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2. Chapter 1

 

“Man, I really hate these clothes,” complained Kojima Naozumi, tugging at his school uniform constructed of the standard black slacks and black, button-up shirt. His slightly long hair was jet black and made in his favorite pair of headphones blend in. He was listening to his old mp3 player that had lasted him for years. Standing at the school gate, he was talking to no one in particular. Seeing as how late he was, there was no one to talk to anyways. “Damn, first day of school and I’m already late.” Letting out a deep sigh he shrugged and muttered, “Eh, won’t be the last time”

          While taking all the time in the world, Kojima sauntered on towards his class, enjoying his music. He took a moment, looking outside the long windows lining up on the wall opposite of the classrooms in the hallway. He decided to open one up and lean on the window sill, allowing his upper body to feel the soothing spring breeze. Looking out at the blue sky, he couldn’t help but get a familiar nostalgic feeling. Life is so boring, he thought to himself. He soon lost himself to his music and the sublime scenery. He slowly returned to reality, and began to get up, but something tugged at his peripherals. Scanning the trees, he noticed one that particularly stood out. There. What is that? Upon closer inspection, he thought he saw someone sitting on the other side of the big tree. Eh, whatever. He figured it was just his screwy imagination again. He quickly got up, closed the window, and returned to the task of getting to class.

           Arriving to his classroom door, he looked up at the sign that read “2-3A”. Knowing how late he was, he drew in a big breath prepared to face the consequences. Letting out all his air, he pulled open the door and stepped through. All faces turned to him the instant he opened the door, and the teacher was glaring at him. “What are you doing here so late? Especially on the first day,” the teacher demanded.

          “Yeah, yeah. At least I’m here,” Kojima replied hollowly while waving the teacher off. He knew he had become somewhat infamous at this school due to his behavior. The teacher, his face heating up, demanded, “Just get to your seat”

          Kojima quietly obeyed and walked over to his seat. He couldn’t help but noticed all the eyes that were fixated on him, but when he caught some of the students with eye contact they quickly turned away. Kojima inwardly sighed at the treatment he was getting, but he noticed that three faces in the room had different expressions than all the others. Wow I can’t believe I got all three of them in the same class. Kojima reminisced of his friends. Since elementary school we’ve been together. Well actually, it’s more like they have stuck around with me for this long. Getting a swift nostalgic feeling that had become a part of his daily routine, he couldn’t help but get a smile. If anything was good in this life it was his friends.

         

            Kojima set his bag on the hook on the side of his desk and sat down. He released a sigh as was getting comfortable. Propping his head up with his elbow, Kojima gazed around the room. Hmm this seat is nice. In the back and next to the window. Sweet. Quickly getting bored of the lecture the class was receiving, he pulled out his headphones. He looked out the window to his left and was awestruck by the view. It was a perfect view of the city. In this day of age to say that the city was strange was an understatement. It had quite a few buildings that were twenty-odd stories high even a few sixty stories buildings in the center of town, but unlike most modern cities there was plenty of nature to be seen. The city was quite large and yet the people of it managed to keep much of the original fauna intact. Kojima had no idea how or why the mayor (or whoever ran this place) had the city made like this but he loved it.

            His thoughts quickly got mingled with his music, and another daily day dream was born in the mind of Kojima. The repeated requests of Mr. Shinichi for Kojima’s attention were futile. Both the teacher and the class thought Kojima was living up to the notorious rumors spread about him, but, as a matter of fact, he was simply tuned out to his music and never heard a sound from Mr. Shinichi. Although listening to Mp3 players were prohibited at school, Kojima had a way to get away with it. By putting the headphone wires down his shirt, his black head phones blended perfectly well with his black hair. After the ninth or tenth request Mr. Shinichi gave up with a sigh of exasperation. Kojima felt a sudden chill skate up his spine interrupting his day dream. He turned around just in time to see the whole class looking at him before they quickly turned to the front. He sat there for a moment in confusion. Unsettled, he glanced over at one of his friends, Ishimaru Takumi, and he could see Ishimaru was trying to stifle a laugh. Looking over to his two other friends, Yuki Tsubaki and Kaito Misaki, Kojima saw they were shaking with the effort of trying to retain their laughter. Kojima felt just as confused as irritated and got Ishimaru’s attention. He mouthed. What’s going on? Ishimaru only started laughing some more and shook his head. Kojima sighed. Whatever. He eventually lost interest to class yet again and put the palm of his right hand to the right side of his face, propping his head up with his elbow. He turned back to the window and a large yawn made his eyes water.

            A sudden earsplitting scream pierced Kojima’s eardrums, causing him to jump. He slowly raised his head and looked around, dazed. He gazed at the strange sight with half closed eyes. Kojima sat there for a minute trying to register what the reason was for all these kids in his room, and how his room became a class room. His memory slowly returned to him. He was at his high school. Feeling very disappointed of the fact he wasn’t lying on his bed but on his desk, at school, he closed his eyes and put his head back down into his crossed arms. “Hey! Get up lazy ass!” Reluctantly raising his head back up, he saw a girl dressed in the beige vest with the white, long-sleeved undershirt of the normal girl’s uniform. The bottom of her plaid skirt was modestly four inches above her knee as per school standards. She was striding towards him, her light-brown, neck length hair swaying with her intent steps. Cursing, he tried setting his head back down to pretend to be asleep, but Yuki was too close now and grabbed him by the sides of his head and brought it back up. Her face was mere inches from his, yet she didn’t lower her voice when she spoke to him, “Don’t you dare try pulling that.” Kojima lazily replied, “What do you want?”

            “Didn’t you hear the bell? It’s lunchtime.”

            Oh that’s what it was. But how did I hear that… He looked down and saw his headphones hanging from his shirt collar.  Ah must’ve fallen out while I slept. “Oh, yeah” he replied simply. He pulled her hands away from his face and laid his head back down again. Yuki glared at the top of his head, annoyed. She sighed and walked around to the back of Kojima’s chair. Kojima heard the footsteps and, thinking she left, breathed a sigh of relief. Yuki had a sly grin on her face as she took her index finger and placed it in her mouth. Proceeding to collect enough saliva, she swiftly pulled it out and stuck it straight into Kojima’s right ear. The slimy sensation sent a chill from Kojima’s ear down his whole body. He jumped up knocking over his chair and called out in a very manly shriek. He was shaking his head and wiping his ear with his sleeve. “What the hell was that for!” he demanded as he shot a hard look at Yuki. She was clutching her sides and laughing hysterically at his reactions. “That’s what you get for sleeping in class” she managed to gasp out.

            “You sleep in class too!”

            “Yeah but I get good grades.”

            “Well…whatever” he said, knowing she was right. She always had a high grade while he barely passed. “Where are the other guys?”

            “They’re already towards the room. I took of the…pleasure of waking you up,” she giggled.

            Kojima got the chills remembering the sensation of the wet willy. He bent over to pick up his chair and put it back into place. “Okay then let’s go” he said, picking up his bag. “Alright” she replied grinning.

            The two exited through the open classroom doors and walked towards “the room”. The room was a strange, unused room the group found their first year of high school. On one of their ditching runs around the school, they came across an unlocked room and decided to lounge around in there for a while. After a few weeks of revisiting the room, they concluded it was their room since no teachers seemed to have a use for it or knew it existed for that matter. To this day, the room has been used by Kojima and his friends without any problems. Although they were curious of why the room remained unused, even though all the lights, furniture, and floors were all in perfect condition, they never asked the teachers in fear that they would lose their hang out spot.

            As Yuki and Kojima were walking, he remembered something. He walked up to the window he was at this morning and scanned the view, looking for that one specific tree. “Hey, what’re you doing?” Yuki asked “Looking for something?” She walked up him and followed his gaze into the trees. He replied remotely, “Mhm.” Where was it? Kojima asked himself.  His eyes finally locked on to the distinct tree. He peered at the side of the tree and with the bright light of the midday sun; he could see part of a silhouetted person. Kojima wondered if it was the same person that was still sitting on the other side of the tree earlier.

            “Heyyyy, you alright there Kojima?” Yuki asked him. Yuki’s voice broke Kojima’s thoughts.

            “Oh, uh, yeah let’s go.” Kojima replied as he started walking away, but for some reason he couldn’t break away from looking out the window.

            “Come onnn, we don’t want to make them wait longer.”     

            “Okay, okay.” Kojima said as he finally managed to part from the window.

            The two arrived at the room shortly and slide open the doors. Ishimaru and Kaito were sitting at the table, eating their lunch. “Hey, what took you two so long?” questioned Kaito.

            “Well I had to wake this guy first,” Yuki explained, turning to grin at Kojima, “then he had a weird episode and stared out a window for a while.”

            Kojima shuddered when Yuki grinned at him, remembering the trauma he endured earlier. “Ah, well that’s normal,” Ishimaru joined in, “come on and eat, we got you both some food.”

            “Great, thanks you two,” Yuki said joyfully. She and Kojima sat down opposite of Ishimaru and Kaito. [Description of food, (do they say “ikatakumasu” or not?), Etc.] After eating their food, the group enjoyed the rest of lunch chitchatting about their new school year. The bell rung, signaling that lunch was over. They all gathered their things and left the room. During the walk towards their classroom, Kojima slowed slightly to look out the window again. He shook his head to get thought out of his mind. Kaito stood at the side of the open the door of the classroom and, imitating a butler of some sorts, bowed his arm across his chest and gestured towards the open door. “After you sirs and ma’am,” he said with his best sophisticated imitation. Kojima and Ishimaru only smiled and shook their heads as they walked through. Yuki laughed and with a curtsy, followed them through. They took their seats and waited for the second bell that indicated the start of class. Kojima took out his headphones and put them in. As he turned on his Mp3, his thoughts drifted to what Yuki said to him about his grade. He then decided to take out his right headphone. This was what he usually did so he could hear both the lectures and his music. By doing this, Kojima kept class from getting too boring without failing it. He took a big breath, preparing for a couple hours of boredom.

            The final bell rang. Mr. Shinichi dismissed the class and the room was quickly filled with the sounds of students getting up and putting their things away. The majority of the class left right away, but a few kids stayed to talk among their friends. Kojima pushed himself up and out of his seat, feeling incredibly happy school was out. His three friends walked up to him. “Ugh, I hate school,” Ishimaru grumbled. Kojima nodded in agreement while he packed his things. “Well look at the bright side,” _____ chimed in. Everyone turned to him expectantly. “One down, hundreds more to go!” he finished with and grin reaching ear to ear. “I hate you,” the Kojima, Ishimaru, and Yuki said in unison, glaring at _______. _____ held up his hands to protect himself. Chuckling wryly, he responded, “Heh, sorry.” They all left the classroom and began to walk home. Walking through the hallways, they were all talking and laughing about the way Yuki woke Kojima up. As the group passed the long stretch of windows, Kojima glanced outside yet again remembering what was out there. Kojima was fed up the curiosity that’s been piling up all day. “Hey you guys go on ahead. I’ve got something I need to do,” Kojima called out as he quickly walked off from the group. He ran off so fast, his friends were unable to even ask what he was doing. A little shocked by the suddenness of his leave, the three took a moment to stare after Kojima before leaving the school.

            Why? Why? Whyyy? Kojima’s mind was barraging itself with the question. He was almost to the door leading outside. Damn this curiosity, Kojima thought as he pushed the double doors open. The bright sunlight momentarily blinded him. Blinking, he walked outside and looked around, gaining his surroundings. He was in some sort of courtyard on the side of the school. It seemed like a nice, aesthetic place for kids to hang out during lunch. The forest was just a few yards away, giving the air that Kojima drew in a nice, fresh aura. He held his breath and closed his eyes for a peaceful moment. He exhaled out his mouth and opened his eyes. He looked at how serene the scene was with the forest next to the courtyard. Drawing his eyes across the trees he found what he was looking for. Kojima’s curiosity returned as approached the tree. He walked slowly around the tree expecting some horrible ghost girl to consume his soul. He jumped his last few steps and almost fell over in embarrassment. There was nothing there but more grass. Kojima let out a sigh, mixed with relief and disappointment. He plopped down on the grass with his back leaning on the tree. Man, I really need to calm my imagination down. He closed his eyes started to drift off.

            Kojima jumped as he awoke to the sound a twig snapping. Looking around he remembered where he was. Yawning, he prepared to get up, but some movement to his right caught his eye. He suddenly remembered what woke him up. Through the foliage, he could see a figure moving close to the ground. His heart stopped as he saw that it was crawling towards him on all fours. Its head was covered in hair reaching down to the ground. The thing looked human but something was off. It stopped about ten feet from Kojima and raised its head. Kojima was unable to move a muscle. He just kept staring at the thing as it raised its head and its hair parted to reveal its face. It had a girl’s face. Her skin was deathly pale. Kojima’s eyes widened in terror as he notice she had no eyes. Empty eye sockets stared back at him. The girl smiled, revealing rows of thin, needle-like teeth. She crept closer to him. Kojima was slack jawed and just sat there waiting for the inevitable. She was a mere foot from his face as she opened her mouth impossibly wide like a python’s. Kojima looked into the maw that was going to consume him. He closed his eyes hoping for it to be quick.

            Kojima’s eyes snapped open as he looked at the sideways trees. He felt soft grass on the right side of his face. The modest radiance of the setting sun bathed the forest, stretching the shadows. He pushed himself up to a sitting position. He rubbed the right side of his head that hit the ground moments ago. He stood up and stretched, yawning. Damn, it’s already sunset. He thought, gazing at the mountains slowly covering up the sun. He turned around and caught sight of it. The monster from his dream was no more than twenty feet from him, crawling on all fours. A terror spread across Kojima. He got over it quickly and shook his head. When he looked again, there was a normal girl in his school’s uniform. He sighed, thinking of that horrid dream. Wait, what is she doing? He looked closer and saw she was moving her hands through the grass. Kojima took a deep breath, “Uh, hey. You looking for something?” The girl jumped at the sudden voice. “Yeah,” she replied simply.

            “Do you need some help? It’s kinda dark.”

            “No, I’m fine,” the girl said without lifting her head.

            “Are you sure? What are you looking for?” Kojima persuaded,”I’m Kojima Naozumi by the way.”

            “I don’t need help. Leave.”

            Kojima was shocked by her demand. “Fine. Just trying to nice.” He walked past her on his way out. He kicked something on the ground. He bent over to pick it up. It was a pair of sunglasses. He sighed, “Hey, you, happen to be looking for a pair of sunglasses?”

            The girl was sitting up now and even in the darkness Kojima could see her back stiffen up. “Yes.”

            Kojima walked over to her. “Here,” he said hold out the glasses. The girl reached up and bumped the glasses with her fingers. She wrapped her fingers around it and took it from Kojima. Still staring at the ground, she put the glasses on. “Um, isn’t it hard to see this late with sunglasses on?” Kojima asked curiously.

            “No.”

            A little more than irritated at this point with the girl’s attitude, Kojima said, “Well your welcome.”

            “…”

            Kojima was getting really angry now. “Whatever, don’t even know why I helped you. Should have just let you look for them all night.” He turned away and walked off. He stopped after only a dozen steps. He sighed heavily. No matter what his reputation was or who anyone thought he was; he had always shown respect towards girl, with few exceptions. He turned around and walked back to see she was still searching for something. “What now?” The girl jumped at his voice again. “Do you need help with finding something else?”

            “I thought you were going to leave.” She said, more of a statement than a question.

            “Well I couldn’t just leave you here at night.”

            “How gallant.” She mocked.

            Keeping himself calm, Kojima repeated, “So what’re you looking for?”

            “I’m fine. I don’t need help.”

            Kojima sighed and pulled out his phone to use as a flashlight. He walked over to where she sat and started from there. He swayed his light side to side across the grass looking for anything out of the ordinary. The beam from his flashlight shone across something in the grass. At first, Kojima thought it was just a large stick, but when he looked closer he saw it was silver. He walked over to it and saw what looked like a large pole. He bent over to pick it up and examined it. “Uh, are you looking for a pole-type thing?” he asked the girl as he walked back to where she was still sitting. “Yeah.” She replied simply. He held it out to her and she didn’t make a move to take it. “You going to take it or what?” he said, harsher than he meant to. She held out her hand for Kojima to give her the pole. As she took it, she used it to push herself up off the ground. Having got up, but standing still, her back was to Kojima. “How did you drop your glasses and that pole anyways?” He questioned her.

            “It’s a cane.”

            “Oh. Well what happened?”

            “I fell.”

            “Wait, are you okay?”

            “Yes.”

            “Why did you need the pol-…cane? Are you injured?”

            The girl turned around to face him. “What?”

            “Well you have a cane and you fell earlier. I thought you hurt your legs or something?”

            “Are you stupid?”

            “What the hell? Where did that come from? It makes sense”

            “You must be completely idiotic. Think about it. I’m wearing sunglasses, at night. I have a cane. I couldn’t find my stuff when it was 4 feet away from me. Anything come to mind?”           

            “That you’re dumb too?” Kojima cracked.

            “I swear I will beat you to death with my cane.” The girl replied hotly.

            “Kidding. Kidding. But uh, I don’t know? Should I know?”

            The girl groaned loudly. “I. Am. Blind.”

            Kojima’s jaw dropped to the ground. “What…no way. But you were looking at me and stuff.”

            “I was facing the direction of your voice, that’s all.” Kojima was stunned. He connected all the pieces together. “There’s no way you didn’t figure out I was blind earlier. Why did you help me if you didn’t know?”

            “No, I didn’t know until now. Well, I don’t know. To be helpful, I guess.”

            “What were you doing here anyways? No one comes through here.”

            “Well…uh. I’m not a creep, okay? I just thought I saw someone out here all day. So when school finally ended I got fed up and decided to come here.”

            “You’re weird.”

            “Hey! You’re the weird one sitting out here all day. Did you even go to classes?”

            Looking down she replied, “There’s was no need to.”

            Kojima felt like he hit a nerve. Crap. “Well why were you sitting out here instead of going home?”

            “I love this place. It’s so quiet and peaceful.”

            “Yeah, it is.”

            She was still looking down, “I really wish I could see it.”

            Crap. He had to say something. Anything. “Hey stop looking so depressed.” Well…I said something.

            “Shut up. Don’t tell me what to do.”

            “I’m just trying to help.”

            “Whatever.” She suddenly turned and walked away.

            “H-hey! Where are you going?”

            She stopped “Home.”

            “It’s dangerous at night for a girl. Plus how do you even know where you’re going?”

            “I’ll be fine. Leave me alone.” She continued walking.

            “Fine, you idiot. Have fun.” Kojima yelled to her. He turned and walked off in the opposite direction. That dumb girl. He thought as he stomped away. Try to be nice and she acts like a brat. He muttered irritably as he was walking. He suddenly got the image of guys surrounding the girl. He shook his head. Dammit. He turned around and ran back towards the girl. He turned a street corner and saw her up ahead. Sighing relief, he followed her.

            She apparently reached her home and stopped at the front door. Looks like she made it fine. Ugh, what a waste of time. He turned around to walk home. “Hey! Kojima was it?” Kojima jumped at the shout and turned around to see the girl still standing at her front door, facing him. “How did you know I was here?”

            She crossed her arms, “I’m blind, not deaf.”

            “But it could have been anyone.”

            “Yeah, but you have a certain…stupidness to your footsteps.”

            “Wait, are you saying you recognized me by my footsteps? So you knew I was behind you this whole time?”

            “Yes and yes.” Kojima was speechless. That was crazy how she could do that. “Anyways…thanks.” Now Kojima was completely paralyzed. He just got a thanks from her.

            “Ah, um no problem.” He stuttered out.

            “And well…” the girl felt her face warm slightly. “My name is Chihiro. Nice to meet you.” Chihiro politely but quickly bowed and went inside her house. W-what? What in the hell just happened? Holding his head, he let out a frustrated grunt. He took a deep breath and finally started his walk home.

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