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October 25

She immediately went silent, almost painfully so. I didn’t want to make her feel sad or feel pity towards me but just thinking of my life in full brings it into a painful perspective. I was alone for most my life, I get that and no one can change that fact. Should I feel bad for myself knowing that? No. I had my books and people online that actually cared for what I said, or at least acted like they did.

I didn’t just stay home and read though; I felt like that would be a waste of the time that I had been given. I would put myself through hell before I could even start to think of entertaining myself with books and art. What else could I do besides making myself the most presentable that I possibly could so people would see me even more of a non standout character. I wouldn’t be picked on, called names, called fat or stick, called unwanted, so I made myself a well oiled machine.

I ran six miles every day, did over three hundred pushups every day, and did over two hundred squats three times a day. It wasn’t easy but it made sure that I didn’t have to sit through talks of resentment or random encounters.

Yes, I was the one making myself alone, but what could I do but try not to stand out? I’m going to stop there before my mind becomes flush with angry thoughts. I tried to stop thinking when all of a sudden I heard a gentle but angry voice yelling out to me, “hey, you. Are you okay?” It wouldn’t stop and I couldn’t react, “Are you okay, whatever your name is. Wake up.”

Just like that I felt a tinge of pain on the right side of my face, and my head flung sharply to the left. “Oww, what did you do that for? You know hitting isn’t a nice thing to do young lady.” She was not entertained by my joking, though I didn’t really expect her to.

“What were you staring at my face for? You’ve been doing it for a straight minute, same expression and everything. It started to get creepy and you weren’t budging, so slapping you was the next viable option.” She said with a certain kind of pouting look on her face as she leaned backwards a bit looking as if to get ready to pull some cute little tantrum.

“Do you like causing more pain than needed? I was in thought about some personal issues and then I get a smacking from a girl who has a low sense of tact. I spilled my guts to a person who I don’t even know the name of, so it jarred some memories loose. Did you feel any sort of a humanly emotion in my life revealing story?” I had a blank expression on my face with my voice also monotone, but on the surface I was actually happy to get some rise out of her even if it hurt a bit.

“Well, I had some kind of emotion, not pity or any of the happy ones. I kind of understood the loneliness, in my line of work one has to be alone to get anything done. I also have one question though. What did your ancestors do to have this curse thing put on you? Like I’ve had to go after people with curses but none of them were ever as bad as a recognition deficiency. Mostly lowball ‘sleep walking and mental disorder’ type of missions.” She said as if not a care in the world, especially not for the feel of what the conversation should sound like.

“I have no clue about what my ancestors did I was just given the short side of the proverbial stick, I thought you knew why? Being that you were the one that stabbed me because of it. Ring a bell, Mrs. Loose Cannon?” She decided it would be best to sit down rather than leaning on the bar she randomly had on her, I still don’t know when she grabbed it though. Maybe when I was zoning out, anyway she replied with a sense of confusion.

“Oh I have no clue, I just followed orders. I was just doing my job like normal, and they don’t normally say why, they just say do. So like a good employee, I did what they asked and it just happened to be you, nothing more nothing less. Why I saved you was more of a reason of ‘is this guy worth it or not?’ It was more or less down to two factors.” She stopped there; I’m guessing because she was looking for the empathetic “why?” that everyone wanted to hear. So I decided the best way to make her continue would be to participate in her little game.

“Why did you choose to save my life?” I leaned my elbows on my crossed knees as I cocked her a smile. She then gave her response with the same expression as before.

“Number one, I wanted to see if someone could survive well in a spur of the moment encounter with me, you put up one hell of a fight until the last second, no one has ever done that yet so it surprised me. Number two, you are kind of… handsome.” She kind of blushed a bit when saying handsome. I didn’t know if she was getting me back for when I called her cute earlier or if she was being serious, either way I blushed the same way she did back then.

I quickly put my head down to hide my expression, I said to myself sternly, “men don’t get nervous, men don’t get nervous but god damn that was beautiful.”

She looked kind of confused, “Did I say something weird? Why are you looking down? Are you okay, you look kind of feint?”

I took in a deep breath and then let it out slowly, and then without even thinking, I replied, “I.. I’m… I’m fine just a thrown a little of guard, that’s the first time a girl has called me handsome, so I never knew how it would make me feel. Okay, I’ve calmed down, don’t blindside me like that, okay? I bet it hit you lightly when I called you cute earlier, so that’s why you gave the compliment back so easily, right?”

Now she’s the one that was a little blindsided. “Whaaaaaaat? I… umm… don’t umm… I...” She couldn’t quite get the words out, and I could see that she was getting really embarrassed. She then proceeded to say something way too quiet for me to be able to hear, but the way that her face turned red as she said it, she must’ve said something around the words “it didn’t.” I still can’t stop myself from thinking that she is just too cute when she is flustered.

Stop thinking like that brain, she’s deadly, deadly is not cute, its evil, but right now she isn’t the enemy. Anyways, we have to start thinking of what to do. So I had to talk to her about something, “Oh I need to ask a few questions before we even start to think of doing anything, which we should’ve actually been thinking of this whole time. What is your name or is there something that I could call you by? Why is my wound healed or just plain gone? And where exactly are we? Sorry for the rapid spitfire of questions but I need to know.”

“Okay, I’ll answer your question with a question, what would you want my name to be? I technically don’t have a name; I go by whatever anyone wants to call me. Altia, Sandra, Wench, name it and I’ve probably have been called it. Your wound is still a mystery for me, I have no clue. I was led to believe that you did it yourself because I am the only one that is allowed in this room. So you were alone in this room for two whole days while you were unconscious. And Number 3, I’ll keep it short, The Underworld.”

“Let me get this straight. You don’t have a name, I healed myself, and, worst of all, ‘The Underworld’? What is this Dante’s Inferno? What do you take me for, an idiot?” I quickly stood up staring down at her, a tinge of anger planted on my face. What didn’t help was that she answered so nonchalantly as if it would faze right through me.

“No, I don’t think of you as an idiot, I understand your shock. Let’s just call me Kyoko, sound good, then agreed.” She gave a little smile, and then proceeded with her blank expression.

“As for the other two, this is The Underworld not Hell; Hell is technically another name for this place. Since The Underworld is set up differently than the supposed Hell, that book has no jurisdiction here. Since this is hell, then this is where anyone who has died ends up. Since you’re in this room, in The Underworld, then does that answer your question and more?”

The words repeated in my head, “Does that answer your question and more?” That means that I must be… dead? How is that possible? I am breathing right? I’m walking, talking, and have no exit wound. I kind of anticipated this answer since I did pass out after being stabbed but thinking that it doesn’t make it any less real.

My mind started to slowly go blank as my eyes started to stare, as if they went completely blank at the thought that my reality as it was is gone, shattered in an instant. It was made in 17 years and smashed in an instant like a pane of glass hit by a sledgehammer. I couldn’t rationalize it properly so I sat there, it could’ve been a minute or an hour but I doubt it, Kyoko wouldn’t let me stay like this for long.

 Just as that thought left the fleeting image of my mind, I suddenly felt something warm wrap around me. It was Kyoko, she must have understood the brunt of her words, and felt my pain. I didn’t mind as we both sat there for a while as I attempted to pick up the shattered pieces of my once stable reality.

Submitted: November 23, 2014

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