Orikami

A hobby is taken to a whole new level when a young teenager discovers something that will change his life overnight. Ryuka, a young man keeping his childhood alive with his interest in origami, wishes upon burning candles on his 16th birthday. What presents itself thereafter changes a simple love of tradition into a magical ability.

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2. Keep a Secret

Ryuka groaned as his mind began awakening. Keeping his eyes closed, he could feel the cool morning breeze leaking through his window.

He yawned. Ryuka didn't have any dreams last night. It even seemed that he kept still the entire time.

 

He yawned again. This time, he felt something poke his tongue. He gasped and sprang upright, covering his mouth as he fought through the dim sunrise that was seen grazing near the corner of his bedroom door.

He searched his bed, frightened to expect a bug. Was he stung? Bitten? He quickly dug through the layers of bedsheets to search for whatever poked him. The sensation in his tongue went away almost instantly after he turned his attention back to it.

 

"What the heck was that?" he called out to himself.

 

It was too early for anyone to be awake. He could faintly hear the early morning birds singing outside. He flopped back down, landing his head on his pillow. He stretched and tried to go back to sleep. He spread his arms and legs outward, his left arm dangling over the edge of his bed.

 

Nearly dozing off back to sleep, Ryuka felt another poke on his left palm.

 

He gasped even louder this time.

"Okay, something's wrong here," Ryuka stuttered as he scrambled out of his bedsheets.

He examined his palm. A faint red dot was in the middle of his palm. It didn't puncture his skin, nor was it long before the sensation went away.

 

Against the chirping birds, he heard a distinct noise directly in front of him. Ryuka felt a chill shoot from his spine to his feet.

 

Ryuka shook his head, regaining himself. He slowly crept to the edge of his bed. He peeked over to examine the floor.

 

"Ah!" Ryuka shrieked.

 

His body immediately recoiled away from the edge of the bed as a small figure fluttered upward.

 

"N—" Ryuka whined out, "No way!"

 

Glimmering from the sunlight coming from his window, Ryuka gaped at a golden crane. Flapping. Moving. Chirping.

 

"You—" Ryuka hollered, "You're...alive!"

 

He began to hyperventilate. Was he dreaming? It had to be a dream. He quickly whipped his head to look at his desk. The crane he had left there last night wasn't there anymore. Only the candle was there. He swept his attention back to the crane in front of him. This was the crane he had folded yesterday.

 

He kept his stare fixed at the chirping paper as it flew around his room. He could see the crane's material clearly when it suddenly flapped toward him, making Ryuka flinch slightly. The foil he used didn't look like foil anymore. It looked fluffy, flexible, lighter. Its tail that once stood up with a point at the end was softened, freely flowing from side to side as the crane chirped in front of Ryuka.

 

"This is—" Ryuka whispered as a smile emerged, "this is amazing."

 

Ryuka swallowed hard. He felt himself slowly bringing his palm up. The crane's head bent to look at Ryuka's hand. He opened his palm wide and gradually moved it toward the flying paper crane. The crane didn't hesitate even slightly. It touched down on Ryuka's fingertips, calming its wings like a butterfly hatching from its chrysalis.

 

He felt his body become warm. This really was amazing. He couldn't break his sight from the mobile crane. This was real. He could feel it. See it. He occasionally blinked and rubbed his eyes as to finally awaken from such a vivid dream. Every time he checked, though, he was still looking at the crane in his palm, cleaning its wings, looking around. Looking at Ryuka.

 

He then broke out into a giggle.

"This is amaz!"

 

"Ryuka?"

 

Before Ryuka could react at all, the door squeaked open. His younger sister, Mirei, entered his bedroom. But she never met eyes with Ryuka.

 

"Ooh!" she shrieked. "What's that?"

Ryuka snapped into action. He cupped the crane and stuffed it under his bedsheets.

"It's— it's nothing," Ryuka stammered.

"Let me see," Mirei whined.

 

Ryuka could see the bedsheets fluff up and down.

 

"Ani," Mirei continued. "Was that an origami crane?"

"Y-yes," Ryuka answered immediately.

Mirei kept hopping. "How come it's moving like that?"

 

Ryuka's neck felt hot. How could he explain this to her? Even he couldn't understand it.

 

"It's—" Ryuka tried to explain, "it's one of those moving origami."

"Cool!" Mirei exclaimed. "Can I see it?"

"No," Ryuka said sternly.

Mirei stopped hopping. "Why not? You have to share."

"No, I said."

Mirei pouted. "Fine, I'm telling Mum you're not sharing."

Ryuka began to panic. There was no reason for his parents to get involved. He quickly thought of a reason.

 

Ryuka gave in. "Okay! Okay..."

Mirei squeaked with cheer—too loudly.

"Quiet!" Ryuka hissed desperately. He sighed.

"I'll show you, but you have to keep this a secret."

"How come?" Mirei asked.

Ryuka shuffled through ideas.

"Because...I'm making something for their wedding anniversary, and it has to be a secret."

"Oh," Mirei replied, "okay." 

 

Ryuka gently pulled the crane from under the blankets. It fluttered helplessly as he handed it to Mirei. The crane rolled onto her extended palm.

 

"Cool!" Mirei cheered again.

"How are you making it move without touching it?" she questioned.

Ryuka slapped his head. Of course she would ask.

"Um," Ryuka tried to respond. "It's— Remember? It's a secret."

Mirei nodded. "Oh, right."

 

"You can't tell Mum and Dad, okay?" Ryuka wanted to reassure.

"I won't," Mirei said, bouncing the fluttering crane on her palm. She was too interested in the crane to look up at Ryuka.

 

"Okay, Mirei," Ryuka spit out, "leave it on my desk and I'll start breakfast."

 

Mirei looked at Ryuka and started hopping again.

"Yay! Make pancakes, okay?"

Ryuka nodded.

Mirei scampered to Ryuka's desk and gently let the crane float onto it. She skipped out of Ryuka's room and headed back to her room, humming an intro song from one of her toddler television shows.

 

"Phew..." Ryuka sighed, rubbing his face. "That was close."

 

He turned his attention back to the crane. It was pecking pencils and erasers that it found around his desk.

"How am I going to hide you now?"

 

He conjured up enough feeling to hop off his bed. He fixed his hair and wiped any nighttime crust off his face. He walked slowly out of his room.

 

"Stay—" Ryuka began.

"I can't believe I'm saying this to a piece of paper, but...stay here."

 

He shut his door silently and made his way downstairs to start breakfast.

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