Reminders

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Kiith
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Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 8:35 am
Location: Germania

Reminders

Post by Kiith » Sun Nov 25, 2018 5:23 pm

Greetings, ladies and gentlemen,

as it seems customary around here, and since this is not only the first piece of work I present but my first post in general, a short introduction first.

So it was early in February of this year that I discovered KS by pure chance, and decided to start reading through it on a boring saturday afternoon. At first I was dumbfounded at the uniqueness of what was unfolding infront of me. Then, as curiosity prevailed, I got pulled in, kept reading and by the point of finishing my first run through a route was sure I had found something I like very much. Not only because I enjoyed the characters and the story around the quite unusual premise they are placed in, but also because it reminded me of something that brought me joy in the past: Writing.

Years ago I used to write every now and then. The odd piece of fan fiction, one or two attempts at a bigger narrative that never came to much, and short stories. But as life moved on and I got into uni this kind of got lost on the wayside. I did not consider myself particularly good anyway, and I often times I could not get into the right mindset anymore. So I simply stopped.

But being reminded of what kind of great stories can be told using this medium, and consequently seeing all the enthusiast writers around these parts putting all this effort into creating their own little pieces of this world, telling their own stories – even years after the release of the game – made me want to write again, too. I did not actually follow up on that until maybe early autumn, but it was a start.

Now what I have cooked up over the past two weeks is somewhat of a short story one shot epilogue...thing to what is the first ending I got to: Rin's neutral end – to much dismay from my side as it dawned on me how both Hisao and I failed to fully comprehend her.

It is the first piece I truly finished writing in a long while, doubly so for something in the English language, so I took it slow and thorough with writing and revision. My own conclusion on the finished piece? Even after going over it time and again, changing and improving things, I am not greatly satisfied. Some things feel off, yet I cannot put a finger on it. But I have read somewhere that a work you do not put out anywhere might as well not exist. So I will take this as my first step, I guess. My first step to writing more, and improving in the process.

And now I will shut up before this preamble becomes longer than the story itself. Enjoy, I suppose.




Reminders


The noise of soft snow giving way under my boots is something I have always enjoyed. Usually easily drowned out by a cascade of other sounds hearing it signifies that everything around is at rest, entranced into slumber by the embrace of winter. The only thing rivalling the rhythmic crackling of me leaving my footprints on this white blanket is the occasional hissing of the wind whenever a breeze passes by my ears, already turned red by the stinging cold.
Perhaps I should have taken a hat with me.

Realistically I can be happy that it was only a hat I forgot, and not something more essential like, say, my coat. Considering how little thought was put into this sudden urge to go outside it surprises me that I did not simply stroll out in sweater, cord trousers and slippers. I guess her way of thinking has not quite gotten to me yet.

Every now and then I stop, my eyes enticed to wander across the scenery, faintly illuminated by moonlight. Sometimes that is because I am genuinely unsure where the path continues under the smooth layer of snow. Sometimes it is because an unexpected noise breaks the silence – may it be branches creaking under the weight of frozen water, or the distant cry of an owl. But mostly it is for no other reason than taking in the strange beauty of the forest. This place which was alive and brimming with colours during the summer, now lying dead in the cold.

A thick white cloud escapes me as I breathe out, once more taking a break along my path. What has prompted me to stop this time is the tree I now am leaning against. I am not a great botanist, and the glaring absence of foliage makes it all the harder to discern what kind of tree it is. But as I was passing it the image of five-lobed leaves looking down at me as I sceptically stare back up came to mind. For the moment it fills out my sight it looks so clear, it might as well have taken me back to that warm afternoon, was it not for another gush of wind whispering the truth into my ear.

“Worry tree, huh?”, I mutter under my breath. Almost immediately a frown finds its way on my face as I wonder why I felt the need to say that out loud.

Am I in fact going to talk to a tree now?

Such surely is not on my mind, so I push myself away from the trunk.

'How would I even know?', shoots through my mind. It is a bullet fired by rationality against this momentary feeling of nostalgia. It is only another tree. How could I even be sure it was a maple? An amateur like me could not distinguish a tree from a bush if his life depended on it.

Although something is telling me I am getting hung up on the wrong issues here, that part does not seem to have much of a say in what is going on inside me. It quickly finds itself buried under being upset about what might or might not be a maple. About what could serve as well as the worry tree as any other piece of wood in this forest.

Going away from this more disconcerted than was probably reasonable I increase my pace for a while, leaving bigger areas of snow between my footprints. I have not been sure about where exactly I was going to go from the very beginning, merely following the path that is leading away from the school grounds. But by now I have even given up on that, simply walking into whatever direction the moonlight will take me. If it ends up leading me anywhere – great! And if not, then it would perfectly fit into this overarching theme that my existence has taken on recently. This ever present notion that I am going through life without even knowing what I am doing. Without understanding what is going on around me. Business as usual, you could say.

For a while now I have been pacing deeper into the woods like this. I find it hard to put into words the mix of grim defiance and emotional upheaval which occupies my mind. Whatever it is exactly, it carries me well across the increasingly uneven ground. Even through the veil of snow I can feel the rocks, roots and dead branches scattered beneath my feet.

Well, 'feel'. A more apt way to put it would be 'I notice them', recognising their presence but paying little mind other than when one is particularly inviting to trip over. More than once I find myself startled as I need to put in conscious effort to not fall face first into the snow. Only to shrug it off, continuing in ignorance of all the warnings the woods are sending my way. Then again, why would I heed its calls anyway? After all, I have become adept at ignoring what others are trying to tell me.

It is only when I notice my heart pounding against my chest that I slow down again. The accompanying noise resounding inside my head makes me realise my own limits once more. Breathing heavily I come to a halt next to a tree stump, slumping down like a sack of potatoes. I can feel the sweat accumulating on my skin, despite the temperature being well below zero and the icy wind scraping against my cheeks. A bitter smirk sneaks onto my face. Silently I have to concede defeat to Emi.

Had I only listened to her and came up with some form of exercise routine. God knows I could use the stamina now.

________


I honestly do not know what surprises me so much about it. This story found its end the moment we departed on that rainy afternoon. When she, devoid of options to try and communicate her inner self to me, had decided to simply stop. To leave. To forget. Who carefully read between the lines of this final chapter would have had no problem seeing what happened now coming as a logical conclusion. As the last sentence of the epilogue.
I guess I cannot read between the lines.

During the last few months I have started spending more time with Emi again. It is not like a real friendship has blossomed out of what in a way was the loss of a mutual friend. Our time spent together in all its glory amounts to me helping her with science assignments every now and then, and her about as frequently nagging me to do something for my physique, while in actuality we would waste the afternoons designated for school work playing stupid card games, awkwardly trying to make conversation. It very much feels like we are both trying to replace something. But it does not feel the same.

Nonetheless, this means that every now and then I still find my way into the girls' dormitory to meet up with Emi. Although it feels weird every time I do – like I am intruding on the peace of a deceased person – I sometimes ask her whether she has heard anything concerning Rin. The answer however is always equally disappointing: There never is anything to be seen of her around Yamaku. Instead she continues to hide behind her granted absence in that atelier above the 22nd corner art gallery. And that is a place I will never set a foot in again.

________


I slowly raise from the stump, my breath having calmed down a little, my heart beating to a less pompous rhythm. Where I sat the thin white layer is broken up by the wood's brown.

I leave my resting spot behind, once more travelling out into the night. I still have not much of an idea of where I am headed – uphill being the only answer derivable from my course – but at least some form of calmness has returned to me. The forest's own orchestra playing its quiet melody contributes greatly to this. All in harmony, the ensemble of wind running past my ear, owls chanting in the distance and creaking wood forming a chilly bass line lets its melancholic tune resound through the trees. It carries the memories of the forest with it. About what it was in the summer, and how it was made to change like this. Its story sounds oddly like one I have heard before.

________


“Yep, that's it”, Emi says, following up with a sigh.

Even less communicative than with my initial reply I only stand here, in the middle of the hallway. A girl, coming from the far end of the corridor has her work cut out for her trying to squeeze past me. I barely even acknowledge her presence. My attention is instead focused on the door to my side.

“She's not going to come back”, Emi reiterates for the third time. I immediately raise my left hand, signalling her that she does not need to play broken record for me.

“Did she tell you?”, I finally bring forth, taking my eyes of the door to face Emi. “Did you see her?” Emi shakes her head.

“Some folks were going in and out of her room all morning and had me pretty confused. Turns out it were her parents. They came to pick up her stuff”.

Pick up her stuff? Why?
It is a stupid question. One which has an all too obvious answer.

“She's not coming back”.

“I guess not”, Emi says, shying away from looking up at me.

For a while both of us fall silent. I cannot make out the look on Emi's face, for she has turned towards the stairwell on the far side of the hallway. I cannot make out what my own face portrays, either. The exact emotions I feel the need to express shift several times, along with them traces of expressions zooming across my face. What they all have in common is surprise.
Surprise at the realisation which hit me.

“We've got some revision to do”. My voice finally breaks the silence. I myself am put off by how stiff I sound; a sentiment Emi must share with me, turning her head far enough so she can muster me with a sceptic frown.

“So, let's get on with it”.

________


Taking the climb up this hillside has become much easier now that I am strolling instead of marching. As my altitude increases the forest around me slowly clears, the gaps between the trees growing. After I pass the last of them I stop. The snow under my feet quietly crackles, compressed by my weight in the motion of turning around.

Behind me lies the slope. It is not quite steep enough to make me feel like the conqueror of a mountain, but it brought me up high enough to give a decent view of the woods below. Mostly a wild assembly of leafless trees, the area has a patchy texture of brown and white, broken up only by the occasional evergreen sprinkling in a third colour. It would be a nice scene to paint I have to admit.

The thought alone sours the sight for me. I dismiss it with a shrug, turning around to face the upward portion of the slope again. There is not much more hill left to climb. And while I cannot say for sure whether I intended to end up here initially, now that this place is so close I might as well take the last steps. It feels like something is drawing me there, anyway.

Burying my hands even deeper in my pockets I leave the woods behind, carrying on towards the clearing on the hilltop.

________


Committing to revision right now was in fact – as Emi had been quick to remark – ill advised; an endeavour doomed to fail. We try to get things done for about 20 minutes before I end up throwing my book into a corner.

Without uttering a word I get up and march towards the door, grabbing my coat from an unused chair nearby, not slowing down. Emi in turn, perhaps having seen something like this coming but dumbfounded nonetheless, lets me pass without expressing so much as a sign of protest.

“I need to get some fresh air”, is what I leave Emi with, storming out of the room. Behind me the door slams shut. Perhaps this was a little too harsh, but despite the noise being carried all the way through the corridor I am already too far away to care. All that is on my mind is that I need to get out of here.

While walking down the staircase I fiddle around with the buttons of my coat, clumsily closing one by one while trying to not trip over my own feet. The speed at which I am making my way downwards and out of the dormitory turns it into quite the challenge, but by the time I pass through the main entrance everything is done well enough.

Outside I am greeted by the light of lanterns. The year is approaching its end, so even though it is barely past five the sun has already disappeared behind the horizon, leaving the world to the moon's faint glow and whatever candles humans put up to break the darkness. I take a cursory glance at it, the frown on my face deepening. I do not find any rest in looking upward, so I resume walking. Where to? The answer to this question I do not possess at the moment. All I know for sure is that I want to end up somewhere not here. If she can do that, I can, too.

________


As I reach the top I am greeted by the tranquillity of the clearing lying asleep under a blanket of snow. The white layer looks soft, untouched and quite thick, although not substantial enough to not have the occasional piece of dead shrubbery sticking out. Even though I slowed my climb considerably I find myself exhausted. The deep breaths of air I take burn inside my lungs. They make me feel greatly inconvenienced, but also alive.

Carefully I tread through the snow, leaving deep, roughly outlined footprints. The further I step onto the clearing, the more a picture is superimposing itself over the scenery shaped by this winter night. To my side rests a rather large rock. Examining it for but a moment the moonlight seems to take on a warm note; like that of the summer sun reflecting off it on a late afternoon. The shrubbery around me, no more than dead grass and bare bushes turns lush and green, filling the hilltop with the sensation of wild, untamed beauty. Where the snow is covering up the ground I remember hundreds upon hundreds of yellow flowers sprinkling bright dots all over the area. A sea of dandelions sticking out against the clear blue sky above.
It had been a wonderful summer afternoon, made unique in the weirdness brought to all things Rin touched.

Why did it have to end like this?

Simply posing the question robs me of my strength. I feel as if a heavy weight is pulling me down into the snow. I trot over to the rock, climb onto it and sit down, pulling my legs towards me.

”I've had this feeling for a long time now, that I am going to change”, she said on that day.

”Even if I hate it and don't want it, even if I wanted to, I would change”.

I took in those words that sounded so Rin-like, yet clearer than most things she had ever thrown at me.

”Like I am not enough the way I am”.

But they did not get through to me. I never understood them.

With narrow eyes I stare across the clearing. In the distance a faint shimmer alleviates the black, probably belonging to the city down below. Above me shines the moon; dim, but bright enough to drown out nearby stars. Doing nothing but sitting on a rock slowly makes me feel the cold creeping in from the outside.

Yet on the inside I am burning up.

Yes, this story found its end months ago. But only now that Rin is gone for good does it feel like it is truly over. The book is closed, without hopes or chances for a sequel. The realisation hurts so much, for again things have passed me by without me understanding.

Like the dandelions we had seen here, Rin was fascinating to me. A beautiful flower I wished to keep watching and see blossom. But I am no botanist, so I could not understand her nature. And without me understanding she was carried away by the wind, never to be the same again, without me ever noticing.

Now all I am left with is this barren field which was full of flowers on that day. It serves as nothing more than a reminder that what once was is no more.

A reminder that I will be left forever with bitter memories.
No matter how far you go, the world is so big, you'll definitely find something new.
It's a little scary, but I know you can do it.
Because people who feel the same way will find you right away.

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Mirage_GSM
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Location: Germany

Re: Reminders

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:39 am

Hello, and welcome to the forums!
Let me start by saying that your writing is excellent - very atmospheric. If I had to nitpick, I'd say it was a bit too much atmosphere compared to actual plot, but I don't so I won't :-)

Two points about plot continuity:
First, this story makes it seem as if the walk in the snow takes place on the same day Rin's parents cleared out her room when actually it should be about half a year later - or her parents left her room alone for a really long time.
Second, iIrc in Rin's second bad end she ends up going to an art school somewhere far away rather than continue to be cooped up in the attic of an art shop - which would be inappropriate for a number of reasons... Considering her state after only a few weeks it would probably end with Sae and Rin's parents ending up being charged with criminal neglect...
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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Kiith
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri May 04, 2018 8:35 am
Location: Germania

Re: Reminders

Post by Kiith » Mon Nov 26, 2018 3:11 pm

Hello Mirage,

thanks for the warm welcome and your thoughts.

You say my reliance on this atmospheric style of writing is something to merely be nitpicky about, but I remember it indeed being a long running issue of mine. I like writing out sceneries and how characters perceive them, but I often find myself getting lost in that. It's great for setting a scene or getting certain sentiments across, but kind of detrimental to, well, actual story telling. It seems it is something I found myself caught up in once more and that I need to improve on.

This also plays into both the points you brought up regarding the continuity of what admittedly little plot was there. The short answer to them is: I did address that in early drafts, but removed it later on. You coming to the conclusion that both "timelines" are taking place on the same day is in fact correct - that was exactly what I had intended. It is a bit of a stretch, yes, but the thought behind it was that following the events of The World Only You Can See Rin's state concerning her stay at the school was in a bit of a formal limbo and, at least to both Emi and Hisao, unknown until things coming to a close on this winter evening with Rin transfering to a faraway art school and her parents picking up her remaining belongings.
Initially, there was a whole section explaining this in greater detail, but I ended up cutting it all out because it felt so utterly misplaced. It was strongly opposing the feeling of the classic short story as a snapshot without much greater context that I was going for. Thus I scrapped it all - rightfully, as I still think. The real mistake was not replacing it with anything on a more subtle level.
No matter how far you go, the world is so big, you'll definitely find something new.
It's a little scary, but I know you can do it.
Because people who feel the same way will find you right away.

User avatar
Mirage_GSM
Posts: 5775
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2010 2:24 am
Location: Germany

Re: Reminders

Post by Mirage_GSM » Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:17 pm

You say my reliance on this atmospheric style of writing is something to merely be nitpicky about, but I remember it indeed being a long running issue of mine.
Well, I'd say it's not something that will objectively make your story a worse one - it's just that something that will appeal to some readers' preferences less that others'...
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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