Holding the food tight to his chest, a young man ran down the street, with a crowd of people in a close pursuit. When they almost caught up with him, the young man made an abrupt turn into an alley. The people followed right after him, but there was no sign of him in the alley...
“Darn it! He escaped again!”
“It’s that darn criminal again... Someday we’ll put him to jail!”
The young man hid in a junk pile in the alley, carefully sneaking a look. He did not leave until all the people had left the alley; he let his guard down and crawled out from the pile. Immediately, he checked on the food he had stolen after so much hardship. Mouldy bread, rotten fruit— all of these were people’s kitchen refuse. Yet, the young man still smiled contently... Suddenly, he felt an itch on his arms, and thus, pulled up his sleeves to have a look. Numerous black scars suddenly appeared on both arms. Yet, in a delightful mood, the young man did not care about the abnormal changes on his arms. He held the food tight and hurried back home.
The moment he returned home, the young man was flocked by his young siblings.
“Brother! Where’s my apple?”
“I’m so hungry!”
“Okay, okay. One after another. Be patient!”
In an era plagued by wars, calamity would never cease, leaving the life of all miserable beyond words. It was hard to even obtain the food and clothing necessary for subsistence. The children had not heard from their father since he was drafted to the army, while their mother had been in poor health. As the oldest brother, the young man had to bear the responsibility of caring for the whole family. But, due to abject poverty, he had to steal food from farms and shops. Day after day the young man gradually lost the feeling of guilt for stealing.
That night, the young man tossed and turned all night due to the itchiness on his arms; yet, he did not pay too much attention since sleeping through bug bites were commonplace. The next morning, he snapped awake, frightened by the screams of his young siblings. He hurriedly got up from his bed, but all he saw was his siblings staring at him in fear.
“What is with all of you?” He wanted to approach the siblings, but they hastily drew back, yelling, “You... youkai!”
The young man gazed at himself and found that countless eyes had grown out of his arms; each of them blinked and stared back at him—
“What... what’s happening to me?”
The young man found what had happened to him incomprehensible; but, what he truly could not stand was the despising look on his family’s face. Randomly picking up a piece of cloth from the ground and wrapping it around him, he ran away from the home he had been supporting, with nary a look back...