Prequel to Tree of Memories

The Darkness In A Heart

(Wrote while listening to Kagerou Days Nico Nico Chorus 50)

Snowflakes swirled in thick flurries, coating the ground in a blanket of glittering white. Wind work its way through the canopy, branches whipping against each other. No bird nor cricket chirps sounded, the animals having taken shelter as the storm first started up.

My friend coughed next to me, and I looked over to him. Even though his pink blanket was wrapped warmly around his shoulders, his face was pale and sickly gray. His dark hair blended together perfectly with the pale plane.

Giving a slight sigh, I looked away and out a nearby window. The sky was completely gray, the snow still coming down harshly.

My friend almost never got sick, and the fact that he looked the way he did scared me slightly. Bit I didn't show it. I have never shown my true feelings toward him. Usually, I acted completely opposite of how I felt.

A strange feelings flashed through me as my friend stood up from the floor and opened the wooden door that served as a barrier against the howling blizzard. Cold air gushing in, he looked over his shoulder at me and gave a small smile. "I... Just need some fresh air. I'll be back."

Before I could make a comment, he stepped out into the shin-deep powder. The door flapped closed behind him.

Pulling my knees to my chest I continued to sit on the floor. The outside's frigid temperatures chilled me to the bone, making shivers run up my spine and to my jaws. My fingers were slowly turning gray and blue, my toes completely numb.

Where is he...? I wondered, the seconds ticking by in my head, a melodic pattern that wanted to put me to sleep. The wind was ceasing, but the flakes still floated down from the dark sky.

After waiting for a few more minutes, I stood up from my spot and made stiffly for the door. The cold had froze my bones, making it hard for me to walk. Worry clouded my mind as I looked out of the hut; my friend's footsteps were nearly gone and the sun was starting to peak out from its hiding place.

Taking in a burning breath of air, I left the shelter and padded through the snow, following the fading markings that showed where my friend had headed. The powder crunched under my thin shoes.

Soon, my friend's pink form was visible in the distance. He was standing at the base of a forest, staring up at the tips of the pines and firs that made up the landscape. Hearing my approach, he glanced over his shoulder.

His face was nearly blue now, the skin so crusty it looked as if you could chip it off like ice. His moon colored eyes simply looked at me before their expression changed. The emotions made a spiral in their depths before they were all chased away by a bright smile.

"Hey, follow me."

I hesitated at his words, but followed when he started running. Running past the bare trunks of the trees. Leaving me to catch up.

"Wait for me!" I called out, my frozen body refusing to move at full speed.

My friend didn't slow down, but kept running. His blanket billowed out behind him, hair fluttering beyond his shoulders. The snow didn't seem to slow him down.

A tree, a huge tree, soon towered above us. My friend slowed down, placing a gray hand on its bark, slouching to catch back his breath. Again, he coughed, a rough choking sound that nearly tore my heart.

He needs to come back inside...

I opened my mouth to speak my thought, but the words turned into a shocked gasp.

He fell to the ground in a pile, coughing terribly, a noise that wracked through his body.

I closed the distance between us in a few steps frantically, kneeling down beside him. "Hey, hey," my words echoed though the tree branches. "Come on, get up. You need to come back inside." I grabbed one of his arms, moving to drag him to his feet.

"N-no..." My friend's voice reached up and curled around my ears, drawing my attention. He gave a small, in-pained smile, freezing my attempt to help him up. "I... want to stay here. Under the... peace of the trees."

He fell into another fit of coughing. When he pulled his hands away from his mouth, blood dotted them in patches.

My eyes widened; I grappled with his shoulders so that he rested softly on my lap. "P-please..." Seeing the sight of the blood nearly ripped my heart in half. "Let's go back. Back home. Where it's warm. I-I can find some pears. Your favorite." I tried to smile convincingly, but his eyes stared blankly above.

Struggling, he turned his head to look me right in the eyes. "No," he stated. "I want to... die here."

Die? "But. No. I don't want you to. Come on. Get up. We need to get home so I can treat you-"

He moved a hand up and stroked my cheek. "It... will be... okay. . ." The life in his eyes slowly faded, the snow making his hair into a starry night. His hand dropped back to his side, and he went completely limp.

My hands shook.

Tears trickled down my face, creating small dents into the white about us.

My... dead friend and I.

A sob escaped my lips. I pulled him into a hug, clutching him like he might still be there.

"No... Please. No. No! Not you!"

My tears became waterfalls and I cried into his blanket, feeling the warmth as it passed through his body.

He was... everything for me...

He shouldn't have died.

It was my fault he died.

"Please... Come back."