During the reign of a world ruling, totalitarian government, a rebel group shacks up in an abandoned warehouse in Japan. The most introspective member of the group shares her story, before the Reap...
"Well I'm tired of hiding all the time! Why don't we find them and fight!" the ten-year-old looked at all of us, desperation in her eyes. She didn't understand, there was no way of fighting them. They were too powerful.
"Oh what's her problem now?!" growled Jude.
"My problem is that I think we are all just being cowards!" she replied in accented English, so Jude and Sven could understand better.
"Daija-chan, be quiet." Muttered Naoko, a twenty-year-old Japanese man Daija claimed to have been a family friend of. She said her older sister had been his girlfriend. Naoko, like Lyrik, didn't talk much.
"I won't!" Daija exclaimed.
"If she won't shut up, I'll shut her up meself! They'll find us if she make's anymore noise." Jude warned, shifting a semi-automatic gun that he held.
"I dare you to try!" Daija challenged. Jude pointed his gun and aimed but didn't get the chance to fire. Lyrik stood in front of Daija, katana blade pointing at Jude's throat.
"I'll take your head off before you can even pull that trigger." Lyrik said, her voice quiet, face expressionless. Her green eyes held all the warning needed though. Lyrik never jested, she kept her word. Daija had grown on Lyrik and Naoko had grown on her through Daija. Everyone settled back down. Daija sat in a corner and started to cry. Lyrik sheathed her katana, went over to her after only a moment's pause, and hugged her awkwardly from the side.
"What troubles you, young one." Lyrik whispered in Japanese.
"I'm scared. I just want to get all the fighting over with. I just want to know who's going to die and if any of us will live." Daija sobbed. Lyrik tightened her hold and remained quiet.
"Lyrik?" Daija asked after a moment.
"You don't seem like the person to comfort anyone, yet you're very good at it. You don't even speak much and you still make everything seem better. I know none of us know you well, but we've all shared our storied. Could you tell us yours?" she asked, using English once more. When Lyrik didn't respond, Daija twisted to look at her, brown eyes pleading.
"Please, for me." She begged. Lyrik sighed and brushed a strand of her own black hair that wasn't long enough to be in her braid, out of her face.
"I had a mom who stayed at home, cooking and cleaning everyday. A father who I only saw in the afternoon because he worked a lot, even on weekends. A brother who was a few years older then me and a sister who would've been ten, like you, today." Lyrik started only to be interrupted by Daija.
"What was she like?"
"My sister was really shy, a mute as well. She never talked but once she got to know you she became more bold. She'd want to play or she'd hug you. She looked different then my brother and I. We both have black hair. My eyes are green and his blue. My sister, Lucy, had hair like fire and eyes like warm honey. She got along better with my brother, whom we all called Spydr. He was quiet and laid back…complete opposite of me."
"The complete opposite?! But that sounds exactly like you?" Daija exclaimed.
"It's the me I made myself into two years ago when I came to Japan."
"Where did you used to live? How come you speak Japanese? Why did you leave your home? How come you changed who you were? Why-"
"Daija-chan, I'm sure if you were quiet and let her tell the story, your questions would be answered." Naoko chided gently.
"Hush." Reiko murmured and everything was silent once more.
"I lived in the United States. I'm not going to get anymore specific then that. I speak more languages then just English and Japanese. The rest will get answered if you remain quiet enough." Lyrik explained, squeezing Daija a bit. Daija nodded and kept quiet.
"I had six best friends. Miko and his boyfriend, Thor, who were loud, obnoxious, impulsive and provoked easily like I was. There was Jynx and her girlfriend Ali Kat. My brother, Spydr and our friend Tripp." Once again Daija interrupted.
"Weird names. I'm going to take a hunch and say that they are nicknames. Usually there are stories behind them. Can you tell me shortened versions?"
"I don't know the story behind Miko's or Thor's. Jynx got hers because she has the ability to jinx people. Ali Kat got hers because she has cat like reflexes but she's a street rat like the rest of us."
"Street rat? But you had a family and your dad had a job. So-"
"Later. Anyway, Tripp was named Tripp because he only ever wore Tripp brand clothing. I got mine because I write lyrics to songs…well used to." Lyrik played with her lip ring a second before continuing.
"I was never the ideal child a parent would want. I hung out with people who were every parents nightmare. I started smoking when I as eight, I would ditch class when I was in school to hand out with friends who were in their teens and twenties and thirties. My parents tried to stop me from doing so, but no matter what, I always found a way to sneak out. I showed them they had absolutely no power over me, but in doing so, I pushed my family away…past the line of ever getting them back.
"Finally, my father just kicked me out of the house. He didn't want me around to hurt my mother anymore or corrupt my sister. I was only thirteen-years-old when I lost my family and found a new one who I believed would protect me no matter what. I got my first boyfriend too."
"You don't seem too thrilled like most girls are when they get their first boyfriend." Sven observed. Lyrik nodded slowly.
"My first boyfriend was a street rat like myself…a twenty-three-year old street rat by the name of Cyril."
"Twenty-three!" Exclaimed Daija and Reiko.
"Heh…yeah…I loved him at the time. He took me in, taught me the rules of the streets. It's actually because of him that I became friends with Miko and the lot. My brother had moved out of the house when he was sixteen so I saw him every now and then. I learned how to pick pocket, steal, talk people into doing what I wanted, hot wire cars, fix them up, steal them. That's what my job was on the streets. Cyril was one of the Boss's…I was his girl and I stole cars for him. Needless to say I wasn't a virgin once I hit fourteen. I turned fifteen and a half and Cyril's brother, whom I only knew as Six, got my brother to sign the consent paper for me saying my brother was my guardian. Spydr was twenty-one by then so he was legal."
"Why'd you call him Six?" Daija asked when I paused for a moment.
"He had roman numeral six tattooed on the inside of his wrist, so that's what I called him. I never found out his real name though. After I got my permit, I already knew how to drive, so Six taught me how to race and how to drift. Cyril didn't like that. Instead of seeing Six as a new friend close to my age, he saw competition. Six was seventeen, not much older then me and I was spending a lot of time with him. What does one do when faced with competition?" It was meant to be rhetorical but Kai and Naoko answered anyway.
"You eliminate it."
"Cyril killed his own brother. Nobody questioned it. They saw him as Cyril wanted them to. Another male trying to take his female…a challenge to his power. After that, I saw Cyril for who he truly was. My world built on hate, fear, love and friendship was reduced to hate and fear. He hit me after he killed his brother. Abused me. I began to wonder what love truly was…if I ever had it and if so, where had it gone?"
"Lyrik." Daija muttered softly and touched Lyrik's cheek, a lone tear being gently wiped away. Lyrik blinked a few times and smiled half heartedly at Daija, before letting go of her. Lyrik stood up and unhooked the straps holding her two katanas to her back. She sat the katanas on the floor and shrugged out of her cloak and long sleeved shirt. Once she was in just her jeans, boots and undershirt, she sat back down next to Daija.
"Lyrik?" Daija asked curiously. Lyrik looked at her, green eyes piercing, and slowly peeled off her fingerless, leather gloves. Daija looked at her arms to see pale pink scars running horizontally like a ladder on both arms, uninterrupted on the left arm. On the right, a thicker, pinker scar ran in a crooked, vertical line.
"One day, it became too much, with Cyril abusing me and what not. It was a week after Six's death. I wanted out and as quick as possible. I tried committing suicide by cutting deeper then usual. Ali Kat and Jynx found me and bandaged me up. I hung with them and Miko, Thor, and Tripp for a month once I was able to. For a while, everything was good. I still had my friendship. Until Cyril found out about my failed suicide attempt. He yelled and threw things and hit me. Said if I wanted to die so badly he'd kill me himself. On my sixteenth birthday, in a street not far from my old home, Cyril shot me in the stomach and left me in a ditch to die." The room was dead quiet as Lyrik looked around nervously. Daija was silently crying next to her, Naoko looked disgusted and the rest had various forms of shock on their faces. Still, Lyrik continued, feeling she needed to tell someone about herself…get a form of redemption in someway or another.
"As I was laying in that ditch, I though back on my life. I didn't pray…not like in those clichéd movies and books where the main character doesn't believe in God until the are close to Death. I thought back in a daze. Even if there was a God, he wouldn't want to have some one like me in his presence. Me, who had committed various forms of the Seven Sins. Those alone signed my ticket to ride front seat on a one way express train to the lowest and deepest levels of hell. I think one of the few crimes I didn't commit was murder, but even then I couldn't be positive. I cried though, for the first time in forever. I pitied myself, a feat I wouldn't let anyone do, let alone myself. And then, I was a child once more, wanting my parents to be there and protect me, tell me everything was alright and that I wasn't royally fucked. I don't know how I managed to crawl out of that ditch and walk those two blocks to my parents home. I knocked weakly on the door and my little sister opened it. As she looked at me there was no spark of recognition in her eyes at all, just fear. What seven year old wouldn't be scared of a stranger standing on the doorstep clutching a bleeding wound in her stomach?
"The door was pulled open even wider to reveal my mother, drying her hands. The smile on her aging face slipped away when she saw me. She called for my father and rushed Lucy back into the kitchen. My father came out and I collapsed to my knees before him and begged. Yet another thing I had never done, my stupid pride. The majority of me knew that this man wouldn't help a monster like myself. However, I still had a small sliver of hope. I begged and cried and pleaded, clutching onto this mans pant legs. 'I need help, medical attention. Give me that and "I'll do anything, please.' I begged him. He looked down at me with the coldest grey eyes I had ever seen and no words were needed to tell me his answer. 'But I'm your daughter!' I tried, looking behind him to see my mother crying. Her eyes asked me what had happened to her sweet daughter who used to fill the house with laughter. The mans eyes told me that that child had died long ago, at age eight when she showed the first signs of rebellion. His last words to me were 'You are no daughter of mine.' I was shoved backwards, down the three steps, to lie on the ground. I passed out then, too much blood loss and too much pain."
"But couldn't you have gone to your friends? Or your brother? Surely they could have helped!" Daija exclaimed, eyes wide.
"Even friendship can hold for so long on the streets. Cyril was the boss of our side of the town. It was Cyril's district. If you didn't want to be on a hit list, you obeyed him. He didn't want anyone to help me. The simplest yet biggest rule in that world, to obey and I indirectly broke it. High prices I paid for it."
"You didn't die though, obviously. What's the rest of the story?" Naoko inquired, dark brown eyes fixated on my face.
"I woke up in the hospital. I don't know who brought me there, but I suppose my mother swayed my father into taking me. They fixed me up. I can't have kids now. I got taken to court, by my parents wishes. I didn't tell the court anything about the people I as associated with. I was expecting juvie and then prison or something majorly punishing like that. I got something different though. A choice. I could have prison time and what not, but I could also go to Japan to live with an Uncle I didn't even know I had. I could clean up my life and start all over. Forgive and forget pretty much. My head had been buzzing, stuck on getting another chance. I didn't choose though, my mother did. She sent me to Japan, against my father's wishes. She hoped that maybe after a few years cleaning up, I could go back home and be the perfect daughter I never was. So, my story ends four months after my seventeenth birthday, starting all over in Japan. Some things you can't get back though."
"Like what?" Daija asked.
"Your childhood, trust. You can't trust people again easily. And love…I could never love again, after Cyril. I could only care deeply for some one. It sucks but that's life. Shit happens and you can't go back to fix it…then people die and the world moves on whether you go with it or not. I made many wrong turns on my path. I can't go back and fix them…all I can do is move on, start over and hope I make the right choices." Lyrik pulled her gloves back on, as well as her long sleeved shirt.
"So much for starting over though. Now we're all in trouble, running away from them damned Reapers." Jude grunted as he laid down.
"Come, Daija-chan. It's time for sleep. I'm sure Lyrik-chan is tired." Naoko smiled at Daija and pulled her to their corner where they slept.
"Oyasuminasai, Lyrik." Daija yawned. Lyrik smiled and scooted back into her corner, making sure her katanas were nearby. Everyone had settle down and was either asleep or close to. It was Naoko's night to stay awake and keep watch, so Lyrik relaxed.
Just as she was dozing off, a bang startled her back to alertness. It had sounded a ways off, but it still didn't bode well. Naoko caught her eyes and they stood simultaneously. Lyrik quickly strapped her katanas on as Naoko checked his gun. More banging echoed through the abandoned building, louder this time. Lyrik drew her katana as the others were woken up. Silence made the small group nervous. Daija stood behind Naoko and Lyrik, clutching her own gun. Reiko and Kimika were protected by Kai, Sven, and Jude, all of whom were brandishing guns as well. Suddenly, the doors to their room were flung open and men came pouring into the room. They were here, the Reapers had found them.