The Spirit Made Flesh

The Spirit Made Flesh

A Story by Alyss Erulisse

Since Ryou Bakura lost the Millennium Ring to Yami Yugi, he has not heard from the evil Spirit of the Ring, but another package from his father brings his past back to haunt him.


The old dread roused in his gut as Ryou trudged up to his empty apartment.  A chill wind funneled up the stairwell behind him, stirring the tassels of his scarf and blowing the shorter layers of his hair into his face.  The sunset was masked by somber clouds and the landing ahead was shrouded in early darkness.  Ryou thrust a shaking hand through his bangs to clear his vision, but when he reached the eighth floor of his complex, no one appeared to greet him.  Forlornly, he glanced over the railing at the throngs of dark heads bobbing along the sidewalks.  Above them, dead branches were wrapped with silvery lights, but the cold, tiny bulbs were a meager substitute for their departed leaves. 


Ryou turned away and fumbled through his coat-pockets for his key.  A parcel lay abandoned by his door and he eyed it warily.  The packaging was dirtied from handling and torn at one corner.  His address was scrawled across the front in faded ink and the postal stamp was from Egypt.  Ryou nudged the parcel with his foot.  What had his father had sent him this time?  Hopefully, it wasn’t another cursed piece of jewelry.  Ryou still bore the scars from his last ill-fated present. 


Several months had passed since the end of Battle City, and though Yugi had locked the items away in the Domino Bank, Ryou still felt a phantom weight around his neck.  Many nights he woke from dreams with the spirit’s wild laughter ringing in his ears, and sometimes, in the mornings, he caught the glint of cruelty in the eyes of his own reflection.  Logically, Ryou knew his unconscious mind was playing tricks on him.  The spirit was gone, banished to the Shadow Realm, and even if he managed to escape that hell, the Millennium Ring was separated from Ryou by the Pharaoh, a dozen security guards, and 15 inches of stainless steel. 


And yet, what about that time the spirit was sent to the card graveyard?  What about the time Tristan threw the Ring from the balcony of Pegasus’s castle?  What if the Ring always found its way back to him?  Ryou shuddered in front of his apartment.  His key was frozen in his hand.  The worn package lay before him, a septic offering from a careless father.  Ryou was loath to claim it.  He imagined himself kicking the parcel aside and discarding it like his father had discarded him.  He could pretend the object had never been dropped on his doormat.  There would be no added complications to his life. 


A door opened down the hallway, and Ryou jolted out of his thoughts as two young boys raced past him in their underpants.  Their elder sister called after them a moment later, her voice tinged with exasperation.  Ryou turned to see her stomping down the hall barefoot and sopping wet.  Her t-shirt was plastered to her body and virtually transparent.  Ryou felt his face heat and hurried to unlock his door.  He was halfway inside when she noticed him. 


“Bakura-kun!”  Ryou grimaced at the sound of his name and turned back to face her.  The girl shivered and rubbed at her arms.  Her eyes darted after her brothers for a moment before returning to Ryou. 


“Did you see the package I brought up for you?  The mailman shoved it into my box instead of yours.” 


“Did he?”  Ryou glanced down at the offending package and wondered what would have happened if his neighbor had kept the object inside.  Would she have ended up as cursed and lonely as he was now?  Would her brothers have become the victims of a hungry spirit?  Ryou shook the thoughts from his mind and nudged the package through his door.  Better he shoulder the burden than one of his neighbors.  “Well, thank you very much.” 


The girl nodded briskly and hopped from one foot to another.  She’d begun jogging in place to keep off the cold, and, unsupported beneath the shirt, her chest bounced with her movement.  Ryou tried his hardest not to stare. 


“Um, what happened to your clothes?” 


“Those little devils doused me with their bath-water.  Apparently, they’ve decided poor hygiene makes them manlier.  You wouldn’t happen to have a coat I could borrow, would you?  I still have to chase the little brats down.” 


“Of course,” Ryou said as he hurriedly shrugged the coat off his shoulders and handed it to his neighbor.  He would be inside in a moment anyway.  The girl smiled her appreciation and hopped off after her brothers. 


“I’ll bring it back later,” she called over her shoulder. 




When the bell rang, Ryou was seated on his sofa with a warm mug of tea in his hands and a space heater at his feet.   He’d been staring at the package for the last ten minutes, considering how to dispose of it.  There was a dumpster at the corner of the apartment building that was emptied daily.  He wondered if the object inside was biodegradable. 


“They’re finally asleep,” his neighbor said as he opened the door for her.  “Thank you for your coat.”  Ryou exchanged a few words with her and invited her in for tea.  It was a simple courtesy in this weather. 


Ryou remembered her name now: Izumi.  She was in his class at school.  She played soccer.  She was a bubbly character, a perpetual optimist, and she seemed to manage a full schedule and endless responsibilities with a tireless spirit. 


Izumi wandered his small living space, curiously eying his books and belongings, as Ryou heated a second cup of tea.  She marveled over his ivory elephants and picked up his family photo.  Ryou was relieved when she chose not to ask about them.  The elephants had been his sister’s before she’d died and he was feeling rather sore on the subject of his family this evening.  Ryou let his gaze leave his guest for a moment to find a teacup in the side cabinet. 


When he turned back around, Izumi was seated on the couch and the package was in her lap.  She was opening it!  Ryou choked on a cry of dismay and his head spun with a bout of dizziness.  The teacup shook in his hand.  He set it down on the counter before it could fall from his weakening grasp.  His heart was fluttering like the wings of a hummingbird.  Was he having a panic attack? 


Ryou bent his head over the counter and gasped for breath.  He tried to forget about what was happening across the room and instead focus on his breathing. 


“This is some dark stuff,” Izumi mused.  Ryou could hear the flipping of pages, and he realized the thing inside the package had been a book.  But what kind of book was it? 


Ryou gathered himself and moved towards the couch.  From over Izumi’s shoulder, he glimpsed colored illustrations and scattered text.  The pictures were gruesome scenes of ceremony and death.  A faceless human figure lay prone in the center of a six-pointed star, his arms and legs spread apart.  Blood welled from cuts on his arms and thighs to be gathered into wooden bowls.   Containers of what appeared to be water, salt, and other materials were set around him.  At the head of the victim, an amorphous shape shone with light.  Farther down the page, this shape took the form of another human being. 


Without reading the text Ryou could not tell the purpose of the spell, but the illustrations were enough to frighten him.  Why on earth would his father send him such a horrible book?  Surely, he did not imagine Ryou would enjoy reading such material. 


Izumi made an amused noise, and suddenly, Ryou was angry. 


“Do you find this entertaining?” asked Ryou.  Izumi flinched in surprise and let the book drop onto the floor. 


“No, I…” she stammered.  “Is this a book of spells?”  Izumi reached to pick up the book, and Ryou quickly kicked it away from her reaching fingers.  Izumi jumped back, startled. 


“I did not say you could touch my things,” Ryou said.  The anger was apparent in his voice, and for a horrible moment, Ryou was reminded of the Spirit of the Ring and the sound of his cold voice. 


Izumi was staring at him anxiously.  No one at school had ever seen Ryou lose his calm, polite demeanor.  Yugi was the only one who knew anything of the burden Ryou carried. 


“You should leave,” Ryou said to Izumi.  Quietly, he went to the door and opened it for her. 


“I’m sorry,” Izumi murmured as she left.  Ryou did not meet her eye.  He closed the door and poured out her tea.  The book lay under the coffee table.  Ryou glared at it before heading towards his bedroom.  Tomorrow morning, he would carry it to the dumpster just before the garbage truck came.  He would make sure those cursed spells were pressed into a square of refuse and hauled away. 




That night Ryou was plagued by dreams.  The spirit’s voice called to him from a closing distance.  In the vault at Domino Bank, the Millennium Ring came to life in its velvet-lined case, glowing in the darkness.  In his dream, Ryou slipped from his bed and traveled to the living room.  His body was heavy with sleep and his steps were slow and labored.  The air around him seemed as thick as molasses. 


The light was on above the stove, providing the room a dim illumination.  Ryou knelt and crawled beneath the coffee table to retrieve the book.  As his hand slid across the cover for the first time, he recognized the texture of animal hide and felt the indention of the title.  “The Millennium Book of Spells,” was scrawled across the cover in ink.  The words sent a bolt of excitement through him.  This book was infamous.  It was powerful. 


The pages were woven of papyrus and detailed spells far beyond the span of his wildest dreams and nightmares.  There were spells to control the elements, spells to form talismans, spells to call forth spirits, and spells to extend one’s life.  In these pages was documented the very ritual that had formed the Millennium Items.  With this book, even time and space would be at his command.  For now, however, one spell captured his interest. 


The average adult human body is composed of Water (35 L), Carbon (20 kg), Ammonia (4 L), Lime (1.5 kg), Phosphorous (800 g), Salt (250 g), Saltpeter (100 g), Sulfur (80 g), Fluorine (7.5 g), Iron (5 g), Silicon (3 g) and fifteen other elements in trace amounts.  It took Ryou several days and a couple of illicit visits to local laboratories to compile all of them.  In the living room, he pushed all the furniture back against the walls and carved a six-pointed star on the floor with a kitchen knife. 




Ryou awoke shivering and covered in sweat.  There was a throbbing pain in his thigh, and Ryou cringed into a ball on the floor.  That was where he seemed to be.  Had he fallen out of bed?  Opening blurry eyes, Ryou looked around.  The room seemed to be swimming in orange light.  With a jolt, he realized he was not in his bedroom.  There was the couch pressed against the bookcase.  The coffee table was leaning against the wall with its legs sticking out towards him.  Someone had moved the furniture. 


Vaguely, Ryou remembered a dream he’d been having where he had moved the furniture.  But why had he done that?  Clutching at his aching leg, he found a tear in his pajama pants and felt that the material was sticky and damp.  A memory encroached.  He was standing on the dueling platform of the blimp during Battle City.  Yugi stood across from him with the monstrosity of his God card looming over his head.  Ryou fell to his knees weak with pain and exhaustion.  His arm throbbed horribly.  It was wrapped in bandages above the elbow, and yet, the heavy duel disk still clamped to his wrist. 


Ryou did not bother wondering who had moved him from his bed, shoved the furniture against the wall, and wounded his thigh.  The answer was obvious.  He just did not want to believe it.  Trembling, Ryou grabbed at his chest, searching for and finding the familiar touch of gold.  The Millennium Ring was back.  Ryou’s eyes stung.  Already, he could feel the panic and despair closing in around him.  Hugging his calves, Ryou choked and gasped on silent tears. 


What had the spirit done now?  Was he back to enslave Ryou once more? 


A groan sounded from nearby, and Ryou raised his head to search the room.  Was there someone else here, another victim of the spirit’s violence?  As Ryou assessed the room, he noticed for the first time the empty pots surrounding him, the candles burning low, and the scratches on the wooden floor.  The place looked like the site of a ritual.  Had the spirit cast a spell from that book?  Turning, Ryou continued to search for the source of the groan.  What he found made him shrink in fear. 


An oddly shaped mass was lying just behind him, twisting and morphing like clay at the hands of an invisible sculptor.  As Ryou watched in fascinated horror, legs extended from the form, and then arms and a head.  Soon a blunt human figure was curled there on the floor.  Fingers defined themselves and toes.  Ears branched out from the head and a nose poked out through the face.  Lips separated.  Eyes slit in the skin.  Hair sprouted from the mold like cheese sliding through the shredder--thick, pale hair like his own. 


Muscles bulged under pale skin.  An Adam’s apple jumped.  Ryou had to avert his gaze as the lower parts became more distinguished, for the figure was naked.  Instead, he focused on the face.  It was a mirror of Ryou’s own face, but with skin as smooth as a newborn’s.  As Ryou stared, long eyelashes fluttered, and suddenly, he was looking into a pair of light violet eyes. 


The eyes narrowed into a familiar expression and Ryou scrambled backwards.  A small sound of dismay escaped him as the coffee table pressed into his back.  His yami, the dark spirit who had derailed his life and attacked his friends, rose up before him in physical form.  Ryou noticed a kitchen knife--probably the same knife that had been used to injure is leg--lying astray on the floor and snatched it with a shaking hand.  Who knew what the spirit would do to him now that he had his own body? 


If the spirit noticed Ryou arming himself, he did not seem to worry or care.  Instead, he stretched his arms out and gazed down at his body in wonder and satisfaction.  He let a hand pass through his hair, and felt the form of his face.  His fingers lingered under his right eye as if he were missing something.  He glanced towards the bathroom as if he wished to look in a mirror, but then he hesitated and his sharp gaze fell onto Ryou. 


“You have something of mine,” he said and his eyes fixed onto the Millennium Ring resting against Ryou’s nightshirt.  Ryou clutched the item nervously in his free hand and raised the knife. 


The spirit scoffed. 


“Two weapons and you don’t even know how to use them.  Don’t be foolish, host.  I’ve faced much stronger adversaries.  Hand over the item now before you get yourself hurt.” 


“You’ll use it against me,” Ryou worried. 


“And why would I do that?” the spirit asked.  The very idea seemed to annoy him.  He let his weight sag into one hip and crossed his arms over his chest. 


Ryou did not answer.  He was considering the attitude of his yami.  The spirit did not need Ryou anymore as a host.  Was it possible that he would leave? 


“You know you can’t keep it from me,” the spirit taunted.  Ryou knew his yami was right.  He was weak, and he knew from experience that offering resistance would only aggravate the spirit.  But the idea of handing the item over made him sick.  Even though his yami might finally leave, Ryou could not risk the safety of his friends. 


“I won’t give it to you,” said Ryou, “not when I know you’ll try to harm Yugi again.  You have your own body now.  Go!  Make a life for yourself and leave my friends alone!”  The bold statement made a grin spread across his yami’s new face. 


“You make it sound so simple, host, but I have unfinished business to attend to.  I need the Ring, and I will have it whether you like it or not.” 


The now embodied spirit launched himself at Ryou, deftly dodging the slash of his knife and shoving the boy onto his back.  Ryou winced as his wrist was slammed into the floor in an attempt to dislodge the weapon from his hand, but the boy was far from giving up the fight.  While his yami was focused on relieving him of his knife, Ryou used his free hand to punch the other in the face.  The blow momentarily stunned his yami, but Ryou was left with an aching pain in his knuckles and wrist. 


Only seconds later, Ryou found the spirit’s hands wrapped tightly around his neck.  He had lost his knife and his lungs were running out of air.  Ryou clawed at the other’s arms and kicked, trying to get free, but the spirit was adamant.  Tears clouded his vision as Ryou stared into his yami’s cold eyes, frightened and helpless. 


“Foolish host,” said the spirit, “I told you that you couldn’t win.” 


“Please,” Ryou thought, unable to speak, “I don’t want to die.” 


The plea echoed in Ryou’s mind until his final moment of consciousness. 

© 2019 Alyss Erulisse

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Added on July 31, 2014
Last Updated on October 30, 2019
Tags: Ryou, Bakura, YuGiOh, fanfiction, Yami Bakura, horror, suspense, supernatural, occult


Alyss Erulisse
Alyss Erulisse


Writing is my passion, but I am always looking for new ways to bring my stories to life. I am an individual with a multitude of creative interests. Favorite Pastimes: ballet, painting, reading,.. more..