The Things We See
Seven: Changing Wind
Seeing the future. You used to think that kind of power would be a fun to have. Why shouldn't it be? It would be great to be able to pick lottery numbers, or the answers to tough questions. But the truth is, you can't pick what you see, and questions aren't readily answered. And the things that you do see…
So you go to bed at night, every night, to dream. It's routine, it's normal as blinking, as the darkness of the room melting into the darkness of a sleeper's mind. Your breathing slows, quiets, and before long you will dream.
Before long you see this.
This is an art studio by the looks of it. Tall, spacious, taking up land area most people couldn't afford to walk on - much less live. Here statues line the walls and floor, sitting on top of columns, or resting on short platforms, almost a forest of artwork. Connecting hallways leading into the dark, probably to other rooms and storage. It's getting darker, and through a window you can see the bright Tokyo skyline shining like a holiday.
On the floor there are two people - a man and a boy, both unclothed, and one of them asleep. It's not hard to imagine what had gone on. You are both curious and worried.
The man has black hair, with a streak of white over an ear like a dove flying against a canvas. His hands move forward - they're strong, confident, and textured with calluses, the obvious creator of the stone ballroom. The sculptor's face is as chiseled as the stone, eyes glinting with something akin to awe. Fingers glide through the space between him and his sleeping, marble-skinned lover. The figure is a bit lanky under the sheet, with the angles of youth only beginning to melt away into the grace of adulthood.
The hardened fingers brush over a smooth palm. The boy, eyes nearly glowing with color, awakens at the glancing touch… and tries to scream. This is anything but the reaction of a contented lover. The voice comes out strangled, mouth gaping without forming words, so he backs away as the man leans in to steal a kiss.
Still watching, your sight aware of and gazing down on everything, you're fascinated.
…Then the vision gets messy.
There is a bottle, green. The two knock into it and it breaks.
Old wine covers the floor, pink. The boy stands, griping a piece of freed glass so hard that he's bleeding. The man looks up and the shard is brought down, cutting his face and cutting a wide brown eye.
Everything is red.
It's horrible. You want to look away from the scene, but you can't. You're not allowed. Not until you wake up, and you won't quite yet.
Shielding his face the man throws the younger to the side, but the boy's nearly… crazed. He's fighting, but he's not really seeing. Statues tumble to the ground, also to break and add their own jumbled colors to the green, pink, red and white, all bleeding together in a rush. While he has the glass, the sculptor has picked up his chisel. Flowing like a violent dance they hurtle into column after column around the room, racing, before one final pillar is sent crashing onto the pair just as the man snares the boy against the floor -
And while the man would die instantly from a broken neck, that boy would lie under the weight of the pillar for hours, impaled with the chisel, alone and unable to move. It is now that he is able to speak, clumsily, but he talks for a long time.
Eventually the voice fades out. Then he too would pass.
A dream of the future.
You roll over in bed and sit up, hands over your face. You think you might be sick.
We've all seen things we wished we hadn't.
Birds flutter outside the short window, and the sun's long up. It's late morning, and something tells you that this dream will come true this night.
You get up to change out of those sleep clothes, then call work to tell them you won't be there today, again. It's just a convenience store, but it's the second longest job you've held, and they would feel bad firing an old man. That one is a nicer job.
You leave, grabbing your cane before stepping out of the apartment to hobble to the train station.
To Tokyo. You hope you're not late.
Did you remember to lock the door before leaving? When you get back home later you'll also have to water the plants. Maybe then you can apologize to the landlady for taking off like this, and maybe go out for lunch sometime. There are so many details forgotten, but those can be tended to later.
But for now, you are on a bullet train. They're expensive but they travel fast so you'll be there in a few hours. Hopefully to go straight back home tomorrow right afterwards. As bad as it was, you don't know why a vision would have to send anyone halfway across Japan. Wasn't there anything else happening closer that was just as life threatening? But that boy with his bright eyes won't leave your mind, and you humble yourself. Visions don't arrive at your convenience, and one person deserves as much help as another.
Now that you're more awake you can think about the dream clearly. That sculptor, that stripe of white hair, is familiar from news articles. Saino, the famous artist, whose work was trickling into museums all over the world because they were so lifelike. He lives in Tokyo, but the vision tells you that the studio is a little to the side from the city. You'll have to find a guide - you've never been to Tokyo before.
And then there was that boy. You knew that boy. But where from?
Little details are dragged up, trying to remember. There aren't many people with eyes so fetching, so otherworldly
Then, you think of another set of eyes. A deep purple that was too unnatural, too vibrant to belong in this mundane reality. Eyes that first met yours one day in the stairwell - the creature called Tsuzuki. But you also remember seeing Tsuzuki just this week - alone. Two mornings ago at the park, he had let loose what looked like a… a flock of birds before running off by himself. Birds out of nowhere. That black coat, his young face, scuffed shoes, and the way his tie was never straight - in the last thirty years you've been watching him he hasn't changed at all. It's that man, the Shinigami.
Then again, you remember a smaller man, with eyes a different color but just as unique. That was it. The boy was Tsuzuki's partner. This is the only partner you can recall seeing more than once.
But what reason would the kid be with Saino?
And why would the man be involved with Gods of Death…?
Ne, how can a Shinigami die, anyway?
Suitably disturbed, you shift in the seat to look out the window. You change your thoughts to planning on how to get to the place instead. And what to do once there.
You'll find out the answers soon.
/It's night again…/
"This is the place," the taxi driver announces, stopping in front of a looming brick building. It's not a very warming sight, standing alone off from the blocks of smaller homes. Your black cane taps the ground smartly as you use it to pull yourself out.
"Thank-you very much," you say to the crack in his window. "Do you think you could wait a while? I just wanted to drop by."
"Sure," the driver answers, smiling. His teeth are awkward, and yellow from smoking. "Are you sure this is the only place you want to see? I'll give you a tour of Tokyo for a good price, a very good price."
"That's all right, but this will be it."
The journey to the door is a short scuffle, your bad knee having gone stiff from the ride. The door itself is heavy wood, a fuzzy glass oval at it's center. Jingling the knob tells you it's locked, too. How to get in? You look left then right, as if contemplating on exploring the area.
From inside, there is a loud crash, followed by more noise. An angry shout.
Déjà vu finally catches up, this time an icy hand at the back of your neck. This is no time to search for another way in.
"Hey, mister, do you hear that?" The cabbie opens his window all the way, curious. Then he's a little more than curious when you grab the end of the cane and hold it like a bat. "Wait, what are you doing!"
The glass fractures on the first strike. The steel toe shatters it completely on the third.
"You can't do that!"
"Call the police," you tell him, scrapping your arm through the break and unlocking the door. The driver sits and stares at you, not understanding. "Call them!" you shout. He suddenly straightens then fumbles with a little gray talkie on the dashboard.
There's a high pitched chorus of glass debris being thrust aside when you heave the door open. The hallway leading from the entry directly to the workroom isn't long, but it feels that way as you stumble and rush towards the growing noise of falling stone.
And then there they were, like the vision on replay. Again, the wine was on the floor, with the green of the glass, and the red. They rush at each other from the opposite end of the room, fast, violent.
You step into the room, but they don't notice at all. The kid holds onto the shard of the wine bottle like a life line, clinging to the far wall before darting between statues and pushing the smaller ones over. And Saino, half of his face red from the blinded eye, screams at him - no words, only guttural, feral screams.
The boy tries to flee, only to have the man grab his wrist and twist him around. Above them a large column teeters dangerously, and Saino raises his iron chisel.
You come up behind the man.
Your onyx cane is already arcing down.
The long side hits Saino on the head, sending him staggering to the side.
"Move!" You shove him with your foot for good measure, and he lets go of the boy. Taking the other slim hand, you yank the kid away just as the heavy pillar slams into the ground, sending up a small cloud of white. The thud vibrates through your body, shaking your bones.
You sigh. They were safe, they were both safe.
Still, that was much too close.
"Kid?" you begin to ask the young man. But the Shinigami, still crazed and unseeing, cries out and swings the sharp glass at you. It slices through your sleeve and bites down on your arm, the fire forcing you to push him away. He falls, scrambling back. The boy looks up at you, eyes too large, glowing and shining like something precious.
"Get out," you gasp, clutching your arm. He freezes, not unlike the driver had outside. You jerk your head at the door. "That's the way. Go home."
No need for you to tell him again. He's already running, still bleeding, still naked, and not looking back.
You suddenly doubt that he even realized that anyone else had been here at all. But then you think, somehow, he'll be all right.
Sirens are starting to echo off in the distance. You quickly turn to Saino…
…but time it was he who came up behind you without you knowing.
"He's gone," Saino growls. You can hardly look him in the eye - blood runs down his face and body. His expression was like… like he had reached out and touched an angel, and then went mad from the despair when it slipped away. "You let him go." His chisel moves too fast for you to see.
"I - " You're on the ground clutching your head as spots of light burst in your vision. God, you hurt so much. "You won't get away," you tell him, suddenly angry. Angry for whatever Saino did to the kid, and furious at yourself for having just saved his life - as short as his life may be.
"They'll be back for you!" you say, closing your eyes. Your job is done - and now it's up to them to do theirs. "The Shinigami will come, and I hope to God - "
You never finish that statement.
After so long, now you can rest.
Notes: Thank-you for waiting so long for this installment. While it may be the end of this particular unplanned mini-arc, it's not the end. There is still more to be told about Hisoka, but that will be posted up separately in a side story and not in the Things We See series. Also, the next chapter - chapter eight - will be a kind of epilogue very loosely related to this arc.
There have been some questions about the previous chapters, and while I'm sorry they weren't clear at the time, I'll answer them here.
The man from chapter four, as you have just read, did live after his encounter with the Shinigami. Which might be of small, late comfort, since he did not after this chapter.
"Taka-kun" - as Saino called his old college friend - is his nickname for Muraki Kazutaka, as most of you have guessed. (And quite certain as Hell not Yutaka. :P ) Go back, and hopefully you can spot that it was the wine he gave Saino which caused this whole ordeal.
Again, thank-you so much for your kind feedback, and patience. See you soon! -- RubyD