Chapter 1: Perchance to Dream (This post)
Chapter 2: Taking a Breather
Chapter 3: Reorientation
Chapter 4: Total Recall/Rec Roomie
Let's play what if. What if Hisao had died that fateful day, in the snow?The Twilight Zone wrote:You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension not only of sight and sound, but of mind. A journey into a wondrous land of imagination. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!
What if instead of entering Yamaku, Hisao had entered a place far more weird and wonderful?
Take my hand, gentle reader, and let us explore the possibilities that await. On the other side.
Chapter 1: And now for something completely different.
I mean there is no sound. None. No rush of blood in my ears, no sound of my breath entering and exiting my lungs. It's deathly quiet.
My thoughts wander. Wait, I still have thoughts? How is that possible? I'm dead aren't I? Or maybe I just think I am. Maybe I'm laying in a hospital somewhere, comatose, tubes stuck in every possible orifice and a few more custom made for the purpose. I try to open my eyes. No luck, though if I'm comatose, that wouldn't really be a surprise, right? Well, one thing is kind of odd. I don't think I even have eyes to open.
The idea is less shocking than I would have imagined. If, just a few days ago, someone had told me I was going to die I would have panicked. Probably would have blown a gasket right then and there. Now? I feel at peace. It's almost nice.
"Um, Nakai?" A voice, female, disturbs my rest. I try to will it away. I'm finally at peace.
"Um, I don't mean to be rude, but it would be nice if you woke up now."
The voice rings through my consciousness and I jerk upright with a startled gasp. This can't be right. Can it? I just made my peace with having died, and suddenly I'm alive again? I take in my surroundings; I seem to be in an ordinary hospital room, except that this room lacks any sort of amenities but the bed on which I'm sitting. My upper body is bare; a thin, white sheet, something like a burial shroud, covers my lower body. The walls of the room are stark white, there are no windows and, much to my dismay, there seems to be no door.
"I see you're confused. That's normal. It'll probably take a few minutes for you to come to terms with your new, um, condition."
My head turns toward the voice. A young woman is standing beside me, dressed in a pale blue nurse's uniform. A starched, white lab coat is draped over her shoulders. Her hair is medium brown and cut shoulder length, her bangs are held back from her face by a hairpin in the shape of an infinity symbol.
The woman smiles slightly and offers a small bow. "I'm Chiasa Kimura, by the way. Call me Chiasa if you like, most people do. The atmosphere around here is a bit less than formal, most days of the week."
"Where--" I try to ask where I am, but my voice catches in my throat and I end up sputtering. It feels like a thousand years of dried phlegm have coated my lungs. I try to clear my throat to no effect.
"Please try not to talk just yet, your consciousness is still adjusting to your... Hm, how should I put this, altered state of existence." Chiasa raises her eyebrows as she speaks the last part of her sentence, the part about being in an altered state. I'm beginning to feel worried, just what the hell is going on here?
"You see, Nakai, you're dead. Kaput. Toast. Finis. You've waltzed off the mortal coil, kicked the bucket, cashed in the chips, gotten you're--"
"I get it," I croak. Jeez, some nurse this woman is, she's got the bedside manner of an under-- Wait. Dead?
"Mmm, yes, OK," Chiasa says with a slightly embarrassed expression. "Sorry about that, it's just that some of our patrons fail to realize