The burning in his lungs hurt like hell. His vision was blurring, his arms wouldn't move. His feet felt like weights pulling him farther down. The blue hue around him gradually turned white. Am I dead?
His body felt light. He was now surrounded by a white infinity. His body still refused to move, but his thoughts ran free. Have I died? Where am I? The brightness of the white surrounding blinded him. What happened?
Then the white vanished and it was suddenly pitch black. What the-? His mind decided to give up then and his thoughts were left unanswered.
A teenaged boy walked down the street, a grocery bag slung over his right shoulder. He was humming a tune he didn't know, thinking thoughts he didn't understand, but it's always been like that. The boy strolled down the sidewalk, crossed the street at the intersection, and walked into the front yard of a house labeled 'Hakuba'. He pulled out a key from his pocket and proceeded to unlock the front door. Upon entering the house, the boy kicked off his sneakers, walked into the dining room and dropped the bag of groceries on the table. Then he proceeded through the dining room to a room in the back of the house.
Technically, it wasn't a house, it was more of a mansion, but every house on the block was that big, so everyone just called it a 'house'. Plus, among the rich, it was 'only a house'.
The boy opened the door that he had marked 'My Room' and flopped onto the single bed in the dark, unlit room. He sighed. The tune of the song he didn't know was stuck in his mind again. He sat up and walked over to his computer desk. He slid into the swivel chair and booted up his computer. The screen changed from black to blue and as he entered his password for his account, the boy's fingers froze over his keyboard. Someone had been in here. His eyes narrowed as he scanned the room for any physical evidence of the intrusion. He found it by his bed. The black jacket he left on his bed was now gone. The boy stood up and slid open his closet door. The black jacket sat, neatly folded, on top of his dresser. Was it just the maid?
The boy sighed and decided to forget the incident. It wasn't worthwhile over-thinking things. He went back to his computer desk and logged into his account. That's when a weird message popped up on his computer screen. It read:
Don't think you can hide it forever. It'll expose itself, you just wait.
Just as the boy finished reading the message, it disappeared and his monitor stood empty, as if nothing had happened. What the hell was that?
A knock sounded on his door and the boy whirled around to find a woman standing there.
"It's lunchtime, sir."
"Oh, okay. Thanks. I'll be right there." The boy turned back to his computer, but on the spur of the moment, spun around again and said, "Wait, have there been any visitors today?"
The maid tilted her head slightly. "Visitors? I do not believe so, sir."
"Ah, is that so? Thank you."
The maid nodded and disappeared down the hall. The boy leaned back in his chair. How long will it be before everything comes back? Then he sighed and turned off his monitor, closing his room's door after himself. It was lunchtime. There was no point worrying over lunch.
Lunch was uneventful. It always was, but the boy did not mind much. He was living in a house with people he did not know, living as a person he did not know. Come to think of it, there wasn't much he did know.
It had been two years since he had drowned. Or, almost drowned. From everyone around him, he had found out that he had indeed 'drowned', but thankfully, a man had come by at the right time and jumped in to save him. He barely managed to slip by with his life. Who that man was, no one knows. At least, no one would tell him. But all the information about his past, before the incident, remained a mystery to him. All he had were stories, perhaps fabricated by everyone to deceive him.
But nonetheless, the boy had no memory of his life before the accident. Some people called him names and said he had tried to drown himself on purpose, wanting to start a new life with a clean slate. Others said he had been in on it for the money. Yet no one believed that he had really lost his memory. Despite the most absurd stories people would accuse him of; the boy realized that any one of those fabricated stories of his classmate's imagination could very well be the true. Whatever he had done to land himself in this life, he was here now.
He thought he could live like that, not caring what the past had been, what he had been, who he'd have been, and just start painting his empty canvas like that. But someone's desperate to rid him of the happiness he had gained. Someone who was jealous, angry, mad, and most likely, dangerous. Why, he did not know, who, he did not know. But from the notes had been getting recently and the paranoia of being watched stirred up the curiosity in him.
Who was he? What had he done? Why had the accident happen? Was it really an accident? Questions began to nag him everyday. And his original plan to enjoy the life he had almost lost was shattered. He questioned everyone and everything. Asking his foster parents did nothing. They knew no more about him than he did.
So the boy began to research. He spent his days on the internet, disregarding anything but information that concerned the accident. He found articles about that day, but none that included information he hadn't already been told fifteen hundred times.
One caught his eye:
Boy Almost Drowns in Accident
A young boy was found unconscious in the Uta River. He had been spotted by a couple crossing the bridge, who immediately dialed for an ambulance and the police. Police are still unsure of how the boy fell in (unless it was suicide), but the incident was deemed an accident and police are attempting to discover the identity of the boy. The boy had been unconscious for almost five minutes, but a man passing by performed CPR on the boy and his life was spared. Just minutes after beginning to breathe again, the boy fell unconscious and was rushed to a nearby hospital. He remains in critical condition and doctors have a hard time predicting the aftereffects of the close call.
The identity of the boy remains unknown. Doctors ran his blood through their database and could not find a match. The police department did the same, but to no avail. The young boy's name, age, and relatives all continue to remain unknown. Police department announces that anyone with helpful information report it immediately. Currently, the boy is resting in ICU, having awoken twenty-four hours after the incident.
It wasn't the information the article provided that caught his attention, he had been aware of the facts since he had been adopted from the hospital. It was the date. The twenty-ninth of February only appeared every four years, on a leap year, but last year had been a leap year. It was impossible that two years ago, it had been a leap year as well. Either the date had been entered wrong, or something supernatural had happened.
The boy wanted to believe the first choice, so he went back and looked up all the other articles that pertained to the accident. Then the horror hit him. They all read: February 29
"That's impossible," the boy breathed.
"What's impossible?" a voice came from behind him. The boy whirled around, but no one was in the room.
"I asked you, what's impossible?" the voice came again, this time, right next to his ear.
The boy yelped and turned again. This time, his eyes scanned over the face of a young man, short hair covering half his face, wearing a green and white sweater, black pants and sneakers.
"How-how did you get in here?"
"I walked, of course."
"You're trespassing. Get out, before I call the police."
"Do you think you can call the police?"
The young man smirked. "Try it."
The boy reached for the phone, picked it up and listened for a dial tone. There was no dial tone. "What the hell?"
The young man laughed. "Nothing you do can help you to escape from here."
The boy stood up and walked to his door. He pulled on the door but it didn't budge. He turned to the young man, who was now lying down in the air. "Oh my god, I'm dreaming, aren't I?"
"No. You are simply in another dimension. My dimension."
The boy put a hand to his head. "Okay, I'm seriously dreaming. A floating man, that's crazy. Just like two leap years in a row is a crazy too. Okay, how do I wake up? Wake up, wake up..."
"You're not dreaming, so shut up."
The boy looked up. "Who are you?"
The man looked surprised for a minute. "Guess I shouldn't be surprised that you don't remember me."
"Remember? Did I know you? Before the-?"
The man sighed. "You really don't remember anything?"
The boy didn't answer. He just stood, staring at the mysterious man who seemed to find it natural to be able to lie down in space. Moreover, it seemed that he, himself should not have found it amazing.
"Perhaps I should remind you what you were before?"
"What was I before?"
"Do you really wish to know?"
"Someone wants me to know."
An eyebrow was raised. "So it has begun."
"What has begun?"
"Peace is so short-lived."
"Answer my question, dammit."
The man turned to look at the boy. "Now is not the time. It will all come back to you. And then, will your decision come."
"To live the life you threw away, or not."
"I choose to throw it away? What did I-?"
The man disappeared and appeared in front of the boy. His eyes grew wide and he tried to back away, but his back was already touching the wooden door. "Do no fear, you will remember soon enough." The man cupped a hand under the boy's chin and titled it up. The man's blue eyes bore into the boy's black ones. "Soon enough..."
Then everything went black and the boy fainted.
The next time he awoke, the room had become dark and a knock was sounding repeatedly behind him.
A voice called out, "Sir, its dinnertime. Sir? Sir?"
The boy opened his eyes and glanced at the green digits that glowed from the clock beside his bed. It read six twenty-nine. The boy stood up from his chair and walked to his door. A knock sounded again. "Sir?"
"I'll be right there..." he replied, softly. He heard the maid's footsteps walk away and leaned a head against the wooden door. This day...has been crazy. Then he left the room for dinner.
That evening, the boy lay on his bed, staring up at the ceiling. His thoughts lingered on the encounter he had had with the mysterious stranger. He still didn't know what to believe. Was that man telling the truth, or was it just a hallucination? There's not much I have to go on, so I might as well believe what he's feeding me. With his thoughts still surrounding the mysterious man's appearance and the mystery of the date, the boy fell asleep, unaware of the eyes watching him.
The next morning, the boy woke up and found the mysterious man sitting in his swivel chair. He almost cried out, had the man not lay a cold hand over his mouth and whispered in his ear, "It's starting..."
The boy's eyes grew wide with confusion, but the man disappeared soon after his message had been delivered. The room was silent.
What the-? What's starting? The boy put a hand to his forehead and felt a soft, warm, liquid on his head. What? He bought his hand down and stood in shock as the red, crimson liquid dripped from his hand."What the hell?"
The boy grabbed a tissue and wiped his hand with it. The blood stained the whiteness of the tissue. "Am I bleeding?" He put another tissue to his forehead and wiped it. The tissue came back clean. "What..? So my head's not bleeding." He then examined his hand, looking for a cut or wound of some sort. There wasn't any. His hand was clean now. "What the hell is going on?"
The boy looked around his room. Then he looked down as his hand again. It was red with blood again. Then he noticed that his shirt's sleeve looked damp. He pulled his long black shirt's sleeve up and fell back against his bed in horror. His arm was bleeding from several different cuts. And they weren't just normal, careless cuts. There were rows of intentional slashes. "What the- what the hell is this?"
His vision swam and when it cleared, he saw the young man again. This time he didn't wait for the man to speak. He cried, "What the hell is this? What are these cuts? I didn't do anything!"
"You did. You did that. Two years ago."
"What? I tried to kill myself?"
The man didn't answer.
"Why are these here? Even if I had done these two years ago, they wouldn't be here anymore. They weren't here yesterday! What's going on?"
The young man's face seemed grim. "It's starting."
The young man sighed. "Since you don't know anything, perhaps I should just tell you."
"That might work."
"Firstly, those cuts on your arm. You did it. Two years ago, in your reckless attempt to kill yourself. It didn't succeed. Why are they appearing now? Because for you, time froze two years ago when he was put to sleep. Now that time for him has restarted and he is soon to completely awaken, your time has begun to move once more. So this is you two years ago."
"Wait, wait, who is 'he'?" The boy asked, still trying to wipe the blood from his arm. It was futile.
"Its you. He is in you," the young man said, pointing directly at the boy.
"Your immunity to the pain you should be feeling, in your arm, that is, shows that he has already partly awoken."
"Wait, I still don't get it. Who am I? Who is he? And what the heck do you mean by 'time froze' for me?"
The young man shook his head. "Ask him yourself."
"Wha-?" was all the boy could say before the man disappeared again. His room returned to normal.
That's when the boy glanced in the full-length mirror that hung next to his closet. The boy in the mirror smirked at him. The boy yelped. His reflection laughed.
Surprised to see me? the reflection asked him.
Who are you?
I am you.
You're not me. I don't know who the hell you are.
Partner, I'm a part of you, and you're a part of me. You can't deny it. We share the same body. What are you going to do about it?
No, no, I'm just dreaming...
Honestly, partner. I'm not that scary. If you'd cooperate, things would be so much easier.
His reflection reached out of the mirror and grabbed him by the collar. Then his reflection proceeded to step out of the mirror.
"Oh my god."
His reflection (not really anymore) pulled him close to him and whispered into his ear, "Now you're sounding more like me."
His 'reflection' pointed to his bleeding arm and as he blinked, his arm returned to normal. "What are you?"
"I am you." Then his 'reflection' punched him in the stomach and as he doubled over in pain, his 'reflection' dropped his collar and kicked him in the ribs. The boy fell against the opposite wall and his 'reflection' picked him up by the throat and held him, a few inches off the floor, against the wall.
"This time, I'm taking control." He laughed. "And you're going to bear my pain."
The boy grunted in pain. "What are you...?" A blow to the side of his head and the boy went unconscious. The room swirled and disappeared and the black haired, black eyed boy stood up. The room reappeared, just the way it had been before it all happened. This time, his 'reflection's' grin shone brightly on his face. The black hair turned grey and the black pupils faded into misty silver. The boy flung open his door and entered the world. Under his breath, he said, "This time, it's your turn to watch, Jin."
The boy awoke in a world of darkness. His head hurt, but he was unharmed. Though they did not hurt, the wounds left from his earlier encounter with his 'reflection' remained. The boy stood up. The darkness expanded infinitely in all directions. He had no idea how to get out this place.
At the same time, the boy was still confused. Where was he and what had happened? His memory was beginning to come, flashes of faces and sounds were all that he could see, but it was beginning to return. He wanted to know who he was. Who was his 'alter'? If he had heard correctly, his 'alter' had called him 'Jin'. Was that his name?
Outside, the silver-version of Jin laughed evilly. He had just killed someone, a human, to be precise. And he hadn't killed her the normal way, with the knife and all. He had bit her, and then sucked her blood. He had sucked her blood dry.
Two sharp fangs glistened, dyed with the victim's blood. He loved the feeling of the blood racing through his veins. It always excited him. He wanted more. He wanted more and more blood. He loved the sweet taste of a human's blood. If Jin hadn't shared the same body as him, he would like to suck Jin's blood as well. Just to see what it tasted like. Then he smiled. Jin must be having fun in that darkness. I'm still bearing his pain, so he shouldn't feel anything. I'll just wait until the right time...to let it all come back to him. He laughed.
He licked his lips and tasted the sweetness of a mortal's blood. It was soothing. He saw a shadow coming around the corner and leapt up onto the roof of a nearby building. Then he sat and watched.
A young man turned the corner and upon seeing the dead body in front of him, he screamed and then ran back the way he came, crying 'bloody murder' the whole way. He found it amusing. Humans were so simple. If a person died, someone killed them. If someone killed someone else, that person deserved to die. How simple and naïve.
He leapt onto another rooftop and smiled as the wind blew past his ears, into his long, flowing hair. He was finally free.
Jin was walking around in the dark. But no matter how long he walked, how far he walked, he could never find a wall. Never see even the faintest flicker of light. It was just darkness. Jin had been worried, scared and confused in the beginning, but now that his memory was beginning to come back, he was angry. Very angry. Angry at himself and at his 'alter'.
As his anger increased, he became more determined to get out of the dark world he had become trapped in. That's when the darkness began to fade and his surroundings became lighter. Jin smiled. I'm winning.
The 'alter' was cursing. "No, no, no, why do you still have more power? NO!" Then he fell to the ground of the roof. The next time he stood up, his black hair, black eyes had returned. Jin was back.
Jin stood on the rooftop for some time. He then called out softly, "If you're there, please come out."
Silently, the young man Jin had met earlier appeared in front of him. "Yes, master."
"I've begun to regain my memory. But I don't have the time to wait for it all to come back, tell me everything."
The young man stood silent for a few seconds. Then he nodded. "Yes, master." The young man began the story.
"There was a legend, that the sole survivor of the vampire clan had managed to survive through the centuries and existed among the humans, living as a mortal. Events occurred that seemed to support the legend, there were unexplainable murders, sudden deaths caused by nothing. People blamed it on the supernatural because they could not come up with a logical explanation themselves.
"No one knows if that vampire really committed any atrocities, but the humans believed he did, and named him 'Vampire X'. Year after year, people vowed to avenge those they lost to 'Vampire X', but it was never proven that such a being ever existed. So 'Vampire X' remained a legend.
"But a few hundred years ago, 'Vampire X' began to come alive. There was a rumor that a deadly murderer struck every night at midnight. Anyone within a two mile radius was killed. And people began dying, the police couldn't explain the deaths, so it was determined that 'Vampire X' was the murderer and the government deemed it legal to use any means necessary to kill or arrest 'Vampire X'.
"But just as he had appeared, 'Vampire X' disappeared after a few weeks of terrorizing the twilight hours. And his presence vanished from the people's minds again. Just two years ago, 'Vampire X' appeared again. His terror plagued the people once more and many contracts were put on his life. None ever succeeded.
"The important part of this story is, who is 'Vampire X'?" The young man pointed at Jin. "You are."
"Wait-" Jin began.
"Master, let me finish. Two years ago, you attempted to kill yourself, first by slashing, then by drowning. When you attempted to drown yourself, you did it because you knew that you were 'Vampire X'. But the crazy thing about it all, is that you, Jin, are not 'Vampire X'. Your 'alter' is."
"My 'alter'. I was just about to ask you who that was."
"Your 'alter' has no name. He is your 'alter'. Simply put, he is your alter personality."
"But how can one have a-"
"Master, I will explain. To be honestly, 'Vampire X' never existed. There was never a vampire that terrorized and murdered the people. That was simply a legend, one that people used to explain murders they couldn't solve.
"Now your 'alter'. This is difficult to explain. Let us call your alter 'X'. X lived a few hundred years ago, when rumors of 'Vampire X' began to prove true. Those were horrible times, war and poverty plagued the people. It was explainable why murders occurred. X was a boy who became fascinated by the deaths that occurred during that time. He began to commit his own murders. Thus, the rumors of a vampire seemed to be true.
"X was killed the war, as a casualty of war, yet he was never found guilty of murder. His lust of blood carried his soul back from the dead and into the body of another boy. Eventually the boy went crazy and jumped off a building. X's soul should have returned to Hell, where it belonged, but his yearn for blood led his soul to continue wandering in the living world, searching for a compatible body. He found one in another young boy. That boy was you, Master.
"When you discovered that your body now hosted a psychopath, you asked for help, but no one would believe an absurd story of a child murderer from hundred of years ago. But because of your strong willpower, you held control over the invading soul, X, so you forced his soul into the depths of your body and killed yourself. You should have died, but X's soul kept you from dying. He pulled your soul back from the dead. Your soul had been freed, it should have gone to heaven, or wherever your soul would have gone, but when X pulled it back, you had forgotten everything already.
"That's why you didn't remember anything from two years ago, Master. But as time kept going, things began to come back and your defenses wore thin. Since you didn't remember X, he was able to take over. But now that things have come back, you hold control over him again."
"Wait, how do you play into this?" Jin asked the young man. "And why do you call me 'master'?"
"Because I was your servant two years ago, before you died, and you confided in me about X. I tried to help you, but you didn't want me to get hurt, so you pushed me away. Now I've come back to serve you again, Master."
"What can I do to stop him?"
"You have to kill him."
"He's already dead, isn't he?"
"I did some research on my own. The only way to forcefully send away a soul that has died is to show it something from his/her lifetime. An object that will bring memories of their lifetime, forcing the soul to acknowledge that it's died and bring them where they should be."
"Something from his lifetime? Where would I get that?" Jin asked thoughtfully.
The young man produced a photograph in his hand. It was a black and white photograph of a woman. Jin took it in his hands.
"Who is this?"
"The one person X once loved."
"I found out why X began murdering. This woman broke his heart by rejecting him, so he began to loathe all women and killed them. Even after he had avenged his broken heart, he forgot his reason of hate and began to murder because he liked to. This photograph should do the job."
"And if it doesn't?"
"Then he lives. And he'll always live. Unless someone else can stop him."
"How do I do it?"
"Call him out, not literally, with your willpower, and then force him to hold the photograph. It should work."
"Alright." Jin closed his eyes. He began to wish to see X again. He wanted to meet his 'alter', knowing who he was this time. Then his alter began to take shape in front of him. He was in the darkness again.
His hair began to turn silver, and as his eyes opened, they were half-silver. X smiled. Am I free again? X looked down. He screamed when he saw the photograph. How could they have-? The silver began to fade, and the darkness in Jin's eyes began to return.
As Jin's presence became stronger and X's presence faded, a voice called to Jin. My name is Mugen. I am forever... And then he was gone.
© Ray (aka Nightingale) 2006.07.13
Mugen means infinity. And I stole the names from Samurai Champloo.
I know it probably doesn't make much sense, it's probably very rushed too. Hey, I suck at writing and I wrote this on the spur of the moment. I actually wasn't planning on letting anyone read it, but oh well...it ain't very good anyways...