His hands clenched into fists as his eyes darted back and forth frantically. Beads of sweat prickled on his brow, but he didn't wipe them away. If he let his guard down, even for one moment, he would die. His chest was heaving, his throat burning, his lungs desperate for air. He knew he wouldn't last much longer...
My name is Wolfram von Bielefeld, and I'm eighty-six... no, eighty-seven years old. This is almost all I know at this point in time. I don't even know where I am, though the smell of polish and smouldering wood is vaguely familiar to me. Presently, I'm lying on my back in a large, lumpy bed. The mattress is stuffed with feathers, so I sink right down in it and my back touches the bed frame. It's not very comfortable.
My left shoulder hurts. I can feel it burning like a red-hot iron and throbbing painfully. I know what that means. They've taken more of me. My left arm is gone, and I know this because I haven't felt such a terrible pain since they took my right arm, a week ago. Or was it two weeks ago? I don't know. I've lost track of time. I've been lying in this bed for so long that every day melts into the next and time no longer means anything. The curtains are always closed, and the lamps are always kept at a dim glow, so I can't differentiate between night and day. Not that it matters any more.
I heard a click, and I hear footsteps as someone entered the room. I strain my neck up to see a man and a woman standing at the foot of my bed. They call themselves Conrad and Julia, and they are just two of the people who scurried in and out of my room, feed me, bathe me- and cut off parts of my body while I sleep.
"How are you feeling, Heika?" Conrad asked. He paused. "Yuuri?"
The fool. My name is Wolfram, not Heika. Who's Heika? Who's Yuuri? The name sounds familiar somehow, but I can't for the life of me remember where I've heard it before.
I'd wondered why they kept calling me that, and in the misty haze that was my memory I recalled flames, burning, searing, licking at my skin. My face and body I know must be burned, so much so that I'm unrecognizable. That's why they think I'm Yuuri. Whoever that is.
That's my problem. I can't remember. I can't remember anything past my name and age. Even the part about the fire might just be a figment of my imagination. I keep trying and trying to force myself to remember what happened, what brought me here, but the thoughts all slip away, like water through the cracks in my mind I want to remember, I really do. Maybe then I'd know why they took my arms. Every time I wake up, the memories are almost there; but when I reach out to them, they fade away.
Julia totters over to me and lays a cool hand on my forehead, concern wrinkling her forehead. "At least your temperature's normal..." she murmurs, still frowning. She produces a small bottle from her pocket. "I'm going to give you your medication now, okay, Yuuri-Heika?"
She pours some vile-looking brown liquid from the bottle and onto the spoon that she holds, and then puts the spoon to my lips. I clamp my teeth together defiantly. To my surprise, Julia's eyes fill with tears.
I gulp down the medicine quickly, the bitter taste lashing at my tongue and throat. I wrinkle my nose in disdain. The stuff tastes like vomit in my mouth and threatens to make me retch. But Julia's face has taken on a small smile. It's a small consolation, despite the fact that I know she's one of the people who took my arms away. I want so much for them to like me. I can't bear lying here day in, day out, alone. Alone and lonely.
The medicine makes me tired. I can feel my eyelids growing heavy and my mind feels like it's separate from my body. I'm going to sleep, but I know, I know I mustn't, because if I do the nightmares will come back. But I'm already so tired, and I think maybe I can close my eyes for just a moment, and now I'm going to sleep, I'm going to sleep, despite myself, I'm going to sleep...
He knew he wouldn't last much longer. But he wouldn't, he COULDN'T give in to his exhaustion. Not yet. He stumbled to the left suddenly to dodge an oncoming attack. And then he heard somebody screaming...
I slowly open my eyes to the familiar dim light. Nobody is in the room now, but I know they must have been earlier, because my right hip is on fire. I stretch my neck up- for I have no arms to prop myself up with- and see that my right leg is gone. Tears spring to my eyes. I bite down hard on my lower lip until it begins to bleed, but pitiful whimpers still escape my lips. The tears are running down my cheeks now, and sliding down my neck onto my chest. I want to wipe them away, but I can't, because my hands are no longer attached to me.
I am overcome by the sheer feeling of helplessness, and I begin to howl. I'd tried so hard not to cry for my arms, but they shouldn't have taken my leg as well. It's all just too much.
The door bangs open and Conrad bursts in, along with another man with long white hair- Gunter. A little girl clings to his side, her eyes wide and afraid.
"Papa," she squeaks. "Papa, what's wrong?"
"Nothing, Greta. You go to your room now," Conrad says, his eyes never leaving me.
"C-Conrad..." I sniffled, trying desperately to halt the flow of tears. "Please, please, I'm begging you, don't cut off any more. You've already taken my arms, so not my legs too. Please."
Conrad frowned. "Forgive me, but, what are you talking about, Heika?" he asked quietly. "There's nothing wrong with your arms or legs. We haven't cut off anything."
"Liar!" I shrieked at him. "My name's Wolfram, not Heika, not Yuuri. I am Wolfram von Bielefeld! You all whisper about me and take parts of me when I'm asleep. You're trying to drive me crazy but I won't let you. I won't let you! I want to leave this place now!"
"Let me out!" I screamed. "Let me out now! Help me, somebody, help me!"
Gunter dashes over to my side and in a sudden act of desperation he flings the covers off my bed. "There! Look, your arms, your legs, they're still there!" he practically shouted, his cheeks shimmering with tears.
I look. My arms and my right leg aren't there. I knew they wouldn't be.
I start screaming again. A young woman in an apron dashes in and forces my head back and practically tips a bottle of the same medicine I was given earlier down my throat. I cough and splutter, but most of it goes down. Instantly my mind gets fuzzy and my body turns limp and useless. I lie there whimpering, pitying myself.
Conrad turns to Gunter and says seriously, "Gunter, please leave us. Greta seemed to be quite upset, perhaps you could check on her."
Gunter opens his mouth to protest, but the words die on his lips as Conrad's expression hardens. He gives a brief nod before gliding away.
Conrad sits down on the bed beside me and leaned over me, wiping the tears from my face with his sleeve. "There," he says quietly. "It's okay. Just calm down."
"I want to go home," I whisper. Home. Where was home? I don't know. I think... I think I must have a mother. I'm not that old, so she must still be alive.
"I'm sorry, Yuuri, not yet. You're not well enough to go to back to Japan yet. When you get better, then you can go home," Conrad tells me, stroking my forehead comfortingly.
It isn't fair. Why can't I go home? They keep saying over and over that I'm ill, but I'm not. If I stay here, they'll kill me, I know they will.
"How can I get better when- when you're taking my limbs?" I hiccup.
Conrad frowns. He picks up the blankets from the floor and tucks them around me. He touches my left leg. "Can you feel that, Yuuri?"
"My left leg is still there. Just not my right," I sniffed, controlling myself. I don't want them to see me cry again. I can't show them any sign of weakness. "And my name is Wolfram." I pause. "Can I have a drink, please?"
Conrad's eye flit to where my arms used to be for a moment, before picking up the glass of water that sat on the bedside table and held it to my lips. I gulp it down in such a hurry that I choke and most of it ends up spilling over my chest. Conrad takes the glass away before my thirst is fully quenched. I yawn. The medicine was fast taking effect.
"That's it," Conrad says comfortingly. "You go to sleep. Rest, Heika; it's what's best for you."
As I slip into unconsciousness, my mind still buzzes with questions that bear no answers in the confines of my head.
And then he heard somebody screaming. The voice came from behind him, and it was a voice he knew well. He turned just a moment too late to see the glint of a blade soaring towards him. His raised his arms to protect himself, but he knew it would do no good. He was going to die...
When I wake up my left leg is gone. I knew it would be, but it still hurt. But I'd promised myself that I wouldn't cry, so I blink back the tears that are pricking my eyes.
A woman comes into the room, carrying a tray in my hands.
"I... I have your dinner here, Yuuri-Heika," she says uncertainly. She puts the tray down on the table beside my bed and quickly walks away, closing the door behind her. The glorious scent of the casserole in the dish teases my nostrils. I'm so hungry. How do they expect me to eat without hands to eat with? This is just another of their tricks, I'm certain. They're starving me, and using the smell of food to drive me over the brink of insanity.
I rock left and right for a while before finally succeeding in turning myself onto my side so that my back faces to food. I lay there, panting. Without arms or legs, such a simple act was near impossible.
I wondered when my mother would come to take me home, away from this place. When I was 'better', perhaps? She would come and take me home, to my brothers, and then everything would be-
Finally I remember something. I had brothers. Two or three of them, I think. I can't recall their faces, or even their names, but I know they exist. But with that knowledge came more questions. Where were my brothers now? Were they older or younger than me? Did I have any other family? Did I look like them? Where... What... Why...
Who was Yuuri? They keep calling me that, and I have a horrible, nagging feeling that I know it from somewhere. Like a blister that I was longing to scratch, but couldn't quite reach. Yuuri... Yuuri...
"I want Yuuri," I whisper aloud. I don't know who he is, but I still want him. I want him to be here with me, to tell me that everything was going to be all right. I had a feeling that he would.
I need him here. I need Yuuri. Yuuri, I love you... Yuuri, I love... Yuuri...
And I did love him, I realize. It's ridiculous. I can't even remember his face, and yet I'm in love with him. It was like being in love with empty space. I wish I could remember something about him. His character... his face... his hair... anything.
I do remember. Just a little, I remember a pair of big dark eyes staring into mine, so gentle and kind, understanding me but at the same time not understanding at all...
Yuuri, you idiot. Yuuri, you moron, you... you cheater, you cheater; I hate you, I love you; you cheater, you wimp.
I remember, I remember, I remember...
He didn't love me. I know that now. He never loved me, and never could love me. Because I was a man, and so was he. Such a trivial matter, I always thought. What did it matter that we were of the same gender? The moron.
I... I feel sad. Why do I feel sad? I want Yuuri, but somehow I know he's not coming. He had to go away, and he won't ever come back. I couldn't stop him. He left me. Forever. I hate him for it, even though I know it's not his fault.
Why couldn't, you, just once, before you left, have told me that you loved me? You didn't have to mean it. I just wish I could have heard it. Just once. Just so I could pretend that you really did...
No. No, that wouldn't be right. That would just hurt more. What's the point in saying 'I love you' if you don't mean it?
Stupid Yuuri. Stupid Yuuri with his ridiculous grin and his vacant eyes and his imbecilic views on how everyone should live their lives and his flighty ways that never failed to enrage me, upset me, hurt me... And his irritating, innocent voice that could always convince me to forgive him right away, despite never showing it. And the way, whenever we were in trouble, he would look at me and that would be enough to let me know that everything was going to be all right. The way he would rarely lose his temper with me, despite my, and I admit it, irrational behaviour. And once or twice, the accidental brush of his hand against mine that sent shivers right through my body.
In truth, I feel quite glad that he can't see me as I am now. I'm next to useless without my arms or legs. I've never been exceedingly gifted mentally, so basically I'm just a liability. Would he still talk to me so kindly now that I looked like this? What am I thinking. Of course he would. He was Yuuri. Always so patient and understanding. Except when it came to love.
I remember, sometimes, on a night, I would like awake in the bed Yuuri and I shared and pretend that he loved me as I love him. And sometimes, if he was sleeping deeply enough, I would gather the courage to snuggle up beside him and breathe in his outdoor scent. I loved feeling the warmth of his body against mine. It made me feel... safe.
Oh God, I love him so much.
I had thought, once or twice, that he might fall for me. Such a stupid idea. Such a stupid, ridiculous, idiotic, inconceivable, impossible...
But sometimes it was as if he really did. One day- it seems so long ago now- I had hurt my wrist during training (training for what? I don't know) and that night in our bedroom I was struggling to bandage it properly, with only one hand available for me to use. What I wouldn't give to have at least one hand now...
Yuuri watched me fumbling with myself for a while before shifting over to sit on the bed beside me.
"Here," he said. "Let me try."
And though I knew I should have protested and insisted that I didn't need any help, I allowed him to take my hand in his and gently wrap the bandages around my wrist. He didn't do much better at it than me. At first he wrapped them too loosely and they kept slipping then he changed and wrapped them so tightly that he cut off all the blood to my fingers. Eventually, though, he managed to complete the job half-decently. He tied the stray ends of the bandage in a neat knot and raised my hand to his lips.
For one strange, magical moment I thought he was going to kiss me. But instead he simply used his teeth to cut away the frayed edges of the bandage and tucked the now-neatened knot underneath the cloth. I felt my cheeks heat as I felt Yuuri's lips against my hand through the bandage, and I knew I was blushing.
Yuuri then pushed my hand into my chest. "There. Done," he said, almost proudly. He grinned at me and my voice caught in my throat and left me speechless for a second. I then glared at him and raised my left, uninjured hand, to rub my right.
"Hmph. A five year old could have done better, you wimp," I huffed, turning my back on him slightly. Yuuri didn't reply, so I risked a glance back at him, hoping he wouldn't notice. I saw that he still had that inane grin on his face.
"Why are you smiling, you idiot?" I snapped. "I just insulted you!"
If anything Yuuri's grin only broadened so that it almost reach his ears. He started to chuckle.
I couldn't stand him laughing at me. My face felt as if it was on fire. I turned and shoved him so hard that he toppled backwards off the bed and landed in a heap on the floor, still giggling stupidly.
"Ow! Wolf!" He cried out, trying in vain to wipe the smirk off his face. "What was that for?"
I threw myself down angrily on the bed and pulled the blankets up over my head, a muffled rush of 'wimp's and 'moron's and various other insults spilling from my mouth.
I smile at the memory. I would happily stay there with Yuuri forever, but I hear the door opening and look up to find Gunter hurrying into the room.
"Your Majesty, how are you feeling?" He asks worriedly. His eyes fall on the uneaten casserole beside me. "You haven't eaten..."
"How can I eat like this?" I snap, tired of their games.
Gunter sighed sadly. He takes the now-cold casserole dish off the table and holds the spoon out to me. I stare at the food suspiciously for a while, wondering if it was poisoned. But I'm so hungry I'm willing to take to risk. I stretch my head forward and take the spoon into my mouth, quickly chewing and swallowing the food as if it will be snatched away from me at any moment.
Gunter patiently feeds me the whole meal. By the time I am finished he's crying, slow, silent tears streaming down his face. I don't know why.
"I want Yuuri," I tell him quietly. "Where's Yuuri?"
Gunter just looks at me helplessly.
"Something bad happened, didn't it?" I whisper. "Please. Tell me. What happened?"
"You... You don't know?" Gunter splutters, his eyes wide. He stutters and falters for a few seconds, before apologizing to 'Heika' and dashing out of the room.
I have no time to feel frustrated. My vision is already blurring. There must have been sleeping medicine in the casserole, because I was going to sleep again. This time, I didn't fight it. They have already taken both my arms and legs. What more could they do to me? I close my eyes and let sleep wash me away.
He was going to die. But then the screaming was close, so close, right in his ears. Hands crashed into his back and he was thrown aside, out of the way of the blade. He fell on his knees and turned just in time to see the glint of death strike down, and crimson spurt of blood...
When I awake, Conrad is sat on my bed, smiling gently down at me. "How are you feeling, Yuuri? Any better?"
I thought about my arms and legs.
Conrad goes on. "Gunter tells me that you're suffering from amnesia, and well, I think the same. I think it would be best for you if you heard exactly what happened," he tells me. "I'm going to tell you the truth, Yuuri, so please listen."
And slowly, carefully, he begins to speak. At first the words have no effect. They bounce off me like hailstones off a tin roof, and I can only shake my head in confusion. But then they begin to sink in, burrowing deep into my skin and burning me like red-hot pokers. And still Conrad speaks. I can't bear it. It's like he's stabbing me in the chest over and over again. I begin to tremble. It can't be true...
"No," I whisper. "You're wrong. I was the one who pushed Yuuri, and I'm here. It's not true."
"You have to believe me, Heika," Conrad says. "Your name is Yuuri Shibuya. You-"
"No!" I yell. "I'm Wolfram. Wolfram von Bielefeld. Why won't any of you listen to me?"
Conrad picks up the handheld mirror from the cabinet and holds it before me. "Look," he whispers. "You're not Wolfram. You're Yuuri. Look at yourself. Please."
And I look. But I don't see. The person staring back at me in the mirror isn't me. The person is a young man with dark hair and dark eyes. Sad eyes. Lonely eyes. The person isn't me- it's Yuuri.
"No..." I choke out. I begin to shake my head. "No, no, no..." I cover my ears with my hands. I draw my knees up to my chest. I fly at Conrad, lashing out at him, beating at him with my fists. "Liar! Liar!" I shriek.
All at once I hear footsteps pelting the floor and people rush into the room. My arms and legs are seized and I'm held down. I struggle and thrash in vain, kicking them with my feet, hitting them with my hands. And all the time I'm screaming, screaming...
Wolfram... Wolfram... Wolfram...
My nose is pinched and I'm forced to open my mouth for air. Immediately medicine is tipped down my throat and my mouth pushed shut. Hands brush at my neck and force me to swallow.
And then the world goes black, and all that is left is me and Wolfram, and we're the only two people in the whole world. I held him close, his blood soaking my clothes. He looks up at me with those emerald eyes of his, the light in them slowly fading. Tears fall form my face and onto his. And as he lay dying, he whispers my name.
"Yuuri, I love you... Yuuri, I love... Yuuri..."
When I wake up I find that my whole body has been taken, and all that is left of me is my head, sat in the middle of this suffocating pillow. I don't know how they're keeping me alive. I only know two things.
My name is Wolfram von Bielefeld, and I'm eighty-seven years old.
This story is based on a horror story I was told many years ago when I was still in primary school, about a murderer who was taken to a hospital to be cut up for experiments. Okay, so it's not really like that at all, but that's where I got the idea from.
I've wanted to write a YuuRam for a while now, but I hadn't planned on it being this dark! Most YuuRam stories are cute, so I thought I'd write something creepy and psychological, just for a change.
I really struggled with keeping in the present tense throughout this story. I'm so used to writing past tense that sometimes I switch to it without noticing!
I thought I cleared everything up pretty well at the end, but if anyone is still a little confused, please feel free to tell me and I'll explain it! I don't think I've fully blown all the fogginess away, but I wanted to keep it vague as well as giving you an idea as to what really happened.
This is my first ever Kyo Kara Maou story, so I would really appreciate it if you could review and tell me what you think of it!