Beyond This World's Ripples
A girl woke up breaking a sweat.
It was the middle of summer, after all.
“Even if I sleep with the windows open, no breeze ever comes my way!” she said, displeased. “Thankfully, summer break is here!”
Her long charcoal hair swayed with every step she took inside her small bedroom. It was nothing out of the ordinary, considering she lived a peaceful life out in the countryside. Hirakawa was a city located in the prefecture of Aomori, with not many citizens. Most of them were the elderly, yet the population of the young was thriving due to its merging with other villages a few years ago. Her family roots were from Ikarigaseki, yet she was a bonafide Hirakawa raised girl.
Scratching her crimson eyes, she yawned once more just to get ready for school. A white blazer with black decals, a blouse and the skit was black as well and reached almost towards her chest, just a little over her waist, fixed her red tie and put on two long golden earrings. With agility, she managed to arrange her hair into two twin-tails without the need of a ribbon, which was a secret ability she had. She smiled towards the mirror and left the house, embracing the heat of summer.
While on her way, she lost herself in the simplicity of the place she lived in. Sure, it was a city in the middle of the sticks but it had its charms and every single need. Her high school was located just outside of the city. Being an only girl’s school was strange in itself. Even if there were two public high schools, making one be this way was a strange decision by the prefectural board of education. Regardless, the structure was big enough and quite classy at its best.
She sighed while crossing the gate, knowing she would be alone in the classroom. After all, summer break had started but she was attending special classes due to her bad grades. The lovely girl could be considered a bit of a ditz, unable to comprehend basic Japanese sentence structures, awful at literature and exploding the science lab when an experiment was appointed as a lesson.
Making her way inside the school, not a single soul could be perceived. That was to be expected. Until a silhouette made its way through the corridors. Their profile was blurry, and the girl’s interest perked up. She still had a little bit of time before her class started, so going on a wild goose chase wouldn’t hurt.
Nonetheless, she had no idea that would lead her to the rooftop and be face-to-face towards and unbelievable sight.
An unknown maiden was standing between life and death, her left hand being the only thing keeping her alive by hanging onto the fence. The girl’s heart raced, wishing to do something.
Yet, she was too late.
She saw the unknown girl fall.
She swore the unknown girl said something.
<<This is idiotic.>>
An amethyst tint invades the late summer skies. The world is changing and never stopping.
For now, however, the fields are still evergreen. Crickets are still murmuring in that strange cult hum exclusive to them. The stars are summer stars, flickering.
Sunflowers adorn the forest floor, questing for sunlight. The perpetual skies of summer are buckled with clouds and they flare-up in a luminous, neon-blue when the mood takes them. The fields are laden with rice paddies. A goulash of scents twirls above the satin-soft petals and the pear sweet taste of the air is a blessed joy.
But summer brings with it a bitter twist. The nights are closing in on each other and the long days are faltering. Enjoy the beaches, the barbecues and the birds. In a few short months, all will be cold.
Just as her body awakened from a long sleep.
Or maybe it didn't.
Murmuring to herself, a lonely girl didn’t stumble when getting herself back to her feet. Her chestnut coloured medium long hair was filled to the brim with small grass, her silk-like hands cleaning it. Baby-blue eyes twinkled with the sunrays, wondering what had happened. Well, of course, she couldn’t remember, what else was new. Her bare feet ignored the thorns of the dry wood and made her way out of the forest.
Beyond it, the familiar scenery received her.
It was a city of wide avenues and small places to sit and eat, to relax as people went about their day. There were shops and small buildings, difficult to believe that a city like this could thrive in the middle of the countryside. The rest was parks and wild spaces, a chance to walk among nature or enjoy the trails on bicycles. It has everything one can wish for, and its people have a secure attachment to their city, something that after two hundred years had stopped to amaze her.
Her black summer dress was covered with a small olive-green overall. At least the top, it was cropped on the bottom. A unique wardrobe choice but that was how she liked it.
Walking around town, she pondered what day it was. Sure, every single angle screamed it was summer, yet knowing the date was an important variable. Usually, after diving into the sea of ripples, she always woke up near a place where she could see what day, month and year it was.
Well, the year never changes. The day nor month either.
Anyway, it had become something she always had to know as soon as she woke up.
“Alright…” closing her eyes, the girl made her way inside a tiny convenience store, which was, coincidentally, airing the news channel.
“Welcome!” said the man behind the counter.
The girl nodded, walking through the store. She could feel the man’s eyes glued to her feet since she was barefoot. Ignoring his gaze, she continued to pretend to be looking for something, while hearing the broadcast.
“And who would’ve thought! We’re already on August 1st! Time does go by fast.”
The girl’s heart sunk, dropping a small can of grape soda she had picked up to cool her hands for a few seconds.
“Is everything alright, miss?” asked the man.
She just nodded once more and watched the TV in dismay.
“Exactly, and it also makes this year the hottest one. Isn’t 2010 unusual?”
Even if she wished to stay indoors due to the cool breeze the air conditioner provided, she ran outside with her heart rate being out of proportions. Everyone on the streets looked at her strangely, that perhaps the heat took a toll on her due to her panic.
This has never, ever happened before. Never. Never. Never. Never!!!
Almost out of breath, she raised her head to see a sign that made all her fears grow even more.
Welcome to Hirakawa
“This… this isn’t…” stepping backwards, her sky-blue eyes couldn’t believe what she was seeing. “This isn’t… Ikarigaseki anymore?”
Turning around, she faced the window of a closed, abandoned store. Finally, her appearance sank in.
“I’m… older…” touching herself frantically, she could assume she was around seventeen to eighteen. “But I never… what is… going on?”
And her world shattered when a new voice came into place, behind her.
Who is it?
“Excuse me, aren’t your feet hot?”
She turned around, not sure if to be scared, overwhelmed or anxious.
One of the ever-present variables in every ripple had appeared. However…
“Did your flip-flops break?”
Black hair tied into two twin-tails, crimson eyes brimming with innocence and a lovely, charming smile. Her school uniform danced with the wind, and she fixed her bag.
What is going on? Why is… she here? Why is she like this?
The unknown variable, Koito Kōmyō, had made her appearance with a smile that overshadowed the sun itself.