Another one of those things where it’s like an “episode” and there will be more “episodes” in the future.
Also, sorry ’bout the many missed Poem Sundays. They shall be coming soon.
I was assigned a butterfly protagonist and the genre “romance”. I hated it, so I kind of gave my story a little twist.
P.S. I don’t know why it created a link whenever I typed the word “tonight”, but it did. There is nothing there for you, so don’t click it.
I am Hithe, the unknown. My name means “faded child”, which fits me very well. I was born with a weak heart and a slower mind, leaving me decades behind my sister. She was born two years later, but is impressively brainy, beautiful, kind, and gentle. Our parents praise her with every chance, but I am left in the dust. I do not mind though. What do I have to show for myself? Baie is the prodigy, the one to take control of the world some day. She has everything, while I am working to provide for her education. I do not mind though. Hard work will get me farther in life than laziness.
Baie is wonderful on her own, but I act as a booster. I am an accessory. I am the add-on that helps give Baie her good reputation. It’s not as if I do not hear the women whisper as we walk. “There she goes, that wonderful Baie! Where do you think she’s off to in the mornings? I heard it was to feed the elderly in their shelter. What a dear. Who’s the other one walking with her? Sister? Why, I never knew she had any siblings…”
I listen to them every day as we pass their yard swing. Baie pretends to ignore it or to have not heard, but I know she is secretly pleased. I do not mind though. I am her shadow.
Baie and I must travel beside their home every dawn. It is her job we must get to, her work as an assistant. Machi and Fashi sent me along as protection. I am not needed here either. Everyone loves Baie so much, no one would dare to hurt her. I do not mind though. It gives me an excuse to see the water.
“So Baie-huan, what will you learn today?” I ask, using the respective term after her name. She chuckles. “Oh Hithe, if anyone deserves a title, it’s you. I am younger and more of the child.”
I blush and stare at my bare feet. I did not get shoes this season because we ran out of fabric. Baie had needed it for her new dress. I do not mind though. I will now have more calluses, and in that sense, be stronger. “I assumed it pleased you. Machi and Fashi enjoy it…” I mumble. She giggles. Everyone loves her laugh. It tinkles through the air, like the magical chime of wind bells. I hate it, I hate her, I hate everything that involves Baie, a bitter thought spits from no where. I stifle my gasp, praying that my surprise isn’t evident.
I say nothing else, not until we reach the docks to keep the bubbling rage down. I leave Baie with her mentor and excuse myself while they hand out grains and watery soups to our orphans. I pass the merchants’ quarters on the way back and noticed a gangly boy peering around the corner. Following his gaze, I notice he is watching Baie with intense interest. My eyes roll. How many admirers does she need? I sneak behind him and immerse myself in stealth. With one quick jab to the back, he leaps out of his skin. The boy glares irritably and turns slowly to face me. “What do you want? I have never met someone so rude!” I scrunch my shoulders up to my ears at his outrageous outburst. Now he has meagitated. “What do I want?! You sir, are the imbecile gawking at my sister!” I roar.
He closes his eyes and lets out a heavy breath. The boy stands, hands up in surrender. “I am Taito, and yes, I was watching Baie-ren,” he admits. I snort with the added phrase of endearment. “You have no right to call her that,” I grumble and cross my arms. Taito huffs, and swings his hands into a clap. “Let all be forgiven. Me, for watching Baie, and you, for startling me.”
I glare into his thin, olive eyes. “Get out of my sight,” comes my throaty growl.
He shrugs and trots away with a casual wave. I find it totally inappropriate, but it’s too late to say a word. It was common to find a boy lurking around after her, but Baie’s little friends never argued with me. They always ran for the hills, screaming bloody murder. Maybe he liked me too? Don’t be a dunce, comes the blurb of logic. What would you have to offer?I contemplate Taito’s motives on the way home. Machi will be waiting for me with Baie’s things to wash, dry, and return to her wardrobe. My feet pad along the soft, pale tan ground. I watch the puffs they create and how many insects spring from the dirt. I have impacted something, I realize. It takes an hour to find our shady grey door amongst all the duplicates. Of course, every home was modeled after the beauty that is our’s. Fashi, the village leader and my father, was the first to arrive and claim the land as his own.
That makes my name worth a thing or so around here, at least. Where was all my negative energy coming from? I had never felt like this before. Yes you have, another surfaces. You always did, but had been such a good hider. I sigh exasperatedly and swing the door open.
Machi waits for me on the cushion-covered bench with a tight mouth. I have done something wrong; my error was fatal, and that much is obvious by her murderous glare. “Hello, Machi-huan,” I greet. She continues to sit in deathly silence. The quiet has become so thick, I believe my ears will burst under the layers of pressure. “Did you enjoy your gatherings this morning?” I ask as I wipe the bottoms of my feet on her thick, woven rug. Nothing.
Finally she speaks, but it’s not much more pleasant. “I understand you have plans to leave the village after saving your gold?”
My body has frozen over. The stabbing ice of fear is spreading. It leaves from the deep center of my bloody red heart and makes its merry way to my limbs and fingertips. “How…” my unfinished sentence hangs through the pitch black air.
“Did I know?” Machi finishes. “Your employer came to our home today. He was bringing a heavy bag with all the pay you’d been declining- all the gold you have selfishly kept to abandon us.”
Time has has gone still, like a dead animal and its tender, limp heart. I fall to the floor and slam my knees. It all happened so quickly. I had no time to react. All I knew, was my dreams were stolen from me again. They’d been taken away by my prodigy sister and her need for everything I had.
The scene before me played out nicely. My messenger had done my bidding, and now it was time to destroy the rest of weak little Hithe. I floated over her head, waiting patiently for the mother to retrieve the beating stick. It was always her blood on that thick piece of wood. Never had it been her sister’s.
The beating stick; It was my favorite tool they owned. Not only had Hithe carved it specially for her Fashi, but it was intended to help him with his walking! It had become a brutal thing for her punishment over time, and dried splatters of cherry red revealed the overuse. I reached to touch its elegance with my faded, liquid diamond arms as Machi approached.
It was lucky we had all been crafted after one of man’s greatest treasures, and that mine had been so rich in shining color. As my thin fingertips slid over the sharp edge of Hithe’s torture, I sent a tingle and shiver down the mother’s spine. I laughed madly, looking at how just my touch frightened the people. Our mother spirit, the great Yawa, had warned us about showing ourselves. If we were to communicate with them, we had to do so through possessed bodies. Even then, it was dangerous and not recommended. I could only imagine what they would think, scream, or roll about in frenzies for if they saw my true form.
I had chosen the life as a troublemaker, almost a half demon, so I could entertain myself with one life form for centuries…or at least until they sprawled about in death and found themselves in the afterlife, wondering about their many mistakes. Hithe was my second possession, my claim, my property. The first had been a young, troubled boy. I had been too efficient in that case. He had gone so far as to commit suicide before reaching his manhood. I sighed. It had been such a waste, and so disappointing.
Fortunately, Hithe was stronger and strangely, easier to manipulate. She believed lies and could not detect them, had little to no confidence in herself or her findings, and to top it all off, was already a failure compared to her perfect younger sister. I remember the time I took her fondly, as they are my prized memories. Now, as a withering soul that has guided too many human hearts, I recall this particular tale. I had put the unusual thoughts and pains in her mind, slowly adjusting them to grow larger and more detailed. Now I had crippled her. A worry split through me: what if this was too fast a pace? What if she died too soon, just like my first child? I groaned and sat beside Hithe, still curled in a ball of her own misery.
“Hey…Listen!” I shouted. I knew she couldn’t hear my echoing, hollow voice, but it was worth a try. “Don’t give up, you little weakling. I have bigger plans for you! You’ll send all my work to waste! Ugh, you were so useful too…now see. Yawa was right. Girls are too easy to use.”
I was about to cut our thick, gleaming, slime coated cord. The link stretched from my feet to her neck, and was the connection tying me to Hithe until she expired. It cut a tad of my lifespan to lose it so early, but was worth the price when I knew that this project was going down in flames. My fingers shone and glittered as three claws sprung from their spindly, twirling shape. They were so functional to me. All my companions found them to be a pain, but I enjoyed the power they supplied. My grin grew sadistic rapidly while I imagined the many beings I could destroy with such weapons. They took the lives of demons and my kin; they even harmed our almighty Yawa. They were rumored to appear with every level of power, but I felt much stronger than a measly three. Perhaps it was eighteen, if it counted all six of my hands? It mattered not to me, for all I wanted was to break our link as violent and savagely as possible. But then…I was forced to stop.
“U…useful? I have…” she coughed, “purpose?”
My burgundy spark of a heart fluttered about with excitement. “Yes, yes, yes!” I chanted. “You were going to be my star, the pinnacle of history!”
Hithe pulled herself upright without the use of her hands, as they hung limply from her sides. The mother looked down upon Hithe and was determined to break her. “How dare you?” she bellowed. “How dare you throw away your one true family, who has always been loving and caring?!” I projected one of my devious thoughts into her, They never did anything but compare you. This is a hopeless cause. It’d be better to leave.
Tears bubbled at the corners of Hithe’s eyes. Her lower lip quivered, and she ducked away from her mother. The beating stick was swung through the air. It clocked her heavily in the shoulder, but Hithe did not bow. She was going to be a fighter, and that made it all the more valuable to keep her for myself.
Run away, run away! She’s going to murder you!
Hithe’s eyes grew to be the size of her clay dishes, the ones she was forced to wash night after night. Her mouth dropped open and hung, a damp cave for bugs and small creatures to nest in. She dashed from the home and left her mother startled and puzzled. Her salty cries streamed behind wildly as she ran without direction.
I have to get away! I want to do something to hurt- or spite them! She thought noisily. I rolled my eyes. Never had I heard of one so dramatic. I sped ahead and looked around the corners. Something had to pound into her terrible morning with such force, it’d shatter her world…but not so much that it couldn’t be welded back together.
I saw the boy, Taito, as he walked home with his grandfather. The older man waved goodbye and he headed in the opposite direction. I decided it was the perfect time to use him to my advantage. Maybe he could be Hithe’s new enemy, the kid lusting after her sister. I could do that….but it would be a boring and easy decision. I looked back and remembered what Hithe had been thinking when she saw him lurking around the corner. Her emotions flowed over me quickly, but just long enough so I could grasp them.
Anger, hate, irritability, and…jealousy? Had Hithe always felt this way about her sister, but I never noticed? It didn’t matter, because a plan began to formulate. Pieces were fitting together, and my master plot was refining itself. Yes, yes, yes! It was perfection!
I strung her along, making it seem like it was only Hithe’s conscious pushing her as she ran frantically. She turned, sped forward, and the collision exploded. She was thrown on her back in a sprawl, while Taito smacked into the corner of a fruit stand. He groaned and sat, his hand over the growing bump appearing on the top of his head. Hithe wiped at her clammy cheeks with one clear sweep and sat up dizzily and stunned. Now was the time for me to work my magic. I noticed my claws still in place over my fingers. They made my idea so much more fun! Ripping in to Taito’s mind, I saw the skin split open and welcome me. He groaned and clutched the top of his head. Hithe looked at him curiously, wondering what was wrong. Did I run into him that hard? she asked herself. I rolled my eyes. You’re useful, not strong.
Taito’s mind was a swirling sphere of gold energy. Thoughts were orbiting its center, like Hithe’s planet did the Heat. I grabbed the closest one and pinched it between my talons. It was absorbed into my feelers, and I watched the illuminate yellow energy bulge from my touch to my head. The memory played before my eyes, like a glass screen veiling Hithe’s reality.
It was the incident at the market, but from Taito’s point of view. I didn’t care much for the events, just his thoughts as they spewed from his puny brain.
She is so frustrating. I wish I could go back to watching Baie-ren. This daughter is a bit pretty, I suppose…but she’s not a looker like her sister…maybe I could make an excuse and see Baie-ren from the other side. Now that I look at Hithe, I realize what a miracle Baie-ren was. Maybe Baie-ren would like a stable, ordinary guy like me? Who are you joking, bafoon! Oh, the girl’s talking to me. I’ll listen to the last part and it’ll seem as if I was paying attention…
Baie-ren, Baie-ren, Baie-ren. It was all this moron thought of? He’d be easier to control than I thought. I forced the memory down my throat and up to my tongue. Opening my mouth, I noticed the shiny color had changed to a deep mauve. The taste had flipped from its sweet flavor to a bitter, disgusting piece. It became so ugly and tainted with my touch that it was amusing. I enjoyed spitting the thing back in to Taito’s cess pool of a mind.
My feelers were deep inside of his head before a second could pass. He screeched in agonizing pain and drew too much attention. Merchants flooded to the scene as curious little people. Such tiny attention spans! They weren’t stopping me though, even if I was scolded later for making a teeny uprise. What was life if trouble wasn’t stirred up every now and then?
The sky was quickly crowded with fat faces and enormous eyes trying to get a good look at Taito. I puffed a breath of frustration out. They had taken my light to give their thick heads a decent view! I tried to ignore it and progress. I plunged my face inside his swirling, adolescent mind. He screeched like a hunting hawk and brought the rest of the town over to our scene. I pushed them out of my concentration, ironing out the agitated wrinkle.
Taito’s love interests. I found it at last, after scurrying through the rest of him and seeking my answers. It was clearly written tht Baie was the only one for him, but that could easily be changed. After all, he was only a piece in my game. He would do as I say or be eliminated. I prodded the decision a bit, watching it shake and shy away. With one good stab, I was even deeper inside the recesses of Taito’s head. It was amazing; I had never been so buried, but from this far everything was visible. His childhood, heart, values, even sins! If only it wasn’t such an enormous deal to humans! I could entertain myself by doing this alone for years to come!
I was growing impatient though. I looked up and saw the burly arms of men carrying Taito’s swinging body to the medical home. If I didn’t act fast, their spiritual minion would notice my presence…then what? I’m sure by now they had discovered ways to destroy me. I couldn’t let that happen. I’d be thrown to the bottomless, inquitous abyss that is our Hell. I would never see the glorious light again.
Digging frantically in the sea of thoughts and pointless squanders that was Taito’s life, I searched from high and low for the memory. The chewed, swallowed, and absorbed one that I had soiled. The top was farther and farther away, and the pressure was crushing my wings and antennae. It seemed bleak and hopeless, but I knew that if I didn’t rush, I would come out in Hell and be away from all that is good and entertaining. At last, on the rough, scratched and scarred floor, I spotted the thing. It was curled away in the corner and slowly purifying itself back to the previous sunshine color.
I snatched it and paddled through the scum to his romantic plans and fantasies. I scratched away the old idea, the impossible dream of he and Baie growing old together, and replaced it with the more likely and lethal. I grinned maliciously to myself and reappeared in the mid-afternoon over Hithe’s shoulder. She clutched her hands to her chest and worried for Taito. I hope he’s alright… she thought quiet and sincerely.
Days pass, and I still haven’t returned to Machi and Fashi. They will not take me back, not with the way I treated them. How the messenger knew to bring it while I was out is a mystery, but I have a feeling he planned me harm. Mission success, delivery man. Baie visits me at the docks when she has her breaks, but we do not talk to each other. I know what she thinks. She finds it horribly inconsiderate of me. She feels as if I am a traitor, but tries not to show it. I almost feel sorry for her. She doesn’t know I have a clear shot into her head. I am her sister, no matter how much of a failure I became. We share the same blood, unfortunately for her.
My home at the side of the ocean is pleasant, or at least for me. It was dug by a powerful animal and has long since been left and forgotten. I feel that I am fit to live inside it. The angry, flustered side of my mind won’t stop coating me in lies and pain. Why does it I think that admitting all these horrid feelings will help any? It only makes me more depressed and unhappy. I do have hope, light, with one other though…
Taito. I wish for him to find me with every fiber of my being, and pray to the gods of our little world they will at least grant me him. I know it is impossible for Taito to show me any kind of affection, but if I dream…the possibility seems easier to reach and find.
I shop every few days, but hoarde all my purchases. The market people look down on me like I betrayed the village, so I try not to go as often as I should and hide away. Of course I knew Machi couldn’t resist telling the rest of the village of my dishonor, but I thought a few might attempt to understand. Not a soul has reached out to me.
It’s because they think you are garbage.
I listen to the voice intently, relying on its company no matter how terrible the advice. It is the only thing to speak to me within thousands of paces…unless Taito pays me a visit, but that is doubtful.
You are aware of his feelings for Baie. Don’t spout such foolishness.
I sigh and look to the deep sky. The stars are shining brightly this evening. Maybe they want my word that I will never give in. I haven’t ever thought about killing myself until now.
It is a silly reason to consider death, just as foolish as it is to ban you for having different plans from the rest of the village.
I agree with the voice this time. I find it odd every day. I listen to my own thoughts, but they feel like they’ve come from a different person. It makes no difference to me anyway. I am only happy to have someone to talk to. It is much better than being a lonely old hag hiding from the rest of the world.
But you are hiding, Hithe…
I ignore them this time and continue to hang my old blanket. The blind old woman, Dera, sold it to me. I was so happy to not be scorned for once, but disappointed to know she had forgotten my voice and didn’t recognize me. It wasn’t that she was forgiving. I was unknown to those who had lost their sight. As I think it over, I realize how much I miss being the absent soul that was Baie’s sister. The old gossiping ladies are now silent as I pass them. They burn me with their eyes for wanting to break tradition. More than ever, I long for their ignorance and forgetfulness. They would leave me be, never remember I existed, and I could finally go back to the way things were. I had planned to disappear in the soft hush of the night. I most likely would not have been missed afterwards.
What if they did notice? They planned to send a brigade after you? They wanted your head on a stick?
The voice is wrong this time, like they usually are. No one could have cared if I vanished on one, properly dark twilight. My blanket is up and stomach, growling. I crawl from my short cave on my hands and knees. My skin scrapes against the gruff ground and spots of it bleed.
“Let me help you with that.”
I can do things on my own, thank you, I think to my shared head without realizing…it’s Taito.
With a gasp I stand and brush myself off. He smiles at me, faintly. His eyes are passionate and do not break the tender stare we hold. It feels like years before I notice he wants to talk. He mumbles first, but shakes himself and starts again.
“I haven’t stopped thinking about you for a week, Hithe-ren,” Taito says, nervous and weakly. His voice shatters and he coughs at my name. My heart flutters to the high heavens to hear I have replaced Baie, or so it seems.
“Taito…I haven’t you, either,” I whisper softly while staring at the unforgiving ground. How do I suddenly become shy? Do I want to be invisible again?
He grips a fistful of shaggy, auburn hair and stares wistfully into the sky. His eyes close, and he basks in the milky light of the moon. Taito’s pale skin fades away in the white shine, but it pleases me to see him so at peace. “Sit with me, would you please?” I ask jovially.
His deep brown, dusty eyes snap open. The clouds split from his sight for a moment, and he becomes wide awake. It concerns me that they shift back to their previous, dulled state, but not for long. My heart worries itself with the firm grip he holds my work-worn hand in. Would he never let go? Does he want me to be his own? My cheeks redden quickly and he stares away from me. We whip around to speak to each other simultaneously.
“I wanted to-“
“The first time-“
We each chuckle in embarrassment and look at anything but the other. Together, Taito and I walk down the sand painted beach and look for the perfect spot. We sight it nestled amongst the thick tree trunks that grow closer to the village. The soft, white wood makes a nice groove for us to relax in and enjoy our company. Taito offers the first seat and I accept it graciously. He perches beside me stiffly, like he doesn’t know what he wants. Strange gurgling noises emit from his mouth, and I am unsure of what to do. Is he diseased?
Of course! That’s the only reason he needs to be with you tonight! I’ve realized it; he’s going to-
A snarl tears itself free from my insides while I work to banish the putrid voice. Stop trying to hurt me! My scream bounces off the walls of my head. Taito doesn’t notice as he fights his own demons. I sigh and stare into the rippling water that the moon light sways and dances over, gently. Taito pays me no attention for a long while. I don’t have a way to count the time, but I can assume it feels much longer than it has been. I think we have only created an imaginary scene. I don’t think I exist right now. I am in a dream, one that will kill my faint heart in the morning. I ground my eyes shut and count. One…two…three.
Taito is staring at me with wide eyes and a low, even breath. How long has he been crouching over my body?! His nimble fingers brush strands of my sickly, blackened-green hair out of my face. Compared to him, I am loud and having a panic attack. I ex- and inhale with obnoxious, and ragged noises. His forked tongue flicks in and out of his mouth, and leaves a sheen of spit where it’s been. “Tai-“
He stops me with one finger placed over my thin, dry lips. “Don’t worry, Hithe-ren,” he purrs, “we’ll be fine for the night. I have finally come to my senses. It was you I wanted all along…”
“But Taito! What are you planning? It’s happening too fast!” I yelp.
His hand covers my mouth, making it impossible to speak or scream for help…but it’s not as if anyone would come running.
He tugs at my old maid’s outfit. Oddly, only then do I realize I had been wearing the same grimy dress for at least a week. My entire body is covered in a fine layer of dirt and disgusting matter. He presses down against me and traces his fingertips over my rough, bruised arms. His faint blue hue is barely visible in the poor lighting, but it makes him appear dark and sinister. I wonder what my pale, vomit green skin seems like…
I am easily distracted, but before I know it Taito has begun to reach for me. I gasp and tears foam around my eyes. I will no longer have my purity, my last shred of pride. He will make me his tonight
and I will never be free again. I sob outrageously, but nothing changes. His plans will not be deterred.
I listened closely from the water’s edge. It had always fascinated me; the way anything you wrote or set in the shore vanished with every wave. I heard Hithe’s broken cries, but they did not stop for the rest of the night. Taito had been a good minion, and he would have another job soon enough. I’d need to spare him and make sure that he kept his place. He was the inside man, the one pawn that could take the last, murderous shot. Without Taito, the entire scheme fell to miserable ruins.
The Heat began to peak over the shifting, midnight deep water and break the stillness. Hithe had one long, decent scream left in her. I flew to the pair when I knew it had ended. They each lay in a bed of grainy sand that covered their every inch. The matted down area near Hithe’s head was still wet with her bawling, but she only shivered and clutched her body in terrific horror. My time was finally coming. I could have the wonderful, deathly show that the others bowed to. I would be the master, even above the last pair that worked as a duo.
The Heat was forcing itself higher and higher into the sky, but Hithe and Taito refused to move. I decided to pass the time by meddling with the boy. As I ripped through the crown of his head again, he arched his back and let his mouth hang open. Hithe didn’t stir or notice, but lay there and wallowed in her depression. I delved into the open book that was Taito, searching for anything that could be slightly useful. His childhood, parents, past schooling experiences, hopes, dreams…fears? My interest grew to be almost too powerful, and nearly dug through every file. It would have provided me with a good chuckle, but no. I heard footsteps approaching, and I wanted a good view of the next act.
“Whoever” was humming an old nursery rhyme. Their footsteps were light and dainty while wearing strong, sturdy shoes. I caught a whisp of glittering sea green hair, but they passed along under the thick collection of leaves before I could focus on who it was. As they were only a few steps from Hithe and Taito, the woman sang her melody, with a voice pure like crystal.
Don’t you see?
The night has fallen and it’s to bed with me.
Once I’ve gone,
I’ve begun to dream,
And there I will find,
Happiness to greet me…”
I giggled and realized who was coming near. Baie had come back early this morning to visit her sister. This was going to be spectacular. It was such a sweet turn of events.
“Hithe? Hithe? I brought you some of our scraps today…” she called through the cluster of mountainous trees and large collection of foliage. “Hithe? I know you can’t go into town often and shop, so I thought I could give-“
She promptly stopped speaking, and the wicker basket crashed to the ground. Taito leapt from the sandy bed, screaming, “I’m sorry!!”
His eyes rolled over the smashed wood and bruised fruit, and then to Baie’s slender feet. “Oh, oh, Baie! Please, let me explain!”
She allowed clean, streaking tears to roll down her face. They dropped off her jawline and settled cozily in the light sand. Baie shook her head, yanked at thick clumps of hair, and collapsed to the ground. “Why, why, why, why…” she muttered repetitively.
Hithe wheezed herself awake and immediately saw the little meltdown. “Baie! What happened?!” she shrieked. “You hurt her, didn’t you?! How could you do something like that?!” Hithe shoved past him and stroked her back.
Taito yelled many times that he hadn’t done anything wrong, but Baie didn’t move.
At last, her head shot up and she glared daggers at Hithe. “How could YOU?! I thought I could trust my family! You’ve mangled and destroyed the bond we had!”
Baie continues to shake vigorously. She refuses to stop, and her outburst leaves me in a state of disturbed bewilderment.
“Baie-huan, what are you talking about?!” I wonder, puzzled beyond my imagination.
“Taito was mine,” she cries, “and I want him back! Thief! Liar! Village whore!”
I sit in shock. Then, my emotions slowly boil and rage. She never paid any attention to Taito, so did she only care now that he was mine? No matter how he may abuse you, love Taito. He is perfect for you in every aspect…I would know…I am you!
The voice had disappeared for the night, which was a small, gratifying help. It was the first time that they tried to do something to please me, so I accepted their suggestion.
I asked poisonously, “Do you really love Taito? Or are you finally jealous of me for having something you don’t?”
Baie killed me with her eyes numerous times in the few seconds that came to pass, but gave me her (dishonest) innocent act.
“how could you think that of me?” she pretends to ponder with enormous, angelic eyes. “Tai-ren, of course I honestly, and truly care for you. Please don’t believe a single lie she tells!”
I scoff and return to the voice, continuing with her in an actual conversation for once.
Do you believe this? I ask.
No, she replies, not for a second.
Then, a realization hits me straight between the eyes.
Taito and Baie both stare at me in shock.
“What?” come the two, simultaneous questions.
“I repeat, “Leave. I don’t want you here, Baie, since all you have done since the day I was born is use me. Every time you were in need, I had to be the one you turned to. I’m sick of obeying you, and now that this is my home, I have the authority. Get out, and you may not return.”
She pouts and sticks her fat bottom lip at me. “But Hithe-huaaaaan!”
I chuckle and point to the entrance- a short gap in the overbearing wilderness. She gives a wink to Taito after being nearly through the little tunnel. I shake branches at her, hustling Baie out and into town.
Baie’s presence lingers heavily in my little hovel, and Taito seems completely distracted. His face softens while he thinks, and it seems to be completely different from the man who was with me last night. I nudge his arm and smile. “Are you alright?” I ask sweetly.
“I…uh…I must be going…” he mumbles. “I have a bit of work to do this morning.”
I wave as Taito passes under the trees and kicks up clouds of sand. He certainly hurried off, they think to me.
You think he has something up his sleeve? I ask in concern.
They shrug, or, so if feel they do. In unspoken agreement we rush silently after him. Following the heavy stamp of footprints is easy enough; it’s being silent and unnoticed we fear.
I never thought that I would have a problem not being spotted, I half-joke. The voice pays me no mind and continues to look for the next left or right to take at the approaching corner. I hang my hair in my face as we pass the first few sellers’ stands. Like that will help, they comment rudely at my mock disguise.
It’s all I can do, alright?! I retort.
Eventually, we see more than Taito’s pair of feet in the dirt and have to think. We wonder where he might have gone or what the chore he had to do could have been.
The first place I head to is where we first met. He isn’t anywhere to be seen. It gives me a little spell of relief to know he isn’t still watching Baie, but then again, she is isn’t at the docks either.
The voice says, They could be sneaking around together. I bet they’re hiding in a small space right now, enjoying each other.
My heart beats against my rib cage as my worrying begins. I scratch my head anxiously and come back with three fingers full of hair.
I pace around the market center and coat my feet in thicker layers of dirt and filth.
Why do I want him anyway? He used me. He took my purity and possessed it, and took advantage of me! I’m so scared and torn…
The voice stays silent and listens to my distress. I wish that my life could restart and I might make something else of myself.
Were these common worries of this age? It feels like mine are more extreme. I sense the voice roll her eyes. I don’t even know you’re name… I wonder anxiously.
The voice mutters something incomprehensible. What? I ask impatiently.
You don’t need to know, she replies. I forget about it move on with my search. There are more important things on the table at the moment.
I scamper from vendor to vendor, each time asking in a husky voice if they have seen Taito. The answer is always “no”. I peer through the to the backs of alley and lurk around edges, but never spot him. I have almost lost hope when I hear a familiar giggle. People around the magical noise brighten and beam with new hope. I dash down the street, and at the moment don’t care who frowns upon me. The voice is becoming excited and urging to go forward. I slow as I approach the covered end of a wagon. The cart bumps and rocks with someone inside.
Without hesitating, I toss the back flap away.
The longing to cry rises to the top of my throat while tears threaten to break free and flow down my cheeks. She is in Taito’s arms, snuggled against his bony chest. Baie turns to me in phony shock. “Oh no,” she says sarcastically, “you’ve found us so soon?!”
I glare her down without being able to look at Taito.
“I thought you both had some sort of love for me,” I spit through ground teeth.
Baie looks to him with a temptress’ eyes. “No, we don’t at all, do we Tai-ren?”
He shakes his head. I force my chin to lift and stare him in the face.
With cold, unfeeling eyes, Taito says to me, “Don’t worry Hithe. Now that I know you cannot refuse me, I’ll be by your…er, home whenever I feel like it.”
I turn to my sister with large, watery eyes. “You…you’re full of hidden evil. Selfish, selfish evil!”
She shrugs and shoos at me with one, slender hand. I slowly close the flap back over the two and turn from the scene. A little boy throughs his chewed candy at me from across the road. It misses mostly but catches on my bony, left ankle. I hang my head in shame. My dirty, faded hair shags over my eyes wildly. I pound down the path and accept the sharp, jagged rocks digging in to the bottoms of my feet. On some level, it feels nice to still recognize an emotion: pain. I drag my hand across the sides of buildings and allow the broken edges to scrap over my palms. I knock my knee into the corner of an abandoned table solidly, so I slow down and start to limp carelessly. My toes drag over lost objects; silver, broken bits of wooden toys, and sharp pieces of chipped metal…they all feel refreshing over my numb and aching body. Don’t be so upset, the voice tells me. You half knew this was coming. What value could you possibly have to anyone, much less to Taito or Baie?
I sob, inside and out. The least my sniveling does is leave fresh lines over my face where the dirt runs off. I always knew…always….but I had hoped it would have changed…
What, with Taito? He took from you and left, Hithe. Did you think he would come back and say that with a day to think about it he fell in love with you?
I scream senselessly and without meaning. It breaks a rift through my skull and burns the insides of my ears, but only the birds flutter away. Babies whine in their mothers’ arms, but other than that only the animals pay it any attention. I don’t matter to anyone anymore; I’m not invisible, only worthless. Then another thought strikes me down.
What do I matter? I could be dead and it would be a celebration. So why not? The Holiness or Hell would be a better place to stay than this cold, cruel home planet. I need to find a knife.
No! Stop! You don’t know what you’re doing! The voice yells at me. I ignore their pestering and continue on with my new shopping list.
I needed to stop Hithe, no matter the cost. She was about to go too far, just like my first child had. But how? I had to have something to show Mother Yawa, or I would be next on the slaughter list. Those who had two possessions in a row that quickly were worthless to her, and had a bad track record. My entertainment wasn’t lasting as long as it should!
Hithe moved like a wounded creature, so it gave me a slight time advantage. I rushed ahead and searched for anything sharp in her path. Knives, pitch forks, spears, bows and arrows, daggers! There was not one shop without them. If I was going to stop this, I needed to be efficient as well. It took Hithe approximately two minutes to look for lethal equipment in each stand. I had that amount of time to find them, bury or discard, and get to the next man on the hit list.
It kept me busy, I can tell you that. At the last stop, Hithe bent over and was gasping for breath. She clutched her empty stomach and quivered on her hands and knees. She began dry heaving there, beneath all the shuffling feet and hurried people. I connected with her. Hithe, you need to stop. Dying won’t solve any of your problems.
Yes it will!! I don’t belong here! She screeched. I rolled my many different eyes. Such a dramatic little one indeed.
I’m not being dramatic! Shut your fat mouth! She answered.
What? How did she…oh no.
Oh dear Mother Yawa, why?!
I had played with her life too much, become too close to Hithe, and felt her emotions within my own. Maybe I was the one who needed to disappear…
It was a bit of a rule that we didn’t feel sympathy for our chosen humans. That way, everything became easier and no one was attached. I had been a good little spirit and followed the unspoken law with my last boy, but this I felt like I couldn’t help. Hithe was decent on the inside and strong enough to be compatible with me…but what was I thinking! Me, a creature designed for destruction, helping the life of a despairing child. It was unimaginable. Mother Yawa would loathe me, and possibly cut our connection herself. She wanted us to stay with her forever and bring her her own amusement.
I paid a second of my attention to Hithe, who was still crippled and in pain on the ground, but then toyed with my last thought. Mother Yawa got her kicks out of watching our play. It was them same way we handled the people. We were her puppets! Without our knowing, she had made us into working toys.
I became enraged and tore away from Hithe. She would be fine; I had tapped into her emotions and channeled a few ounces of pain extra. It hurt me as well, but not only because of our tie. I had become involved with Hithe and watching her in terrified spasms that I had caused….I felt…what was this? No one described this to me in our brief training. It was like anger, but softer, as if it had been muffled. I fluttered past crowds of people with this great remorse weighing down my soul. I tucked my head in and glanced down at its color. What…this had never been told of before. My little orb had changed into a pale, illuminate blue. I had never felt this way, seen such things, or experienced anything like it. I flew quickly and scrambled through the air. Where was my nearest brother or sister? I searched high and low until coming across my friend: Yuri. He pushed his man down into the pond before us, and forced his head to stay under for a decent minute. Just as I could tell his life force was ebbing away, Yuri pulled him back. The man gasped for breath and grappled for any kind of ledge or dry ground. Yuri laughed in his deep, throaty voice and sneered. I called to him, “Help! Yuri! Please!”
He turned abruptly and left his connection at the base of the water to shiver and drip. “Ah, Akumai,” he greeted me, “what brings you looking for- Akumai! What has happened to you?! We must hurry to Mother Yawa, come come!”
I shook my head and refused. “That isn’t really the problem, brother. Well, partly.”
I explained to him my experiences over the last week or so. As I finished it left him awestruck.
Yuri rumbled, “She’s been exploiting us this whole time. I see it now, Aku.” I cringed at my nickname. Fortunately for him, Yuri was the only one who had never been beaten for its use. Instead of punishing him, I nodded along with Yuri’s conclusions.
“Aku, what we need more than anything is to discover ourselves. I have been taking in too much of my human, Mase, for…similar reasons. I have been feeling a lack of enthusiasm in myself at the thought of his torture. Perhaps this is what the rest of our family needs; a positive outlook, a rejuvenation ceremony,” Yuri considered. I rushed to rub my face against his in our traditional showing of thanks or praise. I examined Yuri more closely then, And noticed his soul had dimmed as well. It wasn’t becoming the fresh, glowing aqua like mine, but was instead lightening to a more vibrant piece. I was about to glide back with my mind more at ease. It would take only minutes now to calm Hithe and help her to realize a few things and explain myself. I was ready to stop obeying Mother Yawa and listen to my own mind. Maybe the death of my first child had even been because I was pushing myself to be as evil and maniacal as my colleagues. But, just as jovially as I was to restart my career, Hithe had found a way to finish herself. I plummeted suddenly into the ground and smashed half my right and left wing.
I could feel Yuri calling for help and aide from others, but it was barely a hum against my scorching brain. Every piece of my body was aflame with hurt, sorrow, and loss. Hithe! Hitheeeee! I cried. I heard final words escape her mind:
Do not turn back to your creator. Continue on, Akumai, as is my last wish. Give Baie and Taito promising lives…and don’t forget Machi and Fashi…I do not hate you for what you’ve done. It wasn’t your own fault. But please, never revert to the same tactics. Bring the world…
I wail on my broken body in anguish. Hithe is gone and should never return. But…she understood me. She was powerful on the inside, and kept her identity well veiled. I feel her heart rising to the Holiness, and send my final goodbye.
Watch over my future children, please. Make sure they never stray and make my same mistakes. You are the only thing keeping me on this path.Thank you.
I do not mind, she replied.