Trials of the Junsuikaoni: Beginnings (Book 0)

Noah Gremory never wanted much out of life and has always enjoyed living humbly with his mother and older brother Caleb in their small textile district of the Wakaba Prefecture. You can say his life is nothing other than ordinary with the exception of just one thing…he lives in a post-apocalyptic world of demons. 450 years after the end of the “Cursed War” of the Junsuikaoni demons, which took the lives of billions and destroyed most of the planet, the world has been reborn, but the threat of the Junsuikaoni still remains, leading to a strict system of control for those afflicted. Noah never paid much mind to these things, as it had nothing to do with him, or so he thought. However, on the day of his 12th birthday, something changes in him. This leads to a series of events that propels Noah into the center of this world of demons that he doesn’t really understand and sets him on his path of destiny. Will Noah come out of this journey unscathed or will he succumb to the darkness?


6. The End of Innocence, The Beginning of Reality

# (Outside The Stinson Home, East Sector, Tekisu District)

            Noah runs seemingly forever before finally stopping and after catching his breath, he realizes where he is. He’s at Enforcer Stinson’s home, which seems to have already been ravished. He came here on instinct, probably to find Rachel, his best friend, or maybe something more. He’s liked Rachel as more than a friend for a while now, but he was never sure if she liked him too. He’d recently been thinking of confessing to her though, since they were entering middle school and he was certain that if he didn’t make a move soon, someone else would surely beat him to it since Rachel is the most beautiful girl in town. He clutches his fist, realizing that it may be too late already, now that he’s become a monster. He realizes that she’d never be able to love him when he could easily kill her at any moment. Though looking at her house, he’s scared it no longer matters.

            He enters the home cautiously, looking around for any lingering monsters, but he sees nothing but broken furniture and debris all over. He approaches the bedrooms and as he gets closer he suddenly can smell an extremely rancid odor and looking down, he sees splatters of blood leading into Mrs. Stinson’s room. He’s terrified of going any further, but knows he must in case someone is still alive and needs help. Having made up his mind, he enters the room and as he feared he sees a grisly sight. Mrs. Stinson has been ripped to shreds and lying next to her is Dina, also slashed up and she also seems to have been sexually assaulted as well. They are definitely dead and seeing them like that actually turns his stomach. He looks around, but doesn’t see Rachel, feeling slightly relieved and praying that she somehow made it out.

            After checking the reminder of the rooms, he starts to exit the house, thinking she really did escape, but then he hears quiet breathing coming from a nearby closet. He walks over to it and hears the breathing intensify as well as muted gasps. He also picks up a familiar scent and realizes that it’s Rachel and she’s terrified. He quietly calls out to her. “Rachel, are you in there? It’s me, Noah. Can I come in?” He hears her shuffle.

            The door opens slowly, she peeks out her head in tears and says “Noah, is that really you, is it really…?”

            Noah smiles and breathes a sigh of relief as he says, “It’s really me Rachel, I’m sorry I’m late.”

            She smiles and starts crying harder as she jumps out the closet and into his arms. “I was so scared.”

            He hugs her and says, “I’m sure you were. I’m really sorry you’ve had to go through this. I promise I’ll protect you though. I just wish I could’ve saved you mom and Dina too. I’m really sorry about that too.”

            She tenses up, suddenly being reminded of their fate. “Thanks. I didn’t actually see what happened, but I could hear their screams and I knew it must’ve been terrible. I tried to get them to hide too, but they refused.”

            Noah expected for her to start crying more, but surprisingly, her breathing was getting more stable and her tears began to dry up. He looks at her and says, “It’s ok to cry you know, I completely understand.”

            She looks back at him, eyes completely dry, and smiles. Rather than give a response, she leans up and kisses him, catching him by surprise. After several seconds she pulls away. “It’s ok, I’m not sad, you’re here.”

            Noah can hardly believe that the girl standing in front of him is Rachel. She’s normally so gentle and sensitive and shy, but it’s almost like she’s become someone else. He should feel happier that she kissed him, something he’s wanted for so long, but somehow it just felt wrong. Despite this, he still smiles and hugs her.

            “I’ve always liked you Noah and I’ve wanted to kiss you for a long time, but you never made a move, it was so frustrating! So that’s why I decided to take initiative and now just seemed like the best time. I love you.”

            As happy as he is to hear those words, he can’t help but feel the lack of true emotion behind them. Honestly, everything about this moment seems strange. How can anyone whose family was recently slaughtered feet away from them be so calm and collected? How can she be thinking about love and kissing right now when she may very well be an orphan now? Although he’s very confused, he can’t help but still be happy. The girl he likes has returned his feelings. He decides that she’s probably just in shock or something but she’ll change later.

            “Noah? What’s wrong? Aren’t you happy? I thought you liked me too?” She pouts childishly.

            “I am! I’m really happy that you feel the same way. I was always too nervous to tell you how I felt because I wasn’t sure you felt the same. So I’m really relieved to know you do. I just wish things didn’t have to be like this. I don’t know what’s going to happen from now on, but I swear I’ll protect you Rachel. I’ll never let those monsters hurt you.” She smiles and he suddenly feels guilty. “Actually, about the monsters, I’m actua-.”

            Just as Noah starts to tell her the truth about himself, he hears the sound of a slash, the sound of claws slicing through flesh and feels Rachel fall forward into him all in an instant. He falls backwards onto his back and Rachel falls on top of him, making no sounds and barely moving. He unwraps his arms from around her and looks at his hands, which are covered in blood. He looks down at her back, and sees deep gashes from where the claws pierced her flesh. “No!” Noah takes her into his arms and gently turns her so that he can see her face. He holds her under her neck and legs, to avoid causing her any pain by touching her wounds. “Rachel! Can you hear me? Look at me please.” He looks around, trying to see who attacked her, but he sees no one.”

            “I, I don’t…understand. I did…everything he…asked me to…so why…?” She struggles to speak and she starts coughing up blood. “It’s not fair Noah. Why…why did he…?” She starts to fade in consciousness.

            “No! Rachel wake up! Come back! You can’t…you can’t just…please wake up.” He starts to cry.

            “What’s the point of crying over a traitorous bitch? I just don’t get it? Can you explain it…Nii-san?”

            Finally Noah can see the presence he’s sensed since earlier but couldn’t see. He looks up and sees what looks like a boy, probably about his age and suddenly realizes that it looks a lot like the figure he saw that night he ended up in the forest. “It’s you, the one I saw that night. Who are you? Why did you do this? How could you? She was defenseless but you still killed her. What kind of monster are you?” He yells through his tears.

            The boy puts on an amused grin. “I bet you wouldn’t be saying that if you knew all she’s done. She’s not the innocent princess you think she is. Do you know how many lives she’s indirectly responsible for taking tonight? No? Well please allow me to explain it to you.” He jumps down from the roof beam he’d been standing on and walks closer to Noah, who can finally see his face clearly and he suddenly feels a sense of nostalgia.

            “Are you beginning to understand it Nii-san? Are you starting to remember me? I know we were just babies when we saw each other last, but I remember you clearly. I mean, we did share the same space for like nine months. You have to at least feel something towards me right? Come on Nii-san, I’m dying here!”

            Noah definitely feels as though he’s met this boy before and almost feels a yearning to reach out to him, but he feels the weight in his arms and snaps back to reality. “I don’t care who you are, you’re a monster!”

            “A monster? Well of course I am Nii-san, but so are you. We are monsters one and the same! That’s what’s so great! That’s why I’m so looking forward to killing you Nii-san, but I’m getting ahead of myself. I should probably explain everything first. Oh and I guess I should introduce myself as well.” He walks closer to Noah and squats down so they can be eye to eye and holds out his hand. “I’m Judas, your big brother, Nii-san.”

            Noah is shocked, unable to believe what he just heard. In fact, he refuses to believe it. “No, that’s a lie! I only have one big brother and that’s Caleb. I’d never have a monster like you as a brother, even if I’m one too!”

            “Aww, that so cruel Nii-san. You’d doubt your only true brother? I’m seriously hurt. It’s ok though, I’m only older by like two minutes, so we can just call it even if you’d prefer. I’m not that picky about it.” He laughs and stands up, walking to the shredded couch, taking a seat. “I’m starting to get bored, so I guess I should explain exactly what that whore did. I can tell you how to save her, but you have to listen to my story first. Then you can decide if you actually want to save her, though I doubt you will. Do we have a deal?”

            Noah grits his teeth in frustration, he doesn’t want to entertain this guy anymore, but if he knows a way to save Rachel, then he decides he’ll hear him out. “Fine, but make it quick.” Judas grins widely.

            “Awesome! This is a very quick story actually, so no worries. So here it is…everyone in town is dead because of that one girl right there. She’s the one who turned off the security gate so we could get in. You want to know the best part? Yea, of course you do so I’ll tell you! All it took to convince her to help was to promise we’d spare you and make her parents die horrible deaths. She especially wanted her sister to suffer, she seriously hated her the most. She wanted nothing more than to watch this town burn and then walk off into the sunset with you. That’s some sick shit right there! You say I’m a monster, but she’s worse than me! She was a serious psycho and totally obsessed with you, you should thank me for saving you from an eternity of her.”

            “No, I won’t believe it! Rachel would never do something like that, she was a sweet girl and really nice, that’s what I loved about her. I won’t let you tarnish her memory with such terrible lies! Now let me save her!”

            “Fine, you don’t have to believe me, but I’m telling you the truth. It doesn’t really matter though; she’s already dead. You COULD’VE saved her if you’d done it right away, but since it’s already been a few minutes, she’s far too dead to save now. But if you hurry, you might be able to save your fake brother on time.”

            Noah’s eyes go big. “Huh? What are you saying? Did you do something to Caleb? To my mom?”

            “You mean your fake mom? Yea actually, our real mom didn’t like her much, so she kinda killed her, sorry. I didn’t totally kill your fake brother though so you can still save him if you hurry. Though things aren’t looking to hopeful for you right now. I’d start running now if I were you.” He suddenly flees from sight.

            “What are you saying? What do you mean she killed her? Who killed my mom? Come back here!”

            As Noah screams out to Judas, he suddenly hears another cry ring out. “No! Rachel, my baby! No!” Rodney comes running towards Noah and pushes him down hard, causing him to drop her body. He picks her up into his arms and cries over her. “No, not my little girl, my baby. No, no, no!” He holds her against his chest, completely heartbroken. He turns to Noah with fire in his eyes. “You goddamn monster! I’ll fucking kill you!”

            Noah finally realizes how it looks at he predicament he’s in. “No, Mr. Stinson, I didn’t do this. I swear it wasn’t me. I was trying to save her, I swear it’s true, please believe me! I didn’t kill your family!”

            “My family? You mean Margaret and Dina are dead too?” He stands up and Noah realizes he shouldn’t have said that. “I am going to murder you!” Rodney charges at Noah, revealing a gun as he does. He prepares to fire, but just as he presses the trigger, he suddenly stops short and feels as though he’s been impaled. He drops his gun and looks down at his chest, to see a clawed hand piercing his heart. He looks up to see that Noah has once again transformed into a monster, but unlike the countless other monsters he’s seen tonight, Noah looks as though he has a feeling of remorse. As he coughs up blood he says with his last breath, “Please forgive me.” He closes his eyes and his body slumps, becoming lifeless. Noah releases him and as he changes back, he cries.

            After crying enough tears to mourn for the entire Stinson family Noah rushes back to his home, praying he can still save them. He gets there in just a couple minutes and begins to look around, desperately calling out to them, but there is no one. Just as he starts to think they already got away, he notices the stench of blood coming from the back of the house. He hurries outside and up the hill to the road, only to find both his mother and brother lying on the ground, having been almost completely devoured. He starts to shake, unable to do anything more, but then he remembers that Judas mentioned that Caleb may still be alive. He hurries over.

            “Caleb, Caleb, can you hear me? Are you alive? Please answer me Caleb, please answer me!” He gets no response and so he starts to believe that he really is dead, but then he feels a hand on his arm.

            “Noah.” He calls out to him, but just barely, unable to fully articulate his words.

            “Caleb! Thank god, I was so scared. I’m sorry I wasn’t here to protect you and mom. I should’ve-.”

            “Don’t. Don’t blame yourself Noah, no one could’ve known what would happen. It was out fault too, we shouldn’t have doubted you even for a second. Mom wanted you to know that. She desperately wanted you to know that she was sorry of being scared before and that she loves you still more than anything. I know that even in her last moments, she must have been thinking of you. I’m glad I could pass on her final message to you.”

            “It’s ok. I don’t blame you guys at all. I just want to save you now. There has to be a way, there must!”

            “There is.” Noah looks up to see Judas sitting atop a large branch. “That method I mentioned before.”

            Noah’s eyes burn of hatred for him. He may be just 12 in body, but in mind he appears to be much older. He speaks with such maturity and profanity, yet his actions are like that of a child. Just who is this boy really?

            “It’s really quite simple, just have him drink your blood. If he drinks your blood before he dies, he’ll come back alive. Nothing more to it. However, there is a catch of course.” He pauses, building up anticipation. “The catch is, he’ll be revived, but not as a human. Instead, he’ll be reborn as an impure Junsui demon. Impure doesn’t imply he’ll be evil necessarily, but simply that he’s not of pure blood. He was not born as a Junsui, but he became one in an unnatural way, making him impure. Whether he’ll be good or bad totally depends on the current state of his soul. Regardless of that though, he’ll be alive. That’s all that matters to you right?”

            Noah still doesn’t really understand any of this stuff about being pure, impure of the nature of Junsui in general, but he knows he doesn’t want to lose everyone he loves and so if this is the only way to save him….”

            Just as he starts to cut his wrist and let Caleb drink from it, Caleb stops his arm. “Don’t.”

            Noah looks at him in total confusion. “What do you mean? Don’t you want to live?”

            “I don’t want to leave you behind, but I’d rather be dead than to come back as a monster, no offence.”

            “But, but I don’t want to be alone. Please don’t leave me alone Caleb. I need you!” He starts to cry.

            “Hey come on, didn’t I tell you to stop all that crying. Be a man. It’s time for you to grow up now.” He weakly reaches for his arm and pulls his wrist band off. “Here, I want you to have this, to give you courage.”

            “But that’s your treasured wrist band. You made it in craft class, you never take it off. I can’t take it!”

            “I want you to have it. Besides, it won’t look very cool on a dead person. I’m entrusting it to you.”

            “But I, but I….I don’t want it. I want you to live instead. Please let me save you! I won’t let you die!”

            As quick as a flash Caleb uses his last bit of strength to slap Noah hard across the face as he yells, “Noah! Stop acting like a little child! I don’t want to live like that, why don’t you understand! I’ve already accepted my death, now it’s time for you to do the same! Live! Become a man! Make something of yourself! Become the type of man I can look up to, that Mom would be proud of! Grow up and become the man that will save us from monsters like them! That’s how you can avenge me, avenge mom, and avenge all of our friends and neighbors who’ve been killed! Promise me you will or I’ll never be able to rest in peace! Please Noah.”

            Tears fall steadily from Noah’s face and he wants to just lie down next to Caleb and die with him, but he finally understands what Caleb is saying. What good would it be if he were to die here and not do anything to stop them? How could he rest in peace knowing that his home had been annihilated in just one night and he did nothing to avenge their lives when he was the only one left who could? He could never face his family again if he gave up so easily. Even though it hurts and he’s still scared, he realizes that he’ll at least kill the monsters that did this. He refuses to die before every last one is slain, especially Judas. He realizes he must be the leader.

            Caleb reaches up to Noah’s face. “You understand now don’t you? That’s good, very good. Now here, take this and always remember what happened here tonight. Never forget, even though you’ll want to, never forget. Also one more thing Noah…I love you. Please stay strong and remember mom and I will always be right here and we’ll always be watching over you, so make us proud…ok?” He fist bumps his chest over his heart.

            “I promise Caleb, I swear it!” Noah watches as Caleb closes his eyes and takes his final breath with a smile. Noah wants nothing more than to just lay beside him and cry, but he wills himself to hold back and be strong, just as he promised he would be. He slips the band on his wrist as he says, “I love you, rest in peace.”

            “Aww, how sweet. What a touching moment. Just makes you sick, doesn’t it mom?” Judas grins and another person makes an appearance. Noah sees a young woman with a very provocative sex appeal smiling.

            “Tell me about it, I thought I might vomit just listening to that whole exchange. I never expected my son would become such a sap. Tell me boy, you’re not one of those gays are you? I just couldn’t stand that.”

            Noah grits his teeth. “Who are you? Also what’s it to you if I am or not, there’s nothing wrong with it.”

            “Oh I apologize, allow me to properly introduce myself, I am Remy, Daughter of Lord Cain, I’m also your mother. Though to be honest I’m ashamed to admit it. What a disappointment you’ve become. It’s sad.”

            “I only have one mother and from what I can figure out, I bet you’re the one that killed her. I’ll get you back for that!” Noah is filled with rage, so much so that he finds he can easily transform once again. “Let’s do this. You wanted a fight, so let’s do it! I’ll take you both on right now! I’ll avenge everyone’s deaths!”

            “How quaint. Perhaps you’ll turn out to be a bit more interesting after all, but you can reign that in for now. We’re not here to fight you now, but I assure you, one day, you and Judas will battle and the true king will be decided at that point. If you were to fight now, you’d surely lose. Until we meet again…Judas, let us go.”

            “Bye, Bye Nii-san. I look forward to fighting you one day. Get nice and strong for me ok? Oh and Onii-sama, don’t think you’ll be able to escape. I’ll be sure to kill you some day.” With that, they both disappear.

            “Cowards!” Noah drops to his knees and looks at Caleb’s lifeless body. “I can cry now can’t I? For just a little while right? Just…a little…while.” He lies beside his body and cries for what feels like an eternity. It’s not until morning, with the sun rising into the sky that he stops crying and he just lies there lifeless until he hears someone approach. He moves his gaze upward to see a man in uniform smiling at him. He stretches out his hand and says, “My name is General Mason Tahno and starting today I’ll be your guardian. I’ll take it from here.” As Noah’s consciousness fades, he gets the feeling that man is the only one he can trust from now on.

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