The blood bubbles up in her mouth, spilling over parted lips. There pain shooting up her back as his boot smashes down on her ribs, something cracking underfoot. She looks into his eyes, so pale and dark, expressions hidden by his mask. There is only the anger... visible even in his garments. A bright red hatred.
She’d made it for him, this little doll, a bear... Why won’t he accept it? Why won’t he take it? Is she really so beneath him he will not even consider such a small gift?
She lets her hands fall away, looking towards that bear one last time before closing her eyes, the tear trickling down her eyes. Why?
The pain from the blood wouldn’t be so bad, if he’d only accept her. Why is it she’s doomed to be like this? She didn’t choose this life. So why?... Why must she be alone?
“I hate teddy bears!” he rages, his fist glowing with the flames, the fires flickering from his wrist. The woman’s hands fall with a slap to the floor, the offensive object having rolled away during their battle.
He looks towards her, his anger still strong. How dare she? How dare she bring up such memories? He raises his arm, preparing for the final blow, the fires burning brightly around his fist when a wind drifts by. Something blowing, almost whispering... like a voice?
In here? In a rail system, he thinks. He raises his head, looking towards a flower that spins slowly on the currents, landing lightly on the discarded bear’s stomach. A pink flower, one from his land. “It can not be...” he says in a whisper. “Miko?”
The wind sighs, a soft blowing and then there is nothing more. He bends down slowly, picking up the flower cautiously. It is there, soft and fragrant even. The smell lingers in his nose. So long has it been... so many years since he last smelt it.
There is a wind that drifts by, picking the flower from his hand, blowing it away. He watches it recede in the distance, disappearing behind the speeding train. The wind... from that... perhaps? No. That would not explain the flower...
He bends down, picking up the bear gently. Gazing at it.
The woods then smelt of pine, the flowers only beginning to bloom, a colorful cast of whites and purples. The babbling brook had been churning next to the small cottage he called home once. It was simple, made of wood, not large or ornate. But it had been home.
He remembers, bending down, handing something to his son who had been so young back then. “This is for you,” he’d said.
“What is it?” said the boy.
“A doll. A gift for you.”
“I don’t play with dolls!” the boy had chided. “Those are for girls!”
“Not even fierce bears?” He’d pushed the stuffed animal into the boy’s face, waving it in a playful manner. The boy had smiled, pushing it away and hugging him.
He remembers that... the feel of the child’s warm body against him. The bear forgotten by him then, but always carried by the child. A child long since gone now...
He looks down at the bear now. One his son has never touched. Never will touch. But it looks so similar. He squeezes it in repressed anger and sighs, a single tear falling on its rubber nose.
This is the reason for his anger. It is not her fault. Only his.
He walks over to the woman, looping the bear in a chord at his waist and bends down, feeling her pulse. Still alive. She coughs, blood splattering from her lips.
He pulls away, feeling anger. But not at her. At himself, for having done this. He should leave. He should walk away and never return.
But as he gazes down at her, prone and helpless on the floor, he can not help but feel guilt and responsibility. If not for him she would not be in this condition.
He lifts her carefully into his arms, hearing her groan, tears slipping out from her eyes. He should put her back, he thinks. This is his fault. He...
“Father...” she whispers. “It hurts. Make the pain go away. Make it go...”
Her voice falls silent, head slumping against his chest. He looks at her silently, her hair falling over her face. He’d disregarded her at the beginning. Now he is confused as to what he should do. “Miko, help me...” he whispers.
After what feels like several long minutes he disappears in a gout of flame.
Many hours pass before there is another noise, a shadow coming down the stairs, crouched low, long blades shimmering with the setting sun. The creature snorts, taking in the scents and leaps down, hitting the floor in a crouch, pressing its face against the concrete slabs of stone.
There is sulphur here. A wretched smoke and heat almost drowning out “her” scent. Almost. But she was here. Somewhere in the sulphur. But there it ends.
Baraka raises his head up to the sky, fanged mouth opening, a type of beastial noise escaping his lips. He would find her! Somehow... Somehow she would be his!