This story... wasn't written for anything in particular. It's a demented tale of love, darkness and--- whatever else you interpret it as. Hope you enjoy.
Scarlet Painted Floors
It started when I saw him on the way to school.
Dark hair hanging in his face, unreadable mysterious amber eyes, and a calm aura about him, he stood near a large shrub in the school's entryway. I stared in awe at his snowy, pale skin, and sized him up from head to toe. I wasn't sure what to think about him, really; he just seemed a little misunderstood. I assumed he was a transfer student to our high school. Weird, we don't usually have transfers in the middle of autumn.
His eyes flickered to life that instant, as if he could sense me watching him. I peered in the other direction, not wanting to give him any preconceived notions about myself. After a few seconds, I hesitantly approached him.
"Do you... need help finding something?" I inquired softly, straightening the ribbon on my uniform nervously. He glanced at me, but didn't answer. "I'm Hasegawa Minako, first year, Class 'A', but I can show you where to go if you need me to..." I trailed off, hoping he didn't think I was some ditsy idiot.
His smile was brief, but visible. Smoothing his black hair, he answered, "Thank you, but it's not necessary," in a velvety baritone voice and departed in the opposite direction toward the main entrance of the building. Surprised, I flinched as his arm brushed gently against my shoulder. He continued on as if nothing had happened.
"Huh," I whispered to myself, touching my shoulder uneasily, wondering if he had planned the incident purposely to tease me. I was only a first year high school girl, and he could be a third year for all I knew. I realized if that was the case, he'd be graduating in a couple of months.
I won't think about him, I assured myself, hurrying through the gates so as not to be late. He probably thinks I'm stupid anyways.
I hoped this would be my last encounter with the new guy, for he would surely recognize me if we were to meet again.
My wishes were, of course, in vain.
"Kurokida Hiroshi," announced Fujiyama-sensei upon my arrival to the classroom. Almost all of my fellow classmates directed their focus onto me instead of sensei, which upset him greatly. I frantically checked the clock on the wall. I thought for sure I'd managed my time wisely! Had the new guy kept me that long?
"Hasegawa-san, you are late," Fujiyama quipped sternly, glaring at me in annoyance. "Take your seat and please try not to distract the rest of the class while doing so." Bowing politely with an embarrassed mumble of apology, I flopped down in the first seat I saw, which happened to be front and center. Of course no one wanted those seats. When the snickers of my amused peers died down and my face ceased its bright crimson flushing, Fujiyama continued,
"As I was saying, this is Kurokida Hiroshi, a transfer from Nara prefecture. I'm sure he would appreciate any of your efforts to be friendly to him on his first day. Make him feel welcome."
I was greeted by the knowing eyes of Hiroshi Kurokida, the ebony haired boy I'd met that morning.
He was a first year? In 'A' class? In appearance, he seemed about eighteen, compared to my childish baby face of fifteen. Wonderful. I'd never hear the end of this.
"Let's see... where to put you," Fujiyama debated, searching for an unoccupied place in the room.
Well, at least he won't be anywhere near me, I thought smugly, seeing no visible spots within proximity. I turned to the seat behind me just to make sure.
To my dismay, it was empty.
Hiroshi grinned coyly, as if he knew exactly where his assignment would be. I frowned, and narrowed my aqua eyes in distaste. This guy already had me entirely figured out.
"How about you sit behind Minako-san, our resident late-bird. Teach her proper etiquette, will you?" He faced the blackboard and began to copy a problem from last night's homework, leaving Hiroshi to find his way to the seat.
I hunched over in my chair and took out my textbook, aware that Hiroshi's eyes were drilling into me the entire time. Ignore him, Minako, I told myself. Don't let him get in the way of your...
"As punishment for your tardiness, you may complete the first problem on the board, Hasegawa-san. I hope you completed your homework last night."
I swore I heard Hiroshi chuckle behind me as I nearly fell on my face to reach the chalkboard. My fingers were shaking as I accepted the chalk from sensei's hand. As I began to write the first figures on the board, I saw Hiroshi raise his hand out of my peripheral vision.
"Sensei, I'll do problem two," he said spitefully.
Why you-- I hissed angrily in my thoughts, almost breaking the chalk in half.
"But you didn't even do the homework..." Fujiyama responded.
"Doesn't matter," he replied, traipsing to the spot beside me coolly, with a quick look my way. "I can figure it out."
"Well, thank you, Hiroshi-san," Fujiyama replied, adjusting his wire rimmed glasses. "That's nice of you." I finished my problem and practically ran back to my seat, much to the amusement of Hiroshi.
"Oh? Minako-san? Your answer is incorrect," Fujiyama informed me acidly.
Desk? Meet head. Head, meet desk.
Hiroshi poked my back as he sat down behind me. "Smooth," he whispered.
I rolled my eyes. A perfect start to a perfect day.
"Lunch!" Yoshika exclaimed, proudly revealing a bento box from inside her desk.
The classroom was crowded and noisy at this point. I followed suit with my own set filled with rice, a boiled egg, and a few bits of sushi from last night's supper.
"Geez, are you fasting, Minako-chan? You're going to starve if that's all you eat!" Shoko cried, shoving a dumpling into my box with a chopstick and starting back for some vegetables. "You're skinny enough, you know! You don't need to starve yourself!"
I shook my head frantically. "I'm not starving myself! There wasn't anytime to make lunch this morning. I don't eat that much, anyway!" Even then, I chomped on Shoko's meaty dumpling with satisfaction.
"Uh-huh." Yoshika wasn't buying it.
"Really," I assured them, stuffing rice and vegetables in my mouth all at once. "I'm fine."
"What do you think of the new guy, Hiroshi-kun?" asked Azuki, the 'A' class president, while she received her lunch from the cart.
"I think he's into Minako-chan!" squealed Shoko, playfully whacking my shoulder. "He's been looking at you all day!" Sure enough, there was Hiroshi, staring in my direction from across the room. He wasn't even paying attention to the poor guy trying to talk to him.
"He liiikes you," Yoshika teased, draping her arm around my head and poking my rosy cheek jokingly.
"I hope not," I told them, peering over at Hiroshi again before returning my glance to the other girls around my desk. I tried to ignore the "I-wish-it-were-mes" and the "oh-my-goshes" from the ever dramatic Shoko, and the snorts of laughter from Yoshika and Azuki, while desperately wishing for an event-less rest of the day.
"Hasegawa-san!" called one of the guys from the other side of the room. I turned to the boy, only to hear some of the words I dreaded most: "New guy wants to talk to you."
"Oooooh! He wants you!" giggled Azuki in my ear, trying not to lose it.
My face turned a shade of crimson as red as a strawberry. Hiroshi appeared, as if out of thin air, hovering over my desk.
"Excuse me, ladies, but I'd like to steal Minako-san from you for a moment. Do you mind?" He flashed a winning smile that would make any normal girl swoon with ecstasy. Luckily, I'm not a normal girl.
I was just about to say that I did mind, and would he please leave me alone and stop bothering me when Shoko jumped up from her chair. "Not at all! Take your time!" She ran her hand through her sandy hair consciously, bowing to Hiroshi, and winking at me. Yoshika and Azuki were pratically dragged along after as she left.
"Good luck, Minako-chan," murmured Yoshika as she followed Shoko. I watched my friends in utter disbelief. Thanks for sticking up for my best interests, guys.
Hiroshi took Azuki's seat across from me and started right into the conversation. "Okay, should you do the asking, or should I? Whichever you think is more formal."
I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. "Huh?" I asked him, shooting him an expression of confusion.
He chuckled. "You're so cute, playing dumb like that. Asking me out, of course. I mean, it's obvious you're in love with me. You've been peeking behind your back all day, I know. There's no other reason for you to be doing it, right?"
I almost gagged. He thought I was in love with him?! How wrong he was!
"No, Hiroshi-kun, you must have misunderstood something. I definitely do not have romantic feelings for you at all." I tried to convince myself of this fact, but it made me wonder. Why do I even care what he thinks? Is there a reason I blush when he acknowledges me this way? Even now, I could feel my cheeks heating up and my palms becoming clammy just thinking about it. Oh, god, do I really love him and just not know it? You DO know when you're in love with someone, right?
With a smart-aleck kind of grin, Hiroshi rose from Azuki's chair. "Oh? Is that so? Well, if you ever feel any differently..." As he made his way back to his place across the room with most of the guys, he leaned in close and spoke into my ear, "...I'll be waiting." The Hiroshi was gone as quickly as he had come.
I sat frozen in my seat. I'll be waiting...Cold chills ran down my back, and my palms were sweaty for a different reason. Uneasiness washed over me as I watched him chat with the other guys as if nothing had occured.
If I didn't want to avoid him before, I did now. His demeanor was more than creepy, made me afraid, even. There was just something I didn't like about that guy, but i'm not quite sure what it was...
I was promptly interrupted by the chirps and shrieks of Shoko, Yoshika, and Azuki. "Well, Minako-chan, how did it go?" Shoko cried, shaking me furiously like a crazed fangirl.
"Oh, kyahh~ I wish I had a guy like that talk to me!" Yoshika confessed.
I buried my head in my arms, attempting to mentally sort out the facts of the situation.
"Minako-chan?" Azuki asked, her tone concerned. "Is something wrong?"
I didn't answer her. I wished right then and there that Hiroshi would stick to his own shady agenda and leave me be.
Yoshika wished a guy like Hiroshi would notice her.
The feeling was not mutual.
I was glad to finally escape school at the end of the day where I could go home, relax, and try not to think about this whole mess. Of course, I'd probably worry myself sick over nothing, because, c'mon, it's me we're talking about here. But it definitely didn't feel like "nothing" to me.
"Hey, Minako-san! wait up!"
Oh, here comes "nothing," now.
I whirled on my heel to face Hiroshi, who was already back to back with me by this time. I guess he was a fast runner.
"What do you want, Hiroshi?" I spat, not bothering to hide the malice in my voice.
"Hey, easy there, Minako-san," he laughed, moving beside me. "I don't bite."
You might as well, I thought, refusing to make eye contact with him.
"Look, if you're angry about what I said this afternoon, then I'm sorry. I shouldn't have jumped to conclusions like that. Forgive me, I've always been a little vain and self- centered. I've told myself I need to change, but I guess it doesn't do any real good, huh, Minako-san?"
"I guess," I repsonded reluctantly, wondering what he was trying to say.
"So, did you hear about those murders in Nara Nara on the news the other night?" He was talking to me like we were old friends, just engaging in a bout of idle conversation over non-important things.
"No. I don't watch much T.V," I explained. Why was he asking me about this?
"Oh. Well it was bad. Pretty bloody, I'd say. I wouldn't want to be there. I was a little freaked, since I lived there and all." He chuckled, tugging on his hair impulsively.
"That's too bad," I said. What more could I say? It was a weird subject, anyways.
"Yeah, it's horri--what're you doing?"
He must have been referring to the way I was walking away from him on the left road. "I'm... going to my house. I live right here."
Hiroshi's eyes widened. "Oh, sorry. I didn't realize you lived so close. Well, I should get home, too. I'll see you tomorrow, Minako-chan." Hiroshi waved flirtatiously before continuing farther along the path.
Well, wasn't he chipper all of the sudden. But you never know about guys like that. Creepy one minute, suave the next. I didn't know what to believe anymore. As I closed the door to my house (after about ten minutes of digging around for the key) I closed any Hiroshi-related thoughts out of my mind as well.
The next day, Hiroshi didn't come to school.
I wasn't exactly sure what the deal was. Hiroshi hadn't been at school for a couple of days now, and Fujiyama was freaking out. "Does anyone know the whereabouts of Hiroshi Kurokida? Anyone at all?" Nobody ever answered, because day after day, nobody ever knew. Soon, the very existence of Hiroshi Kurokida was just a distant memory in the minds of the students of Sakura High School's 'A' class first years. For everyone excpet me, that is.
I knew I should be relieved, that he wasn't here to bug, scare or talk to me. I would be free from Hiroshi for a couple of days, so I could relax. But I couldn't help worrying along with Fujiyama-sensei. He had been out for a while. What could Hiroshi possibly be doing for an entire week?
He could just be sick, Minako. You always over think things. Somehow, my conscience didn't believe that was really the case, though. Guys like Hiroshi didn't get sick that easily. He had to be somewhere else...
As soon as everyone began to forget that Hiroshi Kurokida even transferred to our school, there he was the next morning, in his normal seat behind me. I gawked a while before sitting down. I hadn't expected to see him today. "Where were you?" I asked, peeking back at him. "Fujiyama was about to have a seizure if you didn't come back!"
"Ha ha," he laughed weakly. Hiroshi seemed unusually pale and haggard. "Don't tell anyone else this, but they hauled me in for questioning about the Nara murder."
My eyes widened in horror. "What?" I exclaimed blankly. "They think... you killed..."
"Apparently," he responded. "I'm not sure how I could be involved. I was at home doing my homework the time it happened! They let me go anyway, since they didn't have enough evidence to prove anything." Hiroshi smiled. "So I'm not a criminal after all!"
Any other girl talking to a gorgeous guy about murder would laugh it off, and be like "Sure! You're innocent!" But not me. I had picked up on a key thing Hiroshi had said: They didn't have enough evidence...
You mean, they have some evidence they can connect to you, but not enough? I wanted to scream. Are you a murderer, Hiroshi Kurokida?
Every time Hiroshi tried to talk to me, I ignored him. I was scared enough now not to even acknowledged his presence. Finally, at lunch, he moved his desk beside mine.
Damn. Go away.
"Hey, Minako-san, you haven't been replying when I talk to you," Hiroshi informed me. As if I didn't know that already.
"Uhh..I didn't want to get in trouble with Fujiyama... He hates me, you know," I glanced at the stout little man wearing wire rimmed glasses who was reading a book and eating his lunch at the same time.
I'm not really sure if Hiroshi bought it, but he pretended like he did. "Oh, yeah, I remember now. He made you do that math problem for being late. That was on account of me, wasn't it? Sorry about that."
"It's fine," I answered softly, biting on some takoyaki my mother had prepared.
Hiroshi nonchalantly changed the subject. "Hey, Minako-san. Look down at the floor."
Why did he want me to do that? When I didn't comply, he prompted again. "Go on, look at it."
I did so. It was just a plain, normal colored floor. Nothing special. "What are you getting at?" I inquired.
"That floor... it's so dull and boring. I always wondered why they didn't paint them vibrant colors like green or orange..." Hiroshi stared directly into my blue eyes. "...or scarlet..."
"I guess I don't know," I replied honestly. "Maybe to keep it simple, and to conform with the rest of the school?"
"Hmm... I suppose." Hiroshi went on eating his lunch, as I kept looking at the floor in question. Why is it that cared so much about something barely looked at? Hiroshi was too weird, sometimes.
I was packing up to depart home when Fujiyama decided to drop the ball on me. "Minako-san, it's your turn for cleaning duty today. You'll have to tidy up this room before you can go home, alright?"
I groaned. That was all I needed today. I also had the bucket loads of homework that Fujiyama had dumped upon the class today to complete when I arrived home as well. There wouldn't be any leisure time for Minako Hasegawa tonight.
"Oh, Fujiyama-sensei? I can stay and help Minako-san clean up." Who else but Hiroshi Kurokida would offer to help?
Not you. Anyone but you. Before I could say that I was fine and could take care of the job myself, Fujiyama nodded in approval. "That's nice, Kurokida-san. I'm sure Minako-san appreciates your generosity."
I most certaintly do not. But I didn't have any choice. I shook my head, too. "Yes, thank you, Hiroshi-kun."
The room was quiet and peaceful when none of my loud classmates, namely Shoko, Yoshika, and Azuki, were there. I had been on cleaning duty many times before, and this was the time I enjoyed being in the classroom most. Never had I had anyone offer to help me. But then, Hiroshi hadn't been in my class before, either.
Hiroshi didn't talk to me for most of the time. He just stood at the opposite end of the blackboard, clapping erasers, lost in his own little world of thought. It was really sort of awkward, with no one saying anything or looking at each other.
"Lots of cleaning, huh, Hiroshi-kun?" I grinned cheerfully, trying to start some small talk.
Hiroshi set the erasers back down in their place, and suddenly turned to me. "Minako..." His voice was lower than I had ever heard it before. I tensed up as he approached me.
"Y-yes?" I squeaked.
He touched my long, brown hair gently, before leaning down and softly kissing my lips. After he was done, Hiroshi swiftly faced the other direction, his back to me. I could just barely see him pulling something out of his pocket, but I wasn't sure what it was.
I was taken aback by the gesture, madly flushing pink as I brushed my finger against my lips. That's one way to make a girl nervous, I thought.
"Why--why did you do that?" I sputtered, dropping my erasers to the ground.
He didn't answer. Instead, Hiroshi paced the room, an expression of melancholy lingering in his eyes. "Minako..." he called again. "...Have you ever been in love?"
I shook my head. "Not seriously, with anyone, no." I wasn't sure where he was going with this.
"Yes, it only happens once in a lifetime like that. I was very much in love once, with this girl." Hiroshi sighed before continuing. "She was unbelievably beautiful: long brunette hair, almost like yours, but wavy, and with streaks of blond. Her eyes were glassy and green, and sparkled like windows into her soul. She was radiant. Her intentions were always kind and gentle. And I... I was smitten with her. I couldn't stay away from her. I would stare at her from across the room until she looked my direction. It was a terrible sort of feeling... but I loved it. Oh, of course, with her being so pretty, she got many confessions of love from the boys of the class. She politely rejected them all. But I never outright told her about my feelings... until one day. And for some reason... she accepted me. I never knew why, Minako. Why she turned down all of the other guys, but tolerated me. It was a puzzling sort of situation, but I guess I didn't really care as long as she was mine. Satomi. Her name was Satomi. I thought it was the most beautiful name I had ever heard in my life. I liked to say it to myself before I went to sleep at night. Satomi... Then I would have pleasant dreams about Satomi, my angel. It was a very pleasurable time in my life..." His eyes were distant, now, like he was off in some far away place with Satomi.
I was astounded, that he'd trust me with this information, that seemed to be so dear to him. "Wh-what happened? Is then when you moved?" I said.
His face turned to stone that moment. "No," Hiroshi answered grimly, still pacing the length of the room. "Satomi told me one day that she was going to go away for a while, somewhere she needed to be. I asked her where, and she never would tell me. 'Send me letters,' I told her, and she said she would. I waited, and waited... and waited. No letters ever came, no word of Satomi's whereabouts were ever spoken. I found out later that she had gone to the hospital. Satomi had cancer, and had never told anyone else about it. She died two years to this day. This is the anniversary of her death."
"Gosh... that's terrible," I sobbed, almost in tears for him. His only love had died from a terminal illness. I felt guilty after being so mean to him.
Hiroshi nodded. "I promised myself I'd never love any girl as much as I loved Satomi. She was my one and only. When we moved from Osaka, I tried to leave the memory of Satomi there. We ended up in Nara Nara, where I started my second year of middle school. I had crushes on girls every now and then, but I could always shrug those off. But there was this girl... a red head with brown eyes. She was perceptive, much like you. She was different. I.. liked her alot. I knew it wrong, though. I could never love anyone else. So... I plotted and planned, to get her alone, and I never succeeded until just last week. She's gone now, in Satomi's honor." He didn't look pleased with himself, but instead helpless and pathetic.
I stopped breathing. He knew exactly what I had thought. "That's right, Minako, The murder in Nara... it was me. And they knew. But I didn't leave anything to connect me with her. Except... that kiss. Like the one I just gave you. I was stupid, but now I know." He revealed the item that he'd pulled from his pocket. A knife, silvery and glistening in the afternoon sunset through the window.
"No," I breathed, my hand flying up to my chest impulsively. "You don't mean..."
"I love you, Minako. I knew I did, the moment I saw you. Your hair, your face, and your eyes. Full of emotion. I didn't want to believe what I was feeling. But I kept egging you on..." He came closer, and I backed up into the wall.
So that was it. Hiroshi was a psychopath. "You wouldn't do that! You shouldn't! Taking out your emotional pain on other girls isn't going to solve anything!" I screamed. Now I knew why I felt so uneasy around him. Why I knew I should avoid him, but didn't listen to my inner thoughts. Why didn't I listen?
"I'm sorry, Minako. I do... love you." Hiroshi kissed my cheek, and thrust the knife into my chest.
It happened all at once. I tumbled to the ground, holding my body and shrieking in pain. The blood rushed out of the gash in large puddles, covering the floor like spilled paint. I realized when Hiroshi had asked me about painting the floor scarlet, he'd meant painting it with my blood.
"Hi...ro...shi," I managed, reaching weakly for him.
Hiroshi's eyes lost their stone, and became horrified, much like mine had been. "Minako... what I have done to you?" He glanced around the room quickly. "I can't live like this anymore..."
"Help... me..." I wailed, attempting to sit up, but to no avail.
There was a loud thump as Hiroshi hit the ground beside me. Blood seeped from his shirt as he smiled at me. "Never...fall in... love... Minako," he told me, closing his eyes peacefully. Those were his last words.
I was traumitized. Hiroshi had taken his life right in front of me, and his body was there, on the ground, touching mine. I felt nauseous and dizzy as I peeked at the knife jutting out from his stomach. My blood was mixed with his on that fateful blade.
I would never see the sun again, never talk or laugh with my friends, never sniff the sakuras, never eat another home cooked meal from mom. But most of all... I could never tell Hiroshi that I felt sorry for his pain. That I wished I could have done something about it. Anything but this.
I took one last look at Hiroshi before closing my own eyes, drifting off into the realm of darkness and death, feeling as the consciousness slipped eternally from my body.
Well, I can't help but feel that there will be 1 of 4 reactions when you reach the end of this. 1) You'll be enthusiastic about SKPG's writings and hurry to check out more. Basically you'll enjoy it and write me a nice review. 2) You'll think it's okay, and say you've read much better, but it wasn't bad. 3) You'll hate it and say my writing sucks and the ending was really terrible. 4) You'll say it's good, and tell me how I can improve my future works.
Yeah, so I MIGHT have a few 1's, but the majority will be 2's and 3's. But I really hope I get some 4's. Criticism is the key to any writing. Your writing is never perfect, and you can always do more to improve it! ^^
So, my next story will probably be the beginning of an actual chapter story. If you DO like my writing, then you can look forward to that. I promise, it will be more light hearted than this. This is probably the darkest thing I've ever tried to write. I'm more a humorous and fantasy writer, so I hope there are alot of fans of that genre in the manga section. Over and out for now!