Rated: T Description: Setsuna finds herself being haunted by a ghost of her past. Power demands sacrifice.
As the sun set behind the thick brush in the distance, another long tedious day came to an end. The hustle and bustle around the city mellowed until it eventually died out.
With my head lowered, I walked the empty streets. The cool night’s breeze felt nice as the moon lit way overhead. I rather enjoyed the late evening strolls and found them to be tranquil. This peaceful time was limited, however. As a pair of arms slid from behind me and hugged my neck, I knew she was back.
“You didn’t think you could run away so easily, did you?” she whispered in my ear gently, her soft lips brushing against me.
“Of course not,” I chuckled, shaking my head. “I know better than to believe that.”
“Does that mean you’ve finally given up that silly notion of escaping?”
“I wouldn’t say, necessarily. I realize that I’m unable to run away, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t still have hope that you’ll disappear one day,” I answered, smiling at the thought.
“Oh, ever the optimist. How times have changed…” she smirked. My stomach dropped as I felt the shift in her mood. She kissed my ear lobe and bit it forcefully until I cried out in pain. “You know that’s never going to happen. This is your fate, this is-”
“My hell,” I continued. Biting my lip, I shifted my head lower, trying to settle the rising feelings.
“Do you think it would be easier to just not look at me? Maybe you think it would ease the burden?” She moved her right hand and clasped my chin while the other pulled my hair back until I was forced to look back. Seeing that face, her face, with such a sadistic look, it felt unnatural, totally unreal. Just the sight of it brought tears to my eyes.
“Why must you wear that face, demon?” I breathed helplessly, on the verge of breaking.
For years, I was haunted by this entity and deep down, I knew there would be no end to it. It was brought on by my own selfishness. When the opportunity to gain unimaginable power presented itself, I found myself reaching out to the open hand of a demon. Back then, my motives seemed to justify the reason, but that desire for strength led to everything I loved and cared for being stripped away until I had nothing.
“Why do you have to justify my existence here is due to a demon and not my own will?” the girl asked, lowering her face closer to my own. “Do you find comfort in believing you are the victim in all of this?”
“I know this is due to my own fault!” I shouted, feeling hot tears roll down my cheeks. “But I also know you’re not her because she would never act this way! This punishment is mine alone to bear, so why must you soil her like this?”
“You’re still under the impression that maybe I am not perfect? You seem to idolize me when I too have my faults, but it seems to me like you just didn’t know me as well as you thought,” she said coldly.
“She would never do this to me,” I insisted curtly.
“But I would,” the girl hissed. “What you did was wholly unforgivable and I do not forgive you. My reason for being here now is to make you suffer like you made me.”
I was about to argue with her when her lips locked against mine. I so desperately wanted to push her away, to just fight back, but strength escaped me. Her voice was the same, her chocolate brown eyes, hell, even her smell was identical to the girl I knew before! This was the same person I had devoted my entire life to and I did not want to live without her.
I trembled as I felt her tongue brush against my lips and my legs felt like gelatin.
I accepted power in hopes to better protect her, but in return, I lost my humanity. When I became a danger to the world she loved, she tried to coax me back into reality. My memories were fuzzy and faces seemed to blend together. My hatred and despair drove me. She stepped in my way to block me from doing something I would surely regret. However, being blinded by rage and virtually unable to recognize her, I struck the young girl down. I only regained my senses to witness the atrocious sin I had committed. To obtain such power was to bargain with the devil himself. I cradled her still body for what seemed like an eternity, cursing the gods for letting this transpire. I consciously knew I was the only one truly at fault, though. What worth was strength if there was no longer someone to protect, thus, no reason more to wield it?
Having committed such a heinous crime, I knew my life was no stronger worth living. What right did I have to live when she, a person who had so much to offer, no longer graced the Earth? Cradling her neck, I kissed the top of her head once, whispering my apologies once more, before plunging the weapon deep into my chest. This was my repentance.
However, I did not die that day. Though I bore through the pain and continue to stab away at my flesh, it was to no avail. The wounds would close almost instantly. I had accepted power and with it came immortality. What sounded like a gift turned into a curse. I was unable to die, thus, unable to free myself of this looming guilt. Not long after did she appear, the vision of the girl I had loved so dearly. She was different, but she was still the same in so many ways. The physical incarnation of my guilt would haunt me for all eternity.
I fell to my knees as she kissed me; it was so reminiscent of my late love, even if she were nothing more than an illusion made to plague me, I found myself weak to her touch. Why did it feel so familiar? Why can I not pull myself away? Had I been wrong? Was this truly the wrath brought on by my decision? There was a mass of conflicting feelings going on in my head. I did not want to believe she would ever act to hostile toward me, but I also felt as though I deserved it to be her, the real her. Though I knew it was beyond selfish, I still did not want to live in a world without her, even if she brimmed with hatred for me. Whether she was a ghost or an illusion, my feelings were the same.
I tilted my head upward and looked directly into her empty eyes; they were void of life and I was to blame. I wrapped my arms around her waist and pulled her closer, which caught her a bit by surprise. Tears were rolling from my eyes as I looked the woman over once more. I buried my head into her stomach and wept. My body trembled, even more so as she began to stroke my hair gently. I pulled away slightly, taking a minute to catch my breath so I could speak.
“I’m sorry,” I whispered, my voice hardly audible. “I’m so sorry, Kono-chan!”
She reached her hand down and gently clasped my cheek. Her skin felt warm, but I knew this was not possible, for I had cradled her cold lifeless body in my arms. Despite this, I took my own hand and placed it atop hers, intertwining my fingers with hers. Sniffling, I kissed her wrist, shifting my head down and squeezing my eyes shut. I loved her.
I was trapped in a world of despair and I was doomed to suffer the regrets of the past for all eternity. This was my gift, this was curse.