HEY GUYS, MIGHTY'S ALIVE! I'll tell you everything on the end author note.
You need to know: I changed something for story purposes and I'm telling it here because I surely won't rewrite Saving my Blood by Sacrificing it. Kazuya isn't mute, but his throat does get painful if he talks in long sentences.
Its Last Game
Chapter One: A few years before the final assault
Kazuya opened his eyes slowly. His eyelids lightly resisted, but didn't win against his brain ordering them to rise. The first thing he saw were the red numbers on the alarm clock right in front of his face: exactly four in the morning. It was no surprise to him waking up at this exact hour. In fact, since then, he'd wake up at this same hour each and every night, in this precise position: on his stomach, legs forming a V, his left hand under the pillow to support his head, and his right arm along his body. The boy moved his right arm to make a 90 degree angle with his body, an almost automatic movement for him. His heart skipped a beat when he felt a lump under his freezing fingers. As usual, he had to push himself up in the bed and look at the said mass before realizing it was only a pillow he had purposely placed there before going to sleep. He had been placing this pillow there on Hiroshi's bed each night before slipping under the blankets unnoticed ever since then, after his innocence vanished, after his constant secure feeling turned into irrational paranoia of it.
Fully awakened, Kazuya sat up with his legs crossed and stared at the pillow under the blankets for minutes with barely a blink or two. If it wasn't of this bed, this untouched and overly tidy room, the boy would never experience sleep. The first nights back at the house since then, he had spent them with a flashlight on, surrounded by all the stuffed animals he could have found in his wardrobe. Actually, they hadn't stayed on his bed for a long time; the child had felt like he was being watched, all these sewed eyes staring at his face were driving him insane, so he had ended up pushing them all on the floor. Even then, the dark masses on the floor had been making him feel extremely uneasy, convincing him to push them in the wardrobe (he had verified with the flashlight if it was safe first, of course. After twenty minutes he had found the courage to get up and look.). It had taken him three nights before he tried to change the environment by going into Hiroshi's room. He had placed the pillow the exact same way and had fallen asleep right next to it maybe a minute later.
This room was the only place Kazuya actually felt safe. He felt like Hiroshi was in the room, sleeping on the other side of the bed. He wished it had been a dream. He had the same wish every night, when he'd wake up and feel the pillow under his hand, but reality was hard on him; Hiroshi was dead, period. That, he knew it very well. There wasn't one minute when he didn't remember his brother's last words, his bloody body, his coughs and wheezes, or his tears. Even when his body finally rested, his mind liked to remind him in various dreams involving it. When the memories didn't make their way into reality with hallucinations, they haunted his dreams in various ways. Some, he didn't mind seeing so much, others making his eyes produce tears the second they opened.
The child looked away from the pillow and grabbed his flashlight next to the alarm clock. He walked toward the door and slightly opened it. No one in sight. He fully opened the door and walked to the kitchen. Nobody knew he spent his nights in Hiroshi's room. He would usually wait until both of his parents were in bed before walking in the other room and install the pillow at its right place. He'd also get up before them and make the bed to make sure no one realized he had been in there. His father had talked about doing something else in his brother's room, but Kazuya had begged him to keep it there. He had tried to convince his son at first, but when he broke down in tears, saying he needed it, the adult had decided to not touch anything. Kazuya was pretty much the only one to go in his older brother's room. His father sometimes stood in the middle of the room, staring at nothing and everything. What was the adult thinking about? Kazuya never knew, no matter how much he tried to read his father's mind. The rest of the time, the door was shut, and his mother never walked close to the room. It was as if it never existed, as if the corridor had never been finished. A room? What room? For her, there was none. She never mentioned it, not even when she told her husband to get something in the closet almost right next to it. Could Kazuya blame her? Probably not.
The boy opened the fridge and took out the milk carton and a glass from the cupboard that he put on the table. Kneeling on the chair, he poured some of the white liquid in his glass, and put it away. He grabbed the glass and walked to the front door, which he unlocked and headed out of the house. Kazuya sat on the porch step and took a first sip from his drink, looking at the empty street. A light wind caressed his skin and pushed his hair on the side. For a long moment, the child could only stare at his toes on the cold asphalt. Each second, he struggled to push the ball back into his throat, sometimes helped by a mouthful of milk. When even Hiroshi's room couldn't make him feel at peace, taking a glass of something was the best thing he could do. It wasn't really effective, but it was better than nothing. He knew he still could walk up some steps and go see one of his parents, but… there was something… Something they didn't have, something that made it worthless to open up to them.
Of course, it didn't help that Hiroshi's name almost became prohibited in the house. His mother avoided it at all cost and always shot a glare at anyone pronouncing it. Either that, or she'd lower her gaze and remain silent for a whole hour. Kazuya hated that reaction more than anything. Each time one of these scenarios would happen, he'd just leave. Even if he had barely started to eat his meal during dinner, he'd put everything away and go somewhere else: sometimes in his room, sometimes outside. Regardless of all his father's efforts to get everyone back to an ordinary life, the atmosphere in the house was still low. Sad, dark, something to dodge. Kazuya was scarred for life by what he had seen and the loss of his brother, and his mother… Who really knew what was going on with her? She could still accomplish her daily tasks, but she didn't talk while doing them even if someone else was in the room, and she didn't get out of the house unless she had to do the groceries. Even during their 20th marriage anniversary, she refused to go to that luxury restaurant his father had booked a week in advance. No matter how much he tried to convince her, to pull her out, she never passed through the door. Sad thing, there was a whole party there waiting for them to show up. They had organized a whole celebration, and she refused to go, even when her husband told her the secret to get her out. He was still being patient with her, though, and there wasn't one night when he didn't try to take her out somewhere. He remembered this one time when he had lost his temper. They had begun arguing quite loudly, and Kazuya had run directly in his room and hid under the bed (still verifying if it was safe) and had closed his eyes and covered his ears. He didn't know how long he had stayed there, but after a while, his father had fetched him from there and assured him everything was fine. It had been at least a year since it had happened, but the memory was still fresh.
He had barely started understanding what was going on with his mother during his first birthday since then. She had told happy birthday once in the whole day, when his dad had put the cake that he had baked on the table during noon. Kazuya didn't know if she had forgotten about it, or if she didn't see the interest in telling him, but she hadn't told him or smiled during the day. His father then took him out to have an ice cream an hour after dinner (probably because he had tried to get his wife out of the house for an hour). The child had asked him there why she was so sad all the time. He remembered the exact words his dad had told him that day.
"Well, people do get sad when someone they love… dies. For some, it takes around a day to get over it. Some need a week, or a month. Others… they need a couple of years, while a few… never get over it. But mom just needs some time and a little help. Just a hug from time to time and telling her you love her can make a difference. We just have to work together on this, and she'll be back to normal in no time."
By no time, he had probably meant at least five years, or something, because she wasn't even close to getting better. The memory was still fully fleshed… That time when his mother and he were emptying that cupboard to clean it. It happened about half-an-hour before his father would get back from work. The cup Hiroshi had always used to make himself hot chocolate slipped from Kazuya's grip and fell on the ceramic floor, shattering in pieces. His mother had snapped, shouting at him, ordering him to go to bed instantly, pronouncing that phrase that liked to repeat itself in the boy's mind ever since she had shouted it to him.
"I wish you had died instead!"
The child had run straight in his room and even locked the door behind. The second he was away, he had heard her cry. That's when he had started to feel guilty about Hiroshi's death. When his father came back, he had learned the reason of Kazuya's punishment and had defended his son all the way. He got pretty mad too when he learned what she had said to the child, and later told him she surely didn't mean it, and she had to be forgiven, though she never apologised for it. Kazuya had forgiven her, but he could never forget…
The boy swallowed his last gulp of milk and went back inside to put his glass in the dishwasher. He walked back into Hiroshi's room and let himself fall on the bed, passing his hand on the pillow over and over again. He wished Hiroshi was still there. Everything was simple when he was there. This time when his mother was so cheerful, when Kazuya didn't think about more complicated things than a few multiplications in math class. He felt like all these memories were from another life, as if he had died and were born again when it happened. Kazuya slipped under the covers once again and put his arm over the pillow.
"Why did you go…?" whispered out the child, resting his head on it too. "Can't you see we need you here…?
A few tears ran down his cheeks as he closed his eyes, leaving a wet spot on the pillow, his mind slowly drifting away to finally put him back to sleep.
Kazuya watched with sad eyes through a window a train leave. The chosen ones were leaving, to probably never return. The boy had written some instructions on a sheet to help them as much as he could, but a major factor was luck, and it wasn't something easy to get. He put a hand on the glass and leaned his head on it to look at the train getting farther and farther. These children… driven to their deaths. Scarring the youngest, driving the oldest crazy. Just the thought of this… thing catching someone and shoving him or her in its mouth, it brought tears in his eyes, though there was no ball in his throat, only a sickening feeling in his stomach.
There was a large hand on his shoulder. The boy wasn't surprised by it; Hiroto had been watching the train leave too. He looked at the adult for a moment, from his scar, to his simple clothes, passing by his dark brown hair before gazing back at the window. Even when the train was out of sight, both boys stared silently at the railroad, unable to detach their eyes from what used to be a train filled with living children inside.
"Bad children will go missing soon… I can already count the years on my fingers until it becomes some useless butchery," said the man.
The boy didn't answer. This year, none of the four children from town going to the mansion had done anything wrong. The first was nine years old, and Kazuya knew him a little bit. They were not friends, but they often saw each other in the schoolyard. A quiet boy with a little circle of friends who seemed a lot more like a prey than a predator. The only thing wrong the second one could have done was using her cellphone in class to reply to her paranoid mother (she was 16 if he remembered well). The third and fourth one had gotten into a fight once, and they only chose the bad time to do it. Maybe if they had fought three weeks earlier, they wouldn't have been on the train. While he could maybe understand a tiny bit why they picked the two last children, he had difficulty with the choice regarding the girl, and he was personally insulted with their choice of the nine years old boy. It was the exact same situation than his. The only difference: Hiroshi came and gave his life for him. The boy wished a lot he had died instead lately. Hiroshi would have known how to help their mother, Hiroshi had a future. The teen always wanted to have a job in health. He had the grades and the determination for it and this… place had wiped it all away. Then, the city complained they didn't have enough people in health. They brought it upon themselves.
After a while, Hiroto removed his hand from Kazuya's shoulder and sighed.
"You still have my phone number?" he asked to the boy.
His answer was a simple nod.
"If there's anything I can do, just call me," he said.
Kazuya knew this sentence very well. Each time they'd run into each other, Hiroto would remind him he could always call if he needed something. The child never dared to ask anything, though. He knew the adult was well-intentioned, but… he just had nothing to ask. Hiroto couldn't bring Hiroshi back, or heal his mother (if she was even actually sick), and these were the two things he always wished for since then. Though now that he thought about it… maybe he had one question…
"Hiroto?" he said when the said-man had his hand on the doorknob leading out of the room.
"What happened to you? In… there, I mean."
The adult wanted to reply something, but blocked for a second.
"You… you really want to know?"
The boy nodded. Hiroto obviously hesitated while looking at the door now behind him.
"Alright, but not here… I… Let's just go somewhere else, where we'll be alone."
Kazuya followed the other survivor out of the building and in a couple of streets. They stopped at a certain house. Hiroto took out a set of keys and used one of them to unlock the front door. The child went in first, and then the adult followed. There was a small corridor leading to the living room, where two couches facing each other were separated by a coffee table. The colors inside were a light bluish gray with some white touches here and there. The atmosphere was quite relaxing.
"Sit down," said the adult, making a hand gesture toward the couches.
The boy walked in the large room with a little balcony where he guessed was the second floor; he could see the stairs from afar through the kitchen. He picked the closest couch and sat down. Hiroto sank in the other one.
"Do you really want to hear it?" he asked, "there's still time to change your mind and go…"
"I want to know," answered Kazuya.
"Alright, but there will be a few rules," replied Hiroto, "First, no interruptions, unless you don't understand the words I'm using or something like it, and second, you really have to listen, because I'll be only telling you once. I'm not saying it another time, not a part, not a single line, understood?"
"One last thing: please, keep in mind… that I am everything, but a hero… alright?"
The child leaned a bit closer, ready to listen to every word the adult would say. The other survivor took a deep breath and started his painful story-telling.
I thought recently I hadn't written anything for the site in a while, and I had been thinking about rewriting It Last Game for a little while, because I had ideas, the words came and I wanted to chage a few things. For once, I had no homework, so that helped too. I'll surely draw the cover too now that I have some lil' skills concerning drawing.
I also deleted Rin, because seriously, why did I even put her in the story in the first place? She was just... nah. She didn't have her place, so *gets out death note* DELETE.
Okay, now, you guys deserve an explanation to where the heck have I been all this time. Simple, I was in vacation in July, so I didn't have the time to write a lot, and I was mostly drawing throughout the month of August. The thing is: I have been writing, but not publishing. If you look at my profile, you see an unpublished story called Risks of Freedom that I am currently writing. My rythm is usually a chapter per week, but I want to make sure it doesn't go on never-ending hiatus like Unknown Tale. I'll be writing it until a good part of the story is written, so I'll proof-read it and publish a chapter approximately once a week, so I'll be giving myself some time to write other chapters and stuff. Though if I discontinue it... Well, too bad, you won't see it :/.
So I thought the re-write could be cool and a good way to make you guys wait for the upcoming story. The words came by themselves, so how could I refuse? I'll probably write one chapter for that story, then go back to the re-write for a chapter, until I'm done. I might also write a one-shot after that, and stuff. I'm really putting a lot of effort into that other story writing style-wise, and I think I improved, so normally, there should be a difference from last year's Its Last Game, and I do hope it's a positive change.
I put some update regarding my stories on my profile now, so check it out if you want to know more from time to time.
So keep in mind that I am alive, I'm just preparing something :)
As always, please leave a review, and I'll see you in the next chapter!