After suffering from tremendous writer's block, I just decided to throw this together after getting some inspiration from another fic called "On My Own" by Dr Death DST. This'll probably be fairly light reading in comparison to my other stories, but I don't know how consistently it'll be updated. However I don't see this story being any longer than 10 chapters or so.
For now though I hope you enjoy what's here so far and hopefully I can update it soon, but first I have another fic I need to finish up first.
The blazing heat of the flames grew more and more intense as they crept across the field like a hungry beast devouring all in its path as a cascade of cinders led the way, acting as a forewarning of what was to come to all who dared to stand in the fire's scorching wake. On an unburned stretch of land right next to the National road, a small, feminine figure laid on the ground; a large wooden stake impaled through her chest. Her head and her left arm had since retained their form after being viciously disfigured by the hands of villagers who at one time used to show her kindness. As she laid motionless, her eyes remained shut and her state of being deathlike.
As the sparks from the nearing flame fell onto her body, her blackened eyes shot open, letting out a shrill scream of pain and anguish. Her sickly pale hands reached up to her wounded chest and wrapped around the piece of wood protruding from her body. The second she touched it she felt a roaring pain course throughout her entire body. It was as if a thousand daggers were stabbing her from the inside out. In the past few hours, Megumi had come to learn that immortality did not mean that she was immune to pain, and the feeling of this stake through her chest was more than enough to remind her of that.
"H…how?" She muttered, looking down at the wound in her torso. The only way she could die was either through sunlight, decapitation, or a stake through the heart. Though she hadn't been fully decapitated when the tractor ran over her head, for all intents and purposes the stake should have been enough to kill her.
Unable to take the time to question how she was still alive, she instinctively reached up for the totem buried deep in her chest and made an attempt to pull it out. Another wave of pain shot through her body as she came realize why the wound hadn't killed her. Through either luck on her part or incompetence on the part of the villagers, the stake went in too far to the right, barely missing her heart, but still managing to pierce all the way through her upper back.
Tears rolled down her cheeks as the pain of trying to dislodge the stake left her nearly immobile. Taking a moment to recuperate before making another attempt, she rolled her head back to see the flames that only a few hours ago were kilometers away were not less than fifty or so meters away and growing closer by the second.
The pink haired girl gasped in terror, realizing that if she didn't act now, the flames would consume her. With fear in her darkened eyes, she went for another attempt at removing the stake, knowing that she had to endure the pain if she wanted to survive. Taking hold of the stake with both her pale hands, she pulled as hard as she could. Megumi gritted her teeth and sealed her eyes shut as tears seeped through. She could feel the piece of sharpened wood beginning to dislodge from within her, allowing for part of the wound to begin healing. She found this to be more of a curse than a blessing, however. Her wounds were healing as much as they possibly could and in turn further locking the stake inside of her, making it so that she had to constantly reopen wounds again and again as she pulled it out.
She wanted to just stop and cry, being unable to bare the searing pain. However the ever growing fire enticed her to continue. With another pull, the thickest part of the bloodied stake finally ripped out of her chest cavity and allowed for her to pull the rest of it out in a single motion. Megumi made one last shriek as the stake exited her body, allowing for the wound to completely seal shut.
With a gasp of relief, she quickly rose to her feet after tossing the stake to the side and dashed away from the fire. Now safe from immediate harm, the pink haired Shiki made a mad dash towards the woods. Truthfully she didn't know where she would go from here. She had no idea how long she had been pinned down, and she had no clue how long it would be until daybreak. She didn't even know if the villagers were still here or if they had chosen to stay in a vain attempt to fight the fire. All she did know was that she needed to run, and she needed to run as far as her legs could take her.
As she dashed through the forest, she took a moment to herself to think about all that had happened that night. As far as she knew, she was the only surviving Shiki in the village. The Kirishikis' home was without a doubt destroyed, and all of the known Shiki hideouts had been raided. She was all alone now.
Inwardly she cursed the Sotoba Village as she made her escape through the wooded mountains. As a human she never could truly fit in with the people of this backwoods village, and as a Shiki, all those whom she could even remotely relate to had been taken away from her at the very hands of this forsaken village. It was all behind her now though. She was by no means a romantic, and found no need to dwell on the deaths of her fellow Shiki. She was going to begin a new life, a life in the big city where all of the things that happened at Sotoba Village would no longer matter. She was free. She was free to do whatever her heart so desired, and she felt a joyous warmth fill her at that thought. Just hours ago she was certain that she was going to die, but now here she was running for freedom once again, only this time nobody was here to stop her.
Her small moment of celebration was brought to an abrupt halt as a burning tree limb came crashing down in front of her, reminding her that she still had to figure out a way to escape the blazing fire, lest she wish to die in this village a second time. Not only that, but she needed to find a place to rest when dawn finally arose. The nearest town was almost thirty kilometers from Sotoba, and though she was uncertain on how long it would be till daybreak, she felt that the most she could get in between now and then was fourteen if she sprinted.
Had she not been forsaken by God, Megumi would've undoubtedly praised him when she heard the sound of sirens blaring through the woods, heading towards Sotoba. Realizing that she may have just found her way out, the pink haired girl quickly made for the road, avoiding any embers along the way. On the roadside, she found that a line of fire trucks, police cars, and ambulances had stopped in front of the entrance to the village. It seemed that they had no intention of salvaging the village, but instead stopping the fire from progressing any further. That was fine by her. They could let Sotoba burn for all she cared.
Before getting too close, she took a moment to ensure that none of the villagers were still around. It horrified her to think of what they would do to ensure that they killed her if they found her still walking amongst the living. Fortunately, none of the faces of the first responders were ones she recognized, and there appeared to be no one else in sight.
Taking a moment to put on her innocent façade, Megumi stepped up to the road, keeping herself hidden in the shadows until she was ready. If she could breath, she would have sucked in a deep breath out of preparation. Instead she just opted to run her hands through her hair long pink hair to make it look messy.
"Help!" She shrieked, running towards the line of emergency vehicles. "Somebody get me out of here!"
Megumi's shrill screams managed to capture the attention of the first responders quite easily. It wasn't long before a team of paramedics met up with her to ask if she was okay. The first to approach was a rather tall man who looked to be somewhere between his mid twenties to early thirties if Megumi had to guess. However there were no real distinguishing features about him, not that it mattered to her. He was merely her way out of here, and all she had to do was play along while he went about the normal spiel that she expected out of them, and answered accordingly.
"Are you hurt?"
"Are there any others still in the village?"
"I don't know. Maybe?"
"How did you get that tear on your shirt?"
"Uh…" Megumi threw her darkened eyes down to the spot where the stake had been. In all of the intensity of running for her life, she had failed to realize that her shirt and bra had been ripped open, nearly exposing her right breast. Between that and the small hole in her back, she found it quite astonishing that her shirt was managing to stay on. "I don't know." She replied shakily. "I must've torn it while running."
"Okay." The paramedic nodded, buying her story. "Hop inside and we'll take you to the hospital in Mizobe Town." He added, motioning towards one of the many large white vehicle.
"Thank you so much!" Shimizu replied with the must gracious tone she could muster. Though it was indeed apart of her façade, she was genuinely relieved to get away from this village once and for all. As she stepped in, the paramedic followed behind her and shut the doors. Once she was sitting, the driver started up the ambulance and turned around before speeding down the National road heading towards Mizobe Town.
The Shiki rested her back against the wall and sighed in relief before rearing her head towards the back window, taking in the sight of the burning village. She found it strange that despite how much hatred she carried for the village and its people, she stll felt as though a little piece of her soul was dying with it. Whether she liked it or not, Sotoba had always been her home. To see it burn down to ash and cinder made her feel a strange sense of bittersweetness. Though it pleased her to no end to see that terrible backwoods Hell hole finally die, it also meant that the only place she had ever called home was gone now.
Realizing what she was feeling, she inwardly scoffed at her own sentimentality. Her life in Sotoba was over. Now it was time to look forward to a new and much better life in the big city. The only problem was getting there.
Megumi closed her eyes for a moment and allowed herself a second to collect her thoughts. Though this ambulance would bring her to Mizobe Town, she couldn't go to the hospital. All it would take is a simple pulse test for them to figure her out. Her only option was to run away once they got to Mizobe and hope to find shelter somewhere until the next night. From there she would continue moving closer and closer to Tokyo, resting and feeding when she needed.
A sharp pain hit her stomach at the thought of feeding. It had been a while since her last meal, and the neck of the paramedic sitting across from her was looking more welcoming by the second. She threw her eyes to the front of the vehicle. Other than a small window in which the driver couldn't see through unless he turned all the way around, the front of the ambulance was entirely separated from the back. A smile formed across her pale lips; her bright pink lipstick long since removed after her skull crushing incident.
"You look pretty rough.." The paramedic said as he reached for something in a white duffle bag next to him. "Are you sure you're not hurt?"
"I'm fine. Thank you." She replied. "What time is it, by the way?"
"About two-thirty. Three, maybe?"
"Oh." The Shiki nodded, feeling a small weight taken off of her shoulders. She still had at least two more hours left until sunrise; more than enough time to get to Mizobe and find a place to stay. "I had no idea it was so late."
"You're telling me." He chuckled, still shuffling through his bag. "I was supposed to get off around midnight. But hey, if we're saving lives then I can't complain." After taking another moment of searching through his bag, he finally pulled out a black armband with a squeezable air pump and a pressure gauge connected to it. "If you don't mind, I'd just like to check your blood pressure really quick. You look a bit pale."
Shimizu's blackened eyes went wide for a moment before she quickly regain control of herself and reassumed her façade. "Oh, no need to do that." She smiled. "What can I say? I'm just an anemic." Her laughs rang faintly of insincerity.
"I insist." He said, holding his hand out for her to rest her arm on.
Megumi bit down on her lip, as she reluctantly extended her arm. It was against her better judgment, but for the time she still had a role to play. "Just please don't make it too tight." She said with faux meekness.
"Don't worry." He smiled as she laid her arm in his hand. "It'll only take a sec-." He stopped for a moment and looked down at her sheet colored arm with puzzlement in his features. "You're really cold. Are you sure you're okay?"
"Positive." She smiled, trying to keep her cool.
The paramedic shrugged before wrapping the band around her arm and pumping it up until the band was tightly pressing down on her arm. After a few seconds of silence passed, the air expelled and the man turned his attention to the pressure gauge on the armband.
"What the Hell?" He looked confusedly at the gauge which remained completely unmoving. "I think this thing must be brok-" Before he could get the words out of his mouth, he felt two small stings in his neck as Megumi latched her mouth onto him, digging her fangs into him. The struggles of the paramedic quickly died along with the stinging sensation as Megumi started draining blood from him. Though it was less than she would have preferred, she couldn't risk being seen by the driver.
"You're going to do everything I say, understand?" The pink haired Shiki whispered into his ear, her tongue licking the leftover blood around her lips.
"Yes." His reply came out monotone and his eyes remained void of any emotion whatsoever.
"When we get to Mizobe Town, you're going to open those two doors and let me out the second we stop, got it?"
"And if anyone asks, you're not going to tell them what happened."
Instead of giving a vocal reply, he simply nodded, his eyes staring vacantly at the other side of the ambulance.
"Good." She said in a sweet tone as she leaned back on the bench and rested her back against the wall. Though she still needed to feed, her apatite would at the very least be satisfied for the rest of the night. Now she could worry about where she would be staying at. She had been through Mizobe Town a few times, but never enough to get familiar with it. She had no idea where she would go once she got there. If worse came to worst, she could rest in a sewer if she had to, though that would be far less than ideal. However all she could do now was wait until she got there, and hope that she'd be able to find a place before daybreak.
For the rest of the ride, Megumi closed her eyes and lost herself in a trance-like state as this was truly the first time she could think to herself in peace since awakening with a stake lodged into her chest. She wanted to consider herself lucky. Not only had the villagers failed to kill her, but she was left so close to the edge of town that she was able to awaken before the fires consumed her. She felt it appropriate that she be given such luck when she so desperately needed it. The entirety of her life up to this point seemed to be nothing but bad luck. Between being born in a place like Sotoba, dying well before her time, and having to endure the tremendous pain those villagers brought upon her just when she was so close to escaping, it only made sense that luck finally shone its graces upon her.
She managed a frown as she recollected on what she had thought to be her final moments in that open field. Megumi could remember so vividly how her blood ran cold with fear, how her eyes had become fountains of pain and sorrow. Yet they did nothing to hold back the villagers' bloodlust. Even when she tried to remind them of her days as a human and how they all used to make fun of her for her strange clothing and her burning desire to leave for the big city. When she was a human she was nothing more than an amusing little girl, but as a Shiki, she was a monster that was to be hunted down and slaughtered.
"Bastards." She hissed, slamming her fist down onto the bench, feeling her nails dig into the palm of her pale hand.
The villagers were right. She had killed people after becoming a Shiki, but at least she had the dignity to do it in a humane way. For all intents and purposes, death by Shiki was certainly one of the nicer ways to go, she would know. During her final days as a human, she wasn't even aware that death was creeping up on her. It was like being lulled into a pleasant dream where your body is floating amongst the clouds. Then once you are in the ultimate state of nirvana, everything fades to nothingness. Even those who put up a struggle couldn't overcome these feelings of tranquility.
Yet when they were hunted down, they were pinned down and impaled with stakes. From her own experience, she knew how tremendous the pain was. As they hammered it in deeper and deeper, she could feel her entire body writhing in unfathomable agony. The terrible feeling of her wounds healing around the stake only to be reopened again and again as the totem was pressed deeper and deeper inside of her until it came out of her spine, severing all feeling bellow her chest.
But that was nothing compared to the feeling of having her head crushed. Even though her brain had been splattered, her head was still connected to her body, and even in the awful blackness that she saw during that time, she was aware of all the awful and terrible things the villagers were doing to her. Even though the villagers hadn't sent her to Hell like they intended, they certainly gave her a taste of what it was like.
"Miss." The paramedic spoke up, reminding the pink haired girl that he still existed.
"Hmm?" She opened her blackened eyes and brought herself out of her trance. "What is it?"
"We're arriving in Mizobe Town." He said. "I'll let you out at the next stoplight."
Megumi looked out of the small square windows in the back of the ambulance to see that they had finally entered the city limits of Mizobe Town. Though it was by no means the 'big city', compared to Sotoba she may as well have been in Tokyo. "Good boy." She smirked, petting the paramedic on the head like an obedient dog.
She turned back to the window and scouted around to see if anyone was walking about. Though no one around here knew her, she was still likely to warrant a lot of attention considering her style of clothing, as well as the two large holes in the front and back of her shirt. Fortunately, no one seemed to be around save for the occasional night stroller.
Once the vehicle came to its first stop, the paramedic stood from his bench and quickly opened the doors. It wasn't but a second before Megumi leapt from the bench and onto the pavement. Though she couldn't see anything after the doors had closed behind her, she felt it was safe to say that the driver didn't notice her escape. These feelings were all but confirmed when the ambulance sped away not but a few seconds later, continuing on route to Mizobe Town's hospital.
Megumi managed a smile as she dashed to the sidewalk, and continued on into a back alley. There was still at least an hour and a half of night left, and that gave her more than enough time to scout out the area for a place to hide for the day. At least so she thought.
After running up and down numerous alleys and scouting out various abandon buildings for almost an hour, she was still unable to find a safe place to rest. She was beginning to worry. Though she hadn't begun to panic yet, she was beginning to grow aware that if she didn't find a place to hide soon, she would be in serious trouble.
Then just as the sky started to show hints of dark blue, she finally found her hiding spot. In one of the alley ways, she was able to find a door leading into a decrepit building's basement. Though the building's heavy door had long since been locked shut, she was able to force the door open; a gift of the considerable strength she had as a Shiki.
"Finally." She murmured to herself, stepping inside of her haven for the night. The inside of the basement looked like no one had stepped inside of it for almost ten years. Trash and debris littered the floor, rats could be heard scattering about in the darkness, and countless insects crept along the walls and ceiling, but not a single window was in sight.
Letting out a sigh of relief, Megumi trudged over to the far end of the building before slumping down in a corner. She groaned at how uncomfortable the hard concrete floor was, but it would have to suffice for now. As she adjusted herself into the most comfortable position she could manage, she let out a sigh of relief. Though she still had a ways to go before she could get to Tokyo, she was now out of harms way. She was out of Sotoba village, she was no longer being hunted, and she had a safe place to sleep.
As Megumi closed her eyes, she found herself feeling that familiar sensation from her final days as a human. It was as though she were sleeping amongst the clouds, and her mind had been purged of all fear and worry. Then once sleep finally overtook her as the sun peaked over the horizon, she found herself lost in one of the deepest slumber she could remember.