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Hotarubi No Mori e



Chapter 1

The arched garden gates shone in the dead of night whilst Gin trudged through the dark marsh, icy waters sloshing at his shins. Snow pelted his face and bare arms as he continued forward towards the gates. Bringing a hand up to his matted, ivory hair Gin ran his fingers through it pushing the strands of it back out of his face. A disgruntled, shaky sigh emitted from his mouth a light fog rising from his lips. Despite his advancements he never progressed and the scene never changed, the night never lightened and the snow never faltered. The snow was as sharp as pine needles, so he moved not forward but perhaps even rearward. Time seemed to melt into the night and his senses numbed away by the snow. How much further? How much longer? When would he escape this cycle? Would he ever? Was there a point in continuing on if he’d never escape? If he really was dead...would he never see her again? Hotarubi. Her dark chestnut eyes and honey brown hair. She was like an angel that fell from heaven.  He thought of her, and the graceful being she was. She was an angel, the angel she was. Falling forward as his foot slipped through a hollow pit in the marsh he plunged into the arctic waters head on, disrupting its surface. His legs were rubber as he fell.  “Sh…” Pushing himself out of the swamp he sat back on his knees hands pressed to the bottom of the marsh.  "Hotarubi," He muttered her name in a strained voice unable to comply with the idea of never seeing her again. He understood his time on earth had been limited as it was and had to have come to an end whether or not that child had made contact with him. Nevertheless his time with her had been the best of his 'life' if it could  be considered  a life. How he wished to see her again and speak to her. From having begun as a  brotherly figure, then a friend and now- To consider himself anything else than that would be vulgar despite his attraction to her. He assumed it could be an attraction. She had been just about the only human girl he'd ever spoken to so that might be a factor in his emotion. Brought back to the present by a coughing fit that overcame him he hunched over in the marsh enduring the pain brought up by his sore throat. In these pitiful moments he determined it right to deem it the end of his journey through the abyss.  What was it to him if he got out of that place? Not that it wasn't important to him but he'd just end up in the forest with the other spirits again. There was nothing appealing about that and the idea of being subjected to more years in there with no purpose or escape. Such pessimist ideas wandered through his mind which he could not rid himself  of. Matter a fact he may not even end up back in the forest.  He chanced ending up in as much solitary as he was in the present time. This might have consumed him had a memory not returned to him. He could see her there in the festival lights on that fateful summer night, their shadows passing into the dark forest knowing he couldn’t have loved her more than he did back then. Gazing into her eyes he’d seen the stars reflected in them, moon above her and the river below. Gin’s breath hitched as she caught his stare knowing all she’d wanted to say. “Stay with me.” Summers had come and gone, their bond never broken but he’d now informed her it’d be their last summer. He said so for she was growing into an adult and him, he was far from reality. He was far from ever aging alongside her, supporting her. No matter how hard he wanted to believe she could continue to return to him again and again. Ever since that first day when he’d met her as a young child, how clumsy and free she’d been. She was a idiot. She was from then on his new future. His new everything had been the child before him, now a young adult.

“No,” He muttered in the darkness, teeth clenched. He didn’t know where anything would lead, where the abyss would take him or when it would end. All he knew in that moment was that he’d never be the one to let her go. When he closed his eyes he saw her all too vividly, emotions tearing her apart, him thinking it best to push her away for ‘the greater good”. He was a truly troubled man, no longer could he think in such away. Here, left alone left to his own will he’d wasted the ‘night’ away.  With her in his heart he could imagine nothing had changed at all,  “Can you hear me?” A shaky, nervous voice pleaded into the silence.  “Gin, please..Please wake up.”, and nothing really had.

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