Title: 999 Paper Cranes
Fandom: Death Note
Rating: R, for imagery.
Characters/Pairings: Mikami Teru. Musings of Naomi. Mikami → Naomi.
Warnings: Imagery. Dysfunction. Some coarse words.
Word Count: 1,140
Author’s Note: There isn’t much for me to say, other than I cannot believe it is already 02.07.2010.
He thinks of her during his descent into madness.
It’s unreasonable and he knows it, but he doesn’t really care; perhaps solitary confinement purges all sound reason from a man’s body, and that is why he is unperturbed by the fact that his back is pressed to a grimy floor, and that he is staring up at a ceiling that has only three light fixtures.
It occurs to him—
(as he feels the flesh from his cheekbones begin to bubble and then slide off his face into a disgusting heap next to him)
—that he hasn’t thought of her for years. He has no idea what’s happened to that newspaper clipping of her death now that he has been locked away in this limitless black hole. He wonders if the authorities have kept it as evidence against him, or have simply dismissed it as some kind of sick fantasy and thrown it away.
The idea of them throwing it away makes him feel angry—
(his eyeball is rolling out of its socket, and there are a thousand little ants attacking it, as the queen ant perches herself atop his cornea like it’s some kind of fucking throne)
—and that is the first tangible emotion that he has felt since being locked away in solitary confinement. In a way it’s almost refreshing, which makes no sense at all, but all sense was lost when he lost his savior. Or maybe he’d never had any sense to begin with. Maybe it was just the illusion of sense brought on by having blind faith in...
What is this?
Where am I?
Where is my mother?
(his teeth are next, exploding out of their roots and shattering, leaving his mouth a painful, bloodied mess)
It takes him a moment to remember that his mother is dead, and has been dead for quite some time. He doesn’t care. He finds it sickly amusing, really. He hopes she is watching him writhe in his own skin and sick and blood and feeling guilty. But that’s assuming that she loved him, and he was never really sure if she did. Maybe she just kept him around because he looked like his father. She never did remove that wedding ring—
(there is a knife cutting chunks of his flesh from his body and throwing them aside, and now the ants are burrowing inside the holes like his body is their new colony and fuck now he can feel them moving inside of him, laying their eggs, hatching, dying, repeat)
Ring. Finger. Hand.
He remembers touching that woman’s hand, soft, smooth, and delicate. He can’t remember how she looks like, exactly. But she was not unpleasant to look at. She had lovely teeth, that much he can recall, straight and even and such a glittering shade of white that he wonders if she might’ve bleached them. She must have been beautiful.
(the boil on his large toe erupts and sends blood and pus flying all over the cell, and the ants are latching onto the creamy mixture like it has nutritional value)
She was with a man. Her fiancé. He must have thought she was beautiful also. A twinge of envy shoots through his body—
(and electrocutes some of the damn ants)
—and he realizes that she probably lived with that man, sharing the same house and room and bed. He shouldn’t care about her personal life. It should make no difference to him who she slept with. He never had a claim on the woman.
(his hand balls into a fist, trapping some of the ants and causing the others to go berserk, picking away at his rapidly deteriorating body)
But he does care, because somehow the idea of her with another man throws large inkblots onto the image he’s painted of her. He thinks of her naked, with her body slick with sweat and that man on top of her. It makes him want to wretch.
(but there is nothing in his stomach besides the ravenous ants that are eating away at his putrid innards)
For a fragment of a second he puts himself—his real self, not this broken shell—in place of the other man, and now it’s his chest that she is running her hand across and his name that she is whispering and suddenly it’s all better—
(the queen has begun growing in size and she’s cackling at him like he is the fallen hero and she is the victor)
—but then the image is gone, and he is left feeling dirty and ashamed. Maybe that’s why he is being punished, for thinking these things of her. But who is the punisher? There is no divine being delivering righteous judgment. There never has been.
(his ear joins the goop of flesh on the floor, and the ants are crawling into his head now, relishing in the brain tissue)
Mikami-san, she had called him, so gently, so reverently. He hopes, yes, he hopes, that one of the criminals he deleted was her murderer. Somehow that would make his life less meaningless. She was a good woman. She had to have been. He will not die holding her in low esteem because that would be unreasonable. So he shuts the lids over his eyeless sockets and tries to imagine how she looked—
(but it’s so difficult, with the ants clicking their antennas and scratching at his bones to get to the precious bone marrow)
—and for a single second he remembers: the dark hair, the sad eyes, the fair skin, the shampoo that smelled like a fruit whose name he still didn’t know. She’s looking away from him. He’s bitterly ashamed of how disfigured he must look. But he can’t stop himself from reaching out to touch her hair. It’s soft, and smooth, and—
—suddenly it’s a clump of his own tangled, sweat-and-blood soaked hair that he is touching.
He panics, flinging the useless clump away and pressing the palms of his hands back to his eyes. He tries to bring her image back to his mind, but by now the ants have infiltrated every part of him and he can see nothing but their disgusting antennas and sadistic expressions and the fucking queen who is suddenly as large as a rat is squishing his eyeball with her weight as she continues to grow and—
He screams then, a shrill, agonizing cry. It’s not for help because his body is being ravaged by millions of insects. It’s not for his mother to envelop his maimed body and protect him. It’s not for a god to grant him salvation and a second chance.
But it’s for that woman, for Naomi, to always remember him as he once was.
Forty-one minutes later, Mikami Teru is found dead in his cell.
The cause of death is never disclosed.