Keep Breathing

Hyakudan Kaidan

Rai Kamishiro

Kali stared at the thing in his hand.

It was one of those mini-skewers, with a raspberry at the end. The silver two pointed metal spike gleamed dully in the fluorescent light as he twirled it between his fingers deftly.

It had come from a collection of skewers like it, bought by his brother as a present from some exotic country or another. He didn't really care where it came from; it only mattered that it was here now.

His eyes followed the berry end like a man in a trance, up, down, up, down, up, down-


He rasped the pad of his finger over the metal, feeling the slight pressure of the sharp edge, the sense of not quite pain that his nerves signaled to his brain.

Kali was stretched out on his bed, one hand playing with his toy. His bed was unremarkable, much like himself, with slightly messy covers and a pillow carelessly thrown around the headboard.

The room was amazingly bare for someone of his age, his walls were white with ought the usual littering of posters one could expect from a high school boy. A large, almost wall-to-wall window in the west was the only thing that interrupted the pristine white. The only objects in the rather Spartan room were the perfectly made bed with the white bedspread, the wooden desk, and a closet.

And of course, the berries.

There were six skewers carefully stored in their holding bin, a large plastic raspberry bush with holes for each berry.

The boy himself was rather mundane, with hair that was neither brown nor gold. His eyes, hidden behind long bangs, were a muddy color that wasn't quite blue, but more of a dull metal. They weren't strong enough to be steel, nor were they sufficiently clear to be silvered.

In fact the whole boy seemed to be something in between everything; he had no extraordinary abilities, wasn't in ordinarily bad at any one subject, nor had anything that would really stick out about him.

Perfectly ordinary.

The cool metal found it's way into Kali's mouth, his tongue carefully trailing along the side, especially careful as he reached the finely honed edges.

He bit it lightly, then drew it out, the prong scraping his lip and producing an insignificant paper cut. It bled a little, leaving a red smear on tips of the prongs.

Kali licked the blood away. It wouldn't do to have his toys tarnished by a smear of rust.

He was on the small side, and he was a fortunate in the fact that he had not encountered more than the normal share of bullying. There was an advantage to blending in the background most of the time.

There were candles in the room that lent a half glow to it; something that made it light enough to see, yet dark enough to play.

He lightly scraped the blade over his arm, making patterns in the skin, pretty, pretty patterns that meant nothing and yet held everything he couldn't put into words.

The honey colored candlelight flickered over the light white lines randomly, like pale moths searching for a place to land.

Kali looked at his left hand, with the lines falling down to his wrist, and carefully probed.

The flesh was soft under his fingers, the bones easily recognizable as were the tendons, and the muscles. He carefully pushed them around a bit, almost as if he were massaging his hand, and found the spot.

It was between the middle and ring finger, almost perfectly in the center of his palm. He carefully felt for the nerves, and pushed at the major muscles, testing the flesh.

With his right hand he reached for the raspberry, the metal glinting dully in the firelight as he tested the points against the flesh.

With one quick movement, before he could lose his resolve, Kali lifted his toy and rammed it through his hand.

White flashed before his eyes and he drowned in a sea of pain, an overload of his nervous system as the waves crashed over him. A harsh cry tore out of his throat, choked and desperate. He could feel his eyes roll back, and he fought to keep conscious.

He let out a deep breath, unaware that he had been holding it, then forcibly struggled to breathe. He released that one shuddering, the pain in his hand registering as he bit his lip and drew blood, the red liquid dripping over his mouth and on to the bed spread.

A few drops splattered against the pillow cover as he pushed out a lung full of air, his body shuddering without his realization.

It took a long while, he couldn't see the clock for his eyes were tightly shut, but the pain finally stopped wracking his system with every breath. He opened his eyes warily and looked at the candles. His eyes stung with the sight, and he closed them quickly, opening them slowly, until he could see without pain.

The act diverted his attention from his hand. His lip was throbbing now, bleeding slowly on to his white shirt. He ignored it and looked at the candles.

Time was unimportant to him; he only kept a clock for the necessity of waking up.

So he looked at the candles to see how much they had melted, and was dully surprised to see that only ten minuets had passed.

His hair fell in to his eyes and he brushed it away with a blood-smeared hand, smudging blood on to his cheek.

He ignored it and carefully moved his hand, which resulted in more brain wreaking pain, which subsided only when he stopped all attempt to contract it.

A knocking on his window broke his pained whimpers.

Abruptly, the young man jerked slightly, the movement as quick as a ring of crystal.

Behind the pane of glass stood, or rather, floated a figure, with all the grace of a slowly falling flower petal.

It knocked again as Kali half stood to open the window, smiling pleasantly although it's eyes were closed.

His hand shaking, he opened the window, blood smearing on the glass as the stranger alighted on the windowpane with one delicately booted foot, a hand with long fingers gripping the edge of the window as he stepped onto the bed.

A hand emerged from the dark cloak the stranger wore, strangely large for his delicate fingers, with immaculate nails that gleamed like glass.

It grabbed Kali's left wrist in his strong grip, the boy stifling a cry that no one in his empty house would hear.

Long fingers whispered over his cheek, tracing over the bloody smear on it, before he felt something faint over his face, a quick kiss that cleared the red stain from it.

The stranger smiled with a painfully beautiful smile and pulled out the innocent spike, ignoring the wounded cries it elicited from Kali.

The boy sunk to his knees upon the bed, the only thing keeping him suspended the tight grip on his wrist.

He closed his eyes as more blood dripped from the newly cut wound, streaming down his arm. He clenched his teeth in order not to scream. The sound would reach the neighbors, although there was no one to bother in the house.

He felt a warm tongue lap at the spilled blood, traveling up his arm until it reached his hand, where it sucked at the hole, lightly scraping teeth over the congealed blood so that the wound would again open, to it could siphon out the red liquid.

Kali opened his eyes and saw a pair of green eyes made of glass, staring at him beyond his open fingers, blood on his lips and death in his eyes.

And then Kali saw nothing more but black.