2400 words from a path never written.

WORDS WORDS WORDS
themocaw
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2400 words from a path never written.

Post by themocaw » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:11 pm

Sometimes, an idea gets stuck in your head and refuses to go away.

A drabble is a story in one hundred words. A double or triple drabble, therefore, is a story in two or three hundred words, respectively. Each segment below contains a drabble, a double drabble, and a triple drabble. The end result is 2400 words from a path never written.

-----
Act 1: Life Expectancy
-----

She has shoulder-length hair the color of dark honey, pulled back from her face with hair pins. Her lips are pursed in concentration as she uses a pair of shears to carefully cut out cloth shapes from a piece of white fabric with a brown paper form pinned to it.

“Hi. I’m Hisao Nakai.”

She looks up at me in surprise. “Hi! I’m Saki Enomoto!” Her voice is cheerful and bright.

“Yeah, Nomiya said I should help you out.”

She grins at me. “Drawing assignment not working out?”

“I apparently have no talent for drawing at all,” I admit sheepishly.

“Why don’t you do the cutting for me, then? I’m having a bit of trouble with it at the moment.”

She holds out her hand. It’s trembling very badly, causing the scissors to shake and rattle a bit.

“Oh.” This is awkward. “Is that because of—“

“My disability. Spinocerebellar ataxia. The part of my brain that controls how my body moves and stuff is breaking down. Right now it makes me jittery and stuff. Eventually I’ll stop walking, then I won’t be able to breathe. Then I’ll die.”

Her words hit me like a ton of bricks. Not just because of what she’s saying, but because of the matter-of-fact way in which she says it, as if she were discussing the weather or her favorite movie.

“I probably won’t live past forty,” she says, handing me the cloth and the scissors. “On the other hand, it’s not how long you live, but how you live it, right?” She grins again cheerfully. “Every day is a gift, every hour is golden, every minute is a diamond. Life is wonderful, you know.”

I wish I could be as cheerful as this girl. Even the thought of death can’t keep her down.

-----

“If you don’t have any plans for the festival, you should come by Class 3-3,” Enomoto says. “We’re doing a maid café!”

“Is that what we’re working on right now?”

“Yup! Uniforms for all the girls! This one’s going to be worn by Kurosawa-san. She’s only got one leg, so we’re going to go for deliberate asymmetry.” She points to her sketchbook. “We’ll put her left stocking to thigh-height, but her right stocking will be knee-high so we can show off her prosthetic’s knee. That’ll mean we get different lengths of thigh visible between the skirt and socks. So we’ll balance that asymmetry with another one on the length of arm we show. The dress will be sleeveless, but she’ll wear gloves. Her right glove will be elbow length, but her left glove will be wrist-length. It’ll be fantastic!”

“Why not make both her stockings thigh-high, then, and hide the prosthetic?” I ask, confused.

“And give up the charm point of her artificial leg? Are you nuts?” Enomoto points her finger in my face accusingly. “The entire point of this maid café is crippled girls in cute outfits! We’re not going to hide their disabilities. We’re going to flaunt them!”

-----

“Must have been heavenly, having Kurosawa as your waitress!”

I decide to tease her a little. “I would have liked it better if you were my waitress.”

Enomoto scoffs. “Yeah. Give the girl with a degenerative motor condition a tray of hot tea. Brilliant.”

“Good point.” There is an awkward silence. “Does it ever bother you that. . .”

“That I can’t walk straight or hold still? Not really. Does it bother you that you can’t fly?”

“I guess not.”

“It’s the same thing. We all have limits. The trick is not to let them define you. Life is wonderful, you know.”

-----
Act 2: Denial
-----

“Hey, Nakai-san.”

“Hm?”

“Want to join the fashion club?”

“I wasn’t aware we had one.”

“There was one, but it disbanded because there weren’t enough members. However, I was talking to some people, and there are three girls who would be interested in joining. We need five members to restart the club, so if you decide to join, that’ll be barely enough.”

“I’m already in the art club, you know.”

“Yeah, but you spend all your time helping me anyway. Besides, you’ll get to spend time with four cute crippled chicks. Epic win!”

“Well, when you put it that way. . .”

-----

“Hicchan! This is a surprise. Are you here to join the Student Council?” Misha asks cheerfully.

“Actually, no. But I do have some Student Council business to take care of. How do you create a new club?”

“. . .”

“Ahhh okay. Well. All you need to do is fill out a request to form an extracurr. . . extracurricular organization. You need five students and one teacher or other adult to sign the form. And that’s it!”

“Ah. I see.” We’ve already got the five students, so we only need to find an adult. Maybe Mutou can help with that.

“. . .”

“Hicchan,” Misha asks, interrupting my train of thought. “I was wondering. What club are you planning to start?”

“Oh? Um. A fashion club.”

Shizune and Misha frown at me. They seem. . . disappointed? Worried, maybe. But not particularly surprised.

“. . .”

“With Enomoto-san?” Misha translates.

“Yeah, that was the plan. She’s found three other members.”

“Hicchan. . .” Misha hesitates. “Be careful of Enomoto-san.”

“What?”

“Do you know why the last fashion club disbanded? It’s because. . .”

As usual, Misha signs her words as she says them. Shizune doesn’t seem to like what she’s saying, though. She grabs Misha’s hand and snaps her fingers loudly. The two of them sign back at each other rapidly. Even without knowing sign language, I can tell they’re having an argument, one which Shizune seems to be winning.

Misha finally nods and agrees to something I can’t understand. “Sorry, Hicchan,” she says. “Shicchan says that gossiping is vulgar. But we think you should really talk to Enomoto-san about this. You two seem to be getting close, and we don't want you to get hurt.”

“She seems like a nice enough girl to me. She’s very alive. She doesn’t let anything get her down, even her disability.”

“She seems that way, yeah. Be careful, Hicchan.”

-----

“Remember to put up the flyers. We’ll only be able to take in a couple of dozen orders, so be sure to let them know it’s first come first serve. Be sure to emphasize that these will be hand-made yukatas made fit to order in time for Tanabata. Club adjourned!”

The other three club members file out of the room, as I help Enomoto-san pack up her things. She smiles and stretches out at her desk, putting her arms over her head. “This was a good idea,” she says. “It will gain publicity for the club, and give us some income too. I’m glad you thought of it.”

“Yeah,” I say. “Hey, Enomoto-san?”

“Hm?”

“Why did the old fashion club break up, anyway?”

“Oh? That. It was a personal disagreement between me and the club president at the time,” Enomoto says. “I left the club over it. Then a bunch of the seniors ended up graduating, so there weren’t enough members to keep it going. “

“So why start it back up again?”

“Well, as it turned out, I really missed it. It was more fun than I remembered.” She grins at me. “You made it fun again, I guess.”

-----
Act 3: Despair
-----

“So, I was thinking,” Enomoto-san says. “We need to go pick up some more cloth for the yukata project. Want to come into town with me tomorrow?”

“Sure thing. I’ll let the others know, too.”

“Actually, I was thinking we could go. Just the two of us, you know. I’ll buy you lunch afterwards. As a gesture of thanks. It’ll be fun.”

“I guess. It might work better, though, if everyone could go together, so they can pick out the cloth they need and pick up any other supplies, too.”

Enomoto-san starts to laugh. “You’re really dense, aren’t you, Hisao?”

-----

“Damn. Hang on a minute.” Saki pulls one of those little plastic flossers out of her purse and works the toothpick end under her front teeth. To my surprise, she starts cleaning in the gap between her teeth and gumline. “Got something stuck under my bridge.”

“Your bridge?”

“Yeah.” She pulls back her lips, revealing metal clips on some of her teeth. “I lost a few of my teeth in an accident a while back. I had to have them replaced with bridges. It’s a pain in the neck to keep clean.”

“How’d it happen?”

“Oh. I fell down and smashed my teeth against the curb. It hurt like hell.”

I can imagine. “You know, we’re kind of alike, that way. My heart’s trying to kill me, the same as your brain. Maybe that’s why we get along so well.”

“Oh, we’re not similar at all, Hisao,” Saki says cheerfully. “Your heart’s going to kill you suddenly. I’m going to suffer and die slowly and painfully.” She’s still smiling as she says this. “Not that it really matters. Like I always say: every day’s a gift, every hour is gold, every minute diamond. Life is wonderful, if you live it.”

-----

“Hisao?” Saki says. “Is something wrong?” She must have just come out of the bathroom.

“Nothing’s wrong. I stumbled into this guy, and I messed up his shirt.”

“Yeah. He messed up my brand-new silk shirt. It needs to be dry-cleaned, so he’s going to have to pay for it.”

“No, he’s not,” Saki says firmly. “For one thing, that’s not silk. It’s a cotton-poly blend at best. That ice cream he spilled is probably worth more than it. Secondly, it’s not brand new. I can tell by the fraying on the cuffs. Thirdly, it’s filthy. Finally, you’re being a drunk asshole. We’re leaving.” Saki takes me by the arm and starts leading me away from the two punks.

“Hey! Hey! I’m talking to you!” one of the punks shouts. “Hey! You’re from that cripple school, aren’t you? Yeah, you’d better walk away! Fucking gimps!”

I freeze in my tracks. “Hisao,” Saki whispers. “Don’t.”

“Yeah, go back to your cripple date, you fucking gimps!”

My blood rises, and I turn to face the two assholes who just ruined my entire day, just in time to get a fist in the face. I fall down, eyes tearing up in pain, blood streaming from my nose.

Saki snaps. She throws down her cane and rushes the first guy, screaming like a banshee. “STAY THE FUCK AWAY FROM HISAO!” To my surprise, she delivers this picture-perfect roundhouse kick to the guy’s head. Bruce Lee would have been proud.

The punk falls down, stunned, as his friend rushes Saki. I see her turn towards him, eyes blazing. . .

Her feet come out from under her, and she falls. The other punk kicks her hard in the stomach. “Fucking bitch!”

Something inside me snaps.

I pick up my girlfriend’s crutch and stagger painfully to my feet.


-----
Act 4: Dying
-----

Saki walks into the club room, leaning heavily on her crutch. The first thing I notice is that she’s wearing her P.E. clothes instead of her regular uniform. There are dark bags under her eyes, and she is staggering a bit more than usual. She looks like hell.

“What happened?”

“Oh. I puked all over myself in class,” Saki says bluntly.

“What? What happened? Are you sick?”

“Yes, Hisao. I’m sick. I’ve been sick since I was twelve,” Saki says a bit sarcastically, “and eventually I’m going to die from it. Nausea is one of the symptoms. It happens sometimes.”

“Oh.” I rack my mind for something to say. Nothing seems appropriate.

“You know my condition is hereditary?” Saki asks.

“No, I didn’t.”

“It’s a recessive trait. In order to get it, both your parents need to be carriers. My dad’s family doesn’t have a history of it. My mom’s does.” Saki laughs bitterly. “So does the family of the guy she ran off with when I was five. Do the math.”

She leans back in her chair and stares up at the ceiling. For the first time I can remember, there is real bitterness and anger in my girlfriend’s eyes. “I had three parents,” she says, “and the only one who wanted me didn’t even make me. How fucked up is that?”

“It’s pretty fucked up,” I agree.

“I still don’t know how he managed to raise me. I was the worst kid ever. You can probably tell, huh? That’s why I came to Yamaku. I could have gone to a regular high school, but I wanted to go somewhere far from home. I wanted to start over again, without my past haunting me.” She leans forward and rests her head on her arms. “Yeah. That worked well, huh?”

-----

“Hisao?”

I pause in the middle of peeling the apple. “Saki?”

“I think we should stop seeing each other.”

My mouth is dry. I can’t breathe. Saki’s still turned away from me, the same as she was when I walked into the room. I realize that, no matter how hard I tried, I’ve never been able to really reach her.

I could fight, I could argue, I could scream. But why? It wouldn’t make a difference in the end.

Misha was right. I shouldn’t have let myself get close to this girl. Being with her is like being pulled down into a whirlpool. I struggle to swim, but I can’t keep my head above water.

Wordlessly, I put the knife and apple back down and stand up to leave.

“Hey, Nakai-san?”

“Yeah, Enomoto-san?”

“Remember that thing I used to say a lot?”

I do. “Every day is a gift. Every hour is golden, every minute is diamond. Life is. . .” I swallow hard, tears welling up in my eyes. “Life is wonderful.”

Enomoto curls up, still facing away from me. “I’m trying to keep believing that,” she whispers.

I step into the hallway and close the door behind me.

-----

“Hey, Hisao?”

“Yeah?”

“Do you know what made me want to change? It was when my father was in the hospital, dying. I was sitting there by his bedside, and all I could do was watch him slip away: this man who wasn’t even my real father, but loved me better than my real mom and dad ever did. All I could do was sit there and cry: this tough girl who used to beat up grown men. He held my hand, and he hugged me, and he asked me one question:

“How do you want to be remembered?”

-----

Edit: Changed the second to last portion to make it fit the theme of KS better.
Last edited by themocaw on Wed Feb 22, 2012 12:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Suox
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by Suox » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:39 pm

.
Last edited by Suox on Sun Jan 01, 2017 10:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rook

Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by rook » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:45 pm

This is terribly sad and very well written. A fine piece of work.

Nearly shed manly tears at the end.

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CNB
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by CNB » Fri Feb 17, 2012 6:46 pm

Life sure can be a drag sometimes. I like the format.

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scott1and
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by scott1and » Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:54 pm

Liked the way it was written, in terms of both characters and the drabble format. And even though the ending was sad and somewhat emotional, it was still a good read :D It's a pity Saki and Rika aren't in more fanfictions

There was a lack of romance, but I'm guessing that was intentional given the situation present in the story. That said, I feel the ending could have been made more emotional if Saki was shown in more a romantic light, as the only evidence shown that they are together is Hisao calling her his Girlfriend once (although, this may have been intentional for all I know) Also, I'm not saying there wasn't romance present in the story, I'm just saying there could have been a tad more.

On the other hand, it is only 2400 words long, so there's only so much you can put in to make us like the character. Keep em coming (even though you're dishing out short stories like some sort of mechanical dishing machine :mrgreen: )
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jai_zero

Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by jai_zero » Fri Feb 17, 2012 8:17 pm

It's been years since I've gone on a reading-spree of fanfics. I thank KS for this, and the authors of the fics, of course.

Wonderful work.

It's not entirely an original concept, but definitely well-presented.

themocaw
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by themocaw » Fri Feb 17, 2012 11:29 pm

Looking back on this one, I am completely dissatisfied with it, but will keep it up as is.

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Robnonymous
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by Robnonymous » Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:39 am

themocaw wrote:Looking back on this one, I am completely dissatisfied with it, but will keep it up as is.
I wouldn't sell yourself short, but I sort of agree in that it doesn't seem quite up to par with some (i.e. most) of your other stories. Then again, you've been writing a TON of them. :P
Bad Dreams (Hanako) - My first KS fanfic. it's actually a happy story
Reconciliation - (a Hanako bad-end story) - My second KS fanfic. Not all that happy.

themocaw
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by themocaw » Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:12 am

Robnonymous wrote:
themocaw wrote:Looking back on this one, I am completely dissatisfied with it, but will keep it up as is.
I wouldn't sell yourself short, but I sort of agree in that it doesn't seem quite up to par with some (i.e. most) of your other stories. Then again, you've been writing a TON of them. :P
Well. Sometimes you get an idea in your head that won't go away until you write it down. They're not always good ideas, though.

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VIVI
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by VIVI » Sat Feb 18, 2012 2:58 am

i love it. i love it a lot.
(Look who no was the only one with the April Fools routes in the mind. I was trying to write a kind of "true" Kenji route (because if not do it, the idea not had leave me sleep) but suddenly stop because was turned long (and with that a pain to translate from spanish to english) Someone in vg wrote a Kenji Diary, and the idea return again to my mind...maybe i will, maybe i will be shy and no do it...)
But well, this story was fantastic.Saved in my docs.

Bagheera
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by Bagheera » Sat Feb 18, 2012 6:47 pm

themocaw wrote:Looking back on this one, I am completely dissatisfied with it, but will keep it up as is.
You shouldn't be, as it's quite good. My only complaint is that she died too soon! She should have had years, and it sounds like she died in a matter of weeks.
Girls: Emi = Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Shizune = Rin
Routes: Rin = Shizune > Emi > Lilly = Hanako


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griffon8
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by griffon8 » Sat Feb 18, 2012 9:56 pm

themocaw wrote:Well. Sometimes you get an idea in your head that won't go away until you write it down. They're not always good ideas, though.
That's what's happened with two of my stories. I'm hoping the next one I've started formulating doesn't do that to me though. I think it's going to be another long one.
I found out about Katawa Shoujo through the forums of Misfile. There, I am the editor of Misfiled Dreams.

Completed: 100%, including bonus picture. Shizune>Emi>Lilly>Hanako>Rin

Griffon8's Writing

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Mahorfeus
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by Mahorfeus » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:16 pm

It's... sad. The lingering idea that a happy ending was not possible is killing me on the inside. But given the context, it's hard to see it any other way.
"A very small degree of hope is sufficient to cause the birth of love." -Stendhal
The verdict is (finally) in:
Hanako > Rin > Emi > Lilly = Shizune

Bagheera
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by Bagheera » Sat Feb 18, 2012 11:25 pm

Thinking about it, I think the drabble approach is a poor one for this story. Enomoto, as you've described her, is a fantastic character. But she needs more depth, and drabbles aren't cutting it. If you expand the story and the timeframe (say, 20 years or so) I think you'll be on to something truly awesome. Please consider an extended version!
Girls: Emi = Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Shizune = Rin
Routes: Rin = Shizune > Emi > Lilly = Hanako


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Pl4t0
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Re: 2400 words from a path never written.

Post by Pl4t0 » Sun Feb 19, 2012 12:23 am

Mahorfeus wrote:It's... sad. The lingering idea that a happy ending was not possible is killing me on the inside. But given the context, it's hard to see it any other way.
You know, I've been thinking (rather a lot, after reading this story) about that. That it isn't possible for her to have a happy ending. But as abjectly tragic as everything (everything) about her situation is, the more I think about it, the more I come to believe that this isn't necessarily the case.

I heard a quote once (in fact, a user on this forum even keeps it in their signature), and thought it rung true, especially here:
The meaning of life? Truth is, there really isn't one. If the entire human race were to just cease existing, would the whole of space and time come to a halt? No. Our lives are so meaningless and fleeting that in truth they really aren't worth living. Unless we make them worth living. So the meaning of life; is whatever you want it to be."
Saki has it pretty damn hard. Human beings, on average, have a short enough stint on this hellhole as it is. She doesn't even have that. But with the time she does have, some 40-odd years, what is she going to do with it? Though things might end very badly, very painfully, and very slowly for her, she is ultimately in the same situation as all of us, only working to a different schedule - forced to confront her mortality long before it is natural to do so.

It is just incredibly unfair, but in the end, it comes down to what she did with that time in-between the beginning and the end, the same as all of us. She has maybe half the time to accomplish what most of us can't do in a full lifetime, but that doesn't mean she can't accomplish them. Her life might end in a hospital bed before she can even reach middle age, but that doesn't mean she will not be surrounded by those that she loved, and those that loved her. Those that she touched, and those that touched her. Life is like money; you can invest it in all the right places and make a fortune on the return, or spend it all away and have nothing left but to wallow in bankruptcy. Which will Saki choose?

Goddamnit, themocaw. You made me feel.

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