Published November 14, 2018 by

How I was Murdered by a Fox Monster Chapter 23

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 23

"Oh shit!" Taisei cried.

I was still trying to comprehend how my approaching death managed to break through the impenetrable fence, when Taisei grabbed me by the arm and dragged me into the next room. He opened and slammed the sliding door with so much force that I was certain it would shatter.

Mana and Itsuki both jumped in shock and looked up from the charms they were painting.

"Taisei," said Mana. "Don't slam the door like that... Hey, is there something wrong?" She asked when she noticed the panic on his face.

Taisei threw me at Itsuki who put his hands out to prevent our heads from colliding.

"It's too late! She's through!" Taisei yelled. "You guys need to get out of here now. Find Akito, make him take down the fence, and run. I'll hold her off."

Mana blinked and her mouth opened and shut like she didn't know what to say.

"What are you waiting for!" Taisei yelled.

Itsuki nodded and pushed me towards the other door. Mana was still frozen to the spot, so he grabbed her by the arm and pulled her to her feet.

"Come on Mana, we have to go now," he said.

It was the first time I could detect hints of panic in Itsuki's voice.

"Taisei," was the last thing Mana said before we were out of there and through to the next room.

Itsuki, Mana, and I began our dash towards Akito and freedom. Usually it would have taken less than a minute to reach his study, but to my surprise the main room was suddenly filled with sliding doors. Most of them appeared to be made from wood, but there were also a few fashioned from steel and glass. There were also a couple with mirrors attached which reminded me of being at a carnival. Each door opened in a different direction, so it sometimes took almost a minute to get one open. I had no idea how the system worked, so I left Itsuki and Mana to push them open before locking them behind us.

"I don't get it!" I yelled as I helped Mana slide another one shut. "Wouldn't this be easier without so many doors in our way!"

"They're here to help us!" Itsuki yelled back. All three of us were clearly panicking and there was a lot of yelling going on. "They act as a maze. Hopefully we can buy some time by trapping her in here!"

"I see. Take that fox monster!" I yelled out behind us as I rushed to open another door. I felt more confident when I thought she was going to get lost or become distracted by her own reflection. "Prepare to fall by the all mighty power of the exor-!"

It was then that I slammed into something in the middle of the next room. At first I could feel nothing but long hair and I screamed in fear (thinking that she had finally caught us) until I realized I'd run face first into Kurumi.

"Hey watch it!" Kurumi scolded as she picked up a spanner from the ground. "Can't you see we have important work to do."

Souta was also standing behind her with a screwdriver in his hand.

"Hey Daisuke!" Souta said enthusiastically while screwing in another door. "Shouldn't you guys be on the verandah?"

Kurumi on the other hand was quick to notice the panic on our faces.

"Hey, where's Taisei?" Kurumi asked nervously. "Shouldn't he be with you guys?"

"He's distracting the fox monster," said Mana as she locked another door.

"No way." Kurumi's mouth opened and shut like a fish as she struggled for words. "How is that possib-"

"We don't have time!" Itsuki yelled. "We need to find Akito now!"

Kurumi looked like she had more to say, but she closed her mouth and nodded her head. "Right, he should still be in his-"

Kurumi didn't get to finish. The door behind us suddenly toppled forward before we had the chance to brace ourselves. I found myself squashed flat with my head resting against the tatami, and the weight of the door threatening to crush me.

I could see nothing but stars, but fortunately Itsuki and Kurumi quickly began pushing the door away. I crawled out from underneath only to discover that every door between us and the outside had toppled over like dominoes.

There was nothing standing between us and the heart eating monster.

"No, how is this possible," hissed Kurumi.

"Because it's the fox monster," said Mana.

Her gaze was frozen towards the verandah and I followed her line of vision to see the monster draped lethargically over the railing. She looked at us like she was eying off her next meal, and saliva dripped from her mouth. There was no sign of Taisei anywhere, but at least he wasn't splattered all over the foyer like the exorcists in my sister's horror stories.

I was certain we had no choice but to run, but Kurumi stood her ground. She didn't show an ounce of fear.

"So it's come to this, huh,"she said while glaring at the monster. "I never thought it would be you and me up against this fox bitch Itsuki."

"You can say that again." Itsuki pulled a roll of charms out of his pocket and threw it over to Kurumi, who snatched it up in her fist.

"Where's Kiyori when you need him," she muttered. "He certainly picked a great time to be a scaredy cat."

Mana also managed to produce a collapsible pole which had been strapped to her leg, and Souta pressed the button of his electric screwdriver with so much enthusiasm that it looked like a weapon. I felt like I should also suddenly produce a mystic weapon, but Kurumi shoved me behind them.

All I could see were their backs.

Itsuki, Kurumi, Mana, and Souta were all prepared to fight and die against a monster who was only after me. It seemed so pointless when I knew we didn't stand a chance.

"Guys!" I yelled out to get their attention. "I'm the one she wants! You should all just run for it while you still have the chance!"

"Yeah, maybe that's not such a bad idea," Kurumi shrugged like she was mulling it over. "Not," she said with a wink.

"Don't be ridiculous. We're all friends right," said Mana. "As if we would just run away and leave you to die."

"I don't want to watch anyone I like die again either," added Itsuki.

"But she could kill you!" I shouted.

"Whether we die or not is our own decision. It's not up to you," said Kurumi. "You can run if you want to, but I'm going to stay and fight."

I wanted to convince them all to run for their lives, but I was overwhelmed by their strength and dedication.

"Guys," I mumbled.

I felt touched. I couldn't believe that these people who were all strangers a few months ago, were all willing to give their lives up for me. Until that moment I'd thought of them as nothing more than a bunch of moody teens who constantly bickered with each other, but my mind was suddenly flooded with positive memories of our time together.

I remembered studying in the library with Nina, eating lunch with Mana and Itsuki, sun-baking with Souta, telling jokes with Taisei and Kiyori, and Kurumi.....

When I stopped and thought about it, I realized I never spent much time with Kurumi. I'm certain we have nothing in common, but her willingness to protect me raised my opinion of her tenfold.

"You're also underestimating us," said Kurumi. "We're exorcists after all, it's our job to beat up Obake like this," she said as she wrapped a paper charm around the spanner in her hand. She chanted and it began to drip water. "Ready Itsuki!" She cried and pelted it towards the monster.

I caught a glance of Itsuki whip out a paper charm and a ball of lightning went flying towards the fox monster.

"As expected of Itsuki!" I yelled out in encouragement.

I expected to see the fox blown into little pieces, but she simply raised her arm to block the attack. Her sleeve was charred in the process, but other than that she was completely unharmed.

Kurumi's spanner also missed, and it exploded into a tidal wave of water when it landed in the garden outside.

"Shit," Kurumi swore as she grabbed Souta's screwdriver from his hand, attached a charm, and went in for another hit which the monster also dodged. "What is this shit," I heard her swear. "I never miss!"

I searched the ground for something I could use. There had to be a trinket lying around somewhere which could cause her damage. I couldn't stand not being able to do anything. I checked the debris around my feet while Itsuki and Kurumi continued throwing charms at the monster with little success. I thought that maybe together they could get a hit in, until Kurumi yelled "shit! Where has she gone!"

I glanced up to find that the monster had disappeared from sight. The space before us was silent and empty, and as much as I wished that she'd gotten bored and gone home, I knew that couldn't be possible.

We all frantically looked around to decipher her location. Unfortunately I neglected to look above my head which was where she decided to attack. I didn't even see the monster dive towards me until Mana jumped out between us. She raised her pole to block the attack, but the monster was too powerful.

Mana's arms collapsed beneath the weight, and she was thrown to the ground with the monster landing on top of her, poised to rip her face off.

"Mana!" Kurumi yelled as she threw her shoulder into the fox with enough force to knock her away.

The monster and Kurumi both fell to the floor in a heap. Kurumi looked prepared to activate another charm, before the fox hissed and slapped Kurumi in the face with enough force to send her flying into the wall. Kurumi's head hit the window frame with a bang and she slumped to the floor unconscious.

"Kurumi!" Yelled Souta.

He attempted to rush to her aid before the fox monster grabbed him by the ankle and sent him flying outside.

Itsuki, Mana, and I were the only ones remaining against the terrifying Obake. I helped Mana to her feet while Itsuki stood before us and the monster. He was poised and ready to attack with a charm held out before him, and another several were stuffed in his remaining hand. He and the fox monster eyed each other off, and it looked like she saw him as a legitimate threat. Her eyes were dark and serious, and maybe she hadn't forgotten how he'd thrown her into the wall that afternoon.

Mana stumbled and tried to regain her balance. There was blood dripping from her forehead and she appeared shaken, but that didn't affect her resolve. She dived her hand into her pocket and brought out a charm in an attempt to aid Itsuki.

"Hey Daisuke," said Itsuki without taking his eyes off the fox monster. "I want you to take Mana and run."

"No way!" Protested Mana. "I'm not leaving you!"

"But there's nothing you can do here!" Itsuki shouted.

"I'm not leaving you alone!" Mana rushed towards Itsuki, but he pushed her back towards me with so much force that I almost toppled backwards.

"Remember our promise!" He yelled.

He didn't need to say anymore because I already understood the meaning behind his words. I grabbed a reluctant Mana by the wrist and dragged her into the closest room which still had a door standing. I pushed it shut with all my strength just in time to see Itsuki throw several charms towards the monster.

I wanted to help him, but I knew there was nothing either of us could do and I needed to save Mana. I thought that if we could reach Akito in time, the remaining exorcists and I could hopefully escape.

"Come on Mana, let's get this next door open," I said as I fiddled with the lock.

"No," said Mana while shaking her head. "I'm not leaving Itsuki."

"We don't have any choice."

"No," she said as tears began running down her face. "We have to help him."

"You heard him, he wants you to go!" I yelled out in frustration.

"I'm not leaving him to die!" She yelled and attempted to rush back.

I grabbed her by the wrist and began dragging her away.

"What would Itsuki do if you got hurt?" I said. "What would I do if you got hurt?"

"No, no, no!" She continued to protest.

I attempted to pull her forward but her fingers slipped through my sweaty grip and she dashed towards the door. I lunged out to stop her, but Mana never got the opportunity to open the lock.

There was a loud slash, like someone tearing through paper, and the door suddenly split into two. The pieces fell away in opposite directions until you could see directly into the previous room, and the terrifying sight awaiting me.

The fox monster stood there completely unharmed with a smirk plastered across her face. Itsuki was slumped unconscious against the wall, like he hadn't been able to resist the fox monster's strength. There were several holes in the floor like he'd put up a good fight, but even a genius like him didn't stand a chance.

I thought an unconscious Itsuki would have been enough to send Mana into a fit of tears, but she suddenly toppled face first to the floor. I wondered how she could be injured when the fox monster hadn't made a move, but then blood started pooling around Mana's head and I realized she had been cut along with the door.

"Mana!" I yelled out in panic.

I hoped she would soon pull herself to her feet, but when she continued to remain motionless and bleeding I was overcome by a feeling of dread.

"Mana!" I tried again but there was no response.

I felt my body turn numb.

There was no way that Mana could die. Mana, who had always been so cheery and helpful, couldn't possibly perish in a pool of her own blood.

If Mana died she could never hang out with us again. She could never fight with Taisei. She could never go to school. She would never see her sixteenth birthday.

I felt my eyes burn as I began to imagine a life without Mana.

There would be an empty seat at every exorcist meeting. Nobody would stand up for me against Kiyori, nobody would greet me with a smile, nobody would like my Hello Kitty lunches. I didn't known how I could ever face Itsuki again if I allowed Mana to die.

I felt tears begin to form in my eyes, but I fought them back.

Until that moment I'd always cried and relied on everyone else to save me. I was a useless human being who never helped anyone, but I swore this time would be different.

This time I would definitely save my friends.

I glared at the monster and narrowed my eyes in rage as I felt hate form within the depths of my soul.

"Now, that's a nice face," she said with a smirk. "I do love it when my food gets fired up, but that expression reminds me of someone unpleasant," she said with a scowl.

If this was a comic book, the shock of seeing Mana lying in a deathlike state would have been enough to bring out my latent special powers, which would suddenly come forth and help save the day, but in reality I was just another fifteen year-old high school student who was up against an ancient monster.

There was nothing someone like me could do, but I wasn't going to let that stop me from trying.

I pulled my only charm from my pocket. It was a fire charm I wrote a few days ago, and I'd stashed it there in case the fox monster broke through. I never had the chance to test it (I probably should have) but there was no time for doubt.

I placed it between my fingers and poured every ounce of concentration I possessed into creating a giant fireball which would save the day. I was certain that all the hours I spent meditating would finally pay off.

"Fox monster! Prepare yourself!" I yelled as the paper caught fire.

It burned brightly for a moment. I swore it was a success, until the flames suddenly died out and left only a small trail of smoke.

The fox monster blinked and her mouth broke out into a grin. I expected her to soon separate my heart from my chest, but instead she almost fell to the floor with laughter.

"Daisuke Matsumoto," she giggled. "How you amuse me."

I dropped the charm and started slowly inching towards the next door while she was busy gasping for breath amongst fits of laughter. I needed to find a weapon immediately otherwise Mana and the others were done for.

"Ha, ha, yes funny," I said. "That's what I am," I frantically grabbed the next lock and shook it in a panic, but it refused to budge.

"It's almost a shame that I have to eat you when you're so entertaining." She wiped saliva away from her mouth with her sleeve. "But I have waited a long time for this."

She began fiddling with her kimono, and produced a napkin from her pocket along with a knife and fork.

I pressed myself against the wall in terror and tried not to wet myself. I was certain that all I was, and everything I'd ever done, was going to come to an end. I could only hope that the rest of my friends wouldn't share my terrible fate.

It was then that the room began filling with smoke. At first I assumed it was my failed charm, until I noticed how the smoke was seeping into the room from under the door behind me. It engulfed the room until it was almost impossible to see the monster through the fog.

"What is this!" She coughed.

There was a click of a lock, and the door slid open behind me. A hand lunged forth, took hold of my elbow, and yanked me out of the room and into the corridor. I was about to scream out in shock, before a hand firmly covered my mouth.

I looked up to see the familiar face of a man in his mid thirties.

"Ahio," said my muffled voice through his hand.

"Shhhh," Akito hushed, and he quickly yanked me into his study.

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

Get the ebook: Amazon / Smashwords / iTunes / B&N / Kobo

Paperback: Amazon