Author: Schnyder PM
Living in a story, finishing the story, and then moving onto the next one. That is his life. That is his existence. Running through stories for eternity.Rated: Fiction T - English - Chapters: 3 - Words: 11,327 - Reviews: 1 - Updated: 06-16-11 - Published: 05-16-11 - id: 2915342
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Instruction Manual: Step One
The sky was blue, the sun was yellow, and the streets were gray.
There were buildings everywhere he could see. Signs ran down their sides and large video monitors played advertisements dozens of feet in the air. People were moving all around him, chattering, muttering, shouting, whispering.
The light turned red. The haunting melody of "Toryanse" played as the people crossed the road. Had there been a camera above them, it might have looked as if someone was playing Tetris and trying to fit the long piece sideways.
One man blended seamlessly with the crowd. He walked at an average pace; not too slow, not too quick. His hair was black and hung in long and messy down to mid-neck. There was nothing discerning about him, nothing that would justify any special attention.
He wasn't worth being named.
Yet, his name was Torio.
Torio looked just like anyone. Moved just like anyone. Breathed just like anyone.
People concentrated on their watches if they were late. They looked at the advertisements if an attractive person came onto the screen. They looked at other people if an attractive person came into their sight. They looked at cell phone texts and they looked at expensive items behind windows.
But Torio looked at something different.
He looked at the age of the buildings.
He looked at the fashion style of the people he passed.
He looked at his own clothes.
His skin color.
Others' skin colors.
Others' body parts.
The language on signs.
The food people were eating.
The model of cars that raced down the streets.
He listened to the sentence structures of nearby people. He listened to accents, he listened to tone, he listened to their timing. He listened to the sound of footsteps, he listened to how loud things were.
He smelled, he touched, he tasted for different things than other people.
Whereas other people used their senses instinctively, reflexively, automatically, Torio had a purpose for everything he sensed. He had a place for every new bit of information.
All of it was important for Torio.
So, it wasn't surprising when Torio was the only one that noticed the statue. Rather, it was more likely that everyone else didn't bother giving it attention. Maybe Torio was the only one who had never seen it before.
But there was something else aside from a statue in the middle of the street that caught Torio's attention.
It was the fact that there was a girl sitting on top of the statue's shoulder.
No doubt about it. This is a flag.
This is what Torio thought as he looked up at the statue depicting the likeness of an elderly principal.
Torio walked a little closer to the statue so that he could look up the girl's skirt before he called out to her.
"Hey. What are you doing up there?"
A flash of light-blue stripes greeted him as the girl shifted her legs. Her face appeared in the space between them as she peered down at Torio.
"This is sexual harassment, isn't it?" asked the girl.
"Sexual harassment? What are you talking about?" replied Torio as he admired her underwear. "Do I look like a high school boy to you? I lost all sense of eroticism years ago."
"I see. So you are sexually harassing me, just with the eyes of a perverted old man."
"Hey, who are you calling an old ma-"
Torio cried out as the girl's shoe stamped into his face. Without a single shred of hesitation, the girl had jumped from the statue and used Torio's face to help her land safely on the road.
"Agghh!" hissed Torio through gritted teeth as he gingerly felt his throbbing nose. This was one troublesome flag.
"Flag?" asked the girl, appearing next to him.
"Nothing," said Torio, wiping his face quickly. "So? What were you doing up there?"
"Exactly why would you want to know that? Wasn't that question just an excuse to come up and use my underwear for your side dish today?" asked the girl.
"Side dish? Where the hell are you picking up those words from?"
"You can't possibly be saying that you're not a virgin and that you weren't having fantasies of me rolling around the street with nothing else but an unbuttoned dress shirt and a bandage to cover my important parts."
"What kind of person do you think I am!"
"Well, who exactly are you then?"
"How about an unassuming passerby that thought a little girl had gotten stuck climbing up a statue?"
"Hmm? A little girl? I see...so you're that kind of person."
"What kind of person are you thinking of...?" muttered Torio. "Yeah, yeah. Whatever. Sorry I disturbed you."
Torio stuffed his hands into his pockets and began walking away.
Of course she'd say that. A flag's not going to let you go that easily.
"Yeah? You want me to hold your hand so you can get back to the sidewalk?" said Torio, turning around.
"No. Tell me what a flag is."
"A flag? Yeah, sure. It's white and has a big red sun in the middle of it-"
"That's not what I'm asking about. I'm asking about what you said earlier."
"Earlier? I don't know what you're talking about. I didn't say anything earlier."
"Then why are you denying it?"
Shit. Can't believe I missed that one.
"I'm not denying anything," said Torio, holding his hands up calmly. "I really don't know what you're talking abou-"
"And why did you take my cellphone from my pocket, then put it back?"
She saw that? !
"Cellphone? What cellphone?" said Torio. What the hell? ! Did I make a mistake? I thought she was just a misfit high school girl! If she's this observant then she could be a detective...
Meaning, this would be a mystery-
"I see. So you're unwilling to answer any of those questions," said the girl. "Well, then can you answer this one?"
"Where am I?"
What? What is this? Are you kidding me? What's with all these fake-outs? Shit, I thought I'd have a break in this one; why the hell is such a complicated character showing up now?
Calm down, Torio. Think it through.
If she doesn't know where she is, then that means this is an alternate reality.
Basics first: Spit it right back at her.
"Where do you think you are?" asked Torio.
"I don't know. It seems a little like Akihabara, but it's a little different. There's more buildings and the design is a little strange. Also, I don't remember there being a statue in the middle of the street like this..."
Akihabara? Ah, right, it does look a bit like it. I see, so that means she's from normal Japan...but hold on. That brings up a lot of problems. Are we in Japan right now? Is this an alternate reality or are we just in a Japanese-inspired setting-.
Damn it. I can't think straight!
Those things are distracting me!
"Why are you staring at me?" asked the girl. Torio's eyes had locked onto her as if she had just transformed into a naked man. "Are you still planning on using me as your material for-"
Torio's hand reached up and grabbed the girl's left breast.
"Err...This is sexual harassment," said Torio, as if he could pass off this brazen move as some sort of life lesson lecturing.
"I agree with you. This is very much sexual harassment. In fact, it may even be considered rape."
"You have very firm breasts."
"Thank you. You have a very nice watch."
"Yes. I might take it during the court settlement."
"Oh." God damn, this is one weird character. What kind of reaction is this?
"Were you expecting me to punch you so hard that the sheer force of you colliding with the pavement would make a hole large than your entire body?"
"Close, but a little more down to earth."
"In that case, would you like me to kick you in the crotch?"
"You really have a foul mouth, you know that?"
"I think you're behind the times, Mr. Old Man. People use these words all the time."
"I don't remember girls sounding quite like that in my time."
"Well, your time was pre-Internet."
"I'm not that old!"
"By the way. Exactly how much longer are you going to be groping my chest for?" asked the girl, looking down at Torio's hand.
"I guess I am groping a little excessively. Incidentally, what size are you?"
"In the E range."
"It's nice to be young, isn't it?"
"I suppose," said the girl, brushing Torio's hand away. "That'll be 500,000 yen."
"500,000? ! What's with that godlike sum? !"
"Oh, sorry. I thought since you're a virgin that will most likely never be able to get a woman without resorting to some dirty trick, you'd be desperate enough to pay the price."
"So you're just taking advantage of the situation? !"
"Monkey see, monkey do. Weren't you just taking advantage of me just a second ago?"
"So if I took off my shirt right now, would you also?"
Torio stripped off his jacket and shirt.
"On second thought, I'd rather not," was the girl's cool reply.
"That's unfair! Just the blouse?"
"Oh, so you think I'm wearing something underneath the blouse?"
"If I wasn't?"
"I'd be a pedophile. Please keep your shirt on."
"My, my. A perverted old man with smarts."
"I may be perverted, but I refuse to be called an old man! I'm still in the ripe age of my twenties!" said Torio as he put his clothes back on.
"And I'm a pure, innocent high school girl that's currently being visually ravaged by a man who is possibly half my age older than me. In addition, he just flashed me without any consent. Wouldn't you consider that the actions of a perverted old man?"
"Well, sure, but old is going a little too far..."
"Are you really over twenty? You act like a grade schooler."
"Now you're getting too young!"
"Please don't talk to me anymore. I have to find a train back home."
Shit. I'm totally in her pace, thought Torio, rubbing his temples with his palm. Should I keep her talking or should I let her go?
"Ah, wait wait! Give a minute!"
"I said don't talk to me anymore. Goodbye."
"Hey! Wait! Hold on!"
The girl turned around so abruptly that Torio nearly collided into her. The proximity of their faces allowed Torio to see her long lashes, her smooth skin, and her flushed cheeks.
And her trembling eyes.
She was scared.
"If you're not from around here, where do you live?" asked Torio. If what this girl said was true, then it was quite possible that she was from a different world. Or, something had happened that had brought her from wherever the hell she had come from. Teleportation. Kidnapping. Either way, this girl didn't know where she was and that alone was enough to get anyone scared.
"Are you going to stalk me? This is far beyond sexual harassment now, Mr. Old Man. You're verging on becoming a sick fanatic. If you do become one, please be courteous and don't talk to me ever again. In fact, you are still talking to me right now, so please shut up and don't talk to me ever again."
"Fine. I'll talk to this pole here," said Torio through gritted teeth. Scared aside, this girl still knew how to get under his skin.
"You're becoming creepier and creepier, Mr. Old Man."
"So, pole. There's this annoying little girl behind me. What do you make of her? Nice boobs, right?"
"Please don't use my breasts as conversation starters with inanimate objects."
"Anyways, I'm just saying. If she would just tell me where she came from, maybe I could give her some directions to the nearest station. After all, it's not like she's familiar with the place. She looks like a total outsider, doesn't she?"
The girl stayed silent for a minute, apparently lost in her thoughts again. She shuffled over to the pole, clearly trying to decide whether or not she should reply.
Well, whatever. She's scared, so she's also desperate. She'll bite.
"Please tell this sketchy old man here that he needs to take a shower to scrub off all that scum that's oozing out of his skin right now. Excuse me, I'm sorry, let me rephrase that. Please tell this scum here that it should take a shower and kill itself so that the world will be a better place. Also, please tell it that only an old man would have the suicide-inducing stupidity to think that someone would get lost in this age of directories and satellite GPS."
The girl flicked open her cellphone and punched in a few buttons. Then, without another word, she walked off after glancing at her screen.
Torio stood there with his mouth slightly agape.
Such shame was running through Torio's hollowed-out husk of a body.
GPS. Of course. That sort of thing did exist.
Torio slammed his head against the light pole. He was not just cursing his shame at having been publicly chastised by a freak of a high school girl.
He was also cursing at his stupidity at having forgotten about GPS for all these years.
"Oh my god...I would've completed that one a while back if I had just used fucking GPS...!"
Torio sunk down and laid the back of his head against the pole. People continued walking past him as he stared idly at the blue sky.
What else had he forgotten? So much time had passed. He couldn't possibly expect to remember every little thing. But to think that he'd forget, even momentarily, the existence of GPS.
It was as if his life was slowly being erased away.
"Damn it," said Torio, chuckling dryly. "At this rate, I'm going to be forgetting my age too."
Although, then again, his age was only true in technical terms.
Or rather, it was only true if you thought about it realistically.
But then again, realism didn't count here.
It was all meta-fiction anyways.
But speaking strictly in meta-fiction...
He was definitely over twenty.
I think you're behind the times, Mr. Old Man. People use these words all the time.
Well, your time was pre-Internet.
I'm not that old!
It's nice to be young, isn't it?
I may be perverted, but I refuse to be called an old man! I'm still in the ripe age of my twenties!
Torio slipped a hand into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. Inside were a couple of bills, a small zippered section for coins, and an ID card. It looked like he didn't care any credit.
The ID card said that he was seventeen.
A second-year at high school.
The picture showed an average-looking boy with straight black hair, round glasses, and a timid expression.
But definitely not an old man.
"Now what am I supposed to make of this?" muttered Torio. He put the wallet back into his pocket and replaced it with a vibrating cellphone. On it, the name Sakurano Aki was being displayed.
"Well, I'll think about it later."
a/n: And so we begin the story with a fairly long prologue! It's actually going to be split into multiple parts for ease of reading, so stay tuned for the next piece! Also, some of these sections may be subject to change later on while I try to finalize the plot.
By the way, anyone know how to go around FP's "single punctuation at the end of the sentence" feature?