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My life, my existence, my every fleeting thought and feeling has swallowed me up, carried me in its cruel-hearted stomach and led me to this stone room. Nothing breathes in here but me, though I wonder why I should breathe any more. It's a symphony of silent thoughts and melodies, driven up cold cavern walls and cracked floors to the bed where I rest every day. The bed where my brain, in its dull silence ensnared fog, is torn apart with the pressure of you. The pressure of the mere thought of you, what you did, what you led me to become.
A small insect travels up the grey wall next to me and I watch it go, I think of how it's spent the past hour traversing the stone, its only goal to live, mate, feed, continue the race, but its alone here. It will find nobody here. Everybody here is alone, just a vessel for the sick birth of forbidden techniques and chemistry, just an experiment, a mere toy. That what I am, a prize, a totem, an empty box.
I raise my hand and end the insects life.
Better dead than alone.
How many things have I killed? How many people have I slaughtered mercilessly for power, for sadistic pleasure? Just because I can? Just because I couldn't be your puppet and end the life of the one person who cared to acknowledge me. To challenge me. How many faces I've seen, confused, hurt, fearful, gaping like a fish suffocating, before I end their life. Now I don't look at their face, their eyes, when I do I see terror, the fear of death, the excruciating knowing that life will soon be over, lurking nearer like a storm at sea. I can't look for I see myself in their eyes, victims of pain, tools for power. At least they got out, they had it easy, they don't have to live with the guilt, the fear of death, the fear of losing to you. It's like living in the eye of a hurricane, never knowing when it hungry walls will pass you by and toss you around in a chaotic deafening storm, chewing you up before spitting you out, defeated.
That's what it's like. Living inside four stone walls, a hurricane living inside one empty body, that could soon be taken away from me. How many things can you take away from me? My family, my happiness, my hope. Now to pay you back I have to risk my mind, my soul, my body. How much more can you take? My life? If this is life then I'm already dead. Am I soulless already? Just a body of stone full of tuneless melodies, like the cavern I'm lying in. How many souls can I carry inside me? The souls of those I've killed for you, collecting their spirits so they leer over me at night, showing me my own haunted memories and seven year old innocence. I want to vomit, to choke, to suffocate, just to know I'm alive. I prove I'm living by taking in souls, by training so I can take yours, so I can end this.
But where will that leave me? So many people have warned me of the anguish, of the emptiness , of the consequences of revenge. They fear it will leave me broken, but they don't understand, I'm already broken, and physically severing the bond between us will not break me anymore, for you've already destroyed what feeble ties we shared all those years ago.
I still remember those years, they haunt me in my sleep, replay in my head like a sick macabre show. Myself, a stupid innocent child, fighting for attention, from you, from father. You pushed me away so many times and I kept crawling back to you, I wanted to be like you, to be you, to receive the acknowledgment you received from father. All I ever got were cold eyes and rejection, it led me to wonder if mother was right. Did he ever talk about me when I wasn't there? I guess I'll never know.
You took that chance away from me a long time ago.
What went through your head in those days? In the calm before the storm? When I'd come running with a grin on my face, hopeful that this will be the day where you'd train me, help me, just be there for me. What did you think when you saw me running towards you? Was your cold sick heart feeling sorry for itself, knowing that so soon you would be tearing this family apart limb from limb and leaving me to wallow in the aftermath? Did you ever feel sad? Don't make me laugh, I still have the cold ringing in my ears, the cruel words, 'run, run and cling to life.'
Well here I am, still clinging, still running towards you like a lapdog, are you satisfied?
Was I always just your puppet? You held onto me all these years with thin, sharp strings, four of them: anguish, fear, need, control. I severed a string two and a half years ago, when I left the face of my closest friend barley alive and soaked in summer rain. I'm sick of being your puppet, but I fear the control sting was replaced as soon as it was severed because I still find myself risking everything to gain the power to kill you. I'm still chasing you, killing for you and seeing you in my nightmares, the events on that night, the events that tied those four strings to me.
I saw it coming.
I never knew.
Years ago, when I'd lie in a room, stone like this but not nearly as empty. It was full of toys, presents, memories, love and myself, when I was whole. Still, I'd have nightmares, I was a child, a child afraid of the dark, of being forgotten, and I saw my inevitable fate one night, it blistered my eyelids as I slept.
One frightened child by the name of Sasuke Uchiha, wandering a street in Konoha. He wonders where the people are, the people who share his name, his clan, his life. He wonders why it's so quiet, why such a lively village is filled with an unearthly and fear-inducing silence. It feels like death itself. He peers through windows and sees empty rooms, not even thoughts, memories, just nothingness. Now he's frightened, he begins to run, his footsteps not making any sound, only hearing the dull aching thud of his heard, echoing in his ribcage. He makes it home and it's the same sad story, nobody is there inside his home, through the doors that should have creaked but stayed secretive and voiceless. He calls for his mother and receives only the echo of his own terror-fled voice. He calls again but his cries go unheard, just forgotten sounds, liquid breath, that drains from his mouth to the floor and into the gutter, never to be heard of again. Like the tears that raked down his now burning cheeks as he calls for the one member of his household he hasn't yet cried for.
Just a child in the dark, being tortured by the soft shadows, playing tricks on the black moonlight orbs he calls eyes. His brother never heard Sasuke's cries , even when he turned and found him, when he ran towards the door to the house, where Itachi was standing, calling to him desperately. His heart stings as he runs, he doesn't want to be alone, then he notices the doors beginning to close, and every footstep is getting him no closer to his goal. He screams his brother's name as the pale figure of him just stares right through his younger sibling, not noticing the child's wailing, or the outstretched arms. All Sasuke knows is his brother is the lifeline, he's trapped in a crashing underwater storm, the sea pounding in his ears and creating the mismatched eerie silence. He needs Itachi, but the doors are almost closed. He takes in one final image of his older sibling with dilated, stinging pupils, and wonders as his last memory, why his brother is crying.
Then I woke, sweating and shaking in my bed, clutching at my chest as if I were having a heart attack. There are still terrorised tears hot on my face and I choke, inhaling the salted liquid and retching. My throat burned but I didn't throw the fear from my stomach. I calm when I noticed the room is filled with noise, the rustling of my sheets, the hum of my TV monitor, the breeze outside my window.
Though it didn't stop my crying and rising from my bed, where I walked down the hall towards your bedroom. I had to know you were there, that I was awake. I walked in slowly, too afraid to speak in case you don't reply. I just walk to the side of your bed and sniffle pathetically, watching you stir before your eyes open to star at me dazedly. I don't think I'd ever seen such a peaceful look on your face, and my naive childish heart was so happy to see you that I began crying aloud, with my arms outstretched. I hear you pause, unsure of what to do. Typical, I laugh today, Anbu at the age of seven but clueless when faced with a younger, crying me.
I heard to move over and I crawled into your bed, still warm from your slumber. I wrap my arms around your neck without thinking and sob into your shoulder, you felt so still, I hadn't seen you in a couple of days. You'd been away on missions. Or so I thought at the time. Really you'd been preparing for the event that would come two days later.
Nightmare still fresh in my mind I never cared, I clung onto you like my life depended on it, and whimpered when I felt your arms encase my back, glad I knew you were there with me. I hear you ask me why I didn't go to mother and father and I just sniff into your neck, not wanting to answer. You pause before sighing and leaning back against the headboard with me in your arms. You know I wouldn't go to father, you knew I was afraid he'd tell me to stop being such a child and get back to my own bed. For a minute I wonder if you'd even crawled into our parents bed after a nightmare. Did my prodigious older brother still succumb to fearful imaginary worlds? Maybe one time in your life.
You stop me thinking by asking if I'm okay. I told you I was but begin to cry again when I see the vision of you disappearing in my mind. I begin to tell you about my nightmare, how I was here in our part of the village in the eerie silence. How I'd come home and our parents were gone, how I called to you but you never answered. Then I tell you I'd seen you and I'd ran to you, but I never got any closer before the doors had closed on you. By the end of the story I'm sobbing too much to make proper sentences any more, but I've noticed your grasp on me has fallen limp. I lean back, looking at you questioningly through sharp gulps or frenzied breath, I notice your expression has gone stony, empty, it reminded me of how you were in my dream and I whine your name. It registers and life comes back to your eyes, you tuck my wet bangs behind my ears and wipe my face, all the while looking into my eyes as if your life depended on it. Then you pull me back to your chest and I feel your heart beating under mine. My cries have been hushed but I'm still scared so I open my mouth to ask you to make a promise. I asked you to promise you wouldn't ever leave me, that I wouldn't ever be alone.
Now I understand why you never answered.
You just listened to my desperate request and then hugged me tight to you. It was a hug so fierce that I thought it was an agreement, you didn't often hug me, especially not like that. A clouded, frightened, childish mind believed you'd agreed to keep your promise that night.
You were really avoiding answering.
Now I look back and ask myself, did I ever really wake up? Am I still wandering round in the same nightmare? Have I always been asleep? Is any of this real?
I've revisited that memory what feels like a thousand times, each time I try harder to force it out of my head, never wanting to remember what a treacherous, lying bastard you are. Never wanting to wonder why my whole life had to be a lie, if I'm even still living at all. I kill to push the memory away, I kill to become stronger so I can force you out of my mind. Each day I return to my stone cell, with silence just like my nightmare, and I'm swallowed up by it again. I haven't cried since that day, the day I saw all this coming but I didn't even realise. At the time I wondered why you were tense, why you had that serious empty look in your eye when I told you of my dream, well now I know why.
They would soon become reality, and you knew, my nightmares were soon to be horrifying truths that would chain me to a burning hatred for the rest of my life. Really, what could I have done? I wasn't strong enough. To this day that face still kills me. I was just a young boy who sought acknowledgement from his father and who'd wonder why his brother treated him like a pest but still held him close when he spoke of his nightmares. I thought you felt sorry for me. Now I know that was a lie, your love for me was a lie, your comfort screamed betrayal, my nightmare spoke the truth.
Though there was one thing I never understood, and still to this day I try my hardest not to wonder.
In my nightmare.
…were you crying?