Published August 09, 2018 by

How I Was Murdered by a Fox Monster Chapter 22

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 22

“But how did she find me?” I asked.

“I can only guess that she heard rumors of another Daisuke Matsumoto living in this area," replied Akito. "Maybe from people, other Obake, young exorcists doing funny impressions of you when you're not around,” he looked directly at Taisei and Kiyori.

Kiyori shrugged his shoulders and attempted to appear innocent. “What, it was only once, or twice.”

After fleeing from the fox monster, Itsuki and I luckily made it back to headquarters safely. The other exorcists and I were sitting seiza style in the front room as we held an emergency meeting with Akito. I expected everyone else to share my panic and fear, but they were unexpectedly relaxed (and still continued to fool around) except for Akito who looked like he was at a funeral.

Akito then shoved us all into the kitchen to explain his battle plan. I could tell that he was really into it when he pulled out the kitchen utensils and started positioning them around the table like chess pieces. The fox was a fork, and I was a pepper shaker. Kurumi wasn't pleased that she was the sugar bowl, and wanted to know why she was suddenly fatter than everyone else. She was changed to a fork, but apparently that wasn't good enough either.

Fighting ensued until Akito gave up and threw everything off the table.

“The plan is simple,” said an exasperated Akito. “We put up the fence and lure the fox here. We'll keep it in the vicinity by using Daisuke as bait until the re-enforcements from Kansai arrive. They'll sneak up and attack her from behind, while we bring down the fence and attack from the front. We then attack it from both sides until it's bye bye foxy,” I could tell that he was attempting to be humorous, but it didn't suit Akito and no one laughed.

“Wait, you're going to use me as bait!” I cried.

“All you have to do is stay in her range of vision. You'll be behind the fence so there's nothing to worry about,” said Akito. “We just need her to stay within eye-site and remain distracted for a few hours, the last thing we need is her fleeing off into the bushes.”

I had a terrible feeling about this until I realized it was fear.

“It shouldn't be too hard,” said Akito when he noticed my face was contorted in horror. “I have a feeling that she's been watching you for sometime.”

Are you saying that I have a stalker?”

“It's not just that. I wouldn't be surprised if she's known about this place since long ago. You're adopted brother died not too far from here. It wouldn't surprise me if she never left this town.”

It mortified me to know that the fox monster may have been here the whole time. I had innocently gone along with my day to day life without realizing that death was only inches away.

“It's OK,” said Souta in an attempt to comfort me. “Foxes are very obsessive. If it makes you feel better, one of my ancestors got on the wrong side of a fox Obake and it came back to terrorize the family for six generations. It did lots of crazy stuff like kill the livestock, splatter blood on the house, and eat the first born-child. Eventually they managed to kill it, but it must have been at least five hundred years old.”

I stood there with my mouth open in horror. I didn't think it was possible to feel anymore terrified, but I'd clearly been mistaken.

“What! That's terrible! How is that supposed to make me feel better! Do you even comprehend the terrible stuff that comes out of your mouth!”

Wow, that was pretty mean Daisuke,” said Taisei sternly.

“Geez,” said Kiyori. “Just because a crazy fox Obake is trying to kill you, doesn't mean that you have to be such a dick.”

“This isn't just about you,” added Kurumi. “The rest of us are in danger as well.”

In my panicked state I decided to call my sister. I needed to know that she and the rest of my family were safe, and no fox had come to rip them up and scatter their remains over the town square like Souta's great-grandfather.

“There's nothing to worry about,” said Sis who had already received a warning from Akito. “I put up a barrier, and Shuro went to Tokyo on a business trip, so Hikaru and I should be fine. The one you should be worrying about the most is yourself.”

“Yeah,” I replied into my phone. “But I'm really scared Sis. What if they can't stop it? What if she develops a taste for Matsumoto and goes after you and Hikaru next?”

Daisuke, that's ridiculous,” her voice began to waver. “Please promise me that you'll listen to Akito and won't do anything stupid. I don't know what I would do if........” I could hear the sound of muffled sobbing on the other side.

I felt a sudden pain in my chest and I felt terrible for making her cry.

“Please don't be sad Sis,” I said gently. “Akito and all the other exorcists are here so nothing is going to happen. I'll see you tomorrow.”

Sis attempted to say more, but she was having difficulty getting all the words out amongst the sobbing. All she managed to say was a muffled “goodbye” before she hung up the phone.

I didn't believe that there was really something out there which could stop the fox monster, so I demanded to see the fence. Itsuki volunteered and took me outside for a look.

The garden didn't look any different, but when I reached out my hand it hit an invisible wall which sent a small shock through my arm. I reared back in shock and rubbed my fingers which felt numb.

“This fence is only effective against Obake and people who have traces of Obake blood, such as exorcists,” explained Itsuki. “Any regular person has no trouble passing through.”

“Wow,” I said in awe.

I touched it again until the fence sparked electricity and my hand went numb and limp. I poked my hand continuously but it was impossible to feel anything.

Despite Akito assuring me that the fence was full proof, he decided to take other necessary precautions in case the charms failed or the fox managed to sneak through. Everyone was busy setting up traps around the perimeter, and I noticed them dividing rooms off into sections with sliding doors.

Nina was also outside dropping various trinkets onto the ground. I watched as she pulled one from a bag. She quickly became distracted by the design, and began turning it back and forth in the fading light. It appeared to be a small faded blue box which was covered in insignias.

“Hey Nina, whatcha up to?” I asked.

“Laying charms,” she said with the same lack of energy I had witnessed the previous day. “I don't know if it will be much help, but I should do something.”

"I'm sure these guys will be a big help," I said to reassure her.

I picked up a small metal disk that she'd just placed on the ground, and brushed away the flaking paint. I once mistook them as Akito's junk collection and I was subjected to a three hour lecture about the importance of every one. They acted a bit like charms, but they didn't burn like paper. Some were easy to understand and had already been inscribed with insignias such as fire, water, or lightning.

There were more which Akito displayed in a glass cabinet, but they were all so old that most people had forgotten what they did. I occasionally tapped the glass and stared at them, but Akito refused to let me take a closer look.

I was quite content with talking to my friends to help forget my fear, but Akito said this ruined the effectiveness of his plan, and tried to make me stand outside in the open. I protested, so eventually he allowed me to sit on the verandah while Taisei kept watch.

Kiyori wanted to paint a giant sign proclaiming eat me, but even Akito thought that was a bit excessive.

I shuffled my feet and crossed them. Then uncrossed them. Then sat facing the forest until I couldn't take it anymore and had to turn around. I would poke my head into the next room every once in a while and stare at Mana and Itsuki who were frantically writing out paper charms. Kurumi, Nina, Souta, and Kiyori had been assigned different tasks, and Akito was in his study keeping the branch in Kansai updated. I stared into the forest in fear, and scanned the trees for the fox monster which could suddenly pop up at any given moment. 

“Nervous much?” Taisei asked.

“Shut up,” I hissed.

Unlike me Taisei was sitting lethargically against the wall and appeared as cool as a cucumber. Maybe it was the confidence he had in his own abilities, or the gun stashed behind his back, but I was envious of his attitude.

Somehow I had always known, maybe since Grandpa showed me the picture in that book, that the fox monster was eventually going to come and rip my heart out. I always had a feeling that my life would end by her hands, right here, right now.

I decided to voice these thoughts to Taisei. I assumed that he would finally understand the terror which was threatening to consume me.

“That's the most ridiculous piece of crap I've ever heard,” he said after I'd finished. “Now you're just being dramatic!”

“It's true!” I yelled back. “I know I can't explain how, but I have this psychic feeling deep down inside.”

“No one knows when they're going to die.”

“But maybe it's my special exorcist power!”

I was going to tell him about how Obake made Itsuki want to puke, but then I remembered my promise not to tell the others.

Taisei went silent for another few minutes until he opened his mouth again.

“The reason why guys die is because they think they're talking to a hot chick, and then she catches them off guard. We already know what she is, so she's lost the element of surprise. The rest shouldn't be too hard.”

“I suppose,” I muttered.

For the first time that evening I felt like I would survive to see the sunrise. Unfortunately that feeling didn't last for long.

I glanced back to find the fox monster smiling manically while staring out at us from amongst the trees. She must have returned home to take a bath and change her outfit, because her long hair was flawlessly groomed, and she was dressed in a blood-red summer kimono.

I instantly lunged at Taisei.

“She's come to rip my heart out!” I cried.

Taisei attempted to pry my grip from his neck. “Stop it! You're panicking!”

“I'm not panicking, this is justified terror!”

“Look, you saw it with your own eyes right? Nothing can get past the fence, not even her!”

I glanced back and screamed in terror.

She had moved another few feet closer while I wasn't watching.

“Don't pay any attention to her, she's just messing with your head,” he hissed.

“OK,” I looked away and fixed my eyes firmly on Taisei.

All I had to do was sit there and keep her preoccupied until the reinforcements came. I thought I could sit there and chat while pretending that there wasn't a vicious monster coming to rip my insides out.

Daisuke Matsumoto,” her voice blew through the trees like the wind.

I almost wet myself.

“Why, why me!” I moaned in fear.

“It's OK,” said Taisei nervously as he locked eyes with her. “Nothing can get past our defenses.”

As he predicted I heard a familiar crackling noise as the monster hit the invisible fence. I turned around, smiled, and expected to be greeted with the sight of her withering in fear (like my hand which still felt numb) but she just stood there like it was nothing. Her face was blank and expressionless as the electricity crackled around her.

I was certain that today was going to be our victory until she took a step forward, then another. At long last it appeared that the pull of the fence was beginning to push her back, but she scrunched up her flawless face in concentration and attempted to step through. It looked like it took a decent amount of effort, but within half a minute she finally managed to get her right foot through the barricade and safely onto our side.

I felt the bottom drop out of my stomach when I realized that my fate was sealed.

There was nothing we could do. She was through.

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