For six days, three friends had been trapped within Tokyo's Yamanote transport circle. Now on the eve of the sixth day, that group of three had grown to six, and all of them were resting inside the quiet Miyashita Park, in Shibuya.
The city surrounding them was in the midst of an infestation. Swarms of demons, and corrupt human beings had turned a beacon of civilization into a playground for the strong, where the rule of law had been replaced by the survival of the fittest.
For duration of this ordeal, the small group of friends had found themselves blockaded within the city by the men and women of the Japanese Self Defence Force. Trapped within a prison of concrete and steel, at the mercy of the monsters that were lurking around every corner of the looted and ravaged metropolis. The Self Defence Force, the very people whom were meant to be protecting them, were now the biggest threat to their lives. The SDF's plan to contain the outbreak of demons would soon lead them to eradicate all living things within the Yamanote circle.
It was fast approaching midnight on the sixth day of the Tokyo lockdown, and when midnight finally came around, the group of six friends would have only eighteen hours to live.
Be it human or demon, everything would die.
One victim of happenstance had become the defacto leader of this group, and it was on his word that tomorrow they would risk everything to put an end to this lockdown, and rid the city of the demons that had warped their everyday life into a living hell on earth.
Resting against a wall, in a secluded spot behind a hedgerow, where it seemed safe enough to relax with the thought he would not be disturbed. The group's leader removed the set of headphones from their perch around his ears, placing them on the ground beside him. With the silver speakers no longer covering his head, he let the refreshing night air wash over his tired face. For now at least, it would be best to relax as best he could, and so he took in a deep breath, expanding his lungs to their fullest extent and releasing a stream of hot air out into the night sky.
With their last desperate plan about to be put into action, he couldn't find the time nor the ability to sleep on this night, and with the city's blackout still in effect, this may be the last time he would have the chance to see such a clear starry sky.
Closing his eyes, he leaned back further into the wall he was resting against, removing some of the tension from his neck and shoulders. Despite the fear that everyone within the blockade must have been feeling tonight, it was peaceful here, almost as if the troubles and the horrors of the last six days had never taken place.
A scuffing noise to his left caught his attention and sent his heart beating wildly, worried that something unsavoury had found its way into their rest spot. What met his eyes however was the glum faced image of his childhood friend, Yuzu, one hand guiding her along the darkened wall and path behind the hedgerow, the other clasped nervously to her sternum.
Her scant summer clothing was looking more than a little worse for wear, as was his own. The loss of the basic amenities they had been used to every day had been something of a shock to their system, and there wasn't one member of their group that didn't wish for a soothing shower and a fresh change of clothes.
Yuzu normally covered up her discomfort with a smile and a careless remark, but the pain and fear she was feeling was slowly etching itself into her pretty face, and the worry that clouded her normally cheerful eyes was disconcerting for them both. Yuzu could not bring herself to meet his gaze, ashamed already that she was showing him so much of her weakness, and that she had approached him in such a way as to put him on edge. But with the end seemingly so close she could not bear to be alone any more.
She crossed her arms over her chest and balled her hands into fists, pushing her fingers tightly against her palms. Yuzu looked increasingly awkward standing beside him, at a loss for a way to say what was on her mind.
"Hey, Tek..." Yuzu said nervously, still unable to bring her eyes to meet her friend's stare. "We only have one day left, you know? At six tomorrow, we're..." Tears began to well in the corners of her eyes, and her lips trembled as she tried with all her strength to control herself.
"What can we do?" Yuzu asked, edging closer and finally sitting herself down next to Tekka. "Is there any other way out but dying?" She whimpered, pulling her legs to her chest and hiding her watering eyes from view. "I don't want to die!"
Yuzu had done all that she could over the last six days to keep herself together and support the group with all the strength she had, but with the weight of the world crushing down on her small shoulders it seemed that she would break. Tekka's expression softened with pity and he reached out to her, placing his hand on her bare back, trying to give her at least some modicum of comfort.
Yuzu tensed from the unexpected touch, almost jumping out of her skin with fright. Tekka could feel the racing of her heart, with fear and adrenaline flowing so fast through her veins that she felt fit to burst.
Yuzu raised herself up into a sitting position and sighed, the heavy fatigue in her lithe frame was evident, even in the last dimming vestiges of twilight. "I wish we could escape." She said, her eyes starting to clear just a little.
"Do you... Do you really think that we can make it through tomorrow?" She leant to the side and rested her head on his shoulder, the physical contact fast becoming an unspoken bond of comfort for them both.
"I... I want to go shopping, and see movies with you, Tek! I want to go to the beach in the summer, and go skiing in the winter!" She laughed and forced herself into a farcical smile. While everything she said was true, the triviality of it in the face of their predicament was not lost on her. Sadly, the smile did not last and she pressed her head deeper into his shoulder. "Tek... I... I just don't want to die."
"I won't let you die." Tekka moved his hand to her shoulder, and pulled her in close, causing her cheeks to flush a shade of rose pink, though he couldn't see it in the encroaching darkness. "We'll make it through, and then we'll do all of those things. I promise."
Yuzu slid her arm across his chest, wrapping it around him in a tentative, nervous embrace. Tekka reciprocated by holding her within his own arms, and she smiled softly, perhaps her first genuine smile in days.
"I believe you." She replied as the last of the summer light quickly began to disappear, the city at last being swallowed by the night.
He felt her wriggling around within his grasp until her chest was pressed firmly against his, and he could feel her slight breath on his face contrasting the cool air. And as the last of the light disappeared onto the other side of the world, the only thing he could feel was the taste of her lips on his.