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CHAPTER 8 ][ Making a Sacrifice [[ part 2 ]]

This is right after the last paragraph of part 1. they were supposed to be connected.

Finally I felt a drop of the ground beneath my hands, and I felt around a little before sliding out into a great hole. Slowly, I stood with my hands over my head. I did not know how low the ceiling was. Walking very carefully to the edge, I walked with my hands against it, intent on finding the board that connected it to my home. “Oh!” I cried out in surprise when I knocked against wood. “Tak-” I started to cry out to my father, but thought better than to. By alerting my father, I was alerting everyone else, as well.

Slowly, carefully, extremely quietly, I inched the wood out of the hole it was fitted into. With each budge, I heard more of what was going on upstairs. Mostly screaming filled my ears, but I made out a word here and there. “You-”, “Don't hurt-”, “Away from her!!!” None of the voices were familiar.

The thick board was almost all out, and I was starting to see light again. Just as my eyes were adjusting, a face I had grown to hate was thrown right next to where I was peeking out. Not daring to make a squeak, I stared, my eyes wide in terror.

“Aaaaauuuggggghhh!!” Someone cried out in anguish. I hoped so desperately that it was not Takeo. And suddenly, I heard a noise different from the others, so different that it sounded female. Kaede was waking up again! I jumped out of the crawlspace without a second thought and ran to my mother, who happened to be close. I could not pick her up, so I grabbed her arms and attempted to drag her over to my hiding place.

It wasn't secret anymore. Everyone saw the sudden movement behind them, and each head turned to look at the same time. The man who had the hairy fingers looked surprised, and he kept looking from his hands to me. The man that my parents told me was named Kikuta looked puzzled, and then angry, when he turned to the hairy fingers man. Kaede began to sit up but was finding it difficult because of being dragged across the ground.

Takeo only glanced back, and then realized all the others were distracted. Taking his chance, my daddy looked at my mommy and said, “it's time.” that seemed to wake mommy up very fast, because she suddenly regained balance, and she stood right next to Takeo. While Takeo took on each of the people at one time, Mommy came over to me and took my hand.

“Takeo, I don't have much time. In fact, I have no time at all. So I'm speaking for Takeo and I both. We love you, so much that it hurts me to say this.” It was then that I noticed Kaede was crying, and this scared me to the bone within a split second. “Kaiko, in order to make these people never come for you like this, your daddy and I can't come with you when you get out of here.”

“But I have to stay with you!” I yelled. I could not believe my ears.

“No,” she insisted gently. In the background, grunts and more yelling was coming from all sorts of people. “Kaiko, baby, we have to make all these people-- not alive. Takeo and I can't do that unless we stay to make them all not alive.” Tears were streaming down my face, and my nose ran. Like any good mother, Kaede wiped it on her shirt, and my wet cheeks as well.

“Kaiko, you have to understand that your father and I don't want to do this. We would never want to be away from you, even for a second. We are both thinking only about you, and that requires that we are so selfless that we are willing to sacrifice ourselves to save our son.” Her speech was over, because Takeo was starting to get overthrown by the amount of strangers that kept getting up again.

“Go, my baby boy, and never come back. You can never come back, so find out a way to make life for youself somewhere else.” Now my mommy's voice cracked. “I love you, so very much,” She whispered. Then, nudging me back into the crawlspace, she promptly swung the board back up. I caught only a glimpse of Takeo one more time. He was my hero from the day they told me those stories. Looking up at the person I thought I couldn't live without one last time, I was thrown back into the darkness.

I got a hold of my bearings. I knew that I could not stay in this secret place forever, so my hands searched for the small tunnel just barely big enough for a small child.

I wriggled back up the way I came down, but I was working against gravity now, so I grabbed hold of roots and rocks as I went to ease the journey along. “Goodbye Mommy, goodbye Daddy. I love you both too. And you are my heroes,” I could barely hear myself in the isolated tunnel. This was the time that I let go of my past forever, and I couldn't turn back to this place, or my parent's memories, ever again.

My left hand met a big flat rock, and I had reached the end of the tunnel. Using all my strength from this bad position, I shoved the rock over onto it's side so I could worm out and run away. “Just one last time,” I told myself. “Then I will never think about this place again.”

I looked back at the small cliff with wood coming out of it, and mud, rope, and sap connecting them. I peered through one of the holes in the wood, and saw Takeo run a man through with his blade. I witnessed Kaede snap someone's neck and throw them against another advancing enemy. That was my last look at my home that didn't believe in war. Just as I was about to turn away, the entire building and all surrounding was engulfed in flame. Instantly, a small mushroom cloud went up and spread, mingling with the oxygen. Tears filled my eyes and I sank to my knees, crying for my parents that really meant when they said “sacrifice.”

A very long time passed before I rose again, and when I did, I was not a child anymore. At seven years old the day after the next, I was a fully grown man, solely because I had witnessed what most do not dream of in their worst nightmares.

I walked away from the burn site with tears in my eyes, but on my face. My eyes were puffy and red, but my hands were strong fists. The entire time I walked, I thought about how I still had no answers except the stories told to me when I was too young to remember, up until the very same day. I remembered how savage I felt when Kaede fell, and how the only thought in my mind was on getting revenge. I pondered how the conversations between my parents and I would have gone in my seven year old, fully matured mind. Well, now I have to find someone else to tell me about what I can do, or I can test myself and find out. I went with testing, because I feared getting close to anyone else would end them similarly to the way Takeo and Kaede ended. In that few hours of solitude, my heart hardened to stone. I was a new person now.





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