Three days later.
The first thing Yakusoku did, after the events at Maria's house, was to look up micro sleeping on his laptop. The official meaning was:
A microsleep is an episode of sleep which may last for a fraction of a second or up to thirty seconds. Often, it is the result of sleep deprivation, mental fatigue, depression, sleep apnea, hypoxia, narcolepsy, or hypersomnia. Microsleeping can occur at any time, typically without significant warning.
Microsleeps (or microsleep episodes) become extremely dangerous when occurring during situations which demand constant alertness, such as driving a motor vehicle or working with heavy machinery. People who experience microsleeps usually remain unaware of them, instead believing themselves to have been awake the whole time, or to have temporarily lost focus.
When experiencing microsleeps while driving an automobile, from the perspective of the driver, he or she drives a car, and then suddenly realizes that several seconds have passed by unnoticed. It is not obvious to the driver that he or she was asleep during those missing seconds, although this is in fact what happened. The sleeping driver is at very high-risk of having an accident during a microsleep episode.
Many accidents and catastrophes have resulted from microsleep episodes in these circumstances. For example, a microsleep episode is claimed to have been one factor contributing to the Waterfall train disaster in 2003; the driver had a heart attack and the guard who should have reacted to the train's increasing speed is said by his defender to have a micro sleep, thus causing him to be held unaccountable.
'Hmm. It kind of sounds like me.' He thought. Remembering that day at lunch, and then before when he was over at Maria's house, it all made sense. 'Only difference is a lot of time had passed, not just thirty seconds or so... the reason for that might be because she slipped something into my drink. I felt weird right afterward.'
While laying in bed that night, he let the episode play out in his head like watching a television show. He had been drinking, they were talking, and then he got up from the couch. In his haste to escape he smacked clean into the door and collapsed, but how he got up and went home, ate dinner, and even socialized with his family during it was a mystery to him.
Maybe he had a concussion from it. He couldn't think about something like that right then, and next typed in Magic and Witch Craft, but it told him nothing that he didn't already know, and honestly, none of it seemed like Maria.
'Maria doesn't dress any Witchy way. Her clothes are actually pretty nice- well, a little dated- but they're still nice. She doesn't even wear jewelry that would symbolize anything, her hair is blonde not black.'
Maria would have to be the strangest witch he'd ever seen if she is one. Closing his laptop, Yakusoku frowns deeply. He really didn't want to do what he'd planned on doing, but its something that has to be done. He has to figure her out! Maybe then she wouldn't behave so strangely, and then she'll have more friends.
'She came off as any normal girl when I first introduced myself, only she seemed sad- sadder than most, and I don't know what it is about me, but when I see someone lonely and astray I want to be there for them... like the Land's were there for me. ...I sometimes feel like I'm trying, for another reason, to be the world's super Hero... which is why I'm in this mess now.'
Since meeting her things have been weird; she's gone from a sad and lonely girl to a minor issue of a case of odd-ball.
And it's because of this that, 3 days later, Yakusoku found himself outside of the girl's home, hidden in a hedge bush that night around 9 o'clock; dressed in all black, flashlight in hand and checking the power of the batteries by clicking it off and on. He wouldn't have such enormous butterflies in his stomach if...
"Will you stop doing that? Or do you want to call attention to us?" asked his little brother.
When Ai saw Yakusoku getting ready to leave the house, dressed as he was and seeking a flashlight, he dragged the reason "why?" from him and insisted in coming along too. Yakusoku begged and pleaded with his little brother to stay home to make sure their parents knew nothing about his plan, but he'd refused, and before the older male knew it his brother had mimicked his clothing and was out the door with him, under pretense that they were spending the night over at Chester's- since he's moving, and wants to see him as much as possible their parents let them go. It was nice to see them care so much for a friend.
"I'm just making sure that I don't get stuck inside with no light to see with but the house lights. If anyone is inside, and I turn them on, they'll know someone broke in."
"The alarm company will tell them if someone has broken in," Ai said with a voice of common sense.
Yakusoku hadn't thought of that. What if the house does have an alarm system? He'll have to take his chances. Pulling his- now ruined with holes- ski hat over his face, he stepped out from the bush and reached into his pocket. He said 'if' before, because Maria and her aunt are out for right now; he isn't sure how he knew this information, but his gut is telling him that it was true. And a person has to learn to trust their gut.
Presently, his gut is telling him that he'd better speed this along before he really does get caught. He'd been planning this little break-in for 3 days and was finally ready to execute it. Tools in hand, he picked the lock easily and thankfully no sirens were sounded, it didn't even seem as though there was a silent alarm. He closed the door after letting himself in; Yakusoku learned how to pick a lock with his friends.
They would get clusters of padlocks from the store or old trunks their parents own, and they even went to each others houses to just pick away at locks on the front and back doors. Long story as to why. But they thought in the long run that this would be a useful skill to have, and look here, it is!
'Everyone- even the nicest, most open people- keep a part of themselves hidden from the world, because deep down no one really wants to share everything with everyone. That's what makes dark emotions the way they are, sometimes you wonder too much about those underlying people and trying to find out gets you into trouble.'
But Yakusoku had long since convinced himself that his search for Maria's hidden person was not because he's being nosy, but because he's trying to help. And he really is. If he weren't, then this whole thing would make his stomach turn rather than further peek his curiosity, as he'd feel guilty over prying into the girl's life.
'Best place to look is in the bedroom. People always keep their true self where they feel the safest, and for nearly everyone in the world, it's in their bedroom at home.' Flashlight on, Yakusoku swung it around the living room.
The beam played around the dark living room illuminating the couches and the tables, lamps. He even spotted the apple juice stain he'd made on the carpet. The kitchen had an ominous feeling permeating from it, but he didn't have to go in there, so he just brushed it off and located the stairs in spite of a cold chill rushing up his spine and in spite of his authority to ignore the fear.
Walking up slowly, he made sure to hold his weight so that he wouldn't cause the stairs to creak beneath his weight. His chest moved up and down as his breaths caught themselves hard after he released it from its hold. Shining the light left to right once in the short hallway, he wondered which of the four doors was Maria's bedroom. His feet moved him forward into the light's security while darkness swallowed up behind him after the beam from the flashlight went on by.
The house seemed to be breathing on him, and stealing his breath in the same succession. The only other break in the rich black was from blue beams of moonlight shining through opened curtains in the bedrooms with cracked doors, but it was hardly enough to keep the creeping feeling away. Yakusoku wasn't sure how he knew which room was Maria's but his feet moved him to the last one on the left. It was the only room with the door shut completely.
His hand inched forward taking a hold of the knob; a purple cloth rest over the knob reminding the intruder of a bottle of perfume his mother owns because the bottle is sheathed in a thin pink cloth. Turning the clothed knob, he held tight to it and eased the door against the wall rather than just hurling it open to have it bang against the wall. Releasing the knob, he walks farther into the room, taking it in with each highlighted piece occupying the living space. Bed, dresser, side tables, a few rag dolls are scattered across the floor, only one sits on the bed up against the pillows as though it's taking a nap with its eyes open. Frightening thought.
'Everyone, no matter who or what they say, wants some form of communication with someone. And those who can't get it, keep diaries. Maria's probably no different if anything she'd be one of those people that fit the category most of all.'
Shoe boxes are displayed on the closet floor through the open doors, the shelf held boardgames. Ruling the obvious dresser drawers out completely, Yakusoku heads into the closet. Surely one of the boards is missing from its game box, and in its place hides the girl's diary. But each box he opened he found nothing but the boards and game pieces resting on their cover.
Lowering his attention, he checks the shoe boxes; he even had a scenario of finding the book nestled beneath a pair of boots. But like the board games, he came up empty and the boxes held what was advertised in a little picture box on the front of it- minus one box that had sandals inside when it should have held white flats.
Leaving the closet, he went to the bed. It's a box-spring and Maria could have slit the bottom or even ripped it away to hide the book along its columns. But feeling up beneath the bed he found no such slit or hole. Lifting the mattress, as a last minute thought, he hears a thump; startled to a frozen state, Yakusoku waited to be caught by Maria's or a parent's hand... He could feel the weight sitting on his shoulder. ...But when no one came, he looked around the room for what could have made the noise. The doll, it's no longer on the bed. Crawling across it, careful not to disturb the made-up job that's been given to it, he lifts the toy from the floor.
"Tondemonai," he whispered 'no way' in his native tongue. Groping the doll he can feel something rectangular within its body.
It could be a voice-box, but giving the doll a squeeze it didn't say a word. No "Mamma" or "Hug me". Yakusoku had to give the girl points for being clever. No one would look inside of a doll. Undressing the little rag, he located a velcro strip and tore it open. Reaching inside the cavity; he felt a lump go down his throat when he swallowed, withdrawing his hand he couldn't believe his eyes when a purple book came into view; its considered so hidden that the key is tied to a string dangling from it.
He could see why she'd just leave the key there, who'd find the book? Closing the doll up he then redressed it, then set it back down between the pillows where it had been before he arrived and knocked it over. Grinning like a goon, Yakusoku was sure he'd read the thing right then and there, but he wanted privacy to commit an act that violated someone else's, and he'd already wasted enough time in the home.
Stashing the book within the waistband of his jeans he exited the room, closing the door just as carefully as he'd opened it. Exiting the home he hoped like hell, as he dashed down the street back to his house, with his little brother- that Maria didn't need her diary until he could sneak it back into her doll.
Glancing over his shoulder, he felt a lump form in his stomach. Did a curtain just move from upstairs?