At first, there was pain. Not really the physical sort, not entirely. This was the kind of someone entering your mind and slamming it with the metaphysical sledgehammer. Blinding, hot, and it hurt. Hurt so bad inside that it was almost a physical thing. And then, what might've been seconds or hours later, it stopped, leaving nothing but a silent darkness. Yoji Kudou though he was going mad, and in some sense, he'd just experienced a bit of what that's like. He lay very still on the floor, listening for any sounds the one who'd just given him such a shock might make. There was nothing, only the sensation of drifting within that dark and silent world.

An hour beforehand, he'd been sitting on the couch, watching the news, hearing the usual talk of the various weird things going on in New York, some of the horror stories from survivors. By now, it really should've sunk in more than this. Didn't these people know what walked amongst them? Of course not, he had to remind himself, they don't want to know. Denial is a powerful thing. As his thoughts started to drift to his - in what might loosely or strongly referred to, depending - girlfriend, there came a bright flash of light in the midst of his living room. Kudou threw up his forearm to shield his eyes from the white light, his right hand instinctively reaching under his left armpit for the weapon kept there. The only problem was, he wasn't wearing all of his gear. The glow faded, and as Kudou braced himself for some form of attack, there was nothing, just some young kid standing there, smiling at him, dressed in an expensive suit and black trench coat.

"Who are you?" The most obvious question, and the first that sprang to Kudou's mind as he began to stand. Even in his surprise, his voice was as it generally was, flat, emotionless, level. The kid seemed to smile wider, his voice as youthful as his appearance, and oddly musical in its amusement.

"Think of me as something of your best friend, Mr. Kudou, a guardian." Said the young man, turning lightly on the balls of his feet, faintly glowing pure white eyes roaming over Kudous' apartment before setting on him once more.

"And the first thing I suggest - after finding an interior decorator - is to sit back down and relax, I'm not here to harm you."

"You'll just have to excuse my suspicion of someone that just shows up in my home unannounced. And you're not my friend, whoever you are." Kudou scowled, a hard edge finding its way into his voice. [ Continue ]

Written By Eric C. ('Ric)