby and how her body refused to warm up. I thought about calling Sebastian and having him bring Hisaye. If Lawrence was going to die, then it was only right that he and Hisaye have their final words. Nevertheless, I didn’t. I still believed he was going to pull through in the end.

“Lawrence,” I whispered, my lips trembling. I managed to hold back the tears the day before, but now I was finding it harder and harder to keep them at bay. “Lawrence, please.”
I continued to stare down at him. There wasn’t any response or even a hint that he heard me. I bit my lower lip and slowly lowered my head onto his chest. The tears began to flow and I let out a soft, desperate sob. “Lawrence. Lawrence, please wake up. Please. You don’t understand. You never did. I need you, Lawrence. I need you.”

To my amazement, I felt cold fingertips press against my forehead. I lifted my head with a gasp. My eyes met his. Lawrence’s uncovered eye was open. It was glossy. There was a small, weak smile on his face.

“Lawrence!” I cried. I couldn’t believe his eye was open. I couldn’t believe he was smiling at me. Me. The girl he hardly ever smiled at.

“Yoi,” He whispered, voice coming out barely in a croak. “Yoi…I was so close. So close.”

“Sh, Lawrence…don’t talk,” I said, placing my fingers gently against his lips. I sniffled. My stutter was getting worse the more I spoke, “You have to save your strength.”

I still cannot imagine the amount of pain he must have been in. I cannot admire his strength enough for forcing himself into consciousness to speak with me. The amount of willpower it must have taken. Lawrence must have cared about me to some extent to come back from death just to speak with me. He must have.

“I was so close,” He whispered against my fingers. “I’m sorry.”

“What are you talking about?” I cried. “You’re going to be fine. You’re awake. Just stay with me, Lawrence. Please. Stay with me.”

I leaned onto him again, burying my head into him. I gripped his hand tighter. I was afraid letting go meant losing him. I refused to let him go.

“Lawrence,” I whined. It finally came out. After all those years of keeping it inside, of keeping my gaping hole open, I finally let it out. “I love you.”

After that, I couldn’t hold it in anymore. My tears came out faster and harder. My emotions spilled out onto him and I found I couldn’t stop babbling.

“I love you, Lawrence. I love you so much. I’ve always loved you. Please don’t die. Please don’t leave me. Please. Please. Please. Lawrence…I can’t do it without you. I need you, Lawrence. I need you. Please…”

I am not sure whether Lawrence heard my pleas or not. I am not even sure he heard my confession. His smile vanished and his eye began to close. The last thing he ever said was:
“I’m sorry, Yoi. Forgive me.”

“Lawrence…” I whimpered. “Lawrence!” I closed my eyes, leaned forward and gave him a gentle kiss on the lips. It was the only kiss, save for the one we exchanged for our marriage, I ever shared with him.

Lawrence never woke up again. He died the next day. And all I could do was sit here and write this down as they wheeled him away.
                                                   …
Dear Journal,

Lawrence’s funeral was small and private. The only people there were the people who were with him all along— Sebastian, Hisaye, and me. We buried him in a small cemetery. Apparently, Lawrence never planned for what he wanted done to him after death. Perhaps he didn’t are or perhaps he never expected to die so young. The same thing applied to his will.

Lawrence wrote a will. I learned about this after the funeral. The problem was Lawrence wrote the will once he started his career as a private detective. This meant Hisaye and I were not on it. Everything of Lawrence’s was willed to Sebastian. Sebastian was apologetic. He kept repeating that Lawrence meant to change it and will everything to Hisaye. He even insisted everything rightly belonged to us and he would give it to us.

I only smiled and said, “No. If Lawrence gave it to you, then it is yours. You’re older now, Sebastian. You need money to retire and live at peace. Hisaye and I are still young. We will make it.”

Sebastian wouldn’t accept it. In the end, he agreed to give us enough money to put Hisaye through the rest of her education, including university, and enough to keep us afloat until I found a job. I agreed because it was for Hisaye.

We said our farewells to Sebastian the following week. I felt terrible for Hisaye. She, out of all of us, was taking things the hardest. I knew this by the way she isolated herself from us. She spent countless hours in her room, meditating. It was all she could do. Hisaye’s restriction of emotions kept her from mourning in the same way as Sebastian and I.

At our goodbye, Hisaye held on to Sebastian tight. She was losing two people within a short period. Two people whom she cared deeply for. My heart ached as well. The loss of Lawrence and Sebastian both was hard on me, too. They were the only other two people I ever really knew. Now we were leaving Sebastian to retirement and Lawrence was gone. It was too sudden for me.

“Farwell, Yoi-san,” Sebastian said with a gentle smile. “May you and your daughter find peace in the world.”

“Goodbye Sebastian,” I replied tearfully as I embraced him. He felt so fragile under my arms that I was afraid of breaking him. We had been together for 12 years and it was only now I realized how much he had aged. The mortality of it struck me.

We were never going to see Sebastian again.
                                                …

I found the file while I was cleaning out the apartment. The file was rose-colored and marked “MIZUNO.” Usually I would not dare look through Lawrence’s work, but something about the file drew me to it. I sat at the kitchen table and opened it. I was shocked at what I found.

There was a photo of me and some documents paper clipped together. What really caught my attention was a newspaper clip written in Japanese marked for December 8, 1987. The headline read:

DEAD WOMAN FOUND IN HIDDEN CABIN IN HIDA-TAKAYAMA CONFIRMED TO BE EMI MIZUNO.

The authorities have confirmed the body of a dead woman found in a cabin hidden in Hida-Takayama is the body of Mizuno, Emi, daughter of prominent businessman Mizuno, Hayato.

Mizuno, Emi has been missing since her disappearance on December 3. Her body was discovered two days later when an anonymous tip led police to the scene. Miss Emi was 9 months pregnant upon her disappearance. Her lover, Izumi, Akumu, is suspected of kidnapping her on the night of her due date. The cause of death is determined to be childbirth. The child was not found on the scene.

Izumi, Akumu and the child are still at large. If anyone has any tips on the whereabouts of Izumi, Akumu or Mizuno, Emi’s child, please submit them to your local authorities.

It didn’t take an expert to put the pieces together. I sat staring at the newspaper clip for a long time. I was not sure how to feel. I could not decipher my own emotions.

All this time, Chichi-ue had been my real father. My tormentor was my biological father. He carelessly sold me off to men, beat me, and manipulated me for years and never gave any indication of being my blood. I can understand why Lawrence chose to hide this information from me. I almost wish I’d never found the file.

I lowered my head and cried.

After I exhausted myself of tears, I returned to the documents in the file. There was the birth certificate of Emi Mizuno, her school transcripts, and notes from Lawrence requesting these things. He stated he needed them for research purposes. There were requests of the same thing for Akumu Izumi, but the replies were apologetic that such a person did not exist in any records. The last thing was a photo of the two.

I stared at the photograph. The two were happily in each other’s arms, Emi heavy with child. Chichi-ue looked the exact same as I always remembered him. I concentrated on Emi Mizuno the most.

“Mom,” I whispered. I felt myself shiver. Emi Mizuno was beautiful. She had long, flowing brown hair and large, red eyes. I could see my soft features in hers. She smiled happily and elegantly at the photo as she held her large tummy. She looked like a strong woman filled with life and confidence. I was ashamed that her daughter was nothing like her.

The back of the photo stated, in Lawrence’s handwriting, that it was the last photo ever taken of the two before her disappearance. I placed it back into the file with the documents and newspaper clip and shut it. My past was finally revealed to me. I know who I was supposed to be. I was to be Yoi Mizuno, daughter of Emi Mizuno and child of a wealthy, well-known family. But none of that matters now, because I am Yoi Lawson—survivor, mother, and wife.

That is who I want to be.
                                                …
Dear Journal,

Life has been difficult since Lawrence has gone.

Hisaye and I now live in a smaller apartment. I found a job as a waitress, but I lost it after a while. There are days I wake up and I’m unable to get out of bed. I lay in bed and close my eyes, thinking about all the miseries in my life. A dark cloud hangs over me and overwhelms me. This can go on for days at a time, or even weeks. It has made it difficult to hold down a steady job.

My psychologist told me I am depressed. She made a recommendation to see a psychiatrist and explore the possibility of medication. That was the last time I saw her.

There are days I think back to when I was in that small cabin. I think of the times I tried to take my life, and I think about what would happen if I tried again. There was no one to cut down the drop this time and no one to sew my wrists back together. The only thing stopping me was my daughter. Hisaye had no one else except for me now. It was up to me to raise her and help her succeed at life.

I push on for my daughter.

We became closer after Lawrence’s death. Our connection is now stronger than ever. I only regret that my episodes of darkness cause Hisaye the burden of keeping the apartment together. It should not be her job to take care of me. It is my job to take care of her. Yet, there are times she comes into the bedroom with my breakfast and encourages me to eat. She cleans up the apartment, handles the mail, and makes sure bills are paid on time.

“It’s okay, mom,” She says. “I don’t mind. You stay in bed and feel better.”

I can see it in her eyes. I am making Hisaye grow up too fast. My misery is affecting us both, but there’s nothing I can do. When the dark cloud comes, I am unable to control myself. As much as I wished to get up and be the mother I’m supposed to, the cloud weighs me down. It suffocates me. Life begins to feel hopeless.

I feel others who do not experience the darkness would judge me. No one can understand how it feels to feel this way unless it happens to them, too. It’s a horrible feeling. It eats you up inside, and you can only scratch at the walls in hopes of finding a nook to climb out. If only normal people could understand, but I have learned from Lawrence that humans significantly lack empathy. He showed and told me things about his cases that I will never forget. It makes sense to me why Lawrence could be so distant—he saw the worst in people and the worst of people every day.

Working in the real world, I’ve begun to see the worst in people, too. Unlike Lawrence, though, I try to find the good. I want to believe that people are inherently good. I want to believe that I escaped my confinement and found freedom in a world worth living in.

If only the darkness would stay away.
                                              …

Yoi stared at the journal in her hands. She used to write in it every night, but over the years, she wrote less and less. Eventually she put it in the drawer of her nightstand and forgot about it. Now she read the pages and allowed the memories to sweep her away. A deep-set nostalgia set in threatening to bring her down into the watery depths of depression.

There were so many feelings in the pages she wished to forget. If only it was as easy as burning the journal so that her memories would fade away. Yet, even without the journal, they remained vivid in her mind. Her memories were inescapable, seared forever into her damaged soul.

Yoi set the journal back on the nightstand and sighed. Her eyes closed. She felt the tears creeping in. It felt like someone took the sutures in her heart and ripped them out, reopening the gaping hole. Her body shivered. She held herself and let out a weak sob.

So much had changed since Lawrence and Sebastian. In the six years since, the two girls struggled through life with each other. Mother and daughter. A mother and a daughter who never really understood each other, yet they lived together. They loved each other, despite a void between them that separated them. Sometimes Yoi looked at her daughter and wondered who she was. Sometimes, she did not see herself in her daughter, despite having birthed her.

Hisaye had grown. The once small child now was a tall, willow-y girl with a small chest and a pointed chin. Her face was narrow as well as her nose. Her face was so unlike Yoi’s.  Her eyes were wider and haunted by insomnia. Her skin was considerably pale. Her hair was dark and long. It was about the only “feminine” thing about her. It was amazing how much she looked like Lawrence despite him not fathering her, and her mannerisms followed along his lines.

Her daughter was successful. She graduated home schooling early and moved on to university for a degree in Criminal Justice. She scored first on the entrance exam and was considered top of her class. Hisaye truly followed in the steps of Lawrence, though Yoi was unsure whether Lawrence ever achieved a degree.

Yoi wiped her eyes of her tears. She was about to get up when a sudden sense of being watched came over her. Yoi paused. She felt a shiver run down her spine. A sudden familiarity filled her. It was the same dark feeling she felt all those years ago as she watched her father speak to the man. The man who later raped her and made Hisaye. His presence filled the air. It was almost suffocating. Yoi never wanted to feel such evil again, but she knew this day was coming. Ever since Lawrence died, she knew that he would be back.

He stood in the darkness of the corner. His eyes were greenish-gold slits, almost cat-like in nature. He smiled at her, a smile revealing a mouthful of fangs.

“Hello, beautiful,” He cooed, stepping from the shadows. His appearance hadn’t changed. He was averaged-sized, pale, and with a froggish face. His hair was cut short and black. He was dressed in a suit just like the day she’d met him. In all honesty, he could have been American. It was his accent that made Yoi assume he spent most of his time in England. “Do you remember me?”

“You’re Mammon,” Yoi murmured. “You’re a demon.”

He laughed, “Oh? You know my name? It must have been that pesky Metatron that told you that, right? Chickens with wings. By the way, sweetie, it’s daemon. Demons are different.” Mammon glanced behind her. His smile grew broader. “It appears Metatron isn’t with you anymore. He’s not been with you for a while.”

Yoi’s heart fluttered with fear. She stood up from the bed as Mammon approached, only for him to push her back down on it. He held her there, hands on her shoulders, leaning his face closer to her. Yoi’s breath quickened. She felt herself beginning to panic.

“Oh, sh, sh, sh, my love,” Mammon whispered. He stroked her cheek. “It’s been a while. You have certainly developed since I last saw you. Unfortunately, I’m not here for you. I’m after what’s rightfully mine.”

“Hisaye isn’t here,” Yoi said. She tried to make her voice strong, but it cracked. Her stutter picked up. It only brought amusement to the eyes of Mammon. She forced out, “And she isn’t yours.”

Mammon snorted. He tightened his grip on Yoi’s shoulders, digging his claws in. It made her wince. Her pain brought him satisfaction. “Isn’t mine, you say? Oh, I would beg to differ, my dear. That Cambion is definitely mine and she will definitely be coming with me. I’ve let her run along and play with mummy long enough. Time to come home and do what she was created to do.”

The sound of the apartment door opening made the two go quiet.

“Mom?” A voice echoed. “Mom? Are you awake?”

Yoi tensed under Mammon’s grip. Mammon smirked.

“Oh? Look who’s home,” Mammon chuckled. He forced Yoi from the bed. “Let’s greet her, shall we?”

“No,” Yoi whined quietly, but Mammon wrapped his hand around her neck and squeezed, nearly closing off her windpipe.

The rustle drew Hisaye to the bedroom.

“Mom?”

Her daughter entered the room. She stood there for a moment, perplexed, but she quickly realized what was happening. Yoi grabbed Mammon’s hand and tried to pry it off. She writhed in his grasp.

“Hisaye,” Yoi croaked. “Hisaye, get out of here. Get out of here, now.” She threw a hand out, hoping her daughter would flee. But she didn’t.

“What’s going on?” Hisaye asked. She looked between the two. Yoi could see anger in her daughter’s eyes. “Let her go.”

No…No! This is exactly what he wants! Yoi thought. She had to stop this. “Hisaye!”

Mammon tightened his grip on her, this time closing off her windpipe. Yoi gasped and grabbed his hand with both of hers, desperately trying to pry it off. There was an exchange between the two. Yoi dug her nails into Mammon’s hand, but to no avail. It was as if he didn’t feel any of her attempts to break free.

Hisaye’s anger was boiling over. Yoi could see her daughter changing. She saw her red eyes become a solid white, pupil and all. Her nail grew into claws and her teeth slowly became fangs. Her voice grew darker and more demonic.

She finally felt his grip loosen. Yoi gasped in air and sputtered. The loosening of his grip was momentary, Mammon soon tightened again. Only this time he dug his claws into her neck, drawing a cry of pain from Yoi.

This set off Hisaye. Yoi heard her daughter give an inhuman growl. It was enough to send shivers down her spine. Her daughter closed in on the two. Yoi writhed in Mammon’s grip, kicking at him and screaming.

“Hisaye! Hisaye..! Hisaye!
NUMB: Two Conti. (3/3)
FINALLY

Chapter two comes to an end...and we're back to square one!
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(Contains: sexual themes and violence/gore)
                                               …
You may not be aware, my dear, that before you there was another child. Granted, it wasn’t as soon as anyone thought. It took a year. A whole year of seeing the same stranger repeatedly. Others weren’t allowed. This particular man robbed me of any childhood innocence I had left. The first time was painfully rough and there was blood. I never wish anything so horrific on anyone, nor anything as horrific as what came next.

A whole year later and I realized the monthly bleeding I had before didn’t come. Isamu-sensei came when I reported this to Chichi-ue. He took my blood and left. Chichi-ue received a call later in the evening. He listened intently, thanked Isamu-sensei, and put the phone down.

Then he turned to me, beckoned me over, and put his hand on my head.

“You’re a good girl.” He said.

I didn’t understand. I had no idea what was happening to me. I didn’t know why the single stranger never came back. It was only explained to me later what was happening as time went on.

Pregnancy. When I first heard I was going to have a baby, I felt a mixture of emotions. Being naïve as I was I was excited. The idea of raising a baby as Chichi-ue had done when I was little thrilled me. I daydreamed about caring for the baby, feeding her, rocking her, and letting her sleep near me when she had nightmares. It didn’t take long for me to fall hopelessly in love with my unborn child. In a way, having a baby was a chance for me to escape. I could escape into the unconditional love of my child and I could make Chichi-ue proud of me. He was so pleased that I was expecting, and I’ll say again that, back then, his approval meant the world to me.

Time went on. I began to show and I remember the pride that swelled in me. I remember how Chichi-ue and his associates treated me kindly. They were gentler with me while I was pregnant. It made me secretly love my unborn child even more. She was a blessing.

Then the tragedy struck.

One night I woke to blood in my bed. I screamed. I cried. My whole world fell apart that night. Isamu-sensei confirmed what I already knew—that my baby was gone. The only thing I could do was ask why. Why was my baby gone?

This drove out the patience of one of the least patient of Chichi-ue’s associates. He dove at me, grabbed me by the hair, and proceeded to beat me. He called me a whore, useless, and a murderer. It took Chichi-ue to drag him off me.

Murderer. It stuck with me. I looked desperately up at Chichi-ue. He was aloof and distant. It broke my heart that it seemed he couldn’t even bear to look at me.

“Otōsan,” I begged. “It’s not true, is it? I did not kill my baby. I would never.”

It took Chichi-ue several minutes to reply to me. Finally, he looked at me with a deep frown on his face. And he said words that still strike my heart today.

“…Yes,” He said. “You killed the baby. You killed her out of spite against me. Against all of us. And you rejected her from your body. You are a murderer, girl.”

I don’t remember the rest of that night. My life became a dark blur. I trudged through life, head low, eyes blank, and allowed myself to be sucked into the dark clouds of emotion. I allowed the darkness to consume me. It made me do…unpleasant things.

First it was my wrists. Isamu-sensei revived me. Then it was a noose. Chichi-ue cut me down. Each time there came a harsh punishment for my actions. Each punishment only pushed me further to the edge.

I went on like this for a year.

The clouds were broken when a voice started talking in my head. Now, you of all people should know there’s more than what we see. The voice was not of my own making. It was a separate voice. It was a male’s voice. It was soft, gentle, and almost angelic. The voice comforted me, encouraged me, and began to pick up my scattered pieces.

Everything is going to be okay, Yoi. It would say. Everything will fall into place. I promise. Just hold on a little longer.

From there, customers would begin to act odd. Some chose to stick around. They taught me how to read. Some taught me to write. Others would share knowledge of their professions. I began to learn. My mind expanded, as did my thinking.

Hisaye, my child, this voice belonged to an angel. I’m sure of it now. I only ever saw him twice. I saw him the day the police in America discovered me. I’m sure he led them there. He guided them just as he always guided me. It was because of him I met your Otōsan.

The last time I ever saw him was on your 8th birthday. You may remember him. He was tall with dark, curled hair and dazzling blue eyes. You were so young and that night so stressful for you. I’m not sure if you remember him. He even told you his name. Do you remember?

It was Metatron. Metatron was his name. And he saved your life.

I hope my recollection answers your questions. I hope, if you ever find this, that it explains my behavior. I hope, with all my heart, that this letter brings you some solace.

                                                                                  Yoi Lawson
                                               …
Hours of questioning left Yoi’s head spinning. Listening to a woman speak to a translator and the translator relaying the information in Japanese was exhausting. Her head ached.

While being questioned, the officer was kind enough to supply her with a jacket. She promised clothes would be provided to Yoi. Yoi doubted it. Her eyes flicked down to the table. She didn’t know what they were going to do with her. She had a feeling the police didn’t know, either. She wasn’t an American citizen. She wasn’t even a Japanese citizen despite being born there. Yoi belonged nowhere.

It felt like an eternity that Yoi spent in that room. She let her mind wander off as she listened to the hum coming from the vent. A camera in the corner kept a close watch on her. In a way, the place felt just as confining as her place with Chichi-ue. It made anxiety swell in her stomach. She wondered if the voice guided her in the right direction. Yoi wondered just how safe she was in this place.

It was then the door opened. Yoi expected to see another officer step in to tell her of her fate. Instead, a tall, lanky man walked in instead. He was not dressed in the blue uniform the others wore. He wore no badge. He was definitely not a cop. This alarmed Yoi. Yoi regarded him with cautious curiosity. He pulled out a seat across from her and sat.

“Greetings, Yoi-san,” He said, his Japanese astonishingly almost without accent. He gave a slight cock of his head and a grin. “I have been waiting to talk to you.”

Yoi did not respond to the man. She blinked at him a few times, as he took a seat. He sat oddly compared to the others. While others sat up straight and with authority, this man sat slouched and casual. Her fingers fidgeted and she could feel the throngs of anxiety pushing forward.

The man tilted his head. He was not terrible looking, but compared to the pristine cleanliness of the others he was noticeably disheveled. His hair was dark, long, and curled. His eyes were equally as dark and underneath them the bruises of insomnia. His eyes appeared dull and behind them was a methodical and emotionless approach to things. He looked at her as if she were some piece in a puzzle that needed to be fit. If Yoi had to guess, she would assume he was rather young. He was perhaps somewhere in his mid-20s.

He smiled at her. His smile looked odd and plastic on his pale face.

“Are you alright, Yoi-san? You look worn. It is my understanding that the authorities have already spoken with you. Do you need a minute?”

“I…I’m alright,” She muttered, glancing to the floor. “You don’t look like the others…Who are you?”
“A detective,” He replied, holding up a finger. “I’ve been investigating this case for a little over a year now. I suspected something like this was bound to happen. One of you was bound to escape. Now here you are. You, Yoi-san, are the key.”

“The key?” Yoi repeated.

“Yes. You are the key to this investigating. To put it more simply, you are the sole witness and informant who can help shut down the sex trafficking system in Japan. Well, at least, the part you were involved in. For this, I require your full cooperation. That is why I have come in to speak with you.”

“My…cooperation? Sex trafficking?” Her head began to hurt once more. It was all too much for her to take in, yet he continued talking on about the case as if she already knew everything. That somehow her apparently “involvement” up until now privileged her with all the necessary information and he was simply repeating what should be common knowledge. It was all gibberish to Yoi.

“Wait…” She begged, “Please, slow down. I don’t understand what you’re saying.”

The man—who had yet give her a name—ceased his talking and rose a brow at her. He brought his thumb to his lips and nibbled at the delicate skin. “Alright, I’ll make it simpler for you, Yoi-san. I need you to tell me everything. I need to know where they kept you, the names of those who kept you, and I need you to confirm whom they are when the time comes. Do you think you could do that for me?”

Yoi grimaced. She felt her hands tighten in her lap and her knees began to shake. “I…Well; the police have already asked me all these questions.”

“You’ve been reluctant to answer.”

He stated it as a fact rather than a question. Yoi had no way to refute what he was saying. It was a lie to deny it anyways. Yoi had been reluctant to answer those questions. It did not change the fact that, in the end, she had confided information to them. Everything he asked of her was already written down by the others and filed away.

“Why can’t you ask the others?” She inquired. Hesitation filled her voice. “I told them everything I could remember.”

“Mm, true,” The man replied. He leaned back in his seat and glanced dully at the ceiling. “But the thing is…the NYPD—that is, the people who spoke with you—don’t wholly trust me. I work privately on cases, you see. Those who do not work privately think me ruthless and crude. Those who do think the same, actually. I’ll admit to rather…controversial methods here and there.”

“Oh.”

Most of what he was saying did not mean much to Yoi. She never grew up in a world where criminal justice was an expectation. Her world never held the privilege of guaranteed safety. It was a different world. It was a world shrouded in ignorance, helplessness, and pain. It was a world that gave her a disturbed, naïve spirit that was unfamiliar with the workings of society.

Therefore, she did not know the plight of the private detective before her. She did not know of the animosity he faced from the public defenders of justice—the cops. She did not know how his methods were “controversial”, and his record of accomplishments trivial. And, finally, she did not know that only his wits and intelligence were the things giving him prestige in the criminal justice community. So how could she ever hope to follow a word he said?

The detective adjusted in his seat. He moved to his knees and leaned in closer to Yoi. His dark eyes stared directly into her deep red ones. His closeness triggered a twinge of nervousness in her. It caused her to lean away. Yoi swallowed hard as she saw his smile snake across his face once more.

“Yoi-san…Are you afraid?” He suddenly asked.

“Eh?”

“Are you afraid, Yoi-san? Of them? Of the situation? …Even of me?”

“I…” Yoi mumbled. She leaned further back into her seat away from the eccentric detective.
There was emotion in his eyes Yoi could not decipher, yet she knew the look well. It was the same emotion Akumu sometimes held in his eyes. Her lips twitched and her body shivered. She could feel her heart rising and felt it was going into her throat. It was startling, she realized, how the two were similar. The detective was certainly stranger while Akumu was more refined, but she realized the similarity in their eyes.

Both had a darkness within them.

“I…Yes,” Yoi relented. “I’m afraid. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. I don’t know if Chichi-ue and the others will come for me. I’m afraid of you because…you are like Chichi-ue.”
He did not take offense to her words. In fact, he leaned further forward and his eyes grew harder.

It made her uncomfortable.

“Yoi-san…” He said, rather seriously. “It is important that you don’t feel afraid. Fear has led to mankind’s many downfalls. You must push aside such arbitrary emotions and do what is right. If it is any assurance to you, then I can tell you that those men will never lay their hands on you again. I can say this with confidence.”

He paused for a moment, looking down to the table. His eyes clouded and blanked with thought. For a moment, Yoi could see a part of her in him. She remembered all too well the need to hide within oneself to escape reality. Even if just for a moment, that moment of liberation saved her and helped her cope. Perhaps the detective, too, needed these times to himself to cope with the darkness she saw inside him.

The moment broke and faded away when he looked back up at her and sighed. “But I could say it with even more confidence if you agreed to help me. Not only that, I could get you out of this place and assure you a…considerably more proper living.”

This caught Yoi off guard. “What do you mean?”

The man perked up at her confusion. It had been what he was looking for. “You didn’t know?” His eyes moved toward the dark glass separating them from the rest of the world as if eyeing the potential people on the other side. “Your psychological exam has deemed you rather…disturbed. On top of that, you do not technically exist by a legal standpoint. I’m afraid a decision will be made to put you in an institution if you stay here.”

Yoi’s heart fluttered. There was a time she heard about an institution. Akumu threatened her with it, telling her vile and horrid stories in order to force her into submission. She was uncertain whether it was the same “institution” or a different kind. Yoi did not believe the people she was told would help her would send her anywhere horrible.

The detective caught onto her uncertainty. He pressed her further. “Imagine it, Yoi-san. You will live in a place with limited freedom. You will be unable to pursue a regular life. They will monitor you and possibly even medicate you. You’ll spend the rest of your days in confinement.” His eyes glimmered. “At that point you may as well have never escaped from your past life. It’ll be more of the same.”

“And you’re saying if I help you, then I can live…freely?” Yoi asked. The word ‘free’ sounded foreign coming from her lips. She hardly understood the true meaning of freedom. It was an alluring concept. The allure moved her to rethink staying with the police. The detective was eccentric and he had the darkness, but there was also something genuine and determined about him that made her trust him.

“Yes,” He replied. “You will have freedoms you never had and will never have otherwise. I promise this to you, Yoi-san. You only need to do a few things…” He chewed his lip thoughtfully. “How old did you tell them you were?”

“I said I supposed I was between 16 and 18,” Yoi replied. She furrowed her brows. “Why?”
The detective gave a slight nod and rubbed his chin. “Nothing right now. It is just an idea I am pondering to make sure you stay with me. We don’t want to give them ways to argue you coming with me…” He smiled once more at her. “Tell them you are 18, Yoi-san. Insist on it. I have some strings to pull…and you are agreed to help me?”

She didn’t feel she had much choice otherwise. Yoi nodded.

“Good,” The detective stood. “Then I will make the arrangements. Someone will come for you shortly, Yoi-san.” He paused. “By the way, you may call me Lawrence.”
                                            …

What happened after that meeting was never something Yoi expected. However, there was not a lot the naïve girl expected nor dreamed about for her life to begin with.

After the meeting with Lawrence, a man called Sebastian retrieved her and brought her to a hotel. She was provided with food, clothing, and a hot shower. Lawrence dropped by later the next night to speak with her.

“What we are going to do is going to be controversial and cause scandal, Yoi-san,” Lawrence told her as he sat across from her on the bed. “But it’s the only way I can think that will keep us permanently together for the time being. I’m willing to take the heat of the scandal.”

The confusion on Yoi’s face was apparent. Lawrence gingerly took her hand in his fingertips and held it. He looked straight into her eyes and said, “Let’s get married.”

If he had expected her to protest or argue the ethics of his statement, then he was disappointed. Yoi did not protest. She did not tell him what he was saying was wild and wrong. Instead, she asked him, “What is marriage?”

“It’s a union of two people,” Lawrence responded. He smiled and released her hand. “You and I will become legally bound together. Usually it’s done out of love, but sometimes there are other reasons for marriage. Like, for example, you and I. Our marriage would be to keep you legally with me. No one could protest me having my wife live with me.”

“And what about when the case is over?” Yoi inquired. “Will we…cease being married?”

This gave Lawrence a pause of thought. His eyes lingered up to the ceiling as he chewed at his thumb. “Well…” His eyes slowly came back down to her. “I suppose that is up to you, Yoi-san. If, at the end of the case, you wish to remain married to me, then I have no objections. Just be aware that I live a busy, difficult life…It could be dangerous for you.”

And so her name became Yoi Lawson. Finally, the nameless girl from Hida-Takayama had a name.

                                                     …
A few months into the scandalous marriage is when Yoi Lawson learned of her pregnancy. The child did not belong to Lawrence.

The two never consummated their marriage, but they did enough to make it believable. It wasn’t difficult considering Lawrence’s highly private life. They got the certificate and made it official. They moved in together. They shared a bed even though Lawrence hardly ever slept in it.

Most nights he was awake with his insomnia, clacking away on his computer on the case. Yoi sometimes brought him his coffee—milk, honey, and six sugar cubes stirred in. Other times she would sit with him and fall asleep nearby.

The only other possibility was that the man who violated her before her escape succeeded in his mission. It was his child. This interested Lawrence and he took the baby news in stride.

“Oh? So I’ll be an Otōsan, then?” He asked, sitting on the armchair with his knees curled into his chest. Lawrence watched her with growing interest. “And you say the father is a man paid to impregnate you?”

“Well, I do not know if he was paid,” Yoi replied. She toyed with her fingers as she stood a few feet from him. She was already dressed in her pajamas for the night—soft blue silk with strawberries patterning them. “But it happened once before…long ago…They only had one man come to me. He disappeared once I became pregnant.” She hesitated, not wanting to go into too much detail about that time in her life. She was never sure what to tell and what not to tell Lawrence. Sometimes he pushed for more and other times he couldn’t care less. “It happened again recently before I escaped. But this man was…different.”

“Different? How?” This piqued Lawrence’s interest. Yoi could tell by the way he leaned forward in his seat and settled his eyes solely on her. His attentions were no longer on other matters. Yoi always felt good when she made that happen. She often basked in his attention.

“Well…” Yoi rubbed her arm. A light tint of pink covered her cheeks. She was not sure what she had to say would impress him. “There was something about this man. He didn’t feel…human.”

Lawrence rose a brow, “You mean sexually?”

Her cheeks grew hotter at that. “No! No. I mean there was something just…plain evil about him. I…I don’t know how to explain it.” She slumped. She could tell she was losing his interest. “There was just something about him.” Her voice lowered as she spoke, “And I can’t figure out what it was. But I know he’s important. Chichi-ue spoke to him very seriously.”

“I see,” the monotone returned to Lawrence’s voice. “And do you know what was said to him?”

Yoi thought back to the conversation. She’d been in her room at the time with the door cracked. She remembered Akumu and the man standing close by it, talking in low voices to each other. She remembered the man’s voice and how it melodically bounced word to word. She recalled his occasional sniggering and the gleam in his black eyes. His smile. It was in sharp contrast to the serious expression of Akumu and his low, smooth voice.

The two went back and forth for minutes until finally the man laughed. His laughter was just as melodic as his voice, yet there was something sinister to it. It sounded like the laughter of a maniac.

“We have a deal,” He said, shaking Akumu’s hand. “But you drive a hard bargain, Izumi.”
Yoi sighed, “Nothing specific. I just know they made a deal.”

She felt frustrated to lose Lawrence’s attention and interest. She mentally kicked herself.

I should have paid more attention, Yoi thought. I should have been able to remember the conversation for Lawrence. It’s important!

“Well,” Lawrence droned. “I suppose it is not important, then.” He suddenly perked back up. “We should focus more on your other news, Yoi. The baby. What do you hope for?”

Yoi. It’d been since their marriage that Lawrence dropped the “san” suffix from her name. It still warmed her heart every time she heard it. Lawrence said it was because they were married now. He was expected to address her as someone special. That meant dropping honorifics.

“What do you mean?” Yoi asked. She approached Lawrence and sat down on the arm of the armchair. At first she’d been afraid to do things like this. It was the help from Sebastian and a therapist that assured her that she was allowed to move freely and make what she considered rather bold moves. Yoi never sat near Akumu or the others without explicit permission.

Lawrence accepted her presence. He even scooted closer to the other side of the armchair to give her more room to sit. “Do you want a girl or a boy? What are your hopes for this baby? What do you want it to have?” He seemed to give the questions some thought. “I think a girl is preferable.”

“Eh, well,” Yoi pursed her lips. “I think I’m okay with either a boy or a girl. I’m just excited about having a baby…I feel like it’s a chance…to fix some things from my life.” Again, she winced at her words, afraid Lawrence would push further. Fortunately, he did not. “I want the baby to have everything I did not have. I want it to be happy.”

“Hm, interesting,” Lawrence replied. He took her hand—something he rarely did—and smiled at her. “I will make sure your child has these things, Yoi. I will be a good Otōsan.”

Yoi felt her heart flutter. She smiled down at Lawrence and leaned in to him. Her head rested on his shoulder and she closed her eyes. Despite the marriage being for case-related reasons, Yoi found herself growing more and more warm toward Lawrence. It was almost as if she was developing a feeling she’d never felt before. Warm…fuzzy…pleasant…

“Why do you want a girl, Lawrence?” Yoi inquired. She opened her eyes and watched him curiously. She watched him look down at her with thought. The next words that came out of his mouth made her blood run cold.

“Because it’s what your Chichi-ue would have wanted.”
                                                …
Hisaye Lawson was born in November 2004.

The birth was, unfortunately, eventful. Not only was Hisaye Lawson born 2 months premature, but also she came out cold and unresponsive. It seemed the events of before were coming back to haunt Yoi. She was to lose another child. The medical team was about to give up and call it when the little girl opened her mouth and gave a strong cry. It was a miracle.

Hisaye became lively. She was stronger than the average premature child was and considerably more developed. She sucked milk from her mother that day.

No one could explain why Hisaye did not warm up. She remained colder than most human begins. It concerned doctors enough to keep her despite her apparent (and amazing) good health. She was eventually released weeks later.

The hospital is baffled to this day.

                                               ...
“Otōsan! Otōsan! Otōsan! Pick me up!”

Hisaye Lawson squealed as Lawrence lifted her into the air and waved her around like a plane. A broad smile was on his face. It was a smile that Yoi only saw when he was around Hisaye. It looked the most genuine.

“You are a plane, Hisaye!” Lawrence proclaimed. “You fly to lands in need and serve justice to all!”

Lawrence kept his promise of being a good father. He was actively involved in Hisaye’s life from the day she was born. He was up at night with her as a baby, he gave her attention during the day, and miraculously he allowed her to distract him from cases. It was enough to make Yoi envious.
Hisaye was four now. Four years a mother gave Yoi enough experience where she finally felt comfortable around her daughter. She remembered the first years and all her worries and anxieties. Now she still worried, but it was less than before.

“She is a lot like Lawrence,” commented Sebastian. He appeared at Yoi’s side pushing a cart with their meals on it. “They look so similar. You would almost think he was truly her father.”

Sebastian was somewhere in his late 50s to early 60s. He was tall and well groomed with a head of slicked back white hair. He always wore a suit and tie. As far as Yoi knew, he had been with Lawrence since the beginning of Lawrence’s life. He worked for the Lawson family prior to Lawrence’s birth and promptly followed Lawrence after the death of his parents. Sebastian assisted Lawrence on his investigations and acted as a butler to the small family. He was truly a man of many skills. Yoi learned how to bake many of Lawrence’s favorite dishes from him.

Yoi smiled slightly. She knew Sebastian was trying to distract her from negative emotions. It appeared the butler was intuitive about Yoi’s jealousy and envy over Lawrence. He was also well aware of her feelings for him. It was impossible that, over the years, Yoi did not develop some sort of emotion toward Lawrence. He was the person she most spent her time with besides Sebastian and Lawrence was supposedly closest to her age.

“Yeah,” She replied. Her English is heavily accented and jutted from her natural stutter, but private tutoring has helped her gain a grasp on the language. “He promised me he would be a good father when I told him I was pregnant. I’m glad he’s kept the promised. Hisaye adores him.” And he adored Hisaye.

Sebastian handed her a cupcake. He smiled and looked out at the playing father-daughter pair.

“Admittedly, I was worried. Lawrence has always been…isolated. He never got along with his sister. He stayed away from his parents until the day he escaped to law school. Fatherly did not seem to be a part of his nature.”

Yoi gave a soft ‘mm’ in response. It was rare for Sebastian to talk about Lawrence’s past. In fact, Lawrence knew more about Yoi and her life than she ever knew about his. Lawrence never spoke about his past unless in short, cryptic bursts that hardly gave away information. This was how she learned he was from England. He attended a private school and even studied abroad a few times in his life. The only reason she ever got these pieces of knowledge was Hisaye. Lawrence thought it would be a good idea for her to study abroad once she was older as well.

“It was not the fatherly nature I was worried about,” Yoi murmured. She remembered what he said that night, about how a girl was what Chichi-ue would have wanted. It still made her shiver. She lived in anxiety for years that Lawrence was going to use Hisaye to lure Akumu out of hiding. She was still afraid he might use their daughter as bait.

A squeal drew her attention back to the duo. Lawrence now held Hisaye against him in an embrace. His eyes were alight.

“Now run along, Hisaye-chan,” Lawrence said, setting her down. He nudged her back. “Otōsan has work to do. Distraction by a toddler will lower my deductible reasoning.”

Hisaye made no protest as she toddled away from Lawrence. She ran over to Yoi and held her hands up. “Up?”

Yoi knelt down and lifted her daughter into her arms. She grunted at the weight of the toddler.

“You are growing so quickly,” She murmured, holding her daughter. She wondered if that was what Lawrence was waiting for. He was waiting—just as Akumu had with Yoi—for Hisaye to grow from her innocent stages onto a more developed form. Again a shiver ran through Yoi. She watched Lawrence as he climbed into his armchair and began clacking away at his laptop.

Lawrence… She thought, frowning. What are you planning for our daughter?
                                                …

It was the eve of Hisaye’s 8th birthday. The family currently resided in Japan.

Unfortunately, Lawrence couldn’t be there for it. He was away in America on the case of an eccentric serial murderer the authorities could not catch. Sebastian was with him. Yoi insisted he was a greater help to Lawrence than to herself and Hisaye. Eventually Lawrence relented to her wishes and took Sebastian with him, though Yoi suspected it was exactly what Lawrence wanted. She knew him rather well now. His insistence that Sebastian watch over them was simple politeness, when in reality Lawrence wanted Yoi to tell him it was okay for Sebastian to go. Typical Lawrence.

The two had no plans to celebrate the birthday. Hisaye wanted to stay home and Yoi knew Lawrence wouldn’t want anyone in their place, anyways. If there were to be a celebration, it’d be between mother and daughter.

Yoi was nervous to be back in Japan. She often wondered about Lawrence’s intentions for bringing them back. She wondered if he was planning to bait Akumu with Hisaye soon. Lawrence assured her this was not the case. He said it was simply the next step in relocation. The family relocated every few years—or even months—in order for Lawrence to maintain his highly private and isolated lifestyle.

They lived everywhere from America to Israel. They even spent some time living in Russia while Lawrence worked on a case concerning the Ruskaya Bratva. One of Yoi’s and Hisaye’s personal favorite places to live had been Thailand. Lawrence took them for a ride on elephants. Yoi remembered the glee in Hisaye’s eyes and her own cautious reservations against getting on such a large animal.

Yoi’s only concern about their lifestyle was Hisaye’s isolation. Hisaye was homeschooled. She hardly left the supervision of her parents or Sebastian. She didn’t have friends. Any potential friends were soon forgotten as the family uprooted and left. When Yoi inquired to Hisaye about making friends, she dismissed the notion saying she didn’t need friends. She was becoming just as isolated in personality as Lawrence. Yoi was confident Hisaye would eventually assume Lawrence’s role.

The moon was high in the sky tonight. It was full. Yoi thought she saw some kind of reddish tint coming over it the higher it rose. She drew away from the window where she stood and made her way to the couch. Hisaye curled in a blanket on the couch with the remote in her hands. The two were watching an old cartoon together called The Fox and the Hound.

“Mom,” Hisaye said as Yoi sat next to her. “Why does the hound hunt the fox?”

“Because that’s what he’s trained to do,” Yoi replied.

“But they were friends when they were young,” Hisaye countered. “Doesn’t that mean anything to Copper?”

Yoi hesitated. She never thought too deeply on the cartoon. It was Hisaye who was critical about everything. Her daughter was sharp and intelligent. She took Lawrence’s methodical approach to things. Yoi was never sure how to answer Hisaye’s questions. She was afraid of receiving the same look Lawrence gave her when she did not say the right thing.

“I…I suppose it should, shouldn’t it?” Yoi said. She bit her lower lip. Her fingers fidgeted in her lap. “And it does. Don’t you remember the ending, Hisaye? Copper keeps the hunter from shooting Todd. He obviously values their friendship.”

Hisaye’s red eyes narrowed. She stared intently at the screen in silence. Minutes ticked by. Yoi could practically see the gears turning in the young girl’s head. She waited patiently for Hisaye’s response.

“Well,” Hisaye began. “If Copper truly cared about Todd…I don’t think he would have hunted Todd at all. Copper cared more about his master and that other dog. The only reason he let Todd live in the end was because Todd saved his master.” She picked at a stray string on the blanket. Her eyes dulled. “And perhaps an ounce of nostalgia from the past, but certainly not because of a friendship that currently stands.”

Her interest turned away from the film. Hisaye looked at her mother with an indecipherable expression. It reminded Yoi heavily of Lawrence. “Mom, these people present this film as a film about friendship. If this were friendship, then why would anyone want friends? Copper is not a good friend at all. There is no eternal loyalty. He turned his back on Todd.”

Yoi frowned at her assessment of the film. She wasn’t sure what to say. So instead she decided to change the topic. She placed a hand on her daughter’s shoulder. “Well, Hisaye. Your birthday is only a few hours away. I know you don’t want to celebrate, but what about if I get us a cake tomorrow? Would that be okay?”

The mention of a cake excited her daughter. Hisaye grinned with delight. She had quite the sweet tooth, devouring so much sugar on a daily basis that Yoi wondered why she did not have diabetes. The only healthy thing Hisaye was interested in were apples, and even then, she preferred dipping them in caramel.

“I would like a cake, mom,” Hisaye cooed. “Can it be chocolate? With strawberries?”

“It can be whatever you like,” Yoi replied. She pulled her daughter into her lap and held her. She took the remote and turned off the cartoon, which now had a disturbing twist to it that Yoi never thought of before Hisaye’s assessment. She glanced at the clock. It was an hour till midnight. Soon her little girl would officially be 8.

There was a knock on the door. Yoi blinked a few times. They weren’t expecting anyone. Lawrence wasn’t supposed to be back for at least a week. Yoi didn’t know anyone in Japan, except…
She felt the hairs on the back of her neck raise. A shudder ran through her body and she pushed Hisaye from her lap onto the couch. Her daughter looked confused and a little alarmed.

“Mom?”

“Go to your room, Hisaye.”

“What are you…?”

“Now!”

Yoi was shocked. Never in her life had she raised her voice, but the fear pulsing through her was real. It was terrifying. Hisaye didn’t ask again. She could sense Yoi’s terror and, despite her concerns, she fled to her room. It was only Yoi in the living room now as she stared at the door. A thousand thoughts raced through her mind.

If it was Akumu, then what was she going to do? Would she scream? Fight? Should she call Lawrence? But what could Lawrence do? He was far away.

The knock repeated. Yoi slowly walked up to the door and placed her hands against it. She looked through the peephole. All she could see was the close-up of a man. He was pale and wearing a suit. Otherwise he stood too close to the door for Yoi to decipher anything else.

That’s when the voice came into her head.

Yoi? I know you are in there. Please don’t be afraid. It’s me.

Yoi gasped and stumbled back. She hadn’t heard that voice in years. The same voice used to follow her back in the days of her confinement. The voice encouraged her to go with the police in America.  Now she heard it again. Her angelic man returned to her.

“It’s you,” She said, hurrying to the door. Yoi fiddled with the locks (which were rather complicated on behalf of Lawrence) until she was able to fling open the door. “It’s you!”

Standing before her was a tall, pale man. He towered over her, Yoi guessing him to be somewhere around 6ft tall. He looked down on her with brilliant, warm blue eyes and his hair was a black mess of curls. He smiled and spoke to her, yet his mouth did not move.

Yoi. It has been a long time, Yoi.

“Why are you here?” Yoi asked with disbelief. “I thought you abandoned me.”

The man tilted his head. “I never abandoned you, Yoi. I’ve always been watching over you…from above.” He pointed up as if indicating the sky. “I’m not allowed close contact with my charges. Not usually. This is a special matter.

“Special matter?” Yoi repeated the words back at him. She took a step back to allow him in. “What do you mean? What are you talking about? And…who are you?” She frowned. “I know you are the voice who spoke with me. But who are you?”

All in due time.

The man stepped in to their apartment and began to look around. He seemed to be looking for something…or someone. He looked to Yoi and asked, “Where is your daughter?

“I sent her to her room. I was worried you were someone else,” Yoi said.

Bring her here. We don’t have much time.

Yoi hesitated. She glanced back toward Hisaye’s room and then to the man. He gave her a reassuring nod, which eased her for some reason. Yoi nodded back before hurrying off to retrieve Hisaye. She wondered about his intentions toward her daughter.

Once Hisaye was in the room, the man continued talking.

My name is Metatron. I am the Voice of God who sits upon his left hand, and I am Keeper of the Akashic Record. You were my charge, Yoi. Since your birth, it was my duty to watch over you. My time here is limited. Yoi, your daughter is not like other humans. In fact, she isn’t human at all.

“Mom,” Hisaye whispered, grasping her mother’s hand. She gave it a slight tug as she moved behind her. “Mom, how is he talking in my head? Without moving his mouth? And what’s he talking about? Mom?”

“Sh,” Yoi replied gently. “Let him finish.”

Metatron looked between the two. He nodded and continued. “Yoi, your daughter is what is called a Cambion. It is a creature created from the conception of a human woman and demon. The man who you came to know 8 years ago…he was no man. His name is Mammon. He is a Prince of Hell. A terrible demon. He has been raping women for centuries and taking his offspring for soldiers.

“What?” Yoi blinked. Her brows furrowed and she bit her lip. “And why are you telling me this now? Why not tell me before?” If anyone else other than Yoi were told this they would call the man insane. But Yoi grew up in a different world. She grew up in a world where such ideas were not denied or called insane. In fact, in her world such things were not even considered. So she listened to the man who spoke in her mind. He never lied to her in the past. There was no reason for her not to blindly trust him now.

I have come to help,” Metatron looked down at Hisaye. “Hisaye turns eight tonight at midnight. At eight, a Cambion sheds their human disguise and becomes a true Cambion. But if this happens…Hisaye will lose her sense of self. She will become a violent, mindless creature. I can’t let that happen.” His eyes rose to Yoi’s. Some kind of warm emotion sparkled in them. “I am here to stop the transformation. For you.

The conversation was disturbing Hisaye. She jerked again on her mother’s hand to grab her attention. “Mom,” She begged, fear raising in her tone. Her eyes grew wide. “Mom, what is he talking about? I’m scared.”

Metatron knelt down in front of Hisaye. He gave the young girl a comforting smile. “Don’t be afraid. It is going to be alright, Hisaye.

Hisaye took a step back. She eyed the stranger with minor contempt. Yoi could understand her daughter’s frustration. Their reality was being shattered, piece by piece, by every word that Metatron spoke.

“What do we have to do?” Yoi asked softly. She placed her hand on Hisaye’s head and rustled her hair. She hoped to bring some comfort to her daughter. “And what happens if you fail?”

Metatron paused. He made his way over to the window and looked out at the moon. It looked brilliant tonight. It shined with such energy. It was a shame that such a beautiful night was to become a nightmare for a child. He narrowed his eyes some, squinting so he could see the red outline. This moon was evil. It came to trigger the transformation of an innocent who had no choice in her heritage.

We wait till midnight. I will recite an incantation and I will bind Hisaye in a demon’s trap. You will have to reframe from getting involved, Yoi. It will be a long, dreadful process. Hisaye, you will have to be brave. You also must fight. Fight the beast inside of you that is trying to come out.” He looked back at her. “Can you do that for me, Hisaye?

The confused and frightened child only nodded. Her eyes were growing misty.

Metatron smiled at her, “Okay. Then I will set everything up.

                                                 …
A sigil was drawn on the floor. Hisaye sat in the middle of it. Metatron stood to the side of the sigil, closest to the window, watching the moon. Yoi stood back from it all. She trusted Metatron to save her daughter just as he’d saved her years ago. The hour was turning to midnight. Yoi crossed her arms and closed her eyes.  She prayed for Hisaye’s safety and well-being. She prayed Metatron keep Hisaye from changing. Yoi couldn’t bear to lose another child.

It will begin soon,” Metatron said. He looked at Hisaye as he spoke. “Hisaye, you will begin to feel violent. Your emotions will begin to run high. You must resist. You must control your emotions. Whatever you do, don’t give in to fear or bloodlust.

Tick…tick…tick…tock.

The clock struck midnight. The moon shone through the window, highlighting the sigil around Hisaye. Yoi opened her eyes in time to see her daughter’s face pale and her eyes widen. She covered her mouth to keep herself from speaking.

Oh Hisaye…

There was nothing Yoi could do. She was Hisaye’s mother, yet she was powerless. It was all up to Metatron. She heard the angel begin to recite his incantation. She had no idea what language it was or what he was saying. All she was aware of was the groaning of her daughter and the way her daughter slumped. She also was increasingly aware of her own feelings of despair and helplessness.

The incantation continued. Her daughter jerked, whined, and cried out. Yoi swore she saw fangs in Hisaye’s mouth. She clutched her fists, but kept her mouth shut in fear that speaking would interrupt the process. Her daughter was now glass in the hands of an angel. If an angel failed, then only God could save Hisaye and God was not here.

It lasted hours.

Yoi was nearly in tears the longer it went on. The longer she watched her daughter writher and scream. The longer she watched her daughter fight. Yoi wanted to rush to her child. She wanted to wrap her arms around Hisaye and apologize. For what she was apologizing, Yoi did not know. Perhaps she was apologizing for being raped. She was apologizing for Hisaye’s father being a demon. She was apologizing, perhaps, for all the negative feelings she felt toward Hisaye as she enamored Lawrence so easily.

“Hisaye,” Yoi croaked. It hardly came out as a whisper. The tears pushed at her eyes and threatened to spill over. She took a step closer to the sigil. Her daughter was groaning again. There was something different about her. It looked as if a calm was coming over Hisaye and that the nightmare was coming to a close.

It was over.

Metatron grew quiet and the sigil’s light faded. Hisaye slumped to the ground. It was at that point that Yoi rushed over to her daughter and held her in her arms.

“Hisaye,” Yoi cried, burying her face into her daughter. “Oh Hisaye, I’m so sorry. I’m so, so sorry.”

Metatron came closer to the two. He knelt down and placed a hand on Hisaye’s head.

Listen carefully, little one. From now on, you must learn control. You must control and lock up your emotions. This will be difficult, but allowing yourself to feel will only break the wall I’ve created in your mind. You must reframe from bursts of anger. You must not let overwhelming emotions take control, or you will lose yourself.

He looked up to Yoi. His eyes held sympathy. “Yoi. I will block this part of her memory. She will not remember me or the pain she went through. It’ll be vague to her. Blurry. But she will remember my words. You must help her, Yoi. Help your daughter.

The tears finally came. Yoi sniffled and pulled Hisaye closer. “What about you? Where are you going?”

Metatron stood. He took a few steps back and gave Yoi a sad smile. “I have done what I have come to do. Now I must leave you. We will not see each other again. But remember, Yoi, that I am always watching over you. Even if you can’t see me, I am there. And you will always be in my heart.

It was true. Yoi never saw her angel again.
                                                …
NUMB: Two Conti. (2/3)
Here we meet Lawrence and Sebastian!

Indeed, Lawrence is INSPIRED from L's Death Note as well as Lou from the movie Night crawler.  I couldn't help myself.
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I am probably literally one of the only people kinda happy with the leaked Naruto photos. 

Honestly, if you couldn't see from the start that it was obviously going to end with SasuSaku & NaruHina, then I'm not sure how to help you. Because it was made extremely, blatantly obvious and Kishi is predictable.

(Only happy because I adore Hinata and she deserves happiness. Don't really care about the other pairing. Foo~)
An old Wolf's Rain gallery I used to go to for the screen captures is now impossible to find, it seems. =_= This is irritating. It was such a good place to go.
Mature Content Filter is On
(Contains: sexual themes and violence/gore)
It was something in the wind that prompted her. A voice that whispered in her ears, fervently saying run, run while you still can. The beautiful voice of a man that she’d heard since the days of her childhood. The mysterious voice never failed to be correct. It never failed to guide her.

And that’s why she did what she and no one else thought she would ever do. That’s why she ran.

Her legs were pumping as her bare feet slapped against broken cemented pavement. She ignored the painful, jagged rocks as they lodged into her feet. She was used to worse. Her breaths were quick and panicked. She felt like she would drop and have an anxiety attack at any moment. Her vision was a blur.

She didn't know where she was running. This place was foreign and unfamiliar to her. America. The people here didn’t even speak the same tongue. She was brought here on “business.” Meaning, they brought her to this place to sell her on the streets for profit. All the way they kept their eyes on her, held her by the wrist, and dragged her along. They whispered to her in Japanese be quiet, keep your eyes down, and don’t make a scene. We wouldn’t want to see what happens to you if you did such a terrible thing. They were threats she was used to hearing, yet she never grew numb to them. The threats still terrified her.

Around the corner, down the street, rounding another corner, she didn’t dare look back for fear they were following her. She was supposed to be with a customer—had been with a customer—until he looked away. It was all the opportunity she needed.

A final corner before her lungs gave out and she fell to the ground. Her chest heaved. She curled up into a ball. Tears sprung at her eyes and slowly dripped down her cheeks. She yearned for the voice in her heard. She yearned for its guidance.

What do I do now?

Get up. Get up, Yoi. Don’t give up now.

The voice was soft yet firm. It’d always been that way. Yoi blinked back her tears and gave a solitary nod of her head. Slowly, she rose to her knees and looked around. She was beside a large building. Beside the large building was a large dumpster. Yoi shivered, realizing how cold the wind felt against her bare skin. The sun was set and night was falling. If she didn’t find a place to go, she’d freeze to death.

Help me, She prayed desperately to the voice. Please, help me.

The voice didn’t respond this time. It made her feel a dreaded feeling that it was gone. She was left on her own for now. Yoi wringed her hands together. She wished she had more than a nightgown on to stave off the cold. Her breath was coming out in puffs now. It was a sure sign of a dark, cold night.

Her mind traveled back to the dumpster. Yoi glanced at it. She wondered if it would be enough. It was better than nothing, wasn’t it? And it was a hiding place. She climbed to her feet and approached the dumpster. Her shaking hands shoved up the lid. The dumpster was—fortunately for her—empty.

A breathe of relief escaped her lips as Yoi climbed into the dumpster. She peeked out one last time into the darkness. The area was still. Clouds accumulating in the sky gave warning of rain. She lowered the lid and curled up inside the dumpster. Her eyes closed and she tried to sleep.

                                                    …
Yoi wasn’t sure how many hours she slept in the dumpster. Somewhere between her entering it and waking up it began to rain. Bright lights shone into the dumpster. Voices spoke in the same unfamiliar tongue everyone else in America spoke. Yoi’s eyes fluttered open. Her heart lurched into her throat. Before she could say anything they were hauling her out of the dumpster. Her eyes winced as she faced bright headlights of cars with sirens that glowed red and blue.

Instinct kicked in. Yoi struggled against the hands. She elbowed and kicked until she felt one connect. Whoever held her was stunned enough to let her go. Yoi made a blind run for it.

She was nearing the cars when a man jumped in her path. He planted his hands firmly on her shoulders, forcing her to a halt. Yoi jerked back. His grip on her was firm.

Hey! Hey! It’s okay. It’s okay. You’re safe now. They aren’t going to hurt you. It’s okay.

It wasn’t so much the familiarity of Japanese than it was the familiarity of the voice that made Yoi pause. She knew that voice. Her eyes lifted to get a better look at her assailant. She stared into two of the most brilliant blue eyes she had ever seen. They were a part of a pale, refined face covered with pristine, curled black hair. There was a faint, almost angelic glow about him. His expression was warm. A gentle smile spread across his face.

It’s okay, Yoi. You are safe now.

Her mouth dropped open yet words refused to come out. The voice was in her head. His voice was in her head. It was him. It was the voice that guided her all those years and ultimately the voice that guided her to freedom. She felt tears again push at her eyes.

“You…”

She wasn’t able to finish her sentence. Suddenly, the angelic man was gone. She stood dazedly in front of the cars. The lights of the sirens bounced off her skin and reflected on her nightgown. Yoi shivered. It was him.

Yoi glanced over her shoulder. The people were approaching her with caution. She wondered if they’d even seen him. Her angel. Yoi turned to face the Americans. A small smile spread across her face. If he said it was safe, then she was willing to go with them. She walked toward them.

You’re safe now.
                                                      …
My Dearest Daughter,

You are turning 13 this year. You’re a curious daughter. You always ask me questions about my life and I never give you the answers. I’m writing this for you. Maybe one day you will find it long after I’m gone. Maybe you’ll read it. And then, hopefully, all those questions you had about my life will be answered.

The Americans who took me in introduced me as the authorities. Police. They were gentle and patient with me. At the time, I didn’t speak a word of English. That was something that came much later in my life. That May night was the night I was reborn. My destiny changed and suddenly I was free from the shackles of my old life. That didn’t necessarily mean my old life would no longer haunt me. Even to this day I can’t escape the triggers and reminders that plague me. I can’t escape the nightmares.

My name is Yoi. At least, that is what I called myself. To tell the truth, I was never given an official name, though I know my maiden name would have been Mizuno. My mother died when I was born. I was stolen away by my father and raised into the life of a sex trafficker. (Your Otōsan thought he could hide this information from me, but I found his research upon his death). For all it mattered to the world, I was a human that didn’t exist. There was no documentation of my existence anywhere.

When the police took me in and questioned me, I was only able to answer so much. I estimated my age from 16 to 18. I knew my birthday was sometime in December. I grew up in the mountainous outskirts of Hida-Takayama of Gifu prefecture. I lived in a small building with 父上 (chichi-ue transcribed. He always demanded I call him that when talking to others. When the police prompted me for his name, I was reluctant. However, I suppose there’s no harm now in saying his real name is Akumu Izumi. Or was. I’m not sure of his whereabouts or life status.)

It’s hard for me to recollect my years in Hida-Takayama. Every time my mind travels to that dark place, the memories overwhelm me and I hole myself up for days at a time. You know this very well, my love, and I’m sorry for it. I’m sorry you have to take care of me when it should be I who is taking care of you.

There was a dark room with a small window in the building. That was my room. Chichi-ue lived in the rest of the house. His associates lived in the city. I remember the naïve child I was. Back in my youngest years, Chichi-ue was kind to me. He was always the kindest one, but he was kinder still when I was but a baby. He was the one who rocked me at night, fed me, and kept me alive. He taught me to walk and talk. He taught me all the basic life skills without hesitation, but also without love.

I was too young. I didn’t know he didn’t love me. His attention was all I ever needed to thrive. I still remember nights where I toddled into his room. He liked to sit in an armchair under a nightlight and read.

“Papa?” I’d say, standing in the doorway with a helpless look on my face.

He’d look over at my with gruff disregard. “What?”

“I had a bad dream.”

His response would be another gruff. He’d put his book down after a few more pages, beckon me over, and pull me into his lap. It was those times I felt Chichi-ue loved me the most. I fell asleep in his arms and my nightmares would wash away.

All of that changed as I grew older. Strange men started coming to the house. Chichi-ue started growing more distant. He let them drag me to my room and do what they wanted. He told me to do what I was told. A lot of it was touching. Touching, disrobing, and following orders. As long as I obeyed, Chichi-ue would absently pat my head and tell me I was a good girl.

A good girl. It was from that phrase which I pulled my name. Good. Yoi. It was my own, childish way of clinging onto any slither of approval Chichi-ue would give me. I craved his approval. I yearned it. And when he gave it to me, I ate it up. That was how he kept his leash on me. That was how he convinced me to stop fighting what was happening to me. It was how he kept me from running away.

The first time I bled, things changed again. The men stopped coming. I overheard a piece of a conversation between Chichi-ue and his associates. They were in the kitchen and I pressed my ear up against the door.

“It’s best to do it while she’s young. If we wait, she might be ruined for good.” An associate named Isamu-sensei. (He was a doctor). “It’ll be rough on her, but it’s what’s best for the business.”

“Or.” Chichi-ue. “We could wait. I understand the…importance and urgency…of the situation, but if we risk it too early she will be ruined, too.”

“With all due respect, we already have someone in mind,” said the voice of another associate. Jirou-san. “It’ll be a perfect match. And we can’t shield her forever, even if you may want to.”

I moved away from the door. If they ever caught me eavesdropping, I was in for a beating. At such a young age, self-preservation was already a strong concept in me.

A dozen questions ran through my head. Unfortunately, I worried that I would soon figure out the answers to each of them. I went along to do my chores. That was another change from my youth. I was now responsible for all the chores in the house. If I slacked off on them, I knew they would not be pleased. They would hit me. Chichi-ue would hit me. The first time he ever lifted a hand against me, I cried. I cried and cried the whole night away; feeling like a betrayal had taken place.

It wasn’t even the beginning.
NUMB: Two
NUMB: Two conti. is next! Breaking up Two due to its length.
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Featuring: Ikiyou :heart:

Ikiyou is a wonderful artist who's dream is to be a manga-ka! She is extremely nice and very fun to talk to, and is also quite supportive of her friends. Ikiyou is able to think deeply, which is often displayed in either her comments on pictures or her often posted journals.

Her work is all copyrighted, so don't even think about stealing it! But if you wanted to reference it or even draw her a little gift, I'm sure she wouldn't mind (as long as you ask!)If you haven't checked her out yet, I highly reccommend you stop whatever you're doing and do it now!

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Jasperinity Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2014
Happy birthday! :D
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birthdays Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2014
:woohoo: :party: :iconcakelickplz: !!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!! :iconcakelickplz: :party: :woohoo:

It's December 3rd which means it's that time of the year again and your special day is here! We hope you have an awesome day with lots of birthday fun, gifts, happiness and most definitely, lots of cake! Here's to another year!

:cake: Happy Birthday Godliek :D by elicoronel16  Lily Wishing a Happy Birthday by spring-sky  Happy Birthday, whitemajic by AitamiIkimo  happybirthday purpledinosaurX3 by person4113

:iconchampagneplz: Many well wishes and love from your friendly birthdays team :love: :iconchampagneplz:

Happy Birthday Banner 2 by Momma--G

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Birthdays Team
This birthday greeting was brought to you by: LDFranklin
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:icondreaming-of-serenity:
dreaming-of-serenity Featured By Owner Dec 2, 2014  Hobbyist Photographer
:iconpineappletardplz::iconshuffelinplz::iconvictorydanceplz::iconbummiesplz::iconweekenddanceplz::iconcheerplz::iconballoonsplz::iconhappybirthdaysignplz::iconballoonsplz::iconcheerplz::iconweekenddanceplz::iconbummiesplz::iconvictorydanceplz::iconshuffelinplz::iconpineappletardplz:
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:icondjruler:
DjRuler Featured By Owner Edited Oct 15, 2014  Student Digital Artist
Hello Do you mind Doing Commission Point of my Co AnnaBell Evans and Soul Evans, How Much Points Should i Give you? 

 x Soul Eater Evans
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:iconstalker-of-neji:
Stalker-of-Neji Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014  Student General Artist
Oh, goodness....I haven't done a commission of any kind in such a long time.

I could try to draw something for you, sure, but I don't really have a need for points anymore.

But I *am* running a fundraiser for my sick ferret. If you could donate $5, I'd be more than happy to draw these two for you!

LINK:

www.gofundme.com/fhuw6o
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:icondjruler:
DjRuler Featured By Owner Oct 15, 2014  Student Digital Artist
well i Don't have Money, So,.... I don't know how to do that,  
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:iconstalker-of-neji:
Stalker-of-Neji Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2014  Student General Artist
Actually, let me see something about points. I'm pretty sure you can convert points => money...or, I'm unsure if they got rid of this or not.

I'll figure it out. I'll get back to you soon. :)
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(1 Reply)
:iconsandise:
Sandise Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2014
Hello, please check my blog enjoymoneyflow.com/kuroi
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:iconbirthdays:
birthdays Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2013
:woohoo: :party: :iconcakelickplz: !!! HAPPY BIRTHDAY !!! :iconcakelickplz: :party: :woohoo:

On behalf of the *birthdays team, I sincerely apologize that your greeting has arrived late this year.

We hope you had an awesome day with lots of birthday fun, gifts, happiness and most definitely, lots of cake! Here's to another year!

Many well wishes and love from your friendly birthdays team :love:

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Birthdays Team
This birthday greeting was brought to you by: ~KoudelkaW
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:iconsigh-yuh:
sigh-yuh Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Happy birthday!~
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