To Wash It All Away
Original Story by Crystal Echoes
Re-Edited by Crystal Echoes and TotalLunar Eclipse
The opportunity for great love comes with great risk and the possibility for great loss…
This story is dedicated to those who risked and lost.
Kagome fell on her knees as she shook with her sobs. "Inuyasha." She whimpered his name several times before resting her hand on the cold textured wall of the well before digging her nails deeply into the rotted wood and dirt ignoring the deep pain in her back as long as she could.
Looking down she could barely make out a spot of dark blood contrasting the white clothing she wore just above her left breast because of the darkness of her location.
Her hand shook as she raised it at the knowledge of a foreign object in her body. Reaching back over her shoulder she felt the thin wood protrude from her skin.
'How am I still alive?' She thought to herself as she wrapped her hand around the aged wood and with a strangled gasp and a hard yank she drew it out of her body bringing it before her. The tip of the arrow was full of her blood and she grit her teeth as she held it tight in her fist before it snapped in half dissolving into lilac sparkles that extinguished themselves leaving her once again in darkness surrounded by the musty smell of aged wood and moss.
Her hand curled into a fist as she pounded it into the wall of the well, dirt and brick breaking off under the extreme forced she used. "How could you?" She half screamed half sobbed as the air around seemed to chill considerably.
Just as she was about to beat into the wall again she stopped, fist uncurling to rest flat against the old earth as she bowed her head resting it against her knees letting the tears finally come fourth with all their desolate glory.
Eventually she wiped her eyes with the back of her hand and stood deciding it did no good to just sit here at the bottom of the well. She'd better get out before her grandfather decided to come in and throw sacramental sake or set some sutras on fire and toss them in the well. She wasn't in the mood to be bathed in alcohol and have her hair lit on fire.
Kagome reached up placing her hand on the lower rung of the ladder as a sigh escaped her lips. 'I've been gone too long this time.' Even the thought of putting on her old uniform and going to school seemed foreign to her. But she couldn't sit at the bottom of this well very much longer eventually she would have to come out.
Kagome looked up the shaft of the well to the ceiling of the well house. 'Better get this over with.' She reached the top of the well walking slowly up the steps before she placed her hand on the door letting out one last sigh before sliding it open. The orange setting of the sun welcomed her to a place that had almost become a passing dream.
She almost wished it was raining.
As she walked towards the house she refused to look at the god tree, ignoring the tendrils of power that itched her way making its presence known. She wouldn't see a reminder of that life nor hear the melodious nightmarish laughter mocking her failure.
A light gust of wind reminded her that the back of her white haori was still soaked in blood she knew would be more cause of unwarranted distress on her mother's part. Still she held her chin up high as she walked into the back of the house prepared for the screaming, yelling and gasps of surprise. If that would be their welcome to her then she deserved it.
At least she was home, and this time would never leave her family in the dark again.
Mrs. Higurashi waltzed into the kitchen with an armful of dishes precariously held. She shivered at the sudden chill in the air that was unusual for this time of year. She let out a light sigh as she placed the dishes on the counter hearing the back door open letting in more of the unwanted cold air. "Please close the door Souta."
The door shut quietly and Mrs. Higurashi was content her now preteen boy had the respect to still listen to his mother. Most young men nowadays were more rebellious, not her little Souta, "Thank you."
"You're welcome… mama."
She had been filling the sink with the soiled dishes when the soft whisper of her daughter's voice stilled her action. Her head turned to the side as her eyes confirmed that she was not alone. "K… Kagome? My god is that you?" She prayed the woman standing at her backdoor with her head bowed was not her daughter, she prayed it would be someone else.
"It's me… mama." Kagome whispered as she raised her head just slightly to see watch her mother drop the dishes in the sink, a couple of the ceramic pieces shattering. She visibly winced at the loud offending sound that seemed to echo in her head.
Mrs. Higurashi covered her mouth. It had been weeks, months since they had last seen their daughter as she departed out of their grasp though the darkness of an old well. Everyone had begun to lose hope in ever seeing her again…
But now before her stood her eldest child, only by voice did she recognize the woman before her. She fell to the ground on her knees looking up at her precious daughter that dawned the traditional garbs of a miko, dark spots splattered on her clothing here and there. Her head was tilted downwards hiding her face from her, "Kagome... look at me." She said firmly.
Kagome slowly looked up dreading the reaction she'd have to witness. "Mama please don't cry." Kagome saw the woman's tears and her body shaking and she took a step back unknowing how to comfort her mother coming up against the glass and wood panel of the back door. If she didn't stop Kagome reasoned she had an easy way out, but leaving was the last thing on her mind right now.
"You've been gone for months." Mrs. Higurashi finally let out a chocked sob, "We didn't know whether you were alive or not… what did they do to you Kagome!"
Kagome had never heard her mother yell anything in her life, the woman was beyond patient. "I'm sorry mama." Kagome whispered dropping to her knees on the ground.
"Hey mom what's up?" Souta came into the kitchen and knelt by his mother who seemed a bit out of it. He heard the sound of some dishes breaking and thought she had hurt herself. He turned his head wondering what his mother could be doing staring blankly at the back door like that. "Kagome?" Souta had once before seen Kagome wearing that kind of stuff, but he wasn't even sure it was his sister, "Is that you sis?"
"Souta…" Kagome whispered his name again, her young little brother she missed so dearly.
He blinked at the sound of her voice whispering his name. Souta looked into her face, then her hair and eyes that were vastly different from the last time he had seen his sister, "Kagome why are you a demon?"
"How is she Akiko?" An aged man called up to his daughter as she slowly walked down the steps.
Her soft brown eyes looked down at her elderly father partly noting the stacks of aged scrolls before him, "She's been awake, just sitting there." Mrs. Higurashi sat down on the edge of the couch before running her fingers through her short hair. There was little she could do to help the girl, and as a mother it made her feel helpless. "I should never have let her go otou-san."
"Akiko, blaming yourself will do nothing for you and most definitely nothing for Kagome." He set the old scroll aside giving his daughter a stern look. "You know your daughter as well as I know my granddaughter. Kagome would have found a way into the past." He stood up and placed a reassuring hand on her shoulder, "What happened has already happened and there is nothing we can do about it."
Akiko sighed and wiped the tears from her eyes. "I know."
"Kagome needs you to be strong. You must break her from her shell before she withers away into nothing. Help her cope with what she is, what she has become. We need to accept her and love her."
Akiko's mouth was almost hung open hearing those words come out of her father's mouth. She had not heard him speak like that since her mother's passing many years ago.
Akiko nodded to her father as she stood up walking into the bath house. She brushed the shoji doors aside turning on the warm waters of the enormous bath. The days had been unusually cold for this time of year so she drew up a very hot bath. Plumes of mist rose out of the waters until she was satisfied that it would entice her daughter out of her room. After placing soothing candles and laying out all necessary sponges and lotions she simply walked into her daughter's room and gently took the girls hand silently urging her to follow.
Kagome stood up following her as though she were posing a doll, a person with no spirit left in their body. She just sat in the tub staring blankly at the wall in front of her for a long time before Akiko brought in a stool and sat beside her daughter.
"Mama?" Kagome whispered softly without looking at her or blinking just staring forward. She sounded as though she were far away. Kagome was either a million miles from here, or five hundred years in the past reliving whatever nightmare brought her to this state.
It was a mother's worse nightmare, being helpless against their child's suffering. Kagome had stayed shut in her room for the past week neither sleeping or eating, even her favorite meal of oden couldn't coax the girl to coming out or even moving for that matter as the chill of the air signified her sorrow. Kagome simply stayed quiet, eyes forward while her family gave her the space to silently grieve. Kagome had hidden herself in a shell and threw away the key.
Her daughter, Kagome Akoya Higurashi was gone.
A demoness Kagome sat before her.
Broken and tortured.
"It'll be okay, I'm here with you." Akiko ran her fingers through the girl's hair as she used to do when she was but a child awakening from a nightmare brushing a tendril of hair behind a sharply pointed ear.
But this was no nightmare Kagome would be awakening from any time soon.
In a fast blurred motion, faster than her eyes could catch Kagome reached up and grabbed her hand. She was surprised and gasped at the action.
Hearing her mother's voice calling out to her Kagome felt the need to actually reach out and touch her, confirming she wasn't imagining her mother embracing her. Kagome felt shut down, as though her body had exhausted all her tears and emotions to the point she felt nothing at all.
As she held her mother's hand there was a strange scent that she didn't recognize from the candles or lotions. It was a spice scent that she didn't even know was a scent. It hit her like a piquant scent should, without the smell. Kagome turned her head towards her mother and looked beyond the woman's fierce determination, "You're scared of me."
"Kagome." Her mother whispered. "Please don't think like that."
"Don't lie mama." Kagome let go of her mother's hand gently pushing her away. She was sure she was squeezing the life out of the woman's hand but she had no idea. Her muscles, although she was bathing in hot water, were taunt and ready to spring into action in a blink of an eye.
It felt as though if she twitched she'd break something so she opted not to move… for a week straight. Kagome finally looked around the room noting the white washed tile and ornate flowers of the wallpaper. Although she had lived in the house since she was four, everything felt so unfamiliar to her, so foreign…
… so human.
That thought crushed her heart. She was human and she liked being one thank you very much. But the scents, lights, and everything else overwhelmed her, frightened her making her desperate. All she wanted to do was run away from it all, the pain, the smells, everything. Suddenly her hands were filthy and she began to scrub them raw with a sponge but the smell never went away… Why didn't the smell go away!
Maybe she should sleep? Perhaps she'd wake up and this would be over?
"I'm tired." Kagome finally announced as she stood up out of the water. After a week of insomnia and everything else she had to go through Kagome could finally say she was tired of it all.
Akiko stood up when her daughter did and noticed Kagome now surpassed her in height leaving her very small compared to the towering beauty. She looked down at her seventeen year old's fully matured body of a grown woman.
In what was supposed to happen in her young adult life happened within the span of a few months or even less from the girls recent reactions. Kagome was supposed to grow up like her, petite and only subtle curves.
On her pale skin there were a series of faint colored markings around her wrist and ankles that looked as though they were fading in or out. And as she helped Kagome dry her hair she noticed a spider shaped scar on her back off the middle to the side just where her heart should be, it was one she knew her daughter did not have before.
Kagome wrapped a towel around her body listlessly departing the bathroom walking slowly as though in procession back to her room.
Souta had been in his room playing with his game boy when he watched his sister walk by. He walked over to the frame of his door watching his elder sibling as she walked to her room eerily quiet, long hair swaying gently in the movement. His mother gave him a sharp look to stay quiet but she didn't need to tell him twice.
"Goodnight Kagome." Akiko whispered to her daughter before Kagome walked inside her room.
Kagome stopped placing her hand on the frame of her door turning her head to the side looking at her mother, "Thank you." With that she walked into her room and gently shut the door.
Mrs. Higurashi let out a weary sigh placing the tips of her finger on her forehead. It was harder than she imagined it would be to see her in such a state. The slight tugging at her side caught her attention and she looked down to see her younger son staring up at her with worried brown eyes.
"Mama is Kagome going to get… better?" He wasn't sure now to phrase his question without making it sound bad.
"I don't know Souta." She looked at her daughters now closed room noting the lights were not turned on. "I really don't know."
Souta gripped his mother's hand tightly as he leaned into her seeking comfort in her touch even though he was almost eleven. It's just that he had never seen his sister act like this before. Kagome had always been somewhat clumsy and she would often come home wailing about a scratch or some bruise or bump, but her quietness wasn't right. He wondered if she had changed completely, wondered if his Kagome was truly gone forever.
-All characters are based on the series 'Inuyasha' by Rumiko Takahashi. Any original characters belong to Crystal Echoes and should not be used without permission from the author. Thank you.