Revenge, Inc. Part 11: A Short Story
Hello, everyone and welcome back. Time and again, I wondered just how far I'd push the envelope with this series, wondering whether or not it might just stop in mid-sentence and leave every one of my readers angry and dissatisfied and maybe revenge itself would be in order! As you know, I began this series as a single, stand-alone short story until I received a number of emails requesting that I expand this into a series. Safe to say, I've done exactly that and since it's undertaking, I thought to make it 12 parts--just enough for a novella--but then realized that it wouldn't be enough, as much more still needs to be established in order to do justice to this story. With that said, this installment was supposed to be the penultimate installment with Part 12 as the finale. As you'll see, this isn't possible. Thank you for your unyielding support of my work. I can't thank you enough for reading me.
And as always, if you are new to this series, please start from Part 1 to get acquainted with the story. Below are the links in which to do so. Comments and feedback are always welcome. Please enjoy.
I'm Here, With You...
When I came around again, I found that I lost sight of everything. Everywhere I looked, I was engulfed in complete darkness. One’s own soul confirmed the bleakness of this kind of darkness. I felt for where my eyes should’ve been and felt no pain, only fear—that and some tight binding fabric that was wrapped tightly and securely around my head. I felt to find the knot but instead, felt a soft, warm caressing hand.
“Don’t.” A female voice whispered to me and a beautiful voice at that. She was so quiet. I never knew she was there with me the entire time.
“Natsumi? My eyes…”
“Shhh…You still have them but won’t be able to use them, at least, not for a long time. My brother used a tranquilizer on you. I'm here with you..." And then I felt those warm, soothing hands again, this time they touched my face. I reached out to touch her's in return.
“A little higher, Cody…That’s not my face!” I let out a chuckle.
“I never thought your face to be so chubby.” I imagined her smiling at me. She was beautiful.
“Here…” Natsumi then guided my hand to her cheek and there it rested for some time as I took in the smoothness of her skin. “You’re going to need me, you know that?”
“And why would think otherwise?”
“I mean while you’re training and learning. I’m going to help you like always.”
“And why wouldn’t I need you after the training? Why not then?”
“Too many questions. You know what I mean, Cody.” I then turned my head away from her and away from her touch. I then felt warm moisture of her lips upon mine. She tasted sweet.
“So what was that for?” She ran her fingers through my hair and played with it.
“So you won’t forget.”
The following morning, I was greeted by Master Akira. Natsumi left me after a time and was afraid of being found with me, which prevented her from staying any longer. I thought of her often. As soon as I heard Master Akira come in, I rose to my feet and bowed to him and greeted him in return.
“Very good,” he said after sizing me up. “I want you to see with you ears Cody-san. I want you to learn again how to hear. Truth is, not one of us ever really learns how to hear in the first place—not as children or as adults. Too busy doing everything else.”
“But why do this?” I asked.
“Why? Because no one ever taught you how to hear properly until now. You will learn, Cody-san. It is a new way to think and act. I want for you to learn new way of seeing everything. I want for you to see the waves crashing against the shore, the crackling of flames in a fire-pit, the wind as it shakes the leaves of the trees…” As Master Akira spoke he was walking in a circle around me. It took him exactly twenty-three paces to make a full circle. I knew where he was the entire time. “Can you see it now?”
“Yes, I can and from my memory…I remember the ocean and the waves. God knows I’ve seen them enough times while running along the shore every morning.”
“Good. Measure the time it takes for ocean waves to reach shore and stop. Time is important. Speed is important. Never the same, time and speed of waves crashing—only pattern.” So maybe I was getting better at this, because I began to see what Master Akira was telling me and what he was helping me to see. It all just began to make a lot of sense. “Well?”
“Well what? Ow! What'd you do that for?” Master Akira flicked my ear. Hard.
“Run Cody-san! Go now, like always do!”
“But I can’t see!”
“You don’t need your eyes to run, Cody-san, only legs, now GO!”
“What if I fall?” He laughed.
“Then you get back up! You complain like a girl, Cody-san! Always complaining. You keep it up, I’ll get kimono from Natsumi…Dress you up like geisha!”
And with that, I began running faster with Master Akira following along. I found the route I was accustomed and was surprised to find that I remembered much of it. He steered me away from the jagged rocks and other obstacles, but other than that, the sand beneath my bare feet was a probing guide in itself.
“We are slaves to what our eyes tell us, because we are made to believe that whatever we see is real. So quick are we to trust own eyes. Ninja knows this. Ninja take advantage, because ninja’s strength lies in cunning, deception, stealth, and the creation of diversion to make escape, to make invisible.”
“So you will teach me how to make myself invisible? Can I really truly become invisible?”
“Yes and no. Invisible only to non-ninja.” He then paused for a moment. “Kind of like magic to magician. Magicians know secret to magic trick, but not his audience. Other magicians who study same trick will know the truth.”
“If you choose to become ninja, then you must become one with the darkness and live your life within the shadow—your only companion—for it is the shadow that is your ally and an enemy to your enemy. People fear the unknown. They fear what they cannot see. Master Akira will help rid you of this fear.”
“Who said that I was scared?”
“Ah, Cody-san! Remember who you are talking to! Remember first day in Jirai?” Shit. He was right. Please, no more ass-kicking, I thought. I'm blind, you see... “Don’t be so proud of yourself. Still, you have much to learn. Snapping a single twig while walking on the forest floor can draw unneeded attention. That is why it is important to know not only one's environment, but the tendencies of one's opponent. You see, in life, Cody-san, we all follow pattern, like migration of birds, whether or not we are aware. It is in our upbringing and DNA...”
A Deadly Exercise
I recall an exercise that Master Akira conducted, where he gathered with him four ninjas and one of them was Katsuro who, if I didn’t know better, was trying to fucking kill me or at least scare the shit out of me, just as he did when he claimed that he was going to,’ take my round eyes,’ which wasn’t really a lie. The truth was that everything was an exercise until you’re dead. It was always about survival to the would-be ninja.
Master Akira had me walk into the great room of the stilted house in which stood a single candle flickering in the breeze that came in through the wide open portal. In an instant, that candle went out and all was still. It was like a surprise birthday party for the unbeknownst birthday boy or girl except in reverse—and a matter of life and death.
“What did you see, Cody-san?”
“What? I didn’t see anything!” Master Akira swore under his breath then spoke a command. After a moment, one of the ninjas re-lit the lone candle in the room and suddenly, my hair was being pulled upwards and a katana met my neck. It was Katsuro.
“You are fucking worthless, gai jin!” He said from right above me. He was hanging from the goddamn ceiling like a fucking bat. Katsuro released himself from the ceiling and jumped down and stood next to me. “You see, father? Worthless! He still needs more training.”
“Katsuro is correct. Turn around, Cody-san! Do it again!” So, just as Master Akira said, I turned around and prepared myself for the onslaught. “You must realize your surroundings. Always danger around you.. You must look and listen. You must always be prepared.”
Wash, rinse, and repeat. Take Two:
“Now, Cody-san, what did you see?” I was much more focus this time. I had only a split-second to survey the room.
“Four ninjas this time, three armed with katanas, one with a kunai and chain.”
“Where?” Master Akira asked me in the darkness.
“Two at the south end. One was coming at me from my immediate right and the other was climbing through the east-end window.”
“Where was Katsuro?”
“Well, he wasn’t above me like before—that I’m sure of it.” That was when I felt a tap on my shoulder. Fuck, I thought.
“Hello, Cody-san. How many lives do you have, huh? This is second time you died tonight.”
“Much better this time, but before you can defend self, you must learn to know where to strike. Your ears failed you. Do it again!”
And so we did. With this said, I knew then why blindfolding me was so important. I began to learn to trust my instincts and to learn to become aware of the change in the air in the room, if you can believe that. I learned in those four weeks so many things, including the fact that there is energy—positive and negative—all around us and always. It’s real.
Stirrings of the Heart
During the course of my training I did in fact see much in the improvement of the sounds all around me and began very much to believe in Master Akira’s method of training (like had a choice in the matter) and in reading and recognition and maybe even precognition if you can believe such a thing. In that time it was a joy to spend so much of my time with Natsumi for the better part of my day in learning technique, the most difficult being keeping my libido down which a challenge as any other. But every time I tried to get closer to her, she resisted.
“What’s wrong?” I asked her.
“Nothing, Cody.” She was lying to me. I felt it.
“You need to tell me, Natsumi. I can’t read your mind, at least not yet.”
“Did my father tell you about our family, Cody, and about the Watanabe Clan?”
“No, he didn’t. Whenever he’d begin, he’d stop and refuse to go on.”
“He has good reason, Cody. There are some secrets that shouldn’t be shared with others.”
“Okay, now you have to tell me. Whatever it is, it can’t all be that bad. I mean, you are the good guys after all, right?”
“Oh, Cody…You have so much to learn.” And after saying that last line, Natsumi began to cry.
© Copyright, 2009. All Rights Reserved.
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