Ain't Afraid To Die
Part 2Cut, cut, cut. Drop the slices of pepper in the bowl, pick up another one, cut, cut, cut. Let it fall in the boiling oil. Check the rice. Turn the fish sticks over.
That pretty much summarizes my existence. My days as a hooker are over. I cook and clean for Die, and he lets me stay at his apartment for free. I know he doesn't want to see me alone. He thinks I'm not well.
My new existence is quite… liberating. Feels good not having a stranger's dick between my legs at any time of the day. Feels good staying home with nothing better to do than taking care of my friend. Not the warmest of the friends, but a good one anyway. And he's keeping out of trouble also. Being careful. For me, he says.
Three months have passed. Three months since the cumulating point of my existence occurred. We've been busy with some legal crap, which miraculously didn't drag on. Turns out I got out of the charges for killing Kaoru's murderer. Good thing. Legitimate defense, they said. Of course they're right.
I stir a wooden spoon in the wok, causing a nice roasting sound. I breathe in contently. I imagine Kaoru's arms surrounding my waist, I imagine cooking for him… Hm… those lips trailing softly on my skin… I turn around, half expecting to see him creeping in my direction, trying to take me by surprise. I giggle, and smile at nothing. Kaoru, I know you're there. I know you're with me, my love. I hug myself as if it were him, the wooden spoon sticking out of my hand. Then I go back to the meal, singing some current hit crap that's on the radio.
I put the food on the table, keeping from eating until Die's arrival. He comes in shortly. I get up and kiss his cheek, then take his coat and put it in the wardrobe. He acts like he doesn't really notice. It's a simple routine. Then he sits down and thanks me for the meal with a smile. It looks sad to me. But he never cries. I'd really have to worry if he were. He's always so cold.
"How was your day?" he asks.
"Nice. As always. Kaoru dropped by."
What's that look in his eyes? He knows that's just a way of saying I thought about him. I always think about him.
"Did he stay long?"
I prop my chin in my hands, and picture my Kaoru's beautiful face.
"He stayed all day. He helped me chose what to make for dinner."
I lose myself in the memory of him from a moment. Only the movement of Die's hand waving in front of my face makes me react.
"Stop talking like that. Stop looking like that."
It's an order. I pout like a spoiled brat. Raise my head to look at him. The short, reddish hair with dark roots. The serious, hard face. I look back down in my plate and take a bite. It won't go down. I get up and bow slightly, and turn away. I hear Die's chair being pushed, and then he's beside me.
"Don't bow. You're not my maid, you're my friend. Please eat something."
"I'm not hungry," I whisper.
"You're starting to scare me. It can't go on like this."
Die, admitting fear?
"Leave me alone. You can't understand."
I think for a moment and hug him despite my words. He doesn't make any more movement. Then I go into hiding in my tiny room. I know Kaoru will be there to comfort me.
Cut the locks of synthetic blond hair, making them float down on the floor. Next, the dye. Dark violet. The result is that of very damaged fake hair, but at least it's the color it should be.
I look at the doll with pride. There you go, little Kaoru! I hug it to my chest and sigh happily, then lie on my bed with the little doll in my arms. You're there with me, you really are!
Oh! Kaoru-doll talked!
"Kaoru, is that really you?"
"Hai. I love you."
I hug Kaoru again. He's with me. He always has, he always will. That lifeless doll suddenly has a soul. I need him so much! I wish I could show Kaoru to Die. But he wouldn't like that. He doesn't want me to talk about Kaoru. He doesn't want me to see him, and I think that's really mean of him. I've spent my whole life talking about Kaoru, even if it was forbidden. I'm not going to stop now.
I start talking to Kaoru, talking about movies and music and stuff. He listens and nods and holds me in his arms. He kisses my lips when he feels like it, and it is always welcomed. Then he has to go and I beg him not to tell Die that we're seeing each other. He makes a promise then leaves. The days will be much better, now that I can hug him and kiss him again!
Live flows easily; my secret meetings with Kaoru are well hidden. I don't even mention him to Die anymore. He acts like Kaoru never existed. Well, that's his loss.
Die's getting affectionate too. Pulling me close when we watch T.V. Resting his head on my shoulder and dozing off. I like. It's like when I was with Kaoru. I know, I wasn't with Kaoru for long. Only a few short minutes. But I like to pretend it was longer. I've been watching him all my life!
Right now I feel like making Die a surprise, though. He deserves it. My friend. He has all my gratitude for keeping me alive. I kiss sleeping Die's lips before leaving. Somehow he reminds me of Kaoru.
Ano…what should I get him? It's not so late, but already dark and most shop are closed. But I want to get him something! I watch through the window of a closed bakery. I linger for a moment…thinking about Kaoru…thinking about Die…
"Well… isn't that the lovely prostitute!"
The voice is full of contempt. I try to ignore it. Maybe he's not addressing me… But then a sloppy, disgusting mouth presses to my neck. I spin around, preparing for a slap. The man stops me with a strong hand. He's a tough looking one. Very intimidating. Presses his body to mine, presses our hips together.
"You'll do a special for me, won't you, dear little slut?"
He assaults my mouth, making me choke.
"There's a mistake. I don't…work," I say, gasping for breath.
"That means I don't have to pay?" the man says with a laugh. I feel something cold against my throat. A blade. That's my luck.
Kaoru, are you there? I need you now!!!!!!
I don't try to resist. If I'm to die, it's not going to be by his hands, oh no! I hear him pull his pants down as he's got me pinned against the wall, then he does the same for me. I hear his loud, excited breath in my ears as he bites my neck and thrust roughly inside of me.
I'd almost forgotten the physical pain… His thrusts are urgent,
overpowering, each of them killing me bit by bit. Then I feel his
disgusting hot liquid inside me and then am thrown on the worn out
concrete. I feel something wet hitting my cheek and trickling along it,
a shot of saliva he spits on me before disappearing, satisfied.
Alone. At last. The night is fresh and peaceful. I look at the stars. Kaoru……….
Weren't you… with me? Weren't you supposed to love me forever?
I pull my jeans back up, my ass hurting as hell with the only process of lifting my hips to slide the clothes up. I let the beating of my heart slow down, taking deep breaths, feeling the coldness under me. Now, calm down. This is your fault, all your own fault. You brought this upon yourself. Someone like you shouldn't be out alone after dark. And it's not Kaoru's fault either. The man had a knife, there was nothing he could do against him. The last time he tried to go against an armed person…
I close my eyes. The pain between my leg is so scorching hot… I don't want to get up, I want stay here forever, looking at the star-studded sky, trying to forget everything, forget my life. Kaoru, help me get up, help me survive this ordeal… It's the first time I've ever been raped, and all I want to do is cry in your arms… maybe it could make me feel better.
Rape. This is too terrible for me to even imagine it and yet I just went through it. Who'd think it'd hurt so much for someone like me? Some… stupid whore… You'd think I'd be used to it. But it's scary. I feel even less in control than I ever did in my whole fucked up existence.
The tears spring out despite me. Why me, why ME!!! Who is that higher entity who had the right to decide that I should be unhappy, that I should always go through all of the worse instead of leaving a simple kind of carefree life? I wipe the burning water from my eyes and sit up, the pain still tearing me apart. I sit against the dirty brick wall, my legs spread in front of me. The tears are still coming, unstoppable. I hide my face in the palm of my right hand. I need you now Kaoru. WHY did you have to DIE! Why did you leave me ALONE!!!!!! I can't live without you! THIS is what my existence is like without you! Had you been there for me…
I squeeze my eyes, shaking my head. This is no use. I let my eyelids open and my gaze falls on an object that shimmers under the nearby streetlamp. No, this really is no use.
I get up, walking with difficulty, cradling the object in my hand. Kaoru doll, you will pay. Kill. I must destroy, destroy, DESTROY! Anything or anyone or myself, I don't care.
I cross the few hundred of meters that separate me from home. Yes, I was raped so close to that little place I called my home, my security. My ass is killing me, but I'm beginning to enjoy the pain. It reminds me why I am alive. My legs give way on the tiny patch of yellowed grass in front of Die's place. I lean against the old tree, facing the living room window. When I strain my ears I can hear the sound of the TV. He must still be sleeping.
The sharp tip of the blade dances a ballet on my skin, sending delightful shivers running across my forearm. I allow it to plunge deeper in my flesh in a masochistic caress. Pain…. This is the reason why I am on this earth.
I pull the blade out and lick the blood that's making crimson pattern on my skin. A satisfying, metallic taste. My tongue washes it away hungrily, but still the blood gushes out… and still I lick it. I close my eyes. Never have anything ever felt so good as my blood mixing with the wet saliva… Feels… so good…
My head falls in front of me, my neck suddenly spineless. Kaoru… I lived my whole life for you.
The blade hesitates on my wrist, as I wonder which is the better way to do it. Someone showed me once… but I was too stoned then, I can't grasp the smallest chard of memory except that it had actually happened.
Kaoru. You're half of me. Ever since I lay my eye on you I knew I was nothing without you to complete me.
I position the blade as well as I can, squeeze my eyes shut and push it briskly through the flesh. I can't quiet down the scream that force its way through my lips.
I love you Kaoru! Tell me, when I die we'll be together, won't we? This is not enough, these insane spells of mine when I actually believe you're with me. I need you, I must have you!
I force the knife down even deeper, and dare a peek at my wrist. Blood. Now there is so much I almost faint on the spot. My vision clears a little and I take quick breaths, starting to panic. What am I doing!? Kaoru, are you with me now?
Without realizing I spring to my feet and dash up the small flight of stairs, and throw the door open, ignoring any and every of my pains. Die looks up from the couch, a worried look on his face. But… why is he worried?
"Toshiya, where were you? I was about to…"
He stares at me. At my arm.
He bolts up as if in slow motion and holds my limp arm in his hands. The blood splatters on the floor and a little on Die's hands. His eyes meet mine for a second. There's pain in them. And fear. I can recognize these emotions anywhere.
Die looks around tensely, without releasing his hold.
"Oh.. and fuck.."
He rips a big part of his t-shirt and makes a tight bandage. My eyes never leave his intent, handsome face as he does the work. Did I say handsome? I must be even more insane than I thought.
"Did you do this to yourself?" he asks. He's reverted to that tough, expressionless face. It makes my tears push and insist to spill but I swallow them.
"Did you do THIS TO YOURSELF!?"
The tears gush out. I look at him through my blurred eyes. He's stricken. He's lost his mask. He holds me against him, but I keep crying. I can't understand myself.
"Why, Toshiya? Wasn't I good enough?"
I could almost swear that his voice is shaking.
"I'm…sorry Die," I whisper; my voice won't sound louder than that. I'm leaning on him, otherwise I don't think I'd stay on my feet. "Living is so hard. I should… I should have ended it. I don't know why I'm still bothering you."
I try to get away from him but he pulls me close to him. So tightly… without any soothing gestures, but... He'd just there for me. Caring. Die…caring?
Why were you never like that, Die? You could never replace Kaoru but maybe… you could have helped ease the pain a little… Even if it was never like that between us… Even if we never got sentimental with each other, you could have…
I open my eyes. Shut up, stupid brain, just shut up! I talk to drown it out.
"I want to die," I say, as if it was a normal thing to say. "He raped me. I thought I couldn't get any dirtier, but I have…"
There, I admitted it. It wasn't that hard. I pull away and throw my weight on the couch. Stare at the cracked ceiling, feel Die kneeling down beside me, gazing at me with hesitation, his eyes never leaving my face. I concentrate my stare on my arm. The bandage is quickly turning red.
A trembling hand touches my cheek. I look up.
That's all Die can say. He touches my face tenderly. Did he really need for me to be raped and try to kill myself to be so gentle? Couldn't he just be? I feel my eyes getting wet again. I can't help wishing it was Kaoru with me. Get over him. Die's the one who's with you. Kaoru's become a jar of ashes buried in a grave.
"Toshiya… It happened just now, didn't it?"
"Toshiya.... Listen. You can live. I know you're strong enough. You haven't made the best choices but you always lived with them. You can do it Toshiya. I'm with you. I'm your best friend. I should have acted like one."
I close my eyes, feeling dizzy. I feel something warm pecking at my nose.
"Open your eyes. We're going to the hospital. That bleeding has to stop."
He kisses my lips, and my eyes snap open, as I feel my mouth forming the shape of an 'o'.
"Let's go?" he says with an encouraging smile.
I follow him to his tiny rusty car, and slumps in the passenger seat. I feel so lost. I'm not even sure whether or not I am sane. Sometimes I know I am not, but it doesn't stop me from acting the way I do. And now… what should I do? Of course I feel like I should turn to Die. Tonight… he reminds me so much of Kaoru.
What do I do? What should I do? I look at Die's profile. He looks so concentrated on the road. And…I have to admit it…he's kind of handsome. That's not really important but… it makes me smile. Something other than Kaoru makes me smile.
Well then. Maybe that's what I should do. Find another reason to smile, and just say good bye to Kaoru. Maybe if I shove him away in the back drawer of my mind… I can actually go on living. He'll probably come back to haunt me… but life is long. Maybe he can remain as a treasure on the long run. A shiny jewel that obliterates all of these moments of pain… The rape, the hate, the prostitution, the drugs, the street… everything…
I look at the soiled piece of fabric bandaging my wound. I touch it with the tip of my fingers, feeling the warmth of fresh blood. What a fool I have been. Whatever I have to live through, it won't touch me anymore from now on. I'll be strong, like Die said I am. I'll survive.
I set my eyes on Die once again. He looks concentrated. Intent on what he's doing, like anything he does. Only he never really did anything with me. We were best friends more out of habit and convenience than anything else. I pray that this will change from now on. I can't wait to rediscover you, Die...
Die turns to me with a tiny smile and sets his eyes back on the road. I feel myself reddening as I look in front of me too. How long have I been staring dreamily? I sigh and look at him again.
"Die?" I wait a few seconds but am only greeted by silence. "Thanks."
He doesn't look at me, but smiles, his eyes moving from the windshield to the rear mirror.
Then the smile fades, changing his expression to one of nervousness.
"Some speed maniacs," he replies, his brows furrowed in concentration. "As if we needed that!!"
I look behind, there's someone nearing us, rapidly closing the distance between the two vehicles. Much too fast.
I hear him swear as we get bumped from the side as the car changes to the right lane, probably leaving more than a scratch judging how much the car trembles, then he slows down to our speed and stays at our level, screaming insults. I see Die turning blue, tensing up until he nears explosion.
"Calm down, it's okay…" I say softly. I look at my wrist. My bandage has turned blood red. The other car finally speeds up and disappears in the distance.
I smile at Die in relief and we both sigh simultaneously.
A thunderous sound suddenly deafens me, and I feel a rough impact and the shattering of glass as we come to a sudden stop. It seems to last forever, the blackness of shock making me dizzy. More noise, more explosions.
I'm overflowing with images of Kaoru. Of my life.
He pops up when I'm a tiny first grader. We're both so young. He's a couple of grades older. And I have eye only for him, bearing him an admiration that other little boys have for female idols. I see the black haired older boy, playing around with his brother, who always looks serious… I learn his name, I try without success to get to know his friends…
Older, I talk about Kaoru with my best friend Die. He tells me it's not sane. I shouldn't bear such an obsession for a guy. But I can't stop looking at him. He's so…beautiful and happy and alive! I want to be with him but something stops me…
A letter. Purple, like the strands he dyed in his black hair. I'm fourteen years old and I confess him my love on paper, not caring that I should normally be writing such a letter to a girl. I love him and I want him to know. I don't care if he doesn't love me back. Die sees me writing the letter, throws it to the trash. I am not to go near that boy. He's from the rival gang. We mustn't interact.
Less than a year later, my first fuck. I'm unhappy and drowning in soft drugs to forget about it. Some older guy seduces me with promises of love, convinces me to sleep with him and throws me away afterward. I get into harder drugs. The only thing that gets me high other than those is seeing Kaoru randomly. Night and days I long to see him, but it happens less and less. We live in the same neighborhood, but we don't go to school anymore and our ways just don't cross.
At sixteen year-old, I need money. Badly. My addiction's getting out of control, and my dealer, my so-called friend tells me I should try selling my body. He thinks I'll do big. And he's right. I don't have to do the street long before I find work in a brothel. I get used to having at least two or three people taking advantage of my body for their own pleasure every night. Few of them are nice with me. Since they pay, they have the right to brutalize me. That's the way things are.
Some times later, I see Kaoru again. There's that shooting. And Kaoru's brother dies. And it's my fault.
After that, my days repeat themselves in an endless loop. Something is starting to arise around me; Die looks more tense than usual. I don't mind much about it. Living in my constant drugged high, I just forget reality.
When I bump into him, I first am convinced that it's a hallucination. My heart breaks faced with that melancholy in his eyes. Without thinking I seize him and bring him with me. Only inside the brothel do I realize it really is him. Kaoru, Kaoru, there beside me!! I lose control. I want to make him feel better, I want to touch him, I want to keep him with me!!! And he's so sad… if I only could heal him! And all he sees in me is a whore who wants to make cash. Well, whore I am. When he turns to leave, something breaks inside me! I can't let him go before I beg on my knees, before I force kisses onto him. But then my boss shows up, screaming at me for being too insistent with a client who surely won't come back. He throws me out. Who cares, I can do the street. But, miracle, Kaoru stays by my side. When the commotion begins, I can't help being excited. Because I'm with him! Because whatever happens, I'm spending the evening with him! Well, so I hope. The drugs I have taken earlier start to wash away face to everything that's happening, but my head's still a bit fuzzy.
Then comes the most powerful memory. Kaoru and I together, kissing. He means those kisses, I know he does. His body lain over mine, the touch of his arms and hands and lips both so caring and passionate! I've never felt anything like this. It makes me believe in love. Love at first sight… or maybe he's always loved me without knowing. Who cares. His love is with me then. I've lived my whole life for that moment, and there it happens! But then… he's shot. Taken away from me. I kill to avenge it. I don't know how I make it alive, I don't even know how to aim properly.
Then I see him dying before my very eyes and can't do a damn thing to stop it. I kiss him, and he kisses back, and he tells me he loves me. He'll always love me. And I sense it. We'll always be together, because his love will always be with me. In my heart. Then I kiss him again. And he dies. Just like that. One moment he's breathing and kissing…then he's not.
Gone. My Kaoru, gone. My reason to live, gone…
The events stop flashing before me and I just think about Kaoru. My brain's a turmoil of pain and images of him, the person who both kept me alive and destroyed me. Kaoru. I can't feel my body anymore. I'm just under the impression of falling asleep. Like I've had a long day of work and all I long for is the peaceful bliss of slumber. And Kaoru there's in my mind, he's everywhere, he's in me. Kaoru… with me… always… My Kaoru…
I'm joining you Kaoru, to your world of afterlife. Wait for me. We'll be together. I have faith that we will.
As I sunk into an even deeper torpor I feel like Kaoru's hovering just above me. Waiting to take my soul in his arms. Kaoru…Kaoru…Kaoru…I can't think of nothing but him and love for him… as if we were making love…like we should have had. Kaoru. We'll be together. Forever.
The sleep takes a complete hold of me. Darkness. Nothing but darkness. Then a light. So bright. Blinding. Kaoru…Kaoru will appear… he must…
But then there's nothing.
Nothing at all.
* * *
Written by Arashi
What an end... But it couldn't end happy... I just couldn't. *sobs*
~to be continued~
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