Rie Sakurai shot up in her bed like a rocket engine immediately firing up without being primed. She coughed as though she had been deprived of air for a period of time. She got to her feet and stood on her bed in a panic. She looked around her room and did not see what scared her. Her eyes darted back and forth wondering where it had went. Her eyes locked onto a high school uniform hanging on the wall. She focused on the kanji characters embroidered on the chest of the jacket.
`Ho, n, jo, ko, to, ga, ko,` she said to herself slowly. She took deep breaths as she reached out to touch the uniform. Her surroundings became more real to her and her breathing slowed to a relative normal pace. The clock on her desk read 4:47. She sighed, wishing she could get a little more sleep but she knew it was futile at this point. Her alarm would have gone off in an hour. By the time she would have gotten her body to relax, she wouldn’t have had much sleep anyway.
I guess I can go to the konbini and get something for breakfast for me and nee-san.
She took off the clothes she normally wore to bed, which consisted of a tank top and basketball shorts and put on a pair of windbreaker pants and a long sleeve shirt. She opened the window to feel the temperature so she could properly decide if she’d need a jacket or not. In her hometown, a jacket at this time wouldn’t be a question as it was in the northern part of Japan. Now, she had to get used to the climate of the Kyushu island.
She walked outside where it was still dark. The only illumination came from the street lights, store signs and vending machines. Her apartment building was situated near the castle’s moat, or rather the old moat. It looked more like a lake to make the city more aesthetically pleasing than for a castle. During the days when the daimyo lived in the castle, it would probably look like it was part of the castle. Now, there were many buildings, houses and schools that stood between the castle and its moat.
She walked to the konbini that was across the street from the university that her sister attended. Considering the time, she was surprised to see so many bicycles in the konbini’s parking lot. She expected it to be empty. Upon closer inspection, the bicycles seemed to be either forgotten or just parked there while the owner walked elsewhere. Worst case was that they were abandoned. There were surely not that many people inside the 7/11 konbini this early in the morning. Probably weren’t even that many people in it during peak hours.
She was greeted with the standard greeting that any customer receives upon entering a konbini. It was followed by a promotional offer by the cashier and the second konbini worker would only say the last half of the sentence. She grabbed a few breakfast related items along with some drinks. It wasn’t the most nutritional breakfast or even close to what her mother used to cook for her before running off to school. Those days would never come again.
It was close to six when she returned home. She took her time walking back. She wasn’t sure if she was completely ready to start school again. It wasn’t that she had become used to her spring vacation. It was because of the toll the tragedy had taken on her. She wasn’t sure if anyone down here could relate to her in that way. Her sister hadn’t even seen the horrors that she had witnessed a month ago. She lightly smacked herself on the face to try and push those thoughts aside. She wanted to keep those demons locked up and not let them affect her new life. She knew that was going to be an extremely difficult task in of itself.
She quietly entered her apartment, so not to wake her sister. Her sister loved her sleep and wouldn’t hesitate to beat someone into submission for waking her. After putting her sister’s food in the refrigerator, she curled up on the couch to eat her own food. She didn’t bother with turning on the TV because it would only show footage of the tragedy and she didn’t want to think about that right now. She did know that there was one way she’d be able to relax and get her mind off things and that was playing dodgeball.
She loved playing that game since she was in first grade. She hoped there was a dodgeball team at her new school. This would be the only way to keep her demons locked up.