It had fooled everyone, blinded us with the lies we needed to see. And all of them were happy to accept it as truth. Even me.
They had seen it killed, saw me come back to them, but they never saw when my eyes were a little darker than they were supposed to be, my teeth sharper, my smile more wicked. Not even the remaining circles under my eyes.
I could only laugh at our collective foolishness now. It surely did. The demon was old, but his wits had only grown with the years it created chaos in. Only a few calm weeks passed before I knew too soon it was still in me, lurking in the darkness in my heart.
Fear crushed me at first, drowned me in my horrible thoughts and only counting my fingers regularly kept me just at the brink of good enough to keep going, to keep fighting. I couldn’t leave my friends to face the monsters that chased us.
I fell apart at the thought that I would probably be the first one to leave them behind. I was still a human and my body broke more easily and my mind was already being torn apart by the Nogitsune.
Agonizingly slow I grew accustomed to it, the strength it would give me. It was a small comfort. I already knew I’d pay a high price when I would need it. When I would let it roam freely through my veins, my blood, my brain, my heart, it would kill me.
The fox felt right at home in the chaos my feelings provided, the darkness around my heart, the cracks in my sanity. It whispered in my head about how it would tear me apart when I would finally use what it was willing to give.
It laughed at me every so often, relishing how I struggled with reality and pain, savoring it and feeding on it to find its strength again. Only sometimes I felt the frustration in the way it roamed through my thoughts, how it tried to take control again. But it wasn’t time yet. The clever fox had been captured, but it didn’t die in its trap.
‘You can’t kill me, never could. But YOU will die eventually. Sooner than later. And I’ll be free again while you rot with the worms, where you belonged all along. ’
I knew it became sick of waiting, sick of me surviving against all odds, as it broke free inside of me, heavy chains of control forgotten and dug once more through all the secrets I had kept from it. When it found what it needed to know, it laughed evilly within me.
And when the time came it granted me my last wish to save him as my hands grabbed his bloodied and torn Henley with the strength of the old beast inside of me and threw him aside, where he collapsed with a surprised noise.
He turned around, his green eyes widening when the long claws tore through my throat. The tortured screams and howls around me softened as my gurgling noises caused by the spilling blood from my slashed throat got louder, filling my ears with random noise. A crooked smile spread on my lips. And while I still wondered if it had been mine or the Nogitsune’s, I felt a single firefly escape from my mouth, before I felt incredibly tired and my world filled with green eyes and warmth slowly turned cold and black.