“おまえどこにいくよ？” (Where are you going?) A voice called out to a man who was frantically running up the stairs.
“Are you quitting the game so soon?” The voice called out playfully, getting closer. The man reached the end of the stairs at a doorway. He fumbled for the handle and eventually got a grip on it. Shoving it open he ran out onto the roof of the building. He slammed the door and held it shut, gasping for breath. The demon following him reached the door, instead of trying to bust it open it merely knocked on the door.
“オイ～！あけて！”(Hey~! Open!) The man pushed against the door harder, the demon knocked once more.
“あけて! おまえは恐れているこの大きひどいおおかみ? ケケケー！” (Open! Are you afraid of this ‘Big Bad Wolf’? -Laughter-) The demon stopped knocking and just laughed. Soon the laughter faded, and the man sighed. That monster had gone away. He sank to the ground, tired. It had chased him up all those stairs, and he wasn’t a big fan of running or stairs. He leaned against the door and closed his eyes.
“起きろ! このゲーム終わり?” (Wake up! Is the game over?)
The man jumped, startled. He looked around in fright. A white gloved hand appeared over the edge of the roof. Large black claws appeared from the fingers and held onto the roof, pulling up the rest of the demon. It wore all black, a black and white scarf, and an odd black and white mask. A devilish but playful smile showed on the black half of the mask.
The man stood up shaking, in his fright he forgot about the door and stepped away from the demon. The demon took steps forward. The man didn’t realize how dangerously close he was getting to the edge of the roof; he just wanted to get away. The demon slowly walked towards him.
“I just realized; I never introduced myself! How rude of me!” The demon laughed. “こんばんは! 俺は影顔、おまえは？” (Good evening! I’m Kagekao, you are?)
The man took another step back, but his foot landed in the empty air. He let out a scream as he fell back and off of the roof.
“ああああああああー？ What a coincidence! Many people I’ve ‘played’ with are named ‘ああああああああー’! Too bad they’re all dead like you!” (Aaahhh- [scream]) Kagekao burst out laughing. He walked over to the edge of the rooftop and looked down. The man had fallen onto the street, blood painted the asphalt crimson.
After a little bit of looking at his work, Kage gazed up at the sky.
“残念, it’s still a little early . . .” (Shame) Kage looked at the beautiful moon surrounded by dark ominous clouds. This had gone a little fast. “What to do, what to do. . .” He pondered aloud to himself, pacing along the rooftop’s edge. He sat down, overlooking the dark buildings.
“くそ, oh how I wish I had some wine right-” (Dammit)
A scream sounded out in the distance, Kage grew alert. He stood up and looked towards the direction where it came from. The scream was heard again, and he leapt from the rooftop and onto another. Soon he had gotten to where the screaming was close. He spotted a window where it seemed to be coming from. Climbing along the wall of the building opposite of the window, he peered in.
“面白い . . .” (Interesting . . .) Kage said to himself under his breath, watching the scene take place before him.
Through the open window a bedroom could be seen. An average bedroom; bed, shelves, closet, but the sheets of the bed were slowly getting soaked with blood. There was a woman on the bed who looked like she was in some sort of trance. She held a blade up to her neck and was slitting her own neck; blood gushing out and staining all around. There were giggles and laughter heard in the room. Standing at the end of the bed was another woman. She was blonde, dressed in white, covered in scars, and one of her eyes was gouged out leaving only the empty and blood filled socket. This woman was dragging her own finger across her neck, in the same fashion as the woman with the blade. She was giggling at the sight of the other one bleeding out, and when that woman finally fell over dead, she reached over and retrieved her blade. She admired her handiwork for a bit more, and then headed out the door.
Kagekao just stared for a bit, thinking about the whole situation; so very interesting . . . Then he snapped out of his little thinking trance and realized that she had left a few minutes ago. He climbed down the wall he was clinging to a few feet, and then stopped and watched the doorway to the building.
Sure enough the door opened and out came that woman. She stepped down the few steps and started down the sidewalk. Kage jumped from the wall and onto the top of a streetlamp, watching. There were no normal humans out, with the exception of a few lonely cars. When the cars passed he kept expecting them to notice this scarred up woman, but none of the drivers even looked in that direction; odd.
Kage followed along, jumping from streetlamp to streetlamp. Then the woman stopped, she felt a presence. She turned and noticed the shadowy person perched on the lamp. They stared at each other, and then Kage jumped from the lamp to the sidewalk. He landed on all fours, and then got up; retracting his claws. He faced her, the glowing white smile illuminating from the black half of his mask.
“Well, you’re certainly an interesting person; want to play?”
She had an insane spark in her eye, and those words seemed to enrage her. She swung her blade at him, causing him to jump back.
“So that’s how you like to play huh? Alright then!” Kage leapt to the side, she swung the blade again. He jumped around like that, leaping and dodging the swings of her blade. Then got behind her and kicked her in the legs, she stumbled forward. Then she turned around, still full of rage. This continued for a little bit, they were lucky no one drove by them fighting in the street; if they did then their little game would have had to be cut short.
She seemed to be getting tired, swinging the blade at Kagekao slower than before. Kage decided that it was time to end this. Like before he dodged one of her swings and leapt so he was behind her. He drew back his arm, claws unsheathed.
“さよなら面白い女！” (Goodbye interesting woman!) Kage swung his open hand at her, meaning to end her life with a quick raking of his claws on the back of her neck; but instead something else happened. When his hand reached her neck his claws were sheathed; no damage was done.
Kage froze, that had never happened before. He looked at his hand confused, unsheathing and sheathing his claws just to make sure they still worked. The woman turned around and glared at him, preparing to attack again.
Kage took a few steps back, still confused as hell.
“Well . . . This was fun! We’ll have to play again sometime!” Kage climbed up one of the streetlamps and then jumped to the wall of a building; then climbed up to the roof and was out of sight.
The woman stared at where he had left, the enraged and insane spark in her eye faded. She looked off in his direction with wonder.
“Play . . . Again?”
* * *
“なんねこれ？” (What is this?)
Kagekao was sitting on top of a rooftop, it was still too early to go out and do what he had planned. He was looking at the soon-to-be-setting sun in the reddening sky. Still trying to figure out what had happened last night.
Kage had meant for it to be like other times; a game or two and then death for the player. But this just seemed different. Now that he looked back at it, he hardly did any damage to her at all. And then his claws, it was as if his subconscious was telling him not to harm her. That she was special, like he should . . . protect her . . .
Kage stood up and laughed anxiously to himself.
“保護する?それは大ばかな.” (Protect? That’s idiotic.) He walked along the rooftop, impatient for the sun to set. He wanted it to get dark so he could go out and do something; get this whole subject out of his mind; but it wouldn’t go away. It just stayed and lingered like smoke. It’s not like that woman actually meant anything to him, not like he actually cared. She didn’t . . . mean anything to him . . .
“この女 . . . 俺 . . .” (That woman . . . I . . .)
* * *
Over the next few days they didn’t come into contact with each other. The woman roamed around; she, like Kagekao, was also pondering and confused about their little interaction.
‘We’ll have to play again sometime!’
That stayed in her head, she couldn’t stop thinking about him. She was distracted, and couldn’t even concentrate when she was killing someone. Often wandering off into thought; and then realized that she had been standing there for a few minutes and her victim was long dead.
Kage was having the same problem; forgetting to set traps right, missing his cue to appear, etc. In the end he got frustrated so he just straight up killed the one he was playing with using his claws.
They both didn’t know how to feel about the other; and yet they both longed to see each other once more.
* * *
Again prowling the night; Kagekao sat on a large sign that was over the sidewalk. He sighed; it had been about a week since he had last seen her, but he could remember it like it was only a few hours ago. It had been occupying his mind almost every waking minute.
Then he thought he heard the soft sound of footsteps. Kage grew alert and sat up, looking in every direction. He jumped from the sign to a streetlamp, looking up and down the street like an excited cat. Then he saw someone approaching. It was her.
She looked up and saw him too; and both their faces lit up with happiness. Kage looked down at her from the streetlamp and realized something interesting; this was the same spot where they had first met. He prepared to jump down to reach her, and she was about to quicken her pace to meet him; when something stopped her.
Someone had reached out of the shadows towards her; they gave a brutal blow to the head that sent her sprawling a couple of feet away. She fell to the ground and gasped in pain. Struggling to get up, she managed to turn and look towards her assailant; but her view was blocked. Kagekao stood between the attacker and her, an enraged face showing on the white side of his mask. He recognized this person as The Observer; Kage had only seen him once or twice briefly before. The Observer glared at him, and Kage gave out a low, angry growl.
“You want to ruin my fun? I've been watching her for a very long time; and now I seek the perfect opportunity to finally get my kill! You are in for a world of pain and suffering!” The Observer lunged towards Kage, wielding a knife.
“とんちき, おまえ 死ね!” (You die cretin!) Kage shot out his left hand and grabbed The Observer’s wrist, digging his claws into it. With his right hand unsheathed his claws and raked them across The Observer’s face. Kage kicked him in the stomach, still hanging onto his wrist. Then he let go of his wrist and kicked him again, sending him to the ground.
The Observer coughed blood, but then got to his feet and jumped at Kage, who grabbed his wrist as before; but The Observer managed to gather his strength and pushed him forward a bit, he swung the other hand with the knife, driving the knife into Kage’s arm. Kage let out a quick sound of pain, and let go of his wrist; but just as quick as he let go, Kage slashed upwards with his claws, leaving a few deep gashes along The Observer’s face and upper torso. Then, in The Observer’s shock, Kage kicked him yet again in the stomach, sending him to the ground alike before. The Observer stumbled to get up, blood falling from his face to the sidewalk. He got up, but this time instead of advancing again, he fled into the shadows.
The woman watched, amazed and confused. No one had ever really protected her; it was odd to finally have met someone who cared enough to put themselves in danger for her. She stared at him from the ground; he was standing there looking at where the attacker had disappeared. He was breathing hard and his hands were shaking with anger, the bloodied claws still out and ready to attack if necessary.
When The Observer did not return to continue the fight; Kage tried to calm himself down and sheathed his claws. He reached up to the knife sticking out of his arm. Grabbing it, he jerked it out of his arm, and the knife then clattered to the street. Kage held his hand up to the wound, the blood turning the palm of his white glove crimson.
“You . . . protected me . . .”
Kage turned and faced her, and he ran to her. He reached down and took her hand, helping her up.
“You’re hurt!” She exclaimed; looking at the stab wound on his arm.
“It’s nothing; really! I’ve suffered worse.” Kage noticed that her nose was bleeding. “You’re hurt too!”
She giggled, “I’ve suffered worse!” They smiled at each other.
Kage took her hands in his. He just now realized how late that it had been, because the sky began to turn the beautiful color of dawn. Reds, oranges, and pinks streaked across the sky as the darkness of night faded. The light danced across the streets, enveloping the area in the peaceful colors. They gazed at each other, the light letting them see each other more clearly; the timing of the sun couldn’t have been better.
“My name is Kagekao; you?”
“I’m Sadie; Suicide Sadie.”