Awakening [again]

May 1, 2009 § 3 Comments

“Hello, my name is Kino Pavane.”
That’s my name. I bowed to my new classmates politely, my hand holding onto my other arm tightly. I looked around scanning them, yet avoiding eye contact. Everyone had the same colour hair, black like mine. In Grandia, because everyone came from different places of the world you would see blondes, brunettes, red heads, and even the odd brightly pink dyed hair. Some girls were plain looking, and some painted their faces ready for the treacherous battle of love. The guys looked as carefree as men always are. That hasn’t changed. Everything was the same; the classroom had four walls, two lined with glass windows; a chalkboard at the front; and rows of desks. Nothing has changed. Nothing except the people. Yet, this feeling of anxiety and agitation inside couldn’t be erased as my nails dug into skin ever so slightly. They must have thought I was an excited new transfer student.

One of the boys “kindly” gave me a tour. I say kindly because he probably had ulterior motives, like everyone does.
It was a simple public school. The standard gym, track field outside, and classrooms. One thing I noticed is that the school was no where as huge as Grandia. They definitely picked the right name for that school, Grandia for Grande egos, sums of money. A school where little old me wouldn’t, couldn’t possible fit in. As we passed by a small practice room with an upright piano, I looked through the window and was disgusted at how I murderously made ears bleed. Sure I played, but if nobody could listened to me then there wasn’t a point trying to understand what Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin were trying to say, let alone myself. There was a reason why I never was able to move the audience, because I’m a terrible person at heart, a monster.

Can I take a picture of you?
They asked as if I’m some kind of tourist attraction. The girl told me to smile to the camera and I tried to remember how. More muscles are used to frown compared to the number used to smile. And even though it isn’t hard, for some reason it was excruciating. Like slitting your wrist, it’s not hard but it just hurts so normally people (who are sane) wouldn’t be doing that.
I smiled.

I stood up and tucked my chair in before leaving behind another day. A woman who blended in with the students, despite her out of uniform outfit, and grey hair, came up to me and gave me a few encouraging words. I smiled to her weakly and left.
“If you need anything don’t hesitate to ask,” the teacher called out to me kindly with a mature smile. When has this happened before? I faintly remember. It was déjà vu, but I was anticipating something to happen if I rushed out to the raw cold. There was a sea of chattering students disrupting the calm sound of winter’s snowfall. I loved the snow. I watched it fall gently into place as the burning sensation returned eating me away. My mouth trembled, wanting to say his name, but I forced myself not to.

The snow I loved burned my skin cold as some happy couple pushed me into a snow bank unknowingly. I stood back up and my plain expression amplified the non-caring atmosphere shielding each individual, including myself. I noticed a girl in my class was lassoing her arms around another guy, while telling another one to shut up. I looked away. I hate those kinds of people, the kind that wears the smile of a last Duchess. Not to mention the fact that she reminds me of Fiona because the only word in her vocabulary was “shut up.” But I have no right to say such things because I’m the same as her, unpleasant.

Then I return to my household, and was interrogated by a woman with a disturbingly pleasant smile. Sometimes I would wonder why she tries so hard to pretend to be my mother when both my parents died long ago. If there was anyone I wanted to drag across the city, it would be this obnoxious child.
“What were you doing?”
“I picked up the groceries.”
“You don’t need to do that.”
“I was walking along the way, I might as well.”
“You should have called and I would have picked you up.”
“We shouldn’t be wasting gas,” or else we’d have to bomb places to solve this childish problem called “climate change.”
“Why should a child like you worry about that?” why should a child be asking a child an adults question? The sound all became like mush as I shut myself in. I heard something like don’t disrespect and screaming, but why should I care? No use respecting someone who doesn’t act like an elder.

The day ends with nothing happening, with nothing changing, with nothing out of the ordinary. As if he never existed in the first place.

I eventually found myself returning to what I look down as society. A society where nobody cared, where nothing matters, and where time stands unchanged. I woke up, went to class, got satisfactory marks, and everything else I lost when I went to the dream world I retrieved. I wish I could return, but I reminded myself that happiness could never last, and that even if I returned, I would just end up being the annoying third wheel. It was nothing more than a fairytale, a dream, a figment of my imagination. He never existed, was never there. As long as I continue to deny and avoid the subject of existence, I will be ok. I think…

I heard a melody being played during break. It was familiar, and it was tragically left unfinished.
What kind of song is that?
Something I made up for my theory classes.
It’s very pretty.
But it’s not finished yet.
You might want to get on that.
There I sat infront of the black piano, made by a lesser known maker. As I recalled how that oh so sweet melody went, little by little, it began to fade, one note, one rest, one bar at a time. Each time, I felt my skin burn. Why did I play music? Why did I even start to learn to play on this large instrument? Why am I so hopeless without it?

“Umm, you’re Kino right?”
“Yes.”
The girl’s face lit up, and was full of cheerfulness. Something I wish she would share.
“I’ve seen your recitals at Grandia, and I’m actually a big fan of yours. I’m studying piano at a small studio in the city, and I’m having trouble with my Chopin waltz.”
“So you want me to play it for you?” It wasn’t too hard to guess what she wanted.
“Yes, please.”
“Sorry, I don’t play anymore.”
“Oh but please! Here, I’ll lend you my score; you don’t even have to play through the whole thing, just a little bit,” why was this girl so desperate for help? It’s not like she’s going to make it big anyway, so why try so hard? She’s probably going to give it up anyway.
“I’m sorry, I’m asking for too much. But just, after seeing you play the waltz, I was left totally speechless. It was amazing, and it really inspired me, and—“
“I’ll help you,” the words just suddenly came out of my mouth, and now I’ve put myself under the spotlight.
A waltz…it’s a type of ballroom dancing in ¾ time. I’ve played many waltzes in the past and I’ve never danced a waltz before, or have I?
“Facilment.”
“What’s that mean?”
“It’s French for easily, as in you should play with ease. Chopin wrote, played, and taught in that style. So when you’re playing your arms shouldn’t be ridged, but fluid.”
“I still don’t get it.”
I looked at the black and white keys; I put my foot down on the pedal, and tried to remember.
“Like this,” The first arpeggio was played, and the sound rang in my ears, the second and third arpeggio was played, and the sound resonated in my fingertips, the minor third in the high register was played, and the sound rippled in a pool of memories. This sadness came from the Earth like oil shooting out. The opening of the first theme followed, and I couldn’t help but remember that touch when our hands met, and when our feet floated on cloud 9.
“In order to achieve the right amount of tension in the arpeggios, fluidity in the arms is important. Applying force will only make it choppy, and that’s not what Chopin wants.”
“Ok. So maybe it’s like, you can’t dance the waltz with stiff body’s kind of idea?”
“Precisely. You just have to remember that Chopin never intended to have his music be accompanied by people waltzing around.”
“That explains the faster tempo.”
“Hmmm, I guess you could say that.”
“Could you play the whole thing for me? I’m sorry for being selfish, but I kind of want to here you play this again. If you want you don’t have to play for me now, I know! How about you play at our school festival?”
I didn’t know how to respond to such enthusiasm.

Opening the score and tracing my finger over the melody and the writing, before I gripped onto flesh and read it in my head, hearing everything as it all came back to me. The first time I touched the keys of my father’s piano was when that bitch took him and mom away. I hid in that room for days, reaching for books, and tears pounding away before my fingers. Without knowing it, I was infront of that old studio again, key in hand. I opened the door to darkness, and went in.

The name was Petrof this time. But no matter what the name was, nobody can ever steal him away for he was far too big to carry, or even move for that matter. To think I could just leave him, was idiotic of me for together, we make music.

People held their breath; what was going to happen next? A sudden short pause before I told a sad story, about a lonely person who just wanted to be true to her passion, and unchanged to her friends. But she was stalked by a shadow. The sunny skies were filled with stars, and the ground suddenly became clouds carrying everything away into the non-existing moonlight. Just when they thought I would let them off this ride, Petrof pulls everyone back on for the girl’s story was not done yet. When the girl’s heart wavered with feelings of unrequited love she smiled, freezing her tears. Nobody noticed at first, but she called out not once, but twice, only for me and Petrof to notice her shatter into pieces—when I shattered into pieces. Scattered across the audience, I heard the percussive sound of clapping. Before I knew it, I was picking up the pieces bit by bit, trying to piece myself back together, so I could play again.

I wanted him to hear my music. I wanted to waltz together again. I wanted him to see me, not the monster, but I can’t, for there’s nothing left of me as I peeled it off. I regret. Regret for leaving the dream, but unfortunately all dreams must come to an end as I looked down at my filthy hands.

“That performance, it was good—No, it was beautiful. The sadness was just overwhelming, but at the same time I could feel myself float.”
“Don’t be modest, the piano was out of tuned, and I haven’t played that since last December.”
“Kino, you should keep playing. I know you might not think you’re great, but you are! You really love the piano right? Why should you give up on something like love? That’s kind of silly if you ask me.”
I thought about those words. I wanted to make things right, but there’s no way I could ask him anymore. It seems after digging so far deep, I couldn’t climb back out of my hole.

I stood in a little huddle of girls. How I got here, I can’t remember. Something about how a concert pianist doesn’t belong here and because of my performance, everybody was talking about me. One girl blew a large bubble from her pink bubble gum, two other girls giggled. Another girl inhaled a cigarette’s poison and blew it back into my face, as if hoping I got second hand smoking. They were all “comforting” me because I was apparently kicked out of Grandia. I just threw a twisted smile and the girls all moaned in disappointment.
“It must be because some rich guy at Grandia threatened you.”
“Yeah, rich guys are all jerks, like Yuki Pelletier breaking up with Lily and Mayu just like that.”
Instinctively, I punched the girl. My blood suddenly boiled beneath my skin, and old anger resurrected from inside me. People were still blaming him when it was my fault. I hated it, people like them. I was hit across the face, and a cigarette butt was spat at me burning my white dress shirt, and stained it with nicotine. The other gasped and then soon commenced the torture.
Gum was placed in my hair, which was then soaked in water. Scented chemical fumes were sprayed without consideration as it burned my eyes and I was pulled from left to right by the roots of my hair, and pushed into the wall. I looked at them and they laughed at their trash. It was really funny watching them act as if they were all high and mighty, when this type of bullying wasn’t much. It was no different then when I was in grade school. But then they called their delinquent boyfriends so that I can eat my words. Off course I fought back, but this was a sign, this recognizable feeling of something corroding the walls of my insides.

“Excuse me, you aren’t from this school are you?”
“No I’m not.”
“I’m afraid I can’t let you in.”
“Oh no I’m just picking someone up.”
“You’re name?”

I was in the hands of the guillotine as the executioner was about to deliver my punishment. I closed my eyes and heard my name. I laughed at how God was toying with me and the scientific Doppler Effect. Despite the doubt, my heart was racing as if it said otherwise. A warm wind swished past me and I fell back to sleep into dream land. The world started to sparkle, I wasn’t sure if I had a concussion but…
“X marks the spot, time to dig out my buried treasure.”
“What are you? Some kind of pirate?”
“The King did a great job hiding the diamonds. But it was nothing.”
It was nothing, he said. I was still readjusting to one month of lost time.
“Who the hell are you?” inquired the boy as he obviously did not recognize him, but everyone else did and so they crowded around the scene of the crime.
“Nice of you to ask. Hello, my name is Yuki Pelletier, most people know me as the Pelletier’s president, but someone stole that title from me. You can just call me Yuki”
“Girly name.”
He cleared his throat trying not to show his irritations to my snide comment.
“It seems my girlfriend was causing some trouble here. Please forgive her.”
As instinctive as the first punch was, I smacked the side of his arm. There was no mercy. “Hey! Why are you mad?”
“I’m not…” He picked me up, and carried me off unwillingly before I could answer.

…and then we were in the back seat of a car. The still awkward silence did not affect the driver at the front. But anxiety filled the air as I looked one way, and he looked the other. My hand and mouth kept everything a secret. After an hour, I noticed nothing has changed. The tall evergreen trees were covered in snow, and the tall fence blocked outsiders like me from entering their castles. But it seems I’m being returned to my proper place, says the pirate who kidnapped me.

I breathed in the fresh mountain like air as I looked out into the sunset, and felt frustrated for some reason as I walked at a breakneck pace away from him.
“Wait!”
I didn’t want to hear anything, but he continued playing this childish game.
“I can’t play with you all day,” I tried to tell him off seriously. I tried to move my feet, but they were rooted to the ground. What on Earth was I doing? My irritation burned.
“How long are you going to avoid me!?” He grabbed my arm with his warm hands, and I flinched for a moment.
“Ow, let go of me!” I said pulling it away, and hiding it behind my back, “sorry…” I apologized with a smile, as I looked at him hoping, just hoping he didn’t notice…
“I can’t believe it, you…”
I couldn’t do anything anymore but make excuses.
“It was an accident, you know? I was in a lot of fights and—, “ the sleeve was rolled up, and I closed my eyes. Not because of my own dirtied presence but because of the kind of expression he would have worn when he saw the evidence of the monster inside of me.
“What do you think you’re doing hurting yourself?”
Stop it.
“You think you can just smile the pain off, no big deal. You think you can just disappear into thin air without saying good bye, no big deal. You think its ok if other’s hurt you or if you hurt yourself, no big deal?”
Stop it. “I told you…” I didn’t want to hear it! I didn’t want to hear his angry voice.
When I willed myself to move, I collapsed into the cold snow, but it was all numb to me. I opened my eyes at the coldness of his words and saw something that had me perplexed. Melted snow? No…it was tears.
“You didn’t tell me anything! But refresh my memory anyway; maybe I’ll remember something not hearing!”
“Why does it matter to you?! Why does it matter whether I’m hurt? Why does me disappearing from you matter so much? Why does it matter if I smiling or not? I’m just a third wheel to you. A disgusting monster…“
“I love you!”
Yuki’s voice echoed through the open air. This wasn’t a dream.

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鏡の国のアリア

April 28, 2009 § 2 Comments

I was unusually anxious, as I shuffled to the grand rotunda. Even though I cut my practice time by a half so I would make it early, I still wondered, “was Yuki waiting for me?” But suddenly the world crashed in front of my eyes, as Lily stole him for just a moment in eternity.
The contents of my hands spilled revealing a freshly frosted colourful array of sweet goodness, contaminated by the feasting unseen bacteria. Simply saying, “it slipped out of my grasp” was a mere understatement. But what else was there to say?
I stumbled a bit before running out the door into the cold autumn wind.

Yuki threw Lily off of him and wiped his mouth with the back of his soiled hand.
“Kino!” He barked, trying to get her attention but she never turned back. He chased after her, like the pathetic dog he was. Lily stood there at the foyer watching Yuki’s back. She secretly wished to herself that he was running after her.

I sat underneath the shelter of a playground slide. It was frustrating how stupid I have become, and how annoying the world around me was. How childish.
She was lost, lost and no where to be found.
She was scared, scared and petrified of moving forward.
She was frozen, frozen in an endless waltz.

“Kino! Where are you?! If you can hear me then say something!”
The tears built up as I heard muddy footsteps draw closer and closer to my secret base. Lonely dark shadows that have haunted me in the past, crawled up my spine and choke me.

My mouth opened, as I saw a golden haired figure. I sprinted, panting so hard that you could hear the sharp sound of my breath pierce my lungs. Reaching out to him, arm extending, and hand outstretched. Out of pure desperation, I called out his name, yet only silence was heard. With that final leap, my hand grabbed onto his shirt tightly, only to feel it slip right through my fingers. This was a dream seen many times, each time they were all dreams. What makes this time any different?

“Kino, I’m sorry…I’m sorry…”
That wet paw drew to my face, only for it to be swung back at him.
“Don’t do this to me! Just go back where you came from!”
“But I can’t—“
“Leave me alone! If you stay with me, you’ll only get hurt because everything is my fault.”
“What? Kino, I think we should talk.”
“Just get out of my face!”
“Kino, I’m not leaving you here like this.”
I spoke the truth, and only the truth.
“You’re always disappearing, even if I told you to stay, you would just walk further away from me. So why don’t you just go away?! Friends, right, I’ve hated you since the very moment you spoke to me, so why don’t you just do yourself a favour and forget about me and go out with Lily. For all I care, you could fuck her for hours on end and give her babies! I don’t give a damn!”
I shrieked, with anger before trapping myself in this darkness I hated so much. It was as if the world revolved around me, and I wanted to stop.

On that bulletin board, were the names of those special people. The kind of people you would say had “talent.” But of course, I’m not special, and so my name wasn’t there. I knew people like me couldn’t achieve anything, and yet I feel ridiculous for being upset.
“Work hard, and I’m sure you’ll ace it,” those words were lies. Just like the boy who spoke them, but that’s just like me placing the blame on someone else. The sad thing was I believed in this fairytale that I don’t belong in. This isn’t reality, and I learned that the hard way.

I lifted my hand, above black and white stripes, appearing to be ready to paint colours.
“Kino, you may start,” said the nice Russian lady who sat in a stiff chair. Her ears opened, hoping to hear something spectacular from garbage. But not a single sound escaped.
“Kino?”
The contents of my hands spilled and the darkness absorbed the colourful array of melodic goodness, over the Steinway’s polished wooden keys.
I kicked myself out, leaving no trace of a murmur.

It wasn’t hard to guess what was happening around me. I knew I wasn’t anything special, I knew that I was second best, I knew very damn well. But God seems to enjoy keeping me chained to witness unnecessary pain. I don’t care, yet I’m troubled anyway. I’m too aware, too sensitive to the insignificant changes that happen around me, it’s disgusting. It’s disgusting how I’ve become like those despicably self-centred people. That’s why nobody will look at me.

Eric handed Kino some ice tea, and noticed she did not flinch from the cold, as if her hands were even colder than the bittersweet solution itself.
“Eric, what am I doing here?”
“What do you mean?” he asked lazily staring at the clouds that passed by through the hard clear substance.
“It’s all just some stupid dream, I shouldn’t be here.”
How silly of her to have thought that something as horrible as her would be able to understand what the great masters had to say.
How silly of her to have thought that someone would listen to crap like her.
How silly of her to have thought that Yuki would even want to look at a monster.

“Please, I’ll do anything…I’ll fly to Mexico, kill someone and put myself in jail, or even jump out of this window, just get me out,” I pleaded as the very air of the place made me sick. “Is this your wish?”
“A wish?”
“I said it before remember?”
“I’ll grant you one wish, the least I could do for you.”
I am a stain and I want to wipe myself clean from this perfect fantasy.
“I wish I never existed.”

A dream

December 12, 2008 § Leave a comment

Chapter 0: Aruarian Dance
Kino watched old friends reunites after the long summer vacation. She began reading her book, ignoring the rest of the class, as they ignored her. The teacher entered the room, and silence grew from the loud chattering.
“Good morning everyone.”
“Good morning.”
“My name is Mrs.—“
All sound was faded as Kino stared out the window, away from her book. Again, this year she sat at the back of the class near the windows, with nobody. Watching the squirrels, the leaves fall, and the wind blow through the trees before returning to the world hidden within her book.
“This year we have a new student.”
“Eh?”
“He just moved in the city with his aunt so please give him a warm welcome.”
The teacher turned around and motioned for the boy to enter the classroom. Without even having to enter, the entire class became his fan.
“Everyone, please settle down!”
The eruption dispersed and calmed down.
“Hello. I’m Yuki. I’m 11 years old and I just moved from New York City to Klinton. I hope to have a fun year with everyone!”
“Ok, Yuki you can sit…hmmm”
Everyone tried to make room for him at their table and yet in the end, “With Kino, at the back. If you can’t see the board, let me know.”
“I’ll be fine.” He said with a smile before walking to the back of the room and taking his spot. Kino looked through Yuki, as she heard the whispers.
“The monster?”
“No way!”
“How could she do that? Poor Yuki.”
“Why the monster?”
Monster, Monster, Monster
“So today, you’ll be receiving your agenda books and schedules. Also, I’ll be expecting first day of school reflection journals by the end of the week—“
Blah, blah, blah Kino thought as everything turned to mush and she grew bored of the story.
“You’re Kino, right?”
Kino looked at the boy that sat across from her through the corner of her eyes. Her eyes focused outside at the green grass and the schools outdoor swimming pool again, having no interest in being friendly with the boy.
“Why don’t you go sit at the other table over there? They seem to be calling you.”
She said not taking her eyes off the green grass, yet somehow knowing the kids at the other table were signalling Yuki to the other table.
“Wouldn’t you get lonely?”
She tilted her head back, to glance at him wondering what he was talking about. The boy just smiled at her. Kino eyes blinked, and then she turned her body around to observe him with a puzzled face.

The heat from summer didn’t leave the air as Kino sat under the shady tree with a juice box. Peacefully sitting there watching Yuki. He kicked the soccer ball, the goalie misses, and the girls swarm around him. Kino bit her straw and gnawed on it, irritated.
“Pathetic.”
A familiar laugh and fearful cries reached her ears, and the juice box in her hand was crushed.
“Hey kid, do you know who we are? We are the PB&J.”
“So hand over that Kingdom Card.”
“No way! This is a rare card, you can’t take it!”
“Too bad.”
The biggest of the group of brutes walked passed the two boys and then stood in front of frightened boy like a pillar, swiping the card away from the boy as if the boy wasn’t even holding it.
“Wait! That’s mine!”
The boy quickly tried to retrieve his belonging but the brute threw him easily to the side.
“Take care of him.”
“Yes boss!”
And so the beating began. The boy called for his friends, but they all stood frozen. The girls hiding behind a tree for they were too scared what would happen to them if they told the teacher.
“So its you guys again.”
“Huh?”
“Hey you! Give the card back and stop trying to hog all the attention.”
Heads turned, as Kino stood there with her arms crossed, tapping her foot in agitation.
“Monster…”
“It’s mine.”
“I hate people who try to be sarcastic.”
“sarcas–what? Are you trying to make fun of us?!”
“Dumb pig, why would I waste my time trying to insult you? Now give back the card.”
“What did you call me?!”
The boss of the trio clenched his fist, crumpling the card at the same time, before running at her. The other two followed.
“Don’t touch me.”
She said brushing the boys off.
“Why you little monster!”
The pig then grabbed onto her arm and Kino retaliated by punching him in the face, while she tried to pull herself free from his grasp.
“I said don’t touch me!”
The boys let go of their conscious and the beating began
“Hehe! This is what you get for not listening to us.”
“Yeah monster.”
Kino tried to retaliate, and yet it was obvious how futile it was.
“Stop it!”
The fatty dropped Kino and they all turned around to see Yuki. Kino lying there on the ground tried to get up, her face bruised.
“…boss!”
“Pft, lets go.”
The bullies started walking away while the others followed.
“Wait boss! What about the monster?”
“Leave her to the new kid. We’ll get her after school.”
All three of them, their voices now mumble jumble as they walked further and further from Yuki and Kino.
She gasped, putting everything she’s got to push herself up and sit up before trying to stand up.
“What are you doing?”
“Leave me alone.”
She said angrily as she glared at the three of them, she swayed back and forth. Yuki quickly stood next to her, making sure she wouldn’t fall.
“Oie! You shouldn’t go after them.”
“Why not?”
“Fighting doesn’t solve the problem.”
He said, and was about to support her when her arm extended out and smacked him away.
“I’m just trying to help!”
“Don’t!”
“Fine Fine.”
As her back was turned to Yuki, she said, “I don’t need your kindness.”

Kino put her book into her backpack before she looked out from her corner and watched all the kids rush up to their parents and smiled cheerfully. All she heard was “Yuki this.” “Yuki that”.

The comforting silence fell as the chatter disappeared. Kino sighed in relief, yet disappointment and the class teacher came up to her.
“Since Yuki is new will you be his buddy for the week?”
“Sure.”
“Just so that the transition into a new school is easier.”
“Yeah”
“I told him this earlier so he should know about it. Maybe you could use this opportunity to become friends with him.”
“I have to go now.”
“Ok, have a good rest of the day.”

Mother Nature was playing tricks, as the clouds rolled in, and the sky cried, prompting Kino to pull out her umbrella. Kino saw the boy from lunch break but knew not to expect any gratitude and stepped into the rain.
“Hey that sucks Kevin.”
“Yeah, the monster totally ruined your card didn’t she?”
“Seriously what’s her problem. Because of her my card got destroyed.”
“She’s just trying to look good.”
Splash, splash splash. Kino walked all the way to the school fence until the PB&J trio from earlier stepped out in their designer brand rain jackets, looking big and mighty yet so small like insects.
“You’re blocking the way.”
“Do you know who we are girl?!”
“We are the PB&J gang!”
“And you don’t mess with us.”
“I already know who you are. You’re named after that sandwich. Plus I don’t eat PB and J so there shouldn’t be a mess in the first place.”
“Don’t get smart on us!”
“Why because you’re all stupid?”
“Grab her!”
The two boys came running at her, and she quickly swung her umbrella and managed to divert them to the side. However, that only worked for a short while, before they managed to twist it inside out, and break the plastic that held it together.
“Hey, you broke my umbrella!”
“And now we’re going to break you!”
Full of rage, she strikes back and began unleashing the demon inside of her. But three against one put her at a disadvantage. While trying to avoid a punch, she tripped. Scrapping her knee, and twisting her ankle. She quickly tried to get up, but she was immobilized and thus sat back preparing to watch herself get beaten. The boy grabbed her face with his ugly stubby fingers, and drew back his arm like a trigger.
“Any last words?”
Kino looked at him with no fear, no anger, and no feelings, as if she was used to being treated this way.
“What’s….wrong with you? Say something!” He said squishing her face and violently shook her. Kino felt her neck was about to snap but she didn’t say anything.
“Monster!” The boy released the trigger and his fist was about to make contact with her face. Yet time froze, his fist stopped in front of her face. Suddenly, she could hear the rain again, the comforting silence brought her back into focus. The fist slowly retreated away from her face and she saw Yuki, his hand gripped around his arm like a snake constricting its prey.
“Let go of her.”
The boy quickly let go of Kino and backed away, yet was trapped within his prey’s grip.
“Where did you come from?” One of the boys whispered. Yuki ignored the question.
“Will you guys leave her alone?”
He spoke to them with a serious tone. As if he was a different person. But Kino looked at him and felt a warm glow radiate from him.
“Hey, don’t be mad. I know, I’ll let you join our group. Yeah…” the boy bribed Yuki, but saw his pathetic reflection in Yuki’s golden stare.
“I’m the smartest person around! Those two just follow my orders. They listen to whatever I say. That’s right, they’re a bunch of idiots! Wait! No I mean—this girl is a monster! She just sits there and doesn’t do anything. Everyone should just listen to me.” Yuki hand tensed up and the boy yelped in pain. The two boys who loyally followed their “boss” looked at him and slowly lost their respect for him.They then fearfully ran from the scene.
“Where are you going?! You guys, what about PB and J!?”
The two boys walked away from their defeated boss and didn’t turn when he called out to them.
“If I were you, I’d listen to your lackeys. They seem to know a lot more about what’s right and what’s wrong then you.”
“You’re wrong! I’m the smartest kid in the school!”
“Last time I checked, you are repeating a grade this year.”
“That’s…That’s because it’s her fault!”
“Don’t bring her into this.”
Kino watched Yuki and noticed the serious look on his face. The boy noticed this too. Yuki let go of the lone bully’s arm. Unsure what to do the boy ran screaming.
Yuki then grabbed his umbrella, which was tossed onto the floor, and held it over Kino, who was soaking wet.
“Thank…you…” she said shivering, not sure what else to say.
“Are you ok?”
“Yeah,” she said before standing up to quickly. She froze as the pain from her ankle exploded. Kino fell back down just as quickly as she stood up and placed her hand on her ankle and held it, but the light pressure from her hand sent jolts of pain throughout her body.
“You’re ankle, is it twisted? Ah, you’re knee is bleeding… Uhh…”
Yuki then looked inside his back, the umbrella not moving from its place over Kino’s head. He held out a plastic wrapped shirt and she looked at him confused.
“For your knee, ah let me do it. Hold this.”
He handed Kino the umbrella and he ripped the package open. He gently tied the shirt around her knee and smiled at his neat workmanship.
“There. I’ll help you stand,” he said taking her hand and waited for her. Kino now standing upright, one hand placed on his shoulder, one hand holding his hand. She then noticed his hair and eyes were more gold then she thought.
“Can you walk?”
“I can try…”
She took a step forward and started to shake.
“Not good. How heavy are you?”
“I don’t know…”
“How far is your house?”
“Pretty far…”
“Uhhh,” Yuki moaned while handing her the umbrella again before he lowered himself so that Kino could get on his back.
“Get on.”
Kino blinked before she wrapped her arms around his neck. Yuki hoisted her up onto his back and she held on tightly.
“Hey, you’re really light.”
“Shut up,” she said leaning against his warm back, something melted inside her.

“So I guess, I’m going to have to be your buddy right? I mean taking you around school and stuff. You probably won’t be able to walk for the next two days,” Yuki joked. He then went on a tangent but Kino was too tired to keep up with him. More like she was lost in her own detour. Yuki paused and he curiously frowned before he commented, “You’re being awfully quiet. Well actually, you’re usually quiet but how should I put this…”
“I’m not telling you to leave me alone?”
“Yeah kind of- I don’t know a word for that so we’ll just leave it as that.”
“Why are you being so nice?”
“Me nice?” Yuki responded, unaware of his own kindness. Kino sighed in annoyance at his naïveté.
“Normally, people wouldn’t offer piggy backs to someone who can’t walk,” she informed him.
“But if I didn’t you wouldn’t be able to go home,” he responded easily. Kino was suspicious, she had been convinced that nobody is genuinely kind to a stranger, let alone treat her kindly enough to even carry her back home. Yet…
“What about you’re parents? Aren’t they going to be worried if you come home late?” She inquired frustrated at the simple answer he gave her.
“I should be asking you that. Aren’t your parents going to be worried if you couldn’t come home?”
Kino was irritated, and the fact that he brought up her parents irritated her exponentially for she hated the person who was legally her mother.
“Hey, why is it that you’re always by yourself?” Yuki asked, his question rang in Kino’s ear and cleared up her emotions.
“Huh?”
“Like today, every time I see you, you’re either getting mulled by those guys, or sitting by yourself.”
“’Cause I’m not important…”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Yuki argued back at Kino, “That doesn’t mean you have to be by yourself. Humans can’t live by themselves you know, so we have to stick together.”

Look at her. She thinks she’s so cute, with that dress, and her stuffed animal. I know! Being nice to everyone, it makes me sick. Did you see Daniel yesterday? He was bruised apparently because she kicked and punched him. You mean she was beating him up? Yeah! Scary…I hope the PB and J gang get her. She’s a monster, a monster, a monster, a monster.
Monster!

Why are my eyes so watery? What’s going on?” Kino thought to herself.
“No matter what I do, they all look at me like I’m some kind of alien, as if I’m the boogie man from under their beds. I’m a monster.”
“I’ve only just met you today. But you aren’t a monster. Besides, just because everyone else thinks you’re a monster, doesn’t mean you are one. Everyone else is a monster. Kino, I think you’re really cool. So don’t go calling yourself that anymore.”
Kino listened to everything he said and even the silent pause that followed. Slowly she had tears forming on the edge of her eyes.
“I’m…crying?” She said surprised, almost shocked. Just like Mother Nature, Kino’s heart was playing tricks on her and the teardrops began to roll down her cheeks.
“Wait, serious?!”
Kino had more tears come out of her eyes, as the warmth from his kindness totally diminishes her to tears that she didn’t know she had.
“Sorry! I didn’t mean to make you cry. Kino?”
For the first time in a while someone called her name. She buried her face into the back of his shoulders, her embrace around his neck tighter. Yuki stopped walking and stood there under the rain looking up at the sky. This was the beginning.

A monster, I always felt that way…except when I’m around him. It’s as if I’m dreaming.

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