Hey guys, sorry it has been so long, I have lost most of my inspiration to write and frankly, this taking as many months as it did, if it retained your interest, I will be glad, if not, I suppose I am still glad.
I hope to finish the story this year, hopefully.
The train has stopped, the station which we stood in now has no signboards, no one other than us have stepped out the train nor seem remotely interested to. It figures of course, consider how run down it was. At a corner of the office which normally stood the conductor and his clipper in his hands, ready to clip the ticket which he held, was empty. Barren exposed wood with mold as its companion stood like tall screaming faces imprinted into eternity, with the swollen mass of black and rot combining into a horrible face like figure.
On the tiles were even more rot, black and green mashed to form tiny veins that seep into spaces between them. Exposed to the rain, the awning which once was, corroded now stood in stunning rust of pale brown and deep red in some parts. The stink of plants already dead for untold time and the steaming smell of ammonia traveling from the long unused drains which are situated within the building itself covered us.
“Let’s go.” The voice of this young woman, reminded us, that we are not alone, but the twisting fact: that we are being held hostage.
How, one might even dare ask. The obvious was that once more my mother has been taken.
I had thought the security was too light for the protection of my mother in that simple wooden house in the middle of nowhere.
Normally I would protest, but seeing as what The General has said about his friend being in charge there I actually allowed my careless judgment a moment of serious lapse. Of course, I couldn’t care for her now, I was in danger.
“Oh yes, it was a serious lapse of judgment.” The woman read my mind, her leathery ball which is actually an eye that slid open a few moments ago looked back at me from over her shoulder.
“Could you at least please stop reading my mind?”
“I am a Satori, that is what I do.” The young woman marched into the sheltered station.
With one forceful push, she opened a door at the side that said ‘Janitor’s Storage’. Inside, my eyes met a huge black hole, sitting smugly inside crashed floorboards and it eminated a sense of threatening miasma that was as though it led to some steaming pot of god-knows-what.
“Welcome to where you were originally going to come.” The sentence made no sense.
“This is the entrance back to Hell.” She paused, “Many such entrances exist all through out the world, and in Japan alone, there stood at least 500 of them spread across the many islands and provinces. In the old days, our ancestors traveled from such holes to the human world to spread our cultures, and build our foundations. In the beginning of course, these were the communication ‘subways’ of the Oni-kind.”
“That matters how? We are already here, you promised already to free my mother, whoever you are, what side you are on, I suggest you to do as you promised.”
“Or so what? What can you do? You clueless shame of a Yama.” The young woman opened her mouth and pushed her lips so close to my face I stared back in intense fear at her deepened eyes, in them, I see anger.
“You don’t have a clue why you are here, you haven’t got a clue what you are doing, and yet you dare claim authority over someone who does?” The young woman questioned.
“I know what I am here for, I am here to take the key to…”
“No, your job was over. In that simple moment when you took the key from your mother, you were given the map, not only then you followed blindly someone who assumes responsibility simply because of rank, you also openly revealed details of the coveted secret to him.” She pointed to The General.
“The General? This man is an agency investigator of the Yama people, he works for us!”
“Did you have identification? What has he done thus far? Did he help you when you are about to die getting shot? No, he used a weak body of an old soldier and died, pretending compassion. Then he appeared in a plane and conveniently delivered you to your mother. Don’t you want to know who was holding your mother hostage? Him!”
“What proof do you have then?”
“Look, I am a Satori, I read minds.”
“How can I tell what you say is real.”
“You can’t, but weigh the bloody consequences thus far, what do you see? You have a bugger of a burden which sent you to a place, and later resulted you getting chased by people whom you don’t know who want you dead. Then, you are sent on a goose chase to find your mother, whom you notice to be somehow calm among all the mess, then you are now on a train trip, to where else? Where you began.”
I winced at the thought, but could not help but question inside myself.
“Have faith, Shikieiki-kun, your enemies are only doing what they do best, deceive you.”
“Who are my enemies?” I asked, “Ever since I started this ‘mission’ no one has told me anything.”
“Information is never free, pawns are always moved by the orders of kings they never met.”
“And there you have it, tell me, Yama, what else could be more compelling?” The Satori asked.
“Who are my enemies, can you tell me better then, Satori?”
“Everyone, including myself.” The Satori stated, and promptly without hesitation, pulled one of the many veins which connected to her eyeball that hung on her chest. With a bright light which eminated from it, my world began to tumble like as though I was thrown into twisting seas.
The hallucinations turned me into nothing, my body shredded in a million fragments as I struggled to maintain whatever sense I have left.
“Don’t fight it, Yama, soon, you will see…”
“I have made it!” The man yelled, at nothing in particular but an old derelict house in the middle of nowhere. Down the house itself, in the middle of the room filled with tatami floorboards save only one missing piece, is a hole large enough for him and his trusted bike to go through.
The motorcycle which he was riding was an old one, but very powerful. It was an import model designed to handle speeds up to 180km/h, capable of carrying people faster than the wind. As it was however, this was modified by a very different means altogether. The motorcycle was fueled by something humans can never get their hands on, thankfully so.
Inside the tank, is the local God of Sailing, Traveling, and Journeys. Worshipped by sea farers and land explorers alike in the old days, the God of Sailing, Traveling and Journeys is a powerful deity that offers source of power for just about any vessel. At sea, the God becomes the wind that pushes the sails forth; on land, the God is the steed that never tires; on rivers, it is the current that never slows and protects all who pay it tribute.
The man took off his helmet, before looking at the deep black hole.
“I am coming.”
With a turn of his accelerator, he took the motorcycle with him, and into the rabbit hole he went.
“Open your eyes.”
I did, and my vision observed the darkened caverns above my head, hundreds upon hundreds of meter above me is a ceiling of spikes and rocks and mold.
I was in hell.
“Welcome to Old Hell.”
“I dragged you down, seeing as you likely will never jump into the hole with me anyway.” The Satori said.
Somewhere behind me, the heavy breathing of the General could be heard in the silence of a several miles and emptiness around us, the surrounding darkness and dim on served better to hide him.
“Where are you…” I asked, hoping Komachi would somehow appear behind me, I only noticed she has never seemed to left the train, or on it for that matter. In fact, being a partner she was sent with me to this human realm, she has protected me more than a few occasions but has disappeared some time after we boarded the train. I began to question where could she slacked off to.
“Let me show you, the Temple.”
I followed where the Satori gestured, and sure enough, before us, not too far away is a derelict building older than any I have ever seen. It looked covered in darkness, and more so the scent of rotten wood, wet and damp could be detected from this distance.
We walked, and our footsteps only hastened as we followed the echoes which bounced off the walls.
I wasn’t sure if I was alone, but the General could be heard plowing along. It seemed evident he was dragging his legs, as if shackled to something heavy, or may have broken a limb or two even. The heaviness of his footsteps made me wanted to turn back, yet I could not as my attention was focused entirely on the dark shrine before my eyes.
“This is…” I muttered.
“The truth, the one answer you sought, but was hidden… in plain sight.” Said the Satori.
“Welcome, to the Temple of The Eight.” She gestured into the temple, where an 8 cornered room with a magic circle of sorts painted crudely with bold crimson paint was sat on by 8 bodies, 5 in lotus sitting position as though in meditation, and 3 others kneeling, hands placed on their thighs in traditional sitting position.
“What happened here? What can you tell me, your version of the truth?” I asked the Satori.
“Oh yes, I can.”
“What is it…?”
“Well…” The Satori began
“We hereby voice the last order, the perfect circle is done, the unity is complete.” An old woman chanted. She had long thick hair and paired with ears that are so long it pointed a feet up from her hair. They were like rabbit ears, but clearly weren’t as they were green and blue in color. From afar, it looked like her hairs were tentacles, hardened as well and fashioned in a state that seemed to surround her head like a helmet made of the same material as that of a rhino’s horn.
“Suk Ha Jikyuu jij ghuk nor frelljgh nvsdre-k-k-k” To the woman’s left, a faceless being, with no eyes, nose or mouth save for a horrible mess of circular looking tendons that covered its ‘face’ with sharp pointy teeth also somehow garbled a bunch of unintelligible words from its ‘mouth’, which was situated dead center of the horrid looking mess that is its ‘face’. The faceless terror held a hand sign, while ugly, it was also dressed in a clean white shrine uniform; which showcases the duty of its being.
“Wo wuh Gui Huang, ming Shiung Yen, zi Ming Jing, wuh yi Wen Zhu Pu Sha zhi Ming, Zhen qun mei mo, shuo fa wan xie!” The one sitting directly next to the faceless terror, whom still continued chanting in intelligible words shouted, in Mandarin Chinese. This one had Oni like features, with its wide staring eyes that seemed to take character more so than its entire feature of green and crocodile hide-like skin surface. He had horns, sharp ones which protruded from the top of his forehead while he wore a traditional Chinese costume, customary of a court eunuch in ancient times, and had a tall golden hat with golden wordings on both sides of the hat placed next to the strings which held his hair together.
Around them, another 5 different voices, 3 others which are female, chanted in a myriad of different languages. To the right was a Tengu female, Tenma-no-Ue of the Holy Mountain of Kyuushu. To her right, the Lord of Sanzu’s Clans, a Yama called Ohenma-no-Ue. To his side, a female Satori, her name being Komeiji, leader of the rebels whom claim the sovereignty of the lands they call ‘Chireiden’, a well respected figure among the fledglings whom were dispersed by the Oni kind.
Further still, a human, no more and no less, female as well. She was dressed in shrinemaiden’s outfit, and had two Yin Yang orbs floating just above her shoulders rotating in clockwise direction. Her hair was tied snugly behind her head and she had a headband which had weird incantations on it. Her eyes closed, and hands held in sealing signs reserved only for those who know the ways of the spiritual realms. A speaker for ‘Gods’ so to speak, she was Hakurei, no one here however knows what her full name is. At her side is a nimbus staff representing the divine might of the Daijingan Bosatsu whom she draws power from.
To her side, is a Shinigami, a death god, his name is Kyuhachigasa. The Shinigami is probably one of the last that knew of the true art of Distance Manipulation, crucial for every Shinigami to learn in order to perform their duties when travelling the wide regions of Old Hell and of its many different levels. Unlike the normally trained Shinigami after Kyuhachigasa, the skill they learn now is relatively short in comparison to old hell Shinigamis. The wider regions needed so much more training and certainly so much more concentration.
Having already finished his task, Kyuhachigasa only sat holding an effigy of a straw-man-doll, representing his soul and devotion and tied with red rope, colored by blood of his own. Six pieces of stringed and painted surfaces on mirrors lie to his side, facing upwards and reflecting parts of his face. They each shone with a golden colored light, as though he were surrounded by six moons, the light radiated off the mirrors in harmonic fashion.
Very slowly now, the Yama, Ohenma-no-Ue rose. With a scroll in hand, he declared the sealing circle, and a sealing passage which he recited in Japanese. The scroll lifted off his hands magically, as though carried by a mysterious unfelt wind. It rotated in the air, and emitted such magical energy that would put an Oni to shame, the sheer energy which ruptured the air carried a powerful push and pull feeling that churned everyone’s stomach and causing a sensation of pressure above their heads, as though they were descending a deep ocean.
Then suddenly, like a massive thunder strike, the sky outside the shrine brightened with a million suns, the air hot with magic, boiling even in a sudden booming sound, crackling thunder joined into a vortex of noises…
Like a rift, the skies opened above, but the chanters and powerful people inside the shrine did not went outside to ascertain their work, merely concentrating fully, chanting louder than before. As the skies opened, the rift which separated space and time opened by invisible hands of magical force carried such momentum that even the ground cracked from air pushing against it from the separated skies.
More thundering roars passed, the shocking currents which electrified the air struck down in invisible thunders, every soul and creature and youkai that were too near to the place, defending from the invading Oni soldiers intending to stop the process of the summoning of the monumental spell was blasted away in collateral damage.
Then like materializing matter out of nothing, a giant pyramid, completely black and a single block dropped from the skies. It carried a matter similar to spilled ink in water, corrupting the clouds colored by light into utter darkness. The black single pyramid block rotated, slowly but devastating as gravitational force generated from it disrupted all the other forces pre-existing in nature. Like vacuum, the youkai surrounding it were forced to fly away if they aren’t injured, knowing exactly what comes next will not be pleasant if they stayed too near to the site.
Then, suddenly, the pyramid sent a black shockwave that ruptured across the Old Hell’s landscape, sending the walls of the cavern-like place of Old Hell shaking and loosened up the free rocks from the side. Immediately an earthquake started, and the walls cracked; from the cracks, debris freely fell in all directions in millions of fragments, small and large.
Within the storm of debris fueled storm of darkness that blackened out the Old Hell’s landscape, a boom could be heard as though something has been triggered, a gong perhaps from a distant echoing place. There however, are no gongs, or even any echoes heard, it was a resolving energy, making noise as it covered across the landscape quickly and returned to the pyramid that stood above the shrine.
With it, along came several hundreds of Onis, small ones at first as they are lighter in weight; and then the larger ones living by banks of Higan, or what will eventually become Higan’s edges of the Shinigami township. Then, lastly, like unshakable and unwilling mountains being dragged by a powerful unseen force, the brutal ones, those that are tall as mountains themselves were dragged mercilessly by the sucking force of the black pyramid.
With their hands they clawed for grasp, but their weight too heavy to clamp onto anything without the rock or the dead trees giving in to their exerted force. There was no other sound other than their incessant screaming and booming voices, crying now for their freedom, for they know what comes next… their resistance has failed… the spell is completed…
The world, as ruled by Oni-kind has ended, the battle has been won, but not by them.
With their last breath, they caused so much havoc as their enormous bodies were carried by invisible force across the land and with them, entire houses and sides of rocks so large they could flood lakes with their mass. They soon all collided, like balls of flesh clamped into a glass prison, their frames become writhing agonizing images of pain and suffering as they merged with one another into the black pyramid.
From it, Shinki, Goddess of Makai or soon to be Makai to come in existence, threw a powerful sealing magic across the land, and with it, sealed any remainder of magic force emitted by the powerful Onis. Their numbers silenced by the force which throws out all their energies into every direction, becoming free flowing magic for all in Old Hell to use. Then, like children without a voice, they accepted their fate, but cried in muted anger towards their enemies. Like horrors of an echoing madness, their faces contorted in every sheer form of rage possible, they were sealed into the pyramid, until their faces are no longer seen.
Then, with effect of a key, resting in the palms of the man who initiated the sealing… was stabbed into the central column of the shrine, which connects to the bottom of the inverted pyramid above.
The key glowed with power that is enough to shake the very foundations of hell, and with it, sealed a permanent gateway that which led to the pyramid’s unsealing. Then, a second, more pronounced key, ethereal this time and glowing in green color energy, appeared from in mid-air, floating slowly down the hands of the miko, the only human present in all of Old Hell now.
She gave a final nod, and like a wisp of wind, she turned into a ball of light and floated out the window of the shrine. The ball of light flew, ever faster and soon disappeared into the horizon, and with her, the hope of freedom for the Oni-kind.
All that is left… are the 4 Heavenly Devas, the 4 original Onis. The beginners, the pioneers of their race… silently sleeping in their ageless, endless existence behind sealed caves of rock and mountain dirt, they whom are unaware of what’s happened outside.
Only in these places can any Oni be safe…
Only here, can a few stragglers, a blue Oni and a red Oni, both half-breeds breathed easily after witnessing the end of their kind…
They who have witnessed a genocide…
They who swore upon shed tears of hate and anger, one day… the revenge they shall take upon the others…
The Oni shall not be imprisoned forever… when the time is right…
They shall rise again!