Chapter 0:

Azure lane


“C’mon, there’s nothing to be worried about. It’s going to be fun.”

As her words lured me in, I could see the rambunctious hand that was shaking in excitement reached toward me. On her other, she was grabbing an area of a torn open wire fence that has just enough space for us to go through. Everything else felt fuzzy, and I could only distinguish the girl’s figure. Around my height, 14.

Despite the angelic demeanor that mesmerized my mind, I noticed a red sign stating Keep out, private property just on her head, and so worriedly, I hesitated.

“I don’t know, this time we might get in real trouble.”

“C’mon, what are the odds that there’d be someone here at this time? Trust me! Like you always have.”

Whether it was because of her incitement or my enthusiastic mind, I finally indulged in her and she pulled me along. Thinking that there would be no more use in being anxious, I eased my mind and tried to enjoy my time.

We were shrouded by an emerald hue, along with threads of wind adding motion to the natural green. Strolling along the ever-lasting sound of our steps, lines of gold pierced through our surroundings, as if they wanted to contribute some life to this picture. There was an easing mood to this painting we were in. Whether it was from the rustling sound of green or the swift caressing of the breeze, it felt comfortable, and I wanted to rid my vision of the complexities and just feel everything encompassing us.

In the middle of this colorful art piece, a holy whiteness shined brightest. Its gleaming aura put me in a trance, and my legs involuntarily approached the blinding hole of illumination. Then, I stepped into another world.

“Woah! Now this is beautiful.”

Despite my vision still being clouded, I could still identify the outlines, as well as the vivid tones of everything. The azure entrapped us in the middle, with a line of green and hazel on our level taking up the further side of our view. Somewhere along that mixture, a timber lodge resided.

Those golden lines are still visible, albeit more bleached now. And as if they had ascended from their former self, they now offered numerous sparks of blinding rays on the mass of water below us, piecing the final touch to this scenery.

We were standing on top of a great boulder, separating us from land and water. It was an immense lake, a perfect place for a summer lodge to be set in. And as an air of excitement and unpredictability surrounded us, numerous and possibly limitless activities started to spin in our heads.

Like a pattern that’s been repeated many times, the girl took the initiative. She started to undress, not minding that there was a boy just behind her. Embarrassed at first, I adverted my eyes, standing there motionless. But when I glanced back and noticed the girl’s sly smile, I quickly imitated her actions. In a brief moment, there were only undergarments left on us.

Sprightly, we jumped coinciding with each other into the cool azure. At first, the sudden temperature shift left me immobile, making it a struggle to keep my visage up to the surface. But when a warmth from the girl’s palm made contact with mine, my body was revitalized, and floating proved to be an easy task.

“Thanks.”, feeling the need, I showed my appreciation for her goodwill. However, it seemed I was wrong.

“Oh, you shouldn’t thank me so soon.”

As if answering my bewilderment to her answer, a splash of water hit my face. The spiciness rendered my eyes blind, so she took advantage and continued her assault. To defend myself, I submerged entirely in the water so that her aquatic attacks can’t reach me.

“C’mon that’s cheating, come up and face me like a m-“

Before she could finish her taunt, a wave assault similar to hers hit her face, making her turn away. Unlike my body, my hand is now above the surface, splashing numerous waves at my enemy. Finding my situation safe now, I emerged from the water.

“Pretty rich coming from someone who resulted in a sucker punch to strike.”

The girl wiped the wet off.

“What a way to treat a girl, anybody ever told you that, Stan?

“Nah, I’m a gentleman. It’s just that you’re not exactly a girl.”

“All right down you go.”

The girl launched at me with a speed I couldn’t react, and so she succeeded in grabbing and pulling me down the surface once more. In an attempt to escape this predicament, I utilized the force she was producing and pull her below me. Our situation is now reversed, but it wasn’t for long when she imitated my counter-attack and I was again the bottom. Mind my word choice.

We wrestled, switching positions over and over again until our bodies couldn’t handle the fatigue anymore. Despite being underwater, we could hear joyful sounds of laughter. It was no doubt we were having fun. I could notice her lips getting close to mine in some instances but decided to cower and eluded away.

After a while, I and the girl dragged ourselves on land.

“Told you this would be fun.”

“Yeah, you were right, it was fun. You know, we met when we were kids but I haven’t realized something until now. Most Asians I’ve seen are all so shy, how come you’re not.”
As if irritated by my question, she raised an eyebrow and gave me a really? look.

“Shit, sorry.”

“It’s ok to tease me a little. And talking about teasing, I did try to kiss you a bunch of times earlier. Did you not notice it or just didn’t like me?”

The girl glanced at me. However, I could not return her gaze and decided to stare at the moving blue hue before me.

“It’s ok, I respect that. But Stan?”


“Today was fun… so promise me.”

“Promise you?”

The girl lifted her pinky and spoke.

“We’re going to have even more fun together when we grow up, promise?”

“We’re already grown up what do you mean?”

“We’re 14 you little brat.”

“That’s big en-“

“Just fucking say yes.”

Having fed up with the stupid interaction we were making, I grasped her raised pinky with mine, albeit with a careless altitude. But I never would have done that If I had known it could have prevented the dejected frown on her face.

“I- uh. I kind of want you to be serious on this one, Stan.”

It was… abnormal, how she was acting now. But at the time, and I guess even now, I did not know the reason, and only obliged her despondency.

“Um… sure. I promise you, Kiri.”

For a second, I could see a spark of light shined on her face, and a joyful smile was plastered on it right after.

“Good boy-“

Before I could reply to her, a shout from a fat middle-aged man left me terrified.

“Hey, who the hell are you kids?”

It was probably from a guy who rented the lodge, but nonetheless, it didn’t matter. Because we knew we were in trouble.

“Shit, run.”

And so, in panic, we did. I couldn’t recall what happened next but I think it wasn’t pleasant, regardless, it was still a fun memory. But I am sure that there were even fonder recollections, one that held no such drama, so why this one?

Well, why does it matter, I’ll just think of something next, just like that time we… uh, we…



I can’t remember.

But before I could ask why, an answer had already come to me. It wasn’t through words, and it wasn’t even through images. Rather, an incessant sound of a cascade, and a sharp pain surrounded various tiny parts of my head.

It was the aftermath of reality.

And as I lay there head-down and fantasizing about my own memories, something dawned on me. The days I had with that girl were so beautiful that I just want to live through them again, I crave the excitement I used to have.

But these days are gone, and they will never be re-experienced.

And that was why.



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