Chapter 1:

What the hell is happening?

Old Enough


"Hey! Arata! Wake up!" Mom shouted,
"All right!" I shouted back,
"ARATA!"
"I KNOW!"Bookmark here

'I can hear you! You didn't need to shout.' I thought,Bookmark here

"Then ready up!" Mom said,Bookmark here

The day started much more loudly than usual. If my alarm doesn't work my mom gets to replace that role, I'd have to say... it's incredibly effective. The usual routine starts; this is my last year in high-school, after that... well... I'll be in college. Bookmark here

I ready up and had a quick breakfast. Two of my siblings are already coming towards school, I have to hurry up!Bookmark here

"I'll be going now!" I shouted, and no response...Bookmark here

'Maybe she's busy? I'll get going now.'Bookmark here

"Be careful!" Mom shouted. A slight delay of response... she really is busy.Bookmark here

After a while I walk near a crosswalk full of people. My stomach grumbles violently... I know...Bookmark here

'I should've eaten more.'Bookmark here

People around me suddenly look around as if something's wrong. 'Weird' I thought...Bookmark here

"Did you say something?" a person asked,
"I was going to ask you the same thing..." he replied back,Bookmark here

Alot of gossip happening around me, I ignore them as the stop light turns green. As I'm walking towards the school the students around me are also behaving strangely... they kept looking around them asking things like "Did you hear that?" or "Did you say something?"... my stomach suddenly grumbled,Bookmark here

'I should've bought a donut or something...' I thought,Bookmark here

The students around me reacted again, what the hell is happening? I hear a sound of running behind me, an arm suddenly enveloped me. Bookmark here

My friend Haruko smiles at me, "Hey Arata!"
"Yo, your arm is heavy..." I replied back then removed his arm around me.
Haruko looks at me confused, he then catches up to me, "Haaahhh... our first day in our last year... It's been pretty uneventful eh?"
"It could've been worse."
Bookmark here

'Well with you around, it's never been uneventful.' I thought,Bookmark here

"Really? You're making me blush." He said,
I look at him, "Wait... what?"
"Huh... why are you not talking?" 
"What do you mean—"
He points at me, "That! Are you lip syncing something?"
"What? No! I'm not lip syncing!"Bookmark here

He looks at me confused, 'Huh... he's not the type to lie about something.' I thought,Bookmark here

"An unexpected complement! Also, how are you talking with your mouth closed?" He asked,
"What do you mean?" I held up my hand as I slowly realize, "Wait..."Bookmark here

'Can you hear me now?' I say in my thoughts,Bookmark here

"Yeah! Wait!" He held up his hand as if he realized something, "Can I read minds?"
"I'm sure that's not the case..." I said,
"Your voice is muted."
"CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW YOU STUPID FUCK?!" I said in a Russian accent,
"Are you shouting?"Bookmark here

'YES I'M SHOUTING!'Bookmark here

He holds his ear, "Ouch! Stop! That's so loud!"Bookmark here

I look around... all of the students around me held their ears... I need be quiet...Bookmark here

"Sorry—" I said then I immediately realize that he couldn't hear me.Bookmark here

'Sorry.'Bookmark here

"It's okay, I'll find it in my heart to forgive you someday."Bookmark here

'I don't—'Bookmark here

I look around and all of the students are looking at us, gossiping; We need change locations. I grab his hand,Bookmark here

'Come!'Bookmark here

"But the classes are going to start soon..." He said,
"I FORGOT!"
"Looks like you forgot"
"Yeah no shit captain obvious."
He leans in, "What?!"Bookmark here

'Nevermind! But how will I recite if I somehow got picked?'Bookmark here

"Hmm... just think and talk at the same time then."Bookmark here

'"Goddammit..."' I thought and said,Bookmark here

"There you go! Now let's go we're gonna be late for class."Bookmark here

Me and Haruko sprint-walk towards our classroom, I sit at the fourth row by the window side while Haruko is in front of me.Bookmark here

Haruko looks at me and said, "What a coincidence Mr. Arata!"
"I'd like to be in front of you instead of behind you..." I said,Bookmark here

Haruko points at his ear and gestures that he can't hear me...Bookmark here

'I'm not going to get used to this...' I thought,
Bookmark here

"Well... it's not like you're going to be like that forever right?" Haruko said,Bookmark here

'I'm not too sure... what if it's forever?'Bookmark here

"It's... probably not..."Bookmark here

I look around me and there's quite a few new students... 2 girls and... that's it...Bookmark here

Haruko looks at me with a smile, "Oh? Did one of the new students caught you eye?"
"No— oh, you can't hear me..."Bookmark here

'No... if I said anything you'll be the worst wingman ever!' I thought,Bookmark here

"Didn't say about being a wingman. So you are interested..."Bookmark here

'I'd be lying if I said I'm not.'Bookmark here

He claps his hands, "So, who are you interested in? The long haired one or short haired?"Bookmark here

'Don't make me pick—'Bookmark here

"Come on, answer!"Bookmark here

I look at them closely, 'They both look beautiful... but the long haired one caught my attention.' I thought,Bookmark here

"Ehhh? I thought you'd pick the short haired one..."Bookmark here

'Why?'Bookmark here

"Nothing, it's just that every friend-zoned girl are always short haired... the long haired ones always win."Bookmark here

'Where did— You've been reading too much manga didn't you?'Bookmark here

"Correct! Long haired ones are always a safe bet!"Bookmark here

'Your girlfriend has medium-length-hair'Bookmark here

"Yeah, but no matter how long her hair is... I will love her dearly." he said as he clutches his chest,Bookmark here

Our homeroom teacher comes in and like before, the classes start. After a while, slowly I got bored and started playing orchestral music in my head,Bookmark here

"Who's playing music?" the teacher said,Bookmark here

All of my classmates are looking at each other to find who played music, they did not realized that I played music in my head.Bookmark here

'Crap...' I thought,Bookmark here

"Crap huh... Whoever that was come to me after school!" the teacher said in a commanding tone,Bookmark here

The bell rang and the classes ended; it's break time! Haruko looks at me with a sinister smile...Bookmark here

"No... NO! Don't say a goddamn word!" I said,
"I don't know that you're saying but it seems like you don't want me to say anything. Ok... why that song out of all others?" Haruko asked,Bookmark here

'You know... I love me my original orchestral songs... something made by seycara or rush garcia is always nice.' I thought,Bookmark here

"Ehh... looks like you're not the only one who like it... look..." Haruko points at the other students,Bookmark here

I look at them... they're humming the melody of the song I played in my mind. I smile... that's... nice...Bookmark here

"Hm... if you can play a music in your head... then can you change your voice?" Haruko asked,Bookmark here

'Before that let's ask the most obvious question...' Bookmark here

"Yep, let's buy some food and talk about it outside."Bookmark here

We bought food from the cafeteria and found a nice place outside and sat on a bench, we ate the food and drank some water.Bookmark here

"Let's—" I realized immediately that Haruko won't hear me.Bookmark here

'How can people hear my thoughts but not my voice?' I thought,Bookmark here

"Yeah, that's pretty weird... when did this happen?"Bookmark here

'Only today...'Bookmark here

"Hmm... so you were normal yesterday?"Bookmark here

'Yeah, nothing out of the ordinary.'Bookmark here

Haruko thinks but it looks like he hit his limit, "My brain is fried, let's talk about something else."Bookmark here

'Seriously? That's your limit? Okay... I noticed, that people near are acting strange... so let's assume that they can hear my thoughts but those who are far away behaved normally.'Bookmark here

"So there must be a limit on how far a person can read your thoughts!" Bookmark here

Haruko stands up and measures the range by meter. First, 1 meter...Bookmark here

'Can you hear me?' I thought,Bookmark here

"Loud and clear." he said,Bookmark here

Next 2 meters...Bookmark here

'Still hear me?'Bookmark here

"Yep!"Bookmark here

Haruko decided to go immediately to 4 meters...Bookmark here

'I think that's too far!' I thought,Bookmark here

"NO IT'S NOT!" Haruko shouted,Bookmark here

Next 5 meters...Bookmark here

'Okay I think that's far enough...'Bookmark here

Haruko is silent... I gestured him to come near me because he can't hear me.Bookmark here

'I'm guessing 4 meters is the maximum length'Bookmark here

Haruko thinks, "I noticed that even though you're 4 meters away; the volume of your voice still sounds the same."Bookmark here

'So there's a steep drop-off of volume.'Bookmark here

"Yep."Bookmark here

'Interesting...'Bookmark here

"Oh yeah, you should also change your voice."Bookmark here

'I'm going to use the voice from a video I watched... okay here goes...'Bookmark here

Haruko waits in anticipation, "I'm waiting..."Bookmark here

'I gotta assume that the people up top cracking the whip must either not realize or not care that burning the candle both ends completely drains you of any passion you might have had. A tired, stressed, underpaid, unhappy employee working the same hours as a fucking sweatshop worker... is not likely to put out their best work.' I thoughtBookmark here

"Woah... that's... detailed..."Bookmark here

'Yeah... what he said stuck with me... it's about game development but really, any company that works with deadlines at least knows about this... you should watch it! I'll send you the link later!'Bookmark here

"Interesting, I'm going to watch it later. Anyways, your voice is different! I haven't heard that voice yet! Maybe try to make you voice sound like a girl—"Bookmark here

'Like this?' I thought with a girl sounding voice,Bookmark here

"Holy crap, that sounds legit!"Bookmark here

'Really? It doesn't feel like it... I'm just thinking of a female voice.' I thought with a girl sounding voice,Bookmark here

"It feels weird to hear a female voice from you..."Bookmark here

'Don't make me do that again,' I thought in my normal voice,Bookmark here

"Sure, but it might be handy someday..."Bookmark here

'Oh, pranking people would be fun!'Bookmark here

"Yeah! We should do that at least once!"Bookmark here

'Sure! But only once! I don't want to abuse this ability too much.'Bookmark here

I look around me and see the short haired transfer student looking at us... I pretended to not look,Bookmark here

'Hey, what's her name? I just noticed that she's been staring at us...' I thought whispering,Bookmark here

"Oh yeah, her name's... crap I forgot..." Haruko whispered,Bookmark here

'Goddammit... it'll be hard to ask her name...'Bookmark here

"Then let's ask her!" Haruko goes to her,Bookmark here

I sighed, 'Fine...'Bookmark here

As we go towards her, she tries leave but bumps into the other transfer student.Bookmark here

"Where have you been? I've been looking everywhere for you! Emica!" the long haired girl said,
"Oh, I was just strolling around..." Emica said,Bookmark here

Haruko whispers to me, "Don't think right now, the name of the long haired girl is Nozomi..."
"And the name of the short haired girl is Emica... got it..." I whispered to myself,Bookmark here

Nozomi helped Emica get up. Haruko then comes at Emica,Bookmark here

"Can we help you? You were staring at us a moment ago..." Haruko said,
"Ah no... I'm just... nevermind!" Emica sprints away,
"Hey!" Nozomi turns at us, "I'm sorry about Emica!" then Nozomi follows her, "Emica! Wait up!" Bookmark here

I chuckled, "We should get going..." I said,
"That escalated quickly huh?" Haruko said,Bookmark here

'I keep forgetting that you can't hear me...' I thought,Bookmark here

"You'll get used to it." Haruko said,Bookmark here

'I'm not... I've talking my whole life...'Bookmark here

"And you've been thinking your whole life"Bookmark here

'It's different! It's shouldn't be possible to read minds in the first place!'Bookmark here

"And yet here you are..."Bookmark here

I sighed, 'We should get going...' I thought,Bookmark here

We go to our classroom and the class once again started. After a few hours, the day ends... of course it had problems of my mind going out exploring when I'm bored; thinking all kinds of things.Bookmark here

I sighed, 'What a pain...' I thought,
Bookmark here

"Yeah, you kept playing music in class. It still surprises me how you can act so bored yet score almost perfectly in quizzes and exams..." Haruko said,
"I love learning! It's more like a hobby for me." I said,
"I can't hear you..."Bookmark here

'I love learning I said! It's day one so don't expect me to get used to this.' I thought,Bookmark here

"I know..."Bookmark here

As we are going to leave, the short haired transfer student girl Emica along with her friend Nozomi, passes by... Emica hides behind Nozomi,Bookmark here

"Did you both do something to scare her earlier?" Nozomi asked,
"No... the first time we met is during break." Haruko said,
She looks at me, "How about you? You haven't been talking too much."Bookmark here

'Because I can't talk—' I thought then realized that she might hear me,Bookmark here

"Why can't you talk—"
Haruko interrupts Nozomi, "Because he has a communication disorder! He gets seizures when talking to other people than me!"
Bookmark here

'This idiot...' I thought,Bookmark here

Nozomi looks at us with suspicious eyes, "Okay then, I won't press any further with your communicative disorder or whatnot..."Bookmark here

Nozomi and Emica leaves. I smack Haruko on the head,Bookmark here

"You dumbass!" I said,
"Sorry! It was in the heat of the moment!" Haruko said,
"She might think that I have a disorder now..."
"It's not like she'll believe it."
I realized, "Wait... can you hear me now?"
Bookmark here

Haruko tilts his head, confused, "What?"Bookmark here

'Oh, I thought you can hear me...'Bookmark here

"No, what makes you think that?"Bookmark here

'You replied very quickly,'Bookmark here

"Really? Well I was just taking my time to say stuff..."Bookmark here

'This day has been tiring... let's go...'Bookmark here

We leave the school and gone our separate ways. After walking for about half an hour... I arrive home safely,Bookmark here

"I'm home!" I said,Bookmark here

Silence enveloped the entrance, 'I'm home!' I thought,Bookmark here

"Welcome back!" Mom said,Bookmark here

I go inside and see Aina laying on the couch fiddling with her phone, "Welcome back!" she said,Bookmark here

'Where's Ren?' I thought,Bookmark here

"He bought something for mom."Bookmark here

'Okay...'Bookmark here

I go to my room, changed clothes and collapsed on my bed, I exhaled deeply, I touched my head, 'My head is hot... is this what it feels like to have an overheated brain?' Bookmark here

Mom calls out to me, "Hey! Arata dinner's ready!"
"Okay! Oh yeah, they can't hear me..." I said,Bookmark here

'Okay!' I thought,Bookmark here

I go and join them downstairs, mom made some of her chicken special...Bookmark here

'Huh... why did mom made my favorite?' I thought,Bookmark here

"I heard that you're overheated! So I made this just to combat that." Mom said,
"Your brain might turn smooth because of the overheating you mentioned." Ren said,Bookmark here

'I'm not turning retarded Ren.'Bookmark here

"Come here let's eat already!" Aina said,Bookmark here

I join them at the table and started eating. After eating I go do the usual stuff and then proceeded to bed, in hopes that I will turn back to normal tomorrow.Bookmark here

The day came and I woke up feeling refreshed, still... I don't know if I turned back to normal or not...Bookmark here

"Mom?" I shouted... no response,Bookmark here

'Mom?' I thought,Bookmark here

"Yeah?" Mom shouts back,Bookmark here

'Dammit... I'm still not back to normal...' I thought,Bookmark here

She opens the door, "What did you say? Did I just heard you swear?" Bookmark here

'Oh, um... no...'Bookmark here

She looks at me suspiciously, "Well, get ready... they're going to leave you behind again..."Bookmark here

'Okay...'Bookmark here

The day started going towards school with my brother and sister, there were some problems i.e., my brain went out exploring again thinking all kinds of crap. Fortunately, they don't know that I was the one whose mind they're reading.Bookmark here

My sibling's school is other the other side so we parted ways. On my way to school I saw Emica walking with Nozomi but I kept my distance after a while I let them go in to the classroom first. I sat at my seat and Haruko writing something in his notebook.Bookmark here

"What are you doing?" I asked, "I FORGOT AGAIN!" I shouted,Bookmark here

'What are you doing?' I thought,Bookmark here

"I'm trying to finish my homework!" Haruko said then he looks at me,Bookmark here

'No! I'm not going to give you my work...'Bookmark here

"Figures... alright imma focus..."Bookmark here

As I was going to take out my notebook, Emica comes to me,Bookmark here

"How can I help you? Oh yeah, you can't hear me..." I said,Bookmark here

'How can I help you?' I thoughtBookmark here

"Why did you shout a minute ago?" Emica asked,
Bookmark here

'Huh? What do you mean?'Bookmark here

She's silent... wait... no way...Bookmark here

"Can you hear me?" I said,
"Yes, but you still haven't answered my question." she said,
"Wait... WHAT!?" I stood up and shouted,
"Can you please stop shouting!" She shouted,Bookmark here

Our classmates suddenly looks at us, I look at Emica with an embarrassed face.Bookmark here

"I'm sorry... I'll never do that again..." I said to her,
Bookmark here

She bows and goes back to Nozomi. What? How can she hear me? Is she the only one? Bookmark here

'JUST WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING?!' I thought shouting,Bookmark here

The whole class closed their ears... Bookmark here

'Goddammit I did it again...' I thought,Bookmark here

Takahashi  Eien
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Pandora!
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Old Enough

Old Enough


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