Fandom(s): Yume Nikki/ Ao Oni
Character(s)/Pairing(s): In this chapter, characters are:All of the previously mentioned Yume Nikki fangame characters and Uuji from Irisu Syndrome.
Rating: T for swears and mentions of child abuse.
Theme: Table 2 theme #6 Morning
Summary: Chie recalls life at the Rose Garden.
Note: This is actually chapter 16. This is part of the second story arc. A list of chapters for the first arc is here This story is typically updated once a month, but this month I'm doing two because they connect.
Red Rose ~Blood Rose~
She was running through the vast darkness, trying to catch up with the woman in the long white dress who had let go of her hand and bolted ahead of her. Her stubby little legs couldn’t compare to her long, elegant strides. In her other hand, she kept a tight grip on a little white rabbit doll. It flopped against her body as she ran.
The rabbit’s name was U-tarou. Mommy said she liked that name, but then Mommy took her to this place and ran away, leaving her behind.
The ringing of the high speed train filled her ears. In the distance, she saw the willowy shape of her mother, her long, wavy hair flowing with the sudden rush of wind. She called out to her, but the noise of the train dulled her crying. Mommy looked at her and smiled. She smiled and waved to her as she fell backwards into the oncoming train. The horn’s blasting echoing on for an eternity. All she could think to do was cover U-tarou’s eyes with her hand.
“Get up, stupid monster child!”
The morning sun seeped through the cracks of the dust-covered window.
“I said get up!”
A sharp pain entered her side. She squeezed her eyes shut tight. Make him wait, she’d get up when she damn well felt like it. She would not succumb to fear like everyone else. She rolled onto her back. His large body loomed over her, making the bed creek as his weight came down on the small frame. His breath stunk up her air.
“When I say, ‘get up’, you get the hell up. Don’t you dare be ungrateful to the person who saved your miserable life!”
She said nothing, only looked at him as she got out of bed.
“Since you were such a lazy bones, why don’t you go into the basement and clean it?” he said. His voice was low and dangerous.
She looked back at him.
“What’s with that look? Are you challenging me?” She saw his hand curl into a fist. Blow after blow she endured. Hoping he didn’t see the small white shape hiding under the covers. She felt her body wither.
“Why won’t you cry? What the hell is wrong with you? Cry, damn it!”
With a final, sharp kick, he stopped. She lay on the cold floor, surrounded by the darkness. She did not utter a sound.
“You really are a monster. Your mother was lucky she didn’t live long enough to see what horrible thing you’ve become. You can forget about food until you finished your task,” he said as he left.
She hadn’t eaten for almost a whole day already. Was he… trying to kill her?
“Here,” said a voice.
Bread rained down from the sky.
It was wrong to grovel like a dog, but it was also food. She scoped up the scattered pieces from the dirty floor and put them in her mouth.
The boy before her was almost angelic. His blond hair was such a contrast to his father’s dark hair. “You should just cry you know. Papa would go easier on you if you did.”
“He can go to hell,” she said softly.
The boy broke of another piece of bread. “Eat properly.”
She snatched it from his hands quickly and shoved it into her mouth.
“Chie, do you want me to help you?”
“I can do it myself, Kowaru!”
The boy scoffed. “I don’t know why I even bother. You’re like a wild dog.”
Dog, demon, monster, she’d heard all sorts of words whispered about her behind her back. What made her so different from the other girls? When she was sure nobody was looking, she tucked U-tarou further under the covers of her bed.
U-tarou glanced back at her with his sad smile and black button eyes. She wished she knew what had happed to his left ear. The stuffing poked out of his head like an open wound. Oh well, at least he wasn’t going to fall apart anymore. The nice strong stitches around his arms and legs and head made sure of that.
“Don’t worry; I won’t let them get you,” she whispered as she hugged the bunny to her chest.
The water bucket was heavy. She strained to lift it with both hands and go down the stairs into the basement. Because of the increasing darkness, she tripped halfway down the stairs. Not wanting to let go of the bucket, her face hit the cement floor. The soapy water flooded the stairway. Seeing the mess, she hurried to run up the stairs and grab the mop. Maybe she could still salvage some of the water.
“What the hell did you do?”
Where did he come from?
She felt something smack her on the back. It was hard and stung her skin, but still, she refused to cry out.
“Why can’t you do such a simple thing? What is wrong with you?”
The pain was almost rhythmic.
He lifted her up and tossed her outside. “You can sweep, can’t you?”
She didn’t look at him.
“We’ll can’t you?”
She took the broom from him and did a small sweeping motion.
“Good. Don’t you dare slack off!”
Her body still hurt, but she did her job as best she could.
“You okay, Chie?”
She looked up to find a familiar blue-haired boy grinning mischievously at her from atop the brick wall.
“Hi Uuji,” she said.
“Why so glum, chum?” he asked after he had hopped down onto the ground.
She looked away. “No reason.”
He studied her intently. “Hmm, you know the more I see you, the more you turn into a bruised tomato. You sure you don’t want me to call the cops?”
“Shh. He’ll hear you!”
“So? I don’t like seeing you turn into a bruised tomato.”
Chie snorted. “I have thicker skin than a tomato!”
He poked her in the arm.
“Ow! What was that for?”
“What point? That you’re a weirdo?”
“Think what you want. If that’s how you feel, I’m going home!”
“Wait! I’m sorry, Uuji! Don’t go!”
He turned back around. A smile crossed his face. He dropped something into her hands. “Here, since you were a good girl and said sorry, this is for you. You can’t look at it until you’re sure you’re alone, okay? The other girl’s might steal it because it brings good luck.”
She clasped her hands together and put them to her chest. “Okay,” she looked at him and noticed the bruises on his knees. “Hey, did you hurt yourself on the playground again?”
Uuji shrugged. “Nah, a couple of kids bullied me.”
She felt her fist tighten. “Bring ‘em over this way. I’ll set them straight for you!”
“They’re big kids,” he warned.
“So? I’ll still make ‘em regret it!”
“You will, huh?”
“Damn right I will! You’re-!”
His lips met hers.
She pulled away quickly. “What’d you do that for?” she demanded.
He grinned again. “I got that bad word out of your mouth. You can’t have it back; so you can’t use it ever again!”
“Huh? No fair! Gimme back my word!”
“No. I’ll steal all the bad ones right out of your mouth! My tomato shouldn’t be rotten.”
“What is it with you and tomatoes?”
“I like them! Especially the squishy, sweet ones!”
She looked down. “I’ve never had one of those...”
“I’ll bring one for you next time!”
She shuffled her feet, kicking around a stray pebble. “Do you have to go home now?”
Uuji sighed. “Yeah. If I skip too much of the play date, my parents get all suspicious.”
“It means they don’t trust I’ll do what I say I will. Like if you didn’t sweep when you said you would.”
“But I’ll come back again soon, so you hang in there until then, okay?”
She smiled. “I will. Bye Uuji.”
When the sun began to set, she hurried inside, clutching the tiny something in her hand. As she dashed down the hall, she heard a soothing voice. What luck! Aya was reading a story! Maybe she could sit in and listen? No, the room looked pretty full. She stood in the hallway.
“Once Upon a Time, there was a precious little girl. She was born with a curse etched into her back in a place where people went to die. The curse made it so that the girl was forever unlucky. The villagers hated the little girl because while she lived, the people all around her continued to die.”
“Why were you even born?”
The Warden asked her that shortly after her mother had fallen in front of the train.
“You’re cursed aren’t you?”
“Look, she’s got a weird thing on her back!”
They were making fun of her, weren’t they?
She clutched her fist tighter. She wanted to go in there and give them a piece of her mind!
The floorboard creeked as she tried to enter. Everyone was looking at her now.
“Oh it’s you,” Usotsuki said. The distain in her voice was hard to ignore. “We’re kind of squashed in here, so if you want to hear the story, you and your stink can listen in the hallway.”
She didn’t stink! Uso was a liar!
“If you’ve got something to say to me, say it to my face! You liar!” Chie snapped.
“C-Chie, don’t….” Hatsuki whispered. “You’re hurt…”
Someone had hurt Hatsu? They were going to pay for that!
“I don’t care! I’ll take the liar on! I still got enough strength for that!” Chie countered.
Uso got up from the floor. “You sure? You look like a truck ran into you!”
She was right. What if the others ganged up on her? She wouldn’t be able to take all of them.
Urotsuki stepped between them, arms outstretched. “Uso, no fighting, okay? The Warden will get mad.”
“But she!” her sister protested.
Urotsuki turned. “Chi-chan, leave Uso alone or I won’t be your friend anymore! You shouldn’t fight with people just to fight with them.”
That wasn’t it at all… but she couldn’t risk losing U-chan. She and Hatsu were the only ones in this whole place that didn’t look at her with hate and scorn. Still, she could not show weakness!
“Tch, Fine. I’ll let the liar off the hook only because I like you, U-chan.”
U-chan smiled. “Thank you, Chi-chan!”
“WHERE ARE YOU, YOU LITTLE BRAT?” a familiar voice yelled.
Chie flinched. That was never a good sound.
“Somebody’s in trouble,” Kazenori sang.
“I hope you really are cursed like he says,” Usotsuki said as she turned to leave.
Those words stung worse than any of the blows she had endured so far.
“…Chie, be careful, okay?” Aya’s soft voice said.
She had to stay strong. If she broke now, it would all be over.
“Don’t waste your breathe, unlike you cowards, I can handle him.”
She leaned against the wall and opened her hands to see what exactly Uuji had given her. An orange hairpin? She put it in her hair. Would this really bring her luck? If she survived what she knew was coming, it would be lucky. If she didn’t, then he was a liar.
The Warden didn’t notice the pin in her hair as he landed blow after blow down onto her back. He knocked her into the cement floor so hard that her loose tooth popped out. She lay still in the darkness after he’d exhausted himself by taking his frustrations out on her.
Chie smiled. Despite the pain in her body and the blood on her face, it really was lucky!