Tomoko Maeda: Lost Sanctuary

Disclaimer: I do not own Siren.

Chapter One

You'll Be Safe Here

He spoke of tortured souls

So outrageous the toll-you can lose all you have

He refused to give in to the town that takes all

"You'll be safe here."

That was the last thing Hisako Yao had whispered to Tomoko Maeda before shutting the door and leaving her in darkness. The fourteen-year-old hugged her legs close to her and buried her face in them. Hot tears ran down her cheeks, as she wondered what was to become of her.

The day had started out ordinary-she had gotten mad with her parents for reading her diary and fled her house. The ground had suddenly started to shake, and a horrible, siren-like sound had pierced the sky, making her lose consciousness. Mr. Makino from the church had found her, and they had tried to escape together, only to end up being separated. She had managed to get pretty far on her own, but she could only take so much. Just when she thought she couldn't go on, Hisako had shown up and told her about her parents being safe. She had led her to the Tabori house and told her to wait in the small cottage while she went to the church to get her parents.

And now, here she was-all alone. Were her parents really okay? Would she get to see them again? She didn't care about them reading her diary anymore…she only wanted them to hold her in their arms and tell her everything would be okay. Even if it was a lie…

Tomoko jumped. Was it just her imagination, or had someone started banging on the side of the cottage. No, she could hear the loud, rhythmatic pounding clearly. She squeezed her eyes shut and began rocking back and forth.

"It's just the wind…It's just the wind…It's just the wind…" she mumbled over and over, praying with all her might that that's really all it was.

Gathering up all her courage, the scared teen crawled over to the window near where the sound was coming from. She peered outside, and saw a man in a straw hat hammering the wall. It was raining heavily, and she squinted in an effort to make out his face. He suddenly turned and looked right at her, flesh discolored and eyes bleeding.

Tomoko screamed, stumbling back away from the window. She hurried to her feet and threw open the door. The shibito had beaten her there and was already swinging his hammer. She screamed and ducked as it smashed into the door where her head used to be. Another shibito had stopped what they he was doing and was coming towards her-the entrance was blocked. In order to escape, she would have to go all the way around the house.

She broke into a run fitting the red tracksuit she wore. Her white sneakers sunk into the wet soil as she rounded the far corner of the house. She could hear the shibito coming after her, mumbling incoherently. Just a little bit further…

Her heart lifted as she finally saw the entrance that was the gateway to her safety, only to fall when she saw that shibito that two shibito were guarding it. Both were looking around-one holding a sickle, the other holding a shovel. They suddenly spotted her, and she began to panic. If she stayed there, they would find her, but if she went back, the shibito that had been chasing her would get her.

Looking around, she saw a small space under the house itself. Without a moments hesitation, she threw herself to the ground and rolled into it. She held her breath as she saw the feet of several shibito. Her heart was pounding so hard, she thought it might burst from her chest at any given moment. It was the single most terrifying moment of her life, even after all she had been through since the siren sounded.

Then, to her relief, she saw them retreat back towards the far end of the house. Once she could no longer hear their footsteps, she slowly crawled out from her hiding place and to the corner. The entrance was clear now! All she had to do was get past that gate and then she could hide in the forest from any shibito.

Tomoko started running again, ignoring the burning pain in her legs. She just had to push herself a little further…then everything would be okay-then she would be safe. She could head to the church and find her parents herself.

The fourteen-year-old passed through the gate and had to stop for a moment. She was hunched over, trying to catch her breath for the journey that lay ahead of her. It would not be easy to find the church from this place, especially in the dark. But she would manage. After all, she had managed to get past those shibito and go through the gate. Maybe she really would get through this alive.

A sudden sound from the bushes behind her made her turn, just in time to see the shibito swinging his sickle at her and feel the curved blade bury itself deep in her neck. Wide-eyed and unable to breathe, she staggered backward, blood spurting from the wound. She fell back onto the ground, rain mixing with the tears on her face.

She had been so close…

The shibito retrieved his sickle from her throat and wandered off. Her body was completely numb, but she could still feel the warmth from the blood pouring freely from her throat. Tomoko's vision blurred, and for a minute, she thought she saw angels hovering over her.

"Mom…my…" she rasped, as she drifted in unconsciousness. "Da…ddy…"

I'm sorry…