It started with the large, black clouds. They came racing over the horizon, and like giant plumes of smoke, they appeared to be folding over themselves. But unfortunately these clouds were not alone. With them came the heavy winds. They arrived just as the massive thunderclouds blotted out the sky above me, and they blew dead leaves, litter and sand in swirling, circling patterns.
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The rain followed shortly after.
This was no ordinary rainfall. Each droplet seemed to be the size of boxing gloves, and they fell with such force, that the water stung when it hit you. The rain started slowly but immediately turned into a torrent, and any area that was not paved quickly filled with puddles.
Finally I had seen enough, and with my feet squeaking in my shoes, I raced toward my house. Within the cloud, a low rumble was born and it slowly grew into a large thunderclap. It’s sound was so intense I nearly fell to my knees, but somehow I kept running.
Which was a good thing because the storm didn’t just bring wind, rain and clouds. Something far more fiendish came with it.
As I approached my house, I heard the scream. At first, I thought I imagined it, but a second one soon followed. Somewhere, someone was in pain and I recognized it to be my neighbor, Mr. Raikou. About the only thing I knew about him was that he was very shady and quiet, so to hear him scream bloody murder obviously meant something terrible was happening.
Another scream rang out above the heavy rain. This one seemed to carry a gurgle with it. I broke into a sprint towards his house.
The screaming had stopped by the time I practically jumped the steps leading up to Mr. Raikou’s porch. The front door was flung open, and the foyer that it led into was wet with the blowing rain. I trudged in, not sure what to expect.
My shoes squeaked through the foyer cautiously, trying to find some clue as to where Mr. Raikou was. I followed a trail of wet footsteps leading into his living room.
And there he lay in a puddle of blood. A katana was lying next to him. I rushed to his aid. It appeared as if he had been stabbed with a sword of some sort.
“ U-Usabi…my time has come…corporate bastards…I will get my revenge…” Raikou stuttered, a bubble of blood forming over his mouth. “ You…you will be my…predecessor…assassin is still here…find him…stop Zen Industries at all costs…my spirit will guide you…”
Shocked and confused, I could only gape. Suddenly, he gripped my arm and held it tight. I tried to wring myself free, but his hold was like that of steal jaws. A strange feeling came over me. Something warm was running through my veins. All the panic and horror of the moment seemed to leave me with a loud clap of thunder outside.
Somewhere in my brain, Mr. Raikou's voice told me to find the assassin.
I looked down at the now lifeless body of my neighbor, then to his katana. I snatched the weapon and a sheath up, then crept out into the foyer. Silently, I stalked towards the front door. I sensed that the assassin was near…
He came bounding down the stairs, leaping outside into the front yard. I found myself running forward at an unbelievably fast pace, jumping in the air and lunging down with my sword. The assassin took off, and the sword slammed down into the mud. Ripping it out with a sucking noise, I gave chase.
The rain battered my face and my legs kicked through deep puddles, but it didn’t slow me down. I stayed focused on the man in black about ten yards ahead of me. We were on the street now, running past rows and rows of houses. He took a sharp right into an alley and I followed.
I almost smiled when I saw him come to a sudden halt at the dead end.
Slowly he turned around, honorably accepting his fate.
Slice downward at a forty-five degree angle, across the chest.
Without slowing my gate, I slashed out. Lightning flashed, thunder exploded. A bright red line appeared on the assassin’s black uniform, a cloud of blood spraying onto my face. The man dropped to the ground.
The exhilaration of battle was circling through my veins. I wanted more blood.
Now you must stop Zen Industries!
Mr. Raikou was talking to me inside my head.
Ah, young one…you do not know of the evils this company has thrust upon generations and generations of the Raikou family. It has been the duty of every generation to stop Zen. And now it is yours. Now, take the assassin’s other weapon.
I looked down and saw that the assassin was carrying a submachine gun of some sort. I picked it up, noting that the magazine was full with twenty-five rounds.
Go, time is not on our side.
What do you mean?
The authorities will be notified soon and if contact is lost with the assassin, they will surely know something has gone wrong.
Raikou’s voice directed me where to go. The headquarters of Zen Industries was located right downtown, a few miles away from my neighborhood. I ran the entire way; my blood thirst and a strange new endurance driving me like a starving predator in pursuit of his prey.
The building containing Zen Industries was a massive skyscraper that tore a hole in the black clouds above. I stepped inside, dripping wet.
“ What the hell happened to you?!” the man sitting behind the front desk exclaimed.
I didn’t say anything, only raised my submachine gun and pumped three rounds into his chest.
Mr. Zen’s office is on the top floor. He can sense our presence. The destiny of the Raikou family awaits, Usabi…
I got onto the elevator and rode the entire way up to the seventy-fifth floor. When the silver doors opened, I heard the cocking of weapons and a nervous shuffle of guards in preparation. I smirked.
There were at least ten of them before me, all with their weapons raised. One screamed, “ FREEZE! PUT THE GUN DOWN!”
Thunder rumbled loudly. I laughed and emptied my entire clip at the fools. Some of them fired back, but I easily dodged their bullets. Dropping the gun, I removed my katana, twirling and dancing throughout the line. Rounds were flying everywhere, as was the blood of my enemies.
When the smoke cleared, I was covered in their blood and without a scratch. Ten chopped up, bullet riddled guards lay in a circle around me.
“ Very good, very good…” A voice said. An old man was standing in the doorway the guards had been blocking.
“ Mr. Zen…”
“ Yes. And you, Usabi, will now mark the last possession of that damn old man, Raikou! The Raikou family stops here!”
Without warning the old man pounced at me. A katana had appeared in his hands out of nowhere. I blocked, sparks flying up as metal clashed with metal. The sound, like that of the loudest thunderclap, pierced my ears. Mr. Raikou’s voice began telling me how to attack and defend.
Mr. Zen and I swirled throughout the room, slamming sword against sword, growling and kicking at each other. In all the chaos of our ferocious battle, we made it look like a beautiful art. And in all of that art, we didn’t see the police burst in.
“ Drop the swords now!”
I turned to see five police officers. Someone must’ve heard all the gunfire. In my distraction, I felt a sudden sharp pain in my side. A sliding sound came to my ears, and I felt Zen’s blade slip out of my body. I collapsed. From my view on the ground, Mr. Zen began violently attacking the police.
With my own life fading, Mr. Raikou forced me to reach out and grab the leg of one of the few remaining police officers. The unlimited energy I had felt before was quickly leaving me, as was the voice of Mr. Raikou. A bolt of lightning burst outside. In my last few seconds, I saw the police officer pull the sword from my hands…