- This is meant to be an arc of a bigger story. However, since my partner TH-Z for this project is now in a very busy period of his life, our plan for a grander story shall be put on to hold. Because of that, I decided to add this epilogue here as a way to end this part in a less abrupt way.
- It has been quite an interesting experience writing something I am not really comfortable of. Nevertheless, I hope to revisit this project again one day, hopefully my writing skill will have improved by then, especially my ability to work on a grand narrative.
- Thanks to all those who make it here despite all the problems and errors. English is not my first language so I want to apologise for all the mistakes presented in this story. I would love to do it a comb-over but my free time is barely existent and there are still other projects to be done. Once again, me and my partner want to thank you and we hope that you managed to be entertained by our effort.
Epilogue: After the storm
My name is Sayuri Ito, years ago my parents had an argument and split up. Me and Ichirou-niisan were taken away by father to the city. While my twin little brother Jirou stayed behind with mother, who passed away recently. And so, I will move back with him, I will finally be back home.
Don't get me wrong, staying in the city was great and all and I have made many good friends. But even then, home is still home, I can still feel it calling out for me.
I step out onto the busy dock and is greeted by a familiar fa… wait what! There is Jirou, waving at me but the cute and proper little boy is not here. His hair is too long, covering one of his eye even. The other side is tucked behind his ear, revealed three piercings. Also, that slightly brown hue, he dyed them. With scruffy clothing, he looks just like a sleazy teenager you can find hanging behind the gym after class. What happened to my cute little brother!
"Sayuri-neechan, it's been too lo… What with that dejected look! You just arrive! Are you alright"
Ah, I already make him worry, that's just irresponsible. I should be more proper, straighten myself up "I am a bit seasick from the trip, that's all" I assured him but my tongue still slipped a bit "You sure have changed…"
"It's been years after all" He replied casually, at least his language still seems proper. Although I wonder if it is a front to show me. Ah, I can't imagine my cute little brother spewing out lingos and all those dirty words. Jirou flicks his hair and ask me with a smile "I did change quite a bit, how do you find my look, neechan"
"Don't worry, no matter what, you are still my little brother" I answered sternly.
"Is that grim of a reply necessary. Don't worry, neechan, I am still me"
There is something sincere in his voice, or maybe I am just imagining it. Nevertheless, hearing those words feel kind of reassuring "That's fine then" I replied.
"Jeez, you haven't changed a bit" Muttered Jirou.
We make our way through town to the female dormitory. It is not terribly far but by the time we reach the mountain road, it is already noon. Everyone in town still remember me, everyone wanted to say hi, to ask me of the city. We were stopped every step of the way. It didn't help that the mood in town was rather joyous.
Apparently, last week there was a storm of sort. It was out of nowhere, deep within the mountain where the school is. The place remained undamaged, however, except for in some odd areas. A wooden wall in the old library is broken open, there are also some holes on the ground caused by what no one know. The door to the art room was also broken despite being replaced recently. Someone was there that stormy night, who no one knows and no one care.
Despite being completely inland, the storm had certainly stirred up the local ecosystem somewhat. Our fishermen are having great hauls after great hauls. I've never seen the harbour so bustling with activities like this before.
I should be happy and yet what is this heavy feeling in my chest…
My mind runs wild with possibilities and emotions, each one grimmer than the last. My train of negativity, however, is soon derailed much to by relief "Neechan, are you alright" Said a worried Jirou.
"Nothing, I am just a bit tired from the trip, that's all" I answered him with a smile like usual.
He still looks at me however, his uncovered eye still full of worry. We stand there like that for a bit before Jirou start to carry my luggage to his shoulder, we are going a uphill after all. Ah, what kind of big sister would make her brother worry on her first day of return like that. This is quite unacceptable of me. Thinking to myself, I try to hide a grin from appearing on my face. My cute little Jirou is still a worrywart like before.
Something about him is different though "You still aren't tired" I asked, the little brother I knew was a weak boy after all.
"I'm fine, neechan" He gave me a thumb up "I go to gym every day after all!"
"Oh my, we even have gym here as well" What is this, not only did my Jirou became stronger and healthier he is also disciplined. As a sister, such progress nearly brings me to tears, of joy of course!
"About that, you remember Ranmaru, Kioshi's sister?"
If I remember correctly, she left the island quite some time ago. What does she have to do with anything "I do"
"Well, she was the one to open the gym. Since I am trying to woo her so I go there with the boys regularly!" He said with a flirtatious smile.
"Ah, you sure have changed. Don't worry Jirou, now that I am here, neechan will surely turn you into a respectable human being again" I replied, trying to contain tears of pain.
Jirou immediately replied "That was just a joke, a joke"
After some convincing, I have decided to trust him for now. We make our way up the hill to the girl dormitory, where I will be staying. Both of us are quite tired, however, and the noon sun is blazing through the trees. So we decide to stop by the male dormitory instead to eat and rest for a bit. It is quite inappropriate but it is also a chance for me to meet with Jirou housemates.
As we approach the building, a striking figure suddenly appear in front of my eyes. It is a girl around my age, standing in the shade, facing away from me. Her long jet black hair covered most of her body, swinging slightly in the wind. As she turns around my heart drop a bit from her mesmerising beauty. With an unbelievably pale and translucence skin and deep eyes, that girl is most unnatural.
A smile appears on her face and then she is gone, vanished from my view. I didn't blink nor look away at all and yet that girl is nowhere to be found. Her disappearance is as sudden as her arrival.
Jirou still goes on as normal, completely unaware of the mysterious figure. Maybe it is just the heat, playing trick again, I wondered…
We enter the kitchen which is also the guest room, I encounter the aforementioned Kioshi. He has also changed a lot… or not actually, aside from having his spiky hair dyed dark yellow, the boy still looks the same. He even has the same laid-back attitude as before.
"Ah, aren't you Sayuri-nee, welcome back"
"Thanks for the welcome" I put my hand on his shoulder "So are you the bad influence on my Jirou, little Kioshi"
"Why are you interrogating him!" My little brother objected.
His friend, however, answers immediately "No" Oh my, such conviction. I feel a bit embarrassed now, jumping onto conclusion like that.
"Jeez, I am still normal" Jirou assured me once again.
I would have believe him if Kioshi doesn't continue "As a matter of fact, it was Jirou who drag me into this rebellious phrase"
"Wait, why are you throwing me under the bus like that!"
The boy continues, however, holding his arms "He used my curiosity as a healthy young man at puberty against me" He answered with a hint of fear in his voice "Ah, the thing he made me do!"
"Oi oi oi, where does that come from!" Jirou jumped in again, trying to defence his innocence.
"I'm so glad you are here, Sayuri-nee, please rescue me from this beast!" Kioshi falls to his knees, weeping.
"I… I can't believe you would do something like that. I still love you as a sister but… Don't worry Jirou, I will make sure to rehabilitate you!"
"Oi, is this a joke" Said Jirou.
In that moment, Kioshi spring back to his feet, once again in his laid back mode "Of course" He said. And after a moment of silence, that is also my answer.
"Neechan, I knew you were serious…" Jirou commented.
The air becomes rather awkward, we all stand there looking at each other. Kioshi gave up midway though and reached into to refrigerator for some ramune.
Jirou is the first to break the silent "Come to think of it, where is the president?" He asked.
"Oh, I think he just went up to his room to get something" Answered Kioshi "PRESIDENT, WE HAVE GUEST!"
"Here, here" From behind the door, I could hear a familiar voice.
It's Isao, our old neighbour and Jirou childhood friend. Compared to the others, he hasn't changed at all. Still those dead eyes, that cleanly cut hair style, that malnourished form. He really is just a bigger Isao, maybe with thicker glasses… But what with the yellow cat ears on his head.
"Ah, Sayuri-nee, it's been too long… wait, what with that judgemental look" He asked nervously.
Both Kioshi and Jirou point to his head, even then it is quite a while before Isao realise the problem. He immediately rips it off "This, Nakai-san was cleaning out the warehouse today and found this. He just shoved it into my hands" How it gets onto his head is a whole other matter but seeing the boy so flustered, I decide to let it go.
Kioshi is thinking differently, however, if that sadistic grin is anything to go by. I decide to change the subject "It's been a while, Isao, I noticed that you are called 'president' now"
"About that" The boy scratched his head, trying to hold back a grin "I am the student council president now!"
That isn't much of a surprise, he has always been a discipline and excellent boy after all. He also admires Ichirou-niisan, who was the president, as well. Although the position seems to make him slightly more confident.
He is still flustering like mad trying to put the cat ears away though.
Kioshi, feeling charitable, yanks the item and puts it on his head "How do I look?"
"Horrible" All of us answered truthfully.
"Eh, why? My hair colour should be a fit" Just looking one may be fooled into thinking that Kioshi is actually wondering about the cat ears. But in truth he is just trying to strike a gag, that or maybe I am reading too much.
"Your hair is way darker than the ears you know" Said Jirou "Besides, your spiky hair isn't a fit with this thing anyway. Hm, maybe it could suit him"
"Him?" I wondered who are they talking about.
Before my brother could continue, however, Kioshi stop him "Oi, Jirou, are you seriously going to tell her about that" His voice is serious and with just that warning, the room is filled with an atmosphere most grim.
"I…I" My brother looks away, his head low.
"What is going on?" I asked, completely confused.
"It's better that you tell her" Isao said, looking away also.
"You are right, it already comes to this after all" Kioshi said "The 'him' Jirou was talking about is our final housemate, or ex-housemate to be more precise"
He looks at me to see if I am invested, after a pause he decides to continue.
"He was a transfer student, which is rare. Not only that, the guy is also a foreigner, blond with clear blue eyes and all that. He was rather skittish at first but soon he was well loved by everyone including"
After that, Kioshi paused again to compose himself "What happened?" I asked.
"Well, he is always a nerd for everything paranormal. And so he like to dig around for things like that" The boy decided to take a seat, his legs seem to be giving out "No one think much about that, of course. That it, until he found something, very very real. The poor guy released what seem like an evil spirit of sort. It takes the form of a beautiful woman with pale skin and jet black hair"
Those very words make my heart drop to the floor. My mind immediately brings back images of that mysterious figure.
"We should have noticed it earlier, his abnormal behaviours, the frequent disappearances. But we didn't and so, the poor guy was gone, spirited away" With a sigh, Kioshi gazed straight at me "But the worst is that, she is still out there, the evil spirit. She is looking for more victims, more people to consume"
This can't be true, right… I want to deny it but the figure just keep on appearing in my mind. She exists, but does that mean… she is after me now. I can feel cold sweat running, the person I saw didn't seem to be malevolence though. She was captivating but I couldn't sense any evil intent.
Maybe that was just a ruse, a honey trap…
"A pale girl with black hair? That's so cliché" Said Jirou, which totally kicked me out of the moment.
"Eh" What is he talking about.
"Well, I just thought of that on the spot after all, what do you expect" Kioshi replied, back in his relaxed state.
"Well, for that serious of an act, we kind of expected something more" Isao commented, scratching his head.
What is going… All these reactions, does that the story was just "Made up?"
"Of course" Jirou seemed puzzled about my reaction, guess that he thought I would notice that immediately "But well, our final housemate does exist, from the sound of it, I think he is here"
I could hear some shuffling before the door finally open. Then enter a very familiar young man carrying a huge box.
"Ah, aren't you, Sayuri-senpai" It's Akihiko, so he lives here? I thought his house is near the school?
That turns out not to be the case however, judging by Isao comment "You dropping by?"
"Yeah, I am helping the President out with this"
It takes me a moment to realise the person he is talking about isn't Isao but a boy who enters after Akihiko. A foreigner, with blond hair and clear blue eyes just like the description. He looks much smaller than I expected. Standing next to the tallest person in school doesn't help. His attire is the school uniform but with a pair of gloves for some reason.
We are then introduced to one another.
"You can call him President" Isao said with a hint of bitterness in his voice.
"Nice to meet you" I said and accidentally wondered out loud "What with that box?"
"Ah, it's my mother, she just sent quite a bit of food" The President answered, a bit embarrassed.
"And they are all delicious" Said Kioshi, who is casually drooling "Actually, since we have a guest here, let bust it open now"
Clutching his chest, the President reluctantly gives his approval. I want to help out with the preparation but is seated down by Jirou, who tells me to just relax. We all chit chat casually, mostly about what happened here. Apparently, Akihiko is now the baseball club ace, no surprise there really. Although just last week, his health deteriorates quite badly but it doesn't take long for him to recover.
Then I found out that the President's package also arrived on the same boat as me. We somehow managed to miss each other. Him and Akihiko also got held back by the townsfolks like us and since their box was quite heavy, it took them quite some time to reach here. The latter is drenched with sweats, which he is trying to dry with a small electrical fan.
"Still, the heat is brutal today" Commented Akihiko.
As the others talk on, I could hear the President muttering something "Certainly, enough to make you see things" He then looks straight at me, so sudden that it has taken me back.
What did he mean, was he talking about the person I saw earlier? I don't know, he is still low-key staring at me, waiting for some sort of response. I… I don't know what to say. Kioshi's stupid story suddenly comes back to me. It is just bogus but I can't seem to get rid of it. A part me believe there is some truth in there, even though it was just coincidental.
My mind is suddenly flooded with the images of that mysterious person, her smile…
It is soon override, however, by what is happening right in front of me…
"This certainly suit you… no it's perfect" Said Kioshi as he finished putting the cat ears on the President head.
"Wait, what!" He tried to get it off but Kioshi hold it tight to his head "Akihiko, help me!"
His plea for help is denied, however "Sorry, President, but that serious go well with you"
It's a bit of a surprise, hearing those words coming out of Akihiko. But then again, I have to agree with him there. Even though I still don't understand what with those words, this President doesn't seem like a bad person.
Seeing everyone here having fun like that certainly make your heart warm. Although Jirou seems way to enthusiastic with this image, I will have a talk with him about his preferences later.
I will have plenty of time for that, all the time in the world.