I collapse onto the soft bedding of my mattress. No wonder no one ever wants to get out of bed, they’re so comfortable, I think, yawning as I reluctantly sit up. The bare walled room around me spins slightly as I pull my knees up to my chin.
‘Life would be so much easier if these bloody demons weren’t such cowards’ I groan, wondering what torture I’ll have to face when the sun sets. If I’m lucky it’ll just be a Lesser, the weakest rank of demon, and I can get a few hours of actual sleep. But I’m not lucky, if I was I wouldn’t be fighting for my life each night. If I was lucky, maybe everyone I once loved would still be alive. I can still remember their faces, calm in peaceful death, back when I was too young to understand why they had died so suddenly. They worked as a pair, my mother and father, taking down the hoards like there was nothing to it. But the bond they shared strengthened them, in a way, so they were always stronger than most other hunters. As far as I knew, it was normal, I can remember thinking everyone did it once, but that was when innocence still clouded the truth of The Family Business. It happened when I was around the age of seven, back when everything seemed safe and good- when there was no danger of what happened to them happening to me. I still had the protection of my parents while I slept, so for the most part I had no idea that the nightmares other children feared were real. It was the dead of winter, the grey period between Christmas and New Year, and my parents had Fallen to fell another lesser. I had known for a few weeks that they were getting stronger, despite my grandmothers assurance that that could never happen, but now that thought isn’t so farfetched. Even still, the thought of them both being wiped out by a lesser, a Kitsune by the name of Cait Sith, was strange- I thought they were unstoppable!
My grandmother fell into place from then on as my guardian. I can still remember her pulling my away as two men in Hunter garb carried them out of the house. I didn’t understand, who were these two men taking my mother and father while they were still fighting? The part of my understanding still covered by immaturity refused to admit that they could have died out there, you always woke up before you were gone in a dream right? My grandmother held principles in hunting so different to my parents, they were practically foreign. Instead of keeping me tucked up in the safety of the waking world, she dragged me into theirs, expecting me to watch each night as she battled the onslaught of demons my parents had cast onto her shoulders. She was strong, perhaps stronger than my parents, and with that strength she taught me how to do the job that would one day be mine. She explained why it was that we fought, and showed me the beauty in our craft that, alone, I would have never been able to discover. She gave me my scythe, the same one I use to this day, and gave me the pride of felling a lesser at the age of ten. Though all the same, she prepared me for the day where she too would fall to the Kitsune. He had been hunting our family for unknown reasons, hiding his presence as one of only a Lesser, and aiming to kill when he found us. She knew, while looking into the eyes of that three tailed fox, that the demon would be the last she would see, but all the same she fought; fought for me, fought for the memory of my parents.
It was inevitable though, and the robed figures came for her too- despite my protests. I was seven again, young and naive, refusing to admit that the only person I had left was gone, dead at the hands of the same beast that killed both my parents.
From that moment, I vowed to seek out that beast myself. Unlike them, I would be ready, and I will defeat that beast! Even if it ends with us both dead, my mission will be fulfilled. While others live to pass exams or to marry, I live to pass judgement on that beast. Cait Sith. Each night I pray that it is him that I meet in that realm, though not without hesitation.