Since birth, Douma’s destiny was set for him.
Silver locks and rainbow eyes, his destiny was to become a religious leader from day one. His parents’ affection is weak if not void, but Douma doesn’t truly care as he holds no love for either of them, not really.
He holds no love for anyone, nor hate for anyone. Born without emotions or simply casting them aside since a young age, no one knows.
When his mother kills his father for his affairs in the Cult, and kills herself in front of him, the child only complains about the coppery smell coming from his father’s multiple stab wounds.
The Cult coddles him, one of the older girls, a woman named Mioko, cares for him while shedding tears and asking for forgiveness; she had been his father’s favorite partner in his affairs. Douma sheds fake tears, smiles a fake smile, and forgives her for her sins from a place that has been his from birthright. He did not offer the same tears for his parents, offered no tears at all.
The Cult becomes his life, amid the snowy mountains Paradise sat atop of.
It is to be a short life.
A demon comes to Paradise one day.
Douma did not know when exactly had it happened, that day. He can see the blood, can hear the screams and the sound of flesh being ripped from bones. A flash of red eyes that, for the first time, stilled something in him for a second.
If he had emotions, he guesses, that would have been fear.
The Cult members die in Paradise, and they die for him , because he has to survive and keep on living in hopes that others could reach salvation, or a selfish thought of reaching salvation if they sacrificed themselves. Mioko takes him in her arms, hides his face in the crook of her neck, and runs away from the carnage in nothing but her blood stained iro muji and tabi socks. The screams fade in the distance, and Douma can only listen to his follower’s rapid beating heart. It’s oddly soothing.
Mioko doesn’t stop running, not even after they enter the dense mountain forests, not even after the snow starts to reach her knees and she struggles to walk through as fast as she can. Douma remains in her arms, face flushed with cold and puff of air visible as he breathes, the forest oddly stills, as if not daring to make a sound and alerting the demons within the foliage.
Even said silence wasn’t enough.
“Douma-sama, run! Please run! Go! Please--”
Douma lies in the blood-splattered snow, eyes wide and limbs numb, his face coated in blood that wasn’t his own.
Mioko lies a few feet to the side, barely breathing through her mangled wind-pipe, blue eyes wide and bloodshot as blood bubbles from between her lips. A demon had snuck up on them, struck the girl, and fed on her still struggling body as Douma rolled in the snow, stunned.
His follower had screamed oh so loudly, and it was so unlike any sound he had heard before in his short life. Not like his mother’s angry screams at his father, not like his father’s dying scream and gurgles. Mioko’s voice has been full of primal fear and pain as she was struck and devoured alive in front of him. The child isn’t sure how to feel, what to feel even, and remains silent, wide-eyed at the horrifying scene.
Her pleading screams for him fall short quickly, and Douma can see her eyes staring as his rainbow colored ones. Not with the plea of mercy or salvation. She begs for death with a look, and begs for him to go and leave her behind.
The demon is not the one from the Cult, Douma notices, his eyes are small and dog-like, body thin and gangly like dead branches. He feeds on the girl’s body until life mercifully leaves her eyes just as a piece of intestine is pulled from her body with a sickening wet sound.
Douma stares at her eyes still, dull and lifeless. He did not notice when someone else came, the flash of a sword and the painful shriek the demon gave as it avoided a slash that would have severed his head from his shoulders. As the demon is away from the corpse, Douma struggles in the snow towards Mioko’s remains, her upper body mostly intact in comparison to her open belly, the crushed throat still bleeds, and when his small hands take Mioko’s hand he can still feel the lingering warmth rapidly leaving her body.
“Mioko, get up,” Douma starts--no, commands, with his soft voice and eyes wide, staring at the girl’s unmoving face. “Now, Mioko.”
He stays still in the bloodstained snow, doesn’t notice the demon dying, doesn’t notices a man approaching.
Sakonji Urokodaki curses himself a hundred times as he takes in the heartbreaking scene.
A small boy clutching an older girl’s corpse, asking for her to wake up. A pair or siblings, or maybe even mother and son. The scene is something he will never get used to, the carnage and despair demons left behind would forever stay with him, each failure to arrive quicker, each demon who had stolen a life before he could do something about it.
His mission was to exterminate the demons that had been terrorizing the village at the feet of the mountains. He got them, all but one, the dog-eyed monstrosity that had fled to the mountains as he killed the others. He hadn’t been fast enough, and it had cost him the life of a young woman.
The water Hashira walks forwards, gently kneeling besides the child and just as gently holding his shoulder. The small boy looks at him, and Urokodaki is startled by his appearance; behind the bloodstains and smears a pair or rainbow-colored eyes stare at him, unblinking.
“I’m sorry,” Urokodaki says, his gruff voice trying to sound soft. “She will not wake up, child.”
The child stares at him, and sheds the quietest tears the Hashira had ever seen from a grieving little one.
The weather isn’t kind, the boy shivers and trembles while having that blank expression as he cries mute tears. The girl’s body is too mangled to lift, and would break in half if he dared even move it. Urokodaki mutters a prayer, asks for forgiveness for not being able to bury the body and give it a proper resting place, and takes the child into his arms, away from the corpse, from the mountains, and from Paradise.