Miki: Fragments (Complete)

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Gajzla
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 5/4/15)

Post by Gajzla » Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:16 pm

So here’s chapter nine, and the thing about chapter nine is that I really like chapter nine. I mean I like most of the stuff I write, but I really like this one. I hope you do too, as always I greatly appreciate feedback both positive and negative.

Enjoy!


Festival Frolics

“Just ask her to go with you,” I exhale exhaustedly. I’ve been in Ryouta’s room since class finished at lunchtime. Its Saturday the day before the festival. All the posters describe it as a way of bringing Yamaku and the local community closer together. To me it sounds more like a cripple kid petting zoo.

“But what if she says no?” Ryouta asks, pacing up and down in his room. I’m surprised he’s not cut a groove to the floor below.

“Why would she say no? You just want to go as friends don’t you?” I sit on his bed, flicking through one of his comics. It's in English but small words and nice pictures are my friends.

“Well...” His plump cheeks start to turn red.

“You like her!” I exclaim, putting down the comic. This just got interesting.

“No, no… Yes” He holds up his hands as a grin spreads across my face. “Don’t tell her!”

“I think it's cute,” I giggle. “So when are you going to ask her out?”

“I don’t think she feels the same way,” He sits down on his rarely used office chair, looking deflated.

“I think Ikuno likes you just fine,” I throw him a sideways grin, “Would you like me to ask her?”

“No!” he gets up quickly, nearly losing his balance.

“Well the festival’s tomorrow and Ikuno should be back from council at five,”

“I know, I know, don’t remind me.” He starts to pace again.

“What hours are you working?” I ask, trying to relax the atmosphere a little.

“Morning, first shift,” He answers, rubbing the length of his stunted arm with his good hand.

“That's perfect! Ikuno is working the same shift.” I on the other hand have been signed up for two of the busiest sifts back to back, an unfortunate side effect from the brief spat Ikuno and I had.

“Look, just ask if she wants to spend the day with you and see where it goes.”

“You think that will work?” He asks.

I nod. To be honest I did wonder about how my two friends felt about each other. I’ve noticed a shy kind of energy between them. The only problem is getting them on the same page. Still I can’t claim to be an expert, look where the last boy I liked ended up. Don’t think about that, don’t think about that.

“Miki, are you listening?” Ryouta snaps me out of my spiral of depressing thoughts.

“Yes, err, what?”

“I asked if you wanted to watch a movie?” He holds up a selection of dramatic looking titles.

“I’ll pass if that's okay, I need a run,” I sigh grumpily. “Won’t get the chance tomorrow.”

— — —

Later that night I find myself sitting at my desk, a small lamp illuminating my maths homework. This is impossible. My left hand starts to itch, great. Just great. I try and focus on my homework, but it never held my attention to begin with. Luckily three loud bangs on my door distract me.

“Come in,” I call. Ikuno bursts into my room, her cheeks bright red. Did she run here?  

“Well good evening councillor. You’re looking flushed,” A childish grin spreads over my face. “Have a nice time with Ryouta?” I raise my eyebrow.

“He asked me to the festival!” She drops mellow dramatically onto my bed. 

“And you said…?” I start to pack away my pencil case, nothing else is getting done tonight.

“I said I didn’t know.” Just as she finishes her sentence my phone buzzes with an incoming text.

[Smart-arse]: ‘We need to talk ASAP!!!!!!’

“I thought you said you liked him?” I ask, not sure what to send back to Ryouta.

“I do, he’s really fun to be around,” she looks out of the window wistfully. “He makes me smile.” I roll my eyes at her. They both like each other, so I can’t for the life of me understand how they managed to make things so complicated. 

“Well why don’t you tell him that?” I ask slowly.

“I can’t,” she moans into the air.

Right, this is ridiculous time to take matters into my own hand. I quickly write back a message to Ryouta, ‘She’s sorry, she will meet you under the big oak at 11, wear something nice.” And send. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.

“Who are you texting? What are you saying?” Ikuno appears beside me, desperately trying to read my screen.

“Right, sorted,” She looks at me wide eyed. “I told Ryouta to meet you in our normal spot at eleven.”

“You did what!” She starts to pace up and down my room. I knew they were made for each other.

“If it helps I told him to wear something nice?” I say by way of condolence.

“Oh my god Miki, Oh my god, oh my god,” She runs her fingers through her hair. “I need to find something to wear, I will never forgive you for this!” She dashes out of my room. I laugh to myself. I’ve heard it said that love does mysterious things, apparently it turns Ikuno into a cliché.

My phone starts to buzz on the table, an incoming call now from Ryouta. I sigh, looking at my half completed homework.

“Evening lovebird,” I answer the phone, a stupid grin plastered over my face. The things I do for my friends.

— — —

I’m bored. I am so bored it's not even funny anymore, I’ve been standing at this stupid stall for close to two hours now, through the hottest part of the afternoon as well. This year class 2:3 decided to contribute a simple ring toss game to the festival. I’ve spent half the time trying to hide my stump from local onlookers and the other half picking up badly aimed plastic rings.

Ryouta and Ikuno stopped by earlier, looking as happy as I guessed they would be. He even won her a prize. Assisted slightly by me of course, one ring is the biggest prize right? I suck at math. It was adorable.

At last I escape. I’m hungry, I'm tired. And I swear if one more non-student looks at my arm I’m going to punch somebody. I find comfort in some fried food prepared by the students of class 3:2. I take my food, watching with some interest how my obviously blind server counts my coins in his palm. I feel a little sorry for the blind students. They are missing out on a delightful game of guess the disability the rest of today's attendees seem to be playing.

I sit on a wall not far from the stand. All the benches are taken, beside me a boy in Yamaku uniform sits with his eyes closed tightly. His head is turned up to the sky. He’s taller than me, with neat black hair framing his gentle face. He seems to notice my arrival, but he does not turn to me or open his eyes.

“Hello, is somebody there?” He speaks softly.

“Afternoon,” I splutter with a mouth full of chicken. “You mind if I sit here?” I ask, not sure what I’m supposed to do if he says no. Eating standing up with one hand is a pain.

“I don’t mind at all, here is a nice place to sit I think.” He considers for a moment, his nostrils flaring. “Ah, yakitori a good choice.” He can tell what I’m eating by the smell?

“It's not bad,” I comment, taking another bite. “Are you in class 3:2?”

“Indeed I am, you are sampling some of my classmates cooking.” He smiles a little. “I do hope it's to your satisfaction?”

“It is,” I smile, before realising how pointless that is for a blind person. “Have you already had your shift on the stall?”

He nods slowly, I take another bite of the soft speared chicken. It really isn’t all that bad. I wonder briefly what I should do with the rest of my day, just go to bed early I guess. I don’t want to disturb the lovebirds and I have no intention of becoming another exhibit for this human circus. 

“I had my turn around an hour ago, alas in the confusion I appear to have mislaid my cane.” He considers the sky for another moment; reflective. “Forgive the wordplay but I am blind without it.”

“I could try and find it for you?” I offer, stuffing down the last bit of yakitori.

“I believe the problem is that it has been borrowed by another student, an accident I’m sure,” he yawns, rubbing his stubbly chin. “Forgive me, I omitted my introduction, my name is Ayumu. I have a surname but it is quite forgettable.”

“Miura Miki.” I say, still a little unsure of what to make of this boy. He has a strange way of talking.

“A lovely name, I’m pleased to know it.” He turns in my direction again, smiling.

“Do you try this hard with all the girls?” I ask, perhaps this is some strange type of flirting.  

“I try this hard with everyone,” his smile lights up his face, “But I put in extra effort for girls with beautiful voices.” I feel my cheeks warm.

“So Miki, how will you be spending the rest of your evening?” He asks, tucking a strand of hair behind his ear.

“I don’t really have any plans,” I admit honestly. “Thought I might just go and get an early night.”

“A prudent course of action. But allow me to suggest an alternative route.” he stops for dramatic effect. “If you would be so kind as to guide me, I would enjoy experiencing the rest of the festival with you.”

“You don’t even know me,” I laugh.

“I would like to, I think.” a smirk starts to form in his cheeks.

“Do you always talk like this?” I ask, he speaks with such confidence.

“I enjoy words, I like stringing them together like notes on a piano,” he pauses for a moment. “Though I admit that my linguistic symphony is rather improvised a lot of the time, I occasionally hit a bum note.”

I think I understood about half of that, but he’s good looking and funny. I can think of worse ways to spend the rest of my day.

“Okay, what do you need me to do?” I ask, getting to my feet. Ayumu does the same, holding out his hand tentatively.

“I will need to hold onto you if that's acceptable? Your sleeve, elbow or shoulder are the preferred choice.”

After some muted and awkward shuffling we arrange ourselves, his right hand gently gripping my bare left elbow. I feel very aware of his hand so close to my bandaged stump. But I can’t do anything if I can’t use my remaining hand. With a small thrill I realise that I'm with one of the very few people who doesn’t immediately know what's wrong with me.

“What now?” I ask, a little uncomfortable.

“It might be a little much to ask, but do you think you could possibly describe what is around us?”

How the hell do I do that? I slowly start to describe what I can see, stalls, trees, people, a bird. He nods at my mumblings looking elated. What surprises me is he enquires after certain details. If a stall has lights, if those lights are casting shadows. 

We start to move slowly, through the crowds playing this strange game. I grow more confident in my descriptions and his smile grows wider. I notice he moves his head around, trying to catch every sound and smell. We reach a carnival game I’ve never seen before.

Along the front of the counter a series of wooden boxes sit in a row. Each side of the box is a different colour with an irregular shaped door cut into it, the doors are kept closed but a multitude of locks and catches. Everything from simple shoot bolts to combination locks with apparently blank white cards underneath. I’m perplexed.

“Apparently we have reached a sight that is too beautiful for words,” Ayumu grins. I hastily try and explain the stall to him.

“Aha, I believe we have reached class 1:2’s contribution to the festival. A carnival game for the visually impaired.” He announces.

We head over to the booth, my head still spinning with the weirdness of it all. Though it makes sense that the blind students would want to participate in today's festivities. As it turns out the rules are quite simple, a player is given 90 seconds to open three doors, each door’s challenges get progressively harder. Prizes are allocated based on the number of doors opened in the allotted time.

I stand back to watch as Ayumu cracks his fingers in preparation. He tentatively reaches out a hand and brushes the front of the box with his fingers, deftly he moves his hand to the edge of the box, poised for action.

“Ready,” He says confidently.

“Go!” Squeals the first year girl behind the counter, pressing down on an digital egg timer.

Ayumu fingers quickly trace the outline of the box before moving inwards. With well practiced motions he undoes two slide bolts, a safety chain and pushes a key hanging from a chain into another lock. Yanking the door open he spins the box around. I wish I could see the timer, that seemed fast but I have no idea.

The next side offers a bit more challenge, the door has a wavy edge making it harder to locate the locks. I finally get what the blank cards are for, they are written brail showing the code needed for the combination lock. With the last chain catch released the second door is open. Oh wow this is going to be close.

The last side holds yet more challenges. This time there are locks in deceptive places intended to trick players into undoing locks that do nothing. Ayumu fingers seem to blur as my heart rate increases. Come on! He has just one lock left now, a combination lock with a larger than normal white card underneath. His finger flows over the card, his face scrunched up in concentration.

He’s not going to make it, there's no way!

An answer seems to hit him, and with three quick movements the lock is undone just as the timer buzzes. He looks ecstatic, tuning in my direction with a grin.

“Yes! That was awesome!” I say gleefully, raising my hand for a high five. He does nothing, I hear a burst of laughter behind me. Fuck! I bite my knuckle my cheeks going red. Stupid, stupid, stupid, I can’t believe I just did that. 

“Miki?” Ayumu asks, looking up I can see a smile on his face, he holds his prize a large plush elephant. Instead of being a uniform colour or material the stuffed animal is made up of panels of varying size and textures.

“Sorry,” I can still feel my cheeks burn. “What are you going to name him?” I try and reclaim some of the excitement I had before my embarrassment.

“I was wondering if you would like it?” I notice for the first time his cheeks slightly redden.

“Really?” As way of answer he pushes the toy towards me.

“Thank you Ayumu,” I give the elephant a hug. Isn’t this what people on a date do?

I allow this strange well spoken boy to softly hold my elbow once again. We leave the busy stalls and wonder into the peaceful grounds, with the sun set the stars fill the night sky. I try and describe them as well as I can, but I don’t think I have the words.

“Would you like to sit for awhile? I think the fireworks will be lit soon,”

“There are fireworks?” I ask, gently leading him onto the soft well manicured grass.

“Indeed, this is your first festival?” He says as we sink down next to each other.

“Yeah,” I pause as my left hand starts to prickle. “Do you mind? the fireworks I mean.”

“What do you mean?” He asks, his face turned into the soft night breeze.

“Well I mean, you can’t see them.” I blush. Why do I always have to speak my mind, it can’t be trusted.

“Hmmmm,” he considers for a moment. “That's true, but that does not mean I can’t experience them. We just see things in different ways. I notice the tiny moment of build up before the burst, the subtle vibration in the air and the smell of smoke on the breeze.”

I stare at him open mouthed.

“We are nothing but our senses and a choice. A choice of how to perceive the world around us, I think my world is as beautiful as yours, just different."

“Oh,” What the hell do you say to that?

“Forgive me, I’m a hopeless romantic. What I meant is no, I don’t mind the fireworks.” A brilliant smile transforms his face. The back of his fingertips gently stroke the hairs on my arm. I twitch a little. Well that's an interesting feeling.

“I’m sorry,” He says, cheeks reddening.

“Hang on,” I get up and turn around, sitting beside him but orientated so that we are hip to hip facing each other, with my stump safely out of reach.  “Are you always this forward?” I ask a little breathless.

“You seem to bring it out in me” he says, his mouth flickering with a smile. Slowly I brush my forearm under his fingertips. He jumps a little, before his fingers start to work their way down my arm to my hand, tickling softly as they go.

“I’ve heard it said that girls can feel a man’s eyes on her skin, with me that’s literal,” he says, trying to break an awkward silence that I’m not sure exists.

I don’t say anything. I don’t know what I should be feeling, I don’t even know what I am feeling. All I know is that I like it. His fingertips are soft and warm, surveying me as if I were made of bone china.

“Miki? Are you okay?” His voice is edged with worry. In answer I take his hand and gently guide him to my cheek, his eyebrows raise in surprise. Carefully he moves his other hand to my face and gently starts to trace my features. I close my eyes letting out a deep breath.

“Now who’s being forward,” he asks, his voice quiet.

“Shhh,” I whisper, “Don’t spoil whatever the hell this is…”

In silence his fingertips trace the bags under my eyes, I frown. My face tells a story I’m not ready to tell him. His thumb starts to trace the shape of my mouth, gently pulling down on my bottom lip. Oh wo- BANG!

We both jump apart as if we'd hit a live wire. My eyes fly open. I start to laugh as I look up to see the next volley of fireworks light up the night sky. A few confused seconds later and Ayumu joins me, laughing happily. The moment has gone as fast as it came. 

I reach out and take his hand in mine. I don’t know anything about him, not even his last name. I just know I like him. That's enough for now, He told me it's how you choose to look at the world that matters and right here, right now. The world is good. Silently in our own ways we watch the fireworks. 

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Last edited by Gajzla on Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:02 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Feurox
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 7/4/15)

Post by Feurox » Tue Apr 07, 2015 5:33 pm

I must say this is a really heartwarming chapter and a good length to boot.

I couldn't honestly give you any criticism without it being so insanely petty, that it's not worth the effort. Basically that's my way of saying good job, you've improved a lot since your first post. Keep up the good work. :wink:

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Gajzla
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 7/4/15)

Post by Gajzla » Tue Apr 07, 2015 9:01 pm

Feurox wrote:I must say this is a really heartwarming chapter and a good length to boot.

I couldn't honestly give you any criticism without it being so insanely petty, that it's not worth the effort. Basically that's my way of saying good job, you've improved a lot since your first post. Keep up the good work. :wink:
Thanks, writing for an audience has certainly had a big learning curve but I think it’s been worth it. As long as people are happy to read i’m happy to write and hopefully continue to improve.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 7/4/15)

Post by AntonSlavik020 » Tue Apr 07, 2015 10:09 pm

You're right, this chapter was great. Miki's interaction with Ayumu was all kinds of d'aww. Look forward to getting to know him better, like what his last name is. :)
Best girl
Hanako=Shizune>Misha>Lilly>Rin>Emi

Best route
Hanako>Lilly>Rin>Emi>Shizune

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 7/4/15)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Wed Apr 08, 2015 9:54 am

Nice chapter - though for me Ayumu has a bit of a creepy vibe so far... Must be the way he talks^^°
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: Miki: Fragments (Updated 7/4/15)

Post by Gajzla » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:58 am

Happy weekend everyone! here’s chapter 10, I hope you enjoy. Feedback is greatly appreciated as always.

Victories

“Time is not separate to space but in fact part of it, we call this space-time and like everything around us it is relative,” Mutou drones, he has one thing right. In this classroom, in the blistering stuffy heat of summer time is moving relatively slowly. Even Ikuno looks bored by this latest bit of useless information.

The bell rings at last, freeing us to enjoy our Saturday. Chairs scrap back against the polished wooden floor, even the ever sleepy blue haired girl to my left looks ready to sprint from this sauna of a classroom. Mutou stands with a sigh. Did he expect us to boil so we could hear the last of his space ramblings?

“I hope everyone has a safe and productive weekend. Oh and…” He looks down at something on his desk. “Wish Miura good luck at the track meet, she might be the only hope we have against that speed machine from 2:4” He looks dreamily out of the window as fifteen eyes turn on me.

“Oh,” he seems to come back to reailty. “You are dismissed.”

People nod at me as they file passed, my cheeks burn with all the attention. At last me and Ikuno leave the room, heading for the large oak in the grounds. The past few weeks since the festival have flown by. Ikuno and Ryouta have developed in to an appalling soppy couple, spending much of our movie nights with their tongues down each others throats. It’s cute and sickening at the same time, like watching a baby lion eat a gazelle.

Ayumu and I on the other hand have been taking things much slower, gentle touches stolen when we can find the time to be alone. Everything about us seems so deeply private I’ve not even introduced him to my friends.

I know it’s just a boy touching my face. It’s nothing intimate and yet under his fingers I feel naked; exposed. None of this is helped by the fact that we are let to define our relationship, the way he makes me feel I would say I was his girlfriend. But I have no idea what he’s feeling.

He speaks so much bullshit sometimes, it’s one of the reasons I like him, a wordsmith trying to find the perfect mix of words to express how he feels. Unfortunately a lot of the time this just makes him completely unreadable.

I feel stuck at a cross roads, my dreams are not showing me anything new. But like Dr Ueda says they are not a scheduled television show, where each week I will get an existing new episode packed with infomation. I wonder if I can just pre-order the box set?

A small push, that’s all it would take for my life to go in one direction or another. I feel like I’m waiting for something to happen, but I have no idea what. Can I go back to when my biggest problem was missing a hand? Those were simpler times.

— — —

“I can’t do this Emi, there are too many people!” I stand off to the side of the track with the rest of the team. It’s Sunday, it’s hot and the grandstands are packed to bursting with people.

“Sure you can!” Emi is jubilant, bouncing with anticipation for the races to begin. How did I get roped into this? I’m sure it must be Emi’s fault somehow, she’s always spurring me on to do things, it’s like her superpower.

I stare across at the visiting track team, I assumed that we would be facing off against a normal school that felt sorry for us. In fact the opposing school is one just like ours, I guess it was pretty naive to assume that Yakamu was alone in providing for the disabled.

“Right everyone, get ready,” the track team captain announces. “Girls 100 metre sprint, Emi, Miki you’re up.”

Eyes fixed to the astroturf of the track I walk out to tumultuous applause. Somewhere in the stands Ikuno and Ryouta are watching. Oh no! Ryouta is going to see me in these tiny damn shorts, i’m never going to hear the last of this. We take our positions on the start line. Great, now I get to stick my arse in the air. Who on earth planed this? Someone with a dirty mind, clearly.

Come on Miki, come on. I need to focus up. one hundred metres ahead of me a white tape flutters in the breeze, this is my goal, I will not stop until I reach it, nothing else matters. The noise of the crowd seems to dim.

“On your marks…”

“Get set…” Six bodies tense. Wait, is that girl wearing leggings? You mean I had a choice?

BANG!

The starter’s pistol echoes around the grounds, all around me girls burst forth from their crouched positions. Damn it! Distracted I’m slow off the mark. It will be an uphill battle from here, surprisingly though I pull ahead of the first girl I come across with ease and pass the second just as I cross the line.

Forth, that isn’t bad. Not for my first race. Not considering my distraction. With a longer track I might have placed higher, I simply run out of time to overtake. Emi won of coarse, she looks delighted and I don’t blame her. Panting I stride off the track to join the rest of the team, the captain winks at me.

“You did well, bit of a slow start though,” He grins at me leaning in conspiratorially. “No one can blame you for checking out the other girls, but can you save the stares for the shower room?”

I don’t think he’s joking.


“I wasn’t, I don’t, not like that.” I lose the power of speech. The captain nods at me in understanding.

“Hey, it’s okay don’t worry I won’t tell anyone.” He smiles at me, wandering off to talk to Emi, who’s looking at my blushing cheeks with a disgruntled pout. What does she think just happened?

Throughly embarrassed I watch the boys events, trying to feign more interest than I really have. The next race is the four hundred metre sprint, my strongest event. I hear my name being called and walk slowly to my mark, my eyes fixed to the floor.

I look up finding the fluttering white tape. That is my goal, I will not stop until I reach it. Nothing else matters. The starters words telling us to get ready sound muffled. I hear the pistol as if its a long way off, bursting off the line I make a good start. Emi is slightly ahead, the rest of the girls somewhere a million miles behind us.

Legs burning I begin to edge closer to Emi’s tiny frame. She’s so fast. I hear nothing but my own heart beat as I pass her, there’s only around fifty meters left now. My whole body burns with the effort to keep up this pace. Only twenty five metres to go. Emi starts to pull ahead again. Come on, there’s only ten meters left, come on. I can’t dig any deeper and a mere second later I am crossing the line in second place.

I drop to my knees breathing hard. I don’t think my legs are ever going to work again. I look up and see with some satisfaction that Emi is laying flat on her back, her modest chest rising and falling quickly. At least I have something she doesn’t.

I manage to get to my feet and wander back to the team, only the thousand metres remains, hardly mine nor Emi’s best event. Especially after two sprints, my only real goal is not to come last. Might be easier said than done.

The sun is high in the sky as we take our places, with no breeze my sweaty shirt sticks to my back. Just ahead of me Emi takes her place, if she’s nervous about the race she doesn’t show it. I risk a look at the crowd, to my surprise I see my grandfather sitting in a white suit in the front row. He waves at me.

“On your marks.”

I tense, eyes forward and alert.

“Get set.” I wonder who invited him to come and watch?

I leave that thought on the start line as I burst into action. This race is more about conserving energy than straight up speed, but it’s also a balancing act. I need to keep up with the pack else all the conserved energy in the world will count for nothing.

However all my planning turned out to be for nought. One of the girls that we had been constantly beating all morning had found her forte, bounding past us easily on the last stretch a smile on her face. Ah well fourth, second and third are not bad results if I do say so myself.

Emi pouts unhappily at the back of the winner as she returns to her school team, I pat her on the shoulder.

“Can’t win em’ all,” I shrug. Emi looks like she would like to debate that point, but our collection of friends and family arrive. An older woman and an armless girl for Emi. Ryouta, Ikuno and my grandfather for me.

“You did great!” Ikuno says hugging me.

“Nice shorts,” Ryouta adds with a grin, giving me a one armed embrace.

I thank them both, turning to my grandfather with a grin.

“I didn’t expect to see you,” I say.

“Disappointed?”

“Nope!” I giggle, throwing my arms around him. He’s a little surprised but returns the embrace warmly.

“Well now, someone seems to be in a better mood than when I saw her last.”

“It’s just runners high,” I laugh. “I’ll be moody again before long.”

“Ah, well then best I speak to you now. Will your friends excuse us?”

Ikuno and Ryouta look at each other then back to me, I nod at them and together they stroll away in search of elusive shade. Placing a hand on my shoulder my grandfather leads me in the opposite direction. Heading for a more secluded spot in Yamaku’s extensive grounds.

“You did very well” Grandad says as we reach a small square garden sounded by an immaculately pruned square hedge. Benches are cut into well kept flower beds bristling with life, in the centre is a large white stone with water cascading down its flanks into a pool below. I’ve never been here before.

“Thanks” I say with a grin, bending down to investigate a number of small ornately carved stones scatted in amongst the flowers, each bare a name and a date. These are grave markers. “These are students who have passed away?” I ask my voice a little shaky.

“Yes, I believe so.” My grandfather watches for my reaction.

“I didn’t realise,” I read a few names, but have to stop, a lump rising to my throat.

“Not everyone who attends this school is blessed with a long life Miki,” his shoes crunch on the gravel path as he moves behind me, placing a hand on my shoulder. I can’t help but feel that if I was dying I would not waste my limited time at school.

“What did you want to talk about?” I ask, trying to get my head off the subject of death. Not an easy task given our location.

“Your mother told you about your father?” He asks sombrely.

“She did,” I shrug.

“And what do you think?”

“Nothing really, I don’t know the man.” I gently stand, turning to face him. “She said he wants to meet me?”

“Yes, I imagine he would. I know he cares about you a great deal,”

“You’ve spoken to him?” I ask.

“We keep correspondence, yes. He is my client as well as my son in law.”

“Right…” I shrug, looking away. “Well he’s nothing to me.” He looks at me thoughtfully for a moment, before turning his attention to the ground at his feet.

“I’m afraid to say your mother and I have not been entirely honest with you.” He puts his hand inside his well pressed white suit jacket and withdraws a wad of envelopes bound together with string, wordlessly he passes the bundle to me.

“We thought correspondence with your father would have been too much, on top of everything else.” His voice is soft, barely louder than the fountain behind him. Glancing down at the envelopes I see they bare my name, but use my grandfathers address.

“Go…” I say, my voice horse.

“Miki, please.”

“Get the hell away from me!” I shout, pushing him away with my stump. He nearly trips into the fountain. How could he do this to me? With a sigh he straightens his suit.

“You may not believe this at the moment, but I did what I was thought was best,” He sighs softly. “Can you understand?”

“Yes,” I mumble. I don’t want to lose him, I learned that lesson from Ikuno. “I’m still really fucking angry at you though.” I snarl, Its the first time I’ve cursed in front of him, he grimaces.

“Watch your language young lad-“ I take a threating step towards him. “Ah, but perhaps I earned it. I will take my leave, my train departs soon.”

“Will I see you again?” I ask softly.

“You will Miki, you never knew her but you are just like your grandmother.” He smiles wistfully

“Did you ever keep things from her you really shouldn’t have?” I ask vindictively.

“I’m ashamed to say I did.” With that he once again walks out of my life. Why does no one contact me for a social call? I sink onto one of the benches, the envelopes clutched to my chest. There must be letters dating back years in this bundle, he must have wondered why I never wrote back. He never stopped though. The most recent letter bares a date not two weeks ago.

I let sobs take me, my phantom deciding its been ignored too long starts to rip and tear at my hand. Wet tears fall onto my bare legs, I guess I should go and collect my medals. If I go like this people will think I’m a bad loser. The sound of crunching gravel interrupts me thoughts, I look up. Ayumu stands in shorts and t-shirt, his white cane held in front of him.

“Miki?” He calls to the air.

“Here,” I sniff.

He stops, turning slightly to face my general direction.

“I overheard your argument?” His voice sounds shaky. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine…” I wipe my eyes on the back of my hand. “I don’t really want to talk about it.”

“Can I sit beside you?” He asks softly. Carefully I stand, taking his hand and glide him down onto the bench, I sit back down next to him. We don’t say anything I close my eyes, listening to the fountains trickle, the wind through the trees, I breathe a sigh.

“Ayumu?”

“Yes?” he replies curiously, I open my eyes slowly.

“Will you go out with me?”

His cheeks redden, as he sits bolt upright.

“I want to, but…”

There’s always a but.

“Miki, you know I graduate this year, we won’t have much time.” As if I hadn’t thought of this.

“What if I don’t care?” I say. I do, of course I do, but if its a choice between a few mouths and never I know what I would choose. Will he?

“What if I do?” he replies. I get to my feet quickly, this is going to be painful and I can’t handle it. Not on top of everything else. At least I know now.

“Then that’s your choice,” I start to walk forward, tears streaming down my face.

“Miki!” He roughly grabs for me, catching my left arm. I shudder as he continues. “I don’t want to lose you.”

“So what are you going to do about it?” I ask impatiently, turning to face him, freeing my arm in the process.

“I’m going to take you on a date.”

“Somewhere nice?” I say, I was half expecting a kiss. But I think that only happens in Ryouta’s stupid movies.

“That I guarantee.” He says, a smirk playing at his lips.

I feel like a weight has been lifted, I know Ayumu feels the same way now. Even if it won’t last forever, even if what we have has a ticking clock, I don’t mind. That’s more than what a lot of people in this garden had. I can’t see where this road leads, or what I will encounter along the way, but I take my first step off the pavement anyway.

I sit back down, gently taking his hand, he in turn rests his head against my shoulder.

“Miki?”

“Yeah?”

“You really need a shower,” I glower at him for a moment, before we both burst into laugher. At least I won something today.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 11/4/15)

Post by Req » Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:43 am

not bad, couple typos here and there but nothing you won't pick out in another round of edits.

nice to see a different interpretation to the track meet.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 11/4/15)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:19 pm

A few similar yet distinct words you should be careful about:
bare <-> bear
wander <-> wonder
woman <-> women
“I’m afraid to say me and you’re mother have not been entirely honest with you.”
"I and your mother" - better yet "your mother and I"

Hmm... given that she says her father means nothing to her, her reaction to the letters is a bit extreme, isn't it?

Aside from that I liked the chapter, especially the track meet part.
Emi > Misha > Hanako > Lilly > Rin > Shizune

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griffon8 wrote:Kosher, just because sex is your answer to everything doesn't mean that sex is the answer to everything.
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 11/4/15)

Post by Gajzla » Sat Apr 11, 2015 4:40 pm

I will get those fixed! Thanks for the heads up.
Mirage_GSM wrote: Hmm... given that she says her father means nothing to her, her reaction to the letters is a bit extreme, isn't it?
The biggest lies are the ones we tell ourselves.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 11/4/15)

Post by Gajzla » Thu Apr 16, 2015 5:38 pm

Hey, Hey sorry it’s been awhile since an update. So here we go with chapter 11, this was fun to write in some places, and gave me massive problems in others. Hopefully you enjoy it and as always feedback is greatly appreciated.

Date Night

“You have nothing to wear for a date,” Ikuno moans staring into my unorganised closet.

“You are aware that my boyfriend is blind?” I ask, rolling my eyes.

“Miki!” She turns to me looking stern, “That is no reason not to look nice.”

“Fine, fine,” what do you suggest.

“Have any dresses?” she asks hopefully.

“Nope.”

“Skirts?” She turns to me open mouthed.

“I don’t think so?” I shrug.

“You’re impossible,” she groans going back to riffling through my limited selection of clothes.

It’s Friday night, tomorrow after school Ayumu has organised our first date. He’s not even told me where we’re going, deciding surprises are fun. For him perhaps. I’ve tried, and mostly failed to not think about it. With less than a day before the big event I thought it might be wise to ask Ikuno if she had any clothing suggestions, I didn’t quite anticipate this reaction.

“Why are all your t-shirts so baggy?” She asks, looking at me incredulously.

“I like them that way, good for running, good for sleeping, what else could you want?”

“I think I might have a blouse you can wear,” she sighs. “Have you ever dressed as a girl before?”

“When I was ten I think, I liked dresses and pony’s,” I grin. “I bet you have a pony somewhere at home.” from behind I can see her ears redden.

“I… she’s a horse not a pony, plus she belongs to my mum.” Ikuno mumbles. I burst out laughing at her embarrassment. Oh how the other half live.

“Right these,” She hands me a pair of black jeans. “And I have a blouse in my room, I think it’s the best I can do given the time frame and scale of the problem.”

“You know,” I smirk, “I think Ryouta is rubbing off on you.”

— — —

I meet Ayumu outside the gates, happily he’s gone for casual clothes as well, jeans and a simple shirt. I notice his nostrils flare as I approach.

“Miki?”

“Hi,” I say nervously tucking a bit of lose hair behind my ear, Ikuno insisting I do something with my mess of purple hair braided it, leaving it hanging down my back.

“That's a lovely perfume,”

“Thanks, Ikuno chose it.” I say softly. As if I would own fancy perfume.

“The bus will be here soon, then the city awaits.”

“We’re going to the city?” I ask a little surprised. I didn’t even know there was one nearby. He nods, reaching out his hand. Taking it I gently lead him over to the bench’s beside the bus stop. It would appear we are not the only students visiting the city today, in fact there is a small crowed, gathered in packs of twos and threes. They pay us little attention as we settle onto the wooden seat.

In short order the bus arrives and we climb on board, the driver must be used to this route because he pays my missing hand and Ayumu’s closed eyes little mind. I slide into the window seat, the bus starts with a lurch, making me jump. The sensation of moving is unnerving, with a grimace I remember the brutal impact of the bus from my dream.

“Don’t like buses?” my date asks, taking my hand in his.

“Not altogether a fan no,” I rest my head on his shoulder, it's a little bony, but warm. I’ve still not told him about my hand or my dreams, perhaps I should have mentioned it before I asked him out. It's a little late now. He won’t mind I'm sure, but it's going to be an awkward conversation. Then again we only have a few months before he graduates. What if I never get around to telling him?

“What are we doing today?” I ask again, I’ve been asking for almost a week now with nothing but cryptic answers. I don’t think I really like surprises, the last few have been awful. Surprise you have no hand! Surprise you're going to a new school! Surprise! We lied to you for years.

“Patience my dear, all will be revealed.”

I grumble incoherently, drawing a chuckle from my companion, who gently strokes the back of my hand with his fingers. Closing my eyes I think about the pile of envelopes sitting on my desk. I’ve still not opened them, cowardice is my only excuse. I’m afraid of what I might find.

“We’re here,” Ayumu says, startling me slightly. How long did I have my eyes closed? I didn’t fall asleep on my first date did I?

We step off of the bus into the bright afternoon sun, summer is still in full effect. People bustle all around us, as if we were stones blocking a white-water rapid. Quickly taking Ayumu’s arm I shuffle in closer to him, he gives my hand a gentle reassuring squeeze.

“I’m not a fan of crowds either,” He whispers. I was more worried about him being swept away from me than anything else. But it’s sweet he cares.

After a few moments of quiet contemplation he asks me to confirm the street name and a few seconds of thinking later he gives me directions. We set off at a leisurely pace, on his request I start to describe what's around us. I don’t think I'm doing the sights justice. Our path leads us to a wide pedestrianised street lined on either side with shops, everything from clothing to electronic boutiques. I slow as we pass a sportswear shop nestled in the shadow of one of the many overhead concrete walkways.

“See something you like?” My date asks, noticing my change of pace.

“It doesn’t matter,” I smile, intending to walk on.

“We have time for a little retail therapy, I believe.”

“Sounds more fun than real therapy,” I say not thinking. Oh great tell him you're in therapy, boys just love that, stupid, stupid, stupid.

He gives me a odd sideways look, as if trying to work out if I’m joking or not. Desperately I try and save the conversation, hurrying to describe the brightly decorated shop as accurately as possible. Walking through the door I guide him through the racks of clothing to the women’s section.

“Oh I forgot to congratulate you on your success at the track meet,” he says, frowning a little.

“Thanks, I’m sorry I didn’t…,” I busy my hands trying to find three quarter length leggings in my size. “I didn’t tell you about it.”

“Shall we conclude that it was because you wanted to keep me your scandalous secret?”

“I think that sounds right.” But it's not the reason, I didn’t want to make him sit in the hot sun with nothing to do out of some kind of misguided loyalty to me. “What do you think of these?” I ask, placing the materiel of the black leggings under his fingers.

“They feel divine, will I get the chance to see you in them?” What? That makes no sense, unless he’s going to use his- oh. Oh. I blush intensely, imagining his warm fingertips running over my legs.

“I don’t know,” I stammer, cheeks burning as he laughs at my flustered state.

Paying for my legging’s takes a little more of my grandfathers allowance than I had anticipated, but anything is better than those shorts. With my purchase happily swinging from my elbow I walk hand in hand with Ayumu down the street.

Delving deeper into the downtown area of the city, we come across a large square. On three of its sides are restaurants and on the forth a large cinema, the entire area is covered by a large canvas roof supported by tall white metal beams. Street vendors pedal their unhealthy treats as pigeons swoop down to collect any dropped scraps.

“Our destination should be directly across from us, assuming my sense of direction has not failed me.”

“A cinema?” I ask, a little confused.

“Yes, is that okay? Your friends mentioned you liked movies.” A tinge of worry underlines his voice.

“I do but, is it something you can enjoy?” I don’t want him to be bored.

“Miki,” he smiles at me softly, “I don’t ask much from you, or anyone for that matter. But please let me decided what I can and cannot enjoy.” There's no anger in his voice, just a kind of exasperation.

“Your right, I'm sorry.” I sigh, I guess this request also would have extended to the track meet. I should have asked him.

“You are forgiven completely, shall we?”

— — —

The movie turns out to be brilliant. Any concerns I had about Ayumu’s enjoyment are quickly slashed, the staff seemed to know him, a bouncy teenage girl lead us to our seats and passed over a pair of bulky headphones. I was a little confused until Ayumu explained what audio description was. Seeing the look on his face at the climax of the movie, I could tell there was no chance he was feigning his excitement.

Night has fallen when we leave the cinema, but thankfully the air is still warm. I should have thought to bring a jacket. It's only a short walk under a light-polluted starless sky to the Italian restaurant that Ayumu picked out for us. He really is a hopeless romantic. I’ve never eaten anywhere so fancy. I feel decidedly underdressed.

We are lead to a secluded table, complete with white cloth and candle, in the back of the restaurant. Our suited waiter hands us our menus and takes our drinks order, before disappearing into a swirl of gentle voices and soft piano music. My date leaves his menu folded in front of him while I open mine. Why the hell is everything in Italian? English is bad enough.

“Would you like some help deciding?” Ayumu prompts.

“I… yes, please.” I mumble, feeling the heat rise to my cheeks.

“I suggest the Bruschetta to start followed by… hmmm,” He looks to one side, thinking. “Ah, the Pollo Carbonara Is a safe choice.”

“Okay, stupid question bu-“

“I looked up the menu online last night,” he grins, “I can’t remember all of it, but I find three dishes from each course normally serves me well.”

“Well lucky one of us is prepared,” I smile as our drinks arrive.

“Are sir and madam ready to order?” the waiter inquires.

I let Ayumu handle ordering for both of us, partly because he seems so confident. But mostly because I have already forgotten the foreign names. With our thanks and the waiters low bow the menu’s are whisked away.

“Akiyama” he says out of the blue once the waiter is out of ear shot.

“What?” I ask surprised.

“That's my surname, as I said it’s quite forgettable. But I thought you deserve to know it.”

“Right” I say nervously. I need to do this now, if I wait until after I've eaten I might throw up. You can do this. “I’m missing my left hand,” I say simply.

“If you are trying to one up my revelation, then I’m afraid I'm forced to concede to you.”

“I’m being serious,” I groan, but a smile plays about my lips. I don’t know how he can make me smile when talking about my arm, but he does.

“I did wonder why you never used it,” he ponders for a moment, “Why didn’t you tell me when we first met?”

“I don’t know, I don’t like to talk about it.”

“Ah, I suppose most people spot it quite quickly?”

“Yes,” I say looking down at my knees, “Are you mad?”

“No… No I would say I was curious.”

“Curious?” I ask.

“Did you enjoy me not knowing?” his tone is hard to read.

“I didn’t like lying to you,” I say. I must not ruin this.

“But, and you’ll forgive the crude term, you enjoyed being normal around me,” his eyebrow raises slightly.

“I did,” I say quietly. “Is that wrong?”

“I think we all want to believe we are normal, accepted and valued by everyone around us.” He shrugs slightly, “However I believe that sometimes people can spend so much time chasing an impossible ideal that they lose themselves.”

“I just get sick of people staring at it, it’s like the stump is all I am now.” I admit. Where did that come from?

“Fools will always read a book by its cover, a smart man is blind to first impressions.” He grins. “Luckily, that makes me a genius.” I laugh as he breaks the tension. I guess he’s right, about the fools not him being a genius. We spend some time discussing the movie until our food arrives.

Watching him eat is fascinating, the care and dexterity with which he eats is amazing. Using his cutlery in the same way master sculptor uses his chisel. I go back to concentrating on my own meal, cutting the soft bread of the Bruschetta using a twisting motion with my fork is effective, though the well presented dish is destroyed in the process. Luckily despite its mangled look it tastes delicious.

“Do you have any plans for after school? Will you attend university?” Ayumu enquires, dabbing at his lips with a napkin.

“Not really,” I answer, not entirely truthfully. A career path has been on my mind, but that thought is not ready for the light of day. “I’m not really one for making plans, you?”

“Hmmm, either music or literature, assuming my grades are good enough,” he smiles softly.

“You play an instrument?” I ask?

“The piano, a bit of a cliché I know,” sighing he continues. “I was a very noisy child, a lot of blind kids are, my mother liked the piano because it kept me in one place and I could make all the noise I want through personal headphones.”

I giggle, “I spent most of my childhood running off in every direction, according to my mum, I guess that's why I still run today.”

Our small talk continues until our mains arrive, luckily my dish turns out to be pasta. It’s like they designed it for one handed people. savouring the delicious flavours I smile softly, who would have thought when I woke up in the hospital that I would be able to enjoy a date. You can lead a relatively normal life.

“How is it?” Ayumu asks, sensing my quietness.

“Its perfect, thank you for all of this.”

“Your pleasure is all the thanks I need,” he smiles softly.

— — —

“You didn’t need to walk me back,” my companion says as we stand outside his bedroom door. Having left the restaurant after one of the best meals I’ve ever had we caught a quiet bus back to Yamaku, it felt only right to escort him back to his room.

“It’s okay, gives me a little more time with you.” I say softly as he fumbles with his key, with a soft click the door swings open.

“Would you like to come inside for a bit?” his cheeks redden.

I bite my bottom lip. This has to be against school rules. “O… Okay.”

He disappears into his dark room, I blink after him a little confused. Oh right. He has no need to turn on the light. I follow him inside, gently gliding my fingertips up the walls looking for the switch. His hand gently catches my elbow.

“Can we leave the light?” he asks softly. “Let me guide you for once?”

“O..okay,” a lump rises in my throat as a I place my hand in his. Behind me the door shuts with a soft thud. I slip my shoes off, kicking them softly against the wall. Gently he guides me through the darkness. I feel him gently push me away, until the back of my knees hit something and I fall with a panicked yelp onto his soft bed.

“Sorry,” he laughs.

I giggle looking up into the darkness, wondering if my eyes will adjust soon. Stretching my arms above my head reveals the wall isn’t as close as I feared. Letting out a gasp I feel the back of his fingers against my knee. But he moves away quickly, I think he just wanted to know where I am. The bed sags a little as he lays down next to me.

“Are you okay? This isn’t too much?” he asks, his voice close by.

“I’m okay, just a little nervous I guess.” I don’t know what he has planned. I hope it's not That. Not that I don’t want to experience it, but I don’t feel ready. I hope he won’t be annoyed with me.

I feel his finger tips on the side of my face. This I like. I smile and move my hand a little clumsily, searching for his face. disentangling my fingers from his hair I locate his cheek, trying to replicate his actions.

“Oh, never been on the receiving end before,” he sighs happly, I can feel his smile under my fingers.

“Like it?” I ask a little breathlessly.

“I do,” his fingers start to trace down my neck and under my ear. I just focus on not sticking my fingers anywhere inappropriate. His skin feels soft under my touch, I guess this is the only way he knows what I look like. It must be an oddly disjointed view.

Giggling I let my hands fall behind my head as his probing fingers find the edge of my borrowed blouse, tracing the outline he stops for a moment, before quickly undoing the top button in one fluid motion. I let out a gasp, more out of shock than dislike.

Reaching forward I tug his first button open, he laughs at my lack of subtlety. Somehow it turns into a race and in only a few moments later we are both laying with our shirts open. I should have worn a nicer a bra. I look down at the plain white material that seems to glow in the darkened room. I should own a nicer bra, something with lace.

I trace the dark lines of his slightly hairy chest, I'm rewarded with a startled gasp. My victory is short lived as his finger starts to trace down my bra strap, I’m surprised his fingertips don’t leave sparks against my skin. He hesitates for a moment before reaching his goal, tracing the line of my bra above my breasts.

Oh my…

Without thinking I reach forward and clutch the side of his face, pulling his lips into mine. He jumps in surprise before kissing back fiercely. What ensues is what can only be described as a kiss wrestling match. I need to work on my subtlety. Before I know what's happening I find myself straddling him, my arms wrapped around his back and my lips locked against his. Not exactly what I had in mind for my first kiss, but it will do, my god it will do.

One of his hands grips my bum tightly, causing me to giggle into his lips. With a tugging he tries to undo my bra, but gives up after an awkwardly long time, deciding instead to cup me through the martial. Perhaps I should have told him it undid at the front?

Apparently boring of my chest his hand creeps down, fumbling with the button on my jeans. I pull away quickly, grabbing his hand with mine. “Sorry,” I gasp, “Not yet.

The mood gone I collapse onto my back feeling a little dizzy. I should remember to breathe more when I kiss.

“I’m sorry, are you okay?” His voice is edged with fear. I didn’t mean to scare him.

“I’m fine,” I say softly, stroking his cheek. “Just not ready for that yet, is that okay?”

“Of course, errm,” I can feel the heat of his blush below my fingertips. “Would you like to sleep here tonight?”

“I would like that,” his fingers start to trace the shape of my belly button tentatively.

“Not going to sleep in your jeans though are you?” He seems to be regaining some of his confidence. I’ve been told boy’s aren’t satisfied unless they go all the way. I just hope what happened was enough for him, it was enough for me. For now.

“Can you keep your hands to yourself?” I ask, slipping the jeans down my legs.

“If you can,” he laughs, with sound of his own jeans slithering down his legs.

I find a comfortable spot on his chest to rest my cheek, gently running my fingers over his flesh. Planting a soft kiss on my hair he wraps his arms around me, holding me tight. Our clothes slither abandoned to the floor as he draws the covers over us.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 16/4/15)

Post by Mirage_GSM » Fri Apr 17, 2015 5:13 am

Our path leads us to a wide pedestrianised (Is that right spelling?)
Why would she worry about spelling in her thoughts?
With my purchase happily, swinging from my elbow
I don't usually comment on commas unless I'm asked to edit, but this one disrupted the sentence completely.
You’re friends mentioned you liked movies.”
"Your"
It's only a short walk under a light polluted starless sky
I also rarely mention missing hyphens but leaving this one out changes the meaning of the sentence :-)
but I find three dishes from each coarse normally serves me well.”
"course"

Very good chapter. I think you're improving overall.
I still can't shake this creepy feeling I have about Ayumu, though I can't put my finger on why...
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: Miki: Fragments (Updated 16/4/15)

Post by Gajzla » Fri Apr 17, 2015 9:05 am

Mirage_GSM wrote:
Gajzla wrote:Our path leads us to a wide pedestrianised (Is that right spelling?)
Why would she worry about spelling in her thoughts?
Doh' this is just one of my notes, forgot to remove it before posting.
Mirage_GSM wrote: Very good chapter. I think you're improving overall.
I still can't shake this creepy feeling I have about Ayumu, though I can't put my finger on why...
Poor Ayumu, I have other comments but they would be spoilers. =P

Thanks for the kind words and your continued support, I will get the rest of the mistakes fixed.

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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 16th April 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Tue Apr 21, 2015 12:03 pm

Hello all, here’s chapter 12 in all its glory. Feedback is, as always, greatly appreciated.

Enjoy!


Letter's

I breathe a sigh of relief as I close my bedroom door behind me. Getting back here was no small task. Who the hell knew they employed night guards? I regret having to leave Ayumu in bed, but I had no other choice, being caught sneaking out of the boys dorms is too horrific even to imagine. Getting back into my own dormitories proved to be a challenge as well, I briefly considered phoning Ikuno to lower a rope before I chanced on a lapse in concentration to sneak back inside.

Last night was interesting to say the least, I’ve never let someone touch me like that. My skin still feels electrically charged where his fingers ran, but it was more than just the intimate touches. Being held at night was wonderful, it felt as if I was safe from my dreams, even my ghost of a hand didn’t cause any trouble.

Deciding to be lazy for the rest of the day I quickly strip off the clothes I had only recently put on, slipping into my sleep shorts and a T-shirt that, according to the smell test isn’t too old. It’s comfortable at least. Slumping down in my office chair I consider my options, I’ve already completed all my homework and Ikuno will still be aslee, I bet she noticed I didn’t come in last night. It’s too early for a million and one questions.

The stack of envelopes that has laid abandoned on my desk since track day catches my eye. They have been taunting me for days. I thought I wouldn’t hear any excuses made for my father's absence, for what he did to my mother. So why am I so desperate to find something to exonerate him?

Unsurprisingly all the letters have been opened already, presumably by my grandfather. Happy to lie but would hate to be kept out of the loop. Hands shaking slightly I untie the string binding the bundle together, carefully looking through the correspondence I decide to start with the oldest date I can find..

June 4th 1997

Dear Miki,

Hello sweetie, I bet your feeling very confused about where I am. The truth is I did something I regret very much and I’m not going to be able to see you for awhile. I want you to know daddy misses you more than anything.

I want you to be a good girl for mummy and remember I love you very much.

Daddy.

I stare at the words, unable to move. This is the man I remember when I think of my father, the person who would come home from a hard day at work and before even taking off his coat join me for a tea party or take me outside to play. I’ve tried not to think about these happy memories over the years, with my father gone they just reminded me of something I could never get back.

I take a deep breath, pulling out the next letter.

In a envelope dated for my ninth birthday, I pull out a hand drawn birthday card, I don’t really know what the drawing is meant to be, either a pony, a cat or a dragon depending on how you look at it. It’s the thought that counts. There’s a long gap before the next letter, it’s very similar to the first. Full of niceties but no information.

After comes a card for my tenth birthday, hoping I had a lovely time. As I recall my mother was passed out on that day so my grandfather took me out for ice cream, I was too young to really understand what was happening, I snort remember how I thought it was normal. Laying aside the card I find a envelope that looks hopeful.

January 17th 2000

Dear Miki,

The year 2000 already! Granddad tells me you went with him and mummy to see the fireworks in Tokyo it must have been really existing. I know your granddad is never without his camera, could you ask him if he can send me some photos?

Remember a new year is a new start, a time to forgot about all the things that made you sad or angry last year, know that your loved more than you can imagine. Even if I’m a long way away, I’m still thinking about you.

If you ever want to write back just ask your mum or granddad they will help you, hope to hear from you soon.

Love Dad.


My mind drifts back to those fireworks six years ago, I was so excited to be wearing my new Yukata marvelling at the lights of the city. Sighing I push my stump into my stomach, I knew it wouldn’t stay dormant for long with all these thoughts running through my head. I was told having a tranquil frame of mind can help with the pain, fat chance.

Needing some air I open the window, letting in the soft sounds of rustling trees and gentle birdsong. Below me in the grounds some early rising students are making the most of the morning sun. I return to reading at my desk, feeling increasingly helpless. Tearing open another handmade birthday card I notice a thicker than average envelope.

February 24th 2001

Dear Miki,

Your grandfather wrote to inform me he has not been passing on my letters. I struggle to understand his reasoning, but if he thinks it’s what’s best for you I have no choice but to agree. After all I just want you to be happy. To be honest I’m relieved, waiting for a reply that never came was worse than any punishment they can think of here.

Your grandfather in his letter expressed a wish that I stop writing to you, but I simply cannot. If something were to happen to me I would never see you again, I would never be able to tell you what I want to tell you. My only option is to keep writing to you and hope one day you get to read my words.

Now on to the original subject of my letter, middle school. It has been awhile since I attended but I can still remember it clearly. It’s a strange time, everyone is trying to find themselves and making a lot of mistakes in the process. I’m sure you will as well, but don’t worry, mistakes are part of growing up, they don’t last forever.

While at school you might be tempted to change yourself to fit into a crowd, my advice is to avoid this. The star that burns alone burns brightest. I don’t mean that you should not make friends, just to ensure the friends you make like you for who you are, not who you might pretend to be.

I love you more than you could ever know and hope with everything I have that one day read this message and look upon me with kindness.

Dad.

PS: Absolutely no boys.


I smile softly to myself, if only I had his advice years ago. Though I would have ignored him more than likely. As for mistakes not lasting forever a sharp stab from my left hand disproves that, but I know what he means. The things that used to keep me up at night during middle school, the childish arguments and spiteful spats feel like they happened a million years ago. I’m amazed he chose to keep writing though, I don’t know if I could have done the same.

I lean back into my chair unwrapping my thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth birthday cards one after another. I guess despite his words he didn’t have much worth telling me for three years, then again who knows how much my grandfather told him about my life. The next letter of note comes on the eve of me starting high school.

March 28th 2005

Dear Miki,

High school, it’s hard to believe how much you’ve grown. Your grandfather sent me the photos of your middle school Tanabata festival. You looked beautiful if I do say so myself, I’m so proud of you. Now a new chapter opens in your life.

This is the time that you choose where the course of your life will take you, I won’t begin to presume to tell you what to do. But I can offer some advice. I left school with poor grades, due to my laziness and disregard for schoolwork, upon leaving I started to work at a local factory making furniture I could never hope to afford.

Slowly despite many hardships my life started to become better, I met your mother and we had you, my proudest achievement. The best thing I will ever do with my time on earth, with this responsibility I worked night and day to support you. It was hard work, but paid well. We were content.

Only I’m lying, because I was never content in that job, I felt as if my soul was being drained from the moment I arrived until the moment I left, my only consolation was you. I don’t wish to imply I resented you for the hours I had to keep, I would do so again with a smile. I simply wish to tell you how important it is to find something you love.

Many people treat work as a means to an end, a mundane chore that must be completed for life to progress. But there are some who wake up in the morning with a smile on their face knowing they will be doing what they love, I want you to be one of these people. Follow your dreams Miki, don’t let anything ever slow or stop you.

I love you, so much.

Dad.

Ps: Still absolutely no boys!

I place the letter on the table as the first tear stains my cheek, I thought I was abandoned. I thought I wasn’t loved. And because of someone's best intentions I’ve been kept in the dark for close to ten years. But that’s not the worse part. The worst part is that the people who have betrayed me are my family, the only people I have ever loved. There’s no escaping that.

With shaking hands I unfurl the last letter. It’s the only thing I can think to do.

January 28th 2006

Dear Miki,

Your grandfather wrote to tell me about the accident, I know this message is unlikely to reach you. That you will be laying in a hospital bed thinking I have abandoned you, just know nothing could be further from the truth.

I’ve not even been told the extent of your injuries or the exact nature of the accident. For the first time in close to ten years I planned to escape this place, to be with you when you needed me most. But I’m an old man now, my health is not as it was and I venture it’s little more than a pipe dream.

In a few weeks I will be speaking in front of a parole board and I hope that all going well I will be released, I hope very much to see you. Though I’m old enough now to know that sometimes dreams do not become reality.

I hope that you are okay and that I see you soon. I love you, never forget that.

Dad.


Dropping the letter onto the desk my pulse starts to race. Even after my accident, even when I was alone and confused, even then they could not trust me with the truth. I want to punch something, scream at the top of my lungs how unfair this all is. My phantom hand clenches tightly in my lap, though in support or mockery I can’t be sure. I need to do something.

I stand up sharply. I have to see him. Dressing in record time I nearly fall into the hallway in my haste to get out. Disregarding even the basic necessities for travel I flick open my phone quickly finding my grandfathers number from my contacts, I listen to the dialling tone as I head in purposeful strides to the steps.

“Hello Miki?” His voice is hushed.

“I need to come home, right now, I need a taxi or something.” I speak quickly, hitting the first flight of stairs.

“What Why? Miki, slow down.”

“I’ve read the letters, you, you,” my mind races through words serious enough for his crimes. “Monster!”

“Ah,” he says defeated.

“I need to see him, I need to talk!” I nearly trip in my haste to get down the next flight of stairs, I manage to save myself by clutching the handrail with my stump.

“Hang on Miki, please, just hang on.”

“Why should I?” I growl.

“Just let me arrange something, please, don’t leave the school,” he sounds desperate. Serves him right. “Just say you won’t leave until I phone back?”

“You have half an hour,” I snap, hanging up the phone.

Now what?

- - -

I sit cross legged under the stairs glowering at the phone on my knee, people passing on their way to breakfast stare at me curiously but thankfully ignore me. I don’t feel like talking. My phantom hand seems to roar in displeasure, opening and closing its fist, stretching and twisting my fingers.

After what seems like an impossibly long time my phone rings, echoing all the way up the stairwell.

[Mum: Calling…]

“Mum I don’t want to talk about it!”

“…Miki?” A timid male voice answers.

“Dad?” I didn’t think I would call him that. If you had asked me a few hours ago I would have said you were mad to even imagine it. But now, now it feels right. I feel like I know him, at least a little.

“I read your letters, I’m sorry.”

“Oh Miki, Miki, you have nothing to be sorry for,” his voice cracks slightly. “I hardly recognise your voice, it's been so long.”

“I want to come and see you,” I say softly.

“You have school sweet,” he chuckles weakly.

“I don’t care,” I say quickly. “You’ve waited so long…”

“Exactly, I can wait a little longer,” he sighs softly. “I’m afraid you’ve inherited this families knack for acting with our hearts before our heads.” I giggle softly, my heart rate slowing.

“I guess, sometimes I lose my temper,” I frown. And argue with my best friend nearly splitting us apart forever. On the other end of the phone dad laughs.

“When will I see you then?”

“Your grandfather mentioned you had a three day weekend soon?” Do I?

“Err.. yeah, I’m not sure exactly when.” I stumble a little, best not to let on I don’t even know when my own holidays are. I should really listen more, or rely on Ikuno less, one of the two.

“Excellent, we will see each other then,” he pauses, “I can’t wait.” He does not sound well, though he mentioned in his letter he was starting to feel his age.

“We could talk now?” I suggest.

“I think it would be better face to face sweet. We have all the time in the world” I sigh, he’s right. Feeling a little stupid for acting so rashly I say my goodbyes, drawing them out for as long as I can. Having read the letters I felt like I had been robbed of time with my dad, that I had to make up for years in hours. I can’t reclaim the past. I can’t get back what was taken, I can only do my best with what I have left.

“Miki?” I look up into the wide blue eyes of my best friend, Ikuno was apparently not asleep but judging by her overstuffed bag catching up with student council stuff. “What are you doing down here?”

Wait, student council this early on a Sunday, seems unlikely.

“I spoke to my dad,” I reply softly.

“Oh?” She sits down next to me, her brow creased. “About the letters?” I nod slowly.

“Are you okay?”

“I think so…” I get to my feet slowly, waiting for her next question, but it never comes.

If she doesn’t know I didn’t make it in last night, that can only be because she didn’t. Then that means she must have spent the night with Ryouta.

“Miki?” She asks nervously.

“Sorry half asleep, did you have a nice evening last night?” I ask, trying to sound innocent. She looks away quickly, her ears glowing red.

Oh you little minx.

Together we start to climb the stairs, Ikuno and I have a lot to discuss. She’s going to want to know what happened on my date, before I would have avoided the questions with everything I had, but I don’t think I want to now. It’s not good to keep things from people you love.

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Last edited by Gajzla on Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:06 am, edited 3 times in total.

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Gajzla
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Updated 21st April 2015)

Post by Gajzla » Mon Apr 27, 2015 6:21 pm

Hello all, not much to say about this chapter, other than I really like it. Hope you do too, as always feedback and comments are appreciated.

Laces, Trains and Rain.

“I'm so sorry,” Ayumu says softly from his perch on my bed.

“It’s fine, don’t worry about it,” I try not to let my displeasure show in my voice. “I'm sure I can get home by myself.”

In a few days I will be leaving Yamaku to return to my family home for a three day weekend, Ayumu was meant to be coming with me. Best laid plans huh. Now it turns out his mother wants him home and apparently there's no arguing with her. People with normal parents confuse me. I'm trying not to take this personally, but it's hard.

“If there was any other way,” he sighs.

“I said it’s fine.” I sit down next to him, catching him off guard I wrap my arms around his chest. It’s not fair to be mad at him for this, even if that’s how I feel.

“I'm going to miss you though,” I say into his shoulder, I’ve seen him every day since the track meet.

His arms work their way tentatively around me, “I'm going to miss you more than the desert misses the rain.”

“That was awful,” I grin.

“I hit a bum note, it happens,” he shrugs, his cheeks lighting up with a nervous smile.

Sitting up in bed I start to trail soft kisses up his neck. Well if I'm not going to see him for awhile. He moans softly in response. With one fluid motion I slide onto his lap, facing him with my knees still on the bed. Delicately he slides his hands under my shirt, crawling up my skin until they are gripping the flesh of my back. Falling forward I cup his face roughly in my hand as his grip on my back tightens. My kiss is desperate and hungry. Subtlety be damned.

I pull away for a moment, breathing hard. “It undoes at the back,” I say keenly, pressing my lips back against his before he can answer. In response he fumbles with the catch of my bra, releasing it quickly. Has he been practising?

A moan escapes my lips as his hand gently cups my breast, the difference in how rough we are with each other nearly makes me laugh. I don’t think he minds me being rough though. Images start to run through my mind of where this might lead, unfortunately this scandalous chain of thought is interrupted by my door opening with a massive bang.

With a squeal I jump away from Ayumu, landing hard on my backside in a pile of dirty laundry. Glaring at the door I meet the eyes of the intruders. Ryouta and Ikuno stare at me open mouthed, my cheeks start burn.

“What's going on?” Ayumu asks, his cheeks as red as mine.

“We… came to see you,” Ryouta sniggers, trying exceptionally hard not to burst out laughing.

“And you’ve never heard of knocking?” I grumble, getting to my feet.

“I'm sorry Miki, Ryouta was in a rush, I did try and tell him.” Ikuno says mournfully, her hand over her mouth.

“Right… Ikuno, cover your boyfriends eyes.” She does so, giving me a confused look.

“What's going on?” Ryouta asks, trying to peek past the pale fingers held across his face.

Quickly I take my bra off under my T-shirt, throwing it into the laundry pile I landed on, with a swift kick I hide it with a t-shirt. Ryouta seeing that would not be fun, I already get enough about the shorts. “Oh,” Ikuno giggles in understanding, taking her hands away from Ryouta’s face.

“What happened? What did I miss?” he asks, looking between me and Ikuno, even giving Ayumu a hopeful look.

“Something magical,” Ikuno winks at me. Her boyfriend looks between us confusedly going to say something, but is silenced with a look. That's a neat trick.

Ayumu is very quiet, his cheeks not quite their normal shade yet. Sitting down beside him I gently take his hand. I think he gets a bit overwhelmed when my friends are around, not out of shyness. It’s like he’s not sure when to insert himself into conversations, though with Ryouta’s special brand of insanity that's hardly surprising.

“So what did you want?” I ask, looking up at them with a forayed brow.

“Right,” Ryouta slaps his forehead with his stump. “You need to tell Ikuno to tell her parents that I should be able to go home with her.”

So looks like weekend planning is going well in their camp as well.

I rub my head with the flat of my palm. “I thought that was the plan anyway?”

“It was,” Ikuno groans. “I thought they would be okay with it, then I get a call from my dad about how he has all the stuff planned and Ryouta is no longer invited.”

“But surely you can talk sense into them?” Ryouta pleads.

“I can’t I told you, they don’t listen to me!” She looks like she’s on the verge of tears. Should I be feeling grateful for the neglect? Seems much less stressful.

“Why doesn’t Ryouta go with Miki?” Ayumu says unexpectedly.

“What?” All three of us look at each other, a little stunned.

“I thought you were going with her?” Ikuno points out. I explain the situation as quickly as I can, feeling a headache start to build. This is too much thinking for after a therapy appointment.

Initially I was reluctant to let any of my friends meet my parents, because I had no idea how they would react. I don’t want sympathy. The idea grew though, and before I knew it I was looking forward to showing Ayumu my home.

“What do you think?” Ryouta asks his girlfriend.

The relief in Ikuno’s face is clearly visible as she clutches at a way out of her situation. “I think it’s better than being stuck at school, as long as Miki’s okay with it?”

“I don’t mind, I guess, Ayumu?”

“I have no objections, it was my suggestion after all.”

“Right,” I say.

“Good,” Agrees Ikuno.

I catch Ryouta’s eye, he looks at the floor quickly. I guess he really didn’t have much say in what just happened, then again neither did I. At least no one is being left behind. Even if plans have changed quite dramatically I can still trust Ryouta with whatever happens this weekend. Though he won’t be as much fun as having Ayumu to share my bed. Cuddling definitely helps me sleep, perhaps I didn’t get enough as a child.

With many repeated apologies and promises to make things up to one another my friends leave the room. I collapse back onto my bed, startling Ayumu. “Sorry,” I mumble, pushing my hand over my eyes.

That was embarrassing, well at least I still had my t-shirt on when they walked in, and my skirt thinking about it. I might as well throw myself out of the window if Ryouta ever saw me in my undies. I wonder if Ikuno has shown him what she wears under her school uniform?

A blush touches my cheeks. I'm surprised at Ikuno’s reaction though, she spoke of being treated like the family baby before, but it’s like she’s almost afraid of her dad. Or more likely afraid of his disapproval. Reading between the lines it seemed as if she had not mentioned her boyfriend, was she hoping they would be too busy to notice?

“Would you care for a back massage?” He slides a little closer to me, finding my side with his fingertips, “I looked it up online last night, it sounds interesting.”

“That sounds lovely,” I smile, slipping my shirt off and rolling onto my front. I hope he read the right guide, otherwise I may never walk again. I giggle when his hands find me, tracing the outline of my prone body. Very carefully he straddles me, sitting lightly on my thighs.

His hands gently start to trail up to my shoulders. The feeling of warm fingertips against my skin is magic as always, I feel the embarrassment and worry start to evaporate. This is why I need him around. Finding the spot where my bra strap normally sits he stops then lets out a small chuckle.

“So that's what that sound was!”

— — —

It feels surreal to be on a train again, last time I was full of so many conflicting emotions. Fear, worry, pain. Now it’s like I'm being carried away from home to the endless unknown. I have no idea what I'm supposed to be feeling. Are they expecting me to let them be parents? That ship has passed, as far as I'm concerned we are equals, old friends meeting again for the first time.

Ryouta sits across from me, his phone resting on his lap.

“She won’t be home yet,” I say softly.

“I know, but I don’t want to miss her text.”

Leaning back I watch the countryside flicker past the window. I assume Ayumu will call when he gets home, we didn’t make any solid plans. Then again I think we both like our independence, I doubt he would watch his phone for my call any more than I would for his. Not that I don’t miss him. But sometimes it feels like we are two stowaways on the same ship, huddled close for safety and warmth, but still ultimately strangers bound to part when we make port.

“Do you think Ikuno’s embarrassed by me?” Ryouta asks, staring at his phone.

“No?” I answer, surprised. “What makes you say that?”

“She didn’t want me to meet her parents?”

“I think she did,” I shrug, “I don’t think she expected so much attention from them, honestly I think she was taking you so she would have someone to talk to.”

“What makes you think that?” His glasses are slightly askew.

“Just an educated guess.” I reach forward straightening his glasses.

“Thanks mum,” he smiles at me, before nearly falling off his seat when his text message alert sounds. I leave him to his fevered button pressing. Playing with the bandages around my stump, I don’t really need to wear them of course, the physical wound has healed long ago. But I don’t like the idea of looking at the mangled mess of skin all day every day.

— — —

Rain pours down as we step off the train onto the gloomy platform, Ryouta’s eyes widen as he stares at the paint flaking from the metal supports and the vandalised benches. Yep, this is definitely home. As we exit through the turnstiles into the car park there are a handful of vehicles and only one person, a solitary woman waiting under an umbrella, she waves at us.

With my bag splashing through puddles I approach, she’s middle aged, her skin starting to wrinkle and hair starting to grey. It’s like her body is desperately clinging onto the youth that passed her a long time ago.

“Good afternoon, I'm Miss Kita your mother's housekeeper.” She looks us over as we stand in the rain. Finally seeming to come to a conclusion she snatches our bags without asking, I share a glance with Ryouta as she leads us to a small red car.

“Would you like some help getting the bags in?” I ask as she opens the boot, she frowns at me as if I had made an inappropriate joke. Have I done something wrong?

“No thank you, please make yourself comfortable.”

Sliding into the back seat beside Ryouta, who is engrossed in his phone once again, I push a strand of wet hair out of my face. Well we’re either being taken home or being kidnapped, either way at least we’re out of the rain. Not long after the boot closes our sensibly dressed chauffeur climbs into the driver seat.

“Are you two okay with your seat belts?” she asks from the front. What the hell? I share a glance with Ryouta who just rolls his eyes.

“I'm good thanks,” I say, trying not to sound too irritable.

The rest of the drive home is spent in silence, though I do notice our driver keeps looking in her rear view mirror, presumably out of fear we might lose more limbs while she’s not looking. Trying to ignore her I focus on the streets around us, sporadic memories of hours wasted flash through my mind. I wonder which street I was on when I lost my hand?

— — —

Open mouthed I stare around our small apartment, it's changed completely. It’s so clean. The windows that were once permanently closed are propped open, letting the smell of the rain washed streets float in. The coffee table home to bottles and dust, now shines, with a stack of knitting supplies handily in reach of the threadbare recliner.

Even the inhabitants have changed, my mum stands next to the worn sofa, her hands held behind her back as she waits for my approval. I can hardly recognise her, she looks bright and alert in clean clothes with well kept hair. Miss Kita despite my initial impression is some kind of miracle worker.

Standing beside my mum is a short thin man, I don’t recognise him, but he must be my Dad. It’s from him I get my skin tone, his wrinkled teak skin contrasts with his silver hair. Not grey, grey hair does not shine like that. He smiles nervously, I smile back. I have no idea what to say to him.

Very aware of Ryouta behind me I cross the room in three strides, wrapping my arms around my mum. She seems a little surprised, but hugs back happily, my father watching with a smile on his face. The pair of them are so thin and frail. I'm a little afraid to squeeze too tightly.

“Look at you,” my dad is the first to talk, as I pull away from the embrace. His voice seems vaguely familiar, holding me at arm's length he eyes me up and down. “You’ve grown so much, but my god, your hand?”

“It’s fine,” I say, quickly cutting him off. That talk can wait for another time. “This is my friend Ryouta,” I step back to gesture to my plump friend, who bows deeply, almost losing his glasses.

“I thought he was blind?” My mum says with blunt surprise. Did she take his awkward stillness for blindness? I feel my cheeks start to redden.

“No,” I explain slowly, “That's my boyfriend, he couldn’t make it.”

“Boyfriend?” Now it’s my dad's turn to sound surprised. Behind me I hear Ryouta burst out laughing, before nearly choking in his effort to stop. That’ll teach him.

“I am seventeen you know,” I frown. Having an argument would not be a good way to start our weekend.

“Seventeen is still young.”

My objection is interrupted by the housekeeper. “Dinner will be ready soon. Why don’t you two wash up and get out of some of those wet clothes, you’ll catch your death”

While giving Ryouta a brief tour I'm amazed at how well the place has cleaned up, all of the house work used to be mine, I didn’t leave the place in a complete mess. But it was never exactly clean. Happily my room seems to have been left untouched, I'm grateful. Things might be messy, but it's my mess. I sit down on my bed while Ryouta’s eyes wander around the room.

“Your family seem nice,” he says, rummaging through my dusty bookshelf. I’ve not touched those old children’s books for years.

“Yeah,” I sigh, “I hope they like me.”

“Well they care about you, just don’t do your normal Miki thing and you’ll be fine.”

“My Miki thing?” I ask, eyebrow raised.

“You know, not telling anybody what you're thinking or how you feel,” he grins at me. Blah, I'm getting better at that. I have no one to talk to for most of my life, and now that I do they want me to be a chatter box. Thinking about it, this weekend is going to keep Dr. Ueda going for weeks.

I would argue the point, but we get called back for dinner, I settle myself at the table surprised to learn we’re being served. Well this is new. My parents sit across from me, shockingly they are holding hands. I smile softly at them. Didn’t think I would see mum do that again. Our food arrives, disturbingly it has been cut up for me and Ryouta.

“What the he-“ an under the table kick from Ryouta cuts me off mid sentence. Everyone has stopped to stare at me.

“What Miki means is that it’s very kind of you to cut our food for us.” he shoots Miss Kita a winning smile. “But we are quite capable by ourselves, otherwise we would have wasted away.”

Miss Kita mumbles something about just trying to help. I guess I should have expected a reaction like this from some people. Ryouta has lived like this his entire life. Between the hospital and Yamaku I have hardly spent any time around normal people.

With an embarrassed air we dig into our meal. It’s not bad. I will never admit it, but being pre-cut does make it easier to eat. With dinner finished Miss Kita departs for the night and we spend the rest of the evening in front of the television. Like a normal family, plus Ryouta. Very little is said, I don’t know how to bring up any of the things I want to talk about, neither do my parents judging by how they look at each other. In the end I give up and lose myself in the colourful game show filling the screen.

— — —

I can’t move, I can’t move! Panic rips through my body as the squealing horn pounds in my head. I make another agonising effort to free myself from the wreckage of the truck. It's useless I'm paralysed, only my head is free from whatever invisible force binds me. Feeling hot tears run down my face I turn my attention back to Tatsuo.

“H..hey… wake… wake up,” my voice croaks horribly, I can taste blood in the back of my throat. There’s no response, but I didn’t think there would be, I just hoped.

A sound of braking glass distracts me. Looking up slowly as if in a haze I see a heavy black boot kicking through the windscreen, I close my eyes as I'm showered in tiny diamonds as the glass finally gives in.

“H… help,” I beg the man who half climbs inside the cab. He ignores me, reaching instead for Tatsuo. Looking up I catch his distinctive emerald eyes, he gives me a vaguely apologetic look, before returning to his task. Reaching inside Tatsuo’s leather jacket he pulls out a wad of bank notes.

“P… Please… H… help!” I cry as he hurries away from the truck.


I wake up with a start, my arm out stretched to grab for some invisible intruder. What the hell? Sitting up with a shudder I stretch my arms and legs, just to make sure I'm no longer paralysed, feeling more shaken than afraid.

Stroking the bandages of my stump I realise I was expecting pain that hasn't come. Well that's progress. I've seen those emerald eyes before, but I can’t recall where. Unless that was a memory and not a dream, but if that's true it raises more questions than it answers.

I extricate myself from my covers, standing up. I'm a little surprised to find myself in my old bedroom. I need to clear my head. I change into my running clothes in the moonlight, not knowing what time it is having left my clock back at Yamaku. I peek out of the window, It looks the right time for a run. The rebellious night awaits.

Opening my door slowly I step out into the living room, my running shoes in my hand. Ryouta sleeps peacefully on the sofa, a ray of moonlight illuminating his face. Bless him. He’s not alone in the room though, a thin figure sit's at the dining table, shrouded in darkness. Dad?

“Hi,” I say softly as I approach, mindful not to wake Ryouta.

“Miki, are you okay?”

I shrug, “Can’t sleep, you?”

“I haven't been sleeping too well either,” he eyes me up and down. “Are you going somewhere?”

“I like to run,” I take a seat across from him.

“Oh, you always did,” he smiles at me. “You were a little terror when you were a kid, I could barely keep up, It's a little late though isn’t it?”

I shrug.

We sit in silence, neither of us seeming to know what to say, It’s like talking to a stranger. This is ridiculous. The letter might have thrown me, but I need to remember what this man did to mum.

“Why did you go to prison?” I ask, meeting his eyes unflinchingly.

“I guessed you would want to know, but before I tell you, please understand how deeply ashamed I am of my actions.”

I nod slowly. So he’s going to be honest.

He clears his throat, apparently this has been rehearsed.

“One night I went out for a colleagues leaving party, he was younger than me and as young man do found his enjoyment from drinking heavily. I went along with his wishes, after all it was his party,” He takes a deep breath. “At one point in the evening I consumed far too much drink and when a fight broke out over a petty matter I intervened despite my better judgement. I pushed a man away from my co-workers.”

I wonder if this was meant to be in a letter, it sounds like it.

“Go on,” I urge,

“He tripped and fell, his head hit a curb stone. Emergency services were called but there was nothing anyone could do for him, I was arrested that night.” He rushes through this last sentence, eyes downcast.

“So it was an accident?” I say softly.

“I never meant to hurt him badly no, but through my actions, no matter my intentions, he died.” In the moonlight his eyes glisten. “Two daughters and a son lost their fathers that night.”

“I'm sorry,” I hate it when people say that to me, as if it helps anything. But I honestly can’t think of anything else to say.

“You have nothing to be sorry for Miki,” He looks up at me, his bloodshot eyes catching the moonlight.

I shrug, “You lost so much of your life over a stupid mistake.”

“I have been punished most severely for my mistake, I’ve had to miss watching you grow. My mistake cost you and your mother dearly.” It’s hard to gage his tone, bitter, regretful, sad?

“I should have been there for you,” he admits gruffly.

Telling him that I didn’t notice his absence comes to mind, but I’ve been telling myself that for a long time. I'm not sure it’s true anymore, if it ever was. What should I tell him? That he didn’t deserve what happened to him? I think he knows that, and what help would it be anyway. I didn’t deserve to lose my hand but I did. At least I hope I didn’t deserve it.

“May I see your arm?” he asks, his voice barely a whisper but loud enough to shatter my chain of thoughts.

“I don’t like people touching it,” I reply, crossing my arms in front of me on the table.

“How did it happen?” he asks.

“I don’t know,” I reply with a sigh, explaining what happened after I woke up, the army of strange doctors and nurses, my loss of memory. I even explain how hard it was to get used to being lopsided. As Ryouta so neatly puts it. I don’t mention the dreams or the phantom pains though, he wouldn’t understand.

“I'm so sorry,” he says, reaching across the table he takes my good hand.

“Don’t say that.” Using my thumb I trace the back of his hand, his skin is paper thin. “There’s nothing to be sorry for, try-” I have to think for a moment. “Try that sucks.”

Staring at me open mouthed he shakes his head slowly, “My Miki you are marvel, aren’t you?”

“I don’t know about that,” I grimace. “Just Miki is enough for me,”

Finding myself opening up to him I have to hide a smile. He’s the type of person I like talking to, straight to a point then move on, with no need to draw out what can’t be changed. I think the term realist fits.

“So you’re back with mum then?” I wonder aloud.

“Yes, I’ve missed her greatly. We will be taking things slowly,” he yawns into his hand. “Excuse me.”

“Go get some sleep dad,” I turn in my seat, slipping my feet into my running shoes. Gah laces.

To my surprise my dad appears in front of me, kneeling down with a cracking of joints. I wince.

“You don’t have to, I can…” I trail off as he starts to tie my laces. An image of me sitting in this chair when I was younger, so young that my feet didn’t touch the ground flashes across my mind. As does the man tying my laces as he did all those years ago. Thanks dad.

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Last edited by Gajzla on Mon Aug 24, 2015 6:07 am, edited 4 times in total.

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brythain
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Re: Miki: Fragments (Ch.13 Posted 28th April 2015)

Post by brythain » Mon Apr 27, 2015 11:22 pm

I like it so far. You do need to edit just a very little, and perhaps learn to use semi-colons or commas or something to break up some of the longer multi-clause bits. But it's all quite entertaining. Here are some from your latest chapter. The other chapters might need a bit of treatment too. :)

1. 'Subtlety be dammed' --> damned.

2. Word choice: did you intend so many instances of knocking and banging going on? I lol'd. :D

3. '... clutches onto a way...' --> latches onto, or clutches at.

4. '... where my bra strap normally sit's... ' --> sits — and seeing as he unhooked her bra, how does he not know what the sound was?

5. 'Ryouta asks, starring at his phone.' --> staring.

6. '... your mothers housekeeper.' --> mother's.

7. '... as if I had said an inappropriate joke.' --> made (you make a joke, not say a joke).

8. '... I didn’t leave the place in a compete mess.' --> complete.

9. '... and a son lost their father's...' --> fathers.

10. '... the term realist fit's.' --> fits.
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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