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11 July 2012 @ 12:02 am
Drowned Phoenician Card [Light/Sayu/L]  
Title: Drowned Phoenician Card
Pairing: Light/Sayu/L
Fandom: Death Note
Genre: Tragedy, drama, wtf, does not make sense
Rating: R
Word Count: 2,167

A/N: Semi-Crossover with the film, Paprika. Sequel to Cytokine Storm which was written for dn_contest years ago. I had started this fic a long time ago as a follow-up to my other story (also for DN contest). It got lost when my frst computer crashed. I retrieved it, but it disappeared again when my second computer broke. I got that back as well. But by now, I'm just tired of it sitting on my hard drive. So I'm posting it and am too lazy to fix it. It's just as weird and unintelligible (if not more so) than its predecessor. You've been warned.

Drowned Phoenician Card


As for sodomy, of the entire one-hundred-twenty days, they are exquisite.

Encapsulated in smoke, in deceit, in the miserable deluges of hookah smoke and greening wine, they shake out languid curls and curl their toes. Contemptuous and cynical, they speak in riddles and quizzical puns and ostracizing, oxymoronic jabs (at the heart).

Inside his head, she sees the women's breasts spill over death-constricted bodices, flesh over silk—blooding filtered and decanted magically. The men are tall and wiry, intellectuals (roaring out sonnets and villanelles) and forever (it seemed) they speak chin raised sky-high with the neck tortured back, laughing.

They are always laughing.

We are the beauties.
Like tyrants, strung corpses
Paris is beautiful
        —Only on the verge of ruin.

"Deal out the cards, mademoiselle."

She deals them out, readily zipped to each gambler (delirious and drunken and drugged from the insomnia of necrophiliacs).

"Do you sing, mademoiselle?"


"Pianoforte then, mademoiselle?"


"Recite us poetry then, mademoiselle?"

In the room the women come and go,
Talking of Michelangelo.

Fraud, the lady speaks, talentless and boring was he. (A Freudian slip, they hushed, silencing her with stony gazes and sideway glances). Around the stifled room laughter hisses, moves along bent-in billowing drapes. Around, covered by silk and taffeta and satiny slithers—shh, don't think, don't wait, sibilance by the Sybil.

Mademoiselle flares a lovely bright crimson shade, shies her face, and mutters, "My lord?" your liege.

    - Monsieur le marquis, comment allez-vous, ce soir?

"Are you in love, chérie?"

   - Eh…bien, je pense. Et toi? Ça fait longtemps que j'étais pas venue ici?

With whom (the wit) with what (the sick)?

   - Une éternité—j'oublie. En tout cas, vous avez perdu le jeu.

"I see it written plain as day! Tell me his name, quick before time runs out. Here, take this fan and wipe off your stain of death. And tell me his name, now. Like a good girl. Good, good. I am eager to hear."

His name is—

"Sayu. His name, as you were saying?"


There is voodoo on her tongue.

Malice on her mouth.

She's catatonic.
It's ironic.

A dreadful critic.

Painless, parasitic (a vortex), like siphoning water from an unraveling chute. He's got that lady-killer smile (aiming her straight). He's got a look that says gorgeous, you'll be the one to talk—live to tell the tale.

"Light? Light, what're you thinking of?"

"Nothing, Sayu."

Say it. I want to hear it.

Love me, like a fiasco.

I love you, Sayu.


"Is something the matter, Mrs. Yagami?"

"Dr-Chiba, I've never been a brave woman…so you can imagine how afraid I am right now for my daughter."

Dr. Chiba frowned sympathetically and dutifully noted to prescribe some medication for the mother too. It has been a long, hard day—she wanted to say—it has been hateful and tragic and it's always hard…dealing with a family member's death.

(She would know.)

"We're only keeping her here to monitor her progress. Last week's MRI proved to be very promising. If we desist with the treatment, all the work that has been done will be for nothing."

"Is she in pain?"


(There is nothing she can feel now.)

"Does she talk? At all?"

"Sometimes. We cannot classify her as clinically comatose. It's like she's going and out of a deep sleep. We thought she woke up yesterday afternoon, but it was a false alarm. I apologize, Mrs. Yagami. Are you sure you are all right?"

"I'm fine, thank you. The DC Mini, you're sure it's safe?"


(Dr. Chiba grimaced inwardly.)


The woman embraces her. She has hair the color of vermicular chestnuts, forgotten on the ground, and deep eyes slanting upwards. She's got a smirk rivaling debutantes and bandages from ankle to hip. I'm Paprika. She winks.

In her arms, Sayu feels secure, almost real.

"Look," she points to the corner.

Sayu sees, tears back her eyelid-skin (in your skinless, perfidious demise). She tries to turn away, avert her gaze. Like a pornographic sequence or hysterical mutilation, somehow, she's caught up—yet again.

where's the exit
cleave it now

"Watch," the woman commands, gripping her neck.

Trapped, enthralled, Sayu stares (blank in her eye) as L nails Light to the cross.

This time, fixated, she witnesses her brother die—the second time around. L, the other (learned his name, say it straight), grins to gloat. And together, they disintegrate—leave her behind.

This is the end, where everyone dies. Proper, Sayu reminds herself.


Dr. Chiba hears the voices screaming. They call to her, demands for reparations in blood ratio.

Pathological, psychosomatic, she dismisses them as the witch-doctor's séance. And so, in flicking (jitter-shakes and bestial gore) strokes she continues typing. She will finish the report tonight.

Tonight, on the dot, tick-tick. Stop.

There is a howl (to match the thunder). Steady, Dr. Chiba slams the window shut.


How long until we're there?

Soon enough.



Sayu stirs. Weak, she forces her lungs to work. It's the woman—Paprika—again. No, I want Light.

"Sayu, wake up."

But I am up. Up now (forever).


Quiet. You're disturbing them. The ghosts want to sleep.


Her world is a perfect world: a slaughterhouse high on Vicodin.

Dr. Chiba treats her patients with patience (bad pun is good rebuttal) and listens to their families with aching grace.

Mrs. Yagami visits her for the fifth time this week. Overwrought and concerned—justified—Mrs. Yagami is a paramount mother. Dr. Chiba is mildly impressed.

"My daughter," and thus begins a new litany.

"We are doing the best we can. Please wait a bit longer, Mrs. Yagami."

"But why isn't it working? You promised."

"I promised to try, and I am. Results are not guaranteed. I was explicit about that."

Weary, Sachiko feels herself splintering, parts divided, and drifting off. To a new world, there, they will be reborn. If reincarnation were real…

She'll kill him (L, that one, she hates) first. And then, she'll kill her son.


They take her to Carthage to give her the burial of the dead, Carthage on its promontory, from where all rituals and blasphemies originate. Where the aborigines lived long ago and scratched out mercy in blunted cuneiform.

At the crux of four valleys and the apex of the sea, gulfed between decay and sacrificial limbs, an altar rises proud and beautiful. Of white marble and pink-sand acanthuses, the temple halts in a fragile curve.

"Here, Sayu," says L.

"What is it?"

He leads her to the fountain. "This is the city of the dead," and the dead keep it. "This is where you must go first before entering the city. He is waiting for you."


Light kisses her cheek. She shivers (he means to be reassuring). "The god of dying and unbirthing."

"What's his name?"


They guide her into the water. Pristine, other than a thin skein of white dust, the pool mirrored back her marvel. Gently, they push her head in. She drowns slowly in the filth of absolution.

(From deep within the fountain, Ryuk chuckles. Belly rumbling, slither-tongue—licked dry—he surfaces to meet her. Why, hello.)


"Does she talk?"

Sighing, Dr. Chiba hands Mrs. Yagami her coffee. Black and bitter, it emits the aroma of acidic metal. "Sometimes."

"What does she say?"

Atsuko picks at the plastic rim. "She talks mostly in riddles. She mentions a marquis and a Phoenician colony. What do you think they mean?"

Bewildered, Sachiko gazes off into the distance, barely hearing the good doctor. She drinks the coffee in three gulps. Automatic and slavish, she hardly notices the taste. Plato's lesson on medicine.

"I have no idea."

That's a lie.

Dr. Chiba smiles.


Tokyo breathes in harsh, languid waves. The skyline is vile-scarred puce and blue. Grazing against the outskirts, the ocean creaks and churns (it is insatiable). In the shadows of dusk, Tokyo comes alive.

Sayu opens the door to her brother's apartment.

Their torsos are entwined, hands laced. Light's shirt, crumpled and wrinkly, shines crimson from a spotty moon. He's discarded his tie, jacket and all. L turns in her direction, neck protruding like the scaly, writhing twist of a dragon about to roar. As usual, she has chanced to wander in.

An intruder (succubus, lush—hush, not now).

Sayu steps toward them, hesitant.

They are cold in pale brutality, pretending surprise.

Light holds out his hand, and she accepts. Desperate, she goes down with them in the heated, of-beat cadence of glory. Tap, tap. She plays with the vertebrae dancing out of his spine. Rough, slender fingers creep around her neck. They grasp (hold-burn) and won't release clutch. He starts to choke her.

Something's at her breast. Nips. Hiss, tease and a dragged out (drugged black) whine. She feels a slash at her legs. And then, sharp, the smell of ripe blood pollutes the air. L brings her closer, for a second slice.

Where are we ending? And when are we there?

"What's wrong, Sayu?"

She opens her mouth but cannot speak. Echo, hollow, her voice fails.

"Sayu, are you afraid?"



The woman appears only at twilight, when the birds have stolen away. She rarely speaks but listens carefully. Bored, they play cards under starlight. Like reading fortunes or ambushing curses, the prophecies are always grim.

Sometimes, the woman fires out questions, rapid and jolting (Sayu shifts, arm twitches). But mostly, she scribbles down incomprehensible transcripts and hides them under pottery shards. Like covert woes or broken love-notes.

"Do you know your name?"

Sayu laughs. Of course she does. I—she pauses.

Paprika (she calls herself) seems worried. "How old are you?"

What a stupid thing to ask. She's—

"Where is this place? This city."

Sayu grows annoyed. Rising, she glares at the woman with unrepentant hate. Unflinching, the woman merely forces her back. Sit.

"Answer me, Sayu."

Sayu panics. Oh god, I'm going to die. The woman brandishes her claws, scythes piercing her shoulders, and pinions her down.

—She's really gonna kill you now. Told you so, didn't I?

"Help!" Please don't, I don't wanna die.

Frantic, she prays: Zarathustra,

I want to know
Show me how.

The Übermensch
(the god-man)

He fondles her in the dark.

In a shower of ashes, Paprika evaporates. Zarathustra, she mocks. Brave and serene, she descends into the lake of fire (baptizes herself). She is trampled, devoured whole.

The chanting fades.


Gasping, Dr. Chiba disconnects from the machine. Her head is on the verge of exploding; she can barely breathe from the residual agony.

She has had enough.

She regains her cool (presses a hand to stabilize her neck). Before she can forget, she mentally prepares a summary speech.


They leave Carthage on the third day.

She is dressed in trailing white and face is raw. Her legs give out; L catches her. Tender, Light sweeps her off her feet and carries her. West, they march.

"Where do we go now?" she asks.

"Nowhere. Now, we finish," speaks Zarathustra.

We are quenched.

Quelled, the dead stays dead.


Today, at the grocery store, Sayu decides to buy him a cake. An arbitrary epiphany, one she knew he would appreciate.

L favors the petite and pretty ones. Pinkish and delicately lined with a rim of apricot jam. The top is scattered with cherry blossoms. And the inside tastes of a lost spring burgeoning post-winter-mortem.

As for Light, he likes the plain ones best. Perfection in simplicity. And so, for him, she picks out the frosted white.

"I'll take three—no wait, four. One of that and that over there, the apple tart. Oh, and two of these."

(Can't forget Ryuk. Light would chastise her for being derelict.)

The saleslady wraps up the cakes in silver foil and hands them over. She is humming a tune, dreaming along an unsung paradise.

"It's a beautiful day, isn't it?"

Sayu nods.

It really, truly is.

Three steps out the door, she collapses. Drops—nearly dead.


"What happened?"

Bracing herself (and the other), Dr. Chiba tries to calm Mrs. Yagami. In futility, there is only the confessional suitable for bearing make-shift reparations.

"There is nothing we can do."


Sayu's funeral is modest and beautiful.

Her child-size coffin is disguised under a warm coat of flowers. It is early April. Sachiko can count the number of attendees on one hand.

Every day, she sees less and less of her friends and neighbors. Every night, she casually jokes that it must be karma. But today, she is glad (grateful) that they are alone. Well, after Light's infamous death (and now her daughter's)…it is only expected.

"I'm sorry," Dr. Chiba murmurs.

Sachiko shakes her head.

She predicted this.

(From his tree branch, just a few feet away, Ryuk giggles and drops the slip of paper.)

Sorana CancelSorana Cancel on July 25th, 2012 11:48 am (UTC)
This was absolutely twisted and somehow brilliant.
I very much enjoyed the Eliot and Nietzsche references.
Y U no auto-translate?: v said solye_tea on July 25th, 2012 12:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks! My favorite poet and favorite philosopher. :D
M.O.N.A.: Ran Forest - DCran_mouri82 on August 24th, 2012 02:23 am (UTC)
This is a sick, beautiful blend of poetry and prose that fits the Paprika context well. I was disturbed and grieving for Sayu throughout. Awesome job!
Y U no auto-translate?: v said solye_tea on August 24th, 2012 03:23 am (UTC)
Thanks. xD