In the distance, the sun shined brightly down onto the mountain, the white snow almost painful to the eyes. It was a particularly chilly day and Tanjirou could see dark clouds slowly approach. Picking up the heavy basket filled with newly made charcoal, Tanjirou looped his arms around the straps, making sure the basket fitted comfortable behind him. With every breath he let out, a cloud of water vapour appeared in front of him. Just before he could set off down the mountain, a gentle voice called out his name which grabbed his attention.
“Tanjirou!” His mother, Kie, called. Her head was wrapped around with a headscarf to keep any loose hair from her face as she cooked and her lilac eyes as kind as ever, “Your face is pitch-black… come here,” Kie gestured to Tanjirou. In her hand was a damp cloth which she used to clean off the soot on his face when he was making the charcoal. Tanjirou smiled as he felt his mother wiped it away, “You don’t have to go. It’s snowing and dangerous outside.”
“I know, I want us to have a great New Year’s feast so I’ll go sell as much charcoal as I can… even if it’s just a little.”
Despite the hardships the Kamado family face from time to time, they’re all happy. Tanjirou grinned as his younger siblings expressed their upset when they heard Tanjirou was going to sell charcoal without them. Kie sternly reminded them that they couldn’t go with Tanjirou as he’s going without the cart due to the weather. The eldest gave each of them a tight hug and a few head pats for comfort. He had a feeling today was going to be quite the rough trip down to the town but he was determined to give his family a good meal during New Year’s.
Waving his family goodbye, Tanjirou started to venture down the mountain. A minute or so in, he met up with Nezuko who had managed to put Rokuta, the youngest, to sleep. Nezuko was the eldest daughter of the Kamado family. She’s kindhearted and hardworking, doing her best to aid their mother and take care of their younger siblings. After the death of their father, the younger siblings have started clinging onto Nezuko and Tanjirou. As the older siblings, they do their best to ensure the happiness of the family.
But life isn’t like the weather. It’s always changing.
It won’t always be easy and the snow won’t always keep falling.
When happiness ends…
There’s always the smell of blood in the air
“Oh, Tanjirou! You came down the mountain on a day like today? You work so hard!”
Tanjirou grinned and gratefully thanked the old woman. His presence attracted the attention of everyone in the town and soon enough, there were people coming left, right and centre asking for some charcoal. A few people had asked for his assistance such as carrying bundles and sniffing out the culprit to a broken ceramic dish. As he’s the diligent and complying person that he is, Tanjirou agreed to help with no reluctance. There were a few times where the townspeople were worried that he was being too much of a pushover. However, Tanjirou had happily explained that he knows his limits and boundaries. Besides, it’s the least he could do to help.
By the time he had finished selling the charcoal, the sun was almost setting. The basket felt light on his back as it was now empty. Making his way back up the mountain, Tanjirou was sure he would make it back before the sun fully set. He passed by a lone cottage that belonged to Saburo-ojiisan who now lives alone because he lost his family. The old man had invited Tanjirou to stay by his house since it was getting late but Tanjirou refused his offer, “It’s only a few more minutes until I reach the house so I can make it before night time. Thank you for your concern!”
He was only a few minutes away.
A few minutes too late.
Tanjirou’s eyes widened. He could smell blood. It was thick and heavy in the air, coming from the direction of his home. The boy feared the worst. His heart rate quickened and Tanjirou started to run towards the smell. The closer he got the more suffocating it became. It was hard to see in the darkness and Tanjirou had almost tripped on a few lost tree roots. It was getting harder to breathe from the running and the tight feeling that was forming in his throat. Once he arrived, he noticed a single lantern that was still lit up outside the house. And then he saw the blood on the ground. The deep crimson glistened and stained the beautiful ivory snow. The door was torn off its hinges and broken.
He immediately dropped the basket on his back and sprinted towards the house, “WHAT HAPPENED-!” Tanjirou cut off when he looked into the house. He felt the chill of death down his spine and broke out into a cold sweat. Standing in the midst of the darkness was a tall man, dressed in black. His scent was completely different than anyone Tanjirou knew.
He wasn’t human.
Tanjirou placed a hand over his mouth. The smell was death was too strong, he felt the urge to vomit. His mother was lifted from the ground by the man with one hand. Kie was heavily wounded, he could see the blood seeping out of her wounds. Her eyes were flowing with tears, nails clawing at the hand tightly grasping her neck. Tanjirou noticed, from the corner of his eyes, the hatchet that leaned against the wall. His hands trembled as he reached for it, holding it with great strength, ‘I have to do something, I have to do something, I have to do something!”
The first step into his house made the wooden floor creak loudly. The man head perked up at the sound and he slowly turned around. Tanjirou charged towards the man quickly. However, he was quicker than Tanjirou. With his free hand, the man slashed Tanjirou’s face, sharp nails digging into his skin causing it to bleed. The boy screamed in pain and was kicked into the wall at full force. A cry escaped his mouth as his back collided against the hard wood. The man then let go of Tanjirou’s mother. She landed on her knees with a loud thud and gasped for air.
Tanjirou could feel the wetness of blood drip down his face. In his blurry vision, he could see the man approach him. The man kneeled down and moved his face closer to the boy’s face. Tanjirou could recognise his features. The black curly hair and deathly pale complexion but the most prominent characteristics were his red slitted eyes and razor-sharp fangs stained with the blood of his loved ones, ‘A demon! He’s a demon!’
The man had a terrifying smirk on his face and his eyes trailed to the side to look at his earrings. Tanjirou was frozen in place, not knowing what to do but stare at him in terror, eyes wide and heart beating fast, “Ah, those hanafuda earrings. So you’re the heir of your family’s knowledge.”
Tanjirou blinked in confusion, ‘Knowledge? What is he talking about?’ However, those thoughts were cut short when the man decided to touch the earrings. In defence, Tanjirou inhaled deeply before swinging the hatchet against the man’s hand. The hand was cleanly sliced off, blood splattering everywhere, and the man back away in pain. Yet, in a second, the wound regenerated and a new hand replaced the chopped one, “You little brat…” The man growled, eyes darkening. Tanjirou tensed in fear. In the blink of an eye, the man hauled Tanjirou across the room. Pain seared through his body and he could barely stand. His mouth went dry when he saw the dead bodies of his siblings.
Hanako, Takeo, Shigeru and Rokuta.
Where was Nezuko…?
The man shoved his left arm against Tanjirou’s throat pipe. He couldn’t breathe. He couldn’t think. His eyes started to water from the pain and his lungs burned. Raising the arm with the hatchet, Tanjirou brought it down onto the man’s shoulder with as much strength as he could muster. He hissed in pain and glared daggers at Tanjirou. The pressure on his throat tightened and Tanjirou felt lightheaded. He was going to die. A bloodcurdling scream broke past his mouth as he felt the man dig his nails into his chest, creating a deep wound that would make him bleed to death.
Then the man left.
Tanjirou watched the dark figure slowly fade into the distance. He then landed onto the ground, head hitting the floor. Everything hurt and he was in agony. He took as many deep breaths as his lungs could handle. “Tanjirou…” The boy heard and he looked up. His mother laid on the ground, hand reaching out to the boy, “C-come…” Blood pooled from her open wound and Tanjirou knew her death wasn’t far.
“Mom…” Tanjirou gasped. He dragged his body to her and grabbed her hand, “Mom… it hurts so much.”
Kie made a quiet shushing sound and wrapped her arm around Tanjirou, “I k-know… Nezuko… ran to find h-help,” The woman coughed violently. There was a deafening silence. Tanjirou’s vision was fading but he tried to focus on his mom’s face, “I love you…” She whispered. Then, her eyes blanked and her body slumped.
“Don’t go…” Tanjirou prayed. Hot tears ran down his face, mixing with the blood from scratches on his face, “I love you, too.” He whimpered before blacking out.