By: kit kat
Chapter 7: Redemption
"Li don't leave me." I could feel his arms holding my waist securely as my face buried into his collarbone. The grip grew tighter and I began to struggle when the pain hit me.
"Li—it hurts!" my body thrashed violently to escape his vice grip and I began pushing his chest away.
Our eyes met and I screamed when I saw them bloodshot and open, black pupils seeming to engulf the yellow irises entirely. His pink tongue protruded from the side of his mouth as drool and blood ran together down his chin and onto my arms. A rope clenched tight around his neck and I noticed we were standing on a small platform barely made for one.
"Let go." he whispered as he pushed my body away and the platform fell. For a second I caught his hand in my own but it was ripped away just as fast and I watched in terror as the noose tightened and began to choke him. My body was tumbling through a black hole and all I could see were his legs kicking and his face turn red with strain.
"It hurts." He smiled widely.
"Li!" I breathed in shock, sitting up with sweat trickling down my forehead. The room was quite bright and the clock resting on the nightstand read 10 a.m. Reality slowly returned to me when I realized where I sat. A warm body sifted next to my own and I felt the arm around my waist pull me closer.
Shit… Maniwa. I had forgotten about last night's escapades and now my body lay glued to his bed. I despised cuddling with him as his fingertips lightly ran down my pale skin, sending shivers of disgust up my spine. Ever since my last encounter with Li at the station, I hated all forms of affection and mushy proclamations of love. Last night, I determined, was a desperate need for me to become reconnected with Li. All I wanted was the sex, not the post-spooning. Not the sweet words. Just the connection I had been denied for much too long. Even my nightmares of the deranged serial killer gave me sickening warmth. I was so happy to see his face…
"Are you ok?" Maniwa's hot breath brushed the entrance of my ear and I fathomed enough strength to refrain from punching him in the face. It was Saturday, I remembered loathingly, his day off.
"Peachy." I replied in a monotone haze, untangling myself from his child-like embrace and rolling off the bed. He watched my retreating form sadly, sitting up against the headboard and running a hand through slightly long bangs.
After arriving in the living room, I grabbed the abandoned remote and switched the TV on. Though it was late, I was intrigued to find a "breaking news" banner flashing at the bottom of the screen when I flipped to channel 8. The groomed reporter was standing in front of a very chaotic looking courthouse, other news teams and press could been seen on the steps taking pictures and yelling wildly as well.
/Many are surprised today to learn that the Lil' Slugger trial will conclude as word has leaked that a verdict was finally reached after a three hour hearing this morning./
My stomach lurched and I hastily turned up the volume, panic and anticipation overtaking my entire composition. They weren't expected to reach a decision for at least another week! What kind of evidence could have brought such a breakthrough? Could it be his behavior toward the jury and lawyers that pushed them to reach such a rash conclusion? Quietly, I bowed my head in prayer as tears bitterly stained flushed cheeks.
The cameras cut from an outside view into a still room, not a soul even breathing as if afraid to make any sudden movements and shatter the suspense. The only person looking even the least bit calm was Li as the camera quickly panned over his handsome features and revealed the boy leaning back in his chair looking almost a bit… bored. A middle-aged man who was balding at the crown of his head stood up, his hands shaking violently as he cleared his throat to read the jury's sentence.
"W-we, the joory, ahem jury, find Lil' Slugger guilty on the account of multiple murders in the first degree, assault…"/
The man's words meshed together as I stared in shock at the screen, my heart beating frantically. Li's face didn't budge when he heard the outcome of his fate. His piercing eyes glared into the camera and watched me, as if looking straight into my soul. I fell from the couch as the room began to spin around me sickeningly. Why was this happening? They didn't even know him! He's not bad… No, he's not bad. He smirked with a nonchalant air about him and allowed the cops to handcuff his wrists yet again.
"Li… No." my voice trembled as I crawled toward the TV, shaking lips contacting with the cool glass. The TV screen went black and I felt Maniwa's presence behind me.
"He's going to be tried on death row, you know." His voice sounded angry as he threw the remote across the room and it smacked against the wall. I refused to look at him as I stayed huddled by the TV. Tears began falling fiercely, but I remained silent.
"Will you be over him then?" he retreated back to his room and slammed the door.
A deep sense of loneliness paralyzed my body as I wept for my beautiful killer. What if he really did get sentenced to death? How could I keep living without him? Every odd in the book was against him. Every person in Japan hated him, wanted him gone. They all thought that by ridding the world of one person they could restore some kind of delusional feeling of peace back into society. But Li is only one person. There were still many on the loose who had done much worse, killed out of malice and evil. Lil' Slugger, after all, was only the messenger.
"Jordan." I shivered and knew it was his voice was calling to me. Haunting me.
"Li… I need you so bad. Why did you leave me?" my legs began to guide me toward the voice, my pupils dilating wide in a trance. I pushed open the door and saw him sitting on the bed, weeping. Don't cry, Li.
"What do you want?" his voice bristled sharply, yellow irises glaring. Li, don't push me away.
I continued to walk nearer, his voice mumbling protests, until I straddled him on the bed. He grew silent as I ran my hands through the unkempt hair and blew cold air over his salty cheeks. My lips adorned his forehead with kisses as he finally wrapped wary hands around my waist, moaning quietly. I love him so much. God, how can I love him so much?
"Jordan." A voice whispered, delivering me from the wonderful trance. I stopped immediately and felt myself grow sick when I realized I was on top of Maniwa, his eyes giving me a confused look. "Why did you stop?"
"Oh my God." I pushed myself away from Maniwa and ran down the hall. In the bathroom I began to vomit violently as sweat dampened my face and clothes. I could have sworn it was real. I was with Li, not Maniwa! Oh God, why?
"Jordan? Jordan!" Maniwa started to pound on the door while I retched into the toilet and ignored his concern.
"Go… away…" I panted, holding the bowl for support.
"What did I do? Please tell me what to do!" it was really quite pitiful, hearing a grown man cry the way Maniwa did. Part of me felt guilty for doing this to him. He was a kind man and he did save me from imprisonment, but a majority of me loathed his weakness. He was nothing like Li. How could he possibly think he could ever replace him?
Gathering my strength, I stood on shaking legs and slowly opened the door. I allowed him to wrap his arms around me but I remained stiff as he buried his sobbing face in my shoulder.
"Why are you torturing me like this, Jordan?" his eyes pleaded with me, "Why, why?"
"I'm not feeling well…" I replied in a sharp monotone, "Can I go to my room now?"
His face showed a hurt expression but nodded as I left his side. My bed looked strangely inviting as I collapsed into the sheets and clung to my pillow. I closed my eyes when I heard Maniwa enter the room and approach the bed. To my surprise, he crawled in next to me and began rubbing my back soothingly. I sighed and felt myself slip away, images of Li being lead away in handcuffs plaguing my mind before sleep found me.
Many weeks passed and I found myself watching the rain slide down Maniwa's car windows as we drove to the police station early that morning. Today marked the end of my three-month house arrest sentence, thus allowing me to finally leave the restricted areas of the apartment complex. With that in mind, Maniwa decided to take me with him to work and see if I could be of any use over the next couple of days. June had just arrived, and with all the school I had missed this passed year, it made me a prime target for summer school. I think he was afraid I would run away if I were left on my own.
He thought right.
"Don't worry, it won't be anything too intricate. I want you to have fun. After all, this is your first day out of the house in a long time." I listened to him ramble on, my dull expression refusing to budge.
At the station, Maniwa brought me to his office and pulled out a huge stack of paperwork and placed it on the desk. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a glint of gold appear from the drawer before he slammed it shut. The files had case names printed neatly on the tabs and several were stamped "closed." I sighed noisily when realizing those folders were probably part of my "job" for the day.
"It's really easy. All I need you to do is look in the folders and find the last date. Then file them chronologically in order of time while separating them into piles of case closed or unsolved," he looked to me for reassurance so I nodded. "Take as many breaks as you need. Did you bring your art supplies?"
"Yes… they're in here." I gestured toward the backpack I let hit the floor.
"Alright. I'll get you for lunch."
The door closed and I sighed loudly. Maniwa sure knew how to show a girl a good time. I picked up the first folder and flipped through its contents until a list of dates were found. Picking up a stray pencil, I noted the date on the outside of the folder and laid it back down on the desk. Thrilling.
After hours of the repetitive work, my mind began to wander back to Lil' Slugger. Maniwa had put a child block on all news channels back at the apartment, so I had literally no idea what was going on with death row. I dreamed about Li nearly every night, asking him how he was and what he was thinking about. He would just stare quietly with that trademark look in his eye before pinning my body to the floor and making love to me. I was only truly happy when I was asleep. Only then could I tell him how much I missed him.
I shifted some of the files around and spotted a newspaper hiding underneath the mountain of work I had left. My heart raced as I snatched it into my fists and began scanning over the articles. A bold headline caught my eye, reading: "Lil' Slugger trial speeds through Death Row: verdict reached." Fighting the urge to scream, I continued to read the column with haste.
/In a one month's span since the infamous serial was pronounced guilty of capital murders in the first degree, the Death Row jury unanimously issued Lil' Slugger with the death penalty yesterday. The court had few appeals for the case, making it one of the fastest execution trials in Japan's history.
Recent reforms in the execution system have strayed away from hanging prisoners and toward the lethal injection due in part to protests in the mid-90s (1). As result, the jury ordered an injection of three drugs tomorrow at the Tokyo Metropolitan Police Department. The penalty will occur at the traditional hour of midnight in order to leave time for any last appeals, which may alter the guilty status of the prisoner…/
I couldn't understand much more after that, my head was spinning so fast. The death penalty. Lethal injection. How could they decide this all so quickly? Was a life really that easy for them to throw away, within a matter of weeks?
"No!" I screamed hoarsely, tearing the paper into shreds and burying my face into shaking hands. What was I going to do? I didn't even have 24 hours.
The clock caught my eye and I realized Maniwa would come for me shortly. I gathered the newspaper shreds and attempted to hide them in the drawer he had opened earlier this morning. To my dismay, it was locked tight and would barely budge against my attempts to pry it open. With frustration and curiosity, I snatched one of the bobby pins out of my hair and picked at the lock the way I had seen in movies. After a few seconds of jamming the clip around, the lock clicked and I pulled it open.
The golden bat lay before me, gleaming inside a plastic bag labeled "evidence." My mouth dropped in anger. How did Maniwa manage to steal this? He probably made some ridiculous excuse to conveniently borrow the tool for "further investigation." Loud footsteps coming down the silent hall sent a shock of panic through my spine. I grabbed my backpack and shoved both the bat and newspaper shreds against my untouched art supplies. I closed the drawer and began flipping through a folder, Maniwa's face appearing in the door seconds later.
"Ready to go?" he smiled. I swallowed every urge to punch him.
"Yes… let's go."
My plan wasn't going to be easy. In fact, I doubt it could've been called much a plan anyway. The never-ending ride back to Maniwa's apartment gave me time to think about what would happen tonight. The realization that I would never see Li again literally drove me crazy. It was torture to hold back all the tears that were threatening to fall. I wanted badly to suddenly grab the steering wheel and hurtle the car into oncoming traffic, but I knew if I didn't get to see him one last time, I would never rest in peace.
"So—erm, would you like to stop and get something to eat?" the light bulb turned on.
"No, I was actually thinking maybe I could cook dinner to—you know—thank you for taking me in. I never really did." I turned to him and gave him a slightly seductive smile. Maniwa coughed as his face went red. He was just too easy sometimes.
"I would like that, Jordan." His placed a shy hand on my knee and grinned. I forced myself not to scowl.
"Great." I said through a clenched jaw.
I never considered myself "one" with the kitchen, but desperate times called for spaghetti. Maniwa lurked around the kitchen as I added noodles to the boiling pot and stirred the sauce on an adjacent burner. While searching through the refrigerator, I spied a can of whip cream Maniwa had used to decorate a cake a couple of night ago. A wry smile spread over my features. I was past the point of feeling guilt.
"Do you need any help?" he asked for what seemed the fiftieth time.
"Um, no. I was just looking for desert."
"Don't worry. I have something else in mind." My voice lowered seductively.
We ate in silence, the clock ticking loudly in the background. Every once in a while I caught Maniwa staring at me. With pleasure, I dismissed his groveling with a small smile and a wink. The color in his face matched the tomato sauce quite splendidly.
"Well, that was… good." He announced, letting his fork rattle on the plate as a gesture of eagerness.
"I'm glad you liked it," I whispered, drawing closer to his face. "Are you ready for round two?"
Taking him by the hand, I lead him down the hallway and opened the door to his room. His hands ran down my back to seize me in a passionless kiss. I pushed him toward the bed, unbuttoning his shirt swiftly.
"Don't you want your desert, Mitsuhiro-kun?" my voice purred lightly into the crevice of his ear, causing him to spasm.
"P-please! Jordan!" he cried, bucking his hips with need.
"Let me get it. I'll be back in a minute." I moved slowly out of the room but began to run once past the door. In order to avoid suspicion, everything must be done with quick timing.
Once in the kitchen, I snatched a knife, the whip cream can, and a rolling pin. Before heading back to Maniwa's room, I entered the bathroom and searched through the cabinets. Grabbing a container, I smashed the bottle against the sink to release the precious pills inside. The knife pounded hard against the counter when I ground the tablets into a powder and then preceded to dump it into an incision I had made on one of the strawberries. I took off my shirt and pants before entering the room, hoping to make my longer than necessary excursion look credible.
"Sorry, didn't make you wait too long, did I?" I whispered, posing at the door with the whip cream and bowl of strawberries. He gulped as his eyes ran over my pale body, watching every move with such intensity I felt slightly scared. I pushed away my fears and continued to sway my hips toward the bed, knowing this plan would fail if I dropped character.
"Let me feed you…" I placed the bowl and can onto the bed and crawled toward his shaking body. My hands wandered over his abs and pushed him flat against the mattress. Grabbing the first strawberry, I allowed the juices to dribble down my arm as I dosed the fruit immensely with cream, fearing he would taste the pills and see right through my charade. I pressed my chest to his and rubbed the strawberry against his lips while he moaned in ecstasy.
"Mm, Jordan. This is—pant—so nice." The berry slipped into his mouth and my eyes grew large. He chewed slowly and I grew impatient, forcing another piece into his mouth despite the protests.
"Come on," I hissed, "Eat it." He obeyed hesitantly, gobbling more and more until his lids began to droop and breathing slowed.
"I feel funny…" he whispered while I licked the sides of his neck and massaged his tense arms.
"Relax, relax." I cooed, watching his form finally engage into a deep sleep. He snored silently and his grip loosened enough for me to escape. My hands reached into his pocket and felt the familiar keys jingle. I looked with a smirk back once I reached the doorframe. It was rather pathetic how trusting and naïve he was. "Sleep tight."
In about ten minutes I was flying out of the apartment, my heart beating fast. My backpack dropped into the front seat of Maniwa's car with a loud clunk and I revved the engine, throwing the clutch into reverse. I wasn't the most experienced of drivers but luckily it was late enough to avoid most traffic and speed. There were only a few hours remaining until the injection, I was getting frantic.
Using my memory, I followed the streets Maniwa had driven earlier that day toward the station. The brakes screeched at every stop, jumpstarting my nerves. My mind began playing tricks and all I could see in front of me was a skater with a red hat flying on metallic skates. I blinked and shook my head furiously in attempt to focus. The station was only a couple blocks away.
I spotted at least five news station vans in the distance as I parked in a dark alley. My backpack emptied onto the front seat as I reached for the golden bat. With the bag secured tightly over my shoulder, I got out of the car and watched the closest van closely, waiting for my next victim. Finally, a woman with "Channel 8 News" ball cap exited the van carrying an armful of equipment and supplies.
"Excuse me! Excuse me!" I called her, waving my hand. "Please help!"
"Are you alright?" The woman placed her camera beside the van and ran across the street toward my position. "What happen—?"
The golden bat emerged from the darkness and connected with her forehead, producing a sickening crunch. I quickly swung over and over to prevent her from screaming, pounding her head into a soft mess. Dragging her into the darkness, I salvaged what I could of her bloody clothes and stole her press pass ID necklace and hat, fitting it snuggly over my head. I slipped the bat back into my bag and crossed the street quickly, gathering the supplies she had left while approaching the police station.
I entered and flashed my pass to surrounding guards. They directed me down a dark hall as the clock ticked on. 11:56. I was going to make it.
"It's almost time…" the timekeeper nodded to one of the policemen. Shortly after, Lil' Slugger entered the cramped room in handcuffs. The press went wild, cameras flashing and voices chattering in anticipation. A hush was demanded over the room as the teen was strapped into a nearby chair, his gold eyes flashing with amusement as he eyed the crowd.
I snuck into the room quietly and hid the camera to avoid attention. The sight of his face sent me into shock as I sucked in my breath and our eyes met. He didn't show any signs of surprise or fear, just general interest. I looked desperate, trying to convey everything I wanted to say through nonverbal means.
Don't leave me, I can't go on like this anymore. I need you!
The timekeeper's watch began to beep. My nails dug firmly into the skin of my palms as I resisted the urge to scream. The room was completely silent now, interrupted only by the snapping noise and flash of multiple cameras. Two policemen appeared on either side of Lil' Slugger and fastened IVs into both of his arms, the saline slowly beginning to drip through the tubes. Once everything was set, the station warden approached the crowd and cleared his throat, ready to commence in the execution.
"It is now midnight and no final appeals to the case of Japan vs. Lil' Slugger have been made. The prisoner has been sentenced to death by lethal injection. The prisoner shall be allowed one final statement before I signal the beginning of the execution. The first drug administered will be sodium thiopental, a chemical that will initiate unconsciousness. The second injection will contain pancuronium, a muscle relaxant. The final dose will contain potassium chloride, an agent that stops the heart." (2)
"I will now allow the prisoner time for any final statement."
Time seemed stop completely as he stared into my eyes. The entire room held their breath as he opened his mouth slightly to lick his lips. He diverted his gaze quickly away from mine and stared into the distance, a smirk gracing his stoic features.
"I was only the messenger… see you in hell."
The press gasped in disgust and protest, some even shouting: "Kill him! Kill him!" The warden waved his hand in slow motion and the first dose was injected through the tubes of the IVs. I watched on in horror, the chemical seeming to twist and turn through the tubes while it entered his veins. His eyelids fell and his body slumped against the bondage, unmoving.
A second signal was given after a few moments had passed and the muscle relaxant was distributed. It was horrifying to watch his face instantaneously detract like a mushy Jell-O. His mouth gaped widely and even his eyes opened halfway. Horrifying.
I sucked in my breath when the last signal reached the air, unavoidable tears now wetting my cheeks and clothes. To everyone's shock, Li's eyes flew open wildly once the potassium chloride hit his body. A deep choking noise came from his throat and his face grew red with strain. The press roared loudly, confused and upset over the inhumane manner of his death. I began to scream now, hysterics overtaking me as he choked to death much in the same way that he did in my nightmares.
"This isn't supposed to happen!" the warden proclaimed in fear. "Quick, give him more sodium thiopental!"
One of the nurse's hands fumbled with the viles as she grabbed the IV and attempted to inject the knockout drug as quickly as possible. However, in panic she had administered the second chemical, leaving Lil' Slugger to freeze up instead. Although his noises stopped, the gold eyes still held intense pain, tears glazing over but failing to fall.
He was looking right at me again, motionless and defeated. The sight overwhelmed me; I had never seen him look this weak before. Still, I refused to break our connection and continued to stare back as the black pupils quivered, making the yellow around them brighten and soften all at the same time.
He was looking right at me when suddenly I understood. Everything we had was going to last, and not even the barriers of heaven and hell could keep us apart. I could see that he loved me, and I was whispering back that I loved him too.
'Not even death will keep me away from you.'
For a brief moment, he smiled maniacally. Then, he was gone.
I don't remember slipping out of the execution room before anyone noticed I was not a real journalist. I don't remember turning the correct directions to get home in Mainwa's car. All I could remember was Li's expression, the piercing eyes burning into my memory like hot coals.
Somehow I was now standing before the apartment door in one piece, bag and all. The door creaked slightly as it opened and I floated in like a zombie. The clock in the kitchen read three. Had the whole execution really taken that long, or had I just driven so slow that time escaped me while I was lost in my own forlorn thoughts?
"Where have you been?"
The voice behind me trembled with anger and hurt. I turned around slowly to face Maniwa, my face frozen in an emotionless state to counter the pathetic lecture I knew was sure to come. I stared at him and my heart seemed to stop. Every aspect of his posture to the gaping mouth reminded me so much of Li during his final moments. I wanted to die.
"I—I went to the execution."
"Why." He demanded, eyes narrowing.
"Because," I started, my voice lowering, "I wanted to see my love one last time before being slaughtered for crimes that weren't even justifiable."
"Justifiable?! Justifiable? Jordan, he murdered over 15 people with a bat. He killed women, children… even the elderly. He smashed their heads in with a fucking aluminum bat! Are you crazy, or just too naïve to see what's before your own eyes?"
I said nothing, knowing my words would have no effect.
"Jordan, please," he kneeled before me, taking my hand in his desperately. "Let's get away from here. Just you and me. We'll leave Japan forever and never look back. Just forget everything and everyone that was here… We can get married and start a life together. You can try for a GED and I'll find a job wherever we end up… please, Jordan…"
"How dare you," I proclaimed, snatching my hand from his, "Suggest I leave behind Lil' Slugger. Never."
"I love you!" he was now in hysterics. "God, Jordan… I've loved you from the very start. And our night together… did that not mean anything to you?"
"Our night?!" I began to laugh coldly, "Our 'night' together was result of my longing for Lil' Slugger. I imagined you were him the entire time. I do not love you, Maniwa, and I don't think I ever will."
A gunshot sounded, flying past my head and shattering the clock above the stove. I stared bewildered as he held the gun before me, his hands shaking uncontrollably. Tears glistened on his hardened face and his eyes looked crazed with passion.
"If I didn't love you half as much as I do," he whispered, finally lowering the gun, "That bullet wouldn't have missed, I can promise you that much."
Maniwa turned from me and stormed off to his room, sobbing pitifully as he ran. I would've felt sorry for him, but I was unable to grasp that emotion anymore. My head hit the wall behind me as I slid to the floor. I was shaking and crying, but not because of him.
"Li… Li! Don't leave me! How am I supposed to go on like this? For days? For years? I can't. Not anymore."
My eyelids felt heavy, so I closed myself from the world, welcoming darkness to take me away from all the pain.
It was almost five o'clock at night when I awoke and my neck felt cramped from sleeping against the stiff wall. Rain was now furiously falling outside. I could hear the drops beat the roof and as lightening across the window lit the darkened room. Mechanically, I picked myself up and gathered my backpack yet again. I couldn't stay here any longer, especially after all that I had said.
I entered Maniwa's room without knocking and whisked quickly to his bedside. His back was toward me with the bedding wrapped tightly around his entire body. I heard his whimpering and finally felt remorse. He looked like a child, reminding me so much of myself after my mother died and my father lost himself in his booze.
"I'm leaving." My voice cracked quietly as I sat beside him in the bed. "I… I'm very sorry for what I said and did to you. You have been very gracious to me and shown me kindness I never really deserved."
He turned toward me and I felt ashamed to see that his eyes were puffy and red. I almost wished I could somehow learn to love him. I pondered if that was at all possible. But when I saw myself being held in a tight embrace and feeling warm lips crashing against my own, I could only imagine Lil' Slugger… My Li.
I could never forget his untamed hair, flying freely at the ends of his red baseball cap. Or his tall, lean form, which was surprisingly muscular underneath all the baggy clothes. But most of all, I could never erase that penetrating gaze I had met so many times before, the way the gold irises had shown so clearly in the stars and made my heart stop every time.
I was head over heels for him, and nothing could take that away. Not Maniwa, not anyone.
"Goodbye, Maniwa Mitsuhiro."
I leaned forward and rested my lips on his warm forehead before exiting the room without looking back. When I opened the front door, however, I snuck one quick peek at the home I had known for so many months now. This wasn't who I was and I felt no pang of sadness to leave it.
As the door closed, a single gunshot from Maniwa's room echoed throughout the still apartment. But that too was soon drowned out by the sound of the rain.
(AN: This entire story has been a flashback since the beginning of chapter one. The flashback has now ended and will resume in the present.)
I opened my eyes and realized I was still lying on the hard cement of the street. The rain had soaked me to the bone and my teeth were chattering uncontrollably. I couldn't believe all I had gone through in the past year to get to this point, but I would be damned if I were to die now in the street.
My arms and legs used everything they had to lift me up, fighting against the salty water threatening to keep me down. I wasn't really sure where I was going, but I could hear a voice beckoning me and showing me the way. I was sure it was him.
The sound of skates resonated softly through the downpour and I squinted, not believing my eyes. There he was before me, a glowing figure summoning me with outstretched arms.
"Li!" I cried, reaching out for him. Our hands locked and sent electricity through my body. He was showing me the way, flying down streets and into the darkness of the forest we had traveled long ago. I tried my best to keep up with his fluid pace as my energy began to slip away. And finally, after what seemed like hours of running, he stopped.
The rain had slowed down to a trickle and slight sunbeams pushed down through the trees upon a small structure a few feet away. Lil' Slugger kneeled before it and quickly disappeared into the light. Now I could see it clear as day: a plain, black cross. I drew closer to inspect the single word carved neatly in the center.
"Li." I read, my voice trembling.
He had taken me to his final resting place and I couldn't be more grateful. I laid down in the damp grass, clinging to the earth as if holding his actual body. I kissed the ground over and over, weeping tears I didn't know I still had in me. God, I missed him so badly and yet he hadn't even been gone for a day. How could I spend my life in this hell on Earth knowing it could be decades before I would see him again?
I removed a bat from the inside of my backpack and stared at my blurred reflection in the worn gold. Raindrops ran down the aluminum, creating an illusion of tears on the cheeks of the girl staring back. Luckily for me, neither Maniwa nor the station had ever noticed it was gone, probably too wrapped up in their own selfish relief that he was dead.
Smiling, I held the bat before me and swung, feeling the cold metal collide with my skull. My body crumpled to the ground like a wilting rose and I closed my tired eyes.
As I lay there with my blood running through the long grass, I wondered if Lil' Slugger was in heaven or hell. He wasn't really evil, only the messenger, as he would so often say. Could he have been saved after all?
I knew I would pay for this sin, but if it meant I could see him again, even for only a moment, I would gladly burn for all eternity.
"I am the angel from hell... I am not your savior, I am a creature of the damned."
The rain ceased and clouds faded, letting more rays of sunlight fall onto Li's grave. I hugged the golden bat close and began to shiver. The pain was finally numbing... It was almost time to go.
Images flashed before me of Blake bleeding in the grass, Mom and dad kissing in the kitchen, running from the police, skating through the storm from hell, my last dance with Li… My life was playing before me and all I could do was lie there and accept that I was throwing it all away.
In other words, please be true.
"Jordan…" I could hear his voice whispering, a burning desire throughout my soul. "Jordan…"In other words, I love you.
"I'm coming, Li…" I murmured, the world fading peacefully around me.
"See you in hell."
(1) and (2): I got this information from Wikipedia, specifically the articles Death Row and Lethal Injection.
The end! That was intense, I was on the verge of tears just writing it. I must thank all my reviewers and those who waited patiently for me through periods of writer's block and times when I was too busy to even think about writing. It's been a joy to write this fic and I hope you guys enjoyed it as well, even the sad ending.