By: Aurora Collins
Disclaimers: I do not own Inuyasha or any of the characters associated with it. I'm only borrowing the characters to amuse myself and hopefully others. ^__^
Ch. 3 Unfamiliar Road
"Souta, you got something in the mail," Kagome said as she came in through the front door.
Souta greeted her and grabbed the envelope from his sister's hand. "Why are you still wearing that thing? You wore that since…" Kagome stopped short when she realized what she was about to say.
It had been nearly six months since their mom passed away. As each month passed more and more people died from this new plague, which was known as Purple Haze. Scientists and doctors called it PHV or Purpuraetmortis Humi Virus; which meant the purple disease that came from the ground. It was like the Black Death from the mid to late 1300's; which was a pandemic that spread through most of Europe, wiping out nearly half of their population.
People reacted in different ways to the news of this pandemic going clear across the globe. Some were in complete denial that there was even a problem, while others blamed the sins of men were catching up to them. Others sought out their religions for comfort and some formed mobs and resistance groups. Some people thought that it was the act of terrorist groups, while others were convinced that the governments were behind it all. Everyone had a theory and the world wasn't normal, but it wasn't out of hand either. Most people went to work, ate out, or went to school; but Kagome did notice that her class had been shrinking as the end of the semester drew ever closer for the end of summer. Kagome knew that a lot of people dropped out, but not at such drastic numbers. She didn't want to think about what happened to them, but she surmised that they were probably dead.
"I remember Grandpa telling me that this amulet held spiritual properties that could help keep me safe. Kagome this isn't man made. I said this before," Souta said as he began to tear open the envelope.
He took out the letter and began to read it. His eyes grew wide and he nearly stopped breathing. "What is it Souta?" she asked anxiously. He handed Kagome the letter and she read it in a hurry. "Oh my God! Souta, this is amazing! Are you going to accept?" Kagome expressed with renewed enthusiasm.
Souta sat down at the dinner table and tried to calm down from this feeling he was having. "I've sent these scientists theory after theory and I stayed up for days at a time to surmise what the disease entails. I even went as far as dropping out of school to keep up with my research. I sent them a letter of my progress every week for months now. I need to call them right away," Souta finished as he grabbed the phone and read the contact information on the document.
Kagome waited around anxiously as she saw her brother in his serious mood. She realized that he grew up a lot and he was turning into a fine man. Souta just turned seventeen not even a few weeks ago and he was so close to being done with his first year of college. Kagome could understand why he dropped out. Ever since their mother died he became obsessed with finding out where this plague came from, and more importantly, how to cure it. Kagome was also diving into her own research with demons and folklore, and trying to figure out a way to discover where these demons were hiding. They were alive and in her world; she could feel it. She knew that they could help out in the human's time of need. Demons needed humans to survive and Kagome knew this. Humans were the fruit of the world that spread profit and life; sometimes even death.
"Hello? Yes this is Souta Higurashi and I need to speak to Doctor Wayland. Yes, it's highly important," Kagome heard Souta speaking on the phone. "Hello Doctor Wayland, I got your urgent letter in the mail and I accept your offer to work on your team. Yes, I can be there first thing tomorrow. Thank you," Souta abruptly hung up the phone and let out a long sigh.
Kagome hovered around her brother and said, "Well, what happened?"
"I'm gonna take Mom's car tomorrow and meet with Doctor Wayland. I'm to work on his team to find a cure for this virus," he explained, trying to keep himself calm. Kagome knew that he was excited about this because he would be the youngest person without a degree to work on something of this magnitude.
"Will you be close to home?" Kagome questioned, scared that she would lose someone else important to her.
Souta smiled, "If they want me far away then you're coming with me. I'm not gonna leave my sis alone."
Kagome held back her tears as she hugged her brother. That was the good thing about him was that he always allowed his sister to show him affection. Kagome released him and straightened her back, "I'm gonna make a lunch for you to take tomorrow." Souta nodded as he left the kitchen to go and pack for his journey. He was leaving like Kagome did whenever she went into the well. She thought about how Souta felt, having his older sister gone for long periods of time. Kagome never thought about it before, but now that she did she felt bad about it. What kind of a sister was she to leave her family so often? Granted she had a quest to complete or it could have meant the end to everything. Now Souta had a quest to save humanity.
It was early in the morning and Kagome had the coffee going in time for Souta. He only recently started drinking coffee and he grew attached to the caffeinated liquid. He had either a mug in his hand or a travel cup when he was on the go. Kagome made sure that he had everything he needed from his laptop being packed to all his paperwork he would showcase in front of a board. She was very proud of his brother for getting the attention he deserved in this situation. Souta was incredibly smart and he had so many ideas on how the PHV got started.
Souta grabbed his travel mug and all his papers, not even taking time to have a decent breakfast. "I should be home later on tonight Kagome," he said as he made his way to the front door.
"Souta, before you go, I have to talk to you about something," Kagome nearly hesitated.
Souta stopped short of the door and said, "Well okay, but please make it quick because I gotta go."
"I've been researching on demons. I think you might be right about some things and I want to look for them. I want to see if there are any left in our world," Kagome admitted.
Souta smiled, "That's great! Really great! You have your miko powers so it should be easy right?"
Kagome shrugged her shoulders, "I don't know. It's been years since I've used my powers and I don't know if I even have them anymore."
"All you can do is try your best sis. I have faith in you," Souta conveyed with renewed hope. "Well I have to go now Kagome. I'll see you later tonight."
Kagome merely nodded and said, "I'll have dinner ready when you come home."
Then he was gone out the front door. Kagome released a sigh as she got her own things together to start her day. She felt odd though. Something wasn't right because she was having dizzy spells and she was getting reoccurring headaches. Kagome thought that it just might be from exhaustion. She was staying up late with her own research and grading papers from her college classes. She was also having bouts of pain and body aches all over her body. Kagome concluded that it would be best to take it easier before she wore herself out. There were times that she kept going and going without a break. She wasn't a teenager anymore, but a full grown adult that had to take care with her own body. It didn't help that she was thrown around a lot in the Feudal Era. That just screamed problems for her body when she got older.
Kagome soon left the house herself after a couple cups of coffee. The first thing she had to do was go to the library and do some research, then she would hit the streets and find the demons. Through previous investigation she found that demons could hide their true physical appearances with guises. They do this so that they can blend in with the humans and that could be why it seemed like they were all but myths. All Kagome had to do was think up an area or areas where these demons would reside in. She had to be careful because some of these demons still killed humans, hence why a lot of people seem to disappear from off the face of the planet.
After searching books for hours Kagome finally stretched and decided to head out before it got too late. As she left the library, she thought she saw something at the corner of her eye. She could have sworn that she saw white hair shining around the corner. Her heart sped up as she decided to follow it. Kagome went around the corner and saw that white hair again, shining in the glistening twilight of the sunset. Kagome came to an alley and saw the shadows shift and that is when she saw him. A young man with blond hair that was so fair that it appeared white. He had a voluptuous woman pinned to the wall and they were apparently making out. Her moans were reverberating off the brick walls as she panted from his touches. Kagome couldn't help but stare.
Something inside her told her that something wasn't right. That is when Kagome finally saw it, the demon inside the man. It wasn't a demon that was known for his looks, for he was an Oni, a supernatural creature depicted as a devil from Japanese folklore. When the Oni kissed the woman Kagome saw the light coming from her mouth. It was her spiritual energy that he was devouring for his own purposes. Kagome had to intervene for the woman's life and to get answers of where all these demons were hiding.
"Hey you!" Kagome finally called out.
The Oni looked surprised as he dropped the woman into an unconscious pile in the alleyway floor. "What do you want? Do you want me lady?" he asked as a smile slowly curled up his lips. "You're a pretty one. A lot prettier than this whore," he commented in a now sensual tone. The Oni took a step closer to her and instead of Kagome turning around and running she took a step towards him.
She smirked to herself while saying, "I know what you are Oni. I don't want to cause any trouble, but I want to know where other demons are. I need some answers."
The Oni stopped in his tracks, "So you can see me. You must have strong spiritual powers to see through my guise."
Kagome merely nodded, "I was once a miko, but I must ask you some serious questions. What do you know about the Purple Haze Virus?"
The Oni smiled, "I know nothing about it except that it makes my prey easier to consume." Kagome saw his nostrils flare as he smelled the air. "I can tell that you're weak too. It's in you miko," he said nonchalantly.
"What do you mean inside me? What's inside me?" Kagome asked, scared that it could be PHV.
"Enough talk human. I'm still hungry and you can whet my appetite," he sneered as he finally launched at her. Kagome was taken by surprise as he pinned her to the ground in one foul swoop. Kagome could smell the death on him radiate around her as his face got close to hers. "Just relax and see my disguise as a handsome man. This won't hurt at all. I promise."
Kagome fought tooth and nail to get out of his grasp and she realized that she was in real trouble. She hadn't tapped into her powers since her time with Inuyasha and now she had to find a way to call those powers back to her. It should be like riding a bike, but it wasn't. She'd given half her soul away to a woman that deserved a second chance at life.
"Get off me!" Kagome yelled in muffled screams. The monster put pressure on her body and she could feel her ribcage caving in. She tried to breathe as she kept her face to the side, away from his mouth. That is when she felt the crack of his hand across her face, trying to get her to do his bidding. She could taste the blood in her mouth, and then she felt a jolt run through her body.
That was the power she remembered. It coursed through her in a weakened stream of what she once knew, but it would be enough to win this battle. The pink hue surrounded her body and she closed her eyes, allowing the power to do its job. She heard the scream of her assailant and when she opened her eyes all she saw were ashes. At least now she knew that demons still existed in her world, and there was hope for the future. She also wondered what the demon meant by inside her. Was it her miko powers coming back to life, or the virus?
It was already dark when Kagome came home and she saw that her Mom's car was already in the driveway. That meant that Souta was home and she promised to make dinner. She was sure he had a long day and he came home to nothing. She felt like such a terrible sister sometimes. Kagome sighed as she got out of the car and went into the house to see Souta at the dinner table with dinner waiting for her. He cooked something very simple; Nyumen. Sure it was just somen noodles in hot water, but it also had vegetables in it too.
"I'm so sorry Souta that I wasn't home to make dinner," Kagome said.
Souta looked up at her from his chair, "It's all right, I can cook too you know. What took you so long anyway? Did you get caught up at the library?"
Kagome thought for a moment on whether or not to tell Souta about her findings. Before she had a chance to answer Souta stood up from his chair and towered over her. Throughout the years he had grown up and was probably as tall as their father used to be. "What happened Kagome? Your clothes are torn and you have a bruise on her your cheek," Souta examined her with worry written all over his face.
"I ran into a demon," she blurted out.
"A demon? Did he attack you?" Souta continued with his questions.
Kagome nodded, "Yes, he was an Oni. I tried to ask about where other demons were and about the virus. He doesn't know anything about PHV, except that it makes his prey easier to consume."
"What happened to this Oni Kagome?" Souta said, now grabbing onto her shoulders in scared anticipation.
"I killed him with my miko powers. He had on a disguise to look human. They are living among us and I had a feeling that they were," Kagome explained. Souta released his sister and let out a sigh of relief,
"Good, he's dead. Don't you ever do something like that again. You could have been killed Kagome. What were you thinking?"
Kagome started to get upset, "I wanted to help out like you. I wanted to be a part of this and do what I could! I lost Mom too you know!" Kagome let out a sob as she felt tears run down her face.
"Kagome, I…." Souta sat back down in his chair and ran his fingers through his hair.
"You're very smart Souta and you have already done many great things. My time of being great was ended when I left the feudal era. Since then I have been in this world that isn't mine. I feel lost, scared and I feel like I don't belong. This is my chance to make a difference and to find out what the demons know," Kagome tried to explain while still crying.
"You don't have to look anymore sis. Sit down and let me explain something to you that I found out today," her brother asserted as he pointed to the chair next to him. Kagome sat down and he pushed her bowl of noodles in front of her. Kagome did as her brother asked and sat down with her food.
"When I was officially put on the team today I was told a lot. I don't know if I'm supposed to tell you, but for your safety I think it's needed. Demons are indeed among us and I met many of them today. I'll be working with them to accomplish this task of saving the human race. They're smart from how many years they lived and they already made progress that we could never imagine. Did you know that demons were the ones that actually harnessed electricity, who invented the telescope and anything else that we know as science? The humans in our history were the demons. The actresses, the actors, the politicians and major corporate owners are all demons. They are the ones that rule this world and they depend on humans to do their labor, to help build society, and to keep the world moving forward," Souta conveyed this information, watching Kagome's jaw drop.
He continued, "We have teams divided into several categories; one to create a cure, one to find the symptoms of the disease, another team to find ways to slow down the disease, and the last team to create a way to preserve the host until a cure can be found."
"What do you mean preserve the host?" Kagome questioned. "Cryopreservation is a process where cells or a whole person is preserved by cooling the person to sub-zero temperatures. At these low temperatures, any biological activity, including biochemical reactions that would lead to cell death, is effectively stopped. I'm talking about cryogenical freeze until a cure is found. It could take years to find one if at all. They've found a way to freeze a human in these makeshift pods, but they're still trying to figure out how to thaw the person without killing them. The inside of the body has to thaw at the same time as the outside, or the person will die," he said this as if he were quoting it from his notes.
"So what does a person have to do to get into these pods?" Kagome asked.
"That's the tricky part. If the host is too far along then there is no hope of saving them. Not only that, but the person has to be chosen to go inside of a pod. We can't freeze everyone who gets it because we don't have the funds or the space to store them right now. We're already making plans to make a storage system in space where the pods can transported to. The person also has to have something that can contribute to the future, like a scholar, a doctor or a scientist," Souta could tell that Kagome didn't approve.
Kagome looked down at her food, "I know this is your job but that is so wrong. Everyone should get the chance to live, not because of what they know or how much money they dish out."
"I don't agree with it either, but there has to be a limit. I argued about it with them today, but I understand and I have to in order to work for them. Not only that but in working for them I can ensure our own future. If one of us caught PHV then I know we would both be safe."
"So this is like an insurance plan too?" Kagome remarked.
"I suppose you could look at it like that."
"I hope this is the right decision Souta."
"It is for us. I'm only looking out for you."
"I know that. So what am I supposed to do now?"
"Go to work, live a normal life."
"I want to meet these demons."
"I might be able to arrange it at a later date."
"I want to meet them as soon as possible."
"Why do you want to meet them so badly?"
"I might know one of them…"
Souta had nearly forgot that she knew a lot of demons and that these demons lived a very long time. Some of them lived for thousands of years if not longer. Souta knew that his sister wanted to reach out to something that used to be familiar to her, something that could make her feel alive again. "I'll do what I can, as soon as I can. At the moment I have to focus on my work. I hope you can understand sis," Souta finally said. Kagome just nodded and hoped that Souta did as he promised.
Several days passed and Souta left for work early every morning and came home late every night. Souta swore that he wouldn't take any time off of work until this problem was resolved. Every day that passed though, it seemed like the world was getting more and more out of balance. Kagome felt out of balance because as each day passed she felt even more tired than the last. When she looked in the mirror she saw something that made her scared for her life. The corners of her opaque's were turning a light hue of…. Purple.