Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

She’d been hurt for the last time. She ran from that place she used to call “home” and out onto the street. She looked frantically around, where can I go? Her feet took off and she was running again. She ran the mile to the park in under five minutes, the fastest she’d ever run. She arrived out of breath, and shaking. Tears blinded her eyes as she stumbled onto the playground. Suddenly, she just stopped moving. She couldn’t force her feet to take another step. Her entire body was shaking, her sobs wracking her body. Her knees buckled and strong arms wrapped around her waist and held her up, lips pressed against the back of her neck in a silent kiss. She leaned back against him and his arms tightened against her.
“Shh,” he murmured. “Baby, shh.” Her body continued to shake with her silent cries. She raised her fists to her eyes and continued to weep. He pressed his forehead to the back of her neck and just held her while she cried. When her sobs quieted, and her breathing became regular he lifted his head and kissed her hair. Neither moved for a second, listening to the silence. One of his hands reached up and pulled the sleeve of her shirt down, revealing an untouched wrist. He did the same to the other, revealing the same thing, and sighed in relief. He turned her around and kissed both of her scarred wrists.
“Thank you,” he whispered to her.
“How did you know I was here?” She asked him, her voice still shaky and weak.
“I was coming to get you, you ran right past me” he said with a small smile.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered. His hands cupped her face and he pecked her lips lightly.
“Are you okay?” He asked her, searching her eyes.
“I am now,” she mouthed. He pressed his forehead to hers and wrapped his arms around her waist, closing his eyes and taking a deep breath.
“I love you,” he whispered against her lips. She pressed her body into his and wrapped her arms loosely around his neck.
“What would I do without you?” She whispered back. She tilted her head up a little and kissed his lips, love pouring out of her. He kissed her back just as passionately and tightened his hold on her. They pulled apart, both breathing a little irregularly.
“Come on,” he said pulling away from her. She followed as he walked out of the park, his arm wrapping around her shoulders, pulling her close to him. She smiled and wrapped her arm around his waist, leaning her head on him.
“Where are we going?” She asked him confused.
“Your house,” he answered. She stopped walking and a ripple of pain tore through her chest. “Hey, hey” he said cupping her face and looking her straight in her wide, frightened eyes. “We need to get some stuff for you.”
“What?” She said, not understanding.
“You’re not staying in that house anymore,” he said firmly. Her eyes widened and filled with fresh tears. He swiped his thumbs under eyes to clear the tears there. “None of that now,” he said with a soft smile.
“I love you,” she whispered. He kissed her forehead and resumed walking to her house, her hand enclosed in his.
She shook slightly, looking up at her big house when they arrived, her breath stuck in her throat. He squeezed her hand and said
“You don’t have to go; I’ll go get your stuff.” She shook her head and began walking towards her backyard. She pushed the ladder up against the side of her house, directly under her window and began climbing while he waited for her at the bottom, holding the ladder steady. She opened her window silently and climbed into her room. She walked over to her door and cracked it open; peering around the hallway to make sure her stepmother wasn’t around. Satisfied that she was alone, she hurried to her closet and began throwing her clothes into a bag. She packed all the things she couldn’t bear to leave behind, and then turned back to her closet. She reached onto the top shelf and pulled down a shoebox. Opening it, she looked at all her mother’s belongings that she had salvaged from her father’s anger. A few pictures and pieces of jewelry occupied the box. Most important was her mother’s favorite necklace, a beautiful silver locket with pieces of blue topaz embedded in the front, her mother’s favorite stone. She opened it and inside was a picture of her mother on one side, and a picture of her mother holding her as a toddler. She reached behind her and clasped the necklace on then packed the box into her bag. She opened the window a bit farther and threw her two bags down, grabbed her purse, and began descending the ladder, closing her window behind her. She was free. 

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Starcrossed: Chapter 1

For years, a battle has destroyed the whole of Japan. Demons wreak havoc on the lands; humans live in constant fear, living in caves and under mountains, afraid to walk out of their doorsteps for fear of the unknown. The war has waged so long that none remember, save a few elderly. Lord Onigumo, ruler of the humans and the East, battles with Lord InuTaisho of the western lands, speaker for the demons.
Yet, there is one who can save us, one who can end the wars. She has been chosen by Midoriko, a dead priestess now angel in heaven. There is one girl, of Midoriko’s own bloodline, that she smiles upon. She just doesn’t know it yet.
“Kagome!!” A man’s voice boomed and echoed through the great halls. A small sixteen year old girl scurried through the doors and knelt before the man. She was wearing a light green tunic that ended at her knees, a darker green sash tied around her waist, showing that she indeed had a nice figure. Her wavy black tresses fell to the small of her back; her bangs hid her chocolate brown eyes from the man sitting in the thrown in front of her.
“Yes my Lord?” She asked in a meek voice.
“I do believe my Lady asked you to mend her dress for this evening’s event, did she not?”
“Yes my Lord,” she answered quietly.
“Evening has come and where is the dress?”
“I-” she began.
“Not here!” He bellowed loudly causing the young girl to flinch harshly.
“My Lord Onigumo, I beg your forgiveness.” She pressed her forehead to the cold, tiled floor in utter humiliation. Lord Onigumo sneered down at his slave.
“You are to mend the dress immediately and meet me in my chambers directly afterwards.” He had the satisfaction of seeing her tremble as she muttered a quick,
“Yes my Lord,” and nearly ran out of the room. Just as she left, a woman with long black hair down to her knees and lifeless brown eyes with a striking similarity to the slave girl walked into the room.
“Ah, Lady Kikyo,” Lord Onigumo smiled. “My love,” he said in a tender voice. She smiled at him as she dipped her head in respect.
“My Lord,” she said in her stoic voice. She sat in the throne next to him and asked, “Did you punish that despicable creature?”
“Not yet, my love.” Before Kikyo could protest he said, “We wouldn’t want her too injured for tonight would we?” Kikyo sneered and laughed amusedly.
Kagome bowed her head as Lady Kikyo entered the room she was running away from.
“Wench,” greeted Kikyo rudely.
“My Lady,” Kagome mumbled and hurried on. She ran to the servants quarters, ignoring the mumbles and shouts behind her. She dashed into her room and locked the door quickly behind her. She let out a shaky breath and leaned against the door heavily, sliding down to the floor. No, she thought. Not like last time. An image of Lord Onigumo standing above her, his eyes wild, as he reached down to her flashed before her eyes. His wavy black hair was sprawled wildly around his head, his red eyes looking scarier than usual.
She shook her head and the image disappeared replaced with a soothing darkness. It’s just a stupid dress, why must they be so cruel?  She thought despairingly. Suddenly a small knock sounded against the door, a tentative
“Kagome?” was heard through the doors. She stood and unlocked the door as fast as she could. Then, he was in her arms.
“Souta,” she breathed. Her arms tightened around the boy as she held him close to her.
“Sis,” he replied warmly. He took a step back, his eyes shining with unshed tears.
“How are you here?”  She asked blinking away tears of her own.
“General Musso was busy and didn’t notice when I slipped away.” He replied shrugging.
Souta was only a twelve year old boy, forced into the military, like others his age. Many mothers had opposed Lord Onigumo’s demands to force their children to fight, but with more men being massacred by demons every day, they had no choice. Souta and Kagome’s father had died fighting in the war and Kagome was afraid the same fate would befall Souta. Kagome’s mother had died a year later, her body found floating in a stream, her face completely gone.
The Higurashi siblings had been orphaned when Kagome was twelve and Souta was eight. That was when Kagome had first started working for Lord Onigumo. It had seemed like a great job, a room for herself and Souta, and all she had to do was do a few tasks for Lady Kikyo. That was before she found out what a slave driver Kikyo was, and how cruel Onigumo could be. Souta was allowed to stay in Kagome’s room without having to work, as long as he didn’t cause trouble. But when Souta turned twelve, Kagome tried to keep it a secret, saying he was still only eleven. When Lord Onigumo found out, however, the punishments had worsened uncontrollably. It was one punishment she knew she deserved.
She pushed Souta away from herself gently and quickly rushed over him with her eyes.
“Have you been injured in any way? Did you fight in any battles? Are you sure you’re alright?!” She asked anxiously. Souta rolled his eyes, but smiled a small smile.
“I’m fine ‘Gome” he said. She grinned at him and embraced him yet again. “Kohaku is here too,” he said into her shoulder.
“He is?” She asked, surprised. “Has he seen Sango yet?”
“We snuck away together,” Souta said. “He should be with her now.”
“Let’s go see them,” Kagome suggested. Kagome poked her head out of her door and peered down the hallway. “I don’t think any of the other servants will turn you in, but you can’t be too careful” she explained. Souta nodded and the two ran down the hall. Kagome stopped in front of a door and she pulled a key out of, seemingly, thin air.
“Where’d you get that?” Souta asked. Kagome grinned.
“A magician never reveals her secrets,” she winked. Souta shook his head and watched as she unlocked the door and dashed inside. She closed the door behind him and grabbed an unlit lantern, twisting the small knob to produce light. “The old servant’s stairs,” she said. “Haven’t been in here since last time you were here.” Souta laughed quietly, remembering all the mischief they had caused when he visited last. He took every chance he could to see his older sister, for he loved her dearly. She was all he had left in his world and he didn’t intend to lose her.
They traveled down the corridors swiftly and silently. “Where do you think they are?” Souta asked.
“Sango is usually hanging around the other palace demon slayers, so we’ll check with them. They won’t turn you in of course; they know how much Kohaku means to Sango so we should be okay.” Kagome said. She opened another door and sunlight flooded the hallway. She peeked around the corner and upon seeing her friend; she exited the hidden passage with her brother right behind her.
A tall girl with long brown hair tied into a high ponytail was standing with a boy in an empty hallway. She was dressed in a pink and white kimono that went to her ankles with a green skirt wrapped around it. The kimono was long-sleeved and peeking underneath, part of her demon slayer uniform was revealed. A boy was in her arms, embracing her in return. The boy’s skin was tanned from the harsh sun, his hair brown and tied back in a ponytail. He was dressed in a black and green demon slayer’s armor identical to Souta’s black and red one.
“Sango! Kohaku!” Kagome cried upon seeing them. The two turned towards her and identical grins covered their faces.
Sango and Kohaku Taijiya were also orphans; their parents were great demon slayers and died in a great battle alongside Ryo Higurashi, Kagome and Souta’s father. Sango was nineteen and Kohaku was thirteen years old. Sango and Kohaku were family to Kagome and Souta; they only had each other to lean on in these harsh times. Sango worked as a guard demon slayer to their village under the mountain, one of few females; Kohaku fought alongside Souta.
“Kagome! Souta!” The Taijiya siblings exclaimed. Kagome embraced Kohaku while Sango did the same to Souta. The four pulled apart when they heard a man’s voice exclaim,
“Boys! So great to see you!” Everyone turned to see a man with violet eyes and brown hair pulled back into a tiny ponytail at the nape of his neck. He was dressed in long purple and black robes, a staff in his right hand. Sango rolled her eyes as the two boys raced towards the man shouting excitedly,
Miroku Houshi was a monk. His mother had died when he was little and his father died a few years later. The men of the Houshi family had all been cursed by an evil demon named Naraku, to have a black hole implanted in the palm of his left hand. Whenever he opened it, everything within distance would be sucked inside, never to return.  Prayer beads were wrapped around his arm to keep the “Wind Tunnel” from being open all the time. His father had been sucked through his own hole, and the same fate awaited Miroku if the demon Naraku was not slain. Miroku was now twenty years old and a powerful monk. His only downside was-
“Pervert!” Sango shouted, slapping Miroku’s cheek. The wandering hand left her bottom and she turned to face the monk. The dreamy look in his eyes did not waver as a red hand-print formed in his face.
“It was the hand Sango!” He protested, referring to the wind tunneled hand, “It’s possessed!”
“The only thing it’s possessed by is you!” She shouted. Kagome, Kohaku, and Souta all exchanged amused glances, covering their snickers with their hands. Sango glared at them and their smiles disappeared instantly. The monk rubbed a hand to his face and pouted pathetically.
“Why are you so mean to me, Sango? You know I’m doing this because I love you so,” he said sadly.
“Right, love me enough to stay above the waist,” she said rolling her eyes. Miroku grinned evilly and eyed her breasts, his hand already creeping away from his side. Sango’s eyes widened when Kagome and the boys burst out laughing, her arms immediately crossing over her chest. She glared at Miroku and he only smiled innocently in return.
Kagome watched silently as Miroku and Sango continued to bicker and Kohaku and Souta made snide comments to each other. She cherished these moments, these moments where she could forget all about Lady Kikyo and Lord Onigumo and just being with her friends. Her family.