Darkness fell again. And again she felt the hurt. Tears stained her cheeks, and the ragged breathing on top of her made her heart jump. The wandering hand raking her young frame, the horrid stink of his breath touching her neck and filling her nostrils.
She pleaded once more for the pain to stop. She cried out to him, to make him halt his actions. She knew that what he was doing was wrong. Somehow, deep within her fragile heart, she knew he should not be doing this. But her own father was hurting her.
Dawn approached once more. The young girl still crying in her sleep as the sun flittered through the window and fell on her face. Sitting abruptly, Rin looked down at her bare form and searched frantically for the small kimono she had on earlier. Once finding it, she quickly donned it, afraid to remain if her guardian woke up with his hangover.
Exiting out of the hut, she began to head towards the small creek that ran through the forest. Before she could enter the dense brush, she felt a hand tug hard at her hair and she was pulled ferociously back onto the earth. Immediately shutting her eyes, she turned her head downwards, hoping that the person towering over her trembling form wasn't her.
"You little slut…" the voice hissed.
Rin pulled her knees closer to her chest and let the tears fall. "I'm sorry…" she murmured.
"You're sorry?" the figure asked, the voice filled with bitter contempt.
"I'm sorry… I tried not to let him…"
"That's not enough!" the form said in a low dangerous tone.
Before the small child could respond, she felt a sudden sharp sting on her left cheek and pain caused her jaw to grow limp.
"You realize how disgusting you are?! You're nothing but mere filth you little witch,"
Rin wanted to shout and scream that it was not her doing. That it was not her fault. She was then gripped hard by the front of her haori and she felt more tears flow down her young face and she met the flashing eyes of her mother. She didn't want her mother to glower at her with such malice. With such hate. Sometimes, she didn't know which hurt more: the confusion and pain her father inflicts, or the bitterness her mother showered on her whenever her father was done with her.
She felt her body being thrown backward, her body making a hard impact on the ground as her parent continued to stand over her. Rin didn't want to move. Afraid of what would occur if she dared to rise under her mother's heated stare.
Once her parent had left her there like a tossed rag doll, she slowly rose from the dirt, her clothes now covered with dirt along with the small crimson stains on her clothes.
Reaching the small creek, Rin removed her kimono and plunged herself into the frigid water, her lungs screaming in protest from the sudden lack of air and the iciness that had now breached her inner core. Coming back up for a desperate need of air, she felt dizzy as she always did when she moved in the water too fast. It was the same feeling she would feel after her father used her.
Shoulders slumping, the young girl decided to just float in the water, her mind drifting back towards the night she saw what she never should have seen, and if she hadn't, she never would be feeling this pain.
The night was slightly colder.
As I stared out into the darkness, I began to remember all the stories that my brothers would tell me before I went to bed. They would say that monsters lurked in the dense brush and of course I'd think they were kidding, after all they were just boys. But, watching the leaves sway, and the creaks and rustling of the trees outside gave me cause to wonder if they were true. Anything frightening could come out at night.
I glanced over to the right where my three siblings lay resting near the fire. They look so silly together. A boy of twelve, one of nine, and the other of fourteen. That makes me the youngest but I never minded. After all, older siblings were there to protect you, so it's alright.
A sudden thump against the side of the hut caught my attention. Another caused me to stand up in a jolt, frightened by the noise. I then heard voices coming from outside, so I peeked out the doorway to see my mother and father walking slowly towards their hut.
Curiosity sparked up as I began to ask myself why my parents had not yet retired to sleep. I blinked when my father almost tripped over his own feet, and my mother scowled as she kept lugging him onwards till they entered their own abode.
Deciding that it was nothing, I crossed over to the other side and lay back on my own mat, pulling up the blanket that was woven by my mother, all the way to my chin.
Time seemed to pass slowly, and I opened my eyes later. I had no idea when I had fallen asleep, or how long I had slept for that matter. I stood and looked out the window, bright stars twinkling as the moon shined above.
Staring at it for a time, I felt a slight chill of the wind touch me, causing me to clutch myself.
I gave the door a glance, and argued with myself about going over to my parent's hut. Though it was dark and cold, it didn't matter as I knew the direction to head towards.
Stepping out, I felt the cool and slightly damp earth beneath my feet. Letting a grin fall on my face, I began to walk to the hut where my parents were. They might be asleep but I know that they wouldn't mind me being there with them.
I am their child after all.
I came closer to the hut, happiness souring through me as I gaily approached it, anticipating feeling my mother's warm embrace and my father's gentle pats on my head.
Another breeze went through me and I picked up the pace, coming up right to the door. There was light coming from inside, and I could hear whispers but could not determine what they were saying.
Opening the door a bit, my eyes widened a fraction when I saw my father pick my mother up by the hair. She was naked and tears formed in her eyes.
I watched silently as my father's hand raked itself down her bare breast, his fingernails sliding over her stomach.
Her hair, that was normally put in a bun, was let loose, reaching her shoulders and covering her face, head down in shame.
My breath caught in my throat when I felt my father's gaze land on mine, his eyes taking a dark and vicious look as he eyed me skeptically before he leered and flashed me a grin.
"Well, look dear," he said sweetly but each word seemed too bitter.
I watched on as my mother's eyes shot open, her brown orbs widening as she took me in with her gaze. There was such stricken terror on her face that it hurt me to see her as such. The look was gone in a flash however, her warm gaze no longer evident as they narrowed to thin slits, her lips frowning slightly.
"Rin, why are you here?" she asked me sourly.
I made an attempt to speak but I couldn't seem to find my voice.
"It's alright," my father told me as he approached me slowly. "I'm sure that there's plenty of room in here for one more,"
"No!" she said frantically, her eyes taking on a frenzied and wild look. "She doesn't need to be here. Rin go—"
She was suddenly cut off when my father back handed her across the face. I managed to let out a gasp but it was so low and inaudible, I'm not sure that even I heard it.
"Be silent wife," he told her softly, but each word seemed more deadly than the last. "Rin, come here,"
My feet were completely rooted to the spot, I couldn't move nor did I want to. He let the smile fade as he crossed over to me, grabbing me roughly by the arm as he dragged me over to an empty corner.
"Now stay here," he commanded me, his breath hot and stung my nostrils. It was then I realized that he had embalmed himself with sake earlier tonight. He smelled of the cheap drink, eyes narrowing as he stood and walked back to my mother who continued to lie down on the floor.
"Well my dear, should we continue?" he asked her, his hand gripping her tightly by the hair as he brought his lips down fiercely on hers, the hand in her hair pushing her head closer to his as the other wrapped itself round her waist.
Tears brimmed her eyes, staining her cheeks as they fell onto the ground. Her ragged breathing and sobs resounded in my ears, his cruel laughter echoing in the small hut as he slapped her face, pushing into her harder and some how, blood began to spill from between her thighs.
I let a gasp escape my lips before I squeezed my eyes shut, covering my ears with my sweaty palms, but I could still hear every cry, imagine every movement. My brothers were right. Monsters do come out in the dead of night.
Rin walked slowly through the village, her eyes red with the earlier tears but she still smiled and waved at whoever did the same to her.
Coming to a sudden stop when she heard her mother's voice, she turned her head slowly, coming to meet the hate filled eyes above.
"Where have you been?" her mother questioned.
"I was at the stream," Rin told her.
A hand met a small cheek.
"Don't lie to me you ignorant brat!" she screeched. Grabbing her daughter by the arm, she began to pull her away when she saw her eldest son rush up towards them.
"Mother, did Rin do something wrong?" he asked her.
A feign smile spread across the woman's lips. "No, not really but I just thought she needed some discipline,"
"Hmm," he said as he glanced down at his youngest sibling, her face cast downwards. When he tried to meet her eyes, he frowned a bit when she turned her head to avoid looking into his.
"I see," he said a moment later. "You want me to baby-sit her mother?"
Rin's parent seemed to hesitate for a minute before smiling at him and nodding in confirmation. "Make sure she doesn't do anything," she said politely to him before sliding her eyes down to a hiding Rin. "After all, she is quite… mischievous,"
The boy grinned as he took Rin's hand and began to lead her to the opposite direction. Once they were out of ear shot, he let go of his sibling's little hand, arms akimbo as he studied her closely.
"What happened?" he asked in concern.
"Nothing," she told her brother.
"I think different,"
Rin looked up and gave him a grin. "I'm fine brother,"
Though he didn't look convinced, he sighed and decided to leave the matter alone. When Rin didn't want to speak about something, she'd remain tight lipped when she usually chatters to no end.
"Alright Rin, we won't talk about it,"
The little girl giggled before twining her brother's fingers in her own. "So what're we gonna do today Yuki?"
Yuki smiled warmly at his sister, her eyes still a bit red but otherwise contained true and delightful mirth.
"Whatever you want Rin-chan,"
The sun had already gone down beyond the endless horizon, the golden rays hiding for another day to come by.
Rin was sitting apprehensively, her fingers tugging at the small yukata she wore.
The door in front opened and she brought her head up quickly from the disturbance. Her mother eyed her coldly before settling on the other side of the room.
Sighing a little bit, Rin continued to wring her hands, nervousness taking over her body and mind.
She stayed awake for quite awhile. Her mother had long left her and her siblings hut for her own. Wondering why she was spared for tonight, she asked herself whether her mother had pleaded with her father to stop hurting her. She hoped that she was right.
It was quiet and silent; there was no pain and no cloister smell of blood.
A breath of relief came out and she was about to lie down when she heard heavy thundering steps from outside. Standing up to see what the matter was, Rin shuffled across the small hut then stepped outside.
Her brown innocent eyes widened as she took in the ghastly sight. Shouts came from all directions, the sound of horses neighing and crackling fire confused her.
But she didn't need to know why it was happening. They were under attack and soon they would all die.
She immediately rushed inside, and shouted at her sleeping brothers.
"Wake up!" Rin screeched in their ears bringing them out of their slumber.
"What?!" the youngest brother, Garu, asked angrily as he rubbed his eyes.
"We're under attack!" Rin said quickly as she grabbed Yuki's sleeve and tried to haul him up.
Yuki reacted quickly and took charge. "Let's go!" he told them as he urged them out of their hut and outside to the peril that awaited them.
"Stay together and run!" Yuki shouted at them as he grabbed Rin by the hand.
The crowd was in a wide panic, their screams heading towards the sky as Rin watched in horror that was now being displayed.
She then felt her body jerked forward, falling into a pile of straw. "Yuki?!" she called out and was about to call him again when she watched her two other brothers fall to the ground. Blood spilled from their throats, staining the ground and seeping into their clothes.
"Garu! Takato!" she cried as she was about to go back for them. Yuki pushed her back onto where he threw her earlier. "Stay here damn it!"
Rin watched as her brother's form vanished into the wide spread of yellow and orange flames. She heard a creaking noise from above and saw that the small little hut she was in was now on fire.
She leapt out from the burning building and gasped when she realized that she was now in the midst of the crowd. Huts were slowly burning and charring to a crisp black, blood mingled its stench in the air, fallen bodies covered the ground as pools stained her feet. She broke into a mad dash, desperate to find her brother or at least somebody she knew.
The young girl kept running, her eyes frantically searching through the flames and smoke, but she just kept seeing more and more of the same scenes. Men died as they tried to fight the invaders that had now plundered their homes, women scurrying in fear as they were pulled back and stabbed, babies torn from their mothers' breast and killed before their eyes, their agonized screams from wrenching hearts before they were silenced and dead next to their child.
Rin saw it all, and she saw that one of the dead children was her brother Yuki. His face was sideways and stared at Rin with a blank gaze, crimson drops dripping from the corners of his mouth with his neck torn and slashed diagonally.
Her small body was immobilized by the sight of her brother. Rin opened her mouth. Nothing came out at first but once the truth sunk in, she let out a horrified and agony filled cry that rang as sharp as the swords that continued to kill everyone there.
The young child wandered through at the first break of sunlight. She had no idea how she had managed to survive the assault, but she did, and she felt alone. Eyes red with tears, Rin walked in an aimless daze, hoping to find some movement of life in the ransacked village but to no avail. Fresh corpses was all that laid on the ground, small bugs crawling into the still slightly warm flesh and making themselves acquainted with the their new rottening homes.
Rin went behind a tree to vomit, but nothing came out and was merely the dry heaves of total nerve exhaustion. How could she have lost everything in one night? Did she do something to anger the gods and that was why she was being punished? Her head spun from the disbelief and pain, her stomach still tied in knots as she ambled back towards the body of her eldest brother.
Kneeling beside him, she saw a worm crawl up onto his face and she immediately flicked it off. Wondering what she would now do, Rin brought her knees up to her chin and laid her head on top. She felt lonely, sad and she clutched herself tightly when she realized that she was still shaking from the events of last night.
Deciding that the least she could do for her siblings was bury them, she grabbed a shovel that laid on the ground, dry blood crusting around its blunt edges. Ignoring the fact that it had been used to kill, Rin began to turn the ground, sweat sliding down her face and the grime of dirt mixed with salty drops.
The sun was above her by the time she finished, and she laid the bodies of her beloved brothers to rest inside the holes, upset that it wouldn't be very befitting but knew that it would be better than having them eaten by wandering demons. Placing Yuki lastly inside, she touched each of their faces with a grim look on her face before she began to toss the dirt back on. Once it was complete, she plopped back on the ground, her limbs sore from the work. Turning her head to the left, she noticed two familiar bodies laying face down.
She rose slowly, and recognized them as her parents. She smiled gently at their fallen corpses, and touched each of their faces but did not build them a grave. Turning around, she found several flowers nearby and placed them on the mound of dirt. Bowing respectfully, Rin turned on her heel, took a deep breath and started to walk into the dense brush, beginning her search for someplace to go. She didn't know where, but it was better than remaining here in this desolate area.