Chapter 1

9.45 PM. I've been starting at my computer screen for 45 minutes now. Damn I hate writer's block. Out of all the professions, I had to choose to become a novelist. But I really shouldn't complain; this is what I do. Though it may be hard at times

"Ugh............"

I continue to stare at the blank Word Perfect document. Still nothing "Great..... just great....." I mumble as I push myself away from my desk and rise to get a cup of coffee."That should perk me up.."I say to myself as I walk to my kitchen. As I do so I notice how vacant my apartment is. I've been living alone for 7 years now, but today, for some peculiar reason, it is much more quiet, and I am much more lone. I haven't been like this forever; I have to admit that my childhood wasn't so great, which led me to the road I'm now on, but ever since I met her my cold heart melted and I learned to love; at least for that time.

The day I met Yukiko started out like a normal day: By that I mean me banging my head up against my laptop screen, trying to think of ideas for the novel I was working on. Anyway, in the mist of all of that I decided to unwind and to take a walk in the park for inspiration. By that time it was around 10 or 11 P.M.; I usually get better ideas when I go for a nightly walk. So I walked ever so slowly, savoring every crisp breath of air I took. I remember a light snow was falling and formed a thin blanket over the grass and concrete. I calmed and relaxed myself as I concentrated to the quiet intensity around me; unfortunately that peace only last for a short period of time. My thoughts were interrupted by a child's cough echoing though the air. I turned around to see a small child, around the age of 8 or 9, sitting on a bench and hugging her knees close to her. I noticed she was wearing a tattered old violet coat, black pants, and pink snow boots She strawberry blonde hair was wrapped around her body like a blanket."Was that you?" I asked. She said nothing; I took a step closer and finally said "Hey...little girl are you lost?"

She looked up at me dubiously and softly muttered "No; my mama will be coming around minute" She said as she looked to her left and then softly sighed."At least I hope..."

"What happened?"

"She told me to sit down and said she'd be back and minute"The girl said, picking at the withering paint on the bench."I don't know what time it was, but it was much lighter out"

"Shit...."I mumbled under my breath as I slid a cigarette in my mouth "That must have been around 5 or 6..."I muttered again to myself as I grabbed my lighter and lit the cigarette. I then turned to look at her again"..And you've been out here by yourself all this time?" I said louder so she could here me. The child nodded and then looked me in the eye.

"You look familiar......are you famous or something?"She asked tilting her head.

"Yeah. I'm a novelist" I said coldly. I headed towards the direction home when she spoke out again.

"What's your name?"

"Eiri" I muttered, not turning around. "Eiri Uesugi...and you?"'As long as she's holding me up I should at least find out her name' I thought

"Yukiko Fusewa" At this point she slid off the bench, gave a little bow, and then pushed herself back up. Yukiko then cupped her hands around her tiny mouth and let out another cough.

"You sound sick; come with me" I demanded, talking a step forward and grinding the once lit cigarette into the snow

"Why should I follow you; I don't even know you"

"You're gonna die if you stay out here you damn brat"

"I can handle myself; after all, my name is Yukiko"

I couldn't help but give a sarcastic laugh "Just because your name means snow child doesn't mean anything"

"My mommy will be coming any minute"

"Look you damn brat, if your mother wanted you she would have come back hours ago" I snapped back. "I don't have time for this" I said as I stopped abruptly and turned back towards her "So either come with me or freeze to death" Out of the corner of my eye I saw her lift her head up as son as I said 'death'. I started walking forward again, until I was stopped Yukiko's arms being wrapped around my knees

"No, please don't leave me!" She said as a warm tear ran down her eye.

I gave a frustrated sigh as I tried to shake her off me "C'mon; I'll take you to the police station......." I muttered as I started forward once again. We were silent until she gave a little giggle. I looked down and noticed both her arms wrapped around my right. I rolled my eyes. We spoke nothing until we arrived there; first thing I heard when I entered the station was:

"Hey, Eiri!" I rolled my eyed immediately as the voice of Shigeo Matsuda, my best friend throughout highschool, echoed in my ears."What happened?; you impregnated another minor?"He asked teasingly as he nudged me .He never changed a bit; he still had that happy-go-lucky attitude of his, the same polite, innocent smile, the same perfectly messy raven black hair, and he was the same annoying clingy best friend I had for the past 9 years. How someone like him got inducted into the police force is beyond me.

"Cut the crap Shigeo" I demanded as I pushed him off me "This is serious; I found this girl in the park" I said as I motioned toward Yukiko.

"Hey little lady" Shigeo said as he bent down to make eye contact with the child "How about you go sit on bench over there-"He motioned his head towards the wall "Until I finish talking with Uesugi-san"

"Kay" She said with a nod "Good night Eiri" She gave my legs another hug before she skipped away. Shigeo smiled as I rolled my eyes As soon as the girl was out of earshot, he asked me:"What happened?"

"Well....."

I told Shigeo the story and he said they would keep her there until they could find her mother or another relative. I said nothing and went on my way. 'She's a lost cause' I thought 'Children are abandoned all the time; they have to learn to survive like the rest of us'. That's what I have and always thought; after all, if you just stand aside and wait for someone to save you, you'll be corrupted by dreams. No one will ever come and save you. I shook the girl out of my mind as I turned the key to my apartment and prepared for another restless night