The Start of All Things
A cool autumn breeze went through the trees, a single sunset-colored leaf falling to the ground. They were outside for gym today, with everyone doing their own thing. Kanna was running laps with some of the other girls. She could have done 50 of those in the time it took her classmates to do one, but she wanted to seem normal. Too much, and there would be questions she didn’t want to deal with. Besides, she liked going at a human’s pace; it seemed so relaxing compared to being a dragon.
“A dragon should think little of humans. There are mere specks floating by compared to us.”
The elders were wrong about that. They were wrong about everything concerning humans.
The bell rang and the class was heading inside.
“Kanna-chan?” A soft voice came from behind her. She recognized it as Mr. Sunohara, the Phys Ed teacher. He was a young man, a bit older than Kobayashi, with soft brown hair and deep blue eyes. “Could you help me with something in the equipment room? It won’t take too long.”
She nodded. She liked Mr. Sunohara; he reminded her of her older brother back home. She missed him. I miss all of them.
As it turned out, he needed her to help him count all of the soccer balls; there was going to be a tournament held there soon, and they need to make sure that they had enough. She was a bit puzzled about why he needed her help, but she shrugged it off.
It only took about two minutes. Mr. Sunohara smiled at her. “Thanks, Kanna-chan. You know, you’re such a good girl, so well-raised, so quiet.”
She felt a shadow go over her as he touched her shoulder.
Tohru was humming some tune to herself as she was cooking.
I think that’s the one about humans drowning in their own bile. She preferred that one over the one about pillaging and ravaging entire villages.
It had been a quiet evening; Kanna had spent most of it doing her homework and Tohru… well, she had been herself.
“Miss Kobayashi, dinner’s almost ready!”
“Ah.” She then thought of something as a precautionary measure. “Your tail’s not in this stir-fry, is it?”
“U-Uh, no! Of course not! Geez, you’re so silly, Miss Kobayashi!”
Really? And what’s that I hear you throwing in the trash?
She noticed something. Or rather, a lack of something.
“Tohru, have you seen Kanna-chan?”
“Mmm, she’s been in her room for a while. You don’t think something is wrong with you, do you?”
Kobayashi stood up. “I don’t think so.” She walked over to the bedroom and knocked. “Kanna-chan, dinner’s almost ready.” She didn’t hear anything. She knocked again. “Kanna-chan, are you OK?” She could hear something now, if she focused hard enough. A soft whimper. She opened the door.
She wished it was anything else. Even if Kanna had thrown up everywhere from some goddamn flu, she would have been fine with that. But this…
Kanna was on her bed, her back towards Kobayashi. A pillow was up next to her face, bite marks having ripped out part of its inside. The young dragon was trembling all over, shaking, and red blood was creating small streams down her legs, going over the back of her knee and ending up on the bed.
Kobayashi rushed over. “Kanna-chan!” She turned the girl so that she was on her back. She could now see the tears rushing down her face and her hands gripping her stomach.
“Ko-Kobayashi… i-it hurts…” She closed her eyes and gritted her teeth as a wave of pain rushed over her.
Kobayashi heard footsteps behind her. Tohru was right next to her.
“Hold her, Tohru. I’ll call for an ambulance.” She had never noticed before how light Kanna seemed when she was passing her over to Tohru. As she got her cell phone, she prayed to whatever gods existed.
Please, anyone, help her.
It had been a quiet night, as falls tended to be. He had only been called for a sprained ankle and a head injury; nothing major, would heal in a few days.
Yamato Senjou had been working here for 6 years after finishing his residency in Tokyo. He had chosen Koshigaya due to it being quieter than Tokyo while still being a large town. He planned to spend the rest of his career here. The only dissatisfaction he currently had about himself was that he was 35 and still not married.
His cell phone rang. “Senjou here.”
“Hey, Doctor. We’ve got an 8-year-old female coming in.”
“Ah. Any injuries?”
“She’s complaining of stomach cramps, and there’s vaginal bleeding.”
“Oh.” Either one of these things wouldn’t have been too much of a problem. The cramps would’ve most likely been a stomach bug; the bleeding would’ve been a bit worrisome, but most likely they would have been dealing with a vaginal infection.
Both, at the same time, though? Something bad was going on.
He found himself somewhat glad that he had decided to specialize in both pediatrics and gynecology. It had seemed an odd idea to him at first, but it made him quite the attractive property when he was looking for hospitals to work at. It was also critical for cases like this, thankfully rare as they were.
He got to the room that he was told the patient, a Kanna Kobayashi, was in, and knocked on the door before entering. There were three people inside: the girl, who was in a medical down, and two women, most likely in their twenties. Her guardians, I would guess.
“Hello. My name is Yamato, and I will be Kanna-chan’s doctor today.”
“It’s nice to meet you.” The redhead went to him and shook his hand. He noticed how it trembled. “My name is ----- Kobayashi, and this is Tohru.”
“Nice to meet you as well.” He got into his chair and looked at Kanna, who was staring straight ahead at the wall. “So, Kanna-chan, can you tell me what brings you in today?”
The girl looked at him, and he noticed her eyes. It seemed like they were removed from the situation, that they were staring at something that didn’t exist.
“What hurts, Kanna-chan?”
She pointed at her stomach.
“How bad does it hurt?”
She sniffled and cried. “I-I-It doesn’t feel good…”
“I see.” He thought of how to phrase his next sentence. “Kanna-chan, does it hurt around her private parts?” He felt Kobayashi and Tohru stare at him as he said that.
Kanna looked at him confused. “What d-do you mean?”
“The part of your body that your underwear covers, does that hurt?”
The girl’s eyes widened in what he guessed was shock, even as she nodded.
Please, don’t let this be what I think it is…
“Kanna-chan… would you feel comfortable showing me where it hurts on your body?”
The girl froze in place. She started staring at the door, breathing heavily.
“Kanna-chan.” The redhaired woman sat next to her and rubbed her hair. “If you don’t want to do it, it’s alright.”
The girl looked down at her lap for a moment, before slowly lifting up her gown until her pubic area was visible. Yamato had to restrain his temper for a moment.
There was significant bruising already, most of it having turned purple and dark blue. Her labia had swollen and become puffy, and there was dried blood all around it. There were also marks on her hips which looked like handprints.
“Umm…” He had seen this before; two or three times a year, one of these cases would come in and make him reconsider his profession. “Kobayashi-san, may I speak to you outside?”
“O-Of course.” The woman was just as horrified as she was, the blood having drained from her face. She moved towards the door while the other woman got over to Kanna and held her close.
She’s going to need as much of that as she can get.
She needed to be dreaming. It wasn’t a wish or even a want, it was a need. Because this wasn’t happening, this couldn’t be happening, this should not be happening.
“Who-Who-Who-“ She felt herself hyperventilate, but she paid little attention to her body. “Who would do something like this?”
“People like this exist in the world, as much as we wish to deny it.” The doctor’s face had become grim, almost like a man walking to the firing squad. “I’m sorry this happened to Kanna.”
This didn’t happen, you fucking idiot! She had to calm down; she wasn’t going to let this overcome her. “So… what happens now?”
“I’d suggest we contact the police. There’s a detective I’ve worked with before for cases involving rape.”
Her head nodded by itself. “What will happen to Kanna-chan?”
“I’d administer a full pelvic exam, then the detective would ask her some questions. Of course, we wouldn’t have to do either of them tonight, if Kanna doesn’t want to. The only thing I worry about is any loss of evidence from degradation.” His voice seemed to fade in and out, like a radio with a bad frequency. But she understood what he was saying. “Kobayashi-san.” That seemed clearer.
“Trauma is something that affects everyone in the nearby vicinity, even if they weren’t there. It’s quite contagious, even if nobody talks about it. Actually, it’s more contagious when nobody talks about it.” He pulled out a small thing of paper and gave it to her. “My card, if you need somebody to talk to.”
She nodded. “Thank you.”
“Of course. I’ll go make the call.” He walked down the hallway and disappeared around a corner. Kobayashi went back into the room. Kanna was sitting in Tohru’s lap, sobbing into her chest, while Tohru held her close. The dragon looked at Kobayashi, tears streaming down her face.
Kobayashi sat next to him and hugged both of them. Her guard that seemed ever-present on her faded and she began to cry as well.
“I’m so sorry, Kanna-chan… I’m sorry…”
For a while, the only thing she could feel was a deep emptiness that had to be let out. It was all she could.
No platitudes will fix this. I don’t know what can.