Author: alyssss PM
Naoki sacrificed everything to escape from the island- and now he's paying for it. Continued by request could take a while as I need to actually WRITE moreRated: Fiction T - English - Angst - Words: 1,735 - Published: 08-29-12 - id: 8478312
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Blood splatters everywhere, filling my nose and mouth, blocking my vision. A sea of red, up to my knees. I trip and fall; landing face- first in a fresh puddle of blood- it's still warm, getting ever deeper, ever redder. Something rolls in front of me, nudging the top of my head. I lift my face from the ground and stare down at the decapitated head of my best friend, Kiyoshi. Blood spurts from his neck, dribbles from his slightly-smiling mouth. Eyes, purest white, pupils somewhere at the back of his head, they just stare at me, empty and haunted, the image of death, of pain.
I bury my face in the pillow and squeeze my eyes tight. Flares of colour dance on my aching eyelids, my breathing quickens as I lose control and once again, my body succumbs to the sobs. Rolling over, I kick the tangled, restricting sheet off my legs, looking up at the ceiling of our dingy apartment, panting hard.
Each breath screams as it enters my lungs, catching in my throat, scraping the flesh dry. My knees work their way up to my chest and I hug them tight, pressing my forehead into my pyjama bottoms and wiping the beads of sweat off my forehead. Through my sobs I hear the door open, and the soft padding of socked footsteps as someone enters. My mother sits on the edge of the bed and strokes the tears from my cheek, her smooth fingers ironing out the creases in my face, relaxing me. "It was just a dream, Naoki. Shh." Her voice is like the soft whispering of the waves, the rustling of leaves in the forest.
"But it wasn't, was it? Not really. It happened. All my friends are dead… and I helped to kill them." I trace the line on my neck where the cold metal necklace once sat, shivering at more than the constant chill. Instead of sobbing again and breaking down even more, I just lie there and stare at the wall. When I speak my whisper is the opposite of my mother's. While hers is the sound of leaves blowing in the wind and waves lapping on the shore, crashing softly into the edge of cliffs, mine is the sound of nails on a chalkboard, the sound of knifes scraping on ceramic. "I'm a murderer."
Blood coats my hands, sticky and warm. Keiko lies in the street at my feet, blood pooling around her, red roses blossoming on her white school shirt. Her eyes search my face, questioning me, asking me why. I blink and my hands are clean, Keiko is gone. Tears roll down my cheeks again, the crowds walking past glance at me but never stop, never question. Pulling my hood over my head and thrusting my hands into the deepest depths of my pockets, I put my head down and hurry to the market. My mind is elsewhere as I pick up at a watermelon, which morphs into Takashi's head in my hands. I drop it screaming. It smashes open on the pavement, the pips and flesh coating my shoes.
Chunks of the shell fly upwards, bringing with them a spray of sticky pink juice. It splashes my jeans and the bottom half of my t-shirt and I groan as the stall-holder shouts at me. I look again at the fruit stall but it all reminds me of something or other, some kind of grotesque body part, separated from my classmates. "You pay me for melon." The shopkeeper says, suddenly in front of me. He must see the haunted look in my eyes, read my past in the scars on my face, note my horrified expression, because he closes his eyes and touches my wrist lightly. "Half price, you take apple for free. Deal?" I nod, taking my wallet from my pocket and handing him 1000 yen. He presses a shiny red apple into my hand and slips another into my jacket pocket. Patting me on the shoulder, he turns back to his stall and sees to an elderly woman.
In the shiny skin of the apple, I see my face looking back at me. Criss-crossed with scars, still red against my skin. Horrifying. I don't blame the adults who turn their children away from me, shielding their eyes. The worried glances cast in my direction. Hitching my satchel more onto my shoulder, I continue through the market and down a side street, heading towards my new school.
Apparently, after my entire class was slaughtered and despite the fact I'm traumatised and scarred beyond repair, my education is still vital, essential. Just a week after I got off that island, they started checking on me. Gave me a new school, threatened me with compulsory participation in the next round of Battle Royale if I didn't turn up. And so every morning I make the dreary walk from our apartment building south of town, through the market and past a few really posh houses, to my new school. There is no longer a class of pupils my own age at my old school.
You know when you walk into a classroom five minutes late and everyone looks at you like you've killed someone? Ha. Try walking into a classroom five minutes late knowing- and everyone else knowing- that you killed your best friend and your girlfriend, encouraged your classmates to commit suicide, and wake up every morning screaming in terror. Unfortunately for me, the most popular guy in the class lives one floor up from me. Unfortunately for him, he gets woken up far earlier every morning that I'm sure he'd like to be- by the tormented screaming of a teenage murderer.
The first lesson is politics, in which we discuss the reasons for the BR act. Children are corrupt. Their minds polluted. They think they are the boss of adults, can win them over. The adults- essentially the government- are worried about the power children may have over them, worried about the day we become stronger than them and rise up to take over the world. And of course, the way to stop this is to have the children kill each other off on an island 20 miles out to sea, and release the survivor, the strongest kid, the one who no doubt killed- and thereby betrayed- his classmates, back into society.
Sitting at the back of the classroom, my feet propped on my desk, I almost applaud the plan- the act. Every pair of eyes in the classroom looks at me at least once during the lesson, to see how I react, to view my opinions on the matter. At least three pairs of eyes never look away from me. I eagerly await the day Mr Kawasaki motions me to the front of the room to give my own opinions on the matter. Today's speakee is Takara, a timid-looking girl with a short, choppy bob. She has thin, trembling lips and shaking hands, and clutches a crumpled, blotchy sheet of lined paper.
"My sister was chosen for the most recent round, and perished on the island. Kiku will always be remembered, yet my family forbids me from seeking revenge for her death. They say the time will come for our generation to rise against those who fear us." A risky speech, drawing interest from the class.
"Is that all you have to say on the matter, Takara?" Mr Kawasaki raises an eyebrow at her then turns to the rest of the class, inviting them to ask questions.
"What did Kiku look like?" Some guy on one of the front desks, someone I've not yet bothered to learn the name of.
"Exactly like me. She… she was my twin."
"Then why didn't she come here- or you go there?"
"There… my parents… They decided to send us to separate schools, so that if one of our classes was chosen then they would still have one of us."
"Did Naoki kill her?" One of the other girls, her long straight hair hanging around her shoulders. All eyes in the class turn to me and I look at the desk. This is a question for me, not for Takara. A sudden determination rises up inside of me as I feel their burning eyes on my face, and I answer.
"I knew her, yes. She was a sweet girl, smart, helpful. Very beautiful." I look up at Takara through my eyelashes. "I spoke to her while we were in school. Nice, very kind…" I raise my head and put my hood down, making sure everyone can see my face, see the truth. Looking directly at Takara, speaking to her and to nobody else. "There are high cliffs on the island. Rocky beaches beneath, wild seas. There were also danger zones, areas you could not enter without being killed, activated at certain times of day. We had these… collars, necklaces if you like. If you tried to remove them…"
I motion with my hands, miming an explosion. "If there was more than one child on the island by the end of the third day…" I motion the slitting of my throat. "I do not know exactly how Kiku perished, only that she had passed by the end of the second day. It is possible that she incorrectly marked a danger zone on her map or just happened to stumble into one.
It is possible that she committed suicide, like so many others- either by jumping or by trying to pull off her collar, by using a weapon. It is possible that she was slaughtered, like many of my friends. The island changes people in ways you cannot imagine. In the space of a minute, your best friend could completely lose it, whip a machine gun from their bag and mow down everyone within the reach of a bullet. It…"
Images of my classmates, lying dead in the grass or in the streets, crumpled on the rocks below the cliffs or mown down by guns. "I do not see how it solves anything." My voice cracks and Mr Popular, better known as Sho, applauds me.
"Very touching. But you do not deny killing people, do you? How many was it? How many fell at your hand?" I glare at him, hoping the daggers shooting from my eyes stab him in the heart or the face or something.