|An August Afternoon
Author: silentmusic16 PM
During his final summer, Roxas is left alone. And then he spots a moving truck...Au, both a writing exercise and a tribute to FLCL. Title changed from "A Low August Afternoon Sun". Completed.Rated: Fiction T - English - Friendship - Roxas & Naminé - Words: 2,262 - Reviews: 4 - Favs: 3 - Follows: 1 - Published: 06-25-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7118822
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
To cut right to the chase, this story is two things. A kind-of tribute to the anime Fooly Cooly (FLCL) in tone, mood, and setting (if you've seen the show, I want you to imagine the town in this as the town from the show. That's what I did when I wrote it). It's also a writing exercise on fleshing out character history/origin, set-building, and pacing*. Not much else to say besides...
Late afternoon. Thin white clouds drifted past the low-hanging sun. A warm wind breezed through the trees, tousled my hair. The smell of the not-too-far-off city was carried on that breeze; car exhaust, restaurants, people. But here in the suburbs, the scent mixed with that of trees and dusty roads. There was nothing to do here. There never was.
I was standing on my balcony, overlooking the town. In between the spaced-out houses were clumps of trees. Behind the town, a small, forest covered mountain. I went there sometimes, usually with friends. But with it being the summer of my senior year, no one was around. Everyone was vacationing or they already headed off to their college. I, on the other hand, had nowhere to go. Day in and day out I'd hang out in my room or I'd walk the town (which wasn't very big at all).
Sometimes, if I was really bored, I'd play my bass. Just a few bass lines here and there, things I picked up from songs. Once in a while I'd make up my own, but I wouldn't remember them the next day. Such is the life of the undedicated artist.
Anyway, that day was sometime in early August. A month after that, I'd be at my new school, 'eagerly' awaiting four years of mind-numbing work and being surrounded by idiots. But in this day and age, not going to college was crazy.
I was looking over the town when I spotted a moving truck pull into the driveway of a house a few blocks from mine. This instantly grabbed my attention; new people didn't show up here very often. I watched intently as the truck stopped and the exhaust traveled slowly up to the sky. Out of the driver's seat, a man with short blond hair walked to the back of the truck and opened it. Even from my view, I could tell that they didn't have much furniture. From the passenger's seat, a girl with blonde hair to the length of her back hopped out of the truck clutching what looked like a drawing pad close to her chest.
A new girl? I thought to myself. She looks like she's my age too. Maybe I should introduce myself.
I pulled myself from watching as the man and a few helpers began pulling out the new people's belongings and I slipped on my sneakers. No one was home with me, so I wrote a note to my parents that I was going out and that I took some of the flowers from the garden as a housewarming gift. My phone had fallen into the near-by river, and so I couldn't call them until I got a new one.
I took my time walking to the girl's house and I tried enjoying the same scenery I'd looked at for 18 years. It didn't work. Still, by the time I got there, the moving truck had disappeared and the house was all closed up. Not even a window was open on a day with such beautiful weather.
With the back of my knuckle I knocked on the wooden front door. Come to think of it, but I didn't even know the people who used to live here. Hell, I didn't even know that they were selling their house. Which was weird, considering how close everyone in this town is to each other.
After about 2 minutes, I knocked again. This time I heard someone in the house ask "Namine, can you please get the door". A few moments later, the door opened and I was faced to face with the blonde girl I'd seen earlier.
"Um…" I rubbed the back of my neck. "You guys are new, right? I'm Roxas Hikari. Nice to meet you." I held out my hand for a handshake. The girl took my hand and shook it lightly. Her palm was as soft as a feather.
She smiled. "Hi. I'm Namine Grey. And yes, my father and I just moved in today."
No mention of her mother, huh? Were they divorced? Was she dead? Was that why they didn't have many belongings? Obviously, I didn't ask those questions.
For a few moments we stood their awkwardly before I remembered the flowers in my hand. "Here," She gingerly took them from my hand. "They're a housewarming gift. I would've brought over something better, but my parents weren't home."
"No, they're beautiful. They're perfectly fine!"
"So, uh…would you like a tour of the town?" I asked. Giving her a tour was the nice thing to do. Plus, I was bored out of my mind; it'd be good to talk to someone new.
"Um, lemme ask, okay?"
I hardly had time to nod before the house door closed. Inside, I could hear faint voices. Probably her asking her father.
After a few minutes the door opened again, and Namine stood there with her drawing pad held close to the side of her body. "Ready?"
"Yep." I nodded and lead the way.
I took Namine all over town. To the restaurants, to the communities, to the best stores. She stared in awe at my simple city, but I couldn't really blame her; it was all new to her.
"So, where'd you come from?" I asked as we passed the town's post office.
"The city. My father and I lived in an apartment, but when I um…well, anyway, we thought that the air might be cleaner here."
I really, really wanted to ask her what she was going to say. Why did she come here? Whatever that reason was had to have been important if she wouldn't tell me. But I couldn't just come out and ask like that, so I bit my tongue.
"I see. I've lived here all my life and I've gotten sick maybe…three times in total? The air really is cleaner here. I think it's got something to do with the sea breeze that blows in from the sea to the south. We're actually pretty close to the beach, if you didn't know already."
"We are? I love the beach! It's usually so peaceful." Namine got very excited when I mentioned the beach. In my mind, I made a note to take her one day this summer.
"I know just what you mean."
At the end of the tour we went to the bridge. The bridge was more like an overpass, actually, as it passed over the bridge and connected us to the roads leading to the city. It was another place I really liked to go, mainly because looking out at the river was something that I enjoyed doing.
Namine and I sat next to each other, feet hanging off the edge and water bottles in our hands. Behind us, the sun was even lower in the sky than when I had first seen the moving truck, and now the sky was lit up in bright oranges and pinks and reds.
"Red sky in morning, sailors take warning. Red sky at night, sailor's delight." Namine said out of the blue. There was the small hint of a smile on her face.
"It's an old saying my mother taught me. Basically, it means that if the sky is red in the morning, a storm is coming. If there's a red sky at night, there would be good weather."
"Oh. Is it true? Does it work?" I hope it doesn't. If the weather stays like it has all week, I swear I'll go crazy. Four days that look the same and feel the same might as well be one long day.
"Mhm. It's never failed me, anyway."
Again there was silence between us.
"So…" I began. "Why'd you say you moved out here?" I had to get the truth. She was quiet for a few minutes.
"I…I've recently developed the same disease my mother died from when I was 5. It has something to do with the way air is filtered through my lungs. Anyway, the city's air was too dirty and smoggy for me to stay healthy, so my dad moved us out here. There'll still be complications, though. I can't escape this that easily."
"Oh. I'm sorry I asked. Is there anything that can be done?" Honestly, I was a bit sorry that I asked. And I did feel bad for her. But when I get curious about something, well, nothing can stop me from finding out. It was surprisingly easy to get the truth out of Namine.
"Not that my doctor's know of. I'm just not supposed to exert myself or breathe bad air. That's all I can do."
The conversation dropped off and I looked over at her. Namine was wearing a simple white sundress and sandals, her feet kicking back and forth slowly as they hung over the edge of the bridge. She was pretty, though you could tell that there was something wrong with her, physically. She took sharp, quick, unnatural breaths and they seemed to cause some sort of strain on her body. I wonder what damage just walking with me could've caused.
"What's with the drawing pad?"
"This?" she picked up the brown-covered notebook and showed me the outside. "I draw a lot, mainly because I can't do much else. But drawing's fun, so I don't mind. I'm actually going to college in the Fall for an art degree."
So she is my age I thought.
"I'm going to college in the Fall as well, but for an English degree." I added.
"Up north. Twilight Town Uni. You?"
"Same." She gave me a great big smile, then leaned her head on my shoulder. "Thanks for being nice and showing me around today. You really didn't need to."
We sat there for a long while and stared at the fiery reflection of the sun on the river. I heard her yawn a few times before I decided that it was time to go back.
"See you tomorrow?" I asked at her door.
"Perhaps." A playful, teasing smirk. I returned it before walking back to my own house.
When I got home, my parents still weren't back from my relatives' place. Crickets chirped in the deep blue darkness. It was the night of a new moon and, while there wasn't actually a moon to speak of, the stars were still shining brightly down on the town. From a distance, I could vaguely make out the lights of the city. Do they see the stars too? Is Namine looking at them too?
It doesn't really matter, does it? I concluded.
I was back on my balcony, staring out at the stars and the town around me. Maybe this summer would continue being boring. Maybe I'd spend my final summer before I entered the "real world" bored out of my mind. But with Namine, maybe we could be bored together.
Not too far off in the distance, the sound of the flowing river droned on. The warm breeze from earlier returned. The smell of the city wasn't as strong, though it was still present. All around me, there was stillness. I was in my own bubble of thoughts and stars. And I imagined Namine was in her own bubble.
We could be bored…together.
No, it isn't the most revolutionary thing I've ever written. Yes, it does have some problems (mainly with dialog, in my opinion). But I was in the mood to write something, I was just watching part of my second run of FLCL (which I love), and I was listening to the OST(s) and this little oneshot popped out. I'd recommend the show (although, I warn you, it's crazy and it makes no sense, but it was written by GAINAX, so there's not much else to expect), especially the dub (and I'm usually a sub guy myself).
* - For instance of the pacing thing (which I felt needed some explaining), take Namine's reveal of her condition and her mother's death. Normally I would've revealed all that when the question of "Why'd you move here" came up, but I wanted to add a bit of mystery and drama and mood. I didn't want to come out with it right there when I normally did. Did I do well, if you get what I'm saying.
Anyway, reviews and critique are greatly appreciated. Even if it's just a sentence or two, that's fine with me. Don't feel shy to tell me what you thought, even if you hated it, hahaha!