Miki: Fragments (Complete)

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brythain
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by brythain » Tue May 19, 2015 9:06 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
We sing to the flag
Do they do that in Japan?
Yes, they do, in a way. More accurate, they sing it before the flag. I've experienced the singing of the 'Kimigayo' at first hand at school functions. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Wed May 20, 2015 11:45 am

HipsterJoe wrote: Pretty sure you mean specks. I only point it out cause I became amused imagining Miki/Ayumu as a broken pair of eyeglasses drifting through space surrounded by happy glasses.
The imagination is both a beautiful and terrifying thing. :lol:
HipsterJoe wrote:I feel like we just jumped over a huge block of time and could of benefited from spending a bit more time leading up to the inevitable. I would have liked to see more of their relationship as it steamed towards its inevitable conclusion, but I like dwelling on the tragic.
There was a large time gap between chapters 14 - 16, due in part to my own miscalculation and because I wanted their relationship to go smoothly until the end of the school year. Which is a problem. Because things going well is really rather boring to read about, it lacks conflict, and any conflict I could have added would have to be very petty.
I like the idea of retroactively adding in one shots, that don’t effect the plot or have to be excessively long.
brythain wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:
We sing to the flag
Do they do that in Japan?
Yes, they do, in a way. More accurate, they sing it before the flag. I've experienced the singing of the 'Kimigayo' at first hand at school functions. :)
I can only imagine the reaction if you attempted to get british school kids to sing to the flag :roll: :roll: . How did I do with the rest of the scene? It’s good to have an opinion form someone who has actually experienced it.

Thanks for the feedback as always everyone!

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed May 20, 2015 4:12 pm

I can only imagine the reaction if you attempted to get british school kids to sing to the flag :roll: :roll: .
Or German kids for that matter :shock:
The teacher would probably have to face an inquiry ^^°
There was a large time gap between chapters 14 - 16, due in part to my own miscalculation and because I wanted their relationship to go smoothly until the end of the school year. Which is a problem. Because things going well is really rather boring to read about, it lacks conflict, and any conflict I could have added would have to be very petty.
The downside of that of course is, that she experienced a prolonged period of relative happiness which nevertheless did squat for her psychological problems.
Not that happiness always HAS to be a cure for psychological problems - more often than not it isn't - but it is a common trope. So congrats for subverting it :-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Wed May 20, 2015 4:39 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
I can only imagine the reaction if you attempted to get british school kids to sing to the flag :roll: :roll: .
Or German kids for that matter :shock:
The teacher would probably have to face an inquiry ^^°
I would imagine it’s true for most of Europe, sadly.
Mirage_GSM wrote:The downside of that of course is, that she experienced a prolonged period of relative happiness which nevertheless did squat for her psychological problems.
Not that happiness always HAS to be a cure for psychological problems - more often than not it isn't - but it is a common trope. So congrats for subverting it :-)
Well, i’m not sure I was purposefully subverting anything, (even if I would like to take credit for it ;p). I just know from personal experience that suppressing psychological problems causes them to fester, rather than heal; even in an seemingly happy environment.
Also it’s important to remember that Miki lives with a permeant physical reminder of her psychological issues, and though her phantom limp pains have a psychological trigger, they are not treatable in the same way. You can’t work though PLP’s with a therapist for example*.

*That I know of, and even if someone had they would be the exception, not the rule.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Thu May 21, 2015 4:03 am

I would imagine it’s true for most of Europe, sadly.
Well, I don't know about the French :-)
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Thu May 21, 2015 4:11 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
I would imagine it’s true for most of Europe, sadly.
Well, I don't know about the French :-)
Well, you can never tell with the French. :lol:

Also, fun fact, the festival described in the last chapter is a real thing, and happens in the city closest to Yamaku.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by HipsterJoe » Thu May 21, 2015 6:57 pm

Gajzla wrote:
Mirage_GSM wrote:The other problem: Apostrophes - too many in some places, too few in others.
Apostrophes are my arch rival, I will try my best to deal with them in future. I’ve fixed what you pointed out, thanks for doing that. Fancy being a proofreader? :lol:
Also, if you ever need an extra proofreader for grammar, I'd be willing to offer my help. My wife's in grad school and I edit all her papers, so I have a good bit of practice.
Last edited by HipsterJoe on Sat May 23, 2015 1:03 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by NekoDude » Fri May 22, 2015 10:56 pm

Gajzla wrote:There was a large time gap between chapters 14 - 16, due in part to my own miscalculation and because I wanted their relationship to go smoothly until the end of the school year. Which is a problem. Because things going well is really rather boring to read about, it lacks conflict, and any conflict I could have added would have to be very petty.
That's a significant part of why I keep multiple plotlines in flight at any given time. The chances that there's nothing going on in any of them for a substantial time are next to zero. It also allows the plots to collide if one gets stuck somehow and I need a way out of a corner. Instead of an unexpected rescue from some character you've never heard of, I can have the characters in one plot arc bail out the characters in another.
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Sat May 23, 2015 11:49 am

HipsterJoe wrote:Also, if you ever need an extra proofreader for grammar, I'd be willing to offer my help. My wife's in grad school and I edit all her papers, so I have a good bit of practice.
I've sent you a PM. :D
NekoDude wrote:
Gajzla wrote:There was a large time gap between chapters 14 - 16, due in part to my own miscalculation and because I wanted their relationship to go smoothly until the end of the school year. Which is a problem. Because things going well is really rather boring to read about, it lacks conflict, and any conflict I could have added would have to be very petty.
That's a significant part of why I keep multiple plotlines in flight at any given time. The chances that there's nothing going on in any of them for a substantial time are next to zero. It also allows the plots to collide if one gets stuck somehow and I need a way out of a corner. Instead of an unexpected rescue from some character you've never heard of, I can have the characters in one plot arc bail out the characters in another.
It’s a good point like, I worry about having the George RR Martin effect with multiple points of view. That is, when your just getting into a characters story we leave them, and perhaps don’t catch up until much later in the story, or in another book altogether. :(

I don’t plan to have any other PoV’s in Fragments, but its something I’m highly considering for my next story. :wink:

I think overall the time gap was down to my own poor planing as much as anything else, but i’m not to unhappy about it to be honest. Though I can understand why some people wanted more and can only take that as a compliment, after all, if people want to read more of your work it must mean they like it.

Thanks for the feedback. :D

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by NekoDude » Sun May 24, 2015 7:52 pm

Gajzla wrote:It’s a good point like, I worry about having the George RR Martin effect with multiple points of view. That is, when your just getting into a characters story we leave them, and perhaps don’t catch up until much later in the story, or in another book altogether. :(

I don’t plan to have any other PoV’s in Fragments, but its something I’m highly considering for my next story. :wink:
I don't worry about the GRRM effect. In fact I deliberately invoked it by having ugly things happen to an unspecified character right off the bat, then not mentioning it again until roughly 80,000 words later. I was looking for that "oh, that's what that chapter was all about!" moment, and hopefully a whole lot of things that had been confusing or at least seemed out of character suddenly snap into focus. I'm not quite sure I pulled it off, but that's what I was trying to do.

Also might I advise trying a third-person single-omniscient narrator style rather than first-person POVs? This means your story is always given in the third person, but from the perspective of a narrator sitting on a single character's shoulder. This narrator can also read thoughts, but only of the one person on whose shoulder he sits. You can reveal just as much information as in a first-person POV, but switch "camera angle" mid-stream or cut away from the scene without having to worry about organization. (My chapters are now a means of organizing the story into calendar dates.) One of the problems I was having with first-person was that I would have to complete a scene before switching away, because switching required a new chapter, and I was committed to not re-using the same POV without a minimum of two others in between. Thus, I ended up with several instances where chapters overlapped in time and I had to decide in what order to reveal them and hope the reader caught on to the fact that they were being led through the same time period (or sometimes even the same scene) a second time, from a second character. It was an interesting way to do things, but the potential for confusion is very high.

Just like you, I had to work with my chosen format for the duration of the work in progress and switch only at some sort of distinct boundary — in this case, the beginning of a new book. It would have been nice to switch earlier, but I wasn't about to completely overhaul a book that was 80% done to allow for it. The one down side is that you will need some sort of notation to indicate the instances where the camera angle changes. I use a blank line, which I picked up from Kim Stanley Robinson's "Red Mars", but that causes obvious problems in a format where paragraphs are separated by blank lines as is typical of this forum.

I'm not trying to tell you what or how to write, just passing along my experiences — saying "I did it this way and ran into these problems, so now I do it this other way".
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by brythain » Sun May 24, 2015 8:51 pm

So far things are realistic and quite beautiful. Text editing is, yes, a tiny problem. Yamaku is indeed in Sendai, fictionally coterminous with the old Aoba Castle site, according to cpl_crud. Keep going till you get to the end—best advice ever. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Mon May 25, 2015 3:07 pm

NekoDude wrote:Also might I advise trying a third-person single-omniscient narrator style rather than first-person POVs? This means your story is always given in the third person, but from the perspective of a narrator sitting on a single character's shoulder. This narrator can also read thoughts, but only of the one person on whose shoulder he sits. You can reveal just as much information as in a first-person POV, but switch "camera angle" mid-stream or cut away from the scene without having to worry about organization.
This is a good suggestion, though to be honest thinking about switching over for my next project, is quite intimidating. I find myself relying quite heavily on monologues and unreliable narration, even when I think about how a chapter will be structured. I think I would have to play around a bit before I took this path. So you might end up seeing some crazy one shots. :lol:
NekoDude wrote:I'm not trying to tell you what or how to write, just passing along my experiences — saying "I did it this way and ran into these problems, so now I do it this other way".
No, I get that and detailed feedback like this is very helpful, so thank you. :D
brythain wrote:So far things are realistic and quite beautiful. Text editing is, yes, a tiny problem. Yamaku is indeed in Sendai, fictionally coterminous with the old Aoba Castle site, according to cpl_crud. Keep going till you get to the end—best advice ever. :)
Thanks for the kind words, and as you say, best advice ever. :D :D

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.16 Posted 19th May 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Sat May 30, 2015 4:23 am

So after 41K words and 3000 views (Yay!), I’m at the point where all the normal people start their stories. Much thanks to Mirage_GSM for his proofreading work. I hope you enjoy and as always feedback is very much appreciated.

The Truth Will Set You Free

“Another set of stairs is inhumane,” Ryota pants.

“How can you be out of breath already?” I ask incredulously.

“I don’t… do… mornings!” he exclaims taking the final step onto the top floor. Our third year of school is barely a month old, yet I’ve found myself settling into an almost robotic routine. Get up, shower, walk to class, daydream through lessons. Do I have anything else in my life? Oh yeah, four afternoon runs, two track club meetings and one therapy session.

Thinking of therapy appointments I have one to look forward to this evening, Great. Just great.

“You could come running with me?” I ask, frowning at his sweaty brow. Ikuno giggles beside me, perhaps a little cruelly.

“I don’t want to make you look bad Miki, it’s a kindness.” He laughs, pulling Ikuno into a disgustingly public display of affection. I guess most people would throw him dirty looks for that, then again people stare at us anyway, might as well be because he’s getting some. Leaving them to it I continue into the classroom.

Surprisingly the only person to beat me is the timid purple haired girl who sits at the back of the class. Hanako I think her name is? She has her face buried in a book, I’ve never really spoken to her. She is intriguing though, why is she so afraid?

Students slowly file in, taking their places, the seating plan identical to our second year classroom the floor below. There’s a thud from my neighbour as her blue haired head hits the desk, making me wince. I watch with passing interest as she blinks confusedly waking up again after only a few seconds, she catches my eye and I give her a comforting smile, before losing her to another round of sleep. I have no idea what her condition is, I could ask I guess, but I don’t really know her.

Mutou is late as usual, it’s odd for a teacher to be tardier than his students. I do often wonder if in his dreamlike state he simply floats from classroom to classroom, looking for one without a teacher. Eventually he arrives complete with messy hair, bloodshot eyes and a new student? Well there goes my dibs on the empty desk by the window.

So I wonder whats wrong with him.


No, no that is a bad way to think. Our new classmate is stood in front of us, looking like a noose is about to be tied around his neck. He walked in, so no leg problems.

Nervously he glances around the room. So he’s not blind. His eyes flicker as he spots my arm and Molly’s legs, or lack thereof. So first time at the cripple zoo, interesting. Finally his wandering gaze settles on Misha’s violently pink hair, a new feature for a new school year, I have no idea what possessed her to dye it.

“Class, we have a new student joining us today,” Mutou announces snapping out of his morning daze. I wonder what it’s like to wake up, only to discover your teaching high school science.

“This is Hisao Nakai,” he says half-heartedly, looking at the subject of his introduction as if trying to find some fascinating fact to mention. Giving up he simply hands him a lump of chalk to write his name on the blackboard.

Hisao huh? I don’t bother to clap with everyone else, he already looks scared half to death, a loud leg slap might finish him off. With an irritating scrape he pulls out his chair and sits down, only to be assaulted almost instantly by everyone’s favourite class rep. I guess if you get thrown into a shark tank the bull shark will be the first for a bite, can you even get bull shark?

“What are big male sharks called?” I ask Ikuno quietly as Mutou starts to drone on about something.

“I have no idea? Bruce?” Ikuno shrugs, looking confused. “Miki,” she pauses, I get the feeling I’m not going to like what she says next.

“Yeah?” I ask, my eyes darting to the blackboard to make sure we’re safe to talk.

“If we pair up to work, will you help? Because otherwise I’m going to find someone else.” Her cheeks are a little flushed, I instantly feel bad. I’ve been relying almost completely on Ikuno for keeping my schoolwork up, she understood to start with, but I guess there’s only so much she can take.

“Yeah,” I nod quickly. “Yeah, I’m sorry.”

With a smile Ikuno gestures to the front, we should be listening.

— — —

As it turns out we do have group work, true to my word I do my best to help. I don’t know if I got anything right, but Ikuno seems happy enough. Eating lunch with her and Ryouta my eyes are drawn to my new classmate, who has been taken hostage by two thirds of the student council, and doesn’t look overly happy about it.

Why is he so interesting? I don’t think I’ve paid this much attention since, well since last year. Somehow he’s come along, a mystery wrapped in a school uniform, and woken me from my robotic slumber. I have no idea how long it will last, but I like the distraction.

“Something fatal, tragically fatal,” Ryouta says with a mouth full of food, following my gaze.

“Ryouta!” Ikuno gasps, looking up from her finger pricking routine.

“You think?” I ask, “Why would you come to school if you were going to die?”

“Okay, how about something degenerative, like he’s going to gradually forget how to walk?”

“Could be,” I shrug. “Would you come to cripple school before you’re crippled though?”

“Miki!” Ikuno rounds on me now. “Honestly you two are so mean. He’s not a cripple and neither are you. I happen to think he’s kinda cute.”

“You do?” Ryouta sputters, his cheeks reddening.

“I never said he wasn’t… okay looking.” I turn my attention back to Hisao Nakai, could he be about to keel over at any moment. I guess there’s a whole memorial garden as testament that those kinds of people do come here. Poor kid, dying and now stuck with Shizune and Misha.

“You still shouldn’t make light of his condition, or anybody’s condition for that matter.” Ikuno says, packing away her supplies.

“You’re right, I’m sorry.” I look down at my half eaten lunch suddenly very hungry. “I’m just interested is all.”

———

One thing I’ve learned since coming to Yamaku is that disabled kids are just as keen to get out of class as their counterparts in the real world, so when the bell rings there is a sudden screeching of chairs being forced across wooden floors. I stand up slowly, waiting to see what Hisao will do, unfortunately he is still in the grasp of the diabolic duo.

“Ikuno, I need your help,” I say quickly, turning to her.

“Can’t you at least try the homework first? I have to do it too, you know.”

“Its not that!” I say urgently. They look like they are about to start dragging him away with them.

“I need your help rescuing the new boy.”

She raises her eyebrows at me. “Rescue him?”

“Yes.” How is this a difficult concept. “You need to distract the student council, somehow.”

“Why me?” she asks, looking over to where Misha and Shizune are signing furiously. I bet they are discussing how to hide the body.

“Because you’re my best friend, and you’re on the council, and I will owe you a favour.”

The moment’s silence while she makes her mind up is agonising. I’ve not felt this desperation for something to happen since before Ayumu’s graduation.

“Fine,” Ikuno says resignedly. I knew I could count on her.

“Hi Ikuchan~!” Misha voice carries across the room, causing me to wince. I forgot she gave Ikuno that stupid nickname, whatever is wrong with Misha is far worse than missing a hand.

“Hello,” Ikuno says slowly, apparently no keener on the pet name. “Shizune, I’m having problems with the budget reports for the festival, can we go over them?”

There’s an uncomprehending look on the pink haired girl’s face, before her hands burst into a blur of rapid sign language. How can anyone keep up with that?

“Ikuchan, that’s not good at all!” tone and inflection are completely missing in Misha’s translation, making her scolding completely surreal. “Budget reports are very important! But we were going to show Hicchan around.”

Hicchan? He has a nickname? He’s been here less than a day and she’s given him a nickname? What the hell?

“I can show the new boy around if you’re busy?” Like a noble and mighty knight I stride into the conversation, Misha looks so stunned she forgets to translate. A loud impatient finger snap draws her attention and gets her back on course.

“Thats a great idea~!” Misha exclaims. By the way Shizune is glaring at me I doubt that was her translation. She likes him? Or she likes controlling people - the latter seems more likely.

“Shicchan says it’s up to Hicchan, and-“ Misha frowns slightly, “She says she’s glad you’ve found time in your busy schedule to help your classmates, it’s only taken you a year.”

Ignoring the pair of them I turn to Hisao. Shizune just loves to argue, according to Ikuno anyway. Looking completely lost he’s kinda cute, I smile at him, gesturing with my head to the door.

I nod a silent thank you to Ikuno, before leaving with Hisao, who follows me out of the room like a lost puppy. On closer inspection I can’t see anything wrong with him, messy chestnut hair, eyes such a light shade of brown they are almost peach. No, on the surface he is fine.

“Oh, sorry, my name is Miki Miura.” I forgot to introduce myself in the excitement of saving him.

“Hisao Nakai,” he says almost robotically. We make an awkward bow to each other.

“I saw you spend quite a bit of time with the council today, thought you might like a break,” I say, heading down the stairs. He smiles ever so slightly, but it could have been my imagination.

“They seem welcoming,” he says softly.

Oh I bet they do.

“So what did you want to see?” I might not have thought this out too well, I have my appointment soon, wherever he wants to go I’m going to have to leave him there. If it was any other therapist session I could cancel.

“Well, I was supposed to see the nurse after class.”

Now that’s interesting.


“As it happens I was heading for the medical centre myself,” I say. His eyes drift to my stump, before flying quickly back to my face. Bless. Together we leave the main building and head out under a light afternoon sun.

“So what do you like to do Nakai?” I pause. “Or do you prefer Hicchan.”

“Hisao is fine,” he says a little testily, “Reading mostly.”

“Bookworm huh?” I smile, thinking about Hanako with her head constantly in a book. Perhaps I could nudge him in her direction, could be worth it just to see the look on Shizune’s face if she’s outclassed by someone with pathological shyness. Have I really become this bitter, or was I always like this and Ayumu distracted me?

“Well, I think there’s a library in the main building.” I say, remembering Ryouta showing me a pair of polished wooden doors an age ago.

With a nod he smiles, opening the door to the medical centre and gesturing for me to go inside. The brick corridor echoes with our footsteps, as we cover the short distance to the open door of the nurse’s office, inside the room seems to be empty.

“Good afternoon Miss Miura-“

He speaks from behind us, making me jump out of my skin, Hisao laughs softly. Damn Nurse! With a frown I introduce Hisao to the blue haired practitioner, who smiles politely, grabbing a file from his desk.

“Oh yes, and you’re here to see-“

“The hand doctor,” I cut him off quickly before he can reveal too much about me.

He laughs turning his attention to Hisao, an eyebrow raised. For his part my new classmate accepts the information with no protest, though he does look a little confused by the laugh. He’s in for a treat spending time with the nurse.

“Afraid you get the boring old nurse today, Mr. Nakai, follow me.”

With a long look back at me Hisao follows the nurse into his sterile office. I suddenly feel very alone, a distraction was only ever going to be a temporary solution, I guess however briefly I was trying to feel carefree again.

Resigning myself to what I imagine is going to be a very unpleasant hour I set off towards Dr. Ueda’s office. I’m a little early, and just as I reach the door it opens, revealing Hanako, whose eyes instantly widen. From this range it’s hard to miss just how horrific her scaring is. I can’t even imagine how much getting those hurt.

“Oh, sorry,” I say, trying to smile at her. I kind of guessed she was in therapy, this just confirms it.

“I… I… I’m…” She splutters. Inside the room I hear Dr Ueda rise from his recliner.

“I’msorryIgottago!” she says all at once, rushing past me and down the corridor, her school bag swinging wildly. What the hell? Should I go after her? Apologise more completely, I didn’t mean to scare her. In fact I’ve developed a bit of a soft spot for my skittish classmate.

“She will be okay Miki, just easily startled I’m afraid.” Dr. Ueda, guides me into his office. I wish I could ask about her, but it would be a betrayal of trust. I would hate having the doctor share anything I told him.

— — —

We sit in silence, the only sound a ticking clock, waiting for our guest who appears to be running late. Perhaps they’ve forgotten all about this, I can hope.

“You don’t need to talk right now if you’re not ready, remember this is an official statement, you can’t change it,” Dr. Ueda says not unkindly, breaking the silence.

“I know,” I sigh, “But putting it off won’t change anything. I’m ready.”

There’s a knock on the door just as I finish my sentence. Getting up quickly the doctor hurries to answer it. He seems as nervous as I am, failing completely at his normal unreadable act. A tall official looking man is led into the room, all perfect black hair and neat pinstriped suit. He’s introduced, but I don’t catch his name, nor do I particularly care what it is. A police badge shines on his suited chest. The time has come for my official witness statement.

There is some light and pointless small talk. I feel like screaming at them to carry on with it, to stop dragging things out. I was ready to talk on my first day back at Yamaku, as I told the good doctor. But apparently it takes this long to set up a meeting, Tatsuo’s death clearly not a priority case.

“Right Miss Miura, I understand this is a difficult subject, so just go slowly and tell me everything you can remember.” The detective’s voice is reassuring at least. I need to remember that as far as he knows I’m a victim not a culprit.

Slowly, my voice shaking I tell him my story. It’s harder than I thought, and my voice softens to almost a whisper when I talk about Tatsuo, how I remember calling to him but getting no answer, but somehow I make it through. With a final note added to his paperwork the suited detective looks up.

“Thank you for that, if possible could you clarify a few points?”

I nod, hoping I never have to talk again. Burning horribly I push my stump into my stomach, the phantom feels angry, desperate to make it’s presence known.

“Mr Tekahashi picked you out from a crowd seemingly at random, but later expressed a romantic interest in you?”

I confirm with a tiny nod.

“From there his driving seemed to become more erratic, you believed he was trying to show off or impress you? So you removed your seatbelt, planning to escape the vehicle when an opportunity presented itself.”

“Thats right,” I mummer.

“So just to be clear at the time of the accident, Mr Takahashi was in control the vehicle?”

“Y… yes.” Please let him believe me. “I tried to grab the wheel to steer away from the cars, but…” Trailing off I look at my stump, still clutched to my abdomen.

“Do you remember who the first responder was after the accident? Who kicked out the windscreen for example?”

I shake my head. “I don’t remember anything after hitting the parked car, I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay Miss Miura, you have done very well, I think we can now safely close this case.”

Leaving me to sit mutely the two men make some small talk as various sheets of paperwork are compiled and signed, I end up signing my own name more than once, though what for I could not say. Eventually with everything in order and subjects for polite conversation exhausted the detective is shown to the door.

“You did very well Miki,” the doctor’s voice is back to its normal level tone, apparently he’s as relieved as I am that this is all over. A bit of a change from when he was talking about testifying against me the first day we met.

“I just told him what happened,” I say, taking a sip of icy water, hoping it will calm the twisting snakes in my stomach. “C… can I still see you?” I ask, my voice shaking. Despite everything I’ve grown to trust my therapist. His unbiased opinions and the comforting environment have become regular fixtures of my week.

“Oh, of course you can Miki, I’m sure we can find much to talk about in your last year at Yamaku.”

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Last edited by Gajzla on Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:31 am, edited 3 times in total.

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misiek100020
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.17 Posted 30th May 2015)

Post by misiek100020 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:41 pm

I really like the way this is going

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Gajzla
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.17 Posted 30th May 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Thu Jun 04, 2015 11:38 am

@misiek100020: Thanks, me too ^-^

Thanks again to Mirage_GSM for his help.

Enjoy.


Preparations

“Look, all I’m saying is they are totally doing it!” Ryouta laughs, stretching out on the grass, hand behind his head.

“What evidence could you possibly have?” Ikuno groans, looking up from her school work.

I watch this little debate from the comfort of my normal spot leant against the gnarled oak, the sun has made a rare appearance, and though not especially warm, the smell of fresh-cut grass and the blooming of new life is too hard to resist on this boring Friday.

“Well, they are both in the newspaper club,” Ryouta says, as if this explains everything.

“So?” I say, fiddling with my bandages.

“Well it means they are artsy types, and you know those types of girls are into experimenting, plus I hear they work late nights sometimes,” He laughs excitedly. “I bet that printing press has seen some things.”

“Just because two girls are with each other late at night doesn’t mean they are in love. Me and Miki spend nights with each other all the time,” Ikuno returns to her book, confident in her argument. Ryouta on the other hand sits up, a smirk on his face.

“And you’ve never thought, well since we’re both here we might as well?”

“Ryouta, if Ikuno and I were sleeping together do you honestly think you would get a look in?” I say with a grin.

“Fine, fine you make a good point, no one could possibly look at you once they’ve had me.”

“Has she had you?” I ask curiously.

“No!” Ikuno yells, making us jump. Reading between the lines, that was a yes, ha.

“Look Miki you are missing the point, those two in your class are totally batting for the other team, and I can prove it.” Ryouta says triumphantly.

I raise my eyebrow at him. “Yeah?”

“You’re single, right?”

Oh I see where this is going. Shame this spot is so comfortable, or I would have hit him.

“Okay,” I say, smiling.

“You’ll ask one of them out?” He sounds amazed.

“Sure, if you do a little thing for me.” Ikuno is sitting bolt upright now, her homework abandoned. “I’ve always wondered if the track captain was inclined that way. Why don’t you ask him out?”

His eyes grow to the size of saucers, turning quickly to Ikuno, who is giggling into her hands.

“I’m afraid I have a girlfriend so I can’t, sorry Miki.”

“I d… don’t mind,” Ikuno can barely speak as she breaks down laughing.

Ryouta just stutters, looking between us. I think we might have broken him, this is beautiful. A bell rings somewhere in the distance recalling us from lunch, has it really been an hour?

“Shoot, I need to get these budget reports to the council room,” Ikuno says, giving me a dirty look. Heroes shouldn’t resent their noble sacrifices, someone should tell her. “Can you tell Miss Mizushima where I am?”

“Sure,” I say, getting to my feet to walk back to class with Ryouta, while Ikuno dashes off in the other direction. I suppose I should feel bad, but I’m sure I will end up paying her back sooner or later. Plus at least Hisao knows that there is more to Yamaku than presidents and pink drills.

— — —

Leaving Ryouta to head down to his classroom I stride into mine. At first glance the room seems empty, but on closer inspection Hanako sits at her desk, head in a book as always. The sound of her pages turning is the only thing intruding on the gentle breeze rustling the trees outside the open windows. I like spring.

Deciding I owe her a better apology than I was able to give last night in the medical building corridor I wander over to her, clearing my throat softly so as not to startle her. I don’t want her throwing herself out of the window in fright - I'm already responsible for one death. No, we are not thinking about that.

“H…hello?” her timid voice brings me back to earth with a bump, her book is lowered, but she still holds her hand across the scarred side of her face.

“I’m sorry for startling you last night, in the medical building.” I trail off a little lamely, perhaps this wasn’t the best idea after all.

“It’s… It’s o… okay,” she says, not meeting my gaze. It doesn’t sound like it's okay, but she might just talk like this all the time.

“Do… Do you s… see Dr… Ueda as well?”

It's an interesting question. Of course she must know I do and is simply confirming out of politeness, but I haven’t told anyone but Ikuno that I see the therapist, and even then I try and be as vague as possible. I honestly feel bad taking his time with my stupid problems when Hanako is clearly in need of real help.

“I do,” I say softly, as Molly clunks into the room on her prosthetic legs, throwing us a curious look. “Look, I know you won’t, but could you not tell anyone about where I was last night?” I ask urgently.

She nods quickly, as more students start to file into the room. “Thanks,” I whisper, rushing back to my chair, inquisitive eyes on my back.

— — —

I stand by the door, waiting for Ikuno who is having a heated discussion with Shizune or Misha. I assume it’s the latter, though. Hisao sits between them, apparently not sure if it’s safe to move yet. Then again he seems to spend a lot of time with the council, some of it disturbingly by choice.

I’m snapped out of my daydreaming when I notice Ikuno waving me over. Oh this isn’t going to end well. I consider running for it, but I would only get a hyperactive earful from Misha, via Shizune. With a resigned breath I make my way to their desk.

“I don’t have time to do it, but Mikichan here will be more than happy to help,” Ikuno says smoothly, throwing me a dazzling smile worthy of her boyfriend.

“Ikuchan and Mikichan! Wahahaha~!” Misha looks like she’s about to burst with joy.

“Mikichan?” I glower at Ikuno, who giggles infuriatingly.

“I thought you might be jealous of my nickname,” she says, feigning innocence.

Shizune slaps her hand on the desk with a sound like a gunshot. For someone who’s deaf she’s very loud. Misha, regaining at least some control of her unique style of laughter turns to her supervisor. Carer, mistress, what's the right word?

“Sorry! Shicchan says there are stalls that must be painted, but everyone in the student council is busy!”

Oh I should have ran when I had the chance.

“But it will be super fun because you get to paint them with Hicchan~!” I think she might have burst one of my eardrums, was she born with no volume control? Or did she lose it in some kind of tragic accident?

“Hisao has been roped into this as well?” I say, looking at him. With a thrill I see he’s looking perkier than just a moment ago. Because he gets to work with me? He shrugs, getting unsteadily to his feet. I don’t want a relationship with him, but it’s nice to be appreciated.

“Miki! Hicchan is helping because he wants to do the best for his new class, you could learn from him not to be so lazy!”

I wonder if Shizune knows all her insults are said in the same tone you say happy birthday... I guess not. Throwing her a deep bow I retreat from the classroom, Hisao in silent tow, he’s not so much a puppy, more like one of those old dogs that stumble after their owners half-heartedly.

Withdrawing my phone I scrawl a quick text message. “Mikichan knows where you sleep at night! Beware!”

A few moments later I get a reply from Ikuno.

[Ikuno: <3 <3 <3 <3 Sleep over tonight? Tell me about your date?????? <3 <3 <3]

I grin to myself, texting back a quick affirmation. Unlike my friends I can send a text message that contains just text. Realising I have no idea where I'm supposed to be going I turn to Hisao.

“So what are we supposed to be doing?” I ask, trying to sound sweet. The distraction still seems to be working, lucky me.

“Painting stalls, outside the fire escape I think.” he says, following me as I make a sudden direction change.

“What fun, how come you're doing this, though?” I say, frowning a little at his deadpan tone.

Again he shrugs apathetically. “Didn’t have anything better to do, other than go back to my room and read.”

I push open the fire escape door that has been left wedged ajar. So fire safety is not high up on the student council priority list. That figures. A sudden image of Shizune commanding Misha into a burning room to save some unimportant paperwork flashes across my mind.

As I step outside, I am temporarily blinded by the sun's glare, but after I've blinked a few times, I get my first look at the scale of the problem. Three wooden stalls stand built but unpainted, each has a pot of what I hope is the desired colour and a brush. Well there goes my afternoon.

“Take your pick I guess,” I say forlornly. I will give Ikuno this, her vengeance is swift and without mercy.

In relative silence we uncap the paint pots and start the laborious task. At least this is somewhat relaxing. I’ve always liked seemingly repetitive tasks like painting, laundry or cleaning for taking my mind off things.

Before long we have finished a stall each and are about to get to work on the third, Hisao has rolled up his sleeves, a bead of perspiration on his reddened face. It’s not that hot is it? In fact, with the sun on its slow descent below the horizon and the birds mourning the end of the day in their song, the air has cooled significantly.

“You okay?” I ask, the first words spoken in well over two hours, while I struggle with a paint pot. Stupid hand, stupid people leaving stupid paint pots to get stupidly sealed with paint, gah!

“You need a hand?” he asks.

“Why do you have a spare?” I reply distractedly, not looking up, I refuse to be beaten by honeybee yellow.

There’s an unnaturally long silence, I glance around quickly to make sure he’s not evaporated, or melted or something. He’s looking at me, his mouth slightly open and eyes wide. Oh, I’ve been there before, it’s kinda cute really.

“It’s okay, I know what you meant.” I smile, trying to reassure him.

“I’m sorry, really sorry,” he says mournfully, looking unsure what to do with himself.

“I said don’t worry.” I frown. Come on distraction, you were doing so well!

“An extra hand would be helpful with this though,” I say, giving up.

“Oh, sure,” he says, brightening up a little. With three hands we manage to pry the lid off the can, and set about painting opposite ends of the wooden facade. I’ve missed my afternoon run by the looks of it, unless I go in my school uniform. Tempting, but the short skirt puts me off, you never know who’s watching.

“So, you a country kid?” I ask. Might as well make conversation.

“No, I grew up in the city.” Looking up at the sky he seems to contemplate something, before continuing. “It’s hard to sleep here, it’s too quiet.”

“I know what you mean,” I say nodding. “I used to be able to hear the night trains from my window. It felt really strange not hearing them here, but you get used to it.”

“I don’t know if I'm ever going to fit in here,” he admits, focussing on his brush strokes.

“You’ll adapt, just treat people like they’re people, can’t go wrong there.”

With a nod he continues painting, I don’t know how to describe him. It’s like he’s lost something, something important that he’s given up trying to find. I can’t even truly say what’s wrong with him, the diagnoses game has rather lost its appeal since he was a nameless face in a classroom, now he means something. Can I even help him? I can barely help myself.

“Are you going to the festival?” I ask, trying to sound innocent. I’m not asking him on a date, but people read too much into things.

“I might,” he says, followed by another infuriating shrug. “Might just catch up with some reading.”

“You can read anytime,” I tease. Cripple petting zoo comes but once a year.

“Well, I don’t have anyone to go with, I could ask Shizune and Misha I guess.”

“Or you could go with me?” I say, looking right at him. I have no clue why I just did that, but letting him go with the council feels like a grave mistake.

“Oh, yeah sure,” he says, for a moment a smile flickers across his face. Well, that’s an improvement at least. With our plans mostly settled we finish painting the stall in silence, the light beginning to die as we finish the last brush stroke. At least this should keep Shizune off my back.

After retrieving our schoolbags, his new and stiff, mine old and worn, we head to the dorms. The street lights that illuminate the paths around Yamaku flicker to life, throwing orange light in wide interspersed circles along our route. Outside his building we bid each other goodnight formally, I watch him retreat inside, he looks tired, but somehow more alive than I've seen him.

With a resigned sigh I head for my own room. Ikuno will be asking questions into the small hours, determined to pull me out of my Ayumu spiral and set my sights on Hisao, would that be such a bad thing? No one will compare to Ayumu, and I'm betraying him to even think that.

Not that I even deserve love after what I've done.
For the last twenty or so hours I’ve tried very hard not to think too much about my lie. I had to tell it, I can’t go to prison.

The fact remains though that I'm responsible for taking a life, It’s not something I’m going to be able to come to terms with, I just have to live as this tainted mess; I should be alone.

Climbing the stairs to my room I try to think about something, anything else. I don’t feel guilty - or at least I don’t feel as guilty as I should. I killed somebody for fuck sake. Justifying my actions to myself has become like a force field, shielding me from my crime, but I am just fooling myself. The time will come when I have to take responsibility.

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