I almost never have dreams, but when I do, this is the one I always see. It’s the same one every time, the contents of the dream never changing. This dream would be more accurately described as a nightmare. A nightmare that feels so real. It’s a memory that replays in my sleep until I can’t take it anymore and wake up screaming.
Fire. Fire as far as my eyes could see.
The buildings around me crumbling under the raging flames engulfing the entire town.
A girl, the one I look up to—
No…that’s not right.
—The one I looked up to. She turned away from me without hesitation. Ignoring my pleas.
She betrayed my trust.
That’s right, I no longer look up to her. I no longer trust her.
She promised to stay. Yet she walked away.
But I know now that it is wrong of me to hold onto such a selfish wish.
I’m sure she must have known, how much I loved her.
That’s why I didn’t want it to end like this. Watching her back as she walks down the burning streets alone. Never looking back.
I felt abandoned. Maybe I deserved it. It was my fault, no matter how much I want to deny it.
It’s always at this moment where she is completely out of sight, the flames would surround me. I’d start to lose consciousness as the haze blurs my vision. The smoke filling my lungs. The fire finally touching my clothes.
I would collapse to the ground slowly as I try to call out her name one last time as if hoping she’d come back…even though she’s gone.
That’s when I wake up.
I would see this nightmarish dream for several years until my third year in high school. After not having this dream for several weeks, I eventually had a new dream. A peculiar dream where I feel like it, too, may be a memory of my past.
“Kazuya Amashito?” The gentle voice of a girl speaking my name.
It’s dark so I cannot see her, as if I’m submerged in an abyss of darkness.
“I like that name,” she adds, her voice echoing around me.
I try to follow the sound but find myself wandering aimlessly around in this pit of darkness.
Where am I? The darkness is so thick that I can’t see anything.
I observe my surroundings in this vast empty space and continue following the sound of the voice repeating my name.
Slowly, I can see cherry blossom petals dancing in the air. They have a faint pink glow as they float around me. I turn around and see a cherry blossom tree. After more observation, I realize I’m on top of a familiar hill.
I recognize this scenery all too well. I look to the left of the tree and see a girl in front of me. She’s gazing at me with her bright violet eyes that are illuminated under the midnight sun. She doesn’t have a readable expression, but her gaze is melancholic.
What is she thinking? I ask myself as I continue to gaze at her. Her long, black hair sways slightly in the wind covering her entire back. Her long one piece black dress with a lace design at the edges fluttering lightly back and forth in the quiet wind.
This young girl looks familiar, but I can’t recall anyone who resembles her. She looks away and turns towards the full moon with a melancholic expression.
The moon looks large and bright. White, luminescent light from the moon illuminates her pale body as if she were almost glowing.
She's looking at the moon and begins to tilt her head slightly towards me, our eyes meeting. Her mouth is moving but I can't hear what she’s trying to say. I can tell by the lip movement that she said three words...
After speaking those three words silently, everything slowly starts to fade away. Shadows surround me and devour everything.
I'm submerged in this endless darkness as if I fall into complete nothingness.
I open my eyes from this new reoccurring dream.
Will I ever see her again?
A repeated question I ask myself as I wake up every morning. This morning is no different of course. I’ve seen this dream over a dozen times now.
I can remember from this dream that I see a girl that’s so beautiful as if she were an angel. Her long black hair flows behind her almost like luxurious wings as the wind caresses it.
She always says the same thing at the end of this dream. Is it possible, that I do know her?
“Kazuya!” Hikari yells, trying to get me out of bed.
I had no idea she was on top of me.
“Kazuya, get up already!”
I rub my eyes and open them and see Hikari's youthful breasts hanging in front of me. Her slightly long auburn hair is barely touching my chest leaving a ticklish sensation.
I look up and she's staring at me with her big brown eyes with a somewhat funny face. She seems mad, but also concerned.
I yawn loudly as I try to wake myself up.
"Ka-zu-ya..." she says emphasizing each syllable while gritting her teeth. “Do you have any idea how worried I was!?”
“You weren’t waking up when I called out to you. I shook you and you didn’t respond one bit! I was starting to get worried.” Hikari sighs. “But you’re up now. I’m glad. We’re going to be late for school. Let’s go.”
Hikari sits down on my desk chair. She pouts while looking away from me as if emphasizing how upset she is.
I sigh again as I try to move on from this situation, luckily Hikari has moved on already as she suddenly speaks to me.
“You’re going to be late for school,” she repeats, breaking the short silence.
"Yeah, you're right. I have to get ready," I respond. I head towards my dresser to get changed.
“Seriously, I shouldn’t have to wake you up every morning. Even though I live next door, it tends to be a hassle sometimes. So please learn to use that alarm clock my mom got you last year.”
“If you don’t want to wake me up then don’t," I state. “But, I do appreciate it, so thanks. You’ve always taken care of me, ever since that day…”
Hikari looks at me bashfully but doesn’t say anything.
I unconsciously brought up my past, and she knows some things, however I don’t. I just know that one day something happened. It was over 7 years ago and when I try to remember my past I have a hard time doing so. My memory is really hazy. All I remember, is that whatever happened on that day, it ended with me having no family or memory anymore.
I know that my mother is missing, my sister is alive but I doubt I’ll ever see her again, meanwhile my father—
“You don’t remember much about the past, right?” Hikari asks in a confirming manner, breaking my train of thought. “I never learned about what happened too…my parents said it was unfortunate but they refused to tell me the details."
"I see," I respond as I start taking my shirt off.
"Ah...I'll go outside," Hikari says while blushing slightly.
"Sure, though you don't have to be embarrassed," I state. "We used to take baths together when we were kids, right? I don’t particularly mind."
Hikari’s face becomes red, “Don’t bring that up, idiot!”
She leaves the room shyly as I laugh playfully, I speak loudly enough for her to hear me as she walks down the stairs, “Meet you outside in a bit.”
She responds with a small wave of the hand, the common gesture that usually means 'Ok'.
Hikari walks down the stairs and quietly mumbles to herself. I notice her grab her chest hesitantly with a red face then suddenly rush down the stairs.
“I wonder what all that was about…” I say to myself as I pull my shirt off my head.
I better hurry up and not waste more time.
I put on my school uniform. As I put it on, I notice I’m missing a button at the bottom. Well the bottom button isn't important so that's no big deal.
As I examine my uniform more, I notice it's slightly wrinkled, no big deal either. The uniform is black, with blue cuffs and collar.
There's an emblem of a crescent shaped moon that's white, surrounded in a hexagonal blue border located on the left shoulder. The size of this emblem is small, measuring about nine centimeters.
I fix my uniform and straighten my pants. I grab my wallet and bag as I head out the room.
Wind blows through my window and brushes against my hair. I didn't realize it was open.
I walk over to it and see a hill in the distance. It has a cherry blossom tree at the top.
The beautiful cherry blossom pedals that bloom never cease to amaze me.
I close the window and fix my hair a bit then head out the room. I grab the keys to my house off a table by my front door.
Walking out of the house, the sun beats down on me instantly.
I notice Hikari waving at me with a big smile on her face.
“Don’t just stand there! Let’s get going,” Hikari yells.
“Yeah, yeah. I'm coming.”
In the distance by a bench there is a girl covered by a tree's shadow but as I look over towards her she’s no longer there.
I assume it was just my imagination, so I continue gazing at the skies.
The vast azure sky filled with long oblong clouds gives me a comforting sensation.
I spot a cloud that happens to look like a lily.
Why is it that looking at the sky can make one feel so calm?
I ponder over that as Hikari and I continue walking.
Walking down this route to school with Hikari, I fail to notice how long the walk is. Traversing from home to school is about a thirty minute walk so it's not unbearable. I’m usually always looking at the sky so I never really notice how much time passes.
Every time I look at the sky, I get lost in my thoughts. I think about the dream I always have, and about my past I can't remember. Everything is so weird, but I don't think I need to see a doctor or anything.
What if they think I'm crazy? I wouldn't want that.
Thinking about all this, I don't even notice Hikari looking at me with slightly red cheeks.
I look away from the sky, and glance at Hikari who quickly shifts her eyes away. I was about to tell her something, but I instantly forgot. I get like this sometimes. I wonder why though, since I seem to only have this problem with Hikari.
Speaking of Hikari, now that I think about it, I've known her my whole life. I'm practically always with her, and I have no problem with that either. Despite a few minor fights throughout the year, we’ve always gotten along well.
We both grew up here in Japan in an old small city called Sekanagi. This place is peaceful and there's seldom any crime. It’s close to the Pacific Ocean as well. There's hundreds of cherry blossoms decorated here. This city has a small population of roughly eleven thousand. With this amount of people, it’s no wonder Sekanagi is so peaceful.
With it being pretty peaceful here, kids are able to enjoy their youth and play at the parks. Though I don't tend to go to those lively areas, especially places with kids.
I don't recall having a childhood so enjoyable like these kids. So it sort of bothers me to see kids enjoying their youth. I know that deep down in my heart, I can feel that my childhood wasn't so great. When I try to think about my childhood, my chest starts to hurt, and I become depressed.
Also, that girl with long black hair keeps entering my memory too whenever I think about the past. Whatever happened in my past, it led to me living with Hikari Yamamoto when I was just 10. Due to this, she slowly distanced herself from me.
However, the distance between Hikari and I ceased after I made an attempt to commit suicide. She saved me that day, all I remember is the feeling of her warmth engulfing me. It was a comforting sensation, and the tears we shared that day is something neither of us can forget. I realized that day that I wasn’t truly alone. I had someone there for me and still do.
Hikari is always by my side. If it weren’t for her, I probably wouldn’t be here today.
She’s the light that brought me out of the darkness of depression. I don’t deserve someone like her. I’m weak, and I’m always depending on her. I just hope that someday I will be able to repay her for all the trouble she’s gone through for me.
I feel that doing so is the least I can do.
After living with her family for 3 years, I went next door to my vacant house and started living on my own as I felt I was responsible enough to take care of myself. The house was paid for already, so I never had to worry about bills.
For some reason, my parents had money stored that I'm able to use for daily living. They had really nice jobs, so I guess it wasn’t too surprising when I thought about it.
Hikari and I are approaching the school’s gates when I notice a girl standing behind the entrance.
"Who is that?"
“Huh? Kazuya? What are you talking about?” Hikari asks me, she must have heard what I said.
“That girl over there, standing behind the gate,” I answer. “She has our uniform on, but I haven't seen her here before. Is she a transfer student?"
“Um…I don’t know,” she responds nervously. “She seems to be in our grade too since her collar is blue like ours, which means she’s a third-year like us. She’s really pretty. Prettier than me that’s for sure...”
“She is cute,” I respond honestly. Though I didn't realize Hikari was looking at me eagerly when I said that.
“Fine! Go ask her out then since she’s so cute, jerk,” She walks off, blushing immensely with tears about to fall from her eyes.
"Wha—,"I question her actions to myself, "What's gotten into her?"
I'm confused, but at this rate she'll leave me behind so I call out to her, “Wait, Hikari!"
She doesn't respond to me or look back. I stealthily glance back at the girl behind the wall. She’s still staring at me. I can’t help but feel a bit put off by this.
The girl smiles gently then turns and walks towards the school doors. Her long black hair swaying back and forth from the breeze. She seems like a friendly person, but when I think about it, she seems a bit familiar.
I head towards the entrance of the school. I open the doors and feel someone hit my shoulder. I realize I just got hit by a certain idiot, my friend Travis Lee. He's a Chinese-American, and aside from his carefree personality, he's actually an insanely smart guy who is equally as weird.
Despite that, he's my best friend and we're sort of dependent on each other. For instance, I rely on him to distract the teachers whenever we forget to do our homework. We only met because we are both considered delinquents at school and had to go to detention together, but that's an entirely different story in its own right.
“Ka-zu-ya!” Travis joyfully yells, while smiling like a dork, he does a lame hair flip while adding, “How’s it going bro?”
“You idiot," I respond. “Don’t hit me for no reason, and it’s going good I suppose. How about you?”
He grins and claims, “Life’s the same man, couldn’t be happier.”
Is that really true, Travis? I keep that thought to myself as he pats my back with an exaggerated grin.
Travis Lee is a transfer student. He’s my age and lives with his older sister Tamara Lee. He is the only best friend I have aside from Hikari. He’s an odd guy, and thinks he can be successful in picking up girls.
Guys like him are common, though he has a certain trait that’s different compared to the others. Travis is incredibly weird. Travis always has a smirk on his face that I can’t seem to decide whether or not it’s a smile of confidence or idiocy. Considering his carefree lifestyle, it’s probably not a smile of confidence.
I’m pretty sure he’s just an idiot.
Even though he’s intelligent academically, Travis can be very ignorant most of the time and doesn’t care for others unless he has a reason to or actually likes the person.
He has practically no friends, mainly because of his attitude and his unnatural grayish hair, spiked in a trendy fashion. Well, his hair is actually an ash-brown color but it tends to look almost gray.
Despite his awkwardness, Travis happens to be one of the smartest students in school and I often hear people talk about how he is pretty attractive. I assume that he never succeeds in picking up girls mainly because of how weird he is.
On days I’m bored I would go to Travis’ place to laze around with him. He gets lonely so I keep him company. His parents live in America for work but his older sister Tamara, has a nice job here in Japan so he ended up moving to live with her. However, she’s always working so she’s barely at home.
“So what are we doing for lunch today?” Travis asks me with a curious look on his face, “Did you actually manage to make lunch?”
“Oh, no I didn’t,” I answer, uninterested in the conversation. “I figured I will buy lunch today. Maybe I will get a hamburger or something. Sounds good right?”
“What?! Dude I was planning on mooching off of you.” Travis says with a pout. “Well whatever, maybe I can afford lunch today. I should have some money left from this week’s allowance.”
He starts giggling like an idiot as if what he said was funny.
“How troublesome. You never seem to have money,” I point out, “The week just started too, I bet you’re just wasting it all on dirty magazines.”
I say that jokingly, but I couldn’t help but laugh a bit at the thought.
“What?! How did you know!? I thought I hid those well!”
“Damn it man,” Travis screams obnoxiously, he’s clearly embarrassed.
“Well you are a growing healthy young man after all,” I state.
“Even so,” Travis mutters worryingly. “That’s kind of embarrassing, I’m going.”
I laugh for a moment and watch him leave. I suppose the conversations we have is one of the reasons I still talk to him. He’s so easy to tease.
Though I am worried about what he will do with the money he has. Assuming that he still has some left, the week just started and lunch isn’t exactly cheap.
Leaving the hall, I go down another hall towards my classroom calculating my own expenses. I might actually be tight on cash this week now that I think about it, but it shouldn’t be a problem.
Walking casually towards my class, I can feel the stares of my peers all around me as usual. Ignoring them, I reach my destination finally.
I sit down in my seat by the windows on the left side of the class. My seat is second to last down the row. Setting my book bag down, the teacher Mrs. Nakahara walks in on time to start class.
She is a slender woman in her late twenties. Her hair is dark brown and she’s wearing a small black skirt and a white blouse under a formal black cashmere jacket. The casual yet formal attire a teacher usually wears at a public school around here. She speaks out to the class mentioning we have a transfer student.
The spring semester has just begun a couple weeks ago, so seeing a transfer student now isn’t too surprising.
Though to see one at this school is somewhat of a shock in its own right. This city is by the ocean, and practically isolated from other cities. So seeing foreigners in general is pretty rare.
“You can come in now,” Mrs. Nakahara calls out to the student waiting outside.
The door slides open swiftly and I can see a girl walk calmly with haste into the classroom. Her head is faced downward in a somewhat shy manner. I can tell she isn’t a foreigner. Her long black hair swaying back and forth with each step she takes. She stands by the teacher and hesitantly faces the class.
My eyes widen as I catch a glimpse of her purple eyes under her bangs, as she slowly raises her head.
The pale white skin and vibrant eyes. There’s no doubt about it.
Before I can fully put my thoughts together I notice she’s staring directly at me. The teacher tells her to introduce herself. For some reason, I have an uneasy feeling.
“My name is Yurika Sasaki, I’m seventeen years old,” she coldly introduces herself.
“I hope we all get along.”