Rose-colored tendrils spread across the indigo sky as dawn met another day. Early morning sounds of those walking upon the sidewalks, crying out for cabs, and hawking doughnuts and coffee to rushing passersby created an ever rising crescendo of a din. Children called out to one another, ready for another day at school or to skip class and make their way to a mall. Daylight had come and the good and proper had awoken from their slumbers.
Elsewhere in the city of towering skyscrapers, the nightwalkers and seedier underside were making their way to sleep; a long night of boozing, dancing, drugging and sexing behind them. Now, during the brightness of the day, their long-lost dreams come to them once more. The goals and aspirations they buried inside themselves, tried to kill, in a torrent of seedier jobs and desperate drugs. Their night was over, and it was time to sleep.
One such lost soul in the city was never born there. Instead, she had come to New York with its glittering lights and promises of fame to become a famous dancer. Born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, she had only known hope and friendship. In this city, she found no friends. Harsh reality had set in when she had been expelled from the dancing school. Refusing to go back home in shame, she had not told anyone of the subsequent year and a half she had spent attempting to eke out an existence in a city that didn't care how big your heart was or that you even once knew royalty. Anzu Mazaki was now known in this city as Geisha Girl, the only remaining mark of her heritage, and while she still danced, she danced on tables and stages for whatever money men would throw to her.
It had been a long night for her. She was now a VIP girl at the Dancing Dolls, the club she worked at, and being a VIP girl was not an honor. She was getting more money but now she was doing more than stripping the thin pieces of fabric off her body for show. Anderson, the owner, ordered her to do this. She knew if she said 'no', she could be hurt. She did what she had to do, and her whole being was suffering.
Anzu tossed and turned on her bed, hot tears spilling down her cheeks as the events of the night kept replaying over and over in her mind's eye. She quickly sat up and looked around the room. Dirty and unkempt, a reflection of her soul she thought to herself. Her dark blue eyes scanned until she noticed on her nightstand several pill bottles. She had been 'popping pills' as they called it for almost a year now. Anzu knew that there was probably a good thirty in the bottle and next to it was about a fifth of vodka.
It almost felt like someone else's hands were leading hers. She felt fingers dropping pills on her tongue, followed by a swig of the cheap vodka to swallow them down; one at a time. When the bottle was empty, she stared with emotionless eyes.
"So, this must be what it is like," she murmured to herself, "when one wishes to … not exist."
Warmth spread outward from her stomach, spurred by the alcohol, to encompass her body. She knew the first bits of the pills were being digested as she felt the lightheaded sensation begin to take over. Anzu flung herself back against her bed, spreading her arms outward until they touched the twin nightstands on either side. The fingers of her right hand stroked something cold and metal, a knife she kept nearby. Scrabbling her fingers over it, she brought it over her face and stared at her reflection in the blade. Hallowed eyes ringed by heavy dark circles and smeared mascara stared back at her, strands of midnight black hair over extremely pale skin. She laughed at herself, remembering how she used to dye it light brown in high-school when she had friends.
The shrill ringing of her telephone interrupted her thoughts of the past. She counted the rings. One, two, three, four, five. There, the machine picked up. She could hear herself asking the caller to leave a message in English, and then repeating herself in Japanese. It was a strange coincidence that the caller was Yugi Mutou.
"Anzu! It's Yugi. Anzu, I miss you! I have great news. Rebecca and I are going to be married when she graduates from school. I asked her just an hour ago over dinner. I know that's two years from now, but you can't fight true love. Please call us! I bet it's so exciting in New York at the dancing school. Bye!"
He had no idea. No one back in Japan knew what had really happened. She never told her friends, never told her parents. "It is better this way," she thought to herself bitterly.
Anzu turned her head back toward the blade over her head and shrieked. For a brief moment, a golden Eye of Anubis glared at her from against the surface. Looking again it was gone, but she really thought it had been there.
"Drugs, it's the drugs and alcohol. Not much longer now, I suppose I'll see more crazy shit before they release me."
Twisting over her blankets, she pulled them around her in a cocoon and began to sing an old lullaby from her childhood. The words were getting caught in her throat at times from speaking to Americans daily. She felt sleepy and like she was beginning to float. Then, she could feel her body begin to twitch.
"Soon, soon, soon," she began to repeat to herself over and over. When she heard a strong, male, and familiar voice respond back, it jarred her back into reality.
"No! It is not soon!" The voice shouted at her.
Now, she could feel the chill of her skin, the palpations of her heart, every part of her almost complete self-inflicted death creeping across her. The worst part was the male voice. She knew that voice and tried to respond, but her tongue was thick and swollen in her mouth. It didn't matter, she needn't say a thing as she felt his hands grip her from the side and force her on her back.
He was glowing gold, just like the last time she saw him before he went to the underworld. She tried to follow him but Jonouchi had held her back. It was her present that was able to release him from this world. In a way, it was her fault he left. However, there was no sadness-tinged joy in his eyes as she stared up into them; the purple irises were almost black with rage. Upon his forehead, the Eye glowed in prismatic shades.
"You will not do this!" The vision of Atemu continued to shout at her.
She could feel his fingers digging into her arms as he shook her with each word. Was this real? Was this the result of the drugs she had taken? Her mind couldn't keep up with what was happening, but something was happening. It seemed the world had shrunk around her, and all that she could see was the glowing eye on his forehead. Her body began to spasm and she lurched over the side of the bed.
Anzu began to heave up all the pills she had swallowed, many were half-digested, and the smell of the pills blended with the vomited vodka created a unique stench all their own to force her to continue to purge her system. Greenish bile soon covered the small pile on her carpet by her bed, each retch punctuated by a small scream of pain from her and twist of her shoulders. After what seemed like an eternity, she stopped.
Her room was as it was, albeit it now stank. Wrinkling her nose, she stumbled up to find a dirty towel to wipe up her mess. As she cleaned, she felt her body spasm again at the smell but swallowed hard to keep from throwing up again.
"What the hell was that?" she asked herself out-loud. "That was the craziest, most realist trip I've ever experienced."
She looked around the dingy room, seeing nothing of what might have marked his presence.
"I could feel his hands..."
Slightly crazed laughter bubbled up from her as she grabbed an old dress to finish what the towel did not pick up.
"There is no way that really happened. He's been gone four years, now. Well... three thousand... give or take..."
Anzu made her way to her bathroom and dropped the dress and towel into the bathtub. She turned the shower to full blast on hot. The steam began to clear her head, and she sighed. The mirror had already fogged up, but she could see her hazy outline in it.
Speaking to herself, "That was pretty pathetic, wasn't it, Anzu? Can't even kill yourself properly, huh? Utter waste and failure that you are."
Reach forward, she cleared away all the mist on the mirror to see herself in sharp contrast. Her entire upper body was reflected back to her. She had lost all her childhood weight and was a gaunt and skinny woman. Her skin was so pale from the lack of sunlight to be borderline pasty. Only her oriental heritage kept her from being purely white. She was wearing a simple black tank top that did very little to cover her. However, what kept her staring at herself weren't these things.
Anzu could see distinctly on each upper arm one long bruise on the inside and four long bruises on the outside. They looked like someone strong had dug their fingers into her.