Ethan blinked his eyes open, and then looked up. The dark sky was getting brighter, he looked around; confused. He didn’t realize how long he had been lying there.
After running from his parents, he had passed out due to fatigue and pain from his foot. Ethan had lied there unconscious throughout the night, now as he was awaking, it was near dawn.
He placed his deformed hand on the ground and pushed himself upwards to sit up. He looked around again, the scene from just a few hours before played in his mind. He whimpered, lifting his mask with one hand and wiping away a few remnants of tears and blood from his face.
Ethan was about to stand up when something caught his eye, he looked forward curiously. Something was lying in the grass in front of him; he reached forward and gently took ahold of it with his long claws.
He grew even more curious and intrigued when he saw that it was a feather; a large, ragged, black feather. He recognized it, as it seemed to be similar to the ones that were on the hybrid wings of the demon with the tome.
Ethan dropped it and looked around, wondering if the demon had been here while he was unconscious. Part of him hoped that he could talk with the demon; maybe the demon could help him out. But then again, part of him didn’t want to meet the demon. It could be angry towards him for taking the tome, that demon looked like it knew how to pick a fight.
Ethan looked around once more, listening to the forest this time. He was trying to see if there were any other people around, or any other demons. Hearing nothing, he decided he should think of where to go next. He obviously couldn’t go back home to stay, and he couldn’t think of anywhere in the woods he could stay. The people in the city would most likely shoot him on sight, he couldn’t stay there.
He reached up and grabbed the side of a tree to help him up, and tried to stand. As soon as he put pressure onto his right foot he yelped in pain and fell down again. Ethan looked down and remembered his injured foot. Taking it into his left hand, he examined it.
Two of the long toes had been broken, and were bent upwards at a gruesome angle. Ethan gently reached out to touch one of the toes. He winced in pain and quickly drew his hand back.
He looked forlornly at his right foot, then hand. He didn’t like his deformities; he despised them. But he didn’t know what to do. Looking back, he saw the ragged black feather on the ground again. Ethan manifested an idea that gave him some hope; if the demon’s tome had a spell that could turn him into this monster, perhaps it had one that could change him back.
Ethan reached up and grabbed the tree again, pulling himself to his feet. He gingerly set his injured foot onto the ground; he gasped in pain, but managed to stay on his feet. He looked towards the black feather, and then around it to see if there were any others. Seeing none, he scanned the ground for footprints. There were no footprints either, or any tracks of any kind.
He sighed, but didn’t give up hope. Holding on to branches and trees for stability, Ethan limped towards the feather, and then past it. It wouldn’t help him to sit there and wait for the demon to return, if it ever would.
Ethan moved along slowly and cautiously, looking around at the trees and shadows and turning his head at any and every sign of movement or noise. He wanted to avoid any humans, but he also wanted to know if there were any demons out. He expected to see the one in the blue mask, or the one with the tome, or the one which Luke described as having a laugh of ‘kukuku.’
Yet, he saw no one. The only life he saw was a few birds or a rodent or two. He was slightly disappointed, and slightly relieved, but overall on edge of the possibility that they could be hostile.
Ethan, with no way to keep track of time, didn’t know how long he had been walking. He didn’t think he had travelled too far; as he was slow on his injured foot. The sun had risen and was high in the sky now, so he assumed that it had been at least an hour.
Looking up, he saw a building. It looked like a normal house; this was probably the woods behind another residential area. He hobbled over to the back of one of the houses. It didn’t look like anyone lived there, or in the house next to it, or even in the house next to that house.
The houses were all identical, with the exception of they all seemed to have slightly different colors. One was a light blue, the other a light yellow, and so on. They were all quite large, upper middle class type houses; with three floors, including the attic, and most likely a basement. The yards behind the houses, however, appeared unkempt and made it seem that no one had been there in quite a while.
Feeling safe here, Ethan started to walk around the house to the front.
“オイ、これ見て。” (‘Ey, look at this.)
Ethan froze, and then pressed himself against the side of the house. The voice had come from the sidewalk; he silently thanked his foot for being injured and slowing him down. If he had walked another step he would have been around the house and the person would have seen him.
Ethan tried to calm himself down, trying to be as quiet as possible, but he grew curious. He could hear two sets of footsteps, so there were two of them. But he couldn’t understand what they were saying.
“昨日、この人,” (Yesterday, this person,) There was a sound that sounded like paper, perhaps a newspaper, being folded. “悪魔は殺した。” (A demon killed them)
“え、ほんと？お前の働く？” (Eh, really? Your doing?)
“いいえ、わかるないよ。” (No, I don’t know who did it)
“え、ジェフの? ジャック?” (Eh, Jeff’s? Jack?)
“。。。カイ？” ( . . . Kai?)
“クソ、わかるないよ！” (Dammit, I don’t know!)
The door to the house was opened, and the conversation continued. However, when the door closed shut, Ethan couldn’t hear them anymore.
Ethan sighed, glad that they hadn’t walked around the side of the house and spotted him. He couldn’t understand what they were saying, but somehow they seemed . . . different. Not just because they were speaking in a different language, something about the way they talked just seemed off, they didn’t seem normal.
Now with the knowledge that people lived there, Ethan didn’t want to stay, in fear of getting caught. He began to walk back towards the woods, thinking about where to go next.
However, something interrupted his thoughts. A loud noise rang through the air, causing Ethan to jump slightly. It was a loud meow, coming from somewhere above him. He turned his head and looked towards the house, in one of the upstairs windows someone was looking at him.
It was a large, fluffy, brown and white tabby cat. It stared at him with its piercing green eyes, its tail swishing from side to side. It let out another yowl at him. Ethan panicked, knowing that the cat would probably draw the attention of the two who had that conversation at the front of the house. He limped faster as the cat caterwauled again.
Ethan managed to make it into the woods before someone noticed him, or so he thought. He didn’t see or hear that someone walk up to the window behind the cat silently, watching him go.