Cutscene: Everything's Okay
Characters: Susumu Kamiya
Date: October 1st, 2012
General Warning for some violence.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise
He is dragging shoulder limply across the concrete surface of a building labeled 'DAI-ICHI LIFE' in bold red colors when Susumu Kamiya finally becomes aware of where he is and how far he's come.
He can feel how uneven nubs of concrete bite into his shirt sleeve and pinch into and grind at his flesh. He has been walking like this so long and so far his skin has started to split open from the abrasion. His clothes, his hair, are drenched. It must have been raining at some point, probably.
He just cannot muster the energy to care. His mind is elsewhere.
Memories cling to the back of his mind like disarrayed detritus that refuses to be discarded to the muck. Her eyes were red. Her hair was black. She wanted to go to Sumaru University. She was attending Fra Mauro. She loved to play cards. She promised him she'd be the best teacher ever.
She never existed.
But none of them are ever quite allowed to fully form at the surface of his mind. None of them are allowed to exist for him right now save in maddeningly fractious splinters, offering a glimpse of something horrifying before being smothered. Long, spindly claws reach out from his subconscious and drag them down, slowly reforming them into something more palatable like a sculptor molding ugly bricks of clay into acceptable art.
Constant flickers of memories he never knew were his bubble up to the surface of his thoughts; but a familiar voice urges him away from them insistently.
Everything's okay. There's nothing to be afraid of now. They can't bother you anymore.
Don't think about them. They're not important.
Don't think. It's not important.
Don't be. It's not imp"Bu-ra ku-min! Bu-ra ku-min!"
He is standing in the alleyway when the young boy is shoved into the filth and the grime. With the splash of cold, muddy water through the air, Susumu Kamiya is completely cognizant of his surroundings. The cool autumn winds nip at his cheeks as he stands staring vacantly into the gaping mouth of the alley, watching two young men as they lord over a tinier, dingier, younger boy. He sees it all clearly. But he doesn't want to.
Suddenly, he is accutely, painfully aware of where he is. Where he always comes back to. Where his entire life was.
In the vacant, run-down streets of Tatsumi-shi's less reputable neighborhood, he watches as the taller of the two boys crouches down to pick up his victim by the collar of his filthy, drenched shirt, dirt-swollen water clinging to cotton in thick globules. His cheek is bruised, his skin scratched up. His hair ratty.
None of them are aware of Susumu Kamiya.
"Wow, he really stinks!" laughs the young man.
None of them are aware of the way Susumu Kamiya's hands twitch.
"Jesus, you're right. Hey, don't you ever take a bath? Maybe you're too poor, huh??" the young man's companion joins in. Their victim just looks aside emptily.
None of them are aware the way something unfathomable sparks in Susumu Kamiya's once-vacant eyes.
"Don't be stupid, man. It doesn't matter how much this kid showers. Burakumin's garbage stench follows them for life!"
"Bu-ra-ku-min!" the two chant, and laugh at the dirt-ridden boy's expense.
None of them are aware at how Susumu Kamiya walks into the alley, crouching low to pick up something long and metal discarded on the ground.
"Well, whatever. I bet even poor trash like him's got something we can use, right? How about you give us whatever you got on you and we'll leave you be for today?"
"If you've just got your clothes, we'll just take those!"
"We're doing you a favor anyway, getting rid of that smelly shit." They laugh. The first cold drops of the rain's renewal fall on the shorter bully's shoulder. He looks up, and squints.
"Ah, shit. It's starting to rain again. We better get outta here -- let's just let him go today. I bet this is what burakumin consider a bath anywa--"
None of them are aware of the clitter-clatter of rust and steel dragging across concrete until it becomes a raucous crack exploding in the back of the smaller bully's skull.
With one stroke, the first boy falls to the ground before the blood can even start to flow from the fissure formed in the back of his head. "Wha--" begins the taller young man, about-facing with the sharp pivot of his right heel. To his credit, the young man reacts quickly. Like someone who has learned how to have to fight, the second he recognizes the threat, he acts. His left arm swings -- too wide. Susumu ducks underneath, hand gripping so tightly onto his weapon his knuckles have started to widen. The tall bully thrusts something small and gleaming with his right hand into his attacker's abdomen.
He doesn't even get a fraction of a second to make out the face of his assailant clearly before a rusted pipe broadsides his head to the right.
Blood falls free and loose, swirling greasily in puddles of water as the tall young man collapses into the filth-encrusted earth. A weak groan escapes him as his fingers scrape into concrete, desperately trying to reorient himself. His feet kick the concrete, but he scarcely moves at all, his brain wracked with confusion and pain.
Susumu does not notice. He does not care. His eyes are blank as, like a lifeless puppet jerked along by its strings, he steps over the fallen man and kneels down, straddling him and pinning him to the earth. He stares at the face. At the pile of meat. At the blood that drools into a diluted puddle from his mouth. Emptiness is replaced with something far uglier.
The pipe lifts. He can hear the way the fractured bone crackles and pops with a snap as the next blow dislocates the young man's jaw with an ugly hitch to the left. So violent is his swing that his arm carries it through to its entirety; the pipe strikes the ground, jarred from his tight, angry grip with the impact. It clatters across the concrete.
The sight of it stirrs more ugly memories to the surface. His hand lifts again, fingers curling into a wrathful fist.
The fist lifts again.
The fist lifts again. Blood smears the knuckles.
"please, stop it"
The fist lifts again. The knuckles are red and swelling and painted all shades of violence.
"Please! Stop it!"
The fist lifts again. Tears sting at the corners of furious yellow eyes.
The fist lifts again.
Susumu Kamiya's arm seizes up just as its tense, corded muscles tighten in preparation for another blow. Confusion paints his features as he tugs at his arm, but it refuses to move. His perplexed stare carries to his right, where he sees the young, dirty, beaten, belittled boy clinging to his larger arm with both of his scrawnier ones in a desperate effort to hold him back.
"Stop hurting them, please stop hurting them, please stop," sobs the boy against his arm. The anger in Susumu Kamiya's otherwise empty features softens.
"Don't worry. There's nothing to be afraid of now. They can't bother you anymore," he tries to reassure like someone reciting something from rote. A smile warms at his lips, suffuses his expression, shuts his eyes. "They're not important anymore. You can forget now. It's okay." A shallow warmth that cannot quite reach out from behind its mask of blood splatter patterns.
When he opens his eyes, all Susumu Kamiya sees is a face full of life, and emotion... and fear. The nakedness of his dismay is only starting to reach his eyes when the scrawny young boy releases him, and just starts running. Running away. In fear. Like--
He had thought that-- of everyone, he should--
Please don't run, he wants to say. Anyone but you. Please don't--
The boy is gone from the alley by the time apprehension settles into Susumu's expression like a thin film. He doesn't know how long he watches that empty space, pleading for someone to be there, telling him everything would be alright--
Like dirt, the dread washes away from Susumu Kamiya with the constant pelt of cold rain against his skin. He looks down at the body underneath him: at the meaty, pulped up mess of swollen pink flesh that was a face, now sculpted into angry smear. The young man's chest rises and falls with shallow, weak breaths.
It is only as Susumu finally looks down at his victim that he finally notices the knife, buried into his abdomen up to the hilt. Blood from the agitated wound seeps thick but unnoticed into the red of his sweater vest. He stares at the weapon lodged in his stomach for several long seconds, never wondering how it got there, never acknowledging how the pain that swells like an angry burning from his gut feels so justified. It is all as distant and numb as the empty look in Susumu's gaze.
His sigh is as empty and uncaring as his eyes as he looks up at the encroaching night sky.
"... I hate this."
Flickers of memories he wants to remember but never wants to think of again flit across his mind before being ruthlessly buried and forgotten in an instant.
"Where are you...?"
"Everything... everything will be okay. ... Right...?"
The empty sound of rainfall is Susumu Kamiya's only answer.