It wasn't the first time that Sakura had encountered shinigami before, nor was it the first time she had been the target of a few mean-spirited ghosts.
By now, she had plenty of experience practising nonchalance, particularly when entering her adolescence. Yet every now and then, her carefully crafted mask of casual ignorance was broken, with a flinch or tense movement, and the spirits would realize that she could see them and then they would give chase. Sakura would run. Running, she had plenty of experience in.
An elderly man nearly toppled over his walker as he ventured to the baker's shop, as Sakura whisked by him and made his hat fall to his feet. She shouted a quick apology before resuming her run, intent on getting as far as she could from her supernatural pursuers. Her impromptu steps were nearly slighted by the obstacles in her way, the various stop signs and bushes as well as more unaware pedestrians. Sakura pushed past many of them, until her litany of apologies became as natural as breathing.
The chills up her spine had yet to vanish and she could feel the cold auras gaining ground, hear the ghastly whispers of last regrets from the ghost's lips. Sakura frowned and sped up. Her speed was one that wowed the track team every time, yet it was something she could never join, not when she was always so relentlessly stalked by harmful spirits.
It brushed against her foot, leaving a purple bruise and long red scratches. Sakura stumbled on the gravel, nearly falling into a swing set before she realized she was in a deserted playground (awfully convenient for the early evening). She regained her footing and stared at her latest ghostly stalkers, female triplets around the age of five.
At first glance, they seemed normal enough. But Sakura knew better. She noticed the light lines of silver running down their eyes as blood, as if they were crying. Blackened chains connected the three sisters and each held long blood stained kitchen knives, glittering in between their see-through forms and the background of the trees.
Sakura kept her face blank and she wondered how she would avoid another confrontation today and if she didn't, she wondered how she would escape them and then make a suitable excuse for her mother to believe when she arrived home. The calculations and possibilities raced through her mind. Sakura's fingers inched to the holy water stored in a small purse sewn to her skirt (she had sewn it there, just in case), prepared to throw it on the spirits as a diversion.
They smiled at her and then they attacked.
There was one triplet inches from her nose but Sakura's trained reflexes pushed the ghost out of the way while the other hand whipped out the holy water. It was in a vial, but the vial had the top of a Windex spray screwed on so that she could spray it at the spirits in the ready. The other two triplets screech at her arms, trying to slice at her skin but she managed to spray them with a torrent of water, making their limbs splattered with burning holes.
The triplets howled in pain while Sakura winced, feeling the aura of their emotions and turmoil echoing in her. Part of the reason why it was so difficult to fight against the paranormal was because of her (unwanted) affinity with them. She seemed extremely attuned to their emotional states, emphatic to the point where she could feel what hurt them and it cost her when she tried to escape her angry pursuers.
Like now, as the three ghosts recovered from her attack and swooped down on her from all sides. Sakura had no where to run, she wondered if she could jump high enough to avoid them or if she should try ducking under, when one slashed at her side and the others bit at her fore arms. Sakura cried out and tried to spray more of her holy water on them. But she only saw the whitish wisps of the little girls and how their smiles leered and how their auras seeped into her soul as if she were dipping her body into a bath of ice cold water.
Sakura did not scream. She had been attacked by too many spirits in her life time to give up to pain so easily. But she struggled, struggled so much, only thinking of seeing her mother again, of living up to her father's expectations, when her vision started to blur and the blood became too much…
That was when she saw robes decorated in red wheels on fire and the flash of blood-red hair and eyes. The ghosts dissipated in the brightest light she had ever seen while Sakura fell into comforting warmth. Arms wrapped around her, there was a deep voice, rather endearing, calling out and asking if she was ok.
The last she remembered was the fierce worry in red eyes, as she thought, oh, another shinigami is here, and she blacked out.
It wasn't the first time she had seen the dead. It wasn't the first time they had tried to kill her. It wasn't the first time she had had to run and defend herself and it wasn't the first time she had seen a shinigami.
But it was first time she had ever encountered him. And really, this was perhaps, one of the main events that had started the beginning of everything.