Chapter 1:

One – Normal in Any Way

Normal in Parenthesis

August 7, 2017. Monday.

I instinctively woke up at 6 in the morning because it is my first day of school and I thought I would be late if I don’t get up quickly.

“Oh great, my record breaking streak of nine hours of sleep for 46 days is ruined because I woke up at exactly 6:07:36 in the morning in a miserable Monday and I opened my left eye first unlike yesterday and it’s making me depressed that I only slept for 7 hours before my first day of school starts. What a great beginning.”

Still wrapped in my blanket, I mutter those words depressingly and sighed heavily like someone who lost his will to live and drooped.

Without me noticing, my brother who was just passing by the open door of my room is now looking at me with a weird face while I’m muttering nonsense.

I can feel my breath getting hotter because my mouth is also covered by my blanket. I am feeling a little suffocated so I raised my upper body.

I was about to stretch every inch of my muscles but I was interrupted by my brother.

“Why are you awake this early?”

“I… could ask you the same thing.”

“You sure are excited to go to school today huh… seeing that you woke up before your alarm rings.”

“What do you mean? I will be late at school if I don’t get up anytime soon you know.”

“What the…

Did you eat a midnight snack that made you sick? Look at your phone then if you want to know what I am talking about.

And quit talking to yourself, I thought you were going to snap again while half asleep. It’s scary when you do.”

I can feel that he was definitely disgusted while he turned and walked to the kitchen.

I gently unwrapped my comfy blanket from my body and picked my phone up and looked at my clock.

Upcoming alarm is set to 8:00AM.

I felt defeated somehow.

Now I remembered. My first day of school starts at 10 in the morning because of some circumstances and my body clock betrayed me.

With a depressed look on my face, I went back to sleep for another hour or two. Thankfully I didn’t get any dreams because my brother had a point. I sometimes lose myself whilst I’m half-asleep and act like a wild animal who escaped from the zoo.

▪ ▪ ▪

Eight o’clock. Finally.

My phone’s alarm rang louder than a chicken clucking every single day.

The sound of the electric fan is as noisy as ever but the chirping of birds became an overlay to it while I stare at my phone on a soft cushion bed on the floor. As always, the smell of the morning is dry, the sun is staring at my satisfied face, the air is a little cold…

And I am about to go to school once again after four months.

Everything that happens every morning is pretty much the same as every day that passes. To put it simply, it is very normal in any way.

Oh, I haven’t introduced myself yet, haven’t I?

Good morning, and my name is Gin Sakato.

Wait, wait, wait. If you’re about to think that I’m Japanese because of my name, sorry to not meet your expectations, I am not.

I will continue these after I eat my breakfast.

My stomach is now rumbling and I don’t want to pass out because of starvation.

▪ ▪ ▪

That was a normal but tasty breakfast. Coffee is pretty much the best killer of the vestiges of ones’ slumber. Bread and a simple sunny-side up is already-

Shut up.

Anyways, let us get back to the point.

Again, my name is Gin Sakato and as I have said, I am not Japanese…

Well… kind of.

And if you’re thinking that my name sounds similar from the character from Ginta*a, no. It’s purely coincidental. I'm pretty sure that it was the name that my parents chose. For the reason, I don't know.

The name of this country is Orio. It is an island found west of the Pacific Ocean and in the map, we are just below Japan. It is a little near if you ride an airplane and it will only take you two to four hours and you will be in Tokyo.

Now, let’s talk about history.

This country originally was an isolated island even with its size. But in the early 12th century, it was found out that there are some villages in that medium sized island and therefore shared the land with the ones who discovered their existence in that place. The people who found the small population of the island were the early Japanese people who were sent through a ship to find some ingredients and spices that they are yet to obtain.

The village people agreed to let them settle in the island seeing that it is a big island for just some villages that can be counted with two hands.

Fortunately the two nations has never been in any breakout of war and on the contrary, the president of Orio and Japan goes drinking every once in a while. I just hope they don’t put up something with themselves when they are out drinking. That would really be bad. But as to why there is peace between us, the two leaders upon election met up to develop the friendship of the two countries deeper.

My name is like this because of the Japanese influence brought by the North to us. That means there are a lot of people named similarly to Japanese people and I am not an exception to that. And some families even follow the meanings of the names. Just like mine, Gin (銀) means “silver”.

We Orions don’t write our names in kanji or any characters of the North. According to the statistics last year, the ratio of the Orions’ name from Japanese style to the standard is 60:40. Meaning that 60 percent of the population last year has the name from Japan, and 40 percent has the name either from the other influences of other nations.

And that is why "kind of" because who knows.

The province I’m living at is called Cotona. It came from the word “cotton” which literally means of what you can think of. There are some industries in my province where they farm cotton trees to produce cottons and sell them nationwide that made our province at least wealthy.

In every city or town, in this case, Ginga, there are sectors. It is mostly named using random numbers but some are given unique names. In our case, we are living in Sector 527 and it is case sensitive when you write your address just like a password.

Lastly, an individual—and that is me. Today is my first day of school and I am about to enter my 10th grade or my fourth year in junior high school.

-Black hair.

-Very dark brown eyes.

-Standing at 167cm.

-A somewhat thin build.

-A 15 year-old brat.

-An amateur artist.

That is everything you need to know about me. At least that is what I think so.

But I hope… that I am not forgetting something…

▪ ▪ ▪

The sound of my rustling clothes are subtle but can still be heard while I’m putting on my school uniform from last year. It will be a pain in the pocket if I ever bought another set because this is my last year that I am wearing this.

It’s a simple looking uniform, actually. It’s just a white polo on the top with a small accent of a midnight blue color on the hem of the right sleeve. What made it special is that the sleeve where the accent is placed tells if you are right handed or left handed. In my case, I am right handed. At the bottom is a very simple black slacks. Nothing special about it.

“I think everything is ready and prepared. I better get going or else I am going to be late.”

I was about to open the front door but I was halted by my mother that is shouting from the kitchen.

“Gin! You forgot your lunch and your right wrist is missing something!”

“Oh, right! Thanks for the reminder, Mom.”

I picked up a black headband that can fit perfectly on the head, put it on my wrist and twist it so it will loop once more. I grabbed my lunch box and walked out of the bungalow.

“I’m going now.”

I decided to just walk to the school instead of being sent by my dad. It is just a ten-minute walk until I reach the school and it will also serve as an exercise for me everyday.

While I am walking, I noticed that there’s something that changed in the street.

“This street sure has gotten quieter than last year. I can only hear the chirping of birds from here…

It’s not like I don’t want to anyways. This silence is actually music to my ears.”

I felt very satisfied hearing this silence. The only things I can hear are the sound of the tapping of my shoes, the chirping of the birds and the rustling of the leaves of every tree I passed by. It feels like the street I always used to pass by a ride is separated from the world. It’s like I’m walking on a very different dimension.

It feels as if there’s a BGM playing inside my head.

As I was walking, I closed my eyes and whispered some words that came from my thoughts.

“Hahh… What a boring character.”

If I were to be a character of some story, I don’t see something that will make it interesting.

I’m currently having a very normal life and there is nothing special happening in my everyday life. It is very simple and boring. There’s not much fun in my life but ironically, I am happy that this is what I am currently. To me, the word “normal” is normal. There is nothing wrong with striving to become normal, right?

Yes, "striving to become".

I opened my eyes and slightly turned my glance to my left.

“Oh, I am already at school.”

Four steps remaining.

Chapter Message:

This is technically the first chapter and yes, a five-chapter release right off the bat!

Thank you for reading!

Two: The cause of the four-month stagnation.

Ana Fowl