Author: Higurazel PM
Wingshipping Mai Kujaku X Harpie Lady . In a brutally hot Summer after the events of Battle City, Mai can't shake the feeling that she's being watched...Rated: Fiction T - English - Drama/Mystery - Mai K. & Harpie Lady - Words: 1,593 - Reviews: 5 - Favs: 1 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-09-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7622694
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I wake up.
Sickening heat, stifling and trying to choke me. I can feel air heavy with early morning sunlight and sweat weighing down on me. The sheets feel slick, soaked, unbearable against skin glazed in perspiration.
I roll over, kicking off the remaining sheets, hoping for any small amount of cooling. No such luck. This Summer will be the end of me, I know it. The photograph on my bedside dresser is back up again. I swear I hadn't touched it again since I had thrown it to the ground almost a week ago, only just stopping myself from stamping on it in my rage.
Faces smiling across at me.
And there, right at the end, my own eyes staring out at me. My own lips pulled into a smile of genuine joy. I feel like retching. I reach out to bat the photograph from it's perch, but I just can't reach. I settle for a long, agonised sigh. I don't want to get out of bed this early, but there's no chance of getting back to sleep with the heat like this.
I get out of bed and head for the bathroom. From outside my window, a bird takes flight, fluttering noises drifting into the burning air.
It takes me far too long to find the right temperature in the shower. I want it cold, to refresh me and bring some relief from the hell of Summer, but too far and it's just too painful to stand under the water. I find a happy medium, eventually, cleansing myself of sweat and dirt and guilt. I stand in the cascade for what feels like forever, my long, thick hair heavy with water, plastered against my back and shoulders.
It seems ridiculous to have to leave and go back to the heat blanket of the outside world.
I switch off the shower.
I get dressed.
My duelist attire, a perfect choice for a day like today. I slip on the purple jacket and a twinge hits my brain. I remember the blimp. The air rushing past. Fire. Sand. Enclosing walls pushing ever inwards... I swallow, shake my head. I let it pass. Straightening everything, I shut the wardrobe, making to leave.
For the second time, something takes flight from outside my window. Wings beat as something flutters upwards.
Breakfast isn't anything fancy. A cup of coffee and a few slices of toast at the café I always frequent. I pick up a newspaper and leaf through it, but my eyes just seem to dance over every word. I finish a page and realise I haven't taken in any of it's content, my mind just refusing to process anything. I don't know if it's from the lack of sleep or if I'm just not with it today, but either way I put it to the back of my mind and lean back in the seat, gazing out into the street from behind my sunglasses.
Sunlight glares off of nearby cars, harsh and white. The streets already filling with people looking hot, tired, frustrated.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see a group of guys at a table on the other side of the café motioning towards me. Talking excitedly. Fans. I roll my eyes and finish the coffee, leaving my money on the table and stepping back outside. A tickling sensation against my neck and my hand reflexively snatches at it. A feather. Huge and a vibrant green. I look up, but there's no sign of what shed it. Without thinking too much about it, I slip the feather into the pocket of my jacket and keep walking.
I don't know exactly where I want to go. At first it's anywhere with air conditioning. Anywhere that will sell a cooling drink. I drift from building to building, store to store.
Every step under the harsh glare of the morning sun leaves me feeling uncomfortable. Not just from the brutal heat, but from the sensation that I'm being watched. Crowds of people mill about, travelling in every direction. Their eyes are everywhere. Some looking straight ahead. Some staring at the concrete beneath them. Everyone in a hurry, wanting to get into some shade. To get away from the merciless touch from above.
I keep wandering.
I take a seat on a bench beneath an old and warped tree at the centre of Domino City's park. It's almost completely deserted. A few people pass by every now and again, mostly old couples, but they seem to be on their way very quickly. Everyone rushing. It's beginning to get on my nerves. I just feel like sitting back. Stopping. I start to unscrew the cap on the bottle of water I bought, blood pounding in my ears. My head feels like it's a few sizes too small, and I'm sure a few gulps of cold water will fix everything.
For a moment, I feel the ground calmly drift away from underneath me.
The bench melts away.
The pressure in my head subsides.
My vision blurs. Darkens.
In the instant before I pass out, I feel that familiar sensation of something soft tickling against my neck.
It's dark when I wake up.
It can't be night yet, the sun won't be going down till at least nine tonight. A quick glance at my watch tells me I've been out for five hours. I groan and rub my aching head, quickly downing the contents of the water bottle. I look up as I drink, taking in the sight of the darkest stormclouds gathering above. I shift my weight and I feel a pressure on my lap. My head snaps down and I see the book, carefully placed atop my thighs, corners of glossy paper poking from between pages at it's centre.
I reach down and cautiously open the book, it's blank cover crackling as though it hadn't been handled in decades. I turn it straight to the page with the inserts, the makeshift bookmarks.
They slide out when I reach the page.
Photograph after photograph tumbling to the grass.
Me walking home last night, shot from some kind of high window.
Lying in bed this morning, the gauze of sheets wrapped about me like a purple sea.
Slipping on my jacket, one hand at my forehead, my face creased in pain.
Finally, another high-up shot of me sipping at a cup of coffee in my regular café.
The chill that passes through my body should be a welcome relief after the heat of the day. It isn't. I feel my stomach tightening, my knuckles turning white as I grip hold of the book. I look down to see a green feather piercing the page, right at the centre of another photograph. This one is of an old building in it's long-gone prime. A museum on the outskirts of Domino City, abandoned a few decades ago after some kind of scandal with the curator.
I slam the book closed.
I snatch up the photographs from the grass.
I start to march on the road out of town.
The thunderstorm has started by the time I arrive. Sheets of rain devastate the ground around me, lashing my skin and stinging my eyes. I don't care. A rumble and a crash from above, wind giving a sickening screech as it passes by.
The museum squats at the end of the pathway, ugly, monstrous. No light coming from the immense windows that flank the main entrance.
I take the stairs two at a time, closing on the door like it's a hated enemy. I shove my hands against it. As much resistance as I would expect. The previous owners had left it locked up tight, sealing the whole building like some enormous tomb. I scowl and hurriedly make my way around the walls of the museum, searching for a side entrance. An open window. A grating leading to a basement.
My luck comes after only a few minutes of searching, a side door that had been kicked in long ago, the bottom half resting against rusted hinges. I squeeze myself inside, coughing at the sudden intake of dust-filled air. I wave my hand in front of my face, clearing some breathing space, letting my eyes adjust to the lack of light. The first thing they focus on is the trail of feathers leading up a flight of stairs to my right. Large and green, burning themselves into the forefront of my vision. I'm in motion before I realise it, flinging myself up the stairs, my feet pounding at the wood and knocking the feathers into the air.
The staircase ends in a heavy looking oak door. Gritting my teeth, I grip the iron handle and tug on it, swinging the whole thing open with more ease than I was expecting.
A balcony greeted me on the other side, overlooking a vast garden, bright flowers and thick grass quickly flooding with the efforts of the storm.
I step to the edge of the balcony, looking out into the garden.
That same fluttering. Wing beats. Disrupted air.
With a herald of falling feathers, she descends...