Cutscene: Old Ocean
Disclaimer: This cutscene contains mature content and topics, including frank (but not deeply explicit) references to sexuality and drugs. It should be considered a mild 'R' rating. Read at your own peril.
You were twelve years old when you started noticing other girls. It felt natural to you, such that you didn't even think about it until the disconnect became too glaring. As you look back on it, you wonder who the first girl you ever had a crush on was. You don't remember. That development of your life exists in your mind as a smudge of sensation. You remember trying not to blush or make it too obvious when your eyes darted this way or that in the locker room after P.E. class. You remember lying awake at night, thinking about whether you could actually love a woman the same way you already knew you could love a man. You had no idea how any of the important mechanics would work. It all seemed so huge and mysterious, until one day it fit in the palm of your hand. Do babies, fetuses, feel that way about what it must be like to breathe?
You are eighteen now and your arm is burning jelly. You can feel the fracture points scrape and click against each other every time you twinge, making disgusting noises that you might be imagining. Your eyes closed as his feet turned away, and he's saying something, and maybe a door is shutting. You can't tell. The pain draws you inward like the Pied Piper leading a rat. Your ribs are free-floating. Your sternum is cracked. Every pulse of your lungs is like being stabbed from multiple angles. Your head hurts so much. You know what a broken nose feels like, and you know you have one. Agony wraps tightly around one eyeball. You want to open your eyes and make sure he didn't blind you, but you're scared to find out.
You didn't think it would be like this. You thought it would be romantic. You thought it would be like getting high. There's more ritual than just preparation. The true ceremony happens inside, and when you've done it enough, it's like knowing every single line and stage direction of the play. You thought there would be a come-up: pain giving way to ecstasy and finally to numbness, to nothing. A nod that never lifts, you thought. Instead, dying is a drag.
You also thought your life would flash before your eyes, like people always talk about. That you'd suddenly remember being conceived. You almost wish you could, because the one toward the egg is the only race you've ever won in your life. You want to see your life play out, with the new context of hindsight, keeping score on a psychic card as you evaluate your wins and losses. You don't, though. Your mind just drifts. Thinking is difficult and everything sounds like it's underwater. You cough and it hurts like nothing else, not even the busted arm or the pulped ribcage, and the carpet under your face gets stickier and wetter and you feel it running down your chin like thin syrup and you remember that Kyo Enda bit your throat open with his own teeth.
You remember being six years old. Your family had just moved to the new house in Narumi Ward. You didn't want to go, because you liked the old house, and you were six and didn't know what it meant to be moving up in society. Your father was patient but firm in explaining that it was better there. There were more opportunities there. Sometimes you have to do what society expects of you, he said. You remember a night when your mother was away, visiting her parents as they got older and sicker and closer to death. You were six years old. In the new house, your bedroom was linked to the master bedroom by a shared bathroom: "Not ideal," your father had said, "but it can be fixed in time."
Noises had woken you up. You creeped quietly into the shared bathroom, careful not to make the door creak. You wanted to climb into bed next to your father and feel safe. Your father was patiently and firmly on top of your babysitter. The noises got louder the closer you got. You peeped through the ajar door for what felt like forever. They never noticed and you didn't understand.
Only one of your eyes opens and the other one is on fire. You think he actually did it -- he actually disfigured you for life -- and with the good hand that's left, you touch your face. You instantly regret it, it hurts so much, but you're relieved to feel that your eye is just brutally swollen. The carpet is sticky but tepid. You're not sure how long you've been laying there, or whether or not you even passed out. It takes you a moment to orient yourself, to remember who you are and where you are and why you're here, on the floor, bleeding, every breath a wet sucking gurgle.
You remember that you have no idea whose home this is. You hang out with a bad element and certain parties amongst it let you know that whoever owns the place will be gone on vacation, and for a fee and the promise that they have first dibs on burglarizing all the nice stuff, they could get you in, let you live it up for a week or so before they move in and ransack it. You accepted, because you miss having a nice house to live in. You grew to love the one in Narumi, eventually. You can barely remember the first one.
You try to push yourself up off of the strangers' carpet that you've ruined with your blood. You only have one hand available to you. You instinctively move the other arm at the shoulder and it hurts you so much that you fall back onto the ground, flopping onto your belly, and your mouth opens as wide as it can. You try to scream but it keeps catching in your throat. Eventually, it sears you with pain too. It dawns on you that you might be mute. When your hand moves again, struggling to find a grip to wrench yourself up with, your fingers brush the delicate lace of your own discarded panties and you remember that you're naked.
With a lot of effort, you get up, and immediately feel dizzy. Groping at the edge of a dresser, you feel its topboard dip in and creak and you realize that Kyo Enda broke it with your face, or your chest, or something. You feel dizzy. You just want to go over to the bed and lay down. It's so soft and inviting, you remember. It felt so nice to sleep in. The silk felt amazing against your skin as you laid there, watching him advance toward you, climbing over you, going to work...
You hate yourself for a moment for thinking about it. How could you, after what he's done? He's killed you. You might die. But what a way to go. You hate him, but you almost hope you can see him again. This is the closest to the edge you've ever been. This is a threshold being passed. This is something new, and you haven't felt anything new in years. Even the excitement that's been making you sick -- it's a repeat, a retread, a circle, unbroken, and you try to reconcile those two men in your mind and you almost fall over like a drunk.
You stagger forward. Something propels you toward the door. Find your cell phone, you think. Turn it on. Call Imaizumi-san. Or Miyuu-chan. Irie-san. Anyone but the authorities. Beg for them to come save you. You know they would. You know it's not too late. You walk slowly anyway. You stagger and limp and your arm hangs like a kinked noodle. You try to stop thinking about them and focus on walking. One foot after the other.
You remember when you first started using, how it made you laugh when you'd fall over or stumble or trip over your own feet. You remember wearing your Sevens uniform on the train home, hair hanging in your face, body tilting but never falling. Everyone looked at you funny. No one ever reached out a hand to try and support you, or try to help. The only hands that ever came were the ones that you don't really want to feel on a train ride. You didn't care, though. You were only dimly aware of them touching, sometimes softly, sometimes roughly. You were somewhere else, where no one could reach unless they discovered the key. You did. You had been entrusted with sacred knowledge. Let them grope you. You're above it.
You can remember these things in an indistinct kind of way. You can't remember the name of the friend who first brought you along, to show you the cure they'd discovered for your depression. You can't remember the names of anyone there, and their faces are blurry. You have no idea how old or young they were beyond the most general sense. You remember trying a line and being soothed and cooed at as you came up and almost passing out, and throwing up as you were coming down while walking from the train station to your house. You got home and went to bed and thought you'd like to try that again soon.
In the doorway of the bedroom where you are now, you try to grab at the doorframe to support yourself, but you slip and fall onto the hallway floor. You pivot yourself to avoid landing on your mangled arm but it still feels like your body is exploding slowly. You shut your eye.
You still don't know how long it's been but when you wake up, you're reasonably sure that you're still alive. It hits you like a slap: that you're alive when maybe you shouldn't be. You remember the first time you overdosed. You were probably laying the same way you are now when they found you. You were at Sevens to cheer on one of the baseball games. You had made the cheer squad, but they didn't do baseball games anyway, and you got kicked out for missing too many practices. No. You got kicked out for that, and for showing up fucked up to another one.
You don't know what happened in the stall of the ladies' room. After all, you were a bit removed from consciousness. It was your first time fixing with your own gear, by yourself. The other users you ran with treated you like a kid sister. They wouldn't let you shoot up. They'd only let you sniff it. You don't want to get caught up in shooting this shit, they'd tell you, and you'd pout and get flustered because how dare they? If putting it up your nostril got you in touch with Heaven, imagine how much better it must be when it's piping right into your vein. They were holding it back from you. You broke them down eventually. You were scared, though. So you made them do it. They tied you off and took your delicate arm into their hands and you couldn't help but watch it going in, drawing that first taste of blood, plunging inward, deeper than any man.
You try to remember the name of the boy who caved, who held your arm. You remember he had blonde hair but it had grown out and his roots were so dark. He was thin and hollow-eyed and beautiful. Takeshi? You don't know. The last time you ever saw him, he was trying to roll gaijins at a tourist trap, outside the men's room. You were what, sixteen? You looked down on him. You'd progressed so much further than that. His skin was, like, transparent.
Your mind rolls back down the hill, toward that time in the Sevens girls' bathroom. It was after school hours and everyone was out at the game anyway. You'd excused yourself to your friends and carefully cooked in the stall. The process that you followed, memorized from what felt like centuries of watching the others, was mesmerizing. You imagined yourself as some kind of shaman, a priestess of some ancient era, a magician, a sorceress, gilded. You got it all right. You'd been a very keen observer. You just thought you were tougher than you were.
They must have found you with the spike still in your arm, slumped over like a tired kitten in the stall when you didn't come back to the bleachers. Somehow they got you out of there and to a clinic and you didn't die. When you woke up, that was what you felt: shock, at being alive, as if that wasn't how it should be. You listened to the lectures of the doctor without hearing a word. Your friends hovered like wraiths, distantly, watching you as if you were a gargoyle that had begun to subtly move. You didn't try to talk to them as you all left. Somehow they'd kept your parents from getting involved or finding out. They never spoke to you again. What were their names?
You crawl across the hallway floor, three-legged and weak. You breathe erratically as if trying to swallow huffs of air while swimming. It feels like there are miles ahead. It feels like you've been struggling for days. Every time you swallow it hurts and you realize you're just swallowing blood. When you make it to the edge of the living room you just pitch over again, exhausted, unsure if you can continue.
You force yourself up again and it's so much darker than it was before. You don't know if the night has fallen that much deeper into itself, or if the light is just dimming inside of you. It sure feels that way. You're weighed down by your own skin and bones. Even thinking makes your skull strain and threaten to crack. You listen to yourself breathing and it sounds like an animal being snuffed.
As you force yourself up again, which takes anywhere from a minute to ten to an hour to a day, you think about your cat. You used to have one, years ago. His name was Jacques, which you took care to pronounce correctly, for the same reason that you used to wear colorful stripey shirts instead of your white uniform blouse, for the same reason that when you returned from a trip to Paris with your father you wore a black beret everywhere for a month. You told people that when you moved to Europe you were only going to bring Jacques and he would be enough.
You don't remember the last time you saw Jacques, the last time you fed him or played with him or cleaned up his shit or forced him, as you liked to do, to give you nose-to-nose eskimo kitten kisses. You were so heavily into smack that all of those days are just a strange blur. Your parents finally found out, and you had gotten used to your mother's snappishness but you had never seen your father that angry before. You were groggy and it hurt to stay focused. Like it does now.
They locked you in your room and you slowly learned to dream again through night after night of sweating and shouting and puking and pissing yourself. You thought you were going to die -- that your body would flatten into a two-dimensional plane because it was like your very structure was going to crush itself out of existence. You used to change the poster across from your bed every week, when the latest whim pointed you to some other far-off land. Madrid. Rome. San Francisco. Montreal. Rio de Janeiro. For a month you had to stare at the skyline of Berlin and it felt sterile and unyielding.
When you were allowed out of your room, after you'd gotten through the worst of it, after you were done being force-fed and done hallucinating, you asked where your Jacques was and your mother told you in her clipped way that she had given Jacques away to someone better able to take care of him. You cried, and later that night, slipped out of the house to score.
And Imaizumi-san's cat. Jacques. No, his name was... You don't remember his name. And you don't remember whose he was, just that Imaizumi-san had him. You make it to the spot where you left your bag. As you stand over it, you feel like you've just survived an artillery attack. You feel like you've just walked out of a field of napalm. Call Imaizumi-san, you think. And his cat. They'll help you. They always want to help you.
You get your phone out of the bag and turn it on. Your fingers are bloody and striking the keys makes the phone slick. Your grip, weak to begin with, shatters and the phone slips free of you and plops into a flower vase full of water. You recoil, as if a physical blow had been delivered, and it only hurts more to try to wail in dismay. You fumble and try to reach into the vase. It falls and shatters. As you drop to your knees, raggedly, to pick up the soaked phone, pieces of glass stick into you. You hardly notice.
Call Miyuu-chan, you think. She'll be able to get here on her motorcycle. She'll be able to get you to a doctor. You feel so sleepy. Your whole body is made of lead. When you lurch into the kitchen you almost Heimlich yourself against a countertop falling into it. You open cupboards and knock things around with abandon, fighting desperately to keep focused, and losing. You try to find the paper towels or something, anything, to dry your phone with. You can barely see. It's so dark. You didn't turn on the lights. The whole room is full of fog.
You fall over and your phone sits on the counter, waterlogged, non-functioning. You lay there as your own blood gathers from the cuts left by the glass chunks. Your bed is spilled breakfast cereal and uncooked rice. You're on your back and gazing up at the ceiling, you can't see anything, just a black plane that seems to go on forever. You tried, you think. You tried and you failed.
You close your eyes. You're too weak to fight anymore. You just accept that this is the end, and that you'll never have another chance to try again. You can barely find words or feelings for your agony anymore. You realize that you don't matter. You realize that you've never accomplished anything but getting high. You realize he doesn't love you. You realize that no one will miss you as much as you want. You realize that you just want to stop hurting, for it all to be over. Just let it end.
The ambulance Kyo Enda called never came.
Masahiko Irie and Mikage Kohama will find you in the morning. You had arranged for both of them to arrive, ostensibly to force them to work together, and with you, to dispose of Kyo Enda's body. That plan did not work. Instead, you're there, on the floor of the kitchen, having tracked blood all through the house, with teeth marks in your wounded throat, an arm like a snapped elastic, and absolutely nothing covering your shame but a few flecks of glass still jabbed into you like decorations. You'll still be alive. Barely. You almost won't make it. Her name was Rie.