Chapter 2:

A Shadow in the Darkness

Haruki- はるき [Volume.1]

It was 3 pm. I was preparing some necessary tools for my journey as I also had to survive in the forest. I heard my phone ringing. It was Ken, I declined the call and sent him a text that I am on my way. I took a cab to our school and from there I rushed my way to the Kimono forest. I was told to enter the forest from the west side. So, I bought a compass from the supermarket which cost me around 400 Yen. I reached the back of our school and went to the west side of the forest. I found a safer place from where I can enter the forest. I saw a clear opening somewhere near so I ran towards it. As I started to go more deeper in the forest, it became darker and darker. I started searching for the objects Ken was talking about. It was merely impossible to find any fine object in the forest. Ken didn’t even told us about any details like the size of the objects? How do they look like? I came up with an idea to be able to be efficient with finding the objects. I looked for places in the forest where one can actually hide something. What could be those obvious places? Like a rotten log, some kind of hole in a branch where something can be hidden. I searched a lot. My hope was crumbling with every passing minute. It was getting darker already. We all had a contract that we won’t leave the forest until someone finds the objects. I thought if it went this way I might have to spend my night here. So, I started making preparation for camp. I was also a bit worried about others but I was sure they would be fine. I went more deeper in the forest in order to look for materials for camping.

After a few minutes I was in a place where I couldn’t see more ahead. I was just going where the path took me. I took each of my step carefully. As I was moving through the path. I heard hustling of the leaves ahead. It could be wind but I still needed to be careful. Slowly I went ahead. I saw some kind of rope up ahead as if to trap someone. I went near the trap and as I reached it. I saw movement behind the tree on my left. I stopped there and spoke in a loud voice.

“Whoever is hiding there I ask you to come out and tell me about your intentions.”

It could be some forest animal but I had an inner feeling that it was a human. I saw a shady figure slowly appearing in front of me. It was shadow of a person. As he started to move towards me his face started becoming visible. In the next moment i was astonished by seeing whose shadow it really was. It was Ken.

In the moment of astonishment I spoke Ken’s name in a loud voice than usual when he spoke.

“Keep it low”

“Why did you wanted to trap me?”

“It’s not like what you think Haruki!”


“Let me explain but first let’s find a place to suitable for it.”

The Kimono forest also have a cliff which is called the V Cliff because of its shape. We went to the top of the cliff and sat at the edge of the cliff. Ken took a long breath. He took off his bag, opened it and took out five small boxes which had a stony surface. I asked Ken of curiosity about the boxes. There was silence for another five minutes when I asked Ken again about the boxes to which he replied.

"These are the 5 objects I was talking about."

I was a bit confused why is he here and why he have the objects with him when he said he hid them. So I was going to ask him again when he stopped me there and replied.

I know you have many questions in your mind but we don’t have much time, I don’t want anyone else to find us here. So, I will be quick. You see Haruki, I really admired you from the day I first met you in high school. Everything about you is just so awesome. You are always serious , keen to know more about things. You never fall for anyone's trick as you see the trap there was just a test and yet u amazed me again. In the darkness of the forest you took each of your step carefully. That's why i admire you Haruki. You see haruki, these 5 objects are actually the cause of my family’s murder. My father on his death bed told me to take good care of these objects.

I asked him of curiosity.

“So what’s so good about these objects that someone could actually murder your family for them. Are they rare jewels?”

Ken smiled a little and replied.

“More rare than jewels, These are actually artifacts from our ancestors. Each of the artifact possesses a unique power and can be used by only one person. The artifact will also choose the person it desire itself. If the artifact do not suit the person it will just reject the user. Once the artifact chose its rightful owner it will be connected to the user by soul. Other instructions are written in this book”

He handed me the book.

Ken stopped there for a moment and continued.

“In other words the user will die along with the destruction of the artifact”

I was so confused about these stuff Ken was telling me about those strange artifacts. Moreover I was confused why is he telling me about these at this point.

Ken didn’t hesitate to answer my question which was just in my mind.

“You would be thinking that why I am telling you about these artifacts. It’s because I want you to be the leader of our organization and to give the artifacts to it’s rightful owner.”

I replied

“You mean among us five? Why don’t you do it yourself it would be way easier as you know more about them:”


Ken replied.

“Huh four?”

I gave an immediate response.

“Yes four, you won’t be seeing me again after this day. The people who are after these artifacts are strong. They call themselves The Reapers of Faith (TROF). You need to be careful about them. According to my intel they also possess a few of these artifacts.”

“What do you mean by not seeing you after this day”

There was a complete silence for next 30 seconds when I asked him the same question.

“Tell me, wha”

“I will kill myself here right now”

I was shocked words just couldn’t come out of my mouth.

“My life have no purpose now. I can’t live without my family. The world can call me a sore loser, I don’t care about that”

“Also you will have to find a member suitable for the fifth artifact as without me you guys are just 4”

“You can’t do this. You need to man up and fight the people who caused you all the sufferings. You need to avenge your family.”

Words finally came out of my mouth.

"You can't leave me alone to fight for your case"

“That won’t bring my family back”

“But lis…”

“I said that and it’s my final decision. I found my life empty after this incident happened to me. You don’t know how I have been living the past couple of days. It’s like a night mare not seeing my mother in the kitchen making breakfast in the morning or my sister crying that she don’t want to go to school. It’s all killing me already. So I leave this all in your hand Haruki. I believe you will be able to achieve what I couldn’t and avenge me”

After saying that Ken moved to the edge of cliff. I rushed towards him but he was too quick. By the time I reached him he had already jumped. In me mid of air he said “Good Bye Haruki”

I saw my beloved friend go all the way to down until I couldn’t see him anymore he was out of my sight.

“You left me alone huh Ken. You didn’t even said a good bye to the others.”

Tears came out of my eyes first time in 5 years.

“What am I going to tell to the others that our friend was too weak to face the reality that he killed himself”

“You left me with a big task Ken, I wish we could accomplish it together.”

Joe Gold