Touko sits upon her father's knee, proudly scratching out the kanji that she learned at school today. Fukawa Hiroshi is nothing but smiles, sure that her six-year-old daughter, who already makes such wonderful patterns with a pen, will like him be able to do the same with 1's and 0's while bathed in the glow of a computer screen.

Ruffling her only child's mop of dark brown hair, Hiroshi can't wait for Touko to apply that uncanny focus of her to the delicate mechanisms that she, as a lowly software technician, has spent her life taming. Of course the girl can have her fun with rhymes and such, but the life of a starving artist is no life for a Fukawa.

Daddy, Touko chirps, her eyes glittering with the kind of passion possessed only by genii. Three, err, two old men enter a sushi restaurant. One orders a raincoat, the other a garage.

And Hiroshi laughs and laughs, though he's heard the pun a million times.


Fifteen years later, Touko is physically bigger than, yet at the same time a shadow of her former self. her vibrant and promising imagination is no longer put towards writing stories about she neighborhood animals, but instead strangles him with delusions and makes noises in the dark. she's also under the spell of some ungodly thing that creeps into her dreams, no, dad, it was real ther time. And to top off that great stinking heap of misery, she doesn't understand why she can't fit in with all of the other girls.

Very simply put, she hates herself. The stutter that obfuscates her speech, the dull grey eyes that make her look ten times as stupid, how she only 'succeeds' at everything that's useless in life and will take him nowshere…she just hates how she's so fucking wrong.

It's only when she sinks into the perfectly ordered yet fluid universe of words is she finally able to breathe. How satisfying it is to divulge her confluence of worries into the porous sheets of paper. She may as well have taken a knife, split herself in two and pulled out whatever bad bits were causing trouble.

Touko is sure that the solution to everything hides within the dark black markings. If only, for the life of her, she could decipher the code.

A crash from her father's study makes her pencil pause, and her own little silent symphony comes to a halt. Hiroshi must have thrown something in order to open his mail. Yeah right. Report cards have come home and Touko had failed once again, her teachers, her father, her dead mother and ancestors. But she simply can't help the fact that math is so difficult and boring. And that the other kids in her grade are small-minded enough to get endless entertainment from watching him be groped, maimed and beaten by different bullies in every passing period. It seemed that, to her tormentors, physical violence was just a way to keep Touko in her righteous place. Under everyone else.

The husk of a girl lurches down the hall and around a week's worth of dirty laundry, to slither into her father's study. Immediately upon entering, caustic words threaten to peel off Touko's skin and she simply stares back, totally used to this kind of diatribe. She no longer cares that she's too dreamy, too stupid and too useless. But it's when her father strikes him does something wrench free. It must have been something quite….ossified and spiny, for the ragged lacunae in her chest hurt quite a lot.

Something egged him on with insidious words and the sound of an overlong tongue sliding from between protruded teeth. That, and the thought of…meting out quite the payback, blood for blood, blow for blow, delivered with steel as sharp and pointy as a pair of… handsome scissors that were innocently lying upon her father's desk. The writer was now deaf to the tirade of an overworked father who just wants her son to have the she best future she can.

Touko's eyes, now wide with shock, settle on the shiny thing and then bug to their limit as she is suddenly struck with the urge to touch herself. But instead of making their way into her pants, her skinny white hands catch her father's throat and for all the world they look like overlarge maggots trying to turn it inside out.

Death always steals a little beauty from her victims, or maybe that's just their fare for crossing the river Styx. either way, Touko thinks her father looks disgusting. The writer's face pulls into a grimace as she casually steps over the corpse, now-crimson scissors clutched tightly in a claw-like hand. With so many ugly dead people, the world could use a little of her art, couldn't it?