Omnis Est Nihil
When you are no-thing, having some-thing is every-thing.
Once, you had a brother. Goshinki was bestial, was unnerving, was cruel. You had no doubt that, had your father not expressly forbidden it, Goshinki would have eaten you in the same mouthful as those people from the villages he plundered.
But he was your brother, he was yours, and then he was gone. It took you a while to understand that the burning in your chest was loss.
“What do I do with it?” you asked, but none would answer. So you kept it, tended it, nurtured it.
Once, you had a sister. Kagura was beautiful, was quick-tempered, was deadly. For all that she was heart-less, Kagura had much heart, and she was yours, yours. Unlike Goshinki, she seemed to care about you, protected you, spoke to you.
She told you jokes, though you never understood was what funny about them—or what funny was in the first place. Kagura recounted her days to you, her meetings with the inu-youkai, her desire to end her slavery to your father, as if you were some-thing, instead of no-thing. Kagura was always good at seeing what wasn’t there.
Then she wasn’t there, not any longer, destroyed by the one who had created her. Naraku killed the taijiya boy, who had been a decent companion to you, and when your newest brother failed him, reduced him to a smear on the tatami.
And you were back to having nothing. Nothing except your father, and he wasn’t much. You gave no hint of your grief, but Naraku knows anyway, and laughs. He says it is fitting that no-thing should have nothing.
“You’re defective,” he tells you. “A void shouldn’t care about things. Nothing should matter to you.” He looks disgusted. “You, Kagura, Goshinki, Byakuya. You were all defective, weak.”
“Were we not created from you, Father?” you ask, voice tone-less. “We can not be more than what we were made from.”
Fury, outrage. His eyes flash, his face contorts, and you think idly how ugly he appears as he advances. He reaches for you, fingers long and muscles stringy, and it occurs to you that you do have something left, something he wants to relieve you of.
And you know in that instant that you won’t let him. You know you’re unnatural, that a void should not want to have some-thing, should not exist in the first place, but he has taken every-thing else from you.
He will not have your life too, such as it is.
Deft from practice, your hand slips into your kimono, your fingers wrap around the mirror’s hard edge and pull it free. A half-turn, and a putrid stream of greenish-black curls and coils out of Naraku, arrowing toward you. The mirror catches it, quivers from the force of it, and when it has taken all of your father’s soul—such as it is—it seems to sigh, to be resigned, to slumber after a filling meal.
Your father was not shocked; he never imparted anything to you but treachery so there could be no surprise when he was taught his own lesson.
And that burn of grief inside you, that knot-lump-flame that has vexed you since Goshinki’s death, eases. It loosens, smoothes, extinguishes, and slowly, slowly melts away. Once more, there is no-thing within, no-thing without, for the dead have been avenged and now you all can rest.