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Raiden Yamato: The Samoan Samurai 8

Updated on January 26, 2017
Collage of copyright-free photos from Pixabay
Collage of copyright-free photos from Pixabay

“It was the end. The bastard creature came out of nowhere; it was so quiet until the final moments. We thought it was a distant storm, but the clouds were black and polluted. It looked pitch black, as black as the evening without the stars or moon, just a mountain of coal filling the sky. Our junk [Chinese ship] narrowly escaped the destruction. The air became heavy and we struggled to breathe for a while. Once the smoke partly lifted and the heat cooled, our ship drifted into a sea grave of floating wood and palm trees, ash-covered boulders and burnt animal corpses; we couldn’t find any human remains, except tiny bone fragments in the water. It smelled like burning coal. The island was gone. Everything was gone…except for this mysterious Maori basket carrying a crying infant with three faint scars on his face and an odd Maori sleeve tattoo on his left arm.” – Anu’s Sensai

A small island rested on a coral reef protected by calm ocean tides, its beauty enhanced by its usual clear blue sky. The sun was setting, creating a wide-casting orange above the earth, the bright coloring slowly fading in favor of pending night. Along the beach, kids ran around and played in the calm surf line, jumping in excitement from the tiny waves hitting them. Soon the adults nearby yelled at their kids to come back to the village for dinner, watching the orange sky losing its pigment. The children quickly ran toward the grownups, running up a dirt road linked to their village. Most of the villagers were already in their huts; some stayed out to cook their Hangi [Maori method of pit oven cooking], the men drinking beer among themselves or huddling together to watch one guy’s tablet or smartphone, viewing videos.

The island of Ngati Kahungunu, known to Samoans and Palagi as ‘Kahu’, was peaceful that fateful evening. 10,000 Maori and 2,000 Chinese resided on that isle, not counting the numerous tourists renting expensive property that night, most of them Westerners and Asians. Most of the inhabitants lived on the north side of Kahu, residing in ocean huts built along the shoreline, the huts built on thick wooden platforms interconnected by plain walkways laid out in zigzags above the water. The rest of the islanders lived at an inland community enclosed by heavy tropical bush and towering palm trees.

At the northern side of the isle, a small Maori boy was building a sand castle with his cousins; among them was an infant boy in a hand-woven basket wrapped in a snugged blanket decorated with Maori artwork. None of their relatives called them to come back dinner. Using their red plastic bucket, the cousins ran back and forth between the splashing waves and the soft ocean-soaked sand, scooping up thick clumps to build their small fortress.

Original Drawing inspired by @trex.photography via @new.zealand.nz [both on Instagram]
Original Drawing inspired by @trex.photography via @new.zealand.nz [both on Instagram]

As the sun began to set in a slow dive toward the sea line, a monstrous cloud formation took shape, seemingly ascending from the ocean, coming from the west heading east. The clouds were blackish grey with a settle roar of thunder, creeping toward the descending sun. The clouds kept growing and growing, eventually blocking half of the sun with an eerie hook-like curve cloud sprout. Half the sky was split between the fading orange clearness from the sun, and the black smog mimicking the size of Mount Everest.

The air became unusually warm, as did the sea water. At first hardly anyone noticed, let alone bothered by it. However, those outside stopped and looked up to the blackening sky; the adults assumed a storm was approaching, and some figured it was volcanic ash from a faraway eruption. Fishermen once at sea in their small boat abruptly came to shore; dead fish were washing ashore, their skin appearing fried. Soon several birds began to fall out of the sky, many nose diving while limb, all lifeless without warning, all crashing into the ocean. The air continued to get thicker in heat.

A car driving through the isle’s main road suddenly halted near the southern beach. White gas burst out of the front hood, the engine fried and front windshield shattered. The tires blew out, popping in violent bursts with dusty steam spitting out. The driver jumped out, his face bloody with shards of glass rammed into his cheeks and forehead. The cement road soon cracked and buckled in heat, burning the man’s feet and forcing him to hop in pain to the nearest grass field. His skin dripped in a heavy soak of sweat, his cloths drenched and hair dried to the point of falling off in hardened loose strains.

A faint stream of hot misty waves surfed above the ocean’s surface, softly landing up against the southern shore, causing some of the sand to sizzle and crack. The ominous cloud formation darkened into complete blackness, as black as coal. Thunder roared inside the doomsday clouds, but there was no actual lightning; orange and red flashes of flames erupted inside, creating constant flashing of frightening radiance seen for many miles. The island’s inhabitants were confused and alarmed.

Floating sparks soon fell from the sky. Glowing hot flakes of lit ash fell as hell-oriented snow on the island, these tiny dust bits mimicking fireflies. The ash quickly became a faint but massive smog wave, first sprinkling over the ocean, eventually blanketing the isle. The smog blew over the beach and plunged itself inland, becoming a sand storm of reddish orange lit ash flying as lotus. The inhabitants retreated to their homes; a few remained to record the unnatural event on their smartphones, live sharing with the world; the internet connectivity remained unfazed by the intense gusts.

North of the gust surge, the cousins ran away from the beach, frightened by the fading sparks that descended on them as grey snow, and the heat gusts irritating their skin and hair. The oldest of the group tried to carry the baby basket, but the wooden surface became sweaty, slipping off the boy’s grip; the boy then tried to push the baby’s basket across the sand, slowing him down. Then it happened.

One adult was left outside at the southern shore, holding his smartphone straight forward at the ocean and sky. Everything was pitch black and swirly above the sea. A dragon’s head emerged from the highest peak of the volcanic clouds, its antler horns radiating vague supernatural light of a pagan god. Its eyes glowed a creepy reddish orange, shining like marbles. The dragon’s scales were charcoal in pigment, making the creature barely visible to the human eye. It snaked above the clouds, its long anaconda body silvering in the polluted air while the dragon stayed still at one spot, glaring at the small island, the last one moment of calm.

A horizontal line of fiery neon orange light blew up right in between the ocean and black clouds, hovering right above the sea line. A swift gush of violent hot smoggy wind smacked right into the ocean, carrying a fresh patch of bright sparks to fly over Kahu. The gust quickly pounded the island, bending the palm trees and ripping apart the green floral, small plants going airborne like paper. Soon the palm trees were uprooted and dragged out of the soil. As the sparks blew up in volume, the beach and villages started to go ablaze. Then a second wave of cyclone-strength wind slammed the island, smashing the villages in a jerky smack. Every hut imploded into vanishing debris. The ruined car was lifted into the air and disappeared into the hot smog.

The huts along the shore were shredded, demolished by the hot gusts before becoming absorbed into the thickening debris of ripped up earth mixing with the wind. Bony twisters of spinning dirt and wreckage soared to the sky, further eroding the island’s existence. Screams were short lived, muffled by the cloud’s gust surge consuming Kahu. It wasn’t long before nothing was left, except the flames and black ocean waves mixing with the rushing waves of the unnatural dust storm.

The Dragon of Oda had destroyed the Island of Kahu in a matter of minutes. The creature had unleashed the apocalypse among every living thing over a three mile radius, turning the ocean into a boiling valley of hell; sea creatures rising up to the sea’s surface as cooked corpses, and the birds suffocating from the airborne toxics as they crashed into the sea.

Many miles outside the affected radius, a group of Chinese junk ships sailed along a safe route protected by hidden Samoan and Maori vessels. Led by Chinese sailor-captain Mao Jin, the junks started to drift off course, pushed to the side by unsettled waves from southeast. One junk furthest behind stalled and became stuck in a mild whirlpool, separating 10 Maori and Chinese families from the others.

The Dragon of Oda opened its mouth and blasted out a blazing solar beam straight at the earth’s outer atmosphere. That beam arched and then came falling back to earth as a flaming comet, shaking and bursting into raging flames at jet speed. The descending object approached the stalled junk; that and the other ships’ passengers and crew quickly panicked and attempted to brace themselves for impact. The beam then slammed into the stalled junk, exploding it out of existence; hot ocean rained everywhere as raindrops and a simmering plum of black fiery smoke rose from where the ill-fated ship once was. Wailing overcame the surviving junks, especially among the women and frightened children.

The dragon’s doomsday smog drifted in all directions, reaching the junks in less than an hour. The steamy fog was crimson orange with a dull contrast, and the smell of dead fish and burned dirt forced the vessels’ occupants below deck; only Mao Jin and his lieutenants stayed outside to view the bleeding sky. They watched their surroundings in silence, with Jin keeping his stern composure [though visibly upset] as he felt black raindrops sprinkle his sailor’s robe. Eventually, Jin walked to the ship’s main pole and opened an emergency kit box, pulling out a plastic-metal lantern with a white-lit bulb; the lantern shined brightly enough to pierce through the humid smog.

Captain Jin suddenly announced, “Ordered the other ships to continue their assigned course. We’re exploring this hell on earth.”

Jin and his subordinates witnessed giant boulders covered in simmering, dripping layers of thin muddy lava and pockets of gas leaking out from multiple cracks. The boulders towered in height over the captain’s vessel; some of the black lava landed on deck, burning small holes through the wooden surface. Passing by the giant rocks, Jin’s crew came upon smaller mounds of flaming earth, many of them littered with torched palm trees and fisherman’s boats. Their junk nearly collided with a destroyed car sticking out of the polluted seawater. Small objects kept hitting up against their junk, mainly skeletal remains of fish and livestock animals. Suddenly a metal plaque was spotted by Jin; it read “Kahu”. The crew fished the plaque out of the waters; Jin read the sign up close in his hands, shaking his head in disbelief.

A thunderous roar from the Dragon of Oda, now far, far away from the former island, spooked Jin’s men. Jin looked to the black-clouded sky, watching the dragon snake its long body back into the clouds, vanishing from sight. Everything around their junk was dead.

Suddenly, a baby started to cry. At first faint to the men’s ears, the crying got louder and louder. Jin ordered all crew members on deck, instructing them to find where the crying was coming from. Not long after his order, a sailor spotted a lonely basket floating at an open body of clear blue seawater, surrounded by steamy rocky mounds of rubble. Without even getting the verbal order, five sailors jumped onto a side vessel and descended onto the dirty waters, sailing right for the baby’s basket. Once they reached the infant, one of the crewmen shouted to the junk in Mandarin, “The little one is covered in blood, but is alive. Looks like a boy baby.” Captain Jin asked what injuries did the infant had, as well as race. “His left arm is missing skin with bone showing, and he’s Maori – a Maori marking is on his forehead.” Jin and the others appeared puzzled by the latter detail since Polynesian infants appeared almost identical race-wise.

The Maori baby was in haste brought back to the main ship; the sailor carrying the babe noticed a strange mist rising off of the baby’s wounded arm. Once on deck, the ship’s physician took the baby and also noticed the odd sparkling mist. The baby’s left arm was healing itself, its skin reanimating itself with a distinct Maori tattoo sleeve taking shape. Baffled, Jin asked his crew if any of the Maori passengers were onboard their ship; one sailor spoke of one Maori woman of middle age traveling with them. Jin was pleased but, catching that sailor off guard, asked why a Maori woman was onboard with them, urging the sailor to be honest to avoid any discipline for not following protocol. The sailor admitted that he and the Maori woman were lovers.

The Maori was led by crewmen above deck. She was directed to the physician holding the Maori baby. Briefly examining the infant with Captain Jin standing next to her, the Maori woman, a mystic with light makeup, mild grey hair of long length, and plain peasant clothing, hummed as she starred into the now-quiet baby’s eyes, his arm almost completely healed but covered in a sleeve tattoo. The mystic asked where they found the infant boy, being told they found him at a blue pool surrounded by the dirty seawater. She also saw leftover sprinkle dust on the baby’s blanket that wrapped around him, the remains of the mysterious mist from before. She then said to all the them, speaking directly to Jin and the doctor, “…You were meant to find this Kahu child. He is the last of his island tribe, the sole survivor of the Dragon’s wrath. He bares the blood of Raiden Yamato; the blood the Samoan samurai have. This baby will be a great warrior – short but powerful.”

Jin asked, “Is this a prophecy?” The mystic nodded. “And we were meant to find this boy, as you claim, woman?” The mystic nodded. “My people have colonized your land for centuries; you’re not bothered by a Maori being raised by Chinese immigrants?”

“You were meant to find him and raise this boy. Everything you speak is of minor importance at most. Do you have sons?”

“I have one son, and three daughters.”

“Then raise this boy as your second son, your warrior son. Are you of the Tian clan?” Jin nodded. “Then name this boy Anu Tian. That is the name he’s meant to have.” The mystic urged the physician to give the baby to Jin, who took the infant into his arms and held him; eventually Jin mildly grinned at the baby. “There is one more important fact you must know about your adopted son…”

“Well, what? Speak of this last prophecy you claim to know.”

“…He will grow up to be a gay man.”

“WHAT?!!!”

The crew was silent for what seemed to them as a long pause, though it was only a few seconds. One of Jin’s lieutenants then asked the mystic woman how she could know such a personal characteristic in a baby. “I have extremely accurate gaydar. It runs in my family. Three of my four younger brothers are gay.” The crewmembers’ mouths dangled in surprise.

One crewmember spoke, “This is bull****! She could be making this crap up!” The mystic woman’s lover/sailor slapped him upside his head from behind, telling him to shut up and keep his criticism to himself.

Pointing her finger right at him, the mystic prophesized to that crewman, “I know you have 5 sons under the age of ten. Do you believe all five are heterosexual? Perhaps I shall tell you the future of your sons’ prospects with women – do you wish to know which son will struggle to give you grandchildren?” In disbelief and fear on his face, that sailor shook head and then turned away; the mystic replied, “As I thought: your loose lips revealed your cowardly fear.”

Captain Jin ordered the mystic to return below deck. One of his lieutenants asked about the infant and Jin replied, “This mystic may be right or may be wrong with her predictions, but under no circumstances will I have a gay son. I only want boys who will produce heirs to continue the clan’s namesake through marriage to a wife, not another man.” That lieutenant then asked if he wanted the baby taken away; the captain shook his head, clinging to the baby. Puzzled, the subordinate asked his captain why he was still holding the baby. Jin answered, “Did you not see what this baby has – he has the powers of Raiden Yamato. All that nonsense from that woman – that crap doesn’t negate the potential prestige my family will get from this boy. My other sons can only advance as doctors and merchants, social titles that yield limited opportunities when it comes to arranged marriages and access to the elites. This baby has the one thing all men of power desire, and I’m adopting this boy as my own.”

“And what if he’s gay?”

“That will be corrected out of him.”

Within an hour, Jin’s ship returned to their original route, sailing away from the overheating corpse of Kahu Island. Within several hours, the vessel caught up with the other junk ships; the passengers of the latter ships waving cheerfully at Jin’s return. The odor of melting bedrock, raw fish flesh and rotten vegetation crept deep into the junk’s wooden surface; many with shirts lifted their upper garment to cover their mouths and noses to block the strong smell, to no avail however.

As the junk ships resumed their original course, the rising plums of black-gray volcanic ash from the wiped out island of Kahu began losing its core, its anatomy changing from solid as rock to a thick whitish gray expanse of fog. The sea around Kahu's remains changed from warm to cold, producing floating clumps of salt ranging in size from golf balls to golf carts, casting off odors mimicking bleach. The towering rock formations from the isle's destruction soon began to sink, slowly descending into the sea as petit waves swirled into mini whirlpools, sucking up leftover debris and natural wreckage.

The live video feeds from Kahu survived. Family members of the island’s inhabitants received the clips before the live feeds ceased and lost connection. Social media friends and followers of a few Kahu residents also received those videos, and the surviving footage instantly went worldwide. Viewers looked in horror at the videos, suspended from their daily lives all over the globe while glued to their devices watching the brief yet harrowing apocalypse of an island most never heard of. Within minutes, the news stations of all the world’s city-states reported on the Kahu clips as breaking news; the weather satellites orbiting the earth failed to detect the dragon and the cloud formation hovering over Kahu. Within the hour, 90% of the earth’s population became embroiled with news of Kahu’s demise; the Dragon of Oda had struck fear all over the world by destroying just one small island.

Original Drawing inspired by 2013 film "These Final Hours"
Original Drawing inspired by 2013 film "These Final Hours"

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