Chapter 2 — Coming of age, a ceremony needed for emancipation. Part 14
Shortly after midnight, I was shaken awake.
Before I could ask what was going on, Shiro started to speak.
“I’m smelling a lot of oil, of different kinds, all around the house.”
“This could become quite the bonfire then.” The current weather was quite arid.
“I recommend we leave immediately. Or if you want, I could go outside and slaughter the presence I felt loitering there, no matter who the perpetrator is.”
“No thanks. This is my enemy.”
“Your enemy is my enemy.”
“If that applied the other way around too, then I would gladly let you take care of everything,” I sarcastically said. I still didn’t know what Shiro was doing during the time I spent at school.
His face contorted a bit.
I stood up and started to quickly pack everything I needed.
The first thing I looked for was the knife I kept as weapon, and I slid it into the sash of my bathrobe. Then I grabbed my newly bought black sailor uniform, a change of underwear, cash and my bankbook, the book I was reading, and anything else I deemed necessary to live, stuffing them all into a backpack.
“You seem rather calm.”
“Would you find it cuter if I was freaking out?”
“I didn’t mean it that way.”
I ceased moving my hand that was busy packing things and looked at him.
“I’m used to danger. At the very least, stuff way more dangerous than handling a bizarre guy wearing a bandana, or being chased around by my very stressful classmates.”
After pondering about it for a bit, he seemed persuaded. But then…
“Oh, the fire was just lit.”
“How far away would you say the fire is right now?”
He closed his eyes and raised his ears, sniffing loudly through his nose. It seemed like he was able to sense the state of the situation outside to a certain degree, simply with those motions.
“It feels quite far away. They seem to have selected a decent spot to start the fire. I guess they have their heads screwed on straight.”
“How many of them are there?”
“I’d say two. One appears to be a female. The smell of oil is too strong so I’m not really sure though.”
Without realizing it, I started smiling faintly. They had just become slightly less boring.
Her figure came to mind, with only one dark eye shining brightly and roughly applied bandages.
“She is most certainly my enemy.”
I closed the backpack shut.
Then opened the window and observed how the situation was outside. People hadn’t started to gather outside yet.
I climbed onto Shiro and leaped out the window, subsequently stepping down from him by the fence.
Right after that, I scanned my surroundings and noticed a dark silhouette standing beside a street lamp.
It noticed me at the same time as I did, after which it ran away hastily, leaving behind irregular footsteps.
“Should we chase?”
I shook my head, and instead went to inspect the street lamp.
There, I found a small, empty gas tank lying on the ground.
Those fools. What were they thinking leaving this kind of evidence?
After hesitating for a while, I threw the tank inside the house.
Getting rid of the evidence, in other words.
“Was it the female or the other one hiding in the shadows just then?”
“From the scent, I’d say he was a male, but like I said, I can’t be sure.”
We didn’t talk anymore after that. I just waited quietly. The flames grew bigger by the minute, onlookers began to assemble and I slipped in among them. At the same time, Shiro departed so no one would see him.
All the onlookers started making noise, some taking pictures with their phones while others reported what they were seeing in a call. It seemed almost like a festival.
Then when the sound of the fire—or the noise outside—was loud enough, my step-father woke up, probably because of both, noticed what was happening, and finally appeared at the entrance, pulling my mother’s hand behind him.
“Let go of me! Misato-chan is still inside! Misato-chan!” my half crazed mother continually shouted.
Desperate, my step-father couldn’t think of any good excuse to convince her to come with him, so he just frantically kept pulling her by the hand, but she refused to go, floundering around just like a fish scooped out of the water so he was unable to control her.
He looked around, as if asking for help from the onlookers, but everyone pulled back, disconcerted by my mother.
“Mother.” I walked out of the crowd and called out to her.
She stopped moving immediately.
“Saki, it was you, wasn’t it…? You lit this fire, didn’t you! Just to kill Misato-chan, I know you did! What a horrible child! You demon!”
Demon, that was my latest achievement. I smiled wryly to myself.
It would have been so much better if my body was that of a demon, but ultimately I was just a fourteen year old girl.