Arc 1 - Chapter 4
Wrote by Mark K. and Bogi
Edited by Bogi
"Hayato! Hayato! I'm here! Look Hayato!" I heard Ichika as soon as I approached the lake. For an outsider it surely looked like a little child greeting her big brother. She was running towards me, waving widely. Her light brown hair was flying behind her, rising and dropping with every big step she took. It went great with her smiling blue eyes. She wore a purple dress with the indispensable ribbons, one which should have been under her breasts if she had any and one in her hair. The skirt part otherwise compensated her flatness, showing quite much of her skinny thighs. A boy passing by turned around to check her out, but as his eyes met with mine he quickly turned back to continue his way.
"Not so loud, Ichika! You are embarrassing me." I told her, looking away.
"There you go again. Be nicer with me! Look what I found!"
She handed me her phone and a site was already open on it. I started to read.
"Lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy and pride."
These were the seven deadly sins, as Christians believed it.
"And how is it a clue?" I asked Ichika, still confused how this is something huge.
"Don't know... Maybe there's a cult focused on these sins. You should tell it to the police at least."
"Hayato, have you talked to the police?”
"Don't you think it's time for it?"
"I know they came when I was still in hospital and my parents answered their questions. I've been cleared and the tragedy was labeled as an unfortunate accident caused by some drunk students. Nothing left to investigate."
"But the guy who talked to you?"
"You can't be serious... Like it or not, we were drunk. Nobody would believe me."
"Sorry. I just... Don't know what to do..." And some tears appeared on Ichika's face.
"Uh... Ichika..." I grabbed a tissue and wanted to clean her face, but she refused my help.
"It's nothing. Sorry. I just... I wanted to help you. But there's nothing I can do."
"Don't worry. You've done your best. Let's get going. The fresh air will help you calm down."
We've walked for a few minutes until Ichika stopped crying and the beautiful smile she usually has, came back to her face. The weather was great with a light breeze, not too hot, just the right temperature.
"Look, them!" I heard young girls' voices behind us.
"Hehe, you are right Asami-chan. They are such a cute couple." said another girl followed by some giggling. Both Ichika and I turned back but there wasn’t any couple there... beside us.
"Huh?! We... We are not a couple!!" Ichika yelled. "Tell them Hayato!"
The girls seemed a bit embarrassed and ran away quickly.
"That was a fast response Ichika..."
"Of course! They were stupid! How would we look like a couple?!"
For anyone here in the park, I was just a young boy walking with this beautiful young girl. Unlike her, I’ve put no effort in my appearance, just a pair of jeans and the top T-shirt from my shelf. My dark black hair was messy, and I had a gloomy face with deep shadows under my eyes. Thinking about it, I haven’t had a decent sleep since the accident. And last night’s nightmare didn't help at all. Ichika was bright and lively, while next to her, I looked like a ghost. Definitely not boyfriend material...
"No idea. Anyways, did you sleep well?"
"Nah, I haven’t been sleeping well recently." she intertwined her fingers behind her neck and closed her eyes, enjoying the sun.
"I… I might’ve been kinda worried about you…” she turned her head, but I think I saw her cheeks going a bit red.
"Don’t get me wrong! I mean, it’s not like I’m thinking about you all the time… No! I mean… what I meant to say was…”
By the time, her whole face was bright red which was kind of cute.
"Look! Ducks!" and she ran away in the direction of the lake, where ducks were swimming and pecking at the food the kids gave them.
"Huh. Nice saving." I mumbled and started walking after her. When I reached the lake, she was kneeling next to the children, looking at the birds with great amusement. I spotted one of those machines with food especially for ducks. I searched through my pockets until I found a few yen.
"Hey!" she looked up at me and I nodded towards the machine. "Want some?"
Her whole face brightened up even more, she jumped up, patting her knees to get the dust off and jogged next to me. We walked over to the machine, I inserted the coins, but we couldn’t figure out, what to do next. Suddenly a cute little girl appeared.
"Need some help?" I was surprised but Ichika nodded happily. "Put your hands under the hole. Careful, it gives out a lot!”
After that, the little girl turned the machine's arm and the dry food started flowing out from the hole. Ichika squeaked which was, again, adorable. But the food quickly filled her palms and it didn't stop flowing. I rushed over and put my hands right under hers, so the extra could fall there. I haven’t noticed before, but her hands were so tiny, especially compared to mine. And they were shaking, not much, but enough to spill even more in my hand. Looking at her face, she was once again red and locked her eyes on the food in her hands.
"That’s all!" the little girl smiled and ran back to the animals. We were still standing there, clueless what to do.
"I... I’ll pour a bit more into your hands, okay?" Ichika broke the silence.
"H... hold still!" she said furiously, like my hands were shaking. She slowly poured the food onto my palms until they were full. She still had a few in hers, but it was easier to hold that with one hand and feed the ducks with the other.
"Th... thanks…” she muttered and walked back to the animals. Although she was acting a bit strange, this afternoon, with her, was fun. She fed the ducks, sometimes even talking to them, giggling and I enjoyed watching her. Her smile made me do the same. Since the accident, this was the first time I felt calm and relieved.
"Stop staring, you perv!" she said firmly, pulling me out of my thoughts.
"Sorry…" I mumbled, but she got up and walked over to me. "What?"
She held up her empty hands, not looking at me.
"I see. Here you go." Her face went red, as I poured some duck food once again. She went back to feeding, but this time, since I still had a handful of the portion, I went with her. She didn’t look at me, but obviously noticed my presence. After she emptied her hand, Ichika fed the ducks from my hand and as the food started to run out, her fingers started to touch mine more and more. By the time we finished, we both blushed and didn’t look at each other. I just realized the sun was setting. I pulled out my phone and yes, it was already that time.
"Ichika..." I said and she turned to me with a smile. "Sun’s setting. We should go home."
Her face showed disappointment at first, but soon brightened up again.
"Could we watch the sunset? Hayato, please!" she looked adorable with her hands behind her back, leaning a bit to the front. I had to smile.
We sat down on the grass and watched it. Watched the play of colours. Red, orange, yellow, pink and purple mixing with what remained from the light. It was breathtaking.
Why have I never watched the sunset yet? I looked over to Ichika. The shine of the setting sun gave her hair an orange tint with something that looked like a halo. She turned her head to me and with a smile she said "You’re staring at me again, you pervert."
But this time she was just joking so I returned the smile and looked back at the sun.
When we were walking home, it was already dark. I watched our shadows grow, disappear and grow again, passing the lampposts while Ichika was humming the sounds of a familiar song. I wanted to be a gentleman and walk her home, even though she lived in another side of Saitama. Although we weren’t talking, this silence was comfortable. We knew there was no need for words.
When I reached her house, I didn’t want to say 'good bye'. A 'good bye' that takes me back to reality, where my friends are dead. Where my friends are dead because of me. Where I have to go home, go to bed, then dream about what happened two weeks ago, over and over again.
My mood got worse as she faced me in front of her door. She was smiling, but I couldn’t return it so I looked away instead.
"Hayato…" she called me but I couldn’t look at her. "Hayato, please…"
I took a deep breath and turned my head to Ichika. She smiled at me. In an instant, her face started getting closer to mine. I haven’t even realized what was happening, all I saw was her light brown hair as the sweet smell of her shampoo filled the air around me. Then, I felt a pair of soft lips on my cheek. The whole act was so innocent and sweet, my breath stopped for a second. But as soon as I realized what was happening, it was already over. Ichika pulled back a little, getting back on her feet again, because she had to tiptoe to reach my face. I tried my best to act normal but it was impossible.
"Thanks for today, Hayato. I really enjoyed it. Promise me we’ll do it again soon."
"I didn't mean in the school. I won't force you to come back. Just take your time, we are not in a rush at all. But I definitely want to meet you again in the near future."
"I- I’m glad. Then, see ya!"
And with that, she disappeared behind the door, and I was left alone in the dark night, alone, in the cruel reality.
site: mark k.story: mark k. and kunal s.