August is that time of year when the leaves change their colors. Temperatures begin to get colder and colder. And students realize that summer is over and homework is back in session. For two girls their senior year at Tenkai High will be something they'll never forget.

"Where am I?" I looked around the unfamiliar place. A thick fog completely engulfed everything and I couldn't see past my hands. I'm usually pretty brave. People have known me for getting in plenty of fights as a kid. Even now my reputation precedes me, but something about this place sent shivers throughout my body. I looked to the foggy emptiness and yelled.

"Anybody out there?!" Nothing. I was debating about moving forward but something about the fog didn't seem right. What made me really cautious about the fog was that when I yelled. My voice didn't even echo.

"Ta-chan?" A pure voice appeared from the fog. But it wasn't just any voice. There was only one person that uses my pet name.

"Juri?" She didn't respond. "Juri!!" Something didn't feel right. What was she doing here? It's not safe. "Run Juri! Get out of here!"

"Ta-chan. What's going on? Where…" Her voice cut out. I waited hoping she'd keep talking to me. But seconds went by and her voice didn't come back. Why am I just standing here? I lost control and started running toward the direction of her voice.

"Where are you?! Keeping talking to me so I can find you!" I yelled out into the fog hoping my voice would carry through. I wasn't prepared for what happened next. An ear-piercing scream came at me through the fog. I thought of the worse. "JURI!!" My speed increased and soon the fog became more of a blur. My chest burned as my lungs started to work harder. My breathing became fast and heavy.

Suddenly the fog changed and became a blazing fire. The heat was so intense that I had to stop running. I tried searching for her through the flames but they were too bright. I felt something burning beneath my feet. The smell it gave off reeked. But before I could look I was covered by an enormous shadow. I looked up to see the silhouette of some kind of monster. The size was unbelievable. Then out of nowhere a large pair of blue eyes appeared under it. I suddenly had to cover my ears because the screams of unknown voices were everywhere. It was unbearable. I grabbed my head and began screaming.

"Juri!! Juri answer me!! JURI!!"

I suddenly bolted up from my bed. I was completely soaked in sweat and my breathing was heavy. Looking down I noticed that I was clutching my blanket so tight I could feel my nails digging into my palm. I released it. It took me a bit to regain myself and once I did I fell back to my pillow.

"It was only a dream." I rubbed my temples trying to rid the tiny headache I had. I then noticed that the sun was shining through my window. "What time is it?" I reached for the clock on my nightstand and read it's time. 7:24 am. I brought the clock to my chest. 7:24. Seven. Twenty-four. I bolted from my pillow. Shit!!

I quickly jumped from my bed and ran to my other clock on my dresser. It read the same.

"Damn it I'm late again." I quickly ran to my bathroom and started cleaning myself up. "Oukochi-sensei is going to kill me."

I was able to clean up, get dressed and get out the door in less than five minutes. I blew a kiss to my parents' pictures as I ran out the door.

When I made it to my class Oukochi-sensei was furious and he made me stand out in the hallway.

"This is so lame." I waited impatiently for my teacher to allow me to back into the classroom.

"Well it's suppose to teach you to be on time. But I don't think it's working." I turned to see my best friend peeking out from the classroom door. A strand of her blonde hair fell in front of her face.

"I see you were able to re-dye your hair again." I grabbed the loose strand and place it back behind her ear. She pouted at me.

"Like I said the last time you said that to me. Because of my blue eyes everyone thinks it's my real hair color." I mouth the words with her when she spoke. Then she came up to my face and tried to look tough. "And Tatsume if you tell anyone I'll…" I smiled at her.

"You'll do what?" She tried to keep a serious face but she started to giggle. I ruffled the top of her head.

"Good try." She was about to tell me something when our teacher yelled from inside the classroom.

"Kareiko-san! What's taking you and Joubu-san?" Juri winched at his voice.

"Oh and teacher said you can come in now." Juri quickly ran back into the classroom and apologized to Oukochi-sensei. I followed in after her and apologized for being late. Then we both took our seats.

The day seemed to go by pretty fast and soon fifth period came around and I was excited to get outside for gym. Juri and I were getting changed into our gym uniforms when Juri started to complain out being outside again.

"I can't believe you enjoy going to gym class. I always get so sweaty and stinky. I can't stand it." Juri was slipping on her sweater as she spoke.

"Oh come on. It's nice outside." She just glared at me. "And you know all the girls will be there finding ways to keep you happy." She was already at the door before I finished my sentence. Though I could still see that she was smiling.

Juri is known to be the most popular girl in school. Girls fawn over her cute style and adorable features. There are plenty of guys that loved to date her but there are two problems. The first problem is that they have to get through me and second she already has a boyfriend, Heishi Yamu. His 5'9" height is not that bad next to my 5'5" but next to Juri. Let's just say a girl being nine inches shorter than her boyfriend is pretty crazy. But they look cute together and I approve of him. Though I always have to protect Juri from her boyfriends "fan club." The girls in that group are the only ones in the school that don't like her. And you can guess why.

"Sweet! Time for some running." I heard Juri grunt beside me. I rolled my eyes at her. "Go tell the teacher you're not feeling well." But she was already gone. I shook my head.

The run felt really good. Especially with the chilly wind flowing through my long black hair I was glad to be out in the open air. My peaceful run was then interrupted by the cooing of a group of girls. And they're not here for Juri. I hate saying it but I rank second as the most popular girl in school. The only reason is because, not Juri, but I excel in all of my clubs. Kendo, Karate, and Track and Field. And I'm not bad looking myself.

Gym was over and it was time to get back for our next class. School went by as normal and soon the last bell finally rang announcing the end of the day. I waited by the front gate for Juri. She needed some alone time with her boyfriend but I never waited long. Her voice was easily heard over the large amount of students.

"Ta-chan!" I saw her waving from the distance with Yamu not too far behind.

"You guys done." Juri smiled at me when she came up. Yamu was slightly blushing behind her. I wanted to do a gagging motion but I just smiled. "You ready." She gave Yamu a kissed goodbye, I looked away, and then we started toward our favorite café. Yamu's baseball team had practice today so he couldn't join us.

After the café we spent some time going around the stores checking out what was new. Though I had to convince Juri a couple times that she didn't need to buy some things. She loves to shop but I always had to stop her from taking the whole store with her.

The sun was starting to set and it was time to head home. I walked Juri home like I did every day. As we passed the part Juri noticed the swing set and ran over to it. She jumped on one and starting swinging back and forth.

"Remember when we use to play here all the time." I stood in front of her and nodded my head.

"The swings were your favorite thing." She smiled when I remembered. But I saw there was more than just remembering the past in her eyes. "What's up?" She saw that I noticed something was up.

"What would you say if Yamu-kun asked me to marry him after high school?" She started swinging higher while she waited for my answer.

"I wouldn't be surprised." She stopped swinging at my words and gave me a "really" face. I continued. "You guys are perfect for each other and I know he'll make you happy." I smiled at her and she returned one. But my pleasant smiled disappeared when I saw something appear behind her.

She noticed my expression and went to turn around but before she could I grabbed her by the wrist and pulled her toward me. I felt her body tremble in my arms when she saw the darkened figure. I don't know what it was but I needed to get Juri far away from it.