Our Salvation | Teen Ink

Our Salvation

May 11, 2022
By ReadingLifeline BRONZE, Makawao, Hawaii
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ReadingLifeline BRONZE, Makawao, Hawaii
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Author's note:

This piece is only one part of a big story and journey. I hope that those who read this enjoy the action given and the drama presented.

Smoke, that is the first thing I saw, that day had only just begun and yet it seems like that is when my world truly ended. My village, reduced to all but flames. The smell of blood and the screams of those of all ages will forever haunt my dreams, the feeling of the flames licking my skin almost as if I was it’s cub and the flames my mother, as my body was disfigured. I can still remember what that man said to me before he took everything I cared for. I will never forget how it felt to lose those I was to raise and care for. The children he had ripped from my very womb and the love in which he had murdered in cold blood, right before my eyes.

“Watch as you lose everyone who has come to accept you and give yourself to us!” that man Yūrei had shouted out to me.

That was all he had been able to say before I remembered what Kuro told me just hours before.

“I love you and always will, but know that I would sacrifice my very life for you and the children in which you carry,” he whispered to me.

He had known, known that this would happen, that he would be killed. As the realization settled upon me my surroundings started to fade to black. The sounds that once corralled me faded to the depths of my mind, and suddenly, I awoke, the light of the sun burning into my retana my eye quickly adjusting to the light. Although this was not the reason I had awakened. The sounds that had met my ears when I regained full consciousness were that of horrors, though ones I was familiar with. The sound of a slaughter.

When I had reached the origin of the sounds my senses became bombarded with the happenings around me. The smell of wood burning and blood boiled by the flames of torches, the smell that permeates from burning flesh of copper and ash, of the earthy smell let off from the pounding of feet, the scent that reminds one of freshly cut grass destroyed by the harsh streak of the copper scent of blood. The sight of burning buildings almost like that of my home those few years ago. Wood charred, walls collapsed and families buried in the very homes they resided in and loved. The sound of sick laughter and horses galloping through the decimated village.

“P-please I will spare me! I- I will give you th-them, you want the ch-children take them!” I heard an almost rancid voice call out pleading.

I ran to the voice, my katana at my hip, the sound of the bells attached at the hilt sending an almost calming chime through the scream filled air. When I arrived the sight that I was greeted with made my blood boil and my stomach churn in a way that would make most hurl. There standing cornered by five burly men each covered in different amounts of filth ranging from blood to dirt as well as unidentifiable substances are three distinguishable figures, standing at the forefront two children no older than five being pushed forwards by an older looking man hair grayed and falling out, a snarl looking almost of anger, the look in his eyes betraying that showing an unprecedented amount of terror, be it for his life or his riches I feel I will never know. The children struggle with all their might, eyes darting to the ones around them, the look in their eyes showing determination trying to get to those who need help rather than to save themselves. The atmosphere tense, thick enough that it seems even the toughest knife would have trouble cutting through it.

“They are lookers aren’t they?” the rancid like voice now having a face as it comes from the man holding the children harshly by the arms, “One of them may be a boy b-but I am very s-sure you would be able to gain s-some pleasure from th-them, being twins and all?!”

I see what is going on now. This man. Is nothing.


All of them. Every last one. They all deserve it. None will survive. None will pass. None will be deemed free of judgment.

They will be punished.

All sentenced.

To die.

The voices I had tried so hard to forget. Those awful voices that hold the same sound to those that I had held dear for so long. Impersonating them. Tainting their very image. They slowly took hold and my word faded away.

When I come to, I am surrounded by bodies. The two children standing there in front of me looking at me with many emotions reflecting within their eyes. Astonishment, admiration, fear. Fear not for me, not even directed at me but fear of the path in which life has taken them. Blind fear not towards anyone but for everyone. I realize now what I have done. These bodies are of those who not long ago were once pillaging the very land I stand now. The blood of the men-no those savages dripped off of my body onto the already blood soaked ground. The villagers who remain look at me as if I am a god who had ascended down from the heavens and spared them of their suffering. Even if in my eyes I may be no more than a demon that has clawed its way from the depths of tartarus.

“Why would you do this for us?!” the boy demanded of me, gripping onto his sister's hand almost as if he was scared she would disappear.

“Because I see those that may be inspired by the lives of those who fight, be it for their own lives or for others,” I had stated, not backing down from his stare, “What are your names?”

Before the brother was able to retort, his sister jumped into the conversation, “ I’m Shina and this is my big brother Shiro, what's your name miss?”

“Well my name is Yoru,” I replied.

Shiro seemed to shrink into himself at what his sister had said. Those around us started to cheer and wail in happiness almost akin to that of a jikininki a human-eating ghost but instead of the haunting wails that would chill you to the very bone in which your body holds firm to, the screams given were of the highest praise, those calls being of what only the gods above would hear. I don’t know how to feel but I do know that I can’t leave these children, but I don’t want them to be put in danger.

Because of me.

“We don’t have a mama….or a papa, could-could you be ours?” Shina had stated the innocence that radiated from her being and the depths of her eyes makes you wonder how anybody human or not could ever even think about harming her.

The question seemed to throw even Shiro off as he looked almost conflicted whether he should trust the intuition of his sister or if he should do everything in his power to make sure that she is protected. Shiro seemed to freeze as soon as Shina turned to him like she herself had heard his thoughts and made him let out a sigh sounding the tiniest bit relieved that his sister had done so. As much as I would like to decline and let someone else of this village take charge of their wellbeing it seems as if they themselves are not welcome.

Looking around I can see the looks of disdain for these children, the looks given akin to how one would look at something or someone that had said or done something that caused great pain for the parties involved with the incident. It seems these children would be best taken care of by me, and maybe, just maybe they could help heal me of- no what am I thinking. If I think like that now then I will just grow dependent upon them and that is not what I want. Even if they act grown, they are still children who deserve to be able to rely on someone who will let them be and act like normal children, or at least similar to normal children.

“Alright, if that is what you wish then take my hands, but if you wish to stay then you ar-” I wasn’t able to finish my sentence before Shina had launched herself towards me.

Her laugh.

I don’t think I will ever be able to hear something as pure as her laugh.

It makes me feel as if those of which I have lost are back with me caressing my head and whispering sweet nothing within my ears comforting me and ridding my head of the imposters who use their voices and connections with me to make me hurt. I have made up my mind. I will protect them.

Even if it means giving up my very life in the process.

Her laugh seemed to open the flood gates that once held in her brother and the next I knew I was on the ground Shiro holding onto me for dear life his sobs and screams of anguish making me sure that this young b-no this young man had been hurting more than even his sister may have known.

As I picked the twins up I could see the visible exhaustion crashing upon them lulling them into the depths of slumber, before they had fully succumbed to sleep I had whispered, “Sleep well little ones, when you wake we will be far away from this hell that was created by those foul men.”

It has been almost 9 years since that day. The twins are now 13, close to 14 years old and we have been moving non-stop since we had left. The twins have come to call me Otosan or dad and in reality I don’t know how to feel about that as I know that even now the very same men who took everything from me are still at large hoping one day they find me and are able to finish what they started. I don’t want to keep the twins with me if one day they do find me as when that day comes they may be more prepared than they were back then. Prepared enough.

To kill me.

If that is even what they plan to do in the end. What that man had said when I had first found the twins made me realize that if Yūrei is to find me one day he may not kill me.

And death may be a mercy.

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