Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (#61—'Paralysis')

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Serviam
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Re: Alternate Dreams (Three Witches!) (20140929)

Post by Serviam » Mon Sep 29, 2014 4:23 am

Two traditions -- Lilly
Two faces -- Hanako (welp!)
Two voices -- Shizune (via Shiina)

Did I get that right?
"What the government is good at is collecting taxes, taking away your freedoms and killing people. It’s not good at much else."
- Tom Clancy summing up l'état in a nutshell

In order of completion:
Lilly > Hanako > Rin > Emi
Currently on: Shizune

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brythain
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Re: Alternate Dreams (Three Witches!) (20140929)

Post by brythain » Mon Sep 29, 2014 5:12 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:That was... interesting.
While I got the references to Shakespeare, I'm afraid I'm not sure about the one about Kurosawa, and his filmography is too lare to look up all of his works.
Also not 100% sure if the "lady of two voices" is supposed to be Shizune or someone else...
Thanks! Kurosawa's 'Throne of Blood' is a Japanese version of the Scottish play, just as his 'Ran' is a Japanese 'King Lear'. And, yes!
Serviam wrote:Two traditions -- Lilly
Two faces -- Hanako (welp!)
Two voices -- Shizune (via Shiina)

Did I get that right?
Both left and right. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Alternate Dreams (Three Witches!) (20140929)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 1:26 pm

Definitely better. I also didn't get the references, and was a little confused on why two of them were friends with Meiko and Yuuko, but overall I liked it. I thought the way they described Lilly, Hanako, Shizune(through Misha) and Hisao was clever. Makes me wonder how they would describe Emi and Rin.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Alternate Dreams (Three Witches!) (20140929)

Post by brythain » Mon Sep 29, 2014 8:06 pm

AntonSlavik020 wrote:Definitely better. I also didn't get the references, and was a little confused on why two of them were friends with Meiko and Yuuko, but overall I liked it. I thought the way they described Lilly, Hanako, Shizune(through Misha) and Hisao was clever. Makes me wonder how they would describe Emi and Rin.
Glad you preferred this version. As to friends, who knows with these people? I think they hang out with mortals they find some similarity with; Atropos would probably hang out with the old lady (never shown) who stands in for Yuuko at the library, or with Sae at the art gallery. :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Alternate Dreams (Lilly's Neutral End) (20140930)

Post by brythain » Mon Sep 29, 2014 9:24 pm

As I once told dewelar, I considered Lilly's 'neutral' ending to be the most useful for writing, since it ends in August and Hisao has some time to get his life back together again before graduation. Or not.


Cold Iron

Even after that black, shiny car goes down the hill and disappears into the dark night, we carry on waving and seeing Akira and Lilly off.

And then… they're gone. As if they never were.

A strange stillness takes over as our hands return to our sides.

I don't quite know what I should do or how I should feel. In the end, we just stand there silently staring down at where the car disappeared from sight.

Hana looks at me, and then turns back to the empty road. “Goodbye… Lilly.”

*****

Earlier in the day, Hisao Nakai goes to the Student Council room, his life in disarray. There’s little else he can do, but let someone else take over for now.

[Shicchan, you saw for yourself! Poor sad boy!]

[I tried to tell him it couldn’t end well. It’s not my fault. And trying to use his neighbour didn’t work out either. Damn Kenji.]

He doesn’t know what Misha and Shizune are signing at each other. All he is thinking about right now is whether that had indeed been a look of pity Shizune gave him, and why Misha was so happy to see him volunteer for extra Student Council work.

He looks up in resignation as Misha relays Shizune’s instructions. Manually keying in all this data? Oh well. Taking his mind off… what? Oh well. He responds desultorily, and Shizune’s face goes blank.

He sighs and turns back to work on the piles of paper to be processed by today. The folder for 3-2, Lilly’s class, has been placed before him. It seems a little dusty, and he wonders why.

“That's the spirit, Hicchan~!”

Shizune frowns. He doesn’t know why. After all, he’s going to do the work.

“Even if it is, I don't really see how we're going to get all this done in one lunchtime.”

He exchanges a few more words with Misha. Or Shizune. It doesn’t really matter, does it? Time passes quickly if your mind’s not quite there.

Then, she’s in the room.

[She’s here, Shicchan.]

[Yes, I can tell from the strong feelings of displeasure.]

[They’re talking.]

[I can see that.]

Hisao thinks to himself as Lilly skirmishes with Shizune that she can be quite scary when she wants to be, though thankfully that isn’t often. He remembers her outburst when Kenji sent her sprawling in the garden. It’s all been like a dream, a three-month-long dream. Reality has come back to haunt them all.

*****

Up on the roof, later on the same day. School will have ended soon.

“Sometimes, Hisao, you have to know what you see.”

“What do you mean, Rin?”

She looks at Emi Ibarazaki. Emi looks away. This is awkward.

“We artists, we see things, we know what we’re seeing. It’s just… sometimes hard to communicate the truth we see to someone else.”

These are almost more words at one stretch than she’s ever given him before. But she has to try, she thinks. It’s so hard to find the words.

“I have a painting. It’s not complete. You have to see it.”

“I do? I’m not in the mood, Rin.”

Emi looks at Rin Tezuka. Rin looks at Hisao. Hisao looks at Emi.

“Er, well, you can go have a look at Rin’s painting, and tomorrow we’ll resume our morning runs! Deal?”

“Fine,” he says. Anything to get his life going again.

Down in the Art Room, a painting. Rin pulls the cover back. Hisao looks at it. Acrylic on canvas. No title. In a style very different from that on the mural outside.

It’s the tearoom, in the late afternoon. Lilly and Hanako are sitting there, playing a game of chess. Some of the lines have only been pencilled in. Hanako’s been finished in great detail; he winces when he sees how lovingly the scars on her right side have been painted. Only Lilly’s eyes have been coloured in — cornflower blue, seeing without seeing, just as he remembers them. A teapot in the corner has a little spider hanging from its handle. What a funny detail.

“When did you paint this, Rin?”

Emi lets out a little gasp, and runs out of the room. How strange.

“I started painting it last year. Just before Lilly died.”

=====
alt index
Last edited by brythain on Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:34 am, edited 2 times in total.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Alternate Dreams (Lilly's Neutral End) (20140930)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:01 pm

I've already stated my opinion of sad stories before, so I won't again. Unfortunately, that holds true for this one. It's well written and everything, just not to my taste.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Alternate Dreams (Lilly's Neutral End) (20140930)

Post by dewelar » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:13 pm

Very interesting. I'm not sure I can say I'm enjoying these stories per se, but I can appreciate being forced to think :) .
brythain wrote:As I once told dewelar, I considered Lilly's 'neutral' ending to be the most useful for writing, since it ends in August and Hisao has some time to get his life back together again before graduation. Or not.
There's another piece to it that's equally important, I think. Of the eight bad/neutral endings, it's the one that paints Hisao himself in the most positive light, and having a reasonably positive outlook. The others end with Hisao either being in a bleak place mentally, having his character derailed pretty badly, or both (Emi's bad ending is probably the second-"best" from that perspective).
Rin is orthogonal to everything.
Stuff I've written: Developments, a continuation of Lilly's (bad? neutral?) ending - COMPLETE!

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Re: Alternate Dreams (Lilly's Neutral End) (20140930)

Post by brythain » Mon Sep 29, 2014 10:24 pm

AntonSlavik020 wrote:I've already stated my opinion of sad stories before, so I won't again. Unfortunately, that holds true for this one. It's well written and everything, just not to my taste.
Thank you for appreciating the writing, anyway! Hopefully some other later pieces will be more to your liking.
dewelar wrote:Very interesting. I'm not sure I can say I'm enjoying these stories per se, but I can appreciate being forced to think :) .
They're the little bits I had as writing prompts when wondering what AtD should be. I guess we should all be thankful that they didn't find their way into the mosaic.

Actually, looking back at the main mosaic, it could do with some editing. Not on a 'Sisterhood' scale, but still…
brythain wrote:As I once told dewelar, I considered Lilly's 'neutral' ending to be the most useful for writing, since it ends in August and Hisao has some time to get his life back together again before graduation. Or not.
There's another piece to it that's equally important, I think. Of the eight bad/neutral endings, it's the one that paints Hisao himself in the most positive light, and having a reasonably positive outlook. The others end with Hisao either being in a bleak place mentally, having his character derailed pretty badly, or both (Emi's bad ending is probably the second-"best" from that perspective).
Yes! The natural progression, actually, appears to be that he ends up in a stable relationship (even if platonic) with Hanako, since after Lilly goes they seem to be more equal and willing to be there for each other. But that's what we have -you- for. :D

There are of course the possibilities of having one of the other happy endings grafted onto the LNE, whether with another main route or with a side- or pseudo-character. I do have happy ending notes, believe it or not! :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Alternate Dreams (03—Lilly's Neutral End) (20140930)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:33 am

“I started painting it last year. Just before Lilly died.”
...

So... Everyone interacted with Lilly's ghost all the time?
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Alternate Dreams (03—Lilly's Neutral End) (20140930)

Post by brythain » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:42 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
“I started painting it last year. Just before Lilly died.”
...

So... Everyone interacted with Lilly's ghost all the time?
I was just playing with the idea that since we see only Hisao's viewpoint, he might have seen things... differently.

It all begins when he walks into the deserted tea-room and sees a beautiful vision.
It ends when he reaches the anniversary of Lilly's death, standing at the gate with Hanako, the only person who can bear to be with him as Lilly goes away again (second time for her, first time for him).
Doesn't anyone else find Lilly's route marginally creepy and wonder if it's all not just a figment of Hisao's imagination? :)
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Alternate Dreams (03—Lilly's Neutral End) (20140930)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Tue Sep 30, 2014 3:48 am

Uh... no?

So do Hanako, Emi, Rin, Kenji, Shizune and Misha also see this vision in your version?
They all interact with Lilly over the course of the story.
Lilly guides him to places he's never been to before. She invites him to her summer home. Not really stuff you can explain with "unreliable narrator"...
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

My collected KS-Fan Fictions: Mirage's Myths
griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
Sore wa himitsu desu.

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Re: Alternate Dreams (03—Lilly's Neutral End) (20140930)

Post by brythain » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:03 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:Uh... no?

So do Hanako, Emi, Rin, Kenji, Shizune and Misha also see this vision in your version?
They all interact with Lilly over the course of the story.
Lilly guides him to places he's never been to before. She invites him to her summer home. Not really stuff you can explain with "unreliable narrator"...
That's the point, I think. They know she manifests as a ghost. He imagines the interactions, because some of those interactions are entirely in Hisao's head, poor guy.
As in the way dreams rewrite the content of your memory, so also has Hisao's time at Yamaku been rewritten by his fantasies of Lilly. Creepy.

This is why I went 'Argh! No!' and decided to leave this as one of the one-shot spare pieces. :D

Edit: Actually, come to think of it, I may have been influenced slightly by [THIS PICTURE], commissioned by Fink of the German translation team and with terms quoted by Aura a couple of years ago—original commission notes here: [SPOILER].
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (04—Curiosity) (20141015)

Post by brythain » Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:22 am

It's rare to see the view from outside Yamaku. But sometimes, even that view is not completely so.


Curiosity

In the back room, he mixes instant ramen and traditional pickles. Nobody cares that he makes the pickles himself, and once used to make his own fermented soy sauce. Perhaps there was such a person once, but not any more.

He has lived in this city since he was a boy. He has memories of it when it was older and more beautiful. But to the old, the past has always more colour than the present, and he feels old. He looks at the hands that deftly wield the chopsticks, and wonders when they developed all those spots.

The pickles still taste right, but yet not as strong as he remembers. He eats them every day; perhaps familiarity breeds indifference. Still, not a bad batch. He looks at the date on the container. He looks up at his shelves. Was it that long ago?

He wonders if anyone will ever inspect this street and realize that he is occupying land that probably should belong to his neighbours. The city has grown around him in the few decades since he moved in. It would likely take an earthquake for the inspectors to come back. His lips twitch in black humour. It’s not beyond the bounds of probability. They would evict him.

Perhaps not, though. As his young friend Professor Koyanagi has pointed out, in response to disaster, the government tends to support squatters. It’s when times are good that people get evicted. The land costs more then.

He finishes his tiny meal, pats his belly. A belly, he has now. He used to swim more, gain less. Perhaps he should return to the dark suits of his middle age. No. Whatever for? He still wears his white shirts, but now he has no need for suits.

Those of a younger generation, he muses, seem to prefer going half-shaven and in trenchcoats, like villains from some foreign detective-noir entertainment. He sighs, but avoids despondency somehow, and gets up with a slight grunt. Old age, he wryly observes, makes villains of us all.

His tattered old book waits for him at his little perch next to the cash register. There are no customers yet, today. That’s all right, he has all the time in the world. Now, where was I? He scorns bookmarks and other ways of keeping a page. Unbidden, the page he was at surfaces in his mind and he smiles. At least my mind is still working.

The little bell at the corner of his entrance tinkles tinnily and he looks up through the shelves and organised clutter. His first visitor of the day appears to be a tall young man, dressed neatly but without care. A bit skinny, he decides. What a character he looks! Probably a poor student from the local university, although he looks a bit innocent for that. I should greet him, of course, but… he looks like he has something on his mind.

The ancient struggle of his former profession surfaces. Do you stick to tradition, even when it doesn’t help? Do you let them find their way in life, or do you show them what you think is best? He laughs to himself, not showing anything on his face, somehow pleased that this debate is still alive within him.

Silently, he watches. Shoplifting is very rare, but who knows, these days? That fellow, he looks like a decent sort, though. A one-time but not a likely regular. He keeps reading, the tendrils of his awareness just barely tracking his visitor, who is now standing at the old oak desk in the sunlit window.

Dolls? Really? Ah, a man looking for a gift for a young lady. For me, that was so long ago. Never go out with a red-haired actress, Mother used to say. She was right, but I never managed to tell her so.

The young man prowls tentatively along the aisles and between the clusters of curiosities. He seems to be looking for something, without knowing what it is. That’s common in this shop.

Do I help him out? How might I do that? He has fond memories of the times when this was all he did for a living. Those times seem so far away. He gently puts the book down and looks eastward through the sun’s reflected glare.

That’s where she went. She went away to find her dreams. New York, she’d told him proudly. Acting school. I never should have fallen in love with her. “You’ll always be a small-town teacher,” she’d said. “Teaching children who might not live long. And the sadness will eat you up one day.”

The old man can’t help but sigh. The young man probably doesn’t hear it, although he comes to a stop near the nutcrackers and other dubious kitchen tools.

What’s he going for? It’s a game storekeepers play all the time, especially if their little shops are this kind of place. A music-box? How curious. What a lady his friend must be, to merit not one, but two gifts. He looks sharply at the visitor.

He’s a customer now, I suppose. Here he comes. Young people in love, they’ll pay more. Stupid me, I’ll charge him less if he even asks. I have a soft spot for poor students. Especially those who are dating girls from a higher social class.

Distractedly, the young man places the two items on the counter. A music box, a doll. Auburn hair, a blue dress. That one? I remember making that one. I’m sad to see her go. But everything has its time. Maybe she’ll bring him luck in affairs of the heart. He looks up, realizes the young man is only a tired boy, aged by nameless anxiety.

The boy opens his wallet. He’s really not very rich, thinks the storekeeper. Then comes the surprise. Wait. That’s a Yamaku student card. I wonder what his difficulty is. Ah, better not to know. Avoids grief. He quenches his curiosity, a habit from his professional career.

The old man now names a stiff price, but makes sure it is fair, perhaps even low. He is prepared to drop it by twenty percent if asked. The boy says nothing, his gaze distant and his brow furrowed. Now I wish I had started lower. Ah well, she always said I’d never make a good businessman, better to stay a teacher. Hai.

Laconically, he wraps the box, the doll. Traditional wrapping with brown paper. Carefully, slowly, neatly. No need for tape. And just a plain paper bag with a handle of cord. I’m a simple man, and my blessings are simple ones.

He looks up. The boy nods, a kind of anxious relief on his face. Boy, the older man thinks, you’re not as rude as you seem, and neither am I.

He confines himself to a polite return nod and a half-voiced word of gratitude. He watches as the tall fellow, all careless hair and scrawny build, walks out into the street. Memories, they’re all we have. I wonder if I’d have done or said anything different if you’d brought your girl with you into my shop.

Later, he’ll check his own blood pressure, upload his heart monitor data to the old computer. There’s nobody left to check it for him, so he has to do it himself. Every day is a day of grace, he believes. His heart had never been strong, its beat irregular and potentially treacherous.

The world is quiet around him. For a moment, he imagines the whole world spinning around Mount Aoba, his little shop at the centre of all creation. And then he shakes his head, returns to his book.

I hope she’s worth it, and may you both have a happy long life.

=====
alt index
Last edited by brythain on Fri Feb 06, 2015 1:57 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Post-Yamaku, what happens? After The Dream is a mosaic that follows everyone to the (sometimes) bitter end.
Main Index (Complete)Shizune/Lilly/Emi/Hanako/Rin/Misha + Miki + Natsume
Secondary Arcs: Rika/Mutou/AkiraHideaki | Others (WIP): Straw—A Dream of SuzuSakura—The Kenji Saga.
"Much has been lost, and there is much left to lose." — Tim Powers, The Drawing of the Dark (1979)

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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (04—Curiosity) (20141015)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Wed Oct 15, 2014 12:37 am

I liked it. I like scenes from different perspectives, and this take on the shop keeper was interesting.
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Alt Dreams [One-Shots] (04—Curiosity) (20141015)

Post by forgetmenot » Wed Oct 15, 2014 6:08 am

Hoo man. And the shopkeeper complains that he doesn't have as much fanfic as other side characters. Glad to see you took a step in rectifying that.

It's a fun little one-shot; admittedly, I'm not sure it would have worked as anything else. Quite well done.

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