Waking Up in Wonderland


Halo Five: Chiharu:

Every night, she listens to her radio. After dinner, she tunes it to get a distant signal. Most of the time she gets static and dead air. Only occasionally, something clear would reach out to her.

Tonight, she got a clear signal. She sat close to the radio as she listened to the world news.

"In Russia today," the anchor lady began. "The stock prices have dropped by two points." Suddenly, her door flung wide open.

"Chiharu!" someone yelled at her. She did not respond. Her attention stayed focused on news about South Africa.

"Chiharu!" the voice yells again. She tunes it out and keeps listening. She knows of the storm that is brewing behind her. She buried herself deeper into the stories flooding her ears. She jerked her head around when a head reached forward and cut the radio off. Her brother, Tatsuya, stood behind her, frowning. His frown deepened on his face.

"Why do you keep listening to that old thing night after night?" he asked her. She stared at him with a rather apathetic look on her face.

"I like to," she said. She cut the radio back on.

Her brother frowned at her. "This is not unbecoming of a lady your age." His sister didn't response as she cut her radio back on. He frowned and cut the radio back off.

"Did you hear me calling you?!" he asked.

"Nope," she replied. She reached out to turn the radio back on, but he grasped onto her wrist. She looked up at him, getting agitated.

"What?" she asked.

"I have arranged a dinner with us and your new suitor's family tomorrow evening at six," he told her. She sneered at him.

"I'm not going," she said.

"Yes, you are!" he said, sternly.

"No!" she snapped back. "I'm not going and I'm not getting married!"

"You will get married if I say so!"

"I don't want to!" She reached forward and turned the radio back on. By this time, she had lost the signal to static. He gritted his teeth and took in a heavy breath. He switched the radio back off once again.

"You'll get married and like it!" he snapped. She doesn't say a word. Instead, she gets up and heads out of her room. Her brother's temper burned faster.

"Where do you think you're going?!" he snapped as he followed after her.

"Out!" she yelled back.

"Not at this time of night, you're not!" he barked. "Come back here!" He chased her all the way to the doorway and grabbed onto her arm. She smacked him off with her fist.

"Let go!" she yelled. "I am going out!"

"No, you're not!" he barked. She struggled with him for ten minutes before breaking from his grasp, putting on her shoes and jacket, and walking out of their apartment.

He has always been like that. Ever since their parents died, her brother tried to control every aspect of her life. At first, she took it without any arguments. But as she grew older, it just annoyed her more and more. They both wanted two different things for her future. She had no desire to get married and didn't really have plans for her future yet. Her brother wanted her to get married, have kids, and stay at home. She couldn't even envision that her wildest dreams. Too bad he wouldn't listen.

Nights like this made her want to get away. She knew just the place.

The old apartment building facing the city was being fixed up to be sold. So far, process had been going so slowly due to rumors of it being haunted. Perfect face for her to get away from her brother and clear her head. No one really watched this building. She could just come and go as she pleased her. She just slipped through the back fire exit and climbed up the stairs. Sure, the elevator worked now, but stairs really helped to put her at ease. She counted down each step as her stress that her older brother gave her became lighter and lighter.

Her fingertips touched the exit to the roof. She smiled at the cold sensation that she felt. One push of the door and the freedom of the outside sang to her. She took in a heavy breath. This was it. This was her moment to be free again. From there, she let the feeling take over her mind.

She wondered all the way to the edge of the rooftop and looked down. The dizzying height gave her a strong feeling of being god for just one precious moment. She never could feel that at home. She closed her eyes and took it all in.

However, that moment peace was shattered when she heard one small little phrase echoing in her head. She had never heard such a voice before in her life. But yet, there it was.

"Akuma ga watashi o shutoku sa sete wa ikenai."

She didn't have time to grasp what happened next. Before she knew it, she found herself falling to the ground below. She didn't remember how she got that way. To a normal person, a long drop to the ground felt like the actual time it took to get there. But, not to her. In one blink, she was falling. Then in the next, she lied there on the ground without a single scratch on her with her eyes wide open to the night sky. No one would even find her until morning.

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