Blood. So much blood.
The night had started out innocently enough. After a simple but delicious meal of Katsudon, Asahi had left his family in the sitting room, where they would spend their evening watching a movie while he went to a party at his best friends’ house. It wasn’t really a party in the typical sense of the word, the kind with popular music, dancing, and a horde of teens making bad decisions. No, this party was much more Asahi’s scene. It consisted of himself and two friends, Aiko and Akira, quietly reading to themselves, then discussing the chapters.
Book club… it was a book club.
But Asahi didn’t care that his peers had labelled the little friend group ‘a couple of losers’. He didn’t care that they didn’t get invited to real parties, or that he’d never spent the evening throwing up in a stranger’s garden. His schoolmates didn’t know who his family was, or which bear they were potentially poking, and Asahi was fine with that. He was content to spend his Friday nights reading with his friends, listening to classical music, and discussing all manners of literature. In fact, those nights were his favourite of the week. Aiko and Akira’s father belonged to the same organisation as his own, so they understood him in a way most other people never could. He didn’t have to wear a mask with them. He was accepted. And that, something seemingly so simple, meant the entire world to him.
So, that was how Asahi spent his night. He had a skip in his step and a lightness in his heart when he arrived home, a little after 10:30. There was a family car, and a driver, but he’d chosen to walk the mile or so from Aiko and Akira’s, enjoying the faint mist in the air, a promise of oncoming rain. His hair, face, and shoulders were mildly damp as he walked up the drive, but his books, secured in a leather bag slung over his shoulder, were nice and dry, so he had no complaints.
Asahi’s first clue that something was amiss was the darkness of the house. Usually, when he stepped through the gate and onto the fenced property, the family room light could be seen, burning bright like a beacon calling him home. His mother, at least, would wait up for him, just to make sure he was safe. Often, his father and younger siblings accompanied her, choosing to watch a second movie instead of retiring to bed. But on this night, the house was dark, and eerily still. Approaching the main entrance, an inexplicable chill ran down Asahi’s spine as he noticed it was open. And just over the threshold, something dark and ominous pooled on the floor, glistening in the silvery light cast by the moon above.
Instinctively, as a child would, Asahi’s first reaction was to call for his mother, his voice coming out timid and unsure. No voice returned, however, so he tried again, stepping inside. “Okaasan? Otou-chan?” He called for his parents, and then his siblings, listing off their names in a voice that steadily crept higher and higher in worry. “Ren? Kiari? Tomi?”
But as Asahi wandered deeper into the darkened house, there were no answering cries, not of pain or fear, or relief. An indescribable fear set into his stomach, his bones, the back of his throat, filling him like venom. It was easy to see, even in the dark, that a struggle had taken place. Furniture was toppled, framed photos hung lopsided on the walls or shattered on the floor, and the sheer amount of blood left the colour draining from Asahi’s face until he was as white as a sheet. It was a horror movie come to life, and yet there were no bodies. Where was his family? Where were the police, the ambulances? Why was he here, all alone, in this madness?
Finally the answer came when he made his way to the kitchen. The floors here were slick with blood, causing him to fall to his hands and knees. He slipped in it, smearing his clothes and bag. But none of that registered in his mind, because laying before him, was the lifeless, unseeing form of his father. His throat slit wide, the blood drained from him, all the strength and power that the man had once possessed was long gone. Asahi tried to cry out in alarm, but the sound strangled in his throat, choking itself on the sight that lay before him. Beyond his father’s corpse were four more. His mother, his sister, and two brothers, piled together almost haphazardly. Like his father, all had their throats slit, their faces frozen forever in expressions of terror and agony. A guttural sob ripped itself from Asahi’s throat then, tearing his vocal chords and trying to rip his heart in half. Crawling on his hands and knees through the blood of his family, he reached for them, crying their names over and over.
It was this panicked frenzy of desperation that kept him from hearing their killer approach him from behind, entering through the same door he’d come in just moments before. A blade gleamed in his hand, dripping blood that was still warm. His face twisted with an insane grin as he moved closer, preparing to kill the last member of the Saito family.