Ethan awoke with a jolt, and opened his eyes quickly. The first thing he seemed to see from the forest floor was a dark figure looming over him.
He gasped and blinked a couple of times to clear his vision, and then looked back up. The dark figure was gone. Ethan stared at where it had been, wondering if it had really been there.
Sighing, he decided that it didn’t really matter if it had been there, it was gone now. Ethan looked upwards at the sky. It was dark, but it was gradually getting lighter. He must have slept throughout the night.
Ethan pushed himself up from the ground, and managed to sit up. A flash of pain from his leg reminded him of the events from earlier, and he slowly looked down at his foot. He grimaced at what he saw.
All of his toes on his right foot had been dismembered from his leg, leaving only a bloody stump. It wasn’t bleeding anymore, but his foot was coated in dry blood. Ethan reached up and removed the towel on his arm, and then gingerly wrapped it around his foot. He winced in pain when he did, but managed to tightly wrap it around the wound.
He inspected his work, and then looked around, trying to decide what to do next. He had been to his own house, and then Penny’s house; it was obvious that neither his parents nor his friends believed him. He couldn’t go back to them. Ethan decided that the last place he could go was the town itself.
Reaching up and gripping a low branch, Ethan tried to pull himself to his feet. However, once he set his injured foot on the ground, a jolt of pain ran up his leg from his foot, and he crumpled back to the ground.
Ethan sighed and looked down at his leg, realizing how slow he’d be if he tried to walk upright. Setting both of his hands, and one foot, on the ground, he started towards the town. This method was quicker than limping on two legs.
The sky grew from dark blue, to orange, to a light blue as the sun rose above the horizon. Walking along in the peaceful forest, Ethan had time to think to himself. He realized how hungry he was. He tried to ignore the hunger, knowing that he probably wouldn’t get anything to eat anytime soon.
After a while of walking, he made it to the edge of the town. This area being between residential and the more city-like area, there weren’t many people out. Ethan was glad of this, as he wanted to lower the risk of detection as much as possible.
Staying in the shadows of a small building, he looked around. There didn’t seem to be anyone out walking on the sidewalk, and only a single car passed by. Ethan decided to be brave and venture further into the town.
Moving cautiously, Ethan made his way deeper into the town. He darted into the shadows whenever he caught sight of what few people were out at the time. He didn’t see many people at all, or cars for that matter. A couple who were jogging passed by, as well as a young woman walking a German Shepherd. For a moment he thought the dog had noticed him, but it didn’t seem to care and moved on with its owner.
Ethan continued onward, everything was quiet and peaceful. Suddenly he heard an irregular noise. It sounded like hurried footsteps, two sets of them. Along with the footsteps there was a cackle.
Curious, Ethan moved towards the sound. As he got closer, the footsteps seemed to grow slower; or at least, one of them did. He could hear one of their voices now, although he couldn’t understand it.
“オイーケケケー” (Oi- Kekeke-) The voice cackled, “お前どこに行くの?” (Where are you going?)
Ethan turned a corner and gasped at what he saw.
He immediately recognized Luke, who was stuck in a corner of a building and a wall, cornered by what appeared to be a demon.
“何を遊びたい～?” (What do you want to play~?) The demon cackled, flexing his white-gloved hands and quickly unsheathing and sheathing his sharp, black claws. This demon was dressed in all black, with the exception of his white gloves and black and white striped scarf. Upon his face was an odd, black and white mask, which donned a cruel grin, streaked in black on the white side of it.
“楽しいだよ～ ケケケー！” (It’s fun~ Kekeke-!) The demon tilted his head to the side in a playful manner, but only appeared menacing. He took a step forward, and Luke tried to take one back.
Despite the fact that Luke had tried to kill him earlier, Ethan didn’t want to see him hurt. A growl escaped his throat automatically, and Ethan ran out of the shadows on all fours towards them. He ran around the demon, and then turned and stood between the demon and Luke.
The expression on the demon’s mask changed from malicious to confusion as Ethan let out a snarl at him. The demon stopped his advance, confused at what he saw. However, this lasted only a few seconds, and the expression on his mask changed to one of amusement.
The demon cackled again, and then took another step towards them. Ethan backed up slightly and tried to growl again, but his growl came out weak and unsure. This made the demon laugh again.
“Well?” The demon asked playfully and put his hands in his pockets, “You gonna do something, new-face?” The demon took another step towards Ethan and emitted a malicious yet playful laugh.
Ethan, deciding he had no choice but to fight the demon off, sprang forward and slashed his long claws towards the demon’s head. The demon dodged it easily, cackling again.
“アア~ お前の演技、へたくそですね～” (Aa~ Your performance, not very skilled ne~) The demon stepped to the side as Ethan jumped at him again, trying to claw his face.
Now with an opening to escape, Luke ran for his life and managed to make it around them. The demon watched him go, not making an effort to go after him.
“え、残念ですね。” (Eh, that’s a shame.) The demon stared in the direction that Luke had gone. Ethan, seeing that Luke was safe now, backed away from the demon in an attempt to escape.
“オイ！” (Oi!) The demon saw him trying to go, swiftly ran towards him, and kicked him in the legs, causing him to fall. “お前どこに行くの？” (Where do you think you’re going?)
Ethan winced in pain, but got to his feet; he saw the demon walking towards him and backed up. He was now the one trapped.
“ケケケー” (Kekeke-) The demon grinned at him, the expression on his mask now on the black side, rather than the white one. “そう, I’ve never seen you around here before.” (So,)
“But you attacked me. I guess that makes you the enemy.” The demon walked forward swiftly and then took one of his hands out of his pockets. He grabbed Ethan by the neck and pinned him against the wall, claws sheathed.
“Didn’t know there was another demon in town.” The demon looked at him quizzically. “Where’d you come from?
“I-I’m not a-” Ethan managed to say through gasps for breath, “Not a demon!”
The demon looked at him, a slightly confused expression on his mask. He let go of Ethan, who fell to the ground and took a few harsh breaths for air and rubbed his neck. The demon reached down with one claw and lifted Ethan’s mask, looking at his face.
“Well you’re certainly not human,” He stated, and then let go of Ethan’s mask, letting it drop back down onto his face.
Ethan sat there, looking up at the demon, not knowing what to do. He was certain that the demon would kill him for interfering with his works. The demon looked down at him in silence, an expressionless look on the black side of his mask. He sheathed and unsheathed his claws several times, and seemed to be thinking of what to do next.
Ethan stared at the demon’s sharp claws. He couldn’t help but imagine how easily they sliced flesh and ripped skin. He must have looked frightened because the demon cackled again. He seemed to be amused at how he intimidated Ethan.
“あ、心配しない。” (Ah, do not worry.) The demon backed up a little, “お前を殺じない。” (I’m not going to kill you) He laughed a little, “お前ちょへたくそ、不平等だよ。” (You’re so unskilled, it would be unfair.)
Ethan stared at him, not understanding his words, but his tone was reassuring. The demon looked down at him and laughed, realizing that he couldn’t understand him.
“ごめん、I said I’m not going to kill you.” (My apologies,) The demon turned and looked at something in the distance, then back at Ethan.
Oh, umm . . . thanks then,” Ethan replied shakily, still frightened.
“Heh,” The demon muttered almost inaudibly. “Let’s see how long you last.”
The demon looked down slightly, and then turned. “And take proper care of that foot of yours, it might get infected. Or more infected.”
The demon turned and walked away without another word, leaving Ethan alone.