A/N: welcome to the mind of a Parasite. First of all, this is not some sci-fi story. The setting should be relatively clear as you read on. Things might get confusing and I hope it does. Treat this as some sort of intro, I suppose. Pay attention to some of the details that might give away things.
Now, I haven't written a serious story for quite awhile (what, 3 years?). So special special thanks to ghikiJ for beta-ing this.
A string of curses leaves her lips when glaring sunlight lands upon her eyelids. Swearing profusely still, she rolls over and pulls up her blanket.
Too late. The sun has already doused her with its cheerful rays. Bright, too bright. She knows the resulting anger won't fade so easily. She takes a deep breath, forcing herself to get up. Something as trivial and insignificant as the sun can easily make her angry. And once angered, she does not want to stay at one spot because the illogical rage would just keep building up.
But it isn't as if she can go anywhere either. University? Hmnn. She glances at the window, cursing again when the sun still shines upon her in that irritable manner. Fuck no. Too bright outside. She pulls the blinds shut, submerging the tiny two-bedroom apartment into darkness.
Well, not absolute darkness. No matter what she does, there will always be a little bit of light ruining the completion. Whatever.
Huh, so where was she? Right. University. What's the point? Lectures started awhile ago, so she had already missed…what, two weeks' worth of stuff? Just what 'stuff' was that anyways? She doesn't remember what courses she registered in. As long as she gets the credits, she doesn't really give a damn. Meaning, there is no need to put effort. Just slug through the exams, receive passing grades and then move on to the second term. She's been practicing this method for a long time now, so she could even dare say that she is proficient at this.
Ah, but what will she do after she graduates? She has no particular goal. Dream? What's that? How ridiculous. She really pities the fools who chase after impossible dreams.
She laughs at her own thoughts.
Yeah, what to do, what to do? Her illogical amusement is keeping her in high spirits. Since she's not going to school today anyways, why not ponder about those so-called philosophies of life?
So, after graduating, it would be natural for a person to get a job, or to pursue higher education. Heh, higher education her ass. People are either born as geniuses or simply hard-workers, or even both. Well, she's none of that. She has no talent, no special ability to speak of, no smarts, no patience, nothing. She lacks the drive after all and without it, everything just sort of disintegrates. Even her remaining shred of potential erodes until nothing is left. Her ability to feel gets affected too.
She scratches her hair restlessly, her mood sour once again. She drags herself off the bed, careful to avoid the piles of clothes strewn about haphazardly. She frowns at the broken mirror in the washroom. When did she break it?
Oh, right. She broke it a long time ago since she couldn't bear to look at herself. She scratches her hair again, frustrated at how long and uneven the strands are. She never cared about her appearance and never will, but this is getting too bothersome. She'd cut it herself, but scissors are probably buried under all that crap in the living room. Nah, too much effort. She'll just let it be, like she does with everything else. Heh, what if she sneezes in the middle of cutting her bangs? That would be a déjà vu, wouldn't it?
After brushing her teeth, she strides towards the kitchen, heading for the fridge. She sighs in disappointment, seeing there is nothing in it. Well, there's that expired natto, but she isn't that hungry and she certainly isn't that desperate. A morning without food. So what? It's not like she's gonna die or anything.
So instead, she grabs a can of beer from the counter. Just to be sure, she searches through the cupboards, and is pleased when she discovers a bag of beef jerky. Ah good good, she won't have to listen to her stomach growling for the rest of the day.
It's not like she's in poverty or anything. No, she is better than average. She lives in this pretty decent two-bedroom apartment after all. There's definitely enough room for her because it's not like she has a roommate or anything.
Tsk, too many 'or anything's. Here she goes again, getting angry. Angry at her own thought pattern, no less. How pathetic.
When she slumps down in front of the computer, she opens the can and chugs down the bitter liquid. Ugh, isn't there better-tasting shit? She has the money to spend. She can afford to buy food to placate her stomach.
Except the money isn't hers. She's been living off her parents for as long as she could remember. Hmm, what's the term for it?
Not in education, employment or training.
Sure, why not? That sounds about right. Yea yea, she goes to university, but is she really getting educated?
"Uuuuaaa, I don't know what I want to be. I'll just write N-E-E-T~"
She laughs again, careless that some of the beer spilled out from the can. Oh damn, some drops landed onto a blouse. She'll just throw it out because she can't be bothered to wash it. Besides, it looks disgustingly cute…why does she even own it in the first place?
She picks up the blouse, staring at it appraisingly. She should have noticed. Then again, it proves just how wretched she is. She chucks the blouse onto a particular pile of clothes she actually does wash.
That blouse doesn't belong to her.
Heh, no way that's hers.
She looks around the apartment blankly before turning her attention back to the computer in front of her. Right, where was she? She gets distracted easily, doesn't she? She pretty much shuts herself inside, so she's bound to find some way to keep her thoughts occupied. Well, she occupies herself with thinking about the most inane, mundane matter, or those redundant memories.
Right. Her parents. They provide for her, even though she is such a useless bum. Then again, they don't want the family name to sink into the mud more than it already did. Therefore, she does have money to spend. She doesn't really spend them, however. She only goes out to buy grocery whenever she feels like it, which is why the fridge tends to be empty. Other things? She only purchases repulsive stuff such as beer.
Why? Such money repulses her, so it is only fitting that it is used to buy equally repulsive things, no? The money does not belong to her. She'll need to be grateful to her parents to be able to use them. How nauseating. She didn't ask them to provide for her. She's perfectly fine at being a hobo. The only thing she'll miss doing is surfing the net, only because it's slightly more entertaining than conversing with herself.
She searches the pockets of her cargo shorts, growling when she can't find what she is looking for. She digs through the pile of crap gathered on the desk, smiling when her hand closes around the desired packet. She tears off the package impatiently, pulling out a cigarette with her teeth while her free hand is already looking for the lighter.
Deep inhale. She closes her eyes briefly, waiting for the burning yet oddly pleasant numbness to follow. Nothing. Damn. Should she start looking for stronger stuff now? Nah, too much effort.
She jumps from page to page, clicking on particles that appear to be mildly interesting but not exciting. Never. Nothing's ever exciting. Same old, same old.
So Xxx made a big fuss in front of the subway station and committed suicide. Okay. Attention whore.
Click. Yyy released a new single. Garbage.
Click. Zzz and Qqq had a big fight and are now fighting at court for divorce. Apparently Zzz isn't the kid's dad. Heh, what drama queens, those celebrities.
Click. Avalanche buried 30 people alive…
Click. The government has issued blah blah blah. Next.
Click. Newly discovered species of bacteria… cheh. Not flesh-eating, not interested.
She skims through all of these articles. Even with her sarcastic comments, she doesn't really feel it. It's just a way to entertain herself. She simply doesn't feel.
She takes another deep drag. She's only smoking out of habit, rather than any addictive need for nicotine. It's something to keep her occupied when her mind runs out of ideas to discuss. Ok, done with the daily news. No mass slaughter. How disappointing.
Time to chat with other broken machines who are just like her. She is amused and bemused at the same time as she talks to these infuriatingly stupid people. Maa, time is still being spent, so she'll just have to bear with it.
Why doesn't she just kill herself, she wonders sometimes.
It's pretty simple. It takes too much work. Yea, she can just jump from some high building and get it over with, but it takes effort to go to such a building. The apartment complex she lives at is only two-storey high, too low to permanently end her miserable existence.
And all those methods involving drugs, burning certain chemicals or whatever sound too complicated for her. Well, she can always overdose in alcohol, but the death rate is pretty low with beer like the ones she has.
And so she continues to leech off her parents. She continues to take space, breathe in precious oxygen and waste time.
Heh. The society would call someone like her a parasite.
Not that she gives a fuck about what society thinks.
She crushes another can of beer and chucks it out the window. She is mildly disappointed that it didn't hit anyone. What a pity. A passerby's complaints would have been rather entertaining to watch. Well, anything is better than idly surfing the net.
Restlessness grips her again.
Another cigarette flame comes into existence. She takes a deep drag, watching impassively as the smoke drifts out of the window into the immense sky. Hmm, cloudy sky. Well, she just read the news so she knows it's going to rain later the day. What time is it? Right, she doesn't have a clock, and she can't be bothered to actually find her cell phone. The battery's probably dead anyways.
Ah, such a blue sky, so wide, so endless…
She looks away quickly, smoking profusely to calm herself. That drenching fear of having to face the world, having to face society, having to work is just too much. All of them are too terrifying, making her restless, frustrated and so goddamn furious.
But there is no one to vent out this senseless anger to so she will have to distract herself again with some other method.
A stifling, vicious cycle, lead by a very strong resistance against all of those fears, further segregating from the rest of the world.
She has absolutely no will power.
Chuckling, she claps herself on the back. There, quote of the day.
That's right, she has no will power. What does a parasite like her need will power for?
Suddenly, the shrill ringing of the doorbell interrupts her peace.
Well well, what do you know? Maybe she did hit someone with that beer can. Lips curving, she gets up from her seat and shuffles towards the door.
Opening it an inch, she peeks out from the gap warily, "Yeah? What'd you want?"
"Speak up, I can't fucking hear you." Who the hell is this person speaking to, using a weak voice like that? Well, she is quite pleased that she is able to intimidate a stranger. Then she hears a huge gulp of air.
"Ano, does someone by the name of Tainaka Ritsu live here?"
Tainaka Ritsu…a name she hasn't heard for a long time.
"No," she replies curtly and slams the door shut. She did not even take the time to observe her unexpected visitor.
Because she simply doesn't give a fuck.
Well, that's it for the day. Time to play console games because she's getting sick of MMORPG. Who knows, maybe she'll get lucky and electrocute herself in some freak accident.
How do you know if you've been infected with parasites?
All the courage she tried so hard to dig out is blasted into smithereens just like that. She still has her polite smile pasted on, frozen in place, facing the closed door. The loud slam is still ringing in her ears.
She is not a social person by nature. Coming to the apartment by herself is already too much for her. But she has to do this. This is the only place left near campus that has affordable rent. All she has to do is to live with a roommate.
Except she doesn't know who this person is. By chance, she had come across an old ad asking for a roommate. That's the thing – there is no date on it, so the ad may have expired long ago. Yet she has no choice. Her money is already running low for she's been living in motels for two weeks straight. She blames the person who was responsible for her transfer to this university. That person was supposed to arrange a place for her to live!
But due to her timid nature, she did not dare to complain. Everything is just simpler to handle if everyone gets along. She despises confrontations. She hates how they always make her feel inferior and wrong even though she is right most of the time.
Which brings her back to the current predicament.
She stares at the piece of ad in her hand again. She needs to try. Maybe the person is just in a bad mood. Nothing can ever be achieved if she doesn't put in the effort.
The person who had written the ad is called Tainaka Ritsu, so she is pretty sure that Tainaka-san still lives here. If not, she will just politely ask the person for more information. Surely, being the more humble one will get her far?
Satisfied with her plan, she knocks on the door again.
Though discouraged, she continues knocking on the door.
She winces at the furious holler and the loud crash that follows. Even then, she still stands her ground.
She gulps nervously and lifts her hand again. She can't back down now. Just a little bit more-
The door opens with a bang. She has to step back to avoid being struck by the frame.
"Oh, you're still here?"
In contrast to this girl's seething tone earlier, it is now a casual, almost chirpy voice. This girl scratches her head and peers at her visitor through her long bangs.
"Who the hell are you?"
"A-akiyama Mio. Sorry to bother you, but I just want-"
The shorter girl yawns and stretches, seemingly careless of her behavior in front of a total stranger. She is only clad in cargo shorts and an oversized shirt that hung loosely around her thin frame. She looks younger than Mio herself, but looks can be deceiving.
The messy-haired girl continues to rotate her shoulders and cracking her knuckles like she is doing it for some kind of warm-up.
Mio waits for a moment before continuing her speech.
"I was just wondering if I could discuss something with you. O-oh, I'm not a salesperson just so you know. I'm a student at N Women's University, and I'm just looking for a place to live…"
Mio trails off, staring at the girl expectantly. Usually, the polite thing to do is to invite someone in, rather than having them stand outside to talk.
Yet the girl only looks at her with a raised eyebrow.
"Yeah? What's that got to do with me? I don't know any Akiyamas."
Mio quickly holds up the piece of ad like evidence. Before she could even explain, the girl has already snatched it out of her hands.
And ripped it in half right in front of her eyes.
"H-hey, what are you doin-"
The girl turns around and walks inside the room, yet she does not close the door. Is this a silent permission that Mio can enter?
The black-haired girl tells herself inwardly that nothing can be achieved if she doesn't take the step. She inhales deeply and walks forward.
Then she promptly backs out to take another gulp of fresh air before she starts choking.
The whole place stinks of smoke. Overwhelmingly so.
"You coming in or what?"
Mio forces herself to enter, breathing as shallowly as possible. Already, she knows she won't be able to live here in peace. But it should be fine. She just needs a place to stay, to sleep. She can stay at the library most of the time to avoid conflicts with this girl.
"You can sit here, but don't you dare touch that chair. I'll be right back."
The black-haired girl observes her potential residence in mild distaste. The apartment isn't dirty; it's just very…messy, in a way. Piles of clothes including –she looks away quickly – undergarments are discarded on the floor in a systematic manner. She can see a certain pile consists of one color, while another pile consists of peculiar designs. Whatever it is, there is some sort of pattern to this seemingly random disarray. Mio sits down on the chair opposite of the forbidden one. There is no visible difference between the two chairs, so she wonders why she couldn't sit in the other one.
"You really are here still. What a gullible person. Haven't you read the news lately?"
The girl returns and stands beside the empty chair, refusing to sit down for some reason. She is swirling a can of beer in her hand, taking huge gulps every few moments, while her other hand is holding a cigarette loosely.
"W-what do you mean by that?"
The girl chuckles, "What if I'm a serial killer? You just entered a total stranger's apartment just because some old ad said there is a room available. Really, you could've been killed already."
"W-what!" Mio is alarmed by the nonchalant smile on the girl's face, "I read the news every day. There's no such serial killer-"
She flinches as the girl crushes the empty beer can, chucking it behind her out of the window. "You're right. Such a serial killer does not exist," she slams her palm on the table, making Mio jump.
The girl smiles again. "Yet."
Mio begins to tremble, but instead of escaping like she should have, she stays.
The girl laughs.
"Bravo. Most people would have run away by now. So, tell me, why are you here? And," she crouches down and puts her arm on the table, resting her head on it, "why are you looking for Tainaka Ritsu?"
Mio couldn't really see the girl's eyes due to those long bangs, but she could tell the girl is amused.
"Um, on the page you tore up, it said-"
"That's it? So you want to live here, and you want to speak to this Ritsu because she was the one who put up the ad?"
Mio fights down her temper and nods stiffly. She's been interrupted one too many times that she can feel her professional façade slipping.
"Why? Of all the places, surely you don't want to become roommates with people like me?"
Smiling, the girl takes a deep drag, blowing the smoke directly into Mio's face.
"What was that for?" Coughing, Mio shots up and yells at the laughing girl.
"Finally, some reaction. It's the only reason I haven't killed you. Ha, I wanted to see when you'd drop that mask."
Mio's anger evaporates instantly and is quickly replaced by dread. The girl chuckles at her expression.
"Joking, joking. I'm not killing anyone today."
Is this person psycho? Mio considers her options once more. She should really run away…
"I guess you're desperate, aren't you? Nowhere to go, huh?"
It is the understanding tone in the girl's voice that compels Mio to stay. Perhaps she finally finds someone who can sympathize with her fear?
"The ad is right - I do have a vacant room," the girl drawls, exhaling the smoke away from Mio this time. "But I don't really want a roommate. That's gonna disrupt my whole lifestyle. Besides, I'm only renting this place. I'm not authorized to rent the room out, even though I don't really give a damn about legal issues."
Mio winces at the girl's coarse language but she is determined. "I just need a place to put my belongings and to sleep. I won't be bothering you much since I'll be away most of the time. As for the legal issue…um…" Mio can't recall breaking any rules, ever. But just this once, maybe she should chance it.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?
The girl laughs again, a light-hearted laughter that doesn't really fit with her image. She extinguishes the cigarette on the ashtray and stands up.
"Very well. I should award you for entertaining me today. You can stay."
That's it? This whole process seems too easy, somehow. This girl doesn't know Mio either. Yet why isn't this girl wary of her at all? Mio could have been a burglar. Unless the girl can tell what kind of person she is based on the aura she gives off.
Mio sighs inwardly. Yes, that must be it.
Either way, she shouldn't complain. She has a place to stay in, for now.
"So, I only have one rule."
All that previous humor is gone. The girl walks up to Mio with a deadpanned expression.
"You will not bother me. I'm going to pretend I'm still living alone, so don't get in my way. Hell, I was playing my game when you won't stop knocking on the fucking door."
Mio swallows but she also nods without hesitation. This girl doesn't scare her. She'll be ok. She'll just concentrate on her studies for this last year at university; once she graduates, she'll move back to her hometown and get a job there. Just one more year.
Surely, she can survive a year with this girl.
"Thank you for letting me stay. What's your name?"
"Does it friggin' matter?"
As if bored with Mio already, the girl's attitude is completely different now. She shuffles back towards the TV.
"The room's over there. Oh, and if you want a mirror, go buy your own cuz the one in the washroom is broken. And I ain't got no food. Buy your own. And don't touch my beer."
"I need to refer to you in some way, don't I?" Mio decides to phone her parents later to tell them she finally found a place. At least her parents would know about this place so in case she really is killed in the future, they'd know where to look… Mio shudders. The girl just has a weird, rather disturbing sense of humor, that's all.
"I don't have a name. Now, stop bothering me."
Then the girl pauses the game, tilting her head in a way that makes her look childish.
"You told me your name, so I suppose I should return the favor too."
She yawns and faces Mio with a huge smile.
"Name's Yui. I'd say 'nice to meet you' but, why bother?"
Mio doesn't know why but she feels a chill tickling down her spine.
"O-okay. I-I'm just going to go get my belongings. Is there any forms I need to sign, Yui-san?"
"No. I don't like forms. Don't worry, I won't shut the door in your face again. And don't call me Yui-san."
"Oh, um, so…Yui, I-"
"Just go already. It's getting dark. And I already said, don't call me Yui. I don't like it."
Mio is getting really frustrated with this girl's contradicting, roundabout way of speaking.
"Then what should I call you?"
The girl shakes her head, chuckling. She resumes playing the game without answering.
Yui ignores her. Or rather, she is pretending that she's living alone still, like she said she would.
Mio fights down her temper. If she likes living alone, why did she even agree to let me stay in the first place? Or is she just testing me?
After several moments of silence, the brunette pauses the game to look at Mio straight in the eye.
"Alright. Fine. Why not? You'll be living here for awhile at least."
She grins, an innocent, charming grin.
"Call me Ritsu then. It's easier that way. I'm sure we'll get along just fine, new host."
Will you have the courage to face what you've become?
A/N: This is only the intro. I will try to upload the next part when I have time.
No further comment on anything else, except special thanks to people who inspired me to write again:
And someone who wants to remain anonymous but I will put a note here still.