"Why me?"

The black nylon bags fell to the ground with a muted thud. In the room were a love seat, a card table, a TV, and "The Great Wave;" they were all, save for the painting, visibly worn and weathered by decades of young tenants. The carpet and the wallpaper, both the same shade of beige, were colored calico by an assortment of stains. At the back of the small room was a single, shadeless floor lamp, a door, and a small hall. The door lead to a room with a bed, and the hall lead to a small kitchen and an even smaller bathroom.

Ignoring all of this was the owner of the bag. He was young, only seventeen, lean, and lanky. Draped across his silver eyes was a carpet of sandy curls; surrounding them was a pasty white face. A nobody in a world full of somebodies. The shell of a man.

It had been a long day- well, a long week. On Monday, he broke his wrist. Tuesday, his wrist was set. Thursday, he was informed that it was more severe than expected. Saturday, he departed from the United States. Sunday, he arrived in Tokyo. The surgery was slated for Monday morning, and the teen was to stay in Tokyo until he had finished therapy.

For now, though, all that he could think of was sleep; the Oxicodone had all but done him in. After throwing up in the kitchen sink, he stumbled onto the lumpy bed and closed his eyes. Sleep, however, evaded him.

The boy stumbled back into the living room, fell into the love seat, and pressed the red button at the top of the remote. The cathode ray clunked into life, slowly spreading from a thin line into a full screen. Static interrupted the words and scratched the picture; not that the young patient could understand it anyway.

"Ko...nwa... Hach... no ny...su..."

At this point, the static was joined by violent rasping from the other side of the wall.

"Hey! Kwiyet in theya! Ai habu eeahs rike a hawku!"

"Oh, great," the boy groaned under his breath. "My neighbor's an old crone. Just wonderful."

Shooting pain reminded him that he was overdue for a dose of the narcotics. He hurriedly set into his bags, tearing through stacks of neatly folded clothes in search of the medicine. Upon finding them, he crawled into the kitchen and used tap water to down two of the bitter pills; he was only supposed to take one, but pain had already strangled his thoughts.

Not long after, a gentle trio of knocks echoed from the apartment door. A second trio, like the first, fell upon deaf ears. The doorknob clicked and chattered, followed thereafter by an oaken groan. The visitor was short and pale, with straight, brown hair and deep blue eyes. She stepped cautiously into the room, jumping slightly at the sight of the incapacitated teen. She made her way to the small couch where he lay limp and shook consciousness back into him.

"Hey! Get up! ...Are you alright?"

The addressed opened his eyes, only to find them met with a worried expression.

"Who... Are you?" he squeezed.

"I'm Mizuko; my grandmother is the landlady. I came to apologize for her rudeness."

"By breaking into my home?"

The girl's face puckered slightly, then released into a smile. "Pretty much, yeah. Let's get you into your bed, Mister..."


Well, here ya go. I'm taking this iteration in a slightly different direction, with a better-planned plot line and greater attention to detail. Sure, I never finished the old series, and I'm a month behind on this (I don't even know if I ever uploaded the chapter that explained the restart. XP), but at least I've rekindled my muse. Until next time, Nitro.