Congratulations! You've just won a one-way trip to hell. Be prepared for the ride of your life, Sora Kayaki.
Cerulean hues stared out the rain-spotted windows. The brunette who stood at roughly around five-six was standing in the corner of the coffee shop. It was atypical that he would do this. Usually the jovial teenager would be bouncing about the shop asking for orders and chattering aimlessly with customers and friends. However, today appeared quite different. Instead of moving around the place dexterously, the brunette remained standing, undeterred, by the window, watching the rain fall. Drops clambered down from the heavens, hitting and slamming the pavement in waves. Blue eyes reflected the teenager's sheer amazement. It was remarkable how easily captivated the young adult was lately.
The brunette was eighteen. His nineteenth birthday was in a few weeks and he had planned on going on a trip up to Maine to celebrate. Tidus and Selphie were already up there in the cottage they all paid rent for. They shared it as a summer-home when the weather in Connecticut became a bother. Although the two states were not that far apart, it still was a nuisance. But lately, Sora hadn't been in his home state. Lately, he had strayed away from the quiet Windham area and up towards Boston. That was where he attended Boston University in hopes of becoming a pediatrician. It was the common dream amongst his peers.
Sora, the youth, pushed his hands into the slits of his black windbreaker. Eyes peeled themselves off the rain to glimpse back at the interior of his workplace. Today would be his last day for a few weeks. It was summer-break as of two thirty yesterday, and Sora was just now getting around to leaving town to head up north. A grin appeared on Sora's for the first time that day as he walked across the café towards the counter. In his head continued a never-ending mantra. Just a few more minutes and I'll be on my way to Maine to vacation! Away from work, away from stress, away from college! For a whole two weeks!
Sora arrived at the counter and watched as a blonde turned around and smirked at him, "Hello, Sora. What can I do for you?" The man asked, folding his arms to his chest. His watchful eyes surveyed Sora for a moment, as if trying to gauge the other's response before it became verbal.
"You and Leon know that I'm taking the next two weeks off, right?" Sora asked shyly, not meeting his boss' gaze. It was a habit of his. He was always the passive type of person. He had never really been that assertive. He knew he had to change if he wanted to succeed, but change was so hard nowadays.
"Mhm." The blonde nodded before continuing, "I hope you have a good two weeks. You've been working horrendous hours. Hopefully the mountain air will clear your troubled mind." The blonde laughed and patted Sora on the shoulder over the counter.
Sora smiled and blushed sheepishly, "Thanks, Cloud." He managed in a whisper. He used his thumb to untack his nametag. "Can you tell Kairi that I'll see her in a few weeks?" Sora requested in a timorous voice.
"Of course I can." Cloud nodded and then came to a cessation, "Just promise me that you won't come back eloped."
"Married?" Sora echoed, blue eyes blinking curiously. His cheeks blushed a dark red as he suddenly became uncomfortable. "W-why would I come back married?" Sora asked, a bit afraid to know the meaning behind his friend's odd words and advice.
"Apparently Maine has the most eligible bachelors." Cloud cooed and then shook his head, "Not that they can compare to Leon." He gave the younger brunette a smirk as he crossed his arms once more. He hooked his right under his left, giving off a rather intimidating look. One that Sora was faced with countless times a day.
Sora lowered his gaze, "…I can assure you that I won't find love during vacation."
"What about a heated romance?" Cloud pried, eyes shimmering with amusement at Sora. Sora looked up, face flustered and pale. Cloud chortled and continued, "Just make sure the guy is handsome enough and treats you with respect."
"Heh…right." Sora nodded sheepishly. Maybe letting Cloud figure out his orientation with a bad idea. Then again, that was another story for another time.
"Anyways, I digress. I should get back to orders before Leon punishes me." A slight pause, "Although, knowing Leon, it'd be interesting to see what punishments he'd conjure up." Cloud paused when he noticed the uncomfortable flicker in Sora's eyes. He chuckled nervously and began waving frantically, as if to dismiss the awkward air that had surrounded the pair. "Have a good time, Sora. I'll see you in two weeks."
"Thanks." Sora nodded and waved before heading off towards the entrance.
Two weeks. Two whole weeks of no responsibilities and commitments and reminders of this dreaded town. Two weeks of paradise.
x x x
Sora had somehow managed to cram over half a dozen goodbyes into the timeframe of half an hour. By the time three 'o clock rolled around, he was exhausted. But excited, nonetheless. Sora kicked his suitcase towards the bus that would take him from Boston to the capital of Maine. From there he would take a taxi (or cab, what ever they called them there), to his cabin to meet and greet Selphie and the others. Sora grumbled something incoherent under his breath as he entered the bus. It was crowded and smelt of sweat and other foul things. His lips pierced into a frown as he found a vacant seat. What a way to start paradise.
x x x
The bus-ride, to say the very least, was hell on wheels. At least what Sora called 'hell on wheels' for the time being. It would be only a max of two hours before all his assumptions and earlier thoughts were flipped upside down and tossed around. And god would he be so lost. Two hours until he was faced with a corrupted fairy tale.
Sora yawned as he exited the Greyhound bus. He waved to the kind driver (the only person he had conversation with the whole hour and a half ride up there). Sora yawned for the second time as the bus sped off, back towards Boston, or perhaps a bus top. Sora shrugged and plopped his lithe form onto the bench. He set his suitcase down beside him as he stared up into the rainy sky. At least here it wasn't raining. For that he was quite thankful.
It wasn't long before Sora had managed to snag a taxi from the bustling streets. He called the word frantically, along with waving his arms. One eventually slowed by the sidewalk, allowing him entrance. Sora grinned profusely as he plopped his things into the trunk. He hurried to the backseat and opened the door. Seconds later he entered and slammed the door shut, and couldn't help but thinking he heard the utterance of One hour and thirty minutes ringing over and over in his head in an annoying repeated sequence.
"Where you headed?"
The man had no accent, which was quite a surprise to the brunette. Sora blinked and looked shyly to the cab driver. He couldn't see his face, just a mob of silver hair. Sora sat straight up before managing out a timid, "Rainford." His blue eyes stared into the driver's mirror, hoping to catch sight of the other male's gaze.
"What's up there?" The other asked with slight amusement.
"My friends and our cabin." Sora explained with a gentle and uncertain smile. Within seconds he relaxed and leaned back against the comfortable taxi. His eyes lidded briefly as he felt the cab begin to take off. The lulling sound of rain beginning to fall kept him from becoming claustrophobic or homesick for his wretched dorm.
"So your friends rent a cabin up there?"
"Yeah." Was Sora's simple response, eyes cracking open.
"I'm surprised you're not just driving up there. It'd be cheaper." The silver-haired driver offered, turning into the high-speed lane as he entered the interstate.
Sora shrugged before adding in his two-cents, "I don't… really have my license." He mumbled, a bit embarrassed and ashamed. He really didn't think he needed it seeing he lived on campus and everything was within walking distance. But it was times like these that he regretted being so conservative.
"That explains it."
Something about the other's voice seemed so fake. So fake, just like the time blaring in his head, making him feel a bit nauseas.
"One hour…" He repeated aloud, mind numbing to its effects.
"Excuse me?" The other asked.
"Huh?" Sora's eyes snapped open as he looked to the driver. His blue eyes met shining aquamarine ones briefly in the mirror. Something in Sora's gut dropped as he lowered his gaze to the cab's floor. "What's wrong?" Sora asked in a whisper.
"Did you say something?" The driver asked.
"No?" Sora hadn't been aware that he had spoken the time out loud. The cab driver must think he was insane by this point. First now having his license and now muttering off random amounts of time. Real reassuring, Sora. "I'm sorry… I sometimes talk to myself." Sora laughed nervously, shoulders falling into a dismal shrug.
"We all do sometimes." Something in that sounded forced.
"How old are?" Sora suddenly asked. He bit his tongue when the question registered in his mind. He had the bad tendency of saying the first thing that came to mind. And once he did, he'd sheepishly turn away, just like now. Instead of being assertive, he just fell back into his passive and weak state. He wasn't a weak person by any means, just weak when it came to strangers and superiors.
"Uhm.. Nineteen… why?"
"N-no reason." Sora slurred, glancing downward. "I'm sorry… I didn't mean to ask you that."
"It's okay, I suppose?" There was a bit of edge in his voice, and that part sounded real. Sora shifted uncomfortably. Curiosity got the best of the teenager as he leaned forward and stared at the small ID near the front of the taxi. There was displayed a picture of the driver and a name. Sora squinted in efforts to read it. When he failed he sighed. "It says Riku Karada, resident of Maine, Driver for the State of Maine, nineteen years old, male, yada yada." The man's lips twisted into a light smirk.
"…Oh." Sora nodded and blinked. He shook away the time once more, declaring it more of a nuisance than anything. "I like your name." Sora offered in lack of anything better to say.
"Thank you?" A pause, "What's yours?"
Sora was a bit hesitant. He hadn't really been that gung-ho on having a conversation with his driver. Especially when it turned out to be a slightly handsome driver who sounded like he wanted to kill someone. He was probably having a bad day, Sora concluded. And Sora supposed giving his name would suffice, "I'm Sora Kayaki… nice to meet you, Riku." The other's name fell from his lips like a toxic liquid. His tongue had difficulties pronouncing the name at first.
"Just think of the Ri as the re in repeat." Riku stated nonchalantly.
"Uhm…thanks." Sora blushed and returned his gaze out the window, "Do you drive up this way often?"
"Not particularly… I usually just drive in the city."
"Are you single?"
"E-excuse me?" Sora's eyes pried themselves off the window to stare bewildered at Riku. His blue eyes glowed with anxiety and his face was half white and half a dark maroon. Sora's expression said it all, and made up in the areas where his words lacked. Sora heard Riku's chuckling and instantly tensed.
"Relax, I'm not coming onto you. I was just asking, because normally people bring their girlfriends up to cottages." Riku murmured, sounding so uptight and isolated. It bothered Sora.
"Heh…right." Sora nodded, "But yeah.. I am." He wasn't really too keen on enlightening a complete stranger about where his tastes lie. Perhaps if Riku had been more friendly and genuine he would have. He had to admit, Riku as devilishly handsome… and just looking at him made Sora stop and stare and blush. But his personality conflicted with his beauty. And it made any interest Sora might have had vanish off the surface of the earth.
"So am I. Not many people are interested in someone who spends all his time driving around a yellow car." Riku muttered rather darkly.
"I can understand that." Sora offered and looked back out the window. And with that, for the most part, the conversation ended. Sora was lost to the trees flashing by him and the cars and the bright blue sky. The clock ticked on, constantly reminding him of a looming doom. But to him, it wasn't doom. To him it was a countdown until he arrived in paradise. Too bad no one ever told him that paradise was just another word for hell.
x x x
Sora woke with a start after forty minutes. The first thing he noticed was the words in his head blaring out a mantra of ten minutes. And then he noticed that he still wasn't anywhere near Rainford. By now he should start seeing signs. And… they were on a slight dirt road. Sora yawned and stretched his arms over his head. He arched backwards before sparing a look up to the taxi driver who was focused on the winding mountain road before them.
"…Where are we exactly?" Sora asked quite nervously. Maybe Riku had found an alternate and more efficient route? Sora didn't worry too much. Right now the only thing on his mind was getting to the cottage, dropping his things, and drawing a nice long, warm bath. Ah yes, that sounded pleasurable and sensational and much better than sleeping in a cramped taxi.
"Headed to Rainford." Riku offered in way of explanation. He passed Sora a look in the mirror. "You look like shit."
"…Point out of the obvious…" Sora blushed darkly at the obvious statement before raising his face, "I'm just a bit exhausted, I suppose." Sora explained as he glanced out the window. Still, where exactly were they? No signs. No houses. Just a twisting dirt road as rain continued to pour down.
"I assume you're a college student, right? Which one?" Riku asked, lack of anything detectable in his monotone voice. Still, his voice was alluring and Sora tried his best to remind himself that the taxi driver's attitude paled in comparison.
"Boston University." Sora replied in a sigh. His hand rose and lingered on the glass of his window. "Hey, Riku?… How much longer?"
Riku didn't answer.
"Uhm.. Riku?" Sora didn't want to sound annoying or a bother but he was just really curious! No answer came again and Sora rose his voice so it was undeniably coherent. "Riku?"
"…" Riku obviously ignored the other and stared at the twisting road. He came to a stop at a bend in the road. His aquamarine eyes shut as he turned the engine off. His hand rested on where the key sat in the ignition. With a flick of his wrist, he removed the key and pocketed it. Sora shifted nervously in his seat, eying Riku with a sudden nervousness. Sora had never been one to jump to conclusions but this was looking a bit too suspicious and downright odd.
Riku peered over his shoulder, eyes opening instantaneously. Green ones met Sora's and all that flashed through Sora's mind was the trickling moments and minutes. Five minutes… Five whole minutes. It was all Sora could do was gasp when he felt a shiver slide down the expanse of his spine. Cautiously, the teen pressed his back compact against the seat, in attempts to keep as far away from the stranger as possible. "W-why did you stop the taxi?" It was a stupid question. A stupid question that demanded a logical answer.
"Get out of the car."
"W-what?" Sora stammered.
"I said Get out of the car!" Riku restated, teeth clenched as he glared at the boy. Sora tensed and scrambled to push the door open. Clumsiness took over and the brunette toppled head first out the car door and into an awaiting amount of leaves and pine-needles that had fallen from the trees. Blue eyes flashed with distress as he spun around up into a sitting position, desperately trying to get up on his feet. He didn't have enough time, for the moment he tried to stand up, a hand was making contact with his shoulder, shoving him back down onto the ground.
The silver-haired male towered over Sora, just standing there silently. Fear was drenched in Sora's eyes and his breathing was weak and akin to gasp. Sweat poured from the teen's face as he lost his voice. His silent yells went unheard when Riku's hand gripped his collar, tugging him to his feet. It was odd that the other would pull him to his feet after having shoved him down.
"Follow." Riku demanded emotionlessly, hand holding the other's collar tightly.
Sora squeaked an unintelligent word as he was dragged towards a beaten path leading farther into the forest that surrounded the mountain terrain. He tried to break free but the other's grip was far too tight. Sora shivered and tried to yell again but was silent.
His five minutes were up when he was greeted with an old, beaten down shack. Written in dried animal blood on the south wall were the words 'Stay out or I'll kill you'. And all the humor of that statement was suddenly yanked away from it, replaced by horror and the unweary smell of death.
x x x
Sora's knuckles had begun to bled when he was carelessly shoved into a room in the corner of the shack. His eyes snapped shut as his face made contact with the blister-generating wooden floor. Pieces of wood stuck out from the boards, puncturing his hands with a sharp intensity. Sora whimpered and rolled onto his back. The smell of blood filled his senses. Soon after blue eyes dared to open. He was greeted with a dark face covered with a sable hood. The face behind that was barely visible, but it sent shudders throughout Sora's body.
"Is this the one?"
Sora heard Riku's voice from a different part of the room. He wanted to scream out for help but couldn't find his voice. Not anymore.
"You did well, Riku."
"Now, boy," The man's intense, hidden gaze lowered itself to the coughing and sputtering Sora. Sora silenced himself as he clenched his fists, trying to keep his heart beat normal. But how could he? It took all of his power not to faint from fear and worry. His stomach bottomed and he just wanted to puke. "Do you know why you're here?"
"N-no…" Sora barely produced the word, stammering on the first letter.
"Then that's good." The man's lips twisted into a smirk before he peered at Riku, "What did you tell him?"
"Nothing." Riku retorted stubbornly, obvious discontent and rage in his voice. Sora wasn't sure if those emotions were directed at the hooded-figure or himself. He didn't want to ask, honestly.
"You must have told him something." The man growled, forgetting Sora briefly, "How else would he so willingly trust you?"
"I dragged him here." Riku hissed back, still not in eye-sight of Sora. Sora didn't dare to move, afraid that he'd be stricken or shot if that were to happen.
"Forget it." The man grumbled and looked to Sora for a third time, "You'll understand sooner or later." He shrugged and then smirked at Sora, "But for now, sleep."
"B-but." Sora attempted to argue. So many questions were running through his head. And that was when his mind caught up with him. He let out a terrified yell as he scooted away from the stranger. His mouth was instantly shut when a hand made connection with… the man had slapped him. Sora winced as hot tears prickled in the corner of his eyes. His appearance contorted into one of a beaten puppy as he looked to the floor, heart about to explode with fear and nerves.
"Follow me, I need to talk to you."
And with that the pair left the room, followed by a loud slam and echoed by the sounding of a door being locked. His room… a room with no windows. Just darkness and wood. Sora moaned and buried his face into his hands. None of this makes sense…. He whined in his mind. He needed to figure out so many things.
x x x
Sora wasn't sure when he had woken up. If it was morning or night. All he knew was that light leaked in through the closed door as someone entered. Sora shivered and scrunched away from whoever the stranger was. The light filled his eyes when he realized just who it was. Riku… His stomach contorted into more knots as he kept close to the room, refusing to make the other's gaze. He just wanted to get out of here, wherever here was, and go with his friends. And he wanted answers too.
"Listen to me," Riku breathed, advancing over to Sora. Riku crouched down beside Sora and tried to make eye-contact, "…You have to listen to me. Do exactly what I tell you to, and I assure you that I won't let him kill you." Riku informed Sora, trying to keep his voice down to a whisper.
Sora wanted to argue but was silenced when the silver-haired man placed his refined lips to Sora's cheek. Sora tensed and let out a whine and looked away. His blood burned like fire on his skin as he tried to shift away from Riku. Words akin to 'relax' were whispered harshly into his ears. Sora winced again but was soon toppled to the ground.
Riku had the brunette pinned beneath him. Their eyes met in the dreary and odd darkness. Riku stared emotionlessly down at the terrified Sora who tried his best to gauge what to do. Riku said nothing as his lisp descended down onto Sora's neck. His teeth grazed the brunette's soft skin, making Sora let out a shaky gasp followed by a pathetic attempt at a yell. W-was he going to be … raped?
"I won't kiss you," Riku reassured Sora, lips trailing along Sora's neck, "Just go along with this, okay?"
"W-why?" Sora murmured, feeling Riku's lips bite at his neck. He shuddered and closed his eyes, in fears of what just was going on.
"Because if you don't… he'll kill you."
And that was when Sora realized he was really staring down the face of death and danger. That was when he realized he had just begun his stay at the inferno inn…. And his hosts weren't all that friendly.