So this was an idea that occurred to me the other day, and I really liked it, so I thought I'd write it down. It's pretty random, and it's just a strange dream that Ayaka has one day. But if you look closely, there's actually a very important piece of plot hidden (well not really) in here. For those of you on GW reading this, please don't ask me about it because I'm not going to say whether your right or wrong. Just enjoy c:
Ayaka found herself lying on her back, staring at a vast area of absolutely nothing. She was in the middle of nowhere other than the fact there seemed to be a volcano far off in the distance, which explained the darkened, reddened sky above and thick, balmy air that simply hung in the atmosphere. Was this a dream? She sat up and observed herself. The last she remembered she had been in the locker room with the team. She still had on her school uniform … but how on Earth could she had gotten from the field all the way out here?
Standing up, Ayaka made a full turn. There was nothing, nothing but dirty ground, intimidating sky, and the faint outline of a smoking volcano far, far away. Just where was she? As if in answer to her mental question, Ayaka twisted around to see a huge lava lamp not too far away. Yes, this was most definitely a dream. Feeling she had no other option, Ayaka began in the direction of the lava lamp. She had never dreamt anything like this before, never. She stopped at the base of the lamp and strained her neck to look upward. A person was floating around in the liquid used inside lava lamps.
"M- Momoko!" Ayaka jerked back, eyes widened in shock.
Momoko was balled up with what seemed to be a doll clutched in her arms. She moved in the same manner the other blobs in the lamps did, oozing about, bouncing whenever she hit the top or bottom. Her expression was blank and her eyes fixated on Ayaka.
"Good morning." She greeted, voice muffled by the glass and liquid.
The sky looked anything but like morning, yet that was a trivial thing compared to others. Ayaka was still gaping at the girl. "Momoko, what are you doing in a lava lamp?"
"I don't know. This is your dream, not mine." She replied and then the thing that she had been holding moved.
"Momoko, is that … a baby?"
"Yes, he's Sakio's." Momoko answered and said baby turned around completely to blink at Ayaka.
"Huh … WHAT?" Ayaka felt a wave of panic wash over her as she processed Momoko's words. Was she being serious? When did … how?
"Actually I'm lying." Momoko spoke up before Ayaka could have a heart attack. "This is Sakio."
Ayaka wasn't sure if she should feel relieved or even more horrified. "Why—why is Sakio-kun a baby?"
Momoko huffed. "Like I said, I don't know why things are the way they are. This is your dream, Ayaka-san. It's nothing I can control."
Ayaka stared at Sakio, who was drooling on Momoko's arm. Although many factors made clear this was a dream, it felt all too real. She wondered when she'd wake up and what she should do until then. Sitting in the middle of a barren wasteland and talking to her two friends (one of which was now a baby) who were floating around in a lava lamp didn't exactly sound like the best way to pass time. And Momoko didn't seem to be in that talkative of a mood.
"What are you looking for?" She asked. "If you're in here, you've gotta be looking for something."
Ayaka pressed her fingers to her forehead and thought hard. She knew that giving the reply 'nothing' wouldn't get her very far. "Um … err … the exit? Something that will make me wake up."
Momoko pointed forward. "In that case, continue on in the way of the volcano. You'll find what you're looking for there, or at least you'll arrive at the next stop."
"The volcano?" Ayaka repeated weakly. She hadn't noticed before, but suddenly it seemed closer and it looked ready to erupt. She fiddled her fingers together nervously and glanced back at Momoko.
"Yes, now go. If you stay here forever, you'll never wake up."
Ayaka moaned but followed the instructions she was given. This had to be the strangest dream she'd ever had. In fact it had to be the strangest dream she'd ever even heard of. Never before had anyone told her a dream that matched up to the peculiar characteristics of this one. She felt a bit scared now that she was alone. Everything around her was so vast and open, stretching for miles and miles, never ending. She felt small and feeble, completely defenseless against anything that could pop up.
Ayaka had been so focused on her thoughts that she didn't even notice the environment around her change. The sky was suddenly blue with large puffy clouds drifting at a lazy pace. Behind her was a dense, leafy forest. A good distance away was another forest. The thing that separated them: a huge gap that seemed absolutely bottomless. Ayaka hadn't realized that she had just walked onto the one thing connecting the two sides- an old, rickety wooden bridge as seen in movies and cartoons.
"This is unreal …" Ayaka squeaked. She looked back, then ahead, and saw that she was about one fourth of the way across the bridge. Her first instinct was the grasp the rope railing for support, but in doing that she'd end up looking over and gazing at the deep trench which seemed dreadfully far below her. As steadily as she could, she began inching forward. The bridge wobbled with every step she took, groaning under her shoes.
"Ayaka-chan! What are you doing there?" A familiar voice called from behind.
The next instant, Ayaka's hand was secured by Reika's, who was speeding across the bridge on a scooter. Ayaka had to run to keep up, but before she knew it, they were safe on the other side. Reika set the scooter down and placed her hands on her hips as Ayaka panted.
"Geeze Ayaka-chan, don't you know that bridge will break if you stand on it too long?"
As if on cue, a loud snap rang from behind them and Ayaka turned just in time to see the wooden path fall into the mouth of the gap. She wondered what would have become of her if she had stayed on much longer. Granted she was still in the dream, but it was a frightening thought none the less.
"Well come on, get up." Reika offered her hand, pulling Ayaka into another tight grasp as they began walking into the woods.
Ayaka expected for them to wander into a green maze with roots sticking up from the ground and branches tangling everywhere they looked, but instead the forest literally faded away right before their eyes. Ayaka blinked and she now stood in a deserted carnival with a dark night sky hanging over their heads.
"Where is this?" Ayaka breathed. The lights for rides and booths were on, but every where looked vacant, as if no one had been here for a very long time- the perfect cliché horror movie setting.
"A carnival of course. You see we've been here awhile because Akashi-kun wanted to hit every single target perfectly. He's almost done though." Reika informed enthusiastically. She stopped near a booth where Akashi was bent over with a long gun in his hands. Ayaka had never before seen him concentrate so hard.
"Are you guys the only ones here?"
"Well yes, sort of. There used to be other people here, but Akashi-kun shot them. When he said he wanted to hit every target, he didn't just mean the ones for games." Reika spoke of this very casually, as if it weren't that big of a deal.
Akashi fired the gun. He hit down two milk bottles, but one merely spun once or twice before settling back into place. "Damn." The boy growled. "You broke my focus Reika."
"Look, Akashi-kun! Ayaka-chan is here too!"
"Morning, Ayaka." Akashi grunted and then set back into the stance he had earlier.
It was very clearly night time here. Then again, Momoko had said good morning to Ayaka as well. She wondered if by morning they meant it was sometime around 1am or 3am, before the sun was up. In a way, Ayaka was slightly fascinated by her dream. The scenery around her changed so quickly and her friends were still themselves. Mixed in with the fear, she felt a bit of thrill, excited to see what her own mind could show her next.
All of the sudden there was the sound of a shot, and then behind them a horn sounded. A huge sign blinked in bright yellow and red lights, flashing the word 'COMPLETE'. Akashi pulled back from the booth.
"Alright! We're done here. Let's go, Reika." He whirled around, only to end up facing Ayaka. He smirked down at her and swiped the gun from where he had set it. "No, wait. There's still one more target I need to…"
"Akashi-kun that's mean!" Reika scolded, pushing the weapon away from the 'target'.
He shrugged and then began walking. "Well let's just go then. See you, Ayaka."
Ayaka watched them leave. She blinked again and they were completely out of sight. Fear crept around her when she realized that she was now completely alone in this eerie carnival ground. A piece of paper slapped her in the face before she could fret over what to do next. She peeled it away and read it, slightly relieved to see Reika's small handwriting.
Ayaka-chan, I thought we might be gone by the time you read this. To get out of the carnival, you need to search for the ENTER sign. But whatever you do, don't go to the EXIT sign, because someone cast their idea of a 'prank' on this place. The EXIT sign will actually lead you back into the carnival, while the ENTER sign is what will get you out. Just start in the direction you saw Akashi-kun and I going in.
Ayaka held onto the paper for comfort reasons. She didn't feel quite as alone as long as it was in her fingers. It didn't take her a long time to find the ENTER sign, but she didn't exactly find it right away either. However she was very ready to leave when she did happen upon it.
The very second Ayaka had stepped out under the sign, the background faded once more. She was now standing in an empty train station. Radiant orange streamed in through the windows from the setting sun outside. For once the solitude was not creepy, it was relaxing, peaceful. Ayaka saw no way of leaving the station by means other than a train, thus she took a seat on a bench and waited. No sooner had she sat down did the ground rumble, and a large locomotive rolled down the tracks, screeching loudly to a halt.
Believing she didn't have much more of a choice, Ayaka boarded. Little to her surprise, it was empty, or at least she thought. For a split second she could have sworn she was looking at Azami, but another look led Ayaka to realize this girl was her exact copy. Same height, same round blue eyes, even the same length of nails, there was no difference between Ayaka and this girl. The girl sat alone in one of the seats and didn't seem to notice someone had gotten on, or at least she didn't seem to care.
With a forceful lurch that nearly knocked Ayaka over, the train began moving again. It sped out of the station and raced so fast that everything outside of the windows was nothing but a colourful blur. She was too short to grab a handle hanging above, so she fell into a chair to keep from falling. It was impossible to not look at the girl sitting across from her. She had to have some sort of importance for being where she was. So far Ayaka had only seen people in her dream that she knew. Was it possible this girl was actually Ayaka herself?
"Excuse me. Who are you?" Ayaka found it in her voice to ask.
The girl looked up. "I'm trapped here." She avoided the question. "This train never stops, you see. At least not to let anyone off."
Ayaka felt her stomach curl tightly at those words. "A- Are you serious when you say that?"
"Well I'm actually trapped here for a different reason than you. If you talk to the conductor and answer two out of three riddles correctly, she'll stop the train and you can get off." The girl offered and pointed to the door closest to them.
Ayaka wasn't fond of the idea of having to get up and walk while the train was moving at such a swift speed, but once again she failed to see any other choices other than just sitting and waiting for something else to happen. Cautiously she made her way down the aisle and through the door. She was only half astonished to find her twin sister in the room.
"Azami, I need you to stop the train." Ayaka said sternly, hoping she didn't sound as unconfident as she felt.
Her sister spoke without looking away from the window. "Fine, but only if you can answer two of three riddles."
"If there are six people at a party and eight of them leave, does that mean that four number two pencils will equal one number eight pencil?"
Ayaka was at a loss for anything to say. "That doesn't--."
"Wrong." Azami declared. "If an American tourist wants to rent a hotel in Japan, does that mean eggshells are harmful when thrown into the ocean?"
"Wrong again." Azami snapped. "If you stir gasoline into laundry detergent, does that mean a French man can get food poisoning from eating seal?"
"That doesn't make any sense!" Ayaka cried. "None of those make any sense at all!"
"Exactly. All those questions may have answers, but none of them are right because none of them really make any sense. And because you've failed to provide me with the right answers, which don't exist, I will not stop this train, and you will not get off." Azami stated. She wasn't smug like she usually was, a rare thing indeed, especially since this was bad news for Ayaka.
The train gave another jerk and Ayaka decided to stumble back to her seat. She doubted it would do any good, but she still felt the need to tell her look-alike that nothing had gone right.
"I couldn't answer them." Ayaka confessed.
The girl stood up and glided to one of the sliding doors that remained shut. "Exactly, but you will not wake from this dream while on this train. You will get off. I can stop it for you."
The very moment the words left her tongue, the train began to slow. It gradually lost speed until it finally came to a stop and the doors slid open. The girl looked back at Ayaka. Something was wrong with her. Her once baby blue eyes were now the exact colour of blood. Even though that one little detail was the only thing about her that had changed, Ayaka didn't think this girl looked like her at all anymore.
"Well." The girl gestured at the opening. "Go on now."
"What about you?" Ayaka couldn't help but ask. "You can get off too."
The girl gave a slight chuckle. It sounded sad. "Like I said earlier, I'm trapped here for a very different reason than you. But I'm certain we'll meet again when time allows. The fact you and I have even met here tells me we're going to see each other again soon. But for now, you and I will part."
Ayaka left the train, but couldn't resist a glance back. She felt a spark of shock tingle throughout her body when she saw the red leaking past the girl's irises, invading the whites of her eyes. The girl simply stared back at her, showing no signs of noticing what was happening. The girl blinked and gave a very slight smile.
"Goodbye, hu- I mean, Ayaka."
With that, the doors closed and the train sped off. Ayaka wondered if she would remember this girl from her dream whenever she woke up. She was intrigued now and prayed that this wasn't just a form of entertainment her mind was producing. Only after wasting minutes away by thinking up possibilities as to whom the girl was, Ayaka finally took in her new surroundings.
Bright blue sky was everywhere. All around her there were large puffy clouds that never kept one colour for too long. They faded from red to orange to yellow and so on until they completed the rainbow and then started over again. Bubbles were floating everywhere, reflecting the colours the clouds were giving off. Ayaka had to close her eyes numerous times. It would have been pretty if there weren't so many clouds and bubbles. There were just too many rainbows in one place.
"Good morning, my dear."
Ayaka's opened her eyes so quickly that the sudden burst of colour made her head spin. "Yukio-kun!"
Sure enough, Yukio was resting on a cloud just a few feet away from her. He was lying on his side, one hand supported his head while the other remained planted on his hip. Ayaka tried to focus on him and not the clouds.
"Yukio-kun, Momoko was—I saw her earlier and she was in a massive lava lamp!" Ayaka blurted out as if Yukio had to know this. He laughed softly.
"Momoko always winds up in weird places."
Speaking of which, Ayaka thought. "What is this place?"
"Hmm…" Yukio began kicking a foot up and down. "It's the sky, with somewhat of a twist. This is your dream, don't forget that."
"What are all these bubbles …?" Ayaka breathed as she popped on with her forefinger.
"He's producing them." Yukio pointed with his foot to a small gray cat that was rotating a handle connected to what seemed to be a horn which was in fact spitting out numerous bubbles every few seconds.
When Ayaka looked back at Yukio, Akira was now beside him on his own cloud. "Good morning, Ayaka-chan."
"H-Hi, Akira-kun." Ayaka wondered why everyone continued to greet her with 'good morning' when it clearly was not morning.
"Want us to do your hair?" Yukio offered casually.
"Actually I was … trying to find my way out." Ayaka felt weird denying him. She knew that Yukio didn't hear 'no' very often.
"Well, let us do it sometime after you wake up. You've got fun hair, Ayaka. It's so nice and long."
Akira smiled and nodded at her, but he seemed too shy to say anything. For a moment Ayaka observed his mahogany layers and wondered if Yukio had styled his hair. If so, then she didn't mind letting to two play with hers sometime. The thought extended Ayaka's lips upward. Sometimes the best kinds of boys were the gay ones.
"So you wanted to go to your next destination?" Yukio reminded her. When Ayaka gave a nod, he snapped his fingers. "Well then, see ya."
Ayaka hadn't realized it, but she too had been sitting on a cloud. Immediately it raced forward. Ayaka closed her eyes as she felt wind whipping her face and hair. After a few minutes, it stopped and dumped her on a solid surface which made a strange noise when she landed. She heaved herself up to see where she was this time. She saw nothing but purple. Ayaka couldn't help the feeling that she was once again floating high up in the air. She eyed whatever it was she was sitting on and realized it was a huge red musical note.
"Why can't I just wake up …?" Ayaka moaned in a small voice as she gazed down at a bottomless space of purple. Or at least, why did she have to end up in such high places?
"Good morning, Ayaka-chii!"
Ayaka went completely numb as she raised her head. "I- I- I- Inari-san…"
"Say, are you planning to spend all day on that note? Don't you know if you stand on these too long, they'll disappear." As Inari said this, she hopped onto another note that seemed to emit something of a high pitched 'ding' when she landed.
Ayaka noticed the note she was on was becoming increasingly smaller and followed suit. The notes weren't that far apart and for Inari it didn't take much more than an extended step. But Ayaka, with her short legs, had to make a minor effort to add some jump into her pace. She couldn't help but wonder what her idol was doing in her dream. It was sort of depressing, having this sort of alone time with Inari but it was just a dream, and it wasn't real.
"Ayaka-chii, what are you looking for?" Inari asked after moments of the notes and their 'dings' ranging in pitch, being the only noise.
"The—the exit." Ayaka was shocked she was actually able to speak. Even if she was just a vision, she still felt inferior next to Inari.
"In that case, you'll have to stop walking and fall. These notes just keep going and going. You won't reach anything unless you drop out of here."
Ayaka wasn't sure if she should be dismayed or unshaken. It seemed this dream had a lot of wacky, unfair rules including the bridge, the carnival, the train, and now this. She didn't like the idea of falling, but in the back of mind she wondered that maybe when she hit the ground, she'd finally wake up.
"Do I have to?" She insured, just in case there was another way around.
Inari nodded and then began walking away. "Bye bye."
Helpless, Ayaka stood where she was and watched Inari step from note to note as Ayaka's gradually grew smaller and harder to balance on. Just as she was reminding herself that this could be the thing that might wake her up, the note disappeared.
She screamed for possibly the first two minutes. When she opened her eyes, she saw that she was still falling. Sixty seconds in counting and she could not even gain the slightest hint of ground below her. Ayaka watched the purple fade slowly into blue as she tried to not focus on the feeling that her stomach would escape from her mouth at any possible moment. As time passed the blue around her became brighter, like the sky again. She thought she heard something like a swishing sound from down below, but Ayaka could exactly force herself to look.
"Is that the ocean?" She gasped when she had looked straight ahead.
The answer came in the form of sand. Ayaka plunged into the sandy ground. It didn't hurt, but she was disappointed that she was still dreaming and now had sand all in her clothes and shoes. For awhile it was all she could do to just lie down facing up at the sun. She wondered if she'd ever want to go to sleep again after this. Eventually Ayaka found it somewhere in her to stand up and see where she was now. A beach, another desolate placed except for two chairs further down and a person in one of them. Was that Ryo?
Ayaka started walking. Sure enough, Ryo was in one of the chairs, drinking a beer. Ayaka began preparing herself for what she'd have to do in order to get off this beach and onto the next area. Maybe he'd tell her to swim to the bottom of the sea or something. Ryo half smiled when he saw her approaching him.
"What are you doing here?" It was a better greeting than the constant 'good morning'.
Ayaka couldn't help but sigh. "I don't know anymore." A thought slipped into her head and she began counting on her fingers, naming off all the people that she had seen so far. Did she have to talk with everyone she knew and then she'd wake up? She wasn't sure. She couldn't help but feel tired. A part of her wanted to test to see if she went to sleep whether or not maybe then she'd wake up, or if she'd just fall into another dream inside her dream.
"Ryo, I don't think it matters what you say, someone is still going to --- Ayaka?!"Natasha had appeared from around the corner with a colourful drink in hand.
"Mommy!" Ayaka whined and ran to her mother. She was able to feel less worn out, better, once held in her Natasha's arms. This was the best part about the realistic energy of her dream, at least the comfort she received from her mother wasn't empty.
"You can't stay here." Ryo broke in. "If you do, it'll seem like years, even decades before you wake up."
"Yes she can! She can stay with me!" Natasha objected.
"What do I have to do in order to leave?" Ayaka dared. She'd weigh that with staying with her mother for several years (in her dream's time).
"There's a bar behind us. Just walk into the bathroom and that should take you where you need to be."
Of course getting out was easy when staying where she was wouldn't be that bad of an option. Ayaka reminded herself that she'd see plenty of her mother when, if, she woke up. After a final hug she began walking up to the bar. It was completely empty, for real this time. She had no problem finding the door to what she assumed and hoped to be the bathroom.
The room she stepped into was most certainly not one for using toilets and sinks. It was colossal with a white floor, white walls, and a white ceiling. At first the size of the room seemed ridiculous. It had to be bigger than a football field. Then Ayaka looked straight ahead and realized that she was standing in front of the longest table she had ever seen. It stretched vertically all the way down to the other side of the room, but Ayaka could not see the table's end due to the piles and piles of food that covered the surface.
Ayaka whirled around. She didn't even want to know what was in here; she'd rather wait years with her mother. However the door was completely gone, leaving Ayaka (once again) with no choice but to press on forward. She trudged on, gazing warily at the food that just kept coming and coming and coming. It seemed as if she'd never reach the end. Ayaka didn't know how long she had been walking, nor did she know just how much more of this dream she could take. It was exhausting her. She wanted to wake up. She wanted to leave this world. She wanted to—
Ayaka found herself at the end of the table, staring wide eyed at Kaito who was in a chair, eating from the huge line of food. Ayaka couldn't help but smack herself. How could she not have seen this coming. A room with nothing but a buffet of food that stretched as far as the eye could see, who else but Kaito would be in here?
"Kaito-kun …" She exhaled.
Ayaka didn't expect him to actually reply. "Um, are you planning on eating all of this?"
"Hell yes." Kaito snorted as he reached for some sort of sauce.
Ayaka was about to comment that she doubted even Kaito could stomach this amount of food, but something else caught her eye. Past the boy, in the very corner of a wall was a door with a sign over it that read WAKE UP. Had she reached the end? Was it possible this dream was finally coming to an end after what seemed like hours if not a complete day? Anxiously but carefully she darted to the door. There were no handles. She tried pushing against it. It didn't budge. Did she have to do something to open it? Did she have to say a phrase or complete a task? There was nothing to tell her what to do, no other sign, no piece of paper, nothing.
"Kaito-kun the door won't open." Ayaka wailed, dragging her feet. "Do you know how to open it?"
"No." He answered, biting into a thick piece of meat.
Do I just wait now? What if … what if I have to eat all the food with Kaito-kun? No, that'd take too long. Ayaka's mind was scrambled and difficult to work. She was tempted to lean on Kaito, but had learned the hard way that it wasn't smart to disrupt him while he ate.
"I want to wake up." Ayaka murmured.
Kaito frowned as he chewed. "Why?"
"Because …" Ayaka frowned. She couldn't answer him. She didn't know why.
"What's wrong with this place?" Kaito persisted, forcing Ayaka to mull over exactly why she had wanted to wake up so badly.
The people she cared about, well for the most part, were here. They were pretty much themselves. The only difference between this dream and being awake was all the scenery changes and creative impossibilities that wouldn't happen in the 'real world'. She began to question why she had been so desperate to leave. There had been the occasional threat of being 'trapped' somewhere, but in the end, she never was. Everything in this world was very strange, yes. But maybe if she wasn't so focused on trying to run off. Maybe if she didn't try to leave as soon as she arrived …
"It's worth a shot, I guess." Ayaka whispered to herself.
"Hey Kaito-kun, can I eat with you?"
"No." Kaito rejected at once, annoyed now."
"Aw why not?"
"Because it's mine."
Out of nowhere a cold splash of water hit her face. Ayaka thrashed, falling over and landing on hard ground. It hurt that time. Rubbing her eyes and coughing, she sat up. The room was gone. The food was gone. Kaito was there though, glaring at her with an empty, dripping water bottle. He was in his soccer clothes and they were at the bleachers on the field.
"It's about time you finally get up." Kaito groaned. "You slept the whole damn practice."
Ayaka looked from her hands to him. "I'm …awake …?"
"Come on, I wanna go home! I'm starving." Kaito stomped his foot.
Ayaka shot up and squeezed him, catching Kaito completely off guard. "I don't believe it! I'm awake! I had the wildest dream. Kaito-kun you were in it with this huge table of food! And my mom and Ryo-san and Inari-san—and the beach—and floating musical notes!" She noticed Momoko and Reika had been sitting behind her. "Momoko you were there in a giant lava lamp and Sakio-kun was a baby! And Reika you and Akashi-kun were in a carnival. And there was Yukio-kun and Akira-kun floating on clouds. Oh, and a really strange girl who--!"
"You know, I'd say that you've completely lost it, but I don't think you even had it in the first place." Kaito snarled and stormed away.
Ayaka watched as everyone left to go back to the locker room. Everyone except for Momoko, who had stayed and was smiling at Ayaka.
"I don't think you're crazy." She encouraged.
"D- Did my dream mean anything? Did you see it, Momoko?" Ayaka stammered, wringing her hands together timidly.
"I think it was just an interesting adventure for you, Ayaka-san." Momoko said kindly as she stood up with her bag. "But … that one girl on the train. She wasn't normal."
Momoko spun around on her heels, waving her hand. "Oh nothing, forget I said anything."
Ayaka blinked, but followed without another word. That night she was anxious about sleeping, partially afraid that she mind plummet into the same world that had dominated what turned out only to be about an hour earlier that afternoon. But the next morning she was pleased to wake up having not dreamt at all. Or at least if she had, she didn't remember it.