Revenge, Inc. Part 20: A Short Story
Hello everyone and welcome back. In accordance to your many responses from last week's installment, I know that you're all anxious to find out what will happen this week and maybe if I ever quit yapping, you'll find out very soon. Or maybe you skipped this portion entirely to get right to the plot. So, if you are still here and reading this (like you should be!) then I applaud you and ask you to please be patient with the unraveling of our story. I'm sure that you have a dozen questions that need answering. I put a great deal of thought into the next installments--most of it over four months ago--and implore you (good word, big guy) to place your trust in me. Everything happens for a reason, I assure you. So if you threaten to stick a katana in me, then I'll know why! In response, I'll then direct you to come and read this opening and then maybe you'll think twice (hopefully). I thank you for reading me as always and believe me, we're closer than ever to the end of this so called "Short Story." You'll also discover while reading this, Cody's last name for the very first time. Weird as it may be I conveniently never made mention of it before!
And as always, if you are in fact new to this series, I ask you to please begin with Part One to get acquainted with its characters and plot line. Thanks for stopping in.
Thank you for reading me. It means a lot that you're here.
We were completely taken by surprise. The mystery of whereabouts of Ritsuko was finally solved. He and a few from his clan managed to escape just in time. With all that was going on, I had no way of knowing whether or not Katsuro got to him first. Of the Four Demons of Legend, the oyabans, Jubei and Matsaka were dead, but Jin and the demon head Tetsuo, Ritsuko’s father, was nowhere to be found, that is until now. It was a shock to us all to find that the circle was not yet closed.
In my mind’s eye, I can still see everything at half-speed: Ritsuko smiling as he’s firing his revolver, the look of surprise from Katsuro, the speed of Natsumi to shield him with her heart…There I stood frozen and reacted by yelling out ”NATSUMI!” as the weight of the entire world crumbled down around me. Natsumi lay motionless on the sidewalk as Ritsuko darted away toward a chauffeured black Mercedes which no doubt housed his father. Katsuro wasted no time. He went after Ritsuko with his katana in hand and just before Ritsuko climbed inside, his head had come loose. It rolled four times and stopped only a few feet away from where Natsumi lay. The Mercedes sped away, taking with it the headless body of Ritsuko and for the moment, Katsuro gave up his pursuit. He then turned to find me tending to Natsumi who was trying to speak but couldn’t manage a single word. She reached up and held my face for as long as her eyes could stay open. Her hand then fell and the world around me was engulfed in intermittent darkness. When Katsuro returned from his pursuit, he got down on his hands and knees with me and held her other hand. The two of stayed for a time holding her there from the light of what used to be the Kosuke Lucky Fish Market in silent mourning.
An entire week had come and gone since Natsumi’s passing. Both Katsuro and I fled the scene before the Kyoto Police to survey the chaos. With me carrying Natsumi’s and Katsuro holding the Ritsuko’s head, we reached a cottage outside of Kyoto that from the looks of it was vacated long ago and was covered in thick dust. As soon as we were settled in, Katsuro left me and Natsumi in the main room and disappeared for a time. My guess was that he needed some time to mourn Natsumi, or maybe he wanted for me to have my time to mourn her privately. The pain was tremendous. My eyes were blurred upon seeing her time and again. And for a time, Katsuro and I didn’t talk to one another. When the both of us were ready, we gathered the kindling and made for her the last bed she would ever lie upon and each said a prayer. Each of us slept for two days afterwards and our lives were spent in perpetual silence, coming together only for meals which we took turns making. I think that both us wanted to talk to one another, yet neither of us had the courage to initiate it, until the seventh day that is. Katsuro wanted for me to leave.
“I have a friend who is a pilot,” Katsuro said to me. “You will go to Konsai Airport tonight and meet him there. His name is Han and he can be trusted. I made all of the necessary arrangements. He will be there waiting for you.” He didn’t have to tell me where I was going as I already knew.
“What will you do?” I asked him.
“I’m not sure. Those demons are still out there. Tetsuo and Jin are still around and are hiding. That cannot be ignored…” He then looked at me and shook his head. “I don’t want your apology, Marak. I don’t need it and you have nothing to be sorry for. I just want you to leave and to never come back again. Do you understand?” I gave him a nod. “Natsumi was not only my sister, she was my twin-sister. You wouldn’t understand the pain I went through when she fell. We can feel each other’s feelings and that is something you will never know. Your time here in Kyoto and the Watanabe Clan is over. A new chapter must begin for you, brother.” Katsuro then placed his hand on my shoulder and smiled. Never before had I seen his eyes to be so shiny. He then stood up and left me there alone with my thoughts.
And that was the last time I saw Katsuro.
A Song for Natsumi
I can feel it again, the old treacherous feelings of loss, now three times over. I can still remember seeing you for the very first time as you were bathing underneath that waterfall, picture perfect. You’re long onyx hair glistened in the sunlight, flowing straight down and just covered the small of your back. I’ll never forget how you turned to meet me. Your smile was more than welcoming and nothing short of exquisite. You see, your late father told me to go and seek you and that’s exactly what I did. I apologized to you then for seeing you there that way, but you didn’t accept my apology, feeling it wasn’t necessary. The crazy thing was that you didn’t mind that I was watching which, for the most part, threw out my notion that Japanese girls were somewhat shy—that was until I met you. You were rare in the best possible way Natsumi. The rarest flowers are indeed the most beautiful of all. So from that point on, I fought like hell to resist you—to escape your eyes and lips and to continue on with my training. Your father, the wisest man I’ve ever had the honor to meet, certainly knew this because he pulled me aside and told me so in the most subtle of ways. “Wait, Cody-san. Wait.”
You were a combination of lover and soldier; a mixture of two very contradicting forces, but fierce nevertheless in each role. I thanked the heavens I finally found you after so many years of not finding anyone else outside of losing Adrianna, the only woman I loved before meeting you. I may have lost both my wife and daughter but were it not so, I never would have met you. I would’ve never known the appreciation of such a stranger in the strangest of lands. In sailing with you from Jirai to Kyoto, I got my very first taste of rejection from you , Natsumi, but that was only temporary. But now you’re gone. No longer can I touch your face or hear your voice, or feel the warmth of your soft skin.
Now, I can understand something about family and dying for the person I love. Now more than ever, I can understand that. You sacrificed yourself for Katsuro. You once saved me from death too on Jirai, from the shuriken attack—I haven’t forgotten that, Natsumi. Not for as long as I’m alive will I ever forget, because are we not defined by our actions? Yours was as selfless as they come.
I can still feel you, as ever and always you will live inside me: Your sensuality for another and your defense in the name of those you love…That can’t and won’t be denied. Both are your weapons that will only sharpen with the passing of time. You will continue to inspire me in my journey. You will remain beautiful for all time, Natsumi. In leaving, I take with me our joy of the time spent with each other and the memories of us. You are my beautiful summer eternal.
The Long Journey Home
It’s not that I’d forgotten why I landed on Jirai Island in the first place which of course brought me to Kyoto. I didn’t forget why it was that I had to disappear from Valhalla, as Cody MacLaren; deceased father of a recently deceased daughter of fourteen named Haley Adrianna MacLaren who was raped and murdered. Her mother, Adrianna Marie Aberdeen MacLaren, died giving birth to her. One could say that Adrianna gave her life for her only daughter—the only child she’d ever give birth to—by cashing-in on her own life as a part of some Deal with Death who perhaps told her to make the Ultimate Choice. What a sad, sad story…
And the father of this sad story kills himself because death is just too enticing, because he’s just too goddamn unstable to go on, because he just can’t help himself while living with such horrible memories. Losing his young and beautiful wife was one thing. Although it was unfortunate, it was natural occurrence. But losing his teenage daughter in that way? Certainly everyone has a breaking point and Cody MacLaren from Valhalla sure as hell found his. In the story leading up to his suicide, he finds an escape from bottle upon bottle of Cutty Sark or Johnnie Walker for those special occasions, or whatever the fuck else was on sale because let’s face it, he really couldn’t afford much on his blue-collar salary. So in his journey to escape this cruel and bitter world, he tightens the noose just a bit too tightly and just hangs from the beam of his ceiling for just a bit too long, and when he goes to regain his footing on his dining room chair, he instead kicks it over and so is fucked.. Aint’ that a bitch?
So Carl from accounting, who frequents Paisano’s Café and always has a gin martini after work, when learning of this “tragedy” can only shake his head and say to Gino, their bartender,
”What a damn shame, huh? Cody MacLaren. He was one of us, you know that, Gino? Just like any one of us. He always came by with a funny thing to say to all of us. Nothing so bad could’ve happened to someone so good.” And then he’ll push one back and hang his head a bit to show his displeasure, to show grief and pain of loss and sorrow because it’s expected by everyone around. And out of respect, he’ll order another one and raise his triangular glass; he’ll raise it up high in the air and say to all who cared to listen,
“This one’s for you sport. May you rest in peace, Cody MacLaren.”
“TO CODY!” The rest of the regulars at Paisano’s would say in unison and tilt their heads back. It’s times like these that makes each of them wonder: What the fuck is this world coming to?
I want to kill that invisible enemy. I want to kill that awful memory…The death of Natsumi is my reminder of Haley, of unfinished business in Valhalla. Of innocence lost and vengeance found. And you can place your empathetic hand upon my shoulder and sit me down and try to talk some sense into me and tell me that it’s wrong to kill, that it’s wrong to exact revenge on those who trespass against us and that the Lord is watching and that the Lord has a plan…And I’ll say to you, ‘Now what the fuck plan would that be? To take everything I love from this world in the cruelest manner possible? How can He possibly let this happen in His Paradise? And tell me this—What if it was your daughter that was violated and slain? It’s easy for you to just sit there, Father, and tell me all of these things from some one-thousand year old book. Trust God? No, I refuse. I trust my ears to hear and my eyes to see and what I now see is the evil of men, who can’t keep their fucking hands to themselves. Such men don’t deserve to live. I’m going to make damn sure of that.’
© Copyright 2010. All Rights Reserved.
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