Finally, I finished my first multi-chapter, and by the way, evanescence is a fleeting memory or temporary and soon to be forgotten. I'll explain more at the end.
Chapter 6: Evanescent
Rinne easily avoided this, he knew enough about evil spirits to gage one's reaction. His response to it was slower than it should have been though, likely due to carrying both his scythe and the girl in his arms.
He sliced through the extended flesh, fully intent on purifying the spirit. This thing, however, felt much more solid than most.
There should have been a purplish light radiating from the cut, which would travel down the entire spirit, in which it would be purified, but Rinne was a little surprised to see that the severed flesh merely dropped off from the rest. One cut at any part should have purified the spirit.
The red-eyed youth's surprise must have shown on his face, because a rumbling cackle exuded from the grotesque bundle of flesh. Sakura knit her brows. With Rinne holding her, there was nothing she might be able to do.
"What is the matter?" The entire black mass sloshed forward, stretching out another of its limbs, which Rinne sliced out of the way. Another limb sprung up in front of him he stopped violently, which shook Sakura from his grasp. She squealed, and as he dived down to catch her arm the above limb viciously sideswiped the pair sending them flying in opposite directions and smashing up against the wall.
Sakura had screamed as she went flying, and while the scream was unable to echo, due to the density of the darkness, it was the only thing Rinne heard as he slid to the ground. His neck hurt, his head had been the first thing to hit the cave wall, but as he turned his scarlet eyes to the bisecting wall, he saw the girl lying on her side, pigtails in the dirt. The darkness seemed to pulse, and he felt something close in.
His throat suddenly felt tight. Why did I allow her to come? I… I should have never…
His throat felt tight now for a different reason. He felt himself lifted off the ground, as something began to squeeze around his chest. It was playing with him.
Rinne heard a strange popping sound.
Rinne tensed up without thinking and began to struggle as the squeeze became more painful, opening his eyes and turning to the sound of Sakura's voice. She stood across from him, her face calmer than it should have been; only her hazel depths betrayed her anxiety. Aside from a cut to her cheek she looked completely unharmed. She held in her hands Rinne's scythe, which must have landed close to her.
She lifted it over her one shoulder and used all her strength to heave it through the dense air. Rinne lifted his unconstricted left arm and managed to catch hold of it. He instantly cut the string of flesh constricting his body. As he dropped the half meter to the ground he realized that he still was being strangled even though the flesh had been severed.
"Cut it twice! You have to cut it once it's been severed for it to be purified!" Sakura hollered. She had seen that the strand he cut just before they were flung had been the severed piece still stirring, and once cut, emitted that familiar purple gleam; though Rinne had been unable to see above him as Sakura fell.
A fractional look of puzzlement crossed his face but in that same fraction of a second he did as she said and dug the tip of weapon into the flesh, watching as it flared up in a brilliant purple gleam.
The dark mass turned attention to the girl, dozen eyes glinting. It swung out one of its limbs towards Sakura. She dove to the ground, narrowly avoiding it, but now allowing Rinne an opening to cut past her into the flesh of the evil spirit, carving it away from the rest of the flesh. For the first time in all of 15 seconds the spirit reverted to the echoing sound of rumbling.
The severed tendril quickly snaked around Sakura's body as she crouched on the ground. Rinne sliced the top off it, the glow surrounding Sakura. He grabbed Sakura's elbow and yanked her to her feet, a little too roughly.
"Are you alright?" he asked watching her from the corner of his eye as he also watched the mass shrink away.
Sakura nodded, but rubbed her shoulder.
He saw this small action and drew his full red gaze down to her. The crimson blood from her cheek had dripped down her chin. He used his sleeve to wipe her blood; blood did not show well against black. She leaned away from his hand but told him thankyou anyway.
"I'm sorry, Sakura Mamiya," he whispered softly as he leaned down closer to her. He looked into her lovely hazel depths. He placed that hand on her arm, "for that too." She stared back at him, and with her eyes told him everything was alright. His scarlet gaze lingered on her face and for a few seconds.
Finally, she smiled softly and shook her head slightly, before directing his attention to the mass of evil once again. He felt embarrassed suddenly; he should have been focusing on the task at hand. He widened his stance into a more sturdy one and focused on what he thought must have been the mass's face. *1)
"So," Rinne began. "Will you release the spirits you have swallowed up and pass on peacefully? Or do I have to cut them from you and drag you to the wheel myself?" *2)
The rumble that shook the cavern served as his answer. He let go of Sakura, and she nodded, knowing this was easier if both hands were available. If he kept it occupied it would not be able to harm Sakura, and when he was finished here, it would never be able to harm any being ever again.
The red-haired boy charged off, towards the mass, dodging and slicing every wall and limb of grotesque flesh the evil spirit put up as a defense, always making sure to slice the severed chunks as well as the parts still connected. He easily cut the tendril that snaked around his leg. The creature turned away from Rinne and sprung across the cavern crashing with a great noise into the opposite wall. The young girl could tell the evil spirit was beginning to feel cornered; it was avoiding Rokudo rather than confronting him.
It sprung out towards Sakura, but the scarlet-eyed youth had expected this and used this opportunity to slip past the creature's vast limbs and slice a chunk from its main body. The thing halted after that, its limbs swirling around itself, squirming in pain. The detached flesh lay wriggling a few meters away which Rinne quickly despatched with a second slice of his scythe, purple light flowing over his features once again.
The creature again attempted to evade Rinne and his Shinigami scythe, but its pace was slowing with every chunk Rinne cut from it. As it rebounded off the wall Rinne managed to dart in front of it, and as it flew past him - unable to stop itself - Rinne merely held the blade still as the creature ran itself through the scythe, making it into two parts. The two pieces landed on either side of Rinne. He quickly spun in a circle and sliced over the larger of the pieces.
The light seemed somehow brighter to Sakura, and as she squinted into the glow she realized there were balls of light forming from the glow and moving away from where Rinne stood, bathed in the luminescence. The dim blue glow that had filled the cavern was now filled with bright purple orbs of light. She watched the orbs change shape, into awkward stars and further into human forms. 'They're spirits.' She realized. The glow dissipated, and floating all around the red-eyed youth were dozens of spirits, all dressed in different styles of clothing from different decades. She realized the extent of the creature's evil all suddenly. It made a real impression on her.
The redhead spun his scythe, putting the blade at his feet. The smaller piece of the halved monstrous spirit had moved several meters from him, and it had also begun to change form. Instead of being bathed in purple light as the other orbs had been it was consumed by a truly black light, if that can be imagined. Sakura heard a cracking sound, but it had stopped after just a moment. The blue glow returned.
The heavy air, the thick darkness, seemed to vacate the room all at once. Sakura hadn't realised how tight her chest felt until then, but it felt as if she had finally come to the surface after a very long deep dive. She put a hand against the wall and took in a deep breath. She felt so light.
The evil spirit had backed up to the wall and soon its human features became visible. It- he- was a young man as Yuiko had told, with shoulder length black hair and black eyes. His eyes were strange, Sakura could see from where she stood in the low light that his eyes had nothing in them, the rest of his face showed fear, but his eyes, his soulless eyes… and although he was a spirit, his eyes showed that emptiness. He was not translucent in the least. His face shown the blood from his fatal temporal wound and a phantom blade clattered to his side. He was definitely dead. Long dead from the style of yukata he was dressed in.
"Will you come peacefully yet?" Rinne knew he wouldn't, but he thought it best he not show any more anger the spirit could exploit.
The rage from the spirit was gone in a second as he leapt forth with this phantom blade towards Rinne, and his astral body was cut through and purified. The spirit's form slumped forward, as if he had fallen asleep standing with astral feet on the ground. The spirit's eyes closed softly and he seemed to smile slightly.
Sakura remarked inwardly on how cool Rokudo looked standing there serenely after just battling for the good of those both deceased and living. He face had returned to the lukewarm mask it was normally. He seemed unaffected, as usual (except those rare situations when something good happens with his miniscule finances).
Rinne nodded his head and leaned his scythe on his shoulder. He looked about the room at all of the spirits floating about; all their expressions showed slight fear, but more bewilderment than anything.
Sakura was on the phone with the middle Hanasashi sibling, who was surprised to hear it was safe to come to the house, while Rokudo spoke with Yuiko.
"I'll stay here until the last one goes," the little girl smiled.
"Do you see any of your family here?" he asked quietly.
The girl shook her head. She had always known her family would pass on in peace. "Please, tell me Shinigami… What will I return to this world as?"
Rokudo looked hard at the girl. Seeing future lives was something only made strong by continuing bloodlines of Shinigami. It was hard for him to make out. He could see fluttering, as if from a bird's wings. He cringed at a pain in his side, but focused on the fluttering wings.
"Some sort of small bird perhaps a lark… Are you happy with that outcome?"
"Yes. I used to admire birds long ago." Her smile brightened finally.
Rokudo nodded before grouping up the first five who were most willing to be done with this life. He noticed the pain in his side was getting worse, but he didn't wish to show it. He looked over to Sakura, who closed her cell phone, and asked if she would be okay staying here until he was finished.
"I'll be fine," she said sitting on the porch out of the rain, "and Masahiro-kun said he would leave your payment in the weather hutch, and he said if it didn't work he would ruin your reputation. And if he doesn't leave payment you can have a ghost haunt him."
Rokudo raised his eyebrows at that.
Rinne hissed in pain. He cursed under his breath. He was angry he had let it get that far. He finally knew what the popping sound had been.
He had first noticed he had a serious problem during the first trip to the wheel. He had decided to take Sakura home right afterwards. He knew the pain would get worse quickly and would rather she not see that.
He was re-wrapping his ribcage with the Ace bandages he had been forced to buy with some of the money the Hanasashi siblings had left for him. Rokumon wanted to help, but after being stabbed by claws several times Rinne decided Rokumon would be more helpful scoring them a free meal in his little box.
There was barely a knock at the door when it opened and Sakura walked on a shirtless Rokudo. Noticing a bare-chested young boy in front of her she quickly put on the brakes then shifted into reverse. "I-I'm sorry I shouldn't have barged in," she began to apologize as she backed out of the room.
"You don't have to leave Sakura Mamiya!" He called out before shrinking back down in pain. He forgot he didn't want her to know he was hurt.
Sakura peeked her head back around the doorframe. She noticed the rolls of bandages next to Rokudo.
"You, got hurt?" She shook off her umbrella outside the door, and stood over him.
Rokudo blushed. He rubbed his eye as a way to try and conceal the color in his face as he mumbled incoherently.
"Huh?" Sakura sat down near him.
He spoke louder, "Yeah, I… I did. I cracked my rib, I'm pretty sure,"
Sakura's concern showed all over her face suddenly. "Seriously? You should see a doctor."
"Naw, Granny will be over soon, I'm sure; somehow word always reaches her."
He wrapped a bandage around his chest, hissing all the while.
He finished wrapping his chest up. "I'm all finished now I'll be good," he slowly grabbed his shirt and pulled it over his head. "It's not like I was the only one hurt…" he made a gesture towards the band aid on her cheek. "How's that cut healing?"
"Um, Rokudo-kun, it's only been one day. It'll be a while before it heals."
"I'm sorry about that Sakura Mamiya." he had allowed a young girl's face to be marred, and he felt terribly about that.
"What? It's not like it's your fault."
"Yeah, it is, I was the one who allowed you to come, knowing full well you couldn't defend yourself against an evil spirit!" He exclaimed and put his hand on her shoulder shaking her a bit with each word.
He realized his words had come out wrong, and it was then Sakura thought about his words and added her comment, "I am pretty helpless aren't I?"
"Gah… That's not what I meant! I just… meant that… um…"
"Don't lie," she said holding up one finger. She paused suddenly looking as if she were in thought.
"Rokudo… you said once that one can become a Shinigami with training correct? Well maybe I wouldn't become one, but you could still teach me how to defend myself couldn't you?"
"I'd prefer for you to not come along with me when I'm put in dangerous situations."
She shook her head. She looked at him raising her eyebrows. "I'm going to run into ghosts whether you're there or not."
Rinne looked at the floor, then back up to her smiling face. He gasped inwardly when he realized she hadn't flinched since he put a hand on her shoulder, and they were now very close to one another. He put his hand in his lap and leaned away from her, flinching slightly at the pain in his side.
"I… guess that would be a good idea."
Sakura smiled brightly. "Once you're healed then, that will be a good idea."
"That would be a good idea," a voice said behind the pair.
Rinne looked back to see his grandmother standing behind them.
Tamako smiled her usual creepy smile, "You two are so cute."
Authors notes: FINISHED FINISHED FINISHED! I will never write a multi-chapter again, unless I've pre-written at least half the chapters!
*1) I imagined that scene in Inuyasha the final act when Inuyasha find Kagome in the darkness, oddly enough only while editing after I had finished.
*2) I originally had "or do I have to drag you to Hell myself?" but I figured that it is just a corrupt human, not a demon or anything, and I don't know anything about ANY religions at all.
also Now that I know the definition of "Evanescence" it makes me feel bad about the band. I like the band, they've got a new album coming out in october.
It's not the best, I muct confess, it lost it's steam, peeps went OOC (I could write a song about this). I still have a lot to learn about writing...