Sailor Chibi Kamen's Theatre presents:

Before The Fire - Confessions (anime version)

rated PG 13


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Another Friday, another mass. Oh, joy. Another reminder
that I'm going to Hell if I don't renounce my heathen ways.
(Someday I'll just *have* to thank Otosan for sending me to
Catholic school.) There's a difference this Friday, though.
Today I've actually got something to confess...

I've been keeping a secret. A big one. It all started a
few days ago. No, it actually started a few weeks ago, I guess,
when Ojiichan took on a new acolyte named Jed. From the start
I didn't like him. He just rubbed me the wrong way, ne? Maybe
it was his eyes--they were like blue ice. Maybe it was the way
he was so eager to sell charms. Or maybe it was the way Phobos
and Deimos reacted to him, screeching in a manner I'd never
heard. Then again, it was probably all three, with my sixth
sense trying to warn me.

Well, Ojiichan trusted Jed for some bizarre reason. He
let Jed sell his charms. Then girls started to disappear. It
was no coincidence that these girls had come to the jinja to
buy charms.

The police soon came, asking a million questions. They
threatened to arrest Ojiichan, calling him hentai and accusing
him of doing bad things to those girls. I don't think what
they were saying upset him as much as the fact that they were
saying it in front of me. Well, I've heard it all at school
and I don't believe a word of it. Ojiichan may be a little H,
but he's basically harmless.

In the middle of it all, some ditzy blonde with the
worst hairstyle I've ever seen came with her friends to get
charms. I got weird vibes from her so I smacked an ofuda on
her forehead. It didn't help. The little klutz landed flat
on her ass. Ojiichan took a peek up her skirt. I tried not to
notice.

A little while later I did a fire reading to discover
who or what was behind the disappearances. Boy, was I in for
a shock--it was Jed! When I confronted him he sent me into
another dimension. A youma grabbed me as I fell through the
portal and held me hostage, its arm around my neck.

As I feared for my very life, I heard a high-pitched,
feminine voice. I dared to crack open my eyes and beheld a
girl in a modified seifuku.

"I am Sailormoon!" she cried. "The champion of love and
justice! Tsuki ni kawatte, oshioki yo!" She put her hand to
her brow and pulled off her tiara. "Moon...Tiara...ACTION!!!"
she shouted, flinging it. It turned into a shining, golden
discus...

...which the youma easily leapt over, keeping me firmly
in its grasp. Just as all seemed lost, Phobos and Deimos (who
had been sent through with me) attacked, forcing it to drop me.
The monster turned and grabbed the golden disc.

"Tiara, trap her!" Sailormoon cried. It obeyed, encircling
her arms. As I gasped for breath the bishoujo senshi rushed
to my side. "Daijobu?"

"Hai," I rasped out, noticing her odd hair for the first
time. She looked like the girl I saw in my visions! For that
matter, she looked like the strange girl at the jinja. Could
they be the same person?

There was no more time to ponder as her cat came up to us.
"Do you have that pen we left you?"

"You can talk?!"

"There's no time!" she insisted. "Do you have it?"

I nodded and produced the pen from my kimono.

"That is your special henshin wand. Hold it up and call,
'Mars power, make up!' " neko ordered.

There was a metallic clatter as the youma broke free.

"I've had _enough_ of this!" I shouted. I held the wand
aloft and cried out, "Mars Power, Make Up!!!!"

Bands of red-orange flame surrounded me as my robes
melted away. Magickal energies washed over me, sending me
into rapturous ecstasy, the likes of which I'd only felt in
front of the sacred fire. The rings of fire left me clothed
in a seifuku with a red collar and skirt, with a purple bow
on my chest. I wore elbow-length gloves and red heels. Topping
the ensemble was a gold tiara set with a sizeable ruby. I
briefly looked myself over before looking that youma dead in
the eyes.

"Fire...Soul!!!"

The words shot from my mouth before I could think on
their meaning. My power rose like a song within me and a bolt
of flame shot from my fingertips. The monster screeched its
death cry as a fiery whirlwind incinerated it.

I know what you're thinking--that was the end of it, ne?
Wrong! My attack was so strong that the interdimensional
gateway began to collapse. Just as all seemed lost, a beam of
light shone through and held it open. (Later on we would find
out Sailormercury had somehow used her power and willed it to
remain intact.) Tuxedo Kamen (*sigh*) came and rescued the other
girls. He offered us a ride which we accepted. As soon as we
got back, though, he disappeared. He was probably scared off
by Usagi, who made goo-goo eyes at him.

Powering down that first time made me cry a little. For
the first time in my life I'd felt whole. Finally I understood
my deep-felt connection to the fire. Now it felt like a
piece of my soul was missing. Upon my return to the jinja I
went to my room and cried, finally falling asleep.

On that night I began to have nightmares from which I
awoke screaming. It was always the same. I kept seeing the
rush of flames, kept feeling the searing heat, kept hearing
that creature shriek, over and over and over again. Difference
was, in my dreams I could make out words. "Don't kill me!" It
pled again and again for its life. Still the fire shot forth
and I watched it die with a cruel smile on my face. Then I
woke, my mouth dry, my hair matted with sweat. I usually couldn't
get back to sleep after that and spent the remainder of the
night meditating in the fire room.

It was a monster. It was stealing energy to help evil
forces conquer the planet. It deserved to die, right? Ojiichan
would be so proud if I could tell him.

So why do I feel like shit?

************

It's been a long time since I've had anything to really
confess. I'm only 14, for Kami's sake! How many sins do you
think I commit? It's not like I have time, between my duties
as miko and organizing school events. Throw being a Sailorsenshi
on top of that and I'm very busy being good. Somehow, I even
find the time to study, too; I've got all A's. I know it sounds
like I'm bragging,but I'm really just proud of my accomplishments.

Anyway, it's my turn next.

I step into the confessional. Immediately every fiber of
my being screams betrayal. I'm about to run out, but then I
remember : I can't tell anyone else this secret. I can't even
tell Ojiichan, from whom I've never kept anything. I can only
tell this anonymous stranger my deepest thoughts and wildest
dreams without fear of reproach.

"Bless me Father, for I have sinned," I intone. The
barely familiar phrase sounds false to my ears.

The priest must sense my trepidation as well. "Drop the
formalities, Kamichild."

"You know who I am?" It sounds more like a statement
than a question.

"I knew the minute you entered. Incense and smoke cling
to you. What troubles you, child?"

"Father,whatever I tell you won't go beyond this confession,
right?" I ask nervously. I know the answer but I want to hear it
from him.

"Correct." I can hear he is puzzled.

I take a deep breath before I go on. "I...killed
someone." He does not speak, but I hear a loud gasp. "Maybe
I should say some_thing._ A creature of pure evil that was
responsible for the disappearances at the Jinja. It threatened
my life and that of my friends." My voice shook with unshed
tears. "I had to...kill it. It begged for its life, and I
didn't listen. Now I hear it every night in my dreams...."
The first saline drops slid down my cheeks, leaving wet spots
on my vest.

I hear him sigh in the next cubicle. "It left you no
other course of action, ne?" I mumble agreement. "Child,
you must let go of your guilt before it destroys you as surely
as that monster would have. Your path in life has been made
clear to you. This is what you are meant to do. You have been
blessed with the ability to right wrongs and triumph over
evil. Go and do your work, Kamichild." The panel slides shut.

"Arigato," I whisper, rising to my feet. I feel as if
a great weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

I never thought I would be happy to be in a Catholic
school.

@}--`--,---