a) a choice
b) a mistake
c) a bad dream
This is a choice, he says into the mirror.
It is firm, without hesitation. Almost convincing, he thinks. He has been walking that fine line where he needs to believe it more than he needs it to be true.
Choice means power, agency, control. Choice is something that's your very own, something in such short supply these days, especially these days, especially in this city.
Fate, she calls it. Destiny.
He chokes out a laugh at the word.
It' is not often that he laughs. (She makes it a point to let him know.)
He doesn't know if he believes in any of that, doesn't know what he believes sometimes.
And then it's her turn to laugh. She looks at him like he is a child, and maybe, he is. It is staggering to think of it.
He wonders how long she must have watched, waited, a shapeless force of her caliber. And for him to be the one, feeding her all of Yokohama, and slowly, the world, as if through a siphon, one shaped like a woman of unearthly beauty and power.
Stop being a martyr, Inga has told him, time and time again, as she steps in his space, runs a finger along the line of his jaw, taking him that much farther from the living world and closer to the abyss.
She is the sum of all the things that fascinate him, that he can't wrap his head around. Maybe she is a gift, he sometimes thinks, on his more optimistic days. Perhaps she was given to him because he could bear her weight on his shoulders, his conscience.
After all, how does one put it into words?
Give me a deity that will let me tear through souls and lay them bare.
Shinjuurou has never tried to be anyone or anything other than what he is. What he is (he thinks, tries to put it into words in the lost hours in between) is something of a scaffold, a means to an end. Even then, it is a choice. Let them live, or let them die.
Play god or let the goddess play.
Sometimes, it burns the backs of his eyes, jolts him awake in the middle of the night, leaves him shivering in his sheets in the summer heat.
Next to him, she lies awake, smiles, watches, waits and waits.
In the morning, from his window, she counts the birds on the cables outside. Sometimes, she will smile, and it will not be for him. He wonders what she could be thinking, wants so much to ask it out loud and never knows how.
I made a choice, he says, to the thing that is currently sleeping on the sofa inside the body of a boy, legs dangling off the edge of the armrest, head of pale hair spilling in Shinjuurou's lap.
This is the thing that has taken over--No. The thing he has handed over his life to, voluntarily.
Inga turns towards him and mumbles something, as if dreaming, against the fabric of his shirt.
To Shinjuurou, it sounds like: So did I.
a) (the manifestation of) fear
b) an adventure (that he could barely dream up let alone ask for)
c) a black, black shadow at the bottom of his heart (a stain on his conscience, his personal curse)
d) the only (true) thing that is left