18 Years ago, Kyoto.
The young figure soared through the air, caught in a series of reverse back-flips, reaching his peak height and instantaneously descending, seemingly falling to his death. Gasps emitted from the crowd of 750, and when the child was just a few metres from the dusty earth, two strong hands grabbed hold of his feet and launched him up in the air again, sending him spinning back the exact same route he'd just traversed for the fifth time in as many minutes.
Below the family of acrobats, on the dirty circus floor, prowled four Bengal tigers, each circling the airborne source of entertainment, waiting for that moment when a finger slipped or a flip was mistimed; licking their lips in greedy anticipation.
It was all a part of the Turner family acrobatics show, the possibility of being mauled by tigers should one of them fall whilst launching each other through the air was what fascinated the spectators the most. Humans had always been attracted to danger, and all Gregory Turner had done was manipulate that fascination and incorporated it into an already spectacular trapeze performance with his wife Felicity, and his son; Julian.
And up the 8 year old prodigy went, pulling off a perfect reverse upside down corkscrew whilst falling, a wide grin on his young face. As practised, his father caught one of his ankles and let go of the trapeze, spinning back through the air with him in a star-shape formation, each facing a different side of the audience. They were caught by Felicity, who rode the small bar back to her platform, where Julian and his father joined her and bowed gratefully to the crowd, who had become ecstatic, completely amazed by this death-defying act.
"Did you see me dad?"
"Yes son, immaculate as always, Julie."
The little scarlet haired boy giggled happily facing his spectators again, waving jovially at them. He was about to turn back and give his parents a warm hug when a bright flash of light blinded each and every set of eyeballs underneath the circus tent. The child cried out for his mother and staggered backwards, a sudden ringing in his ears. He felt his heel teeter off the edge of the platform and launched himself forwards before he fell to his death, falling flat and blinking rapidly, unable to rid himself of the sightlessness.
It seemed like an eternity had passed when he was able to make out colour again, but couldn't see either of his parents. He crawled towards the edge of the platform and squinted at the ground, slowly retaining his hearing too. He could identify the roaring of the tigers and the screams of hundreds as they rushed for an escape; the twin gunshots from nowhere that took the elder Turner's out of the sky and sent them into the earth terrifying the entire crowd. Security were unable to make it to the centre of the circus, where the corpses of Gregory and Felicity Turner were being devoured by wild animals.
Julian blinked and blinked and blinked...
His eyes shot open and the first thing he did was cry out for his mother, feeling tears wash across his cheeks.
The weathered Japanese voice quietened the panicked Julian but did nothing to stem his sorrow. He understood, due to extensive fluency in languages like French, Spanish, and Mandarin; thanks to a host of tutors that had accompanied his travelling family over the years. He sat up, realizing he was still in his costume. It was too dark to make out anything but the hole of light that sat behind the old man before him. The only remaining Turner recognized him as the touring bus' maintenance man.
"<You're family is gone, Julie-san. Someone has killed your parents.>"
Julian's Mandarin was flawless, even when tears were gushing from his eyes and obscuring the majority of his vision. His reaction gave the old Asian man a reason to pause and consider his response carefully. After a moment he placed a hand on the trembling boy's shoulder, softening his wise voice.
"<One day, you will know. But today..."
He rose to his feet, and as Julian rubbed at his eyes with the back of his hands he realized his saviour was wearing a blood red kimono, with the design of a traditional Japanese dragon across the front of it. He folded his arms behind his back and leaned forwards, bringing his face right to the child's.
And then his irises flashed red, and young Julian Turner knew his life had changed forever.
"Give me the necklace and everything will be okay madam."
New York's evening sky did not let any stars shine tonight. The air was melancholic, the earth was terribly ill-tempered, and the wind was unforgiving. The Junk Yard was home to one of the Big Apple's dirtiest gangs, the Trash-Talkers. They rape, stole and pillaged as they pleased, and the cops had never been able to pin anything on them due to an unknown benefactor that always found a way to clear their slate. They were virtually untouchable despite their filthy, vividly unlawful lifestyles.
Four of them stood around a pole, a teenaged girl tied to it by a series of ugly ropes and chains. She'd long since run out of tears and could now only stare at them dumbly, waiting for death to wrap it's clutches around her and take her away from all this. They'd beaten her for hours, and she was uncaring with what they did next.
"I don't have any necklace."
Her response sent them all into evil snickering, the leader of the little group twirling a steel baseball bat in his hands. He winked at her, stepping closer.
"I know. I just thought it would sound cool. Anyway, we're going to kill you now."
His allies laughed and they all began to walk towards her, slowly, like predators. She closed her eyes and bowed her head, prepared for the end. She clenched her jaw, waiting. The men grew silent, and for a moment she thought they were trying to sneak up on her. She ignored them, not giving them the satisfaction of a reaction. And still, they remained quiet. It had been almost a minute now, and so she raised her head to give them a last look of defiance, and what she saw let her jaw drop.
There were four corpses piled upon each other, their heads in a separate pile. It was her tormentors, bodies lying in a massive pool of their own blood. The steel baseball bat lay before her, upright in the ground where the leader of the thugs had been not two minutes ago.
There was a flash of crimson and she fell to her knees, suddenly freed from her restraints. She struggled to support herself, weak. She managed to raise her head and search for her saviour. Her vision began to swim, the effects of excessive blood loss and dehydration taking it's toll on her body. Suddenly a cold voice whispered in her ear and she felt fingers wrap around her waist.
"You will not die."
Strong hands lifted her, and the last thing she saw before she passed out was the rugged face of a scarlet devil, smiling warmly down at her.