Their parents had put the matsus in charge of planning their own vacation this year. Something about how it might make them more “independent.” Really they just wanted some alone time from their sons. It was a week of arguing of where to go until the boys had ended up into two groups.
Group one was Totty, Choro and Jyushi. Who had wanted to go to a city. Todo wanted to tour the cafes and other stuff there. Choro wanted to see some museum that was there or so he claimed as there was also a Nyaa-chan concert there soon. As for Jyushimatsu, well a certain girl he knew happened to be in that city and he wanted to see her again.
The second group was Ichimatsu, Osomatsu and Karamatsu. They wanted to go to a more rural mountain area. Osomatsu found a place with a mixed hotspring. Karamatsu liked the area cause apparently it was “Perfect for musical inspiration.” But the mixed bath probably was part of it. As for Ichi there was apparently a cat temple and shrine that he felt he had to visit. It was obviously something he had to do before he died. So he refused not to go.
In the end the two groups decided to have their own vacations. If they couldn't agree then why compromise after all? Before the next week's end all the boys were packed up and ready. Sleeping in their bed for the last time in a bit. Ichimatsu lay awake still as his brothers snored away, his gaze on the ceiling. Something about the trip worried him. He couldn't put his finger on it. Maybe it was travel anxiety, maybe just being away from half his brothers for an extended time. Whatever it was he hoped it didn't last. Eventually he passed out for the night.
Ichimatsu woke up feeling a bit better. He sat up slowly in bed, it was still dark outside and moonlight was the only thing that brightened the room. He glanced over at his brothers, all still sleeping. All he could see of them was their outlines really but they looked peaceful. He slowly moved out from under the covers. The air was a bit cold compared to the bed but still he stood up and made his way to the washroom.
He was already awake so he figured he should get ready with his free time. He shivered a bit as he undress, the house was weirdly cold or maybe the temperature was always like this at this time? He was rarely up this early. He checked his phone, 5:13am. After that he hopped in the shower, blasting the room with steam to warm up a bit. Something about today just seemed wrong. He still didn’t know what though. He showered for near an hour, most of the time just sitting and letting the water wash over him.
It was about 5 hours later by the time his brothers started to wake up. Ichimatsu was just sitting by the front door with his packed bag. He had ended up falling asleep like that. Leaning against the wall a bit and snoring softly. Osomatsu had seen him there and stopped the others from waking him right now. After all breakfast wasn’t even made yet he would just be grumpy if they woke him. Osomatsu did find it a bit worrying though since this behaviour wasn’t much how Ichi was before trips. Normally Ichimatsu would over sleep and have to be dragged around in the morning before trips like a cat with a leash put on it.
Breakfast was made and Osomatsu was tasked with waking the sleeping beast. He made his way to Ichimatsu and took a seat next to him before poking his cheek with a small grin. “Ichimatsu~ Wakie, Wakie~”
Ichimatsu stirred after a moment, looking a bit confused as he blinked a few times. He watched Oso a minute as he woke up… When had he fallen asleep, he wondered. “Hm…?” Was all that came from him.
“You that excited for the cat temple Ichi that you’re gonna sleep by the door?” Oso said a bit teasingly.
“... Something like that.” Ichimatsu muttered as he sat up a bit before going to stand. “What time is it?”
“Like after 10, we got breakfast going. Come and eat.” Oso stood as well, pausing a bit as he watched Ichi. Normally he might not bug Ichi over acting a bit weird but well. This was maybe a bit too odd even if it was something small. “Ichi?”
“What is it?” He stretched a bit before glancing at Osomatsu.
“You feeling okay?” He sounded concerned.
“I’m fine.” He felt, less anxious then before at least. He was fine. Probably.
“Okay, come and eat then.” Oso would let the topic drop, there’s no use being pushy to Ichimatsu. He went to the table to eat expecting Ichi to follow and he did.
They all ate in their normal chaotic peace, it was nice really. Ichi found himself relaxing as he finished off a stack of blueberry pancakes. Soon enough Totty, Choro and Jyushi were off to catch their bus to the city for their trip. Ichi, Kara and Oso waved them off before moving to get all their stuff ready to go. Ichi clearly was already packed but Oso and Kara still weren't done.
Osomatsu didn’t take that long to pack. Mainly he threw a bunch of clothes in a bag and closed it up without a care. It looked sadly deflated and likely under filled. He didn’t really care though if he needed something he could just borrow it probably. Kara on the other hand had chosen way too much stuff, namely clothing. He must have had like 30 outfits at least what he was trying to cram into his bag. Also he planned to bring his guitar around with them so he already had that all packed up and in its case.
Ichimatsu was back to sitting by the door and waiting, soon enough Oso joined him as they waited. He used one hand to lightly ruffle Ichi’s hair, "Maybe I'll go with you to the cat shrine when we get there~"
"Yeah? If you're disrespectful to the cat gods the cats might eat you though. Can you handle being respectful niisan?" He half joked.
"I'm sure I can! Maybe… and if not I'll just claim it was you we look alike anyways." He joked, lightly elbowing him a lil. Ichi almost laughed at that and smiled ever so slightly.
"Pretend to be Karamatsu, don’t get me in trouble with the cat gods."
"Ah, you're right. Karamatsu would just stutter through it too so it'd be easier." He snorted, smiling at him a bit. Ichi appreciated all the jokes it helped him relax since that feeling of anxiousness had been coming back.
"Speaking of. Is Karamatsu ready yet?"
"I mean. Kinda. He can’t get his bag closed." Osomatsu said as he looked over to see the glittery matsu’s struggles as he fought with the bag. Ichi glanced over too. God. Kara.
"How much clothes you got in there? We’re only going for like a week, take some out." He complained at Kara.
"Ah. But I need everything in here to be prepared~" Called Kara back, he was kinda giving up on being able to close his bag though.
"Bullshit. Hurry up or we'll miss the bus." Ichi’s tone warning. Kara sighed in defeat and started to take a couple of outfits out. Regardless he was still super over packed by the time he finished.
Soon enough all of them were walking with their bags to the bus stop. Ichi lead the way as they were in a rush cause of Kara now and Ichi knew a shortcut through some alleyways.
Luckily they made their bus just in time. Getting on it and taking a seat in the back, Ichi and Oso took window seats with Kara in the middle. The bus ride took about 2 hours and most of that time Oso and Kara spent chatting with the occasional comment from Ichi. Mainly Ichimatsu stared out the window watching the scenery go by. At the start it was all city, buildings and buildings, tall and proud. But soon enough it changed to the occasional trees until it was a thick forest really. Something about the forest was rather creepy. Maybe it was how it started to get dark despite it being mid day since all the trees blocked out the sunlight. Maybe it was just how different it was when compared to what Ichi was used to seeing. There wasn’t a building in sight. Maybe it was the vague feeling of isolation he got when he stared into the endless void of branches and leaves. He looked away from the forest and into the bus again.
There wasn’t a lot of people in it but his brothers were here. Karamatsu was humming and listening to music with headphones on. Softly tapping his foot in rhythm with his eyes closed. Osomatsu also had his eyes closed but for a different reason. He was asleep. Snoring with his face pressed to the window. He looked a bit silly really in his weird sitting up and sleeping pose. Ichi smiled softly to himself, He was glad he wasn’t alone really.
Such a thing would make the forest a lot creepier. With his brothers around any place could be fun after all. Even if he would never admit to them such a thing. He felt a small funny feeling catch in his throat. He vaguely felt tears for some reason coming but stopped them. Maybe he was just having a bad case of travel anxiety but it sure was ominous. Still they were almost there now so he wouldn’t be backing out now.
The bus stopped and let them off, Osomatsu was half asleep as they got off. They stood on the dirt road with their bags. They were still a bit away from the hotel they had made reservations at so they would have to walk the rest of the way.
“I wish the bus went the whole way!” Complained Osomatsu, his voice whiny and annoyed since he had been woken up just to have to walk. Ichi snickered a bit.
“Can’t walk niisan? You won’t be able to make it to the mixed bath then.” He said in a dry tone.
“Right the mixed bath!” Said Oso sounding wide awake at that, “Let’s get going guys! Amazing things awate!” Ichi burst out laughing at Oso’s excitement. God it was way too easy to motivate Oso. Ichi felt a bit like mentioning that it was unlikely that any women would be in the mixed bath with them in such a remote area but he decided against it. He didn’t want Oso to complain the whole way they walked after all. Better to let Oso cling to his pervy delusions.
It was about a half hour long walk before the hotel came into view, it was very rural in design. But it is just as Ichi had expected of a building in the mountains honestly. He paused for a minute to stare at it. It was kinda pretty he supposed. Like a painting. After a moment longer he followed his brothers into the place and they all went to the reception to check in and get their room keys. Turns out their mother had to book them in two rooms since the rooms only allowed two people in them each. One of them would have to sleep alone it seemed.
They all stared at each other as if silently trying to decide. Ichimatsu didn’t want to sleep alone. He actually slept best next to Karamatsu since he was so used to it. But if he suggested Oso sleep alone then Kara might be all weird about it since that would somehow imply Ichi liked being around him. Which isn’t what he wanted. So He supposed he would have to insist Kara take the room but… Then maybe Oso might tease him about how Ichi didn’t want to sleep alone. There really was no winning with his over thinking. What to do he wondered and as he wondered the reception spoke up.
“One thing though. The only other room we have free other than a plain one is the doll room.”
All three matsu’s spoke at once. “What?!”
“Yes, the doll room.” Said the reception, “It’s a lovely room full of handcrafted dolls.”
Ichi felt a tiny shiver go down his spine, fuck that idea.
“That sounds like pure nightmare fuel!” Cried Oso not even trying to hide his distaste.
“I’m not much of a fan of that room decor either.” Karamatsu claimed clearly trying not to seem a bit freaked out at the idea. Dolls after all were creepy, especially all their glass eyes staring at you as you changed or slept or anything. Ichimatsu wanted no part in it.
“Dolls aren't… good.” Is all he said, really unsure how to describe a feeling of just pure doll hate.
“Well one of you will need to take the room, You only have to sleep there and it’s already been paid for. No refunds.” The three boys looked at each other, uncomfortable with the idea.
“Well. As eldest I’ll take responsibility,” Started Oso, “ and decide that we should play rock, paper, scissors for it!” Ichi and Kara both slightly scowled at that.
“Just take one for the team and sleep in the doll room niisan.” Complained Ichi, to which Oso smirked a bit.
“Oh why~ Are you scared Ichi~? It’s only a few dolls. Can’t a doll of darkness like you handle them?”
“I didn’t say that, I just said that-”
“You’re scared of dolls~ So scared of dolls~” Teased Oso, “If you aren't you’ll have no problem playing for the room.”
“I-I’m not scared of dolls!” He said sounding annoyed. “Karamatsu why don’t you take the room anyways? Surely a cool guy like you isn’t scared?” He tried despite hating having to call Kara cool. But he really didn’t want that room.
“Actually I am scared of dolls.” Said Kara taking the easy way out. “I refuse to take the room brothers!”
Ichi looked kinda shocked, admitting your scared to get outta the room. Karamatsu that cheap jerk. “But…”
“Come on Ichi it’s just rock, paper, scissors. It’s not that hard. I’ll even make it easy, I’ll pick rock~”
“Fine!” But he doubted Oso would pick rock it was probably a trick to get Ichi to mess up and lose so he wouldn’t trust a word Oso said. Of course that’s what Oso was counting on.
“Fuck!” Complained Ichimatsu.
“I told you I was picking rock Ichimatsu~ You’re so silly. Did you actually want the doll room?” Osomatsu laughed as they grabbed their room keys. Ichimatsu took his, the room card had a small doll printed on it… Ugh.
“Shut the fuck up.” Ichi muttered with an annoyed sigh. He had totally over thought the game. But he supped he shouldn't be surprised he had never won a single thing in his life after all. They made their way down the hallway with their bags.
Ichi’s room was at the end of the hall, he left his brothers and approached the room. He slowly put the key card to the room and slowly turned the door handle. The door swung open with a small creak and Ichi starred in horror at the sight as he hesitantly stepped in.
To say the room had a few dolls was a major understatement. Every surface was basically covered in tiny creepy pale glass eyed creeps. Ichi hesitantly stepped in the room the door closing behind him as he put his bag down. He slowly stepped into the middle of the room and glanced around. The dolls were all the same style of creepy tiny girls in dresses. Most were super pale, with long hair and bonnets and all that.
A few of them stood out though, one looked super old, the paint on its cheeks chipping off a little. It’s glass eyes seemed weirdly too big and its dress had some cobwebs on it. It was in the middle of the room staring right at the bed. The weird old doll was sitting right above a tiny sign that said ‘Please don’t touch the dolls they’re fragile.’ Regardless that one really creeped him out so he turned it slowly around so it faced away from him and at the wall. Touching it sent shivers down his spine and he worried any moment it might bite him or something.
“Fucking creepy…” He muttered to himself. Some of the dolls looked a lot newer in make, fresh and faded paint. More modern design like plastic wig hair instead of yarn. One even had short brown hair. For some reason even he nicer looking ones gave him a bad vibe as if something really bad could happen cause of them. He couldn’t help but think of some stories of cursed dolls that moved on their own and sapped the lives out of their owners. He shivered again, a feeling of unease had taken over him so he decided to flee the room calmly and go see what his brothers were doing.
Out the room he went shoving the card key in his pocket as he went. Luckily Karamatsu was in the hallway waiting for Oso so Ichi wouldn’t have to wonder which room his brothers were in.
“Oh hello dear brother, how is your room?” Asked Kara only to get a glare in reply, “Ah right sorry I forgot, dolls.”
“Yeah. Dolls.” Ichi grumbled.
“Well it could be worse right?” He said trying to find a bright side.
“There’s like a hundred in that room. Beady little eyes staring at you when you enter, unblinking and wishing death upon you.” Ichi muttered, Karamatsu looked obviously creeped out at the idea so he didn’t reply.
They stood out there in silence until Osomatsu came out of the room. “Oh hey guys, are you ready to go to the mixed bath?” He said with a smile.
“But you don’t have a change of clothes Ichi.”
He didn’t want to go back into the room but he would probably have to to get some clothes. “Do I really need one?”
“Yeah, like ew.”
Ichimatsu sighed, He supposed he would have to get some clothes. He made his way back to the room and opened it. His brothers watching him go. He could hear them talking behind him.
“What’s the room like do you think Kara?”
“Well… Ichimatsu said there was a lot of dolls, like a lot.”
“Eww, creepy~” Joked Oso. Ichi had his clothes by now and closed the door behind him coming back to them.
“Let’s get going.” He muttered. Just stepping into the room had made his hair stand on edge really.
They started out with their things, going out of the hotel and down the dirt road some more. It was a lovely day out really. A small breeze and fairly sunny only a few clouds. The trees around the hotel thinned so they could see the sky again. They thinned even more as they followed the path, going slowly up it and into a more mountainous area.
It took a little bit but they made it to the bath house. It was a natural hot spring and the building had the same kinda rural look as the hotel. They entered and made their way in to change out of their clothes and wash up.
“This place looks pretty nice~” Commented Oso happily well looking around.
“Even if it is it doesn’t mean naked girls are gonna be here niisan.” Commented Ichi deciding to finally ruin Oso’s illusion.
“What do you mean Ichi? Of course girls go to the hot springs.”
“In the woods slash mountains? Where any old man could be watching? A mixed bath of all things as well.”
Oso pouted a bit, “You could have mentioned this earlier!” He whined.
“And what? Not get to come to the cat temple?” He smirked slightly.
“You used me!” Oso said, shocked a bit. “And here I thought you wanted the best for your niisan!”
“Well, regardless brothers,” Interrupted Kara, “We can still enjoy the lovely hot springs.” He smiled at them hoping Osomatsu wouldn’t complain for too long about this.
“But Karamatsu- He tricked me-” Whined Oso.
“Shhhhhh.” Kara’s tone a bit dry, “Just bath dear brother.” He didn’t want to deal with it.
Osomatsu pouted a bunch but quieted down and soon all three of them went into the hot spring.
Ichi slipped into the water with a content sigh, the water was such a nice temperature. He wasn’t a huge fan of hot water but this was perfect. He took a seat, smiling a bit to himself and closing his eyes to relax.
He felt his worries drifting away. So peaceful.
A while passed like that before they left and after the travel and the bath the sun was getting low into the sky. They were getting dressed, “We should get back before dark. This seems like the kinda place that might have bears or something.” Muttered Ichi.
“What about the cat temple?” Asked Kara.
“Can I come with you two?” He asked with a friendly smile.
“I guess so, not like I own the temple or something.” Mumbled Ichimatsu.
“Great!” Karamatsu seemed excited about the idea of their little day trip.
Soon they all started their walk home. The sun just barely setting and casting a golden glow over the trees. It was pretty. Very pretty. Ichimatsu took out his phone and took a photo. He paused looking at the screen. No signal. He supposed the area was very rural. Still he didn’t like such a lack of signal. He checked his phone a bit later when they were almost at the hotel. One bar. Not a lot of hope there but it was better than nothing.
They made their way in, the hotel smelled of food. Dinner time how nice. They had just missed the window for lunch when they got there so all of them were pretty hungry. As they ate it went into basically the normal rhythm of it. The others might not be there but in the end it was still fairly lively. Ichimatsu really dreaded when dinner was over and he seen Oso yawn.
“I think it’s about bedtime!” Said Osomatsu without a care.
“Yeah…” Muttered Ichi not wanting to go back to the dolls. He for a bit there had forgot they even existed actually. Still they couldn’t loiter around in the dining room and soon enough they got up and went to their separate rooms.
Ichimatsu hesitated at the door before grabbing the cold handle and swinging the door open. He turned the light on and felt a chill. Ugh, it was still super creepy. He went in just trying to avoid looking at them and crawling under the covers. Hiding his face under the blankets. He just hoped he could fall asleep in such an environment. Luckily he eventually did. Passed out and snoring without even noticing the small difference in the room. The doll he had turned around was facing forward again. Watching him sleep.
The doll room is totally creepy don't you think? Tell me what you think in the comments! Do you have any theories about what's to come? I'd love to hear them~
Morning came soon enough and Ichimatsu sat up in the bed and stretched. He had slept really well honestly. His early morning peace was quickly ruined though as he stared at the doll that stared back at him. He felt his stomach drop and his eyes widened. He hurried out of bed, a bit of unreal panic taking over as he rushed himself into the bathroom and slammed the door. It was the only room in his hotel room without dolls so it felt the safest. He pressed his back to the door and made sure to lock it.
Just trying to calm himself and figure out what the hell just happened. He didn’t see the doll moving at all. No not at all. It didn’t move but some one had in fact moved it. Maybe room service. That made sense. Yeah. Room service. Maybe them. He let out a shaky breath. It had just been surprising. He was fine. He just didn’t expect it to… be. That. He hesitated, should he open the door? That’s like horror movie 101 isn’t it? Don’t open the door? But the door was the only room exit. He had basically trapped himself in a horrid cliche reaction to something supernatural esk.
He finally decided to slowly unlock and open the door. Peeking out at the doll. It stared at the bed still not moving. “If you’re alive do something.” He ordered from his cowering behind the bathroom door. The doll didn’t move. “Of course you don’t move… Just a doll.” He muttered to himself. He stared at it a while longer, just to be sure. It wasn’t like he was scared or anything… Not at all.
He slowly stepped into the room, keeping his hand on the bathroom door handle. Still watching the doll. He let out a sigh, “A maid or something must have moved it… Must of.” Regardless it was still kinda freaky. He decided not to stay in the room for long today.
When he got out he seen Osomatsu in the hall. “Ah, Morning.” He muttered.
“Morning Ichimatsu! Did you sleep well?”
“Slept fine, waking up was the bad part.” He crossed his arms as he spoke and glanced away, still trying to ignore feeling so creeped out.
“Yeah? Also do you know where Karamatsu is?”
“Ah, no. Why? Is he missing?”
“Kinda, he left this morning with his guitar and isn’t back yet. He’s probably just playing guitar somewhere making that song he wanted to.”
“Yeah probably, guess what means we leave without him.” Ichi muttered just wanting a break from the hotel. The cat temple would be great right now.
“Ditching him? So mean Ichi~”
“If he really wants to see it we can go again tomorrow.”
With that they were off, leaving the hotel to go up the nearby mountain path. As they left Ichimatsu heard guitar from afar, Karamatsu. He did feel a little bad leaving early but Kara was busy and they could go tomorrow like he said.
As they walked down the soft dirt path Ichi spoke his thoughts out loud, “I wonder how many cats will be there..."
"Probably a lot. I mean it is a cat shrine afterall ya?" Said Oso, his hands casually resting in his pockets as he walked.
"Like 100? Or like 1000?"
Osomatsu laughed, "Maybe somewhere in between?"
"I’m hoping 10,000." Ichimatsu seemed to have finally relaxed since they had left the hotels sight.
"That's a lot of cats~ Do you think the treats you have would be enough for all of them?"
"Oh I hope so... I bought 5 bags." Ichi pat the bag he had with him that was packed full of bags of treats.
"Ah-! That many?"
"Cats love them. A lot." He smiled slightly as he spoke.
Osomatsu smiled back, "Guess I gotta help hand them out then~"
"Seems so. You don't have to though."
"I want to." Osomatsu said, affectionately ruffling Ichi’s hair. Seems he was getting spoiled with niisan attention lately, maybe it was the universe trying to make up for the horrors of the doll room. Ichi was happy for the affection and they kept walking in silence
Osomatsu walked just a step ahead of him, glancing back. Ichi on the other hand seemed focused on their surroundings. Happily humming a bit to himself as they walked.
Osomatsu was mostly paying attention to where they were going, "How'd ya hear about the shrine anyways?"
"There was a blog about it online. Apparently things you pray for come true if you really respect cats."
"I guess so. I just figured it seemed like a great place to go. For all the cats."
"Yeah!" Osomatsu smiled at him, "You got a wish in mind though?"
"Yeah of course I do." He had thought hard for the week leading up to this about it honestly. Not that he would admit that.
"Oooo!? You gonna tell me~?" Oso said with curiosity in his voice, walking a bit closer.
"If you tell people wishes they don't come true." He scoffed with a small eye roll, "Idiot."
"Aww, isn't that just a rumor though? What if you both wish for it then?"
"Then it is guaranteed probably. I dunno."
"Then let's wish together~"
"I’m not going to tell you regardless of what you say niisan."
Osomatsu whined with a pout in response.
"It wouldn't really be a wish of yours if you knew anyways. It has to come from you. Maybe if you're lucky we'll have some freaky twin connection and you'll think of it." He muttered kinda quietly. Seeming embarrassed of his words.
"Mmmm~ Guess so." He paused then held out his hand to Ichi, smiling a bit softer than before. Ichi watched him for a second before taking it. He glanced away at the trees a bit his face going a little red.
"Apparently they have an elder cat at the temple." He muttered changing the topic.
Osomatsu walked swinging their arms a little as he did, "Oh? They got a name?”
"Blueberry. She’s a royal blue cat."
"Ohhhhh~ Cute name."
"She’s apparently 15 years old but some people claim she’s been there like 200 years and that she’s the God of the temple."
"The God huh~" He tilted his head a little in thought. The road had steepened as they were almost at the temple, they were above some of the trees in the area even, it really was a beautiful area.
"You should treat her well... Give her extra snacks maybe." He glanced at Oso, "Seriously though. Best behaviour niisan."
"Alright, alright~ I will be." Oso smiled at him, being serious.
"Good..." They arrived at the temple gat within the next few minutes.
The temple looked really well maintained. The wood was shiny and the tiles of the path leading to the temple were free of leaves or debris. There were so many cats in the area, most of them laying on the tile flooring of the area and sunbathing. There were no trees near the temple so the whole area was cast in sunlight and Ichimatsu’s face lit up at the sight. He was obviously excited cause hispace sped up and he dragged oso a bit via their intertwined hands towards the mass of cats.
Some glanced up as they walked closer but most of them just stayed laying. Flicking their tails occasionally in a content motion. There was one cat that laid on the steps on the temple, only one. A large royal blue with a few soft gray hairs in its coat. It watched them as soon as they came in sight. That must be Blueberry.
Osomatsu perked up, glancing at Ichimatsu as they approached. He looked around curiously trying to keep pace with his speed. It really was kinda magic.... He didn't really believe in things like that but he could see why someone would.
Ichimatsu lead them both to Blueberry till they were standing in front of her, "Hello." He muttered, he felt a bit embarrassed but he wanted to be respectful. "Can we sit with you?" He said softly.
He almost squeaked in excitement as he seen blueberry stand up and move from the middle of the steps towards the side as if to let them sit. Ichimatsu smiled before sitting down.
"Niisan..! Come sit." He seems rather excited then again this must be like meeting a celebrity to Ichi.
Osomatsu smiled at him,it was rare to see Ichi this visibly happy so of course he took a seat next to him. "This place is really pretty eh?" He glanced around again as he spoke.
"Yeah it is." Ichimatsu took the snacks from out of the bag and handed one to oso. At the rustling of bags cats ears perked up and they glanced over. Once Ichi opened a bag a hoard of cats rushed to them knowing what that sound meant. Ichi held out treats to them, "Look at them all~”
Osomatsu opened the bag Ichi had given him,offering a treat to one of the smaller ones. "There's so many" He laughed a little.
The cats 'murrrped' and 'mrowed' at them as they got treats "This is a cat paradise." Ichi spoke softly, he loved the calm and warm vibe of this place.
"It really does seem like it." Oso agreed, pausing as he looked over at the royal blue cat. He took a small handful and set it down by her. A small offering to Blueberry before continuing to hand treats to the rest of the cats.
Blueberry just watched them for a bit before munching on Oso’s offering. Ichi had gone to tossing handfuls to the crowd honestly. There was just so many of them.
"There must be more then 100..." Soon enough he was opening a second bag for the cats.
Osomatsu smiled at the cat before starting to do the same, tossing the treats into the crowd of cats,"Maybe 300?" He tilted his head.
"Who knows it’s like a sea..."
After they went through another few bags the sea parted luckily. Ichi only had one bag left and it was half empty but all the cats all seemed content. He got up and poured the rest on an offering platform for the cat God since he figured the cat God might not be Blueberry for all they know. Blueberry watched him as he did.
"Come make a wish Osomatsu-niisan." He said quietly staring at the ornate wooden carved cat statue by the offering platform.
Osomatsu went over, "Hmm. Let’s see if we wish for the same thing~" He said, looking at the cat statue for a minute then back to Ichi.
Ichi put his hands together and closed his eyes. Face flushing a little as he made his wish. 'I wish for my family to be happy forever' As cheesy as the wish was, it was what he had decided on.
Osomatsu smiled a bit seeing Ichi wishing, pausing for a minute before closing his eyes, hands going together as he wished as well.
There was a solid moment of silence as the boys wished before Ichi opened his eyes again and made a surprised noise. There was a completely white cat laying in the offerings. Its eyes yellow. Its fur was softly poofed like glowing light around it.
"Oh hello… Where did you come from?" He said softly to it. It just stared at them.
Osomatsu opened his eyes, blinking. He glanced over at Ichimatsu again before offering his hand to the cat slowly, not wanting to scare it off. Would it accept pets, he wondered.
Ichi also put his hand out slowly as if to pet. It stared at them. Not showing any hostility before biting Ichimatsu on the hand.
"Ouch!!!" He yanked his hand away. It didn't bite Oso though. Ichi looked a bit distressed at that. His hand’s kind of bleeding. "... Maybe my hand just smelled a lot like treats..." He mumbled with a frown.
Osomatsu lightly moved to look at Ichi’s hand, "It probably did....Does your hand feel okay?"
"Yeah. It didn't bite like hard. Just enough to make me bleed.." He stared at his hand. There was a very clear bite mark on his hand but it stopped bleeding soon though. "Do you think it biting me is a bad thing?" He was kinda pouting now, "Or was that somehow a good thing?"
"Maybe it’s a bit of both?"
"...Hmm..." He still seemed pouty at that reply and as much as he liked cats it kinda soured his mood for hanging out here honestly.
"All the treats gone?" Oso questioned, moving back a bit.
"Yeah. All gone. " He shoved his hands in his pocket with a sigh.
"Well. Let's head back then. I'm hungry~"
"Sure. Me too." He muttered and started back with Oso. Before leaving though he glanced back and took a photo of the place. Osomatsu waited for him to finish before continuing to walk. There was a comfortable silence for a bit and Ichimatsu seemed less pouty over the cat bite as time continued.
Osomatsu was glad for that, pausing before grabbing his hand again as they walked, "How much you wanna bet Karamatsu has just been playing this whole time and hasn't eaten either."
"Hmmm. I’m not gonna bet at all because it’s likely but maybe he wrote the song in our time away."
"You think he got the whole thing done already?"
"What else does he have to do after all?"
It was a pretty quiet walk back. Ichimatsu paused at the sight of the hotel. Right. The doll room. How could he have forgot... He supposed maybe he should tell Oso about it. He had a slight look of worry on his face.
Osomatsu looked over at him, very lightly elbowing him to get his attention, "What's up?"
"I don't want to go back to my room." He admitted glancing away. It was a bit embarrassing to be so... pathetic over dolls but. "One of the dolls... I turned it to face away and then this morning it was facing the bed again." He crossed his arms, looking a bit uncomfortable.
"Hmm... Well just cause you sleep there doesn't mean you have to go back right now." Oso stretched a bit.
"...Hmm, yeah. True. It’s just. Something about that room feels wrong." He muttered.
"Well... If something goes wrong I'm right nearby and you have your phone... It'll be alright." He smiled at him, pausing before lightly ruffling his hair.
"...Yeah. Probably." He felt a by better at Oso’s reassurance and so they went to the hotel.
Osomatsu stretched a little as they entered, "Find Karamatsu or just go eat?"
"We should find Kara probably. See if he wants to eat too."
"Yeah~ Let's go look."
Ichimatsu went in and looked around for Kara. He had no idea where he might be but it didn’t take long to hear some soft guitar playing and follow it to the source.
Karamatsu was just to one side of the hotel a bit away from it and sitting on a large rock that jutted out of the earth. There was a soft patch of grass around him and the occasional wild flower. He hummed lightly and strummed his guitar, not noticing them approach.
Ichimatsu made his way over and huffed "Here you are. Jeez." A real 'be easier to find' vibe to his words.
Karamatsu perked up, smiling at him. "Ah Ichimatsu~! I was just finishing up." He perked up more when Osomatsu got over and gave a little wave. "Oh both my dear brothers have arrived." He said happily.
"Did you finish your song yet?" Ichi sat kinda by Kara in the grass as he spoke. Trying to sound interested but he was curious
"Almost. I just have to figure out the ending.”
"I see. What do you have so far then?" Ichi wanted to hear how it went. Osomatsu went over, plopping down by him to listen for a bit as he started. Ichimatsu relaxed listening. There was a bit of sunlight in this spot so he stretched out a bit. Laying in the sun and listening. Karas music was catchy... he hummed softly along. Karamatsu smiled softly at Ichi's humming. Osomatsu closed his eyes kinda just enjoying the moment for a bit. They all stayed like that for a while until Oso’s stomach grumbled.
"Ah. Right." Ichimatsu muttered at that. "Are you hungry? We were gonna eat something."
"Oh! Yes I am!" Karamatsu perked up, flushing a little in embarrassment as his own stomach grumbled at the mention of food.
“Ichimatsu basically demanded we find you first in case you were hungry too~” Teased Oso with a laugh as he got up.
"I did not. Let’s go eat.” Ichimatsu also got up. Kara followed suit, guitar packed up into his bag and slung over his shoulder.
“Ah, dear brother you were worried about my well being? I’m touched!”
“I was not! Who would be worried about you?” Complained Ichimatsu as Oso snickered.
Karamatsu just ignored that sentence, “I love you too brother!”
Ichimatsu replied in a annoyed huff before a soft. “Same.”
Both Oso and Kara froze, “OH MY GOD, Osomatsu, tell me you heard that as well!” Cried Kara.
“I think I did~” Oso laughed, “Hey Ichi, niisan loves you too~ Say you love me too.” He whined and slung an arm over Ichi’s shoulder with a kinda smug grin, “Come on~”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” Muttered Ichi.
“Come on please~ Karamatsu tell him to say it to me too!”
Ichi glanced at Kara with a tiny glare, “I Don’t know what you’re talking about Osomatsu-niisan!” Claimed Karamatsu.
Ichi smirked at that, “He doesn’t know niisan~” Teased Ichi.
Oso whined and Ichimatsu laughed as they got in and went to eat, Oso would complain about it throughout the night even as they played cards. Finally it became time for them to go to their rooms and Ichi followed the boys back to their room. ".... Can I stay in your room?" He muttered softly glancing at the door to his room and then to Kara and Oso. He didn't want to beg but he didn't want to go back to it.
Karamatsu looked at him sympathetically, "My dear brother… I'm sure it will end up fine..."
"Yeah and if it gets too bad just yell and we'll come. We're right nearby after all." Osomatsu added, smiling at him.
"Yeah... Okay." He felt a bit of dread in his chest. He really didn't want to but he stepped away from his brothers and started to his room. Something about his room felt even worse than normal as he walked towards it. He opened the door and... It was the same as normal. He glanced back where his brothers were kinda hoping they might change their mind.
"We'll be right nearby..." Osomatsu reassured again.
Ichi sighed. Stepping in and closing the door behind himself. He wasn’t really tired yet.
He glanced at the dolls before grabbing his bag and taking it to the bathroom with him. He decided to take a long shower to help relax so he could sleep in this shitty room. After he got out and was in his pajamas he went to get into bed.
He froze though instead and felt a chill go down his spine, a tiny doll had appeared on his bed that wasn’t there before he had gone to shower. Hesitantly he stepped closer and picked it up to look at it. It had dark messy hair, pale skin and a black dress on. The thing that he noticed mostly though was that it looked much too much like him. It freaked him out to say the least.
He tossed the doll in surprise and backed up. His mind reiling. The doll looked like him why did it look- his back bumped into something softer than a wall breaking him from his thoughts. He turned his head and his eyes widened as he seen the older man in his room. He opened his mouth to speak, only a tiny squeak managing to come out before a cloth was put over it and he breathed in a strong smelling chemical. His head went all light and his vision started to have spots grow in it. He felt scared and he tried to back away but the man held it tight over his face.
His struggles were pointless and soon enough he was out like a light. Passed out on the floor of his room. He wouldn't be there when morning came.
Oh no Ichimatsu 3:
He's been kidnapped, what do you think will happen next. He must be so scared.
Hopefully his brothers will be able to save him before the story ends.
Morning came and Osomatsu sat up with a yawn. He had slept great really. He glanced over to Kara’s bed to find it empty. No surprise though since he could hear the shower running. He slipped out of bed and stretched with a groan. Jeez, these beds were kinda hard. He wasn’t a huge fan of them. But it was just a bed so he didn't really care.
He got dressed before peeking out into the hall, pausing as he didn’t see Ichimatsu waiting out there like he had the past day. “Huh…” He paused and checked the time. 11:51 am. Normally Ichimatsu was awake by then. “Maybe he’s sleeping in today. No biggie.” He ducked back into his room as Karamatsu came out of the washroom in a towel, his hair still wet.
“Good morning dear brother!” Kara smiled at him and went to his bag to grab some clothes, what might the perfect outfit for today be? “Did you say good morning to Ichimatsu yet?”
“Naw he’s still sleeping. By the way wear something comfortable, we’re going on an adventure today~”
“An adventure? Okay… Will we be waiting for Ichimatsu?”
“Naw, he wouldn’t be interested in it anyways.”
“Have you asked if he might be interested?”
“Naw but I know him. He wouldn’t be into it.”
“If you insist brother.” Karamatsu got on one of his more normal outfits and made sure to grab his phone, “So where are we going Osomatsu?”
“Secret!” Oso laughed a bit as he spoke and made a ‘shh’ gesture. He lead Karamatsu outside and started down a path. Osomatsu happy hummed, glancing back at Kara a few times. “Are you excited, curious?”
“Well I am curious. Where are we going?”
“I can’t tell you that~”
“What? Why not?” Karamatsu frowned, “Shouldn’t I know where we are going?”
“I really can’t tell you Karamatsu~ After all! I don’t know where we are going.”
“What?! Osomatsu! We can’t just wander into the woods!”
“Why not? I mean we already are. It’s super cool. Adventure time!”
“Because we’ll get lost!” Karamatsu had failed to realize all the time they had been arguing that they had continued to walk deeper into the forest. As they did the threes thickened and it started to get darker. They hadn’t even noticed the stone path underfoot had gone to dirt.
Karamatsu glanced around before looking at his brother. "Osomatsu I don't think we're on the path anymore..."
"....Yeah I don't think so either." Osomatsu didn't sound too concerned yet. "How the hell is it this dark it's like. Noon. Maybe."
"Well the trees block out the sunlight dear brother making it-" There was a rustling and Kara jumped. Moving closer to oso like a bit of a coward as his voice cracked "D-DaRk!" His face burned and he cleared his throat trying to play it cool after that. "Ahem. Probably just some wildlife like a rabbit." He definitely wouldn’t admit he was scared after all.
Osomatsu snickered a little but smiled at him, "Probably~ Either way we're here together it’ll be fine."
"So... Do you know which way we should go then niisan?" Asked Kara still standing pretty close to him, feeling worried and kinda frightened. He had never been scared of the dark but this was intensely dark.
"Not exactly but should be simple right? We haven't been walking for too long." Osomatsu glanced at him
Kara frowned at him "That's not how it works when your lost Osomatsu!" He's frowning, eyebrows furrowed. Oso was sure he was really worried by now.
"Sure it does. I mean. Backtracking should work. What's the worst that'll happen? Get more lost?" Oso tried to keep it casual. Lighthearted.
"That's exactly not what we want niisan! I don't wanta be lost forever in the woods!"
"It won't be forever~" Osomatsu poked his cheek.
"It might be. Take this more seriously Osomatsu."
"Kara it'll be fine. Worst thing that happens is we get more lost for a while Ichi realizes we're missing then sends a search party."
"You didn't see him this morning what if he went for a walk and he's lost too and none of us are found?"
"If anything he went to the cat shrine Kara, calm down."
"He could still get lost on the way there or he might not even notice we’re gone and we freeze to death. Come on Oso we need to figure out the way back." He blamed himself for not paying much attention to where they were going honestly. Why did he trust Oso to know. He was an idiot really.
"I will~" Osomatsu looked around. Ah, in their conversation he forgot where they came from. Whoops. "Uh. This way!"
"Are you sure?" Cause Oso sure didn't sound so sure.
"If you say so..." He followed Oso along. It's not like he knew any better. Osomatsu led the way, looking around curiously, the trees were tall. He wasn’t sure if he could even see the leaves. The top was just black. Kara was following after him, glancing around a bit before grabbing Oso’s sleeve. It was dark and he was nervous he didn't want to risk losing Oso in this forest.
Osomatsu stayed close, it seemed like it was getting darker as they walked.
" I think this is the wrong way niisan."
"Maybe..." Osomatsu sounded a little tense but tried to hide it. He wondered, how the hell was a forest so dark.
Karamatsu stopped them, “We should go back the way we came from.” He moved to turn back only to lose his footing with a yelp. He was still clinging to Oso as he started to tumble backwards and so he pulled Oso with them as he fell.
They tumbled down hitting into the slushy mud and sliding a bit. Osomatsu felt his leg hit into something, most likely a rock and hissed as they stopped moving. Laying in the mud. Kara groaned softly and moved to sit up.
“Fuck.” He muttered.
“Shit.” Replied Oso. He moved to sit up as well and winced,moving a hand to touch his knee. Blood spread to his palm. Oso had quite the scrape on his knee now.
Kara glanced at Oso before looking around them and letting out a small gasp. They had fallen down a ditch and were right on the outside of a large lake. If it wasn’t for the soft sparkle over the top of the lake it would look like a hole. The water was not a color it was only black. He wasn’t sure if it was sludgy water or that it was just because it was so deep. Or maybe even it was the lighting in the area causing this effect.
“Woah…” Muttered Kara softly. “You see this Oso?” Oso glanced over as well.
“Huh… Wow.” It was really pretty but also kinda creepy honestly. “You okay by the way Kara?” He asked thinking of his knee, hopefully Kara didn’t hurt himself as well.
"Yeah I’m fine. I'm glad we didn't land in that." He muttered.
"Yeah... Weird though, nothing talked about there being a lake out here." Osomatsu moved to stand slowly with a wince.
"It must be kinda unknown or something. Or maybe toxic?" Kara wasn't sure really. He got up and brushed himself off. They were really covered in mud honestly.
"Maybe not many people have been here~" Osomatsu went to the waters edge, curious.
"Is that really a good thing?" Muttered kara sounding cautious.
"Hell yeah it is! I wonder how many have been here..." He moved his hand over the water. About to dip it in. Kara considered telling him to stop but he knew Oso wouldn’t listen. The water stayed still until Oso dipped his finger in and shivered. "Ah shit its cold" He pulled it back watching the water ripple from his movement.
"Well no shit Oso its a pond in the mountains!" Kara scolded.
Osomatsu whined a little at the scolding, "Do you think there is actually anything in there? Like fish and stuff. It's so dark." He moved and grit his teeth a bit at his scraped up knee.
"Well. Probably. It's so dark they probably don't need their eyes much though. Anyways we should get outta here." Kara didn't notice Oso’s pain as he was trying to figure out which way was a safe way out of the ditch.
"Probably..." Osomatsu was inspecting his scrape trying to clean up the area around it. The bleeding had lessened to only a small bit by now.
Kara glanced at him finally. "Oh, Osomatsu are you hurt? Don’t touch it your hands are covered in mud."
Osomatsu moved his hand back, "Yeah I scraped my knee as we fell. I'm fine though it isn't too bad I think?"
Kara moved closer to look at it "We can deal with it when we get back... For now do you see a part of this ditch that isn't a mudslide? I don't see any good way up..." He felt kinda frustrated, it was his careless steps that made them fall after all.
"Uhh… Not really?" Osomatsu scanned the top, before looking out over the lake. “Maybe there’s something on the other side?”
"I hope we aren't trapped." Muttered Kara to himself. Before moving to grab Oso’s hand. "Let's look around.."
Osomatsu squeezed his hand,"Yeah. We'll find a way around."
Kara started walking. Slowly since Oso’s knee was hurt and he looked around for anything to help them get out.
Osomatsu sighed, looking around more. "How big is this lake~" He whined. Complaining was Oso’s strong suit.
"Well. Some are the size of like towns. So." He hoped Oso wouldn't complain too much. It always got so annoying.
"How big do you think this one is?"
"I don't know. Big."
Osomatsu poked his cheek,not satisfied with that answer. “But like. How big?”
“Osomatsu.” Kara’s tone warning.
“I’m just curious Kara! Is that so wrong. It’s such a cool lake after all. Hey I’ll take a photo of it so we can show .” Oso took his phone out and tried to take a few photos, “It’s so dark I’ll try flash.”
Kara paused watching him, “We’re so stupid! We have phones!” He cried. Oso glanced over surprised.
“OH RIGHT! We do have phones you’re right!” He laughed. Kara pulled out his and looked at it.
“Hmm. No signal. At least we can use the flash light though.” He turned it on and used it to look around. He stared for a moment at a spot they just walked past. Stairs. “How didn’t we see those?” He grumbled. He followed them, dragging Oso along with him. The stairs lead up to a tiny dirt path. It was clearly walked before but would have been noticeable in the dark really.
They walked for a while on that path and eventually it split into two, down one side it seemed to lead up hill, the other went more down hill. They could just barely see a house off in the distance uphill but it looked kinda unmaintained.
“Let’s take the downhill path. I’m tired I don't want to climb up more.” Whined Oso.
“But that house could have a person that could help us with directions.” Said Kara.
“Or it could be a serial killer, come on Kara who wants to live in the middle of the woods.”
“Well. That is true.” Kara paused, glancing at his phone battery. It was kinda low. He didn’t wanna risk running outta light especially considering night was coming or maybe it was already here.
“Fine. Downhill.” Muttered Kara making his choice. Oso cheered and they started downwards. Away from the creepy house and hopefully towards the hotel. Luckily after some walking the trees started to thin out. They could see the light of sky again and it looked like sunset.
“Man we spent all day in those woods!”
“I know, Ichimatsu might be worried about us.” Kara muttered checking his phone. Still no signal. He was hoping Ichi wasn’t too worried and hadn’t text them a ton. They eventually got back to the road and a sign pointed them to which way the hotel was. They made it back before sundown and once they entered they went to clean up.
They both took turns showering in their clothes to get all the mud off. Once they were changed Kara helped Oso bandage his knee.
Finally now that they were all cleaned and good Kara checked his phone again and froze. Face going pale. “Osomatsu. Let’s go see if Ichimatsu is in his room.” He urged.
“Why is he mad at us Karamatsu?” Asked Oso without much of a care. Kara just showed him the text and Oso felt his heart skip a beat and a bit of panic take over his mind. “It’s probably a joke- He’ll be in his room.”
They went and knocked. He didn't answer, “Ichimatsu? Dear brother please reply I beg of you!” Cried Kara feeling a bit desperate, he wished he might hear Ichimatsu laugh at them for believing it.
“Ichimatsu! This is serious!” Said Oso, panic in his voice.
“I’ll get the front desk to get the spare key.” Said Kara rushing off. Soon he was back with it. Oso was still pleading at the door for it to open. A quick slide of the keycard and it opened. Empty.
I wonder what that text message said~? Hehe~
The air was cold when Ichimatsu woke up. He didn’t know what time it was. He slowly opened his eyes and glanced around in surprise. He was sitting on a chair, arms and legs tied down. A man sat in front of him. Painting Ichi’s nails black and softly holding his hand. He tried to pull his hand away almost smiring the polish.
“Tsk, tsk. You must not do that the paint is still wet my dear.” He said in a soft but eerie tone.
“I-i where is this? Who are you?” He spoke with fear in his voice, nervous and scared glancing around. He kinda wished he hadn’t the place was nightmare fuel just like the doll room. Except this was kinda worse. It looked kinda like a basement if he had to guess by the stairs. Unfinished as he could see into the walls in some bits where there was no drywall… Limbs of dolls lay out on a workbench and half finished dolls were strung from the ceiling. Somehow the unfinished ones were worse.
“This is your home now…” He paused deciding how to reply to the next question. “You could consider me like your new father. I just want to take care of you…” He touched Ichimatsu’s cheek softly and Ichi tensed. Father, softly rubbed his thumb on Ichi’s cheek as if to calm him down. “Relax, It’s okay. New things can be scary but it’s okay. This time I’m sure I’ll get it perfect.”
“P-perfect?” Ichi’s voice barely coming out, he wasn’t sure if he actually wanted to know.
“You.” He paused glancing to the left of Ichi after he spoke, “This time. This time. The paint won’t chip as quickly.”
Ichimatsu turned his head to look and his blood went cold. He wished he didn’t look. There was a girl, around his age probably. Sitting in a chair. She wasn’t tied down like he was, there likely wasn't a need for that anymore honestly. She was skin and bones. She probably couldn’t move even if she was alive. He actually couldn’t tell. Her eyes were open but she sat there motionless, he didn’t see her body moving in any way like breathing. He went to looking at her, nails painted but chipped, worn makeup. Hair dirty and matted to her face. She looked damaged. But her dress looked brand new, it was completely white, with lace and soft features. Ichimatsu glanced at the man.
“She’s done for. She was such a nice doll though so I made a lovely dress for her to be buried in. I thought she might like to meet you first though.”
“M… meet?” He muttered glancing at her again but this time her eyes stared back and he jumped a little. Oh God. She was still alive somehow.
She didn’t talk but Ichi could see her lips move “Finally. I can die.” He felt a chill go down his spine at that. The poor girl, how long had she been here?
She was clearly still alive though. He watched in horror as the man moved over to her picking her up and carrying her carefully as if she was made of glass, her body was much like a dolls in that it had no stiffness to it. Gravity controlled her and so the man held her in his arms. Her neck barely keeping her head upwards. She smiled at Ichimatsu ever so slightly as she was carried away. He wasn’t sure what might happen to her but he felt it was better not to know. Her smile was likely already going to haunt him after all.
He was alone now, only the sounds of the man leaving the house to do whatever it was he wanted to do. Ichimatsu looked at himself. He wondered if he would look like that and let out a shaky breath. He sure hoped not… For now though his nails were painted. He was not sure if he had makeup on he couldn’t see his own face after all. What about a dress then? He was still in his normal clothes it seemed.
He didn’t have long to think on it as the man was back, walking softly down the stairs and into the basement.
“Did you like your sister? She used to be so pretty.”
“She seemed nice…” He muttered, worried.
“You will be pretty too don’t worry. You’ll be beautiful. For now though you must be hungry. Would you like something to eat?”
“Um… Sure. Thank you..”
His new father smiled at him and Ichi felt a chill, he watched the man leave back upstairs again. He wasn’t gone for long however and came back with a rather fowl looking soup.
Father sat in front of him and held out a spoonful. It looked really bad… He would rather not eat that but he’s not been given much of a choice. It smells bad, he hoped it tasted better than that.
He opened his mouth and the spoon was put in. It was kinda cold and slimey to say the least. He wanted to gag but choked down that spoonful. It was even worse than he thought it would be.
He kept forcing himself to eat it but as it went on it got rather unbearable he felt like he was gonna vomit. “I-I’m full…” He claimed.
“Good dolls follow orders.” Said the man still holding a spoonful out, “Eat it.”
“P… Please..” He said softly, he really didn’t want that soup.
“It’s only a little more.” Ichi paused before opening his mouth again. This was disgusting, he was scared. He wished this was a nightmare. The spoon was shoved a bit aggressively into his mouth this time. Clearly father was a bit upset at him.
Ichi swallowed it before letting out a soft, pathetic sob of, “I’m sorry…” He didn’t want to make the stranger mad since who knows what he might do. The man seemed to calm a bit at that, moving a hand to softly pet his head.
Ichi found himself leaning towards it slightly. He wanted comfort after all in his fear. He felt disgusted with himself though for wanting it. Since Ichi leaned into it the man gave him a few more soft pets.
When he pulled his hand away he picked the spoon up again, speaking in a softer tone. “Follow my orders okay?” Ichimatsu slowly nodded. “Good now, eat the rest.” He did as he was asked.
After he finished it all he was rewarded with more soft pats on the head. He closed his eyes, pretending it might be Osomatsu that was doing it. It felt a bit bittersweet to think of it that way but it was better than thinking of it as the man that had taken him. Unfortunately for him it wasn’t Oso.
“Just be good my dear.” This after all was hell not his home.
“I will.” He mumbled. He just had to think of a way out of here. How hard could that be?
For starts he needed to look around for something that might help. There was a lot of possible weapons but they were all out of reach for sure. Large scissors, a box cutter and a screwdriver. All could work to defend him. He wiggled a bit in his restraints, they were fairly tight and the feeling of it against his skin burned a bit to move. His one arm was a bit loser though, he could slip it out of the rope. It however didn't give him more area to grab, everything was still much to far away to help him. He tried to use his free hand to untie his other hand but he couldn’t get it.
After a bit he reached into his pocket to see what he had one him and froze. His phone? The guy didn’t take his phone? He felt a surge of hope in his chest. He pulled it out checking the signal, barely a bar. He felt his heat race the guy could come back any moment and he rushed out a text.
“I was taken out of my room by some man and I’m being held in his basement. I just seen him kill a girl he’s had kidnapped here. Please send help. I don’t know where I am. This isn’t a joke please.” He clicked send, watching it trying to send.
“Come on…” He mumbled, watching the circle slowly spin. He froze hearing the door upstairs slam and quickly shoved the phone back in his pocket and his hand back into the tie. He hoped to God that would send.
The man came back downstairs, pausing at his slightly panicked expression. “Have you done something bad my doll?”
“N-no I just, the door was loud it scared me a bit…” He mumbled trying to cover himself.
“Are you sure?” He stepped closer and Ichimatsu felt a tiny pit form in his stomach. The man’s hand reached out and Ichimatsu flinched slightly. Softly it touched his cheek. “I don’t want to break you my doll, you’re so beautiful after all.” Ichi shivered at his cold tone. “But I will if you’re bad. You don’t need working legs after all.” Ichi stiffened and trembled slightly.
“I-I’m sure. I’m being good…” He said softly. Terrified.
Silence took over as the man stared at him. Watching. “Okay.” He softly pet Ichi and Ichimatsu let out a breath he hadn’t realized he was holding.
He just hoped his brothers would find him soon before something bad happened.
Ichimatsu wished that he could tell the time. There wasn't a clock in the room nor could he see if there was sunlight or moonlight outside. It made him feel a little crazy.
He tried to keep entertained by looking around the room, he had come to notice there was a bit of tech in the room and based on the light above him this was still an area that got power. There was also a computer in the room but currently the screen was turned off. He wouldn’t mind it being on it might be interesting even just to watch the screen saver. Plus he might learn the time. Father didn’t leave him alone for long so he didn’t feel safe enough to check the time on his phone. Plus he turned it off to save the battery of it honestly. He knew he hadn’t been here long after all he hadn’t slept yet. A couple hours? Maybe closer to ten now.
He sat like that bored and kinda stiff before he realized… He had to pee. Right now father was outta the room so he couldn’t really ask. He wasn’t sure if he would be allowed to go through either. Still it might not hurt to ask he supposed. Near the computer a tiny box started to blink a red light and he watched it in confusion. Weird. It seemed to summon Father somehow as he came down soon after to check on it.
“Um. Excuse me?” Ichi said softly, watching as the man went to the computer, fiddling with it.
“What is it my doll?”
“I um… Need to use the washroom.”
The man scowled at him slightly, it’s not like he could help it… “Please?” He muttered.
“Fine.” He moved over untying Ichi’s hands before tying them together then untying his legs and moving to push him towards the washroom. “You have 3 minutes.” Ichi nodded, letting out a tiny sigh as the door closed behind him. He needed to hide his phone somewhere incase his hands were tied tighter to the chair the next time.
He looked around the bathroom. It was pretty dirty and cluttered… He looked around quietly opening cabinets and such. There wasn’t much of a good spot for it. Fuck. He scowled to himself. Where. Where, where, where. He had to think. He took a pause to actually use the bathroom. He spotted it as he did though, a loose tile. It seemed unlikely but… Maybe?
He hurried over to it and moved the tile. A hole. He froze at the sight. A few trinkets sat in it including an old photo, it looked like two girls. It made his heart sink a bit as one of them was definitely the girl he had seen be carried away earlier. He shoved his phone in and moved the tile back to hide it. He didn’t know if she made the hole or only found it but whatever the case he was thankful that it was there. He let out a shaky sigh and stood up trying to memorize which tile it was before moving to leave.
Before he opened the door he paused, staring at himself in the cracked bathroom mirror. “Oh…” His face kinda didn’t look like his own any more. He had makeup on for sure. He wasn’t sure how it made him feel totally, maybe just more alone since he couldn’t see his brothers faces in himself anymore.
The door opened with a kinda angry looking Father glaring at him, “Are you done?”
Ichi jumped a little, “Yes, I’m sorry. I was… Looking in the mirror.” It wasn’t a lie and technically not a bad thing.
“Oh I see.” The mans face seemed to soften at that, “You’re beautiful aren't you now my doll?” Ichi decided not to mention he kinda hated it. About to say it was nice when the man spoke again. “Much better than those other two.”
“Other two?” He felt a bit nervous at that surely he didn’t mean-
“They must be your brothers. I didn’t know anyone was with you. You should have told me.”
“I-i um...” It’s not like he could pretend they weren’t related after all. “I didn’t think to mention it…” He muttered.
“It’s okay, I’m not going to replace you my doll.” He had taken Ichi’s nervous tone to be about something else. “They aren't nearly as nice as you.”
“But we look-”
“Different.” Ichimatsu’s face turned to confusion, “As different as night and day. You’re like a doll thats been left in the alley all forgotten and gotten damaged but they. Hideous. They pale in comparison.”
If only one of them had gotten the room, Ichi thought a bit bitterly, none of this would have happened then. He hated himself for thinking that way.
“Come see them.”
“S-see them?” He was lead by the man back into the main room. The computer was on now and the screen had four sections with different angles of his hotel room. He felt a shiver go down his spine. He had been being watched the whole time? There didn’t seem to be any sound to it however. Oso and Kara were in the room, Kara yelling at one of the hotels employees about something. They both looked freaked out. They must have gotten his text. He felt a small bit of hope at that. They would find him. They had to.
He took a second look at the angles and paused, one was trained on the bed just like- “The dolls.” He muttered softly. There was cameras in the dolls.
“You turned around my main one. It was very interesting to see you so shy.” Ichi felt a shiver, the man was standing close behind him. He tried to keep his breathing normal and not freak out right now.
“I-i um..” Was there any dolls in the hotel bathroom? He didn’t think so and the camera feed seemed to agree. His mind raced, it couldn’t decide how much danger he was in anymore. He assumed he had time but what if he didn’t? A hand on his shoulder stopped his thoughts.
“It’s okay my doll. They won’t ever find us here.” He wanted to scream, instead he stumbled away from the mans touch. Tripping himself over a chair with a cry. The man scrambled to grab him. Ichi just closed his eyes tightly waiting to hit the floor but it never came.
He opened his eyes, the man had grabbed him stopping him from getting hurt. Father seemed to be hurt himself. A bit of blood on his cheek. He had hit his face off of something trying to get Ichi before he fell. Neither said a word as the man moved Ichimatsu back to his seat.
He was tied down again when he spoke, “You’re bleeding.” He muttered.
“It’s fine, since you are not bleeding my doll. A single cut would be so much work to fix on your perfect body.” He had been slightly grateful that father had helped him but it disappeared at those words. He reminded himself that his man was delusional. He shouldn’t forget it for even a minute.
“Right, thank you.” He muttered. He hoped his brothers would come soon so he could forget all of this.
These chapters are a bit shorter but I hope you're still enjoying them!
Sorry for the long wait I hope you enjoy this next chapter!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Osomatsu and Karamatsu stared at the room where Ichimatsu had been supposed to be. It felt a bit unreal honestly. Their brother missing. Was he really gone like the text had said? It seemed so.
“Ichimatsu? Dear brother?” Called Kara as he looked into the bathroom. Osomatsu had went to checking under the bed only to skitter away from it.
“Why the fuck are there dolls under the bed!” He cried. To think they had let Ichimatsu sleep in this room basically infested with those creepy soulless things.
“I don’t know but keep looking, we have to figure out what happened to Ichi.” Said Kara, worry clear in his voice. He searched around the bathroom, in the cupboards and all around. Looking for anything that could be a clue.
Oso glanced around the bedroom, all it seemed to be was dolls. Dolls, dolls and more dolls. Wasn't there anything that could be a clue? Then again they weren’t like detectives or anything like that. Should they call the cops?
Oso let out a loud frustrated “HMmm.” He crossed his arms with a huff still trying to think. “There’s nothing!” He cried, quickly giving up.
“Osomatsu!” Said Kara with a bit of a glare. “If we don’t try we might never see Ichimatsu again!”
“We can let the police handle it Kara! Besides Ichimatsu is tough, He’ll probably kill his kidnapper and bury the body before being back by dinner. Right?”
“Osomatsu. Face reality! He’s been kidnapped. He could be really hurt right now. We can’t assume he’ll just be fine… But the police are probably a good idea. We should contact them… I’ll make the call. Keep looking around here.” Kara moved to leave the room. Stepping out to get better reception so he could tell the police of the kidnapping.
Osomatsu sighed, feeling himself frown. He supposed Kara was probably right. Ichimatsu was in danger. He walked around the bed, glancing around. Dolls, dolls. Dolls- He paused staring at the one doll nuzzled in with the others on the bed. The black dress with purple flowers was different then the other clothing that the dolls wore. Most were in lighter pink dresses or light blues. Black and purple were colors that made him think of Ichimatsu.
He reached out and picked up the doll. The small mess of dark hair, pale skin.. It really looked like, “Ichimatsu.” He felt a chill as he stared at it. This had to be related to his kidnapping then. Right? Or could this be Ichimatsu? No that was impossible, he text Kara after all. Still It looked eerily like Ichi.
Karamatsu came back in with a kinda annoyed look on his face as he let out a frustrated sigh. “The police arn’t going to help us niisan. Did you find anything.”
“What? Why not, Ichimatsu is kidnapped. You told them that right?”
“Of course I did! They apparently get a lot of missing people around here so they didn’t believe me and when I mentioned he was our twin brother they treated it like a prank call.”
“I guess sixtuplets are too unlikely… But if we call them again they’ll just ignore us now won’t they?” Osomatsu clutch the doll to his chest a bit with a tiny worried noise. Even though it was creepy it was all they had of Ichi now after all.
“Osomatsu what the heck are you holding?” Kara stepped closer as he spoke.
“Ichimatsu but… as a doll I guess..” He held it out to Kara. “He’s a literal doll of darkness now see?” He half joked, just wanting to lighten the mood a bit.
“Where did you find this?” Karamatsu took it staring with a bit of horror in his expression. Totally ignoring Oso’s joke.
“On the bed with the other dolls. It looks different then the other dolls right? It’s a clue isn’t it?”
Karamatsu turned the doll over in his hands looking it over. “Seems so… All these dolls are designed the same though it seems. So… The guy who made this doll maybe kidnapped Ichimatsu?”
“What do you mean Kara? All the dolls look really different like some are really old, some have big heads and small bodies some have strings attached even!”
“No, if you look closely at the stitching it’s all done by hand and they all have the same stitch to them. I think they’re done all by the same person. It’s kinda like handwriting in a way. All the thread for these dolls are the same color too a dark teal. You can’t see the stitches really unless you pull at them so what color you use doesn’t really matter.” As Kara spoke he showed the dolls seams and stitches. It seemed they all had the same thread.
“So, the one that makes the dolls did take Ichimatsu?”
“Well, The hotel should know where they bought the dolls from right? Let’s ask them and go see the guy and save Ichi!”
“Wait Osomatsu, it could be dangerous we should-”
“What wait for the cops to eventually agree to help us? No way. I’m gonna find our brother with or without you. This is a major lead!” He took the doll from Kara’s hands and hurried off to the front desk to ask about it.
This was a bit short but there's more to come soon enough! Tell me how you feel about this all!
I felt really inspired this chapter so I hope you enjoy it! Reading well listening to some creepy atmospheric music might help you enjoy yourself more well reading!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Ichimatsu was tied up. His brothers had left the room according to the video footage. He hoped they could find him but also he hated that he couldn’t watch them anymore. It was a bit comforting honestly, seeing them. But it was likely for the best.
He sat there quietly and after a bit he glanced over at father. The man was slowly sewing away at some dark fabric. It was peacefully quiet now or perhaps more eerily quiet. He squirmed a bit in his spot, glancing around at the room he was in again. He was right to assume he might he tied a bit tighter to the chair this time. If he hadn’t hid his phone he probably would have been fucked if it fell out of his pocket or something. He needed to find something to text his brothers about for his next chance. After all that battery wouldn’t last forever.
He had watched them carry the doll that looked like him as they left the room. So he didn’t need to tell them that the guy made dolls. Maybe he should tell them about the cameras in the doll? But that might be risky… After all if they acted strange on camera the man might get suspicious that Ichi was contacting his brothers. Plus he was fairly sure the cameras couldn’t help them find him. Or even if they could it might put himself in danger. He didn’t want a careless move to get him killed after all.
If only he could get ahold of a weapon but he felt father would notice if those large scissors he used to cut fabric disappeared. The threat of earlier still fresh in his mind. He liked having usage of his legs… If they were broken he would definitely never escape from here.
Father stood up suddenly breaking Ichimatsu from his thoughts. “You’ve been staring at me my doll do you need something?” He stepped a bit closer to Ichi.
“U-um no, I’m sorry I’m just watching.”
“Do you like this color?” Father held up a small bit of the fabric. It just seemed black.
“Ah, Yes. It’s nice.” He wondered what it was for. Another doll?
“I’m glad. It’s for the dress I’m making for you.” Well Ichi supposed he was half right. It was for a doll but that doll was him.
“Oh. I see.” Ichi tried to keep his uneasiness off his face.
“It compliments your skin very well. I’ve never had such a perfectly pale doll before.” He sounded excited and Ichi for some reason felt a bit embarrassed at that comment.
“Um… Thank you..” He muttered quietly. Father reached out a hand softly patting Ichi’s head and smoothing his hair.
“I’ll get this dress perfect for you. You’ll be just beautiful.” Even if they were from a weird creepy man Ichi wasn’t sure how to feel. He had never gotten so many compliments.
“Um… If you don’t mind me asking… How do I look different from my brothers? We have the same face-”
Ichi jumped a bit startled by the sudden raise in tone. “I-i’m sorry…” He muttered, regretting saying anything.
“No, no. It’s okay. I just don’t want you to think you look like those two. They’re hideous.”
“But… I’m not?”
“Not at all.” If only these compliments didn’t come from some creep in his horror basement. Ichi mentally sighed. “You’re skin is like porcelain.” Ichi remembered dolls were made of that sometimes, the expensive ones at least.
“Your eyes look so nice and dull.” Was that really a good thing? Ichi looked a little puzzled at that. “You always have such a lovely expression too.” Was frowning a lot attractive? Ichi wondered if this guy just liked negative traits. “And your body, the proportions are perfect.” Ichi felt his face flush instinctively. What the heck did that mean? Was it about height? Weight? Whatever it was it was creepy.
“I see… and my brothers aren't like that?” The man shook his head in reply. Ichimatsu didn’t know how he felt about that. After all to this day people still couldn’t tell them apart sometimes. Could they really look that different? He supposed Todo and Choro were lucky. They were both on the pale side as well but since they didn’t come on this trip they wouldn’t be in any danger.
The man gave his head one more pat before pulling away. “Do you have any more questions my doll?”
He wondered if this was a trick? Should he say no or should he pretend to have interest in the guy? Which was the safer option. Asking questions could help him get out of here of course but what to ask… Clearly the guy dodged questions about where they were. So what else could he ask.
He was quiet for a while, “ I… Want to know about you.” He paused a second, staring at the guy. He didn’t want him to get mad so he kinda forced out another sentence. “You make such beautiful dolls after all.” He wanted it to seem like he wasn’t digging for info.
“Is that so?” Ichi could hear suspicion in father’s tone. “How about a trade first then.”
“A… Trade?” Surely the guy didn’t know about his phone. Right?
“Yes. Tell me something about you doll.”
“Oh.” So that’s what he meant… He considered mentioning his love of cats but he worried that might drag a cat into danger. So what else. His family? That might put them in danger but it wouldn’t be imminent danger right? He didn’t have much else about him to talk about after all. “Um… I’m the fourth born son of my family.”
The guy paused looking slightly surprised. ‘Wait. Did he know I was a boy?’ There hadn’t been a camera in the bathroom after all. He had avoided changing in the main room as well.
“Of course. How didn’t I notice.” Muttered father. Ichi felt himself freeze, was he in trouble now? “A boy… A boy doll.” The man laughed, “Of course, I’ve never tried making a boy doll before.”
“You… didn’t know?”
“No but this is exciting news.” The man grabbed his face by his chin, staring at his face closely. “You’re perfect though, it’s a minor detail. Maybe this is why all my past dolls haven’t turned out right.” Father smiled at him, a creepy grin that looked too wide. “You’ve told me something good doll so I’ll tell you about myself as promised.” He pulled a bit away. Ichi couldn’t help but stare at the grin on father’s face. Scary. It could only be described as that. Maybe devilish as well. In the end maybe he had said something he shouldn’t have.
“I’ve been making dolls for so many years. But I realized that fabric only cannot compare to people. I’ve been working to make the perfect doll now for almost 15 years. Sadly so far I’ve had to bury them all but I’ll get it right this time. Do you want to see them?”
“Photographs of my previous dolls.” Oh photos, Ichi had assumed the dead bodies.
“Um. Sure.” He was sure he didn’t want to see photos of this guy’s previous victims but he assumed refusing might make him mad.
“I’ll go get my album. Stay right here.” Where else would he go, he was tied down. He watched as father happily went upstairs.
Ichi glanced around again. He wondered if distracting the man from his sewing was a good thing actually? Might it give him more time to escape. After all it seemed that girl was buried after a dress was finished for her. Though her’s was white and this one being made was black? Was there a meaning to that? He couldn’t be sure at all. He didn’t have much time to think though since soon enough footsteps started down the stairs again.
Father came back, pulling up a chair in front of Ichimatsu to sit. He opened a kinda worn looking album. The first few pages were photos of actual dolls. Ones with painted on faces and porcelain skin. They didn’t seem too creepy since they looked brand new in the photos. Some of them he had even seen in the doll room.
After about ten pages though he felt himself tense up a bit though. A girl. She seemed to be asleep in the photo. Her arms tied together in her lap as she sat unconscious on what look like the same chair that Ichimatsu sat on. He noticed her hands looked kinda red. Blood?
“This girl, she always moved too much. She was much prettier when she didn’t struggle. She ruined her hands.” Explained Father. The whole page was shots of her at different angles. The lighting looked soft on her skin in a few and Ichimatsu noticed the background of those had trees. Outside! She was out in a forest. So father must let the girls outside to take photos of them. Maybe he might have a chance to run then.
The page flipped, sure enough the next girl had photos outside as well. They all seemed to but the trees were random really. There wasn’t anything that could be used as a landmark in them to tell where he was. The forest was huge around here too. It wasn’t much help. Plus if he ran and ended up wandering the forest until he died he wouldn’t be much better off then he was currently.
He stared at the photos until they caught up with the most recent girl. She was smiling in the photos. The same smile he seen as she happily went to die. A smile that showed she was glad it was almost over. He supposed it was important that some girls were awake in the photos. Most likely only the ones that misbehaved were drugged.
Ichimatsu paused as a drop of water fell on the page. Then another. Luckily the photos were in a protective cover but the album was pulled away and wiped clean before set on the desk.
“Don’t cry my doll, you’ll mess up your makeup.”
He… was crying? He hadn’t even noticed that they were his tears. Father sat a bit closer softly wiping his face with a cloth. “What has upset you?” He asked.
“I. I’m not sure.” Ichi muttered, he assumed it was thinking about how unlikely it was he could escape or being made to look at the photos of so many girls that he knew were dead and that his fate was likely to end up like them. Though he couldn’t say that to father.
“It’s okay. Your sisters were so happy to be beautiful and soon you will be too.” Father spoke softly and Ichi felt more tears bite at his eyes.
“R-right, They’re beautiful..” He get out with a small sob from his voice. He was fucked wasn’t he? He knew he shouldn’t give up hope but… So many girls before him and this guy wasn’t caught.
Ichi just sat there crying as the man softly pet his head, at some point Ichimatsu just fell asleep. Worn out by the days events.
Softly father wiped Ichimatsu’s face clean as he slept. “Don’t worry,” He spoke softly. “I’ll redo your makeup and the dress will be done before you know it.” He smiled at his perfect little doll. This time it will be flawless, he was sure of it.
So what do you think now? I hope this was interesting!
“Come on Karamatsu pick up the pace!” Demanded Oso.
They had talked to the hotel staff and learned of a man that makes the dolls. Apparently he’s been making them for years and lived out in the forest. It seemed like a good lead since that seemed like a stereotypical creepy set up. A doll maker in the woods? That had to be the guy.
Kara followed along quietly, thinking. “Should we both go in?” He asked finally.
“What do you mean?”
“Well if it’s both of us we might both get attacked. But if one of us hangs behind it might be insurance. Like if you go in and don’t come back then I go to the police. They can’t claim that I’m lying if I seen you go in the house and you didn’t come back.”
“What? I thought we were going in and attacking this guy and running off with Ichimatsu?”
“What if he doesn’t have Ichi? What if we’re wrong?”
“Kara this dudes obviously the one, he makes dolls in the woods! That’s like serial killer shit!”
“Well. That is true but. What if he made the doll for someone else and that person is the one that took Ichi and we kill off our only lead?”
“And if he has Ichi? If I’m right and Ichi suffers cause you want to be careful?”
Kara went silent, thinking. The only sound between them was the sound of the dirt under their feet. They paused looking at the house. It actually looked kinda nice. It was tiny but it seemed fairly well maintained. The planters on the outside of the house were full of dirt and dying flowers and the paint looked like it was getting a bit in need of a new coat. But it seemed like a place that would be nice enough to live in.
“How about this Osomatsu? We go in, if you see anything suspicious that makes you think Ichimatsu is there call me ‘niisan’. After all this guy doesn’t know which of us is older. If I agree it’s suspicious then we’ll jump the guy. Of course if we find Ichimatsu himself we jump the guy right away.” At times like this he wished they could have Jyushimatsu with them though, it would be handy to have extra muscle.
“Fine, That sounds like a plan.” Oso let out a nervous sigh and lead the way to the front door of the building.
The blinds were all drawn so he couldn’t see into the house but he raised a hand to knock. They waited but no one came to the door.
“Maybe he isn’t home?” Muttered Oso, quickly knocking again impatiently.
“Maybe. He could be out at the store or something.” Kara glanced around. “Maybe we could break in?” He whispered quietly. If they could find Ichimatsu without having to interact with the guy it would be great. “One of us should stay outside to keep watch though.”
“Hmm, yeah. But which? Rock paper scissors for it?”
“I think I should go, you’re careless and might leave evidence behind.”
“What? No I wouldn’t- Actually you’re probably right…” Oso sighed, “Fine, hurry up and break in then.”
Karamatsu reached into his bag, pulling out a pair of leather gloves. Oso watched him with a tiny puzzled expression.
“No fingerprints niisan.” Kara explained with a smile.
“Have you done this before Kara?”
“What? Of course not!” He reached out and tried the doorknob first and paused as it just swung open. “... Maybe he is home? I’ll be quiet, just stand watch. If he comes back stall him for a bit.”
Before Oso could protest he entered closing the door behind him softly. Osomatsu let out a sigh and took a seat on the porch. He really hoped they would find Ichimatsu soon.
Karamatsu looked around. The first room seemed to be a living room that also was part kitchen and dining room. He supposed it made sense since this house was so small. The furniture seemed pretty old and there was a layer of dust on the tables. Not a lot but enough. Was the guy perhaps not here that much? Or maybe he just disliked cleaning.
There wasn’t any dirty dishes though, not even any in the drain board. It was a bit weird. He peeked in the bathroom but that looked pretty standard. Nothing stood out as out of place in there.
Lastly was a room he assumed to be the bedroom. The man could be asleep in there so Kara slowly opened the door and peeked into it. No one. He let out a breath he didn’t realize he had been holding before stepping into the room. It looked more like this was being used as a tiny workshop rather then a bedroom. Rolls of fabric and tools were stored here.
Then again they looked a bit untouched and there was no projects half done in the room so maybe this was more of a storage spot? He paused looking at one of the sheets of fabric. It looked like the dress on the Ichimatsu doll. Perhaps it was the same fabric? It had less on the roll then most of the ones around it despite looking newer. The dark tone of it also stood out against the other rolls that were soft pinks or baby blues or even white. It didn’t seem like any of the dolls wore black after all except the Ichi one so why was there so much of the dark cloth gone?
He was a bit suspicious. He looked around a bit more but avoided touching anything. This guy likely knew his workspace down to the millimeter. Even if he didn’t Kara would rather not take the risk.
“What are you doing standing outside my house?” Kara froze as he heard an unknown voice, presumably calling out to Oso. Guess it was time to get out of here. He would have to sneak out the back of course.
“Oh hey,” Replied Oso casually. He stared a bit at the man, he looked pretty harmless really could this guy have actually kidnapped Ichimatsu? “You’re the guy that makes dolls right?”
“Yes I am.” The guy had big glasses on and walked with a bit of a hunch as if his back might hurt. He was probably in his sixties at most though. But with a job like making dolls perhaps back pain came with the work?
“W-” Oso paused, “I found this doll in the hotel nearby and was wondering if you made it. I think it looks really cool.” He showed the Ichimatsu doll but didn’t hold it out for the man to take. No way in hell was he letting anyone else touch their clues.
“Yes that is my work… But in the hotel you say? That can’t be. I made that doll for a customer not the hotel.”
“Well it doesn’t really matter who. I’ll give it to him.” He held out his hand for the doll. Oso clung to it a bit tighter.
“I wouldn’t want to put you out like that! I’ll deliver it for you just tell me where he lives!” He claimed with a smile. The man watched him a moment before deciding on his words.
“Of course. I’ll tell you… Why don’t you come in a moment for some tea then?”
“Oh, I couldn’t trouble you like that.” Oso felt a small bit of worry as if he was a little kid being invited into a stangers house. “Besides I promised my niisan I would be home within the hour!” He raised his voice a bit hoping Kara heard. This guy might not look that dangerous but he gave off a creepy feeling Oso couldn’t shake.
“Oh of course. Well. Let me write the address down for you then.” The man muttered, reaching into his bag and pulling out a piece of paper. Writing it down and handing it to Oso. “Make sure that doll gets there safe. I wouldn’t want anything bad happening to it.”
Oso forced a smile as he took the paper, “Of course!” He watched the man walk into his house and then stared at the address on the note. Well in a way it was a lead. But he wasn’t so sure about the man that gave it to him. He would ask Kara about his findings once they met back up.
He shoved the paper into his pocket and glanced around… “Huh?” There was something on the ground it must have fallen out of the guys bag when he took the paper out. Oso snatched it well he pretended to tie his shoe and then took off. He wanted to get out of sight before looking at it closer.
Once they were out of sight Kara came out of a bush a bit away from Oso. “I heard you say it, what happened Osomatsu are you okay?” He whispered.
“Yeah but that guy gave me the creeps. Plus he seemed to want to take the doll from me when I showed it.”
“You didn’t right?”
“Of course not! It’s our very important clue! Letting go of this would be bad. I claimed I liked it a lot and he said that someone paid him to make it. He could be lying but he gave me an address to return it to. Also he dropped something...” Oso took it out of his pocket and started at it. He wasn’t really sure what it was though. About two inches long, a tiny black rectangle.
“Isn’t that… Lipstick?” Oso and Kara looked at each other with suspicion as they opened it and looked at the soft pink color inside. What would an old doll maker have lipstick for after all?
They started back to the hotel for now with this in mind and sharing the details of each others findings.
Tell me what you thought!
Ichimatsu woke up, a blanket on him now. He assumed father covered him as he slept but he was still tied down. He struggled against the rope a bit but it didn't move at all, instead it just hurt his wrists. He let out a sigh and glanced around. It looked almost the same as it had before he had fallen asleep. Except the dress it looked alot more finished then before. How long had he slept for? Shit. He wasn’t even sure how many days had passed since he was kidnapped now. Two maybe. Maybe three?
He felt hungry again but he really didn’t want to eat more gross food… Plus father wasn’t here to feed him anyways. He glanced around again, there had to be some way he could entertain himself right now. Then again if father wasn’t here maybe he should yell for help? But there was a chance that father was just upstairs after all and would get mad at him. Perhaps he could test it…
“Hello?” He called out softly, “Father?”
“Do you need something my doll?” Ichi stiffened, as the voice had come from right behind him. He tried to turn his head to see but the back of the chair blocked that part of the room.
“Um… What are you doing?”
“I was watching you sleep.” He into view with a small smile on his face. “You sleep so nicely.”
Ichi felt a chill at that, “Oh… Um okay. Well I’m… Hungry.” He muttered softly.
“Ah of course you are… I’ll make you something.”
“No- Um. I mean, can I make it? I don’t want to trouble you… I promise I won’t be bad..” He just wanted to eat something that didn’t taste similar to vomit.
“It’s no trouble… But if you really want to I suppose I can allow it. You’ve been very good.”
Ichi felt himself smile a bit at that but wished he hadn’t really. Father stared at him for that before moving to untie one of his hands and let him loose. His hands were tied to each other again.
“I’m just doing this as a precaution my doll. You understand right?” As he asked he softly touched Ichi’s cheek. Ichi had to force himself to not pull away to not offend him.
“I understand father…”
“Good.” Father pulled away and lead him upstairs. He crawled through a small cellar door in the floor to get out of the basement it seemed.
Finally he got to see what the man’s house looked like. It was a bit run down and dirty honestly. The curtains were mainly drawn but though a single crack he could see it was dark out right now. Pitch black with no lights in sight. He figured the house must be in the middle of the forest.
He slowly took a couple steps as he looked around, father watched his every move.
“You have a nice home.” He muttered as if to explain his looking around, mainly he was looking for clues or a way to escape of course.
“... We. This is also your home remember?”
“Oh. Um yes of course. I’m sorry…”
“Don’t worry I understand adjusting to a new home can be hard. Go look around the kitchen if you want. There aren't any knives though.” Ichi glanced at father, he was being watched with suspicion of course. He supposed he should see what he might be able to cook.
He slowly stepped into the kitchen and started opening cupboards. Rice and canned vegetables were the most noticeable things in them. He tried the drawers next, spoons but no forks or knives. Seems like there was no weapons in the kitchen which might mean that some of the girls before him had cooked as well? Or maybe it was just a precaution. There was a can opener however. It couldn’t be used as a weapon of course but opening a can of corn or something would be good.
Lastly he checked the fridge, there wasn’t much in it. Some left over of that gross ass soup which he sure didn’t even want to look at, the memory of eating it made him vaguely nauseous. There wasn’t much else but there was some eggs. He supposed he could make a meal out of this but he made sure to check that the eggs weren’t expired yet. Luckily they seemed okay.
He got to work boiling some rice and opening a can of peas. Aware of father watching his every move. “Will you be eating too?” He asked.
He focused on cooking, it wasn’t as good as anything his mom had made of course but it was a meal. Fried rice. He put it onto two plates and set them on the counter with spoons. “Here you go father it’s ready.”
“Thank you my doll. Do you cook often?”
“Um. Not really.” Ichimatsu went to eating, it felt like the best meal he had ever had honestly but that was probably just the hunger talking. They ate in silence. In a way it felt peaceful. Like eating with his family. Except his arms were tied and the chaotic chatter of his brothers was absent but he could almost imagine it.
He closed his eyes after he finished. Just thinking about them. What he wouldn’t give to even hear Karamatsu’s painful words. He let out a soft sigh.
“Is something troubling you my doll?” Ichi opened his eyes and looked over to father. Would he understand? Unlikely. He was a kidnapper and insane after all. Delusional but Ichi didn’t have anyone else right now…
“I was just thinking about my brothers.” He mumbled, “We’re normally always together.”
“Is that so? Perhaps it’s best you separate from them then?”
“I… I like being with them.” Ichi felt a bit embarrassed to admit such a thing even to a stranger.
“Would it comfort you then to say that I seen them today?”
“You did? When?” That got Ichi’s attention for sure, he wondered if they had almost found him?
“Just earlier. I ran into one of them, he was looking for the one that made the doll of you.”
“He was?” That meant they had a lead but… Why didn’t they find him? “Did you… do anything to him?”
“No, he left saying his brother was waiting for him.”
“I see… Which was he?”
“I don’t know. The one in red?”
Osomatsu. He wondered why Karamatsu wasn’t with him then… “Oh I see.”
“Do you know which that is?”
“No clue, that’s not much to go on after all.” He lied. The less this man knew about them the most chance his brothers might have to pull one over on him after all. Or at least he assumed so.
“I see.” Suspicion in his voice again. Ichi supposed he wasn’t a great liar. Hopefully this wouldn’t make the guy mad…
“Do you have family?” Ichi asked trying to change the subject.
“Of course I do, you and all your sisters.”
“R-right.” Ichi let out a kinda awkward laugh and glanced away. “Um. Well I think I’m good. Thank you for letting me cook.”
Father stood up and moved to lead Ichimatsu downstairs. The steps softly creaked as they went down. The hatch was closed behind them and Ichimatsu stood by the chair staring at it. He would rather not be tied up again to it… “Um. Before I sit can I use the bathroom?”
“You have 3 minutes.”
“Thank you.” Ichimatsu stepped away to it. Closing the door behind him and hurrying to his phone. Powering it on as he went to the bathroom. After he was on he hurried a text to Kara ‘Doll maker. Basement. He said he met Osomatsu.’ He watched the ring spin as he waited for it to send. He felt his heart pounding as it took its time in going but luckily it got through. They had to find him now. They had to. He turned it off again and hid it once more. Going to wash his hands.
He glanced at himself in the mirror. A face of makeup stared back. If it wasn’t for his messy hair he was sure he wouldn’t recognize himself. He jumped as father opened the door on him again. Caught staring in the mirror a second time.
“You’re stunned by your looks now aren't you? I cleaned it up well you were sleeping.”
“Oh… Thank you. It’s really pretty yeah..”
“Your lipstick came off when we ate though…” Father pulled away to go get it and Ichi watched him dig through a bag only to scowl. “Where is it.”
“Is something wrong father?” Ichi stepped into the room, following after him.
“The lipstick I used on you is missing…”
“Couldn’t you use a different color?” It was just lipstick after all. Ichi didn’t think they could look that different.
“The only other color I have is too dark.” He through his bag on the floor in frustration and Ichi took a step back. Apparently this was a bigger deal then he thought…
“Well… It wouldn’t hurt to try the other color right?” He tried hoping that might calm father down a bit, “If you don’t like it it can be washed off..” Father stopped, seeming to think at that.
“Of course. Just try it.” He muttered to himself, going to grab the other one. He opened it up, a dark red color it seemed to be. Ichi caught himself staring a bit. It looked nice to him. Hopefully father would agree.
He moved closer softly grabbing Ichi’s face by the chin and putting it on him. He stared at Ichimatsu afterwards. Judging it. “It’s… Perfect actually.” He muttered softly. Ichi didn’t move just staring at him.
“So you like it?”
“Yes… The bold color makes your skin look even paler… I need to rethink your makeup now. Perhaps more can be improved…” He moved Ichimatsu to sit again so he could be tied up again. He took a moment to stare at Ichi, “You’re so beautiful my doll. Truly I'm sure you’ll be my finest work.” He got a soft pat on the head and watched as father went to work sewing again and thinking on Ichi’s design.
It was odd. A small part of him felt happy at the praise. He needed to escape soon before that delusion of his got worse.
I just finished my other fic 'Devil of the church' So I'm back to workin on this one! Expect more regular updates~
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Osomatsu and Karamatsu were back at the hotel when the next text arrived.
“Dollmaker… basement. He said he met Osomatsu.” Kara paused, “So the man you talked to was him… But there wasn't a basement in that house not that I seen at least. That house didn’t seem every lived in honestly so he must be keeping Ichi somewhere else...”
“Can’t we just like attack that old dude? He was creepy but he looked pretty weak.”
“He kidnapped Ichimatsu, even if he caught him by surprise he was able to take him off in the night without a sound or witness Osomatsu. He probably just pretends to be frail to get people to underestimate him.”
Oso frowned at that. “Right… but there’s two of us..”
“And even if we did get him what if he doesn’t tell us where Ichi is? Then we just lost our only lead. We should try and follow him in secret instead and figure out where he’s keeping Ichimatsu before it’s too late.”
“What about the address he gave me? Should we still check it out for clues?”
“Well… If we don’t it might come off as suspicious to him and he might go more into hiding… It’s not that far right? We can go over there to keep our cover for now.”
Oso nodded, looking at the Ichi doll with a soft bit of worry. “We’ll save him right Kara?”
“...Yeah. We will.” They started off soon after to the address.
Ichimatsu sat tied in his chair again, Father had spent the past hour or two redesigning makeup ideas for Ichimatsu finally he was back though. Sitting in front of Ichimatsu. “I’ve come up with a very beautiful makeup design for you my doll… You’re such an inspiring muse…” He smiled at Ichi and Ichi hated how those words made him feel a bit happy.
“... Thank you Father.” Ichi watched as Father softly applied make up on him. Closing his eyes after a bit. The brush felt soft on his skin. It was a bit relaxing honestly.
“My doll you’ve been very good this past while. Would you like a reward?”
“A reward?” Ichi asked softly opening his eyes, “Depends what it is I suppose..”
“You can decide within reason what it is you want.”
The key word being within reason he supposed. He couldn’t request to be freed. Maybe newer food? That would be smart going forward so he didn’t get sick.. But also this could be his chance to run away. “Would it be okay to go outside for a little..?” He mumbled unsure.
“... Outside?” Suspicion in his voice.
“... Well yes… The other girls went outside right? In the photos..” He muttered, “I just wanted to be outside too..”
“... You can. But you’ll have to wear your dress.”
“Okay…” That would be a bit hard to run in but maybe he could get away.
Father untied his hands from the chair before moving to help him into the dress for now.
Oso and Kara looked at the building, “Are you sure this is the address?” Muttered Kara. It looked like no one was home. It looked like no one had been here for a solid while really.
“Yeah this is it.. Should we knock?”
“I suppose so.” Karamatsu shrugged, unsure really. The place was a little creepy honestly. The two moved to the front door and Oso knocked a few times.
They waited in silence for a while, “...No ones home I think-”
The door opened and a woman peeked out at them. “Yes hello?”
“Oh hi.” Said Kara, something about her reminded Kara of their mother, maybe it was the way she had her hair in a bun with some gray hairs to it or her glasses which were similar but a bit of a different shape then their mothers.
“Do you two need something?”
“Ah, Yeah! This guy we ran into claimed you guys ordered this doll from him?” Oso held up the Ichimatsu looking doll and the woman paused.
“He must have been mistaken. We ordered a doll but a blonde one… Let me show you..” She stepped away from the door and went to grab it.
Kara peeked into the house a bit, curious. It looked normal inside, for such a large home though having just the one lady seemed a bit odd.
She came back with a doll with long blonde hair. It was definitely in the same style as the Ichimatsu doll.
“Oh I see,” Commented Kara, “Do you mind if I see it for a moment?” She handed it over and Kara turned it over in his hands looking it over. It was a pretty doll but he sworn he had seen one like this before. The white lace dress, long blonde hair and dark brown eyes. He supposed many dolls might look like this. “Do you mind if I take a photo? To show the man you already had your doll.”
“I don’t mind.. Just please be gentle the doll is made to look like my daughter.”
Kara snapped a photo of it, “Your daughter?”
“...Yes she went missing a year ago… Maybe a year and a half now.” She said sadly, taking the doll back after. “That doll maker must be quite skilled though, he finished this doll only a day or two after my order was placed… I told him there was no real rush.”
Kara glanced at the doll in the women’s arms. Could she have been a victim of kidnapping like Ichimatsu was? If so he was sure that mother would curse that doll for existing.
“I see. I’m sorry for your loss then, I hope she comes back some day.” Kara muttered, feeling more worried than ever about Ichimatsu.
“...Yes, Thank you.” They stepped back from the door as it closed and trailed to the path to start back towards the hotel. Silent for a while until they were a fair bit from that house.
“Why did you want that photo Kara?”
“Well… I think that doll looks like one that was in the doll room. I wanted to compare.”
“You don’t think that her daughter..?”
“... I do. It’s not a good sign. A custom doll like that even with a base should take around a week especially since he hand stitches things and if he had to order anything it might have taken longer… I feel it’s more likely he already had a doll made of her before.”
“Fuck… What a sicko..” Muttered Oso looking down at the Ichi doll he was holding. “What about this one then? We’ve only been here a little while.”
“The stitching on that one is more rushed then the doll she had. Likely the ones left in the doll room are just prototypes. Concept designs of dolls.”
“I see…” Oso shuddered slightly looking down at the doll once more. He sure hoped they found Ichimatsu soon. He would hate to never find him like that woman and her daughter. Around the time they arrived back at the hotel, it started to rain lightly so they hurried in before a downpour.
Ichimatsu looked around at the forest. He had no shoes on, he wasn’t given any. This made his little escape plan all the riskier. Not to mention this deep in it was fairly dark it seemed. He had before assumed maybe it was just night time but being outside he realized the trees just blocked out all the light in this area really. Father watched him. Cautiously, Ichi would need to get his guard down if he wanted to run off he supposed.
Or maybe he should just go for it? Was this old man a faster runner than him? Ichi himself could keep fairly up with Jyushimatsu after all there was a chance he could outrun the guy. But this was also unknown turf and father might know this area well.
“...Father do you like these woods? They’re very dark.” He said casually.
“I do like them. They offer privacy.”
“Do you spend a lot of time in them then?”
“I spend more time in my workshop I suppose.”
Ichi wondered if that meant he had a chance… Though even if he did get away what if he got lost? Wandering the woods until he collapsed. He was unsure what he should do. Should he use this chance to make father trust him more by being good and not running so he can have a better chance in the future or should he run now?
Ichi stared out over the woods thinking over his choices.
“Do not worry my doll. No one will ever find us out here.”
Those words sent a shiver down his spin, impulsively his mind made the choice for him then. He took off running as fast as he could. He wanted to be found! He didn’t want to never see his brother again. He ran through the woods, trees, trees and more trees it all looked the same but anywhere was better than with that psycho.
He heard steps in the distance coming after him, it only made him try to run faster. Panting as the rain started to fall and soon after began to pour. It made it harder for him to make out where he was going and he softly cursed.
He felt like he was going in circles or at least the wrong way since the forest only seemed to get darker. He wished he had a flashlight to see where he was going. Something could be one foot away and he wouldn’t-
He tumbled falling down a sudden muddy slope with a cry, he felt a jolt to his ankle and he hoped it didn’t just break. He wouldn’t have much time to think about it though as he rolled and tumbled into a freezing cold bed of water. Closing his eyes tightly. He opened them after a moment, holding what little breathe he had but he couldn’t tell which way was up. It was blurry and dark in all directions… Was this it? Had he sealed his own fate to die in these woods? He felt like he was stuck just floating in the water as his consciousness started to fade a bit. His lungs burned, his body demanded he inhale. Just as he almost did hands took hold of him and pulled him out. He gasped for that good air. Weakly clinging to whoever it was, he was sure it was most likely Father though.
“My doll. You gave me quite the scare… Your skin will bloat in this water.” He muttered. Pulling Ichimatsu to the shore and carrying him away. Ichimatsu let him, he was in no state to walk his ankle felt like it really fucking hurt and he felt dizzy and weak from the lack of air.
Poor ichi no escape today qwq
I hope everyones excited for this series to be continuing!
Little thing at the end of the chapter in the end notes, please read it but enjoy this chapter :)
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
Ichimatsu sat in the tub, naked. Father cleaning the mud from his body. It was weird and uncomfortable but he didn’t have the strength to complain or protest. Father had given him half a dose of some drug, his body felt too heavy to move it on his own but he remained awake at least. Father didn’t seem to think of him as anything other then some doll, he was simply maintaining him.
He had been scolded over the dress, it was a mess of mud and the branches had snagged and tore the lace as he ran. Apparently Father would have to remake it but part of him was glad for that it guaranteed him more time alive.
He laid in the water feeling like his bones were melted. He probably looked as out of it as he felt.
“My doll… Why did you run away?”
“... I got scared.” It wasn’t a lie, but it wasn’t the whole truth either. He was scared, scared of Father and being trapped forever.
“I see…You’re a mess now I’ll have to start over from the beginning but this gives me a chance to improve you.”
“Make your makeup perfect… Maybe change your dress design a bit to fit my new vision..”
Ichi zoned out a bit as Father rambled about colors and cloth and design. He supposed he wasn’t in too big trouble for running away then. Hopefully. The water drained from the tub after a while and a towel was wrapped around him. He was picked up and his limp body was carried to the couch that was in the room for once. He was laid down on it as Father took care blow drying and brushing his hair. He closed his eyes just relaxing, feeling tired.
“My doll, my beautiful doll.” Father muttered contently as he fixed Ichi up. Ichi knew he shouldn't enjoy it but he was clean and warm and being pampered a bit. Praised as well. It just felt nice if only it wasn’t coming from father really… He would let himself enjoy it… Just for now.
He fell asleep like that, stirring what must have been hours later. He sleepily blinked his eyes open and glanced around. He was still on the couch in his towel. He glanced down at himself, his ankle was wrapped since he had twisted it, his nails painted… He probably had make up on again. Considering that he had tried to run away Father had taken good care of him.
He sat upright, glancing around. Father didn’t seem to be down here but he had twisted his ankle, so he couldn’t really try and leave if he wanted to. He assumed Father knew that since he wasn’t tied up.
He wondered how long had passed? It looked the same as it always did in this basement so he had no way of knowing after all. He supposed he could look for a weapon.. Or try to text Kara again… The action was too risky though and he didn’t have a lot more info to add… Ah though maybe how dark it was outside and the freezing water he fell into might be a good clue? Still it would be better to just not risk it until he knew it was a safe time to text.
He moved slowly to stand, balancing on one leg to avoid hurting his ankle. He should look around a bit. See if he can find more info.
Leaning against the wall as he moved around the room slowly, he looked around. The desk looked like a good spot to look around in, the rest was all doll materials but the desk drawers might have something of help. He noticed the large fabric scissors that could have been a good weapon he saw before on the desk weren't here anymore. He assumed Father didn’t trust him and moved them.
He sat at the desk, looking at the monitor and shaking the mouse a bit. The screen lit up and showed the camera views again. The doll room… Hmm, no one in it right now. Nothing really important there he supposed. He wondered if he could turn this shit off actually. It might give his brothers some advantage but it might also alert Father to his activities.
He looked over the wires and cables and paused at the light to the left of it. This had lit up and seemed to alarm Father in some way. Perhaps it detected motion in the room? If he just turned this off it would wouldn’t be too suspicious and wouldn’t alert Father when people entered the room.
He looked over the cords, he had no clue what any of them did… He could unplug one or two at random and hope for the best or… He looked under the desk and followed the cords. The one that plugged from the alarm box into the outlet might be a good bet. Would probably just turn the box off and not affect the computer. He yanked it out and looked over at the computer. It looked the same… and so did the box. Did that even do anything? He hoped it did.
At least if it did work how he wanted it was impossible to tell it was off.
He opened a desk drawer next to look into it and jumped a bit in his seat. “Jesus fuck… That’s creepy.” He muttered, letting out a sigh. The desk for some ungodly reason was full of doll eyes and heads.
He closed that one, mentally preparing himself before opening the next… Papers. That was more normal. Seemed to be doll and dress designs, nothing of interest to him really. Well leafing through them he found some other photos too that hadn’t made the cut for that photo album. He paused, picking up some of himself. When were these taken? Some of them looked like screenshots from the doll room itself and a few were him in this room well he slept… He felt a shiver go down his spine at the sight. God, He really hoped he got out of here soon.
He put the photos and papers back and glanced around, standing up and slowly making his way around the room. Just looking and peeking around. There didn’t seem to be any weapons around or anything of use… He supposed he could go to the bathroom well he waited. He made his way there. Catching himself in the mirror on the way out. His makeup looked a lot more like gothic lolita now then it had before. Before it was a much more common soft makeup look. He supposed it suited him more but he wasn’t really sure. He didn’t look at all like himself anymore in his own opinion. Like a stranger in the mirror… Weird.
Hey hey, Theres some stuff in my personal life happening right now so updates might be slow. I'm truely sorry but with whats happening lately my motivation to create is very low. Sorry to get all dark but my household is fairly shit and I just can't find the will to do much of anything rn. I'm really sorry I'll try to still get updates out though :,( Hope you continue to read my fic, thank you for all the support.