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6-6-6-6-6 Then End [Iva's Original Story]

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6-6-6-6-6 Then End [Iva's Original Story]

Post  Mugino Shizuri on Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:35 am

Since everyone has settled on publishing their stuff, I will join the hype. I will use this first post as a means to navigate over the chapters and maybe add a synopsis in here as well, but we will see.



Destiny is a bitch.

Sometimes all your friends and family get murdered by the archfiend himself.

Sometimes a miserable girl shows up in front of your door, drawing you into a world wide conflict you’re forced to solve on your own.

Sometimes you just walk around the wrong corner and the next thing you know is that you’re at the core of a mind blowing conspiracy.

And sometimes…

The world ends at an absurd point in time, with you being the chosen existence to fend off such devious disaster.

Arakawa Daisuke is 29 years old, has no real friends, no lover, no guts, no perspective.

And that’s exactly what happened to him!





Last edited by Mugino Shizuri on Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:41 pm; edited 3 times in total

Mugino Shizuri
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Re: 6-6-6-6-6 Then End [Iva's Original Story]

Post  Mugino Shizuri on Tue Aug 02, 2016 10:36 am

Prologue
Six × 5


«Our world will come to an end on June 6th, 6 AM 6 minutes and 6 seconds.»

She said.

«The only one who could possibly prevent this fate is: You.»

She added.

«You are the Chosen One to hold reigns over everything’s future.»

The weight of those very words was impossible to imagine.

But no matter how absurd, how insane; everything that girl would speak, he knew, it was the absolute truth.

So with everything being said an awkward silence would linger between the two.

He had to speak up, he knew, but…

«…eh…? Y-y-you sure you aren’t mistaken, missy?»

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Re: 6-6-6-6-6 Then End [Iva's Original Story]

Post  Mugino Shizuri on Sat Sep 24, 2016 11:40 pm

Chapter I
Shabby Everyday Blues × Weird Stalker Girl




April 25th × 6.00 A.M.

The alarm clock rang.

The sound wasn’t anything special, just like the clock. It was just the usual alarm clock you could buy at any convenience store around the corner, for only a few hundred yen and once it broke, you’d buy another one just like that.

It rang.

Of course the alarm clock would ring. Especially that one in particular. Due to its cheap quality, obviously manufactured by the worst even a place like China had to offer, it had a few bugs, two to be precise. The first one was the shrill, nerve wrecking, likely even unhealthy sound it would give off in an annoyingly high frequency. However if one thought this was bad, the second one would actually add another layer of annoyance on top: There was no automatically triggered sleep mode.
Therefore the clock would keep ringing and ringing and ringing, grinding the minds of its owner into a state of insanity before long. And once that point would be in reach, they would finally give in and get up.

That was what it usually was, every morning. That was why he kept buying those to begin with.

After having set up a new record for his own endurance, the clock’s owner finally rolled out of his futon, stretching his arm out to hit the «off» button with high precision, only to then sluggishly crawl into the bathroom on all fours.

First he climbed the toilet mountain, took a piss, a shit and then finally brought himself on his legs from this seating position, whilst flushing. The same procedure as every single day.

Once he had finally gotten himself that far, he wouldn’t do his own environment a favour by actually taking a ditch into the shower cabin, but actually leave bath behind yet again, heading for the kitchen, or rather the kitchen sink right above the mini bar size refrigerator, since that was the closest thing he had to an actual kitchen in this cramped one room apartment.

Naturally he’d focus on the device right next to the sink, the sacred item that was a coffee machine. Obviously there was nothing of greater importance to one that knew the pains of getting up early in the morning, after only a few hours of sleep, every single day.

He turned it on, placed a cup, poured coffee. The usual procedure, like every single day.

His routine went so far that he easily filled himself a bowl of cereals and milk, while drowning a whole lot of sugar cubes in the freshly poured coffee, simultaneously.

Taking a spoon from a drawer between kitchen sink and minibar fridge, he first used it to stir his coffee, then pick up a few of the cereals to send them straight to mouthland.

And with all that done, the man finally grabbed both bowl and cup to move on to every morning’s final stage, the small table on the floor right in front of what was the TV; one of the earliest flatscreen models, thus super outdated. Grabbing the remote, right after assuming the usual position, sitting cross-legged with the spoon in his mouth, he pressed the switch, perfectly on time for the usual morning variety shows.

That was the exact morning routine Arakawa Daisuke followed every single day of his life.

«Oh…I forgot…to put on my glasses…?»

After only five minutes of desperately failing at deciphering the strangely deformed texts shown on screen he had finally come to realise. That as well was part of his daily routine.

Every morning he’d forget his glasses and every morning, just like this one, he would get up from his cross legged position, leave his coffee and cereals behind along with the remote and the variety show that was likely just a re-run of something that had aired the day, week or month before, and rush towards the bathroom yet again.

And upon arrival he’d immediately grab the glasses he’d usually place right besides the basin, to finally put them on his nose, the only place they’d ever belong to.

A smile ran across his face as the mirror gave him the same image he’d see every other day as well. A man, quite obviously in his late twenties, closer to his thirties than he’d ever wish for, the ordinary black hair, a little chaotic, typical bed hair, yet otherwise cut quite orderly. If he’d judge it himself, he’d admit that it was about time to head for the barber again. The dark circles underneath his eyes were still at bay, indicating he had done everything right, so that wasn’t a reason to worry either.

«…maybe shaving?…yeah I should shave…»

Speaking to himself in his still sleepy manner, Arakawa began to fumble around the bathroom’s basin area, then the shelve right next to it and then found it, the shaver.

Even that thing was hardly anything special, just the ordinary electric model you could easily grab during sales periods at your local neighbourhood convenience store. Not the best, yet not the absolute worst. Still made in China.

Once done with shaving, he’d clean his ears halfheartedly, then brush his teeth, then wash his face, for which he removed the glasses yet again. The moment his appearance convinced him enough of the fact that he didn’t seem all that sleepy anymore, he finally got to bring his hair in order, which didn’t fully work out - just as usual.

However he didn’t mind. So long as he would be able to see himself through his glasses each morning, there was no greater relief. That he had learned from experience, remembering that dastardly hangover from about half a year ago, when for some reason he had awoken with the wrong pair of glasses, likely having picked up the wrong one at the bar; yes, such things could happen. Obviously there had been some more troublesome features to that, like that headache. Yes, the unending agony that was that headache.

Finally moving back towards the TV table, he returned to the coffee that had already lost its warmth and the muddy pulp that only a short moment ago used to be crunchy cereals, now actually having reached the true final form.

The true ultimate final stage of every morning.

A smile formed on his lips, as he was about to take another sip, enjoying the last 15 minutes, just like any other-

*Knock knock knock*

At least it didn’t ring.


✗✗

Someone was knocking at the door.

Indeed, someone was really knocking at the door, at half past six in the morning.

The knocking resounded again.

Arakawa was startled. He didn’t have visitors often, hell, they were so rare that he could reduce the amount of potential visitors down to exactly three. The first one being his landlord pressuring him for whatever random reason, the second being the usual delivery guy - but why would someone like that show up this early - and the last one being his neighbour begging for some kitchen ingredients or money, which they always got since they were quite the hottie - miserable Arakawa.

When the third repetition of the knocking finally got him to remove himself from his comfy seated position, he noticed: He was still in his pyjamas. Pyjamas, if one could actually call it that, was in this case the combination of boxers with weird malformed heart patters and a once white now more yellowish t-shirt baring a heavily rubbed off anime print. Not quite the attire to impress anyone with.

But if it was only the delivery guy or the landlord he didn’t care. What if, though, it was the hot lady from next doors? Or some stranger? Or his parents paying him the respects of a surprise visit for the first time in nearly ten years?!

Arakawa hesitated, he thought.

Shoou-should I change? But, I can’t keep them waiting any longer! But, what if it’s really-

The next wave of knocks disturbed his thought patterns, forcing him to make his move hastily.

Rushing to the door before the next even more pressuring attack would follow, he simply unlocked and turned the knob in a single hastily motion, yet didn’t slam it open; rather he was opening only as much as to create a gap that’d allow him to stick his head through, hiding his miserable sleeping attire from the guest’s vision.

«Finally! I found you!»

Before he could even speak up to greet the visitor, they had already intercepted, speaking up in their jolly loud and squeaky voice that kind of fit them.

What Arakawa found himself staring at, the person that would harass him with a never ending chain of knocks at this terrible time early in the morning, was a young girl of about 10 years of age, with long a tad puffy and cloud-like golden hair reaching down to her bosom. She had the face of a puppet, eyes like gold plates and a smile that could truly melt ones heart with ease. She wore a purely white expensive looking summer dress covered in tasteful calligraphy-like golden embroidery. Weirdly enough, however, when he scanned her from top to bottom, he was made to notice that she was the weird type to walk around barefoot, leaving only thin bracelets of pure gold to decorate her ankles.

A…foreigner…?

«Hello? Hi? Can you hear me?!»

She was waving her hands in front of him. Must have been because he was spacing out.

«…huh?»

«Hooray, you’re still alive!»

That girl was strange. For this early in the morning, he truly could feel the energy flowing from her. She kept jumping to bring back his attention towards her, letting her ankle bracelets produce a cutesy tinkle sound.

«Eh…? Who are you? And…how can I help you?»

Was that the right thing to ask in this situation. He wasn’t sure. He’d never dealt with anything like this.

«I’m Estelle and you are Arakawa Daisuke, right?»

«…right.»

That didn’t answer any of his questions.

«So can I come in? There’s a lot I need to say.»

She was too blunt, too straight forward and in some way really scary alone through that.

«…uh. No?»

For Arakawa who hardly ever interacted with other people, especially proper females and especially girls of this age, this raised a whole lot of red flags. For instance because he didn’t know how to handle anything close to this situation. Beyond that it was just an absurd scenario, no matter how he looked at it. Having a random girl show up in front of your room just like that, knocking without any reason whatsoever, demanding that they’d be let in. Wait, didn’t she also know his name? Not to forget that this was a girl way younger than him. What kind of image would be created by a desperate single man close to his thirties allowing a little girl into their home?

The red flags kept multiplying.

«OK!»

Instead of however accepting the fact that he declined, she simply moved her small doll like hand to grab the door knob from the outside. With something that looked no different from a simple pull she easily overpowered all resistance the grown man he was could have brought up by his own physical strength, easily pulling open the door and him along with it.

Face forward he slammed against the ground. Luckily he had been able to quickly remove his glasses from said face reflexively.

With the few seconds it taken him to get back up again, check on his nose and facial features, he could finally seek out the culprit that was this gold and white doll of a girl. Whilst taking a look around he came to realise that she not only had made it into his apartment, but was in the process of casually seating herself at the small TV table.

«Wow, your living environment sure is run-down, Arakawa-kun!!»

In fact, Arakawa Daisuke’s apartment was in a bad condition. The wooden floor had neither been vacuumed, nor wiped in months. There were unread magazines along with empty beer cans and cigarette packets spread all over and if it weren’t those you could even find a pile of old, likely dirty clothes in one of the room’s corners. Even on that table, besides the cup of now ice cold coffee and the slimy mass that used to be his breakfast cereals, there was an ashtray harbouring a mountain of cigarette stubs.

«H-hold on, miss, when did we arrive at ‹-kun›?!»

She was too quick to allow for him to catch up, so he desperately attempted to hurry after her, resulting in him to accidentally smash his door shut a little too strongly.

«You mind? However, it isn’t like we can do anything about the fact, that we are gonna have to get along and grow close over the course of time this will take, anyway.»

It was impossible for him to understand what was going on anymore. Everything she said just didn’t make sense. It was as if she was the kind of vicious woman that forced a man into marriage planning the very first time they met.

«But surely, looking out towards the future, I feel like the optimum action to take, would be to actually clean up a little. One can’t possibly imagine for a being to live under such conditions.»

She was simply going on like that, sitting there with that same carefree smile on the face she had been wearing ever since arriving, taking all that was this situation for granted.

«Hold. On. Who are you? What do you want from me? Money!? Care!? I don’t think I’m ready to raise a child just yet! I never even had a girl friend or pet!!»

Wait, when had he actually started considering that thought?!

«Didn’t I introduce myself before, Arakawa-kun? My name Estelle. Please remember at least that!»

What kind of madness is this…? Who is that kid…? Why me of all people…?

The despair welling up in his heart nearly made him tear his hair out. This wasn’t anything he was ready for. He was just an ordinary office worker with an ordinary shit life like so many others. He had no outstanding friends, nor did he have a lover. He didn’t even have a family. He had lived a life so low profile, he actually had been praying for nothing special to ever occur to him. And now this? This was absurd! As simple as it may have seemed to others, to him, this was the worst case!

Drowning in that ocean of despair, he slowly sank to his knees, finally giving in to the madness that would come over him, if he had to endure this even a second longer.

«Hey? Hey? Hey!? Are you alright? Arakawa-kuuun?!»

Estelle had hurried to him, was waving her hand in front of his face, shaking his limb lifeless body and trying to hit him with soft punches to knock him back into reality.



As his mind was drifting away from reality, his glance got lost in infinity. He had come to peace with himself, finally fleeing from the despair of that moment. He could feel everything around him levitate, he could feel that his soul was slowly leaving its earthly shackles behind. This world, it was so beautiful. It was so free! Who needed reality? Who needed all that.

And then at the end of infinity he saw it.

The clock on his wall.



………

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

«SHIIIIT IIII’M LAAAAAAAAAAAATE!!!!!!!!»

Explosively he got up from the ground, breaking away from Estelle who was attempting various comical methods to finally return him to this world. He made it to the bath, grabbed his suit, shirt and socks on the way, before slamming the bathroom door shut behind him. Loud sounds could be heard, comical, terrifying, ever changing. Only to end after 0:37, a new world record, to have him rush out of the room in full attire. The dark brown to black suit on, the red tie sluggishly slung around his neck and the hair not even close to being well combed. The only other difference to before was the strong smell of aftershave that easily overshadowed any of the various smells spread within the one-room-apartment.

«Quick! Quick! You come here! Leave! Leave! No time! No time!»

Shoving the ten years old out of the room mercilessly, he quickly grabbed the cheap-ass briefcase he’d usually place right next to the door, along with his shoes. Once the shoes were on and the both of them outside, he closed the door for good, making sure to lock it five times over, just so that all ways in were finally blocked.

Much like she had done it before, Arakawa didn’t even leave Estelle the time to react any of this, up until the very end.

Before any goodbyes could even be spoken he was gone, running to hopefully see another day.


✗✗✗

Working in an office was in no way a dream. The whole day was spent sitting, cramped together with a bunch of colleagues. Especially if the office was as small as this one, everyone only had a minimum amount of space. One was forced to spend the entirety of the day among colleagues that could on one side become ones own worst enemy and on the other ones very best friends, depending on the situation and the needs there were. If one were honest to themselves, the friendships formed among colleagues would usually only serve certain purposes.

In one way or the other, working in an office was much like the days back in school, only that there was no life left in anyone. Once people grow older, they also grow more bitter, especially once they come to realise that life held nothing to surprise them with anymore.

The world of adults was one filled with lifeless zombies, drained of any and all hope.

One of those zombies was Arakawa Daisuke.

After arriving only a split second before his shift began, his desk neighbour had forced a hellish amount of punishment work on hm, maybe because he had been close to being late this time, or maybe for something he had screwed up another day. He had lacked the ability to actually listen to the wave of complaints.

All he could really grasp was that he had somehow made it.

He had missed busses, trains, had run, had fought, had struggled and now he was there. After a full blown four hours of working his ass of, he had finally collapsed, resting his head on the desk before him. His hair was sprawled out in all directions, while all of his limbs were left hanging limply.

It had been too much. That erratic chase, the scolding, but most of it all this morning’s madness. For some reason that girl…what was her name again?…had left her mark on his already frail psyche. Between his coworkers, his boss and his parents she had assumed herself a special place among his worst nightmares. Surely, he was glad that he had been able to escape it.

It was finally time to rest…

…or so he thought.

«Oi, Arakawa, no slacking off. It isn’t lunch yet! Oi! Oiii!»

«Furuhashi-san, maybe you should just give him a few minutes. Maybe he’s ill!»

«Ill?! So what! As long as he managed to move his ass here, there are no excuses, no slacking off. A diligent employee should know that.»

«Bubububbubutt!»

«No buts!!»

The one that had started the attempt to revive the fallen one was Furuhashi Aiko, a female colleague and Arakawa's desk neighbour to the right. The other one trying to stop her was Kumoto Keitaro, the neighbour to the opposite side. With Arakawa in the middle the two of them had started a little quarrel of their own.

Furuhashi, in her typical black suit knee length skirt and red tie around the neck, contrasting her light grey hair, truly fit into the idealised image of an office lady. She always wore that strict expression on her mature face, was tall and had a strong voice. Even her hair was perfectly ordered and styled to make a dud with such perfection it was scary. Obviously she was the perfectionist type of colleague that’d attempt to keep the order at all cost.

On other side however we had Kumoto, a young man that could only be labeled «kouhai». From his looks he was just off university, his hair was short, orderly and black. He usually wore a friendly expression much like a bear from a cartoon series, not giving off any threatening vibes like Furuhashi did. On contrary, he was always calm, a little too friendly and in a good mood as well. He obviously held a lot of naivety, as he didn’t dare to think any further in any situation. His light brown suit and blue tie kind of formed the opposite to Furuhashi as well.

«Still, look Furuhashi-san, Arakawa has been working so hard throughout all of this morning, so hard that he collapsed! Just allow him to rest for only a little. It won’t harm him, it won’t harm us!»

Kumoto was obviously struggling. It had been the first time he had put up such a fight against Furuhashi, yet that didn’t mean anything. If there was one rule to dealing with this woman, then it was to give up before even trying.

«Kumoto. Don’t you realise that this is what happens every other week? He stays up too long, probably watching TV, maybe even porn and then the next day he crashes like that. It’s been the same way ever since. Even when Yamada still worked here, he used to be like that at least once a week.»

She had gotten up from her chair, usually the worst sign. Preparing themselves for the impact, the surrounding office workers sought the distance; even lethargic Noromata!

«Therefore. Arakawa. Get. Your. Ass. Moving.»

No longer holding back any of her built up frustration over the lack of performance her colleague was putting on display, Furuhashi Aiko gave his body a strong kick. A kick strong enough to easily knock his chair over and have him make company with the floor full force.

«Ouuuch! W-w-w-why’d you have do to do this!?»

Folding her arms in front of her ample chest, Furuhashi watched the miserable victim of her attack triumphantly.

«You know why. Now get your lazy ass up and work.»

Before anyone could even interfere she took a step forward, accentuating her own dominance in this scene.

«Oh and I don’t want to hear any excuses about lack of sleep, your alarm clock being broken once again or the public transports being ahead of schedule. I’m growing tired of that.»

This was bad. Arakawa, now seated on his butt, was attempting to retreat backwards slowly, while forging some sort of words inside his head.

«Wh-what about a strange girl that kept harassing me this whole morning…?»

«…strange girl?»

Had his despair actually managed to trigger her curiosity or was she only awaiting an excuse of his to then shatter it mercilessly in order to break his spirit once and for all?

Arakawa went into himself. He knew, if he dealt with this opponent, he had to play smart.

If there was one thing he had learned over the nearly ten years he had his desk right next to Furuhashi’s then it was that this woman was extremely dangerous to deal with. She was sticking so badly to that code of rules she considered the office etiquette, there were hardly any openings to exploit. Even whenever someone tried to fool her, she usually found a means to crush that ambition as well. She was truly dangerous, that was something he knew and something everyone else in the office knew as well. Nobody survived a clash with her, especially once they accidentally stepped on a land mine by bringing forth the wrong kind of reasoning.

Still…

He was lost anyway, so he could at least try to…

«Yes. This morning a strange girl, about ten, a foreigner, knocked at my door, forcing their way into my apartment, criticising me at random and telling me random things! It seemed like she was trying to move herself in! It’s like those methods they show on TV! The stuff about con artists taking you to the cleaners!! Believe me!!»

Silence.

Was she giving in? Were the signs of madness in his eyes convincing enough to make her finally withdraw? Had he been able to invoke her mercy?!

«I know for a fact that there’s nothing there to take from you.»

Of course not.

«NOW GET BACK TO WORK!!!»

Slamming sole of her shoe right into his face, he got knocked all over again. Luckily once again his reflexes had been quick enough to secure at least the glasses before taking the blow. It went without saying that Furhashi Aiko would follow the standard etiquette for female office workers, meaning that she would wear high heels whenever on duty.

Oh the pain.


✗✗✗✗

Lunch time.

This cursed day still wasn’t over.

It wasn’t that Arakawa Daisuke was in any way unfortunate. No, in fact he was so average that hardly anything bad happened to him, unless the usual issues caused by his weak personality. Beyond that however, nothing out of place had ever occurred to him. He never got into fights, hardly missed trains and even if, he never fell on his face when chasing after them. His phone had never been broken, nor stolen. He never got a random punch to the face when to people close to him got into a fight, actually he didn’t even get into fights himself. If one actually took it straight, Arakawa Daisuke never even got himself hurt in the slightest, even when he did, his luck was actually big enough, to allow for him to get over anything rather quickly.

So it was obvious. No day in his whole life had been as bad as this one.

Faced with this realisation, Arakawa could only unleash a heavy sigh.

«Just let this end already…»

He was currently sitting at his desk alone, leaning back into his office chair, his head raised towards the ceiling, staring at the single broken ventilator as it was slowly spinning its rounds.

«First the lack of sleep, then that weird girl, that public transport catastrophe, Furuhashi-san’s merciless fury and then that ungodly amount of work…»

Too late he would realise that speaking out the summary of all his shortcomings would only lead to more frustration building up within his heart. Even worse was the fact that he wasn’t even done yet.

«Oh and of course, because of that little…missy…I didn’t have the time to buy my lunch.»

Underlining his words, his stomach added the pleasure filled sound that was a loud growl.

Arakawa Daisuke had lost to life itself. However even in this hellish misery he could not bring it over his heart to commit such villainous crime as to label a girl with any sort of insult; at least he had forced himself to keep washing his hands in innocence.

As the hunger was slowly consuming him, he was left all on his own with only the pain in his stomach. Everyone else had mercilessly headed for the department’s break room, gathering to have a nice lunch period together, without the only misfortunate one that wouldn’t be given even the slight sign of good will that was sharing a portion of their own meal. Truly, though, there was no place for any good samaritans in the office world to begin with.

And thus Arakawa Daisuke had to stay back, journeying towards the after life, slowly but surely.

«…this really is…the end of the world, huh…?»

«No, the end is still a little bit away. That’s just your own personal temporary sufferings, Arakawa-kun.»

«Isn’t that the same…?»

Hold on. This voice!!!

Immediately swinging his head to the right his body would follow after it, nearly making him fall off his comfy seat. His eyes widened upon contact.

In front of him she stood, eyes like golden plates, long puffy hair of golden texture, the pure white summer dress with embroideries of gold and that absurd, most definitely unhealthy, lack of shoes or socks.

«Y-y-you!?! Wh-why!? What the hell are you doing here!? Why can’t you leave me alone!?!?!»

His mouth as nearly foaming as he was desperately barking those questions at her. However she would only reply with a smile so oversaturated with innocence.

«Didn’t I say so before? There is a lot we need to talk about. And we haven’t gotten to do so this morning.»

She was speaking carelessly, simple and in a friendly manner it was inhuman. Everything she said was just what it was. That small girl of age ten truly spoke like someone with that description. She had that angelic innocence only girls her age held, before they were corrupted by the harshness that was the real world. Still, that was exactly what made her this terrifying. This bluntness it was just too unnatural, much like everything about her.

«So, since you’re on break, I figured I would pay you a visit. Of course I also had to track you down first, but that was easy with the clues you spread all over.»

«…what clues? Hold on. Track me down? A-are you some sort of stalker…?!»

This was bad! Arakawa Daisuke was supposed to live a plainly normal life and now he had a stalker on his ass. He wasn’t prepared! He didn’t know how to handle! Wait, did any victim ever know how to handle such a case? But weren’t the victims of such stalkers usually celebs? There it was again, he could feel his fingers sink into his hair, ready to grab and tear.

«…I won’t end up as a bald-head, will I…?»

Seeing him mumbling towards himself, Estelle figured he once again was lost in whatever was going on inside his head, probably a trait of his. She paid it no further heed, simply making it her goal to bring him back to reality.

«Ah right, right. Your misery has reached me, thus I have brought something with me for the sake of curing you, Arakawa-kun.»

Her clear, a little squeaky childish voice reached him. Lifting his glance, he gave signs of questioning what she was even talking about. Her reply followed immediately after, by removing one of her doll like hands from her back, revealing an item she had been holding on to.

It couldn’t be.

This, this was…

«THE DELUXE PREMIUM FIRST CLASS BENTO FOR 4000 YEN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!»

Even the skies would hear this cry of utter disbelief.

That super rare special shiny item was right in front of him. The best packed bento in history. Due to it being such a rare spawn the price had risen quite high, preventing all those cheapskate shoppers from actually snatching it right away. It usually would throne on top of all the other bentos, making the stores’ customers drool over the high class ingredients, greedily waiting for the day they had some more money to spare, cursing their own imperfections for never being able to acquire it. Arakawa had been one of them, only that he had already given up on ever tasting it long ago.

But now it was right in front of him.

That little…angel…she was offering it to him, just like that.

«Hold on. You’re offering it to me just like this? Where did you even get that much money from? Something about this smells fishy.»

Usually he wasn’t the type to cut in with such sharp, questioning tone, but right now he felt as if he was on the verge of stepping onto a land mine. There was something wrong with everything building up this scene. This strange stalker girl, who had single handedly caused the most of today’s troubles had simply shown up at his work place perfectly timed so that no one else was around, generously offering Arakawa Daisuke, someone who really didn’t deserve it, a high class luxury item that had been among his sincerest dreams, just for free.
Red flags. So many red flags.

«Huh? Of course it’d smell fishy. There’s fish in there, see~!»

Utter. Disbelief.

Calm calm calm calm calm calm calm.

«This isn’t calming at all!!!!!!!!!!!!!!»

«??????»

Estelle couldn’t help, but watch Arakawa collapse, in great confusion.

•••

When his consciousness returned Arakawa Daisuke found himself still leaning back into his shabby office chair. From the get to go he wasn’t able to grasp how much time had passed, but it felt as if he had had a terrible nightmare.

«Were you slacking off again?»

With vision still blurry he could only make out the words digging into his ears, not the person saying them, even though he could tell they were rather close, if not even up front. The voice was underlined by a rather strict tone, yet still female. Just the sound of it revealed that the speaker was a rather strong kind.

«…Furu…hashi-san?»

Slowly but surely the blurriness faded.

Slowly but surely he could make out the sight right in front of his eyes. It was the face of a woman, strong, yet beautiful. Her grey hair and white skin stood in contrast with the eye’s sharpness. Strangely enough she appeared both scary and loveable in the same instance. Finally achieving the ability to grasp the situation a little better, Arakawa noticed that the distance to the tip of her nose was terrifyingly small.

Blushing he shot backwards, giving his chair the necessary push to work up greater distance.

With now seven metres between the two of them, their glances met. One filled with blunt strength, the other with innocent shame.

«What?»

«N-n-n-nothing!»

«…are you fucking with me…?»

These eyes’ strength was that of a predator.

«O-o-o-of c-c-c-course not!»

The others were lacking all resistance.

He gulped, he shivered, he started breathing heavily.

This was bad, very bad. Whenever Furuhashi Aiko would give somebody this very kind of look, it wouldn't be too far fetched that death was only two or three steps away. Arakawa Daisuke had seen it, experienced it himself and nearly died plenty of times. On the other hand he couldn’t do anything about his natural urges; it was impossible to deny that this scene had touched him in one way or the other, making him feel really uncomfortable for the duration of their staring contest.

Only the sound of the broken ventilator spinning its rounds.

Eventually Furuhashi Aiko sighed.

«Anyway, break is ending in five minutes. You better finish your lunch until then. And please don’t leave any dirt. Otherwise we’re gonna have a short talk about office etiquette. Do you copy?»

Office etiquette, more like rules set up by a severe psychopath.

He knew, Kumoto knew, everyone knew. Furuhashi’s obsession with rules was a strange one. It wasn’t that she was only following along with whatever madness the Boss came up with, but she usually added some of her own villainous creations to the pile, making office life even more troublesome to stand through. It went from simple concepts like «don’t place pens of different colours right next to each other, if there are at least three of the same colour», up to absolutely out of hand ones like «if you enter the room after returning from toilet follow this exact line».
Worst about that was the means with which she actually executed the law. She wouldn’t dare to get on the Boss’ nerve, so she usually took care of everything herself, by making use of both psychological and of course physical violence. Which ever one she chose, there was no hope in praying for either of them.

But wait. What lunch?

Quickly moving his eyeballs, Arakawa noticed the high class premium bento box someone had placed, no left on his desk.

He nearly got a heart stroke all over again.

«So this wasn’t a dream…?»

About to panic again, he could only feel Furuhashi’s sharp glance stabbing into him.

Skipping any further thoughts, he did the only logical thing: Storming back towards his table, ripping the box open, grabbing the chop sticks and eating; eating as if the devil himself was after his tasty looking ass.

There were tears he would cry over having to mow down the precious meal straight from his dreams, he had been longing to obtain for years, but that was still a better end than falling victim to the arch villain that was Furuhashi-san.

•••

A few hours had passed.

Still shedding silent tears over the bento put to waste by hasty consumption, Arakawa sat on the fire stairs installed to the side of the office building. It wasn’t high rise, so actually such stairs were installed, even though they likely would never serve their true purpose. However most of the time they served as some sort of secondary break room for those workers that used to smoke, which at this point made the majority of the company.

Right now however there were only two individuals sitting on the stairs of the fourth floor: Arakawa and Kumoto. Senpai and Kouhai, for the romanticists.

Clad in silence the both of them enjoyed their cigarettes while their eyes would wander off into the distance that was the city streets; the level was too low for a skyline.

«Arakawa-san, why do you always get into fights with Furuhashi-san? You two don’t seem to get alone very well.»

It was finally the innocent curiosity of that inexperienced colleague that broke the silence.

«Oh, we’re always like this. We always were. It’s just the kind of people we are…I guess.»

A faint smile was forming on his lips, as he felt the distance getting to himself a little more.

«It’s not that we don’t get along, though. We actually hang out a lot, I guess. You’ve seen it as well, haven’t you? I mean, we go drinking every now and then. It’s not just since you joined the company, it’s always been like that. Before it was her, Yamada and me; now it’s you, her and me…and still Yamada.»

The thoughts began leaking as the smile was manifesting more and more.

«She just always has to be this rough on everyone with that stupid obsession about rules and things. It really wouldn’t hurt anyone if she just would show her friendly side a bit more. She’s really a good person, caring, always backing you. She just doesn’t like to show it. Probably because she thinks it’d cause her more trouble in the office.
Still…it would be kinda nice…»

«Maybe you should ask her out, Arakawa-san!»

«H-huuuuuuh!?»

Suddenly his eyes shot open, staring at the innocent smile his kouhai was giving him.

«I mean, you sure sound like you like Furuhashi-san a lot!»

Silence.

«I wonder. Do I look like that?»

After some time he finally had recovered, his vision again wandering off into the wide world.

«Even if, I think she’d reject me right away. I’m neither remarkable in any way, nor am I strong enough…»

«It’s not like trying would hurt, wouldn’t it? I heard she doesn’t have a boyfriend.»

«She never had one.»

«Really?»

«Yeah, the men all seem to run away from her…»

There was a hint of pity for Furuhashi Aiko in his voice.

«And so are you.»

He hated Kumoto for his bluntness and ability to see things in the least complicated way possible, actually enabling him to grasp concepts better than anyone else. He hated him for how he could put everything in such a warm way, so that it’d most definitely reach his heart in one way or the other. He hated it, yet he couldn’t exactly be angry. He was just trying to do good.

«So am I…»

He repeated what had just been said, verbally only once, but plenty of times inside his head.

Silence fell between the two of them, once again.

«I guess our break is over any moment. Head back, I’ll be following you in a minute.»

Kumoto nodded, then walked off immediately, getting rid of the cigarette before doing so; of course.

Silence enveloped Arakawa as he remained seated on the stairs a little longer, calmly trying to finish his cigarette. Strangely enough depicting this moment in his own head, he felt as if he was giving quite the adult impression. A rather out of character thing for him, he thought.

His ears perceived the soft sound of naked flesh stepping onto cold metal.

«So, you’ve come again, Missy.»

Even though he had closed his eyes at some point, he was sure he had recognised the right person right now. Not that it mattered as much, since he would be able to make up lies quite easily to cover for himself.

«Of course! We still haven’t gotten to talk after all!»

«I see…»

He no longer was willing to run away. He didn’t know why, but that break had done him good enough. Maybe it was just because he started to feel adult just for the short amount of a moment, but at least that had granted him the ability to remain calm in her presence.

«It’s important isn’t it?»

«Yes.»

«I see. Then we really shouldn’t hold it off much longer. But, right now might not be the best time to have this talk.»

He finally got up from his seat, crushing the cigarette by pressing it against the metal framework of the fire stairs.

«Let’s meet up after I’m done with work for today. At my apartment, ok? There we can talk as long as you need to.»

«OK!»

With that agreement being made, he finally followed after Kumoto.

It was unknown to him whether listening to that girl would be something smart to do or not; he still felt as if it was the necessary thing to do. He couldn’t say why he would make this appointment with her so calmly, or why he would even bother to accept her all of a sudden. After all that had happened today, shouldn’t he feel more panic when around her? Shouldn’t he at all cost try to avoid her? He questioned his own sanity that moment. Then again he guessed that was what being adult was all about. You just accepted things the way they were and tried to embrace opportunities.

Maybe that was it, or maybe he was just stupid.

Whatever.


✗✗✗✗✗

As evening fell, the two of them once again gathered around the small table in front of the TV, inside of Arakawa’s apartment. He could have been imagining things, but the air between them was rather heavy, which was unusual considering how his first meeting with Estelle had gone.

He couldn’t quite grasp why he had agreed to lend her an ear. Everything was just absurd, not to forget that there was still a hint of annoyance she had left him with.

Silence was another notable element of this scene, however that was only logical since he had settled against turning on the TV.

So they sat there, Arakawa with a lit cigarette in mouth, the ashtray and a can of beer right next to him, Estelle simply as she was, barefoot, smiling, white summer dress and silent.

He didn’t dare to speak up before she did, for whatever reason.

It had been that way for 17 minutes and 34, no 36 seconds.

«Why do I only realise so late how hard it is to express what I need to express?»

Then she had finally spoken up with a much clearer more determined voice than ever before. The way she spoke, the way she put everything. She didn’t hesitate, nor did she allow for emotions to overflow the actual meaning of what she was saying. It was a kind of speech that was so clear, it was strange. Arakawa Daisuke had never been faced with anything close to this and he had never felt anything, even slightly, similar to this. For someone who used to deal with people everyday, who had lived through school life, university life and all kinds of hardships that came along with becoming an adult, this was the first time in his life listening to someone speak like this.

He knew from this realisation onwards that the topic was important.

For a moment he would even forget that the girl in front was only about ten years old.

It was just…astonishing.

«This world is a wonderful place. It’s a garden blessed with the joyous presence that is existence.»

She finally began.

«The flowers, the insects, the animals, the microbes, mankind, those from the plane beyond. Everything that exists in any way is precious, it is unique, it is colourful, it is what makes the world what the world is. The world is a gift granted to us all, as we are the gift that was granted to the world. Everything is a gift to everything.»

The message she was trying to convey felt way too out of place for this shabby one room apartment.

«You may not believe in it yourself, but you are a gift, much like those you hold dear, or those that you despise. That lunch you had today was one, the fight you got into with your colleague is one, that conversation on the fire stairs was one, too. Everything we live through is a gift, every single day, every hour, every minute, every second.»

That girls words were like daggers, piercing his heart stab by stab. Each of them would dig deep into his soul, leaving its marks behind. He couldn’t deny that every single one those was touching him in ways he could have never predicted. A strange feeling overcame him as he listened the whole speech unfold.

While he did Arakawa Daisuke could feel his own self fade away slowly.

«However, as with everything, all those gifts will ultimately be taken away.»

Was this supposed to mean…?

«Until there is nothing left at all.»

He took a deep breath. Those words weren’t complicated at all. If anything they were as simple to grasp as it was, only that his mind itself would deny them that fact. He didn't want to hear, he didn’t want to believe, he didn’t want to consider it.

It was only a girl that was telling it, yet it still felt as if God himself had descended from heaven to deliver those concepts to him and him alone.

«Our world will come to an end on June 6th, 6 AM 6 minutes and 6 seconds.»

She said.

«The only one who could possibly prevent this fate is: You.»

She added.

«You are the Chosen One to hold reigns over everything’s future.»

The weight of those very words was impossible to imagine.

But no matter how much she would speak, no matter how much she would underline her claims, something just made him feel that each detail, each little piece, absolutely everything spoken was the absolute truth. He was speechless, unable to form even the slightest bit of a word. An odd pressure was wearing down on him. It had come unprecedented, impossible to foretell. It simply just arrived with those words, beating down on him.

His eyes fell closed.

In the end…

Was there any way to respond?

Neither the fool that had been crushed by the heartless world of the adults, nor the grown man that had very well matured under said world’s influence could find any words in this situation.

It was for a long while that only an awkward silence lingered between the two.

Her glance was stabbing his soul, digging deeply into him, piercing.

Her patience was the scariest of it all. With a smile on her lips she kept waiting and waiting for a response.

Until…

«…eh…? Y-y-you sure you aren’t mistaken, missy?»

Full panic. The most natural response available.

«Y-y-you must see…! Just look around! You can see this! You’ve seen me today! As if…someone like me…would…you know? Hell why am I even believing this in the first place. I mean it’s not that I…I…this…this is just absurd!»

Arakawa had realised himself that he had started to believe the things he was told without any further questioning. He had taken all that stuff about the world ending without even mustering so much as a doubt and yet the only thing he had reacted to with utter disbelief, was the position he would find himself in.

The saviour of the world. The Chosen One.

As if someone like him, no, he specifically would ever be chosen for this kind of road. Saviours were bright heroes. Strong men or women that held extraordinary abilities, skill, strength or anything remarkable. They were free birds, breaking their chains, living the life of the free. They stood so many ways above anyone, each and every person and especially someone like Arakawa Daisuke, who had never even dared to consider such an outrageous life, simply picking up some crappy office job and pulling through without any complaints.

Therefore it was highly illogical that he of all people…

Estelle’s eyes of pureness dug deeply into him, touching his heart.

«Why would I lie? Of course it is you, Arakawa-kun. There is only one of you after all. I studied all of the conditions, double checked everything and I’m sure. Very sure even. It is you. Only you. You are our saviour~!»

Each aspect of her speech, it was as if there could never exist the slightest bit of a lie in anything of it. She was honest to the core, everyone she was talking to would simply notice. It didn’t need a human lie detector or at least some basic knowledge to figure out. It was just there, bright as day.

«I…can you give me a moment…I would like to…step out a bit.»

There were things that couldn’t be handled just like that. Even Arakawa was able to figure out that sometimes such things would take a moment to calm one’s own head. For him this very time had arrived now. He didn’t know what to say, not even what to think. He could feel the pressure wearing down on him partially originating from that little angels gaze. Thus it would be wise to escape it, even if only temporarily.

«Take all the time you need! I know it’s tough for you humans to adapt to the truths of this world.»

Strangely enough she was perfectly alright with his proposal. News that once again drove his attention away from her ever weirder talk.

Taking the still glowing cigarette along, he simply slipped into his shoes before leaving behind his crappy one-room-apartment with the small porcelain like girl, the ashtray and the half empty can of beer still at the TV table.

For the time being he’d escape into the night.

He didn’t wish to run away…

…yet.

Mugino Shizuri
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Join date : 2014-05-09

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