There’s this feeling that’s consuming me.
I don’t know how to describe it. There are too many thoughts going through my head to know where to start.
How long has it been since I’ve entered this darkness? One hour? Two? Maybe an entire day has passed and I haven’t realized it. I feel like if I was here for an eternity, I’d still be clueless. This thick, endless mass of nothing could swallow me whole, and maybe I wouldn’t care.
I know I’m not unconscious. We can start there.
Passing out is a completely different feeling. When you’re unconscious there’s a sense of losing yourself. You don’t know you’ve been gone until you’re back, awake to the bright and loud world. You have no concept of time, sure, but at least you’re not aware of all of this… emptiness.
God, I feel so empty here.
I’m so lost.
This darkness is giving me time to think, and honestly, that’s the last thing I want to do. All the events leading up to this point are ticking by in my head, jumbled into pieces but still coercive. There’s the time when I was spoiled as a little girl, and the harsh reality I inherited after my parents split up. There’s me, wooden sword in hand, training my heart out and swatting away at anything that reminded me that life wasn’t perfect. Those stupid kids that ostracized me waddled through, calling me thuggish. Tomboy. Weirdo. Please, move along brats. If you don’t have anything more creative than that, then I don’t have time for you. You don’t need to tell me things that I already know.
I remember being angry. I was furious all the time. I don’t remember why, so that means it wasn’t something important enough to be mad at. I’d bark at everyone, and bite when people got too close. I know the world isn’t perfect. I know that suffering is inevitable. Still, there was something in my heart that knew that I deserved better than what life had given me.
Life was unfair. It was so cruel, and harsh, and merciless. I’d see it in the way people looked at me, and hear it in their voices:
“Akiko is so strong, she’s been nominated for the Western Kendo Conference.”
“Well of course she is, you’d expect nothing less from her. I guess all of that delinquency paid off.”
“I thought that was a rumor! So she was actually…”
“I heard she killed a guy.”
“Went to juvie for nine months, but they couldn’t keep her there. She’s on probation now.”
“You guys are stupid. She didn’t kill a guy, she beat up that gym teacher.”
“He was gone for six months. Was that why?”
“That can’t be true. They wouldn’t let her on the kendo team if that happened.”
“Yeah, your right. She’d be expelled.”
“Still, some of the rumors have to be true. Right? She’s still scary either way.”
“That’s Tsubaki’s dog for you.”
This was a different darkness because as soon as that name echoed in my mind I started to feel it. Something cold, metallic. Unforgiving. It ebbed its way through my body from the center of my chest, and I started to collapse.
No. Stop that. Don’t you cry now, Akiko. It’s too late for that.
I could see her face. Her smile was angelic, and her eyes were inviting. Tsubaki came from the same vein of existence as I did: misunderstood, suffering, and doing her best to turn that pain into something else. She did a much better job at being happy than I ever could, despite the drastic differences in our circumstances. Where I was crass and impulsive, she was sweet and thoughtful. Tsubaki was timid and thought too well of everybody, and I did everything I could to protect her from the world she chose to forgive out of kindness.
She was so much of a better person than I was. She deserved so much more than what she was given.
Tsubaki accepted me when even I couldn’t accept myself. She was the person I cared about the most, and I loved her so much. So, when I things turned out the way that they did, did I even have a choice? How could I not protect my best friend from a fate she didn’t want? She looked absolutely terrified, and I couldn’t just stand there and watch my Tsubaki disappear for the rest of my life. I was too selfish to let that happen.
I was Tsubaki’s dog. Though the name wasn’t created out of good intentions I was willing to accept it. I would protect her from anything.
When the demon came for her, it was only natural that I had to step in and intervene.
That thing was absolutely terrifying. It could have been the menacing glow or the dark winds that ripped through the summoning circle. The atmosphere was definitely wrong for first impressions, but the way he towered over everyone with those angry eyes… they looked angrier than mine. He was full of hate. That was the first thing I could think of when I saw him. The only thing I can think of. Tsubaki was too kind to be paired up with a jerk like that.
So. Here we are.
In the dark, dark nothing between where I was and where I’m going, with nothing but anger and heart-ache pulsing through my body, all I could think about was that life wasn’t fair. That kept repeating over and over and over in my mind. It was all I could think about. I may have been impulsive, and reckless, and rude, and kind of selfish overall. Maybe I deserved the crap that got thrown my way. I did this to myself.
But it hurt so much. And there was nothing I could do to take it back.
This is it.
This is what being married to a demon feels like.