I was always a straight B student. Because a C made me look dumb and an A wasn’t worth the effort. Maybe that was why something like this happened to me. As a punishment, as a lesson, as a way to build character. To turn me into a straight A. Well, whatever. A C would take me half a day of studying. A B would take one day. An A would take four days. See what I mean? Cost-benefit wise, a B is the most efficient way to get through school. Grade As are for suckers.
I was supremely proud of my logic and so when my mom asked why I never ever got an A, I told her why and she didn’t like it. She told my dad and he liked it even less. So I was sent out here.
White plains stretched across the distance. Nothing to my left, nothing to my right. Behind me was a village: a sleepy little place that only woke up when the tourists came to ski. Why did Tokyoites come to this corner of Japan to ski? Hakuba is much closer to Tokyo and other major places in Hokkaido are better. No one ever came here to ski — unless they did.
I trudged through the snow, breathing slowly, deeply. Each step taking me further away from the village and closer to the forest. I almost felt bad about how I ruined the perfect snow. Almost.
I continued walking on this rough path until I came to the edge of a forest. And then something caused me to stop.
Footsteps in the snow.
Just a pair of prints. Nothing leading up to them. They were just there. Like someone had dropped out of the sky. I glanced about. Nothing to my left, nothing to my right. Behind me was the trail of destruction I left when I walked through the undisturbed fresh fall. Which meant I was the only one here.
How did those footsteps get there? I walked closer, knelled down. There was something odd. It was definitely a human footstep. Nothing led up to them. And there weren’t any shoe marks. Instead the step pointed towards a naked foot; I could see the marks of individual toes, the heels…Who the hell would walk barefoot in the snow?
I looked up. More steps appeared in the pristine snow. No sound, no person, nothing. They were in a neat straight line leading from the first step. A chill traveled up my arm. I rubbed my eyes. No, I was sure that there was only a single pair of steps up until a moment ago.
What made those new steps?
I followed the new steps with my eyes. They led into the forest. Like an angel had dropped out of the sky and decided to take a walk in the woods.
I sidestepped the angel prints and followed the trail into the forest.