The phone rang. Its keen, shrill tone cut through the silence like a holy blade cut through lost souls. Something always had to disturb the peace when you most needed it. Never ever could people leave you alone. Not when you were exhausted and had tired of everything, and absolutely not when you were sitting with the muzzle of a gun pressed to your palate.

Two signals went through. Three.

He peered nervously towards the corner of the room where a small hyper-modern telephone was placed on a round sidetable of light-colored wood. He could hardly see it in the gloom. Outside the windows the sky grew overcast; heavy, grey-black rain clouds completely covered the new moon and forced a few stray milky rays of moonlight to flee the landscape. He welcomed the darkness with a sombre, ceremonial nod that resembled a humble bow. The oily, pitch black darkness perfectly matched the night in his soul and the gaping, agonized hole in his heart.

A solitary tear searched its way down his left cheek.

The telephone kept ringing.

That night he had decided to end the suffering that had plagued him during the past two months. Never again he wanted to endure those restlessly unsettled, sleepless nights, and never again did he wish to be haunted by those forbidden, depraved thoughts that had popped up so often lately. Thoughts which originated from a secret wish to be intimately entangled with a certain someone...

Rrrring. Rrrring.

Hot dreams pursued him in his sleep, and practically every morning he woke up with his cheeks burning with humiliation and his underwear embarrassedly sticky. It all would have been normal if what he had pined for had been soft, rounded forms, long, slender legs and generous cleavages, but what he innermost wanted was...


He spun around towards the stubbornly ringing phone in irriation. The pistol started to shake in his hand, and the barrel rattled metallically against his teeth. Cold sweat trickled down his forehead; it started to sting of salt in his eyes.


Furiously he rushed up from the hard, straight-backed chair that he had placed in the middle of the living room and snatched up the receiver. He could not concentrate as long as that freaking noise rang through the darkness. With spit flying around his by indignation flushed face, he yelled:

- What the hell do you want?! Can't a person kill himself in peace?!

It was unnaturally quiet at the other end of the line. Not so much as a half-choked exhalation reached his satellite-dish-tense ear. He was breathing heavily, though. Panting he stood and waited for the person at the other end of the line to speak up with the pistol pressed to his bared thigh. He almost started to miss the metallic taste in his mouth and the cold, compact pressure to his palate.

When close to thirty seconds had ticked past without so much as a peep from the caller he started to get impatient.

He forcefully stamped his foot on the floor and was just about to ask the unknown bastard to fuck off when a whispered reply came:

- Cody?

Had he not been so depressed and suicidal that night he may have given a start of surprise when he heard the familiar voice. But in the present situation he cared for neither family nor friends; they would all be rid of him soon.

When he did not answer the person continued:

- Cody, what do you mean you're going to kill yourself?

Yet again the pistol hand shivered. Cody had to fight with all his might not to cry. It did not matter that the house was empty and black as coal; it was still intolerably embarrassing to weep openly.

- I can't take this anymore, Linda, he found himself saying, his voice quavering.

A short silence followed.

- What do you mean? I don't understand, you've always been the most cheerful guy in the world, and you... Why would you want to kill yourself?

In an outburst of indignated lunacy Cody swung the pistol back and forth in front of himself as if threatening an invisible intruder.

- That is none of your business, Linda! Just leave me alone and let me die with dignity!

He prepared himself to throw down the receiver while simultaneously turning the muzzle of the gun towards himself to use it to scratch his itching nose. But before he knew it, before he even had time to bring the cold steel to the tip of his nose, he accidentally, due to his absolute anger, pressed down the trigger a little bit too hard with his index finger. The shot that went off caused a painful ringing in his ears, and the darkness that suddenly swallowed him was infinitely blacker and a thousand times thicker than the one he had respectfully admired through the window.

Hello everyone! This is the prologue to my novel "Tepidash", which was supposed to be a fantasy novel at first but quickly turned out to be a romance story revolving around a group of strong characters. They totally made this story something of their own. :P Yeah, I know, it's a bit short, but I will publish the first chapter soon - promise!! I just need to translate it into English, and that takes me a little while... hehe. I hope a lot of you out there will be able to enjoy this story. And please tell me what you think about it!

See ya in chapter one!
Love, Shifumi