This was home to her, there was no other place she wanted to be. This ugly piece of land was the only place that would welcome her with open arms. After all, wasn’t this place a lot like her? Claire had become the village outcast by her family and village all because of the large gash shaped birthmark that took up over three fourths of her back.
“You wouldn’t turn me away, would you?”
It was crazy that she was talking to seemingly no one, it wasn’t like the statue or the fog could actually answer her. Walking forward towards the clouded water, Claire took in what she had always known to be her. Waist long carrot orange hair that was in a braid over her shoulder, wide emerald eyes that searched themselves for a reason as to why she had been born this way, and skin that was a pale as snow with freckles dusting her face and shoulders heavily. To be honest, her entire body had been covered in freckles, it was one of the few feature’s she liked about herself.
With a tiny sigh she took her dress off, hating the feel of it. Her family wasn’t the best, and most her clothing were uncomfortable but she knew that she couldn’t take it off. The water wouldn’t make her put on such horrid, itchy, and ugly clothing. It didn’t mind that she was naked, it didn’t mind that she showed herself or her scar to it.
“A little deer so far from home, so it seems.”
Emerald eyes snapped up from the water to look around for the voice, turning around to have them land on a tall gentleman who stood calmly behind her. She quickly covered herself with her hands, her emerald eyes hardened but all he did was give a tiny smirk.
Just how long had he been there?
How hadn’t she heard him approach her?
“Do not be frightened, I bring you no harm…”
He looked very strange to her, his clothing was of that she had never seen before, but his looks are what interested her the most. His skin was as pale as hers, if not whiter, his slanted eyes were honey browned, and he had long coal black hair that was in a high pony tail. He offered a cocky smirk, exposing two very sharp fangs.
“Who are you and what do you want?”
Claire didn’t feel threatened by him, but more so comforted by him but that didn’t mean that she wasn’t embarrassed that he caught her stripping.
“I ponder the same since this is my land, but I shall tickle your interest as an apology gift. I am Heisuke. You must be Claire, the unfortunate young woman who must bare such a heavy curse…”
It shocked her that he knew her name, even if it was known as the named of the cursed. He saw the ugly marking on her back, but he didn’t look like he was from around where she lived, so how could he know about it?
“How do you know my name?”
“I know many things. Traveling and being alive since the Edo period have done their works, as well as taken their toll.”
The crunch of the dead leaves that surrounded them was enough to drive Claire insane, she hated the sound of it now that it was being done by a stranger. A weird stranger, no less. All she could wonder is how she hadn’t heard the leaves before.
“Your marking has been passed around for generations, giving ruin to all those who bare it. No one knows where that silly superstition began, at least not anyone still alive.”
“You speak as if I’m too young to understand.”
“No, no, I don’t mean that. You look to be a ripened young woman.”
“I am only of age sixteen, I am not ripened just yet.”
“Ah, but you are still beautiful, little deer.”
Claire frowned, she did not take kindly to his treatment. Though she was no adult, that hadn’t meant that she should be treated as a child. Being told she was a curse by those whom she loved was one thing, but to be treated like a child by a stranger was another.
“You’ve made it clear that this is your land. I take my leave.”
Claire sent him a cold look like she did to the villagers, and began to pick her clothing back up, willing to get dressed in the forest. With her head held high she began to walk away from him . His eyes seemed to burn holes in her back, but she tried to keep walking.
“Do you not remember me, Claire?”
That alone was enough to stop the redhead in her tracks. What did he mean remember him? She had only just met him! Turning back to him, to upset to be ashamed of her current state, she became bold.
“You must have me confused with another person, Mr. Heisuke.”
There had only been one Claire in the village but that had been her, but perhaps she looked like someone he knew. It was silly to try to make up an excuse for it, especially one that made no sense, but what else could she do? She didn’t know this man, she had never seen this man, so how could he ever know her?
He frowned and came closer to her, but in an inhuman manner. He had been a good distance away from her, yet in the blink of an eye he was mere inches from her. Now they were face to face, eye to eye, and it made Claire realize just how tall this fellow was.
“We met when I visited your home in Jamestown, you were the only one who would come play with me. I was the little Japanese boy your mother would tell you to stay away from. You’d stay… You’d stay with me… Don’t you remember? You remembered last time…”
Claire didn’t understand how the hurt look in his eyes had hurt her so, but had she been a child then like he had, why were they here in present time? What did he even mean by last time? She felt angry at him, this must be a lie! There was no other way for it to make sense!
“You have the-”
“I was the one who put that marking on your back…. I… I was the one who put that gash on your back so that I could find you again…”
She took a step back from him, frightened.
“I gave it to you when I was fifteen and you were twelve. I was beginning my work with the Shinsengumi and you were a tiny Geisha girl. You had died in Jamestown of a bad flu. I knew that I wouldn’t be so lucky like I had been that time, you wouldn’t have remembered me every time you came back, so I made that mark on your back…”
Claire wouldn’t lie and say that she hadn’t meant to shout, but she didn’t want to hear this! She didn’t want to think about it! She knew that what he was saying had to be the truth, because as a little girl she had been very sickly and had almost died of a very bad flu. She’d have strange dreams that she couldn’t understand of herself in different places that she had never known or saw before, but this was just too much for her.
“I may be a little crazy, but I’m not crazy enough to let you go, Claire.”
The green eyed girl couldn’t have noticed over the sound of her beating heart that he had pushed her into a spot where she couldn’t escape. He had made her walk towards the water, away from the forest, without her noticing. She was at the edge, another step and she would be soaked.
“I’ll never, EVER, let you go.”
With one blink of her wide deer like eyes, he was gone, or so she thought. Hands quickly covered her eyes and she quickly went to claw them away.
“I adore you, Claire… We’ll be together just like when we were children… This time we won’t have to play pretend, I can be your husband now…”
She let out a horrid scream as he dug his fangs into her skin, drinking as much as he could as he leaned back and pulled her into the water with him. Nothing could have saved her from him as they were slowly engulfed by the water. It was almost as if they had fallen into putty or tar, it gargled and bubbled as it swallowed them whole. Where they once been had been clouded with fog, hiding them away from the world forever. A tiny bubble reached the surface, holding inside of it a tiny sound.