Published April 14, 2018 by

How I Was Murdered by a Fox Monster Chapter 17

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 17

Ever since I became an exorcist, I felt like I was being constantly compared to Sis' older brother who also had my name. Akito's words about us being polar opposites continued to haunt me for the following week, until I eventually gave in and asked what the difference was between us.

"How should I say this," said Akito while tapping his fingers on his chin. "You're certainly a lot more, dramatic than the other Daisuke Matsumoto."

"Dramatic?" I questioned. I wondered what that was supposed to mean.

"That's not a bad thing, you're certainly more entertaining. Hmm, what else. Daisuke also did what he was told, and spent most of his life trying to please others. Mostly his father, but you on the other hand-"

"Hey I do what I'm told too!" I said while remembering the countless hours I spent writing compositions.

"I saw you eating potato chips in the library again," said Akito sternly. "There's now crumbs stuck between the pages. I opened a one hundred year old scripture only to find it covered in greasy fingerprints."

"Oh, oh yeah, I promise I won't eat in there again."

"The other Daisuke was also better at calligraphy, meditation, running, compositi-"

"OK, OK, that's enough. Daisuke was an awesome dude, I get it already."

I was hoping for clarity but it just made me feel shitty about myself. If Grandpa gave me the same name in the hope that I would be like his son, he would have been sadly disappointed.

The following Sunday was spent at headquarters training. I had a distant memory of once spending my weekends having fun, but now all my free time was dedicated to training, training, training, and more training.

Akito was out running errands that day so both Taisei and Souta were free to hang out. Taisei showed me a few moves, and Souta brought out all his paper charms and let me practice. It was such an enjoyable day, and I had completely forgotten about my grandfather issues until they showed up in my face yet again.

We were laying on the verandah sun baking when I looked up to see Sis standing over me with a large box.

"Dai-chan, thank god you're here! I need you to help me carry these things," she said.

I sat up and took the box from her hands. "Hey Sis, what's all this?"

She turned and began walking away to get more. "These are some of my father's old things. I had them in storage, but I thought that maybe the exorcists would have some use for them."

"Oh, I see," the excitement died from my voice.

I glared at the box like I was focusing all my resent towards it. They were the materials Sis had promised Akito.

I dumped the box on the verandah and stared inside. It was a while since I saw Grandpa's collection. I soon realized that if they were his possessions, it meant the book he showed me as a child was also hidden amongst them.

I momentarily forgot my angst, shoved my arm into the box, and began searching through the moldy volumes.

"It should be around here somewhere," I muttered.

"What are you looking for?" Souta asked.

"You'll see soon." My hand finally landed on a certain volume and I held it above my head like a trophy. "It's the book with all the naked pictures!"

I opened the cover and flipped through the pages. As a kid I used to think it was a picture book, but it was actually a textbook with accompanying diagrams. I scanned my eyes briefly over the text, but the language was too old and difficult to understand.

Eventually I found the page about the fox monster and held it up for Souta to see. It was still as terrifying as I remembered.

"Man, I used to have nightmares about this chick as a child," I said. "I would dream that she would come into my bedroom and attempt to rip my heart out."

"Akito said that fox monsters are really rare," said Souta. "There's only about one or two left, so you don't have to worry."

"That's a relief," I sighed.

"What's this? A naked girl," said Taisei as he ripped the book out of my hand. "This is certainly one for the wall!"

He pulled out his phone and began taking snapshots. We continued digging through the box for more naked pictures (or Kousuke Matsumoto's secret porn collection) until Sis returned and scolded us. My sister then made us all go to the car and carry the remaining boxes before she returned home.

I didn't think the rest of Grandpa's materials were that exciting (It was mostly illegible gibberish) but Akito was over the moon when he returned. He immediately began leafing through the boxes on the verandah like Christmas had come early. I'd never seen Akito that focused unless he was giving one of his never-ending Obake lectures. Taisei, Kiyori, and I even had a water fight before him, and he didn't do anything until Taisei accidentally splashed his book.

We were then subjected to a fifteen minute lecture about the importance of not ruining exorcist property. He was also yelling about a few other things, but I had already tuned out.

It was obvious that the fun was over so we took off our shirts and let them dry on the handrail. I didn't think much of it until I heard Kiyori yell the familiar words of "shit! What happened to your back!"

"Oh," I said. I peered over my shoulder at the scars which adorned my back. I was overcome with a familiar feeling of dread. "I was in an accident as a kid."

"Must have been one nasty accident," said Kiyori while taking a closer look. "It looks all carved up and everything."

"Maybe, I don't really remember," I muttered.

I could feel all their eyes on me and I regretted taking my shirt off. I turned to go find a towel (so I could cover myself up) but Akito was suddenly behind me taking a look.

"Hmm," he said. "It could be signs of a potential Obake attack, but it doesn't appear like claw marks or someone was attempting to kill you. It looks more orderly and planned, like there were trying to inflict pa-" he suddenly realized what he was saying and stopped.

"What did you just say?" I asked in a shaky voice.

"I'm sure it was just an accident," said Akito in an attempt to make me forget his previous words. "If it worries you I'm sure it wouldn't be too difficult to fix in the future," he said with an awkward laugh like it was all just one big joke.

Akito's words gave me something new to worry about. Not only did I have to worry about being the victim of child abduction, there was the possibility that I'd been tortured as well.

Child abduction and torture, life really couldn't get much better than this, I thought. Child abduction and torture by Grandpa? No, it didn't seem plausible. I may have discovered that Grandpa had a shady side, and he didn't seem like the sort of guy who would go that far, but it was impossible to shake my doubts.

I spent the evening sitting in my bedroom looking over photos I had of Grandpa and I. There was also one of Sis and I way back when she didn't know how to deal with children. She was looking at me in horror like I was a slug clinging onto her neck. I laughed and placed it beside my bed.

I picked up another framed photo of Grandpa and ran my fingers over the cold glass. I was five years old and he had taken me out to a festival for the first time. I was smiling happily while waving a candy apple around. Grandpa had his arm over my shoulder and was making a peace sign towards the camera. His smile looked like that of a loving Grandpa, not a crazy sadistic child abductor.

"You wouldn't have done anything bad? Would you?" I asked the photo.

I didn't have any bad memories, or even any unpleasant ones like him yelling or scolding me, but I'd been so young that there weren't many memories left at all. I wouldn't have been aware if he suddenly abducted me off the street and forced me to forget my previous family.

It didn't seem like I could gain the answers I wanted from the pictures, so I placed all the photos carefully back into the box and opened my wardrobe to put them away.

That's when it suddenly hit me. Something I had forgotten from long ago.

I grabbed onto the handle and opened the door. Then shut it. Then opened it again.

Yes, something did happen once. Something in a place like this. I thought.

It was ten years ago. I wasn't sure what I'd done, but I knew I was in trouble. I was standing inside a wardrobe, no maybe a cupboard, and Grandpa was standing outside blocking my escape. I looked up at his face which was stoney and solemn, and nothing like the cheerful man in my dreams who told me about Obake.

"You have to stay in here for a while Daisuke," he said sternly.

"Why Grandpa? How come?" asked my five year-old self.

"You need to think about your actions Daisuke."

"Actions? What actions?"

"I'll let you out when you're ready."

That's when he began closing the door. The ray of light from the outside began to shrink until it was eradicated with a bang and I was surrounded by darkness. I was suddenly blind and terrified, and I wanted nothing more than to leave immediately.

"Grandpa!" I yelled. My tiny fists banged against the door. "Let me out! It's dark! Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!"

But all was silent and nobody came.
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