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Her hand gently beckons,
"I love you Basara."
"ZANKUROOOOOO!" Screamed Kubikiri Basara as he awoke in terror.
Eyes wide, face twisted into a snarl, he twisted this way and that, trying to orientate himself. It was dark, and he could see little of anything. The chirps of insects came to his ears and he relaxed ever so slightly. He slowly realized he was sitting in a patch of slightly damp grass under a tree in some dark forest. He looked up, following the ominous branches with his eyes until they disappeared into the darkness. His entire body shaking and drenched with sweat, Basara tried desperately to focus his thoughts.
"Kagaribi…" he whispered to himself as he ran his hands furiously through his long, damp, tangled hair. The nightmare came back to him, and he began to rock back and forth sobbing. "Oh Kagaribi…I'm so sorry…"
The wind stirred, and it made him numb as it passed over him, chilling the beads of sweat that still clung to his body. He curled into a ball to stay warm, but nothing could soothe the empty ache in his heart. "Kagaribi, Kagaribi, Kagaribi…"
"Hush my love, it was only a nightmare, you're safe now." A soothing and familiar voice whispered in his ear.
A smile suddenly lit his face as he whirled to embrace…nothing. There was no one there. There never was. Sometimes he thought he caught a wisp of her green hair out of the corner of his eye, but that was all. She's gone Basara, he told himself. Dead. Kagaribi is dead.
"Dead, but not gone Basara. I'm always with you, you know that." The voice rustled again from nowhere. He felt the wind disturb his hair softly, or perhaps the breeze was something more? He resisted the torture of looking for what wasn't there this time and exhaled heavily instead.
"I know." He responded softly. "Together forever."
He closed his eyes to meditate for a moment and attempted to collect himself once again. Clouds concealed the moon for the most part, but once his eyes had adjusted to the dark, he could see relatively well.
"Just a nightmare" He told himself. Looking down at his shaking body, he noticed how thin he was becoming. His body was sheathed in muscle, but he only ate when he remembered to do so, and that wasn't very often. He only hungered for one thing, and food would not quench that desire.
Suddenly, he sucked in his breath upon closer inspection of his body. His stomach churned uneasily as he noticed the fresh welts on his arms. Marks left by human hands, a woman's perhaps… He reached up to feel his chin, and sure enough, they came away bloody where that…thing…(That couldn't have been Kagaribi…no never…) had gripped him. Basara threw his head back and cackled at the night sky. It was the only way to retain what little sanity he had remaining. His laugh was a hollow, wretched thing, and it scared him. He never used to laugh like that before when she was alive…
"Ah…just a nightmare my love. The best nightmare I've ever had! But it wasn't real…no…never real…just like my blood isn't real…" He howled with laughter and pain until he had to stop to breath. He awoke from nightmares often, usually screaming like tonight, this was nothing new to him. However, over time, the line between dream and reality had ceased to be separated, and now, he was never quite sure when he was dreaming, and when he was awake. He walked the world in a crazed daze, never quite trusting what was real, and what wasn't.
"But what does it matter?" He decided at last, "Whether real or not, Zankuro is out there somewhere, and I'll find him, and when I do…" Basara didn't finish his sentence; just the thought of Zankuro filled him with rage. His suffering would never end until he killed Kagaribi's murderer, or until Zankuro killed Basara. Although he much preferred the former, both outcomes were acceptable. Either way, his misery would end once and for all time.
"You will destroy that demon that walks as a man Basara, for both of us." Her voice came again, faint this time.
"Yes I will, Kagaribi, Zankuro will suffer like no man…or demon has ever suffered…this I promise." Basara laughed again, talking to ghosts wouldn't find him Zankuro. Daylight is only an hour or two away, he told himself, best to get moving. He returned to the clearing where he had awoken. Quickly spying what he was searching for, he bent down and retrieved his single possession. The faint light glinted off the razor sharp edges of his weapon. It consisted of a steel circle surrounded by three curved blades, this wheel of death was attached to a length of chain about ten feet long.
"Ahh, my beauty, did you sleep well? I know I didn't…" Basara cooed to the steel as he wrapped the chain around his arm tightly. Finishing this, he grasped the center of the circle and brought the blades to dance in the moonlight once more. Then he frowned, one of the three blade's underside was smeared with drying blood. He didn't remember killing anything or anyone for days… This troubled him, it was one thing to be attacked in your dreams, but to attack another yourself during one…
"Having fun without me while I'm sleeping my pretty? That's not very nice." Basara scowled at the cold steel. A grin crossed his face. He held the weapon away from himself and spoke in a crazed, screechy voice, "Gee, I'm sorry Basara, but I have to do something while the lunatic's sleeping." Basara pretended to consider this very carefully, "Very well, but you could at least do me the courtesy of cleaning yourself off afterwards." He made the weapon nod in agreement vigorously.
"Well, we've got things to do, you and I. I think we'd best be off, don't you?" he questioned the blade again. "Absolutely, Zankuro's expecting us, and we're dreadfully late boss." Basara mimed a squeaky reply for the steel, barely managing to keep a stern glare on his face.
"Then off we go!" And with that, Basara began to forge his way through the underbrush. He paused momentarily, looking back. He had felt something watching him, but could discern nothing in the darkness that had swallowed the clearing. Shaking his head, he continued onward. He knew of a village several miles from here, perhaps someone there knew of Zankuro, and if not, he would search elsewhere till he found him…
Back in the clearing, a translucent figure sat silently watching his progress until he was out of sight. Then she bent over, shaking gently with the tears that wracked her ghostly frame.
"Oh Basara…My poor Basara…Will your suffering ever end?"