Chapter 1 - Miki
Anticipation began mounting as she tapped the eraser end of her pencil against her desk. She glanced to the clock as the seconds continued to pass by and the professor's lecture about the geography of Japan came to an end. All around her were others checking the clock and waiting for that bell to ring to release them from their metaphorical bonds.
"Does anyone have any questions?" The professor asked.
… There was an almost disturbing silence.
"Very well. Class dismissed." He announced.
"Rise!" Yelled the class rep.
The class rose to their feet.
"Bow!" She called out.
The class bowed to the teacher as they then took their bags and backpacks and left the room en masse. As they all walked out into the hall the young class rep broke off from the main mass of students and walked down the hall to the stairway on the west side of the building and jogged down towards the exit doors. She passed one or two people she knew along the way and gave a friendly smile, but continued on her way as she had something important to do. As she exited the building and left the main gate of the school on her way home she broke out into a run in order to get home as fast as possible.
Block by block she ran with her hair tied into a small ponytail swishing and swashing behind her. Her bangs fell to just above her eyebrows and framed the outsides of her face giving it an almost heart shaped appearance. Her eyes were soft and sweet, but held a powerful determination which most her age did not. Her lips were light pink and bow shaped, giving her a very youthful and vibrant appearance. Her outfit was a traditional sailor fuku school uniform with a short dark blue skirt and a white top with a black tie around the neck. She wore thin socks which rose to the middle of her shins and white shoes. All in all, she was a traditional Japanese beauty.
Upon her arrival she was greeted by her mother who was outside hanging the laundry.
"Welcome home Miki." She said cheerfully.
Miki slowed to a stop and bowed to her mother with her hands clasped in front of her.
"Good afternoon mother." She replied.
Her mother chuckled and returned to her laundry as Miki went inside and dropped her things off in her room before running out back into the garden. She walked out into a small ring of flowers she had planted and sat down on her knees and closed her eyes.
… Let's see if it happens again. She thought to herself.
She sat quietly for many long minutes concentrating on the flowers before she began to experience something strange. There were whispers. Slowly and softly they began creeping into her mind. Simple, blissful whispers of the sun, the wind, the Earth, and the water.
She turned her head slightly and the whispers grew a little louder, and as she returned her head to a straightforward position they began to fade. She turned her head again until the whispers reached a peak in their volume and opened her eyes. The flower she was looking at was a small yellow Day Lily, and it was the first she had planted a little over a month ago when the whispers first started.
"I hear you little one." She whispered as she leaned down towards the plant.
"Do you have anything you wish to say to me?" She asked.
At first there was only silence as there had been when she first started, but slowly the whispers began to sound in her mind once more. She closed her eyes and concentrated hard on what they were saying, but she could only make out two words.
She opened her eyes and smiled at the Day Lily as she leaned down and kissed it before standing up and walking back towards the house.
"They're getting stronger." She commented to herself.
"What's getting stronger?" Came a voice as she entered the house.
She started, and turned towards the sound as she was met by the face of her older brother.
"Ah, Ken." She said with a bow in the same manner as she gave her mother.
"When did you get here?" She asked.
"I've been here for a while actually. Work let out early." He responded.
Ken was nearly a foot taller than her, standing at 5' 10" while Miki was 5' even. He would often poke fun at her for it. Ken was a recent college graduate from Tokyo University where he majored in education with the dream of being a high school teacher of biology. He was tall, slender, and handsome with short spiked hair and a pleasant smile. He was the favorite son of the family, with the second oldest still attending college and with Miki in her final year of High School.
"What were you up to out there?" He asked.
"Oh, nothing. I was just saying hello to the plants." She said.
He looked at her and raised an eyebrow before looking out at the garden and then back to Miki.
"Yeah, sure you were." He said with sarcasm in his tone.
"Don't worry brother. I'm not crazy, I promise." She said as she came forward and gave him a hug.
"I hope not sis. I really do. I'd hate to have to call the authorities and have you hauled off to a loony bin." He joked.
Miki hit him in the arm and walked upstairs to her room where she laid down and closed her eyes as she thought about how she was hearing the whispers of the plants. She thought long and hard why she was able to do it at all. The only thing she could think of was that she either was crazy as her brother jokingly teased, or there was something else going on.
At that moment she had a thought and opened her eyes. She jumped over to her desk and threw open her laptop. Once it was fired up she went to the internet and began searching anything and everything she could about those who could hear whispers and she finally came across the term "psychic." For a long time she thought that was just a word that described people who told fortunes and "saw the future," but apparently there was an organization devoted to helping develop and harness the power of those with "real" psychic power.
She took an immediate interest in this concept but decided not to talk to her parents about it yet. Her parents had enough to worry about, what with her about to graduate high school and her brother searching for his first teaching job at the local high schools. There was, however, a phone number on the website which she added to her phone's contact list and decided to give a call at a later time once she had told her parents about her ability to hear the plants. For the time being she was content to just hone her skills on her own as there were a few tips listed on the site which she wrote down and placed in her desk drawer. She would practice them tomorrow, but for now it was time to get ready for dinner. Father would be home soon, and she wanted to make sure that they were ready for him when he got home.
The night came and went, and her father never came home nor did he call or leave notice in any way. Miki's mother became frantic after the first hour of no communication and called in at his work, but there was nothing they could tell her about his whereabouts. The authorities where notified, but still no word came. As the sun rose the next morning the family was mortified and Miki didn't go in to school. Her father worked at a nuclear plant on the edge of Tokyo Bay, and word came in the news that morning that the plant was attacked and destroyed in the course of one evening. There were no photos or video footage of what happened, only eye witness reports to go on which all told a similar story of a massive reptilian monster laying waste to the plant and surrounding area. The news chopper showed evidence of massive footprints, or what looked like footprints, in the area surrounding the plant as well.
Miki's mother fainted when the reports came in and told of a monster attacking the plant, and her brother had to help their mother lay down while Miki continued watching the reports. When they ended, Miki was so blown away by it all that she unconsciously wandered outside and sat down in the middle of her ring of flowers. When she regained her consciousness, she realized where she was and started to cry. As she did so, she began to hear the whispers again, but they were incoherent and did little to help her. However, after a few moments, there were multiple whispers coming through clearly and coherently asking if she was alright. Miki stopped crying and looked at her plants as the whispers grew louder.
Why do you weep? Came a whisper from her Day Lily.
Little one, why do you cry? Came a whisper from her Lotus.
"… I don't know what's become of my father. The place where he worked was attacked and destroyed. I don't know what to do." She said through her tears.
There was silence for a moment, but then they came back.
Fear not, he is alright. Came a whisper from her Morning Glory.
Yes, please do not cry little one. He will return. Said the Lily.
Miki tried to stay positive, but it was not easy. She dried her tears and thanked the plants as she walked inside and saw her mother sleeping peacefully on the couch with her brother sitting next to her. Miki sat down next to her brother and they both watched their mother sleep for about ten minutes before a knock on the door came. Miki rose to her feet and answered the door, opening it to reveal the smiling face of her father. Miki's eyes went wide and she started bawling as she ran into his arms. He held her close and stroked her head as he attempted to calm her down. Miki's brother Ken came over as well and smiled to his father and bowed to him to welcome him home. A short time later Miki's mother woke up and welcomed her husband home as well. They all sat down together to discuss what had happened, but he had a story no different from those of other eye witnesses.
"I had just left the plant in my car when I happened to see a strange blue light coming from the water of the bay. I stopped and looked back and saw a giant reptilian creature walking on two legs coming out of the water and lumbering towards the plant. I instinctively stepped on the accelerator and accidentally ran the car into a pole and trashed the engine. I got out as fast as I could and ran away as far as my legs would take me at that point and never looked back. The only thing I really remember from that encounter was the roar. Even at the distance I had put between us I could feel it in my chest and it nearly knocked the wind out of me. The sound was primal and unlike any I've ever heard before."
Miki listened to his tale and had a single question.
"Was there anything strange about the creature at all besides the roar?"
Her father thought to himself for a moment and then looked to Miki.
"Yes, now that I think about it. Maybe it was just my imagination acting up under the weight of the shock I was in, but it almost seemed like the creature was angry about something. It attacked the plant with such purpose and aggression that I could swear it was upset."
That evening the family ate dinner together in silence, nobody really having anything to say after the emotional stress they'd all been under. Miki finished her meal and went back outside to her ring of flowers as she sat down and closed her eyes.
"Thank you." She said quietly.
There was no response, but she could feel something new from them. She could feel a sense of welcoming and warmth from them which shed never felt before and she felt really good about it. She knelt down and gave all of her plants a kiss before heading back inside and going to bed. It had been a long day, and though she did not yet know it, tomorrow was going to be even worse.