Published December 03, 2016 by

How I was Murdered by a Fox Monster Chapter 7

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 7

The place known as headquarters is a shinto shrine located on a mountain outside of town. It appeared to have been remodeled several times, and was a mix of an old Japanese house with modern extensions (such as a kitchen and bathroom) protruding out in all directions. There was a long verandah, a small Japanese garden, an archery range at the back, and another field which was used for training. There was also a large rock which I named the rock of death, but I'll tell you more about it later.

It wasn't far from the place where I watched them take down the raccoon. The path was littered with crumbling statues, and there was even a large worn out shrine gate.

I thought it was a cool location until I realized one painful thing. Stairs. My exasperated mind began to count them as we began the never ending assent.

One hundred and one, one hundred and two, one hundred and three, one hundred and four.

Souta (to my great dismay) walked beside me like he was floating on air.

"So who is this Akito guy?" I asked him.

"Akito is kind of like our babysitter, he's the one who's been assigned to look over our training," he said with his high pitched voice which I was slowly becoming accustomed to.

"What's he like?"

"He's pretty anal about stuff," said Kiyori. "Like curfew and training, but other than that he's pretty slack. He's not a scary guy, so I don't think there's anything to worry about. He might agree to let you join, maybe."

"I wouldn't give your hopes up," said Taisei.

It was a pretty harsh thing to say, and it sounded like something that would come out of Itsuki's mouth.

"Hey!" I protested.

"Well look at it this way," Taisei explained. "How many exorcists began training when they were fifteen years old? I'm not trying to be mean, I'm only laying down the facts."

"But what about Nina's brother?" Mana asked.

"That was different," said Taisei. "He already did some training when he was younger, so it was easier for him to pick things up. Right Nina?" He turned to Nina who was hobbling up the stairs below us. Her leg may have survived the raccoon attack, but it still looked painful to walk on.

Nina was off in her own world (she did this sometimes) and didn't hear him. She had her head down, and was glaring at the steps below her with unnatural concentration.

"Hey Nina!" Taisei yelled in an attempt to get her attention.

Nina suddenly snapped back to reality and stared up at us blankly. "I'm sorry, did you say something?"

"What do you think Nina?" Taisei asked while pointing at me. "Do you think this guy can make it as an exorcist?"

Nina stared at me but didn't say anything. I could tell from the look on her face that she didn't have high expectations, but was too polite to say so. Maybe she was thinking of how I spent the entire battle clinging to Mana.

I swore under my breath and turned my attention back to the giant assent before me. The end was finally in sight, but I prayed that I wasn't killing myself on those stairs only to have my hopes crushed when I reached the top.

As I explained to you at the beginning, Akito was the guy who would become my teacher, and then attempt to kill me once the fox monster had us cornered. I'm still not certain if he's trying to prevent me from running, or if he intends to do the deed himself, but either way, he's not my favorite person right now.

Just as Kiyori said, Akito didn't appear to be a scary guy. He never seemed like a scary guy until he made the decision to back-stab me. He was a few years older than Sis, with cropped black hair and a few wrinkles around the eyes.

He didn't look happy to see me, but didn't appear angry either. He politely guided me into the main sitting room, sat their patiently, and listened to the story of why I wanted to be an exorcist.

I thought it wouldn't be a good idea to tell him that I wanted to join in order to skip math, so I made up some great stuff about wanting to help people and save the world from giant raccoons. I think I had him fooled, but I could have sworn that I heard muffled laughter from the next room.

"I see, so you're Kousuke Matsumoto's adopted son," Akito nodded once I was finished. "It's been a few years since I've seen anyone from the Matsumoto family here."

He then brought out a bunch of paper charms, and made me set them on fire, much like I'd done a few hours ago. He raised an eyebrow in surprise, but other than that his face didn't give much emotion away.

The whole meeting went rather well, and I would have never suspected that he intended to give me up as fox food.

"You seem to show quite a bit of potential," said Akito. "So I'm willing to let you undergo training if you promise to abide by the rules, and do everything you're told."

I nodded and agreed to everything, even though I was busy daydreaming about Obake and no longer listening. I was just over joyed that Akito had agreed to take me on without a fight. I thought becoming an exorcist was hard, but it suddenly seemed like a walk in the park.

Or so I thought.

- - - - - - - - - 

Akito talked to the principal, so if anyone at school asked, I was volunteering for community service. I decided to try out my new privileges by arriving at class ten minutes late.

As expected my homeroom teacher frowned but didn't say anything.

"Dude, what was that? He didn't scold you at all," hissed Keira from the desk next to mine as I took my seat.

I put my hands behind my head and leaned back in my chair. "Community service," I said with a wink.

"What community service? I was told there weren't any spaces left."

"Sorry," I said. "They were short one person, and our homeroom teacher thought it would be a good way for me to atone for all my sleeping in class."

To tell the truth, my homeroom teacher wasn't happy about my sudden induction into the community service club. He said that I was academically doomed, and my chances of getting into a good university were slim.

I felt bad for lying to Keira. He seemed like the sort of guy who'd get a kick out of spoon feeding elderly people.

"Sorry," I said. "I'll tell you if there are any openings."

"OK," he nodded.

The first class of the day was physical education. P.E was my favorite subject because it didn't have homework.

All the girls left to change in a different room, leaving the rest of us guys to put on our gym clothes in the classroom.

Keira used this opportunity to start telling me about the girl he liked. Her name was Ami, or Aki, or something starting with A. I didn't pay much attention to our fellow classmates, so I couldn't remember her face.

"Do you think I should ask her?" Keira whispered so only I could hear. "But I don't know if she'd like a guy like me. What if I tell her, then she says no, then it becomes awkward, and then she spends the rest of high school avoiding me?"

"Just do it man, if you leave things the way they are, nothing will ever change," I advised.

Despite my initial expectations, Keira was a pretty cool guy. We ate lunch together every day (fortunately there was no repeat of the Hello Kitty incident) and he lived close to my house. I knew he wasn't an exorcist, but I was also trying to show Mana that I was a popular guy with loads of friends.

I pulled off my shirt and searched my bag for my gym clothes.

Keira was contemplating all the terrible things that could happen if his confession failed, when he suddenly cried "what the hell happened to your back!"

I stretched and attempted to see what was there (like a note saying kick me) when I realized he was talking about my scars.

There's a spider web of scarring that extended from below my neck to my lower back. It looked like I was attacked, or impaled by glass, or got into a car accident, or one of the hundred different ways that people get hurt.

Because it's my own back I can't see them, so I often forgot they were there. It wasn't until I took off my shirt and people began freaking out, that I suddenly remembered my old injury.

Sis once told me that it was probably a wound from the same accident which killed my parents.

A few of the other guys were also looking over due to Keira's outburst.

"Wow, that's nasty dude," said one student.

"Were you in a gang during middle school?" cried another guy from the back of the room.

I quickly pulled out my gym shirt and slid it on.

"I was in an accident as a kid," I muttered.

"An accident? It looks like someone was attempting to carve your back up," said Keira.

"Maybe," for all I knew he could be right.

I realized that Itsuki was also staring, but when our eyes met he quickly looked away.

We played basketball for gym class. I wasn't particularly good at sports, but I wasn't bad either.

To me Itsuki seemed like a die hard nerd, so I expected him to be bad at basketball. Against my expectations he was quite athletic (it was probably all the exorcist training) and he almost fell to the ground laughing when the ball hit me in the face.

I was disappointed. Just once I wanted to see him struggle at something so that I could point and laugh.

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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