Downward Spiral [Mutou] [Chapter 1: 8/14]

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Henry Spencer
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Downward Spiral [Mutou] [Chapter 1: 8/14]

Post by Henry Spencer » Sun Jul 01, 2012 1:24 am

This is going to be my first long-running fic (that isn't a total failure, hopefully). I was in Crispychat one night, and either I, or someone else was throwing out random ideas... a story involving Mutou and noir elements caught my imagination. Nobody else seemed to be stepping up to the plate to do something like that, so I figured I'd give it a whirl. Yes, the prologue ends kind of suddenly, but the first chapter will pick up literally right where I ended. So basically, deal w/ it.

Without further ado, here's Downward Spiral. Enjoy.

Prologue: [this post]
Chapter 1: [link]

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Prologue: The Fall

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I wasn't always a bitter man.

The happier days are long past. My time as a teacher at Yamaku Academy were some of the best years of my life; not only did I get to do what I loved, I felt I was giving those that had been walked on by life a second chance at it.

Then I met Nakai. Typical transfer student; he had spent some time in the hospital, and had difficulties adjusting to his new life. He seemed to be in a downward, depressing spiral from day one; refusing to introduce himself, work with others, or help in any way. I observed him from afar, but I never stepped in to guide him on his path, instead choosing to remain as aloof and detached. "He'll get over it," I would think to myself. That thought alone is perhaps my single biggest regret, thus far.

The fateful day dawned bright, sunny, and clear; I couldn't yet see what dark clouds laid upon the horizon. It was the day of the Yamaku's annual spring festival. As a teacher, I was compelled to attend; never been a fan of crowds though, too noisy, too much going on. Instead, I hung back around the school, occasionally fielding questions from curious parents and visitors. As night crept its tendrils through the sky, snuffing out the sun, I made my way outside to watch the yearly fireworks display. Over the years, I had discovered the perfect spot for it; not only could I watch the show in relative peace, leaning up against the school, I could also sneak in a smoke or two without anyone noticing. Yamaku was notoriously strict about such things, something I particularly detested.

I reached my spot and, with a deep sigh, leaned again the school. My head throbbed a constant, heavy beat; it reminded me just how addicted I was to these cancer sticks. "Nobody wants to live forever anyways," I whispered to nobody in particular. I chuckled at the thought as I pulled one out of the pack, stuck it between my lips, and lit. The first inhale brought on that familiar burning in my lungs, a burn I welcomed. With another few quick drags, the pounding in my head slowed to a dull throb. Relief. Yawning, I arched my back against the cool brick of the school's side wall, tilted my head up, and closed my aching eyes.

Closing my eyes was the best thing I did that night. Faintly, I heard the creaking of a fence. Before it had time to register in my throbbing, feverish mind, there was an earth-shattering crash. No, not even really a crash; more of a sickly combination of crunching and thumping. My eyes flew open in shock, and what I saw before me will forever be burned into my mind. Though it was fully dark, in the glow cast by the moon, I could see Nakai's face. He was dead; I could tell by the blank, accusing stare of his eyes into mine. A thin trickle of blood ran from the corner of his mouth. I stared at it for what seemed like an eternity, watching that trickle slowly run down his cheek, dripping and forming a small pool on the pavement. Shaking myself out of my reverie, I dropped to my knees and did the only thing I could think of; I cradled Nakai's dead, broken body in my arms. I felt broken bones jabbing at my arms and chest, blood soaking through my blazer, my shirt, seemingly my skin itself. His vacant eyes were now turned up to the heavens, as if questioning God, asking why such a misfortune had befallen him so soon after getting back on his feet.

The period after that is a blur. It's the faces I remember best. A screaming woman, a look of horror on her face, tears streaming from her eyes. Police officers, eyes averted, gingerly escorting me away from the body. Medical examiners, their faces impassive in the face of such a gruesome job.

An investigator later questioned me about my history with Nakai. It was, thankfully, short. Though I had been his teacher, I knew practically nothing about the boy; he always kept to himself, pushing away anyone that tried to get close. A few days after the accident, I learned he had been on the roof with another boy, Setou. Nakai's death was ruled to be an accident, but Setou's behavior disgusted me; he constantly spewed garbage about feminists, and how Nakai had simply been kidnapped and replaced with a body double. Even if he had played an active role in the boy's death, Setou would simply be declared insane, and therefore unable to stand trial.

After the dust settled, things changed. Any happiness or joy I felt had seemingly evaporated. Nakai invaded my dreams; in them, he would stare up at me from the ground with that dead, accusing stare, as if everything that had transpired was my fault alone. I couldn't focus on my work, my job; teaching became an impossible, fruitless task. There were some class periods where I would stand at the chalkboard for an entire class, arm raised, chalk hovering above the board, but no coherent thought formed. Others, I would simply become so irritable that I couldn't control the shaking of my hands.

As my work life deteriorated, so did my personal life; alcohol and cigarettes became my only way to cope with the world. Most days, I would go to work either drunk or extremely hung over; often, I would simply give a class a reading assignment, then sneak off to some secluded corner of the school to calm the relentless throbbing of my head. My family suffered the most; my wife slowly became distant and detached, and my son suddenly vanished one day, leaving behind nothing but a note telling me not to look for him. Not that I was in any state to, anyways. Eventually, my wife left as well; my distance, combined with the loss of our son, was too much for her to handle. For the first time in years, I was alone. Completely, utterly alone in the world.

That self-destructive cycle went on for nearly three months before I finally cracked. I was under a lot of pressure to shape up; the dean of Yamaku had already taken me aside and explained numerous times that my performance as a teacher was not up to par. He offered counseling, paid vacation, everything; I took none of it. Nakai's death had left a heavy weight on my shoulders, one that I felt could not simply be eliminated. One morning, after a particularly terrible night of drinking, I stumbled into the classroom. Turning to the board, I picked up my chalk and froze. An ear-splitting, soul-rending laugh suddenly emanated from behind me. Something inside me, some terrible beast, reared its ugly head. Whirling on the spot, I screamed profanities, insinuated mental disabilities, and openly wondered if anyone, even Hakamichi, liked her. The tears in her eyes… I wouldn't ever forget them, or forgive myself for what I had done.

Later that day, I handed in my resignation and left; that was the last I ever saw of Yamaku Academy.
Last edited by Henry Spencer on Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:27 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Helbereth
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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou]

Post by Helbereth » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:09 am

*steps up quietly, a waif-like lilt in my voice as I settle my face into an expression of hopelessness*

"Please, sir, may I have some more?"

---

Okay, Oliver has a point. I like this. I like the very idea of this - a continuation of the tale post The Deep End following the effect it had on Mutou - and I sincerely hope there is more.

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Henry Spencer
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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou]

Post by Henry Spencer » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:37 am

Helbereth wrote:*steps up quietly, a waif-like lilt in my voice as I settle my face into an expression of hopelessness*

"Please, sir, may I have some more?"

---

Okay, Oliver has a point. I like this. I like the very idea of this - a continuation of the tale post The Deep End following the effect it had on Mutou - and I sincerely hope there is more.
This doesn't actually follow anything, though I did attempt to do a rewrite of the bad end at once point in time (Death of a Student). I've never read The Deep End. :V I did pretty much re-use my earlier idea; Hisao's death pretty nicely sets up Mutou's transition into the "real world". What better way to set it up than a "canonical" event?

Also, yeah... this is just a set-up for something different. VERY different.

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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou]

Post by Total Destruction » Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:55 pm

I'm excited. Handle it, boss.

:twisted:
... Danger.

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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou]

Post by Genocya » Sun Jul 01, 2012 4:25 pm

Crap, now I got this guy's voice in my head as Mutou: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=63MI24kxiz0


Still, this is an awesome idea.

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Henry Spencer
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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou]

Post by Henry Spencer » Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:48 pm

I don't really have a headcanon voice for Mutou just yet, but I'm working on it.

Anyways, updated the prologue slightly from the original Pastebin because I completely forgot about something, even after proofreading half a dozen times. Way to go, self.

Next chapter should be a fairly long piece.

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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou]

Post by DanjaDoom » Sun Jul 01, 2012 6:11 pm

Henry Spencer wrote:I don't really have a headcanon voice for Mutou just yet, but I'm working on it.

Anyways, updated the prologue slightly from the original Pastebin because I completely forgot about something, even after proofreading half a dozen times. Way to go, self.

Next chapter should be a fairly long piece.
I always imagine he sounds like Stu Pickles. Must be the stubble.
My fine literary endeavors: Real, M&M, Rat Race, and Hideaki: A Tale of Manliness. Feel free to stroke my ego and read them.

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey-Sanic

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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou]

Post by Total Destruction » Sun Jul 01, 2012 7:23 pm

DanjaDoom wrote:
Henry Spencer wrote:I always imagine he sounds like Stu Pickles. Must be the stubble.
"Mutou, why are you teaching at Yamaku at four in the morning?"

"Because I've lost control of my life."
... Danger.

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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou]

Post by DanjaDoom » Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:24 pm

Total Destruction wrote:
DanjaDoom wrote:
Henry Spencer wrote:I always imagine he sounds like Stu Pickles. Must be the stubble.
"Mutou, why are you teaching at Yamaku at four in the morning?"

"Because I've lost control of my life."
Nurse: Why do you always lose your pills, dag-nabbit?!
Mutou: Why do you always talk like a prospecter when you're aggravated, "con-flabbit?"
My fine literary endeavors: Real, M&M, Rat Race, and Hideaki: A Tale of Manliness. Feel free to stroke my ego and read them.

We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey-Sanic

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Henry Spencer
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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou]

Post by Henry Spencer » Sat Jul 07, 2012 3:51 pm

Well, I've spent a good chunk of time researching where I want to go with this. I'm going to use general Japanese locations and landmarks, etc., but I'm not going to get into super-specific stuff. That is beyond my scope, as someone who has never visited Japan and probably never will. Working on the chapter now, expect something soon-ish, though I may delay the first chapter until I finish the next part of Life On Rewind as well, and possibly another short one-shot idea I had.

tl;dr next part incoming, probably within the next 3-4 days.

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Henry Spencer
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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou]

Post by Henry Spencer » Tue Aug 14, 2012 7:26 pm

Chapter 1: The Setup

It's been five months since I resigned.

---

After that fateful day, I returned home once more. Closing the door behind me, I sighed. The bottle of whiskey on the end table of the living room called my name, but for now, I ignored it. Leaning back against the front door, I closed my eyes, lowered my head and sighed. I couldn't keep going on like this, not forever. Nakai's death still haunted me, and now both of my pillars of support, my wife and son, had up and vanished. Alcohol had become a stop-gap solution to the gaping void in my heart, but after today, I knew it wasn't going to work anymore. That didn't stop me from trying, however; stretching, I walked across the room, grasped the bottle, and in one fluid motion, opened it and took a long drink. The whiskey burned my throat and scalded my stomach, but I felt calmer, more in control of the situation.

Bottle in hand, I walked over to my desk, sat down, and opened up my laptop. It was a fairly new piece of machinery; my wife and son had surprised me with it for my last birthday. After waiting for it to boot, I opened a new text document. A few gulps of whiskey later with my throat burning anew, I set to my task; creating a list of necessities. Perhaps it was the alcohol, but a single thought prevailed in my head: what was the point of staying here? My family was gone, my job was gone, and the memories of both made my life a living hell every damn day. I needed out.

And so, I began planning. Listed first were the absolute necessities, the things I couldn't do without. My phone and laptop were top of the list; I wanted to move on with my life, not disappear entirely. After that, I listed a few outfits and some semi-formal wear, just in case. Beyond that, I was lost; what would I do with the house or the car? As the afternoon wore on, however, and the effects of the alcohol became more apparent, I cared about those particular details less and less. Let the stupid bank take the house, I wouldn't need it. The car was fully paid off and could serve as a base of operations for a while, if needed. Hell, I could sell it, if push came to shove. Where I was going, however, still remained a frustrating mystery; without any direction, it was hard to pin down exactly where I wanted to go.

After more fruitless attempts at planning, my head began to throb dully. Dragging myself from the desk chair, I made my way to the front door, stumbling slightly. Half a bottle of whiskey does funny things to a man's legs. I stepped through the doorway and closed it behind me, then paused to take in a few deep breaths and steady myself. Reaching into my pocket, I clumsily fished out my cigarettes and lighter. Drawing one from the pack, I lit it and took and long, slow drag. It was Heaven and Hell in stick form; Heaven to my throbbing head, Hell on my lungs. As the pounding slowed, I gazed around idly; summer was still in full swing here, but today it was still at least pleasantly cool in the shade of my front porch. Eventually, my eyes settled upon the mailbox; in my agitated state earlier, I had completely forgotten to check it. The mail carrier had certainly come and gone by that point.

Grumbling to myself, I unsteadily worked my way down the front steps and into the heat. The sun's bright rays assaulted my eyeballs, making me feel a bit dizzy. The half-smoked cigarette still hanging from the corner of my mouth didn't help either. Reaching the mailbox, I quickly opened it, grabbed the contents, and shut it. The intensity of the afternoon's light and heat were quickly making me feel sick. Feeling disgusted, I unceremoniously tossed my cigarette into the rough patch of brush near the door. Stress in my life and at work had driven away any desire to maintain the landscaping, unfortunately.

As I ascended the front steps, my stomach gave an uneasy lurch; that was never a good sign. Hurrying through the door, I haphazardly dropped the mail and made a beeline for the bathroom. My stomach knotted and began flipping and twisting in my abdomen, but luckily, I made it just in time. As I kneeled in the bathroom, worshipping the porcelain God, my emotions threatened to get the best of me. Here I was: mid-forties, no job, with an estranged wife and missing son. I still had most of my looks, but what good would those do me? And I wouldn't have them for long, if I kept up this vicious cycle of drinking and vomiting nearly every day. After an eternity, my retching ceased; I felt very weak, almost faint. Without a second thought, I half-walked, half-stumbled into my bedroom, dropped unceremoniously onto the bed, and fell into a deep sleep.

In my dreams, I wandered the halls of Yamaku once more. Everything was twisted and distorted; hallways seemed to go on forever or double back on themselves in a confusing mess. I needed to get outside. Whispering came from ahead of me; I followed it to the best of my abilities, weaving in and out of the labyrinthine corridors. Finally, I came to a dead end; at the end of a long, straight path, there was a single door. Where I led, I had no idea. All the same, I ran towards it, hope swelling in my chest. Freedom. Time began to crawl and the hallway stretched into seemingly infinite length, but I had to keep going, I had to escape. With a violent lurch, time suddenly leapt forward and I slammed hard into the door. Recoiling in shock and pain, I toppled over backwards. Rubbing my forehead, I sat up and gazed at the door before me. On it was my classroom designation: 3-3. Hesitantly, I climbed to my feet. Did I really want to enter? Not that I had much choice in the matter, admittedly; the hall behind me had become infinitely long again. With a long sigh, I grabbed the handle, turned it, and pushed the door open.

Stepping through the doorway, I found myself outside on the Yamaku grounds. The fireworks were about to start, and I was headed to my favorite spot, to enjoy both the show and a cigarette. Once there, I leaned against the wall and pulled a package of cigarettes out of my pocket with shaking hands. A deep sense of foreboding, almost like deja vu, overcame me; something about this was wrong, but I couldn't put my finger on what it was. A faint rustling sound, almost like a chain link fence, emanated from above me. Suddenly it hit me; it was happening again, everything was happening as it had on that day. I wanted to move, to scream, to wake up, but I knew it was futile. I closed my eyes as Nakai's body tumbled to the pavement once more with a sickening crunch. After what seemed like an eternity, I opened my eyes and gazed at the broken, twisted form before me. Even in the dim evening light, I could tell it was not Nakai lying there. It looked almost like… my wife. Mariko. No. No no no no no oh god, no, not her! I let out an anguished moan as I dropped to my knees and crawled to her body. Cradling her broken form in my arms, I could almost smell her perfume, how sweet it'd been. "Mariko, why you, why now?" I whispered to myself. The smell of her perfume grew stronger and stronger, almost as if…

With a start, I sat bolt upright in bed. Inhaling deeply, I realized I could smell her perfume. She had been here, I knew, she had to have been. A faint click! echoed through the house; it was the sound of the latch on the front door. Scrambling to my feet, I hurried out of the bedroom as fast as my still-rubbery legs would go. After what felt like an eternity, I reached the front door; it was still unlocked, a testament to my suspicions. Flinging it open, I rushed out onto the front porch. In the meager light provided by the looming street lamps, I could clearly see there were no cars or people on the road. Whoever it was, if anyone had been there, had simply vanished into the night.

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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou] [Chapter 1: 8/14]

Post by Roamin12 » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:10 pm

I personally am really enjoying this so-far, it is well-written and is a very interesting premise.
Random observation, when I saw the title of the story (Downward Spiral) I immediately thought of the Nine Inch Nails album also named that, and when I saw the prologue title (The Fall) I thought it said "The Frail"(A Nine Inch Nails song) and then I thought that both of those were references to Nine Inch Nails, but then I realized I was being stupid and misread the chapter title. Damn me and my music-oriented mind.
Henry Spencer wrote:I don't really have a headcanon voice for Mutou just yet, but I'm working on it.
Whenever I see (read?) that Mutou is talking, I think of batman's voice.
First Play through: Lilly>Hanako>Emi>Rin>Shizune
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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou] [Chapter 1: 8/14]

Post by Scissorlips » Wed Aug 22, 2012 7:08 am

Glad to see this story moving, I'm interested to see where it heads to next once things really start to take flight. Also:
worshipping the porcelain God
Thank you for bringing back a bit too many memories, haha.
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Henry Spencer
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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou] [Chapter 1: 8/14]

Post by Henry Spencer » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:58 am

This probably won't go anywhere anytime soon. The meds I'm on mess me up too much to write much of anything these days. I had that part of DS done for about 2-3 weeks before posting it.

Also not a fan of commitment, unfortunately. I might just stick to one-shots.

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Re: Downward Spiral [Mutou] [Chapter 1: 8/14]

Post by Total Destruction » Sun Aug 26, 2012 9:45 pm

Henry Spencer wrote:This probably won't go anywhere anytime soon. The meds I'm on mess me up too much to write much of anything these days. I had that part of DS done for about 2-3 weeks before posting it.

Also not a fan of commitment, unfortunately. I might just stick to one-shots.
That's a bummer. I feel you, though. Xanax killed my creativity like nothing else.

You're a really solid writer, though, and it'd be a shame to see you cease altogether.

:mrgreen:
... Danger.

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