A Flame in the Rain
10 Years Later
This place sure doesn't change a whole lot. After so many years, this city still has tears to shed. Not that I mind the rain, but it sure does bring back painful memories.
I wonder how many hours I've spent on this rooftop staring at my old house now? Part of me is waiting for it all to fade away, back to how things were before.
Maybe if I stare long enough, my house will come back, and just maybe, my parents will come back to me as well. I'm sure that's how this all works, life is so fragile after all.
Someone so dear and precious can be taken away in the blink of an eye. I didn't even get to say goodbye to them, or thank them for being so kind to me. They tried so hard for my sake.
Mom would constantly try to introduce me to other kids, so I could have a friend. Looking back, I'm sure she didn't want me to be lonely my whole life.
I wonder what she would think of me now? Look at me, spending my 18th Birthday alone, sitting in the rain, and dreaming of the past.
-How long do you plan on sulking up here? You're gonna catch a cold at this rate, standing in the rain for hours.-
-Fine, ignore me. I'm sure your mom would love it if you caught pneumonia and died for their sake.-
Evie, stop. I told you not to talk about them. Just because you know what I'm thinking, it doesn't give you the right to eavesdrop on my thoughts.
Besides, it's just common courtesy not to delve into another person's personal matters.
-Well, I'm not really a person. So does it even count? I'm more of a therapy bot at this point.-
That's great and all, but I never once asked for any of your advice. Also, no, you're not a human, but then again, neither am I really.
-Well, we really do make a great pair, Enzo.
The consciousness of someone once human, tweaked to allow for an expanded knowledge base, but very much lacking any humanity in the classical sense of desires.
Then there's you, the human, or shell of one someone attempted to fill with fragments of humanity.-
I guess we're both fakes, pretending at life together. Humanity is so convoluted anyway, all those emotions and feelings. No one even knows what they're doing with them anyway.
Even though we are the fakes, just the fact we accept our faults shows how different we really are.
-I don't even know what I am, I'm obviously not human, but I'm also not just an AI. Knowing that makes me wary, but also comforts me.-
What is so comforting about knowing you're not able to be defined?
-Hmm. I don't know, to be honest. It's difficult to put into words, but if I had to try, I would say that it is being able to think about thinking.
That's what separates me from some cheap artificial intelligence. I imagine you feel somewhat similar, whether you admit it or not.-
You might not be artificial, but you sure are cheap sometimes, Evie.
My concentration is broken at the slapping of shoes scurrying through the slim alleyway below.
Drifting my view slowly, I see a girl, probably not much younger than myself, and she is running with all her might away from something.
Continuously snapping her head around to see if her pursuer is still giving chase.
I slowly rise from my crouched position, ensuring to allow my circulation to return before doing anything drastic.
With increasing dread, the girl drops her book bag and tightens her running to allow for faster movement.
While continuously getting closer to my position, she rounds the corner, placing her directly in front of the rubble that was my house.
Panting furiously, now hunched over and hands on her knees, it seems she has accepted her fate.
While gazing down upon her, she pulls out a picture of a man and woman, and crouches down, then hugs her legs.
"Mom, Dad, I'm sorry. I couldn't be like you both after all. I should have listened and lived a different life, a normal life."
That girl seems so familiar.
-Enzo! Those Demons were the ones after her! Look they're closing in.-
The red-eyed abominations crash through the air darting madly from building to building, desperately looking for their prey.
-I've never seen Demons this ravenous before, someone must have sent them after that girl. Otherwise, they would never chase her for this long, or with this intensity.-
I didn't know there was anyone powerful enough to control Demonic entities in this area. Whoever they are, they really just want this girl dead.
Soon, the Demons surround the girl. Nasty broken breathes and pained gargles coming from their mouths as they inch closer to their prey.
-I know you don't usually help people, but she seems important, don't you think? -
If she really is essential, like the main character in someone's story, she'll be fine, I think.
-That's fine and all, but aren't you interested as to why someone would sick the dregs of hell after an innocent-looking highschool girl?
I mean, maybe she's like you, someone one that could help us look for the Sword Under Heaven.-
God damn Evie. I wish you weren't a common-sense spewing annoyance sometimes.
With just haste, I slide my Kitsune down, shake off my boots, and clip my overcoat tightly around my body. Here goes my knees.
I leap from the rooftop, crashing into the fire escape, and ride the ladder down into the alley.
With a harsh landing, the Demon's shifted their attention away from the young lady and directed it entirely onto myself.
Oh boy. It's been a while since I've taken on five of these atrocities at once. Stepping forward, they begin shuffling towards me.
Almost immediately, once they realize what I am, they go into a pronged attack position and start hissing at me.
Two of them dart at me instantly, moving faster than any normal person could possibly react to. I turn to my side, letting them fly past me.
Then, the other three surround me and slash away with their razor claws. I flip out of the way, landing on my feet.
I guess I should take this seriously, for this girl's sake.
With my left arm, I push away my coat, revealing two sheathes, fluidly transitioning to brace the bottom sheath, and grab onto the handle with my right hand.
The first two attackers once again fly at me, this time I brace my weight onto my back leg and lean into my attack, slightly exposing the blade with my thumb.
When the beasts get within inches of me, I draw my blade with a flash of blue steel, slicing the two cleanly in half. I recover from my attack and prepare for the next onslaught.
Differing with their tactics, two Demons lunge at my front, while the other dashes behind. Realizing I'm about to get flanked, I pivot immediately, skewering the front two.
Flinching my free hand, I grab the rear Demon by the throat, causing it to slash at my arm. After digging one of the claws in my arm, blood spews all over the dank street.
I fling the two off my blade and pull the Demon to the ground with massive force.
The Demon's carcass collides with the pavement, ruptures the earth around, and creates a crater around the now dissolving demonic corpse.
Now, slightly out of breath, I flick away my blade, dusting the air with Demonic blood. Sheathing my blade, I turn towards the girl. As we make eye contact, I realize what's going on.
-I sense a larger presence closing in on our position-