Week One, Day One: A Deal For Them
The pain was the thing she remembered the most. That explicit, excruciating pain. As if she were being stabbed in an endless loop. It would start with a little jab, barely felt. Like the prick of a needle. Then it would soon escalate into a sharp throb, as if a hammer was being slammed against both her skull and rib-cage. And after that it would become an intense burst, as if a knife were slicing through her throat to rip out those lungs.
Should she scream? Should she cry? Should she beg for it to end? Maybe if she did, would it stop?
The answer to those unspoken questions was no. No, it would not stop. And no, she should not scream to signify that ache. As if she could.
Anyone in that amount of pain would die; and that was what happened.
Of course, it hadn't gone by unnoticed. People had definitely realized what had happened when she didn't leave her room that morning. That was the next thing to be remembered:
The fact that she was dead. And no one knew who had done it but her. Most would assume that the reason for her untimely death was because someone- perhaps they were overly obsessed with her -had been the one to do it. With that knowledge, it was no wonder most assumed that to be the case.
And maybe they were right. Of course, there was no one that was able to tell them otherwise if they were wrong. The victim would have been able to, though. If she hadn't died.
Oh but she was still around. As a ghost. With no one able to see, hear, or feel her. She had gone to her own funeral, seen her family burst into tears, watched her killer pretend to mourn with them. She saw it all. And was unable to tell anyone what was going on. That they were being played for fools.
After that, she gave up trying to find someone who could see her. No one would be able to anyway. What tears and suffering she had gone through at the funeral, she locked away, along with her other emotions.
Yet still, every now and then, there was a dull ache in the many places that a knife had hurt her. As if to remind her that this wasn't over. That she wasn't done yet, even if she was merely a ghost. But she didn't care. She chose to not care, and to ignore what her mind and body were saying.
Though her wish to forget what happened and to just live in the afterlife in peace was bittersweet. It was like fate was punishing her for trying to erase herself, when it hadn't given her that option. Still, it didn't appear like she truly cared. But maybe that was just what she told herself constantly during the night, so she could continue to pretend to be uncaring.
Waking to a stabbing pain in her chest, the young girl bolted upright from her position on the ground, gasping for air that she didn't need. Not very surprisingly, it took several moments for the female to finally calm down, and for the ache to subside to a point that it would be forgotten.
Once it was over and done with, the girl allowed herself to return her gaze to the sky, and just breathe. What had she been doing before this, again? Ah, she couldn't remember. But it didn't matter. At least not to her at the very moment.
Closing those green eyes of hers, the sounds of people milling about around her filled the air. Feet lightly slapping against the pavement, sometimes harder than normal to show that they were rushing to get somewhere. Voices, garbled on top of one another, signified that it was another busy day in the world. Not that she cared, of course.
Taking a moment longer to relax in the calm atmosphere, the girl soon got to her feet, stretching one arm behind her back. Really, being stuck in what was known as The Game, wasn't something she had planned to be doing with her life. But since she was here, it might as well be fun to see what was going on.
It was apparent just from the tall, skyscraper like buildings around her, that she was in Shibuya. That seemed to be the general place that most would start out at here. And judging by the fact that no one was around, the Game had started long ago.
"Well... Best to get a move on, I suppose."
With those words muttered under her breath, two pairs of legs that had been still, began to move. Where they were taking her wasn't known, but then again, wherever she went, she was sure to find someone else. That was the entire point of the Game, after all.
As she walked, a soft hum filled the air around her. The source being her own lips, if that hadn't been obvious enough for the girl. But it wasn't long before a sharp ping! sounded, which caused the humming to stop, and the feet to cease their steps for a moment. A hand reached into a skirt pocket to pull out a silver phone that was blinking repeatedly to show a message had come up. Flicking that phone open, the girl's eyes skimmed over what the text said.Reach Ten-Four. You have sixty minutes. Failures will face erasure. - The Reapers
Rereading what she had gotten, the female never noticed that a boy around her age was barreling through the sidewalk. Until she herself was nearly knocked over by the person. Stumbling for a moment, phone nearly slipping from those fingers, her green eyes swung after the boy with a disdainful look. All that was seen of the male was a flash of orange hair before he had disappeared around the corner. And it wasn't like she was going to go after him. She had better things to do.
Like go to the Statue of Hachiko, the dog that had waited and waited for his deceased owner to come back; even though he never did. With a destination in mind, the phone was closed with a little thump, and her feet began moving once again, but this time it was with more of a purpose.
That boy. The one who had bumped into her. It was apparent that they were playing the Game as well. If not, they would have never touched. If she had thought it through, she would have grabbed onto him. But that didn't matter now. There were other things that were deemed more important than thinking about some jerk who hadn't even apologized for running into her.
Arriving at the place that she had planned to go to, her gaze lifted from black sneakers to discover that blue frogs- perhaps the size of an average person's shoe -were hopping all over the ground and below the statue. And that wasn't a common thing to have happen.
Eyes closing and opening in surprise, they soon began searching for the source that had brought so many creatures here. It wasn't long before the girl found that the reason so many were around, was because of that male from before.
Immediately, a scowl graced her lips. Of all the people she had to find here, it would be him. From the way he was acting, it seemed like he was in trouble with the frogs, who were biting and scratching at him. Because unlike normal frogs- really, shoe sized frogs aren't that normal, and they aren't blue -they had claws and teeth. All for the purpose of killing and ripping flesh off of human bones.
Which was what they were doing to the other human. And while she didn't care at first, it was obvious that she was thinking about saving his life. Not because she wanted to really have a conversation with him, but because it was necessary.
Besides that, he was being rather stupid. Didn't he know how to fight them? Everyone that was in the Game knew how to fight. Did that mean he stumbled here on accident? Surely not. There was no way a mistake could have been made.
Sighing, the girl placed her hands in her skirt pockets, and took several steps forward, intent on securing his life and partnering up with him.Until someone else crashed into her. They might as well have called her a crash test dummy with how hard she was hit. Staggering slightly, she managed to keep her balance before glaring at new person that was racing towards the male.
"Great. Looks like I wasn't fast enough." She mumbled under her breath, watching as the other girl with dark red hair- a surprisingly compliment to the green and yellow clothes she wore -managed to convince the boy to become her partner.
How that happened, the female watching the scene didn't know. She wasn't close enough to hear, and she couldn't really be bothered to figure it out. Their next actions would be the thing to tell her what had been spoken.
True to her thoughts, a bright flash of light enveloped the two teenagers before her, starting from where they had clasped hands. That was a sign for good. Not so much for the standby, but for the two that were now actually managing to fight off those frogs. But that meant there was nothing left to accomplish here.
With a shake of her head, the female turned and began walking away, only to feel something scratch at her leg. Hissing from the sudden yet dull pain, that same appendage lashed out at the creature. The force used to kick the blue colored frog rattled her toes somewhat, but that didn't matter to her as the animal went air-borne for several moments until it landed on the ground some feet away.
Not in the mood to be slowed down by such pesky beings, the girl sighed and continued on her way. Unless she or someone else reached that building the text had spoken about, no one would be safe. That and they would face being eliminated. Though who even took it seriously?
Glancing about, it was evident that there were people, others, that were in the Game. Just from the way their eyes glanced back and forth, as if searching for the next creatures that would attack. As if they were wary of the person standing beside them. Which was probably common. You can't put a stranger with a stranger and hope that they get along and won't hurt each other, after all.
Left to her thoughts, the girl stared at everyone she was passing, finding that all she saw had a partner. Everyone but her. In the long run, it was probably for the best. She wouldn't get along with anyone that even had the option to be paired with her. That was a fact. Something that wouldn't change unless forced to.
Finally tearing her gaze from all those around her, she instead looked up and found that the Ten-Four building was closer than she had last checked. Thank God. Once the day was over with, she could finish this and be done with it all.
But it wasn't like she was going to have a choice on if she would get a momentary reprieve.
"Hey! You there, in the skirt!" The shout came from an unfamiliar voice, but to her, it was obvious she was being spoken to.
Halting in her steps, she turned her head just enough to let those emerald eyes stare at who was calling out to her. Surprisingly enough, it was that orange headed boy from earlier. Had he noticed she was watching him, back at Hachiko's Statue? Or was he going to apologize for running into her? No, that last one wouldn't be a reason to call out to her. So it had to have been the first.
Realizing that he was waiting for her to respond, the girl blinked a couple times and replied with, "What?" in a most bored tone anyone could possibly have.
He seemed startled that she had managed a response- But that wasn't of her concern. If he didn't have anything to say, there was no reason to really continue on with what little conversation had begun. Seconds ticked by as the two stared at each other, one waiting on the other to say what he wanted to say, and the other just waiting for the right time to turn and leave.
"You... You were back there, at Hachiko, watching me." At least he managed to state a fact that the two already knew. It was better than staring open-mouthed like a fish.
"Yes. I was going to forge a pact with you, but it seems I was too late. If that's all, I'm going to continue to Ten-Four."
Returning to walking, she didn't get that far when several blue frogs surrounded the two. More than likely, they were out to get revenge on the girl for the fact that she had kicked that other one. Sure enough, there was the assaulted one- it even had a shoe print over its body, as if it being there wasn't evident enough. Great. Just what was needed at a time like this. Especially with the fact that the male's partner wasn't even here. Did he abandon her? If so, that was rather stupid of him.
An aggravated sigh escaped the girl at this point. It didn't seem like she was going to get any rest any time soon. Was it really that too much to ask?
"This is why you never leave your partner, you idiot." She all but spat out, taking a step towards one of the frogs and once again, kicking them far away.
The other animals seemed surprised that she had done such a thing, but when one started to attack, the rest soon followed. What happened then was just a frenzy of kicks and smacks of the hand- Most coming from the girl. But the boy did try to mimic her as best he could- Which wasn't that good. He had scratches along his arms and even one on his cheek. Really, what had she seen in thinking it would be a good idea to pair up with him? It insulted her intelligence.
Not too long after the frogs had tried to bite and claw the two teenagers to death, they were all destroyed with no trace of them ever being there to begin with. Which was usual for the Game monsters. And a moment after that, his partner had arrived, asking what had happened.
"You let him leave you to find me and they attacked us," that was the immediate response before the girl with emerald eyes began walking again. Time was short by now. They had fifteen or so minutes to reach the shopping building known as Ten-Four. The question now was if they would make it.
To the unanswered question, they had made it. But it was a tiring endevour. Frogs had been jumping out at the girl from behind people, trash cans, the sky- One had even come out of a tray of food. All in all, it had been amusing at first, but then it just got annoying. The three would have been able to agree on that.
Glancing back at the two, the girl began to wonder just how it had come to be that she was working with them. Albeit, when the frogs came, they didn't have a choice. But she did. She could have left them to fight the creatures, and continue on. Yet she never did. Was it because there was a reason?
Not getting the chance to ponder it too much, the trio continued onward. It was only minutes later that they managed to reach Ten-Four. With five minutes to spare.
"Never doing something like that ever again." She mumbled in a breathless tone. Even her body seemed to agree that it never wanted to do this again, as it gave a little tremble when she began standing upright once more.
"So does this mean that we cleared the objective?" Hearing the other girl ask that made her eyes roll. Wasn't it obvious? Turning to answer, the words never left her lips. Someone else had spoken. And it was someone that shouldn't have been there.
"Of course it does! Only an idiot screws themselves over on Day One."
Pivoting around, the three found their gazes fixated on an older female with unnaturally bright pink hair. Judging from the fact that she had oddly shaped wings- they looked more for decoration and design than anything, since there were many holes and wasn't large enough to be used -protruding from her back, it was obvious that she wasn't a participant of the Game.As the pinkette stared at the trio, there was a grumble of annoyance, followed by scratching to her hair.
"Ugh, you three will be dead before the end of the week, I swear! So how about you let me kill you here and now?"
Only seconds after hearing that question were they attacked by more of those frogs. Honestly, it was getting to be annoying. As any of the teenagers could have easily told you just by their facial expressions. Especially for the female that was only kicking out her legs to get the frogs away from her. The agitation was clear on her face when she finally stomped a foot on the ground, much like a child would when they didn't get what they wanted.
"Fuck this," she hissed out, thoroughly wanting this to all end quicker than it was progressing.
Kicking away one of the other frogs, she then began inhaling deeply, concentrating herself on something. Hearing the other teenagers vaguely yelling at her for having stopped fighting, she pushed the sounds that were coming to dance around her away. She needed absolute focus if she wanted to do this.
When it seemed like there was no escaping or dodging the blue frogs that relentlessly continued to attack, a wind much different from the usual gusts blew through the group. It seemed to be coming because it was being controlled. Though clearly no one knew who could manipulate the wind, and how it was even possible.
But that same gale seemed to reach a point where it became rather sharp, like a blade. How they knew it was becoming that was easy. They could see it. Physically see it happening with their eyes. That might have been another reason they knew the wind wasn't the average kind.
Not a second later, after it had become the shape one could only describe as a pendulum laying on its side, did the wind rush out towards the frogs. Even if they had tried to jump away, it seemed like each and every animal got sliced by the very air itself. It was in that singular moment that the monsters attacking them vanished into nothing, as if they had never existed in the first place.
The girl who had obviously summoned the gale to attack those enemies around them took a deep inhale before her eyes once more opened. When the momentary awe finally dispersed from the group around the female, the older teen let out a growl of annoyance. Something like that should not have been possible! Especially for someone that had no obvious partner. So just what happened?
"I'm tired of having to help you two through all of this, so would everyone just hurry up and end the day?"
The frustrated tone of voice that came from the girl was the only thing needed to know that she was running out of patience; but really, the way she was staring at everyone also helped to tell them that she wasn't exactly happy either. The comment caused the girl with pink hair to wring and scratch at her own head- Something that probably shouldn't be happening. After all, brain cells were rather hard to come by."Ugh. You know what? Fine! I don't care, I don't need you three to die for me today; I can just do it tomorrow! Especially when she-" that last word was hissed out, like a snake warning a human to back away, "-isn't around. So don't die on me before then."
And with that, the pinkette vanished in practically thin air. Which wasn't uncommon. The frogs that they had been fighting appeared and disappeared in the same way. Though if the three teens tried to do that, it wouldn't work.
Exhausted but relieved to get the rest she had been wanting, the blue eyed girl turned to walk away from the duo. She planned to leave them for that person tomorrow. What did she care if they got hurt or not? After all, there was no attachment or sentiment towards them.
"Ah-! Wait, please!" Though she shouldn't have stopped moving, the girl did. Probably because the auburn haired female sounded so desparate? Twisting her head slightly to look at the two, she arched an eyebrow to silently ask what they wanted.
"You're going to be here tomorrow, right?" The other had asked after what felt like minutes dragged on.
"Well I wasn't planning on leaving this city any time soon. If there's a specific reason for asking me that, just get on with it, I'm tired."
Hearing the other mumble that she didn't have to be rude like Neku- who, out of the three of them, she assumed was the boy -the girl twidled with her fingers for a moment. Only to have the male roll his eyes at whatever else she was saying. Without saying a word, the female also rolled her eyes and began walking away once more. Though this only spurred the other girl on to shout out her next question:
"Will you help us tomorrow?"
To hear someone asking it in such a pleading tone caught her off-guard. But it did make her turn to face the two fully. Judging from the look in her eyes, the pair could see that the question was actually being thought on. Which was odd, since she had made it apparent that she wanted nothing to do with the two of them.
"We- Um- Like that girl said, without you, we wouldn't really last long... And you fight really good! At least I think you do. It'll just be for tomorrow, and then you can leave us to do whatever you want, I promise-" And on and on the girl rambled, trying her best to convince the other to help them out.
Neku didn't seem to like the idea, but it seemed he wasn't going to object to it openly. Maybe he didn't have the courage for it?
Finding that she was losing her concentration on the matter at hand, the girl returned her gaze to the other to discover she had stopped talking finally. Blinking once, twice, she let out a slow sigh and moved a hand to brush some hair from her face.
"I suppose it won't hurt," she conceded, giving a little shrug to go along with her words, "but only for tomorrow. I don't want to be babysitting kids after all."
"But you're the same age as us. You can't say that." Neku muttered out from under the hood hiding his lower face. Though this only had the girl give him a bit of a look.
"I might as well be taking care of kids. You didn't even try to help her fi-"
Already, the stems of an argument could be seen starting to happen. And so the girl clad in green hopped in with clapping her hands and smiling at the both of them, spouting out something about the stuffed cat doll she had in her arms. Mr. Mew was his name.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I never told you my name, did I?" The girl suddenly said, almost immediately after, offering a hand to the other. "You can call me Shiki! What's your name?"
Looking at the hand as if it was going to bite her, the female stared at the appendage for a moment. What was her name again? It had been so long that she had nearly forgotten what everyone used to call her. Or perhaps she just waned to forget her own name? If that was the case, then she was just covering up for herself in her mind as she grasped Shiki's hand in a gentle grip.
"Rose. My name is Rose. And it's nice to meet you, Shiki, Neku."
Just as those words had slipped out of her lips, the world suddenly began tipping into darkness. It was so sudden that it took the trio by surprise for a brief moment. Though the only reason it was only several seconds and not longer was because their conciousness went dark.
And so ended the first day of many hardships to come. May tomorrow be another day for the trio.