Ryan was walking home from school. He took the route he usually took back to his house; a small sidewalk path near the woods that was away from where most kids walked. Life was tough for him. He was seventeen years old in high school; and he had no friends in school. Ever since he was a little preschooler, the other kids made fun of him. He never had a friend there; he often wondered what it was like to chat with a buddy or go hang out. Although he never really understood why the others made fun of him, he now had given up on making friends and just avoided the other teens all together.
Ryan walked slowly; he enjoyed being out here, alone; no one calling him names or asking why he was hitting himself. He looked out and watched as a robin flew happily by, singing its happy song and flapping its proud wings. He saw a squirrel climbing and jumping briskly among the tree branches. Ryan soon reached his neighborhood, luckily for him this neighborhood only had a few residents; it was also near the woods, so he could go off by himself and not be bothered; unless others saw him go in there and followed him.
The house which Ryan called home came into view. Ryan also saw his older brother, Keith, walking back from school. Keith saw Ryan, and quickened his pace. He practically ran to the house, swinging the door open and slamming it shut. Keith despised his younger brother, kids at the school made fun of him for having such a ‘dork’ of a brother. Keith tried to avoid him at all costs, he always took a different way to and from school; and whenever a girl asked him if “that weird kid” was really his brother, he would deny it without question. He even claimed that Ryan was adopted, even though he wasn’t. Ryan sighed and walked up to his house to enter.
Inside he saw his mother cooking something, Keith had sat on the couch to watch television, but his didn’t see his father. His father was probably still at work. Even though Ryan confronted his parents about the bullying, they didn’t do much. They talked to the school, but they didn’t do much either. Pretty soon Ryan learned to cope with the circumstances, he didn’t think very highly of himself.
Without attempting to exchange greetings to anyone, Ryan walked towards the staircase. He was stopped by the family cat, Boots, who walked across his path. Ryan smiled and bent down to pet Boots’ brown and white tabby fur, but the feline took a look at him and quickly walked away; green eyes glaring and fluffy tail wagging as if irritated. Even the cat didn’t want to be around him. But in fairness, that cat didn’t like very many people.
Ryan let out an unhappy sigh, and continued upstairs. At least he knew his day would get better. It always did around this time of day when he got back from school; finally, someone to talk to. He reached the top of the stairs and walked down the hall, passing his brother’s room, which bore many “Keep out!” signs. He had only been in Keith’s room a few times; he could barely remember what it looked like. However, he didn’t care that much about that. Ryan was lucky enough to have his own small television in his room, and his own video game consoles. He reached his room, opened the door, and smiled. There he was; his only real friend. His friend was entertaining himself by playing a horror themed video game, and wearing headphones connected to the console so that the rest of Ryan’s family would not hear. Ryan could remember that fateful day when he met him.
* * *
It was a few weeks earlier; the school day had ended and Ryan was pondering whether to go his usual way home, or try and go the other way through town. He decided to be brave for once, and chose the route that he had not taken in quite a while. It seemed to be a slow day; there were only a few cars out and not many people walking about. Ryan was glad it was a small town, there were less people.
Walking along, Ryan looked around at the interesting sights, if you could even call them that. He didn’t like this place very much, not to many creatures out here in town, at least, not as much as by the woods. The birds and rodents never seemed to detest him, they just did their usual thing, frolicking and singing. He was glad, a bird swiftly flew by singing an enjoyable little bird song; but then Ryan heard something that was neither singing nor enjoyable.
Someone screamed. Ryan jumped and looked around, startled; then that same someone screamed again. Ryan pinpointed where he thought the scream came from and ran towards the location, even though he had no idea what he might find or how he was supposed to help. He reached a large alley that he thought he heard the scream come from, and sure enough, it sounded again.
Ryan ran down the alley, looking around to try and find the problem. Then he heard the scream again, it came from somewhere above him. He looked up and saw a balcony on the third floor of the building; there was no one on it though. There was a desperate scream again, and then an insane laughter was heard.
“ケケケ！ おまえどこに行きますですか?” (-Laughter- Where are you going?)
A woman appeared; she backed up through the door and onto the balcony. She had blood on her, and appeared to be bleeding heavily from her arm. Seeing as how there was nowhere else to go, she climbed over the railing on the small balcony, seeming to want to try and climb onto the balcony below. She was almost ready to drop down, when that same voice that spoke in the other language spoke again, this time sounding more deranged than ever.
“ああ, おまえあそびしたくない？残念!” (Aww, you don’t want to play? Too bad!)
Something shot out from the door to the balcony; it seemed to be a glass figurine. It struck the woman’s hands straight on and broke into a few pieces, the woman yelped in pain, lost her grip, and fell. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on the way you look at it, there were a few clotheslines underneath her and she got tangled in them. She was breathing heavily, and then she saw Ryan.
“Hey kid! Help me please! It’s trying to kill me!” She screamed. Ryan was horrified at this scene, he couldn’t move.
“Are you deaf!? Help me you stupid brat!” She snarled. Ryan took a step back. She was trying to untangle herself, he felt as if he should do something, but he couldn’t. The clotheslines were attached to a window on the second floor; a white gloved hand appeared out of the window. The hand flexed, it acted the way one’s hand might act when one was trying to pick out which piece of candy it wanted from a bowl. A large black claw appeared on the index finger, and the claw hooked onto the clothesline.
“またね～女性！”(See you later bitch!)
The claw flicked upwards and the line snapped. The woman was still trying to untangle herself when end of the clothesline was cut; it swung down and she began falling again, the line still around her. He gave out one last scream, and the end of the line was met. It tightened around various limbs, but most importantly, her neck. A loud snap was heard, and the woman was dead; hanging from the clothesline only a few feet from the ground.
Ryan was petrified. Seeing that lifeless, mangled body, he couldn’t move a muscle. He didn’t know how long he stood there. It was the first time he had ever seen a human dead body. It looked like it was from the movies, yet at the same time it was completely unlike what was in the movies. When you watch the horror movies you think you could handle it in real life after seeing it portrayed on film, but when it actually happens, it just feels different. A sudden voice made him snap back into reality.
“おい、なにしてるのおまえ?” (Hey, what are you doing?)
Ryan jumped; the voice came from right above him. In his state of deep thought, he had apparently moved to the wall, and was standing underneath a balcony.
“おまえ、ただそこに立って、おもしろくない～！” (You, just standing there, boring~!)
Ryan’s heart beat fast, it was right there. He couldn’t see it, but it was right there.
“おい! おれわしゃべってるよ！” (Hey! I’m talking to you!)
Ryan still didn’t speak, hopelessly praying that it would go away and leave him alone.
“ケケケ！ Do you enjoy watching bitches die?” (-laughter-)
Hearing it speak English seemed to be comforting. “Well, I, uh, was just-!” He stuttered.
“Dangerous part of town kid, ケケケ！Shouldn’t you be with your friends to help protect you from monsters like me!?”
“Well I uh I-” Ryan stuttered again “I don’t really have . . .”
“Awwww you don’t have any friends? 残念~ You want to be friends then?” (Shame)
Ryan’s face lit up, he immediately looked past the fact that it was an insane killer. The thought of having a friend was amazing; although it seemed as impossible as defying gravity through pure will of mind.
“Yes I – But I – Why would you want to be friends with me!?”
“You seem to have something about you; an aura of . . . potential． What I rarely see in humans.”
“But well I-”
“After all, shouldn’t everyone have at least one friend before they die?”
It jumped off the balcony and landed in front of him, and for the first time Ryan saw it in full view. It was the size of a normal man, wearing all black. It had a hoodie, white gloves, a black and white striped scarf, and an odd mask that was smiling at him. It stood up at looked him over. It walked over to him, and they stared at each other eye to eye. They stared for a while, and then it burst out laughing.
“Yes yes! You’ll do! I like you; you don’t run away like so many others! Not afraid to hold your ground, or too scared to run away!? ケケケ！”
Ryan stared, terrified. But its laugh, it seemed so . . . happy. It laughed so much the laughter grew contagious. Ryan started to laugh a little. Then it stopped laughing and stared at him, the smile on the black half of the odd mask it wore disappeared, and a confused face appeared on the white half. Ryan continued to laugh to himself, and the happy face quickly returned, and it laughed some more.
“Lucky you! I was going to kill ya, but dammit you’re not boring at all!”
They both laughed harder. So this is what it was like, Ryan thought, sharing a laugh with a . . . friend.
“おれわ カゲカオ、おまえわ？” (I’m Kagekao, you are?)
Ryan stared at him blankly, and it began to laugh again.
“I said: ‘I’m Kagekao, you are?’”
“Oh! My name’s Ryan!” Ryan smiled, he was having more fun than he had ever had in a very long time. “So do you wanna . . . well I dunno . . . hang out?” He asked shyly.
“With you? Sure! I bet there’s gonna be a lot more laughs hanging out with you!”
Ryan felt like he could jump with joy; his very first friend, even though it was with this odd person.
“あ！ 忘れてしまった！” (Ah! Forgot!) Kagekao took something out of his pocket, a small note of paper. He walked over to the hanging body of the woman and put it in her hand.
They both started to laugh again.
* * *
“おかえり” (Welcome back) Kage greeted as Ryan stepped into the room. He paused the game and took off the headphones.
“So how was your day today? Same?”
“Yeah. Everyone being jerks and no one liking me and all.” Ryan sighed and sat down on his bed.
“Maybe it’s time you did something about it hmmm? I keep telling you that you should do something, but you don’t listen. You can change things you know, you can make them all pay.” Kage resumed the game and started to play again.
“Well I don’t want to do anything to drastic, the kids will just beat me up again . . .” Ryan began looking through his back pack for his assignments.
“Tell me then, who upsets you the most?” Kage spoke, not taking his eyes off the screen of the television. Monsters swarmed around his character and he laughed to himself when they were disemboweled by his powerful gun.
“Well, I guess that would be Keith. He’s supposed to be my brother! He’s supposed to be there for me!” Ryan’s voice was filled with hate; he crossed his arms and held back tears. “He’s supposed to be there for me . . . So is dad . . .”
Kage handed Ryan the controller and stood up. Ryan drew his attention to the screen and began to shoot the large monsters; it made him feel a little bit better. Kage stretched and walked over to the window to open it.
“Hey Kage! Where are you going?” Ryan asked. Kage stepped through the window and onto the ledge of roof outside of it.
“Just going to check something out, to help you out with your problems.” Kage went on all fours and crawled off to the roof. Ryan resumed his game.
* * *
It was dark and Ryan was sleeping, Kagekao came in through the window to wake him up.
“Kage? What is it?” Ryan asked sleepily, and then looked at his clock “It’s almost 1 AM!”
“You know what we were talking about earlier? Your ‘problems’? I think I’ve found the perfect solution.” Kage laughed to himself. Ryan got out of bed, interested.
* * *
Ryan woke up, he was very tired. He could remember Kage waking him in the night. He could remember Kage telling him about some kind of solution, but he couldn’t remember what it was or what he had done. It was Saturday, no school for him. He looked around to see if Kage was there, but he wasn’t. Lucky for him that he could sleep in, he looked at the clock and saw that it was already lunch time. Ryan yawned and stretched, then got up to go downstairs for breakfast, or brunch.
On his way down he saw Boots the cat again, Boots seemed to be acting strangely. Ryan ignored that fact, the cat was weird. He passed by Keith’s room, but he didn’t hear Keith inside. Usually on Saturdays Keith stayed asleep till 2 pm, and you could hear him snoring loudly. But today, there was only silence. Ryan sensed something odd, but brushed away the thought and continued down the hall to the stairs.
Then he knew something was wrong. He could hear his mother crying. Ryan ran into the room and saw her sobbing into her hands; she was the only one in the room.
“Mom!? Mom what’s wrong!?” Ryan asked, frightened. He stepped over to her cautiously.
“Your father and-and your brother, they . . . they . . .” She began sobbing loudly again.
“Mom . . ?” Ryan’s voice trailed off, he could remember what he did last night.
Last night, when Kage woke him; Kage had told him his plan. Ryan went to carry it out, completely on board. He remembered that he had gone down to the garage, and he went to his father’s car and he had cut the brakes. He didn’t know how to at first, but Kage had told him how. He also knew that this morning his father and Keith had to go somewhere early. The brakes were cut, they were dead. He could feel it.
Ryan felt numb. He was happy that the plan had gone through flawlessly, but then again, they were gone. He would never hear from them again. He didn’t know how he was supposed to feel. His mother was devastated, that made him sad. But he would never hear his brother’s voice again. He wasn’t very close to his father though.
Ryan wasn’t hungry anymore. He slowly ascended the stairs; he saw the cat watching him with those piercing green eyes. He walked down the hall, blankly staring at Keith’s room as he passed it. He would never hear his brother’s obnoxious snoring again either.
He opened the door slowly, and there, standing in the middle of his room, was Kagekao. Kage’s face was showing on the black side of the mask, but the face itself seemed to show no emotion; just a blank expression.
They stared at each other; Kage was waiting for Ryan to react.
“You . . . you made me do it . . . You made me kill them . . .” Ryan said with no emotion whatsoever. Kage remained silent. Ryan ran towards Kage, and gave him a hug.
“He’s gone! He’s finally gone!” Ryan said, crying tears of joy. A grin spread across Kage’s face, and he patted Ryan on the back.
“He’s not going to make me feel worthless anymore! I can feel good at home now! I won’t have to watch out for him trying to push or trip me anymore!” Ryan was so happy, he was free.
“I told you it was a good idea.” Kage stated.
* * *
Back at school again; Ryan seemed to be his normal self, he was even trying to look sad and depressed because of the recent death of his brother and father, but inside he was filled with joy. He felt like he could do anything he wanted. Classes passed by quickly, mostly because he was daydreaming about all the things he could do. No one could pick on him again. He kept forgetting that only Kagekao knew that it was he who had cut the brakes, causing his father and his brother’s untimely deaths.
After school, Ryan was walking down the route through town; the same route he had taken when he first met Kagekao. He was confronted by three kids from his class.
“Hey man, I’m really sorry about your loss.” The first kid said.
“Yeah, because that loser is gone, now we’re gonna have to beat you up twice as hard to make up for it!” The second kid shouted and laughed.
“Oh are you gonna cry? No more daddy to look after you? I guess that makes you a momma’s boy now!” The third one shouted and laughed.
Ryan just stared; he didn’t know how to act. He felt so powerful because of earlier actions, but he remembered being scared of these guys too. Then he heard a familiar laugh.
Ryan looked off into the distance; he looked towards the top of a nearby house. Kagekao was lounging on the rooftop. He held a glass of wine in one hand and smiled at him. Extending one hand, he unsheathed the claw on his index finger and made a motion of slitting his throat. He smiled and pointed at the kids laughing at Ryan, and made the throat slitting motion again.
Ryan grinned and gave Kage a ‘thumbs up’ with his hand. Then he glared back at the three kids.
“What? So you want me to kill you three too?”
The three kids stopped and stared. Then one started laughing nervously.
“What? You think you can beat us? Bring it on you pussy!” The three of them lunged for him, and Ryan ran towards the house that Kage was sitting on. Kage hid from view, but he dropped a broken wine bottle. Ryan saw it and grabbed it.
“ありがとう カゲ！” (Thanks Kage!) Ryan had learned a little bit of Japanese from Kage, he wanted to say something to throw the other kids off. Then he ran around the corner of the house.
“What the- Where’d you go you little coward!” One of the kids shouted angrily.
“Right here mother f*cker!” Ryan shouted and jumped out, he stabbed the bottle forward, and it pierced the kid right under the chin. The kid screamed in pain and fell to the ground. Ryan jumped on top of him and began to pummel his face with the broken end of the bottle, blood went everywhere.
The two other kids were frozen with fear, but they ran forward in a burst of bravery and tried to pull Ryan off of him. Ryan spun around, a crazed look in his eye, and thrust the broken bottle forward, stabbing the poor kid in the eye. The kid screamed, blood and tears poured from his eyes.
Ryan could hear Kagekao laughing, and Ryan began laughing too. He turned around and faced the uninjured third kid. They stared at each other, Ryan was breathing heavily with excitement; it was so much fun.
The kid ran for his life. Ryan didn’t give chase, he just stood and watched. He watched and laughed, Kagekao did too. Ryan turned around and began to kick the kidss on the ground mercilessly, laughing harder with each kick, and growing happier with the increase of blood on his shoes.
Then there were sirens in the distance. Ryan didn’t care. He raised his middle finger towards the police cars that were racing towards him and continued to stomp on the barely alive kids on the ground. Ryan couldn’t stop laughing, it was so much fun. So much fun.
* * *
Ryan woke up. He felt as if he had just woken from a long and comfortable nap. He yawned and tried to stretch, but he couldn’t. He gasped and saw that he was bound in a strait jacket. Looking around, he noticed that he was in a padded cell. He tried to get up but fell forward. Grunting angrily, he kept attempting to get out of the strait jacket, but he kept failing.
Eventually he quit. Ryan sat back on the ground angrily. He didn’t want to be cooped up in here; he wanted to go out and have more fun with Kagekao. After a little while, he began to feel remorse. He had killed his own brother, his very own family. No matter how much he hated him, he was still his brother. He had even killed his father too. Ryan held back tears, what was wrong with him?
“Well look at what we have here! Your first time in an asylum; I’m going to have to remember this date!”
Ryan looked up; there was a vent for air at the top of the high ceiling. He could see Kage’s mask looking through it. Kage removed the vent cover, and kicked out a few panel of the ceiling so that the opening was large enough to go through; but he didn’t go into the room.
“Kage! What do I do!? I’m stuck in here! Oh wait-” Ryan hastily eyed the security camera.
“Don’t worry about the camera Ryan; I’ve got a friend covering that.” Kage informed, Ryan relaxed.
“How do I get out!?” Ryan asked.
“Well; the way I see it, you have a few choices. You can stay here until they deem you sane, you can try and bust out, probably getting killed in the process; or you can take an easy way out.” Kage dropped something into the room. Ryan scooted closer for a closer look; it was a broken wineglass. The cup part had been shattered off, and what remained was a sharp piece of glass on a stand.
Ryan stared at it; the guilt and remorse inside of him building up. He was a horrible person. He had killed his father and brother; and horribly maimed two fellow students. Should he really allow himself to continue living? No. Ryan got to his knees and stared at the shard. He couldn’t let himself go on like this.
“I . . . I want to take the easy way.” Ryan said quietly, Kage remained silent. Ryan eyed the glass, staring at it. His life flashed before his eyes; his horrible, miserable life whose only fun was causing great harm to others.
Ryan sighed. “I think I’m ready.” He didn’t look at Kage, and Kage remained silent. Then he took a deep breath, and threw his body forward onto the shard of glass.
Ryan screamed. The shard had plunged into a large vein in near his left shoulder, blood poured out of him and onto the clean padded floor. He fell on his side and screamed in pain. Kage simply watched.
“Kage!” Ryan gasped “Kage! Help me! I’ve changed my mind!”
Kage continued to watch, and unimpressed face showing on the white side of his mask.
“Kage I don’t want to die! I want to stay and play more with you!” Ryan gasped for breath.
Kage dropped down from the vent and stood in front of Ryan.
“It was fun! Don’t you agree!? Playing with other people! Don’t you agree!?! Kage don’t let me die!” Ryan pleaded, looking up at Kagekao.
“I must say; I’m a bit disappointed in you Ryan.” Kage said solemnly “Your first time in an asylum and you quit? I am very disappointed.”
“Kage! Please!” Ryan coughed, things were getting dark.
“Maybe in a next try hmmm?”
Ryan blacked out.
* * *
Later that day the people of the asylum had found the security guard who was supposed to be watching the cameras dead and stuffed into a locker. Shortly after that they discovered a very large amount of blood spilled onto the floor of Ryan’s cell; but they did not find Ryan. The only thing they found was a broken wine glass covered in blood in the center of the pool of blood. The only evidence they have of where Ryan’s body went were a few traces of blood in the vent overhead; but they do not think that Ryan was still alive, as there was much more blood on the floor of the cell that a human of his age could survive losing.