Spectral Letters and Other Stories [08/28/2019]

WORDS WORDS WORDS
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Feurox
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Re: Ekephrasis/ American Spirit 01/08/2019

Post by Feurox » Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:56 pm

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:50 am
This one contains some mature themes, but after a discussion with some of the other writers on this forum [] I think a specific warning may be unnecessary.
I have to agree, because even after rereading that almost-H-scene a few times, I have no idea what is supposed to have happened while she... blacked out? Considering Takashi seems to have left before anything worthy of censorship happened, I'm not even sure what the warning should be about...
I'll admit to being a bit more cautious here than perhaps necessary. As PKMNThiefChris mentioned, I was trying to imply sexual domestic abuse triggering an episode. Evidently I failed in my attempt to be simultaneously subtle and understandable. Either way I played it a bit safe with the warning, as I think is probably the right approach.
Mirage_GSM wrote:
Fri Jan 18, 2019 10:50 am

Also you still have a tendency to use passive participles when gerund would be needed instead (leant instead of leaning, sat instead of sitting etc.).

Example:
"I'm leaning against the wall" means just that.
"I'm leant against the wall" means somebody picked me up, carried me to the wall and leant me against it.

Even if the intended meaning is obvious in most cases it's kind of jarring to read something like that :lol:


I got really confused by this - It isn't something I was familiar with. I suppose it's just never sounded wrong to say leant or sat, but again, something I'll have to keep an eye out for. I am surprised you found it jarring though, I hadn't even noticed it myself! :lol: Thanks anyway, I'll keep an eye out for it in future.

Thank you for all the feedback everyone!

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A Long Way Down - Competition Entry

Post by Feurox » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:08 am

If you like listening to music whilst you read, I'd recommend 'South London Forever' by Florence + the Machine, or 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' by The Verve. Many thanks.


A Long Way Down


“Excuse me, are you alright?”

Above, cutting though the amber sky, is a plane, the sound of its engine a dull roar and the white trail behind it like a tail stretching out forever.

On my right, a tall blonde girl stands rigid, like she’s made of marble. She’s looking a little beyond me, and there’s a look of concern and, I think, amusement on her face. I recognise her from somewhere I’m sure.

She’s woken me up. Inconsiderate of her really, that was a good dream.

Still there are worse ways to be woken, I’ve had plenty of those. A kick, falling out of a chair and onto the floor, the sound of screaming…

“Miss Suzuki?”

“Yeah, uh, sorry, I’m okay thank you.”

The blonde girl looking down at me, well, looking down to my right, gives a relieved smile. It looks genuine, even though we don’t really know each other. From the cane in her left hand, and the cloudy look in her eyes, I’d guess she was blind. I roll over and push myself up from the gravel.

“My apologies for waking you, I didn’t expect anyone else to be on the roof.”

I wasn’t expecting to be woken up when I fell asleep, but then, I wasn’t expecting to fall asleep to begin with. My shoulder gives a satisfying pop as I stretch out, and the girl watc – uh, listens, to my wakening routine. One thing strikes me as strange though…

“How do you know my name?”

The girl’s eyebrows furrow briefly. I recognise her, of course I do, she’s got quite distinctive looks and I’ve seen her around campus before, but this is the first time we’ve met in person. I’d remember if it wasn’t, I think. The slightly annoyed look on her face vanishes, and that smile returns.

“My name is Lilly Satou, I’m the class representative for class 3-2.”

I mean, that name sounds familiar. She looks familiar… and yet the bells aren’t ringing. Being up close at least allows me to realise how tall she is, something I hadn’t noticed just from seeing her around the halls. I feel like I’m standing next to my boyfriend; if I don’t look up, I’d be staring straight into her chest. I think the lack of a reply bothers her, as that furrowing brow returns again, and she coughs into her clenched fist.

“Of course, sorry I should have known. I’m Suzu Suzuki, but I guess you already knew that…” Why would I say something like that? I should smack myself. “It’s a pleasure to meet you properly.”

“So you are and so it is,” she responds, turning away from me and ambling towards the bench by the chain-link fence to my right. Even though I can’t see from this angle I’ve got a feeling she’s smiling again.

“So, what’s up?”

She turns back to me, this time covering her mouth with her hand, like she’s surprised or something. She’s pretty attractive from this angle; the orange light of the sunset makes her look a bit like an angel, especially with the wind blowing her hair and rattling the fence behind her. She smells like roses and rain somehow.

After sitting down on the seat and composing herself, she giggles, half-heartedly. I don’t have any plans until the student council have finished with my boyfriend, so I don’t see any harm in sitting with her. I make my way over and join her, leaning back into the chain-link. She doesn’t object and continues.

“Is it really that obvious?” She asks, confirming my suspicion.

“Well, it’s six-o-clock in the evening and you’re up on the roof alone.” I check my watch, it’s actually closer to seven. “I’ve never seen you up here, and I’m something of a regular.” I add with a laugh, which makes her smile a bit.

“I’ve been up here a few times; the roof is a nice quiet place to go at lunch. I’ve found it to be a lovely spot to think.”

“It’s a good place to get away from people,” I add, smiling and looking out through the links. “Unless those two are here that is.”

Lilly immediately understands who I’m talking about and lets out a girlish giggle, one that feels orchestrated.

“Yes, Miss Ibarzaki and Tezuka can be a bit,” there’s pause as she choses her words carefully, she definitely seems the type, “fast-paced.” This girl seems to know everyone.

“It isn’t lunch.” I add, taking her off guard and stopping her giggling. Her lips curl at the corners, and she looks away, into the treeline behind her, not that she can see them, I guess. Maybe that was a bit blunt and mean.

“That’s right,” she sighs, “to tell the truth, I’m postponing some class representative reports,” I think she wanted to laugh as she said that, but the smile on her face is no way near the same as before. After a while she stops pretending, and looks back out into the wind. “I want to enjoy it, one final time.”

“Final?” Aren’t student elections ages away? And what kind of person enjoys student rep work?

There’s a long silence, and a gust of wind. Despite all the colours of the treeline behind her, the green, the amber, the golden light, everything feels monochrome in this silence. I don’t know what I’m expecting her to say, is she terminally ill? Is she transferring schools? Has she been recruited for some shady government programme?

Lilly doesn’t seem like the type of person who reveals things unless she wants too, but we don’t really know each other. Does she want to talk about something that she can’t with her friends?

Does she even have any friends? She clearly knows a lot of people, but I don’t know if they’re her friends…

I’ve seen her before!

Of course, how stupid am I! She’s the one who shows up for Hanako, the shy truant girl in my homeroom class! I knew I recognised her from somewhere. Although, I can’t imagine she’s great company, maybe that’s why Lilly likes the quiet of the rooftop.

“I’m afraid I’m leaving Yamaku tomorrow to live with my parents in Scotland.” Her sad tone makes it seem like she’s not exactly thrilled about the prospect of leaving. I don’t know why though, living abroad sounds amazing!

“That’s so cool!” From the sigh she gives me, I think that was the wrong thing to say. She turns away from me again, her grip on the bench we’re sat on tightening. She immediately composes herself.

“I don’t know if ‘cool’ describes it. I’m very excited but I’ll miss Yamaku and my friends dearly.” Well that’s more than reasonable, but I doubt someone who was ‘excited’ would look so thoroughly frustrated when they said it.

“You don’t sound excited…”

“I’m sorry?”

Maybe I over-stepped there, her smile seems to be less, ‘go on’ and more ‘I will end you for your comment’. Before I can back pedal, she pinches the bridge of her nose and the annoyed look is replaced by a pained one.

“I don’t, do I?”

Why is she telling me this? Does she really have no one she can talk to? Why now?

I think she’s content to sit in silence now. That’s fine, I certainly don’t know what to say anyway. Both of us lean back into the chain-link, a little resigned and a little sad. I don’t understand her and Lilly doesn’t seem to mind. I’m not sure it matters I’m here, but maybe, hopefully she’s glad I am. After a silence that stretches just past comfortable, she pats and straightens her skirt.

“Excuse me, I overstepped. Please forgive me.” She gives me a nod and rises from the bench, the fence rattling behind her in the wind.

I should probably say something, but I don’t know what. It isn’t really my place, and I’m not even sure what to say. I look back out over the tree-tops.

Another plane, another trailing leash of white slicing the amber cleanly in half.

We both watch it go, well, she listens, but we both stay silent and still as it passes overhead. As she turns to leave, the door from the stairwell opens and a smiling familiar face greets me.

“I thought I’d find you h – Lilly?”

Right on time, my boyfriend appears at the door, the second angel to grace the rooftop.

Lilly looks totally surprised.

“That wouldn’t be Hisao Nakai would it?”

Huh? How does she know him?

“Lilly?” Hisao looks equally stunned, but at least he’s not giggling like the blonde girl beside me. “I’m sorry, I was only expecting Suzu to be here.”

“That’s quite alright, I was actually just leaving to finish my class report.”

“Ah,” Hisao says, rubbing the back of his neck. It’s a nervous tick, I think. He did the same when he asked me out a month ago. “I’m sure Shizune would want me to say something about you slacking,” They share a dry laugh. I guess he has some history with Lilly from his student council work. “Given the circumstances, I don’t think that’s necessary. How are you holding up?”

Lilly makes her way over towards the door as she speaks, looking a little brighter actually despite the earlier pervasive sadness that lingered over our conversation. I’d be jealous, but I think she might just be glad to talk to someone who isn’t me.

“I’m doing well, all things considering. How’s the council work coming along? I’m sure Shizune is working you to the bone.”

Hisao slumps his shoulders over and laughs again, this time meeting my eyes and turning towards me more.

Yes Hisao, I’m here too.



Maybe I am the jealous type.

“That’s actually why I’m here. I’m on a recruitment mission.”

“Oh?” A sinister smile plays on Lilly’s lips, like she’s danced this dance before.

Oh no.

Oh no no no .

“No.” I think it’s best to nip that in the bud nice and clearly. My response earns another laugh from Lilly, who giggles with her fingers delicately over her lips again.

Hisao closes the distance between us, passing Lilly half way who listens curiously as he passes. He pats me on the head, so I give him my biggest frown. I don’t know how much of this Lilly is following, but she seems to be enjoying herself, and Hisao is certainly playing it up with the ‘bop’ noise he makes with every pat.

“I know I said recruitment, but I actually meant enslavement.” He says, the Student Council worm inside his head taking full control apparently.

“No.” I say again. Earning me a sigh and a smile. The smile is contagious. Damn it.

Under his breath, and with a hint of defeat in his voice, he continues, “I’ll buy you chocolate.”

“Warmer.” I reply. Lilly appears to be loving this.

“And….” Hisao takes a minute to think of a suitable trade. That’s fine with me, I’m not going anywhere, and apparently neither is Lilly. “I’ll do your share for the Physics group project.”

That’s a tempting offer, but I’m not sure it’s worthy of my soul. The last time I helped out with Student Council work, I was the subject of a disproportionately large amount of criticism from Shizune. Most of it about my character, rather than the quality of the actual work.

“Fine, and I’ll do Molly’s share too.” I guess I was considering the deal for longer than I thought. I’m tempted to just wait this out and get even more concessions, but that seems unnecessarily cruel. His warm smile spreads to my own, and I think I’m blushing.

“Deal.” Molly owes me bigfor this.

“Great!” He grabs both my hands and nearly yanks me off of the bench and into a quick hug before letting go and walking ahead to the stair well. “Are you heading to the council room as well Lilly?”

“I am, would you two care to join me?”

Isn’t she technically joining us? Or, since I’m the ‘recruit’ am I joining them?

“Gladly.” Hisao responds, taking my hand in his as we proceed down the stairs just a little ahead of Lilly.

With that, the three of us head down the stairs and into the empty halls towards the student council room. I wonder if that makes Lilly sad, to hear the school so quiet on her last day. Did anyone throw her a surprise party? Her class obviously owe her a debt for her work.

I can’t help but feel a bit down, not because I’ll particularly miss Lilly, but because she seems like someone in crisis. Should I have said something else on the roof? Was there a combination of words I could have said to make her feel miraculously better?

Could I leave everything behind for Scotland?

I want to say yes. I want to imagine the adventures, imagine the fresh start.

But I think the answer is no.

Even though I’d like to travel, things are finally settling into place here. I met Hisao. We kissed in the dark of a movie theatre. He asked me to be his girlfriend and held my hand at the cemetery.

Molly and Lelouch are helping me with my school work. I’m awake in class more and the lady at the tea house has finally perfected her coffee.

Mom’s getting on without dad, and dad’s finally at peace.

Even my grades are improving.

But maybe that’s naïve.

Nothing really settles right? Lilly is leaving, sure, but aren’t we all? Graduation might still be a few months away, but there’s so much more beyond that. University and life are looming, like those planes overhead – cutting crosses into the clouds, leaving scars in the sky.

After everything, I’m still not sure what to say. The chapters are closing, not just for Lilly, not just for me, but for everyone. Some sooner than others. Is that what I should have said, before we ended up walking the quiet halls of Yamaku, our conversations about anything but tomorrow?

“Hey, Suzu, snap out of it. We’re nearly at the end now.”

We are, aren’t we?

With a polite nod, Lilly enters into the student council room, leaving Hisao and me alone outside for a moment.

“Hisao?”

“Yes Suzu?” I think I could drown in that warm smile.

“Are blind people afraid of heights?”


________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Thank you StilesLong for organising this friendly competition. I have to admit, this isn't the best I could have done given my prompt "Suzu x Lilly", but I wanted to at least have something to enter into the running's before life truly interfered. Hopefully it can be enjoyed regardless, it's certainly a slower pace than most things I write.

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Re: Ekephrasis/ American Spirit / A Long Way Down 04/07/2019

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Apr 09, 2019 9:16 am

Nice...
But in the end Lilly still avoided the question how she knew it was Suzu...
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: Ekephrasis/ American Spirit / A Long Way Down 04/07/2019

Post by Feurox » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:07 pm

You know... something was bothering me the whole time when I read it over. That was it. How the hell would she know. I'll fix that. :lol:

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Re: Ekephrasis/ American Spirit / A Long Way Down 04/07/2019

Post by Scroff » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:36 pm

And there was me thinking you meant it to remain a mystery!

Evocative as always, you're great at painting pictures in my mind

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Circuitboard City - Discord Competition No 4 Entry

Post by Feurox » Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:51 pm

The following post was written in response to Stiles Long's writing contest. Each participant was given a list of KS character pairings and a list of locations. One of each was chosen for this fic.

There were a limited set of options available to participants in the contest and it may be that this fic resembles others. Any such resemblance is coincidental.

My Potential Pairings:

People:
Kenji x Shizune
Saki x Yuuko
Hanako x Miki
Shizune x Rin

Places:
Ikea
The Nurses Office
A Train
A Concert

With special thanks to Lap for proofreading this for me. You can find his recently completed and brilliantly cathartic work 'Avenues of Communication', here.

Circuitboard City

So, this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.

I try to shuffle past the girl with no arms, but she blocks my way.

I try again, and again she blocks me. Is she doing it on purpose, or is she just this directionally challenged?

The train doors are about to close.

I put my hands on her shoulders, and move her out of the way…

To find those train doors closed, and the shudder beneath my feet confirms I’ve missed my stop. The locomotive springs to life, and before very long the platform is behind us, and the melding tips of the city look like digital trees. I turn around and tuck my arms across my chest. The girl before me doesn’t seem very fazed.

How exhausting, and on an already exhausting day at that.

It’s not the end of the world that I missed my stop; the next one is only an extra 10 minutes’ drive from my destination, and I’m sure I’ll find an accommodating taxi. I’m meant to be touring my cousin’s law firm in the city within the hour, but I’ll have to text Akira and tell her I’ll be late. I had planned my journey with some leeway allocated for mishaps, but predicting another Yamaku student, especially one as woefully irritating as Miss Tezuka, was not within the scope of my imagining. I think that’s fair.

The cause of my delay is still standing there, looking at me with this dumbfounded look. Since there’s a few minutes until the train arrives at the next station, I may as well sit down again, and so I do.

For whatever reason, the red-haired girl sits down opposite me. I have the distinct feeling that I’m going to be even more exhausted when I finally disembark from this train. Well, it’s worth a shot at least.

[Hello. I presume it was an accident, but you caused me to miss my stop.] I sign to her. She gives me a confused look. I expected as much; but then the girl is a no armed artist, so she could have surprising talents.

She opens her mouth and says something to me. She must know who I am; that I can’t hear her, right?

I’m a little tempted to type out a message on my phone, but what need is there for us to converse? I’ll only be riding this train for a small while longer. I do wonder why she’s here, but I’m not curious enough about it to actually ask. I suppose she might wonder the same for me. Worth another shot.

[I’m visiting a law firm in the city.] I sign again. Maybe she can understand me, but just can’t respond. It doesn’t hurt anyone either way, the train is fairly empty.

Once again, she opens her mouth to say something. If she wasn’t moving her head so much, I might be able to lip read; but from what Misha has said, the girl isn’t always coherent to begin with. It’s frustrating to not have Misha with me now, but father did insist I do ‘something for myself’. I don’t think Misha would last long inside a high-profile firm like Akira’s anyway.

The girl before me slips her feet out from her sandals, and claps them together. She’s quite dexterous, and – what is she doing.

She makes an assortment of peculiar and seemingly random gestures with her feet and toes. I think she’s trying to communicate with me. I probably look pretty surprised.

The jostle of the train begins to slow, and I rise from my seat; patting myself down as I do. For a moment she looks like she might get up again, but she smiles at me lazily instead. She looks satisfied with herself but I don’t know what for. Since I’m now delayed, I’ve got to make up for lost time, so I stand ready at the doors to disembark as the train pulls in.

I take one last look behind me. The girl is still looking at me, smiling. I give her a smile of my own, and step off into the crowds, another salmon upstream.

What a peculiar girl.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I recognise the girl in front of me. I’m sure of it.

Who is she? Someone in my year, probably.

She steps to my right. But I’m not finished observing.

Now to my left. And the light is all different from this angle.

She’s holding my shoulders now, are we the kind of friends that hug? Are we friends at all? But the doors shut behind her. Did she do that on purpose? The train starts to rumble, once the station is cleared, the city trees start popping in and out behind her.

She folds her arms in front of her. She looks a bit cross, but I’m not sure why. Maybe the doors have annoyed her. I wish I could cross my arms like that. It makes you look stern and serious. I don’t think I’d use my arms for anything else except crossing.

I think this blue haired girl before me is the class representative that’s always trying to recruit Hisao for the student council. She’s always giving Emi trouble for her speediness too. I didn’t think we were friends but I guess we are. Maybe she’s the kind of girl who’s friends with everyone, that would be nice.

She sits down in one of the empty seats, so I join her.

[Hello. It is nice to see you again friend, how are you, and for what purpose are you in transit?] She asks in sign language. I blink at her a few times. It feels nice to know I have another friend, a surprise one at that.

“Hello.” I look out the window beside her, where the concrete fingers reach up to the sky like a lazy cat clawing at the birds. “There is an exhibition.”

She reaches into her bag for a moment but stops herself and makes a little sighing noise, like she’s deflating. Maybe the train cabin is pressurised. She looks really tired. Not physically, not like she’s got those things under her eyes, but more like she’s inside a bird cage behind her eyes.

[You’re not doing this for you, are you?] She asks me in sign, [you feel like a slave to something, right?]

“You’ve been wearing a suit for too long, and even though it doesn’t fit, you won’t change out of it.”

She’s looking at me confusedly again. So, I slip my feet out of my sandals and repeat what I said in sign.

The rumbling of the train begins to slow, and the city fingers in the window beside her unblur into reality again. As the train pulls in, the blue haired girl stands up and brushes herself down. She passes me and heads to the doors as they open. She gives me a final look, and smiles. Maybe she’s taken what I said to heart. Maybe we’re not so different. Maybe we’re better friends than we were when I sat down with her.

With that last smile, she disappears into the crowds.

That girl has given me a lot to think about, I’m lucky to have a friend like that.
Last edited by Feurox on Wed Jul 31, 2019 7:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Ekephrasis and Other Stories [07/23/2019]

Post by Lap » Wed Jul 24, 2019 9:14 am

I love Rin's interpretation of what Shizune is saying; it's very Rin. And her conviction that she's able to read sign is so deep that for a moment I was wondering if she did, in fact, know sign... :D

Nicely done, I like Rashomon-style stories, especially when the two POV's are so divergent.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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Re: Ekephrasis and Other Stories [07/23/2019]

Post by Craftyatom » Mon Aug 12, 2019 2:15 am

Short and interesting. The phrase "ships passing in the night" comes to mind, but isn't really appropriate... More like ships passing in broad daylight, but with the first believing that the second is derelict, and the second convinced that the first is a whale.

The characters seemed fluid and believable, though I would've taken Shizune's thoughts about Misha not being there in a different direction. I did do a double-take when Rin 'understood' Shizune; that was a brilliant addition, in my opinion.

Good work!
Main route: COM(promise)
One-shots: Crafty's One-Shots (Brief Exchanges, Dark Winter Sky, Dreamy, Project Blue Curtain, and more!)
Old poetry: Google Drive Collection

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Re: Ekephrasis and Other Stories [07/23/2019]

Post by Craftyatom » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:18 pm

The opening line, along with the situation, tickled something in my tired brain last night. And so, against my better judgement, I took to Microsoft Paint, brandishing naught more than my mouse and keyboard, using only the default color palette and entirely without visualization capability due to Aphantasia, and made this.

Originally, I wasn't planning to clog up this thread with it, but at the author's request, here it is, for all to enjoy. Contact me for commission prices :P
Feurox wrote:
Tue Jul 23, 2019 12:51 pm
So, this is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.
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Main route: COM(promise)
One-shots: Crafty's One-Shots (Brief Exchanges, Dark Winter Sky, Dreamy, Project Blue Curtain, and more!)
Old poetry: Google Drive Collection

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Re: Ekephrasis and Other Stories [07/23/2019]

Post by Feurox » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:48 pm

Thank you both so much for the kind words. And in the case of Crafty, thank you for that drawing, it really made my day.

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Requiem for a Heart Song PT1

Post by Feurox » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:50 pm

The following story somewhat addresses something I've been meaning to try for a while. A different Rika. A project where Rika is far from edgy.



Requiem for a Heart Song


“Are you a snow princess?”

I give the little girl in the bed beside me a smile.

After being in and out of the hospital so many times, I've started to get used to meeting people of all ages. Last time it was this lovely older lady with heart-disease, she was really kind. She even asked if I’d like to come and visit her when we both got out, though I haven’t taken her up on that yet.

This time, I’ve been given a younger neighbour. She’s tiny, no older than six or seven years old, and her eyes are the deepest shade of brown I’ve ever seen.

“I’m not, but I look like one huh?” The nurse attending her smiles as well. Hospitals can always do with a little more happiness, and it seems this adorable little lady is providing that free of charge. I’m not about to complain.

“Kaiko, this girl is Katayama, I hope you get along.” The nurse comments, fiddling around with something or another at the foot of her bed.

“Nice to meet you Kaiko,” I give her a little wave and she returns it excitedly, “you can call me Rika if you’d like.”

“Okay Rika!” Kaiko says, she’s got quite a few wires attached to her. Poor kid, I know the feeling. She doesn’t seem very fazed though.

“See, friends already!” The nurse and I share a laugh, whilst little Kaiko looks on amused. “Okay, Kaiko, what do you do if you need help?”

Kaiko brings her finger up and points it, then she makes a rocket-ship sound and directs it at the call button beside her bed. She makes a little explosion sound, and I can’t help but giggle.

“That’s right! I’m sure Katayama will be happy to explain anything you’re not sure about too.” I give an affirmative nod and stick my thumb up, causing Kaiko to smile sweetly. “Mummy and Daddy are going to be coming to see you tomorrow, so you’ve got to rest tonight and get to sleep nice and early okay?”

“Yes Miss Yoshida, I’ll be good I promise.” Kaiko responds, but she turns to me and gives me an extremely obvious wink. I can’t help but burst out laughing, and neither can the nurse, who finishes up with a few more signatures, and excuses herself.

“She seems like a nice lady,” I say to Kaiko, who’s sitting upright now and looking around the room curiously. She gives me a beaming smile and nods enthusiastically.

“Yep! She gave me a chocolate, but I’m not supposed to tell anyone that.”

I wink at her. “That’s okay, I’m good at keeping secrets.”

“So, what’s wrong with your light?”

“I’m sorry?” I reply, confused by her question, and by how quickly a child can confuse me.

“Daddy says that everyone has a light,” she taps her chest with a proud smile, “but some people need help getting theirs to shine!”

I think I know what she’s asking me.

“Your daddy sounds like a very smart man.”

“The smartest and the coolest! He said he’d take me to Disneyland once they fix my light!” She’s positively beaming, and I can see the ECG machine she’s attatched too speeds up a little bit. Thankfully they turn the beeping sound off when it’s regular or below a certain threshold. From that machine, and the way she’s holding her hand to her chest, I have a pretty good idea what’s wrong with her.

“Well,” I begin to say, but I’m not sure how exactly to word it. Should I tell her the name of my condition? That seems like overkill… “my heart doesn’t work very well, in fact, only half of it works normally so it’s got to work twice as hard!” That’s probably a sufficient explanation, and Kaiko doesn’t seem very confused. In fact, she seems happy.

“Me too.” She thinks for a moment, “well no.”

Well that was a rollercoaster. She quickly remembers what she’s talking about and points to her heart, so I lean in and give her my attention.

“Both halves work, but it doesn’t beat in time.” Kaiko laughs, “Daddy says’ I’m lucky, because I have my own song.” It sounds like she might have arrythmia.

“You know,” I say, making sure to keep her attention, “I think my boyfriend has the same thing.”

Her eyes widen, and by now her legs have kicked themselves free of her sheet.

“Does he have his own music?”

I can’t help but giggle again at that.

“He does, it’s very relaxing too.” The thought makes me smile. How many times have I fallen asleep listening to the sound of his heart? We’ve only been together a few months, hell, I’ve only known him for a few months, but every time we’re together I just feel, I don’t know, at ease, I guess… I like the idea that his heartbeat is its own kind of music.

I can’t remember what my parents would tell me when I was younger, but the way Kaiko’s parents seem to be talking about her condition with her feels familiar. It’s the difference between growing up abnormal, and growing up special.

I guess I ended up doing both, but that wasn’t my parents’ fault. I think I realised somewhere along the way that being special had less to do with what you are, and more to do with what you do. Hisao taught me some of that, not on purpose, but by being so lost when I met him. Helping him felt like the right thing to do, and he definitely returned my investment with interest. He’s like a superhero now.

We were sitting on a bench in the park, maybe four months ago, when he told me he liked me. I think we’d sent Takeshi and Suzu off for some food or something, and he just said it and I kissed him hard and I didn’t want it to ever stop and my heart was racing and pumping, enough to get it screaming in my ears.

Thankfully, we both calmed down, and I was able to tell him back, it felt so incredible – like I could live forever.

That thought makes me a bit sad for a moment. I mean after all, that heart flutter I had a few days ago landed me in here. Then again, I wouldn’t have gotten to meet little Kaiko if things had been different. You can’t change fate, it’s the way of the world.

“Are you thinking about your boyfriend?” Kaiko asks, looking a bit mischievous. I get the distinct feeling she gets up to some trouble when she’s at home.

“Yeah, I am.” Kaiko smiles, so I continue. “His eyes are brown like yours.”

“Mummy says my eyes are sweet like chocolate…” she’s looking into my eyes now. I’ve had kids come up to me in street and ask me if I was a vampire before, but she doesn’t look scared like those children normally do…

“Your eyes are like fireworks!”

That’s… that’s what Hisao said too.

“Cool right?” I ask, and she nods in approval.

I should probably make sure this girl gets some sleep – that’s what the nurse said she needed, and the clock beside me reads quarter past nine anyway.

“Hey, Kaiko, we should get some sleep okay?”

Her cheerful smile quickly turns into a grumpy pout, it’s pretty cute.

“But I’m not even tired yet, and I’m having fun with you.”

Me too Kaiko, me too.

“Okay, tell you what, “I’m winging it a bit here but, “how about I keep the curtain divider open, that way it’s like we’re having a sleep over?”

That seems to do the trick, as she beams from cheek to cheek, clearly excited by the prospect.

It takes some time, but eventually Kaiko settles into her bed comfortably. She gives me one last smile before she closes her eyes, and though it’s quiet, I hear her mutter something under her breath.

“Thank you, princess Rika.”

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Over the last few days I’ve been hospitalised alongside Kaiko, I’ve had the opportunity to meet the famous ‘Daddy’. He’s… interesting. A very serious man, who seemed from the outside to be an important businessman, but once the nurse left the room, he was pulling faces and playing around with Kaiko like he didn’t have a care in the world. He bought us both chocolates, and even offered to get a book for me, though I turned him down. I told him I’ve been having a lot of fun getting to know his daughter, and it was clear from his smile he believed me.

I really feel a connection with her, like she’s a little me.

Anyway, she’s had a few more visitors alongside her father, like her mother. She’s quite young, as is her father, and I’ve probably never met anyone so soft spoken. She doesn’t have the strange dichotomy of her husband; I think what you see is what you get, which is a kind lady with good manners and a lot of love to give. Kaiko’s grandfather also came to see her, but I didn’t see much of him because I had to do some tests with the nursing staff.

Today, however, it’s my turn to get a visitor, and sure enough, there he is, standing in front of the doorway, metaphorical cape billowing behind him in all his glory.

“Hey Rika, do you come here often?” He says, a corny smile on his face.

“Hi stranger.” I’m about to say something along the lines of ‘not if I can help it,’ but he closes the distance between us, and places his hand on top of mine. I can’t really think straight.

“Hi Rika.”

“Hi Hisao.”

“Is this him?” Kaiko asks, and I feel my cheeks begin to burn intensely. Hisao turns to face her with a confused look.

“Yeah, what do you think?” I ask, Hisao is still looking confused but he’s smiling. I think Kaiko has that affect on people, or maybe I do. That’s a nice thought.

“He’s pretty.”

I giggle, and Hisao looks like he’s not far behind joining me. I can tell he’s a little embarrassed, but he raises an eyebrow at me and parks his butt on the side of my bed.

“How much did she pay you to say that?” He asks Kaiko, still looking at me with an accusatory stare.

Kaiko looks guilty, and she glances over at me. Come on kid, hold strong, don’t give in.

“She gave me her milkshake.” She finally says, giving away our confidential secret. I make sure to laugh extra heartily so she knows I’m not really upset with her.

“Hisao, this little snitch is Kaiko.” I say, and Hisao gives her a polite nod. Kaiko is beaming from ear to ear again though, all this bedrest has given her way too much energy.

“I’m Rika’s sidekick!” She exclaims, standing to attention upright in her bed.

“Is that right?” Hisao asks, “It’s a pleasure to meet you Kaiko, thank you for looking after Rika for me.” He offers her a high five, and she readily accepts. Sounds like she smacked his hand quite hard.

“Rika thinks we have the same light!”

Hisao raises another confused eyebrow, and I tap my chest and give him a wink. I don’t think he gets it.

I think Kaiko realises he’s not getting it, so she continues, “we both have our own heart music!”

A look of realisation comes over his face, but for the first time since I’ve known him, he doesn’t look depressed at the mention of his condition. In fact, he looks pretty excited. I rub my thumb along the top of his hand, and he turns that infectious smile on me.

“Our own music huh?” I think back to a few days ago when Kaiko first told me about her heart music. Hisao seems to be going through the process I did, realising it’s a new and exciting way to think about his condition. The wonder of her world is contagious. “I like that idea Kaiko, maybe we should start a band.”

I giggle again. I knew he’d like her.

“You could be the broken heart girls.” I say, squeezing his hand and returning that smile from earlier.

“Nothing broken about us,” he says defiantly. He really has come a long way since we first met. He thinks for a moment, “how about, ‘Supraventricular Spectacular’?”

Uh, what?

“Supra – Superven…” Kaiko tries and fails to repeat what Hisao said. I don’t blame her, what does that even mean? I sometimes wonder if all that Science club stuff he’s in to is a good influence or not. “Super Spectacular?” Kaiko finally says, outright giving up on repeating him. Good, that was a real mouthful, and my name was better anyway.

“I think that’s the best name so far,” I say, pinching Hisao on the butt for his absurd suggestion. He mutters something under his breath, but quickly returns a happy glance to Kaiko. “the Super Spectacular duo.” Hisao runs his hand through my hair, god that feels nice, and smiles.

“Aren’t you a member of the band?” He asks.

“I’m the agent.” I giggle, and even Hisao laughs now. I don’t think Kaiko knows what an agent is, but she smiles regardless.

She twiddles her fingers in her lap, and looks a little nervous. I’m not sure what she wants to ask, but I give her an encouraging smile.

“Mr Hisao… Can I hear your music please?”

It takes me a minute to realise what she’s asking him. I wasn’t quite expecting her to ask that, but then, Kaiko is probably the most curious child I’ve ever met. I squeeze his hand as reassurance. I don’t think he’ll say no, but I imagine he’s feeling pretty uncomfortable with the request. My smile says, ‘you can do it!’, or, ‘I love you,’ or ‘chickpea’.

Smile’s aren’t a very reliable language.

His confidence falters for a moment, but he returns my squeeze and stands up from the bed. He gives Kaiko a warm smile. “Okay, can I have your hand please?” She obliges, and holds her little hand out for him – something inside me feels really tingly when I see Hisao’s hand take hers… it’s possibly the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen, and that’s including yesterday, when Kaiko had some ice cream stuck on the end of her little nose.

He gently places two of her fingers under his neck and leans in close. She closes her eyes, listening to the throbbing in her fingers, the music of Hisao’s heart. I wish I had a camera.

They stay like that for a few minutes, the whole room filled with their silence. Then Kaiko opens her eyes, withdraws her hand, and her face lights up with joy. I can tell that despite his reservations, Hisao’s happy too.

“He really is like me!” She says giddily, before placing her own fingers under her neck. “Beep, beep, beep beep beep, beep,”. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Hisao like this. Sure, in the few months we’ve been together he’s gotten more comfortable with his situation, more at peace with himself, but right now, right here, he’s, he’s my superman.

I smile at both of them. I think, even though it’s a hospital and I have this damn IV digging into me, I could stay in this moment forever.

“Hisao,” I say, and he turns his head to give me his attention. “I may or may not have promised Kaiko you would read us a story.”

He looks at me with an innocent smile, one that says, ‘of course you did you rascal,’ or ‘the keys are under the potted whale meat.’ Again, smiles aren’t a very clear form of communication.

“You did huh? Well it’s a good thing I brought my book then isn’t it.”

He reaches over to my bed, where he deposited his rucksack. After rummaging around inside for a few moments, he pulls out a thin looking sci-fi novel. There’s a book mark in the middle, but he opens it from the first page and once again sits down on the end of my bed. Kaiko turns over onto her side to face him, and snuggles into her pillow. Before he begins reading, he pinches my toes at the bottom of the bed. I yelp, and the three of us giggle again.

With one hand holding the pages open, and another gently stroking my hair, Hisao begins to read from… uh… After the dream. It’s some story about multiple timelines interacting with one another, from the sound of it, it’s very interesting.

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After forty minutes or so of reading, Kaiko’s breathing slows down to a gentle rise and fall. Evidently she’s fallen asleep. Hisao notices too, and slowly closes the novel in his hands. I’d liked to have heard some more, but I won’t give up the opportunity to have some alone time with Hisao, or as close as we can get.

He leans in and kisses me on the forehead, sending electricity all over my body.

“Hi.” He whispers.

“Hi.” I whisper back.

“She’s cute.” He takes my hand and starts to stroke it gently, but I, I want something else.

I take my hand from his and point towards my lips with a smile. He obliges, and leans in. His kiss is everything to me, and every part of me trembles from it. Even if I’m feeling fine now, I always get frightened when I wind up in the hospital. It happens quite a lot, but that doesn’t change that feeling.

“I was worried about you.” He pulls away from our kiss and reaches for my hand again. I’m happy to oblige, and again his fingers trace their way across my own. “At least you’ve got this little bundle of joy for company. Think you could smuggle her out when you leave?”

I laugh and roll my eyes. “Hisao that’s really creepy!” He gets flustered for a moment, obviously that’s not how he intended it to come across. But I squeeze his hand in reassurance. “She asked me if I was a snow princess when I met her.”

He laughs, “I guess you do kind of resemble one.”

“Princess Rika has a nice ring to it.” I say, and he lifts my hand and gives it a kiss.

“M’Lady,” oh god never mind.

We both laugh, still hushed to avoid waking Kaiko. Hisao’s face becomes very serious all of a sudden.

“Is she going to be okay?” He asks, the concern in his voice practically dripping onto me.

I give him a reassuring smile. “Yeah, her dad spoke to me yesterday. He said she’s just being monitored at the moment. They’re doing a minor operation in a few days, but it’s not very risky.”

Hisao immediately looks relieved. I have to admit, it was nice to hear that myself. I reach over to the table beside my bed and grab one of the chocolates left over from when Kaiko’s father visited. When I offer it to Hisao, he looks confused for a moment, but accepts it and pops it into his mouth.

“Kaiko’s dad gave me these. He’s really nice, the whole family is.”

He smiles, and begins to run his hand up and down my arm. It feels nice.

“Yyaor – “he swallows, “you know, she reminds me a bit of you.”

I know what he means, but I want to hear him explain it anyway. “How so?”

“She’s pretty upfront, and clearly very inquisitive.” Something about that makes him chuckle, “It reminds me of how we first got together, when I was feeling depressed at the festival. You were very… insistent.”

That’s a pleasant memory. After we spent the day together, he started joining me for lunch with my friends, and then I joined him a few times, with his friends, Suzu and Takeshi. About a month later he confessed to me, and we shared our first kiss. It’s been about four months now, and there’s uh, there’s still some things we haven’t tried yet, but I think we’re getting there. I think I’m falling in love with him.

“Was it something I said?” he asks, my cheeks suddenly warm after thinking about the things we’re yet to do and the things I’m nearly ready to say.

“N-no. I’m just remembering the last few months.”

He gives me a curious smile, but leans back a little, relaxing and enjoying the memories.

After what feels like hours, I take a glance at the mechanical clock on the beside table. Hisao’s eyes follow mine.

I don’t want him to go, in fact, if I could, I’d smuggle him under the covers here with me. But the visiting times are almost over, and from the look on his face, Hisao knows it. We don’t say anything, but he gives me a solemn nod and stands up from my bed.

“I’ll be waiting for you.” He says, dropping another kiss on my forehead. This feels sad. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.

“I’m out in two days, can we go on a date when I’m back?” I ask, hopefully cheering us both up a little.

“Sure, I look forward to it.” He’s about to put his book away when he stops, and puts it beside me instead. “You could keep reading it to her.”

I like that idea, so I take it with a grateful smile. After hoisting his bag from the ground, he starts heading out, but stops just before the door. He gives me one last look, then glances over to Kaiko.

“Take care of my Rika please Kaiko.” He says, and then, with one more handsome smile, he disappears around the door.

Yeah, I’m nearly ready to tell him.

Index Next
Last edited by Feurox on Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:15 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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Feurox
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Requiem for a Heart Song PT 2

Post by Feurox » Wed Aug 14, 2019 2:51 pm

After Hisao’s visit yesterday, Kaiko has been asking me questions about him non-stop. It’s pretty cute, but I don’t really have the answers to some of her questions. When she asked me if Hisao could be her boyfriend as well I nearly cried with laughter.

She seems to have tired herself out a bit from all the questioning, so at the moment I’m just reading to her and enjoying the taste of the hot-chocolate I’m nursing.

It’s surprising how much I’ve found myself enjoying this hospital stay compared to my usual experience. Sure, I’ve met some interesting people before, but I don’t know, this it’s different. I’m starting to feel like an older sister. I’ve never had siblings, but I think this is what it would feel like if I did.

Every now and then she exhales deeply, so I think she’s falling asleep.

It makes me pretty sad to know that I’ll be leaving in a day or two. I don’t think she’s going to be here much longer than I will be, but I’ve started to entertain the idea of coming to see her anyway. I gave her father my contact information, so that I could send her a letter on occasion, and from what I can tell, she doesn’t live too far from the area anyway, somewhere in Sendai I believe.

She exhales again. Very deeply this time.

Maybe one day Kaiko will enrol at Yamaku. I think she’d be popular there, though I didn’t really set the example for that. She’s so sweet that I wouldn’t be surprised if –

If…

She coughs harshly.

I put the book down.

She coughs again… like…

Like she can’t breathe…

“Kaiko…?”

She doesn’t respond, and her eyes dart at me wide. Terrified. I slam my fist into the call button again and again and again.

“Kaiko it’s going to be okay, it’s okay.”

Where the hell are the nurses?!

She keeps spluttering. Her face is red. Her eyes are streaming with tears.

I can’t take this anymore.

It’s painful as hell, but I yank the IV from my arm and jump out of bed. I can feel my own heart racing, pounding in my ears, but I can’t just watch.

I take Kaiko’s hand, and stroke her hair, I can’t seem to sooth her. Her eyes are wide with terror, panic, and tears are steaming from her. That goddamn beeping sound won’t shut up, and I slam my first into Kaiko’s call button too. This is a hospital, where are the goddamn staff?!

“It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s going to be okay. Kaiko, I’m here I’m here I’m here – “

Footsteps come clanking down the hallway. I won’t look away.

“Kaiko, shhh, it’s okay it’s okay just try to calm down.”

They’re here, the nurses, but I can’t let go of her.

“Kaiko –“

“Katayama –“

I feel a hand on my shoulder.

“It’s okay – “did I say that, or was it the person on my side. One of the nurses is panicking, flicking switches and button on the machine beside her bed. Don’t they know what they’re doing?!

“it’s okay…” That one was definitely the nurse behind me. Kaiko’s hand slips from my own as a nurse yanks me away, and another injects her with some kind of sedative.

The last thing I see is Kaiko’s eyes.

Her beautiful, horrified eyes.


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“Hey beautiful girl.”

Kaiko’s face brightens up as I enter the room.

“Hi Princess Rika!” Her voice sounds strained, probably from the new medications she’s on, but she still seems happy to see me.

After the incident yesterday afternoon, Kaiko was moved to a room on her own. It’s quite pretty actually, there are flowers painted on the walls and nice view from the window out into the hospital garden.

Her father came to visit me. It was quite surprising, and I was terrified I was going to hear bad news. To my astonishment, he was in a very cheerful mood. Apparently, it was only a heart flutter, which was relieving news. I had worried and prayed all night. He told me that they’re planning to go ahead with the operation, and with any luck, she’ll still be able to leave the hospital soon.

He gave me some more chocolates that he’d bought, and wrote down Keiko’s room number – and I think he might have gotten the nurses to back off a bit when it came to scolding me for pulling my IV out. My arm is still really sore from that.

“How’re you feeling?” I say, entering the room and sitting in the chair beside her. It’s a pain in the ass to drag this IV around with me, but at least I get to be a bit more mobile now. I offer her my hand, and when she accepts, I start stroking it up and down, like Hisao did for me.

“I’m okay.” She looks around the room, like she’s checking there are no nurses to hear her. “I’m scared.” She finally says, her eyes red, “Please don’t tell daddy.”

I smile, and move my hand to her hair, just like Hisao did. She seems to enjoy it.

“I won’t tell anyone. Do you want to know a secret?”

She nods gently under my hand.

“I was scared too.” Her eyes widen, but she’s smiling a little bit now.

“You’ve had operations too?”

I giggle and give her hand a gentle squeeze. “I’ve had lots of them.” I think for a moment, and Kaiko wiggles her legs impatiently, waiting for me to continue. “let me tell you a story, okay?” She nods, so I take a deep breath and tuck her lovely hair behind her ear.

“When I was little, like you, I was in the hospital all the time. I got really scared, because they kept operating on me, and I felt very weak. Like I was never going to get better.” Kaiko nods in understanding, and maintains eye contact with me. “But then, eventually, I got out of the hospital, and I realised those doctors hadn’t made me weak, they’d made me strong.” I flex my arm like those bodybuilders do, and she giggles. I take her hand again. “You’re going to get stronger, and then one day you’re going to realise those doctors made your light shiner brighter than anyone else’s.”

She’s definitely a lot cheerier now, and she snuggles her head into my hand as I continue to run my fingers through her hair.

“Will I get hair like yours?” She asks, and I laugh.

“I don’t think so, but maybe when you’re older I can teach you how I get it like this?” I don’t actually have a trick, but that seems like the right thing to tell her anyway. I don’t think she would know what albinism is anyway.

Her operation is tomorrow morning, and it’s already getting a little late. That being said, I don’t really want to leave her just yet, even though the light of the evening has already turned from a dark orange to a purple tinge.

I feel pretty at ease, even after the frightening experience of last night. I remember telling Hisao, people like us don’t really die in hospitals.

“Will you come see me afterwards?” Kaiko asks, her voice back to a quiver.

“Duh, of course I will.” I ruffle her hair and get a tiny giggle from her.

There’s a bit of silence between us now, it’s probably time for me to go.

“Rika…” I can barely hear her voice, it’s so quiet. “I’m still scared.”

I know her Father is coming by soon, but I can’t just leave her alone until then.

I get up from the chair and sit on the bed next to her. She seems to calm down a bit again, so I resume playing with her hair and holding her hand.

“I’ll see you tomorrow, get some rest okay? I won’t go anywhere.” I whisper, and the whimper she gives me is all I get in response.

After about an hour, when Kaiko has fallen into a deep sleep, her father and mother enter, accompanied by some nurses. The nurses look like they’re about to chew me out, but Kaiko’s father quickly stops them. He gives me a grateful smile, as does his wife, and I make my way down the halls back to my own bed.

There’s a light in little Kaiko that will never go out.

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“And how do we feel about that Katayama?” Nurse asks, a serious expression on his normally light-hearted face.

“I don’t know.” I say.

“I think you do.” He repeats.

I don’t say anything back.

“Okay.” He finally says after what feels like hours of antagonizing silence. He places a hand on my shoulder and it takes everything I’ve got to not collapse.

“It’s okay.” He says, gently massaging my shoulder.

But it’s not.

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The Yamaku grounds are eerily quiet as Hisao and I walk the paths between the auxiliary building, the dorms, the gymnasium and the music facilities. I don’t really know how long we’ve been walking like this, with my hand in his, but I don’t want to stop.

He hasn’t said anything. I think he knows there’s nothing to be said.

Every part of me hurts. He’s hurting too, but… it’s not the same.

When we next arrive at the boy’s dormitories, we head inside wordlessly. Past the common room, where Takeshi raises a concerned eyebrow, and up the stairs to Hisao’s room. After he’s fiddled with the lock, we move inside, and I lay down on the bed. He leaves his bedroom for a few minutes, and comes back with some water. But, I’m not really thirsty. It was a sweet gesture at least. I should thank him, but I don’t really feel like talking.

I make room on the bed for him, and he lies down next to me. He hasn’t bothered turning the lights on.

I rest my ear against his chest, and he begins to run his fingers through my hair again, slow, like he’s scared I’ll shatter if he’s too firm. He runs his finger along my cheek.

I listen to his heartbeat.

We breathe.

We cry.

We fall asleep.

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It’s been a few weeks since I got back to Yamaku. I’ve been seeing a counsellor. I told him that I don’t believe in God anymore, and he told me that some people see events like this as tests. I think that’s stupid.

I’ve been keeping up with my school work, and I’ve even felt a little better now and then. Every time I start feeling a little bit better, I remember how unfair that is.

My parents came to see me and we went shopping, but I didn’t buy anything. Hisao came too, he bought some books and read to me when we got home. That was nice.

Hisao and I went out for dinner too. It was… fun. I don’t know what I’d be doing if it wasn’t for him. He’s been trying to cheer me up, and I really appreciate it.

I haven’t slept in my own bed since I’ve gotten back. I think Nurse knows, because Hisao and him have been seeing each other daily. I haven’t gotten in trouble yet though, so I don’t plan on sleeping alone if I can help it.

Everything feels mundane, like it’s all repeating again and again. No end. No beginning.

I keep asking, why not me? Why couldn’t it just be me?

The porcelain sky is cracked above me.

I reach up.

It rains.

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“Katayama!”

I turn my head towards the teacher. He looks like he’s about to get angry with me, but he calms down, and pinches his nose.

“You were in your own world again, please try and focus.” He says sternly.

“I’m sorry.” I respond. Everyone is looking at me now.

“I’m sorry,” I repeat. “I’m so, so sorry.” I can feel my eyes start to sting.

“It’s okay Katayama.”

“I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.” I can’t breathe.

The teacher makes his way over to me and places his hand on the desk. He says something to the class about going back to their textbooks.

“Let’s go outside for a moment Katayama.”

I don’t bother protesting, and follow him out into the hallway.

He takes a deep breath, and tries to make eye contact with me. He’s looking a bit blurry.

“I know that you’re having a hard time right now, but I really need you to try and keep up with us in class okay?” He just wants me to feel better. I know he does. Everyone does.

We stay like this for a moment. Just looking at each other awkwardly.

I don’t know what to say. He seems to realise that.

“I know you’re trying. Let’s give today another go, okay?” He says softly.

I nod, and he puts his hand on my shoulder with a reassuring squeeze. Everyone has been doing that lately.

We enter the classroom again. Everyone stares at me again, the abnormal in the school of the special.

I can’t really focus. Even though I’m trying.

I draw snowflakes and sunbeams.

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Hisao is looking at me with a worried expression.

He’s been doing that a lot lately, looking at me like that a lot.

“Rika…”

I try and smile at him, but he doesn’t return it.

“Can we go somewhere more private?”

I look around. There’s not exactly anyone here, but I think he means his room. Does he want to cuddle? I won’t turn one down.

“Okay.”

Is he going to break up with me? I know I haven’t been a great girlfriend lately…

We head in the direction of the boy’s dorms, it’s not exactly far from where we were sitting. I thought he wanted to read, so this change in tone is a bit worrying.

I hope he doesn’t want to break up. I don’t know if I can do this without him.

But do what? I’m not doing anything except… living. I’m living.

We reach the stairs of the boys’ dorms.

Hisao please don’t break up with me, I’m trying to get better, really. I don’t mean to keep making you sad, I just…

We reach his dorm. I can feel tears down my cheeks.

He gives me a concerned look and opens the door. I step in and sit down on his bed.

His face is scrunched in thought, his eyes look really heavy, like he’s tired. Another way I’ve been taking him for granted. He opens his mouth to begin, but I cut him off, my breath already a little ragged.

“I’m really sorry Hisao I’m trying but – “He cuts me off with a firm squeeze of my hand. He’s kneeling in front of me now. “please don’t break up with me Hisao.” I beg. His eyes go wide, and it looks like his heart was just broken.

Was… was I wrong?

“Rika, I would never do that.” He assures me, but I’m still crying. My hands clasp over his hungrily, and he kisses me on the forehead. All of my energy dissipates, and I slouch into his arms.

I feel so helpless.

“I wanted us to go somewhere private, because there’s something I need to give you.” He needs to give me something? What is it?

He gets up, though it pains me to feels his fingers slip from mine. After a moment of shuffling through his drawers, he produces and envelope.

“Shizune and Misha asked me to give this to you, it’s…” He trails off as my hands clasp over the envelope.

“Iwao Oshiro…” I say out loud.

Kaiko’s father.

Hisao looks at me, trying to gage my reaction.

I… I don’t know what to say. I can feel myself beginning to cry again.

I carefully slide my nail underneath the adhesive, opening the envelope whilst trying to keep my tears from it. There are two things within it, a beautifully written letter and something else. I take out the letter first and unfold it slowly. Hisao just looks at me.
Dear Katayama.

I hope this letter finds you well, and I hope you are continuing to work hard with your studies.

I expect that Kaiko’s passing has affected you deeply, but I would like to reassure you that it was a peaceful one, there was no pain. I’m told that the complications that arose during her surgery were very unlikely ones, but fate often has a way of ripping our hearts from us.

I write to you, because it has been of huge comfort to me and my wife, that Kaiko’s last days were spent in the presence of such a kind and wonderful girl as yourself. She was utterly in awe of you, and we can never begin to thank you enough for being a pillar of support and inspiration for our daughter. Kaiko’s life was one filled with joyful experiences, but her last days were spent in the company of an angel. Please remember her in the fond way she saw you. To Kaiko, you were both a hero, and a friend.

I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours, wherever they may lead, and please know that our family will be in your debt eternally. If there is anyway that we can repay the kindness you have shown, please do let us know.

Though I already owe you eternally for the kindness you showed Kaiko, I would like to ask you for one last favour, so please do not think me rude.

Never forget the hero that you are.

Forever yours,
Iwao Oshiro.


I hand the letter to Hisao, careful to not damage it, though my trembling hands threaten to do so anyway. He pinches it gently from my fingers, and reaches for my hair to try and calm me down.

I hold my hand up to stop him. I know I’m sobbing. I know I look weak, but I just, I just need to do this alone.

Hisao seems to understand. He sits back in his chair, carefully reading and folding the letter from Mr Oshiro. He watches me closely as I reach back into the envelope. It’s…

It’s a photo.

A photo of Kaiko. She looks so beautiful. She looks so happy.

I can’t control my sobbing anymore, and I don’t reject Hisao’s warmth either. He carefully places the photo on the desk and envelopes me in his embrace.

I can’t explain the feelings coursing through me anymore. But something in me has changed.

The edges of the world feel less sharp, the air feels a little less heavy. I close my eyes, and Hisao’s hand finds my hair again.

Behind my eyes, I see her. Her beautiful brown eyes. Her delicate little fingers. Her brave and determined smile. Her curious expression.

I open my eyes, and she’s still there. Out past the window, beyond the clouds, out there…

Beyond the sky, beyond the stars, there’s a light that will never go out.

And somewhere within me, I hear her heart song.

Index
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I strongly recommend listening to Dan Smith's 'When All Our Friends Are Dead' , it accompanies this story very well.

This story is dedicated to Scroff, a very talented writer, and a very lovely person. I recognise that this story can invoke some emotional responses - after all, it comes from a place of emotion. Everyone has lost someone, someone close, or someone we merely knew in passing. At times, it can feel like we've lost more than we've gained. But there is beauty to be seen in the world, and there are things to be grateful for - even in the dark, there is a light that will never go out. May those we've lost continue to live on inside us all.

You can read some of Scroff's incredible work here. I'm going to suggest a few that affected me, but please do him, and me, the honour of checking out his full collection:
"Hang On"
"You Are Not Alone"
"Walking Together"
Last edited by Feurox on Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:43 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Lap
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Re: Ekephrasis and Other Stories [08/14/2019]

Post by Lap » Wed Aug 14, 2019 4:12 pm

So I stop to take a break from my labors and see, Hey! A new story from Feroux! Hurrah! Good way to take a break.

...uh...

Sure, just rip my heart out and stomp on it a few more times, why don't you.

Brilliantly done, and a wonderful set of new characters. Thank you for this story.
Avenues of Communication: Shizune suffers an accident.
Akira's Surprise: Akira pays a surprise visit to Lilly, Hanako and Hisao on Christmas eve. S9 Entry.
Arrival: Hanako's first days at Yamaku. (On Hiatus)
Home: Hanako & Hisao at University, sharing an apartment with their friend Lilly (on Ao3).
One-shots

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Re: Ekephrasis and Other Stories [08/14/2019]

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:14 pm

She doesn’t seem very phased though.
Nor would I have expected her to be. Being fazed though might have been a possibility :-)
We were sitting on a bench in the park, maybe four months ago, when he told me he liked me. I think we’d sent Takeshi and Suzu off for some food or something, and he just said it and I kissed him hard ... Thankfully, we both calmed down, and I was able to tell him back,...
About a month later he confessed to me, and a few weeks after that we shared our first kiss... Yeah, I’m nearly ready to tell him.
Those are a short "few weeks"... And is she going to tell him something different?

Ookay and with the technical stuff out of the way...

That was a beautiful story! It has been quite some time since a story has made me cry, but this one managed to do so, even though I saw the twist coming a while in advance.
Thank you for writing it!
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: Ekephrasis and Other Stories [08/14/2019]

Post by Scroff » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:24 pm

Thank-you so much Feurox, an amazing story and an incredibly generous dedication. Its immense personal significance, which you were completely unaware of, makes the dedication even more poignant.

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