Chapter 4:

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A Reverie for Another Eternity

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Amidst the heavy rainfall, there stood two figures: one who ogled the starry night sky piercing through the small punctures between the smoky dark clouds, and the other who stared into the back of the green figure, hesitating on whether the endeavor of confronting the lone boy was to be a worthwhile choice. Because of the downpour, her approaching footsteps couldn’t be heard from behind him.
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The girl didn’t have any friends to talk to about herself and her problems, always listening to the upbeat kids of the prevailing neighborhoods brag about themselves and their petty acts. Though her only living relative is her grandmother, the family duo rarely had the time to see each other as the girl was often neglected by the grandmother who worked long hours under the inky sewage. Bookmark here

And so, on the dreary days in which such sun hid away, she would oftentimes see a boy with the same contemplating looks as her own. Out in the drenching storms of the summer rainy seasons, he stood alone, seemingly beckoning for the storm clouds to claim him with his somber eyes and distasteful frowns. The moment the girl realized that not even the steely skies would steal away such a boy from this world of hurt, she sought a belonging within the boy's heart as she unilaterally accepted him into hers. Bookmark here

That day was the day she decided to confront him on the matters of her love.Bookmark here

His body stood still as she tugged on the bottom lip of his raincoat.Bookmark here

“H-hey… Y-your name?”Bookmark here

The girl’s eyes hopelessly glimmered with anticipation as they both stood in complete silence.Bookmark here

The rowdy rainstorm started to fall even harder at this confrontation; the merciless gale began to blow past the two even harder, and the hood of his coat ripped back revealing flailing disheveled black hair. Despite this, he hadn’t turned to reciprocate the girl's question.Bookmark here

Then, without a second to spare, he took off running, as his coat slipped from her fingers. The girl left behind let out a frustrated grunt and quickly ran after him. Driven by adrenaline and misled hope, she chased him throughout the ruined building complexes, in the muddy fields of mucky plastics, and on top of the hoods of half-submerged cars.Bookmark here

Eventually, they both ran inside a tall building that ominously stood out within their district.Bookmark here

Running up the decaying stairwell, and avoiding the falling debris, she finally made it to the last stair: a finale for the both of them. The only thing now that remained between the two was a rusted door. The rust was still flaking off from when the boy had slammed it shut.Bookmark here

With a triumphant cock of her head, she opened the rusted door to a barren rooftop, a dead-end for both.Bookmark here

However, the boy was nowhere to be seen despite her surveying the area, looking into every minuscule detail that was touched by the rain, hoping to at least find a trace of where he went. Finally, at daybreak, as the sun lazily rose for another day, the girl leaned on the discolored railings, her empty stare looking further beyond the horizon.Bookmark here

Her bravado and sense of accomplishment were washed away like the soft drizzle streaking amongst her tears. Her face scrunched up in self-loathing because she couldn’t at least successfully pursue her own feelings.Bookmark here

At the comprehension that her efforts were fruitless, she sat dejectedly in the remaining rain.Bookmark here

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“Hey Gramma, what’s the deal with kids these days?”Bookmark here

Miyori flopped onto her grandma's lap, staring up at her wizened face as she stroked her hair. The patchy couch creaked as the fireplace roared into the early morning for once.Bookmark here

“You’re just a kid yourself ain'tcha? Shouldn’t be calling others’ kids if you want to make friends.”Bookmark here

“But Gramma, there’s this boy and he keeps avoiding me whenever I try to talk to him!”Bookmark here

Sighing, the weary grandmother paused to think about what to say.Bookmark here

“Who’d you say the kid was again?”Bookmark here

“I didn’t get his name.”Bookmark here

“I meant what he looked like.”Bookmark here

Miyori stopped to think.Bookmark here

“Shaggy black hair, just a little taller than me, looks a little skinny, and, oh, he is very fast at running.”Bookmark here

The old lady rested her chin atop Miyori’s tiny body, continuing to stroke her blonde hair with her eyes closed.Bookmark here

“Well, if the boy wants you to leave him alone, then I guess there's nothing left to do."Bookmark here

Miyori silently mutters, “Then why’d you want me to make friends. It’s too hard.” Had she known about the boy’s vehement disposition to avoid her, then she perhaps wouldn’t have chased him all across the ruined buildings, flooded floors, and under the spectation of dirty rainwater. Perhaps then, her inner turmoil wouldn’t have blossomed in such a twisted craving. Yet deep down, she knew that what she told herself was a lie. The savage loneliness would’ve torn into her being no matter what end she grasped, compelling her to do as it said without a wayward reason.Bookmark here

As such, on a day during which her Grandma went on a business trip far away, she decided to live alone in hopes to quell such feelings from surfacing ever again.Bookmark here

It was at the age of twelve that she decided to do something very foolish.Bookmark here

Fed up with her weakness, the girl ran through the brown waters and sparse areas of dry grass, going for miles and miles until eventually tripping over a metal pipe and landing in the mud face first. The sharp rock that was hidden in the murky puddles dug deep into her right thigh, as she yelped in pain.Bookmark here

She then cried for what seemed to be hours on end, eventually curling in a fetal position, hugging her knees as her feet and buttocks submerged under the grimy, chemical waters. Though there was blood spilled, it was washed downstream by the rainfall, becoming one with the murky brown mud below her. Much like her dried blood, so too were her feelings; done with the rays of the selfish sun that rose up every day, done with everyone around her, and especially done with herself. She simply wanted someone to find her for who she was.Bookmark here

The hours turned into days as the girl grew dehydrated and starved. From her thigh, a darkened yellow pus leaked out and onto the now dark orange mud, though she couldn’t feel her legs at that point. For the first time in her life, she felt as if death would be a preferable option if it would cure her of her loneliness. Even the scattered rays that snuck past the sun seemed to encourage such behavior, readily accepting of her death with outstretched arms.Bookmark here

But beyond those overlooking clouds, the slight humming of engines could be heard. The distant acceleration soon came to a thunderous stop as a solid stream of light shone through the clouds directly above. Her eyes not adjusted to the brightness, Miyori feebly looked up blindly and saw a boy descend from the smoky sky, the sun shining behind and illuminating his outline. To him, it must’ve been a simple scavenger hunt at the request of her grandmother. To her, he was a savior of some sort. The minute details were negligible; it was as if an angel descended down from the gray drapery to steal her away to paradise.Bookmark here

Though the engine and thrusters were obnoxiously loud, his words dampened any noise it should’ve made, reaching the ears of the thoroughly dirtied being below. Each word uttered was well punctuated so as to not lose his sharpened tone.Bookmark here

“Need a ride?”Bookmark here

At his few words, her once innumerably shattered feelings of hope, indignation, and anxiety simultaneously found their way back, inspiriting her soul. Her sore throat was stuck with a strange lump, but she nodded her head vigorously to communicate with the boy in any manner she could.
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Observing from above, he landed on a dry grassy area, surrounded by pools of glistening rain puddles.Bookmark here

“Get on then.”Bookmark here

Though he was quite a ways away from where she sat, taking deep breaths, she weakly rose up, guiding her hands across the concrete sides of the ruined building, and wobbled towards him. Even when stumbling along the way, the boy hadn’t moved an inch from his landing spot. His cold stare that could bore holes in stone forcibly hurried her to get on.Bookmark here

With pus dribbling down the sides of her thigh, she obediently situated herself on the bike so that she didn’t dirty it as much. An annoyed click rang from his tongue as he forcefully took her arms and wrapped them around his waist.Bookmark here

“You’re gonna fall off if you don’t hold on.”Bookmark here

Teary-eyed with clear snot drooling from her nose from relief, she nodded as she buried her face behind his back, hugging him as tightly as she could.Bookmark here

As the two lifted off the ground a few meters, she swallowed the lump and began to speak, her head still resting on his back.Bookmark here

“Y-you’re bringing me back?”Bookmark here

The boy curtly responded back without a hint of aggression or disgust.Bookmark here

“Only if you want me to.”Bookmark here

Feeling her head shake up and down against his back, the boy revved the engine and took off into the ruined landscape.Bookmark here

They ripped through the air as they whizzed around the large concrete pillars of gigantic bridges and decayed undergrowth that lay underneath.Bookmark here

Looking back, Miyori laughed as they skimmed directly on top of the old riverways, sending giant shockwaves to the river shores.Bookmark here

She nestled her head even more against his reliable back. Carelessly, half in a daze, she let her thoughts out into the oncoming rush of air.
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"You know, I'm glad you were the one."Bookmark here

Wholly absorbed in the vibrations of the ride, she couldn't see the corners of his mouth turn slightly upwards.
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They soon accelerated towards the sky, breaking through the clouds and seeing the various alien structures floating further upwards in the sky. From above, she could see every trace, every broken down car and building in the district below. The grey-green and brown colors all seemed to fade in the distance, as she transcended beyond her problems and into the clouds.Bookmark here

“Hey, do you think we can-”Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

“I said-”Bookmark here

“-Do you think we can-”Bookmark here

She was cut off abruptly again as the steady hum of the engine faded, and the bike slowed to a halt in the lower atmosphere.
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In a momentary stasis, Miyori was finally able to speak clearly without the wind.Bookmark here

“Oh no.”Bookmark here

Suddenly, they fell through the clouds that they had once torn asunder; the winds tore through their snapping hair and clothes as the pair began their rapid spiral downwards to the ruined landscape.Bookmark here

The boy desperately attempted to kickstart the dead engine, the sweat dripping and escaping upwards into the detached sky of no return.
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At the distressing situation that they were in, a peal of deranged laughter exploded from behind him. Her hair wrapped messily around her mouth and face, she couldn't help but return an awe-stricken smile. Perhaps it was because of how futile everything was for her, or maybe it was because she had no qualms with dying, but she simply seemed to have lost all sanity. Regardless, the boy kept kicking away.Bookmark here

The disgusting ground came even nearer in their sight, its watery jaws open agape as panic flooded their thoughts.Bookmark here

Ah. So this is where I die.Bookmark here

Right as they were about to crash into the roof of the building, the boy slammed down onto the brakes as hard as he could, and the thrusters came bursting with life. The oval blue flames roared as their crashing descent came to a sputtering halt on top of a familiar rooftop.Bookmark here

The two collapsed onto the building, the sun now shining through the holes in the cumulus clouds that were beginning to clear.Bookmark here

Holding her hand over her eyes, she turned over to see the boy with a wry smile.Bookmark here

“We’re never doing that again.”Bookmark here

“Agreed.”Bookmark here

They both weakly chuckle as the pinkish-blue sun basked their city in its morning glory.Bookmark here

A question lingered in her mind, kept in a backlog of things to ask the boy if she ever got the chance to. An “Aha” rang throughout the rooftop as she remembered her earlier defeat. Quickly sitting up, she quietly asked, “How did you get away from me when I chased you here?”Bookmark here

Still laying on the cold floor, his face unable to properly meet her gaze, he lazily pointed to a bunch of thickened vines hanging beneath the railing that she grieved on.Bookmark here

Stupefied that she didn’t notice a boy hanging right below her at the time, she giggled at her lack of spatial awareness.Bookmark here

“I thought you died when I got here last time”Bookmark here

“Same.”Bookmark here

She lay back down as they both stayed there in silence for a few minutes until she tilted her head towards his and asked another burning question.Bookmark here

“Why’d you avoid me all those times?”Bookmark here

A faint blush could be seen on the boy's cheeks as he whispered something, away from Miyori’s earshot.Bookmark here

“What?”Bookmark here

He cleared his throat as he began to breathe at a faster rate, his eyes covered with his right arm.Bookmark here

“I… I thought it’d be better for you to not be involved with me."Bookmark here

He took a pause as his ears began to flush.
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"Someone like you could go for so much more without having me burden you.”Bookmark here

Peeping between his arm and face, Miyori witnessed what could only be described as the highest form of self-deprecation and self-pity within his eyes. Nonetheless, his praise, whether they held a grain of truth or not, had brought much comfort to the almost broken Miyori.
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She sighed at the equally disparaged person lying next to her.Bookmark here

"You know if someone is willing to bother you as much as I, then you should probably accept it regardless of how you feel."Bookmark here

She stopped her insubstantial chiding as she began to relish his earlier words, his cute discomfort spurred her on, begging her to tease him.
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“But go on. Compliment me more~.”Bookmark here

She turned over on her stomach and started poking his shoulder affectionately, much to his embarrassment. At the realization of yet another equally important question, she stopped and firmly asked without hesitation, seeing as to how he was in no shape to escape her. 
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This was the confrontation that she had been waiting for.
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“What’s your name by the way?”Bookmark here

The boy looked at her with readied eyes, as she braced herself for his next words, her entire existence focused on his mouth and the words that followed.Bookmark here

“My name is Takumi.”Bookmark here

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Though hidden behind the bleary clouds and the dystopian cityscape that persisted in their daily lives, the speckled rays of hope still managed to highlight the once-forgotten beauty of it all.Bookmark here

At least, to one love-fuddled girl. Bookmark here

God, that's so romantic now that I think about it.Bookmark here

A blonde girl nervously thinks to herself while zig-zagging throughout the hallway as they headed towards the library. The boy kept pace, sauntering on behind as to not fully pass by her.Bookmark here

“Do you remember when we first met?”Bookmark here

“Not really. Why?”Bookmark here

“Euheuheuhe. I still remember when you basically confessed to me~.”Bookmark here

He stopped in his tracks, an annoyed glare emanating from his frightening scowl.Bookmark here

“If you meant your question as to why I avoided you, it’s because you were very clearly a lunatic stalker that I wanted to get away from.”Bookmark here

“Oh, you~.”Bookmark here

At the notice of him knowing exactly what she was thinking, Miyori couldn't help but grin in delight.Bookmark here

Takumi, who soon realized that he fell into her trap, began to blush furiously.
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“B-besides, your fingers were so grubby that I wish you hadn’t touched me…”Bookmark here

His downwards gaze that obviously said something else overflowed Miyori with happiness on the inside, shortly seeping onto her charming expression that she held only for her beloved.
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Passing by the bathrooms, she suddenly stopped walking in a frisk.Bookmark here

Now's probably the time.Bookmark here

Miyori twirled three times before coming to a stop, her body posture suddenly turned, facing Takumi’s.Bookmark here

Her face, a bit red with a dabble of sweat on the right and left brows, seemed to be intensified by the unrelenting feelings of her feelings of endearment.Bookmark here

Quite frankly, this whole situation took Takumi aback since this was the first time he’s seen her acting like this. But, Miyori wasn't fazed by his reaction because if she were to be in his shoes, then she'd also be the one surprised at the situation.Bookmark here

Best to keep moving onward.Bookmark here

Her onslaught of admiration, infatuation, and lust had eclipsed into genuine love, as suddenly, with her eyes shut, she began to quiver.Bookmark here

"You know, I’ve always lo-"Bookmark here

A small zap could be heard in the front as a light blue flash was emitted through her shut eyelids.Bookmark here

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