Monday, 20 May 2013

The Fox - Part VIII

He clamped his teeth down so hard his canines punctured the gums of his lower jaw. The pain brought him back. As did the sharp, metallic taste of blood that filled his mouth with its salty sweetness. Back to the eyes of a girl who barely knew him, not even knowing what he wanted the pendant for. Back to the reality of losing his mate, the only one he had ever known. Back to the loss, and the only option his pain-blinded mind could fashion for him.

An exchange, that was what he would offer them. He wanted to bring her back. Never mind if it was only for a century or two, he would not live long enough to see her live out her life again. Losing all his power would mean the loss of his life since he was not a real kitsune, not a living legend like her. Just a spirit bound to the fox's body, called to life by her power that remained in the pendant.

His curse that had him linked to the necklace with its pretty fox pendant had been a source of frustration ever since she died. The night she left him, he had laid on the grass, stained in her blood and too weak to move. By morning he could not move at all. It had been so cold, and he was trapped in the icy grip of her power. Turned into a pendant until the girl picked him up and wore him next to her skin. The warmth that tingled through his body as her skin made contact with metal gave him a life of sorts. He woke up in her backyard, treated as a foundling boy who wandered into their mansion by accident and taken into service by her wealthy family. For years he followed her, tailing her, working for her family, until they began to suspect the young man with the odd coloured hair who never grew a day older of being something other than their loyal servant. Then they came for him, with torches and swords and priests with bells. He ran.

Eventually the girl who had first picked up that pendant which contained part of his spirit passed away. The necklace was forgotten. Left to rot and fade in the dusty remains of that mansion with its jade statues and sakura trees that finally gave way to the passage of time. He had weakened in his human form, finally waking up again one day to find that he was once again trapped, in the silvered cage of the pendant, only able to see the changing world out of a single garnet eye. For years that cycle had repeated but the curse remained. He could not die a final death and be reunited with his mate, neither could he live because of the hold the pendant had over his physical body. Taken away from the warmth of its wearer, he would lose his physical form, be it fox or human. It got harder to explain to the people around him why he kept disappearing. It also got harder for him to explain why he needed the necklace.

Now all that remained was what was left in that pendant. He wondered if it even contained enough to bring back what he had lost. The rustling of her clothes as she moved distracted him from his thoughts. He watched her rise to her feet from the kneeling position she had been in since he had awoken to find her peering at him with that worried look on her face. Emi, he remembered her name now, busied herself getting water from the crystal pitcher that sat on a low wooden dresser by the window. Sounds of water trickling into a bowl reminded him that he needed to go. Today was her death anniversary. He had to return to that spot where the grass grew in scarlet clumps and the trees still smelled of her scent. He had to go. Had to. The urge to run was so strong he stood up immediately - and promptly fell with a surprised yelp of pain and shock as his leg gave way.

~Rei Shiori

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