[Memory 1]

[The Scream Towards Tomorrow!]


[]


Kazuko woke up. Her hair was disheveled, and her bed, she could guarantee, was about ten times worse. It didn't help that her glasses were sent askew either. She adjusted them, before getting up. She stretched her arms, yawning heartily as she did so. She turned around, letting her arms hang by her sides lazily.

She stared at the clock, only to notice that it was still 5:30.

She was up two hours early.

"Fuuuuuuuck." She groaned. "Why…why today of all days?"

She got out of bed, groaning as she did so. "Not even gonna bother going back to sleep." She opened her closet, taking out another school uniform. "Not like I'd get any decent sleep now."

She walked out of the room, dressed in her stolen boy's uniform, before brushing her teeth. It wasn't like she particularly liked the uniform. It's just that she liked wearing pants more than wearing skirts. The school rules never specified that she had to wear a girl's uniform, just a school uniform.

She got out of her room. Maybe something was on TV that could get her to wake up?

She turned it on, only to see another news report about some witch.

"Oh, goody. Another attack?" She turned it off. The witches were getting more and more restless. It was only a matter of time before Mitakihara went straight to hell. "Bah. The Venefici can handle it."

She went to the bathroom to brush her teeth, and then went off to wake up her mother.

She opened the door slowly, noting a sleeping figure lying on her bed.

She raised her hands…readied them…

And performed a perfect DOUBLE CHOP on the top of her mother's head.

"Gah! Devil Child!" The woman shrieked before twisting herself upright. "What time is…Six? You got me up at Six?"

"You need to get to work by Nine, right? What's your probl-"

"The problem is that I'm a normal human being who wants her sleep!" She tried getting back into the bed…only for someone to grab her shoulder.

"You're not going back to sleep." Kazuko had a bizarre glow among her eyes…

To be honest, it was somewhat creepy. Her mother took note of that.

"I got up two hours early. YOU'LL GET UP THREE HOURS EARLY." She yanked the covers off of the bed, and tried to open up the windows…only to realize that it was still the middle of winter, and that the sun wasn't up yet.

So she turned on the room's light.

"Dammit!"

"RISE AND SHINE."


[]


After the wake-up fiasco, Kazuko and her mother had breakfast, as what would normally happen, as they talked simply.

It was early, so there was no real reason for Kazuko to go to school yet.

"Say…mom?"

"Hm?"

"Did you know about the latest witch in the news?"

"Oh? That one? Yeah. Her name was Aglaia. It seems that the witches tend to simply take names from history."

"Ah. And she was…"

"Witch of beauty. Oh, you should have seen her! She looked like a giant, metal woman. Her innards were constantly shifting around, and her face was-"

Kazuko feared where this was going. "You can stop now."

"Oh. Sorry. They can get pretty weird sometimes. And I have to study them! Ha!" The woman slapped the table. "Say...got a test today?"

"Yup. History. Shouldn't be too hard."

"Favorite subject?"

"Nope. That's philosophy."

"Oh? I thought history was your favorite!"

"I said that it was my second favorite, mom. Not my first favorite." Kazuko put away the plates. "I think I'll just go now."

"Oh? So soon?"

"I don't want to be late for class!"

"Alright, then!" Mrs. Saotome waved at her daughter as she left.

"Bye, Mom!"

"See yah after school!"


[]


The school day went by as it did normally, with the sole exception of a test. Because of her early wake-up call, Kazuko went through the test very slowly. She just barely turned it in before the period ended. She lumbered through the school, her hair still in a mess and her uniform somewhat wrinkled.

She noted the stares she was getting. It wasn't too often that a girl dressed herself as a man, but then the students noticed just who was wearing it. It had become a habit for Kazuko over the course of the school year. It was still obvious that she was female, what with her "development," but it was a quirk nonetheless.

Kazuko got out as soon as the bell rang. She didn't want to get too bored with class by hearing just what the teacher thought about some bullshit.

She walked out, before somebody tapped her shoulder.

"Hey Kazuko!"

"Ah! Junko!" The younger girl turned to her friend. "Class just ended?"

"Yeah. It was economics."

"Oh." Kazuko winced in sympathy. "That doesn…"

"Not too bad, actually! Got another A, I'm sure of it."

"Pft, Showoff."

Junko crossed her arms as she kept walking. "Well, don't come crying to me when I'm rich and you're not."

It was when they finally left the campus that Junko decided to start talking about something other than school. "Say…Kazuko?"

The shorter girl turned her head. "Hm?"

"Your mother works with witch studies, right?"

Kazuko raised an eyebrow. "Yeah?"

"I hear that they're finally classifying them."

The girl waved her hand. "Just by soul absorption rate. The strength of a witch is not easy to measure, so they're just doing it by absorption."

"Ah. I see…so you have a list of all the witches that have been encountered so far?"

"Not every single one, no, but I do have a list of witches." Kazuko didn't like this conversation. It didn't sit well with her to talk about her mother's work. Dealing with unnatural post-humans was unsettling, to say the least.

Junko noticed it. "Okay." She knew this girl was uncomfortable enough with talking about it, what with the riots and all.

"Don't worry. It was an honest question." Kazuko bent her arms behind her back, letting her bag hang. "Jeez…"

They walked down the street, the skyscrapers above them casting long shadows onto the street. People walked by the girls, all of them wearing some kind of miserable, disgruntled expression.

But that was to be expected.

Who the hell wants to live in Mitakihara?


[]


The city was dark. In fact, it was almost pitch-black. It was almost as if it knew what was about to transpire at this very moment.

Kazuko noted that it was very depressing outside. Especially with the blackness of the city. The lights in part of town had been knocked out by a witch. Even with the magic release, it would still take about two days for the district to recover.

And it happened to be the city's historical district. The same part with the town hall.

She sighed, before turning back to her homework. She then heard a slight rumble.

Kazuko continued to ignore the noise, working on a few algebra problems, before the window she was next to exploded. Kazuko ducked as glass flew everywhere, bits of debris flying off as the girl looked up and saw just what passed her window.

A wire monster, its being comprised of a formless, building-sized entity, twisted as it wreaked havoc on the city. It sped past, before noticing that there was a whole apartment complex just ripe for the taking, filled with souls. It readied its appendages to grasp its victims, as Kazuko realized just what she was getting into.

Oh fuck.

She turned back, running desperately out of the room and into her apartment's hallway. She shut the door quickly, and shoved a chair under its handle, just to make sure that it wouldn't open.

She turned back. "Mom!"

On cue, her mother burst out of her bedroom, and ended up panting. She jammed the locks shut on her door, before shoving a chair under its handle.

"Oh…oh god. I thought I was a goner."

Kazuko ran over, tackling the older woman in a hug. "Jesus Christ!"

"It's definitely a class four. Can absorb souls without touching a body, but it's a slow burn. Still needs to touch you to get it quickly." She sighed. "We were lucky."

"That was a pretty big witch, too."

"Damn right." The mother stood up, sighing as the sounds of the chaos around them died down. "We just need to hope that the Venefici get here on time."


[]


"Keep up, Hanako!" A black-haired Veneficus yelled as she bounded across the skyscrapers, her white cape illuminated by the city's lights.

"I can't fucking teleport, Akira!" Hanako bounded after her cohort, her own orange hair flying about her as she rushed beside her friend.

"Then try harder!" A third girl, this time with dark blue hair and a cool blue motif, twirled above, her own robes fluttering in the wind. "We're almost there!"

All three girls stopped at the site of the current rampage. There she was: a monstrosity of wire. It looked only vaguely human; it was probably another unrecoverable Remnant.

Akira winced in sympathy, before taking out a single Japanese sword…when a tentacle suddenly pierced her chest. There was no way to see it coming; it was too fast, too quick.

And her body dropped to the ground.

"Akira!" Hanako growled as she turned towards the witch. She was just barely out of range of the witch; this wasn't going to be an easy fight. She prepared a cannon, when a car appeared out of nowhere. She turned the weapon to the car, blasting it in half as she took it up, ready to kill. "Akira's down! Akira's down! Yurika! Do something!"

"What?" Yurika ran into the fray as the witch seemed to smile at this new appearance. It twisted and turned, before it sent out thousands of tendrils.


[]


The building that they were in was sliced apart quickly. Kazuko looked outside, as she watched the top half of her apartment building fall off, the civilians inside being crushed horribly.

The poor girl could only listen to the sound of screeching metal as the tower was shredded.

"Let's go!" Kazuko's arm was yanked, as they continued running.

There was nothing they could do, but hope that the Venefici could save them.


[]


And that hope was beginning to fall into vain.

"Damn it! This isn't an easy one!" Yurika took out some razor wire, before sending it everywhere. "No wonder that Akira was down so quick! Unbelievable range!"

Suddenly, her wires all snapped. "Oh my god."

The witch held its own tendrils out, its being suddenly turning into that of a woman.

"A near-Remnant?"

A tendril wrapped around her foot in her single moment of weakness, as she was whipped into a nearby building.

"Yurika!" Hanako reached out to her friend, before taking out a cannon and firing a barrage to her opponent. "You bitch!"

A torrent of cannonballs was shot to the witch, before it sent out another wave of tendrils to the small girl. Hanako dodged, them all, before taking out another cannon.

Yurika, on the other hand, had been gripped by several tendrils, all of them pulling upon her limbs. "F-fuck!" She tried to wrestle her way out of them, only for them to pull her. "My…arms!"/

Hanako turned to her friend. "Y-Yurika!" The girl was then repelled by a huge number of tendrils, all of them shoving her backwards into a building.

"Hanako!" Suddenly, all of the tendrils held her tightly, as a fifth appeared above her.

Her eyes widened in horrible realization as she saw this tendril above her midsection.

And then, despite her misery, her pain, and her impending demise, she smiled.

"I…guess that this is it, isn't it?"


[]


Hanako opened her eyes, as she saw the display above her.

With a look of misery in her eyes, she saw Yurika held above her, and the witch ready to execute her.

"Y-Yurika!"


[]


Both mother and daughter saw the witch bisect the Veneficus, her halves falling to the ground messily.

Kazuko just stared in horror, as her mother started to grow nauseous. "L-let's go!"

Kazuko just kept staring as this fight just kept on getting more and more hopeless. Everything was beginning to go to waste. This witch was like an Auctor without Walpurgis. It was damn near unstoppable…

When suddenly, a tendril appeared quickly. Kazuko's eyes widened, as it headed right for her.

"Kazuko!" The girl was shoved out of the way, as, in a split-second, the weapon hit her. In an instant, her mother's soul was gone, as Kazuko, in shock, just ran.


[]


EnBey watched this hopeless battle rage in Mitakihara. This was no ordinary witch, tonight. It was not the largest, nor the most powerful, but it was enough to kill two of his girls in minutes.

'Damn it all to hell.' It was then that he sensed something. A new power; something that could possibly defeat this new threat. 'Wait…a new potential!' He grit his teeth. 'Personal Grief advanced by hopelessness.'

He jumped off of the tower, and into a nearby alleyway. 'This could be the beginning of the end for this monster.'


[]


Kazuko ran into a nearby alleyway. The monster was not able to get here; it was far too busy with absorbing the souls of everyone else in the vicinity.

But Kazuko was busy with her own misery to contend with. She buried her face in her hands…and began to sob.

Suddenly, she heard a low pattering. A tremble of feet hitting the ground. She turned to this new noise, as the creature began to speak into her mind.

'Hopeless?'

"Who…"

'Miserable? Desperate?' He walked out of the shadow, his eyes glowing blue. 'I think I found a new asset.'

"E…EnBey!"

'I think you just got your mother absorbed by this new and powerful fucker over here?'

She nodded, her eyes still teary.

'I think you may just have the potential that I'm looking for.'

"What…You want me to…"

'Contract? Oh, hell yes.' EnBey sat on her shoulder. 'After all, I need someone to go after that new witch.'

"But the witch just-"

'So it killed two of them. I know that.' His expression turned dark. 'But both were new and inexperienced. So is the third. If you don't contract soon, then the death count will turn into three.'

Kazuko sighed. There really wasn't a way out of this, was there? A whole lot of responsibility was thrust upon her, and this creature needed her to make a decision soon.

"I will do it."

His eyes glowed, as Kazuko was lifted off of the ground. 'Then hold still.'


[]


Hanako slammed into another tower, her body flying through before she slid across the ground, cracks splitting across it at a new, unprecedented pace.

"D-damn it!"

The witch appeared over her, almost as if to gloat, as it raised several more of its wires to strike a final blow…

When a fist appeared out of nowhere, its wrist connected to a main body only by a long and powerful chain.

"ROCKET PUNCH!" Suddenly, the witch wilted, the punch blowing it aside. It crashed into another building, before turning to face its new opponent.

And, as she stood on a tower, it was a young girl, with a pair of glasses, clad in a green and black longcoat, a pair of enormous gauntlets on her hands, stared at the witch, her hat and militaristic uniform giving her an air of power.

"I feel…powerful." She smiled.

'That's because you are.' EnBey would have smiled. 'Now show this son of a bitch what you're made of!'

Kazuko grinned. "I will!" She could do this! She could save her mother! She could save everyone! "I can!"

As her power surged through her body, her gauntlet's hand twisted several times around, its own self forming into a flat hand.

"BUSTAH BLAAADE!" The hand flew above the witch, as it sliced downwards, slamming into the ground with enormous force.

The witch was split in twain, which was meaningless for a formless creature. In anger at this new opponent, it jumped upwards, ready to destroy the new opponent.

"HAMMER FIST READY!"Her fist grew to an enormous size, easily the size of what used to be her apartment, as she leaped upwards, both of her arms clad with enormous hands.

Her left arm led her way, as she sent it flying towards the witch. The hand caught the witch, the creature attempting to cut the chain in vain.

"ENDING STRIKE!"

The witch was caught off guard by this new display of power, as it was lifted off of the ground quickly.

"DESTRUCTIVE BLAST!" Her enormous hand was forced to this rapidly approaching witch, sending it into the witch's body.

The formless witch felt this blow surge through its being, before it shrieked in pain. Just what was this new girl?

But this new girl was not done yet. "GREAT AVALANCHE!" Her hands, both gripping the witch, turned into a twisting, turning mass, both swirling into the skies above. Suddenly, the witch, now a mess of wires, and irrevocably damaged, was unable to continue its rampage. Its demise was now certain, and, in a moment of finality, a small section of its wiring briefly transformed into a small girl.

A grey fractal exploded over Mitakihara, and Hanako stared into the face of her new savior.

The new girl who had come right the fuck out of nowhere and saved everyone.

"W-Who are you?"


[]


Mrs. Saotome's head felt like hell. If that was what it was like to be eaten by a witch, then she never wanted it to happen again.

I was lucky that I wasn't digested. She sighed, before looking out to the city around her…

And she saw it.

Among the rubble, and the destruction, which was now rapidly repairing itself, she saw her.

Kazuko Saotome, now a new Veneficus, surrounded by the press.

She saved us? The woman smiled. And just as well.


[]


[Two Venefici, just having been contracted a day ago, have been offed by the strongest witch since Mephistophiles, a creature of wires known as the Fate. However, just in time, a new Veneficus has been contracted, known as Kazuko. It has been speculated that her enormous power has been drawn from a combination of Trauma, Despair, and Grief. It is highly probable that she will be one of the strongest Venefici to appear in recent years.]

The newswoman sighed, as she turned back to the camera. "That's a wrap."

"Thanks, Kaname-san!"

"No problemo." The woman cracked her neck. "Alrighty. That should be the end of the thing." She put a cigarette in her mouth and lit it. "Enough horseshit for tonight…" She left the set quickly as everyone cleaned up, as a single man with a headset ran after her.

"Wait, Kaname!"

She turned around after she entered the elevator, keeping the door open. "What the hell do you want, Shitaro?"

"I just want to ask you, what do you honestly think about the new Veneficus?"

"I dunno." She shrugged as the elevator doors closed. "I think we need a little more time to learn just what she is like…but whatever her abilities are…" The doors were almost shut. "They better be good." They closed, leaving the man staring at the closed doors.

"Jeez. Touchy." He sighed, before turning back to the set.


[]


A/N

Yeah, this is the first of the spinoffs that I promised. These will update…sporadically. This is just a taste of the first one. I hope you liked it.

Yeah. Each chapter title is a song. Look it up; all of the titles will have one similarity: The Band.

Also, Oriko is in the works. Look forward to it!