Kaijuphile.com presents 'Eyewitness'
Kaijuphile.com presents 'Eyewitness'
Kaijuphile.com presents 'Eyewitness'

Dishearten Struggle by Thomas Singleton

by Thomas Singleton

On November 2nd, 2004, a letter is written.

I'm beginning to understand exactly why so many before me made it stop. Made the pain go away and could finally rest in peace. I can see exactly how they felt and the reasoning behind it all. I didn't always feel this way. In fact, I remember eight years ago when I still had a family, when the streets of Shibuya were spectacular and when it got dark, it always appeared as if it were day.
It was on the porch that I rested between my mother's legs, with her arms around my fragile chest. I could feel her lips touch the back of my neck and my heart beat a rhythm of peace. My eyes lit up wherever they wandered through the darkness as I peered down at the spectacular city.
"Isn't it beautiful, Toji?" my mother would ask. Her voice was soothing and made me feel calm. She said the same thing every night. It would just be her and me on the porch and we would marvel at everything before us. Life was good to my parents. It was good to all of us.
I can faintly remember that night when my father was preparing to leave for work. It was the same routine every time. He would leave at 8:00 PM and not come back until 5:00 PM the next day. Then my mother would cook dinner, we'd all eat together, then he would sleep for a few hours and leave again. I didn't understand what he was doing, probably because I hardly saw him. Maybe that's why my father feels the same as I do. Coming home and seeing your wife and son would always make you feel loved and wanted.
But things are different now and they always will be.

* * *
The room was faintly lit by a candle. There were no windows and no electricity; it was always dark. The  faint light washed across a small bed and clothes on the floor. The 16-year old boy could see a fragment of his shadow as he stared blankly at a sheet of paper. He had both elbows resting on the table and his brown eyes squinted at the tip of his pencil's eraser before dropping it. Its impact created a small clicking sound on the desk before the room was silent once again.
It was an awkward moment for him. His eyes fixated on the pencil as he placed his hands on top of his legs.
"Done," he said and stood up. Beneath his eyes was what he had been writing for nearly an hour, though to whoever might read it, it seemed as if it would've taken only a few minutes. "Well, I'm finally satisfied. Time for bed."
He extinguished the candle's flame with his fingers, slipped beneath the blankets and closed his eyes. It was there that Toji Toshima dreamed of what he had reflected on not so long ago.

* * *
Toji's eyes opened to darkness. Not knowing what time it was, he stretched out his arms and yawned. His nostrils sniffed the legacy of a candle extinguished hours ago. The note that had been written still lay on the desk. The boy threw the blankets off and sat up. Toji rubbed his eyes and turned towards the entrance to his room. The light in the hall signaled that morning had already come.
"Another wasted day," Toji muttered gloomily. He walked down the hall and observed the living room. As expected, nothing had changed. There were no family pictures, no stereo system, family items passed down generation to generation or anything that could be found in any normal home. Instead, Toji only saw a couch with a small TV in front of it. Near the door was the kitchen. He didn't need to see how filthy it was; dishes floated in disgusting water, food lay on the floor and doors hung loose from their hinges.
"That's home for ya," Toji thought bitterly. With a shrug, he walked over to the couch and sat down. Still wearing the clothes he had worn for a few months now, the smell no longer affected him. In fact, he had grown accustomed to it. Toji clenched the remote control but after pressing the power button, the only thing that appeared on the screen was static. He just stared solemnly at the screen and watched for a few minutes. Time seemingly passed by as he grew tired of the static and turned it off. Toji got up and looked down the hallway, seeing if perhaps his father was home but he knew the answer before even daring to go check.
"Probably looking for a job," he laughed. How on Earth could his father get a job, Toji thought as he shook his head. "The day my father gets a job is the day I pass High School," he snickered.
Soon his words began to echo in his conscience and the grin that had formed on his face faded. Deep down inside, Toji couldn't help but respect his dad for at least trying but every time he was beginning to feel sorry for his dad, he recalled one simple thing: why couldn't his father focus on loving his son? Things have changed but not for the better, Toji sighed before walking over to the door and slipping on his shoes.
Unlike his peers who worried about their facade, Toji didn't care how he looked. However, there were a few occasions when he would try to act differently but this was not the case. As he opened the door, Toji was greeted by the azure morning light and his eyes quickly made out his surroundings.
Buildings stretched high into the air in every direction. On their rooftops were signs promoting products; dirt bikes, video games, movies, etc. A cold gust of wind grasped his body. Toji shivered and walked up the steps that led to a crowded street. He turned and expressed his disgust towards his home, basically a hole in the ground. It was once a place where the higher echelons would gather to discuss political ideas. Their company eventually hit rock bottom and they could no longer afford even such a small dump.
"Until my dad bought it, of course," Toji sighed. Even if he didn't want to think about it, he found himself with no real option. After his mother was killed, his father became too depressed to even go to work. Knowing he would eventually lose his job, he pleaded with his boss but it proved useless. He had no choice but to take Toji's college money and buy the home they now lived in. No matter how his father tried to bend the truth or make it sound as if he were innocent, Toji never forgave him.
Toji knew he shouldn't think about the past and discovered that while thinking about his family's troubles, he had walked several blocks. Already he could see people staring at him as if he were vermin. He ignored them and continued on. Every morning, he would wake up and just walk. Toji could easily come up with dozens of excuses why he did this but only one would be true.
"Hi, Toji," came a familiar voice. He tried to put on his best impression as his eyes fixed on the beautiful girl who stood in front of him.
"Oh, hi Naoko," Toji said with his biggest smile.
"I see you're doing your daily walk," she laughed. To any other person, Naoko would be just another girl who went to school and tried to succeed in her education. A girl with blue eyes and black hair, dressed in her school uniform and always nice to anyone she encountered. To Toji Toshima, Naoko was that and more. She was special and filled his heart with a sense that life was worth living. In a way, Naoko reminded Toji of his mother.
"Yeah," he said. "I really have nothing else to do but walk."
"You don't?" Naoko asked, puzzled. "Why not go to school? I haven't seen you there in months." Toji stared in the opposite direction, trying to avoid eye contact. He knew he really couldn't hide anything from Naoko and if he did, she'd easily know if he were lying.
"Five months," he admitted. Her eyebrows raised and she shook her head in disapproval. Toji dropped his head in shame. They stood there silently, only hearing the people who walked by. Soon their voices faded and only footsteps filled Toji's ears.
"What's wrong?" Naoko asked. Toji noticed that he had been clenching his head.
"Oh, I was," Toji said too loudly in a voice that soon lowered to a whisper. "Just shrugging off another headache, that's all." Naoko's eyes stared into his. "What?" he asked, annoyed by her physical display. He didn't really like it when people would just stare at him, even if it was Naoko. It was as if some beast was looking down at him, a mere ant or he was unworthy.
"Nothing," she muttered and turned to walk away. "Good bye, Toji Toshima."
"Wait, don't you want to talk later?"
"Well, you know where to find - " Toji didn't finish his sentence. Naoko didn't bother to wait for she knew what he was going to say. Just saying it would make him feel horrible. He just waved good bye and bowed his head respectfully to the girl. Naoko smiled and walked away. The boy stared after her for a few seconds and his eyes still hadn't left her when he felt his body collide with someone.
"Hey, watch where you're going!" Toji recognized the voice and instinctively avoided making eye contact. Instead, he tried to just walk around the person but a hand grabbed his shoulder and swung him around. "Don't treat me as if I'm not here, slave. You should know better and treat your superiors with the respect they deserve!" Anger flashed in Toji's conscience, ordering him to lash out and defend himself but he calmly squeezed his fists and continued to not make eye contact, even stopped in his tracks. He could feel the hot breath from the boy who stood right next to him.
Irritated, Toji turned and said, "You're in my space and please, take a breath mint." He turned and tried to walk away but the boy's hand took hold of his arm.
"I know what your problem is," he said, chuckling. "You're just trying to impress Naoko. You do realize she'll never fall for a musk rat like you." Toji's eyes widened and soon he was glaring at a kid who was taller than him and weighed a lot more. His hair was dark like his but shaved to where his head was almost bald. He looked as if the only thing he did with his life was eat - constantly. Toji reluctantly lowered his arm and shook his head.
"No, I'm not going to bother. You're not worth it," he said and turned to walk away. He could hear the boy laughing and mocking him, throwing insults that even if Toji tried to hide it, it still hurt deep down inside. He knew his father would've been pissed and more ashamed of him than he already was if he were to be sucked into a fight, not to mention it isn't wise to cause a fight in the streets of Shibuya or anywhere in Japan.
The insults faded when he had walked several blocks. Toji still couldn't forget what the boy said and how he felt. It just made him feel even worse how the world looked at him as if he were a low-life. Even at school, kids immediately vilified his name and made fun of him. He had even caught one of his teachers talking about him in class to a janitor, saying the same things the kids were saying!
"Excuse me," a man in a business suit said as he walked by Toji who was in his path.
"Sorry," Toji said with his head down but the man was already gone.
Toji had trained his mind to just imagine Naoko whenever he was feeling upset. It had been working but not like it used to. Whenever he tried to picture her, her image soon evaporated in a cloud of embers. Toji cursed himself for imagining Naoko disappearing in flames but knew deep down inside he couldn't help it. His entire life was falling apart and now the words that were written in his letter began to be read back in his mind.
Where's the point in life, Toji thought. And what is the point, really? No matter how much he tried to remember his good past or fight the pain that was the present, he was always put down. His father had failed at getting a job and was more depressed than he was, or at least appeared to be. Toji knew that the more he held in his suffering, eventually he'd break and snap. He prayed he'd never hurt Naoko. The thought was just too painful to imagine. He shook his head and realized he had stopped walking when the business man spoke to him.
Toji sighed and continued on. Everywhere he went, he could see large buildings on all sides and people in the streets with lives of their own. He walked by the window of a teriyaki store and stopped to stare inside, placing both palms on the window to keep his balance. Customers inside turned with hot chicken teriyaki in their mouths and looked at him. One was a woman in her mid-50s, the top of her head was black while the side hair was white. Her skin was not wrinkled and appeared smooth. She turned towards one of the workers who took the orders. The man turned and saw Toji whose eyebrows raised as if to say, here we go. At first, he thought to just walk away but waited instead. The man came out and told Toji to buzz off.
"Nice to meet you, too," Toji murmured as he walked away. The man just shook his head and went back inside to attend to his customers.
A few hours had passed and the frigid temperature grasped Toji as if he were a reptile in Antarctica. He didn't have a coat on nor did he have any clothes that could keep him warm. Shivering, he walked into a movie store to keep warm for a while. He went into one of the oldest and most popular in the district, Kiryu's Video Domain. Above the sign was a large replica of a saurian shaped face whose skin was made of metal. The eyes gleamed with an amber glow that did not mix well with the sunlight.
"Just to stay warm," Toji reminded himself. Even if he had not watched a new movie in years, he still enjoyed reading the summaries of the new releases, especially Anime, made famous by his country. Already such shows as Neon Genesis: Evangelion, DragonBall Z, Gundam, Yu-Gi-Oh and other shows had become a craze in the United States. In Toji's opinion, it seemed as if the whole world was always late catching up with the Japanese film industry.
"Hello, Toji," the store's clerk said as he walked in.
"Mr. Fukuda," Toji bowed his head before strolling towards the New Releases section. "How are things?" he muttered as he inspected the new additions. He stood near the cash register in the back of the room and had a new copy of Fangoria spread out on his desk. His eyes never left it.
"Pretty good," he said.
"That's great," Toji whispered loud enough to be heard. Mr. Fukuda's eyes suddenly turned to him.
"Your father hasn't found a job yet?"
"No, not yet."
"That's too bad, Toji."
"I know," the boy said, looking down at the floor.
"If you know, then why are you continuing to make matters worse?" Toji raised his head and stared blankly. He was met with a smile that made him even more confused.
"Excuse me?"
"Listen, Toji. I've known you for a few years now. Every time I see you, your head is down and you look bummed. You do have a right to feel bad and feel as if the world is coming to an end but maybe the reason why your life is becoming a living hell is because you accept it. You accept being beaten and insulted by those who take life for granted. Cheer up and try to enjoy what you have." Mr. Fukuda's words rang true and continued to echo in Toji's mind until he could finally think up a response.
"Mr. Fukuda, I know you care about me but you don't know anything about me." That's it, Toji thought. That was my response? "Forgive me, sir," he immediately added. "I didn't mean to be rude."
Mr. Fukuda narrowed his eyes towards the teenager. "Its fine, Toji," he assured him. Toji decided perhaps it would be best to just not talk right now. He didn't feel like it anyway. Instead, he continued to read the summaries of the new movies. The ceiling lights bathed him in their glow and he could see their reflections on the video covers. Toji returned a movie to its spot and picked out another. As he read about a new action movie, he turned to Mr. Fukuda.
"What are you reading?" he asked.
"Oh, it's the new issue of Fangoria. Apparently, they're planning to finally do a sequel to Freddy vs. Jason. Not that I'm surprised, it did do well at the box office last year but sometimes I don't understand the point in those kinds of movies. I mean, when they first started, it was unique and lots of fun. Now it's just the same old stuff.
"On one side, we have a guy in a hockey mask who always carries a machete. On the other is Robert Englund in make-up with a glove with knives. The only really different thing they could do with this movie is have a different winner and maybe throw in a special guest from other horror flicks."
Toji nodded his head, even though he didn't like horror movies but he did know a little background on Jason. Strangely, the two could relate to each other. Both of them aren't that good at communicating with other people and they're made fun of. Now that he looked back to what he said, he realized that comparing similar traits with a movie serial killer isn't exactly the normal thing to do.
"Toji," Mr. Fukuda said.
"Shouldn't you be going home soon?" Toji was silent. "Well?" he asked again.
"I don't want to go home," Toji stared back at him.
"Toji," Mr. Fukuda said under his breath.
"Listen," the boy said. "I just would like to stay here and read these movies, okay? I have nothing better to do."
"What about school?"
"I'm not going to some stupid-ass school and continue to be made fun of and waste my time!" Mr. Fukuda chuckled and his eyes returned to his magazine.
"Toji, repeat that and think for a second on what you just said." Toji narrowed his eyes towards the streets of Shibuya. Crowds of people continued to stroll by. To his surprise, the once bright morning light now seemed to have faded. He could hear dark rumbling thunder. Rain was coming.
"Great," he thought out loud. "Just wonderful." Toji began to chuckle.
"Excuse me?" Mr. Fukuda said, thinking that was Toji's response to what he had said. "Is that really what you think?"
"What?" Toji whispered in confusion and recalled what Mr. Fukuda meant. "Oh, well..." He stopped and repeated what Mr. Fukuda had said in his mind. Soon his face was bright red and his eyes glared angrily at the man. He could feel the blood flowing through his veins become hotter. Toji felt his heart pound, driven by anger and humiliation. "You know what?"
"What?" Mr. Fukuda asked, never taking his eyes off the desk.
"You don't know a damn thing about me," Toji yelled. "You never have and never will! What gives you the right to tell me what to do with my life?" Mr. Fukuda embraced his glaring eyes.
"I believe it's time for you to leave," he said furiously but Toji was already out the door and felt the raindrops pummel his body. The temperature in Kiryu's had kept him warm but now the sensation had instantly evaporated. Rain fell from the skies and it seemed everyone had pulled out an umbrella except Toji. He decided it would be best to get home. Despite his livid attitude and his burning red face, he tried to think positive.
Who knows, Toji thought. Maybe he'd see Naoko or his father would be at home and actually welcome him with open arms because he finally was able to get a job. Yes, Toji thought excitedly, maybe that will happen! His frown faded and was replaced with a smile. For the first time in a long while, Toji Toshima was finally feeling a sense of hope for his life.
Toji walked silently for hours, pounded by rain. His clothes were soaked and his skin littered with goose bumps. Toji had no idea he had been shivering constantly since he left Kiryu's Video Domain. The sense of hope and smile had not left his face. Now the streets of Shibuya had become a gleaming sanctuary. It looked as if it were daylight, even at 7:35 PM. The raindrops could not be seen, the lights shining from the buildings were so bright but Toji could still feel them hit his body, further dampening his clothes and skin.
"Finally," Toji said as he arrived home. He could see the light inside. Dad was there. "This is it," he said excitedly.
As Toji came down the stairway, he no longer felt as if he were entering a quagmire. Instead, he felt this was the night where everything would change. Strange, Toji thought to himself, I never felt so positive and to think, it all started with being ousted from Mr. Fukuda's store. Maybe that's what he intended from the start. Maybe that's how he wanted to help me. Whatever the case, it did not matter now. Toji was home and he looked forward to turning the doorknob, walking through the door and seeing his dad on the couch reading a newspaper.
Toji stopped in front of the door with anticipation. Water dripped from his hair and down his face. As he reached for the knob, he felt his heart throb. The excitement was getting to him and deep down inside, he just knew everything would change. He would no longer live the life of vermin in a dump and no longer be frozen inside by the street that had pushed him down for years. The past that wrecked his very soul would finally end.
Toji turned the doorknob slowly. It was unlocked as it turned all the way around. He opened the door and could feel his entire body shivering, not just from the cold but from what happened. Toji could see the wall bathed by the only light in the entire house. A drop of water dripped from his hair to the floor. His mind instantly replayed it in slow motion - everything was going in slow motion. Toji held his breath and turned to see the couch. Sure enough, there was the back of his dad's head and a newspaper.
Oh God, please, Toji thought to himself. He wasn't aware that his mouth was hanging open but he did know that he was soaked. From Toji's viewpoint, his father was reading an article in the Sports section and not the Help Wanted. It was a good start and his mind was already imagining how his life would change. One of the first things Toji would do would be to tell Naoko the good news. If she became aware that he no longer was living a poor life style and went to school again, she'd begin to feel the same way for him that he did for her.
"Why am I not surprised to see you home late, Toji?" His father said, calmly. Toji's heart stopped pounding and he gulped.
"So-r-ry, father," Toji said, barely able to slip the words through his lips.
"And you're soaked," Mr. Toshima said without even turning towards him. Toji nodded his head. "Tell me something, boy, why do you always leave the house with what you wore to bed and come back soaked?" he asked, frustrated. "I've told you countless times to just stay home and at least try to make yourself useful." The smile on Toji's face faded as he felt his hopes drop and tears form in his eyes.
"Were you able to get a job?" Toji whispered, already cursing himself for knowing the answer - an answer he didn't want to believe. His father turned towards him, frowning.
"Child," he shouted unexpectedly. "Is that all I am to you? Is that all you want from me? Is that all you want to hear?" Toji's heart began to pound once again.
"No, I just wanted to know..."
"Bullshit," his father cursed. "I'm just a money bank to you. I'm just one big Christmas tree for you to take and open presents from and when there are no presents, you want nothing to do with me!"
"That's not true," Toji quickly said. Now his face was red and hot tears glazed his eyes.
"Don't lie to me! Don't you dare lie to me," Mr. Toshima shouted, throwing the newspaper to the floor and standing up. Toji instinctively held his arms around his body, not making eye contact with his furious dad.
"Dad, I just wanted to know!" Now Toji could feel his father's hands grasping his shoulders.
"Look at me," he said. Toji didn't. "Look at me when I'm talking to you!" Toji opened his eyes and stared at his father. "I try, damn it! I try to come home and do everything for you! What else do you want from me? Am I but a slave?" Toji shook his head back and forth, never taking his eyes off his father's.
"You're lying to me!" Toji felt his face wrinkle and he began to cry. He looked down at the floor and gritted his teeth, then shoved his father off of him. Toji's eyes blazed with fury and his hands cracked into fists. He thought his father would've been a changed man. He thought his entire life would change but everything was the same.
"How could I think of you as a money bank when you have nothing to give me?" Toji shouted. "I never really wanted anything from you but love! Can't you understand that? No, you can't because you're heartless." Toji felt his father's hand hit his face and then clench his shirt, pulling him almost off his feet.
"How dare you talk to me that way!" his father shouted, only a few inches from his face. And then whatever else Toji's father had to say didn't come out. It was as if the words were held up in his throat. Mr. Toshima stared coldly into Toji's watery eyes and breathed his hot breath on his face. "Forget it, just get out of my sight, boy." Mr. Toshima turned in disgust and picked up the newspaper, then went to sit on the couch. With the flick of his wrists, Toji was blocked out and completely ignored. He could feel his heart pounding and his eyes widened in shock. He couldn't believe what happened and didn't want to. He came home, thinking everything had changed and now, things were a lot worse. But this wasn't the first time Toji had suffered from his father's wrath and actions and it probably wouldn't be the last.
Toji walked to his room, never looking back at his father. Soon, its outline filled his vision and Toji went over to his bed, still traumatized at what had happened. As he sat down and fell back, resting his head on the pillows, Toji couldn't help but silently cry.
I can't take it anymore, Toji thought. This life, everything - it's too much to bear! I don't deserve this shit anymore. He closed his eyes and felt the tears roll from his eyelids and buried his face in his pillow. His cheeks were burning and he felt as if he was alone in the world. And to think he thought he was the innocent one! The mere thought of what occurred made everything hurt a lot more.
Minutes passed and Toji still was lying in bed, not making a sound as he cried off his despair. For some reason, he could hear himself barely saying "Mommy" over and over again. Finally, he sat up. He could hear his lungs taking in oxygen, his heart pumping blood through the arteries and even an echo of his crying. He looked back and forth, as if trying to find a mirror to look at himself but there was none, just darkness. Toji nervously walked over to the door and looked down the hall. The living room light was on. He slowly crept down the hallway and took a peak to see if his father was still there. Thankfully, he wasn't but Toji heard movement coming from his father's bedroom.
It's now or never, he thought. Toji crept towards the door, slipped on his shoes and turned the knob. As he opened the door, his father came into the living room and his eyes flared with anger.
"Toji Toshima, don't even think about leaving!" he shouted. Toji ignored him and didn't look back. Instead, he ran into the rain and sprinted up the steps, feeling free. He could faintly faintly hear his father screaming at the top of his lungs for him to come back but Toji was long gone.
As he ran, already soaked by the rainfall, there were still hundreds of people roaming the Shibuya streets. The signs for some stores flashed and made them more visible, especially in this type of weather. Across the street to his right, Toji could see an arcade slogan flashing. He wanted to run inside and get out of the rain but before doing so, he turned to make sure his father wasn't chasing after him. There was no sign of him and Toji knew he had made the right decision.
Cars splashed Toji, who stood waiting at the side of the street to get across. He was completely drenched. Even if his tears had been wiped away, he still felt sad about what had happened. It was for the best, he kept thinking, but deep down inside, Toji just couldn't stop thinking about it; how his father shot down any signs of hope. As water dripped from his soaked clothes, Toji scoped the arcade. His eyes widened and he could feel his face forming a smile. Naoko was inside.
Without even checking for oncoming traffic, Toji sprinted across, splashing water over his ankles. Screeching tires filled his ears. He could also hear cars honking and drivers shouting but that didn't matter. He would be able to see Naoko again and it would complete what he'd intended. As he raced through the door, Toji could see the letter he had written. He knew by the time his father read it, things would've already taken their course. The thought of ending the pain relaxed Toji's torn mind. Soon, everything would be over. He just wanted to see Naoko again - one last time.
Toji could hear kids of all ages pushing buttons and playing video games. Some turned and acknowledged Toji's appearance with stares that he recognized so clearly; stares he had seen before. But that did not matter, not anymore, because by tomorrow he would no longer need to deal with such things. Now his objective was to find the only person he really cared about - the only one who cared about him that was still alive. His eyes finally found what he was looking for. Naoko stood next to someone who was playing a game, staring at the screen. From Toji's viewpoint, it looked like a race car game.
"Nao..." He stopped. The other person turned towards her, revealing his face. It was the same boy who had earlier called him vermin and insulted him to his face. A livid expression, the same his father had not long ago, formed on his face. Toji knew he had caught the boy's eyes and turned towards him.
"If it isn't the musk rat," the boy laughed, trying to impress Naoko. Naoko turned, smiling as if about to laugh until she frowned.
"Don't say that, that's mean," she told the boy, never taking her eyes off Toji.
"But it's the truth," the boy laughed. Toji squeezed his fists. The ceiling lights glazed his wet body, making it look as if he were glowing. "What now, vermin? What are you going to do about it? You didn't face me earlier when your girlfriend wasn't around. Are you going to try and impress her when she's standing right here by knocking me down? You've got nothing!" the boy snorted. He started to bulge his muscles, hoping Naoko would be impressed but she was far from it.
"Toji, ignore him. We could just go somewhere else," she said.
"But its raining and I wouldn't want you to get soaked," Toji muttered politely, ignoring the boy who seemingly challenged him to a fight. Naoko smiled. The boy stopped laughing and acknowledged Toji with a frown because he didn't make Naoko smile.
"That's so sweet, Toji," she whispered. Toji blushed and looked down at the floor. But when he looked up, a hand smacked his face. Toji stumbled backwards into a guy who worked at the arcade and had a tray full of pop bottles, causing him to fall as well. Glass shattered and soda stained the carpet. Soon everyone had turned their attention towards Toji.
"What the hell is your problem?" the guy asked, trying to wipe root beer off his shirt. He slowly got to his feet, continuing to stare at Toji as if he was the stupidest person on the planet.
"Idiot," the boy said and turned back to his game, laughing.
"Don't call him that!" Naoko shouted. "You're the one who hit him in the first place!" He turned nervously toward the bartender who now looked at him as if he was the retarded one.
"Hey," the bully tried to explain, beginning to laugh. "I didn't know he was that weak." Toji got up and touched his face. It felt as if someone had smacked him with a sheet of ice. He walked straight up to the boy, squeezing his fists and gritting his teeth.
"You don't have the guts, vermin!" Toji could faintly see Naoko, holding her breath and praying he wouldn't do something he'd regret. But what would I regret? Toji thought. It wasn't something he would be mourning over before committing suicide. Licking his teeth between a sarcastic smile, Toji breathed in as his fist shot forward and punched the boy's face. The force of the blow caught the thug off guard, knocking him against the game behind him before sliding to the floor. At first, the entire place was silent. The boy latched his hands onto the side of the machine, pulling himself up.
"Alright, kids, you've both done enough. Now get the hell out of here," the soda guy said, looking at both of them. The boy now was on his feet, looking down at Toji.
"You little rodent!" he shouted, clubbing him in the mouth with his own fist. Toji fell to the ground, feeling a staggering pain. His tongue could taste the blood that flowed from his gums and stained his teeth. Naoko was in disbelief. Her conscience told her to stop this but she couldn't move. Her eyes only focused on Toji, who wasn't getting up.
The attendant, now furious, was on his way to alert the police.
"Wait!" the bully shouted. "He threw the first punch! Plus, I'm a paying customer! I came in here with money. He, on the other hand, waltzed in here just to talk to some dumb ole girl." Naoko turned and stared, both confused and betrayed.
"Excuse me?" she said loudly. Laughter rose from different parts of the building but the employee had seen enough and felt that it was Toji's fault.
"Alright, I've heard enough! Young man, I'm asking you leave right now and never come back. If you only came here to talk to some girl and start fights with paying customers, then do it somewhere else!" he said coldly to Toji who was still getting up. He wiped blood from his lips and made eye contact with no one except Naoko. Already he could see her looking at him as if he were a complete stranger. She's ashamed of me, just like everyone else, Toji thought sadly and felt tears forming in his eyes. The boy smiled in delight. He had succeeded in what he intended and won. But victory in the fight wasn't what Toji wanted. No, all he wanted was to say good bye to the one person in the world who at least treated him with a shred of dignity and made life worth living. But now, on the night of his despair, the last night he'd walk the Earth, Naoko was angry at him.
"I'm sorry," Toji sadly whispered to her. Naoko said nothing. Toji wiped his tears and slowly walked towards the exit. He heard whispers all around him and the boy's laughter.
"Good riddance to his type," the soda jerk said and went back to his job.
Toji stopped and gritting his teeth, turned around.
"My name is Toji Toshima. I'm 16 years old and live in a dump. I once had the life style that you all are enjoying right now. But all that changed when my mother was killed before my very eyes. Since then, my life has been nothing but a living hell. So now, I thank you for making the pain even worse. I have good news for you all! You won't have vermin that infest these streets anymore! No, by tomorrow, I'll be out of all your precious and important lives. That is the only real gift I can offer you; that is the only real gift I could ever offer to people with your type of life styles. So enjoy your lives while you can because even to this day, I try and go back to when I shared the same gift of being loved and cared for. Just try not to think that things will go on forever and nothing bad can happen to you." And with that, Toji stood tall and left, venturing out once again in the rain where his life would undergo a drastic change.
Even if it was late, there were still hundreds of people walking down the damp streets of Shibuya. All around, large buildings stood, illuminated with bright lights that would attract tourists or the locals. Gazing at the skyscrapers above, were the depressed eyes of Toji Toshima. Shamed by his peers and society, the boy had left all that he had known and walked instinctively towards what he felt was his destiny.
How am I going to get up to one of those rooftops?, Toji thought. For the last few hours, he had been planning how exactly he would end the suffering. One idea was to wait on the sidewalk until a car would come out of no where, going over the speed limit and just jump into its path. Another was to perhaps try and get electrocuted from a lightning bolt. The third idea was to find a sharp blade, slit his wrists and bleed to death but he didn't like the thought of suffering in the last seconds of his life. All these plans could work but he wanted something that would not only be exciting but also end everything fast.
And then the ground beneath his feet vibrated. Toji winced and then shrugged, thinking it to be thunder. But then it happened again. Soon the vibrations occurred more rapidly and became more extreme. Cars in the parking lots literally leapt off the ground and slammed back down. Car alarms shrieked as people tried to figure out exactly what was going on.
"An earthquake!" someone shouted and tried to seek shelter while others remained where they were.
This was no earthquake. The ground vibrated and then stopped, only to shake again every few seconds. No, this was different. It even felt as if an animal of huge proportions was taking a stroll through the city. But that's preposterous, Toji thought. Perhaps, maybe transformers were blowing up but the electricity was still on.
Moments passed and the tremors finally ceased. It took only a few seconds for the pedestrians on the street to just shrug and nervously continue what they were doing before. But Toji remained skeptical until something caught his eye.
"What the hell..." He was cut off by a blistering cry that shattered windows and pierced his very soul. People screamed and began to run all over the place. Those in cars had no place to go, some even abandoning their vehicles. Everyone was panicking. Soon, a long object swooped across the building tops and knocked pieces of the roofs into the street. The bright lights could not be seen as dense smoke filled the streets.
Toji coughed and covered his eyes, not knowing where to go. All he could do was listen to the horrible cries of fear and keep balance with the tremors under his feet. He could see a bit of the dark sky above but soon his eyes widened in fear as a monstrous head crept over the rooftop and released another ear shattering roar.
At first, he felt a sense of fear but then his mind replaced it with another emotion: Desire. He had found the thing that would escort him to paradise - to peace.
It was huge! A mountain covered with dark scales. It stood erect, having a gigantic head with red eyes. The beast opened his mouth, revealing hundreds of carnivorous teeth. Down its backside were dozens of bony spines that curved erratically. Its arms hung at the sides, moving only to crush whatever was in reach. The creature's hands had long claws that could easily pierce the strongest armor. Its mammoth feet left footprints the size of buses, with each step shaking the entire district. Behind the leviathan of flesh, a long tail whipped back and forth. Beneath the dark flesh, the creature's muscles bulged.
Toji couldn't believe his eyes. The saurian like beast stood between two smaller skyscrapers, towering over them. The advent of Godzilla quickly influenced the entire city and now the Shibuya district was in chaos. All the monster had to do was just stand and watch as the smaller life forms cowered in fear and panicked. But Toji only smiled as he watched the beast lift a massive feet into the air and slam it onto a bus. The large vehicle instantly was crushed but engulfed the bottom of the creature's foot in fire and black smoke. With its dreadful eyes, the beast walked unopposed through a cloister of buildings, knocking them aside with either his arms or bulk. The crowded streets were once again engulfed by dense smoke.
Not caring what would happen to him, Toji ran and preyed that perhaps he'd be lucky enough to get stepped on. Blindly, he raced along but was flung through the air by the creature's foot, which had narrowly missed him and struck the ground nearby. Closer to the vibrations, Toji was thrown into the air and was lucky enough to land on the roof of a car. The wind knocked out of him, he instinctively tried to breathe but the cauldron of smoke made him cough and nearly puke. Snot sneezed out of his nose as he rolled off the car and fell to the ground. Even if he couldn't see the giant beast, he still could hear it. How could he not?
Already the streets that he walked on for years were being demolished by a prehistoric beast of destructive proportions. Nothing but rage seemed to flare from the monster's conscience. Toji weakly looked up, hearing snarling sounds above. He could barely see the walls of buildings, much less anything else. He was knocked down by groups of people who ran blindly through the smoke but he got back up.
Suddenly, the smoke was blown away and he found out why. The reptile had blown air out of his nostrils, which was strong enough to clear the air. A groan louder than even a jet taking off gurgled from its throat. Toji turned to see the creature's tail lift up and fling itself through the rooftop of a building, easily splitting it asunder. Now the beast stopped, the ground still shaking beneath its weight, struggling to sustain the giant animal. A cascade of blinding light shined from the bony spines, not only emitting light but also heat that burned Toji's skin.
Toji screamed at first, but then began to laugh uncontrollably. He knew this was how his life would come to an end. The animal opened its massive maw, once again revealing the sharp, jagged teeth. A gleaming orb of light escaped the back of the monster's mouth to discharge a blast of energy. On contact, the ground itself shook and cars were knocked across the street. Even windows far away shattered and people were flung through the air like rag dolls as a radioactive beam of concentrated power blazed from the animal's mouth. Steaming the air itself, it passed over rooftops that melted from the intense heat it generated. A crowded area where people tried to save themselves disappeared in a ball of light. Shock waves were formed that consumed and decimated whatever they touched. Buildings that were unaffected by the explosion itself were annihilated.
The beast ceased the scalding beam and snarled, sniffing the air smelling of smoke and death. Satisfied, it  gazed at the dark sky and released an ear-shattering roar. Not caring what lay ahead, the monster walked forward, slamming its tail against the ground and further ruining the streets. Asphalt was flung into the air as groups of small buildings were crushed by the its feet.
As the beast left a trail of destruction and death in its wake, Toji found himself lying up against a building that survived the its wrath. His young eyes gazed over to where the monster's beam had struck and with awe watched a mushroom cloud rise slowly toward the sky. Toji blinked in confusion and noticed that in front of him, where buildings once stood was now nothing but rubble. He weakly rose and with each step, trembled from shock. As his eyes looked a few hundred yards in front of him, he could see a door that led to a staircase to the rooftop of a building that had not been destroyed - yet.
Toji Toshima tried to sprint, but he fell into a large hole. It didn't take long for him to notice it was in fact the creature's foot print. Way to go, Toji thought, shaking his head. He tried to climb out but as his hands clenched the side of the hole, he lost his grip and slid back down, scraping his body. But Toji blocked out the pain, knowing any injuries would be a step closer to achieving his goal. Gathering his strength, he ran up the side of the depression before jumping up and grabbing the side of the hole once again. Using his feet for support, Toji used his arms to pull him up while literally sprinting upwards. As he crawled out of the foot print, panting for air, Toji opened his eyes and could see the gigantic beast several hundred yards in front of him. Vaguely recognizing the small building that was in front of the creature's feet, Toji shouted without even knowing why until his mind could finally catch up. Painfully, he watched as a giant foot crushed the arcade building into the ground.
"Naoko," Toji said sadly.
The evidence of the arcade's demise further escalated the boy's will to end his life. Now assuming that he was truly alone, Toji got up and ran with all his strength. The ground continued to shudder with each step he took. Toji ran into the building, its walls littered with cracks. He wasted no time and headed towards the flight of stairs, never stopping until he had reached the roof. He could see the creature's tail rise up and brush overhead, colliding with the side of a nearby building. Toji felt the pieces of asphalt and metal bounce off his body. The entire rooftop where he stood was shrouded in smoke but Toji ran towards the edge and looked at the beast.
"Here I am, demon! You are the answer to my despair. The savior that has come to claim the lives of the innocent and disturbed alike! Now grant me my wish, great beast, and end my torment from this world by doing what you do best!" Toji Toshima shouted. If anyone could ignore the pain, destruction and sheer terror, they'd probably laugh at how he was acting. He could easily be mistaken for some cult activist, praying to an omnipotent being to come down from the heavens and fulfill a prayer.
But the beast ignored the young boy and it made him feel as if he were unworthy. Only the distant cries of the monster assailed Toji's ears. He lowered his head and felt as if he had failed at the chance of attaining a death that would be fast and painless. Then, he began to rethink his whole position. Did he really need to die? Maybe this creature has shown him how life could be precious and...
"No," Toji said out loud. "I should've known better than to try and think positive! Every time I do, it backfires! Damn it, why can't I just die?" the enraged child looked up at the sky. "If there is a spiritual being that is up there, why do you continue to torture me with life? Let it end, please. I beg you, end my pain!"
It was then Toji had a strange feeling. The air had been manipulated. The creature's tail whipped up and he felt his heart beat in anticipation as it swung into the building he stood upon. The next thing he saw was the ground coming closer and closer and then, nothing but darkness.
Am I dead? Toji said in his mind. But when his eyes opened and everything came into focus, he felt pain all over. Toji Toshima could only see stars fading back and forth with his surroundings until his vision returned. His body was bruised and covered with debris. Toji raised his hands and was shocked to see that both palms were stained with blood. He turned to see that his left leg had been bent in a way that was not normal; in fact, it looked as if it had been broken in several different places. Just trying to move it, Toji screamed. So this is how it's going to end, he thought sadly. Tears dripped from his eyes and slid down his dirty face. All hope was lost.
"Toji," someone shouted. Toji had already gone into a state where everything was blurry. The voice was familiar but he was too weak to really recognize it. Young Toshima turned to see a figure running towards him, tripping along the way. As the person got closer, his eyes squinted, still trying to get a better look. "You're okay!" the person shouted, now right next to him.
"Who… you… who are you?" Toji, while puzzled asked seriously.
"My poor Toji," the voice said, now wrapping arms around him. Strangely, Toji felt his mind and body both relax. The person who he couldn't recognize brought comfort to his . At first, he thought it was his mom and  sharply turned towards the face which now had become clearer.
"Naoko," Toji shouted happily and hugged her in return.
"Yes, yes it's me, Toji!" He closed his eyes and squeezed the last of his tears out. Minutes passed and Toji could only hear his and Naoko's hearts, beating as one. He couldn't hear the cries of pain, destruction and anguish all about. No, he couldn't, not with Naoko. Finally, she stopped hugging him and pulled away to examine Toji's condition. He opened his eyes and could see her worried look.
"I'm fine," Toji said. Naoko smiled and shook her head.
"Don't be so dense. We need to find a hospital." Toji smiled, knowing he could never fool her. Even if he gave his best impression and lied with everything he had, Naoko would see right through him. When he tried to move, the agonizing pain returned and made him gasp. Naoko bent down to lift a stone off Toji's leg and immediately gasped and turned away, choking. Toji looked down and nearly puked. His leg was worse than he thought. The skin was completely covered with blood and dirt but the part that sickened Toji the most was that he could see his bones sticking out and he knew that could mean death unless he got immediate help.
"I'm sorry, Toji," Naoko cried. Toji smiled and stared into her eyes, hearing the monster's mighty roars in the background.
"Do not be sorry, Naoko. If I were to die alone, it would be painful but now that you are here, I would depart this world in peace." She squeezed her eyes shut and shook her head.
"No, Toji! Don't talk like that. I don't want you to die." His cheeks were bright red, either from blood or from the comfort.
"Naoko, listen," he said weakly. "Even if I were to survive, it would only prolong my suffering. Even if you are the light in the darkness of my life, not even you could really expel my suffering, no matter how much I… love you." She held in her tears and smiled. "That smile," Toji continued, "that smile always makes me smile. Thank you."
"Toji," Naoko whispered but could not finish her sentence. Silence fell between them but they did not stop staring at each other. Both knew that if his injury could not be dealt with, the loss of blood and oxygen would take its toll. Knowing it wasn't wise to move an injured person, Naoko leaned down and placed Toji's arms around her shoulders and slowly helped him to his feet. He cried out but used his other leg to help himself up.
"What are you doing?" Toji asked.
"Trying to keep you alive!" Naoko replied. Toji didn't say another word. He couldn't, because it wouldn't matter. With Naoko's help, they walked down the deserted street, with rubble and debris in all directions. Flame churned from holes in the ground and the toxic smell of smoke filled the air. But somehow, the two teenagers managed to continue on.
After a few minutes, they walked into a parking lot. To their left was nothing but a brown wall but to the right were rows of cars and trucks. In front of them they could see a long gap in the wall and the gigantic saurian waging war on humanity. There were different levels, with vehicles parked everywhere. Both Toji and Naoko were panting for air and decided to rest.
"Children, this isn't the place for you," a voice said. Both Toji and Naoko turned to see a tall man in a dark trench coat. On closer inspection, they noticed he wore a gray shirt underneath it. The man's hair was white, as was his beard, indicating old age but even if he were old, the man appeared to be able to work for hours if need be. Wearing dark boots and pants, the teens were a little leery of this stranger.
"Do not fear me, children. Fear that… abomination."
"Excuse me?" Naoko muttered.
"Do you know what that thing is?" Toji said, weakly. The man turned away and stared intensely at the frightening creature.
"Godzilla," the man said.
"…Godzilla?" Toji replied, confused. The man made no eye contact but his response was to the injured boy.
"You don't know who Godzilla is? What are they teaching you in school? Don't you know the beast that destroyed Tokyo 50 years ago?" Toji lowered his head in shame but didn't tell the man that he didn't really go to school anymore. Naoko, on the other hand, seemed to recognize the name.
"I read about him for a history report for school one time," she said. "The death toll was greater than even the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki." The man laughed.
"Indeed," he said.
"Who are you?" Toji asked.
"My name is not important nor do you have the right to know. What is important is trying to get you two out of here and get the boy to a hospital, if there is time. But so I don't frighten you, I'll tell you who I am. Tomoyuki Tanaka is my name." A bright flash engulfed the entire parking lot and the ground shifted back and forth. In the distance, they could see a mushroom cloud rise from a smoldering inferno. Godzilla released an unearthly roar as the phantom outline of his body was visible amidst the dense smoke. He continued his rampage and was destroying everything in his path.
"I expect the JASDF to counter attack very soon," Tanaka sighed. "I doubt they'd be able to slow Godzilla down, even if the Americans would send assistance as fast as possible."
"Why would America send help?" Toji asked.
Tanaka grunted and replied, "Because ever since World War II, Japan has never been allowed to have their own army but they were allowed to create a Self Defense Force to defend the country from domestic and foreign attacks. If such an occasion arose where the attacker would be too much, the JASDF would hold them off as long as possible until the United States could come to assist. Other nations I suppose would respond also if need be."
"Someone knows a lot about history," Toji offered. Tomoyuki turned towards him. Blood had already stained his tattered pants and dripped on the floor. Toji stared into the man's eyes, only being supported by Naoko's shoulders. Tomoyuki shook his head in sadness. Toji and Naoko soon learned why because in the distance, they could hear a bullet train honking. Going hundreds of miles per hour, the driver knew it could be disastrous if he ordered full brakes. At the speed it was going, the train could go off the track but the engineer could see the gigantic form of Godzilla up ahead. With no choice, he pulled the lever and the train screeched as it tried to come to a stop. But even when it had passed Godzilla, the creature's claws reached down and clenched the middle of the consist. With not even trying, Godzilla stopped the train and watched as one half was lifted off the track while the other cars halted their forward progress. Godzilla's hand crushed the cars and lifted them up to his eyes. He snarled as the passengers cried out and some fell to their deaths. He then threw it several hundred feet away and watched it crash into a café. Blue streaks of light danced across the sharp ridges of his spines and the beast exhaled another radioactive blast that engulfed the entire area in an aura of light.
"The vile creature knows what he's doing," Tanaka said, clenching his fists. "With the destructive power of the atom bomb at his disposal and being impervious to whatever man could throw at him, I guess the beast knows he would always be unopposed. Even after fifty years, the abomination of the horrors of nuclear weapons continues to haunt the minds of man. He'll never die. Godzilla would just keep coming back."
Toji tried to contain the pain and keep awake. Naoko noticed his situation was getting worse every second and had to do something.
"Can you help us?" she said.
"There is a hospital a few miles away, in the opposite direction of Godzilla's rampage. It was lucky enough to survive the onslaught of his wrath."
Naoko gasped, "A few miles?" She couldn't believe it. What hope did they have to get there in time? What hope did she have to be able to do it alone?
"I'm sorry," Tanaka said sadly. "But I can't help you, not anymore." Before they could respond, the roars of F-15Js silenced them. As Tanaka expected, the JASDF was retaliating. Even Godzilla stopped his rampage and gazed up at the sky to see dozens of fighter jets swoop down. Missiles beneath their wings dropped and torpedoed towards the monster, leaving a trail of smoke in their wake. Balls of fire burst on Godzilla's flesh which soon dispersed into smoke. Instead of feeling pain, Godzilla felt annoyance. His reptilian eyes watched as the planes turned and flew in the opposite direction. He roared and walked forward, crushing whatever was unlucky enough to be in his path.
"Oh, my god," Toji said weakly.
"It seems you have no choice but to leave because Godzilla is heading right for us," Tanaka said loudly. This was Toji's chance, he thought. All he could do was persuade Naoko to leave him and flee to safety, leaving him to his demise and the end of his suffering. The distant sirens of fire trucks could be heard as they rushed to save lives but they were too far away to come and save his.
"What do we do, Toji?" Naoko asked.
Yes, what do we do? He had an option to give her a better chance to live and leave him to die a quick death. The other option was to at least try to live and maybe someday, be there with her until they grew old and departed the Earth together, if they were able to get to a hospital and survive Godzilla. He felt his heart pump more blood through his body, which would flow out of his open wound in the end. The pain was excruciating and the will to live - and die - was strong.
"We should, uh..." he muttered, still unsure of what to do. It was then that everything around him was blurred out and replaced by the memories of his childhood. He could see the streets of Shibuya, still intact, and the sun shining brightly from the sky. It was there that he saw himself, in his stroller, being pushed by his dad. They were going down a familiar street where their apartment was located and waved at his mom as she drove home. But before his eyes, a semi unexpectedly whipped around the corner and lost control, slamming into his mother's car. Glass shattered and the collision between the two vehicles screeched in his ears. His father ran to the scene and looked into the car. The look on his young face was depressing and sad. Hiding his watery eyes, his father walked in circles nervously, messing up his hair and beginning to cry. An ambulance arrived and from his stroller, the young child watched as they pried open the damaged door and his mother fell into the road. Her face was intact but the rest of her body had been crushed. But even if her beautiful face was undamaged, her eyes were rolled back into their sockets.
"Toji," a familiar voice said and the vision cleared. He was back in reality again. The asphalt beneath their feet shuddered as Godzilla's relentless approach continued and he was only a few hundred feet away from where the three of them stood.
"Toji," Naoko shouted repeatedly.
"Whoa," he finally said.
"What? What should we do? Do you know?" Naoko's fears had finally gotten to her. She could no longer concentrate on what to do.
"We should…" he stopped. Godzilla's footsteps became louder. Even parts of the parking lot's ceiling began to fall. His heart wrenched and his brain hurt while trying to make a decision that literally would decide the fates of both of them. Finally, Toji sighed and gathered his courage.
"We'll leave now." Naoko smiled and they turned around, moving as fast as possible. Toji limped as Naoko supported his weight.
"I wish you luck, children, and pray you survive Godzilla. Not many have, sadly." Tanaka whispered loud enough for them to hear. He then turned and could see Godzilla's foot slam into the ground only a few yards away. Asphalt was chucked in the air and everything shook back and forth but Tanaka was able to keep his balance.
"It's amazing, Godzilla. I never thought that even in the 21st century, you'd still be haunting the shores of Japan. After 50 years, you have not changed a bit. Oh well, I guess this is the end of me but I know it's not the end of you. Oh no, you'll never die, will you? Even if your body is destroyed, your feral spirit would live on. For as long as mankind exists, monsters will live on and as long as monsters exist, their king will be there to rule over them. Best wishes to you and your victims, Godzilla…" Tanaka said in a relaxed voice.
Godzilla's talon claws slit through the wall and nearly caused the entire parking lot to collapse but he only took one more step. As Toji and Naoko trudged as fast as possible, they could hear the lot being crushed by Godzilla's powerful foot. Rubble flew in all directions and a cloud of smoke engulfed everything. Only the sweeping of his feet blew it away. Toji and Naoko worriedly glanced at each other, knowing that with Godzilla's next step, they'd be crushed.
"Go, Naoko! GO!" Toji shouted, pushing her away. Naoko treaded back and ran away but stopped and turned towards Toji, taking a step towards him but paused and cried.
"I can't leave you!" she shouted.
"You have to..," he stopped and looked up. Godzilla's foot was already raised and now was looming over the boy. Toji closed his eyes and prepared for the inevitable. But then, arms wrapped around his shoulders and lifted him off the ground, dragging him out of harm's way. Naoko watched as a stranger was able to move Toji, right before Godzilla's foot crushed into the ground. Both of them were hurled through the air and fell in front of Naoko who still could not believe her eyes.
"Toji, are you all right?" He was lying on the ground, motionless. His eyes slowly opened and the boy stared at the person who saved his life.
"Father?" he asked, confused. The man nodded and wrapped his arms around his son and embraced him.
"I… read the letter you wrote, son. I… just… never knew that... Please forgive me!" Mr. Toshima cried. Toji stared straight ahead and could see Naoko smiling at him.
"I thought you didn't..."
"I can never convince you, Toji, of anything. My sins will forever haunt me and set us apart. But son, maybe… maybe we could try and start a new life? And no longer live in the shambles of our depression any longer?" Toji couldn't believe he was hearing this from his own father, the man he thought was diabolical and would never love him again. He had dreamed of a positive relationship with his dad. In fact, he had dreamed of having a positive outlook on life for just as long. But now, after coming so close to giving up and losing it all, a beacon of hope had come from the heavens.
Toji hugged his father and wouldn't let go. What happened next did not matter to Toji. Not anymore. Now, he had everything he would ever need. Godzilla's distant cries no longer bothered him. The bond with his father had never been stronger and the love he shared with Naoko had never been higher.
Deep down inside, Toji still felt anger towards his father but if someone like him could forgive, he could, too. If Toji were to die now on the smoldering streets of Shibuya, it would not matter because he would spend the last seconds of his life with his loved ones. Nothing could've made Toji any happier.

* * *
One word frees us of all the weight and pain of life:
That word is love. - Sophocles
If you have it [love], you don't need to have anything else.
If you don't have it, it doesn't matter much what else you do have. - Sir James M. Barrie
When we are faced with disasters,
We tend to always mourn and flee;
But when we are with our loved ones,
We stand together, united and free. - Thomas Singleton

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