Meanwhile, the beast is right behind the dwindled two men and they are frantically running and jumping. The red-skinned Reptilion, who was behind, jumps over a cliff but his lower half bitten clean off while still in the air. His upper body gets over to the other side of the fissure and he is still alive. He twitches and tries to breathe but before he draws his last breath the beast finishes its meal. The Fanglion, who was ahead, stood there slouching and watched as he was catching his breath. The beast senses him and turns toward him.
The beast slowly approaches the lone man. The man stood still out of fear and curious seeing a reaction he has not seen before. The beast was immediate to react but now the beast hesitates. The beast approaches close enough to touch but the beast sniffs the goon who is trying his best not to move but he is clearly shaking in fear. Then suddenly, a scream could be heard further ahead.
"Help! Is anyone there! I, I can't move! I can't move my body!" it was the blue-skinned Reptilion, who hit his head falling from the cliff, screaming in his language. He was paralyzed from the neck down. The beast hears and slowly follows the direction of the scream going around the frozen Fanglion. The Fanglion will continue to stay still in a slouching position throughout the night.
The helpless Reptilion continues to scream in his language until a large figure covers the full moon on the cliff above him. After seeing the black figure, the Reptilion starts screaming sporadically. A big mistake.
Hearing the screams, the Fanglion that was knocked out by Hiroshi wakes. Still feeling the concussion, he stands and looks down the cliff. Not realizing it used to be Eirgor, the goon with a headache watches the giant black beast kicking, smacking, and whipping its tail sending the defenseless Reptilion flying around in the cracks. The Reptilion continues to scream and even more frantically after seeing the Fanglion on the cliff for help. The Reptilion screams in the language the Fanglion watching does not understand but it should be clear what he was screaming for. The Fanglion was either drunk from the concussion or thought he was dreaming and he does something incomprehensible. He grabs a rock nearby and throws it at the beast and it clearly gets the beast's attention. Seeing he got the beast's attention he runs and the beast follows. Leaving the paralyzed bloodied blue skin alone. Unfortunately for the blue Reptilion, he will die a very slow death.
. . . . . .
Sometime after, Aurora reaches the end of the crack with a simple slope. She easily climbs and emerges to see the forest going down the mountain, which she takes. Behind her, the three men chasing her were one step soon to see her rush into the dark forest and they join her. But, soon as the last goon steps into the forest Hiroshi jump on top of him on his back with a machete on his throat.
"Why are you still after Aurora?! She has no value to you now!" Hiroshi yells stopping everyone in their track. Aurora, who was hiding behind a tree, hears him and peeks over the giant tree's roots.
"To trade... To be immortal..." The inarticulate captive Fanglion replied looking at his hanging, bloody tattered right arm.
"What?! Don't you get it? Didn't you see? That's not being alive! You become a monster that eats anything that moves and it never gets satisfied! A monster that kills for no reason!" Hiroshi tries to reason with them but they are still looking at his arm. Then, 'speak of the devil and he doth appear'. They felt the ground rumble at a rapid pace then slowly started to hear the stomping behind them.
They turn towards the source and sees a Fanglion running towards them along the crack cliffs. Then beast emerges from within the crack ends. Too big, the beast squeezes through by breaking the earth around it.
"Stay... still..." Hiroshi whispers but except for the Fanglion Hiroshi was on top of, others panic and run. The beast ignores Hiroshi and rushes its four legs after the ones who ran but the beast was too close. As the beast passes them its tail whips Hiroshi, sending him to flying, even further than where Aurora was and hits his back on to the tree. Witnessing this Aurora goes after him. Fortunately, the beast was too busy with the running away goons.
Hiroshi grunts gritting his teeth and see Aurora arrive. She gives a worried muffle but Hiroshi, still in pain, tries to silence her by finally letting go of the machete he was tightly holding and puts the left index finger in front of his lips and gently hushes her.
"I'm okay... I'm okay... You have to stay quiet no matter what happens, okay?" Aurora not responding Hiroshi asks again and finally, she nods. Hiroshi then pulls down the cloth gagging Aurora and as asked she remained quiet. Then Hiroshi tells her to turn with his finger slowly and she does then cuts her binds bounding hands. Aurora released, she immediately jumps on to Hiroshi with a hug making him give a quiet yelp, all the while trying to keep his right arm away from Aurora.
"Sorry! Are you okay?" Aurora asks and Hiroshi hushes her again.
"Yeah, yeah...I'm fine. Now, Slowly... What is that... monster... doing?" Hiroshi whispers. Aurora slowly peeks behind the tree behind Hiroshi and sees one of the goons screaming and being eaten by the monster. Aurora comes back with a haunted expression. "What's wrong?" Hiroshi asks.
"One... One of the guys is being eaten..." Aurora replied quietly.
"Oh... You shouldn't have seen that..." Hiroshi comments. Hiroshi tries to stand but he can't feel his leg. "Shit! what now?" Hiroshi says, gritting his teeth. He then glances at Aurora and apologizes for swearing in front of her. He then feels his back and grits his teeth from the pain. He could feel a dislocation between thoracic and lumbar vertebrae.
"Aw... Fuc...." Hiroshi almost swears again but stops himself looking at Aurora and starts computing the situation. Hiroshi's broken back and is still bleed out from the deep injury making him go pale. He is dying and needs to do something soon. After a long thought, Hiroshi orders Aurora.
"Aurora, you have to do exactly as I say, okay?" Aurora doesn't respond right away so Hiroshi asks again and she nods.
"Okay, we are going to play a game, it's called 'red light, green light'. Now, slowly... Look behind you," Hiroshi points toward a tree a distance away. "I need you to get behind that tree, slowly... but first," Hiroshi show her a fist, "this means 'red light'. It means stop. You must not move and breath slowly when you see me do this, okay?" Aurora nods in response. Hiroshi now shows her open palm, "This means 'green light', it means go but go... very... slowly... okay?" Aurora agrees again.
"Good... Now, I need you to drag... me where I could see that monster," Hiroshi grunt as he tries to pick himself up then Aurora helps. They're in position but the beast was looking their way. "Don’t... move... breath... slowly..." Hiroshi whispers slowly. Then suddenly the beast turns away. Hiroshi then slowly lifts his left hand giving Aurora an open palm. She sees and slowly backs away but she can't see where she is going with her back turned. She turns her head to see but a little too quickly. The beast turns back and Hiroshi makes a fist. Fortunately, Aurora sees in the corner of her eyes and stops in her track but the beast does not stop, it starts to approach.
Hiroshi slowly lowers his hand and grabs the machete then throws it far away to the side striking a tree stuck. The beast immediately goes after it. Hiroshi then makes an open palm, messaging Aurora to go and she backs away slowly. Luckily or not, a goon that was hiding thought the monster was rushing towards him and panics and starts running. The beast notices and starts running after him.
Aurora can't see the beast from her direction anymore. Thinking this is her chance she starts to rush. Hiroshi then yells but audibly low as possible, "Slowly!" But the beast hears and turns after finishing its meal. Hiroshi makes a fist and Aurora stops. Aurora is close to her destination like Hiroshi wanted but the beast is slowly approaching and running out of options. So, Hiroshi came to a conclusion.
"Aurora, you promised to do as I say, right?!" Hiroshi yells making sure Aurora hears. Aurora realizes what Hiroshi is up to and can't hold her tear as she shakes her head. "You promised?!" Hiroshi doesn't stop and the beast approaches quicker with stomping and rumbling. "Go! Go and Hide, Aurora!" Hiroshi screams waving his hands high and wide. Aurora, in tears, rushes behind the tree and she covers her mouth with both hands and breaths with her runny nose.
"Over here you overgrown salamander!" Hiroshi yells dragging himself with only one good arm. Aurora slowly peeks over the high roots, hoping he'll be okay in the end but fear for the worse, leaving her in tears.
"Aurora!" Hiroshi yells while stationed to the ground with the beast is right above him. "No matter what! Stay still! Stay Quiet!" Hiroshi yells his last desperation. The beast readies itself to stomp. "No matter what happens!" he yells one last time until his head gets stomped, flat. Aurora gasps as she sees his body go limp and head missing. She has witnessed her nightmare come true. Aurora goes limp as well, losing all strength in her body, losing all will to live.
The beast notices Aurora dropping her arms and starts approaching her but she doesn't care. She waits for her demise what felt like hours, days. She waits and waits then, he rose from the grave. Aurora sees and brings hope back into her eyes but soon to be devastated again.
Hiroshi's body still limp, stands like it was in low gravity. The blood starts to turn black and engulfs him starting from his neck and right arm. At the same time, the blood started to dissolve and rise away like ashes. The body gets completely engulfed, clothes and all. The deep black ashes rising started to form his new head. A new black beast has arisen, Hiroshi Yokutake.
The black Hiroshi was different from the previous beast. It did not grow in size and stayed the body of a human. The body continues to dissolve and ash away but does not shrink or lose its mass. His new skin of black did not reflect any light, did not absorb light, but not transparent. He was like the space, the darkness itself, a shadow, making it difficult to see in the dark, thick forest except for his bright glowing, white eyes.
The bright glowing eyes were looking straight at the beast and the beast was looking back. The beast looks at Hiroshi and, for the first time, roars. The beast whips its tail and sends Hiroshi flying, hitting a tree. The beast, with its large body, chases after Hiroshi at an astounding speed. Hiroshi stands and sees the beast approaching. His response, go after the beast. Even faster than the beast, he launches at the beast arriving below its mouth and headbutts its chin. Hiroshi lands back to the ground and immediately jumps again and grabs beast's large neck with his body, trying to choke it but the neck was too large. Instead, Hiroshi widens his black void of a mouth unnaturally wide and bites into the beast's neck and rips a piece off and swallows it.
The beast reacts and starts stomping its neck to the floor and trees, trying to get him off but Hiroshi continues to bite and consume. Hiroshi, not letting go, the beast changes its form. The beast shrinks but to a fuller form and the mouth changed its location to where Hiroshi was and tries to bite him. Hiroshi tries to get away but his arm gets chomped off but he immediately grows a new one.
Aurora watches more dumbfounded than in fear as the two beasts started fighting and eating each other. Despite Hiroshi's size, he is matching the beast's strength and he is much faster, overwhelming the beast. Stomping on Hiroshi doesn't leave a dent on him. The only way for Hiroshi to get hurt is for the beast to bite into him but he grows the missing part almost instantaneously. The beast shrinks every time a bit gets taken off of it to be efficient. The beast loses strength when there is no muscle to retract and protract so, the beast reforms back with full limb but shrinks in the process. This makes it an easier target for Hiroshi.
The two beasts have ravaged the forest making a big opening for the moon to shine and two goons killed from the crossfire. The beast is now downsized to Hiroshi's size and it's backing away, it's afraid. The beast would not grow no matter how much it chomped on the black Hiroshi. Losing its mass means losing its weight in its punches but Hiroshi never lost his strength and speed and the beast has started to realize. The beast attempts to run away but it's futile. The beast doesn't take four steps until Hiroshi catches it. Hiroshi then starts eating the beast like it was just a piece of meat, bone and all, starting from the head. The nightmare of beasts eating anything that moves is finally over, at least Aurora thought.
Aurora has been silently cheering for Hiroshi as she was watching, no matter how horrifyingly he looked and, just like she has hoped for, he has won. Aurora jumps out into the open with a smile on her face thinking everything over but the black Hiroshi turns his head towards her, noticing her. Aurora freezes in place remembering what Hiroshi said but it's a little too late. Hiroshi, in one jump, lands in front of Aurora. Then Hiroshi slowly approaches even closer, almost touching her. Then suddenly, a goon came out of hiding.
Behind Aurora, a goon shows himself seeing how Aurora has not been attacked. Thinking, Hiroshi was different from the first beast. Hiroshi notices and walks around Aurora and jumps, pouncing the goon. Aurora doesn't move like she promised Hiroshi but she could hear. She hears the goon trying to talk to him then screams then to a disturbing scream then crunching and crack of bones and dripping and splashing of blood, then silence. The last goon is now dead.
It was obvious what was happening behind her but the doubt and curiosity got the better of her. She slowly turns her head and all she could see behind her was his bright white eyes an inch away from hers. She gasps from the surprise but she tries to breathe calmly to be quiet as possible.
This Hiroshi does not have all its five senses. He cannot taste, just an endless hunger. He cannot hear, though he seems to. He can feel and see movement, and only movement. He may be able to only sense movements but he can sense every movement, even molecules. It senses work like sounds. The louder the movement more visible and quieter more difficult for him to see but it's very quiet. He can see her shaking, her heart beats and her purposefully breathing slowly and steady.
The black Hiroshi can also smell. Which he does, sniffing Aurora. It tickles her as he sniffs her neck giving her slight smile with mixed feelings. The nostalgic feeling of him sniff her made her think it's still the same Hiroshi but at the same time fearing 'what if' he is not. He sniffs her a few more times then take a step back. Aurora relaxes by exhaling the air she was holding in but suddenly Hiroshi's body change into something like a big black blanket and engulfs her. He then changes into a sphere with her in it.
. . . . . .
How long has it been? Aurora's wound doesn't hurt anymore. She can now open her right eye that was swollen. Her bruises and sores all gone. Actually, she is very comfortable like she was floating and being held up by warm arms. She can almost go back to sleep how comfortable it is and this darkness did not help. She can move freely but there is nothing for her to do so she was about to go back to sleep but then a small light shined and it talked.
Ah, you are the young one... hm.... little ones are a difficult to please...
"What? Hiroshi?" Aurora asks hearing Hiroshi's voice.
No. I am an acquaintance, if that makes you feel more comfortable.
"Are you... talking in my head?" Aurora asks another thinking how strangely she could understand the voice so fluently despite the difficult words.
Yes, this way there are fewer misunderstandings. But back to the main subject. Do you have any wish you want to be granted?
"Wish? I don't understand..." Aurora wonders.
Is the word 'wish' something you yet to comprehend, little one? Well then, let me rephrase: is there something you want? Something you crave? Desire?
"Food? I... I haven't eaten all day..." Aurora answers, thinking it still has been a day.
Ah... Of course, any and all living creature desire nutrient but that is not your true desire. I guess another paraphrase is in need. What do you fear most?
Aurora was in deep thought. Finally, Aurora came to an understanding, fear. Throughout her short life, she has been through a lot of terrible things. Sadly, she has even gotten used to being beaten to a pulp and tortured. Hiroshi was the only light in her darkness. Then she remembered, she witnessed that very light diminished to nothing in front of her. Aurora starts crying.
"Hiroshi... I want Hiroshi... where is he?" Aurora said as she cried.
Ah, yes... Companionship. Every sentient beings' desire... and yes, it truly is your desire... but... that's going to be quite simple. Perhaps, this is a little too soon for you, little one? Or perhaps it will be what you will ever desire? For now, sleep. Your 'wish' will have come true by the time you awake.
Sniffling Aurora quickly relaxes and falls asleep as if a spell was cast on her.
. . . . . .
Aurora opens her eyes and sun is high in the sky. She was exactly where she was when she was absorbed by the black Hiroshi, middle of an open forest that was ravaged by the two beasts. All her wounds are gone, not even leaving a scar. Actually, she was feeling more energetic than before. She then gives another curious look, the fact she was on top of a man she has never seen but he wears Hiroshi's clothes.
The man was clean of beard and mustache and his hair was short and clean. The man's skin was very clean and clean of scars. However, the man was wearing the dirtied and old, but clean of blood, waiter suit with the tattered right sleeve, just like how Hiroshi was last seen in. Nevertheless, she was not afraid of the stranger, but inside she knew.
The man had a pained expression on his face. It's no wonder though, Aurora was sitting on his stomach making it hard for him to breath. He finally wakes up grunting and his voice confirmed Aurora's doubt. Aurora suddenly embraces on to the new looking Hiroshi. Hiroshi, still in a daze, gets surprised, then he remembered the event of last night and water starts to well up in his eye and chokes.
"I... Aurora, we... can't be together..." Hiroshi says as he sits up and he wiping his tears.
"Wha- No!" Aurora replies and holds him even tighter. Hiroshi pushes her and looks her in the eye.
"I have to leave, Aurora. I can't stay here anymore." Hiroshi says with tears running down his face.
"What!? Then... then... I'll go with you... I'll go with you!" Aurora demanded.
"Aurora, look, you remember what happened, right? If you're with me- people will hurt you! Just like last night, or even worse!" Aurora shakes her head, crying and pushes back to grab him.
"No!" Aurora denies him.
"Aurora... Aurora!" Hiroshi shakes Aurora to get her attention and he does and calms himself as well. "I'm a monster. You know what that is? They kill for no reason. Not because they are hungry. Not because they are protecting themselves. Just because they can, and I am just that. I can't control myself when I'm that... thing. I could have killed you... I didn't this time but I might the next time-"
"You promised!" Aurora cries, "You promised you won't leave me..." Hiroshi was dumbfounded.
"I... I can't... I can't... keep you safe... I can't... I take losing someone..." Hiroshi cries.
"I don't want to lose you..." Aurora said. Hiroshi caves and let go of Aurora and she hugs him.
To be continued...?