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.
?” 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.
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.
It was not like the last time, where it had started in her room and seemed completely real.
Now it seemed she was in some kind of cave.
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?
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.
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
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:
Something seemed to catch her eye for a moment, but wasn't there when she glanced towards it.
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.