Eighty-six


It's surprising that she kills that man so easily.

He thought she would cry. She would probably look very pretty crying; a cute maid girl with red, puffy eyes, tears dribbling down her flushed cheeks. How sweet, how lovely, how nice, how stereotypical, how cliché- do you want me to put you out of your misery now, Shannoooon?~ Ihihihi~

How could a character like her ever hope to play the role of a villain on a brutal and bloody game board like this?

But she's a lot stronger than he thought.

He underestimated her.

She doesn't cry. She doesn't even shed a tear.

George dies without struggling. He doesn't scream. He makes a small, strange gurgling noise because his mouth has filled up with blood, but that's all. It looks like he's accepted his fate. If this were the climax of a movie, the critics would all call it boring, a let-down, a disappointment.

He doesn't quite agree. The death isn't as interesting as the previous closed room murders, yes- but the mere sight of seeing Shannon slaughter her beloved is so very amusing he can't help but laugh.

Now, the witch side has won.

Now Beatrice can come out of hiding and grace the world of the living with her light footfalls; smirking at the ugly display of bodies leaking their insides out slowly around the island.

All hail the witch Beatrice, for there are no humans left who can deny her. She rules Rokkenjima at night when the noisy seagulls have fled and the rain batters restlessly at the windowpanes outside.

She will flutter around the abandoned mansion elegantly, just like a beautiful butterfly. Her goat-headed attendants, demon allies and witch acquaintances will join her, and they will have a party together until the early hours of the morning.

But morning will never rise on this island.

When the clock strikes midnight, there will be no more Rokkenjima. The legend of the Golden Witch will continue to reign over this island forever, into perpetuity, whilst the witch relaxes in the Golden Land with all her friends, a wide smile on her face.

The witch will live on and be happy- and so will the people she has killed; for who can say what truly happened to them?

The Golden Witch will open the Golden Land. Everybody will happy. Nobody will ever have to be sad again (sorry, little sis, he thinks with a sardonic smile; sorry you missed out. Have fun at boarding school, ihihihi~).

And, in the Golden Land, the lonely little maid girl will never have to be lonely again.

Game, set and match to the Golden Witch.

But… ahaha… hahahaha…

Isn't that too bad?

Isn't that just incredibly, heart-breakingly sad, Shannoooon?

She is not the only person left on Rokkenjima this time, in this kakera. This is a kakera whose pieces have been tampered with by some greater force, and now, moments before the clock hand strikes twelve, there are two survivors.

Shannon.

And him.

He is watching her as she stands by the open window of the dining room; the curtains pulled back so the pale moonlight bathes the blood-splattered room in an eerie, celestial light. He can't see her face, but he's sure it looks very pale… and very pathetic… … and very human.

He can't tell for sure, but he thinks she might be crying. She doesn't make any sound, and her shoulders don't shake- but it makes perfect sense for her to cry.

After all… she is standing over the collapsed corpse of her fiancée.

His neck is hanging open like the gills of a fish; bleeding out all over the floor, in a manner that is so incredibly undignified for a great Ushiromiya that, irony of all ironies, George might be just perfect for that useless, clumsy, miserable servant girl now.

Now George looks just as pathetic as she does.

They're a perfect couple, really.

The tips of her fingers are stained with blood.

If she was a real witch, her fingers would not be dirty like that. She would've murdered everybody on Rokkenjima with a little more style; bringing in reinforcements from those noisy seven sisters, or the goat butlers, or her demon friends- or else waving her golden pipe so limbs were torn off, bodies were broken up and eyeballs fell right out of the sockets and rolled along the floor like marbles.

But her fingers are covered in blood.

The knife in her wet hand slackens slightly- and she drops it to the floor. The wicked blade shines in the moonlight.

A witch wouldn't kill with a knife.

He refuses to let her draw the cloak of Beatrice protectively around her exposed, vulnerable, naked body once more. He was sent to this game board to tear out the guts; to draw them out slowly, sickly, painfully, in the most agonizing way possible… so this girl is not Beatrice.

She was never Beatrice.

She is just a sad, sick, lonely child playing with imaginary friends. She is a heartbroken child who wants to be something more than what she actually is.

What she is a failure.

A disgrace.

A joke.

Ha, ha.

Everybody, come and look at Beatrice; the 'real' Beatrice- the biggest, most laughable power fantasy there is. When you tear away the blonde hair, the blue eyes, the high-pitched cackle and the beautiful dress away, what is left behind? What do you get?

She's so pitiful he could laugh.

Maybe he does. He's not sure.

It's time to bring that fantasy to an end.

…Wait a moment.

She's talking.

He smiles. He could just kill her now, while her back is turned; break her neck between his fingers, crush her trachea like a straw until she vomits saliva down her chin like an elderly person no longer in control of their body, jam his fingers into her sockets and scoop out her eyes…

There are so very many ways he could kill this witch. He doesn't need to duck her in a pond or burn her in a fire.

But he won't kill her just yet. Her fate is sealed anyway, even without his presence. And, anyway… don't the damned have the right to at least try and defend themselves before they're dragged to hell?

What will her last words sound like?

He's sure they'll be very sweet, just like champagne- filled with pain and regret.

Delicious.

What is she saying?

"I… I… … I just wanted to be a witch. Just once, I wanted… to be a real witch… A witch who never let anybody hurt her… o-or slander her… … or make her cry. I-I wanted to be that person in the portrait just once… just once…" Her fingers clench into fists. It makes a sticky noise. Must be from all the blood. "But maybe that goal was impossible for a person like me after all…"

"Yeah. That's right. You're not a witch," he says; voice casual, offhand. "Heh. Maybe, if you killed me, then you could at least pretend for a little while with nobody to deny your crazy fantasy, but-"

"N-no…"

Her voice is broken.

"N-no…"

And very, very desperate.

"N-no, I… I-I couldn't kill you… n-not like this… because I… I'm… … E-even if I could become a witch, I wouldn't be happy… if you were dead. Because, even as a witch, I still… I… I-I still… …"

Pause.

Breathe in, breathe out.

Her chest rises and falls.

When she next speaks, she sounds withdrawn… or maybe resigned to fate. Just like a lamb being led to the slaughter.

"… …But you're not Battler, are you?"

He smirks lazily- though the expression is completely lost on her, given she's still staring out the window. Maybe she's afraid of turning round, and seeing the violent designs she herself has messily daubed all over the carpet; the beautiful, bloody portrait she has crafted with the insides of the only one who ever loved her.

Or maybe… maybe she is not afraid- because carcasses, contrary to popular belief, are not all that scary. They can't do much save lie there and be pitiable. She is a very practical girl, so she would surely know not to fear a corpse.

It's more likely that she fears him.

The 'Ushiromiya Battler' who, inexplicably… is not 'Ushiromiya Battler'.

His eyes are burning bright red, like hot coals; like some kind of demon dredged up from Hell- and, ihihihi… … that would be partially right.

Even the demons from Hell are afraid of him.

They're right to do so.

It's not cowardly to fear something so much stronger than yourself. It's natural.

'Battler' laughs.

He laughs and laughs and laughs.

"Heh. Heheheh… ahahaha… …~ That's right. I'm not that person- not anymore. As if he would ever become your ally so easily; as if he would smash Jessica's pretty head in like that; as if he would drive those cheap ice picks into those corpses- like hell he'd ever do any of those things.

"He would hate you. He would despise you. But, you shouldn't care what he would think, because he's not here. And I don't hate you, see…? I don't hate you, because I'm even worse than you are. At least you have a motive. I don't have a motive. I just did this because it was interesting."

She hangs her head as though it's too heavy for her; like a snowdrop- or maybe as if somebody has broken her neck. He doesn't know which. It doesn't really matter.

Lots of things don't matter.

Most things, really... …

He thinks she won't reply; she'll never reply- and so he walks towards her, his footfalls silent, like a cat's, but… …

She laughs softly, but it sounds more like she might start to cry.

"That… that makes sense… Because, if I'm not the witch I'm pretending to be, then you shouldn't be the 'Ushiromiya Battler' you're pretending to be, either… So, we're both liars… and maybe that's why we worked so well together."

"Mm. It's surprising how easy it is to kill a person, isn't it?"

She nods silently, as though afraid to admit it out loud.

It really was very easy.

Even killing George… was so easy.

So, maybe she's not a witch- but she might have become a demon. She probably looks like one, with that blood sticking to her fingers, and stained over her dress. Madam would surely shout at her if she saw such a disgraceful sight… but Madam looks even more disgraceful now, with her organs pulled out of her stomach for everybody to see.

Madam might have acted proud, but she has a lot of filthy, putrid insides her skin was trying to hide.

Ha… ahahahaha… …

Madam, who always scolded her until she cried; Eva, who had whispered poisonous words into her ear; Gohda, who had childishly bullied her…

They're all the same when they're dead.

But so is George. So is Jessica. So is Maria. All those people who were kind to her, who acted as bright spots in her miserable life, who gave her hope, and happiness, and love

They loook the same when they're dead.

It doesn't seem right that they should look the same.

So… even though she looks like one, she is not a demon. She holds too much sympathy to be a demon.

But she's not a witch, either.

And now, she's not even a human.

By this point, Shannon is probably dead; dead from heart-sickness, and a horror at the work of her own hands, more than anything.

Beatrice doesn't exist.

So… she is left all alone; truly alone, for the first time, without any of her defences. Her dominant personalities have dispersed, leaving a child who never learnt how to function properly as themselves before.

Furniture.

Just lowly furniture.

But…

"Y-you said you accepted me… Y-you said… You…" She can't even begin to hide her tears anymore, so she doesn't try. Hands clasped at her chest, she whispers, "y-you… You've become a monster worse than me… … s-so I don't have to feel guilty…? Ahaha… haha… B-battler would never accept me now… but you… you… …?

"W-well then… if we're both monsters, then… why don't we go to hell together?"

She smiles.

He can't see her face, but if he could, he would know. Her smile is so soft and so warm… and so hopeful… it almost shines. Silver trails of tears run down her pale face, lit up by the moon outside. She seems to possess an internal glow, like sunlight on the snow.

And she's still covered in blood.

But she's still smiling.

He didn't accept her as 'Beatrice'. He refused to accept 'Beatrice'. So she can't hide anymore. Her shield has been torn away from her forcefully, brutally- just like tearing off layers of skin.

It hurt. I-it still hurts…

It hurts a lot.

So maybe he's here to torture her.

B-but maybe… j-just maybe… … he's the first person who has accepted her as 'Yasu'.

And that… makes her happy.

It hurts… b-but it's a happy kind of hurting.

Ahaha… i-it's a little bit sick, isn't it; being happy whilst standing over the dead body of the man Shannon loved… … but that man loved Shannon. George didn't know about Yasu.

But this Battler, whoever (whatever) he is, with his red eyes and his lazy smirks, does.

And he… doesn't condemn her.

And he doesn't blame her.

So, in her last moments… s-she thinks she is happy… …

She would like to think she is happy…

…as he coldly and calmly slits her throat.


a/n: based on the shannon/ b. battler end in ougon cross. cross posted from my tumblr, edited slightly.
using present tense is easier for emotional stories like this, I find? It lends itself nicely to writing internal thoughts ^^''
as always, I hope you like it ^^''

~renahhchen xoxo