Fragments part 5 – Nukumori

My pace was brisk and tense. From afar I could hear footsteps coming towards me. I walked faster then, fighting the urge to break into a run, eyes scanning the building to find a way out. Ahead, I saw a lonesome corner moving to a dark corridor. It smiled at me with a sneer, beckoning evilly, hauntingly, invitingly even. Despite the malice, if I hid there for awhile, surely no one would find me. I adamantly walked ahead through the dark hallway, ignoring everything, taking turns on another corner deeper into the shadows.

Only when I reached the end of it, I stopped, panting. The place was dark and there was only a small barred window hanging high on the wall. Little light came through it and so did the air, making the room a little stuffy and uncomfortable. This place felt like prison, for some reasons.

It felt almost like…

I took refuge at the corner of the dark space hidden from any light, and fell to the ground with my back against the wall. I pulled my legs upwards, burying my face onto both my knees. I felt my hands trembled ever so slightly as I grasped some old unwanted memories aside, clenching them by the throat, slamming them onto the dark waters of my mind.

What a wretched life! How troublesome this fate I'm having! People sometimes should take things easy in life. With that, suicide rate will be much lower, without doubt, and no one would bother to jump out from a 13- storey building just to die with a smashed head. Yet, still, people couldn't run away from everything, couldn't escape what fate in store for them and I…Seriously, why do I need to run so much in my life? Sugoku mendokusai da…

"Nee, Aki, running away again?" There she was standing in front of me. Pale light coming silently through the barred window shone onto the floor where she stood as if the light was illuminating her presence while the shadows kept darkening mine. Perfect. It portrayed both of us well: of light and darkness.

"Why are you here, Akari?" I said with a sigh. My voice sounded tired for some reasons.

"I thought it would be interesting to look at a runaway Aki," she said giddily with hands behind her back.

"Saite. You are enjoying this are you?"

"Of course, I am. And, I'm curious too… Nee, Aki, why are you still running away? Shiki-senpai had stopped coming after you, though."

"It has nothing to do with you."

"It has. Of course it has. And somehow, you seem to be running away from me too."

"I just want to be normal." The silence gained and she paused to study my face.

"So desuka? Really, I can't understand your logic, Aki." There was a laugh, a mirthless one and she continued to stand there in front of me with the fake smiles of hers.

"Then, stop coming and teasing me! You're making me crazy. Why did you come here, anyway, if all you want to do is to enjoy taunting me?"

"Because we are always together. And Aki is aki. At a time like this, you will always need me to become your haru, is it not right, Aki?"

"It does not mean autumn. It's vacant. That's what my name is."

"If that is true, then, call me ana instead, so that at least I could provide a place for your vacancy." I stayed silent as she stood there waiting for me. She moved a little and stepped to the opened corridor. "Nee, Aki-chan, I believe you will get together with him, kitto."

"Damare."

"After all, a lonely person like you, where will you run away to? And saying that you won't hurt people, the truth is, the one who's bored of getting hurt is you, isn't it, Aki-chan?"

"Oi, damare!" I turned to her as I yelled. Yet, the one whose eyes I looked into were no longer the giddily troublesome girl, but an appearance which I wished to avoid. He stood there with a face a little astonished than I had ever seen.

"Aki-kun, I mean… I'm sorry, Aki, to whom are you talking to?" Really, Akari was nowhere to be seen, and I sat at the corner of the dark room before Shiki-senpai like a fool, relishing the deep embarrassment and shame all alone. When did she… seriously…Sugoku kitanai da na, ano ko!

There was a moment of silence as he waited confusedly for my answer. I was sure shock was written all over his face, yet I dared not to look at it. Somehow, deep down inside I felt like truly crying.

"I was speaking to myself, Senpai. That's what I did." I pulled both my knees close to my chest hugging them. "In fact… I do it all the time, scolding and blaming myself. That's right. I'm not normal, Senpai."

Please…Please just go away!

"That's why, I told you to get away from me!" It was the first time my voice cracked as if I was about to cry. I had never been that close to showing my emotion before. Even when we had our last conversation, throwing with a threat, nothing was shown on my face.

Please, senpai. Leave me alone as I always am…

Quietly, silently he bent his knees and sat cross-legged beside me. I didn't look at him yet I could feel the soft swish of his movement brushing against my skin. Baka, his clothes will get dirty that way!

"People said children sometimes talk to their imaginary friends. I don't believe that. Even I sometimes bite my nails when I'm deeply thinking, it's a habit I have since a long time ago." With that I turned to him, meeting his soft kind gaze he had on me.

"Really, despite of how you look, you are quite like a child Aki. It's okay. After all, we, adults, are just children who have gotten bigger, that is all." He smiled at me.

"Then, aren't you afraid of me, Senpai?"

"Do I have to be afraid of you, Aki?" he asked curious and in earnest. For some reasons as I looked into his eyes I felt a strange relieving emotion surging from my insides, pumping through all my veins. Was it security, I wondered. And unknowingly, his hand reached for me, tangling his long gentle fingers in my hair. Like a beaten cat that was lacked with all the love in the world, in the dark stuffy place, I was drawn to his warmth.