Published September 28, 2016 by

How I was Murdered by a Fox Monster Chapter 4

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!

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Chapter 4

Everything soon fell into place on the third day of school. I remember it as the day I discovered that my life was a lie, and the countless secrets which had been hidden from me by my adopted family, finally came to light.

It all began when Itsuki decided to approach me. We hadn't directly spoken since the first day, so I assumed he didn't have the guts to face me.

I finished my lunch only to look up and find him hovering over my desk like the grim reaper looming over a deathbed.

"Can I have a word with you?" he asked.

I turned around to say "look at this guys, Itsuki wants a word with me," until I realized that I wasn't in middle school anymore, and my friends had all abandoned me to go to trade school instead.

I suppressed my feeling of being friendless, and rose to follow Itsuki out of the classroom.

I wasn't surprised when he failed to start-up a colorful conversation, so I decided to ask the one thing I'd been dying to know.

"So, what's going on with you and Mana?" I asked.

"Mana?" he scoffed. "That's a pretty friendly way to talk about someone you barely know."

"Well, maybe I don't know her yet, but I will soon."

"That's a stupid assumption."

"Hey! Mana and I obviously have a connection."

"Yeah, whatever."

"Dick," I muttered under my breath.

I was uncertain if he heard me, but he continued moving his mouth regardless. "You should give up on Mana. There's another sixteen girls in the class who are probably stupid enough to fall for your playboy attitude."

"Yeah but," I tried to think up a witty response. "What's your problem anyway? Is she your girlfriend or something?"

"No, we're just friends."

"But you like her right? But she won't go out with you because you're too much of an arse!"

Itsuki stopped dead in his tracks, turned to face me, and narrowed his eyes in anger. I didn't think it was possible for him to look moodier, but he quickly exceeded my expectations.

"I don't usually beat up idiots because it's not always their fault," he said. "But for you, I'm willing to make an exception."

"What's wrong, did I hit a sore spot?" I raised my fists and began jumping from side to side in case of any incoming assault. "Come on, bring it!"

Itsuki scoffed. "We should probably go somewhere with less people, you don't want to get in trouble with any of the teachers right?"

He had a point. I was smart enough to know that getting suspended in the first week wouldn't be the best start to my high school career.

I followed him outside to the back of the school.

There was a small space between the school building and fence which was beyond the teacher's gaze. I was about to compliment him on his excellent choice of a battleground, until we turned the corner and I realized the terrible mistake I'd made.

In front of me stood another four students who were all bigger than myself.

They looked too tall to be in first year, so I assumed they were in either second or third. There was a tall guy playing on his cell phone, a guy who appeared to be the biggest (and fattest) student I'd seen at school, and one more guy with curly hair who was anxiously kicking the dirt by his feet. The last student was a girl with bleached blonde hair and bracelets (which I'm certain was against school policy). Her face was devoid of emotion, and given the way her hands were crossed against her chest, I wouldn't have put it past her to rip out a crow bar and swing it towards my head.

For the first time in my life (and obviously not the last) I felt the terror of knowing I was going to die.

I froze.

"What's your problem, scared?" Itsuki hissed. He began shoving me towards them and I was too petrified to fight back.

"So this is the guy you were talking about?" Asked the big guy.

"More or less," said Itsuki. "I wouldn't give your hopes up."

Hopes? I thought. Did that mean I wasn't up to standard as a victim?

The guy playing on his cell phone finally stopped and slid it back into his pocket. He was a foot taller than I, and cast an imposing shadow.

"Oh hey, sorry, this is the first time we've met isn't it? I'm Taisei Shinya, I see you've already met Itsuki. This guy is Kiyori," he pointed to the large guy. "The guy with the curly hair is Souta, and this girl is Kurumi."

"Nice to meet you," I said nervously. "I think." I wasn't sure if it was common for bullies to introduce themselves before they took a swing at you.

"Now, how should we go about this?" pondered Taisei.

I backed up slowly until my heels hit the fence. His face didn't look aggressive, but that just made him scarier. I was certain he was planning the most effective way to beat my face in.I considered running for my life, but I had a feeling they'd soon catch me.

"Itsuki was saying that your name's Daisuke Matsumoto, right?" asked the big guy named Kiyori.

"Oh yeah, would it be alright if we took a look at your ID?" Asked Taisei.

I hesitantly reached for my wallet while keeping one eye on them, (in case they attempted to make a grab for it) pulled out my school ID card, and then handed it to Taisei.

All five of them crowded around in a circle. The curly-haired guy called Souta didn't fit, so he had to jump up and down behind Kurumi's shoulder to get a better look.

"Wow, you're right, his name really is Daisuke Matsumoto," said Kiyori.

"It's even written the same way and everything," said Souta.

It was almost comical to watch them all hovering over my school ID. I used to think I was a pretty cool guy, but I knew I wasn't famous enough to receive that amount of awe.

"Hey guys," I coughed. "What's so interesting about that card?"

Taisei held it up to the light and turned it back and forth like he was checking for errors.

"Sorry, here you go," he handed it back to me. "You wouldn't happen to be related to a different guy called Daisuke Matsumoto, would you?"

"Yeah," I shrugged, trying to think of the best way to explain the relationship between the other Daisuke and I. "I had an older brother with the same name."

I watched their draws drop open. It's hard to describe their shock in words, so I wish I had a camera.

Souta pounced, grabbed me by the shoulders, and began to shake me back and forth.

"Really! Are you serious? Was Daisuke Matsumoto really your brother?" His voice was higher than I expected and it almost hurt my ears.

"Shut up Souta," muttered Kiyori. He then turned to me and narrowed his eyes in suspicion. "You're not making this up, are you?"

I attempted to pry Souta's fingers from my shoulders. "Well, actually more like my step brother, his father adopted me."

"I see, so you were adopted by Kousuke Matsumoto, that's pretty cool," said Taisei. "But also kind of creepy that you have the same name."

"So he's not actually related," said Kurumi. "That's kind of disappointing."

"Didn't I say you were going to be disappointed," said Itsuki.

"But if you're the adopted son of Kousuke Matsumoto, then you should know all about the Obake?" asked Taisei.

"Of course," I said. I thought back to all the tales of Obake that Grandpa told me as a child. I found itodd that these people also knew about his Obake obsession. I'd never considered that he may have been a well-known Obake expert.

"That's good," said Taisei. "So I guess we don't have to hide that we're exorcists from you."

"Exorcists?" I muttered in confusion. Unless I'd misheard, I was certain he'd claimed they were exorcists.

I pictured all five of them dressed up as priests with a cross in one hand, and a bottle of holy water in the other. I'd seen a few movies about possessed people who called upon the help of exorcists to drive out the devil inside, but I never knew that such people could also be high school students.

"So, you deal with possessed people?" I asked skeptically. I had a feeling they were either making it up, or it was one of those role-playing clubs were people dressed up and pretended to be fantasy characters.

"Sometimes," said Taisei. "But we usually exterminate Obake."

"Oh, so you exterminate Obake," I decided to play along. I once got into an argument with the class nerd, who used to believe he was an alien, and I didn't wish to repeat the experience. "That's nice."

"Yeah, pretty much. Hey, do you want to see some pictures?"

"I suppose," I shrugged.

"Hey Taisei, I'm not sure if you should do that," said Itsuki.

"Relax Itsuki. It's cool," Taisei whipped out his phone and began sliding his finger around the screen. He found what he was looking for and handed me his phone.

I expected to see them all dressed up in fake costumes, but the graphics were exceedingly good and almost lifelike. It appeared to be a giant raccoon, except it was the size of a person. Its teeth and claws were sharp, long, and dripping what looked like blood.

"Hey this is pretty good, that blood looks almost real," I said.

"Of course it's real! Man, that guy got me good. I have this whole scar now and everything," Taisei pulled up his sleeve to show me a bandage that extended from his wrist to the elbow. "But you know that chicks always dig battle wounds," he said while winking at Kurumi, who in return scoffed and looked away.

No, they couldn't be serious, it couldn't be true. I thought.

I stared at the pictures, then at Taisei's arm, then back at the screen, and then at his arm again. I repeated this for almost a minute, until the realization finally hit me.

"OBAKE ARE REAL!" I screamed.

"Keep your voice down," hissed Kiyori as he looked over his shoulder and scanned the area for people.

"I thought you knew already," whispered Taisei.

"No, I thought they were all stories." I felt quite distressed and Taisei had to pry his phone out of my fingers because I refused to let go. "I didn't think they actually existed."

"Great one Taisei," said Kurumi. "Just wait until Akito hears about this. You're going to get grounded," she added in a sing-song voice.

"Does that mean there's really a raccoon monster, and a naked fox lady who will eat your heart out?!" I asked.

"Geez," moaned Taisei. "I really thought you knew already. Especially since Kousuke Matsumoto was a well-known exorcist."


"What! You seriously didn't know about Kousuke Matsumoto either," said Itsuki. "Idiot!"

"I was only a little kid when he died!"

"I suppose it's not your fault then," said Taisei. "It's a shame though, Kousuke Matsumoto was pretty famous. He wasn't as famous as Daisuke Matsumoto, but he still had a good reputation back in the day."


"Hey! Will you shut up already," said Kiyori. "I'm pretty sure the classroom above us could hear you. You're almost as loud as Souta."

"No one told me that my brother Daisuke was an exorcist," I whispered.

"He was the best there ever was," said Kurumi. "We have to read up on him all the time."

"Yeah, when we least want to," moaned Kiyori. "Akito made me write a report last week as punishment for missing my curfew, it really sucked."

"What were you doing out that late?" asked Kurumi.

"I had stuff to do, and then I missed the bus and had to walk the rest of the way."

"Yeah, that happened to me too, but there's another bus that comes from the opposite side of the road, and it goes until about elev-"

"Hey!" I interrupted, trying to get them back on track. "Do you think you could tell me more about Daisuke Matsumoto?"

I always wanted to know more about the guy I was named after. Sis always got depressed if I asked, and sometimes cried. It was like her not so secret weakness.

"Daisuke Matsumoto was pretty famous fifteen or so years ago," said Taisei. "Some people believe he may have been the strongest exorcist there ever was. There wasn't an Obake out there that he couldn't beat. Cats, dogs, raccoons, rats, and pigs all fell before him."

"But then he was trying to pick up a girl and it turned out to be a fox monster," added Kiyori. "She plunged her hand into his chest and ripped out his heart before he even had time to reach for a protection charm."

They all hung their heads as though taking a moment of silence.

"It's a hard lesson for all male exorcists," said Taisei.

"That any hot chick could actually be a monster plotting to rip your insides out," added Kiyori.

"It happened to my uncle too," said Souta. "He even married her without realizing. One day she got hungry and he refused to go to the convenience store to buy her anything. She was still munching on his leg when they were discovered the next day."

"Ewww, Souta that so gross," said Kurumi. Her face screwed up in disgust. "I thought I told you to stop telling that story in front of me."

I stood there with my mouth open in horror. It was like all my childhood fears had suddenly become reality. I used to think that Souta was pretty annoying, but given what was to occur months later, I now wish I'd paid more attention to his horror stories.

Taisei must have seen the terror on my face because he attempted to lighten the mood. "On a happier note, all exorcists in the area go to this school, so there's no need to worry about man-eating Obake here."

I knew he was trying to console me, but I didn't feel better.

"It's not like we had a choice though," said Itsuki. "I don't understand why we have to go to this dump."

Kiyori groaned. "Not this again."

"We already went through this a thousand times Itsuki," said Taisei. "This is the only high school sponsored by the exorcist organization."

"Yeah, it's not so bad man. There's no need to moan about it all the time. You should just relax more," said Kiyori as he leaned back against the fence. "Learn to take advantage of the situation."

"Wait," I interrupted. "This high school is sponsored by your organization?"

"Yeah, it's pretty difficult for us to do well in school when we have to stay up all night hunting Obake," said Taisei. "It's almost impossible for us to get our homework done in time."

"And then there's exorcist studies," said Kiyori.

"And weapons maintenance," said Kurumi.

"So the organization donates money here to help us pass high school," said Taisei.

I thought that sounded nice. I couldn't help thinking that it wouldn't be so bad if someone paid the school money to give me good grades, but then I realized what that would mean.

"Wait! Isn't that bribery?!" I yelled.

"No, of course not," said Taisei. "But now that I stop and think about it."

"Are you seriously saying that you don't have to do your homework?" I asked.

"But it's not like we don't want to, it's just not always possible," said Kiyori. "But Itsuki here is the family smart arse, so he always gets everything done."

"Great going Itsuki, you're making the rest of us look bad," said Kurumi. "Now Akito expects us to finish our homework."

"I had to stay up until three!" Cried Souta.

"Well, maybe if you didn't spend so much time doing your make up in the morning, you'd even get to school on time Kurumi," muttered Itsuki.

"What would you know Itsuki? Do you understand the importance looks are to a girl? What would everyone think if I arrived at school with no make up? It would be social suicide."

"But he is right Kurumi. You did spend a lot of our cash on hair products," said Kiyori.

"What's that supposed to mean?" she snapped.

"Nothing. I'm only saying that we could buy some actual cool stuff with the money you spend on hairspray."

"Like what Kiyori? Hamburgers?"

I watched as they slowly fell into an all out argument. Taisei attempted to intervene, but his voice of reason couldn't be heard over Kurumi's shrill insults.

Itsuki stepped back, whipped out a set of flashcards, and began memorizing them like nothing was happening. Maybe he was used to this sort of situation.

The cogs in my head began turning. So the exorcists didn't have to follow the school rules. Did that mean that if I joined them, I could also sleep until nine and not have to worry about handing my assignments in?

"Hey, hey!" I yelled while trying to get their attention. "Do you think that maybe I could also become an exorcist?"

Part of me already expected to be shot down. Like the time I tried to join the cool group in elementary school. What I didn't expect was for them to all stop arguing and begin simultaneously laughing.

I felt confused.

"I don't get it, what's so funny?" I asked.

"You, an exorcist?" laughed Itsuki.

"Check this out," said Kiyori. "It looks like Daisuke Matsumoto, suddenly wants to be like... wait for it... Daisuke Matsumoto."

"I'm sorry to disappoint you," laughed Taisei. "But not just anyone can become an exorcist. There are conditions."

"Really! Like what?" I asked skeptically. It couldn't be that hard. The five of them didn't look that special.

"Condition number one," Taisei held up one finger to emphasize his point. "You have to actually be born into an exorcist family. Not adopted into one."


He cut me off.

"Condition number two, you need to possess the minimum requirement of spiritual power. Just because your parents are exorcists doesn't mean that you can be too. And condition number three, you have to begin training from age five."

"There used to be another condition saying that only guys could join, but they've eased up on this recently," added Kurumi.

"Five? Isn't that a bit young?" I couldn't imagine Hikaru having the attention span to begin training for anything.

"But it's necessary for the development of spiritual power," said Taisei. "You need to begin training while your body is still pliable. If you wait a few more years, it's already too late."

"Which is why it's already too late for you, even if you meet conditions one and two," nodded Kiyori.

"Yeah but," I stuttered. "It might be impossible to become an exorcist, but maybe I could do something else. Like carry your weapons, or take better pictures with your phone?"

Taisei was quiet for a moment and began to mull it over. "I suppose you could be our slave if you really wanted, but the guys back home don't like to involve normal people in exorcist affairs. They like to keep everything as secretive as possible. We would all get into a lot of trouble if they ever found out."

I felt deflated. A wonderful opportunity to increase my fun at high school suddenly appeared, and was then mercilessly ripped away. I was in the middle of thinking up another way I could be useful to the exorcists, when the bell rang. It was the end of lunch time.

"We should all get to class, you wouldn't want to be late," said Taisei. He made a shooing action with his hands and the others turned to make their way back. "And one more thing," he grabbed me by the collar and shoved me against the fence. "No matter what, don't tell a single soul about what happened here today. If you breathe one word of this to anyone, I will personally make your next year of high school a living hell."

His eyes were cold and serious, and I had no reason to doubt him.

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