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16+ Language Violence

The Forsaken Race - The Hidden Truth: Chapter 3

by RavenAkuma


Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language and violence.

Chapter 3 - The Four-Flamed Symbol

     

     

The day was ticking by, and it was just a bit after noon. Kita and Mao had returned home after the incident in the pawnshop. The way back was quiet, as Kita struggled to make sense of what happened while ignoring more gut-wrenching hallucinations. Due to her rattled state, she wasn't surprised that she was seeing more of them, but the unusual side was that she kept seeing the burning emblem. She wasn't getting used to it, either. Every time she saw those four flames and the four-pointed star, she felt a chill creep down her spine.

Now, Kita was lying on her bed, staring at the ceiling. She could see things shifting out of the corners of her eyes, each making her twitch as she feared something worse to manifest. That, on top of the same crushing feelings of doubt, gloom, and hopelessness that normally clung to her.

Kita rolled onto her side, futilely trying to clear her aching head. She took a glance at the door, expecting Mao to return at any moment. After all, the earlier incident made it a little too clear that something was wrong beyond insomnia, and her friend would be damned if she let it go unnoticed.

“This is going to get the rumor mill going for months…”

As Stud hopped onto the bed with Kita, she vented her frustration in one long groan.

“Have I not had enough problems to deal with?”

'BAM!'

The door suddenly swung open, making Kita jump with fright. Mao charged inside, spinning a little, then stopped in the center of the room.

"What is it with you and slamming doors?" Kita muttered, slowly calming back down.

"Sorry," Mao quickly replied. "But good news; Yuna says that she can help!"

Another sylph already entered the room, laughing at Mao's excitement. Her dark blonde hair was tied back, and she had dusky blue eyes. She wore a silvery gray dress with dark purple lining at the collar and sleeves, a dark gray belt, and a slit on the skirt that was dark purple with salmon-colored scale patterns. A black crossbody bag hung over her shoulder. Despite only being two years older than her friends, anyone could mistake her for someone much more mature.

"Well, I can try," Yuna remarked. "Just to clarify, I'm not an expert in anything, as you both know."

"You may as well be," Mao replied.

Kita sighed, "Hello, Yuna."

Mao sat with her on the bed, while Yuna pulled up an old wooden chair and sat across from them. Kita already didn’t like this setup, as it naturally pressured her to talk.

Kita awkwardly cleared her throat. "Did Mao interrupt another appointment?"

Mao laughed nervously, while Yuna shot her a blunt look.

"Yes," Yuna muttered. "Yes, she did. It wasn't anything critical, though. Anyway, I hear something’s wrong. How are you feeling?”

Kita shook her head. "Not great."

"I got her to go outside, though!" Mao chimed. "That has to count for something, right?"

"Not if she nearly had a breakdown," Yuna argued. "Let's get straight to the point. Kita, I heard about what was happening in that store. I don't want to make assumptions, but it sounds like this has escalated far beyond sleepless nights."

Kita arched one brow. "What did you tell her, Mao?"

"Exactly what I saw," Mao replied. "You got incredibly scared over seemingly nothing.”

Yuna nodded. "We're not going to get anywhere if you keep it all to yourself. Can you please be honest with us? How bad has this really gotten?"

For a moment, Kita hesitated. She felt the urge to spill it all right there, like a weight on her chest threatening to crash down. However, that same weight was blocking her throat, trapping the words somewhere deep inside of her.

Kita took a deep breath. "I just can't sleep. You know that."

"What about the treatments?" Asked Yuna. "You got some medicine to try."

"It didn't work," Kita answered. "I just didn't want to tell you."

"You should have, but this doesn’t make sense...” Yuna shook her head. “Do you notice anything that may be causing it? Even if you don't think it's connected, what's different?"

Kita shrugged her shoulders. That made Yuna sigh and shift to a more contemplative position.

"There has to be something. Let's backtrack to the incident in the store. Maybe how the way this problem manifests in the daylight hours will provide a hint. What made you scared?"

"I-I don't know," Kita stammered. "I thought I saw something, that's all."

As if it dawned on her, Yuna blinked hard. She spoke in a quiet and cautious tone, “Listen. I don't want you to feel any kind of shame or embarrassment when I ask you this, nor when you answer me. I need to know, though. Have you been 'seeing things' in other places? Things that may not actually be there."

Kita felt the blood drain from her face, as she realized her mistake.

“Good gods, Yuna, not like that! It was just a mistake! Don't start thinking I-"

“Calm down!” Yuna insisted. “I told you not to feel embarrassed. I won't lie, that stuff has a certain stigma to it, but you and I both know it's silly to listen. Besides, even if you admitted that you think you’re on a whole different level of existence right now, this is between us. You know you can trust us, and you know we’ll believe you. What are we going to do, put you in the asylum? I don’t think so.”

Kita was ashamed to realize her doubt in that statement.

“Another thing I have to be honest about is that I was already suspicious that something like that may have been happening. I was hoping to find a better way to talk with you about it, but here we are. Let’s make it work, right? We're not going to make fun of you, nor think any lesser of you. Knowing that, would you be okay if I asked you some more questions, so we can try to understand?"

"Please?" Asked Mao.

Kita thought to herself, I don't know how to turn this around. On one hand, coming clean may provide a solution. One that will actually work, this time. On the other hand, the sheer insanity could turn them away. Even if they're nice to my face, I know they already look down on me as the 'childish' one, and gods only know what this'll make them think of me.

Kita crossed her arms. "What's there to talk about? In truth, I get blurry vision and some things look a little different, then it spooks me because the insomnia has made me paranoid. That's the full story."

"Dammit, right when we were getting somewhere," Yuna muttered. "I didn't want to do this, but it's time to bring the third and final thing up. Exactly what you saw, to give you that reaction. Mao, what did you say it was?"

"I'm not too sure, actually. It was some kind of banner. I think I could draw it."

Yuna pulled a small notebook and pen from her bag. "Here, try."

Kita felt her anxiety rise, and she tried not to look as Mao sketched. She knew it would bring trouble, and she could tell that from the slight glitches in her vision that persisted even now. Still, instead of coming clean, she tried to brace herself.

Once Mao handed back the notebook, Yuna held it up to Kita. Sure enough, it was a rough sketch of the same symbol.

"This is it, isn't it?" Asked Yuna. "Do you know why this is important to you?"

Still staring at the symbol, Kita used all her focus to acknowledge the paper around the marks, reminding herself that it was nothing more than a drawing.

However, the longer she stared, the more the space around her began to darken. The second she noticed smoke beginning to emit from the marks, she looked away, trying to act casual.

"Yes, that's it," said Kita.

"Why is it burning?"

Kita blinked hard, quickly looking back. "What did you-"

As suddenly as she turned her head, Kita felt a force knock her back.

The room became lost in a deep red haze. Blood, now accompanied by inky, black tar began to spew from between the floorboards, the cracks in the door, and around the flickering light. She could hear croaking groans from behind her, and she smelled a vile combination of rust, iron, smoke, and rotting flesh. Most frightful of all, she felt hands trying to grab her from the tar and blood.

Kita struggled, but couldn't move as cold, inky fingers coiled around her wrists. They held her in place, while Yuna pounced on her, holding the symbol up to her as it leaked more black ooze and billowing smoke. Likewise, Yuna was now bleeding from her eyes, with a savage expression and wide eyes like those of a beast.

"Why are you letting it burn?!"

Kita tried to look away, but above Yuna, she could see the same red and black flag, with a burning emblem.

A cold, wet force then hit her directly in the face, making her exhale sharply and sending a shocking chill throughout her body.

Kita quickly wiped her eyes, afraid the blood had hit her, but staring up at her hands revealed clear water smeared along her fingertips, which were only slightly flecked with blood around the nail. Beyond her hands, she could see her room in a normal state, with her and her friends. Mao was restraining her leg, which was poised to kick something, while Yuna was standing in front of her with an empty glass still aimed at her. They both wore horrified expressions.

Heated embarrassment swept over Kita. She quickly jerked her hands back, turning away from them both so her head rested against the wall. As she inspected her hands again, she realized that one of her arms -right where she thought Yuna had been holding her- had five bloody indentations in the skin. They all aligned perfectly with her own hand.

Quickly crossing her arms to hide the damage, Kita turned slightly more toward her friends, but kept her head down.

"I'm sorry, I didn't know that would happen," Yuna said quickly.

While Yuna was distracted, Kita stood up and stormed into the bathroom. She quickly locked the door behind her.

Flicking on the oil lamp, she examined the marks along her arm. They weren't very deep, since she kept her nails short and dull, but the sheer pressure applied by her unconscious self had rendered them red, sore, and inflamed. Bruises were already forming to her exact shape. They were easily the worst in her new collection of nicks and scratches.

Kita choked back a sniffle, then rinsed off the wounds and applied a small patch.Thankfully, the color was close to her skin, so it would be hard to notice in the dim lighting of her house.

'Knock-knock'

Kita let out an audible yelp, to her further embarrassment.

"It's just me," Mao spoke through the door. "Are you okay?"

Kita sighed, then dried her hands and opened the door. Mao was lingering close, clearly anxious, while Yuna was rifling through her bag.

"I'm fine," Kita muttered, before making her way back to the bed. "So? Now that you know I'm a psychopath, what do you want to do with me?"

“I told you, we don’t think you’re crazy,” Yuna argued. “Right, Mao?"

"I have that reaction to needles," Mao remarked. "If she's crazy, so am I."

"Um, sure," Yuna muttered. "We now have a bigger question..." She tore off the page, setting it on the dresser. "Why is this significant to you, Kita, and why is it making you act this way?"

Kita looked down, clenching her fists tightly. It felt like the weight increased on her chest, rather than letting up. Even so, the truth trickled out like water through a cracked glass.

"It's not just the symbol. It's the worst so far, but this happens with other things. Most of the time, I just have to lie down and stare long enough. It's also been triggered by lights or things that move too suddenly. My reflection is probably the second worst, especially if I'm looking at my eyes."

"Why are your eyes always an issue?" Mao ranted. "I've never understood it!"

Yuna explained, "It is a very unusual trait, and she’s always been self-conscious, so maybe that's why. It's still not a solid answer, so let's try this; Kita, what do you normally see during these spells?"

Kita shrugged her shoulders, murmuring, "Shadows. All around me. Sometimes, they escalate. Flames, blood, hands, and things like that."

"That sounds terrifying," Mao murmured.

Yuna looked away, shifting uncomfortably. "Yeah. Still, it's all vague. Is there anything you immediately recognize? Things that could be linked to this reaction. Like your father, for-"

Kita spat resentfully, "No. I haven't even thought about him since we ran away. Honestly, I appreciate that you're being so calm about this, but I've already tried getting help and it led nowhere. I don’t feel like going on another goosechase, only to find more failure.”

“The solution's out there,” Yuna insisted. “We just have to find it."

“The medical route failed,” Mao remarked. “There has to be an alternative. Someone who knows about psychotherapy, or even magic. Heck, you know what? This all clearly links back to that symbol. We should try to find out more about it, then we can make a connection."

"That's a waste," Yuna argued. “Medical diagnoses take time, that's all. We don’t need to interrupt the process.”

"You once said 'treating the symptoms' is useless," Mao argued. "These are symptoms of seeing the symbol, and as she said, the medical route is failing. Let’s try something else.”

Yuna looked unamused. "We need a doctor."

Mao crossed her arms. "Symbol first!"

Kita arched one brow. "How does this help?"

Mao blew a raspberry at Yuna, who flicked her in the nose.

Yuna took a deep breath. "Okay! We'll need some time to work out a plan, but for now, I have what will hopefully be a temporary solution. Kita, can you promise to do exactly what I say?"

"What are you talking about, now?" Kita interrogated.

Yuna pulled something out of her bag. Kita was even more confused by the small glass bottle that had been presented. It was filled with a light green, almost yellow substance. There were a few bubbles in it, but they seemed unnatural, with a silvery sheen.

"What is that?" Kita interrogated.

"Um..." Yuna laughed nervously, "Technically illegal?"

"What?" Kita cried.

"Not the substance itself!" Yuna insisted. "Me taking it and giving it to you, without permission or a doctor's note. It's a pretty simple potion, but because it uses some magic ingredients, it's more regulated. You know how Sybilius is with its magic laws."

Kita eyed the bottle, uneasy. "What does it do?"

"It helps patients with night terrors and irrational fears," Yuna explained. "This should take a bit of the sting out of what you're seeing. It also causes drowsiness, so it can get you to sleep. That's honestly the biggest thing we should try to cure."

"Let's do it!" Mao remarked. "Kita, quick, drink up!"

"Hold on," Yuna argued. "Let's wait until it's closer to nighttime, and we'll only use about one tablespoon. The standard for patients Kita's size is about two, but I want to go easy."

Kita looked unamused. "I enjoy how you two have no hesitation to drug me."

Yuna giggled, "No! It's a potion, technically, and we should take whatever we can get at this point. Can you please try it? One tablespoon, as I said."

Despite her reservations, Kita sighed and took the bottle from her. The idea of potential sleep, and no sickening visions, was as tempting as it was unrealistic.

"Good," Yuna remarked. "Don't worry, we'll find something better soon. We'll get this fixed."

Kita managed a small smile, even though this seemed wrong.

Without any signals to go on, Yuna looked content and headed for the door. However, she abruptly stopped halfway, spinning back around.

"I forgot to say! I would also recommend letting Mao sleep here, tonight."

"Why?" Asked Kita.

"Well, maybe having company will help," said Yuna.

"Don't worry, Kita!" Mao chimed. "I shall protect you from the sinister forces lurking in your mind! Oh, this will be so fun -I have to get my things!"

Mao darted out of the room before Kita could say much more. Yuna was poorly trying to hide her laughter.

"I'm sure that's just what I need for sleep," Kita muttered.

"Aw, don't crush her spirits," said Yuna. "You saw how excited she was."

With too many thoughts clashing in her head already, Kita asked, "Is that all?"

Likely disappointed in her flat response, Yuna sighed, "Yes. Good night, and please take care of yourself. Okay?"

Kita gave her a convincing smile, and waved as she left the room. As soon as the door closed, however, the façade shattered and the gloom returned.

“Even our smiles feel fake now,” she muttered.


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Tue Apr 30, 2024 7:12 pm
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Moonlily wrote a review...



Hello Hello, I hope you dont mind popping in with a quick review as I slowly read through this novel. This was a very solid chapter I can see the horror influences really start to come through. The visions were very impactful and I like how the real-life worried reactions of her friends played into it. On top of that, I enjoy that you don't play off the fact there is shame and stigma surrounding these things.

There are only a few things I want to point out but overall it's nothing too crazy. First off I kinda wish you described some of what she was seeing on the way back. This could really help set up a sense of unease that builds as the chapter goes. I do get the big vision is the climax but tension and release are a big reason why horror impacts us so much. ( I think Ted Ed has some videos on it try their one on how to write suspense if you are curious.)

Other than that I found a few lines that could use a little rephrasing to help the flow.

"Let's get straight to the point. Kita, I heard about what was happening in that store. I don't want to make assumptions, but it sounds like this has escalated far beyond sleepless nights." I could be wrong on the grammar side of things but I feel "What happened in that store "could be less of a mouthful.

“Another thing I have to be honest about is that I was already suspicious that something like that may have been happening." Now this could be just how the character talks but I feel this could be streamlined to something like " To be honest I had my suspicions something like may have been going on already."

Lastly ".Thankfully, the color was close to her skin, so it would be hard to notice in the dim lighting of her house." just needs a space before Thankfully.

Overall I really enjoyed this chapter keep writing, good luck with the ending and drink some water!




RavenAkuma says...


Welcome back, Moonlily! Ah, I like the suggestions for the sentences, and thanks for catching that space issue. And I get that there could be more detail on the buildup, I like that ~

Thank you for taking the time to read and review! :D



Moonlily says...


Hey thanks for the kind response as always I enjoy dipping into the world you are crafting and sharing my insight. I can't wait to see what's in store.



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Fri Feb 23, 2024 3:11 pm
keeperofgaming wrote a review...



I love Yuna being so kind, her concern for her friend echoes the reality of the situation. She also risks getting in trouble for the same reason. It's also interesting that, because she knows her stuff, she is able to not only calm Kita, but prescribe something to help her.
This story echoes a sense of reality by allowing the reader to understand and see the world, as well as letting them feel Kita's pain as well as Mao's enthusiasm and Yuna's will to help.
By giving the story this, you allow the reader to empathize with the characters and see their pain and triumphs. You create an emotional appeal that gives the reader more of a caring aspect.
Though, one critique I have is that you go a bit too heavy in the emotional appeal. For many readers, this will not be a problem, but clinical readers may grow a bit irritated by the sheer emotional battering the story gives.
Don't get me wrong, however, I love the story, just a bit of a tip from my own experiences.
Thank you for writing this story.




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Sat Dec 30, 2023 6:54 am
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Liminality says...



Hello - Lim here with a brief comment :D

I think there's an uneasy yet narratively interesting dynamic between the three friends here! Yuna's medical paradigm seems *very* questionable, though I'm taking it that is intentional for this setting, where people don't really have a good understanding of psychiatry or mental health. Yuna and Mao both want to help Kita, though they each seem to be going about it the wrong way - Yuna's methods are ineffective against something that seems to be partially supernatural at least, and Mao's treating Kita like an extravert even though Kita seems to be introverted. Those are my thoughts at least, at this point. I'm with Mao in trying to investigate the symbol, though, since that seems like one tangible thing that could lead to the cause of the supernatural affliction.




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Wed Dec 13, 2023 10:06 am
IcyFlame wrote a review...



Hey Raven, I'm back again for another chapter.

This chapter feels like a natural progression for me, although it kind of begs the question as to why Mao hasn't tried to help her sooner. Sure, Kita is sceptical this will work but that doesn't appear to be a massive barrier considering she's willing to give this a go. From the reactions of most people to Kita's existence I assume she's had visions for a while (unless there are other things I'm not aware of) so it feels only natural that she or Mao would have sought help for her ailments before now.

I also feel like I don't quite understand enough of this world beyond Kita to get any indications of what the implications are of what Kita is seeing. Is there are body that would trap her in a mental hospital to avoid this information getting out? That kind of worldbuilding - just a hint at what the environment and/or government is like would help to get a view beyond the immediate that we're getting here.

I hope that Yuna is able to help Kita, but I'm sure this is only the beginning of these super intense vision, so I'm not holding my breath!

See you for chapter four.

Icy




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Wed Dec 13, 2023 6:14 am
dragonight9 wrote a review...



Hi Raven, hope you're having a great day. Here's my review.

As I'm reading through:

Man I couldn't stop myself. I usually am able to find points to comment on as I read, but I was just so engrossed in the story that I actually forgot. Great job!

Overall thoughts:

The only thing that kept coming up in my head as I was reading was the fact that they were trying to 'fix' Kita. It's very easy to get into that mindset when helping others and Kita knows they have the best intentions which was very clearly shown here. I hope you comment on that at some point though. (how she may not want them to try to make her better but instead simply come alongside her where she's at).
Though it seems they might uncover a darker cause if they continue as they are. So I'm a bit conflicted between wanting them to uncover what's going on while also wanting them to become better friends to Kita.

I like how Kita has a friend who is a doctor and is trying all sorts of practical (worldly) methods contrasted my Mao who thinks there's something more spiritual with the connection to the symbol.

Not sure if you needed to reiterate the failed attempts at seeing the doctor but it worked with the conversation so there was no real downside either.

I also liked how Kita's character is consistent with her trying to keep what's going on a secret for fear of her friends judging her or leaving her. Also her pessimism in regards to this new potion was also what I would expect.

Lastly, I really liked the ending. How she wasn't able to force herself to smile even though she wanted to. Even in her pain she is trying to hold it together for her friends.

Last thoughts:

This chapter progressed the story well and did a good job of introducing Yuna and her role as medical expert and practical realist. I wonder how much of her we're going to see in the future.

Great chapter! Have a wonderful day/week.




RavenAkuma says...


I'm glad you like Kita's character, and the dynamic between her friends! It's definitely a challenge making progress in the story and in the characters, considering the whole foundation of these specific mental health problems is feeling "stuck" in place. Hopefully I deliver, but by all means, call me out of I don't.

Thanks for reading, and for your great review! :)




attempting foot extraction
— Mea