1: I Can't Remember Where I'm Headed
The water splashed placidly at my feet, the sun glowing triumphantly over the serene azure body of liquid. I stood at the edge of the beach, my feet treading the area just between the sea and the beach, my bare toes digging softly into the sand and my eyes shut to the mute, eerie breeze streaking through the area. It blew my hair behind my silent form, flowing right through my scalp and causing tiny little goosebumps to break out all over my skin. I opened my eyes in a slow way to take in my surroundings, bending down to touch my hands to the gently lapping sea. The water was cold, but there was something so familiar and inviting about it that made me yearn to enter, regardless. All in an instant, I became so aware of everything around me. The air was silent but for the light breeze running past my ears and the occasion squawk of a seagull or two. The sea crashed gently but powerfully at my feet, pulling me, little by little, out into the beauty. I couldn't help but let a small smile cross my lips, lifting my arms up in an attempt to touch the wonderfully colorful horizon. The sky was painted with breathtaking shades of cerulean with only an occasional powder puff cloud visible. Everything about this day was so perfect and yet something, something about it struck my heart into a deep melancholy.
Maybe it was because in a few hours, I would be going home, and everything there certainly wasn't serene and wonderfully blue. In fact, the only shades I could manage to see when I was there were crimson and black, the colors of blood and death.
I stood agitatedly with my briefcase in hand, lips pursed firmly. The line for the boarding of flight 231 was moving with the pace of a deceased cow and though I'd waited for hours, my patience was quickly running out.
"This line is moving so damned slow," I spoke angrily into the small device pressed against my ear. The male on the other end, one of my closer business associates from the DoCoMo Tech Corporation, a cell phone company, laughed heartily.
"I warned you, Imaizumi. I told you Okinawa would be overpopulated. It's the end of the summer in a month; everyone's getting his or her vacations in now. You should have gone in winter."
"The Christmas season is important, Karuma. You know that. Azure Fire Corp. couldn't afford to lose me at that time," I argued. "Besides, I managed to accomplish more than a few excellent deals I wouldn't have been able to bother attempting with were I on vacation."
"Of course; business is your life." His voice almost sounded piteous, from the other end of the line.
I worked at Azure Fire Corporation, one of the biggest electronic exporters in the country. It made things for all kinds of people, but mostly aimed for an older crowd. We had a very sizable pact with DoCoMo, as well as Casio, Sony, and a few other gargantuan Japanese companies. We had big deals with large, electronic specialized stores in America, Europe, and almost all of Asia and conglomerates all over the world, including places like Madagascar and Alaska. I worked at the Otomachi branch, and was one of their top employees. I made the most money, and got to rule over about nine tenths of the rest of the company. In short, working gave me the most pleasure life would ever know.
"Is that a problem?" I asked coolly, making Karuma stutter.
"N-no, of course not. I just worry for your flight…"
Ironically, as soon as he said that, a voice announcing the arrival of my plane came onto the loudspeaker, the announcement a great deal louder than the children's screams and attempted low murmurs that echoed all around me.
"Will all attendees for the 10:30 flight to Okinawa please begin boarding. I repeat…"
"My flight's fine. I've got to go," I told him curtly. He wished me a farewell and then my phone was closed and shortly thereafter, I was boarding the airplane. I was at a window seat in the middle of first class, my eyes trained on the scenery outside of the window.
It was so bland, the sky tasting of the faintest blue and the trees and grass the stereotypical green. The world was such a distasteful place. I began to wonder, certainly not for the first time, why I was on my way to another, perhaps far more unsightly area. All of my employees raved about Okinawa and how beautiful it was but in my eyes, it was probably going to be no different than any other place in the world. I'd been everywhere in my thirty years of life; the Eiffel Tower, California, Bangkok, Hong Kong, Greece, St. Petersburg, and hundreds of other places all over the globe. I spoke quite a few languages, English and Spanish included. What could possibly be so fantastic about Okinawa? It was a small little island, all the way at the bottom of Japan. I couldn't see it being more spectacular than standing up high on a hot air balloon in Washington and looking down over the land, or snapping photos of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, visiting the Tower of London, or sampling some of the delicious food in one of New York City's many fine restaurants.
This vacation hadn't been my idea in the first place. In fact, it had been Karuma's. He was the closest thing I had to a friend, and he was concerned for my welfare for I, like many Japanese men, suffered from overworking. I wasn't a social person either so when my coworkers were going out for sake after a long night I'd be at home, sleeping soundly. Karuma knew this, and so decided to arrange this trip for me through a friend of his. Though I was distressed with his concern for an issue that was clearly none of his business, I couldn't refuse to go. He was also a top member of his own company, and letting him down and essentially losing their business was out of the question.
I had this nagging feeling in my head that somehow, he was planning to do something vicious while I was gone. I couldn't get this feeling away and decided that I would call my company twice every day, once at night and once in the morning, to check up on things. I wouldn't let my company drive into the ground just because I'd been forced to take a vacation.
Karuma was right; business was my life. Did it matter? I had everything I wanted.
All of these thoughts and more were on my mind, a small frown decorating my rubbery face as I unconsciously tapped my foot. I was suddenly aware of a presence in the seat next to me, and looked over in faux interest. I was expecting another businessman of sorts, an old woman, or possibly a celebrity, as this was first class, but instead I discovered Japan's most hideous creature, a teenager.
I do understand that once, I used to be a teenager. I'm thirty now. However, when I was a teenager, I went through quite a few horrible events, including the death of my mother, and so I regret those plentiful years. Teenagers these days are so spoiled; I was never like that in my day. Their parents give them whatever they request at the drop of a hat, and they lack substance, discipline, and manners of all kinds. They're troublemakers, felons, hooligans, and imbeciles. As an almost direct contrast to my own personality, where I try again and again they stop after one failure and cry that the world is against them. They are the types of people that learn all their life lessons from a television show, and not from actually experiencing a moment.
Out of the teenage species, I think girls are the worst. I understand that, as a male, I should appreciate their splendor, their beauty, and their brains, but how could I possibly do such a thing when spoiled girls were at hand? They're disgusting. They're needy, two-faced, greedy, and so much else. I strongly dislike many things, but I hate teenage girls.
"Hello," the peppy looking girl, slumping in her cushioned plane seat, greeted me with a plastic smile. Her eyes were focused quite clearly on me. I hid a look of disgust behind a mask of indifference, sliding very slowly towards the window. My greeting was cold.
"So, you're going to Okinawa?" She didn't seem to catch my lips folding downward in the corners.
"That's why I'm on the plane," I told her, tight-lipped.
"I'm a little scared." She shuddered very slightly, her uniform brown eyes moving to shift out the window and then back to my face. Her hand rose nervously to clasp at a thick strand of her stick straight black hair.
"There's nothing to be afraid of," I commented dryly, my gaze darting behind her to focus on an empty seat. If only I could change where I was to sit…
"Have you been on a plane before?"
"Are you a businessman?" She gestured to my formal attire, a black suit and white tie. It was my everyday attire, no matter the situation. They weren't particularly the most comfortable clothes to wear in the world, but it's what I was used to. I wouldn't have it any other way.
"Yes." As I watched the passengers buckle their seatbelts I tugged at mine, which was already fastened of course, and wished I could be thrown out the window. This girl was easily beginning to grate at my nerves, and the plane hadn't yet begun to fly.
"Are you married?" Those big brown eyes were wide with curiosity, gazing at me like two glinting devils. I scowled, turned towards the window, and let out a long-held deep breath when an announcement came on for us to fasten our seatbelts because the plane was leaving, successfully interrupting this girl's incessant prying into my life. I heard the click of metal as everyone around me closed himself or herself in, and then the additional sound of everyone switching off their cell phones. I followed suit, and then the plane took off. I shook a little in response to the turbulence but really I was used to it. The girl next to me, however, was quivering in her seat. Her head had been jerked down to rest on her tightly braced knees, her arms folded on top of her head and laced together. She was whimpering. Some of the other passengers around my seat were stirring restlessly as well. I seemed to be the only one unaffected by the quivering.
Eventually the turbulence stopped, and everyone was now sitting straight in his or her seat. An elderly woman seated in front of me was already sleeping, and the plane had been flying for no more than a minute. Very faintly, I wondered if such would become the case when I became elderly.
"So, are you?" the teenage girl next to me enquired, adjusting her crème colored lacy top and short denim shorts. She was tugging her high socks upwards when I finally answered her in a tone much less than enthusiastic.
"Am I what?"
"No." I almost snorted. Me, with a family? It seemed like such a preposterous scenario. I wasn't capable of that sort of lifestyle. I wasn't capable of being normal.
"My name is Uragiri Ayaka, by the way," she said nonchalantly, her eyes trying to search mine. I turned in her direction, my fists secretively clenched up on my lap.
"I am Imaizumi Kazeyuuki," I told her in the most polite tone I could manage at this moment. My teeth were clenched. I wanted to work; I wanted to plan the takeover of Shindousei, while they were still small. I didn't want to casually chat with this self-absorbed teenager.
"And you live in Tokyo?"
"Have you lived anywhere else?"
"I was brought up in Nagoya."
"I've been in Nagoya once! My grandmother and grandfather live there and sometimes I visit them, and there's a college down there I want to attend."
I didn't know how to reply. Was she expecting me to hold a conversation with her irritating person? Slowly, I coerced my beloved black suitcase to my lap and opened it, watching Usagiri all the while. Her eyes were focused inside a floral decorated blue bag, large enough to fit the American army within. She pulled out a magazine titled 'Seventeen' and flipped it open, taking out a furry pink pen and a small Hello Kitty notebook as well. She began to read, and occasionally wrote down something she saw.
Noting her hopefully permanent silence, I gently pulled my brand new Toshiba laptop from its sleek case, setting it onto the miniature table in front of me. Soon enough my fingers were clicking away, and I was happily lost in another world.
My coworkers and business partners liked to tease me about my love for my work. I was naturally a very lackadaisical man, and had been since I was a teen. My mother died when I was fifteen, and after that time I became very cold hearted and cynical. I trained myself to become a hardened businessman and after my father died when I was twenty, leaving me his entire business, I became just that. My father, Imaizumi Takeyuki, had been one of Azure Fire Corporation's founding fathers, and so passed his world famous company onto me to care for. Even despite these events, I'd been brought up to become a 'poker face' man by my father. I had a sister, who was as feminine as any other girl today would be; however, she still possessed a great deal of substance. She had a daughter and she designed children's rides at Odaiba Amusement Park. She also lived in Odaiba. Her husband died in a train accident about ten years ago, but she was to terms with that issue now.
"Why are you going to Okinawa?" the previously silent girl beside me suddenly inquired, her eyes still locked on her notebook. My teeth once again clenched and I bit at my tongue roughly, tasting blood in my mouth. It had been so wonderfully quiet. Why on earth did she feel the need to speak? Why on earth had she chosen to interrupt me when I was lost so happily in another place?
"I'm going on vacation." My tone was so raw and snappy that any other person in the world would have run away in fear by now, or thrown themselves from the airplane window.
I inwardly cringed at her undeniably teenage speech.
"I'm going to stay with some friends of mine. They're back in coach. One of them transferred to my high school in Daikanyama from Okinawa, and all of her relatives still live there so she's taking me and two other girls down to meet her family."
She went on about her friends for about an hour or so, then fell asleep. Out of sheer curiosity I looked down at her pink notebook and saw that she had been taking notes of an article called 'Love Hotels'. I felt disgusted. Love hotels were places, mostly near Kabukicho, Tokyo's red light district, where odd couples of all sorts could go to for sex. Many sorts of people went there, some just to stay in one and see what it felt like and others to get away from their parent's prying eyes or to conduct an affair.
Japan was becoming so shameless nowadays. It made me sick. What happened to the old Japan, where people were nice and courteous to one another and didn't want everything in the world? What happened to my old, modest Japan?
I went back to my laptop for quite a while longer, delving into the world I loved more than anything. To me, there was nothing quite like taking over a smaller company and crushing their reputation to dust beneath my fingertips. There was nothing quite like this power I felt everyday when I went to work. This was why I'd become a workaholic. I, like so many others before me, had become addicted to power.
The announcement came on that the airplane was minutes from landing, and that everyone should go back to their seats and buckle him or herself in. I let out a deep sigh, my lips curving up into a smile as I shut off my laptop and placed it very gently back in its case. This ride to hell was almost over, and at that time I could get back to my solitary work.
Karuma had warned me about working on this vacation. He almost took my laptop, just as a father would take a child's toy because of bad behavior, but I swore to him that if he touched my laptop his fingers would immediately be snapped off. He didn't touch it, in the end, but he did give me a teasingly long lecture about the dangers of overworking. I knew he was certain that I would, indeed, work on this vacation, using my cell phone to contact men overseas and give them my opinion on whatever addition to their staff or building, and using my email and instant messenger feature on my computer to communicate with people further out of my grasp, or get important information from my company. I had no intention to stop working. I was much too addicted.
The plane began to rock slightly, and the once-sleeping teenager next to me woke up. Once again she began to incoherently babble, her nervousness of the shaking plane painfully obvious. After a short while, I simply tuned her out and got lost in my own thoughts, missing home already as I looked out the small window to the 'paradise' below. It looked like Hawaii, with wide, expansive beaches, a bright sun, and a thriving city. It bustled with activity as the plane came closer and closer to the ground. Ayaka was still babbling like a child, her shaking hands forcibly returning the magazine and notebook to their places in her bag. I watched her with a raised eyebrow, lifting my laptop case up from the floor and setting it gently on my lap.
The trembling eventually stopped, and we were permitted to get off the plane. Ayaka stood up slowly, grasping her bag to her small chest and smiling brightly at me as our section of the airplane filed off, some waving pleasantly to the flight attendants. I noticed a few teenage boys giving them lecherous grins. The attendants kept their smiles, but I could tell they were irritated.
I really dislike teenagers. What happened to manners?
"I'll see you, Imaizumi," Ayaka waved goodbye and stood off to the side to wait for her friends. I saw a group of heavily made up teenage females step out, their high heels clicking on the pavement. They joined Ayaka and walked off, one of the girls chatting on her cell phone already. I shook my head with distaste and walked off, pulling my own cell phone out of my suit pocket to turn it on in case a call arose. I'd told the president of the American Azure Fire Corporation to call me did anything important arise, and he'd agreed to do just that. He didn't know I was supposed to be on vacation, and did he find out, I'd be an extremely angry person.
I gathered up my two suitcases from luggage and rolled them out to the cab that had been previously arranged to wait for me. As the driver silently drove me to my destination, I looked out the window to the sunny paradise around me. It was so similar to Hawaii that eventually, I grew tired of it and simply turned to the inside of the car, staring blankly at the seat. I hated having nothing to do. I wasn't the kind of person who could sit still and not do anything. I had to be moving; I had to be working.
The manager of the home I was to be temporarily staying in was waiting outside of it when the taxi pulled up. He was a rather interesting looking man, with cascading long white hair, by dye and not age, snow white skin, and a white pants suit with a lavender colored shirt beneath the jacket. Standing well apart from this blinding whiteness were his plain brown eyes, encased in slim almonds. He had this ethereal glow about him, a femininity that I couldn't place, but an overwhelming masculinity. He seemed like the kind of person who, although very gentle and calm on the outside, had an overwhelming amount of anger and rage pent up inside.
The house behind him was similarly blindingly white with a strong mahogany door, decorated with an elaborate silver knocker, and a bright green yard. The shutters of the house were also silver and the house seemed to have a pearly sheen, making it resemble, under the brilliantly gleaming blue sky, a haven of some kind. Inside the open windows I could see well placed furniture, cleanly polished and likely brand new. I knew these were the conditions only because Karuma was such a neat person that he wouldn't have had it any other way for me.
"Good afternoon. I am Kitase Akuji," the man in white greeted pleasantly, bowing deeply.
"I am Imaizumi Kazeyuuki," I replied, bowing similarly. "This is the home I'm to be staying in?"
"Yes. Freshly painted and polished, inside and out. It's brand new, just as your friend requested." He smiled, more pleasantly and more honestly than any smile I'd ever seen on anyone sans my sister and former mother. He was a businessman. How could he smile like this? "Shall I take you on a tour?"
He proceeded to do just that, after aiding me with unloading my baggage from the taxi, which drove off as soon as we did. We left it on the lawn, an odd thing for me to do considering I never left anything out on the streets in Tokyo. I feared too much for its safety but I suppose here, in such an open place as Okinawa, things like that didn't matter. Who was around to steal my luggage? This neighborhood looked utterly serene, with a few elderly people down the street unloading a few bags of groceries down the street a little. This pleased me, as it meant there would be less distraction for me to work.
The house was spotless, freshly made up as Akuji had stated. It wasn't bigger than my flat in Tokyo but it was nicely sized, and the front yard made it look so much bigger than it was. The living room and kitchen were joined and widely spaced, and the bedroom and bathroom were adjoined and expanded beyond a hallway leading from the kitchen. There was also a computer room next to the bedroom, very roomy indeed, with a wireless high-speed Internet connection and a sizable desk. I set my laptop case atop of the desk; I was carrying it with me because I feared for its safety, and it never left my side. Akuji grinned as we stood together at the entrance for the house, his hands clasped behind his back.
"I presume you like it?" he asked, gesturing lightly around. The light from the windows behind him shone off his glittering white complexion. I thought in my head that I'd never seen a man with a countenance as pure and as untouched as his. He looked as if he'd never been scarred with acne in his life.
"It's exquisite," I remarked. I couldn't take my eyes off his skin, and I think he noticed.
"My brother is worse," he said in a joking tone. "He looks like a girl."
"Really?" I raised an eyebrow, not certain if this fact disgusted or intrigued me. "You live with your brother?"
"He isn't old enough to live on his own yet, so he lives with me. He's seventeen."
My lips curled up with disgust. "Forgive me, Kitase, but I don't hold much interest in the teenage population."
"Oh? He's an intriguing boy, Imaizumi. You should come meet him; he should be at the house."
"I must refrain-" I started to protest, but he gave me that innocent smile I'd seen on him more than twice already.
"I insist," he said, moving swiftly towards the door. His shoes seemed to do no more than click lightly on the hardwood living room floor. I scowled and agreed, but insisted we carry my luggage inside before leaving. He agreed and we set to work, taking no longer than two minutes to move the trio of bags indoors. He then proceeded to move me up the street, toward a house I could see clearly from my own. There was a gleaming white car parked out front. At first this surprised me, for even I didn't own a car, and then I realized that this was Okinawa, an entirely different atmosphere. I was in a suburb, and there was no other way to get to the city by any other means than driving there.
Akuji's home was a little larger than mine and quite a bit fancier, with a double entranceway and a wide-open living room, a white piano placed in the corner and a large television and zebra striped sofa sitting on the opposite side. To either side of the living room were two doors, one seeming to lead to a traditional Japanese toilet and the other leading to what appeared to be a kitchen and a dining room. There was also a white oak staircase leading to a second floor, which my temporary and permanent homes lacked. The floor of the living room and entryway was a light, yellowish wood, set in repeating diamonds with a shimmer that even my expensive house in Aoyama would be jealous of.
"He's… not here," Akuji remarked with the slightest bit of a twitch on his face. His eyebrows furrowed, as if the idea was simply preposterous. "Where could he be? If he's not at the piano, he would be…" His eyes fleeted out the window towards where the Okinawan sea spread out beyond our viewpoint. "Damn! He's at the ocean! Imaizumi, you can go back-"
"I'd like to meet him," I said coolly. My smirk was so obvious, but I couldn't bear to hide it. This boy was certainly the stereotype of all teenagers, but at least this time I would get to have a word in edgewise. Akuji regarded me with confusion, but nodded and led me outside.
"He's not a bad kid," he said breathlessly as the two of us walked side by side at an extraordinarily fast pace. "He just strays too much from home sometimes."
"He's spoiled, I'm sure." I scowled. Akuji looked over at me with puzzlement, eyebrows furrowing.
"Why would you say that?"
"All teenagers are spoiled. I'll bet he gets everything he wants, doesn't he?"
"No. He's quite selfless, actually. He… he's really quiet, and he's never asked for anything. He's very reclusive."
"Reclusive?" I looked at Akuji as if he'd spoken a bad word.
"He… he can't speak, so he obviously doesn't talk, and when he does, he doesn't say an awful lot."
My mind began to reel. The beach was becoming much clearer, and I could make out a solitary figure there now. I didn't say anything this time, as Akuji seemed much more focused on that figure than anything I would say, anyway. His eyes were narrowed. Ahead of us, the sun was beginning to go down, the sky starting to change colors. I was in awe how the day could have gone by so fast.
The two of us stopped running once we'd reached the beach, our feet slipping on the dry sand. I looked down at my suit, noticing the sand clinging to the bottoms. I scoffed in anger.
Akuji started to walk forward, but I grabbed at his shoulder.
"Let me talk to him. Alone," I said with a determined glint in my eye.
"He can't talk, Imaizumi."
"I know sign language."
"He can hear, but he might not respond to you, if he doesn't know you speak sign language-"
"Just leave it to me," I grumbled, moving forward as quickly as possible on the slippery golden sand. The sunset was really beginning to show now, the brilliant colors lighting up the solitary form of this teenage boy. Pink and orange reflected off the sand around his seated figure and the cascading sea in front of him, making his body look almost ethereal. I inched closer, his figure becoming clearer as I neared him. His hair was dark, falling gracefully behind his stick straight postured form to rest in the sand. He was sitting on his knees, back straight as a rod, hands most likely in his lap because they were out of my view.
"Hey! Hey you!" I called out loudly to him, my anger inside rising when he didn't respond whatsoever. "Hey!" My voice became harsher still, and yet he didn't move. I came a lot closer, right up to his side, all the while wondering if he wasn't deaf. I put my lips right by his ear. "Are you deaf? I've been calling you?" He jumped a little into the air, immediately backing away from me. As I was knelt down in the sand, I got a good eyeful of this teenager's profile.
He was extremely androgynous, even more so than Akuji. He had extremely long raven colored hair, as I'd noted from a distance away, and lily white colored skin, untouched by acne or anything else of the sort, lighter than even Akuji's. His face looked like it was made of porcelain, with red lips folded in the same pouty way. However, the most striking attribute about him were his eyes, a cold, icy, lupine color, encased in a wide almond and rimmed by thick black eyelashes. They were double lidded, similar to an American's, but with that Asian touch that made them beautiful. He was wearing entirely black—black sneakers, black jeans, and a black long sleeved turtleneck. It was rather strange attire, not only for a teenager but also for an island climate. It was hot here, almost all year round. What would be the reason for such an odd choice of clothing?
"Why didn't you respond when I called you?" I demanded. He watched me with a strange expression, his hands folded neatly in his lap as I'd previously assumed. From what I could see of them, as they were partially hidden by the long, flowing black sleeves of his sweatshirt, he had long fingers, nicely groomed fingernails, and the same color and texture of skin on his hands as he had on his face. I wondered if his entire body looked as creamy and smooth. He looked like a living doll, with such perfect features. "I can speak sign language. I had a deaf associate back in Holland; oh, what do you care?" I watched him coldly, the detachment in my eyes obvious. He gazed at me with those matchless blue eyes, a color of eyes I'd never seen before in my thirty years of life, and finally raised his flawless hands to chest level.
"Who are you? Where is Akuji?" he inquired. I noticed that as his sleeves slipped when he spoke, he took care to pull them back over his palms, and kept a good eye on them as he spoke. His hands were also rather small, about half the size of mine, and probably barely bigger than a woman's. He spoke quite fast, his fingers moving swiftly that I quickly realized it was probably why they looked so extraordinarily long.
"Your brother is at the end of the beach. I wanted to come down here and meet you myself, and find out what kind of a person you are." I raised myself to my full height, my feet slightly slipping on the dry sand. He stood up as well, his eyes fleeting behind me when he was in a crouch position to look at the sky. The sunset was at its peak now, the incandescent colors echoing off of my companion's face and body. The sight of his skin lighting up with a faintly pink hue took my breath away, the blue irises of his eyes soaking in the orange and the pink and the purple hues of the sky and making them seem twice as luminous. Even as he stood up to full height, his eyes were still on the sky behind me.
The teenager was very small, both in height and in body. He looked about as tiny as a woman, with a few soft curves in his waistline, highlighted by a slightly tight shirt, and he was about a head's length shorter than me. His hair, I noticed, reached his waist in length, and had about a half inch of sand layering the ends. He seemed to realize this too, and took it in his hands to shake away the imposing material.
I'd come down here to scold him but looking into those magnificent eyes, I couldn't. "Come on, you've got to be getting back," I told him, turning toward Akuji. From my position on the beach, I could see that he was gazing directly at his sibling, eyes glinting in the light but to no such degree as his brother's luminescent countenance.
"I would like to watch this sunset. I never get to come down here."
"Why? It's right down the street from your house." I stared at him, blinking hard. My arms were folded over my chest, watching the solitary boy take in his amazing atmosphere and immensely enjoying the expression on his face. He looked like he was in bliss, absolute bliss.
The sky began to dissipate and finally he turned to me, sorrow on his glittering face.
"I almost died here."
Before I could say anything in return, he was walking off and towards Akuji with his arms crossing his chest and his eyes aimed towards the ground. I stood by the sea, staring out into it and wondering what I was feeling at this moment. My short black hair whipped casually about my face and the darkened sky above twinkles with stars and promises. I heard invisible voices in the wind, saying things I didn't wish to hear.
Moments later I, too, was turning to join Akuji and his teenage brother at the rim of the beach. Akuji smiled politely at me, his hand over his little brother's shoulder, and gestured to the boy.
"Imaizumi, please meet Kitase Okean."
Author's Notes: Hi, everyone! For those of you that recognize the story, if there are any such readers, it's because I did have this story up about…oh, almost a year ago. I'd taken it off to get it published but with as many holes in logic as it has, it would require far too much work to fix those holes. So, I present the completely rewritten version! This was my NaNo story for 2007, in my desperate attempt to rewrite it. As of now, up to chapter 11 is complete. Unfortunately for you, I'm leaving for three months come October 13th, and so I'll do my best to make sure all 11 chapters are posted before then. After that, I can't promise when the next update will be. Whenever it is, I hope everyone enjoys my novel of panic!!