Okay, okay. I know I said my next story would be funny, but I was totally drawing a blank. I wrote this instead.
Astral stared sadly down at Yuma, the young boy's battered body covered with a soft white sheet. The air carried the heavy stench of cleaning supplies. It made Astral a bit sick. A dimmed light hung from the wall behind the hospital bed Yuma lay in. Astral couldn't recall how much time had passed since the boy had finally fallen asleep, the day's horrific events draining him of all his energy.
Astral wiped the single tear that made its way down his face. He was trying to fight the swell of emotions that welled up inside of him. He felt so guilty. He felt that there was something he could've done to save the boy as he cried and screamed for help, but alas, there was nothing. There was nothing he could do, and by the time someone had finally found the boy, the damage had already been done.
"Ugh! Rain again? This is like the fifth rainy day in a row!" Yuma whined as he dragged his feet down the sidewalk on his way home from school. He stopped briefly and peered down an alleyway, noticing that the buildings were closer together. Hopefully this would lessen the wind and the rain a bit, and also allow him a shorter route home so that his sister and grandmother wouldn't be worried. Astral was about to debate this, but was not in the mood to argue with Yuma; he simply floated along behind Yuma as the boy held his backpack over his head in another desperate attempt to block out the rain. Suddenly, a rough hand grabbed the boy's shoulder and another covered his mouth. Astral immediately lashed out an arm to fight off the offender and protect Yuma, but his hand passed right through him. An overwhelming combination of shock, horror, and panic swept through Astral as Yuma was violently thrown into a brick wall of one of the buildings and divested of his backpack. Then his shirt. Then his pants.
Astral stared out the hospital window as sideways rain and tiny pieces of hail pelted against it. A flash of lightning, bright and angry, went off in the distance. The delayed crash made Astral jump.
Astral's eyes were wide and his mouth was stuck in an expression he never had to make before. Yuma thrashed his body around wildly, his final solution to fighting off his attacker. This attempt failed miserably as the man pushed him onto the ground, gripping Yuma's wrists with one hand and holding the boy's arms above his head. Yuma continued to kick his legs and try to scoot himself away. He inadvertently found himself amidst a pile of broken glass, the prickly pieces cutting into his bare back. He let out an ear-piercing shriek that forced his attacker to cover his mouth again.
Astral turned away from the window to stare back at Yuma. The normally loud and rambunctious boy was reduced to a broken child lying helpless in their bed, waiting for their parents to rescue them from a nightmare. Except this wasn't a nightmare. Astral could lightly hear Akari and Yuma's grandmother arguing with a police officer outside the closed door. Something about not having enough evidence to find the criminal.
"Please…! Please don't do this! Please! I'll do anything, just please don't hurt me!" Yuma's desperate cries were ignored, Astral recalled. 'Come on,' Astral remembered thinking to himself. 'He said "please"'!
Yuma stirred lightly in his sleep, turning onto his right side, away from Astral. Dark bruises in the shape of fingertips trailed down his exposed shoulder. Yuma's soft, delicate skin had been ruined. Tainted.
Yuma was making sounds Astral had never heard him make before; strangled grunts and pain-filled moans of suffering and anguish. Tears poured in streams down his face, mixing with the puddle of rainwater his body was laying in. Astral didn't understand what the man was trying to do to Yuma. Yuma had explained that only one special person was allowed to do that. This man wasn't special to Yuma. "Please, stop!" he managed to choke out. "Please, stop!" Astral was overcome by a swell of nausea, a feeling he had never felt before. 'He told you to stop!' Astral called out, even though he knew the man couldn't hear him. Astral saw Yuma's eyes flicker briefly in his direction as if he had heard him, but they quickly closed as his entire face scrunched up in pain.
Astral reached out a hand and pretended to rub it up and down Yuma's arm, desperately trying to offer him some sort of comfort. The boy fitfully twitched and whimpered in his sleep, his mind obviously lost in the clutches of a nightmare. Astral stood back as the door swung open and Akari ran in, copying Astral's movements and running her hands gently but firmly over her brother's arm, trying to rouse him. Yuma awoke with a start but calmed quickly when he saw his sister's face. Akari ran her hand through his hair and kissed his forehead, whispering sweet nothings into his ear. She pulled up a chair and continued her actions, resting her head beside Yuma's on his pillow. Astral heard the siblings talking quietly, Yuma sobbing out something that sounded like "Please don't let him find me" before Akari wrapped an arm around him and pulled him towards her, their noses practically touching as she rubbed methodical circles into his back.
Yuma's body lay still on the soaked concrete. His dazed eyes were glazed over and he was staring up at nothing, his mouth slightly agape. His arms were still above his head, except now they were completely limp and his wrists were starting to bruise. His legs remained in the position they were left in, his right knee up while his left leg was stretched out. He slowly turned his head and his eyes slid closed. Astral assumed he had passed out.
"Yuma?" He heard a voice call.
"Yuma!" A different voice.
Astral watched helplessly as Akari and Yuma's grandmother approached the terrifying scene, the elder standing back with her hands covering her face whilst Akari ran forward and gathered her broken brother into her arms. Yuma's head lolled limply against her shoulder. Akari tightened her hold on him and shouted for her grandmother to call for an ambulance. The elder took off briefly and returned with blanket, covering her young grandson with it and kneeling beside Akari to try to tend to him. Akari ran her hand vigorously up and down his back, planting kisses into his hair and gently calling his name in an attempt to wake him.
Astral had never felt so useless.
There you go! I'm sorry it's sad, and probably a bit disturbing, but I really wanted to emphasize how hard it must be for Astral sometimes, especially if Yuma is in the most dire of circumstances. Hopefully in a future episode they'll be able to interact more. Well, I'll see you at the next fic. I'll try to make it funny. I'll really try!