The Haunting: A Love Story *UPDATED 02/26/2015*

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Megumeru
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Re: The Haunting: A Love Story *UPDATED*

Post by Megumeru » Sun May 20, 2012 2:46 am

nemz wrote:Yep, gotta get all the expected preliminaries out of the way. Will be nice to see the story get truely started though.
Don't worry, I'm just getting started 8)
Elcor wrote:I..just..damn, it just hits you hard.

it also made me think of this Walking In The Rain
That's a classic :lol:
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They say they hate Shizune? What is this? BLASPHEMY!

SHII-HAEL!
Shizune>Rin>Emi>Hanako>Lilly
"A writer is a light that reveals the world of his story from darkness. Shapes it from nothingness. If the writer stops, the world dies with it." - Alan Wake
Yes, I write stories. Currently working on: The Haunting: A Love Story

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Scissorlips
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Re: The Haunting: A Love Story

Post by Scissorlips » Sun May 20, 2012 3:10 am

Another update, another knife in my gut. Keep the emotions coming please, it's a good hurt.
Really interested to see what happens next. I notice that you flip between past and present tense in a few odd places though, and also "wouldn’t want me to grief over her death", "grief" should be "grieve". Otherwise, pretty great.
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I'm a writer for a visual novel project called Familiarity, where I go by the name Lunch.

Beoran
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Re: The Haunting: A Love Story

Post by Beoran » Sun May 20, 2012 4:42 am

Everyday tragedy in a great, detailed, solemn and saddening description of a Japanese funeral. If this will be anything like the Kana ghost story manga, I'll be overcome with feels again. Well done.
Kind Regards, B.
Feeling like your heart is broken? Need to get it off your chest? Tell your story here.
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Megumeru
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Chapter II: Passing

Post by Megumeru » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:14 am

The Haunting: A Love Story

Chapters
Prologue: Till’ Death...

ACT I -Black and White-
Chapter I: Funeral
Chapter II: Passing
Chapter III: Haunting
ACT II -Light Colors-
Chapter IV: A Drop of Green
Chapter V: Between You and Me
Chapter VI: What Lies Ahead
Chapter VII: Chained
Chapter VIII: Let me Love You
ACT III -Crimson Dusk-
Chapter IX: Dreamland
Chapter X: Sleep Walker
Chapter XI: Nightmare
Chapter XII: Shadows
Chapter XIII: Recollection
ACT IV -Clear Sky-


Chapter II: Passing

That night I had a dream. It was surreal, peaceful—even reassuring, and yet at the same time it horrified me with the qualities of a nightmare. It frightened me, terrified me how it could pose to be ‘real’, yet at the same time it wasn’t. When I woke up, I kept telling myself that it was a dream—an illusion my mind made up due to the stress I was in for the past couple of days.

It was a dream about Shizune.

In that dream, I was dancing with her in a grassy field littered with anemone. We were laughing and smiling together under the ray of the summer sun, enjoying life to the fullest. It was everything I could’ve hoped to see; her smile, muted-laughter, and her playful personality I never thought existed behind that strict, tough, and dominating mask she wore as the face of the Student Council. She was quite a flirt—a dominant and aggressive one, yes, but nonetheless it was what made her ‘Shizune’. Then it came to the point where she ran far ahead of me and playfully waved to come over, teasingly signed ‘catch me’ with zest and humor. I chuckled and paced myself towards her as she ran across the flower field.

Then it turned into a nightmare.

The field we ran through disappeared, buried in what seemed to be asphalt and cement. The sky gloomed, cracked, and before I realized what was going on I found myself standing on the side of the road. It was a familiar scene; something I wished to be left buried in the depths of my mind.

Something I wished never to remember.

She stood there with her wide sun hat just after the moment she caught it in the air. Everything was in exact order; the trees, the air, the wind—even down to the cracks on the curb. The moment I realized this, I knew that I had found myself in the midst of the accident just seconds before it occurred. Frantically I searched for the truck as I paced myself and ran straight to her hoping to stop it from happening again—to save her. I turned to my right, and there it was barreling down the road with speed and ferocity; only this time, I was closer to Shizune than before. Good. I can save her…

“You can’t save her, Hisao.”

A lone voice caught my attention. It wasn’t because of the familiarity or the tone it gave and—surprisingly—what it said. Instead, it was how the voice caught my attention. “Wha—ow!”

With a ‘crack’ I stumbled on the hard surface of the curb face-first as my feet caught an obstruction that wasn’t supposed to exist. I didn’t trip—no, that’s not it; it felt more as if something had purposely tripped me. I felt a sting in my nose—a trickle of blood—yet I wouldn’t let that became an obstacle from reaching her as I quickly stood up to regain my pace. Out of sheer curiosity, I turned to see who the perpetrator was—the person who intended to stop me. At some point, my familiarity with the voice—the tone, volume, and the nature—scared me, but at the same time it built the courage and curiosity I needed. I knew I was running in dreamland, but nonetheless if I could change its outcome—if I could just save her—I felt that everything would be alright. With what motivation I had, I turned furiously at the figure and once again, the revelation shook me equally as it would in reality.

Lilly stood with her cane at an upright position and her head held high. She displayed a posture that could easily described to be refined, mannered, and dignified—just watching her somehow made my heart wrench at the thought of how it could be a look of pity more than that of concern. As if she knew my intention, the blind girl took a few steps forward and shook her head before she offered her hand. The truck was closing in by the second.

“You can’t save her, Hisao.”

“No!” I slapped her hand away and returned my attention towards Shizune who stood obliviously in the middle of the road. “I can save her—no, I will save her!”

Her hand reached forward and grabbed my arm, stopping my movement for the second time. My emotions boiled and I began to think that Lilly’s persistence and nosiness was down-right irritating—yet admirable, if it wasn’t an obstacle to me.

“Hisao, listen to me!”

“Get your hands—”

“She’s already dead, Hisao! Associating with her will put you in harm’s way!”

“That’s—”

The second she made the revelation my struggle was shattered like a glass against a hammer. Even dreams had no escape against the power of truth or the voice of reason—my voice of reason. Or is it? It was a common perception of modern society that the presence of a ghost—a haunting—was often associated with malice, regret, vengeance, or death. Many were associated and even worked with it, sometimes it brought catastrophe or harm to those who were careless. In my dream, I saw Shizune standing in the middle of the road just seconds from the tragedy that would befell us—that would befell me. True, her projection in my dreams was a ghost from reality; an image that was imprinted on my mind before the accident. But was that all? What does Lilly’s significance had in this ‘world’ I created in my sleep? Why was she here in the first place? More importantly, what rights did she had to stop me? Freud would have a field-day if he was still alive to translate this.

But this wasn’t the time to think about it. I gave struggle, broke free, and—despite Lilly’s protest—I ran towards Shizune. I couldn’t let her die for the second time—I can still save her!

I ran as fast as I could, as far as my feet could carry. The truck drew in closer and was in plain view, and I knew deep inside that I had ran out of time. But I refused to believe, I shouldn’t think like that! I could still save her, I knew I could!
Shizune stood solemnly on the road. Her expression of bliss was slowly replaced with that of sadness and grief. She looked at me, her eyes seemingly pierced right into my soul before she gave a tragic smile that tells me how she had surrendered to her fate. She raised her hand, released her sun hat, and signed with as much clarity as she could muster with her trembling fingers. My heart was instantly crushed.

[Farewell.]

Then it happened for the second time.

-------------

I sat up with a jolt, my head was hurting from the shock, and my eyes were wide open. Before me was a familiar scene; white walls that surrounded all corners, a study table by the window, and the row of medications that sat idly by the drawer. The sun had yet shined its rays through the blinds, while my alarm was still thirty minutes away from its initial setting. I was sweating from under the blanket and my pajama was soaked; my heart was beating fast. Quickly I unraveled the blanket and sat on the edge of my bed, took a deep breath and let all the feelings sunk in.

It was just a nightmare.

It was a nightmare, a dream, a recollection of memory; it wasn’t something I should be making a big deal out of when my own life depended on the rows of ‘portable life supports’ that sat on the table. Yet the dream felt real, and that frightened me more than it should. It had been three days since she passed away, yet the air of the accident and the images had been imprinted deep in my psyche like a tattoo. I couldn’t forget about it and even if I wanted to, the thought of it crushed me more than it could save me. The more I thought about it, the more I believed that the accident occurred because I decided to watch in the sideline—because I allowed it to happen. Damn it, I shouldn’t be thinking about it this early in the morning.

I asserted myself, downed a few capsules of ‘life support’, and grabbed a towel I hung by the chair before I head to the showers.

When the cold water of the shower hit me, my mind jolted in surprise to the sudden sensation that felt like a thousand needles that ran through my veins. It was a wakeup call by reality, a world where Shizune no longer existed. I began to think about the class and their opinion concerning the absence of one of their classmate who was recognized as a ‘keen manipulator’—I’ll be honest, Shizune wasn’t exactly the most popular person in class. She was, however, infamous as the sole ‘face’ of the Student Council. I couldn’t blame her; Shizune often came out strong, demanding, and sometimes arrogant in her ways to manage the Council and her surroundings. Her issue with Lilly helped worsened the deal and made her recognized by many as the school’s no. 1 “public enemy”—even Kenji had a thing or two against the Student Council president. I didn’t like it; the thought of it made me puked inside and disgusted me. Shizune wasn’t like that; on the contrary she was cheerful, playful—sometimes mischievously childish—and was only trying to rope as many people as she could. When I first met Shizune, I was honestly cautious and wary of her intentions. She came to me with such force and control that it irked me, yet at the same it made me curious and—before I knew it—she became the sole reason why I joined the Student Council. Now that she passed away, was there any other reason for me to…

“Dude, you’re in there?”

With haste, I shut the showers and grabbed a towel. I sighed in irritation just from recognizing his lightly high-pitched voice as I made my way out to confront him. Great, just the person who I wanted to see this morning…

“Kenji…”

“Yo…!” callously he walked up to—by god why does he always had to be in the nude every time we meet in the shower? “Sup man! I’ve been looking for you.”

This again; every time he came looking for me, it would always be about money or some feminist conspiracy he spout that I couldn’t even understood. But that wasn’t the point here; it was more towards how he managed to keep a straight face while talking in the nude, not to mention it was the second time he pulled-off this stunt. I was beginning to believe that his lunacy was credited to those pair of thick glasses he wore almost everywhere. Nonetheless, having to deal with him this early in the morning was the last thing I had in mind. “Money, Kenji…?”

“No,” he grimaced. Well, that was surprising. “Who do you think I am a debt collector? That’s the job of feminist-controlled males, man. Where do you think they get their funding from?”

Here we go again.

Kenji began his usual lengthy lecture and outrageous ‘theories’ of how ‘feminists’ dominated the world which dubbed him as the self-proclaimed ‘last sane-man in the planet’. If I kept humoring him I might as well believe that he was the last sane-man in the planet—wasn’t much of a surprise too since he unintentionally rewarded those who listened to him a one-way ticket to the ‘fun house’. Still, I was surprised that his intention to find me wasn’t related to money or another one of his conspiracy theory—it was even more shocking when he asked what I was up to. “So dude, what are you up to?”

“What?”

“I knew you’re up to something man.”

I chuckled in an attempt to humor him. It was funny how I refused to do so just five minutes ago. “What do you mean by that?”

“Don’t play dumb. Last night I heard you left your room—it was pretty late too.”

“Uh huh…and how late was it?”

“About 3AM in the morning. You’re infiltrating the feminist in this school, huh? Sneak up at night, dig some secrets, then ambush them where they least expect it. Made me proud, man…!”

And here I was about to believe it would be something different for a change, but instead I was served an early morning half-drunken ramble about feminists. I would love to tell Kenji that there was no possible way for me to be outside at 3AM in the morning or was there any reason to do so, but I digressed on the decision; his misguided confidence and pride at least provided some value of entertainment. The dream I had last night weren’t much help to my mood, and here I thought spending my morning with Kenji would be the better solution—an escape, more or less.

I still couldn’t believe I managed to convince myself that Kenji would provide some sort of ‘entertainment’.

-------------

The classroom gave a different vibe than what it used to. The moment I stepped inside, I felt the sudden twitch of many eyes locked upon me. The gaze of the class faded as fast as it emerged and the atmosphere slowly sank to how it was before I stepped into the room. To the right of Misha was an empty desk that was once occupied by class 3-3’s representative—a flower vase was positioned atop the table. Since morning, the class was well informed about the accident that happened just a few days ago, yet many had found it to be too sudden to be fully digested and understood—after all, it did involve the death of a classmate. When I took my seat, I observed my surrounding, examined, and compared the class to what it once was before; after a brief period, I had understood the meaning behind those gazes I felt earlier.

It was solemn and depressing; no different than a funeral.

When Mutou-sensei entered the classroom, I could almost see his guilt-like expression. I couldn’t understand why he should be, but I came to the conclusion that it was due to his position as class 3-3’s homeroom teacher; losing a student or a disciple—a friend—had dealt quite a blow to the normally calm science teacher of Yamaku High. I watched his movement for the entire homeroom period as he explained the situation that had befallen on Shizune; with every mention of her name, he stopped and gazed her empty desk for a second or two before resuming his speech. I couldn’t stand it; the atmosphere was too synonymous to her funeral that it made me felt as if I was attending a follow-up from the last. When homeroom ended, Mutou sighed and dismissed the period but not before he called Misha and I for a conversation outside the class.

“Do you need us for something, sir?”

“How are you guys feeling?”

Misha looked away as she took a deep breath. “We’re fine. Thank you for the concern.”

“Look, I called you guys here because I know you two were close friends of Hakamichi. It…must’ve been pretty hard.”

I nodded. “It will take some time, but we’ll be ok.”

“I also wanted to ask you two about another thing,” Mutou crossed his arms and sighed dejectedly. “What are you two going to do with the Student Council?”

I had been preparing myself for this question since this morning. Yamaku High’s Student Council consisted of nothing more than three people and was often considered to be ‘unofficial’ by the majority of the student body. It may only be me, Misha, and Shizune, but it was all the Student Council needed to serve its purpose—or at least, that was what I thought when Shizune was around. Shizune wasn’t just the ‘face’; she was the Student Council. In my short time with her I noticed how she would constantly ate all the responsibility we couldn’t or what we didn’t want to do—even more than what her share dictated. To her, it was an unquenchable passion paired with a hint of accomplishment and self-satisfaction that never failed to amuse her. To me, it was recklessness paired with a persistent stubbornness—a very admirable one if I might add. She knew the weight of the workload and she understood her own limits and the amount she could handle, but when she saw the things we were unable to accomplish or the papers we never wanted to touch, she would immediately took over and dealt it accordingly; even if it took away her freedom. I believed at first that it was driven by arrogance and pride, a way to show her nemesis—Lilly—that she alone was capable of running the Student Council single-handedly, and that her and the former members’ leave were nothing but a hindrance. But as I spent more and more time with her, I began to understand what had truly driven her.

It was the smile and laughter of the people around her. She only wanted to see the budding joy of those she cared about, to make them happy even if it meant chaining herself to the Student Council.

It was enough to convince me of my decision. I couldn’t let her effort, accomplishment, and the time she sacrificed to be left forgotten—wasted.

“I’ll take over the Student Council if it’s ok, sir.”

“Are you sure Nakai? Are you aware of your decision?”

“Yes, sir,” I nodded. “I am aware of the consequences and the responsibility.”

“If Hicchan decide to take over,” Misha interrupts. “Then I’m with him.”

“Very well; I will inform the faculty and the school. Do you need anything else to get you started?”

“Shizu—Hakamichi is capable of running the Student Council with just the three of us,” Her name echoed in my head once again as a reminder and caused me to purse my lips. “I don’t believe it is the same for us. If it is anything, we might need some help on recruiting people.”

“I’ll see it done. Best of luck and…” with his hand out of his pocket, Mutou tapped me on my shoulder before he sailed off to the flight of stairs. “Stay strong.”

I felt the air returned to us after Mutou left; the same atmosphere that was filled with sadness, regret, and destitution. The source came from the once-bubbly girl I knew that stood beside me with her hand open and ready, as if she waited for something that may never came. But it wasn’t just her—no, not Misha alone—for I too felt the same. The Student Council had lost its vital member, the ‘pack-leader’, the crown, and the force that breadth life into it. I realized soon after that my decision was a spur-of-the-moment and was done without further thinking of the consequences; I’ll be honest, do I even knew what the Student Council was for in Yamaku, or what it represented? What was my interest joining the Student Council in the first place? Now that I volunteered to fill the boots that Shizune once wore, I felt…empty.

It was as if there was no purpose in it, no drive—a goal, even. I didn’t even knew what I said until Mutou left the scene and—before I knew it—I was considered as the President of Yamaku High’s ailing Student Council. If Shizune was still alive right now, she would…

…she would…

…if she was still alive…



God, I hated myself.

-------------

Misha and I spent the rest of our lunchtime in the Student Council office. Old habits die hard, they say, and our return to the office strangely felt welcoming; the desk that were neatly aligned to the wall was still collecting dust, the cupboard by the corner that held all the files and documents she would often browse was still left unattended, and the table of the President with a hidden stash of snacks which she claimed as ‘emergency ration’ was still littered with pens, highlighters, and markers. It felt warm, welcoming, and comfortable; yet strangely, it also felt as if something was missing in the room. Deep within I knew what was missing, yet I dare not disturb it any further. Misha seemed to understood what was going through my head as she offered me a seat before she took her own ; courteous, yet at the same time it felt off knowing it came from someone who slammed doors for an entrance.

“Are you sure about this, Hicchan…?”

I nodded.

“I guess it is best for both of us, huh…”

No, it wasn’t. I couldn’t think straight about anything anymore—not even what I did this morning.

“Maybe if we pile ourselves with more work, it might help us to forget…I think.”

I began to notice Misha’s hand which signed constantly as she spoke. Even if I wanted to forget about her, sometimes little details such as those came as a hefty reminder of the things we used to do. It was an old habit, and as they say ‘old habits die hard’.

“Your hands are signing, Misha.”

She gasped and quickly hid her hands behind her. “I guess ‘old habits die hard’, huh? Hahaha…ha…”

Misha gave a forced laughter and stopped. It was funny when you think about it; when Shizune was still here, the Student Council office can be pretty lively with Misha who chatted away, laughing, or ‘wording’ Shizune’s messages. There were times when she worded Shizune’s warnings for her and realized it a bit later with a ‘wait, I am Misha’ as if she experienced a slight amnesia in that short moment. But now that she was gone, the office echoed as loud as the grand cathedrals in Europe. It was funny how a deaf-mute could spruce up the place while her absence killed the voice that once inhabited it.

Such irony this was.

“Is anybody here?”

A knock on the door, a voice, and the familiar tip-tap of a cane caught our attention. Lilly walked into the office with a manner bestowed on a noble while Hanako followed closely behind her, still timid and meek just as how I saw her for the first time. Misha quickly tried to conjure a laughter—a fake one, nonetheless—in an attempt to lift the depressing atmosphere that filled the room. If Shizune was still here, she’d immediately dove right into another quarrel with the blind class representative which could drag on for hours until one of them surrendered; but as fate had stated, she wasn’t here anymore and the last thing we needed was Lilly ridiculing the late-president and attempt a take-over of the Student Council.
But she wasn’t like that, and I was getting ahead of myself and my judgment; part of it was probably an influence from Shizune herself.

The blind class representative took a step forward, her cane held steady in her hand as she navigate towards us as cautiously as possible. Her friend closely followed her step by step; a small ‘game’, perhaps, as she tried to fit every footprints left by Lilly with rhythmic precision. I was surprised of Lilly—impressed, even—when I saw her skillfully made her way from the door and stood before us like everyone else. She bowed politely as a greeting to which we replied courteously with a nod as a sign of respect—she may be blind, but that shouldn’t be an excuse for us to skip on formal actions. Soon after, she cleared her throat and spoke her intention on visiting the Student Council office.

“We…overheard your conversation with Mutou-sensei this morning.”

Oh, that wasn’t much of a surprise now was it?

“I know it has been hard for you, but Hisao…” Lilly took a step forward towards the sound I made as I shift my weight; her expression reflected that of concern. “Have you thought it through?”

“Of course I have, Lilly, it’s…”

Again, my tongue was tied the moment I caught Lilly’s frown that silently noted my unwelcoming tone and hostile character. I knew she meant well with her approach, driven by what I observed as her motherly tendencies. Ever since she died I was living under a constant state of depression and escapism, part of me even tried to deny that the accident never happened in the first place. As a compensation for her sight, Lilly developed her own ways to observe and feel her surroundings; the change in the air, the temperature, mood—everything. I began to realize that her first approach during Shizune’s funeral was triggered by my own emotions and how it ‘altered’ the air around me which Lilly caught wind of; it wasn’t news that I was steady with the late-President, and she probably knew I was crushed by the incident. She meant well, and yet I rejected her hand with words that were as sharp as knives and as blunt as stones.

“…no, I haven’t…” I sheathed my tongue and looked away. “It was a spur-of-the-moment. Sorry for acting like that a few seconds ago.”

Lilly smiled warmly and fix her posture. She cleared her throat once more and spoke, “The fault is on my part as well, Hisao. I shouldn’t have brought it up this soon.”

“No, no…it’s okay…”

“Getting back, that isn’t our intention of dropping by,” she continued. “We are wondering if the application for the Student Council is open.”

“I-I think it’s a good idea…” Hanako followed timidly. “Y-you’re not a bad person, Hisao. Lilly thinks it is the right thing to do to help you so…”

I looked at Misha who had her eyes wide open ever since the conversation took a different turn. She nodded and smiled before her all-familiar bubbly grin shined unto her audience, making its return once more. Hanako timidly stepped forward and stood beside Lilly who dwarfed her in height, but nonetheless equal in resolve to that of the blind class-rep. Meanwhile, Lilly stood elegantly with an air of a noble that radiated from her as she waited for me—the Student Council President—to voice my approval on the matter. There was no other answer I could think of at that time, and for what it was worth the choice was obvious. I offered her my hand and brushed it slightly on Lilly’s.
She smiled and took it with hope.

“Welcome to the Student Council.”

-------------

The days ahead of us returned to what it once was before the accident with a few minor changes here and there. The flower vase that sat on Shizune’s table was removed a week later, her room was cleared while most of her belongings were kept in the Student Council office until retrieved by her family, and the Student Council was in full-operational condition with members totaling to twelve students. Misha’s signature grin and laughter returned by the end of the week with her much to be desired work ethics, Hanako was appointed to be the supervisor of the newspaper committee and slowly opened up to others around her, while Lilly became my secretary.

Lilly…she was alluring, to say the least.

In my short time working with her, I began to unconsciously observe her character and the way she operated. Sure, Shizune was right on some aspect of her procrastination, but it was often paired with a reason that can be judged as legit. When she was neglecting her job as a secretary, she was often pre-occupied with other members of the Student Council who had difficulty of their own and offered herself as a councilor. I didn’t mind, but as it frequented more and more I understood Shizune’s initial frustration—or what I believed to what had caused it in the first place. It was irritating, frustrating, and before I knew it I was bitter with the members of the Student Council and their incapability to accomplish the tasks I had laid out with a set deadline. But each time I did, my intention to discipline the committee was immediately extinguished by Lilly’s calm and caring nature.

In a week’s time, I was captivated by the presence of my blonde assistant. The way she spoke, navigate through the tables and the halls, and how she stroked her finger when using the Braille typewriter was almost alluring as it was graceful. Her kindness radiated the office with a light I had never seen before—even Misha had came to accept Lilly and Hanako’s presence naturally, as if they had been part of the Student Council for as long as she could remember. I myself had warmed up to Lilly’s presence, her care, and her kindness; for the first time since I spoke to her, I saw her in a different light than what I used to. The world, as I had known, had adapted and accepted Shizune’s passing as another tragic event—one of a billion—that would came and pass. By the end of the second week, everyone had almost forgotten about Shizune and no word about her was ever mentioned.

Everyone, but me…

For the past two weeks, Shizune had been haunting me in my sleep. Each night the same dream would appear and replayed the accident over and over again. But in each night, there were always slight variations to what it was in the previous; one of which was the distance that grew between me and her. It was barely noticeable at first, but as my admiration for Lilly grew so was the distant between Shizune. Every night Lilly would be in my dreams repeating the same actions over and over like a well-choreographed play while Shizune stood motionless on the street, waiting for her inevitable fate. Each time it happened, Shizune would sign ‘goodbyes’, ‘farewells’, or incentives for me to ‘move on and forget’. Each time I tried to save her, Lilly would intervened and repeat the same message over and over again.

‘You can’t save her’, she said, ‘it was already too late.’

So here I was standing in the middle of the two in a dream I couldn’t even comprehend. A part of me wanted to race against time and save the girl that had surrendered to her tragic fate, while the other tugged me to reach for Lilly’s hand and walk away. Each night I couldn’t drew myself towards a conclusion and was reminded of the accident as Lilly stood in the sideline and withdrew her hand. By morning, I was awoken at the end of the nightmare with a cold sweat and a sudden rush of grief that overwhelmed me almost instantly.

By the start of the fourth week, everybody had forgotten or moved on.

Despite my frequent nightmares, I had accepted the fact that she would never return.


I was wrong.

END CHAPTER II



Author's Note
This is supposed to be up last Sunday. Sorry for my tardiness, but you can blame Blizzard and Diablo III. Evil company. Evil game.

Another fair warning, I believe...you know what, let's save this one for later chapters when things heat up :wink:
Last edited by Megumeru on Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:06 am, edited 20 times in total.
Image
They say they hate Shizune? What is this? BLASPHEMY!

SHII-HAEL!
Shizune>Rin>Emi>Hanako>Lilly
"A writer is a light that reveals the world of his story from darkness. Shapes it from nothingness. If the writer stops, the world dies with it." - Alan Wake
Yes, I write stories. Currently working on: The Haunting: A Love Story

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nemz
Posts: 531
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:39 am

Re: The Haunting: A Love Story *UPDATED*

Post by nemz » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:53 am

Hmm... maybe he didn't leave, but someone snuck into his room?

huh. Mental image of Lilly trying to perform an exorcism while Misha shoots florescent pink vomit everywhere like a cheerful demonic lawn sprinkler.
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

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Megumeru
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Location: Land of the Rising Sun

Re: The Haunting: A Love Story *UPDATED*

Post by Megumeru » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:03 pm

nemz wrote:Hmm... maybe he didn't leave, but someone snuck into his room?

huh. Mental image of Lilly trying to perform an exorcism while Misha shoots florescent pink vomit everywhere like a cheerful demonic lawn sprinkler.
I...have no comment on these.

Wait and see :wink:
...but Misha shoots florescent pink vomit and Lilly as an exorcist? Pretty wild imagination :D
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Re: The Haunting: A Love Story *UPDATED*

Post by Elcor » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:23 pm

my emotions...why do you do, the things you do to them. Some people tend to pay for this emotional abuse...so your tardiness can be slightly over looked.
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Re: The Haunting: A Love Story *UPDATED*

Post by Megumeru » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:54 pm

Elcor wrote:my emotions...why do you do, the things you do to them. Some people tend to pay for this emotional abuse...so your tardiness can be slightly over looked.
Pick your flavor, really.

It could go almost anywhere after I'm done with ACT I from tragic love triangle, death scenes, sweet love romance, betrayal, netorare, etc.

but we'll see. :wink:
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"A writer is a light that reveals the world of his story from darkness. Shapes it from nothingness. If the writer stops, the world dies with it." - Alan Wake
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Re: The Haunting: A Love Story *UPDATED*

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Jun 01, 2012 9:32 pm

One word: Tenses!!!

Also, you spend a very long paragraph explaining the thougt that went into Hisao's decision to take over the council, saying he thougt about it all day, and for the rest of the chapterhe insists it was a spur of the moment decision...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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Re: The Haunting: A Love Story *UPDATED*

Post by Scissorlips » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:49 am

A couple tense mixups and a word or two off I think, but otherwise a great update. I really felt like something was punching me in the chest in the first dream sequence, and I almost want to stop reading at this point but at the same time I can't. ;_;
Looking forward to more, eventually.
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Re: The Haunting: A Love Story *UPDATED*

Post by Megumeru » Sat Jun 02, 2012 7:38 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:One word: Tenses!!!

Also, you spend a very long paragraph explaining the thougt that went into Hisao's decision to take over the council, saying he thougt about it all day, and for the rest of the chapterhe insists it was a spur of the moment decision...
I always reread the chapters that were about to be published, but misses tend to happen pretty often.

Hisao did thought about it all day, but it didn't really give him the exact answer/decision for a complete resolution. His answer was brought up in spur-of-the-moment situation where his initial judgment gave him an answer that he think is right, so it's not really a 'yes I am confident that I can take it over no sweat' and more into 'I'll take over it because Shizune left a legacy in it. I don't know crap about running things though.'

well, that's more or less my explanation anyway.
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"A writer is a light that reveals the world of his story from darkness. Shapes it from nothingness. If the writer stops, the world dies with it." - Alan Wake
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Re: The Haunting: A Love Story

Post by Oddball » Sat Jun 02, 2012 9:16 am

Very nice story so far.
here's just one bit that throws me out of the mood.
“Not much,” she replied reassuringly and sighed. “Akira told me where you are, and I think it’s a good idea to see you. How are you holding up?”
Lilly thinks it's a good idea to see somebody.

I get what you're going for, but you might want to use a different phrasing.
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Re: The Haunting: A Love Story

Post by Megumeru » Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:22 pm

Oddball wrote:
“Not much,” she replied reassuringly and sighed. “Akira told me where you are, and I think it’s a good idea to see you. How are you holding up?”
Lilly thinks it's a good idea to see somebody.

I get what you're going for, but you might want to use a different phrasing.
Ah yeah, phrasing. True, that. I'll correct that with 'to talk to you'
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They say they hate Shizune? What is this? BLASPHEMY!

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"A writer is a light that reveals the world of his story from darkness. Shapes it from nothingness. If the writer stops, the world dies with it." - Alan Wake
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Chapter III: Haunting

Post by Megumeru » Fri Jun 15, 2012 2:04 pm

The Haunting: A Love Story

Chapters
Prologue: Till’ Death...

ACT I -Black and White-
Chapter I: Funeral
Chapter II: Passing
Chapter III: Haunting
ACT II -Light Colors-
Chapter IV: A Drop of Green
Chapter V: Between You and Me
Chapter VI: What Lies Ahead
Chapter VII: Chained
Chapter VIII: Let me Love You
ACT III -Crimson Dusk-
Chapter IX: Dreamland
Chapter X: Sleep Walker
Chapter XI: Nightmare
Chapter XII: Shadows
Chapter XIII: Recollection
ACT IV -Clear Sky-


Chapter III: Haunting

The middle of the third week is marked as the turning point for the Student Council from its initial successes to its slow decline. Motivation dwindled, absences were filed, and assignments were completed beyond its initial deadline. Within my short time span as the President of the Student Council, I began to understand the reason behind Shizune's initial frustration—the things that drove her mad and often pushed her to the brink of her patience. When I first heard about the story from Lilly about a week ago, I find it hard to accept yet easy to swallow; now I am in the same position as she was before and am experiencing the same kind of stress she had. In the short time span of four weeks, some of the true 'colors' of the members became transparent and vile—people who joined not with the thought of others in mind, but of themselves. I am in no place to judge, but as days went by I became even more agitated by the ever-growing piss-poor performance of the Student Council; people who joined for merit, fame, and even those who were there for their love interest irritate me more than others.

And there is nothing I could do.

“Damn it Nakada! I told you to distribute the fliers, not throw them away!”

“I did!” he replies in force. This ‘shouting match’ is a common sight in the Student Council. “I distributed them throughout the school!”

“Then can you explain why a faculty member complained to me about the mess in the cafeteria concerning our fliers??”

Each day were filled with arguments, disagreements, conflicts, and fights between me and my 'dictatorship' against the members who grew rebellious by the hour and uncooperative by the minute. Each assignments and task I gave would often be left neglected or untouched, leaving both Misha and I to sort out and complete. Each time there was an argument, the members would point out their handicap—amputation, partial-deafness, asthma, or other bullshits—that kept them on the 'winning' side. Winning, I say? That was often the outcome whether I like it or not. Each time there was an argument, the 'victim' would appeal how their own 'issues' merit them the treatment they demand. Each time I step in, they resisted.

And each time I did, Lilly would act as the mediator.

She would stand in between us, like a jury or a judge before both sides. The whole damn thing felt like a competition or a fight for survival; it sickens me to think of it that way. The member I pressure would voice his or her complaints paired with a reason ‘why’ they couldn't complete the task or 'why' I was overbearing; in the end, I gave up on defending myself. It doesn't matter what I say or what I do, nor do I give a damn about it anymore; Lilly would side with the 'weak', falling for their facade and their call for compassion. And that left me in the wrong almost every single time.

By the start of the fourth week, I snapped.

“So that's it? Is this the best you could do?" I reply in anger at the result of an assignment I gave almost a week ago. "This isn't even worthy to be published in the school's newspaper!”

The student cleans his nose with his thumb and stares at me with disgust. “That's the poll you've been demanding. Like it or not, that's what the students came up with.”

“THIS CAN'T EVEN BE CONSIDERED A POLL WHEN I CAN SEE THAT YOU FAKED THIS THING...!” The Student Council officer flinches as I slap the paper to the desk. It was evident; the handwriting, survey, signatures—everything has imprints of fraudulence. There was no reason for me to hold back, nor is there a motivation to do so.

“Redo this. Its already pass the initial deadline, and I am not giving anymore 'extensions' just because you have chronic asthma.”

“You're starting to sound like her, you know that...? The previous bitch that ran the council...”

And just like that, I snapped.

My mind—morals, ethics, self-control—and all that had kept me behind the fence snapped as the last straw was pulled. There was no intention to hide it, no effort to down-play it, nor was there any humor elusively inserted in his words; it was pure emotions, that of which contained dissatisfaction and insult. I was at a loss of words, and the second he spoke at such degree my fist flew and found his face. I didn't hesitate, and I knew the noise was sure to attract attention from the rest of the members who were 'busy' doing whatever they wanted. He stood up, wiped the blood from the cut on his lip, and charge with a fist that soared high above his face. It didn't take long soon after for us to exchange blows with a transparent killing intent accumulated from the stress and frustration we gathered at our own accord. Misha immediately leaped from her seat and hesitated before she rush forward to pull us apart, Hanako was frightened by the sudden show of aggression, while Lilly and the rest of the idle members immediately stood up and part us as best as they could. I find it funny how we—students who have chronic breathing problems—would voluntarily exchange blows knowing the risk that our next swing could brand us as a murderer.

Then it was a familiar scene all over; Lilly stood in the middle, her expression soured due to the aura that dominated the situation as she attempt to act as the 'peace keeper'. It was a cycle—a routine she had grown accustomed to, and one repetition she knew I despise. When the dust settled between us, I concentrate my attention towards the defender as he present his defense. Lilly listens solemnly and humbly nod in between his words before she turns her focus to me. By then, I had enough of all this charade, lies, and fruitless endeavor; after all, there is nothing to gain from arguing with the Student Council. Ever since she left, the Student Council has returned to what it originally was; an irresponsible, useless, and unmotivated bunch of students who joined because of the merit it offered. When Shizune stepped up and rebelled against their character, she was branded by many as being bossy, heartless, with some even claimed that she ran a dictatorship.

What a joke.

Now, after spending four damn weeks wearing her boots, I have finally understood the politics and the blunt-force-trauma she received during her reign.

“Hisao, I believe the deadline is a little too strict. Would you consider extending it?”

“So that's it, isn't it...?" I replied with irritation. "You guys just need another punching bag.”

“...Hisao?”

I shook free from Misha and the member's grasps. My blood boil by the minute as I stood before Lilly with a display of authority I rarely exerted, all bottled up for days—weeks, maybe—thanks to the effort of my secretary. I stare right at her murky blue eyes and not a word was spoken; she couldn't see, but my aura alone humbled her before I shove her gently out of the way. The defendant stood still, both of his hands remains in the clutches of the other members as he kept his eyes trained on me with signs of respect, awe, and most of all—hatred. I should've done this long before the Student Council became the mess that it has become. Lilly did her part well, and I couldn't blame her for the kindness and compassion she offered regardless of their trouble. She was at no fault in this entire ordeal and just acted by her motherly instinct—no, I wouldn't blame her. But I believe it is time for me to act as the President of the Student Council, just as how Shizune once did.

I wonder; if she was still alive to see me, would she tap my shoulder and give a ‘proud’ smile? I might never find the answer; but even as I build my confidence to speak, the thought ran through my head as clear as a lake under the summer sun.

“When the Student Council was under her, all of you protested and point your fingers at the so-called 'megalomaniac' or 'dictator',” Misha flinches after she heard my first few introductions. Not just her though; Lilly, too, held her breath for a moment. “But did any of you decide to do something about it?”

There was a brief silence. I smile victoriously before I continue, “Nothing, right...? Instead, all of you just sit there in your desks and enjoy your 'ordinary school life' as she toiled away so it could happen. Now that she's gone, all the hate passed on to me as the new 'President', is that it? Your 'new' punching bag...”

“Hisa—“

“Not now, Lilly…!”

I was surprised of myself; by my aggression, tone, but most of all by the confidence that dared me to oppose the entire Student Council. I was outnumbered ten to one, yet there I spoke with a loud and clear voice that clearly opposed and criticized the Student Council's practice—something that I should've done a week ago. Lilly retreated by a few steps, taken aback by my sudden show of force that had been dormant since God-knows-when while the rest of the members were left speechless and almost unresponsive. It amazed me how much power and authority I could exert from a pool's worth of pent-up anger and frustration.

For minutes with no end, I insulted, criticized, and berated the members—all of them—with little show of compassion or care. Some tried to resist, but they too were immediately silenced by my endless ramble filled with anger, stress, and hatred—pure hatred—of the current Student Council. A part of me begged for an end to the onslaught, to look back and reflect that the fault of the Student Council was also within my sphere of responsibility. But I digress; Shizune handled a three-man Student Council—THREE MAN—and managed to accomplish more than what my twelve man group are capable of. It was almost insulting, and not just to me but also to her—Shizune—who built the reputation of the Student Council from the ground-up after all the members left. She may have pressed the members and demanded a very strict deadline, but it was all realistic; it wasn't something that she pulled out of her ass in a whim and decided that it was a good idea. She gave it a thought, over and over before she gave us—Misha and I—the assignment with a set-deadline. I used to complain about how tight the shift was, but when I gave some thought about it, the deadline was as realistic as it can be; she knew and believed we could accomplish it on time.

And we did, by God we did.

Even with just three volunteers, Shizune's Student Council outperformed my twelve-man party house. What a joke.

With my throat dry and my lips pulled to a tremble, I point my index finger to the door and end my speech. “The door's there.”

“If you're here for merit, love interest, or anything that revolves around your own personal agenda," I continue, "Then you are free to leave. I won't stop you or report you; consider your involvement with the Student Council to be over.”

I sigh and humble myself with a bow. “I am thankful for your participation in the Student Council, but if this is how it has come to be then it’s best to disband.”

I kept my head low as whispers echoed around me. The shuffle of footsteps and the sound from the door that came a minute later became the bell that adjourned the meeting that day, leaving Misha, Lilly, Hanako, and I alone in the desolate Student Council office.

With it, came the end of 'Hisao's Student Council'.

-------------

The following morning I decided to skip homeroom period in the Student Council office and acted as if nothing had happened the day before. Mutou-sensei didn't suspect a thing—or so I believe—when I made my way out of the class, out of sight and out of minds; Hanako was absent once again, and I see that as a 'legit' opportunity for me to leave the class unhindered or questioned. When I left the classroom, Misha followed soon after and tagged along to the Student Council office. She asked a few inquiries, worried about what she admitted to be my 'declining mental state' ever since I took over the Student Council—maybe even before, yet she clearly refused to touch the subject. Nonetheless, I shook her off when we reach the door; I didn't tell her about what I have been experiencing—I couldn't.

For weeks, the dream of Shizune's accident is the show I was forced to watch each time I close my eyes. Last night was no different; it happened like any other night before, the same scene with the same consequence that left me powerless in the sideline. For the umpteenth time since it began, Lilly became both the voice of reason and the obstacle that stopped me from extending my hand to save her—to save Shizune from the never-ending cycle. But it wasn’t only Lilly’s words that swayed me, it was Shizune’s own will that convinced me to turn around and ignore. Before the end of each dream, Shizune herself would sign words of ‘goodbye’ or ‘farewell’; words that ring as an incentive for me to move on and forget. Each time I ran towards her—to push her out of harm’s way—she would tell me to stop and to forget and move on, denying my aid and allowing the truck to crush her once again. In all of those dream sequences, I end up standing in between the two of them until the truck came and awoken me from the nightmare; I never tried reaching for Lilly, nor did I succeed on saving Shizune. If Lilly represents my ‘future’ and Shizune as my ‘past’, then the message was clear: she wants me to take Lilly’s hand, move on, and forget then maybe—just maybe—the cycle of nightmares would stop.

If it was like that, then I am Freud incarnate.

But it wasn’t like that. By the fourth week I began to notice small but subtle changes to the dream; it wasn’t only the distance that grew between me and Shizune or how close Lilly was to offer her hand, but it was also the change in Shizune’s facial expression. Since the day she passed away, she would maintain a sad but nonetheless strong smile as she signs her goodbyes. The fourth week was different though; I couldn’t explain it clearly due to the distance before us, but deep down I knew it wasn’t the same as it was three weeks before. When I look at her, I notice that particular dream wasn’t like any other—it felt alive, real; like an alternate reality that exist somewhere across the borders of time and space with only one cruel scene available. In my last dream, Shizune didn’t sign her ‘goodbyes’ nor was there any attempt from her to convey them; instead, she stood still and looked at me straight in the eye as I was about to turn my back against her. From then on, I saw from a distance a face distorted by fear, sadness, and a glint of desperation that screamed louder than the oncoming truck itself.

‘Save me’, she cried. ‘Save me.’

When the truck smashed her once again, I was back in my room—awoken thirty minutes before my alarm set off.

-------------

Nobody knew about my issue; the nightmare that was constantly stalking me every time I close my eyes and the repetition—an endless cycle—of the same event that happened just four weeks ago. Most of the time, I translated it as my ‘confused psyche’ that was unable to move on from the tragedy and purposely trapped itself in the endless cycle as a reminder while emphasizing ‘it’s your fault!’ as loud as possible. I more or less believe it was some sort of guilt-trip my psyche came up with, maybe something similar to Kenji’s rambles—though in regards to that, I had come to the conclusion that he was genuinely out of the loop, so scratch that thought. Nonetheless, the fact remains.

Nobody knew about my chain of nightmares.

Nobody, not a single soul, zip. I couldn’t bring myself to tell Misha about it for I fear that she, too, would be saddened by my revelation; it was already difficult for her to get over it, and I couldn’t bear to see her replace that cheery happy-go-lucky smile with a cry that could extinguish the greatest fires once again. It took her almost three weeks to finally get over it, and I believe it is best to leave her out of mine. Hanako is out of the question from the start, and talking to the nurse would definitely grant me a ticket to the nearest psychiatrist—if any, Kenji is be the right person to have his head checked. But I knew I wouldn’t survive another without having anyone to share with; someone I trust whom I could talk about the details of these vivid dreams. Most of all, I knew that keeping it to myself would definitely drive me insane sooner or later.

Nobody knew about my chain of nightmares, but that changed after the end of the third week.

It was purely coincidental, but nonetheless I found it relieving that someone else was willing—even voluntarily—carry the burden with me. It was one late afternoon in the Student Council office. On that particular day on week three, the Student Council had a major setback after one of its members decides to abandon his job and left me to finish it. I didn’t take that jab very well and raged, but without Lilly in the room I was given all the time I need to bitch about his incompetence; this resulted in him storming out of the Council with a mix of both anger and resentment. Nonetheless, I stayed behind in the office room and decided to finish the job to supplement the ailing Student Council. I, however, overestimated my own capability and—before I knew it—succumbed to my own fatigue and stress when I lay my head on the desk with the papers and documents as my pillow. The nightmare came like a storm, sudden and violent as a grim reminder of the incident. I was shaken, saddened, and at the same time frightened at the growing frequency of those dream I'm having.

But then she came. Like an angel from the clouds or a lighthouse to a seaman, she came and dragged me away from the horror.

“Hisao…? Are you ok…?”

Lilly heard my moans, wails, and cries of fear. Instinctively she took action, nudged, shook, and awoken me from the dream that tormented me. I never understand how she could tell I was asleep, or how she ‘reads’ through my crumbling psyche despite lacking the eyes she needed to see; but nonetheless when she asked me what was going on, I gave in to the stress and told her everything that happened. Every single detail, with each and every variation that occurred in each of the dreams—no stones were left unturned as I told her everything I could. Throughout the entire time, Lilly listened intently until I finished my story.

Her reply was like a flare against a backdrop of unlimited darkness—it revealed a path that I believed to have vanished in the world I used to know.

“May I…touch your face?”

“E-excuse me…?”

She combs her hair through her ear. “I can’t?”

“Well…no, I mean…it’s ok but…” I took a deep breath and sigh. For what purpose does she need to touch my face? Nonetheless, I gave my approval. “Yes, go ahead.”

When she raise her hand, I couldn’t help but flinch at the sight of the unknown; the mystery she was about to perform. Then I felt the softness of her skin; the smooth traces of her slender finger as she explores the contours of my cheek, my nose, and my lips. She smiles with satisfaction while she keeps her hand on my cheeks. I was far too distracted by her soft touch to even remember what we were talking about, or why she reached her hand out and touch me in the first place…but then again, maybe this was what she was going for.

“You don’t look half bad.”

“T-thanks…” I reply as a rush of blood forms on my cheeks. She giggled, almost as if she knew what was going on the whole time.

“Do you feel this, Hisao?” she said with assurance. “Whenever you have another nightmare or are disturbed by it,”

She edges a little closer; my heart begins to pound. “Remember that you are never alone. I am always here to talk if you need me so please,”

“Don’t falter or change, Hisao. A dream is just what it is, so don’t let it burden you.”

She withdrew her hand, took a step back, and smile. “If you need, you can talk to me anytime.”

There was nothing I could say or do. I was too dumb-struck; awed by the amount of attention she gave me. And it wasn’t even a life-threatening issue or one that needed consoling, it was just a dream—just a dream! But here she just gave me her full attention as if my life depended on it—or her for that matter. Just as she stood for those who were in need, she stood for me—Hisao Nakai, a person who believed that she was arrogant, self-centered—even fake! Shizune may have influenced most of my judgments, but after that short moment I realized there was more to her than what I knew. As she took her leave, the only word I could muster was a simple ‘thanks’ before she made her way to the door and left me in the silence of the Student Council office.

No words could describe what I was feeling at the time; there was nothing I could say. As I return to my seat, I realize how fast my heart was beating and how flustered I had become. For once, I wanted to believe that I had once again found the light that I’ve lost just three weeks before.

-------------

The entire third week went with the regular conflict and issues the Student Council was plagued with. Lilly always came in between my issues with the members and defused the situation as easily as it started, but never resolve it—instead it delayed what had become the inevitable. When the fourth week came, I went on a fit of rage and disbanded the Student Council out of my own volition and unofficially ended it. But nonetheless, Lilly, Misha, and Hanako kept returning to the Student Council office and assist me in tying a few loose ends left by the members that were scattered about—budget reports, complaints, issues, and requests that were put up by the committees we support. All of which were handled by the four of us and—surprisingly—we accomplished more than what the twelve-man Student Council was capable of.

I had become familiar with Lilly’s antics. When she wasn’t pressured, Lilly work extremely well and completes most tasks on-time—with Hanako’s assistance, she could even handle those that were usually regulated to normal members. After that time we had together by just a week ago, I began to see her in a different light than I used to. Each time our eyes met, my heart race a little faster and—sometimes—I found it worrisome as it could probably give me a ticket straight to the heavens. But something good always have an ending, and it is no different to Lilly’s involvement in the Student Council.

On the fourth day of the fourth week, Lilly visited the Student Council office one afternoon with a letter of resignation at hand.

“…you’re resigning?” I ask, slightly troubled by her purpose. “Why…?”

“I will be returning to Scotland tonight. I’m sorry for keeping this from you, but I couldn’t bring myself to talk to you about this earlier.”

“But…why…?”

“…I’m worried,” she replies with a slightly disheartened look, causing my gut to wrench at the sight. “About how you will take this, about the Student Council, but most of all…”

She curls her lips for a moment, struggling to find the right word to convey whatever it is she wanted to say. After a brief period of silence, she spoke her intention. “I am worried about you, Hisao.”

I open my lips but no words were conveyed. I tried to move but my body won’t listen. Her words struck me like needles and—as painful as it is—I was happy of her concern, but similarly saddened by the fact that it trumps her problems. I wasn’t the only one who had it rough; she was also having it in an entirely different context, yet here I still dared to ask more from her when maybe she needed it more than I do. The air fell to a complete standstill between us as no words were exchanged; on her side, she was waiting for me to give my answer while on mine, my lips were sealed shut by her words alone. It dragged on for minutes, but it felt like hours until she finally broke the silence.

“Would you care to take a walk with me?”

I gave a ‘yes’ from under my breath and quickly straighten up. She smiles kindly in reply and inch forward with her cane before she reach my arm for support; for a second, I flinched in surprise but accepted her warmth by the next and thus, we head out the door.

“Where do you want to go?”

“Anywhere is fine,” she replies. “I just want to talk.”

With her cane detracted and hung on her arm via a strap, I became Lilly’s ‘third leg’ throughout the entire walk. Nothing came from the two of us as we wade through the now-empty halls of Yamaku High and out towards the open—it felt alien, almost as if we barely knew each other with me simply giving her assistance to get to where she wanted to go. A breeze of wind hit us and for a moment, I took a glimpse at Lilly who quickly shields her face from the gust as the setting sun glints its ray on her hair and made it glow—almost, at least. We walked for a few more steps before—eventually—she broke the silence and spoke. I gave her my full attention then.

“When I woke up this morning, I was reminded of how small the Student Council was,” she starts. “But even if it’s just the four of us, talking, crying, grieving, and even stressing over Council work, I found it enjoyable. It was almost as if we were a family; one small, misshapen family.”

She takes a deep breath; from it I could feel the slight vibration of her voice, the shakiness that disrupts the air around her. “After Shizune passed away, you are not what you used to be. You rarely laugh, and most of the time you went in a fit of rage at the members—I almost believed you’ve changed completely from the person I used to know.”

“But when you talked to me last week and told me about the dreams you’re having,” she continues with an increasing vibration in her voice. “I was glad—happy, even—that you are still willing to share your burdens and move on. It gave me hope that one day we could return to the days before the accident, back when you can still laugh over a simple misunderstanding; back when we can talk to you openly.”

Lilly turn towards me; her foggy blue eyes seemingly stare right into mine. Accurately, she has pin-pointed the changes that has been happening—yes, I’ve changed probably for the worse since she passed away. For most, four weeks is all it takes to move on from the tragedy and continue. What about me? Even now the dreams still haunts me; the guilt carries me—even influenced most of my decision in the Council and probably is the same reason that drove the members away. So why can’t I just move on? Why can’t I forget about her and continue? It’s pitiful how I can’t even answer the same question that has been lingering in the air for four weeks.

I can’t even understand my own feelings…

“It never occurred to me how afraid I was of losing someone—of losing you, Hisao,” she continues. “If it is change for the better, then I’ll accept it with open arms. But with how things are now I…”

“I’m sorry, Lilly,” I reply, partly motivated by a sense of regret and self-pity. “I know I have been in a lot of stress, and I shouldn’t have pushed it upon myself in the first place.”

“Don’t apologize…please don’t apologize...”

I stop myself from walking further the moment she parts her hand from my arm. She stumbles forward, tears glistens under the crimson sky as it rolls down her cheek and fall into the soft grass below as her arms reach out in search of me. I take no time to reach out and catch her, steadies her before—to my surprise—she quickly clutches me and sobs. My arm feels powerless the moment she rests her head against my shoulder, sobbing quietly as I am engulfed in a mixed feeling of sadness and surprise. What came soon after was not something I would expect and equally shaken my base like a powerful tremor.

“I love you, Hisao. I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you!”

“I beg of you, don’t stray away,” she continues. “Never, ever stray away. I love you so please…”

I never realized how troubled and worried she was to my condition. If it isn’t my ailing heart, my psyche for the last three weeks wasn’t faring any better and that most likely worries her to no end. The pressure and the stress of losing someone weren’t just affecting me, but also Lilly who saw me slipping away from reality by each passing day. When she slumps her head on my shoulder and embrace me, I realized how deeply she cares for me and how worried she has been over my condition. But do I still deserve the love of someone else? Even now, Shizune still lingers in my mind and each time I remember her I am reminded by the tragedy that occurred just three weeks ago.

I couldn’t move on—I can’t. The thought of loving someone else burdens me more than redeeming it. I can’t answer her feelings—at least, not now.

“Lilly, I may have changed…”

“Hi-Hisao…?” slowly I break our embrace and steady her with my arm.

“But that doesn’t mean I’ll leave you,” I continue. “I’m still here, though I may not be the same person you know.”

A light chuckle escapes my breath. “I don’t think I can answer your feelings—at least, not now so…”

“It’s ok,” she smiles in return, wiping her tear off with her slender finger. “I will wait until you are ready.”

“Thank you.”

I gave her a quick hug before she takes me in my arms once again and finish our walk. A few hours later, I watch from the gates of Yamaku High as she and her sister drove away in a cab that would take them to the airport. It will be another two-three weeks until her return, and by that time I need to prepare an answer to her question. Lilly has since been my greatest aide and closest friend, and I dare not to disappoint her. As I walk back to the dormitories, I made myself clear that I will forget about Shizune and move on; hell, I should’ve done this a week ago and stop this useless moping about her absence. Shizune’s gone, and even if I am to cry tears of blood there is no way for her to return to this world. It’s over. At least, I wanted to believe that it was over.

That is, until the dream I have that night.

-------------

When I once again revisit the reoccurring ‘dream’, I swore to myself that this will be final. There is no benefit or gain to be achieved from mourning the dead for more than four weeks, and more or less it made me look pathetic—even a fool knows when it is time to stop caring for something that doesn’t exist anymore and move on. I am confident and determined—proud, even—that I could finally answer the ‘question’ that has been haunting me every night. When Lilly expressed her concern over me just a week ago, it gave me the confidence—the answer I need to rid of this dream. And when she confessed to me just a few hours ago, it fueled my determination to put an end to my moping and take the step forward. I can’t lie anymore—no, I can’t fool myself any further than this. Shizune may have stolen my heart in the past, but now…

…now I believe Lilly holds them close to her chest.

It is time to move on.

Once again I am greeted with the familiar scene that has been haunting me for four weeks straight. Lilly stands in front of me, offering her hand—a path to my salvation—with a smile brighter than a thousand sunflowers. Behind me, Shizune stands in the middle of the road waiting for her inevitable death by the hands of a truck. With confidence, I smile at Lilly and made my first few steps towards her with gusto and determination that I have never felt before in a long time. I refuse to turn—to look back is an insult to my decision and speaks volume how much I am still trapped in the past. It has become my shackles, and at this moment I am determined to break free from it once and for all.

“Lilly,” I said as I stand before her. “Are you waiting for me?”

She smiles warmly, “Yes, Hisao.”

I raise my hand to reach hers.

It would have been easy to end my torment right there; the chain of nightmares, grief, and sighs if I just take her hand, move on, and forget. Maybe fate has determined it to be that way in the first place, yet I stubbornly fought it in a futile attempt to preserve the past that I’ve lost. Maybe if I just take her hand, everything will be alright. Maybe…well, just ‘maybe’.

But I didn’t.

I hesitated at the last minute, withdrew my hand, and turned for a final glimpse at Shizune. Just like the dream I had yesterday, she made no attempts to sign or ward me off away from her, nor was there any indication that she ever moved from her place. Instead, she was clasping her hand together—as if praying—and smiled. Even from a distance, I could tell that she’s trying her best to accept all this and let me go while tearing up. Then, I was reminded by her cry the day before; the one thing I never expected her to ‘say’ in this strange, vivid dream of mine.

’Save me,’ she cried. ‘Save me…’

What am I doing?

She may have wanted me to continue forward, end our relationship, and release me from my torment. She may have wanted me to move on and forget in the first place, but it isn’t fair when she herself is unable to do so. It isn’t fair for Lilly and especially, not for me and you! We’re two fools, you and I; one wanting to forget and move on, while the other urging to do so. Yet none wished for it to happen. Even if I have been tormented by these dreams in the first place, the memories that still haunts me to this day, I would be lying if I were to say that I detest the prospect of seeing you; the idea of meeting you, Shizune. I never said that I hated it—it frightens me, yes, but I never loathed it. Even if everything is just a dream, if I can just see you—save you—and touch you one more time I would be satisfied. God, why am I doing this…? What am I doing…?

This isn’t what I wanted. This is just another route, an escape from the other that doesn’t provide closure—my closure. What I wanted is to see you one last time, Shizune.

I want to see you, Shizune.

I want to see you…

I need to see you.

“I’m sorry, Lilly.” I said followed with a sigh. “But I can’t leave her alone.”

“Hisao…don’t—!”

“I know it’s foolish of me, but just this once I’d like that to be something I can be proud of.”

I turn my heel and ran as fast as I could towards her. To my right and my left, pedestrians—people that were made up in my dream—lines up as obstacles that I quickly push away. I glimpse at the distance and saw the truck—it’s still a way’s off, thankfully, before I turn my attention towards Shizune. She remains in an upward position, hands clasps and head to the ground; apparently, she hasn’t notice me as I close my distance towards her or else she’ll be signing furiously to drive me away. Well, even if she does try that, I’ll ignore her selfishness and press forward—just this once. Whatever’s the conclusion, it doesn’t matter to me anymore; I’ve made up my mind and whether this dream is to continue or end, I’ll let fate sort it out.

My heart beats faster by the second as I draw in closer and closer. Just to my north-east, the truck now comes into full view with terrifying speed that will soon crush her frail body—but this time, it will be the last.

This time, I’ll save you.

“SHIZUNEEEEEEEE…!!”

I reach out my hand and aimed for her hand. For a second, she shot her head up and our eyes meet.

And then I was back in my room, surrounded by the familiar white walls and the ticking sound of my alarm clock.


In the grasp of my right hand, I feel the soft, smooth texture of a blouse and familiar warmth. When I look up, there stands the girl I have been longing to see sharing a mixed look of bewilderment and joy as I.

“…!”

END CHAPTER III



Author's Note
Again I have to apologize for the delay. I just have a clean reboot of my PC, lost my MS Word, and had to wait for 3-4 days so I could get Office2010 at a cheaper price. Then it came to the romance scene which--I admit--got me a little stressed out (partly because one particular scene has 'cheese' written all over it), while the other made me squeal like a little pig...figuratively speaking. While writing the last scene, I was listening to Serenade in Blue but--mostly--what inspired me was 'Otonashi' from Angel Beats, so I recommend you guys to listen to that while reading the last dream sequence.

anyway, enjoy this next installment as much as I have enjoyed writing it :D
Last edited by Megumeru on Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:06 am, edited 13 times in total.
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They say they hate Shizune? What is this? BLASPHEMY!

SHII-HAEL!
Shizune>Rin>Emi>Hanako>Lilly
"A writer is a light that reveals the world of his story from darkness. Shapes it from nothingness. If the writer stops, the world dies with it." - Alan Wake
Yes, I write stories. Currently working on: The Haunting: A Love Story

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nemz
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Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 8:39 am

Re: The Haunting: A Love Story *UPDATED*

Post by nemz » Fri Jun 15, 2012 3:50 pm

Hmm. Really happy how things are shaping up, but I got more than a little mixed around by the timeframe. Why didn't you tell it in chronological succession?
Rin > Shizune > Emi > Hanako > Lilly

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