Revenge, Inc. Part 14: A Short Story
Hello, everyone and welcome back. Yes, yes, I know I'm late and am kowtowing before you as I'm writing this. For anyone of you who read Revenge, Inc. Part 13 within the first two days of it's initial publication, you'll find now that a few lines have been added to the last scene titled, "A Hero Falls" in which Master Akira Watanabe loses his life. Here's what you missed:
"In your training, you have been forged in the fire of anger and once you have taken form you were cooled by the water of wisdom. You are reborn. You are Cody-san no more...You are now Marak."
After rushing to finish this installment as fast and as best I could, I left this part out by accident. It was only when I was editing it again the following Monday that I realized what I was missing. Indeed, this is very important to the entire scope of the story (otherwise I wouldn't be making such a big deal out of it). There is something in a name, in a word, that transcends the story entirely--at least that's what I believe. Thank you for coming back and as always, I thank you for your loyal readership.
Of course, if this is your first time here and are new to this series, I urge you to take the time now to play catch-up, starting with Part One of Revenge, Inc. Please click on the link below to get started.
I was barely able to get out from underneath the path of the falling beam that was engulfed in flame and just as I made out of the house I spent the better part of the last two years, the roof came crashing down in a fury. There buried inside was the remnants of hundreds of years of Watanabe Clan history—artifacts, such as vintage katanas, scrolls, photographs, and works of priceless art that would be burnt to a crisp. So many years steeped in tradition was torn asunder in a single moonless night. To call it simply a stilted house was wrong on many levels, because in reality, it was a museum somewhere in the South Pacific. The WatanabeMuseum would have been a much more fitting name for the place. I knew the place blindfolded and that is no exaggeration. However unfortunate, it could not be saved and for me to have left Master Akira inside was unthinkable, not to mention disrespectful to the man who taught and trained me to become the “perfect weapon” to harness my rage. Although it was against his wishes, I brought him with me anyway. He deserved a proper farewell and I was sure that Natsumi and Katsuro would’ve agreed. He was much lighter than I expected. There was no way in hell I was going to leave him behind to be reduced to mere cinders like a tarnished memory. I made it to the storage shed amidst a volley of arrows aimed straight at me. When I was inside, I placed him on the floor and said a prayer and left the same way I came in. There was no time to mourn.
In the distance, I saw Katsuro kicking one of the Odas along the shore of the beach. He was apparently beaten and unarmed. His body seemed to roll just a little bit each time with each kick. It seemed the melee had died down and there, approaching the two was Natsumi. She looked over at me and gave me the slightest of smiles. I could almost hear her say to me,”Yes, I’m happy that you’re alive as well.” Words could not express my relief when seeing her again.
“I tell you nothing, Watanabe!” The bastard spat the name Watanabe as if it were a curse word. I wanted so much to snap his neck right then and there due to the tone of his voice. He gave Katsuro a sneer and so received a vicious backhand as payment. Our captor then spat blood and looked up at Katsuro. “Give me katana so I can die with honor!”
“There is no honor in your clan!” Katsuro said. After contemplating on what to do next, he then drew his katana and rushed towards his captive.
“Katsuro, no!” Natsumi yelled. “We need him alive!” At this point, I really thought our kneeling captor’s head was about to roll on the ground, but instead, Katsuro went over to him and cut away his cloak, down and away to reveal an intricate tattoo depicting the Four Demons of Legend. In the story, the Demons of Kimon ruled the Underworld and was jealous of their “neighbors” above them that paraded around in happiness and prosperity of the known world. But what was thought of to be fictitious was very much real as there certainly are monsters in this world. They only look human to the rest of us. They thought to bring about destruction and corruption to the world in a ploy to eradicate the entire human race. The colors were vibrant and seemed to almost move on their own in a rippling motion. Master Akira only briefly told me about such tattoos. Were it not for the situation at hand, I would have commented that the said tattoo was a masterful work of art, as it must have taken weeks to complete.
“Just as I figured,” Katsuro said.
“You’ll never find them,” our captive assured him. “They are hidden within and have no shadow!”
“We shall see.” I could see that Katsuro was calm and was already planning a strategy while pacing back and forth.
“Now give me a katana so I can silence myself once and for all.”
“Oh, forget it. You’re not going to get anything out of him, Katsuro,” Naomi said. “We are wasting valuable time.”
After a moment’s hesitation, Katsuro looked over to Natsumi and gave her a nod, in which she did so reluctantly. With my hands on both my sheath and scabbard, I was ready to strike while standing directly behind him. I half-expected him to rise up and begin hacking away at us without warning. But instead, he unsheathed the weapon diagonally and for a moment held it that way while saying something under his breath that I didn’t quite understand. When he was finished, he then twisted the katana in his hand and turned it against himself and with one quick thrust, he impaled himself completely. From where I stood, I saw the tip of Natsumi’s katana pop out of his back and through the mouth of one of the Four Demons of Legend. He then keeled over and remained motionless.
Katsuro had a satisfied look on his face and so walked on over and took back from the captor’s body Natsumi’s katana. It made a sick wet sound when doing so as Katsuro placed his foot atop the his head for leverage. After wiping the blood off of Natsumi’s katana on his leg, Katsuro stood still for a moment in thought. He kicked the lifeless body over so his back was facing upwards and began making a rectangular incision. Natsumi was horrified.
“Katsuro! What on earth are you doing?” She yelled aloud. Katsuro gave her a shit-eating grin.
“I’m taking a souvenir, Natsumi,” he said, “if that’s all right with you.” He then went back to his cutting
The Remains of the Day
I watched as the six Oda Clan members retreated back onto their boats. They had apparently seen enough and thought better it best that they left us alone as making such a crucial decision may help them live perhaps, a little longer. When first I saw them I began chasing after them, but Natsumi stopped me.
“Let them go, Cody,” Natsumi said. “There’s already been too much suffering. We won and they know it.”
“I wouldn’t necessarily call this a mortal victory. Your father is gone and so is the house. Yes, we’re still alive, but at what price? There’s only the three of us now.”
“Tanaka is dead?” Godammit, I thought. She had no clue. I gave her a solemn look and saw that tears were rolling down her cheeks. Natsumi and Tanaka were cousins.
“It happened just an hour ago. He lost too much blood…I’m sorry.” A part of me wanted to hold her close to me but I knew that just behind me, Katsuro was watching and Katsuro could not see us that way. Already, Katsuro was busy piling up the bodies for burning. There was a separation: One very large pile consisting of Odas and the one small row of that of the Watanabe Clan who fought valiantly. They could not have sacrificed more. In the case of the Odas that remained on Jirai, throwing them out to the sea would only bring them back to shore. There was no other way.
“I’d better help Katsuro,” I said. It was more of an excuse than anything.
A Formal Farewell
By the time we had all the bodies gathered and torched, it was already dawn. The God-awful smell of dozens of bodies being burned was not pleasant. The smoke rose to the sky that I’m sure could’ve been seen for miles. Soon enough, the current of air would carry away not only the stink of the Odas, but the mere evidence of their ambush, not to mention the destruction of the House of Watanabe and their obvious losses.
It was the three of us that stood by as we watched as our Master was reduced to ashes. The each of them—Natsumi and Katsuro—gave a farewell speech to the only father and master they ever known. I too gave my own when it was my turn as the two consoled one another while inside each other’s embrace.
“You have taught me what no other man has ever taught me, not even my own father. When meeting you, I disliked you very much, because I feared you. But then something happened. Something had changed, as I learned more and more from you and felt in you the compassion in which is contagious. And in doing so, you became my friend. In your training and in your teaching, you made me a stronger person that now knows not only to fight in any situation, but more importantly, to heal others. It is your words and your wisdom that I carry with me now and forever. Your light will always burn inside my heart. Your memory lives on, my master. Farewell.” I then placed a single white Lotus from which I found was the only one of its kind and so left it as tribute. There were no more bodies to burn.
When I stood up, both Natsumi and Katsuro were walking away and were headed to where the rafts that were beached near the shore. I pick myself up and rushed over to help them.
“Where are you going?” I asked them.
“To the mainland to pay the Oda Clan a visit,” Katsuro said. “This is far from over.” I looked at Natsumi and she was unresponsive. The three of us then dragged the rafts to the shore and when the water splashed up over my feet and up to my waist, the thought struck home: I'm leaving this place. I looked back to the place I called home and suddenly my heart became heavy. I was finally leaving Jirai Island.
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