Tokyo Demons: Book 3, Chapter 8, Part 1
A downloadable package of this chapter (.pdf, .epub, and .mobi) is available in the Sparkler Monthly Issue #036 back issue.
He hadn’t heard that word in years.
It echoed in the back of his head, a whisper behind the crashing din in his ears. The cries of rage from the girl, surrounded by the blares of endless futures, roiled around him–a chaotic madness that still couldn’t overpower that quiet name in the back of his brain.
Not even Ito had known that. Not even Kado had known that. Touya had buried it completely, even in his mind. That small, damned word like a brand on his heart, that had once spilled off the lips of the Malum who made him.
The girl with the gun was a blur in his flickering vision, sinking behind layers of bleeding futures. The only reminder of the present was the cold press of the gun against his brow, trembling as the girl assumedly steeled her nerves.
He was truly naked now, stripped of the last careful shield he’d constructed with years of lies. Touya was a little boy again, kneeling on the floor, the coddled savior of dying monsters.
The Obedient One.
He couldn’t start over. Not anymore. Even if he broke the bonds of Pitch, he would never be free.
Touya was finally ready to die.
In the swirling mass of hysteria in his eyes, another person materialized through the cloud…a figure behind the girl, a slight boy in the hospital hallway. Touya’s eyes unconsciously focused on the figure, a long-held habit–now cruel–of anchoring the present to one person on Earth.
For a brief moment, Touya’s sputtering heart rose to his throat; the hallucination had the same, mocking transparency of a true vision of the future. Kado stepped up behind the girl, crooked on his crutch, his eyes hooded by a gray newsboy cap as he kept a fist balled by his thigh.
His dead gaze leveled on Touya.
The girl screamed something incoherent–either garbled by her throat or the warped sound in Touya’s ears. He could barely see her anymore. All he saw was that vision of Kado, bleeding through her, etched into a film of insanity that veiled Touya’s eyes.
Slowly, Kado lifted his fist. He unfurled the fingers halfway and tilted his palm toward Touya, barely revealing what he held inside…as if sharing a silent secret across time and love and death.
Three vials of Pitch.
The crush of the gun barrel suddenly lifted from Touya’s forehead, bobbing his head in the open air. The world swirled around him, blurring the hospital and the future and Kado and nothingness as a naked teenage girl, screaming in the present, adjusted her hold on her gun as furious tears ran down her face.
She raised the gun over her head like a hammer, the weight of the grip aimed for Touya’s face.
She whipped downward, and everything went black.
Jo tore off his face mask and dropped it in the trash with his discarded gloves. He jammed his hand into his pocket to retrieve his phone, but Kiyoshi was already texting furiously.
“Destroyed the Pitch,” Kiyoshi read aloud as he rammed buttons. “Ayase went after Touya, Code White, fifth floor. Might need help? Jo and I are going there now. Everyone alive?”
Jo flipped open his phone. “Good. Send it to everyone.”
Kiyoshi sent the message with a beep, then ran for the stairwell. Jo stepped after him, hoping his phone would vibrate with the received text, but several agonizing seconds passed with no confirmation.
Goddamn reception! Jo didn’t know when, or if, he would receive the message so he could forward it. And Kiyoshi was already up a flight of stairs, yelling down at Jo through the stairwell.
So Jo just chose his own contact and opened a blank message.
Go to her, Kado.
He pressed the button for send and ran for the stairs.
Proceed to Chapter 8, Part 1, page 2–>