• Chapter 3
    Miyavi, Girugamesh, and L’Arc~en~Ciel

    It was like floating. Everything around you is a blur, yet you can hear every sound in perfect clarity.
    My blur was shades of white and black. But the sound was of voices. One that sounded like a younger man, he would talk in medical jargon and seemed to be rushing about. Another was that of what I think was a teenage boy. He cussed too often and used slang.
    But the only voice that I could truly focus on was that of my savior, Seiro. He would say very little, but when he did reveal his voice it was always full of concern.
    He would apologize to me for everything, the pain overall, the pain unlike any other I have ever felt. It’s almost impossible to put an actual sensation to describe it.
    The best comparison would be: if someone took thousands of molten-metal knifes and sliced through every inch of skin on your body at the exact same time, over and over. And after successfully slicing you up stuck you into a pool of ice-cold saltwater. The salt water would sting and sear the cuts that go through your whole body. Your bones would snap and shatter under pressure. Then the ice cold would numb your pain, momentarily. But it would start all over again. Over and over, and over and over… incessantly, it came in attacks with pain in that order.
    I wanted to sit up and tell him, “I’m not in any kind of pain I can’t handle”. Even though this was without a doubt the worst pain I’ve ever experienced. However, I’d say anything to make him feel better.
    But my body had a mind of it’s own.
    I was strapped down to a table; my limbs thrashing around like a caged animal. Often the straps would rip apart and the men would grab me and have to restrain me again. But it was always easy for them; even with my crazed self they were able to overpower me.
    I was screaming too. But this scream wasn’t for pain or fear. It was as though I was screaming towards someone or something.
    The worse part was, I didn’t really care if I lived. I knew in my heart that I probably deserved to die.
    I was a horrible person; I have done horrible and unspeakable things. I knew that no force in heaven or hell should have the right or willing to help a damned soul such as mine.
    Yet, this man, who didn’t even know me, cared for me enough to get me help and stay by my side. And now I can’t think about how much I deserved to die. Because this man was fighting and trying so hard to keep me alive, I was going to stand this pain.
    I don’t know why I’m alive; I don’t know why I was in this pain. But I know I have to withstand it for him now.

    Eventually the screaming and thrashing stopped. And sweet silence set in once more. The pain was the same, but it started to dull. Every now and then I could feel a needle p***k the skin of my forearm. The amount of time between the needles seemed like years, or even decades.
    But after a long time the pain faded to a subtle tingling. It was only then that I found the ability to sleep again.


    The dream was familiar. The mansion, the garden, but the woman in the red dress was nowhere. The pleasant dream quickly turned into a frantic nightmare. All in what seemed like a second, I was scared. I needed to find her.
    I ran through the manor, looking for anyone. But every door I’d go through lead right to another empty room. Finally I opened a door that lead to a large ballroom, and an overwhelming sense of uncertainty caught up to me.
    This was actually only half a room now. The floor was once a single sparkling slab of marble, but now it was busted into many pieces by time. And the columns that stretched from floor to ceiling now stopped halfway. But the most dramatic aspect was the large stained glass window. Now it was shattered in sections. But the picture on it was still very clear.
    A scene of a woman in a torn black and red dress, standing on a cliff over the ocean glowed in the glass. She was beautiful. Her long silver hair was blowing in the wind, and her eyes were red as rubies.
    I caught a glimpse of my own reflection in the glass. What I saw made me gasp and jump backwards a step with surprise.
    My hair was silver, my eyes red, and my skin was pale. I was the woman on the window! I then noticed I was wearing the red dress that M’lady would normally be wearing. Suddenly I was sitting in the garden of dead plants.
    I was her-

    My eyes opened slightly.
    Thank god that nightmare ended! I’m so confused…
    I was still tired and my body was aching. Yet still, right away, I realized that it was completely silent.
    “It’s too quiet.” I grumbled. My speech was slurred and slow. Almost like I was drunk.
    “The doctor said that you could use the quiet. He claims it helps the healing process.”
    That voice… It was, Seiro. He’s sitting here next to me, still.
    “Well the doctor doesn’t know me very well. I need music to function like a normal human being.”
    He laughed, almost a little too much. Like I said something that triggered an inside joke that I didn’t know of.
    “ You don’t fight like a normal human being.”
    “Well… I’m a bit on the wild side.” I don’t want to go into detail about my training and old hobbies. I just met him; I don’t want to freak him out!
    “You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to. But I’d very much like to know where you learned to fight like that, someday.” His voice was so sweet. Almost seductive, when it was directed at me.
    We must be alone right now. For, he wasn’t like this when the others were in the room.
    “ So what kind of music do you have?” I was I desperate need of some sound.
    “Your serious… well…I have anything you could possibly want.”
    He paused for a second. “I figured you for a J-Rocker. Yes I have Miyavi.”
    “ Absolutely…”
    “How about… L’Arc?”
    “ All of L’Arc~en~Ciel’s CDs…”
    “ Here’s a challenge: MUCC?”
    I was happy he had my own personal favorites. “Ok, I’m glad you’re the one who saved me.”
    He laughed. “So, my dear, which do you want to listen to?”
    “How about… L’Arc.”
    “Ok. Kiss or Smile?” He seemed to be testing, curious to see what I’d say.
    “Good…nice choice. Song?”
    “The Black Rose.”
    After a few clicks on a remote he sound of a piano and guitar filled the air. I was relived to say the least.
    I tried to sit up. But my muscles ached so badly, that it proved to be impossible. So I gave up and flopped back down on the bed.
    I then felt Seiro’s hand grab my arm. “You probably won’t be able to move for a while. You had quite a violent turning process.”
    I turned in the direction of his voice. I tried to open my eyes to see him. However, to my disappointment, everything was blurry.
    I could feel his breath on my face. He was very close to me -it drove me crazy…
    “It’s unfair. You saved my life, have all my favorite music, and I can’t even see your face.”
    “ Your eyes are still adjusting. You’ll be able to see me very soon, don’t worry.” His fingers brushed the hair out of my face. And seemed to linger there momentarily.
    “What is the name of this beautiful young maiden who fights with the power of a demon?”
    “Rachelle… Rachelle Summers.”
    I could feel something ice cold brush my lips. But instead of a kiss, the darkness set back in. And as I drifted back into my slumber, the sound of L’Arc faded with my consciousness. And this strange yet beautiful man kissed me goodnight.

    Chapter 4
    White Lie In The Form Of An Alibi…

    I had no dreams. For the first time in years, I had dreamt nothing. And I was sure that meant I was dead.
    Then when I opened my eyes, I expected the red and black fires of hell. Instead a bright white light greeted me.
    Was this heaven? After my eyes adjusted to the light I saw that it was simply a window.
    I was in a hospital?
    I scanned the room for clues to my location. Romanji on all the signs, I’m still in Japan. But does that mean Seiro’s here.
    Seiro… he kissed me.
    I closed my eyes, remembering everything that had happened. Talking to Seiro about music, the excruciating pain, the men in Kyoto, being shot- wait.
    I sat up quickly. I lifted the hospital gown I was wearing, and checked for what should be three bullet wounds. But there weren’t any!
    I looked at my right arm, the location of the first shot, nothing. My chest, my stomach: no injuries.
    I also realized, I could move and see. My eyes saw everything clear now, and my body wasn’t sore.
    How is that possible? Was it all a dream? No it couldn’t be, he couldn’t be!
    As I wondered my eyes drifted around the room. I didn’t really look at anything in particular, until I saw a rose on the nightstand.
    It wasn’t just a rose; it was a black rose and a red envelope.
    I reached for the envelope. On the front, written in ancient and neat writing was my name: Rachelle.
    Opening it revealed the paper folded neatly inside.
    ‘Rachelle, I’m deeply sorry I had to leave you. But, to ensure that I can stay with you preparations must be made.
    It’s very important that the police not find out about the true events that took place Monday night. So I need you to make up a story when the police question you.
    Tell them that Phantom Seiro abducted you before you made it to Kyoto. If they ask about after that, say you have no memory of what happened afterwards. It’s very important to stick to that story.
    - By merely saying I was involved, they may believe you. I’m not exactly a favorite person with the local law enforcement. -
    Then I want you to return home to the US. I will meet you back at the school in Arizona.
    I know you are still very confused. And I’m truly sorry I never had time to tell you everything. But something happened, and now the best thing for us to do is act like nothing happened, for the time being.
    Love, Seiro

    P.S. I have given you The Black Rose. Proof that night, and everything before it, truly did happen.
    I’ll see you very soon.’
    “It did happen” –
    The door creaked open slowly. And I could see Trish standing awkwardly in the doorway.
    Tears were streaming down her face and her eyes were red and swollen from too much crying.
    She stared and me in disbelief, then suddenly ran in and pounced me.
    “ Oh Rachelle, your really alive!” She had me in a relentless hug. The whole time, still crying with happiness.
    “Trish…” was all I could say.
    Why is she acting like this?
    “I can’t believe it. They said you just turned up here at the hospital last night. But you were gone for a week, they started to give up on finding you; there were absolutely no leads. And you’re not even hurt or anything.”
    “Wait… I’ve been gone a week!”
    She let me go and stopped babbling just so she could stare at me with disbelief. “Well yeah, it’s Monday.”
    I looked down, confused again.
    “What, you didn’t know you’ve been gone a week?”
    “No… he forgot to mention that part.”
    “Who forgot to mention what?” she didn’t seem to have heard me.
    “Oh, nothing.” I held up my envelope and pointed to the rose. “Did you see the man who gave me these?”
    She looked at the objects and looked puzzled. “No. No one else has come to see you aside from Mr.Ballen and me. And… those weren’t there a few minutes ago either.”
    That means he was just here. Maybe he’s still here-
    “Who are those from?” she asked in a parent like tone.
    The door opened again, and just in time.
    This time it was a mid-aged woman, doctor, and a scary older man, police officer. Oh joy…
    The officer was the first to walk up to Trish and me.
    “ Can I ask you to step outside for a while? I have some questions for Ms. Summers.” That was obviously targeted at Trish.
    She nodded in agreement, and gave me a smile. Then walked out the door.
    The policeman quickly pulled up a chair to the side of my bed.
    I realized I still had the envelope and note in my hands. So I stuffed it under the covers before he could see.
    “Ms. Summers, after seeing your criminal record any officer would jump to conclusions about what you were doing the last week. But thankfully for you I’ve also seen how you have turned you life completely around the last few years.
    So I’m going to ask you, what happened last Friday?”
    I was ready for my act.
    “I thank you for putting faith in me. But… I honestly don’t think you’ll believe me if I tell you.”
    “Why might that be?”
    Yes, he’s hooked!
    “It’s all a little… ‘Fantastic’”
    He was skeptic. “I’m listening…”
    “ I was going to Kyoto to see the cherry blossoms during the full moon. But before I had even gotten a half mile from the hotel, this man came out of nowhere.”
    “A man?” he repositioned himself in the chair.
    “Yeah… he had silver hair and red eyes…”
    “Are you serious?”
    I acted all innocent and surprised. “Yes… why?”
    “The Phantom Seiro! Your kidding right?”
    “What? Who’s…”?
    He was surprised by my fake reaction. “You honestly don’t know about Phantom Seiro?”
    “No…” It was the truth!
    “He’s a famous criminal that just appeared within the last few years. He’s a murderer, thief, and unfortunately an infamous celebrity.
    The girls and media here in Japan have turned him into a hunky symbol rather than the criminal he is.
    Girls treat him like a rock star. And people exploit this new popularity, making him even more popular.
    To be honest, I thought you might have already heard about him in the States. He’s become quite the idol…”
    That didn’t sound like the man I had just spent the week with. But then again, I haven’t gotten a chance to actually see his alleged handsomeness.
    “ He just appeared on this back road. He walked up to me, put a hand on my shoulder, and that’s it…”
    “What do you mean, ‘That’s it…’”
    “After that… I just don’t remember anything. Nothing at all.”
    He was confused. “You don’t remember anything after that? Not even where you’ve been this past week?”
    “No. I woke up here, that’s it.”
    He gave me a look of pure skepticism. Like he was starting to see through my lie.
    So I’ll have to put my newfound acting skills to work.
    “Well… I do have a little memory. Kind of…”
    His expression didn’t change all that much. “What of?”
    “Well… It’s um… It’s difficult.”
    His glare softened. “Please try to remember.”
    He reminded me of a therapist or even doctor Phil…
    “Ok,” I put on a face of terror and innocence. “It was dark. And I was… screaming. I was… in pain… so much pain…”
    The room was very silent and the faces of the two were more frightened by this development than I could have anticipated.
    To them it must look like I’m about to cry. I even had tears forming in the corners of my eyes!
    “It’s ok Rachelle. You don’t have to try and remember.” He obviously felt sorry for me. And probably didn’t desire to hear more about was I was describing.
    The doctor came up to my bed, as if on cue. She was concerned about my story as well.
    “Well honey, don’t worry. I ran a full set of tests and your 100% healthy.
    No injuries or signs of them. And, you’re the picture of perfect health- If I do say so myself.”
    “Really?” The officer and I both asked at the same time, in the same surprised tone.
    “Yes. No signs of trauma or assault. And, I must admit, your one of the most physically healthy patients I’ve ever seen.”
    I laughed a little at that one.
    “No really! Perfect muscle tone and beautiful skin… You must workout? How do you stay so perfect? Especially as a teenager?”
    The officer bowed out of this conversation.
    “Actually I hardly ever weight train. But I do practice martial arts, boxing, and kendo on a regular basis.”
    “Wow. Really? Well that explains the muscle.”
    The room grew quiet again. Then the officer stood up and walked to the door.
    “I’m done with my questions. It appears that this case has no real evidence. But we will be in contact with you soon Ms. Summers.”
    The doctor also walked to the door. “ And you’re free to leave whenever you’d like Rachelle.”
    “Thank you. Both of you.”
    With that they walked out the door.


    It’s nice to be back in my own country, but everything seems different somehow.
    On the flight home I slept for 6 hours. And didn’t have a single dream! Then when I woke up Trish said my eyes looked red.
    She must have been sleepy because my eyes are still very much blue. But lots of people have been saying that they noticed something different about me, only for it to not be visible again a minute later.
    Maybe its just people paying too much attention to me because I was missing for a week. But, the fact that I claimed memory loss has everyone spreading rumors about what happened to me.
    In the last two hours of the flight I heard up to seven different stories about the events that conspired last week.
    One was that I was brain washed by Phantom Seiro. Another, I was lost in Japan for the entire week and just didn’t want to admit it. But, of course, the football team had their perverted stories about me being abducted for more believable reasons.
    Only I know the truth. Seiro had saved me somehow. And even though I still don’t know how it was possible that I was even alive, yet alone in perfect health, I trust what his letter says.
    Seiro will find me again, soon, and everything will be explained to me. And -even though I’m not sure if I should be thinking this- I hope I get to kiss him again.
    I’m honestly not even sure that he did kiss me. But I can hope. I can hope that he was my first kiss.
    I find it amusing that I haven’t even seen this man and already I have trusted him with my life. It’s like he’s somehow part of me. Which is appropriate since he saved my life – however he did it.
    And the fact that we’ll be meeting soon makes me nervous.
    I’ve never been in love or even had a crush for that matter. I suspect that this nervous and anxious feeling is my hormones at work. But I also wonder if I even have the right to want someone like him.
    I’m not what you would call a good person. Sure I’ve tried to makeup for all the bad I’ve done in my life, but I wonder if I’ve done enough to deserve the happiness of a relationship.
    But the fact still remains that I haven’t even seen him. So until we really get to meet I shouldn’t even start to get my hopes up.

    After arriving back at Augustine Academy -after an hour at the airport and an hour on a bus- we were given three hours to get unpacked, re-uniformed, and be back at class.
    After unpacking all the clothes -I didn’t wear- I started thinking about him again.
    Will he come to the school and just pick me up? Or maybe he’ll have me meet him somewhere off campus.
    Will he have that silver hair I keep hearing about, or will he have to discise himself…
    Is he thinking this much about me?

    Somewhere in my trance like thought, I decided to put on my uniform.
    After putting on the pleated plaid skirt, white business-like shirt, and gray knee-high socks I inspected myself in a full-length mirror.
    The skirt was a little long, the shirt to big and baggy looking, and the brown shoes I had somehow always worn with this looked horrible.
    What would he think if he saw me? I even think that this is horribly unattractive.
    So I went to the uniform assigning office, grabbed a few sizes smaller skirt and a smaller shirt. Putting them on, I looked perfect. The outfit actually showed off my curves and looked good, like my real clothes.
    But those shoes…
    High heels. I found a pair of my more normal black wedges. Black leather with a 4-inch heel and a big buckle across the toes, it was perfect.
    And my hair… curl it slightly. Eyes? Lets do that dark black smoky look you see on Miyavi.
    As I finished with the lip-gloss Trish walked into the dorm in her usual drabby uniform – similar to what I was wearing. But when she saw my new look her eyes bugged and jaw dropped.
    “Rachelle... What. The. Hell?” She was shocked. “ You look like a super model.”
    “Really?” No I didn’t. She’s making fun of me.
    “Oh my god! Rachelle you are freakin’ hot!” Ok she’s not kidding. “ What in the world could get you to actually dress-up for school?”
    What should I tell her? I don’t think it’d be a good thing to tell her I’m expecting a hot guy to come get me. Maybe, as much as I hate to think about it, I have to give her another story.
    “ I think… I’m taking your advice. I’m eighteen, I’m an honor student, unbelievably hot, and worthy of the love of a man!”
    She was silent for a moment. “So what? Are you gonna seduce a quarterback or a goalie?”
    She’s right. Our school’s all preps and jocks… no Goth princes of darkness for me to even consider.
    “ Well, It’s the beginning of a new semester. So we’ll be getting a lot of new students and foreign exchange.
    Maybe I could get lucky and one of them will be from Goth-World, Japan.”
    She laughed, “ You couldn’t get that lucky.”
    “I hope I can.” – I hope he could be my prince of darkness-


    The janitors aren’t going like me very much. Because they’ll be the ones cleaning the puddles of drool from the hormonally challenged football team, who are currently checking me out as we walk to class.
    I’ll bet Amy, the head cheerleader and girlfriend of the quarterback, doesn’t even get this much attention from the guys.
    I don’t even want to know how many of them wish they were Phantom Seiro right now. – You know, they had the perverted rapist stories-
    The cheerleaders and dance team would glare at me with death eyes. And, I bet, if they had laser-beam eyes they’d fry me.
    I’m not gonna lie, I love it. I’m not for the “look at me, love me” attitude. But I do like to cause controversy for the drama fueled teenage student body.
    Best part is: they hate me just for being me. It’s the one good thing about my life.
    Especially Amy. She is my natural enemy, my polar opposite, the yin to my yang, and the pink to my black: the cheerleader vs. the Goth.
    Amy was the old ‘Hottest Girl in School’ titleholder. The football team would drool for her, the nerds would worship her, and everyone would generally love her.
    Then I showed up.
    I was a bit less human like. And the boys loved it.
    I must admit, though. Amy is pretty; a blond-cheerleader-pink-legally blond kind of pretty. I’m more of a Screamo- rock star- black on black- Underworld’s Celine kind of pretty. And in this school my kind of change to the definition “beautiful” was what the people were waiting for all along. It’s not my fault that I was the first girl to fit the job description.