“Mr Uzushi, you have been underperforming this quarter.” An emotionless face stared. The rhythmic spinning of a pen could be heard before the man put it down. “What do you do when a nail sticks out among the rest, Hiroga Uzushi?” the man on the desk pointed his pen at Hiroga. Uncomfortable seconds pass. A well-known saying in Japan, he couldn’t dodge the question.
Fidgeting, Hiroga barely speaks up, “i-it gets hammered down?”. The imposing man behind the desk closed his eyes and reclined into his office chair. An ominous smirk appeared on his face as if he were about to explain to a five-year-old why stealing cookies from the cookie jar was bad.
“Maybe where you are from, Mr Uzushi, the nail can be hammered into compliance,” – his eyes opening – “But in this case, the nail is rusty and old, and no matter how long you hammer, it will never be as useful as a new, recently-procured one.” Hiroga’s eyes went wide, realising the implication of what the man behind the desk insinuated.
“Y-You can’t fire me! I’ve worked for this company longer than you have! I have allies!” he floundered. The man behind the desk grinned this time. A creepy, almost evil in nature, sort of grin.
POV: Hiroga Uzushi
“I have it on good authority that I have the power to fire you, Mr Uzushi. After all, I am your boss now.” My face paled. Kurosaki was just recently promoted, but he was already purging the people who oppose him! Throwing his newfound authority around like this was just despicable. I grimaced, knowing that I should have just kept my head down in the office. “Or,” Kurosaki paused, “I could just show your wife where you have been slinking off to.”
I slowly looked up towards Kurosaki, who had a manic smile on his face. My heart dropped. Did he know?! How did he know?! He made sure not to tell anybody about my mistress. I watched Kurosaki reach into his desk and pull out several photographs and threw them disdainfully towards me, watching them slowly drift towards the ground, I looked dumbly at them. I reached towards the ground and picked one of the pictures up.
There was no mistaking it.
This picture clearly showed me and Minawara together. Flipping through the pictures, blanching at each subsequent image. Each being progressively more risqué, taken in more private locations. I flipped to the last image. It was taken in my own house, that one time my wife left to do some errands. It was a clear shot of me and Mina eloping in bed. How did he manage to get this image?! I looked back at Kurosaki, terrified of what other dirt this monster had on me.
---- The Next Day ----
POV: Kurosaki Kageyama
Ah, that was refreshing. That damned Hiroga was causing trouble in the office for some time. Openly challenging my proposals, sowing doubt among my 'loyal' subordinates. Of course, I didn’t need to hire a woman to act as his mistress, I could have just straight-up fired him, but savouring the look of utter despair on his face made the whole charade worth it. Now that the promiscuous actress is no longer getting paid by me to date him, I’m sure she will just leave him now.
Ahh… how I wish to see his face when that happens… Oh well. It’s always good to have dirt on people around you. In Japan, your honour was placed high above anything else, and people would do anything to hide the shame of their crimes. I am not an exception to this either. If somebody managed to collate all my blackmailing, betrayal, and bribery history, I doubt I would be able to survive in the professional world if it were exposed.
I’d be a slave to their every whim. Of course, that is why I am extremely careful. Sometimes, digging for dirt is not enough, and very occasionally I plant something to discover later. Uzushi was just another one of these cases, albeit, more for my own sadistic pleasure than anything else.
I looked to my side and saw someone’s hair peeking through the bedsheets that I lay in. Another one of those girls tried to catch my fancy on my commute back home. I guess I could have been seen to be rather approachable last night, probably wearing silly grin on my face due to my toying with Hiroga. Too bad for this daring social climber, I have no interest in developing any relationship with her. Her body wasn’t too bad, I’ll give her that, well-developed breasts, some curvature around the hips. You could tell she made some effort to keep herself fit. It was passable for a one-night stand.
I stood up and decided to get dressed for the day. I heard some rustling behind me. It appears that she has woken up. I guess I could have one more round before I go to work.
“Hey,” I whispered in her ear. “Last night was amazing, I might have fallen in love with you.” All women were too easy. Just show them your wallet, and they’d be in bed on all fours for you any time of day. Seeing the words register in her mind, she immediately thinks she’s got a great catch, and she grabs my hands and guides them to her breasts. She tries her hardest to act seductively, but I could tell she was rather new to this gig.
Deciding it would be entertaining to play along, I knead her nipples between my thumb and forefinger. She lets out cute little mewls of ecstasy. “Oh, Kurosaki” she moaned.
Hm, I guess now’s as good a time as any. I cease my hand movements, and I look directly into her eyes. “How much?” She looks at me with confusion, eyes wide like saucers, before her expression settles.
She shakes her head, “Uh… I think I misheard you, could you say that again please Mr Kageyama?”. So, she’s pretending she didn’t hear… A smile graces my lips and I force her back down onto the bed with a soft yelp coming from her, both my hands firmly on her wrists. Let’s see how far I can go with this whore.
I lean in, forcing my tongue in, conquering the depths of her mouth. After several seconds of back and forth, I pull back. She makes a sound akin to a mixture of moan and a gasp, as a string of saliva connecting our mouths the only evidence of the act. I sneered at her, “You didn’t hear what I said? Okay, let me spell it out for you… How much for an hour?”
Getting confirmation of my previous words, she has a look of pure confusion on her face. Why wouldn’t she? A man who she supposedly fell in love with last night just called her a common whore. “What do you mean?” she asks. I snigger at her attempts at feigned ignorance.
“All women are the same, jumping into my pants for a shot at my wallet.” A look of scorn appears on her face. Ah, that face she’s making really is turning me on.
“No!” she exclaims, “You're wrong! I fell in love at first sight... I just wanted t- to…” she trails off. See? She has no intention of hiding it either. Although, I cannot fault her for this. It is just the natural law of things, women serve men with their bodies, and it is repaid in currency. Isn’t it the same with marriage? Just that the currency is now in the form of a house and a car. I guess I could let her serve me right now if she doesn’t want to walk away with nothing.
“Fine, I will give you an offer befitting a slut such as yourself.”, she glares at me, “two times the normal rate of Kabukicho district1Kabukicho district is the red-light district of Tokyo, normal rates about $120/hr. How about that?” She looks down. Obviously contemplating. It wasn’t the expected way of wringing money from me via 'lover relationship', but I think it was a rather favourable offer. I give her a set amount of money, and then we go our separate ways. She acquiesced.
“Fine... but only if you are paying me for last night as well.” I stifle a laugh. See? In the end, all women were prostitutes, and as long as I had money, I was served.
---- Three Years Later ----
In a dingy and dark room, Hiroga Uzushi watches his TV. Used instant noodle cups, cans and beer bottles were strewn across the place, it barely passed as liveable. Curtains were drawn, the only pale light in the room coming from his flickering TV. “We are happy to announce the new CEO of Tomohi Technologies, Mr Kageyama Kurosaki!”. The camera pans from the presenter to a man who looks to be in his late twenties, typical black hair and black eyes.
To the public, serving as the hope of all young workers to climb so fast and so high up society. But, to the man sitting in his room, those eyes he sees on the screen haunt him to this day.
The man who ruined his life for his own entertainment.
He can still vividly remember. The day he got fired, he returned home to his wife. His wife, who held pictures of himself and Mina together. It turns out Kuro sent the images to his wife even when he fired Hiroga. Needless to say, it led to a one-sided divorce. While both his children scorned him, he still had to pay child support. He looked everywhere for Mina, but she wouldn’t even answer his calls. It was like she didn’t even exist. Kurosaki had thoroughly ruined his life.
The presenter turns to Kurosaki. “Firstly, many congratulations on your new position. How does one so young as yourself manage to climb to the top of a company so quickly Mr Kageyama?” A serene smile crossed Kuro’s face.
“Well, obviously, I could say my outstanding intellectual and leadership capabilities got me here, but even I know that is not the full truth.” Hiroga crushed the can he held in his hands with anger as the presenter laughed at his ‘joke’. “To aspiring office workers out there, the simple trick to rising the ranks it to make friends!” he smiled at the camera.
Hiroga swore that Kurosaki was looking directly at him. “To make it big, you need to have lots of allies, who can support you. Be nice to co-workers, and your boss will eventually hear all the nice rumours about you!” Hiroga thought he saw a ghost of a smirk momentarily. “I know that every one of my co-workers always said good things about me, if you are unsure of their opinions, it never hurts to make sure!” Hiroga stood up and kicked the TV which fell over with a crash.
“That fucking bastard!” he screamed, “I’m gonna kill that shithead!”
---- A Few Days Later ----
In the parking lot of a 40-story building, a black limousine was parked. In the rear of a limousine resided Kurosaki. By his sides, two beautiful women sat, each attempting to win his affection and attention, rubbing their hands along Kuro’s thighs and pushing their breasts against him. The Driver was absent, as he was excused to give Kuro more privacy with the women. Just beyond the carpark, a dishevelled man was eyeing the limousine. Hiding behind a concrete pillar, he knew exactly what he was going to do. He did his research; this was the car in which that monster lay. He slowly walked towards the car.
POV: Kurosaki Kageyama
This really was the life. I had the entire board of directors under my thumb (thanks to some underhanded tactics), and I was the de facto leader of the company. Nobody challenged my propositions, and nobody commented on the extra funds being siphoned out to an anonymous Swiss bank account. The quality of the women who approached me was also raising. They were more experienced than those previously. They really knew how to manipulate the mind of men.
The two I’ve got glued to my sides right now are my favourites. I look outside the window and see a man walking towards my limousine. Wearing a shaggy shirt with stains and a worn-looking coat, an unshaven beard, probably homeless. What is a homeless doing here? Go back to your cardboard box dammit, you’re ruining the view!
I tried ignoring the blight, but he just seemed to be edging closer to my car. It was a rather disturbing sight, one which you might hear or read about online, one of those ‘creepypastas’. I looked to my sides and saw that my girls were also getting a bit peeved off by this man. Probably going to try begging for some money from a rich man in a limousine. As he got closer, I had to revaluate. This man’s eyes screamed crazy. Not like me, I’m just a rational sociopath.
This man’s eyes were psychotic. Best not give any money if he begs for it.
Making sure the door is locked before he reaches (good, it was), I tell my girls not to worry. We’ll just wait until he goes away. The crazed man outside attempted to open the door, but as expected, it wouldn’t budge I smiled to myself. “If you want money, stop being such a drain on society and go get a job!” I shouted at him.
I was amused at his reaction as he mumbled something about a job under his breath. His breathing seemed to pick up… was he hyperventilating? This was hilarious! Suddenly, he reached into his coat pocket and drew a knife. He slammed it down onto the glass of the limousine, both girls screaming.
“Shut up!” I say, slapping both. They overreacted; this limousine cost a lot, I was assured the reinforced glass wouldn’t break for a bullet, I would assume the same is true for a lunatic with a knife. Hm, this is not so funny anymore. He ruined the mood and now he has caused damage to my car. I saw a little dent in the glass where the homeless man struck. I doubt my driver would be able to return here and drive us away, I better call the authorities.
I turn to my right and told Favourite #2 to call 110. She seemed to agree with my sentiment as she began to fumble around and got her phone out. The crazed man seemed to calm down a bit after his thoughtless outburst and seemed to reach into his pocket again. Another knife? You must be joking… One’s not gonna cut it, neither is two. However, no knife appeared in his left hand. It remained in his pocket. A deranged smile appeared across his face, which confused me.
Oh shit. Did the car doors just unlock? The door to my left swung open, and the homeless man ripped Favourite #1 out of the car. Seeing my chance, I immediately closed the door and locked it again. He seemed uninterested in Favourite #1, letting her run off to who-knows-where, attention remaining on my limo, eyes narrowed. Fuck… Why did the doors unlock? Was the driver here?
I looked around, but I did not see my driver anywhere. *Click* There it was again. I looked at the homeless man, right hand wielding a knife, left hand hidden in his coat pocket. My eyes widened in realisation. Did that homeless man have the keys to my limousine?! It was a ridiculous conclusion. But when you eliminate all possibilities, that which remains is the truth. Since it was a remote key, all he had to do was keep pressing the unlock button, and the limo would do so.
The crazy homeless opened the door again, diving at me with his knife shouting profanities. I quickly grabbed Favourite #2 and put her between the man and myself, hearing a shriek of pain and seeing blood flow onto the seats, I dashed out the other door. Shit, I really hope #2 managed to get the call off, this man was trying to murder me! I looked back at the homeless man in the car, he seemed stunned at my actions, and only seemed to get angrier. He began to chase me, knife in hand.
“Do you remember me?” he shouted. Remember him? I never got a good look at his face, but I’m pretty sure I never encountered a man slaughtering homeless before. His statement felt quite ominous. I continued to run from him. I was unarmed, and I was not confident fighting a man who looked like he had nothing to lose. It was getting dark, and I could not count on the police to get here in time before I run out of stamina. I was pretty sure I could run further than a homeless man, but I was not going to bet my life on that. This was not some fantasy where I could duel a man armed with a dagger with my bare fists.
I had to get away.
While I was pondering, my body betrayed me, and my shin slammed full speed into a trailer hitch. I tumbled over, cursing the pain, but cursing my luck. With this, I have more than likely sentenced myself to death. Incapacitated with mind-numbing pain, unable to get away from a murderous hobo. Call me weak all you want, but as an office worker living a cushy 21st-century lifestyle in a civilised society, I had never experienced such pain. I was essentially reduced to a toddler, rolling around on the asphalt clutching my leg.The man reaching my location with a jubilant expression, knife in his hand slick with blood. He laughs as he towers over my hunched form.
“I didn’t expect to kill three people today… but truly, it was worth it to see you like this, Kurosaki”. What shit was he spewing? He let Favourite #1 go. His total at the end of the day should only be two (including future me).
Why the fuck do you want to kill me?” I wheezed out, defeated. If I was going to die, I might as well know why.
“I think it would be pretty obvious,” he replies, “if you were able to remember me.” Shit. This is purely an act of revenge. I am not able to negotiate myself out of this. “I am going to savour this.” He raised his knife above my abdomen.
"Wai-" And then it went down.
In the end, I still couldn't recall who that damn hobo was.
---- The Next Day ----
The Chief of Police stood in front of the podium and looked towards the cameras. Making statements like these were always disheartening. He would prefer not to announce this publicly, but this was a high-profile case and needed addressing. “Uh, we are here today to mourn the loss of Kurosaki Kageyama, Sakisato Takami and Sugara Orimori.They were killed in a premeditated triple-homicide attack yesterday on the 16th of November in the carpark of Tomohi Technologies at 10:45pm.” he wiped his forehead - he didn't like speaking publicly.
“Uh, the offender is Hiroga Uzushi, who previously worked under Mr Kageyama before being discharged. We believe Mr Uzushi’s motive to be revenge against Mr Kageyama for this. Mr Orimori, the driver for Mr Kageyama was found dead, and possessions stripped. We believe the offender to have taken the limousine’s keys to gain access to unlock the car. The police received a call at 10:45pm from Ms Takami, found dead in the car when officials arrived……” The broadcast continued.
Triple homicide case would be a sobering reminder to Japan of the dangers that remained: an unfortunate killing of a promising young CEO, his driver, and his girlfriend(?). But a-not-insignificant number of people celebrated the 16th of November each year with joy and vigour, praising whatever higher being heard their pleas to be free of this demon.
Such a wonderful soul has made its way into my domain. Ruthless, cunning, intelligent, prideful. He could have been my Champion... were it not for his attitude towards women. That would pose an issue for me. I quickly considered my options. The other gods always flaunted their Champions prancing around being ‘heroes’ and dying left and right as quickly as they were recruited.
In my fickleness, I haven’t chosen one in over a millennium. It would be a such a waste to allow this soul to wander in the ether forever... An idea popped into my head. Huhuhu. I am rather despicable myself. If this works out, I’m treating myself to twenty chocolate chip cookies!
Those ‘modern’ humans on Earth always concoct the yummiest cuisines! Yes. That is what I shall do then. My dear Kuro, my future Champion… Do be successful in your future endeavours, for yourself, but more importantly, for my cookies as well.
You may not have my blessing, but you do have my attention.
Kuro should remain this way Votes: 33 29.2%
Kuro should be reformed Votes: 52 46.0%
---- Votes: 10 8.8%
I dislike Kuro's character >:( Votes: 15 13.3%
I like Kuro's character :D Votes: 31 27.4%
Kuro is meh. Votes: 12 10.6%