Chapter six: Shuuhei

With Renji bent over, Shuuhei concentrated on finishing the tattoo that stretched down his back. The shop was cluttered with posters and things located in the dirty ghettos of Kakura, 69's Tattoos parlor was a popular hang out were the red head met up withal of his friends and comrades. Shuuhei finally finished up and putting the gun down he took the rag and rubbed on the newly tattooed area.

"Tch, damn. Hurts like a bitch."

"Heh, that's what you get for gettin too ambitious—but gotta admit, paid off real nicely," Shuuhei stepped back, "That shit looks hot."

"Thanks man," Renji reached over and they shook hands. He then looked up changing the subject, "You got something wit you now?"

"Now?" Shuuhei asked hopelessly, "You gotta chill with that shit, man."

"Damn yo—,"

The door burst open and Ichigo stumbled in. He was holding on to his arm, his face bruised up in several places.

"Ichigo, what the hell happened?" cried Renji. He rapidly stood to give him his seat. Shuuhei went to the back to get some ice. Renji placed his hands on his friend's shoulders, swatting to his level. Ichigo's head was lowered in silence, "Yo, tell me who did this, I'll fuck him up!"

"It's alright, Renji, thanks though."

Renji blinked. Ichigo raised his head and smirked to give him reassurance. It was kind of hard for him because of his swollen cheek. Renji laughed and smacked his hand playfully on his cheek while getting up from his squat, "Had me kinda worried there, what happened?"

"Nah, just some stupid-ass guy picking on somebody."

"Ain't you supposed to be in school?"

"I cut—damn don't get on my case."

"You know how your—,"

"I know! I know!" Ichigo shouted, "Dad woulda whooped my ass for cuttin, but he's not here, so quit it already."

Renji's lips pressed together unable to say anything else.

Shuuhei came back with a white tee wrapped in ice for Ichigo and a couple of beers. He threw some over to Renji who nimbly caught it and passed one over to Ichigo.

"Kurosaki, yo, how's it going man?" He asked passing the pack of ice.

"Is' aight," Ichigo placed the bundle on his swollen cheek.

"Heard bout your old man, bout your family."

"Don't worry bout it," Ichigo opened the can and took a sip. Renji chugged his down and later pulled up another seat. Shuuhei leaned his body against the desk that held all of his supplies.

Renji sighed, "I don want you to end up like me…"

"What are you talking about, Renji?" My life is already fucked up as it is. I can't take it any more… The people giving me looks, the fuckin pity, the fuckin questions—I hate it—all of it," he threw his head back taking in one gulp before continuing, "And those damn voices, those things I keep seeing!" He plastered both hands cupping his ears dropping the ice pack to the ground. "I want it to go away, I want it to disappear… Why won't it leave??"

Shuuhei put his can down on the counter.

"Wait Renji, does he see same things you see?"

Renji slowly nodded.

"Listen remember you promised your father you would graduate high school," he continued.

"I don' care anymore! I doesn't matter anymore, Renji—that girl—I told you, if she finds us. If they catch up…" Ichigo squeezed his eyes shut once more, "No…"

"It don't exist, chill, chill. It's not real. If you don't think about it, you'll stop seeing it."

"Renji," he opened his eyes to meet with his, "You and I know that sure as hell that ain't gonna work."

Shuuhei looked away, sinking in his own thoughts. This guy too? Seeing zombies, ghosts and shit. I don't believe in that kinda stuff but I've heard too many stories. Damn, I hope he doesn't end up like Renji—shooting up drugs just to forget everything. Just so he wouldn't see anything.

"Come on, lets just go back home," the redhead urged. Ichigo slowly stood up leaving the empty beer can on the floor. He held on to him seeing how Ichigo's footing wavered.

"Shuuhei," Renji called, the man nodded in response, "We out, pass me what you got. Put it in my pocket—I pay ya later for it. Thanks, man."

The tattooist opened the drawer below the top one and pulled out several syringes and bottles and discreetly placed it in his back pocket, "Take care,"

"Yeah catch you later,"


End Chapter