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Following Red Strings

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Kasane blinked awake in her bed. Something was wrong. She could feel it. Something was very wrong. Why had Mother woken her up so late?
“Mother?” Kasane asked, sitting up. She reached for her puppy and then remembered. They killed her puppy. That’s what death looked like.
“Kasane we have to go now…” Mother smiled but it didn’t feel like a smile. Kasane felt herself being sat up, she had her coat wrapped on over her pajamas and multiple socks covering her hands and feet. Something was strange. Why would Mother put so many socks on her? And this was bedtime. Kasane wanted to sleep.
“Are you sure about this?” a man with blond hair asked. Kasane didn’t know who he was, she’d never seen him before.
“Yes… I can’t… I can’t keep letting them hurt her. I have to do something.” Mother said, lifting Kasane into her arms.
“They want to kill you. It might be better to leave the kid and run.”
“No… no I’m taking Kasane with me. I will never abandon my daughter.”
“They’ll never stop looking for her.”
“That’s a chance I’m willing to take. They’ll have to kill me before they have Kasane.”

Kill Mother? Leave her? Kasane didn’t like these strange words… she wanted to close her eyes and pretend this was all a bad dream. Something strange was happening. Kasane wanted to go back to sleep and wake up when everything was normal. Why would anyone be looking for her? What was going on?

“Okay.” The man agreed and did something. “You should be cloaked now. I can get you down the mountain.”
Cloaked? Mountain? Kasane always thought grownups talked weird but this seemed even weirder.
“Mother?” Kasane asked.
“Sssssh we need to be really quiet Kasane. Really quiet.” Mother told her, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. Kasane placed her finger on lip, she understood. She was too sleepy to talk anyway.

Mother and the man opened the door and they ran, though the long corridors, passed the other design children all in their masks, though the guardian library. Kasane looked around taking everything in and wondered why no one was saying anything. It was past Kasane’s bedtime. And someone was always watching her and Mother… expect now. Something was different about this time that Kasane didn’t understand.

The looks Mother and the man were giving each other made Kasane feel very scared.

The outside air was cold… no it was freezing. Kasane already felt numb. Yet Mother and the man kept running, though the snow while Kasane shivered in her arms. Kasane wanted to go back home now. Back to Togetsu.

They eventually slowed down but kept walking. Both looking back occasionally. Kasane didn’t like how scary everything was.

Kasane looked in fear at the glowing monsters walking around… none of them lived inside. Kasane wanted to go back away from them now.
“I want to go home.”
“We can’t Kasane… it’s okay, it won’t be much longer.” Mother promised. “Can the Others really not see us?”
“No they’re harmless with invisibility. It’s just the cold we have to worry about.”
“Kasane… she’s freezing…”
“Give her here a minute.” The man offered. Before Kasane could protest that she wanted her Mother, Mother handed her over to him. Kasane was placed inside his cloak, wrapped against his chest with the cloak pulled tight on her. Kasane thought it was like a blanket but it was still cold. The way the wind hurt her cheeks. Even moving her arms and legs had become harder and Kasane could see her breath whenever she talked. Kasane didn’t like this.
“Where are we going?” Kasane asked. It was dark. It was still bedtime.
“To… to Suoh Kasane. We’re going to stay there now.”
“Yeah you’ll like Suoh Kid. It’s really cool, lots of visions everywhere.”
Suoh… Kasane had never heard of it but if Mother said so then Kasane would go. Kasane hoped it wasn’t as cold. She also hoped there was no monsters around in Suoh… she didn’t think she liked them.

The sun was starting to come out when they finally reached the bottom of the mountain. Kasane was exhausted and thought she’d collapse. At least there seemed to be no monsters now.
“This is as far as I can take you…” the man said and handed Kasane back to Mother.
“No, you’ve done more then enough. Thank you…. For everything.”
“Just follow the road, you’ll eventually find the highway. It’s pretty easy after that, or if you get lucky you’ll just see an OSF patrol.”
“I think we can manage.”
“You sure about this? Seems like a big risk.”
“I’m… I’m hoping in exchange for information the Suoh government will give us sanctuary. I haven’t thought about what I would do if they haven’t.” Mother admitted. Kasane thought Mother looked sad then… she wasn’t sure about this Suoh government for making Mother sad. Whatever sanctuary was Kasane hoped Mother got it.
“They will. Been trying to deal with Togetsu for years. They’ll eat it up.” The man smiled, waved goodbye and headed back up the mountain. Kasane looked at her Mother.

“Come on, we’re almost at our new home.” Mother smiled and began walking on the path.
“I’m tired.”
“We’ll sleep soon… I promise.”

Mother continued walking, the sun was slowly peaking out as the sky was getting bluer. Kasane had never missed bedtime before. At least it wasn’t as cold now… Kasane hoped she never had to see that mountain again. But there seemed to be monsters everywhere. Kasane didn’t like this.

Mother couched her down by an abandoned car… the thick rust over time scratched at Kasane as they pressed up against it. Strange standing monsters like on the mountains and a large one with four legs and antlers that Kasane had never seen before, blocked their path.
“Mother I want to go home.”
“Ssssh Kasane… we need to be quiet.” Mother urged, cradling Kasane to her once more. One of the monsters was getting closer. Kasane closed her eyes, terrified. She moved the car then… she didn’t mean too. She just wanted the monster to go away. The car slid across the ground and moved into the monster, making it turn to red petals that disappeared.

But now all the monsters knew they were hiding. They’d found them.

“It’s okay, it’s okay Kasane.” Mother gripped her tighter and tried moving back. Kasane closed her eyes, everything was so scary. She didn’t want this. The large antler monster knocked at her Mother, sending her to the ground and Kasane out of her arms. Kasane hit the ground with a thud and rolled, her arm and head hurt. Kasane blinked back tears as two of the strange people monsters were going towards her. Kasane knew she couldn’t reach Mother.

Kasane thought she might die. Like her puppy.

Then a large axe swung to the ground, cutting at the monsters and turning them into red petals. A woman stood in front of her and held the axe in her arms.
“I got the kid!” she yelled.
Two more women, maybe her sisters, leaped though the air, the one was flying and moved around the antlers of the monster. The other moved on the ground, erupting in flames around her before slamming them into the monster. The one standing in front of her looked back and gave Kasane a smile, before pouring acid from her hands and melting the last monsters. Her friends swarmed the large one, with the flying one bringing down her spear straight into the monster’s back and turning it into the red petals.

Everything had happened so fast Kasane wasn’t even sure what she saw. It was a blur as these warrior women made the monsters go away.
The woman let her axe fall and lifted Kasane up.
“I don’t think she’s hurt.” She told the others. “What’s your name?”
“Kasane.” Kasane looked towards her mother, the flame woman was giving her some shiney green pieces and helping her to her feet.
“I’m Calla. This my platoon… Sakura and Misa.” Calla replied. Kasane wasn’t sure she knew what a platoon was… she’d never heard that word before.
“What are you both doing out here? It’s really dangerous!” the flame woman, Misa asked.
“My name is Wakana… this is my daughter Kasane. We’re fleeing from Togetsu, it is… it is no longer safe for us there. I was hoping we could find sanctuary in Suoh.”
“Togetsu huh? The moon people?” Sakura asked.
“I’ll message Kai and let him know we’re heading back. Come on, we can get you to Suoh… and then my new little friend something yummy to eat?” Calla said holding Kasane on her hip.
“Yeah it’s better if you stick with us.” Misa agreed with a bounce to her step.
“Thank you… you are all very kind. Are you soldiers?” Mother asked.
“Sorta. We’re OSF.” Misa replied.
“We were just on patrol when saw you. Lucky we did! Those were some nasty Others you got caught up in the middle off.” Sakura commented. Others? Were those the monsters Kasane asked.

It seemed like hours until they reached the strange place called Suoh, that seemed so different to home. There were no monsters and no snow, people walked in and out of the buildings and shining images appeared everywhere.

They reached one building, which was the tallest that Kasane had ever seen, where Sakura and Misa left but she stayed with Calla. Mother went to speak with a man and left Kasane on a chair in the hallway. Calla had brought her apple slices and crackers to eat, and a juice box while they waited.
“You must have been really hungry.”
“Yes.” Kasane replied.
“Don’t worry, it’s a new Chairman but he’s a good one. Really kind. He’ll take good care of you and Mama.”
“Mother.” Kasane corrected. Calla laughed at that and messed with her hair. Kasane wasn’t sure what was funny but she decided that she liked Calla. She was nicer then anyone had been at Togetsu.
“Here why don’t you keep this?” Calla offered a keychain off her belt. It was a black plush dragon, covered in rainbow speckles with soft wings.
“It’s mine?”
“Yeah, cause you were really brave today. It can be your first friend in your new home.”
“Thank you.” Kasane replied and hold her plush dragon in her hand, stroking the wings with her thumb. She wasn’t often allowed nice things at Togetsu, and whenever she did someone always took it away and broke it. Like when they had taken her puppy and killed him.
“You got nothing to be scared of now. Because you’re a dragon. Be a dragon.” Calla told her, looking right in Kasane’s eyes. Kasane thought it was a strange message but she liked her new toy.
“Okay, I’ll be a dragon.”

“Kasane… how are you?” Mother asked, stepping out off the room.
“I’m okay.”
“Chairman.” Calla gave a nod towards the man and flashed a smile.
“Kasane… this is Chairman Sumeragi. He’s going to take us somewhere we can have a wash and get a good sleep okay? Say thank you.”
“Thank you Chairman Su-… Sumagi.” Kasane repeated the best she could.
“You can just call me Joe, Kasane. I have a son about your age, I think.”