Friday, May 14, 2010
KamiSama: NAO (Book 1) Chapter One
Chapter One: Fairy Tale
January, 6 2716
Today my father died.
I am struggling with my thoughts, they hurt more than the cold or the inertia of shock. They are a battle ground where no one is crowned victorious, they rage against my brain and threaten to destroy it. You are my only salvation. You keep my eyes cast downward so that I may remain painfully unaware of the obvious. You settle me in a safe place. The smell of your pages comforts me, the rustle of their skin is sweet music and for that you are my dearest as your presence overwhelms me with peace and it withdraws me from misery. I am writing without purpose or thought, just the drifting pen, aimlessly keeping me innocent. For delivering me from this, horror...I thank you.
I'm not the kind who should keep a journal. I'm unimportant. I guess I was at one time, but that time has long passed. The novelty and atrocity of my birth is recorded in some volume of political treacheries somewhere and that now stands as the only testament of my fleeting moment of significance. When I was younger, my mother would recall the story of my birth, but now we rarely speak of it. Tomorrow is 16th anniversary of that event, my birthday and the day the earth died.
I want to feel nostalgic, but I can't feel. I do note this, the only physical evidence of my sixteen years on this earth outside of my small but growing frame is the fact that I have never cut my hair. Like you, it protects me from the outside. People call me “Kami Sama” “The hair girl”, a cruel name bestowed upon me by children of the light dwellers as they engaged in the petty torments of those less fortunate than themselves. I never cared. They didn't see my face. I am held within a veil, intact, whole; human. I was born Aurora, for the dawn that never returned to our earth. Like the memory of the sun's warm glow, my name has also been rendered obsolete. I am Kami Sama.
Glancing though thick black strands of hair, I stare at them; still stone faced. My mother cradles my father's dead body in her arms. She hasn't moved in hours, not since her haggard whisper announced, “he's gone” as she removed the tea cup to his dead lips. His passing was silent, minute, almost indistinguishable from his life which, was equally as dead. He uttered a faint groan and then his last breath escaped his body. I watched it mix with the dark, sooted air as it passed over the last smoldering ember of our ancestral fire and angrily smote it. There is nothing but darkness now. I can see glowing homesteads outside of our window, far off and distant, but they don't cast light upon us. If it were possible for another's ancestral fire to shine on our homestead, it would only be illuminating this horrific tableau; a cold room enveloped in the deafening sounds of silence; each of us fixated on one beatless heart.
My mind wanders again, floating back to more joyful times which were fat with the promise. The three of us have always shared this tiny room with it's small ancestral fire. However, I believed that we were destined for greater things. I was told that we were merely waiting for the political unrest to die away. “This darkness is temporary, my child, we are ancient nobility, don't ever forget that.” My mother would say, reverently in her unusually melodic tone. I believed her. I envisioned us as royalty with vast lands and tremendous influence over those who now oppressed us; that thought often warmed me. Once upon a time, my mother believed the fairytale, but it is she who has forgotten. For as the years drew onward, she became less enchanting and more melancholy, my father less passionate and more sedate. I think they died then when their dreams failed them, so today really isn't really any different than any other, only I hope their suffering is also terminal. These thoughts strangle me, I force my mind back to remembering...
The sound of my mother’s voice was beautiful when I was young. It was much different than it is now, more melodic, more motherly. I would lay listening to the honey tones glide over me like soft velvet warming me against the faint coldness of our room. The sound lulled me as I felt sleep creep in. She would tell me the fairytale of my birth, every year on my birthday. In these last few years, however, her care for me and the tale has waned. But back then, her voice covered me like a blanket as I fell deeper into it, strong and resound it vibrated like the wind in low, melodic tones, hypnotizing me. I would listen to each word tug and pull me closer to sleep.
“It was the last day of the world, Kami Sama…your birthday.” she would croon.
I drink in the memory and glance at her again, she looks so still, barely breathing as she clutches him to her. He hasn't moved, I don't know why I expect him to, he never will again, but he almost doesn't look dead. I push my thoughts away and struggle to remain in the past, a child, wrapped in the warmth of a mother. I consciously suck a breath inward, trying stave off the flood of tears pushing against my heart, and continue filling my mind with memories that keep my mother safe and my father alive.
“It was the last day of the world, Kami Sama…your birthday.”
When my mother spoke she would pause letting her breath escape through her lips with a sigh and then a slow and long drawn breath back inward. Then with a fleeting twinkle of sweet reflection in her eyes, she would repeat the first line, as if it held some kind of relevance for her.
“It was the last day of the world, Kami Sama...your birthday.”
The world ended as the week began. The sun was strangled by the demons of man. Poison belching from concrete towers... clouded skies and killed flowers. Apathy and industry, changed the face of history, war and hate sealed our fate. There was no longer any light...no day nor night. Darkness laid claim to the land and the people began to disband.
Her voice always stopped there. I would wonder what she was thinking and remember lying still trying to listen to her thoughts, but all I could hear was the rustle of life outside our room and the air, nothing more. I think she was willing fate to change, that by not telling the tale she would somehow escape it. Yet she always surrendered, knowing that fate is immovable, unchangeable…destined.
I glance over at her again, clinging to my father, she takes another shallow breath. A heavy sigh escapes me involuntarily, her eyes dart to mine, they shatter me with her anguish. I flinch, recoil, dig myself deeper into my memory.
Your father was a Storm God whose passion and fury brought cleansing rain. He fought valiantly until he was bitterly slain. A dark demon ripped him in half as other demons proceeded to laugh in a lighting flash his body rained down with a crash. On a blackened hill he tumbled, his fiery spirit cleaved, his proud soul humbled. The bolt of lightning was so strong it created a hairline fracture a million miles long and disrupted the keep where a water demon did sleep; upon awakening she began to sing her fatal song. Hiding deep within the earth she, a lethal demon cast out at birth, whiled her days away crooning lullabies that lured souls into the bay, where she would draw them down to her watery grave and watch them drown.
From the place where the lightning bold cracked on scorched ground, a silver maple tree was found. Its roots held your father’s frozen soul. The rest of him, his rage and shame, boiled in a dragon searching for his whole.
I think about a God cut in two, and wonder how a being can be split and still survive. I see the raging dragon in my mind’s eye, just at the corner where illusions reign. I sometimes feel his eyes watching me. I wonder what my father looked like when he was young, he must have been so beautiful. Only one picture of my father and mother has survived...a sketch of them as young lovers entangled in an embrace; they are breathtaking. I keep it folded in your cover, tucked away for remembering.
For a time, through poisoned skies the dragon flew taunted by the demons who multiplied and grew. But without a soul the dragon could do no good and finally collapsed upon the earth where the silver maple stood. Exhausted he fell to sleep in a place where dreams travel deep. There in the realm of dreams the dragon reunited with his trapped soul and once again found his whole.
A gust of wind blows in through the open window, it blows my hair from my face. I see her again, she looks like she might be crying. His face is turning to stone.
The lightning created a fracture in the ground that opened a chasm where Visola, the water demon was found. Visola had slumbered until she was awakened against her will raging and ready to kill. Dazed with anger, she flowed through the icy caverns of earth up and up to the warm spring of her birth. The spring who had mercilessly dashed her through the ice and snow so many years ago to the place she was now kept, the place where she moaned and wept and soon took up the devious art of lulling lost souls to death with the songs of a broken heart. Why was she thrown down into a living grave? Well it was true love she did crave, and the spring thought that wrong for demon to desire, so she threw her down into the abyss and hoped for her to expire. In that watery tomb the water demon's big heart grew small as she stalked victims and waited for them to fall. Visola, she was named, Visola the demon lying in wait, Visola the demon who dreamed of love but was created by hate.
My mother’s voice became softer as she spoke her own name, it flowed from her lips, liquid and haunting. Visola... She told me once means “longings are waterfalls.” She was so beautiful then, she is beautiful, still.
Visola was finally free yet the long journey up through the earth made her very sleepy so she soaked into the roots of the silver maple beside the spring and started dreaming.
I remember wanting to join them in the dream’s world. I would will sleep to come so that I could see the place which was rumored to be so magical. “You will miss the story.” sleep said and so my eyes would continue to stare, barely awake. I glance at them again, silently hoping they will return to dreaming one day.
In the roots of the silver maple, the water demon and the dragon slept entwined, the land of dreaming was loving and kind and helped them find each other and very quickly they fell in love with one another. When Storm and Visola awoke at the base of the Silver Maple Tree he no longer was a dragon and a water demon no longer was she. They were a man and a woman, a woman and a man entwined together as if they were one; the first day of their human lives had begun.
I remember wondering what it was like to be in love. Did it feel like warm wind or sugar drops? Was it something you could even taste? Or did love just linger on your skin. I knew I could never ask them, I knew that they would never speak of love to me, but they did to each other, through their eyes that never broke their soft gaze which never lost it's adoring glow.
Now love has frozen them.
The tree witnessed their marriage beneath the blackened sky and they were happy to live there until the day came for them to die. But Visola knew that within her belly a baby grew. So she fashioned a teapot out of the tree’s earth and filled it with water from the spring of her birth, Storm took a branch from the Silver Maple Tree in the hopes that someday his soul would finally be free and together they descended the scorched hill and headed towards humanity.
My mother’s voice became sweet and endearing, no longer the storyteller, but the mother. My mother. I feel them still near me and yet so far away, I want to pray for them, but I am afraid. The cold has grown more fierce. I feel it strangling my skin.
The city gates were flung open wide and people rushed and ran around inside. "The world has died", they cried. An old greasy fat man ushered them in and gave Visola water from a rusted tin. She felt her baby push to get out “I have her” she heard the fat man shout. Storm held his wife and watched their tiny child delivered into life.
“Life” My mother’s voice wrapped around the word and the word became it’s own entity. It was as if she found greater importance in it somehow, but there was a sadness in her eyes, one that seemed contrary to the word; one that screamed out in solidarity, thickly protesting the injustices of the dead.
“Life” I whisper. My fingers are turning blue, I don't dare look over at them again, it has been too long now since my father died, whatever is transpiring between them now is theirs, private, sanctified.
And then you slipped into the gatekeeper's arm and although we feared it, he did you no harm. Thus there you were born on a black and hazy morn.
“Mommy tell it again.” I remember asking her eagerly. “Not this time dear. Go to sleep.” she would whisper.
Not this time dear… Not ever again. There is a swift knock and a loud crack as the door flies open. Instantaneously the room is filled with more movement than it has seen in several days. The NAO Security barrel in wearing identical black and gray suits all heavily armed and carrying thick shackles which they unload onto the floor. Two of them leave as two others unlock the tall cabinet in the corner and remove the items into a large metal box. Having never seen the cabinet opened, I watch as they take weaponry, viles of liquid, boxes of powder, masks, clothes, hair pieces and other sundry accessories of a murderer out and throw them into the container. The Leader speaks angrily with my mother. “Visola!” He barks. My mother nods quietly. “NAO Tech has indicated the loss of Thomas Storm's bio-imprint, can you verify?” Again my mother nods quietly. “Is it really Thomas?” he asks his eyes wild. My mother looks at him dryly and speaks in a venomous whisper. “Of course it's Tom.” The Leader's rigid physique loosens, almost imperceptibly as his stern voice continues. “You are aware that you have a contract with the Office of NAO Security.” “Acutely” she spits. “You're grossly in violation of that contract, which clearly states you are to extinguish any and all human threats to NAO Security with the EXCEPTION of Thomas Storm.” She says nothing as her face curls with anger and she clutches my father's body closer. “ONS receptors indicate that you poisoned him with your own ONS assigned recipe.” Her eyes seethe, “Who else's would I have used?” The Leader's face twists in shock. “You claimed to have loved him.” She remains dry and emotionless. “Always.” A look of jealously flashes across The Leader's face. “I am to escort you to your execution.”
His body wavers slightly, his mind and spirit seem riddled with indecision. She notices this and her face melts, becoming deceptively alluring as it turns to a plastic replica of her true continence. “Let's not do this, let's not play these petty games, we were lovers for too long not to respect each other, even in this, the end. You don't have to do anything you don't want to Adrian, you practically run the show here.” Her voice is honey smooth as her head tilts towards his, her lips turned downward, making her face sad and earnest. His body tenses as she becomes more tempting. “You know I have always been conflicted. I've had regrets and I don't want to die without you knowing that. The worst is the memory of your kiss, I've all but forgotten. You wouldn't grant your dead lover one last one and leave her with a taste of something sweet before she goes?” My mother croons as a tear mounts upon her eyelid. The perfect actress in a perfect performance. The Leader looks hypnotized, held within my mother's seduction. I see in her, the professional undefeated predator who lured unsuspecting men to their demise. Even those who assumed my mother was a killer were still tempted by her. I watch The Leader, he can not resist as his biology betrays him, his words repel her advance, but his body reveals him. “The chance to reconcile Visola is long gone.” he hisses, his breath bucks in fits and starts as he attempts to temper his passion.
The Leader looks to my father's dead body as my mother continues to speak in a deceptive tone. “No kiss goodbye then?” He is stopped by her words, impaled by an invisible weapon as inert motion awakens and moves him forward against his will. There is a longing, deep and profound in his eyes and a gaping internal wound that nags at him, propelling him toward my doomed mother. “I was to be your wife after all.”, my mother says sensing his mounting desire, her words seer and entice him as he takes another heated step toward her. It is not, however, the nostalgic expression of love that motivates him, but a deep and seething anger which bubbles chaotically to the surface, confusing his resolve to uphold his high ranking position by not debasing himself or his actions. “There is a lot more than a stinking good bye kiss that I want and deserve to get from you!” She smiles, still the actor, still the seducer; an assassin at work. “Ahh” she sighs hotly. “My soul, I imagine.” He growls. “Imagine more!”
The two ONS guards return with a large metallic bag and toss it next to my father's body, then flank my mother to remove him. They wrangle his corpse roughly out of her arms as she silently lets him slip away from her. My body shivers, tears press against my dry eyes, my breath seizes in my throat. I am only pacified by the thought that my brief life is also almost over. I watch a momentary look of panic cross my mother's face as they fully remove his stiffened body from hers. They are finally disconnected, separated, ripped apart and laid asunder never to rejoin again. My mother's heart shatters under her skin, I see the quake of it, but her eyes remain icy orbs of stone.
Awkwardly the ONS Officers topple towards the floor surprised by the uneven weight of rigor mortis. My mother's acid laughter cuts the air as The Leader hovers near. He speaks in a dark whisper as he grabs her face and drags it towards his, stopping just a breath away from his lips “A kiss? Just one... last... One?” He pants, bellowed with agitation. Their lips are nearly touching when he sharply thrusts her face away. “The memory of your kisses are poison enough, you forget I'm immune to capsule-tox, it would briefly incapacitate me as it would you, so you might as well bite down on that capsule and ingest the poison you intended for me it will make my job easier. You don't think I know you well enough to see through every maneuver, I'm just surprised you used such an old trick. You were nothing but a pretty beggar before I crafted you into the a lethal weapon, don't embarrass yourself by using antiquated antics on me.” Her dark and emotionless eyes do not change their steadfast gaze upon his strong featured face, one huffing laugh escapes from her chest, “I would never attempt to use my artless skills on you Adrian of all men, I know you can see right through it. You may be immune to poison, but are you also immune to the agony of defeat?” His voice bursts into a mocking laughter. “You're the one who is about to executed my dear, I hardly see this as my defeat.” Her face breaks into a smile revealing, if only momentarily, her true beauty as her amazing features alight. “Because,” She playfully grabs his hand as she dances around the words. “I didn't chose YOU!” This last word she emphasizes with a menacing venom. Her face remains remarkable while she lightly squeezes his hand and twists it, his bones audibly cracking inside his flesh. Her honey sweet voice lilts over his screams of agony. “And never will!”
The room starts to spin as a blur of movement is set in motion. The two guards toss my father's bagged body out into the hall, the other two seize and shackle my mother. She remains calm as she is roughly contained. “Something to remember me by, Adrian.” I hear one of the guards whisper in astonishment, “Did she just use a kinetic grip?? I hear it can crush the bones and rip ligaments, all with this kinda energy thing. How could she have done that? She can’t have the strength.” The other NS guard hastily responds while tightening the shackles locking mechanism, trying to get them securely fastened before she touches him. “It's only a theory, you would have to have the power to throw energy with your body to successfully execute a kinetic grip and no one has been documented with the ability. It‘s just a crazy energy/astral transmutation theory. Pure bunk!.” Visola turns to him acerbically and lifts a finger out of it‘s encasement, she points it towards the officers, flicking once, the second officer is toppled to the ground. His body lands with a harsh thud, the wind blown from his lungs. He coughs and rights himself, stunned speechless. “It’s not a theory.” My mother says with a hiss. With that she is imprisoned, from head to toe, every inch of her beautiful body is encased in metal. Her face remains stoic.
Only her eyes glance back at mine, dark and glaring, but too much so. The venom that pours out of her stare is inappropriate for the situation as she is surely being marched to her death and this is inevitably the last moment she will ever see her only child. We never hated one another, never spoke above a civil tone. Her apathy was created within her own psyche, not by any action associated with me. The morning always began with a heaving reluctance to begin the day, but the night ended with sweet surrender and the acknowledgment that I, her only blood relation, was appreciated. While I longed for the softly spoken voice of the siren, my mother's bitterness never extended fully to my father or myself. We were after all, her sanctuary. So this facade of anger is her swiftest and deftest blow, the one that severed us from each other, mother and daughter, demon and spawn. It was her last attempt to protect me from the world, for if I hated her enough, I would not mourn her loss, or his. I would not be shattered by my new found orphancy and I would in some way find hope, in hating her. My eyes stared back through black strands of hair, the first of a million tears welling to the surface, balancing on the lid, daring itself not to fall. “Not now, wait till they are gone”, my brain screams, don't let her see you cry...don't! My mind reels in the tear and holds it steadfast, once again meeting her angry stare. And in the flash of an instant her heart betrays her yet again, our eyes connect and she softens, rather crumbles. It is enough of a glance to say “I'm sorry, I wish it could have all been different” and a twinkle of love remains, hanging in space like a suspended nanosecond of time, just for us. For that instant she and I are alone her heart engulfing mine holding me softly as she had so many years ago. The look professes undying, unending love as her life draws to a close. But it is all too quickly quashed by her anger again, forcing herself to remain loyal to her resolve. My eye blinks “good bye” and the first of a million tears fall, my mouth whispers... “I love you.” Her mouth sucks the words in...and in that breath, she is gone.
January 6, 2716
Today is the day my father died.
Today my mother killed him.
Today the assassin will be executed for killing the scientist.
Today she ended his pain and set him free. Only love can do that.
Today I lost them both.
Tomorrow is my birthday.