My name is Moriuchi Ayumi. I am a seventeen-year-old girl who just started her second year in high school. I live with my mom and my younger brother in a small two-bedroom apartment in Itabashi, Tokyo. My dad was killed. It has been 10 years since he has passed away. My life is pretty ordinary. I have a best friend who lives next door, and no one bullies me at my high school. I currently work part-time in a bakery to help my mom with our expenses. My goal in life is to have a quiet and peaceful life. But I have a feeling that was about to change. I keep having the same dream. It has never happened before. In my dream, I keep falling from the sky and there is no end to it. I am not seeing any bottom and when I turn around, I always see a shadow above me. Its hand reaches out to me but before it can touch me, I wake up. Every, single time. I grabbed my curtains and pulled them aside. The sun blinded me for a second. My blanket had fallen to the ground. I stepped on it as I got out of my bed.
“Ayumi, please wake Yuu-chan up.”
My mom was making breakfast. It smelled like grilled fish and miso soup. I went into their bedroom and nudged Yuuma with my foot. He rolled over on his side. I opened their blinds. And again, the sudden bright light blinded me. The sky was light blue, and the clouds were puffy.
“Yuuma, mom said to wake up or you’re going to be late for school.”
He opened his blue eyes but immediately dozed off again. I heard the phone ringing.
“Ayumi, pick up the phone please!”
I rushed over to pick it up, but my legs felt heavy, and I was dragging my feet. I was still not fully awake myself. It was Mrs Watanabe on the other side of the phone. One of my mom’s co-workers. My mom worked as a lawyer with a small company. I passed the phone over to her who was gesturing vigorously to try and wake my younger brother up again. This time I threw his blanket on to the floor and picked him up. That was the fastest and easiest way to get him out of his bed. I got ready for school and made sure that Yuuma was doing his part. We both brushed our teeth, washed our faces, and changed into our uniforms. I went over his black hair with a comb and then tied his light blue, checkered tie. I didn’t mind going out with my messy bed hair. It looked good since I had short, wavy hair. I dyed it rose a couple of months ago and you could see my black roots peeking through. I couldn’t be bothered to go to the hairdresser again to fix it.
“Mom, what does it mean to fall from the sky?”
“Ayumi, what are you talking about? Eat your breakfast. Yuu-chan, you too or else you both are going to be late for school.”
“Would you consider it a bad dream?”
She made a confused face at me. I scratched my head and sat down at the table.
“Ayumi, I don’t know what you are talking about. We’ll discuss it later if you want to but for now, please finish your breakfast and walk your brother to school. I need to go now.”
I wiped a piece of fish from Yuuma’s cheek. After washing the dishes and cleaning the table, I dropped him off at his elementary school. It was a prestigious school. My younger brother was quite smart, and he got into it through a scholarship. It was on the way to my high school. I kept thinking about my dream. I think that it would be considered more of a nightmare. I mean, I was always drenched in sweat the next morning. I couldn’t concentrate on my classes at all. My head was exploding. The school bell rang, and the class was over.
Someone sang my name out loud and hugged me from behind. It was a girl. She was taller than me and had long, brown hair. Her skin was fair, and you could see some light freckles on her face. She was playing with one of her many earrings. I had the same one on my ear.
“Charlotte, I’m not talking to you. You left me behind this morning.”
“Ah, sorry. My boyfriend surprised me this morning. How can I say no to him when he came all the way to my house so we could walk together to school?”
“My bad. Of course, I understand. By the way, where is Mr Giant?”
We started laughing and I gave her a hug back. We lined up in the cafeteria to get our lunch.
“He’s somewhere. Probably with his friends.”
We decided to sit outside underneath a tree. The weather was too nice to not take advantage of. It was the beginning of spring after all.
“Tell me Charlotte, is it bad to fall from the sky?”
“Yes. You’ll die.”
“That’s not what I meant.”
I punched her arm and she started giggling.
“Then tell me the context.”
She took a big bite out of her curry bun. I handed her my napkin so she could wipe her mouth which was covered in fried breadcrumbs.
“I’m having this reoccurring dream where I keep falling from the sky. And whenever I turn my body around, there’s a big, black shadow above me. Its falling with me. Now that I think about it, the sky isn’t blue either.”
“What colour is it?”
I closed my eyes and tried to remember what colour it was. The wind was blowing away the empty, clear packaging of our buns and breads. Charlotte was trying to catch them.
“I think it was red.”
“Maybe you’re about to get your period.”
“I’m pretty sure that’s not it.”
I punched her arm again. The discussion about my dream ended and we quickly finished our lunch to get back to our classes. My headache was not going away and persisted throughout the day. School ended and I was walking back home with Charlotte. Everything around us was cherry-blossom themed or the colour pink. The trees were sprouting as well. It was about a 20-minute walk from my high school to our apartment building. Our school uniform consisted of a light blue shirt, black bottoms, and blazers but I had taken off my blazer and plaid bow.
“Are you sure you’re not getting ill?”
“Maybe. I have a headache and feel hot, but I don’t think I have a fever.”
Charlotte placed her hand on my forehead. It felt cold.
“Do we have to pick Yuu-chan up?”
“No, we don’t. I think my mom will finish early today and said that she’ll pick him up on her way home.”
“Want to go and grab some ice cream then? It’ll cool you off as well.”
I agreed to it and we changed our destination to be Oyama Happy Road. We were walking in synch even though her legs were longer than mine. The bakery that I worked at was in the same shopping arcade. It was owned by an old couple, but we were going to a different spot.
“Do you want mochi or soft serve?”
“You decide. I don’t mind either.”
I grabbed my head and nearly tipped over when Charlotte grabbed me by my arm.
“Are you okay?”
“Yeah. I’m just feeling a little bit lightheaded all of a sudden.”
“Maybe we should get you some medicine and go home instead. We can get the ice cream when you get better.”
She told me to sit on a bench while she went to a pharmacy. People were passing by me. I got impatient and started walking towards the same direction as she went. My headache was getting worse, and I could barely stand on my feet. My body was sweating, and it got hard to breathe. I walked into a narrow alleyway to catch my breath and rested my body against the wall of a building. My vision was blurry, but I saw someone standing in the same alleyway as me. He was standing a bit further away from me. His eyes were looking in my direction. The voices and footsteps of other people echoed in my ears and felt far away. I took my mobile phone out of my pocket and dialled Charlotte’s number. The line was connecting, and I heard her ringtone. It was a song from one of her favourite rock bands. I could hear the melody ring from somewhere close by. The boy was holding something in his hand and was showing it to me. I squinted my eyes and saw a pink mobile phone with a cute jellyfish phone strap dangling from it. It was her phone. There was no doubt about it.
“Why do you have Charlotte’s mobile phone?”
My words barely came out of my mouth. I dropped to my knees. My body felt really heavy for some reason. Before I could say anything else, the boy disappeared into thin air. I tried to run after him, but my body gave up and I passed out on the road.