Accursed Mystic

Accursed Mystic

A Story by Aurafiex
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A self-proclaimed mystic and her quest for popularity. A story set in the City of Midnight.

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By the end of the third week, rumors of Kaori Tsubaki’s third eye were fact rather than fiction to the students of 1-E. Not that they required much in the way of convincing after she had foretold Hiyama-sensei’s English pop quiz on Monday, but even the most outspoken of her critics had to eat humble pie when she had somehow predicted the elderly janitor’s fall down the stairs on the second floor. Never mind that the former was seen preparing a large stack of worksheets two days before, or that the latter had been weakly limping for the past month, as Nishijima had said fervently in opposition of his classmates’ latest craze, having observed those events alongside Kaori by the sheer virtue of being at the right place. Unfortunately for him (and otherwise for her), such observations were dismissed as trivialities, the majority of 1-E finding a life surrounded by the supernatural more exciting than one mundanely dictated solely by cause and effect.

 

Either way, her once empty corner at the back of the class had now become a bazaar of activity, with classmates clamoring to have their fortunes read by one whom they believed had the gift of a seer. Even that particularly cute boy Saito from the front row had gone up to her one fateful recess, asking for a prediction on his future girlfriend. That, for one didn’t require any form of divination. If only he knew.

 

She liked to think that her predictions were her own, that she did have such powers in not the black arts, but the divine. She couldn’t help but chafe silently whenever the demeaning label of “witch” was used by her more skeptical (and admittedly jealous) peers of her newfound popularity. Not that they, or anyone else would know the true nature of such magic. Not even her, considering how none of her mystical endeavors had worked up till now. Coincidences were a fickle thing admittedly, but she didn’t like to see it that way. It always felt better to know that something or someone was watching out for her, much like a guardian angel.

 

Gon-san was its name. A fox spirit that visited her dreams, it was something pure and natural much like the morning dew and the sunset, as she would have preferred to put it. She had first met it when she was three, picking up a simple wooden effigy shaped in the form of a temple gate when the other kids had refused to include her in their ball game, leaving her to wander into the nearby forest. And ever since then, she would dream of a fox every night, running through the dark forests into parts unknown. And in her dreams she would sense but the faintest hint of a whisper, almost to the point of silence, of words both seemingly mystical yet unfathomable. And much to the chagrin of her parents and peers back home, she would spend hours talking to thin air and taking a portion of her meals out as offerings, hoping to gain insight into her newfound friend, even as they were left eaten by nothing but flies and rats. Not that it mattered, for it was thanks to Gon-san that that Kaori knew she was someone special. After all it had chosen her, even as the other village kids ran faster and spoke better than she could ever dream of doing. That was definitely something.

 

She didn’t know what to make of it initially, but as she grew older she came to the belief that these whispers held the threads of the future, of a fate yet to be unraveled. It was the inspiration that led her to fascination with what others would see as the dark arts in an endeavor to understand the whispers in her dreams; one which led to a veritable collection of charms of both paper and wood and occultist literature that waxed as her figure waned scrawny and weak.

 

And now she had left behind all of it when her father made the decision to leave their village for the sunless city of Mayonaka with nothing more with an empty pocket and big dreams. Except Gon-san, for it could not burn like the rest of them, much to her parents’ frustration over their perceived “problem” that she had. But all that belonged to the past, a past where nothing worked out for her despite hours of research into the supernatural. And besides, she knew better than to tell other such supposedly “silly” tales, a lesson well learned from the jeers of her peers back home that was further drilled into her consciousness by her father who would beat her at the mere mention of it. He was after all never one for superstition even back home, and moving to the city only made his hatred of such “hallucinations” even more acute, especially when he lost everything in an ill-fated business venture. So bad it was that she dreaded going home to the sound of drunken rambling and vermin skittering in the darkness. In a way, Gon-san acted as a comfort against the harshness of reality, accepting her with its unfathomable presence even as everyone else would cast her out.

 

Not that it mattered too much now. In a way she knew that Gon-san had been looking out for her in its own unexplainable way. How else could she explain her father’s weariness to the point that he had stopped hitting her in between emptied bottles of beer, and how else could she rationalise her newfound popularity? Such good things could have never been the result of her own doing, something she knew far too well. “Spineless and stupid” was after all the phrase her father liked to best describe her, especially when times were harder than usual. Not to mention the whispers of apprehension and disdain that her schoolmates once held for her when she first transferred in. She knew their words by heart now, even more so than the endearments of her late mother. “Weirdo” and “Crazy b***h” were their favorites.

 

Knowing this, Kaori had gone into her new life accepting her fate as one that was doomed to be unpopular and reviled as she had always been, but it seemed that Gon-san had intervened in his own esoteric way. Not that she would ever want to demand anything of him despite their years together, but it was at one fateful night back home, where she huddled on her bed in the darkness clutching the wooden effigy did she finally her its whispers loud and clear for the first time. And armed with those proclamations, she had made her words loud and clear for the first time in class before homeroom. They laughed, of course, as everyone else did, but as soon as Hiyama-sensei came in with that stack of papers did they settle down nervously. And for all of that, she had only Gon-san to thank.

 

And thank it she did. She doubled her offerings even as her stomach grumbled in protest, and she began to craft more of those wooden effigies with greater care. Not with the usual low quality paper and wooden skewers, but with high quality construction paper and ice-cream paddles from the bookstore downtown. It costed her an arm and a leg, but even then it paled in comparison to the gratitude she felt in her heart.

 

In fact, everything was going so well to the point that it made her head giddy and light and her breath rapid and short, that at any moment she was fearful that she’d wake up in her bug-infested bed by drunken shouts and broken glass, laughed at and looked down along her way and within school where her classmates would go back to their old ways of ostracising her from everything. But even then, she would go on making spot-on predictions, much to the adoration of her newfound friends and the jealousy of her also newfound rivals. Although to be fair, most of their questions didn’t require divination, but common sense, and the rest of them were more or less a 50/50 in terms of outcome. Still, she liked to believe that it was Gon-san guiding her every step of the way, considering how she had been lucky every time for the latter sort of requests.

 

Admittedly it did feel better to attribute her newfound success with something mystical rather than that of pure, dumb luck. So good it was that she cancelled her appointments with the school counselor regarding her “problem”, as Hiyama-sensei described it to her father during one of the few times he got through to the latter on the telephone. Perhaps faith was a form of insanity, but Kaori didn’t care. With her newfound breakthrough the world seemed so much happier, so much more welcoming of her flaws and shortcomings, that it seemed so much more beautiful than she could have ever possibly envisioned it to be. Gon-san had to be real. What else would she be otherwise? Crazy? The mere thought of it was absurd.

 

And armed with this newfound confidence she began to take on even more outrageous requests, believing herself and Gon-san unstoppable. And shocked indeed were her classmates when their math teacher Miyamoto-sensei called in sick the next day after she responded to a request to hex him from a classmate whose name eluded Kaori’s memory, hers’ being preoccupied with new ways to impress, conveniently forgetting that she had seen Miyamoto-sensei suffer a rather nasty coughing fit the day before. It was definitely much better to think that Gon-san was capable of something beyond mere fortune telling. If anything, it expanded her repertoire of what people perceived she could do to be popular, and ultimately, was that not what mattered?

 

It was then that she saw Ayase enter 1-E with her entourage of lackeys in tow. Tall, blue-eyed with long brown hair and equally long legs accentuated by her altered uniform, she was everything Kaori was not, her own looks being appraised by her own father as “a dirty mop on half a wooden pole”. And even more unlike her, Ayase’s every step radiated confidence to the point of arrogance, an aura that pierced the still midday air of the classroom which drew even more looks of admiration and jealousy to her table, especially as Kaori now found herself face to face with Ayase, her own eyes shying away from those icy sapphire-like irises that glowed with an unnatural hunger. Even the brazen Nanami-san backed away from her table, not wanting to be in the way of such a presence.

 

“You’re Kaori Tsubaki?” Ayase asked, her words gentle yet commanding in its own delicate way. Perhaps that was why the seniors and juniors like her saw her with such awe. Power and control was such a desirable thing, so desirable that Kaori too wanted to wield it herself, or at least be a part of it somehow.

 

“I…”

 

“I asked you a question. Yes or no.” Ayase’s words were much firmer now, to the point that Kaori couldn’t help but let out a whimper that made Ayase’s lackeys burst out in a chorus of hyena-like laughter.

 

“Yeah…”

 

“Great! They say you have magical powers, yeah?” Ayase burst out excitedly. Her previously stern demeanor had turned to an excited smile which made Kaori smile back in turn nervously.

 

“Oh, come on, don’t be so modest! The guys upstairs told me about your predictions, and they say you have all these amazing powers.” Ayase chirped, waving her hands in a circular motion. “Well, I really need your help!”

 

“Help… you? Me?” Kaori stammered. This, by any stretch of her imagination, was truly absurd, that someone like Ayase Kurohin whose ilk treated her as invisible was now not only talking, but asking for help.

 

“I’ll fill you in later, yeah? Two ‘o’ clock at Mikasaki’s Burgers. See you there, Tsubaki-san.”

 

And just like that she was gone, her entourage following the scent of lavender perfume like ravenous hyenas. Even so, Kaori still found it hard to get a grip on her fingers, which felt thicker and much more unwieldy than the norm. Only due to the words of Nana asking to resume her reading did she find any anchor back into reality, but even then she couldn’t shrug off the anticipation festering within her mind like a tumor. Just what did Ayase want that would require such secrecy? Everything up till then had been out in the open, almost like a spectacle much like the travelling circus that came to her hometown once that featured a self-proclaimed magician performing all manner of arcane acts. In a way, Kaori felt no different from the man, but even then she could at least hope to pledge some sort of authenticity to her work, unlike the former’s whose failed sleight-of-hand caused untold laughter and jeers from the audience. At least she liked to see it that way.

 

The rest of the school day passed her by as she sat in a daze, even as she walked in the backdrop of perpetually dark skies into the well-lit and fancy atmosphere of the burger bar. It was then that she spotted Ayase sitting alone in a corner. None of her so-called friends, just her sitting at one of those sofa-backed booths, lips sipping slowly on a drink while her blue eyes watching in a slow, calculated manner.

 

Not wanting to waste any time, Kaori’s stride broke into a scamper as she hurried to Ayase’s table.

 

“Oh, good. You’re here.”

 

“Sorry I’m late!”

 

“Sit down.” Ayase beckoned to the sofa-backed seat opposite hers. Unsure of what to do, Kaori found herself plopped down upon its plushy surface before she knew what to say.

 

“Anyway, you can do all that crazy black magic stuff, right?” Ayase asked, smiling calculatedly. “You can read the future, but can you… can you kill someone?”

 

“What?”

 

Kaori felt her spine jerk towards her seat, as though someone had abruptly pushed the air out of her lungs. Kill? While she did hear tales of the mystics of old killing through hexes and sorcery, she wasn’t sure if Gon-san was capable of it, or even agreeable, for that matter.

 

“I…”

 

And before she knew it, she was watching her target’s every step from the doorway of 3-A all the way to his home the very next day. Hirasaka Yuki didn’t seem any more dangerous than anyone else. Bespectacled and scrawny, they could have very well been mistaken as siblings by anyone. In fact, he didn’t seem in any way harmful to Ayase’s life, as she had claimed to her back in Mikasaki’s Burgers. And yet, Kaori, wondered, Ayase’s expression had been so serious and fearful about the whole thing to the point that her hands were cold and trembling as she held them in hers. Perhaps there was more than what was apparent to the naked eye to all of this. After all, Kaori was sure that all demented serial killers and maniacs would have been done for, had they been unable to mask their true selves.

 

With all that weighing on her mind Kaori set about working on some kind of hex to bring about Hirasaka’s death. Truthfully, she wasn’t even sure how to go about it, having only spoken to Gon-san about the mysteries of the future and the past. But she did anyway, her thoughts and prayers focused on the matter of death. She tried her very best to picture his face wracked in pain, blood gushing from his split scalp. She tried to envision his ragged breaths, slow and painful even to the very last moment as his soul fell loose from his mortal coils. With zeal she chanted the ancient, forbidden words of the mystics of old, words that she once unknown to her (which a search on the internet remedied), with every inch of her spirit focused on the wooden effigies of Gon-san. But even then her mind would wander and the drunken shouts of her father about the din she was making would still her heartbeat and break her focus. Worse still she would for moments fantasise her standing amongst Ayase’s ilk, to be loved and adored rather than shunned as she had been up till now. Not that her recent acts of divination had left her starving for attention, but this would definitely mean shutting up everyone who ever said her a freak once and for all. Especially her father. No way in hell she was going to end up a deadbeat like him.

 

But distractions were ultimately distractions, and it was thus no surprise that she saw Hirasaka’s scrawny figure inch itself towards 3-A the very next day like a shadow, as he always did. After all, she knew that she lacked the hatred necessary to bring about something of such magnitude as the old stories had claimed to occur. Not that she was ever a saint, but beneath her whimpering exterior she did hate many people and things like her father as well as the shallowness of her peers, to name a few. But Hirasaka was a character she knew only from the words of Ayase, and from her limited observation of his mannerisms, possibly a kindred spirits. Thinking about it that way made it seem so wrong that it made her tremble uncomfortably as though her surroundings had turned frigid. Perhaps it would be best then, to stick to the simple parlour tricks that her classmates believed her capable of rather than to delve into such dark territory, she resolved as she packed her bag that night.

 

However, Kaori found herself regretting those thoughts come recess when she saw Ayase and her entourage gathered once more before her table. Looking upon Ayase’s disappointed expression, she shuddered, her eyes discovering a newfound fixation on the scrawlings etched upon her table. Come to think of it, the school should have done something about it. Especially so for those ink stains.

 

“You didn’t do it.”

 

Ayase’s words snapped her out of her trance with the gentleness of an overstretched rubber band. Forcing herself to look up, she came face to face with Ayase’s, wracked with disappointment rather than anger amidst a sea of sneering faces.

 

“I… I can! Just believe me, please!” Kaori shouted at a pitch louder than she would have liked, making Ayase smile smugly as her lackeys burst out in laughter.

 

“Of course. Thank you so much.” And with that Ayase had left the room once more, a chorus of laughter and petty insults in tow. And it would remain so every day for the rest of the week, much to Kaori’s uneasiness as her classmates eyed her with greater suspicion and disdain. After all, many knew well not to cross Ayase of 3-A, let alone disappoint her, considering how, as president of the Student Council, she was one to have a heart of gold, always looking out for her lessers.

 

Doubling her efforts, she found herself staking out around Hirasaka’s house by the fifth consecutive day of failure with her improvised toolkit of sorcery in tow. It was a good thing her father preferred her out of the house, considering that by now she had spent so much time out on her task that she almost knew Hirasaka’s routine like the back of her hand. Despite going to lengths one would consider insanity; it wasn’t that Kaori had the heart of a killer. It was just that Ayase’s daily visits to 1-E to express her disappointment had eroded her newfound popularity down to near nothingness, especially so after a lack of clairvoyant proclamations. “Lucky” or “Hackjob” they had begun to call her, and worse still; “Liar”. In fact it was so bad that she feared being not only ignored as she was back then, but even hated as well. After all, no one likes a liar, especially one that was also considered creepy and ugly by well-adjusted folk.

 

And now even Gon-san, her one and only childhood friend had gone silent. No longer did she dream of the fox ever since Ayase spoke to her, and it was a strange, unsettling sensation to experience such a dreamless and silent sleep. Strangely enough, ever since she started talking to her classmates and teachers did Gon-san voice go silent for the first time in forever, as though he was never there at all. Was it perhaps a mere figment of her imagination meant to fill up a void that once existed? And yet Gon-san had been so important to her for everything up till now. It was an unnerving thought, one that kept her awake at night as she tossed and turned on her bed, watching the moonless sky as her father ranted and raved about something in another room.   

 

So unnerving it was that it had left her snappier and angrier than usual even with all her newfound popularity in the class, her mind unused to the absence of Gon-san’s phantasmal presence. But now, it mattered not whether Gon-san was real or not. Hirasaka had to die for her to be free, to be free of the chains of disgust and hatred that kept her away from the acceptance she so desperately craved. Before then she would have accepted her fate not knowing better, but to be loved was truly a divine sensation, almost like a drug. And she knew better than to relinquish it for anything or anyone.

 

Led along by this fear Kaori began to chant even more fervently through the night. In-between haggard, maniacal breaths she implored for Gon-san’s to invoke death, changing her pleas and chants from one moment to threats and vitriol the next, praying so hard that her hands broke the wooden effigies into splinters that cut into her fingers.

 

“Die, Hirasaka, die! Damn you! Just die! Please, Gon-san, please!” Kaori yelled feverishly through the night as her blood splattered all over the broken wood.

 

“DIE!”

 

Whatever happened next could be best described as something lost to delirium, as Kaori found herself awake the very next day in that same street corner, as dark as a sunless place would ever be, surrounded by blood and wooden splinters. Shaking herself out of her daze, she made the conscious decision to block out the events of the past night, instead focusing on the realisation that she was late for school, judging from how there were people around her scampering to various destinations too busy to pay attention to the deranged presence huddled at the side. Good thing Hirasaka lived near Heavenly Host High School, she mused as she scooped up the wooden splinters of Gon-san’s likeliness into a plastic bag. Sure, her uniform was still damp with a few spots of blood around her blouse and skirt, but she didn’t care, or perhaps didn’t want to care. Minor trivialities they were, really.

 

Rushing with the pace of a madman she dashed into 1-E, ignoring all the looks of disgust and fear along the way. As soon as she reached her desk she buried her face into her arms, her frazzled mind trying to make sense of the night before. Had she truly lost her mind there? Certainly a line was crossed there, a line she dared not acknowledge but had to. Was she not blessed as she believed herself to be and merely a madwoman as everyone claimed? Maybe, just maybe, was she crazy like they all said?

 

“No… no, this can’t be happening! This isn’t happening!”

 

It was a tough pill to swallow for Kaori, that it seemed as though her life was falling apart at the seams to the point that everything around her seemed a blur once more. She heard the voices of Hiyama-sensei along with her classmates as they lifted her up to parts unknown, her own body limp and unable to protest in any way before everything faded to black.

 

Once more she awoke to find herself to the scent of anesthetic, her bed surrounded by white walled room with a window overlooking the school yard. It must have been recess, considering how she could see her schoolmates running about and playing like they always did in the cold darkness that was lit generously with tall lamps at all corners of the field. She opened her mouth in an attempt to say something, but only a hoarse cackle came loose from her lips.

 

“Ah, you’re awake. You had some sort of seizure and passed out, it seems. Nothing serious, but you should rest here for the rest of the day.” The school nurse said before reaching for a glass of water. “Here, drink this slowly. Your voice should come back to you within an hour.” The nurse said, turning away to attend to something else.

 

Sipping slowly from the edge of the glass Kaori began to breathe deeply in an effort to relax. Truly, she needed to take it easy. All these rapidly amassing doubts were truly a sign that she needed to relax. If anything, she needed to take a break from all this mystical business, considering what it had done to her. This was after all the first time she had been in the sick room even with all that talk about her state of mind from everyone ever since she was a child. Good physical health, at least up to now, was one redeeming trait of hers that she took pride in, especially so considering the numerous times her father had likened her to a cockroach.

 

In fact, screw Ayase and her clique of hyenas, she thought to herself. This wasn’t worth it all. And now that she knew this, she knew herself to be happier alone. After all, who needed friends like these? It seemed now so shallow, so vapid, her old desires for acceptance. She was nothing to everyone anyway but a mad mystic. She didn’t need them, not anymore at least.

 

It was then that she heard a knock on the door, of which was promptly answered by the nurse. After what seemed to be a short conversation between them the nurse turned around to face Kaori, smiling from ear to ear.

 

“Looks like you’re a lucky one. Miss Kurohin from 3-A is here to see you. She’s asked to see you alone, so I’ll leave you two to chat.” The nurse said as she stepped towards the door. “Something private, she says.” The nurse added with a wink, switching places with Ayase as she closed the door behind her. And once again it was just the two of them, just like that time they met at Mikasaki’s Burgers almost a week ago.

 

“Kaori,” Ayase smiled as she caressed Kaori’s forehead. “Feeling better?” she said, her smile widening as she watched Kaori’s eyes widen with abject horror.

 

“Ah… ah…” Kaori struggled, her a massive lump in her throat rendering her speechless.

 

“No, no. Don’t say anything now. I heard what happened to you before school today.” Ayase said as she placed a slender finger across Kaori’s lips, her eyes glowing with that unnatural unholiness that made Kaori’s skin crawl within the sheets of her blanket. “I just came here to thank you. Seems like whatever you did worked, hmm?”

 

She felt her blood freeze, as though her heart skipped a beat. Did she mean that Hirasaka was dead? And if so, was she responsible for it? And if so, was she a murderer? She wanted very badly to scream and cry murder at Ayase’s revelation, but she could not muster up little more than unintelligible cries.

 

“Well, you didn’t actually kill him. He’s not dead, you see. At homeroom they said he was in critical condition after falling down the stairs, but after that I heard that his condition stabilized,” she paused, her lips curling into a sly smile. “But he’s going to be paralysed from the waist down for the rest of his life,” she continued, covering her mouth as she giggled before quickly regaining her composure. “Though better that way, maybe. He was such a disgusting nerd anyway,” she added casually, her lips still curled into that same bone-chilling smile as her eyes lit up with an unholy fervor. “By the way, can you do that again? I have a friend who could totally use your help!”

 

Hearing this, Kaori began break into a hoarse chuckle, her lips curling into a smile stretching from ear to ear; the widest smile of relief plastered upon her face at the good news. Ayase was still talking about something, but it was insignificant compared to the sense of relief enveloping her senses like an all-consuming miasma. It was so strange, Kaori mulled in silent gloating, how Hirsaka’s plight meant so little to her in the face of her own wants. Was Gon-san perhaps never there to begin with? Was everything she believed in up to now lies and mere coincidence?

 

She felt her voice return as her chuckling turned to a full-blown cackle so hysteric and happy that it made Ayase’s look away nervously. It did not matter now what was real, but what Ayase believed. And knowing this, it was Kaori’s turn to smile.

 

Perhaps she was crazy like they all said. Or perhaps she was the only sane person in a world plagued by insanity. But for Kaori, that was perfectly fine, for she now had the acceptance of her peers she so desperately craved. It would be a façade, of course, but she didn’t care if it meant being able to hold her head up high amongst her fellows. No doubt they would hate and fear her even more than ever based on what they thought her capable of, but even so they would have to pretend otherwise. With this, she was sure to be happy for the rest of her school days, even if it meant living yet another lie on top of the shattered carcass of another.

 

It was strange how comforting that was.


© 2017 Aurafiex



Author's Note

Aurafiex
Hey!

This story is part of the City of Midnight, a collection of short stories. If you enjoyed this, do check out the other stories below!


My New Life

Twin Souls

Beloved Neighbour

Midnight

Have a nice day!

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Reviews

First off, Happy New Year Aurafiex. Longest of times.
I liked the story. It was prettty, even if the lead character was damaged. Sorry if I don't have anything more helpful; I'm a little rusty. Good job though. Apologies for taking too long.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Months Ago


Aurafiex

11 Months Ago

Happy belated new year to you too! I haven't been writing much as of late, so its okay.
Wow. I loved the story. You set-up the characters with skill and made the story line very interesting. I liked the use of myth and prediction. I believe some of the topics written about are real. I like the conversation, the conflict and the ending. Thank you for sharing the outstanding story.
Coyote

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 11 Months Ago


Aurafiex

11 Months Ago

Thank you!
Coyote Poetry

11 Months Ago

You are welcome.

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Added on January 8, 2017
Last Updated on November 20, 2017
Tags: Witch, Hex, Witchcraft, Japanese, Curse, Evil, Madwoman, Psycho, Hallucination, Anime, Slice of Life, City of Midnight, Night

Author

Aurafiex
Aurafiex

Singapore



About
Hi! I enjoy World of Warcraft, music and swimming. I'm someone who writes for fun. Pardon any typos or mistakes, because I write on my phone(lol). I'm new here, so if you like what you see do.. more..

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Midnight Midnight

A Story by Aurafiex


My New Life My New Life

A Story by Aurafiex


Twin Souls Twin Souls

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