"Oh pitiful shadow lost in the darkness, bringing torment and pain to others. Oh damned soul, wallowing in your sin
"Perhaps, it is time to die."
The screams seemed to increase in volume as these last words were said. The young man just sighed, scratching the back of his head. "This one is really vocal, isn't she?"
His companion frowned. "People are not generally at ease with the thought of spending eternity in Hell."
"How about traitors?"
This time, it was his companion who sighed.
"They are a different case."
"It's like when we were alive. Everyone seemed to be an exception in some way. But this
" He held his arms out, as if he was going to embrace the surrounding landscape full of water. "But this is the ultimate judgment, isn't it? There are no degrees in it. Just one or another."
"No." The word was simple and left no room for argument. The older boy's eyes followed the figure who was guiding the boat to the doorway that was firmly standing in the river. "There are degrees worse only meant for the worse of sinners." He turned around, and bent his knees slightly. "And how are we better than them?"
The one who initiated the conversation just sighed, watching as the other leapt up and took flight with the wings that formed less than a second since he left the ground. "We're not," he muttered softly, knowing that the other could not hear him. "But it's what we do."
Fenton woke as the bells chimed twelve as he had done for the past few years. How long had it been? It had felt like eternity, but in the back of his mind he already knew. Three years, sixty four-
The bells rang the second time to continue to signify the hour.
-make that sixty five days. He wasn't lost on the exact amount of days. But they had managed to blur together, creating a long string of time that just went on and on. It didn't matter when they began and when they ended to him.
That's where the true irony started.
That moment when the day officially started as a new one in the darkness haunted him. The retired PI could not figure out what had connected him to whatever bells rang out in the middle of the night. In fact, he was almost positive that the bells weren't even local. But they weren't just in his head, either. They were just there, somewhere, independent of his existence without being aware that they were torturing him with past dreams and realities. Then again, he brought it upon himself to ruin not only his life, but that of his late family members.
Of course, they had argued this fact quite often on those rare visits. Laura stated that she chose her death by car accident. Besides, it had been far too long since she had allowed herself to take upon her job as the Unforgiving Witch, and she reasoned it was time to go back. The marriage at that point was on unsteady ground, and she felt assured that a bit of time away from him would either sort itself out or turn her back into the heartless immortal that she once was.
His sons followed similar reasoning. Joe had assured that with or without knowledge of both Hell Girl and his mother's true identity, he still would have been killed while in Japan. After all, the gunman that had entered the train knew of either legend and was more focused upon stealing lives. Frank used a different route, saying that life would either become boring without Joe's company or quickly gone because he was killed off. A bullet seen in a vision wasn't too bad in his opinion.
It all ended up leading to a single girl. Ai Enma. Fenton thought that she was a greater evil than he had ever faced, but of course everything was not as it appeared. She sent sinners to Hell because she was repaying for her own sin. It was almost left to chance that she managed to find people who cared for her. Or, at least, once cared.
There was an old man. Fenton had long forgotten the name, partially because his Japanese was poor. He remembered that the man was the spirit of a wheel of the carrier for a princess. It had fallen off a cliff, and somehow Ai had come across the spirit, gave him a human appearance, and employed his help. However, it appeared that he had grown to believe that Ai was becoming dangerous and using some ritual, tried to match her powers to send her to Hell and be rid of her forever. He had not count on Laura (Or should he be calling her the Unforgiving Witch? He never got around to answering the question for himself.) coming and using her powers to send him back.
That was over two years ago, and he never got a chance to see the downfall. Not that it truly affected him in any way. He was only a mortal, after all. Any word of it came second hand from his youngest son. Laura did not think that the man was worth the time of explaining and wished that she had banished him to who-knows-where earlier. Frank hadn't spoken of it due to his love of Ai and the pain she apparently felt from the betrayal. Even through his words, the blond was reluctant of speaking in great detail of what had occurred. Fenton never asked why.
"When can I join them?" he muttered to himself. Even though he lacked the powers that they had, joining them in their other existence would be comforting. Not lonely as he was right now in the almost empty house. He had refused to sell it, as if the only connection that he had with the rest of his immediate family were right there and no where else.
His eyes then flew to the papers that lay upon his desk. Under the dim moonlight that had managed to slip through the window, they seemed to have a glow. The papers, neatly piled on top of each other, were his entrance to Japan. The place that had brought his family to their fates. The place that he had vivid nightmares about almost consistently. He was going there, of all places, on his own free will.
"Forgive me for being weak."
Fenton allowed sleep to claim his mind once again, escaping from the endless loop of questions and answers that he was not willing to face. Already he felt as if his spirit was being pulled at on all ends. The days had not dulled the pain, but only made him long for when he could truly join his family.
He never noticed the black kitten with blue eyes watching him from the windowsill. A red thread hung limply from its neck, bobbing up and down as the cat leaped through the window as if it were made out of air and landed on the floor gracefully and silently.
If one were to look into the blue eyes, they could swear that intelligence was somewhere in the mist of them, along with hints of sadness. They focused on the slumbering man for a moment, as the rest of the body seemed to shift into a blond teenage boy. He was wearing a school uniform that resembled more of a suit. The jacket and slacks were both midnight black, while the shirt was a contrasting pure white. To finish it off, there was a red tie that was partially hidden by the jacket with an emblem than looked like a black flame on the knot.
"Why didn't you tell us?" The whispered question settled in the air. "Frank could always see you in his dreams. He said you were lonely, but never
never like this."
He pushed a hand through his hair, allowing his sight to be block for a few seconds. "You're not weak. Far from it, in fact. Why do you think that we looked up to you when we were younger?"
A soft rustle of wings gently filled the room, as another teenage boy landed on the ground beside the blond. He was in an identical uniform. The main difference was the fact that he was about an inch taller and had brown hair.
"She's right." The brown eyes stared down at the floor. The air suddenly grew tense as the blue eyes flickered upon the other.
"She's only right about them accessing the sight. The question is, what are you not telling me?"
"You wouldn't want to hear-"
"That sentence, right there." The blond pointed a finger at the brunette. "You just told me everything, Frank."
"It might not be true-"
"Bullshit! When was one of your visions wrong?"
"Well, I hope it's wrong! Just this once!"
The blue eyes widened before softening with sympathy. "Why would they
"I don't know, Joe. Heck, this is the first time I saw something that far in the future! I just
" Frank finally sighed as he gave up looking for the words to fit his emotions into. There was no right container, but the implication was enough for his brother.
"Humans can grow worse with a single snap of the fingers. Don't worry too much over it-"
"They were our friends. I can't help it!"
"Once, yes. But they weren't killed. They haven't seen the things we've seen, much less send souls directly into Hell. We're our own people in that regard, and they can't understand it. So how can we still be friends?"
I don't know. But even you must-"
"I separated myself a long time ago. You haven't."
Frank narrowed his eyes. "Is there something wrong with that?"
wrong," Joe said back, shrugging. "Just hurts in the long run."
"Right." Frank turned around and took a few steps towards the window before turning back. "Remember what we talked about earlier? How are we better than those others?"
"We react. We don't pull the thread in the end."
Joe spared his father one last look before running to the window and leaping through the glass, once again leaving no sign or impression that he was ever in the room. He dropped towards the first floor and out of sight. A large crane, however, rose into the air and flew towards the horizon hidden by the other houses.
"Don't we?" Frank turned back and looked at the desk. Hesitantly, he walked forward and reached out to the papers. His fingertip spread them across the wood. The room tensed under the sudden feeling of power that flowed.
"A dance." Frank's eyes were glazed over, and even in the darkness they seemed to have turned black. "So simple and elegant. It's peaceful, too. Don't worry, Dad. We'll take care of it."
The eyes darken and the brunette frowned. "But you start it all. You didn't mean to, but the question you leave behind sends them to the website. They pull the string. And there's so much pain
"I forgive you for grieving. I forgive you for your role in their demise. But will you be able to forgive yourself in the end?"
No one ever knew of their visit. Even the traces of "Midnight" the cat disappeared into the shadows, never to reveal what happened that night.