A Story About Friends

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized on 23.5.13 by jellayrei

It was early in the morning. Looking at his reflection in the mirror Barclay sighed. While it was true that he certainly wasn’t hideous, he definitely was no Robert Downy Jr. He wasn’t especially tall, nor was he particularly muscular, or good looking. Just average. His black mohawk was messy and unkempt as you would expect from someone who has a mohawk and doesn’t own any kind of hair product besides shampoo and conditioner.

Heading out the door of his apartment  Barclay grabbed his keys and headed for his car. Then he paused, perhaps he would ride the motorcycle today. After all the weather was nice, and he wasn’t planning on giving any rides today. He swapped out his keys, grabbed his helmet, and headed out the door.

Barclay smiled to himself.  He was on his way downtown to have lunch with one of his best friends. Today was going to be a good day, one of the best. There was nothing particularly special about today, but anytime he got to see Naina, it was a good day.

In terms of appearance Naina was your regular supermodel. She had fantastic skin, and a perfectly symmetrical face, with a slender nose and a laugh that could turn the worst of days into the best of days. Slender and cut, Barclay secretly suspected that the only reason she wasn’t a model was because she was just a touch on the short side for a model. Or maybe because she just didn’t want to be. Barclay however thought that she was the perfect height.

But her physical appearance wasn’t why Barclay liked hanging out with Naina. Naina was the understanding type, the type that Barclay trusted with all his secrets, the one who could always make Barclay feel better no matter how bad things were. Naina could convince Barclay that things would be okay, that he was okay, even during the darkest of hours. And though Naina was (what Barclay would consider to be) clearly a superior being, she liked being around Barclay too. And that made her fun to be around. Though she’d never admit it, that girl was something special. Barclay told Naina everything and Naina trusted Barclay with the same. And he loved it, and  her. Probably any regular bystanders would have thought that they were an item, but Barclay knew better. Naina had already turned him down a couple times, so Barclay knew they weren’t really a pair (though he would often wish they were,) but they weren’t just regular friends either. It was, in fact, very complicated.

Over lunch Naina and Barclay talked. Even though it was the same old chit-chat as always, Barclay never got bored of it, and neither, apparently, did Naina.

“Climb Everest with me!” Naina said excitedly. She’d been asking him on and off for years.

Barclay thought about it for a moment, “Sure,” he said finally, he had been toying with the idea for some time now.

“Sound happy about it!” Naina pleaded.

Barclay smiled and tapped his watch with his index finger, and Naina looked at her phone, “I guess it’s go time, I’m going to be late for class,” she said frowning.

“Don’t go,” Barclay said jokingly, “stay a while and play!”

“I can’t.” Naina said matter-of-factly “Quiz. But I’m not sure if I can make it on time…”

“I would take you,” Barclay said “but…..” his eyes drifted to his single helmet “ah, but you’re going to be late then….”

Naina frowned.

“I’ll take you,” Barclay said with some finality “I’ll be careful. You trust me right?” He said pushing his helmet into Naina’s arms.

Naina’s eyes widened and she shook her head and pushed the helmet back, “You wear it,” she said.

Barclay sighed. He never could argue with Naina, though he did occasionally try.

“You’re going to be late,” he said, “don’t argue, just put it on.”

You don’t argue then.” Naina said.

Barclay sighed and pulled the helmet over his head “Okay, I’ll be extra careful” he said.

But it wasn’t long after they got onto the highway that Barclay realized something was wrong. The bike was unstable and would speed up on it’s own accord.  Barclay gently squeezed the breaks, but it showed no signs of slowing down. Barclay frowned.

“Hey Naina,” Barclay said “I have a complaint.”

“What?”

“We talk online a lot right? Facebook, GChat, Texts or whatever.”

“Yeah?”

“You’ve told me a lot of times that you love me, but I’ve never heard you say it in person.”

“Yeah?” Naina said, rolling her eyes.

“I want to hear you say it.” Barclay said.

“Ugh. Fine. I love you.” Naina said, sighing slightly.

“And Naina, this helmet is kind of bugging me, I can’t really see well. Can you take it off for me really fast?” Barclay said nonchalantly.

Naina frowned but complied with Barclay’s request “what do you want me to do with it?” she asked.

“I don’t know, just like…. wear it for a while or something.” Barclay said dismissively. Reluctantly Naina pulled the helmet over her head.

A little further down the road Barclay looks over his shoulder at Naina, “Hey sorry, I have another complaint.” he said.

Naina nodded.

“How come  you never hug me?” Barclay said “You do to some of your other friends.”

Naina rolled her eyes again.

“I demand a hug,” Barclay said a little more forcefully.

Naina put her hand on his shoulder and frowned as if to say “what’s wrong?”

Barclay shook his head “Nothing,” he said shaking his head “I just want a hug.”

Naina rolled her eyes again, but she leaned in and put her hands around his chest. Barclay sat up a little straighter and inhaled a deep breath. Raising his head towards the sky he closed his eyes for a moment, taking in everything one last time. He could feel Naina’s heart beating against his back, her hands on his chest, her helmeted head pressing against the back of his. The wind blowing past him. He drew another deep breath. When he opened his eyes again the bike was moving very fast down the road. Trees, cars, everything, just blurred past the two of them in a swirl of color.

“Naina I’m sorry,” he said quietly “I think you’ll probably have to find someone else to climb Everest with you.”

Barclay took the off ramp, and swerved the motorcycle into a building. Everything went to black.

.:*The Next Day*:.

Naina opened her eyes, everything hurt. She shifted her weight and a beeping sounds started somewhere. A nurse came rushing in.

“Sorry, the nurse said apologetically, they didn’t do a great job with that IV, so it’s going to beep a bit.”

“What happened?” Naina said, her throat dry and voice raspy.

“According to the police report, the bike malfunctioned. Couldn’t stop.” the nurse replied briskly. She flipped through the chart “Ah you’re Naina,” she said softly. Naina tilted her head in curiosity.

“That guy on the bike with you, was he your…..” the nurses voice trailed.

Naina shook her head.

“Just friends huh?” the nurse asked.

“Not just any friends,” Naina replied quietly.

The nurse nodded knowingly.

“Is he…… okay?” Naina asked.

“Sorry babe, he was gone before the ambulance got there,” the nurse said shaking her head sadly, she tapped her index finger against the side of her head “no helmet.”

Naina closed her eyes and sighed “Barclay, you idiot,” she whispered “I’m going to miss you.”

“I think he left this for you,” the nurse said gently, pressing a wrinkled peace of paper into her hand “they found it in his wallet.”

The nurse quietly left the room, pulling closed the pale green curtains. Naina held the wrinkled peace of paper to the light. It was hard to read and covered in blood. She didn’t know if it was hers or Barclay’s. Barclay who was now long gone from this place.

To Naina:

I’ll love you forever,

so love me back till the end.

I can’t live without you,

because you’re my friend.

-Barclay

A note to a special friend:

A friend of my uncle’s once asked him, “life is so hard, how is it that you can live life?” My uncle replied “You open your eyes and then close your eyes, and just like that a day has passed. You close your eyes and can’t open your eyes, and just like that, your life has passed.” Life, as it turns out, really is pretty short, and you never know what sorts of twists and turns will happen along the way. And with that being the case, I would hate to look back and think to myself “dammit, I should have let you know that you are important to me.” I don’t want to wonder why I never told you that you showed me a better way to live life. Why I never said “thank you for not giving up on me, even when you should have, even when I already had.” Why I never told you that I love you. So I want you to know that even if I don’t come out and say it to you straight, all these things that I’ve said are true.

And there is something else that will also be true. Regardless of anything that happens (I am eluding to something in particular here,) if you need my help, you can always come to me.  No matter what happens, I will always be here, I will always be your friend. No matter what. This is a promise.

Thank you so much.

玉将の四重奏 第三章

Posted in 玉将の四重奏 on 12.10.10 by jellayrei

玉将の四重奏 第三章:

Keiji lay there in his bed listening to the sound of the raindrops on the roof. Keiji had been a police officer for almost 4  years, however even after he joined the police force he still led a pretty simple, drama-free life. But that all that had been changing slowly in the last 5 or so months…

~Roughly 5 Months Ago~

Usually the the school days started pretty calmly, however today the room was buzzing with excitement. Keiji was sitting at his desk next to the window staring blankly outside. Holding his head up with one hand he twirled his pen in the other. It was snowing even though it was only September, the northern hemisphere was freezing nearly all the time. The reason there was so much commotion this morning was because there were rumors that a new student would be joining their class. Transfers mid semester were rare now-a-days, but Keiji wasn’t feeling too interested, rumors were just rumors after all and they rarely found their way into reality. Keiji’s mind was occupied with more important things.

Japan was filled with crime in this day and age. If it was a crime, then it had happened in Japan at one point or another. For the last decade there had also been an unusual criminal group stealing from banks all over the country. Bank robberies were not uncommon, but this group was unique. They had been robbing banks for quite some time, yet no one has ever come close to catching them. They did everything by hand, the way it was done in the olden days, no machines were used in the safe opening, no weaponry used in disabling guards, and no special devices used to disarm locks. Truly an incredible feat. But perhaps most interesting of all was that no matter where they struck, there was always a substantial amount of money that was left behind. It was almost as if they only took what they needed leaving the rest behind for another day.

However yesterday for the first time in this groups history, they had been caught in the act. At this thought Keiji shook his head maybe  caught in the act was a little too generous of a description for what had happened late last night; unwittingly stumbled upon the strange group of thieves might be a more accurate description. Apparently yesterday they had broken into a high security vault in a bank in Tokyo so their safe breaker could get some “practice.”  When the authorities came to inspect the scene of the crime, nearly every safe in the building had been opened, but the best part was nothing inside the safes had been touched.

Keiji, who was patrolling the nearby area happened to be driving by as the group was walking out the front door of the bank. The group had been impressively small given the type of work they managed to accomplish, just two males and two females. When the group saw Keiji’s patrol car one girl stood on her tiptoes to whisper something into the ear of the tallest male ,who appeared to be the leader of the group,he nodded and made a signal to the other two members. Then before Keiji could blink twice the 4 of them converged onto the police car like vultures on a freshly abandoned kill. Before he knew it the youngest looking girl was sitting on the hood of his patrol car. One of the males had apparently gotten onto the roof and the other was leaning his back against the passenger side door of the patrol car. The other girl was standing outside the driver side door. She knocked on the window. Absolutely petrified Keiji obediently rolled down the window, without a word the girl dropped an envelope onto his lap and the four of them vanished into the darkness.

Inside the envelope was a letter of challenge made with letters cut out of magazines. It was very cliché, Keiji thought setting down his pen and holding up the letter to read for the hundredth time since his encounter last night. It read:

Dear Officer,

You have been cordially invited to participate in this months special challenge which will take place September 31st at 11:45Pm. On said date and time our humble group will be targeting Bank of Japan on 125th St. and Shinjuku Ave. You will be allowed to bring a team of 4 officers (including yourself.) If you abide by our rules then we can guarantee the safety of any officers involved. This is a unique opportunity for you to capture our group and become famous. We hope you will partake in this special event. Thanks for keeping our streets safe!

Yours Truly,

Mysterious Group

P.s. if you feel so inclined to bring weapons, for the safety of our members we ask that they be non-lethal stun weapons, thank you for your cooperation.

Apparently the group had a sense of humor, Keiji thought staring at the letter. As Keiji was pondering this, the homeroom teacher entered the room and everyone in the class scurried to their seats. Truth be told classes now a days could have easily been taught by robots, but occasionally some of the nicer schools still used the human touch.

“Hello everyone, starting from today this is your new classmate,” the homeroom teacher said, her arm on the new students shoulder “I hope you will all help to take good care of her.”
Keiji, staring out the window again, heard the heads of his classmates turning to look at the new arival. So the rumors were true, but Keiji was still too pre-occupied with his lucky encounter with the strange band of theives to pay much attention.

“Would you like to introduce yourself to the class?” the homeroom teacher asked gently nudging the girl forward slightly.

“Um, hello…” the student said. Her voice caught Keiji’s attention, though she only spoke a single word her voice had a musical quality. She sounded pretty, out of the corner of his eye Keiji noticed that even some of the more delinquent students were suddenly sitting up a little straighter than usual. For the first time Keiji turned his head to look at the new comer. She was indeed a beautiful girl, slender yet muscular and well developed too. Her eyes were large and innocent and she met the gaze of everyone who looked her way. However when Keiji took a more careful look at her emotionless face he suspected that this girl had suffered many hardships.

“Sorry I’m not very good in social settings,” the girl said, though her voice might have implied that she was feeling a little pressured it didn’t show on her face, in fact in all the time Keiji was watching her, her expression had hardly changed at all.”Er… please take good care of me!” she concluded.

“Your name!” the homeroom teacher whispered to her nudging her again.

“Oh! Um…” the girl sounded like she was at a loss for words but again if she was confused or lost it didn’t show on her face, “I’m number 2500274135.”

At this a great commotion sweapt the room, even the teacher seemed a little taken aback for a moment though in all fairness to her she recovered relatively quickly from the shock. If #2500274135 found the reaction of her new classmates strange it didn’t show, her expression remained almost completely static. Keiji nodded to himself, the number explained a lot about this girl, why she was so strange, so alien, so expressionless. She was an orphan. When put into an orphanage, each individual had a number and corresponding bar-code tattooed onto their skin, this made it easier for the orphanage to keep track of the orphans and file paperwork when one died, which was not an uncommon occurance.

There were a lot of orphans out in Japan. The Japanese government, in order to try to preserve a “more Asian population” offered large subsidies on children if both parents were at least half “Asian.” In all honesty they probably would have preferred it if both parents were half Japanese but over the last several hundred years there had been so much cultural mixing that it was almost impossible to find a person who was genetically half any nationality. Under these government subsidies the first child was practically payed for, and the second child was more than payed for. However as a result many families had two children and then ended up abandoning one or both of them living the rest of their lives off of government money. Given the effort required to change current laws the government tried to combat this problem by using “Baby Certificates” which were documents distributed at birth that allowed a person to have a child. This meant that each family could have up to two children and if they wanted more they would have to buy another certificate from someone who didn’t want children, and these were generally expensive since the number of baby certificates were limited and heavily controlled by the government. And the trading of these certificates obviously required a long legal process in order to prevent parents from just taking these certificates from their own children. This however turned out to have little effect on the number of children being orphaned. Now there were as many orphans as ever and the orphanages were all filled to the brim with children. Lack of resources combined with the high stress of running an orphanage made these places miserable for everyone who lived there. Especially the orphans. It was no secret that orphans were treated poorly, they were often abused, and beaten. Drug companies frequently used them to test new medical products. The average orphan lived to be 7 or 8, the strong willed ones might live to be 11 or 12, and the unlucky ones lived for as long as 15 years. The lucky ones, like this girl here, were the ones who manage to run away from the orphanage. But even the ones that got away led fairly difficult lives. Many of the female escapees ended up selling their bodies just to get by.

Considering this Keiji scrutinized the girl carefully for the first time. She was a very stunning girl, however her general lack of emotion suggested that her trade might lay elsewhere. There was also a sort of physical hardness about her. Even from afar Keiji could tell that her arms and legs were extremely toned. The girl could probably pass as a statue in an art museum somewhere if she wanted to, Keiji thought to himself. Though her limbs weren’t thick or bulky they appeared to be very strong, her skin was also very smooth it was almost as if she was sculpted as marble or some other very hard stone.

“I don’t think a number will work very well for a name,” the teacher said smiling nervously towards the class, “its kind of impersonal, er…”

A girl named Yume raised her hand and the teacher nodded at her. She was the class representative and most everyone loved her because of her helpful personality, however there were times when she made suggestions that were socially a little awkward. As her name implied she was also very beautiful. This new girl, however, in Keiji’s opinion this new girl could give Yume a run for her money.

“Maybe we can name her?” Yume suggested enthusiastically.

“Yume, darling,” the teacher said sighing a little bit “this is a girl we’re talking about here, not a class pet……”

“Um… actually….. I think I would like that” #2500274135 said earnestly.

“Oh this girl is absolutely adorable,” Yume exclaimed, practically skipping up to the front of the room “does anyone have any suggestions?”

“How about Asuka?” one guy towards the back of the room said. Yume wrote the suggestion up on the board.

“How about Fuji,” suggested a tall girl in the front row.

“We already have two Fuji’s in this class, both a male and a female one,” Keiji said looking around the room, “apparently they’re both playing hookie today. But in any case we don’t want to make things unnecessarily complicated.”

“You come up with a name then,” the tall girl said looking offended.

A couple more names were thrown around the room. Finally the names Asuka, Akiko, Yukiko, Haruka, and Kaiyo were listed on the board.#2500274135  didn’t seem to especially prefer any one over another and so the name discussion had reached an end and an awkward silence had settled into the room.

“How about putting it up to a vote then” #2500274135  suggested brightly, “that’s what we do at work when we can’t decide on something.”

Ah, Keiji thought, this girl definitely wasn’t a prostitute then, he highly doubted that anything in that craft was ever put up to a vote. Keiji looked at the list of names wondering which one he should vote for. He wasn’t too fond of Asuka. Akiko and Yukiko seemed like okay names but they seemed kind of situational. Haruka would have been a cute enough name for the new girl, and Kaiyo wasn’t too bad either….

He looked at the girls face and imagined calling her by each name, but they didn’t seem to quite fit. He tried it again, Haruka, Kaiyo, Haruka again. It seemed the rest of the class was having an equally hard time deciding. Apparently Yume had opted to pass on voting and chose instead to play with #2500274135 ‘s hair. #2500274135 didn’t seem to especially mind.

“Hey Prez, 2500…753 whatever it was…” Keiji said raising his hand. Yume had finished putting #2500274135 ‘s hair into a ponytail, and the two girls turned to look at him.

“Yes?” Yume said raising an eyebrow.

“Does Chizuko sound like an okay name?” He asked.

For the first time since the #2500274135  entered the room she smiled.

玉将の四重奏 第二章

Posted in 玉将の四重奏 on 27.5.10 by jellayrei

Pre-note: Recommended background music for this part of the story here. Take it for what its worth…

玉将の四重奏 第二章: Their Story, is Told by the Raindrops in Her Love

Bike probably isn’t exactly the right word used to describe the machine that Chizuko was riding on her way home. A more accurate description would be something along the lines of “rocket powered broom stick.” It used magnetism to hover a few feet off the ground the way the bullet trains did back in the 21st century.

On her way home rain started to come down heavily. She was starting to really regret not checking the weather forcast, if she wasn’t careful the acid rain would seriously damage her skin. She quickly parked her bike and, holding her bag above her head, she sprinted through the main gate of her apartment complex, past the security robot.

“YOU SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT AN UMBRELLA TODAY YOUNG MASTER,” the robot commented.

Chizuko waved to the robot as she ran into the elevator, mashing the b32 button. Her apartment complex was located in a building that was 40 stories high and had another 60 floors below ground. Ideally she would have liked to live above ground but unfortunately it was something her income wouldn’t support. Over the last couple of hundred years large parts of Japan were taken in by the sea. The lack of available land for housing made housing prices ridiculously high, and living above ground cost an arm and a leg, sometimes literally. In any case the LCD “windows” she had in her living quarters meant that, apart from not having a balcony, there really wasn’t much difference between living above ground and below it.

After an agonizingly long wait the elevator doors opened. Then she bolted down the hall towards her apartment.

“Hal, it’s me open the door” she called from down the hall. As she got to her appartment door it sprung open. Bareling through the doorway she threw her bag into a rickety wooden chair which tipped dangerously.

“MASTER, I PREPARED THE BATH FOR YOU,” came HAL’s electric voice through speakers placed around the room.

“Thanks Hal,” Chizuko said, pulling of her clothes as she ran towards the bathroom, she could already feel the acid stinging at her skin.

“MASTER IF YOU LEAVE YOUR CLOTHES ALL OVER THE PLACE AGAIN, THE CLEANING ROBOTS INFORMED ME THAT THEY ARE GOING TO REBEL” HAL commented as it’s master tripped and stumbled from trying to simultaneously remove her skirt, shorts and stockings all in one go, running all the while.

“You tell them that they’re NOT allowed!” Chizuko shouted back trying her best to sound offended.

“YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE ALSO BLEEDING PROFUSELY, MASTER?” HAL inquired.

“I should never agreed to let the chief reprogram your biometrics Hal,” she yelled as she ran towards the bathroom. Anyone looking at the previously spotless hall could easily have pictured that a hurricane had just passed through, but no one would have expected a mere 16 year old girl single handedly caused such carnage.

***

Keiji got home, sliding open the front door and slipping off his shoes, he stepped inside.

“Mom I’m home” he called into his house

“Welcome back,” came voice from the living room.

“WELCOME BACK MASTER” a robotic voice followed shortly after.

“Hey Gemini, whats for dinner?” He inquired.

“OUR CURRENT STOCK ALLOWS FOR US TO MAKE THE FOLLOWING: …” Gemini proceeded with a long list of dishes that could be made with the ingredients currently in the house.

Keiji frowned to himself, not really listening he made a dismissive motion and headed to his room.

***

Chizuko sank into the bathtub, hoping that the stress of the day would melt away. However she was sorely disappointed, just a few minutes ago she was so angry with her partner but now she felt guilty that she had treated him so poorly and that wasn’t even the half of it.

“MASTER, MY BIOMETRIC SCANNER IS DETECTING UNUSUALLY HIGH LEVELS OF STRESS,” HAL commented offhandedly.

“It’s nothing Hal, I’m just…” she stopped because she didn’t know how she should finish the sentence. She was just what? Angry with herself because she promised Keiji that she would never get mad like this? Or upset that she was emotionally so much weaker than she used to be? Distressed that she actually had people she occasionally had, or wanted to rely on?

This was one of those times where Chizuko felt grateful that HAL was bought on the black market, had the electronic personality been bought legitimately it would probably have fully operational sensors and then the robot could tell her exactly what she was feeling. With the thought that there might be a robot out there who knew more about her than she herself did, Chizuko sunk low in the bathtub blowing bubbles into the bathwater, her jet black hair floating a top the water, tangled like broken branches in a river after a storm. Feeling supremely depressed Chizuko wondered if she would actually had the guts to just drown herself in the bathtub. A friend of hers had once taught her how to do just that, this person was found dead less than a week later in less than 6 inches of water.

“MASTER,” HAL said interrupting her fleeting suicidal thought, “PHONE CALL FOR YOU.”

“Who is it?” Chizuko asked, though she already knew.

“THAT DASHING YOUNG MASTER KEIJI IS CALLING FOR YOU MASTER,” HAL replied without the slightest ounce of robot shame. This, for sure was one of the disadvantages to having a black market electronic personality managing the house, the personality chip was a little faulty to say the least.

Chizuko sank even lower into the bathtub, now only her eyes were above the water, as if by doing this she could somehow escape the reality that was her life, however HAL persisted.

“MASTER, PHONE CALL FOR YOU,” HAL repeated.

“Hey HAL,” Chizuko said, putting on her best puppy dog face, not that it was ever particularly effective with robots, “I’m touched that he cared enough to call,” and she meant it,” but just tell him I’m not home ‘kay?”

“SORRY MASTER, BUT I ALREADY TOLD HIM THAT YOU WERE HERE,” HAL replied matter-of-fact-ly.

Chizuko sighed, wishing for a moment that maybe she could maybe just suddenly fall of the face of the earth. At that moment she would have given almost anything to not have to face her partner, luckily for her, her life wasn’t one of the things that appeared on this very long list.

“Hey Hal you remember that video calls are strictly prohibited when I’m in the bathroom right?” Chizuko asked, pulling her knees up to her chest. The first time Keiji had called her while she was taking a bath HAL had unwittingly relayed the call in the default setting which was video format. This was a terribly awkward situation for everyone involved, except for HAL who apparently felt no shame at anything.

“YES MASTER I DO RECALL YOU TELLING ME THIS INFORMATION,” HAL stated plainly.

“‘Kay patch him through then I guess,” Chizuko said signing inwardly.

“Hey Chi!” Keiji’s voice filled the tiny bathroom echoing slightly off the gray linoleum walls. His tone was upbeat but Chizuko wasn’t fooled. “Er…” it seemed that Keiji was looking for something to say, “How are you feeling?”

“How am I feeling…” Chizuko considered the question. How was she feeling? Angry, sad, ashamed, and maybe just a little happy, all at once, it felt as though her insides were turning to dust and crumbling away. Finally she replied with, “I don’t really know anymore…”

***

Silence. On the other end of the line Keiji said nothing, Chizuko was — for a short time– a happy, cheerful, and optimistic girl, even when she was feeling upset, but the response that he had received from her sounded so lifeless and meek. Keiji cursed himself for asking a bad question. Even there was no video, but that voice was enough for Keiji to picture Chizuko sitting in the bathroom by herself looking crushed, defeated, and lonely. A look that he’d seen for the first time less than a month ago, something that he was not keen on seeing ever again if he could help it. The image of her in that state still haunted him, he never knew that something living and breathing could look so dead.

“Um…” Keiji lay down on his bed, wondering what to say next his eyes drifting around his room, he was never much good in these types of situations “you’re mad then…”

Obviously she was mad at him, she was just yelling at him less than an hour ago wasn’t she? But maybe the thought of being angry would at least put a little strength back in Chizuko’s voice. There was another long silence.

“No,” she responded finaly, her voice sounded so tiny, so weak. Keiji reached towards his ceiling as if he could catch this last word in his outstretched hand, grab onto it, hold onto it. But the word came out so small it seemed to dance right through his fingertips. It seemed that his words had the opposite effect of what he had hoped, voice wavering slightly she continued talking “What right do I have to be mad at you, you taught me so much, showed me so much, gave me so much and I… I…”

Keiji wanted to tell her that she could be mad if she wanted, that she should be mad, owed it to herself to be mad. He wanted to say he was sorry, not just for today but for everything before today. But he couldn’t his pride stood in his way like the impossible last boss that prevents the player from seeing the happy ending. Things were not proceeding like how he thought they would. Originally he called expecting to be yelled at, and then he could just apologizes and things would be better between the two of them for a while. It would have been easy to say sorry if she were mad. But instead of being yelled at this was happening, and it felt much worse. Chizuko’s voice, though weak and thin was so suffocating that Keiji felt as though all the air in the world was being siphoned out to speak these few words.

Keiji decided to venture for one more question.

“A little over a month ago,” he said, thinking back, “you told me you were the happiest you’ve ever been in your life,” despite himself the thought of her face at that time managed to make him smile. “And I was happy too…. So how’d we get like this…”

***

Chizuko stared blankly at the ceiling sitting there in the bathtub she wondered, how did things get like this. Just a little while ago she had everything she had ever wanted in  life, and now it felt like it all just came crashing down around her, burying her, smothering her. How did things get like this, she wondered. Even from this far underground she could hear the sound of the rain above, reminding her of how the time when she was happy seemed so long ago.

Authors Notes:

First thing of note is that I will be updating some concept drawings I’ve done of Chi sometime in the (hopefully) near future. I’m still trying to get my hands on a camera. I re-worked almost everything and I’m really pleased with how things turned out (maybe not too thrilled about the quality of the drawing but whatever.) though now that I think about it this drawing may come out in the next two or three chapters…

I don’t know if this chapter was a little hard to follow, I tried to be purposefully vague to keep things interesting (Azureseele your the only one who knows the back story so keep it a secret until I write about it please😄 so that way the other readers will be surprised. i.e. be careful when commenting, but do comment please!) I don’t know how successful I was in this endeavor though because a lot of times I think I”m being subtle and I’m really not at all. But I think I have some totally or at least semi-unexpected things planned up ahead so we’ll see >.>

I don’t know if the tone turned a little too fast in this chapter, the mutation from angry to depressed happened kind of fast, though just this summer I discovered that people (most notably myself, though not quite this bad) could occasionally suffer from crazy mood swings like this.

That being said, I’m kind of afraid that this chapter will be kind of hard to follow since the back story hasn’t been revealed yet (that actually starts in the next section and will be a majority of the rest of the story.) Originally I was going to make Chapter 3 be Chapter 1, but I decided that this might be a more clever way to introduce the characters and it also lets me hold back some of the stuff for more mid story-ish. (I’ve had this story planned out forever, I just haven’t had much time to type it all out, it is rather time consuming…)

I made a couple minor adjustments to the first chapter, nothing too major but for those of you who are enjoying the story I might recommend that you go back and browse through the first chapter again. In anycase its been a year since I wrote the first chapter so it might be worth looking over to refresh your memory anyways. The link to Chapter 1 is here.

When I created Chizuko (for those of you who are interested) I made her physical appearance based off of one of my classmates (which one she is, the world may never know😄 no but seriously this is a trade secret) but personality wise I think that Chizuko might be more like me, albeit a significantly more depressing, darker, sulkier, but also marginally cooler (and more talented) version of me. I’m actually really pleased with how she turned out. As for Keiji he is, at the moment more or less just a generic guy character, though I hope that I can give him some more personality soon otherwise he might end up fading away. I think I have an at least somewhat interesting back story planned for him though when you compare it to Chi’s and Norio’s (oh yes even though his background is limited I like what I have for him in terms of background!) story it really seems neither as dark or gripping. To be honest I have little love for this character at the moment… I hope I can find a way to make him more interesting and enjoyable to read about. Norio (like I said I like what I have planned for his background as well as one particular interaction between him and another character that I really look forward to writing) when I was designing him has turned out to be, more or less, a tamer version of Captain Bravo. His personality isn’t quiet that unique but I think when you guys read the story behind him you’ll agree it suits him well =D

The title of this chapter I totally stole (almost word for word, though very roughly translated and altered slightly) from Rainie Yang’s song 雨爱 (this song will someday soon get its own post on my blog too…) I originally (I started to write this chapter a while ago I just never had time to finish until one of my classmates unexpectedly motivated me to keep writing) had an okay title too. But after I heard this song I decided to change the title because I thought it fit soooo perfectly. The original line from the song goes “你的呼吸像雨滴声如我的爱裡” (Your breathing soaks my love like the falling rain)I don’t know how many of you can read Chinese but that right there is poetry for sure (plus it rhymes with the line before it, but then again I think that almost everything with the word 如 in it outside of 如果 is poetry…. and I’m not even sure if thats the right character…. but anyways) the brilliance is ridiculous, and since I like stealing ridiculously brilliant things, I took this for my title. I changed 呼吸 (breathing) to 故事 (story) because it fits better for my purposes, and 你 (you) to us. So it became our story is like rain in my love… or something like that, a little more altering and my new title was born. I posted this song as recomended background music at the start of the piece, but like I said I love this song and it will get its own post soon.

Okay thats all I have for now, I hope I’ll have the next chapter out towards the end of summer…. but last year when I wrote the first chapter I was like “I’ll have another chapter out by next month!” so we’ll see how that goes………

玉将の四重奏 第一章

Posted in 玉将の四重奏 on 27.3.09 by jellayrei

Gyokusho Quartet 第一章: Coup de Grâce- The Blow of Mercy

On a dark winter night, A black BMW sped down a basically deserted highway being closely followed by a police car.  The passengers of the vehicle in question had just robbed a bank and were doing their best to get away from the pursuing officers. For this story– however–  we are not interested in the passengers of this shady vehicle, but rather the officers.

Behind the wheel of the police vehicle sat a good looking 17 year old man. He was of Asian decent, and looked more like he belonged on the stage of a rock concert rather than in a police car. His hair was dyed a dark brown but was black at the roots since it had been a while since he had gotten it dyed again. He sat upright, stiffly gripping the wheel as they followed the burglar’s getaway car.

It was unusual for anyone to actually be driving nowadays, since at the turn of the 27th century all cars were controlled by “code” rather than people. The roads of this time period were basically large information collecting grids that receive and process information from the cars and feeds it into computers. The computers process the information and sends it back out to the cars. The BMW had modified code tailored to escape car purposes. Consequently, the police car also had code designed to catch escape cars, though it wasn’t be put to use at this particular moment.

The other passenger in this vehicle was an Asian girl who was 16 years old, she had shoulder length black hair dark chocolate colored eyes. She sat in the patrol car looking bored, she had a calculus textbook open on her lap. Instead of wearing a police uniform she was wearing a form fitting black coat, which accentuated her excellent figure, and a skirt underneath. She looked up from her textbook.

“They’re so inconsiderate,” she said frowning in the direction of the escaping robbers, “don’t they realize that I have a test on Monday?” she held up a hand and looked at her nails ” And of course they’re total armatures too, no fun at all” the girl continued, still inspecting her nails “I mean look at their code, its complete predictable.” Apparently satisfied with the state of her nails she pointed at the BMW ” When that car gets behind that yellow car, its going to pass there on the left, then take a right there between the red car and white car…” she pointed off into the distance drawing complex weaving shapes with her index finger like the conductor of a world class orchestra.

Before she finished, the monitor on the dashboard flickered to life, and the police chief’s virtual secretary appeared on the screen.

“The chief wants to know if you would like assistance.”

“No, we’ll manage,” the girl said still not looking thrilled about the task at hand, she redirected her attention back to her fingernails “but send us a cage, and bring my bike too please.”

“Copy that,  sending motorbike: serial number SK-81930 and one C.A.G.E. unit to your location” the monitor replied as it flickered off.

“So how do you want to do this?” the male officer asked, glancing over at his partner who was now digging into her school bag.

Extricating a pair of motorcycle gloves from her bag she returned the glance waving the gloves. The gloves looked like a less bulky version of gauntlets worn by medieval knights.(and are sometimes referred to as gauntlets) Riders usually wore them for one, or a combination of, several reasons. The first of which is that they look really good, furthermore, they protect their hands from being destroyed by the elements. Lastly more highly skilled riders often put their hands on the ground to prevent from falling over on sharp turns. Needless to say this is an impossible task to do barehanded and are much more bearable if you have, for instance, a pair of titanium plated gloves to protect your hands. Conveniently, the tips of the gloves are very sharp, which is perfect for ripping through things, like the roof of a car for example.

With a sigh, the driver of the police car began pulling up to the driver side of the BMW.

“Chizuko, you sure you want to do it like this,” he asked, for all the world sounding like a middle school kid being pressured into having intercourse with a demanding girlfriend “it makes me nervous every time we do it like this.”

“Keiji please,” she replied, exasperated “we’ve already done this a million times.”

“I’m just worried about your safety is all,” Keiji muttered, “no need to get your panties all in a bunch…”

Keiji was prevented from completing the rest of the extended sexual metaphor when one of the robbers in the BMW pulled out a gun and fired two shots at the two officers. The bullets did not penetrate the patrol car since, unfortunately for the criminals, all police cars of this era were designed to resist most anything from bullets to minor explosions.

Chizuko didn’t even flinch as the bullets hit the glass, but instead she looked over and stuck her tongue out at the criminals.

“See,” she scoffed, “they’re completely new at this, I guess being amateurs they’d have to take a couple of shots, every new convict on the block thinks they’re Jason Statham. And they’re using gun powder weapons too, such barbarians” (Jason Statham has been dead for quiet some time but the Italian Job is still a super popular movie in most crime circles, there’s nothing like watching a perfect plan come together at criminal get-togethers.)

Another bullet hit the side of the police car is it pulled up along side the BMW. The driver of the BMW floored the petal bringing the vehicle to the fastest speed it could travel. Unfortunately for the two criminals they had no chance of outrunning their pursuers. Chizuko looked over, Keiji’s knuckles were white from gripping the wheel.

“Relax,” she said smiling sincerely for the first time “I’m not even worried so what do you have to be scared of?”

The gentle tone of her voice caused Keiji’s grip to slacken a little. Turning her attention back to the BMW she kicked open the door of the police car and, grabbing the top of the door frame she flipped onto the roof of her their pursuit vehicle. As she landed onto the roof the car door swung shut, which was just as well because that’s when the illegals in the adjacent car chose to fire another shot at the door.

Chizuko then leaped gracefully onto the roof of the BMW. She ripped into the top of the car tearing away big chunks of roof.Toiling like a surgeon, she took a brief moment to reflect on how she’d probably be fined for littering had she not become an officer. Chizuko was brought out of her ruminative moment when one of the criminals decided to put two rounds into the roof of the car. One of them missed completely the other one grazed her right cheek about half an inch under her right eye. The wound stung in the cold winter wind, and Chizuko decided that this probably was not the best place to be pondering what kinds of fines she would or would not incur given her change of career choice.  She plunged both of her hands through the top of the car and peeled the roof open like a banana, not that she knew that she had ever preformed such an action since she had never even seen the fruit before let alone eaten it. Between the 19th and 24th century, the polar ice caps had basically completely melted, this sent the whole northern hemisphere into an ice age and so basically the only place where you could get bananas anymore was Brazil, therefore the prices of bananas went through the roof. If the Japanese people of old thought eggplants were expensive little did they know…**

Now that the roof of the car was wide open Chizuko stuck her foot through and planted it on the back of the drivers head smashing his face into the steering wheel causing something to crunch. As she dropped into the car she looked over at the passenger side, the guy sitting there was trying to reload his weapon. Chizuko almost sighed at him, as she grabbed his face and slammed the back of his head against the window. As the guy’s body slumped against the wall of the car as she yanked up on the emergency break bringing the car to a screeching halt.

From inside the car Chizuko saw the C.A.G.E. unit pulling up next to the trashed BMW along with their patrol car. Most C.A.G.E.s looked like a black bread truck, however this one was a sort of sleek new design, or about as sleek as you can make a car used for transporting criminals.

As Chizuko stepped out of the car she saw the police Chief step out of the C.A.G.E. Chizuko grinned and waved at him energetically, the adrenaline produced from jumping from car to car had not quite worn off yet. Keiji also came out of the patrol car to greet the chief.

The Tokyo police chief was a good looking 20 something year old guy. He was a good 6 inches taller than Chizuko, and had the whole “rugged good looks” about him. His hair was kind of messy and unkempt, and he hadn’t shaved for a couple days so there was a slight hint of a beard on his chin. His name was Norio, which in Japanese means ‘man of law’, and he often joked that he was born to be a police man.

“Chief, this is a surprise!” Chizuko said still waving “and this cage too,” she continued pointing enthusiastically “it’s new right?” she finished, walking around the vehicle inspecting it.

“It looks good huh?” the chief inquired, scratching the back of his head “I was just gonna drive one of the old ones out here but the guys at the station were all like ‘we cant have our chief being seen in one of those beat up old things’ and hence insisted that I take this one, its brand new.” He laughed nervously as though he might accidentally crash it into a wall or something.

“Oh, impressive!” Chizuko said clapping her hands together “My bike is in the back, I take it”

“Yup,” the chief said opening the back of the car for her allowing her access to the inside.

“Hey did they up the current on the bars in here.” Chizuko asked.

“No,” the chief said “”if they increased it anymore from what it used to be that would make the shock lethal, remember, Chi, this is a vehicle for transporting criminals not shocking them to death.”

“Oh,” Chizuko said, sounding a little disappointing as she wheeled out a black and white motorcycle “right, you know criminals are a lot tougher than you give them credit for. Great seeing you chief, I better get going.”

“Hold up,” the chief said holding his hand up in a stop everything gesture, “Chizuko a new custom safe came in today, the new lock opening robot won’t even try to open it, do you think you can come in to the station today and crack it?”

The thought of the lock opening robot finally failing to open a safe put a grin on Chizuko’s face.

“Yes if its custom, the human touch is best no stupid robot could ever…” she said more to herself than to anyone “Whats the model number on the safe?”

“Um… HB-4175 I think.”

Chizuko looked up at the sky trying to remember how that particular safe worked.

“Is it urgent? ” she asked finally.

“No not particularly, why?” Norio said scratching the back of his head.

“That safe,” she said again mostly to herself “has 8000 numbers on the dial, and a 6 number combo,” she stared hard at the sky “which means 8000 choose 6 combinations and 720 possible orderings for most combination, yes of course the robot wouldn’t be able to open it and if it’s custom….” at this she looked back at the chief and addressed someone that wasn’t herself for the first time “and I have a calc test coming up that I really need to study for so can it wait?” she completed apologetically.

“That’s fine,” the chief said waving her apology aside. “You’re bleeding profusely by the way.” the chief said pointing at her cheek. This wasn’t completely true, she was bleeding pretty badly but the chief always made it sound worse than it actually was, since Chizuko was the type of girl who would just ignore any kind of wound until it killed her.

“You can’t trick me chief,” she said smiling and shaking her head “Well, catch you later then,”

“No seriously,” the chief said but she was already walking her bike back towards the patrol car.

The chief waved to her with a sigh, behind him a couple officers he brought along were cuffing the two still unconscious criminals and loading them onto the police car. As Chizuko walked back to the patrol car Keiji followed her, he reached the police car before she did and dug out a first aid kit from the back.

“When I was watching from the patrol car,” Keiji said looking a little shaken “you gave me quiet a scare. I thought they shot you in the head…”

Chizuko looked at him and shrugged.

“But I wasn’t so its okay right?”

Keiji pulled out a cotton swab and poured some alcohol on it, he tenderly dabbed the cotton ball on her cheek.

“Can’t we please figure out a different method for next time,” he pleaded, “I’m really worried about your safety!”

“Look I don’t need you to worry about me okay?” Chizuko said edgily “I can take care of myself fine thank you very much!”

“Alright!” Keiji said defensively, taken aback by her sudden outburst “I’m sorry, here let me finish patching you up.”

“No thanks,” Chizuko said grabbing her school bag from the police vehicle and slamming the car door shut “I’m fine, thank you.”

“Chi…” Keiji said, softly, “please let me clean you up.” But she wasn’t listening she had already started up her bike and was riding away.

“One of these days, she’s going to just bleed to death,” the chief walking up behind Keiji, “You guys haven’t been getting along very well lately have you?” Norio continued conversationally though he  looked a little troubled.

“No, not really,” Keiji said, looking down at the ground “it’s been pretty bad lately I guess.”

Norio nodded wisely “Well it could be nothing,” he said thoughtfully “maybe it’s just that time of month for her.” he chuckled punching Keiji lightly on the shoulder.

“I don’t think that’s it,” Keiji said allowing himself a grin. He didn’t find the chief’s remark particularly entertaining, but the chief hated when people were too serious around him.

“Well then Kei, I’ll see you some other time” the chief said walking back towards the C.A.G.E.

“Hey, chief!” Keiji called out before he could stop himself “Do you know what’s in the safe?”

“I might guess,” the chief said, looking thoughtful again, “but I don’t know for sure…” The chief paused and then laughed, “If I knew for sure I wouldn’t need her to open it,” he laughed again scratching the back of his head “Well, don’t get your hopes up, but it could be important for you.. well, don’t worry too much about it” the chief waved with his back turned to Keiji, “Well, I’ll see you later.”

The police chief climbed back into the C.A.G.E. followed by the two other officers he brought along. He backed the C.A.G.E. up and docked it with the BMW and towed it away along with the criminals that it had sheltered just a few minutes ago.

Keiji climbed back into the police vehicle, he sat there for a moment. He knew that he would have to get moving soon. Since the police chase was over, the code written for civilian vehicles would cause cars to start flowing back onto the highway. He sighed, it could be important, but then again it could be nothing, he thought about stopping by the safe room and taking a crack at the safe himself, but Chizuko had never taught him how to deal with that particular model safe, and if it would take her a while to open it then he had no chance of figuring it out. He decided to just follow the chief’s advice and not think too much about it. In any case now that Chizuko was all mad at him it would seem he would have to figure something out to maker her happy, he told himself that this was a much more pressing matter. That safe isn’t going anywhere fast, but good loyal partners were hard to come by, he reasoned to himself…

The first cars started to flow back onto the highway, Keiji started up the police car and started heading back towards the police station to drop off the vehicle wondering if he should stop by the grocery store and pick up a box of chocolates…

**In Japanese culture it is considered good luck to have a dream about Mt. Fuji, a hawk, and an eggplant as your first dream of the new year. This is because in the region which Mt. Fuji resides it is said that the three highest things in that area are: Mt. Fuji, a hawk, and the price of eggplant.

Authors Remarks

-Okay so I’ve toiled on this story for over a month, and I still have some peer reviews coming in so there might be a couple changes coming up still though probably nothing too major.

-I finally figured out what I want the plot to be thought I don’t know if it’s going to end up bieng kind of cliche. Originally I planned for this chapter to be mostly just character development since at that time I hadn’t really figured out what I wanted to do yet. Now that I have a tentative plan in mind, I dropped some hints towards the end of the chapter as to what the point might be…

-When my roommate read the very beginnings of my first draft he told me that I basically made Chiz to look like the biggest bitch in the whole universe, that was not my intention… as the way things are shaping up now, I think that she is probably going to end up being my favorite character. I sort of expect Keiji to be the most popular as of now but that’ll probably change later on. If you guys don’t like Chiz much, all I can say is sorry Chi, you’ll be popular later on [I hope], do your best!

-I think the way this is going to work is one more chapter of current time, and then I’m going to start telling the story from the begenning and lead up to this point…ish

-I love constructive criticism flaming ect, whatever comment, remark or gripe you might have about my story, I’d love to hear it!

-Things that happened in this section of the story are not set in stone, I might need to change it later to eliminate inconsistencies and what not… If that happens I’ll let you know.

-I don’t know if I had Chiz pull some physics defying stunts in this segment, I don’t think so though, drawing from my (limited) knowledge of physics I think that it is possible to jump from one roof to another… ripping through the roof of a car, however does  seem a little ridiculous – as my roommate also pointed out to me… But hey I bet I could totally do it too >.> And Chi is super fit, like Muchacho Maria or something

-I’m working on some drawings of these characters currently, and in theory will have them up sometime this month so that people can know what they look like in my mind.

-I don’t know if I made the relationship between Keiji and Chiz obvious, when my roommate [once again] read it, he basically laid out all the intro chapters I had planned =( so feedback from other people on this point would be great for me

-The names I chose actually mean stuff. Keiji  (敬二): Japanese name meaning “respectful second (son).” Norio  (法男): Japanese name meaning “man of law.” (I actually felt clever for finding this one) Chizuko, there are a couple ways of writing this name that I’ve found so far but I haven’t decided on which one I like best yet though I’m leaning towards 千鶴子 for certain reasons in which I’ll reveal in a later authors note 千鶴子, roughly translated means child of a thousand storks.

-I’m kind of afraid that I focused a little too much on Chiz, and the next chapter is pretty much all about her as well so… I dunno, I don’t want this story to turn out to be some sort of one sided fanfic type thing where I just glorify her life ect. because that would be kind of stupid… I’ll figure out how to remedy this problem………… after the next chapter……………..

-The whole eggplant thing was a feeble attempt to make me look more cultured than I actually am, as well as make a quick comment about global warming. Also I wanted to add some humor into the scene. I don’t know if I tried to cram too many things all into one segment.

-The title roughly translated to English, for you non Chinese/Japanese readers, is ‘The Quartet of the Jeweled General.’ 玉将 is the king piece on a shogi board on the challengers side [according to Wikipedia…] I chose this one instead of the Gold General for reasons that should in theory become clear sometime later on…

-That’s all for now, I plan on having the next chapter out hopefully by the middle of next month ish… I hope you all enjoyed this segment of the story.