Chapter 1:

Chapter 1


January marked the beginning of a new year. The months preceding it were all empty in terms of substance. Nothing to talk about, nothing to do, no friends, just the turning of time and going through the repetitive motions of going to school and going home. Even now a week later after school began the world was monotonous. So grey I was beginning to think I was a mindless zombie, but something new introduced itself the afternoon I was in the stairwell. I wonder if it was a coincidence or fate when she fell into my arms that day. It wasn't a long fall but it felt like she'd fallen out of heaven. Maybe she was trying to kill herself or escape from someone and ended up falling, either way she was going to be severely hurt if I didn't catch her. Bookmark here

That day...Bookmark here

The weather was cold but soothing, not cold enough to wear a thick jacket but just right to wear a scarf. A young boy with shaggy black hair covering his youthful features stopped at the gates of the school he attended. He was dressed in a school uniform that matched his peers walking past him, a white buttoned shirt with a red tie and red plaid pants that stood out, it was the most distinguishing feature of this school's uniform. And for the girls it was the same, but they wore a red plaid skirt that wasn't too short nor too long. This youth's name was Tanaka Yasuhiro and he was just an average ordinary guy into the typical things young guys like him were into. Reading manga, playing videogames, the usual things someone would do while in high school. Other than that he didn't have much to him, no exciting backstory or hidden skills. A sigh escaped his breath and he walked onwards to begin the next day of his ordinary life. Bookmark here

Sitting by the window in class 2-A he had his eyes glued outside looking at the various tall buildings surrounding the school in Shibuya all similar to each other in color and style with the only feature differentiating them being their size whether tall or short it still was all the same. He was practically asleep with his eyes open letting the hours pass by until the end of class. This was the brief time he could actually feel something other than melancholy, when the sky was lit orange and students either left to their clubs or home, or stayed to talk a little with their friends about what plans they had next. Tanaka was the latter, getting out of his seat and moving over to his only friend. He was way more handsome and clean than Tanaka could ever dream to be and had qualities girls loved like his height and perfectly symmetrical face. Hinata here was every girl's dream. Wherever he went there was always a different girl following closely behind him talking on and on like he was interested in what they had to say. Tanaka couldn't tell if he was simply another one of his orbiters but Hinata seemed to treat him well...Bookmark here

"Hey hey manga boy. Finally awake?"
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Well to a certain degree. Hinata liked to tease Tanaka a little which got the two girls beside his desk to giggle. He leaned back in his seat and flipped his darkish hair "I saw you staring out the window the whole time. Your eyes were practically glued to the glass."Bookmark here

"Yeah... I was daydreaming that there was more to our regular lives y'know?" Tanaka rubbed the back of his head sheepishly and Hinata snickered as a response "Only for a loser like you. You barely do anything! Are you even apart of a club?"Bookmark here

Again the girls beside him giggled at rude comments and one of them interjected, "And there's no manga club you can join. You'll have to find a club outside your interests."Bookmark here

Tanaka nodded "Right... I feel like if I'm gonna join a club then it has to be something big. Maybe even... joining the student council."Bookmark here

A stark silence fell between the two and the girls shot a disgusted glare towards this idea. Hinata on the other hand laughed in his face nearly falling out of his seat. He stood up and placed one hand on Tanaka's shoulder, gripping it tightly. "Listen, I know you aren't the brightest tool in the shed but-"Bookmark here

"Isn't it the sharpest tool in the shed?"Bookmark here

"Shut up! I'm trying to have a serious talk here!" Hinata's loud voice caused the girls to panic and leave the room in a hurry. He cleared his throat then said again "You're pretty naive so I know you don't know as much as I do, but joining the student council is a stupid idea. Those pricks are the worst people, thinking they're above the law just because they can use magic. It's so sickening to me."Bookmark here

"Whenever I see them they're getting bullied by others."Bookmark here

"That's to keep them in line. To keep them from abusing their power." Hinata flipped his bangs and turned around "Someone like you probably wouldn't get the full picture. I'm just warning you. Wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of my hate right?"Bookmark here

Tanaka wasn't as smart as Hinata, he felt he lacked much outside world knowledge due to being sheltered for most of his life. He never saw much of his parents due to their busy working lives and often was left to himself to play or figure out things. Having someone like Hinata to teach him what the world was truly like behind his veiled lenses was nice but maybe there were times Tanaka should've made his own decisions rather than letting others pick for him. For now he listened to Hinata's last bit of advice to join the newspaper club before he left the classroom, and Tanaka ventured out into the halls where he found the members of the newspaper club standing in front of a bulletin board in a circle. He could tell they were in the club by the cameras around their necks and one shorter boy carrying a video camera on a tripod. Judging by their appearances he figured Hinata told him to join this club because of their unkempt looks, untucked shirts, loose ties and so much more that made this small club of 3 look like a band of dorks. Well he was in no place to complain about his loserdom since years of self isolation turned him into a practically unrelatable person. Bookmark here

He nervously entered into their conversation asking if they had any open spots and much to his surprise they did. Making this coincidence feel much more like fate, they were looking for a more courageous person to help with their investigations into the abnormal. Bookmark here

There were rumors of a ghost haunting the nearby library students frequented and those students vanishing if they tried exploring the rest of the building. Bookmark here

"The old school was renovated into a public library but for some reason the rest of the school wasn't demolished. Honestly I'm too nervous to do it myself. We need someone to go with a camera to get footage of the place." the black haired cameraman said. Bookmark here

Tanaka nodded with a smile, "That sounds pretty exciting." He didn't believe in ghosts or the supernatural even though the student council had some rather unique traits. He was handed the tripod and camera and he followed the boys to the library where his life would change forever.Bookmark here

The library wasn't as big as the school Tanaka attended, only having 2 floors compared to the newer building which had 3. He stopped at the entrance lobby in awe, never having seen the inside of the library before. The smooth dark wood lining the rows of shelves containing book upon books. A thin green carpet soft to the touch. At this hour there were few students studying at the dark long tables by themselves and the librarian behind the counter was absent. Bookmark here

Tanaka had a deep gaze taking in the atmosphere of a calm library while walking past the tall shelves left and right, something the cameraman noticed and commented on, "You look like you've never seen a book in your life." he grinnedBookmark here

"Certainly feels like I haven't." Bookmark here

They stopped at double doors in the far back of the library where the chandelier's light didn't reach. One could tell this area was off limits from the paper taped to the door warning visitors not to trespass beyond that point. It was extremely rare for the library to be this empty so there were few chances for students, mostly delinquents, to sneak into the other side. The cameraman did a doubletake looking at the front of the library to make sure they weren't being watched and nodded "It's clear."Bookmark here

Though their disregard of the rules so easily made Tanaka feel uneasy about this decision. "Don't you think it's a bit weird that the newspaper club is sneaking around to get information?"Bookmark here

The cameraman crossed his arms frowning "Yeah it is. It's not my favorite thing to do but it's the only way we can get information for our papers. I'm sure you've noticed not just the school but the world has gotten a lot more secretive about things. I heard stories about detectives needing to break the law to bring back justice and expose the world's lies. I wanna do that kind of too."Bookmark here

"That is pretty upstanding." Tanaka felt more confident in their goals to change the status quo. He stepped back and slipped and fell into the ground quite a distance, or he thought he did. He hit the ground flat on his back gently but was in a completely different setting than the library. First his mind was blank trying to parse what happened, then a cold dread fell on him. He sat up with all sense of happiness drained from his body leaving him in the coldness of what looked like a ruined building overgrown with forestry. The sky was pitch dark and the critters filled the silence so much that he would've preferred complete silence to this. His heart was pounding almost about to burst out of his chest in the form of vomit had he not slowed his panicked breathing. Bookmark here

All he was left with was the tripod the club gave him. It turned on but he couldn't tell it was properly working, not that it mattered now, he needed to get out of here. That's all he could think of. Not even knowing where to go or what getting out meant. He ran following what looked like a trail, an obvious clear path between the forestry covering the busted shelves and flipped tables and windows. Vines covered the walls and roots sprawled out on the floor. After nearly tripping out of the door frame, it finally came to mind when he looked back at the building that he was looking at the library in a completely post apocalyptic state. And now outside, he realized how towering the trees were and how the thick leaves completely covered the sky which left him in total darkness and shadow. Bookmark here

Tanaka wanted to scream. The mangas he read often had characters thrusted into a struggle they never wanted to be apart of, but through their adversity they managed to become powerful. But this wasn't a manga nor did Tanaka have any skills he was born with or granted. Rather than being the participant in the hero's journey he was just a spectator far detached from that life. It was impossible for such fantasy to be his story but now here it was--not reality being cruel but reality being real. His fear fell to an all time high when the ground rumbled from something getting closer, something no one in the world would've predicted or believed even if you showed them a picture of its existence. The thin branches broke and made way, bushes forced to bow crushed under the creature's feet. Tanaka turned as fast as he could, merely getting a glimpse of a four legged monster and its shining blue eyes before he ran back into the building with the beast chasing him. He retraced his steps where the back door was, opened it and threw himself back into the arms of the camera man screaming loudly. Bookmark here

The cameraman had to cover his mouth "You were only in there for like 10 seconds, what are you crying for?" Bookmark here

Tanaka opened his eyes and looked both ways. He stammered while stepping back "T-there w-was--" his winded breath made it difficult to speak and his head was so scrambled from the events that occurred. The club was confused however since he only went in and immediately came out screaming like he'd seen hell. Bookmark here

"And you left our tripod in there. Is there really a ghost on the other side?" The cameraman walked past Tanaka about to open the door ignoring his many protests about there being a demonic beast or something back there. And just before he touched the doorknob, the shorter boy warned them that security might be on to their schemes soon because of Tanaka's loud scream. Bookmark here

This caused him to sigh and he turned to Tanaka "Alright I guess that's the end of our investigation for now. Since whatever's got you shaken up did a number on you... you might as well fill in a form to the student council to look into it. And tell them everything you saw down to the minute detail." Bookmark here

That day changed his life forever, and it was perhaps the end of his normal days.Bookmark here

Taylor Victoria
F.C Fondness
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