Published July 11, 2016 by

How I was Murdered by a Fox Monster Chapter 3

Summary: They say life flashes before you in that moment before death. I could see it all reflected in the blade. I was standing under the cherry blossoms at my school entrance ceremony, eating cake at my sister's wedding, standing outside praying the monster wouldn't come tonight. I might not be dead yet but I can see what's coming, this is the story of how I was murdered by a fox monster!

Go To Chapter: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

Chapter 3

Flash forward to ten years later and I was happily dreaming away until my pleasant sleep was destroyed by my alarm. I cracked my eyes open to make sure it was daytime, then flinched at the sunlight which had infiltrated my bedroom. I attempted to muster the energy to get out of bed, but I was dead to the world until my snooze alarm rang.

I rolled out of bed and fell to the floor with a bang, completely unaware that I wasn't going to live to see the end of the year. My eyes glanced at the photo of Grandpa and I (which I had beside my bed) and I suddenly remembered what I'd been dreaming about. My adopted grandfather.

It was odd that I'd dreamed about Grandpa. There was once a time when I used to think of him everyday. Sometimes to the point where I would cry, only to be consoled by my older sister. Who would often cry as well. After entering middle school my life had become so much busier with homework, friends, and high school entrance exams. So I hadn't stopped to dwell on the man who adopted me almost ten years ago.

Maybe appearing in my dreams was his way to make sure I didn't forget him, or maybe he was just wishing me luck on my first day of high school.

I looked up at my uniform which was hanging on the door of my closet. It was blue military style with my family name Matsumoto neatly stitched on the pocket. Sis ironed it the day before, and made me swear to not get it dirty.

I lived with my older sister since my grandfather died. Well technically she wasn't my real sister. She was Grandpa's only daughter, which made her my adopted sister. She was about fifteen years older than me and already married. She quit college to raise me which was pretty cool, considering that we aren't related by blood.

She's strict and likes to tell me what to do, but she's nice sometimes too. I think if I was going to miss anyone it would definitely be Sis, or her five-year-old daughter Hikaru.

I picked myself up and got dressed. Then with a yawn, I made my way downstairs to eat breakfast.

My sister's husband Shuro was already sitting at the table.

The best way to describe him would be as your typical Japanese salary man with glasses one inch thick. He was my parental figure. Well, as much as he liked to think he was. He and my sister both met way back when they were in college, and they married a few years later. I like to think of him as being more like an older brother than a father. We often hung out and played video games together. Sometimes he could even beat me.

Shuro was sipping coffee while mulling over the morning paper. He liked to pretend that reading the news would make him well-informed, but I knew he just liked reading the TV guide.

"Maybe I should change jobs," he said while gazing over the classifieds.

"Don't say that," said Sis as she dished out toast.

"But it's unlikely that I'll get a promotion. And with the economy being the way it is, it might be better to move on to something more stable."

"But your job is stable, you're not going to find anywhere else which is so flexible about your family life."

Shuro often complained about how much he worked, but it was less than what my friends' fathers put in at their companies. At least Shuro was still around at breakfast. He even made it home in time for dinner most nights of the week. I had a friend in elementary school who hadn't seen his father for a month, even though they lived in the same house.

Apparently he works for a trading company. I once asked about it, only to be told an obscure French name, and that it involved importing and exporting.

With a pair of glasses resting on her brim (which made her look just like her father) my niece Hikaru came running into the room. She climbed up on a chair, stole a piece of toast from Shuro's plate, and began nibbling along the edges.

Hikaru was cool because it gave me the chance to experience having a real younger sister. She was also awesome because she'd do almost anything I told her. I could just sit on the couch and tell her to fetch me the remote, a pillow, and some potato chips. It was like having your own little servant.

My sister laid a small bowl of miso soup before me.

"Are you ready for school, Dai-chan?" she asked.

I cringed. Dai-chan was the ridiculous nickname that she liked to call me at highly inappropriate times. Like in front of my friends, or a girl I was trying to impress at the mall. Chan was often added to the names of girls or children to make them sound cute. Not to fifteen year old high school students. I tried to convince her to stop, but Sis was relentless with her nicknames.

"How come Dai-chan gets to go to school, I want to go to school too?" whined Hikaru.

"That's because Dai-chan is a big boy," said Shuro. "He has to go to big boy school now. You go to little girl school next week."

I tried to prevent myself from choking on my soup. I decided that I would have to take drastic measures that year, to make sure Sis never came into contact with my cool new high school friends. She almost ruined my reputation on the first day of middle school when she came to collect me from the school gate yelling "Dai-chan, Dai-chan!" For the world to hear.

I decided that it was best to quickly make my escape in case she offered to drive me. I stuffed the remaining toast into my mouth and downed the rest of my soup.

"OK, I'm off," I said before grabbing my lunch and running outside.

I live in a small town surrounded by mountains in central Japan. It's far from the sea, so it's always boiling hot in summer and freezing cold in winter. It was still cold for April, so my breath came out in small puffs of smoke as soon as I left the house.

I began jogging to keep myself warm.

I picked my high school for one reason and one reason only. It was the closest to my house. For the past year I worked my butt off studying for the entrance exam, all for those extra fifteen minutes of sleep. Unfortunately I would soon realize that I had made a terrible mistake. I now wonder if I could have avoided death just by going to the next school down the road, or town, or prefecture. To hell with it, I'd probably be sitting in a café eating ice-cream right now if I'd sent myself off to boarding school.

My new high school was a large three-story white building with a gravel area at the front. Some kids were playing baseball when I arrived. It wasn't a famous school, but it was still private and the tuition wasn't cheap. I roamed the halls searching for my classroom, until a teacher took pity on me and accompanied me there. There were already over thirty students loitering around when I arrived. Some were talking in small groups and a few were playing on their cell phones. Others, also like me, were floating around like they didn't know what to do. Eventually the school bell rang, and a male teacher entered to guide us towards our assigned seating. I was seated three rows from the front.

My homeroom teacher was a middle-aged man with short hair. His name was something beginning with Ya, like Yamada-sensei or something. I wasn't sure. It's hard to remember all the teachers names. Ya-sensei (as I called him) gave a short speech about the importance of high school, getting good grades, and all the other crap that teachers like to talk about. I found myself falling asleep during the middle of his talk.

I rested my head against my elbow momentarily for a quick nap, only to find myself being nudged awake. I waved my hand to fend off their assault, but they refused to give up.

I lifted my head to come face to face with the student on my right. A guy with a bowl cut and glasses.

"You're next," he hissed.

"Next for what?" I asked.

"The self introduction."

I looked around to see thirty-eight eyes all resting on me. Wait, thirty-nine if you included my new teacher.

Ya-Sensei coughed. "Matsumoto, if you would be so kind as to introduce yourself to the class," he said.

I wasn't good at improvisation so I just said the first thing which came to mind. "My name is Daisuke Matsumoto, I like sleeping."

There was a snicker. "Yeah, I think we noticed that already," whispered someone from behind me. I spun around to catch them in the act, but everyone conveniently had their mouths shut.

I proceeded to listen to the rest of the class introduce themselves, which wasn't that exciting. Sleep threatened to overtake me once more, and I almost hit my head against the desk when my body began to pass out.

Looking back on it now I should have put more effort into my self introduction. It was the perfect opportunity to impress the female population of the class. I should have told them that I was good at sports, or that I had plenty of interesting hobbies (none of them too macho). But thanks to my slip up they'd all think that I had an attitude problem.

Ya-sensei pulled me aside in break time to lecture me on the importance of getting enough sleep and paying attention in class. All I could notice was how strongly he smelled of cigarettes. His teeth were also yellow, and I felt tempted to lecture him back on the importance of dental hygiene.

Finally my first lunch time at high school arrived, which meant one thing. I could finally bring my own lunch to school.

From kindergarten to the end of middle school, I had been subjected to eating the school lunch, which could range from tolerable to disgusting.

I reached into my bag and pulled out my plastic lunch box neatly wrapped in a gray cloth. I soon noticed that the box was pink, which should have been a warning of what was soon to come.

I carefully opened the lid, and all my hopes and expectations were crushed when I saw what lay before me.

It was terrifying.

All the rice balls had been carefully shaped to resemble Hello Kitty, complete with little whiskers that had been cut from seaweed. There were also little Hello Kitty flags poking up from my egg roll and salad. But the worst part was that Sis had written Dai-chan in tomato sauce across everything.

It would have been cute and all, if I were a five year old girl.

I didn't know what Sis was thinking. This was high school, not a bring your own lunch day at Hikaru's kindergarten. I reached for my chopsticks to mash it until it was unrecognizable, but I had already been exposed.

"Wow! Hello kitty, it's so adorable!"

I looked up to see a girl standing before my desk.

She was cute with short black hair which she'd fashioned into two pig tails. Her skirt was average length, and she had the right mix of cute, yet sensible, which could get past my sister. She wasn't the prettiest girl in the class, but I wasn't that fussy.

I reached for my cloth to quickly throw it over my lunch and save my dignity, but it was then that I realized my Hello Kitty lunch box was a potential chick magnet.

I lent back in my chair and attempted to appear suave, despite my abomination of a lunch being exposed for the world to see.

"Yeah, you bet it is. Some guys think Hello Kitty is too girly, but I," I paused to think of the right words. "Like to get in touch with my more feminine side."

"I see," she leaned in closer for a better look. "Do you think that maybe I could have one of the little flags when you're finished with it?"

"Yeah, sure," I reached forward and ripped it out of my lunch and handed it to her.

"Thanks," she smiled.

"No problem. Any time."

She twirled the flag in her fingers. "If you don't mind me asking, your name is Daisuke Matsumoto right?"

I was surprised she could remember my name after hearing everyone's self introduction. I assumed that she'd heard of my amazing reputation from middle school. Most of my friends had gone to different schools (some even leaving the prefecture) but there were still a few of my old classmates roaming the halls. Surely the rumors had begun to spread already.

I was a real chick magnet back then. During the course of three years I had a total of four girlfriends. One even threatened to jump out the classroom window after we broke up.

I couldn't believe my high school love life was beginning already. I thought I'd have to put some effort into this whole girl thing, but they were already lining up.

I put on the Daisuke Matsumoto charms, and turned my face so that it showed off my good side.

"Yes, it sure is, and what might your name be?"

"Shinya, Mana Shinya."

And that was how I first met Mana. Back then she was a vision of perfect health with no blood pouring from her forehead. She was always kind and never hesitated to defend me in front of the others. If I'd known the future, I would have done more to repay her kindness, but instead I just saw her as another cute girl who I could play around with.

"Well Mana Shinya, do you mind if I just call you Mana?" It was common to call our classmates by their family names.

"I suppose," she replied. "Back in middle school everyone just called me Mana."

"Mana," I repeated. Then I went in for the kill. "That's such a cute name, just like the girl it belongs to."

"Mana!" Called a voice from behind me. "You shouldn't waste your time on guys like that."

I turned to face my nemesis who had ruined my chances at love.

He was seated behind me at the far right. He was pale, almost sickly so, with short hair and average build. What looked like a math textbook was laid out in front of him. He'd obviously been studying until he made the decision to ruin my life.

Mana looked nervous. "But, I thought it might be good to know some of our new classmates."

"I know what you're thinking," said nemesis, as I decided to call him. "We can talk about it later."

Mana looked like she wanted to stay, like any sensible girl would, (because I'm awesome) but she gave in and went back to her desk.

"Bye," she said with a small wave. "It was nice to meet you, Daisuke Matsumoto."

"It was nice to meet you as well, Mana."

During the course of the day I paid extra attention to my nemesis. Until lunch time, he'd been just another blob in a sea of students, but now he was on my radar. I quickly discovered his name was Itsuki and he was good at school, almost frighteningly so. Every time a teacher called on him, he would stand up, answer the question correctly, sit down, and then stare at his textbook intensely like he was attempting to burn a hole in it.

Mana was also very cute during class time. She would often lose her place in the textbook, only to be reminded by the girl sitting behind her.

Sadly the rest of my day was lacking in girl action. Even friend action for that matter. There were a few classmates who looked like they'd make good friend material, but I hadn't come to any final decision on which group I should target. The last thing I wanted was to accidentally make friends with the uncool people, and spend the remaining three years of high school regretting it.

But if I had known what was to come, I would have spent less time worrying about friends, and more time building my own personal fortress.

Go To Chapter: 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

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