Chapter 0:


The Curious Case of Clemsey

Perhaps, it was the fading scent of cypress in the air, gradually becoming one with my senses or the unforgiving cold of the night that seeps through my bones which caused a sudden disturbance in the atmosphere, launching me back to reality from a deep slumber.

“Oh, so I fell asleep..” I muttered to myself, like I do each and everyday that I managed to even get a few decent hours of rest. Whether I say that with a tone of sarcasm or gratefulness, depends on how heavy my body feels when I push myself up from the comfort of my pillows. For years now, I have the most brain wrecking sleep pattern and on top of that, a health sabotaging lifestyle. Sometimes, I wonder how many times I actually died inside in my whole 24 years of existence. My hollow eyes and unkempt hair which is long overdue for a haircut is a clear testament of how badly beaten I was by my circumstances. In fact, If my 5 year old self stands in front of me right now, she would probably freeze for a second before saying with a voice full of fear “a..a..g-g-ghost!? n-no… p-please.. aaaaaAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!”- yeah, she’ll scream to death then get traumatized for life.

I am extremely tired. The coldness of the weather is quite notorious for making everything feel a little bit more wearying and exhausting than it usually is. Most nights since the season started, I am finding myself at the mercy of my poor heater which today, seems to be standing at the edge of its dear life. I don’t even need to switch on the light in my room to know that.

“What a pity, aren’t we the same? Hang on, It's March now, soon there will be hope in the air,” I said with a weak but somewhat hopeful voice.

As I struggled to move my freezing hand to search for my cellphone which is supposedly just under my pillow, I realized that I actually woke up at the wrong side of the bed. That said, for someone who lives alone and have a weird habit of sleeping as if someone’s beside me, this bed is absolutely massive and frustratingly empty. Looking at it makes me remember that one Christmas night I had as a child, when I felt so giddy about opening the largest present under the Christmas tree only to find out later on that underneath that garish gift wrapper with shiny gold ribbon, was just an unbelievably huge picture frame that wouldn’t even hold a single photo for years to come. Imagine my disappointment. “Ah! found it!” The sudden light emitted by my phone, which was set to its brightest, made my eyes flinched and unable to fully open for a good minute or so.

“Huh..3:46 AM..seriously?” I sure was groggy from the sleeping pills I took, but I am pretty certain, it was around 2:34 AM when I finally felt that dizzying sensation while my eyes were getting heavier and heavier by each second. While I was contemplating whether to just get up and start my day or to stare at the ceiling hoping to feel drowsy, I found my gaze locked intently at my phone screen as if it's looking straight back at me with the same burning intensity.

Suddenly, it dawned on me. I see.. So it wasn’t the fading scent of my oil diffuser nor the coldness of the night nor the fault of my pitiable heater that caused such disruption to my long hard fight with insomnia. The disturbance so happened to be in a form of a series of chat messages from an old friend who's close to my heart, but resides in a far away corner of the world. Van Soreno– the recipient of my countless imaginary letters, the man who smiles a smile that could’ve meant anything or something or maybe, everything..

Mon, 6 Mar, 3:26 AM

Hi Clemsey, it has been a long time.. how are you?

Mon, 6 Mar, 3:30 AM

So..hmmm.. you see, I’ll be coming back home next week.

Classic Van, texting exactly the way he would say things in real life. I can even hear his point finger tapping the table whenever he’s being awkward, which actually is a very rare occurrence.

Mon, 6 Mar, 3:33 AM

Say, the library sounds nostalgic doesn’t it? I bet, Meliora is as beautiful as always.

Mon, 6 Mar, 3:45 AM

I really, really hope to see you.

My chest tightened. All deep-seated emotions inside of me furiously swirled around, like a coffee, with all its bitterness, sweetness and warmth, being stirred into oneness.

> Hi Van. sorry, but you will not find me again where you first found me. you see, I left and I am no|

I hit the backspace as soon as I remembered to breath. I lost all my words.

Classic Clemsey, almost sending a retort as cold as this room. With that, I thought that it would be better to just stay silent. No response, is response enough. The truth of the matter was, I broke myself into million distorted pieces and I am not ready. I am sorry.

That moment, when the overwhelming brightness of my phone went off, my room was suddenly enveloped in what I could only describe as the darkest dark. As I stared blankly into space, I could see in my peripheral vision a tiny slit in the curtain, as if someone's flashing a smile, mocking me or maybe, merely offering whatever little light there is from the outside. Sleeplessness does make me very queasy.

As I realized that a good rest won’t be possible for me again, I forcedly pushed myself up from the wrong side of the bed, showered my burdens away and changed into my respectable looking work clothes that did not really fit the aura I emit. Oftentimes, I have a feeling that people stare at me as if I am some withered flower desperately trying to bloom. Although, that idea wasn’t so far-fetched from the truth, If I've to explain it further, I am someone who refuse to self-destruct and to one day turn into a ghost- the very embodiment of my fear. Evidently now, my physical body isn’t cooperating with the will of my soul, however, I want to live. I desperately do. Therefore, I am in an unending chase for an impetus to hold on to, for things that would resonate with me and for random curiosities which would make me yearn for an answer.

So yes, I have a job. Actually, I have multiple jobs, I thought to myself whilst buttoning a shirt in front of the mirror. Regardless of how tedious that may sound, I hold my work so dear to my heart, like one would when holding a child. I work as a toy sculptor in a newly established company while trying to write a mystery novel on the side, but, above all these, I am first and foremost a librarian of The Meliora- a private library owned by the Akisa family. I, Clemsey Akisa, and all these things I juggle up everyday, to fill a great void that is my life, all stands in the buzzing and thriving town with an intriguing atmosphere that is Port Ami, nestled in between the Sea of Japan and its capital city.

My parents, my little brother Enith, and Van Soreno used to belong in this town too.

Now, alone with my own thoughts, I walk along the cobbled street, passing by rows after rows of bold colored facades and unlit storefronts, with huge windows that reflect back an image of a woman wearing layers of baggy winter clothes and a countenance as gray as an old photograph. In the wee hours of Monday morning, along the outskirts of the town, I am positively certain that the harbour is wide awake and booming with energy which directly contrasts the still sleeping street that I am currently traversing. About 20 minutes after stepping out of my apartment door, I finally reached, that which in my biased opinion, the boldest structure in the area. With a facade cladded with the most intimidating red bricks I’ve ever seen in my life, regardless of it being a single storey building with a mezzanine, the Meliora Library exists proudly at the heart of Port Ami. That said, this probably is the only thing in town that doesn’t mind being troubled by a questionable looking adult with pressing questions in mind. As I have a fair amount of free time at hand before heading to my day job as a toy sculptor, I figured, I should head here first, do a little bit of cleaning and work on the mystery novel I was trying to write before Aunt Gigi arrives and take over the morning duty.

Upon opening the huge, heavy door, a gushed of familiar scent hit my face which prompted me to shout at no one in particular a very pleasant, “Good morning! I’m home and I need a coffee.” In the staff area of this impressive building, lies an equally impressive coffee machine and good quality coffee beans that aren’t acidic nor harsh and don’t taste as horrible as regret.

Van, as always, you are right. You can still find me here in this place where you first found me. The Meliora is still as beautiful and as homey as it always was, but the reason I might have forgotten that was because things were taken out of my life which were of much greater worth.

After all of my hesitations earlier, something inside me felt the urge to actually respond. I guess sometimes, we just don’t know why we do the things we do. I calmed my heartbeat for a few seconds then let out a very deep sigh. In the midst of the quiet and peaceful air of the Meliora, I leaned, with my back against a tall and sturdy bookshelf, took my phone from the pocket of my coat and started typing.

Mon, 6 Mar, 5:43 AM

>Van, have a safe flight back to Port Ami. The nostalgic library is waiting for you..


Walking down the silent hallway to the staff room, it never really occurred to me that another sudden disturbance would interrupt a day which I thought would just continue to flow as usual. Now that I think about it, I was utterly unaware of the curious event that will befall on me and change the course of my soul forever.