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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 21/3/15)

Posted: Sun Mar 22, 2015 5:58 pm
by Mirage_GSM
Very nice chapter.
Both the scene with Doctor Ueda and the one with Ikuno.

The doctor using the word "identify" is a bit ominous...

Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 21/3/15)

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 2:37 pm
by Gajzla
Thanks for all the kind words once again. This chapter is shorter than normal, but I admit I was nervous writing a non OC character. Hopefully I did a good job.

Does anyone know how Misha’s nicknames work, always been confused by them. Thanks for reading and as always feedback is greatly appreciated.

Racing at Sunrise

I can’t sleep. I’m not sure if I even want to, every time I close my eyes I see a silver buzz-cut and a black truck. Then pain, the phantom, ghost or demon that has replaced my hand has been restless for the last few nights. Ikuno answers every one of my screams with stories of trips her family have been on, to exotic lands and cruising over endless oceans. I’m not sure how much of what she tells me is true, but it helps none the less.

I trudge out into the cold morning air, the sun isn’t up yet but I know my way. My nights have started to have a set routine. I stay up as late as my shattered mind will let me, hoping that I can beat dreams with pure exhaustion. When this Inevitably fails I wake up with a yell, open the door to my blue eyed storyteller and listen until the pain subsides. Then Ikuno goes back to bed and I pretend I will do the same.

Ryouta doesn’t know about any of this. I walk past the boys dormitories with a sack of guilt resting on my stomach. He would listen, hell he might even understand the phantom pain. I don’t know how he lost his arm, he would tell me if I asked, I’m sure he would. But then I would have to tell him about my hand. He would insist I didn’t need to, but I would, or else it wouldn’t be fair.

On the upside Ikuno has now become a member of our little circle, I don’t think she and Ryouta would get along with out me being there to mediate, but thats okay. No one’s perfect. I reach the track just as the sun peeks over the horizon, as I have every day this week. Unlike every other day though I’m not alone.

A small figure is running laps and setting a good pace. Dammit I need this. I stop on the sidelines trying to decide what to do. Should I just run and pretend the other track user does not exist? I could go back to my room, but I don’t want to. I could just run somewhere else. Or else I coul-

“Hi,” a high girlish voice makes me jump interrupting my chain of thought. I look down at the girl standing in front of me. Oh wow. Both her legs are gone below the knee, replaced with springy blades. Didn’t someone compete in the Olympics with something like that?

“Errm, Hi,” I hide my stump behind my back as my eyes trail up her body. My goodness those shorts are small, and those eyes are green. A pair of pigtails bob up and down as this strange girl looks me over.

“Are you here to run?” she asks, bouncing a little. Is she completely incapable of being still?

“I wanted to, but if you're using the track…” I trail off, looking at my feet. The girl giggles.

“Its okay, track's kinda big ya’ know,” her enthusiasm is disconcerting, especially given the bags under her eyes.

“Okay then,” I let a smile slip onto my face as I jog onto the track. Right, finish line one hundred yards ahead, thats my goal I will not stop until I reac-

“Whats your name?” the girl interrupts my ritual, running up beside me.

“Sorry, its Miki,” together we set off at a gentle jog. Well this is new.

“I’m Emi, I’ve not seen you around before.” She states, the sound her legs make is a little distracting.

“Just started here,” I answer simply, putting on a little burst of speed. I don’t really want to talk.

“You should join the track and field club if you like running,” she grins, easily catching up to me.

“I don’t really like company when I run.”

“You don’t?” How the hell do you pout and jog at the same time.

“I didn’t mean you, I just…” I don’t know what to say.

“Need to clear your head?” Emi asks, a little too knowingly. I don’t answer, just nod. “Well then you will need to go much faster, wanna see if you can keep up?” The pout is gone now, there is only focus.

As if set off by some invisible starter pistol we both burst into a dash. She’s lighting fast, but so am I. I have a goal now, nothing else matters but catching this girl. We complete the first bend and Emi is ahead, not by much yet. If I push just a little more I can get in front.

We are almost neck and neck as we reach the next bend, I have the inside lane. This is mine. Exiting the bend I’m just ahead, fixing my eyes on the finish line I throw everything I have into crossing it first. Yes, this is it, Emi made a good nemesis. But I suppose its not really a fair race given her disadvantage.

Out of nowhere Emi roars ahead of me, her springs pumping in perfect synchronised power. She crosses the line far enough ahead of me to disperse any views I might have had about a disadvantage. Playing it smart she matched my race pace like it was a relaxing stroll then unleashed a killer sprint for the last hundred meters. I collapse to my knees breathing hard. Emi meanwhile bounces up and down looking thrilled.

“You’re really good!” she exclaims, a little out of breathe.

“I… am?” I gasp. Okay Miki, do not throw up. Just stay on the ground.

“You are!” She grins, biting her bottom lip, “You almost beat me.”

I don’t think I ever stood a chance, but Emi seems the kind of person who would rather share her victory than gloat about it. I close my eyes, breathing hard with a smile planted on my lips. When I open my eyes again the sky is obscured by a pouting face.

“Your not going to die on me are you?”

“I hope not,’ I laugh. “Just out of practice.”

“Then you have to join the track and field club!”

“I dunno,” I groan.

“Pleeeeaaasssse?” Emi whines, its adorable.

“Fine, fine!” I sit down, stretching my legs out in front of me. “One meeting and I make no promises.”

“Perfect!” She turns and starts to jog away. “Later Miki!”

“Wait,’ I try and call after her. “I don’t even know when this club meets…”

She’s already out of ear shot, heading in the direction of the medical centre. Well that was a strange meeting. I start to walk slowly back to the girls dorms, in desperate need of a shower. I feel bad for having underestimated Emi, even if it was only in my head. I wonder if I will ever truly get used to his place, the people here are full of constant surprises.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 21/3/15)

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 7:56 pm
by Mirage_GSM
Just a few typos:
I walk passed the boys dormitories
“I wanted to, but if your using the track…”
“Its okay, tracks kinda big ya’ know,”

Otherwise the chapter's fine as is Emi's character.

Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 21/3/15)

Posted: Mon Mar 23, 2015 9:46 pm
by Gajzla
AntonSlavik020 wrote:Looks like we have another friend for Miki. And if I were to guess, there was an alcohol related car accident. The evidence points pretty strongly that direction.
Only time and therapy will tell.
Mirage_GSM wrote:Very nice chapter.
Both the scene with Doctor Ueda and the one with Ikuno.

The doctor using the word "identify" is a bit ominous...
Thanks! I was a little worried the therapist would come across as a malicious character, I think he turned out okay though. I decided that for once Miki should look to the right of her desk for a friend.

I have fixed the errors from your last post, thank you for pointing them out.

Thanks for the feedback. Next chapter is completed but undergoing an edit, should be out soon(ish).

Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 23/3/15)

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:37 pm
by Gajzla
"Pride Only Hurts, It Never Helps"

“I do not want to be here,” I announce, crossing my arms stubbornly over my chest.

“But you are.” Dr Ueda says passively. Just look smug damn you. I purposely missed my appointment last night. I didn’t want to see him anymore after my week of pain and haunting dreams.

“My Grandad phoned and said I had to see you, happy?” I snap.

“I am happy you have come to see me Miki, less pleased that it's under duress.” He looks a little disappointed. Damn him, this would be a lot easier if he acted more like my enemy.

“Could I ask why you didn’t want to see me?” He inquires, using his normal trick of testing the water.

“You’re not a teacher are you?” I ask, looking up at him. “You can’t give me a detention?”

“I cannot, bu-“  

I don’t give him a chance to finish, instead I explode with a verbal out pouring that can only come from lack of sleep, a ghost hand and a mother who does not stop you watching late night television. I tell him about my dreams and my hand, making it clear beyond any doubt that these problems are entirely his fault.

Throughout my verbal assault he keeps up his calm and measured demeanour, nodding every now and then and even adding a few notes to a pad laying on his lap. At last I’m finished, laying back in the sofa I watch him intently.

“I can only apologise Miki,” he looks truly apologetic as well. Damm him. “Your grandfather made clear to me your wish to remember the details of the accident yourself”.

“What you spoke with him?” A hand is held up, silencing me.

“Please listen for the moment Miki, then you may ask me anything you like,” He takes a long steady breathe. “I showed you a picture last week in the hope it may have rekindled some of your memories, which as you mention has happened. However, I fear that giving you such limited information has had a detrimental effect.”

I nod slowly. For the last week I have been under the impression he showed me the picture as a kinda torture, to punish me for something I don’t know i’ve done. Now it turns out my repeated dreams are a product of my own stubbiness.

“I would like to share with you the details the police managed to gather for themselves, my hope is that a clearer understanding of what has happened will help you more than vague reminders.” I don’t know how to react. He’s right these hazy and painful dreams can’t continue, I will go mad with lack of sleep. 

“Okay,” I say simply, bracing myself.

“If at any point it gets to much you are free to stop me and we will end this appointment immediately, Okay?” He gives me a sympathetic look. I nod once, my eyes flicker to the door.  

“You were involved in a car crash, a black pickup truck hit a row of parked cars causing the truck to roll several times,” He stops for a moment, waiting for any kind of response. I feel the bile rise to the back of my throat but say nothing.

“When the police arrived they found you unresponsive with your hand pinned under the vehicle,” He lets this sink in. “They also found the young man whose photo I showed you, his name was Tatsuo Takahashi and I’m afraid he was declared dead at the scene.”

I know that name, at least I think I do. It sounds very familiar. I rack my brain for any detail I might have overlooked. It's almost as if the harder I try and remember the further away the memories become. I have a name and a face, but nothing in-between.

“Anything… else?” I say, trying to keep my voice steady. Am I the reason this boy is dead?

“Yes, unfortunately neither of you were wearing seat belts, as a result you were found in such a position that either of you could have been driving,” He takes a long steadying breath. “Normal practice in this situation is to test the steering wheel for fingerprints, unfortunately they found both yours and Mr Takahashi’s prints.”

What does that mean? It can’t have been me. Can it? Why would this Tatsuo let me drive his truck? I don’t even know how to drive. Perhaps I distracted him, but I don’t even know why I would have gotten into his car in the first place.

“I… I’m sorry, I need some air.” I get up walking unsteadily to the door, the doctor seems to expect this and makes no effort to stop me. Bursting out into the warm afternoon sun I struggle to take deep enough breathes. Too many thoughts are flying around in my mind, I feel dizzy.

I collapse onto the grass outside the medical centre, my left hand itching madly. I grind my teeth, forcing my stump into my lap. My bag buzzes, retrieving my phone discover a text message from Ryouta.

[Smart-arse]: “Come to my room 134 you don’t want to miss this!!!!!! =D”

It's stupid, I have more important things to be thinking about than whatever surprise Ryouta has in store. But I don’t want to think about anything that has just happened. If that makes me a coward then so be it. I need a distraction.

Still wobbly on my feet I walk into the boys dormitories. I’ve never been inside before, the whole building has the faint smell of a locker room. I count the room numbers as I pass 132, 133 and aha 134. I knock on the door, thankfully remembering to use my right hand today.

“Its open!” Ryouta yells from inside.

I compose my face before I open the door, there is no reason for him to be worried. To my surprise my plump friend is not alone, sitting on his bed is Ikuno, looking quite out of place in her immaculate school uniform. 

“Did a bomb go off in here?” I ask looking around with raised eyebrows. The floor is covered in clothes, books, DVD cases and is that a pizza box? Ewwwww. The walls are decorated in English movie posters and his desk is completely overtaken by a large television set. This would explain the constantly late homework.

“How rude! This is just what a well loved and lived in room looks like.” Ryouta grins at me, behind him Ikuno rolls her eyes.

“You should clear up if you expect guests,” Ikuro states matter of factly, she rummages in her bag and pulls out a small black case. I have seen her do this a few times, but it's always fascinating to watch. She deftly unpacks her supplies and with practiced motions sterilises then pricks her finger. Squeezing a drop of blood onto a digital tester she waits for the results.

“All good?” Ryouta asks. Ikuno nods, blushing slightly as she realises we were watching. Diabetes looks like a pain to manage, but my blue eyed friend takes it all in her stride. 

“So dare I ask why you wanted to see me?” I ask Ryouta, who smiles delightedly, handing me a DVD case.

“What's a ‘Pump futon’?” I ask, both of them burst into laughter.

“It's Pulp Fiction, your English is terrible,” Ryouta sniggers. I cross my arms over my chest.

“It's an American movie Miki,” Ikuno points out quickly, thankfully not laughing at me. “It's really good.”

“See I had to wait for one with Japanese subtitles for the slower children in the class,” Ryouta nods at me, opening the case one handed and striding over to me, I sit down on the bed beside Ikuno, rolling my eyes.

“You like all this English stuff too?” I ask her, she shrugs.

“I spent quite a bit of time with my cousins from New york,” she pauses for a moment, her nose scrunched up in a disgruntled frown. “They were never really interested in learning Japanese, so everything we did together was in English.”

“Shhh you two, it's starting,” Ryouta settles himself beside me.

— — —

The movie is a little boring if I’m honest, I don’t really get what's going on. My two companions seem to be really into it though, perhaps something gets lost in translation. I watch absent mindedly, letting my thoughts wander. Perhaps he just let me sit behind the wheel? That would explain the fingerprints.  All of a sudden there's the screech of tyres as two onscreen cars smash into each other.

“I have to go,” I stand up, not looking at the others. “Homework.” I say simply, its a bad excuse. I leave before they have a chance to offer much protest, Ignoring whatever they try and say to me. I practically run back to my room. So this is life now? A movie will be enough to make me feel sick to my stomach and drive me away from my friends.

Fumbling with my key I burst into my room, slamming the door behind me. Throwing myself on top of the bedclothes I hug my stump to my chest, Face pressed into a pillow I sob, The first stab of pain racks through my non existent hand and into my chest. I stay whimpering into my pillow until the room grows dark.

“Miki, can I come in?” Ikuno asks from the door, I say nothing. She’s known me less than a week and now look at me. I’m a mess. The door creaks open and I feel the bed sink beside me, her hand rests gently on my shoulder. My instinct is to shrug her off, but I don’t.

“Is the reason you're here, something… Something to do with a car crash?” I roll over quickly, looking up at her.

“How did you know?” I ask, voice croaky.

“You left at that part of the movie.” 

We sit in silence for what feels like a long time. Ikuno gently strokes my arm, she’s still here. I’m confused. I can’t understand why she’s still here, why she still cares. But it feels nice. I realise I’ve told her hardly anything about myself, her or Ryouta. That has to change. What did grandfather tell me? Friendship is a two way street.

Slowly, very slowly I tell her about what I learned today. I tell her someone died in the car crash that took my hand. I tell her I can’t remember all of the details and how I’m in an uphill struggle with my own mind. She just nods. I half expect her to get up and leave.

“I’m sorry…” she trails off, this is the part where she leaves.I know it. “I’ve not been a very good friend, I stayed watching the movie, I should have been with you.” She looks away from me, her cheeks red.

“Hey, hey this isn’t on you,” I try and smile, but fail. “Just something I need to deal with.”

“But you don’t want to do it alone, do you?” Ikuno turns those bottomless sapphire eyes on me.

“I never really thought I had a choice.” I say.

“I will be here for you, if you want me,” she smiles softly. “I think Ryouta will be as well, if you let him.” I sit up in bed, hugging my arm to my chest. I can still feel my left hand, but for once it doesn’t hurt. Its content.

“So do you really have homework to do?” Ikuno asks, eyes wondering to my desk.

“Maths, but it sucks” I grimace, Ikuno giggles. 

“I will go get my textbook, this is something I can definitely help with!” I laugh as she hurries out of the room. So much has happened my first week. I slip out of my uniform, pulling on a comfortable old tshirt and pyjama bottoms. I know remembering what happened is going to be hard, filling in the gaps in my memory feels like a impossible task. But at least I won’t have to do it alone.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 25/3/15)

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 7:55 pm
by Mirage_GSM
Very good chapter again. Characterization, pacing - no complaints at all.

My only nitpick is that you should mind your apostrophes - or lack of them…
“They also found the young man who’s photo I showed you,
“Is the reason your here, something…

Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 25/3/15)

Posted: Wed Mar 25, 2015 8:22 pm
by AntonSlavik020
Another very well done chapter. I don't really like when characters are stubborn like Miki was being with the doctor initially, but you make it work.

Also, this line,
Gajzla wrote:Now it turns out my repeated dreams are a product of my own stubbiness.
Loved this line. Am I a bad person of laughing at it? Because I did. :lol:

Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 25/3/15)

Posted: Fri Mar 27, 2015 2:01 pm
by Gajzla
Mirage_GSM wrote:Very good chapter again. Characterization, pacing - no complaints at all.

My only nitpick is that you should mind your apostrophes - or lack of them…
Apostrophes are my mortal enemies, I swear. One day I'm going to re-write the Walking Dead with apostrophes instead of zombies. In the mean time I will try harder on future chapters.
AntonSlavik020 wrote:Another very well done chapter. I don't really like when characters are stubborn like Miki was being with the doctor initially, but you make it work.

Also, this line,
Gajzla wrote:Now it turns out my repeated dreams are a product of my own stubbiness.
Loved this line. Am I a bad person of laughing at it? Because I did. :lol:
I know what you mean. I think its important for charters to have a reason for the way they act. A character being stubborn because they are the stubborn character sucks. Glade you liked it, I had fun writing a moody Miki ;)

Thanks again for the feedback, chapter 7 is a work in progress. I think its going to be longer than what I have posted so far so might need a little extra time in edit.

Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 25/3/15)

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 8:34 pm
by Gajzla
Sorry this chapter took so long, its been through quite a few edits to get it where I needs to be (The original draft was nearing 5K words). Writing teenage drama is fun, but also surpassingly difficult to get right.

Anyway as always feedback is greatly appreciated and I hope you enjoy.


The inside of the truck is spotless, I think it's cleaner than some operating theatres. Beside me Tatsuo drives lazily, one hand on the wheel he watches me. A little self conscious I lay back in the seat, the leather is soft and plush.

“Like it?” He asks, a grin on his face.

“It's amazing, It must have cost a lot of money.” I brush my hair away from my face, wishing I had the sense to do something with it before I left the house today. He lets out a chuckle that makes me blush, suddenly he seems a lot older.

“I’ve had my eye on you Miki, I think you could go far.”

“What do you mean?” I interlock my fingers in my lap to stop myself doing anything embarrassing with my hands.

“Well, cute girl like you is going to have a lot of boys after her tail, you 'gotta make sure you pick the right one.” His eyes travel down my body, it makes me feel a little uncomfortable to be honest. But this is what boys like, right?

“I’m not tha- Watch out!” Out of nowhere a yellow bus slams into Tatsuo’s door. The last thing I see before the world goes black is the illuminated words ‘Yamaku Academy’ shown as the buses destination.

I wake up feeling like I’m falling, my body jerks in terrified response. The ghost of my left hand is clenched into a fist, nails digging into flesh that no longer exists. I shiver soaked in a cold sweat. What the hell was that? Wrapping my covers around me I wait for Ikuno’s knock, it doesn’t come. Now that I think about it I can’t be sure I screamed this time. Well that's an improvement. Still I wonder if I should go and knock on my best friends door. I decide not to, it’s early Sunday morning, I’ll let her sleep.

— — —

Eventually soft morning light seeps through my window, waking me from my fretful slumber. I pull myself out of bed, head still full of thoughts silver haired boys and buses smashing into trucks. I pull on my Yamaku PE kit, my normal track suit bottoms are in the wash. Note to self, get more running clothes. The shorts feel tiny, and the top is defiantly too tight. I silently curse whoever designed this abomination as I walk out the door.

By the time I’ve ran for a good hour, gone back to my room, washed and dressed my friends have just about managed to crawl their way out of bed. I meet them in what has become our normal haunt, a large oak in the lavish grounds. Ryouta is laying in the grass, looking like he’s ready for a nap. Ikuno meanwhile sit's with a text book open in her lap, throwing Ryouta disapproving looks.

“Good morning,” I sink down against the trunk of the tree. Nice of them to save my sport for me.

Ryouta mumbles something that could either be good morning or a hitherto undiscovered tribal language.

“Good Morning Miki,” Ikuno says, glaring at Ryouta. Despite my first impressions they have developed a kind of chemistry with each other, it's fascinating to watch. “Did you sleep well?”

“I’ve slept better,” I say, trying to read her upside homework. She gives me a knowing look.

“If you can’t sleep you’re more than welcome to share my bed, I’ll keep the bad dreams away.”

“Ryouta!” Ikuno exclaims, blushing madly. Like I say, strange chemistry.

“That sounds like a nightmare,” I aim a kick at his side.

“Ow! that was uncalled for,” he sits up, rubbing his eyes.

“Serves you right for not focusing on your homework,” Ikuno bites her pen, eyes fixed to the page.

“What? You seem to have it covered,” he grins stupidly. “Besides you need to get used to filling out paperwork with no thanks, you’re on the student council now,” nodding he lays back down. Closing his eyes he wiggles around apparently trying to find a comfortable spot.

“You joined the student council?” I ask, momentarily distracted from the retribution I will deliver upon Ryouta for making someone else do his homework.

“It was an accident!” Ikuno groans.

“How the hell do you accidentally join a council?” I ask exasperated.

“Well you remember when I stayed behind on Saturday because I thought I might have misread one of my homework questions?” I nod. “Well I got talking to Shizune and Misha, they said I was just the kind of person they were looking for.” She smiles proudly.

“Yeah, gullible!” Ryouta starts to laugh, wiping the smile of Ikuno’s face. With a sigh I take the heavy textbook out of Ikuno’s lap, close it neatly. Then drop it onto Ryouta’s unsuspected stomach. “Ow, Miki how come whenever we spend time with each other you end up hurting me?”

“Because you inset on being a total and complete pain in the arse, now be quiet and let Ikuno finish.” I gesture for Ikuno to continue, she looks at Ryouta a little worried before she does.

“Well I’ve always liked that kinda thing, I used to be on the council at my old school and well we went back to this spare classroom they use,” She takes a deep breath. “We played a board game, then they asked me to join and well everything seemed so good I said yes.”

“Well it doesn’t sound so bad,” I smile at her. “I’m happy for you.”

“That student council is cursed,” Ryouta says, apparently he’s a slow learner. “I hear most of the members left after a year of Shizune, I hear she made a blind girl cry.”

“Is that true?” Ikuno looks worried.

“You're not blind,” I point out. “And if the president gives you trouble tell me and I will punch her.” Ikuno looks at me, trying to work out if I’m serious. My face brakes first, cracking into a grin. Soon the three of us are in fit's of laughter.

— — —

Despite my first positive impressions of the student council, I’m quickly starting to side with Ryouta’s view. It’s like a top secret best friend stealing research facility. All I ever get from Ikuno when I invite her out is that she’s busy with council stuff. Ryouta is a good friend, but it's just not the same. She’s even stopped coming to my room when I have bad dreams. It's not like I expected her to do it when I first got here, but she did, and it was nice. Now she’s stopped I’m stuck with both pain and loneliness.

I arrive at my appointment with Dr Ueda for once quite glad I have someone to talk to about my dreams. I knock on the door, remembering to use my right hand this time. I think my body has finally caught on that my hand is gone.

“Come in Miki,” We nod at each other as I take a seat on the bean bag. I’ve taken to switching chairs every time I enter this room, just in case a repeated choice of seat might reveal some dark family secret. He’s a mind reader sometimes.

We follow our normal routine of greeting, politely refusing drinks and light chatter about the weather and plans for the upcoming festival, which I have exactly zero.

“Well Miki, is there anything in particular you would like to discuss today?”

“I had a new dream,” I say simply. I had considered not telling him, but with Ikuno lost to the council I need to get things off my chest.

“Oh?” The doctor takes the lid off his pen, inviting me to continue.

I hesitantly explain my dream. I try to describe in detail how uncomfortable the look made me feel, how I wake up feeling like something is watching me. My left hand starts to prickle as the memories of the dream resurface. I push the stump into the beanbag. Dr Ueda knows enough not ask about the hand, instead focussing on the dream.

“There is no mention of a bus being involved in the accident Miki.” He tells me calmly.

“Then what I see in my dreams is all bullshit anyway?” My left hand curls into a fist, an action I for once don’t mind. I feel like punching something, I thought I was making progress. Damn it!

“Miki, your partial amnesia is an incredibly rare condition, as is recovering your memories through dreams.” He pauses. “Dreams are the minds way of working out problems. I think the bus may perhaps represent your anxiety with starting at a new school.”

“How can I tell what really happened then?”

“I believe we can determine what is real by using the information we have available to us and by discussing the details during our appointments. Don’t feel disheartened Miki, you are making real progress.”

“So the bus is nothing to worry about then?” I ask, calming a little.

“I would not worry about it, no.” He looks from his notes and back to me, before speaking slowly. “Miki, is it possible Tatsuo attacked you while you were in his company?”

“No,” I say softly.

“Are you certain?”

“No,” I look at my feet.

The rest of the appointment is subdued, my mind is full of horrible thoughts. Damn it! Because what I needed was something else to think about. We say our goodbyes and I promise to phone him if I have any problems. I think we both know I’m lying. I am on edge as I leave his office. On the way back to my room I stop at Ikuno’s door. She can forgot the council for one night. I need her. knocking softly on her door, I get no answer. That's odd, I try knocking again with the same result. In desperation I try the handle and find the door unlocked.

Walking tentatively into the room i’m met with an onslaught of colour and lights. Everything from the curtains to her bedspread are a violent shade of pink. Strings of fairy lights are hung along every available ledge, providing warm but dim light. Ikuno wearing her frilly nightdress, sits bent at her desk, a mountain of paperwork in front of her.

One hand on her chin she looks like she’s about to fall asleep, she’s wearing headphones with the music so loud I can hear the beats from the door. I walk closer, wondering how best to announce myself. The point is made rather mute when I cast a shadow across her desk and she jumps nearly falling off the chair.

“Miki! What are you doing?” She rips the headphones off. I notice she looks paler than normal.

“I just wondered if you wanted to spend the night, or something I dunno.” I rub the back of my neck, I’m not really sure what I had planned.

“I can’t I’m really busy, student council stuff?” She shrugs, as if it's something outside of her control.

“You can take one night off can’t you?” I ask, “Come on you could do with a break, you don’t look well.”

“I’m fine, just busy.”

“When was the last time you ate something? Have you been remembering to check your blood sugar?” I look around for the small black case.

“I don’t need you telling me how to look after myself,” She glares at me, her cheeks starting to redden.

“Doesn’t look like that to me!” I snap back angrily. Her body trembles as she jumps to her feet.

“Get out of my room, I don’t know why I’m even your friend!” She’s almost shouting now.

“Me neither,” I snarl turning to leave.

“Because you can’t get through a night without me holding your hand,” her voice drips with venom, I turn back to face her astounded. Is this what Ikuno’s really like?

“Well don’t worry about that, I never want to see you again.” I stop at her door, “Oh and Ryouta only likes you because you do his homework, you do know that right?” Her eyes grow wide, I can tell I’ve hit a sore spot. I stamp down to my room, slamming the door behind me.

I throw myself down angrily on the edge of my bed, breathing hard. Why did she react like that? Why the hell did I have to have the last word? What the fuck have I done?

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 3/4/15)

Posted: Thu Apr 02, 2015 9:40 pm
by Mirage_GSM
Well that went south quickly...
A bit too quickly if you ask me. Being stressed and/or tired is not really enough reason for this kind of reaction.

Couple of typos, nothing serious.

Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 3/4/15)

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 6:53 am
by Gajzla
Mirage_GSM wrote:Well that went south quickly...
A bit too quickly if you ask me. Being stressed and/or tired is not really enough reason for this kind of reaction.

Couple of typos, nothing serious.
Thanks for the feedback. I wanted to try recreate one the stupid fights you have when you’re younger, but I perhaps should have done more to show just how stressed the characters were. I always worry, after one of the first comments, that I’m making the chapters too long. Like I say this was nearly 5K words and has been dramatically cut down.

Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 3/4/15)

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 8:59 am
by AntonSlavik020
As long as what your writing is interesting, I'll take a longer chapter any day. Though I agree, the seriousness of the argument did seem to increase at a pretty extreme rate. Especially since by high school I stopped having stupid arguments with my friends. Makes it hard for me to relate.

Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 3/4/15)

Posted: Fri Apr 03, 2015 1:30 pm
by azumeow
AntonSlavik020 wrote:As long as what your writing is interesting, I'll take a longer chapter any day. Though I agree, the seriousness of the argument did seem to increase at a pretty extreme rate. Especially since by high school I stopped having stupid arguments with my friends. Makes it hard for me to relate.
Stupid arguments with my friends was most of my high school experience. It happens when you're surrounded by rapists, backstabbers and petty children.

Also, good chapter, still curious as to what really happened. The mystery shall be solved in due time, I suppose.

Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 3/4/15)

Posted: Sun Apr 05, 2015 6:09 pm
by Gajzla
Woo, 1000 views, I imagine more than half of those where misclicks but even so =D. So heres chapter 8, I like this one more than 7 by a long way, in fact 7 joins chapter 1 in the list of chapters to be re-wrote before act 1 starts.

As always feedback is appreciated and I hope you enjoy.

Family Matters

“Did you like that one?” Ryuota asks, switching off his DVD player, a hopeful look on his face. I hate to disappoint him, but I just could not get into a movie about a girl fighting off a killer alien in her undies.

“It was okay,” I shrug, sitting on his bed. My aching phantom hand clutched to my stomach. I wince as my non existent little finger shrinks and stretches of its own accord.

Its taken me a little while but I think I’ve worked out why phantom pain is so horrible. Everything else on my body I can touch, I can rub my sore legs after a run or hold a cut finger until it stops bleeding. When my hand starts to hurt all I can do is feel it be torn, burned, stretched and shrunk. Unfortunately this epiphany offers little comfort.

“You have no appreciation for art,” he looks at me shaking his head. “Ikuno still not talking to you?”

“Clearly,” I grunt with pain. “Else I wouldn’t be here watching stupid movies,” I snap.

“Hey don’t take this out on me,” Ryouta says rolling his eyes.

“I’m sorry,” I mumble, tucking my legs up to my chest. Ikuno has not said a word to me since our argument, in fact she’s trying very hard to pretend I don’t exist. My hand gives another involuntary stab of pain, I swear under my breath.

“Anything I can do?” he gestures vaguely to my stump.

“No,” I sigh, “Don’t you get this?” I hold up my arm.

“Nah,” he looks at his arm appraisingly. “I was born like this, no phantom pains for me.”

“Lucky,” I mumble, then realise what I said. “I didn’t mean- I’m sorry.”

He laughs waving me off with his stunted arm.

“Come on,” He says, grabbing his jacket from the back of the door.

“Where are we going?” I ask grumpily.

He just grins. Stepping out of his room, he leaves the door wide open. Dammit Ryouta. It’s almost sundown and he wants to go on some hair brained adventure. I get up with a groan, my hand starting to clench. He’s not gotten far down the corridor as I hurry after him. I don’t even have my coat.

Ryouta leads me out of the seemingly deserted school between the black iron gates and down the hill, heading towards the small town nestled at its base. We walk in relative silence, listening to unseen birds sing; it’s peaceful. Okay perhaps this is better than his messy room.

“Are your parents coming to the festival?” He asks casually.

“I doubt it,” I look up at a pink and orange sky, a gentle breeze playing with my hair. “My mum does not really get out much and I’ve not seen my dad since I was like eight?” I shrug.

Ryouta goes to say something but I cut him off.

“I’m okay, It’s not a problem.” I say quickly, it’s important to make him understand that I’m not fishing for sympathy. It’s half the reason I don’t tell people. I didn’t have a bad childhood no matter what people assume.

He looks like he wants to say something, but thinks better of it. I’m grateful people read too much into things. Thanks for taking me at my word.

“I’m not sure if mine are coming this year,” he says, turning his attention back to the black pavement, “Not sure my little sister is old enough to travel yet, she’s only a baby.”

“Wait, wait, wait,” I say laughing. “What’s your little sisters first language going to be? English or Japanese?” He seems to put some considerable thought into the question before answering.

“Depends how good the summer realeases are,” he laughs.

“Are you close to your family?” I ask, an aftershock of pain causing me to grimace.

“Yep!” He grins and bursts into a story of a family camping trip. It’s a little like Ikuno’s stories, only with a lot more chaos and quite a bit more laughter. By the time he’s explaining how he had to fish his prosthetic arm out of a lake the phantom pains have all but vanished.

We continue to chat, letting the cobbled lane guide us as we stroll between rows of shops and picturesque houses. Electric lights flicker on around us as night draws in, spilling orange light out onto the street. Around us the town starts to close for the night, shopkeepers throwing us suspicious looks close the wooden shutters of their stores.

Walking through a sleeping neighbourhood brings back memories of my past life, it seems so far away now that I wonder if it even happened. Our feet carry us the to the Aura Mart, still spilling florescent light into the night, forsaking the traditional closing times of the town.

An electronic beep plays as we enter the shop, somewhere inside a radio is playing on low volume. The refrigerators hum as we stride between the aisles, apparently Ryouta had ulterior motives in this trip as he hands me a basket. I don’t mind, shopping is easier with two hands, so I do mine at the same time. We leave the store, each of us with a carrier bag in hand. Yamaku lays ahead of us as we start the long walk up the hill.

— — —

We part outside the dormitories, Ryouta seems apprehensive leaving me alone. I assure him I will be alright, after all I’ve been on my own for a long time. I switch on my desk lamp upon entering my room, changing into my sleep shorts and my oldest most comfortable T-shirt I catch my reflection in the mirror. I look older than I feel, its a strange contradiction. Sighing I resign myself to homework before bed, I’m interrupted when my phone rings. Did Ryouta forget something?

When I check the caller ID I nearly drop the phone in surprise.

“H… hello?” I answer the phone shakily. I don’t think she has ever phoned me before, I can’t even remember the last time she was awake at this time of night.

“Hello… does this thing work? Hello?” My mother’s voice shakes a little.

“I’m here Mum,” I take a seat on my bed. “Are you okay?” I ask, trying to keep the surprise out of my voice. Is she on her death bed?

“Sweetie it’s good to hear your voice, I wasn’t sure I ha-“ her voice is cut off by a fit of coughing. “I wasn’t sure I had your number.”

“Well looks like you found it,” I smile softly, she sounds so fragile but her head seems clear. “You sound good mum.”

“I’m calling for a reason,” she says, ignoring my last comment.

“And heres me thinking you wanted to see how your only child was coping all by herself in a new school,” I say sarcastically, unable to keep the bitterness out of my voice. If she was able to phone all this time, why didn’t she?

“I do, I did, I-“ she trips over her words spluttering.

“It’s fine mum… it’s fine” I exhale slowly. “What did you want to talk about?” I swear if she puts a lodger in my room I’m never going to forgive her.

“You’re fathers been released.”

I stay quiet for a long time. So he actually was in prison? That’s a surprise. I always thought he left us and in her shame mum lied about it. Still I have no idea why she’s telling me this, all my memories of my father are faded with time and bittersweet nostalgia.

“Miki… are you still there? Hello?”

“I’m here mum, I just don’t know what you want me to say.” My voice feels like it’s going to break.

“He wants to meet you.”

“I don’t know him,” I say calmly, regaining some control over my voice. Why can’t I come from a normal family?

“He’s not a bad person,” Mum says, her voice upbeat. Clearly she has no ill feelings about his incarceration. Then again she started drinking after he left and has apparently stopped since he’s been released, she might not have noticed the time in-between.

“He left you alone,” I say coldly.

“Everyone makes mistakes,” She starts to cough again. “Just think about it please sweetie? For me?”

I sigh slowly. Like I don’t have enough to think about. I agree tentatively. If he’s willing to explain I’m willing to try and listen, even if I don’t particularly want to. I don’t even know what he did to end up behind bars. The conversation moves haltingly to school, friends and my hand. I give vague answers. Despite living with her all my life, sober my mother feels like a stranger.

We say our goodbyes. She tells me she loves me, something she’s said hundreds of times before in a drunken mumble. Tonight though I believe her when she says it. I love you too mum. Hanging up I stare at the phone in my hands, she sounds so different. Is this because my grandfather finally found a housekeeper who could care for her? Or because I left?

Sleep is hard to find. I feel like my thoughts are chasing each other around my head, I try and get them in some kind of order. It’s useless, head starting to ache, I give up. Burying my head in my pillow and waiting for sleep to claim me or dawn to come.

—— —

“Watch out!” I cry as the bus barrels into us, my whole world flips and turns, spinning. I can’t tell what’s up and what’s down anymore. Everything goes black.

Waking I can hear the shrill wail of a car horn being held down. Opening my eyes slowly I take in my surroundings, I’m still in the truck. But everything seems wrong, the view out of the cracked windscreen is at ninety degrees. The faint smell of petrol tinges the air.

I blink a few times. I’m only able to move my head and when I do I can feel something fall from my face with a tinkle. Broken glass? I look up, the passenger side window is broken. Above me I can see clear blue sky. My body is twisted, legs held in the air above me.

Beside me Tatsuo lays as a crumpled heap, his neck bent at an unnatural angle. Eyes wide and staring, he looks surprised. I turn my face away quickly, allowing my eyes to trace up my arm. It takes me a moment to realise what I’m looking at my dark tanned skin disappears at the wrist under twisted black metal.

I wake up screaming, truly screaming. I knock my clock off the bedside table in my haste to get out of bed. Falling against my closet. Panic stricken it takes me a moment to work out where I am. I still feel like my hand is trapped between twisted metal and road, I force the stump into my stomach. He was dead. I choke back sobs as the image of Tatsuo’s staring face flashes across my mind.

My door flies open, Ikuno’s mouth drops in shock as she appears in the doorway. Her nightdress softly illuminated by the hall lights, she looks like a ghost. I let the tears flow freely down my cheeks as I look at her, no longer having the strength to hide what I’m feeling.

In three long strides Ikuno crosses the room, sinking down beside me she wraps her arms around me. I lean into her, sobbing softly into her shoulder as my hand burns. We stay cuddled together for what feels like a long time, until my eyes have dried and the pain in my hand has lessoned.

“I’m so sorry,” she breaks the silence, her voice barely a whisper. “I’m sorry I said those things.”

“Me too,” I pull away just a little, resting my head on the closet. “I don’t even remember why we got in a fight.” I say sniffing, I wipe my cheeks with the back of my hand.

“I forgot to eat, I didn’t think,” she sighs softly.

“I had a rough appointment,” I admit. “It… it was unfair to bring all my problems to you.” In the darkness we trade apologies, it’s cathartic, if not a little unnecessary. I already forgive her, after all what happened was mostly my fault. This isn’t the first time my temper has gotten me into trouble.

“Diabetes can cause mood swings, and I was so tired” She looks at her feet. “I know it’s not an excuse.”

“Have you forgotten to check yourself before?” I ask, there’s so much I don’t know about my best friend, I don’t even really know whats wrong with her. Everything is so obvious with Ryouta and me.

“Yeah, It’s kind of a bad habit,” she pauses, “It’s why I ended up here.”

“Oh?” I’m keen to hear why she transferred to Yamaku, but I don’t want to push her. Taking a deep breath she starts her story.

“When I was at my old school we went on a field trip to Daisetsuzan, you know the national park?” My mind fills with images of rugged snowy mountain peaks, vast forests and isolated hot spring fed bath houses. I nod slowly. You get a much higher class of field trip in private education.

“I got caught up in the excitement of the first day hiking, forgot to check my blood sugar and well…” She grimaces at me. “They had to call an ambulance, it was a really big deal because of how far along the trail we were.” She closes her eyes leaning back against the closet.

“What happened?” I ask gently.

“I was taken to hospital, my parents came and picked me up and I spent the rest of the trip at home,” She says quickly, as if pulling off a plaster. Opening her eyes slowly she continues. “After that the school said it could no longer accommodate my unique needs and I was transferred here.”

“I’m sorry,” I say. “Were your parents upset?”

“Once they got past the shock they didn’t mind really, they had been pushing me to go to a school like Yamaku for years.” She stretches out her legs in front of her, leaning back against my closet. “I’ve always been the baby of the family I guess, I’m the youngest and I think it came as a real shock to them when I was diagnosed.”

“Why didn’t you transfer before now, if your parents wanted you to?”

“My older brother is head of one of our overseas offices, my sister is studying in France and I’m just poor diabetic little Ikuno.” She looks at me, a resolute look on her face, “I just wanted to prove to everybody I can do everything they can.”

“So that’s why you obsess so much about perfect scores on homework,” I giggle.

“I think you could use a little of that obsession yourself missy,” She laughs as I concede the point.

“What about your parents, how did they react to?” She gestures to my stump. I think back to her venomous comments in the argument, to how much they hurt. Telling her about my family would give her a lot of dirt to use against me. But I guess that’s what trust is, giving someone else the power to hurt you. And hoping they don’t.

I tell her about mums drinking and my father being in prison. I even tell her about the phone call I received today. I try and make it perfectly clear that I don’t want sympathy, that everything is fine and I don’t really want to talk about it. By the time I’m done talking she’s staring at me open mouthed, I press my finger against the bottom of her chin closing her mouth. She smiles softly at me.

“So think I will be able to steal you back from the council sometimes,” I ask tentatively. She nods earnestly, though I notice a disgruntled look on her face. “What?”

“I did all that paperwork for them and didn’t get so much as a thank you,” she huffs. “In fact all I got was an armful more.”

“Ryouta was right,” I giggle.

“You won’t tell him will you?” She asks a frown creasing her forehead.

“Of course not,” I beam. “What are friends for?”

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 5/4/15)

Posted: Mon Apr 06, 2015 6:23 pm
by AntonSlavik020
Glad to see Ikuno and Miki make up. Also, looking forward to meeting Miki's dad and getting some answers about what exactly happened.