Broken Dreams and Demon Nightmares
Chapter 3: Past, Present and Future
"Where does one go from a world of insanity? Somewhere on the other side of despair."
- T.S Elliot
(In the beginning... some fifty years ago...)
As the young half-demon waited for his beloved, an arrow flew past him, almost hitting its mark with deathly accuracy. A look of confusion quickly morphed into astonishment, then anger and lastly, betrayal. Hiding between the shadows of the tall forest trees, a young priestess held her bow in front of her aiming for the half-demon's heart, ready to shoot again and take down her enemy. Her face held no emotion other than that of hate and disgust as she faced off against him.
Heartbroken, the young half-demon ran...he ran as fast as his body could take him. His eyes almost seeing red with only one goal in mind.
Slowly, the scene dissipated, leaving only darkness in its wake...and then, after what seemed like an eternity later, the same infinite darkness morphed once more into yet another memory, just as it always did.
The same half-demon ran though the forest with the jewel of four souls in hand, a wicked smile spreading across his lips as he thought about how easy it had been to steal the jewel. He wanted the power the jewel would provide once he made his wish, a power that would finally allow him to live the life he had always wanted to live, that of a true demon... No longer would he be a filthy half-breed. No longer would he have to suffer for being only half of a whole... He would be feared and respected by everyone. His heart would feel nothing- nothing at all, just like it had before he met her. The priestess who had betrayed him.
He was a fool. Such a fool.
'I believed her every word... I trusted her. And... She...'
Suddenly, from the corner of his eyes he saw her again... Kikyou. He could smell her blood in the air and for a moment he felt a twinge of concern for her, but he buried that feeling deep inside before it had a chance to become more than just a fleeting thing. Too angry to care about her injuries he turned to her, ready to face her as he would any other enemy just as she aimed her bow and arrow at him again. 'She is still beautiful,' he thought, but as soon as that repulsive, wayward thought crossed his mind, he crushed it with his anger.
"InuYasha!" the young priestess called out from across the field, her weapon ready to be fired once more. He felt a sense of déjà vu, for this had been almost the exact same scene he had been in before.
Her voice held so much unadulterated anger that it almost made him pause before he leaped into the air in order to dodge her attack. He vaguely wondered how things could have come to this... What had he done wrong? He had believed her...he had trusted her... Oh, how he wished for this to be some horrible nightmare.
He had promised her, didn't he? He wanted to be with her, even if it was as a human. His honor- his word was all he had to offer... How could she use him in this way? But did he really have to ask himself why? He knew the reason... A lowly half-breed like him wasn't worthy of anyone or anything. If he was honest with himself, it was his own traitorous heart who had betrayed him in the end. From the beginning, he had been weak. His filthy human heart had been weak and now- now he would have to end it here. He would have to...
But could he?
'Fuck! Fucking, weak human heart!'
Her face looked so angry...and...and her brown eyes... They were so- sad.
She was crying.
He was not prepared for the stab of pain that shot straight to his own wounded heart. He didn't want to see her cry. So, in a moment of weakness, he let his guard down. He wanted to protect her. Even now, after everything...he wanted to protect her. He couldn't help himself from calling out her name ever so softly; the hateful scowl and angry eyes that marred his features disappeared from his handsome face, leaving only a hurt and sad expression in its wake. "Kikyou..."
The priestess faltered, slightly confused by the look in his eyes, before steeling her resolve once more. He had been the one who betrayed her and now he had stolen the jewel, she could not let him get away. She would not allow for his crimes to go unpunished. He had toyed with her, used her...and was trying to lure her into his trap again. She would not allow herself to fall for his tricks again. This was his judgment day and she would be his jury, judge and executioner.
Hate. Mistrust. Betrayal. Revenge...
She would not allow him the commodity of a quick death...no- she would do far worse than that. And after she was through, she would follow him in death- for somewhere deep down, she cared for him still and could not live with herself after what she was about to do. His fate was sealed. She would bind him to this world forever- never again to be reborn. His soul would be trapped for eternity within the depths of his own private hell where he would always stay and always suffer... And when his mind and soul could suffer no more, the true gates of hell will open to take his life and soul away in order to wipe them out of existence forever; that would be his punishment. None would be able to save him, for this curse could only be lifted by her own hand.
Without further delays, she fired one sacred arrow, infusing all her power, anger, and hate into it. It traveled faster than the eye could see and, within seconds, the young half-demon found himself pinned against the God Tree, the cursed arrow having pierced straight through his broken heart.
He didn't flinch. He didn't even feel the pain. Her betrayal had hurt much more than any physical wound ever could.
So broken. And so sad.
'Why- did you... betray me...?' Those were his last thoughts before darkness engulfed him.
For thirty five years, horrifying nightmares plagued InuYasha's mind... The pain magnified by a thousand times every hour of every minute of every second until eternity; that was his punishment. He couldn't close his eyes...for there was no rest for the wicked. He was trapped...trapped in eternal death. His soul shattering little by little...and soon nothing would be left.
Living in a world of broken dreams and demon nightmares.
And then, one day...one day the nightmares changed.
They always started off the same, with his own death, but then, on one particular day, he began to feel a soft beat...so warm, so soothing and inviting as it spread throughout his entire being. It was faint at first, nothing more than a whisper of a kiss in the darkness that surrounded him. Slowly, the warmth began to grow and as the years passed the warmth managed to penetrate through all the barriers that death and his curse had created around him, until it reached him completely.
The nightmares soon morphed into lovely dreams of ebony haired angels, with eyes so blue and clear that he could have sworn he saw heaven in them.
However, he couldn't help but notice how much this lovely angel resembled her. Baffled, he wondered... 'Since when have your eyes been so blue?' As soon as the thought crossed his mind, he realized that this angel and her were not the same person, for the angel was all smiles and sunshine in a world full of death.
Many years went by and for InuYasha; it felt like a lifetime passed before his very eyes. He saw what was, what is, and what could be...all so inviting, and yet- still so out of reach.
Thump thump. Thump thump. Thump thump.
The warm beat was much stronger now... so strong in fact, that he could almost hear its rhythmic song pulsing loudly through his ears.
A sudden panic rose in his chest and he began to feel the one thing he had not felt for some fifty years...his own heart beat.
Suddenly the hell around him began to fall part, as a soft light seeped through the sea of darkness. There was a roaring sound that broke through the nothingness and he was able to make out a scream...
"...help me! Somebody help!!"
The voice sounded strangely familiar and, for a few precious seconds, he was afraid. Of what, he was unsure, but he knew that if he didn't do something fast, something horrible would happen to the voice...
Willing his mind and body to wake from its eternal slumber, his world exploded into a sea of lights and sounds and smells, making him almost dizzy and nauseous.
'Where... am I?'
Through the haze of his mind, he tried to figure out what was going on... 'The God Tree...? Why can't I move? What am I- ?'
And just like a clear and sunny day, he could remember everything that he had seen in the last fifty years of his death-like-sleep. Every nightmare, every dream, every feeling...engraved into his very soul and in his heart. Though, just like any dream, the fleeting memory only lasted mere seconds before disappearing into the deepest and darkest corner of his mind and soul.
Without warning, the life he lived before his curse came rushing back like the roaring rapids of an overgrown river.
Kikyou. Betrayal. Jewel. Arrow. Sealed.
He snarled with an uncontained rage as a pungent odor hit his nose, making him forget about all his dreams and everything that he had seen inside them. "That smell..." He spat, narrowing his eyes. "The smell of the one who killed me... is coming closer!"
Yet he couldn't help but wonder behind his mask of fury as his cold, unforgiving eyes stared into the forest, 'Is it really her scent? If it is- then why is it so sweet...?'
And... Within moments... He found himself staring into deep azure eyes of an unfamiliar girl who called herself, 'Ka. Go. Me.' Her name sparked one small memory from his forgotten dreams, causing it to seep back into his consciousness.
'This woman is not Kikyou.'
'Her eyes are too blue.'
(Back to the present...)
"He's coming! Kaede! He's on his way here!" Shippou called out as he ran towards the old priestess, the look of fear etched in his bewildered eyes. "We couldn't stop him. He- he was so angry and- and he didn't even remember us!"
The old woman knew exactly who the young fox demon was speaking of. After all, she had felt its familiar, yet malevolent, aura getting closer and closer sending chills down her old bones.
From the moment she felt the ominous presence in the forest, she began to alert the villagers, making sure they all stayed out of harm's way. There was no time to evacuate everyone from the village safely so she instructed all of them to stay indoors until the danger had passed.
"Kaede!" a tired looking monk and demon exterminator exclaimed in unison.
"InuYasha- he..." Miroku began to explain but was cut off by the old priestess as she met them half way.
"Quickly monk! We must erect a barrier. I have placed sacred scrolls all around the village to anchor the barrier and make it more powerful, but it will take both of our spiritual strengths to activate it and maintain it. Come now, we must make haste!"
Within moments and with much difficulty, Kaede and Miroku were able to erect a barrier which engulfed the entire village. In the meantime, Sango and Kirara began to patrol the barrier's border in order to ensure that it was holding strong and true. Once they were sure that the barrier would hold, they made their way back to the group in order to wait for the inevitable encounter with their old friend, now turned foe.
"Do you think the barrier will hold, Sango?" a scared looking Shippou asked from his small hiding place.
Eyes trained to the forest and a frown on her face, a hesitant Sango simply replied with an uncharacteristic grunt.
"You saw what he did to Miroku's spell scrolls... They didn't work on him at all... What if- what if he just walks in here like it's nothing? What are we gonna do then? What-"
At the panicked sound of his voice, Sango did turn, with an indescribable look on her face. "If that is the case, then there's not much else we can do other than fight, Shippou."
"But this is InuYasha! He's our-"
"I know Shippou!" She yelled cutting the scared fox demon off.
Frowning once more, she turned her attention back to the forest.
He was here.
'I know...' She repeated to herself.
Moments later, the forest grew quiet. The only sounds made were the soft chanting murmurs from the monk and priestess.
However, the devil could hear even the tiniest intake of breath.
Just beyond the darkness, a pair of glowing red eyes surveyed its target. An elongated fang peaked out from soft, but pale looking lips as the corners curled up in a menacing looking smirk.
"Pathetic..." His voice rumbled, the sound a mixture between a laugh and a growl.
Without waiting a moment longer, he went in for the kill. Fangs bared, claws poised to strike as he made his move, but he was met with an invisible resistance which, upon impact, threw him back into the dark forest with a force he hadn't been expecting.
Puzzled, he striked again, and again...and again until he was howling with rage. The blood was so close, he could almost taste it. He could feel every single living thing just by the fast thumping of their weak, mortal hearts.
Pausing mid-rage, he smirked. If these humans thought he would give up that easily, then they were in for a surprise.
With renewed vigor he slashed at the barrier. With his mate's power coursing through him, he could feel where the barrier was anchored and he began to attack there.
Sensing the weakening barrier, Miroku and Kaede renewed their chanting with much more fervor and prayed to the gods for a small miracle, doubtful that they could keep the barrier up for much longer.
On this day God was merciful...
Mid-swipe, the demon stopped and shook his head, trying to clear the fog that threatened to overcome his senses.
Bewildered, he looked around trying to find the source of the voice he knew so well...see her face, feel her touch, but there was nothing.
The voice kept calling out to him, making his head hurt. It was like a pounding that would not cease. It clouded everything else, leaving no room for anything else.
"No! You're not here! You're gone! You're not here!" he shouted holding his head in his hands and dropping to his knees. "You're-you're not real! Not real..."
'Please InuYasha...come back to me...come back...'
"Not real...you're not real...you're not real...not real...not real!!!! No! No. No. No. No. NO!" he cried out into the night, tears falling from his crimson eyes. His claws dug deep gashes into his scalp and his face as he tried desperately to block out the pain.
Leaping blindly in the direction of the forest, he tried to out run the voices in his head, leaving his prey behind with bewildered looks on their faces.
(Five hundred years in the future...)
From the kitchen window, just as Mrs. Higurashi was finishing the last of the dishes she began to notice a soft blue light swirling around the direction of the shed which housed the old well. In time, the light became brighter and brighter until the entire shed was illuminated in an eerie whitish-bluish light. Running out of the house and towards the well house, Mrs. Higurashi tried to swallow the lump that had somehow formed in her throat. She couldn't tell why or how, but she had this growing feeling inside that something had gone terribly wrong.
Call it a mother's intuition.
Slowing down as she got closer to the well, she tried to steady her nerves, not knowing what she would find if she looked down below.
Swallowing hard, she steadied her hands on the ledge and steeled herself for the worst. Slowly, ever so slowly, she made herself look down into the well's empty depths. There...just beyond the darkness she saw her...her precious baby girl. Her old school uniform was torn to shreds and she was covered in mud.
She hurried down the ladder with her heart threaten to burst from her chest. Seconds felt like hours and she felt as if though she couldn't get down there fast enough. 'Please God, please...not my baby girl. Please...not her,' she repeated over and over again. Once she reached the bottom, she could do nothing more than just stare at her daughter's form for what seemed like the longest time. Tentatively, with trembling hands, she reached out to touch her.
'Please. Please. Please. Please...'
Finally her fingertips grazed her soft cheeks.
'She's still warm!' Moving quickly, she checked her pulse and it was then that the realization hit her like a ton of bricks making her fall to her knees. Her daughter was alive.
Small rivers of tears fell from her eyes, tears she didn't know she had been holding in. Pulling her daughter in a soft, but tight, embrace she cried even harder still.
Kagome was home. She was alive. She was home.