A voice I didn’t recognize called out through the fog enveloping my mind. I strained to hear it better, to identify the speaker, but the voice remained far off and little more than a whisper.
Come back here.
There was no going back.
I’d made my choice. I’d reached out and touched that dagger. I would wake up and when I did, I would be something new, something that both terrified and excited me.
A woman gifted a new purpose. I would let vengeance guide my hand. I would be a god killer.
“Come back here!” Amaterasu screamed.
My eyes shot open. Heat rose through me, igniting my insides, my heart beating in furious succession. I was back in my father’s office, and the scene unfolding before me looked as though only a few seconds had passed since I’d been in Club Lunar.
Amaterasu screamed again, reaching for the collar of Susano-o’s kimono. Blood gushed from a slash across his cheek and one of his sleeves was blackened and smoking. The door had been blasted to bits, and sprawled out in the hallway, a crumpled mess of charred flesh was Kagu, blue lightning crackling across his skin. He groaned, still alive.
I blinked and got to my feet, quickly regaining my bearings. Something about the room had changed. The air pulsed with newfound electricity that prickled my skin. When I inhaled, foreign scents assaulted my nose – of dog hair, dander, ash, disinfectant, the ocean. I could smell more of the world in this office than I’d ever smelled in my life.
The scents clashed violently with one another, and feeling as though I would reel, I would suffocate under it all, I closed my mind off to these new sensations and focused. My revenge. I was here for revenge and all I had to do was reach out and take it. Clutching the dagger in my hand, I took a step forward.
“Susano-o!” I shrieked. My lips peeled back into a smirk as I hiked the dagger high overhead, moonlight glinting off the blade, making it look as though it were mimicking my grin.
Susano-o whirled around. His mouth agape as he stared at me, the whole in my neck closed. Made anew. Amaterasu scowled, her thin eyebrows arching in alarm.
Susano-o eyed the dagger and frowned. Amaterasu stood still, watching me. She shuddered, jaw tightening, as she eyed the door, anxious for Kagu to re-emerge.
“What have you done?” he asked. “Who gave you that?” He sniffed the air and then his eyes flickered toward the moon. “Brother Tsukiyomi.” He sighed.
Amaterasu snarled. “Brother moon. I should have known.”
I nodded and tossed the blade in the air. I caught the blade between my hands. Its edges sliced my palms, but as soon as the wounds were made, the flesh had started to heal. I took another step toward Susano-o, lowering my body, preparing to pounce. He pointed his staff at me, lightning dancing around the sharpened tip.
I ignored it and kept walking. An ache took root in my chest, propelling my legs forward. The ache, the need, the desire, to jam this dagger straight through that lying bastard’s chest.
I lunged. Susano-o held out his staff, as if to spear me through the gut. A force knocked me out of the air. I slammed into the ground, rolling to the side as a fireball tore up the ground. Kagu stood between me and Susano’o, flames flaring out around him, engulfing the surroundings. Amaterasu shrieked as I barreled toward Kagu, my own dagger raised.
She slashed at my throat, but I grabbed her arm, twisted it behind her, and her pin clattered to the ground. She roared, squirming in my embrace. Kagu shrieked and ran toward his. I threw Amaterasu, as Kagu’s hand closed around my neck. He threw me into the wall. I, along with most of my father’s bookcase, fell to the floor.
I laughed as I saw my skin, charred and showing bone. I hadn’t felt it. I hadn’t felt anything. Taking a chunk of flesh between my fingers, I began to peel it free of my arm. Nothing.
Getting to my feet, I flicked the piece of flesh into the trash can. “I must look a fright,” I said, tossing the dagger into the air.
I caught it and hurled myself at Kagu. He released the full force of his flames in response, and I ran through them and plunged the dagger into his shoulder. He gave a banshee-like howl at the pain, the dagger turning blood-red in my hand. He pulled away and the dagger tore free of his flesh. I smiled at him and turned my attention to Amaterasu.
Before I could lunge for her, Kagu had grabbed me from the side, and pushed me toward the window. I grabbed a hold of him and smirked. “If we fall,” I said, “We fall together.” His eyes went wide as he tried to stop, tried to break free of my grasp, but I’d taken up the momentum and in seconds we were out the window and hurtling toward the ground.
The sound of bones shattering surrounded me, but I hadn’t felt any impact. Moonlight caressed my back, its energy invigorating, soothing my burns and expediting my healing. I wretched. Black bile dribbled down my hoodie and splattered the asphalt. A hunger deep inside gnawed me. It spread to my extremities. My mouth went suddenly dry. I needed water, something to quench my thirst. Their blood, your power. My gut twisted. Drink and gain their power.
“Hey-” A girl’s voice, young and terrifying fell on my ears. “Are- are you guys okay-”
A bleach blond girl, around my age, stood arm in arm with an older man, her plaid skirt pulled high up on her thighs, hair disheveled, the man’s shirt awkwardly buttoned, his collar undone. They smelled of sweat and sex and I got a little whiff of shame emanating from the girl.
She jostled as I began to stand, her heaving breasts pressing into the man’s arm. “Jesus, you’re still alive.”
My hand peppered with thousands of tiny cuts, I brushed broken glass off my jeans and stood. The girl’s jaw dropped, and she pointed at me with a trembling finger. “He-hey! You have something right there-”
A piece of glass stuck out between my breasts, right between the ‘C’ and ‘U’ of my Cubs shirt. I chuckled, pulled it out and tossed it aside.
“Thanks,” I said. The veins in the girl’s neck pulsed, thick and full of blood. I licked my lips. Drink.
I took a shaky step toward the couple.
“Do you need us to call an ambulance or something?”
“No,” I said.
The couple took a step back. Kagu stirred. “What about a phone?” The man rooted around in his pockets until he procured his and held it out to me. “Why don’t you use mine? Call someone to pick you guys up.” His eyes flickered to Kagu who released a soft moan.
I knocked the phone from his hand. “No,” I said.
The couple continued to back away as I advanced. As they passed under a streetlight, they finally seemed to notice the dagger clutched in my hand. Their eyes went wide. The girl tugged on the man’s sleeve and as they turned to run, I pounced, moving like the wind. I shoved my shoulder into the man and sent him to the ground. The girl, whose hand he’d been holding, was dragged down with him.
In one quick motion, I took the dagger, raised it overhead, and buried it into the man’s chest. I twisted it, tearing flesh, blood shooting up from the wound like an erupting volcano. I straddled him, carving at his skin over and over until I saw bone peeking up at me. His torso became a lake of blood, and I wanted to bath in it, relish in his death. I cupped my hands, and waited, breath held, as blood collected in them. The ache worsened. My back stiffened. Jaw clenched, I put my hands to my lips and allowed his blood into my mouth.
I moaned as it dribbled down my throat, sating my hunger, tempering that ache. Energy, more than anything I’d ever felt, coursed through my veins.
It was ecstasy. Easily better than sex, better than food or some combination of both. The world grew brighter. Scents stronger. My wounds healed themselves.
Reinvigorated, I leapt from the man’s corpse and jumped onto the girl. I slapped her pretty little cheeks until she began to wake. When she saw me, covered in her fuck-buddy’s blood, she screamed, and put her hands up in defense.
She clawed at me pathetically, and, taking her wrists in my hands, I snapped them back. She howled before passing out. I threw her limp wrists to the ground, wiped the dagger clean, and then rammed it into her neck. Blood oozed onto the ground, pools of crimson collecting underneath her, congealing, reflecting the moonlight.
The moon. My new master.
I lowered to all fours and put my lips directly over the wound. I drank her blood in greedy, frenzied gulps, feeling as it cooled, as the heart ceased its beating.
The girl dead, her blood no more a hemorrhaging torrent that raced to fill me, I got up and looked at the carnage I’d created, running a bloodied hand across my mouth and jaw, reveling in the hint of copper that now perfumed my skin. Two corpses lay at my feet, emptied husks, their faces tense, death capturing their last, horrifying seconds.
I’d murdered them and I felt nothing. Nothing, except a small pang of hunger that would slowly fill, slowly consume me until I sated it again. I’d murdered innocent people and I knew I would murder again.
Daughter of the Moon. This was my nature now.
At the sound of rustling fabric, I whipped around, dagger raised. Kagu stood before me a true god. His jeans and bomber jacket had been replaced by a long kimono of spun silk the color of flame. He held a fighting stance, his katana raised and trained at my head.
“Finally,” I said, twirling the dagger between my fingers. “You got rid of that hideous jacket. I really hated that thing.” I sneered, and with a new-found agility, leaped into the air.
Kagu hissed, his sword raised above his head. I slammed my dagger down at him, a mad cackle escaping my lips. Sparks flew between us as our weapons met. Fire and darkness clashing. When I landed on the ground, Kagu switched from a defensive posture to an offensive one, turning his katana to face me. He bolted, bringing the sword low and across in a wide arc that would have spilled my guts onto the parking lot had I not been fast enough.
I parried his blow and whirled around on my heels, falling into Kagu’s blind spot. I tried to dig the dagger into his side, but he jumped back, and once again our blades met, filling the silence with metal resounding off metal. He went for me again, and I dove, clipping him below the armpit. I smiled and fell back, relishing in the way black blood smeared his pretty little kimono. Kagu snarled and came at me like an enraged tornado. His blows grew sloppy, his footwork clumsy. I sidestepped and parried, and when I felt like it, stuck him with the pointy end of my dagger.
“Bitch!” He screamed, and rammed his shoulder into my face, his whole weight behind the blow. I was thrown to my feet and before I could move, stuck through with his sword. He smiled and twisted his blade. “Nanami was easy to kill,” he growled. “At least, you proved a challenge.”
I spat and, grabbing the blade, letting it cut into my palms, tore myself free. He howled, but before he could attack me again, I slid back, merging with the shadows, becoming one with the surrounding darkness.
Kagu stilled. He lowered his sword. His eyes scoured the parking lot, back and forth, looking for me. I slithered behind him, dagger raised, and then…
I jammed it into the back of his skull. Bone splintered and cracked. He twisted around, swinging his sword wildly. “That was for Nanami Okawa,” I spat, my voice like ice. “The last daughter of Susano-o.” I wrenched the dagger free, a spurt of blood painting my face in shades of grisly Kagu. I slipped around him, faced him, stood eye-level with him, and made myself be seen. He stood in shock as if time had come to a standstill. Then, he raised his sword, but I had plunged my dagger into his left eye.
His katana clattered to the ground. With a disgusting squelch, I removed it, removing his eyeball with it, and plunged it into the other eye. Kagu screamed and reeled back on his feet. He tumbled onto the ground and his glorious kimono disappeared. He was Kagu. Dirty and grimy and soon-to-be obsolete. I knelt before him, and taking my time to remember what Nanami had taught me, I folded my legs under me. Sat up, shoulders back.
With a deep inhale, I impaled Kagu through the heart. The blade turned that shade of blood red as it absorbed Kagu’s power, Kagu’s immortality. At first, he convulsed, but then, as he was drained, his body stilled, his stomach caving in on itself as though his insides had been sucked out through a straw. I smiled. I was much more suited to this than to origami.
When his body had been reduced to a blackened husk, I removed the dagger. A flash of lightning clawed its way across the sky. Storm clouds gathered, blotting out the stars and moon. Something falling, speeding toward me. Something silver, with eyes the color of a storm about to break. I smiled and leaped, dagger raised, giddy to meet the storm head on.
It was time for the rest of the gods to die.