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Author Topic: Awakenings  (Read 1980 times)

Offline anarchangelic

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Awakenings
« on: July 26, 2015, 07:24:25 AM »
If anyone out there has the desire to be critical, please feel free. That goes in terms of actual technical issues (if you spot them), or just in general, if you find yourself thinking a certain line is too clumsy or jarring, go ahead and mention it. I do in fact want to perfect this tale in an editorial capacity. This all being said, the main reason to read is of course for enjoyment, so don't bother yourself being with being "critical" unless you really feel like it.

Awakenings

Chapter 1


Some of her muscles were as tight as stone, and others were so exhausted that they were practically begging her to just stop, right there on the sidewalk, and lie down for a bit.
 
I guess I should have gone with a taxi after all, she thought to herself, but Sayumi was only two blocks from home now, so she gave herself a silent ganbare as a joke. Immediately, the soreness of her muscles was pushed back from the front of her consciousness, as her mind shifted instead to the realization that she had just actually pumped her arms with the thought, without intending to.

It brought a smirk to her face, and she unconsciously brought her right hand up to push her long black hair behind her ear. As she did this, she also took a sneaking glance up and down the road, just to see if anyone might have noticed her impromptu self-encouragement. No one seemed to be looking at her though.

She was reminded of a time when a strong wind had blown her skirt right up, exactly when an older man had been gazing right in her direction. Was that ever embarrassing! Sayumi found herself wondering though, whether it would have been more or less of an embarrassment if it had been a hot young guy who had seen. Or what if it had even been an obvious fan, one who would then be counting his lucky stars for Mother Nature's little fanservice?

As she continued to walk, she reflected on the lessons they had gone through today. It was another new concert tour for the idol group she was in, and it was always exciting, even though she had already been doing this for over 8 years now. She loved the live performances, but the early days of learning the steps to a new routine was always a slight system shock: very tiring, both physically and emotionally. But hey, I chose this life, didn't I? she thought with a smile. She wouldn't trade it for anything right now.

Sayumi was just now getting to the front of her apartment complex. If not for the slight rustling sound, she probably wouldn't have even noticed the animal perched on a nearby fence.

As she turned her head towards the sound, her eyes widened with surprise, and then appreciation. There was a brown-coloured owl, just sitting there. It seemed to be looking right at her, its eyes piercing into her. She had the urge to exclaim kawaii, but it was stifled for some reason. The moment seemed too serious, but she couldn't understand why she felt that way.

Thoughts began to come in. What was this doing here, in the city? Do we even have owls like this anywhere around here? She couldn't remember ever having seen one outside of the zoo. She had an image of the bird accidentally getting on board a ship somewhere else, and then flying for freedom when the ship entered Tokyo Bay. It's probably totally lost now, she thought, and had a moment of sympathy for it.
She wanted to show her mom, who should be at home right now, so she pulled her cell phone out of her bag, without taking her eyes off the owl. It felt strange, dialling the number to her home when she was in actuality only metres from it.

She heard it ring once, but then suddenly a sharp, loud tone rang out of the phone, hurting her eardrums. Reflex took the phone away from her ear, but the sound only seemed to get louder. It was a high-pitched shriek now, almost like a whistle of some type. She tried to turn the phone off, but the sound kept coming through even when the screen went dark.

An inexplicable feeling of dread began to creep up on her, and from the corner of her eye, a dark and shimmering shape seemed to emerge from a nearby shrub hedge.

Sayumi jerked her head in the direction of it. At first it seemed like a cloud of smoke was coming out of the bush. For a moment she thought that it might have caught fire or something.

In a matter of seconds though, the “smoke” started to take on a definitive shape. The hairs on her arms and neck stood up, and her skin became flushed with a shiver, as a pair of haunting red eyes seemed to emerge from the smoke, which now had the vague outline of a dog . . . or a wolf.

Sayumi screamed. Her pitch nearly matched the tone which was still pouring out from the phone in her hand. She wanted to run, but she was frozen in fear. She wanted to look away, but the eyes were hypnotic.

She drew in her breath to scream again, but her throat seemed to close. The sound just didn't want to come out now, as if it feared such expression would spur the animal to attack.

The image of the wolf was now fully formed. It seemed a true flesh-and-blood creature, yet wisps of smoke still remained. Sayumi was still rooted in place. She willed herself to move, but the muscles just wouldn't respond.

Her fear reached a peak, her eyes wider than they'd ever been before, as it appeared the animal was readying to leap for her. In that instant, a flying brown mass entered her field of vision, crashing right into her arm. She dropped her phone, which hit the ground with a loud cracking sound. The owl then leapt right onto the phone, and started freaking out, wings flapping furiously. She could only see this out of her periphery, her eyes still glued to the wolf's.

The wolf leapt . . . and disappeared into a plume of black smoke, a mere metre away from Sayumi's face.

She immediately fell down onto her knees, as if all tension in her body suddenly left. She screamed on lapsed impulse, but only briefly, the silence then informing her that the strange noise was no longer coming from her phone. She looked around, and saw a young girl, maybe nine years old, looking at her.

“Are you okay?” the girl shouted from far away. At this point, tears were falling from Sayumi's eyes. She jerked her head around in all directions. She couldn't see any signs of a wolf . . . and there was also no owl around either, at least nowhere she could see. Sayumi turned back to face the little girl.

“Yes. I'm okay,” she said. Of course, Sayumi did not feel okay. Not at all. What the hell just happened? She crawled over to her phone and picked it up, at the same time noticing that the little girl was hesitantly walking closer to her.

“I wonder why that bird attacked you?” the girl said quizzically.

“You saw that?” Sayumi returned, as she slowly got to her feet.

“Yeah . . . maybe it was sick or something! Did it bite you?”

“No . . . I don't think so,” she began, her mind still not quite all back to rationality, not able to fully believe the reality of what just transpired. “Did you see anything else?”

“Huh . . . like what?” the girl said, full of innocence.

So there it was . . . the girl hadn't seen any wolf, or smoke even. Did I hallucinate or something?

“Never mind. Well . . . thanks for checking to see if I was okay. What's your name?”

“Kage,” she said. What a strange name, Sayumi thought to herself.

“I'm Sayumi. Nice to meet you, Kage.”

Kage cracked a big smile. All apprehension was gone. “I really like your skirt. It's so pretty,” she said. It was so out of nowhere, that Sayumi couldn't help but laugh for a couple seconds before she could respond.

“Thank you. I think you look pretty too.” This brought a sparkle to the eyes of Kage. “Do you live around here?”

“Yeah. Just down over there,” Kage said, raising her arm and pointing. Sayumi couldn't be sure, but she thought she could tell which building the girl was pointing to.

“Well, Kage . . . I'm going to go inside now. If you ever see me on the street again, please come say hi, okay?”

“Okay. Bye,” she said with a wave, and turned to start walking, giving a glance behind her every now and then. Sayumi then proceeded to do the same.

Once she was finally in the building door, only then did she feel fully safe again. But she had imagined it, right? The wolf at least. But why? Had her mind really been that exhausted lately? Maybe she hadn't been getting enough sleep? But nothing like that had ever happened to her before. It was so strange. Should I even tell mom? Or the other girls?

She was feeling so tired now, as she got right up to the door to her apartment. She really wanted a nice relaxing bath, and then maybe she should go right to sleep. She could decide tomorrow whether she wanted to talk about it with anybody.

She opened the door and entered the apartment, calling out a greeting a few seconds later. A few moments passed as Sayumi took off her shoes, but she didn't get a response. She tried another, a little louder, as she walked further into the hall. Nothing.

She checked the bedrooms and bathroom, and it seemed that her mother wasn't home after all. Even if she wasn't going to say anything about the strange encounter, Sayumi had still wanted to feel the comfort of company right now. The quietness of the place was making her feel a little eerie, but she tried her best to ignore it.

Sayumi began the preparations for a bath. She started heating the water, and then went about getting a CD for listening to when she got in. Some people might say it's narcissistic to listen to your own stuff, but Sayumi couldn't help it. She was as much a fan of her group, as she was a member.

She began undressing, and caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She had to laugh out loud. Not at herself, but at a thought she couldn't help but have every time she was naked lately. She had recently answered in a questionnaire, that if she were ever reborn as a guy, she would first want to see herself fully nude. It was an honest answer, right? Probably everyone would think of that if they were suddenly the opposite sex, right?

The fan response to the answer had been larger than Sayumi had expected. In a good way though. But now, she couldn't help but picture herself as a guy every other time she saw herself naked. Surely it would pass with time though, she thought.

So eventually Sayumi got into the bath, anticipating the relaxation. In a way, the CD that was playing was equal parts entertainment, and work research. The songs were fun to listen to, but also were helpful for envisioning and memorizing certain dance routines.

And of course, it was always helpful to practice singing, for as good as it would do her. What Sayumi wouldn't give for one tour with Reina or Ai-chan's vocal chords! She often had thoughts like that, but it really wasn't jealousy . . . well maybe it was, but to keep those thoughts from ever becoming too pervasive, she always tempered them with self-encouragement and acceptance of things. Everyone had their own best talents, right? Sayumi knew that hers lay more in her conversative abilities, whether on stage or TV, as well as her expressional portrayal of her own personality and beauty. Her singing would never be in a high tier, but she wanted to work hard to do as best as she could.

At this point, Sayumi was actually amazed that she had seemed to have brushed off the weird experience outside. She should be more worried about it, she thought, but perhaps she was just too tired to think on it too much.

Once she was out of the bath, she should probably do a blog entry before going to sleep. Or maybe she would just wait until the morning?

Her mind was lazily sorting through the things she might talk about in this entry. Without any preconscious thought to do so, her mind began to wander to other things. She had envisioned things like this many times in the past already, and she was beyond bothering to feel embarrassed about it anymore.

Sayumi always managed to keep these types of thoughts out of her mind when they were together . . . well, mostly. It would be so unprofessional to be fantasizing in any way while they were trying to work together, but in her private time, Sayumi didn't see any harm in sometimes thinking about her friends in that way.

Envisioning scenarios . . . was just simple fun. Even with all the attention they got from fans, they still all had their own type of loneliness, didn't they? It's not that she never fantasized about men, but in the end, those fantasies almost seemed too . . . realistic, or even a little painful, given that she was still not able to be near any in that way, unless she wanted to risk being caught like others before her.

But hey, Fujimoto and Yaguchi were married now, so maybe they had the right idea? Sayumi couldn't help but wonder just a little in this direction sometimes, but in the end she always self-confirmed that there were too many benefits to staying in the group and being popular. She would have time for those kinds of relationships later. So for now, what harm could there be in allowing a few naughty thoughts here and there about the people she worked with so closely? She often wondered if any of the other girls ever thought about her in a more-than-friends way too.
Time passed as she allowed herself a plethora of imagery. She didn't want to delve too much right now; she was too tired to get really into it. She was finally just starting to consider getting out of the tub . . . and then everything went dark.

All the lights were off, even from the CD player. The music had stopped. It was pitch black. There was no light coming from anywhere.
Sayumi was trying her best not to overreact. This was obviously just a power outage. But then she heard a noise . . . coming from somewhere around the kitchen it seemed.

It was . . . a growling. The rumble was low and long. Sayumi couldn't move. A few moments passed, and then she jerked when something seemed to touch the bathroom door from outside.

“Mom?” she managed to cry out. There was no response, at first. Then the growling returned, along with a scraping sound that Sayumi envisioned as claws pawing at the door.

She was crying now, though soundlessly, instincts of prey having kicked in. She didn't know what to do. Then she had a thought, and began to fumble in the dark for her phone. She had left it in here thankfully, but had to get right out of the tub to fetch it. Sayumi was dripping everywhere, but there was no time to worry about drying off.

Finally, she had it in hand, but the screen wouldn't come on. What the hell? She only realized now that she had never really tested it after the incident. That owl must have broken it! She tried hitting various buttons that she couldn't see, but nothing happened. She couldn't get any type of tone from any of them either. The whole thing was dead.

A massive noise nearly made her slip and fall. It sounded like something had burst through a closed door, but thankfully not this one. All of a sudden there was a cascade of barking and scuffling noises. Something was fighting out there.

And then she heard a voice. It was a male's . . . shouting angrily it seemed. It was not Japanese that he was speaking. With the door blocking her, and the noises of things crashing into walls, it was hard to be sure, but it might've been English. Then again, it might also have been German or French or something.

The voice, and the barking (howling now even), began to sound farther away. It seemed they were out of the apartment at this point. Sayumi was right at the bathroom door, listening. The sounds got even softer, until eventually she couldn't hear anything anymore.

She gathered her courage, and opened the door a tiny bit, peering through the crack. Finally, a bit of light, which would have been coming through the window in the living room. It was very faint from here though, just a little moonlight coming around the corner. Huh? Was it really that late already?

After waiting a full minute, listening for sounds . . . Sayumi was convinced that they were gone, whatever they were. She opened the door fully, and used the light to grab a towel. She dried off a bit, quickly, and then wrapped the towel around her, prepared to venture out.

She ran right to a phone, picked it up. No dial tone. She tried the numbers, but none of them would do anything. She ran to a light switch on the wall. It wouldn't turn on. Neither would the TV.

So the power and the phones were completely out? Had something bad happened? The horrible earthquake was still fresh in the minds of all Japanese, Sayumi included, and she couldn't help but wonder if another incident like that had happened. She hadn't felt any tremors, but maybe they had happened somewhere else, somewhere that had lead to repercussions in terms of electricity and telephone signals? It seemed like a stretch. Maybe it was just this building? Maybe something was broken? That didn't explain why her cell phone didn't work, but that might have already been broken.

Any of these theories though, still didn't explain who or what had been in the apartment.

Sayumi quickly ran and put some clothes on. She needed to get out of here. Tentatively, she headed for the door, which was wide open. There was a large streak of what looked to be blood all over the door. As she exited into the hall, she could see another thin trail of it heading towards the stairs.

“Anybody out here?!” she called. She glanced up and down the hallway, and then proceeded to walk towards the elevator, banging on doors as she went. No one answered. She decided to just flat-out shout, to see if anyone could hear her. This shouting effectively morphed into screams partway through, but even then no one came out of any of the doors, and she couldn't hear any other sounds in return.

She went to the elevator and pressed the button. Just as she did, she realized it probably wouldn't work. She was right. The buttons, as well as the floor lights above would not light up, and she couldn't hear any sounds suggesting the elevator might be moving.

She turned towards the stairwell, reluctantly entering. There was more blood on the stairs, and she stopped for a moment to listen for anything. When satisfied, she began to slowly walk down the stairs.

She got down to the main floor. There was no one in the lobby area. She quickly went outside, tension and fear mounting. For all she knew, that wolf might be right out there.

She got right out into the street. There was nobody around. There were no lights shining on any of the buildings which might've had them. She realized then how much everyone took street lights for granted. Being out here with only the light of the moon made the city somehow seem another world entirely, a hidden place unseen only because of the artifice of electricity.

“Anybody?” Sayumi yelled, full volume. Her voice cracked a little, as sobbing threatened to overtake her. She was more afraid than she'd ever been. What should I do? Never had these words held more despair.

And then a strange noise broke the silence. It was like a crackling of some sort coming from . . . somewhere. Sayumi began to track the noise, jogging down the street. Maybe it would be better to go in the opposite direction? she considered for a moment, but ultimately, she needed to find somebody or something. Whether she was in fact walking towards more danger, it was a chance she had to take.

Finally, she turned a corner, and saw what was making the noise. There was something moving on the road, slowly. From here, it vaguely resembled a tree, but without leaves or needles or anything. Just a trunk really, with a couple of branches protruding.

It was heading in her direction, and seemed to be cracking right through the concrete as it did! What the hell was it? Sayumi began to get a little closer, and as she did, it looked up and at her! She could see now, that it had a face!

“What's happening to me?” it pleaded, shocking her. That voice . . . it couldn't be . . .

Suddenly, something erupted right out of the ground next to the “tree”. It was an undulating vine of some sort, a tentacle of earth. It wavered for only a moment before it shot towards the tree, wrapping around it. The tree screamed.

And Sayumi screamed, because she couldn't see anything. It was pitch black. Or am I blind? She was all wet. And then she realized . . . she was lying in the bath.

Suddenly, her mother opened the door in a panic.

“Sayumi. Are you okay?” she began frantically. Sayumi realized that she had screamed, and that it had all simply been a dream.

“Yeah mom, I'm fine. I just . . . had a nightmare I think.”

“What do you mean a nightmare? What are you doing sleeping in here? That's dangerous!” Her mother's voice rose a bit with each exclamation, and she flicked the lights on halfway through the rant.

“Sorry. I didn't mean to fall asleep . . . and I don't remember turning out the lights.”

“Are you feeling alright?”

“Yeah. I'm going to get out now.”

“Okay,” her mom muttered as she closed the door, shaking her head with concern at her daughter's strange behaviour. Sayumi quickly got out of the tub and dried off with a towel, a tiny sensation of déjà vu now creeping in, destroying whatever small progress had been made towards feeling relieved.

At that moment her phone rang out, causing her to jump slightly. She still felt disoriented and tense from the dream, but she wanted to answer. She grabbed for it and clicked without really looking at who it was. “Hello?”

“Misshige-san?” There was only one person who called her that, and certain images of her strange dream came flooding back.

“It's strange for you to be calling me out of the blue like this,” Sayumi said, with a joking tone. The person on the other end however, sounded to be in a completely serious mood.
“You're right, but I just had to tell you something now, before I might forget any of it. It's about this strange dream I just had...”

Offline anarchangelic

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  • Posts: 27
Re: Awakenings
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2015, 10:40:33 PM »
Chapter 2


Two days had passed. They had seemed so long.

Because of their respective schedules, they had been unable to meet up on the day following the “dreams”. Now they were set to meet up for a late dinner, but of course, the food was not the reason for the meeting.

Sayumi was thinking back to the phone call she had received that night. The things that had been said had been shocking, to the point that Sayumi had asked the other person to stop before she said anything else. If she had heard any more at that time, there was no way she would have been able to go to sleep. So she suggested that they talk about it in person, and preferably somewhere at least partially public.

They would have a semi-private booth in the restaurant they were going to. No one would be able to hear what they were talking about unless they got far louder than normal, but they could also feel the comfort and safety of knowing that there were other people not far away.

I suppose . . . I feel just a little afraid that to talk about this might invite a recurrence of some sort. As silly as that sounded, Sayumi didn't want to take the chance of them being totally alone, just in case.

At this point, Sayumi had arrived, and was waiting just outside the restaurant. It wouldn't be long now.

A couple minutes passed . . . and there was Momoko, heading in her direction. Given the nature of their meeting, it was hard to know just how to greet her. Was this an occasion to smile and wave? Would they put on any of their traditional cutesy battle routines with each other? Sayumi decided to wait for Momoko to set the tone.

“Misshige-san.” It was said with a smile, but with an undertone of some unidentifiable emotion. So Sayumi followed in a neutral tone.
“Shall we go in?” she said, motioning her in.

“Let's go.” With this, there was a little more bravado in Momoko's voice, and Sayumi found herself wondering as to just what level it was genuine or forced. At least in her own case, she always found that she said these types of phrases with a little more idol flair, no matter the circumstances. She had noticed that at least some of the other members were the same way. I guess at this point it has become second nature to some of us.

The girls entered the restaurant, and the unseen eyes which had been trailing their movements decided to take flight for now, leaving them to their own protection.

After being seated to a table, they each perused the menu with an uncommon absorption, almost pretending to themselves that sorting through these options was what their mind was occupied on. In reality, they were both full of nervous anticipation concerning what they had to talk about.

When the waitress came to them, they had already agreed on what to get, and ordered promptly. Once the waitress left, there was a minute of awkward silence, as both found it difficult to decide exactly what to start with. Finally . . . Momoko found her voice first.

“So I told you a little about my dream on the phone, but I should probably start from the beginning again.”

“Okay,” Sayumi quickly agreed. She wanted to hear it all again, but of course she already knew that there was much more to this than just dreams. Sayumi had stayed very vague on the phone, merely mentioning that she'd had a freaky experience too. So Momoko didn't actually know just how strange things were. Once Momoko told her everything, then it would be Sayumi's turn to fill her in on things that surely were more than coincidence.

Momoko cleared her throat. “So . . . I wasn't really trying to go to sleep yet. It was still early. I was just . . . lying down.” The way that Momoko said the last words gave Sayumi the intuition that she might be hiding something, but she didn't want to call her out on it now.

“I guess I was more tired than I thought, and I fell asleep. But keep in mind, that at that time, I didn't know I was dreaming, because the dream started right there, with me in my room.”

Sayumi decided that it would be better to interject a little now, to add parallel, rather than save it all for the end. “It was the same for me. I didn't know that it was a dream because I was still right there in my bath.”

“Ehhh?”

If Momoko was already surprised at that minor coincidence, then she was in for a major shock.

Momoko continued, “So first thing . . . all the lights went off.” Sayumi simply nodded her head this time, not wanting to break up the narrative again. Momoko wasn't sure if the nod was simply an acknowledgment, or an indication that Sayumi had experienced the same, but kept going.
“So I thought the power had gone out, and I left my room. Right away I could tell that no one else was home. I wondered where they were, but before I had any time to think about anything else, crazy stuff started happening.

“First, a desk in the living room started rattling, and I thought it might be an earthquake for a moment. But nothing else was moving. And then, the desk . . . flew at me all of a sudden! It almost hit me, but it didn't quite move far enough. Then it started rattling again, so I bolted for the door.”

Momoko was high-spirited and actually smiling when she described these events. Sayumi figured that she had either not really been that scared of the dream after all, or that she was simply able to put on a brave front now, since time had passed.

“I quickly opened the door and ran into the hallway . . . the apartment building's hallway I mean. Just as I closed the door behind me there was a loud crash, so I think the desk must have flown all the way to the door! It totally would have got me if I hadn't run quickly!

“So now I thought to call somebody. I didn't have my phone, but I wasn't going back in there for it obviously. So I went next door and knocked. Nobody answered for a while, and I guess at this point I don't really remember exactly how I felt. All the lights in the hall were out also, so what exactly did I think was going on?

“So I decided to just try the next door, but as I approached it, the whole door started rattling, as if it was going to bust right off! So I ran for the stairs and went all the way down to the first floor. That's when I could see that there was no electricity at all, even outside on the street. And only then did I realize that it was totally dark . . . I hadn't thought it was that late yet.

“I didn't really want to go outside, but then I heard some crazy cracking noises behind me. I turned, but I couldn't see anything. The noises got louder though, so I freaked out and ran outside.

“I saw that nobody was out there, and no cars were driving either. I was pretty scared at this point, and I was whispering “What do I do?” over and over. And then the weird cracking noises started again, but they seemed like they were coming from all around me, so I didn't know where to run at all. Then right in front of me, the ground just split open, the way you see it in pictures of earthquakes sometimes. I tried to move away from the crack, but it suddenly expanded, and I fell in. Not like I totally disappeared down a hole or anything like that, I just mean my legs were caught . . .”

Momoko paused here, as if to catch her breath, or confirm something in her mind before continuing. Sayumi figured this was the perfect place to jump in. Now was the time to test her theory.

“Before you say what happened next, Momo, I should jump in.”

“Okay. What is it?”

“Well . . . here goes nothing, but did you somehow turn into something sort of like a tree trunk?”

The expression on Momoko's face was all the confirmation Sayumi needed.

“How did you know? I haven't told anyone else!”

“Momo, this might sound crazy . . . but I had the same dream.”

Ehhh?

“I don't mean that I had your dream exactly, but that both our dreams were connected somehow. They lined up. I saw you as the “tree” at the end of my dream, sort of plowing through the street.”

“Yes! That's what happened! I couldn't get out of the crack in the road. For a while it felt like my legs were caught in some really dense mud, and even if I jerked with all my strength, I couldn't pull myself out. But once my body started morphing into wood, I gained the power to sort of crash through the road. But it was still like I was caught in a swamp or something, I could only move really, really slow for a long time. It took forever to get anywhere . . . not that I really had any idea of where I was going. That part is kind of a blur, now that I think of it. Eventually I saw you on the street, so I called out to you.”

“I remember that, and then . . . something else appeared. Like a big vine, and it grabbed you.”

“Yes, and when it got me I screamed. And then I woke up screaming. My mom burst into my room in confusion, and I realized it had just been a nightmare.” Momoko seemed completely relieved now, whether just to have finally finished the telling of the tale, or to have been able to share it with another.

“It ended right at the same moment for me too, and my mom came into the bathroom in a similar fashion.”

Several moments passed in silence, both girls considering the possible implications of this.

“So . . . I decided to call you,” Momoko began. “I kind of felt stupid when I first went to the phone. I mean, I've had . . . dreams with other members in it before, but I was never compelled to tell them about it. For some reason I felt something was different about this one.”

“So did I,” Sayumi said, also noting the odd pause Momo had taken before she said the word “dreams”.

“How can this be real?” Momoko said, her voice reflecting her disbelief.

“I don't know. But there might be even more to it than just that dream.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well . . . something else weird happened to me a little before I had the dream.” Momo's eyes widened a bit in anticipation. She waited for Sayumi to go on. “I at first thought that maybe I had just hallucinated or something, but now that I know for sure that something out of the ordinary is happening . . . I'm thinking that it was probably real, somehow.”

Sayumi proceeded to recount in full, her encounter with the owl and the smoke wolf, and then continued with the details of the dream from her perspective. Momoko listened to every detail with full attention, taking in the bizarreness.

“So think back, Momo. Did anything else strange happen to you that day?” Momo's brow scrunched up in concentration, eyes searching her memories . . . but if something like that had happened, surely it would have left the impact to produce an immediate memory.

“No. Nothing happened to me. Are you . . . sure it wasn't just another dream, or . . . part of the same dream, but you just remember the timing wrong?” queried Momoko.

Sayumi thought a bit at this before finally responding. “I guess it's possible, but I'm not going to rule out other possibilities either.”
“So what do we do now?”

As soon as Momoko said this, their food arrived. By now, the girls had almost forgotten where they were, and they were startled back to reality by the intrusion.

They thanked their waitress, mirrored each other with “Itadakimasu”, and began to eat. After a few bites here and there, followed by various subdued murmurings of “Oishii” by both parties, Sayumi finally responded to the earlier question.

“I don't know if there's anything we can do right now. I mean . . . we could tell people, but they might think were making it up, or pulling a prank or something. Probably only people who've had something mystical happen to them will believe us. I mean . . . I'm sure some of our friends and family would believe us, but can we really be sure of who? I'm worried about the atmosphere it would cause.”

“Right.”

“So I guess it should just be our secret. For now at least. It looks like people in this world can somehow share brainwaves when they sleep or something. Maybe it's not so mysterious after all.” Sayumi spouted out this casual dismissal just for the sake of some closure for now.
Momoko smiled now, a cute little toothy grin. “I wonder why it happened to us then?”

“Maybe it only happens to the cutest people?” It was out of Sayumi's mouth before she had even thought about it, and both her and Momoko were silent for a moment, before they burst out laughing in earnest.

Sou desu ne?” they both said in unison, which brought on a renewed fit of giggling.

And so they shared a secret connection now, one that might make them better friends. There was nothing to do but go on with their lives for now. Unless of course . . . something were to happen again . . .



Meanwhile . . . the eyes from above had found the other one. It wished that she would come to know the two who had already come together, but it understood that she would take a little more prodding before she would be convinced of the necessity to meet.

Offline kuro_808

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2015, 12:05:05 AM »
Sounds eerie with how Momo and Sayu with the same dream with the "spirit" watching over them.  I wonder what'll happen next :nervous

Anyways welcome :welcome
Random Thought:

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R.I.P. Jab!  Dad/friend

Offline anarchangelic

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2015, 08:34:29 AM »
Well, I won't make you wait long to get a bit more. Chapter 4 however, might take a few more days because I want to go over it one more time for an ultra edit.

Chapter 3

She was at home now. Perusing on the computer. Specifically, she was at least nominally still looking for information regarding her experience of two days ago (though there were always distractions).

She was looking through reference sites, and browsing forums. She had found some things within supernatural lore which had contained at least some parallels to the things she had experienced. She also had found some people on sites who were discussing dreams and nightmares, and some similarities existed there also.

She had almost decided to reveal her experience to these people. It would be anonymous, right? She could make up any screen name, and use an alternate email address if she really wanted to avoid any possible contact in that way. In the end however, she opted to not bother. There would likely be some comfort in revealing these things to someone (even a stranger), and to get feedback, but in truth, the only real relief would be to talk to the only other person who had actually appeared in the nightmare (not including the “man” in the robe of course).

It was a little silly, wasn't it? To be this obsessed over a mere dream. But there was just something unnatural about it . . . and something else had happened that day as well; but of course, she couldn't quite be sure that that had even been real.

Whatever the case was, she couldn't get her mind off it. She had even been distracted while performing at the theatre today, and she found herself hoping that she hadn't looked dull or uncaring in front of the fans.

She didn't want to go on alone with this eating away at her. She wanted to talk to Michishige-san directly, but there was a barrier between them, wasn't there? It would pretty much be taboo to try to contact her personally. And so she had just reconfirmed that she was willing to try to just let this fade . . . when a noise alerted her. It was . . . a flapping sound?

“Mom! Did you hear that?” she shouted, aiming her voice towards her mother's room. The door was wide open, so she certainly expected that she had been heard.

“Hear what?” came the response.

“Never mind. I just thought I heard something strange.”

“I didn't hear anything.”

“Okay.” At this point, she got up from where the computer was, and decided to go to her room. She passed right by her mom's room, and upon glimpsing her, added, “I'm going to go to bed soon, so oyasayumin . . .” She realized her mistake right away, laughing at herself internally, but her mom would be oblivious to the origin of her word. Her mother either didn't notice clearly enough, or just didn't want to bother correcting her daughter's apparent pronunciation mistake, so responded as normal.

Oyasumi nasai, Yuki.”

Smiling to herself as she turned, Yuki entered her room and shut the door behind her. She began to undress, placing her clothes in a corner of the room. She walked over to her closet, prepared to grab the pajamas she had decided to wear tonight . . . but she was startled just as her arm was raised.

It was the same sound! But definitely louder, and it sounded like it was right outside her window. She tiptoed over to the window. It was at head-height, so there was no worry about exposing her nakedness to the outside world.

As soon as she got up to the glass, she immediately saw what must have made the noise: there was a brown owl, just sitting on the rail of the balcony which was attached to the living room.

With the windows closed, how had she heard this bird? The flapping of its wings couldn't be that loud. She was quickly reminded of the incident two nights past. The type of bird was different, but it seemed there was something odd going on here too. It was certainly rare, if not unheard of, to see an owl around here. Was this just a coincidence? Or was it somehow related?
She had a momentary impulse to turn away and go fetch her pajamas, but found that she couldn't. She had glimpsed its eyes directly, and they seemed to be holding her in place. Its gaze was . . . piercing.

She suddenly felt cold. Was it just because she lacked clothes, or was something else making her shiver? She couldn't break eye contact. She wasn't scared, not like she'd been the other time. She certainly felt strange, but not necessarily in a bad way. There was something almost . . . pleasant happening. She had an odd sensation that she was being filled up with something. A warmness, from the pit of her stomach, was spreading outwards, enveloping her. Connecting with her somehow.

She had an impression that she was being strengthened in some way, feeling like a tide of power was rising from within. And very soon, it was almost more than Yuki could bare. She wanted to scream out, shake her head, bite her lip . . . anything to release the tension, but still she couldn't move. The sensation seemed to reach an apex (anything more and I'll explode, Yuki thought), and then suddenly it was gone.

At that same moment, a black mass darted past her window, smashing directly into the owl. She watched in complete shock, eyes wide, as two entangled forms plummeted down to the ground. It was the raven! The same as before. The two birds were battling, a mass of feathers crashing and colliding. The exchange was brief though, as quickly the raven seemed to dissipate, much as it had two nights ago.

From the look of it though . . . the damage had been done. The owl, whether defeated or triumphant, was now visibly struggling to move. It seemed unable to lift its wings in flight, short and frantic flaps getting it nowhere as it clumsily hopped forward. And soon . . . it ceased motion entirely.

Yuki ran for her door, remembering she was naked upon grabbing the knob. She turned and quickly put on the pajamas she had nearly got to before. Not exactly outside wear, but it would be the quickest to get on at this point.

The clothes were barely over her as she streaked past her mother's room, whose door was closed now. She bolted out of the apartment, and quickly rushed down the stairwell. Passing through the outer door, her bare feet made no sound as she walked the paces towards the fallen animal.

As she got next to it, she could see its heavy, laboured breathing. Its eyes opened, and Yuki was again filled with the same inexplicable feeling as before.

She knelt down beside the bird, and gathered it into her arms. She hadn't even thought about it in advance, just acting on impulse. It wasn't going to bite her or anything. She was pretty much cradling it like a baby now, looking into its eyes.

The feeling was growing again . . . not quite to the strength it had been up in her room, but still palpable. The thought to take the owl to a veterinarian finally made its way into her mind. She was about to rise . . . when the bird's eyes closed. A moment later, its breathing stopped.

“No,” she said, barely audible. Tears were pooling in her eyes. Regardless of her fellow group members' claims of her being black-hearted, to see any animal die right in front of her would still surely bring Yuki sorrow . . . and there was definitely something more to this one. She didn't know what was going on, but she now knew that it was still ongoing. The events of two days ago had not been an isolated incident.

The tears were fully streaming down her cheeks now. She had really felt something . . . unexplainable, hadn't she? But whatever it was, it was all real, and there was no way she was going to keep this to herself anymore. There was something clearly at stake here; these events couldn't be random.

She had no idea what was going on, but figured that Sayumi must be a part of it. So putting aside all industry-imposed rivalry concerns, Yuki was going to get into contact with Michishige-san.

She continued to sit there for several moments, not sure what to do right now. She gently took the owl out of her lap and placed it on the ground. Strangely, she had the thought to bury it right there; she hadn't any equipment to do such of course, and wouldn't the proper thing be to phone animal services? Such considerations didn't get the time to be decided upon, as something quickly began to occur.

The bird began to decay, right before her eyes. The colouring faded, the wings molted, and its mass seemed to shrink. It almost seemed as if it were sinking into the ground now. Yuki could have sworn that the grass itself seemed to be . . . moving, parting to give the dead form access to the earth below.

As the bird sunk lower, she could now clearly see that the ground was moving. The dirt began to envelop the owl as it slipped inside. Until finally, the creature could no longer be seen. The slight gap in the dirt then quickly closed back in on itself, leaving no indication that the ground had been disturbed beyond a vague sensation of the grass seeming sparse (as some had indeed been pulled under during the process).

She stood up, bewildered, but not in any way questioning her sanity. Obviously something of a supernatural element was happening, and if she was going to make better sense of it, she'd best explore the angle of the dream. That was the only clue she could really go with right now, so it was necessary to talk to the one who had been in it, just in case there was a connection there.

As she made her way back inside, she thought she saw someone at the end of her floor's hall for a moment, but when she fully raised her head, there was nothing there. Jumping at shadows now; I guess I can't really blame myself.

She entered her apartment, locked it behind her, and went to her room. She immediately noticed a discrepancy when she glanced at the clock: It was past 3:00 a.m.! When did that happen? She checked her phone next, to make sure that the clock wasn't just malfunctioning, but it too confirmed the hour.

She couldn't be sure of the exact time, but Yuki knew that it had been the late evening when she had said goodnight to her mother and entered her room. It certainly had not been the early hours of the next day. Where had all that time gone?

Even doing her best in putting all strangeness aside, Yuki worried she wouldn't be getting much sleep tonight. She told herself to just forget about it for now. She needed to rest, and there was nothing to be done until tomorrow anyway. She was very suddenly hit with an overwhelming sense of hunger, but decided that she couldn't be bothered to put anything together. So stomach rumbling, Yuki slipped into bed, and against all her expectation, fell asleep instantly . . .






Somewhere . . .

A Page Turned . . .

Yume Mita . . .



She knew that this was a dream instantly.
HerDreamRoom
It was not like the last time, where it had started in her room and seemed completely real.
CaYukive
Now it seemed she was in some kind of cave.
darkcavedarkcavdarkcadarkcdarkdardadeveavecavekcaverkcavearkcavedarkcavedarkcavdarkc
It was dark, and she couldn't make out how far this “cave” went in any direction.
   It was like a mist or fog of some type(ing) was obscuring her view,
whichever way she turned.
She wasn't scared though. Not at all. She knew this was only a dream.
But then she began to second guess herself.
With all the crazy things that are happening,
can I really be sure that I am safe even if this is “just a dream”?

There was no reason to be reckless.
It would be better to deal with this as if it were real, just to be safe.
So what should I do?
darknesslight?darknessdarknessdarknessdarknesslight?darknessdarknessdarknesslight?darknes
darknessdarknesslight?darknessdarknessdarknessYukidarknessdarknesslight?darknessdarkness
darknesslight?darknessdarknessdarknesslight?darknessdarknessdarknessdarknesslight?darknes
As dark as it was, it wasn't complete. There was some light? But coming from where?
It was impossible to tell the source, and it didn't seem to be stronger in any direction.
So it seemed as if any direction was as good as the next.
>     >     >     >tpeerhefog>   >   >   >thpeerefog>  >  >  >thepeerfog> > > >thefpeerog>>>>
Yuki began to slowly walk forward, trying to peer through the fog as she moved,
and as she felt more confident, she increased her pace.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
Time passed in this manner.
She had no way to gauge how much.
Yukisomeone
She didn't seem to be getting anywhere, but finally she thought she caught a glimpse of someone out of the corner of her eye(i).
darkness light darkness    darkness  light  darkness   darkness  light  darkness   darkness
darknessdarknesslight?darknessdarknessdarknessYukidarknessdarknesslight?darknessdarkness
As she turned her head, it seemed as if the fog was a little thinner in that direction;
however, no one was standing there.
She just now realized that she hadn't even tried to call out yet.
But then again . . . what if there was something else down here that she didn't want finding her?
She followed in the direction of the thinner fog . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 
and again it seemed much time passed, before a similar occurrence happened:
Some(i)thing Yuk
Something seemed to catch her eye for a moment, but wasn't there when she glanced towards it.
her view
The mist however, again seemed to be even thinner in that direction, so Yuki proceeded.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

More time passed . . .















. . . until finally she could make out something in the distance.

It seemed to be a throne of some kind, something a tribal king of old might sit on.
Made of stone, with carvings and engravings that Yuki couldn't make out.
It wasn't until she got right up to it, that she realized someone, or some thing,
had been sitting on it the whole time.
It looked up at her, a shadow in the shape of a man.
It seemed to be made up of the same fog that filled the cave.
It was mostly translucent, with shifting and swirling waves of mist constantly changing
exactly how much of its form Yuki could make out.
“I did not expect one of you to be here so soon. You must have had help.”
The voice was deep, and seemed to come from within Yuki's own head.
The tone was resigned, but unconcerned.
Before she could even consider responding, she awoke.

Offline anarchangelic

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #4 on: August 04, 2015, 01:19:39 AM »


Chapter 4

Sayumi awoke with a start. She was instantly alert, with a strict clarity, and no sense of drowsiness. She looked around her room, moving her head very slowly, letting her eyes do most of the work. She felt . . . something. She felt as if she had to be on guard.

She unconsciously pulled her legs inwards, and proceeded to sit up against the wall. There was nothing in her room. Even in the low light, she could be sure of that. So why do I feel so paranoid?

Maybe she'd had another nightmare? That would be the most obvious explanation for her tension. If she had though, she couldn't remember anything about it.

She looked over at her clock, and realized it was still really early in the morning. What a waste! It was her day off, and she had planned on catching up on some sleep. There was no reason to be up this early, but she could tell that her body (or was it her mind?) did not want to go back to sleep.

She returned to a laying position to relax for just a bit longer. Memories of last night's dinner with Momo came flashing, and it brought a smile to her face. It felt so much better to have fully discussed these strange occurrences with someone else, and of course it was even better that Momo had experienced some of the same. Well maybe it wasn't better for Momo, Sayu thought with a slightly self-chastising smirk, but it makes it easier for me to know that I'm not alone in this, whatever it all is.

They had pretty much decided to not make a big deal about their shared dream; not right now at least. Even if they were able to convince some of their friends of the truth of it, inevitably some others would be too weirded out by their story, either thinking them crazy, or liars. They didn't want to be responsible for causing any tension like that. Their lives were far too busy to let this distract them too much anyway. So best to just forget and move on.

So . . . if I'm not going to get some extra sleep, what else should I do today? She found herself quickly wishing that Momo had the day off too. It was almost strange how much stronger a connection Sayu felt to Momo because of this. She definitely wanted to hang out with her a lot more from now on, if possible.

Her mind wandered to Eri next, and for a moment she almost felt bad that she hadn't thought of her first. With what's going on, it's only natural that I would have thought of Momo first. And besides, things were different with Eri now, weren't they? As much as Sayu loved her, and would still obviously call Eri her best friend, they just didn't see each other as much anymore. It was regrettable, but it was just a fact of life, wasn't it? Since they were no longer working together on a weekly basis (and often it had actually been daily), it was only natural that their friendship had lightened out a little bit.

Even when they did get together, it wasn't completely the same as it once was. There were certain things that they just weren't on the same page with anymore: internal things within the group that Eri was just no longer involved with, and from the opposite end, things that Eri was now doing and feeling in her life that Sayu couldn't fully identify with yet.

This was not necessarily bad, just different. On certain topics, they just spoke a little differently with each other than they once did. Of course, there were still various topics where they were as tight and inside-jokey as ever, with plenty of nostalgic memories to reference and play upon.

They were still a fantastic pair, always creating fun for each other. There was simply a few places where they were growing apart a bit . . . But those types of changes are to be expected. No one stays the same forever, so it's only natural that friendships must change in certain ways in reflection of this.

Sayu was thinking through these types of things as she finally decided to get up out of bed. It was way too early to bother texting Eri, so Sayu decided to take a bath now.

It was slightly annoying that just the thought of taking a bath made her remember the nightmare. She didn't want her brain to forever link that frightening experience to the relaxation of bathing. She hoped that it would only be like this for a short while, so as not to ruin how much she enjoyed her bath time. Surely the lingering tension of these experiences over the last few days would begin to fade soon.

Sayu tried to zone out her thoughts while in the bath, with partial success at least.

After she had been in for a while, there was a knock on the door, startling her for a second with a brief remembrance of the wolf.

“Yes?”

“I didn't expect you to be up at this time on your day off.” The voice of her mother of course.

“Me either. I'm surprised that I woke up so early,” Sayu responded.

“Do you want me to make you some breakfast?”

“Yes, please. I'm going to get out right away.”

“Okay.”

Sayumi lounged for another minute, and then got out of the bath. She dried herself off quickly, her body at least. Her long hair would take much more time to fully dry, so she did as much as the towel could manage, and was just going to let the rest air-dry.

She returned to her room and got dressed. If she ended up going out today, she would probably change into something else, but for now she just put something on quickly so she could go eat breakfast. Her hair would still be drying, so the shirt she put on would probably get a little damp at the back and shoulders.

And so Sayumi had breakfast with her mother, chatting about regular things. Her mother of course knew nothing of the strange things which had happened lately, and Sayu felt slightly guilty about it. Sitting here talking about ordinary things while there was something extraordinary going on kind of felt like she was betraying her mom somehow, but she just didn't want to stir anything up. She wanted their relationship to stay the same for now, and not be altered by the weirdness.

Sayu didn't know what it all meant anyway, so it seemed premature to talk to anyone else about it, excepting Momo of course, who had actually been in the dream. If the future brought something they couldn't handle on their own, then of course it would be time to reveal it to others.

When breakfast (and chatting) was over with, Sayu once again retreated to her room.

She had her phone in hand, thinking through an early text to Eri, when it rang. She looked at the display. Manager-san? For a second Sayu thought that she had screwed up her days or something, that she was getting a call asking her why she wasn't at work. After thinking a moment more though, Sayu was confident that today was indeed her day off, so wondered what this call was about.

If it was some general info on an upcoming variety show request or something, her manager probably would have at least waited until the afternoon to call her. So Sayu answered her phone wondering just what was worth telling her so quickly into the day.

“Hello?”

“Hi, Sayumi. Sorry if I'm bothering you too early.”

“It's alright. I was up early anyway . . . so what's up?”

“Well, I got kind of a strange request this morning. I got a call from another manager about getting your contact information. Basically, there's someone who wants to talk to you as soon as possible.”

“Who is it?” Sayumi asked, her mind already jumping to conclusions on the reason why someone needed to contact her.

“Kashiwagi Yuki.”

Ehhh . . . really?

“Apparently it might be urgent in some way, although the manager said that even she is not fully aware of why Kashiwagi wants to talk to you, so . . .”

“It's fine. You can give her my number.”

“Okay then, I could do it that way, but they actually already volunteered her number, so you could go ahead and call her if you want.”

“Okay,” Sayumi agreed. Her manager dictated the number and Sayu quickly typed it into her phone's database. Her manager followed by reassuring Sayu that if there was anything she needed after speaking with Kashiwagi, to immediately call back. After a couple more lines of obligatory banter about tomorrow's schedule, they said goodbye and disconnected, and Sayumi's mind started spinning with the possible implications of this unexpected request.

The timing couldn't be a coincidence; something must have happened to Yuki! What could it be?

Sayumi realized that she was completely, yet only, assuming this phone call had something to do with the strange events, but somehow she just knew this was indeed the case. But how did Yuki know to contact me exactly? Where was the connection to her? There was no reason to just sit here theorizing the possibilities of how this fit together in advance, so Sayu selected the brand new number in her directory and dialled.

It seemed as if a pattern was forming, for here was Sayumi again waiting outside of a restaurant to talk to someone who had contacted her out of the blue. As excited as she was to meet Yuki and get all the details of whatever she had experienced, she also hoped that no one else was a part of this.

She didn't want to be caught in an ever-expanding web of intrigue, but rather was hoping to at least come to understand some of its scope and dimension soon, and maybe its reasoning and origin in time.

As much as her mind could be running a mile a minute trying to come up with possible answers for what was going on, Sayu found herself oddly calm. She was somehow past the point of awe, and now she was prepared to just deal with things as they came up. So whatever Yuki told her . . . she would just proceed from there. There was no reason to pre-emptively worry.

As she stood there, she realized that maybe they should have picked a different restaurant. There was a much greater chance that they might be recognized here in Shibuya, and maybe they didn't actually want anyone to see them together. It shouldn't matter, but the media loves to scrutinize anything they can get their hands on, and some of their respective fans could get rather petty about who their idols were associating with. It's not like they weren't allowed to to be hanging out, but they probably didn't want to have to answer questions about why they were. It would be easier all around to not be noticed . . . but whatever.

“Sayumi!” came an unexpected call. She was gazing down the street towards the train station, the direction Yuki would be coming from, but the sound had come from behind her. The voice wasn't Yuki's though, and Sayu turned, wondering if some fan (brazen enough to shout out at her from behind) had indeed spotted her already.

At first, she didn't recognize the young girl who was standing a few metres away, but then the girl smiled, and that brought the memory back to Sayu.

“Kage?”

“You remember!” It was said with such unabashed happiness, and it immediately rubbed off on Sayumi.

The girl began to shuffle closer to her, and Sayu asked, “Are you here alone?”

“Yeah.”

“Wow. You're a pretty adventurous girl for your age!”

“I'm much more mature mentally, compared to how old I look.”

This came out quite serious, not really matching the playful way Sayu had led, and for some reason she felt the slightest hint of unease. “So what are you doing here?”

“I like to go into the stores and look at clothes, even if I don't have money to buy them now.” Kage added a little laugh at herself at the end of the sentence, and for all its apparent innocence and ring of truth, Sayu couldn't help but feel there was something . . . off about the way she had said it. The tone was strange, almost as if she had been waiting to deliver a rehearsed line. “Do you want to come with me and look at more places?” Kage asked.

“Sorry, Kage. I can't. I'm waiting here for someone else,” Sayumi replied. The disappointment in Kage's eyes was instant, and was that a hint of anger? But if Sayu had been right about that, it was gone a moment later anyway.

“Okay. Maybe I'll see you some other day and you won't be busy.”

“Yeah . . . maybe.” Sayu said it with a smile, but she found herself wishing that they never ran into each other again. Why? I love kids in general; I should be happy that one wants my attention. So why do I feel so uncertain? Could it be just because she was there the day of the attack? Is my mind subconsciously linking her presence to the unpleasant memories of those events, much in the same way the idea of taking a bath had lately been doing? This was probably to blame, and Sayu now felt guilty for feeling so cautious with the girl.

Kage raised her hand in an awkward goodbye wave, but quickly she lowered it and pointed behind Sayumi. She looked over her shoulder to follow the direction of Kage's outstretched arm, and there was Yuki, a little ways down the road.

“Is that who you are meeting?” asked Kage, and Sayu looked back at her.

“Yep. How did you guess?”

A few moments passed . . . “She's an idol too, right?”

“Yes, but . . .”

“Okay. I'll go now. Bye.” With this, Kage turned and began walking away, before Sayumi could even answer back. A moment later, she heard Yuki call out her name.

A couple minutes later they were seated, looking at menus. Previously on the phone, Sayu had made it clear to Yuki that she should feel free to tell her anything, no matter how strange. Yet same as she had been with Momo, for some reason she just didn't want to discuss any details on the phone, and so suggested the meeting. Maybe it has something to do with that sound that came from my phone that night, but I just don't trust it right now. I feel like something might be listening.

Yuki had been immensely relieved when Michishige-san had said that. She had been worried that she was going to think she was crazy or something when she tried to explain things, but the tone of her voice had convinced her that she would listen with an open mind. In fact, Yuki even thought that she could detect foreknowledge in Michishige-san's voice . . . as if she knew what Yuki was going to say, in at least some way.

So Yuki wasn't afraid to talk, but just wasn't sure where to begin, and so was awkwardly glancing between the menu and Sayumi's face. She was glad when Michishige-san broke the ice, but she certainly wasn't expecting what she said.

“So . . . you can't tell anyone I said this, but I'm sure Tsunku-san must be annoyed now that he didn't select you back then.”  It was so sincere, coming out of Sayumi's lips with an ironic smile, that Yuki couldn't help but laugh. She tried to muffle it, but Sayumi laughed too, which just made it worse.

It was the type of reaction Sayu had seen of her on TV: Yuki's eyes widened to their fullest, her left hand rising to obscure her mouth, while her right hand tried to “wave off” the comment in conjunction with her shaking head. It was too funny not to laugh. Finally Yuki found her voice, and responded with delayed obligatory humility.

“No, no, no. I wasn't good enough then, and maybe I'm still not. He was right to not pick me.”

“Maybe. But things sure are different now. I mean . . . you recently got voted number three, right? Out of how many girls again?” Sayu added a laugh which tried to match the slight rhetorical quality of the question, and Yuki chimed in, her indulgent laugh sincerely acknowledging that even she didn't know how many girls were in her extended group anymore. Sayumi finished with “Omedetou”.

Arigatou Gozaimasu. Michishige-san also, has been doing very well. You're always appearing on variety shows, more than anyone else in your group.”

“You're right, that's true. Things are good. I'm just happy that you found somewhere else to be able to perform. And while I'm mentioning it, the same goes for Suu-chan. To be honest, I can still remember how shocked some of us were when she didn't get in.”

“I know, she got so close, right? We've of course talked about that with each other. It was actually harder on her than it was for me since she got further, but we were both somewhat depressed for a little while. But I think knowing that we made it past so many other girls, gave us enough motivation to hold on to our goals and try again.”

“I'm glad you did.”

“Thank you so much, Michishige-san. I really didn't come here expecting to hear such kind words from you about these types of things. You should know that many of us, besides her and I, have great respect for your group. Mii-chan and Sasshi are huge fans . . . and Kojiharu in particular really likes you especially.”

“And what about you?” Sayu interjected playfully. “Am I your favourite too?”

Yuki brought her hand up to her mouth as if to hide her smile. “Forgive me . . . but I have always been a fan of Ishikawa-san,” she replied.

Sayu made a quick slight turn and upwards tilt of her head, lips placed in a mock pout, accompanied by a small nasal exhalation. “I'm sorry,” Yuki said quickly, with playful guilt.

And then Sayu gave a small laugh. “Well, I guess that can't be helped,” she joked, voice still imbued with the slightest hint of mock hurtfulness. “But thanks for telling me how you girls feel. It makes me happy to know that. I want us to all be friendly. I honestly wish our groups could do some kind of collaboration some day.”

“Me too! But I guess there's too many complications.”


“Yeah. It seems that way,” Sayu began with a sigh, “but maybe it will happen.”
At this point their conversation was stalled by the waitress. They each placed their order, and as soon as they were alone again, Sayu set the stage to move on to the next topic.

“Yuki, I want you to feel at ease. Like I said on the phone, you can tell me whatever. I think I already know what type of things you have to say, because they've been happening to me too. So don't be afraid to admit everything.”

“Okay. I'm so glad to be able to talk to you about this.”

“Just start from the beginning, and when you're done I'll tell you the stuff that happened to me.”

“Okay. It started three days ago. Basically, wherever I went on that day, whether to work or just to the convenience store, I kept seeing a large black raven. It would be sitting on a nearby fence or building, and my eyes would be drawn to it as soon as it possibly could have been in view.

“At first I thought that it was just a coincidence; I was obviously just seeing multiple birds. There were probably ravens everywhere if you pay enough attention, I thought. But then sometimes, I could swear that the bird was definitely not there one moment, and then suddenly there the next. I guess what I mean is that sometimes the bird would appear somewhere where it couldn't have just flown down while I wasn't looking. And also, when I was really close to it one time, I thought it was giving off smoke or something, so that's when I really thought something was wrong about it. Anyway, I now know for sure that it was the same bird, and it can disappear.”

She paused here, as if to test Sayumi for any reaction to the first true mention of something paranormal.

“And then you had a strange dream that night, didn't you?”

Yuki felt as if she'd just lost 5 Kilos instantaneously. These experiences had been a baggage that she couldn't relieve herself of. She had been keeping it so close that it was getting painful, but now finally she felt free of it, at least partially. I'm not crazy, and I'm not alone!

“Yes! I did! But it wasn't even really night yet. I hadn't been trying to go to sleep . . . I was just reading. And at the time, I didn't know that I had fallen asleep.”

“The dream tricked you by starting right where you actually were.”

“Right, that's it! All of a sudden all the lights went out. I quickly realized that it wasn't just the lights though, it was all the electricity in my room. And I'd had my phone right beside me, so I quickly realized that it was completely dead as well. I couldn't get any type of display or button response . . .”

All of a sudden the lights in the restaurant went out.
. . .

Sayu and Yuki were frozen with fear; it had been instant. Their skin was crawling now, and they felt their bodies become flushed from within. 

Yuki wanted to cry out, but she couldn't make a sound. Sayu wanted to get up, but she couldn't move a muscle. They both realized in unison that they couldn't move anything. Even their eyes were rooted in one exact direction.

They then realized that no one else was moving either. At least among the people they could see within their limited vision, everyone seemed to be frozen. And then, a shape began to coalesce, right beside Yuki. She could barely see it out of the corner of her eye. She felt as if her brain was about to explode, as it seemed to her as if any impulses to move were somehow being blocked by the pain centres of her nerves. Any attempt to get up or run or scream, only brought more pain.

Sayu could see what was appearing in full view. She tried to control her impulses, as she was also experiencing painful responses. It was appearing as black smoke, and she was afraid for her life. But if she couldn't move, there was nothing she could do, right? So was this the end? Had these things figured out how to attack them without giving them any chance to defend themselves?

The form began to gather more substance, and Sayu was expecting a wolf, or maybe a raven . . . but soon the mass of the smoke suggested something taller. Sayumi's brain didn't have time to decide whether this was a more or less frightening prospect, as very quickly the mist filled in to reveal a man, sitting there beside Yuki.

He was dressed in a black robe, with some type of hood pulled up and over his head. He appeared to be bald, and Sayumi realized then that he also had no eyebrows, and no hint of hair anywhere else on his face.

And at first she thought that they were simply the last things which were going to materialize, but when they didn't, she understood the truth of it: he had no eyes! The sockets were empty, vacant spaces where the smoke still resided, swirling pools of black mist against his ultra-white skin. He appeared to be a Western foreigner of some type, but the skin was not just Caucasian (no matter how far north he came from), it was true white. Albino? Was that the word?

“Get out now.”

And immediately, all the tension released from their muscles, and both Yuki and Sayu involuntarily banged their legs into the table as the delayed impulses kicked in with unbalanced counter-force. The sharp pain caused them both to squeeze their eyes shut for a moment, and when Yuki turned to look, there was nobody sitting beside her. The lights had returned, and a quick glance confirmed that everyone else in the restaurant seemed to be back to moving normally, giving no indication that anything strange had occurred.

“Sayumi, what do we do?” Yuki said, and as they both turned their heads to face each other Sayu could see that Yuki's eyes were already filling with uncontrollable tears, and figured she might not be far behind. She needed to keep calm. Even though the words had been in English, Sayumi had completely understood them.

“Let's go. Now!” Sayumi said, using the urgency and power of her tone as a method to not let the fear overtake her.

Yuki and Sayu both grabbed their bags and got up from the table, and began making their way for the exit. After a few paces, Sayu realized they had already ordered food, and really should pay for it even if their weren't going to eat it.

She opened her bag to fetch her purse . . . and Yuki and her both instinctively dropped to the floor, covering their heads with their arms, as a loud noise followed by shattered glass flew in their direction.

Their ears were ringing from the sound, and they looked up towards it to see the front end of a car sticking through the wall! It had crashed right into the building . . . and essentially demolished the table they had been sitting at!

Everyone else in the restaurant either reacted with subdued terror or silent shock. After a few moments, a middle-aged man finally got up and approached the car. He tried to open the driver door, but it appeared to be wedged shut. He peered closely into the windows, and then turned back towards everyone else who were watching in silence.

“There is no one in there,” he said, with a confused expression.

And then everyone was clutching their ears, as a sharp and loud sound seemed to be coming from everywhere. The volume of the sound seemed to be rising, and Sayu realized it was a sound she was familiar with. The tone was now fluctuating between a sort of piercing shriek, and a wailing siren.

“What the hell is that?” asked the same man, shouting at the top of his lungs to be heard.

Sayumi didn't want to take her hands off her ears, but she reached into her bag to get her phone. She was right: the sound was coming from her phone! But it was impossibly loud. There was no way the phone had the power to make such a noise.

The man who had asked about the noise rushed over to her and grabbed the phone from her hand. He tried in vain to turn it off somehow, but the phone wasn't even on. In a fit of rage he threw the phone to the ground, and it smashed apart.

. . . At least the sound has stopped.

“What the hell was that?” he shouted, his voice now unnecessarily loud. Sayumi didn't know what to say, and Yuki was pretty much crying at this point, holding onto Sayu's arm with both hands.

The man took a few obvious sniffs of the air . . . “Gasoline! It must be leaking. Everyone out!”

And so everyone hastily evacuated the building, some finally being shocked out of their stupor by the man's command. One of the waitresses could be overheard phoning in the emergency on her cell phone as they exited.

Yuki tugged on Sayu's arm. “Let's go away, Sayumi,” she pleaded.

“But shouldn't we wait and talk to the police and stuff. I think we may have no choice but to tell somebody else what's happening to us now.”
“Maybe we should, but I don't want to stay anywhere near here any longer.”

Some people were scouring the street, but there was no indication of any accident. There were some cars which had stopped, but it appeared they had only done so upon seeing the wreckage. There didn't seem to be anybody suspicious around: no one hurt, or running away. So who had driven the car? How had it crashed? Everyone was occupied either on their phones or peering at the wreckage from a distance.

“Okay, let's go quickly then,” Sayu said in a whisper, and she and Yuki  proceeded to slink away down the back street. “We should discuss this with Momo too before we do anything.”

“Momo?”

Sayu realized that she hadn't had the chance to tell Yuki about Momoko yet, but before she could explain, Yuki had apparently brushed that aside in favour of a more pressing concern.

“Sayumi, what did you see beside me?”

“It was a man in a black robe. With no eyes.”

“I saw him in my dream!”

“So . . . is he helping us?”

“I think so.”

Both of them jumped as a new sound broke the conversation. There was a moment of worried fear, and they both glanced at each other in silence. Then Yuki reached into her bag and grabbed her phone.

There was no display. In fact, the phone didn't even appear to be on, yet the ring tone continued. Yuki hit the button, and brought the phone to her ear. Sayu was pressed up against her so she could hear as well.

“Hello?” Yuki said tentatively.

“Don't. Move. No matter what.” It was the same voice from in the restaurant!

The ground started shaking, violently. At least that's what it seemed, but quickly they realized that they were not being thrown off balance. It was more like the image of everything around them was shaking. Their perception of the space around them was shifting, and vibrating.

“Don't move!” Yuki said, both to reinforce her own will, and in case Sayu hadn't heard (or understood the English) through the phone.

The imagery around them now began to fade, as if a mist was starting to obscure everything, and at the same time it was still shifting in all directions. It was now imperceptible: a dim, chaotic jumble of unaligned roads, buildings, and signs.

They were rooted in place, both by command and fear. Their surroundings became darker and darker, until all that seemed to be around them was a swirling black mist.

Offline kuro_808

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2015, 02:08:48 AM »
This is interesting with Kashiwagi added to this.  I'm wondering how it'll work out with everyone :nervous
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Offline anarchangelic

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2015, 09:26:34 AM »
Chapter 5

Momoko knew something was wrong right away. She supposed it was possible that everyone had left the room while she was listening to music on her earphones, but even absorbed in the music, she was pretty sure that she would have noticed at least some of them leaving. So when she turned in her chair, expecting to see all her group mates (not to mention various managers and staff), the completely empty dressing room was more than a simple shock. She immediately assumed that something unnatural was happening.

Did I fall asleep? Even though this looked like exactly where she should be, she wasn't going to be tricked again.

She was a little afraid at this point, but maybe it was more like anxiety. Just what should I do now? If this is another dream, should I just sit here and see what happens, and react accordingly? Or should I take a more active role . . . maybe try to contact Sayumi?

She grabbed for her phone . . . but it was no good. This further confirmed that it was another dream, the phone useless as before.

So what then? Should I really just go outside and try to find Sayumi? I don't even know where she might be. She could be at home, but assuming there are no other people around just like the last time, I can't exactly hop on a train or get a taxi. I'm not going to just start walking without even knowing if she's there. And besides, do I really want to go out onto the street again?

She ran over to the door to the hall, discovered that it indeed had a lock, so she closed it and fastened it. Not that I can really be sure that would stop anything; and for all I know, the furniture in here is what I have to be worried about.

She looked around the room, eyeing everything, trying to mentally prepare herself in advance for any suspicious movement.

But the movement didn't come from anything in here, rather she heard a shuffling set of footsteps just outside the door. She frantically looked around, fear mounting, but there really was nowhere to hide. Sure, there was a table she could go under, but that would only provide a tiny bit of cover, which would only possibly work if whatever was out there only looked from the doorway and didn't actually come inside.

Her heart skipped a beat or two when the knock hit the door. A triple rap, with steady pace and average strength behind it. Her instinct to answer almost overrode her silence, and Momo clamped a hand over her mouth as backup.

“I know you are in there.” The voice was nearly monotone, not frightening in any way, but not exactly calming either. The voice was male, and it continued, “I am here to help you.”

Momo was conflicted, and so remained silent, as she tried to quickly think, also realizing now that he was speaking in English, yet somehow she understood perfectly.

“Surely you realize that the lock on this door would not hold a man with any significant strength for very long, and I assure you I possess such strength and more. I would prefer however, that you let me in of your own accord. Surely our dialogue can begin much easier that way . . .”
“Okay . . . I'm coming,” Momo blurted. Her heart was racing, and there was no way that she could be sure of his good intentions, but he was right about the door, wasn't he? Whether he was friend or foe, it was better not to antagonize him. And so she stepped up to the door and unlocked it, taking a quick step back after.

She was barely out of the way when the door flew open, and she gasped at the sight before her. The man was in a floor-length black robe, with only his hairless, bleach-white face showing. The real shock was the absence of his eyes. Only swirling mists occupied the sockets.
“My appearance may be strange to you, yet let that pass quickly, for we have not time to waste.”

“Who are you?”

“There are things I can tell you, but you must trust to follow me now. I will explain as we go, if I can.” At no point did his tone reflect the haste he was suggesting. Regardless of his appearance, Momoko had no reason to not believe him, and there wasn't anywhere else for her to go either.

“Okay,” she agreed. It seemed as if he had already begun to turn before she had spoken, and Momo fell in line behind, matching his brisk pace down the hall. “Where are we going?”

“For now, simply to the ground floor, and then outside. The elevators will not work, so we must take the stairs.”

“Okay, but who are you?”

He abruptly turned around and faced her, and Momo froze. “Give me your phone,” he said, arm reaching out.

“Okay,” Momo said, only realizing now that she had indeed been holding on to it the whole time. She handed it over, not understanding why he would want it. “It doesn't work though.”

“Not the way you would use it,” he began, turning back around and entering the stairwell, “but there is a connection in the Overworld, and I can make use of that to form a link here.”

As they started down the flights of stairs, Momo thought she heard a faint ringing sound, but she hadn't seen him press any buttons or anything. He wasn't even holding the phone up to his ear. After several “rings”, the sound stopped.

“Damn. That link is broken.” Even this had no emotion behind it, though it was clearly not what he had wanted. “It will take more of my energy to establish the next one.”

Momo thought she heard the faint ringing sound again. They were now about halfway down the building from where they had been.

“So . . . can you tell me who you are now?” She didn't want to break his concentration, but she couldn't just stay silent on the subject any longer.

“I am someone who can help you. A counterpart to the adversary who haunts you.”

“Why is this happening to us?”

“Your fate is lamentable. Simply put, you three are now caught in an ongoing war that truly has nothing to do with you. At least not in the physical sense of responsibility. On a psychological level, you hold great sway, and this adversary knows that an attack on you will divide the attention of his true enemy. Any resources his enemy spends on protecting you three, such as myself, will weaken his ability to fight other battles.”

“I don't understand. Who are these people? How can they do these things?”

“Quiet for a moment.”

“Hello?” The voice was tentative, and Momo couldn't tell where it had come from. But the robed man answered back.

“Don't. Move. No matter what.” They had hit the ground floor as he said this, and he handed the phone back to Momo.

“Who was that?”

“The others are in danger. They could remain where they are and ride out this rewind, but I believe the time has come to make an aggressive counterattack, and I need your help to be able to rescue them effectively.”

“Me? What can I do?”

He led her outside, and they were standing on a barren street. And that's when Momo heard the cracking sound at her feet!

“Trust me. Do not fear the transformation. Do not resist.”

The man began to flicker, and for a fraction of a moment he seemed to disappear, only to return holding a giant katana in one hand. For some reason, even though the ground was quaking underneath her, Momo had the urge to look up. Above was a giant black raven, which seemed to be dive-bombing straight for her!

The man in the robe leaped into the air, slightly higher than seemed possible, and swung the massive sword in an effortless arc. The raven changed its angle at the last possible second, barely avoiding the blow.

A fissure opened beneath Momo's feet, and she fell in partway, as she had before. The change began instantly, and it proceeded much faster this time. She could feel the hardening of her skin and muscles, and even though she felt a small bit of pain, she willed herself to give in to this transformation, to embrace it even.

The bird kept trying to attack her unmoving form, but no matter what flying feat it performed to get a new angle, there was inevitably a sword slash to deflect it.

She could now see the change in her skin, its similarity to bark. And there now appeared to be tiny flowers blossoming in various places. She could feel that she was rooted to the Earth somehow . . . that the power to affect this change was flowing from within the planet itself.

Momo felt that she was almost complete, whatever this was, and the raven came in for another attack from a high angle. It was coming at a tremendous speed this time.

The man was already in place to block the attack, but in that instant, a writhing tentacle of some sort broke through the cement, and quickly wrapped itself around the man, pinning his arms. He had not dropped the sword, and still had a bit of wrist control, but it was not enough to properly counter the speed of the bird, which this time hadn't been going for Momo after all.

Momo gave out an anguished cry when the raven's beak pierced right into the man's neck. It had come in like a missile, with no hesitation. The tip of the beak was actually coming out the other side of his neck, and blood was pouring out. The raven was scratching at his face now with its talons, seemingly unable to dislodge itself.

The man was able to get one hand free from the grip of the vine, and grabbed the bird by the head. He squeezed, and bones and cartilage cracked, the popping noises quickly changing to the wet and sticky sound of various fluids oozing out of the bird. The lifeless carcass was now hanging from the man's neck, and he continued to struggle for full freedom from the vine, which only caused more blood to gush from his wound.

And then Momo felt the ability to move return to her, and on instinct, she raised her arm, which was now essentially a thick branch, although it somehow remained fluid and responsive. Then, as if other parts of her (or was she feeling something else connected to her?) were lending their material to her arm, it quickly grew outwards, until Momo was able to wrap it around the vine which held the man. She tugged with all her might, and it was just enough to loosen its grip.

In a flash, the tentacle was sliced in half with an upward swing of the man's sword. The severed half of it hit the ground, and the root collapsed back into the hole it had sprung from.

The man collapsed too, barely able to prop himself up on his elbows as he lay there, sword still in hand. He raised his head to face Momo, and his words came out in a gargle.

“I fear I have done all I can. I fear . . . I will perish for now. You must find them. They are somewhere . . . west of here. The adversary's minions have at least been slain . . . yet a shadow of him still remains in the Overworld. I . . . know not what form . . . he has taken. A . . . reflection . . . of something. The attack he attempted on your friends was too unaligned with his reality of your circumstance, and thus its failure means he will not abide this . . . version of time. He will rewind . . . and the longer he has, the more he will solidify his inherency. If you can find them quickly . . . and find him quickly . . . he will be defenseless. If soon enough, he will still be near the scene of the attack. You must . . . kill . . . him. I'm . . . sorry.”

“No, don't be sorry,” Momo began, only now realizing that she had been so absorbed in what he had been saying that she had not noticed the tears that had been streaming. Her voice cracked under the despair, making the gratitude hard to express. “You fought with everything you had, and I owe you my life . . . so thank you.”

And with that, he collapsed, lifeless. But Momo would swear that she had glimpsed a smile forming right at the end.

She wanted to just break down and outright cry, but she owed it to him, and her friends, to remain strong. It seemed wrong to just leave him here, but he had told her to go as quickly as possible.

She resolved herself, and started walking west, praying for some indication of where Sayu (and whomever this other person the man had spoken to) may be.

Offline kuro_808

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2015, 09:05:52 PM »
 :shocked

Wow Momo witnessing such torture is crazy for her :nervous

and that bird...  :panic:
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Offline anarchangelic

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2015, 10:52:49 PM »
Chapter 6

To Sayu and Yuki, it seemed they had been standing still in this darkness for days. But that couldn't possibly be true, right? They tried their best not to move, but they were getting very tired.

After an unknown time had elapsed, they had hesitantly started talking to each other. The voice hadn't said anything about staying silent, right? They hoped that making noise wouldn't put them in danger, and there was no way they could have just stayed there in silence for much longer anyway.

So the first thing they had done was finish the tales they had tried to tell in the restaurant. Yuki finished her retelling of her dream, explaining how she had witnessed a man in a black robe, using a large sword in a fight against a wolf.

They had come out of a building, battling the whole way. They each scored hits on each other, and blood was being spilled. Their battle took them onto a back street, and at that moment Yuki had seen Sayu emerge from the same building.

Yuki had wanted to run to her, but that would have meant coming out from around the corner she was hiding behind, thus exposing herself (and possibly Sayu as well) to the two battling entities. She had almost decided to go for it anyway, when Sayu had begun to run off, apparently to follow a strange sound that Yuki could barely make out in the distance.

Yuki had then focused her attention back on the fight, just in time to see the man deliver a fatal blow to the wolf, practically slicing it in half. It lay there, twitching in its blood, and after a few moments, the man began to approach her, as if he had known she was there all along.

Yuki knew that he knew she was there, so she resigned herself, and slowly came out of her hiding space. Just as he got close enough for her to see that he had no eyes, she had awoken.

Sayu was so relieved to know that the wolf was dead, and wondered just who this mysterious man was.

Yuki had then proceeded to tell Sayumi about the incident with the raven and the owl. Hearing of the bird's death had brought a tear to Sayu's eyes, and she explained to Yuki how the owl had apparently helped her earlier, relating both that experience, and then the dream from her perspective.

So Yuki now knew that Tsugunaga Momoko-san was a part of this, having had no idea since she had not seen her in the dream, the same as neither of them had seen Yuki. She had then finished by explaining that she'd actually had another dream, involving a mist-filled cavern, culminating in a meeting with a man seemingly made of mist.

Both girls came to the conclusion that this was their enemy, the villain who plagued them. But why? What had they done to him? And how could they hope to survive these supernatural attacks much longer, even with the help of the strange man with no eyes?

So as time continued to pass, they began to talk about other mundane things. It was a way to stay sane. They also tried Yuki's phone every now and then, but it never worked.

Even with all that was going on, Sayumi couldn't help but give a small thought to how annoyed she was that her phone had been destroyed. But she certainly couldn't blame the guy who had done it; everyone had been ready to implode from the sound at that point.

Time continued to pass . . .

“Yuki, did you just hear that?”

“Yeah. Just barely.”

There had been a slight sound in the darkness, impossible to pinpoint or identify. Both girls tried to concentrate on their hearing . . .

There it was again! But what was it?

“Does it sort of sound like a cracking noise?” suggested Yuki.

“You're right!” Sayu responded, eyes lighting up. She drew in her breath and yelled outwards with all she had, “Momo!”



There was no way for her to even guess how long she had been walking for, trudging through the concrete like some monster, vacant streets only adding to the sense of timelessness. And it's not as if she'd been everywhere in Tokyo, but she was pretty sure that this was not her city. It was off somehow. The general orientation of any major landmarks seemed to be correct, but the actual layout of certain streets and buildings seemed to be a little different from the way she thought they should be.

She was finally beginning to despair a little, when she heard the sound. It was distant, and hard to make out, so she stopped her crushing through the road to be able to hear better . . . and there it was again.

. . . “Momo!”

Her spirit instantly revived to max, and she focused on the direction of the noise, trying to move carefully to make as little of her own, so she could navigate using the sound.

 . . . “Momo!” There were two voices now, sometimes shouting in unison, sometimes separate. After getting a little closer, Momo could be sure that one was Sayumi's. The other she couldn't quite recognize yet.

Momo stopped for a moment, and readied a cry of her own; but what came out was more of a guttural growl than any sound a human female could make, and an echo of it seemed to vibrate within her for a time, before finally fading. The sound shocked her, and she tested her voice at a lower volume. Thankfully, she found that she could still manage to speak clearly, but only if she kept her voice small; as soon as she tried to raise it higher, it inevitably took on some unnatural tone.

She tried to imagine what exactly her vocal chords actually were right now, nestled as they were within some unknown skin/bark/muscle hybridization. She also realized that no one was calling anymore, and she was afraid that her strange growl might have scared them into silence. No, please keep calling out!

She continued walking in the direction she had last heard the voices, and several moments later, was relieved when she again heard her name being called.

Finally, she saw them, and the relief was infinite. Is that . . . Kashiwagi Yuki? They were sort of looking in her direction, but not directly at her, so Momo shouted, “Sayumi, I'm here!”

Both girls turned their gazes slightly, and they were clearly aligned with Momo's.

“Momo? Where are you?” Sayumi said.

Ehhh? I'm right in front of you! I'm the tree again!”

“I can't see you! Yuki, can you see anything?”

“No. It's all darkness to me.”

Momo didn't understand what they were talking about, and by now she was only several metres away from them. “Okay. Well I can see both of you just fine. You're standing on the street right in front of me.”

“We can't even see any streets or anything,” Sayu said, and Yuki finished with, “It's just black mist everywhere.”

“Okay. I'm going to try to grab you. Don't get freaked out; it will probably feel strange.” Momo reached out with her “branches”, wrapping one around an arm of each girl, at the wrist. They both flinched a bit at the touch.

“Is that you?” asked Sayu.

“Yes. Don't worry.” But now, what should I do? Just as Momo finished thinking this however, she felt some sort of transfer begin flowing from her. The others clearly felt it too, and were startled.

“What is that?” asked Yuki.

“I don't know for sure, but I think we have to just trust it,” Momo replied.

Sayu and Yuki both tried to relax, and concentrated on the strange feeling. Momo now felt as if she were more a conduit than a source of this power, and the energy was increasing in waves.

Sayu felt as if her heart was going to burst, but Yuki was a little more used to this, as the feeling was similar to (albeit stronger than) when she had locked gazes with the owl.

The sensation increased over time, and finally Sayu thought she could take no more, her nerves humming, head thrown back in something akin to . . . ecstasy? And then . . . she was sitting down, gazing across a table at Yuki.

They were in the restaurant! They could see everything! People were around them again, and all normal sounds were present.

In wordless unison they both jumped up from the table and ran away from it, startling a few other customers. They ran over to the entrance and looked back at the table.

“Is something wrong?” It was their waitress, who had obviously noticed their odd haste. Neither of them really knew how to respond, and they just continued to stare at the table.

The seconds passed, with the waitress (and a couple other customers) dumbfounded . . . but nothing happened. Nothing crashed through the wall.

Yuki and Sayu turned to look at each other . . . and nearly jumped out of their skins at the sound of Sayu's phone ringing. But the ring tone was normal.

Sayu finally turned to the waitress. “Sorry, it's . . . nothing.” The waitress gave a short “Okay” and returned to other matters, and Sayu reached into her bag to answer her phone.

“Hello?”

“It's Momo,” came the welcome voice.

“Momo, what happened?” Sayu brought her face right up to Yuki's so that she would also be able to hear.

“I'm back where I used to be. Is it the same for you two?”

“Yes. I guess so . . . but does that mean all that stuff was just another dream?”

“I don't think so. That's not what he told me.”

He?”

“It was a man in a black robe with no eyes.”

“We saw him too!” Sayu exclaimed.

“He said it really happened, but that somehow it was going to get rewound because the attack was too contrary to reality or something.”

“What does that mean?”

“I don't know for sure. I'm trying to understand everything he said.”

“Do you know where he is now?”

Their frantic back-and-forth pace was finally broken, as Momo paused for a bit before replying.

“I'm afraid he is dead now.”

“No . . .” Yuki moaned, “he can't be.”

“I'm sorry, but he was killed when he was helping me. But listen, all the things he said to me, I can explain to you later, but for right now it's important that you hear this. He said that all the minions are dead, so I don't think we have to worry about wolves, ravens, or killer vines . . . I hope. But . . . he said that a shadow of the adversary still remains here, and that we will have to kill him if we are going to be safe.”

Something was clicking into place in Sayu's head, but Yuki spoke first.

“Momoko, where would he be, and how can we beat him?”

“The man said that as long as we are quick enough, he should still be around the scene of the attack on you, and he should be defenceless. But he also said that he didn't know what form he was in so . . .”

“Wait, Momo. What did you say at the start again?” It was Sayumi interjecting, with high inquisitive tension in her voice.

“Umm . . . he said that the minions are dead, but the adversary isn't.”

“No, what was his actual wording?”

“He said . . . that a shadow yet remains in the Overworld.”

That clinched it for Sayumi. “I know who he is!”

“Really? Well then find him fast! I better go now. Please be safe! I . . . I love you!”

She realized how strange it had sounded, and she hadn't meant it in that way; it had just seemed the thing to say, and had blurted out of its own volition.

“Thank you, Momo. I love you too,” Sayu responded, a smile forming regardless to their possible peril.

“Thank you, Momoko,” added Yuki.

“Okay, go get him. Ganbare!” And with that, Momo reluctantly hung up, knowing that it was up to them now.

She had been talking in the bathroom. I'd better get back to the dressing room now; everyone else is expecting me. It was so hard to just get on with normal things knowing that they were not out of danger yet, but there was no more for Momo to do right now.

She could only hope and pray for their success.



Sayu and Yuki left the restaurant with purpose. They had quickly paid for their food, giving a vague excuse for why they had to leave.

“Yuki, we should split up. You go that way, and check all the side streets, and I'll go this way. You're looking for a . . . little girl.” Sayumi had almost said young, but she was now completely certain in her mind of the untruth of this.

Yuki's eyes widened in surprise, and she didn't know what to say.

“She looks about nine maybe, and has short black hair. Now go!”

They separated, and began jogging down the street in opposite directions. They were frantically peering into store windows, looking down side streets, neither of them sure exactly how far to check in any direction. It was all guesswork . . . until finally Sayumi heard her name being shouted.

She ran back up the side street she had been checking, and spotted Yuki waving her over. Sayumi ran, not caring that some people were obviously noticing their behavior. They probably just think we are playing a game or something.

She caught up to Yuki, who had been pointing down a side street, who then took a slightly staggered position behind Sayu as they started forward.

“I saw her, I think,” Yuki whispered.

And then so did Sayu.

Kage was sitting down against the side wall of a building, her head tucked into her knees, looking down.

“ . . . Kage?”

The girl looked up, face full of tears, her complexion seemingly too pale.

“Sayumi! Can you help me get home? I feel sick.”

There was so much innocence in her voice, but this charade was over.

“I know who you are, Kage. You're whomever, or whatever Yuki saw in the cave. You're the one who's attacking us!”

“What are you talking about?”

“Don't bother! You should have picked a different name. Maybe then I wouldn't have realized so quickly.”

There was a few moments of silence, and then Kage's face changed from its feigned ignorance to a hardened look of anger. And the voice that emerged next, was not that of a little girl, but one that Yuki indeed recognized.

“Ah, but you see . . . there are rules to appellations that even I must follow.”

“It's him!” Yuki blurted, involuntarily cowering a bit more behind Sayu. “What do we do?”

Yes, you worthless creatures . . . what will you do? Leave now, or I will destroy you.”

Kage rose to her feet, and both Sayu and Yuki stepped back a few paces. The eyes . . . were frightening. This deep and dangerous voice coming from this cute form was too . . . unsettling. But Sayu was not going to give in to fear or uncertainty.

There may only be one way to end this, and she was going to put her faith in what the man had told Momo.

Sayu rushed forward and grabbed Kage by the arms. She wrestled her to the ground in a flurry.

“Help me, Yuki!”

And Yuki was there, grabbing at Kage's flailing legs, using her own weight to pin them down.

“How dare you! You will die!” the voice boomed, but Sayu knew now that it was just an act. In this form right now, this adversary had no more to offer strength-wise than a nine-year-old girl, and an apparently sickly one at that.

“Please don't hurt me.” It was again the innocent voice of a young girl, pleading.

Yuki almost got up, for the scene was just too horrible for her brain to process, even though she knew the truth. She fought against the urge, tried to block out the imagery of Kage-the-little-girl; she replaced it with the image of a dangerous raven, squirming to get loose. “What do we do now?” she asked of Sayu.

To Sayu, it was now a deadly wolf in front of her, ready to lunge at her if given the chance. She steeled herself for what she had to do.
Sayumi quickly moved her hands from pinning down Kage's arms . . . and latched them onto her throat. She squeezed, pressing her thumbs into her flesh.

Kage gasped and brought her hands up to grab at Sayu's, but Yuki reached over and did her best to keep them down. There were disgusting gurgling sounds coming from within Kage's mouth now, mingled with desperate attempts to cry out for mercy in both voices.

Sayu did not let herself give in to the sounds or the imagery, and pressed harder as she felt the muscular resistance begin to lessen. She kept her hands tight as the spit from Kage's mouth ran down over them.

Several moments later . . . it was done. There was no sound coming from the body. No movement. Sayu left her hands in place a few more seconds, finally removing them slowly. The sight of frothy saliva all over her hands, coupled with the tongue grotesquely peeking out of Kage's mouth, nearly made her puke.

Yuki reached over and hugged her tightly.

“Thank you, Sayu. I don't know if I could have done it. You're . . . so strong . . . in ways I wonder if I am, but now I know I need to be.”

Sayu returned the hug with equal intensity, and now that the heat of the moment had passed, began to sob into Yuki's shoulder. It didn't take long for Yuki to follow suit.

Time passed as they held each other.

“What's wrong?”

The sound startled them, and they both looked up quickly, to see the concerned face of an elderly man looking down at them.

Sayu turned towards Kage . . . but she was gone. Yuki looked over, and thought she could barley make out a faint trace of smoke, but only for a moment. Yuki and Sayu turned to face each other, and slowly, smiles came to both of them, and they had to laugh a little at how they must have looked, kneeling together here on the street sobbing. Finally Yuki decided to respond.

“Everything is fine. Thank you for your concern. We were just talking about some things that made us sad. But we're okay.” She rose up as she said this, holding Sayu's hand to pull her up too.

“Okay . . . I'm only sorry that you have anything to be that sad about,” the man said. “You should be happy young girls,” he added with a smile, trying to match their upturning mood.

“You're right!” began Sayu. “It's all in the past now, so we'll do our best to forget about it and move on.”

“That's the best attitude,” he said. “Well, I'll be going then.”

They both thanked him again, and he turned with a wave and began to walk away.

Sayumi pulled out her phone and dialled . . .

“Sayu?”

“Momo, we did it! We're both okay, and Shadow is dead!”

Offline kuro_808

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2015, 09:54:18 PM »
Well that's over with now I wonder if more are going to start popping out of nowhere... :nervous
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Offline anarchangelic

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #10 on: August 17, 2015, 04:44:56 AM »
Epilogue

Momo hadn't been able to talk long on the phone at that time, but when she was free later that night, all three girls met up. They chose to go to a park this time.

They congratulated each other on getting through this experience. Momo tried her best to relay everything the robed man had told her, and heard Yuki's side of events for the first time.

The girls tried their best to piece together what they could, in an effort to find the most clarity and understanding, but obviously much of exactly how and why this had happened was simply out of their grasp.

They had to hope that the eyeless man had been right . . . that there would be no more attacks now.

Their emotions were running so high. Their feelings for each other were compounded and solidified by these shared experiences. They'd witnessed each other in situations that most others never would. They'd shared pain, fear, and anguish, and now held on to the affection which had been strengthened by it.

No matter how each of them chose to go on with their life from here, there would always be an undeniable connection between them that would never be forgotten.

They eventually parted reluctantly, all going to their respective homes. It would be a while before they could fully feel normal again; these events would always be in the corner of their minds.

They all went to sleep that night, knowing that this was the final day of their first life as it were. Everything would seem different from now on, in a multitude of ways they couldn't even really envision just yet. These events would impose a reflection in everything they did.




A dream within a dream?

It began in perfect darkness. They realized their consciousness, but had no perception of their physical bodies.

Soon . . . they all just knew somehow, that the others were there too. They could not see anything, nor speak, nor move; yet they could sense each other's presence.

They could also sense the presence of another . . .

“Well done, girls.” The voice was everywhere.

“I cannot avoid being impressed with your will. Of course, your victory, as it were, owes much to the will of another. Yet you are due some credit. In retrospect . . . if I had actually succeeded in killing one of you outright, I can now see that it probably would have backfired on me. Your death would likely have had an effect on my enemy which is contrary to my aims. I would have preferred if our battles had lasted longer, but I must admit that I did not expect how much he would be willing to sacrifice to keep you safe.”

If any of the girls had the urge to respond to this, they were still unable to speak. So they continued to listen, hoping to learn more.

“Surely you all want to know just who I, and this other whom I fight, are. Yet to reveal such to you would only invite more power to him. For you to ever have knowledge of him, or worse yet, actually acknowledge him, would truly diminish me. I tell all you this much out of respect. It is ironic that a part of me now understands your influence over him, albeit from a perspective that is surely uncommon to his wakescape. But I still despise it.
“To be honest . . . I thought I was winning. I thought this was the perfect time to attack your resonance. He seemed so . . . distracted. There were even others I had planned to diminish, but again, I wasn't expecting him to respond so quickly; to leave himself so . . . vulnerable, so possibly empty.”

There followed a somewhat prolonged silence at this point, and a palpable anger (mixed with . . . sorrow?) descended on the girls, filled their heads and hearts as if they had called it forth from their own minds. And for a moment, all three of them heard something which they would later agree had not been meant to be audible to them: an internal lament unknowingly projected, soft and full of worry . . .

Why?
Why must it be this way?
How can he not see that I am right?


Slowly the emotional emanation within them faded (to a low murmur) . . . and finally the enemy delivered his last message.

“No matter . . . Depending on how the battle with my(self) opponent goes in the future, there may again come a time when an assault on you, or possibly others close to you, will again become necessary(permitted). So enjoy your peace while you have it, for it may(will) not last forever . . .”
[/font][/font]




[And so this tale comes to a place of respite for now. The truth is however, that it is part of a larger literary world, which begins with my novel, UNTITLED. So while the story can hopefully be enjoyed on its own, specifically within its designation as J-idol fanfiction, the truth is that there is more information to be gleamed about the overall events at play.

So, if anyone here is interested, here are the US and Canadian links to my novel on Amazon.

[removed for slight breach of the rules : x -Yuuyami]

But the truth is that while of course I would love sales of my novel, I would have no problem in giving a free digital copy to anyone on here who might be interested. If you use Google Books Search, you can also read a long preview, but otherwise, if you want to give it a try please message me.

Now what the novel is about can of course be seen on the Amazon sites, and on the back cover of the book, but to put it briefly here: It is a psychological mystery with some uncommon visual presentation. There is a minor connection to the J-idol world in that the main character does have an obsession with it, thus it gets some minor references. Things that occur in it have connections to "awakenings" . . . and the ultimate truth is that this story will be contained within a 2nd novel, which I plan to release very soon.


Edit: It has been brought to my attention that linking to my novel is to be seen as crossing a line of conduct. So let this post stand solely for the idea that I would absolutely enjoy anyone who was interested in freely reading a story of mine to message me.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2015, 06:45:59 AM by anarchangelic »

Offline kuro_808

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #11 on: August 17, 2015, 05:16:32 AM »
awesome on these fics hope to see more from you in the future in relation to H!P fanfics :)
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Offline anarchangelic

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Re: Awakenings
« Reply #12 on: November 26, 2015, 05:26:30 AM »
Well, my literary world has now progressed, and my second novel EXPANSION is now available (in which this story bears relevance). If one were to use Google book search for the name Adam Sawka, fairly long previews of both novels can be seen. There are also a few reviews on Amazon for the first which might give more information about what one might be getting into.
So as I said before, anyone on this forum who might be interested in reading a legitimate mystery series which also feature some allusion to the power of being obsessed with the concepts of this Idol world as an additional plot progressor might want to consider these novels. I doubt you would be able to find such a combination anywhere else, so help me out if you can afford to buy them and help the concept of spreading our interest in this phenomenon into Western media as well, within this unique merger.

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