I open my eyes to gaze at the deep blue sea in front of me, the rays of the bright sun glisten and reflect in the water as the hot beach sand burns my bare feet, only for the cool waves to come crashing onto the shore soon after, relieving my feet of the sand's burning sensation as the water reaches up to my knees.
I look down at my body. Small. Tiny. Puny. Weak. Underdeveloped muscles. Bones with a durability compared to that of a tree branch. My skin slightly tanned from the sun's harsh rays. My body is that of a child. A little girl no older than six, to be precise.
The salty sea air blows swiftly through my short, light brown hair as I continue to stare at the ocean before me, the sounds of the waves and the glistening reflections of the sun keeping me in a trance as I sigh contently.
Most girls my age are delighted by the sight of the water, eager to laugh and play within it. Me? I'm not. Don't get me wrong. I like the ocean, but seeing it doesn't make me giggle and squeal in joy like all the other children. In fact, I don't think I've ever really felt such an emotion. Joy. Never felt happiness either, now that I think about it.
I know fully well what this emotion is and can easily replicate it to fool onlookers, but deep down… I don't think I even have the capacity for such a feeling. I don't know why this is. It's just who I am.
Sadness though. Crying. Hurt. Pain. I know those feelings all too well. I've grown up with them my whole life and understand them better than anything else.
My mind is really… really mean to me. Cruel. Heartless even. Shouting and snarling at me constantly. Berating me for my mistakes. Laughing at me for my incompetence. My ineptitude. Always trying to force little rain clouds over me. Making me doubt myself. Making me doubt others.
Making me want to end myself…
I think my mind hates me. Hates me so much that it wants me to kill myself.
I know it's not right for a child of my age to feel this way. I should be telling somebody about this. My friends. My teachers at school. My mother or father but… they'd just laugh at me. I know they would. Even if they do show concern… the voice in my head says that concern is born of pity. I don't like being pitied.
These little rain clouds loom over me twenty-four seven, raining their terrible shower of self hatred on me. However… recently, I met this boy… This special boy who makes the rain clouds go away, if only for awhile.
We met in kindergarten. Some of the other girls were being really unfriendly to me, their very being filled with a bitterness I didn't even think a child would be capable of holding. Then he showed up. Came as soon as I started crying.
He told them to take a hike, whatever that meant. Then he shouted some other word at them. I didn't understand what it meant, but I have heard some adults use it against each other from time to time. Apparently it's a very nasty word. It made those evil girls run away and cry almost as hard as I did. Then the boy came and hugged me.
That was all he did. Just hugged me. Wrapped his tiny arms around me and held me close. Told me those girls would never bother me again as long as he was around. After releasing me, he declared me his friend and spent the rest of class with me. Ever since then, we've been inseparable.
That was mainly on my part. Unlike other boys who I found disgusting and irritating at the time, I wanted to be closer to this one. I yearned for him to be near me in order to keep my mind quiet. He seems to scare it into silent submission just like he did with those girls. Makes those horrible rain clouds go away too, if only for a little while. When he's near me… I can almost feel a smile creep up on me. Not like fake ones I use to trick my parents. These ones are real, honest to goodness smiles. Happiness.
But only when he's around. When he's gone… the voices in my mind come back. And they get angry. The rain clouds return as furious storms and my mind turns downright murderous towards me. It hates him. Hates what he does to me. Hates how he protects me. It tells me to stay away. Says he's only my friend because he feels bad for me. Says he'll grow to hate me if I get too attached.
It even says he might try hurt me.
But I pay the voice in my head no mind. I give it no attention. I know it's only trying to trick me into doing what it wants. It's trying to make me feel just as scared as it feels when he's around. Ironically, that only makes me want to be near him more. My mind was an enemy I could never fight back against. But with him around… I don't need to. He does all the fighting for me.
"Sayori!" I hear his voice shout loudly in the distance, freeing me from my trance as I turn around to see him standing a good few feet behind me, dressed in his neon green beach shorts and white shirt, waving his arms up into the air as he calls to me.
I put on a small smile as I leave the shoreline of the beach, walking over to him.
"What is it, Aaron?" I ask the boy as I approach him, seeing the excited look on his face, as if he made some great discovery that he had to share with me. My smile widens at the thought of that, knowing that when Aaron gets that look on his face, we're in for an adventure.
"I found it, Sayori!" He says, the volume in his voice still as loud as before, shouting as if I'm still far away, even though I'm right in front of him.
"It!" He says as he grabs me by the wrist, pulling me with him as we dash through the beach, leaving our prints in the sand as we make our way to the shoreline only to go round a ridge. It was then he showed me what it was.
"A cave?" I ask, confused as I look at him, puzzled as to what was so special. I guessed a cave on the beach was special in it's own right, but I'd hardly see it as the amazing revelation he made it out to be. "What's so special about a cave?" I ask again, skepticism clear on my face.
"It's not the cave that's special. It's what's inside, you big dummy!" Aaron says excitedly, his smile never fading away, even after apparently insulting me.
"I can't see anything" I respond as I squint hardly at the entrance shrouded in darkness.
"That's the point! We've got no idea what's in there! It could be treasure!" Aaron assumes, under the delusion that riches were hidden within.
"Or vicious animals" I say, my assumption much closer to reality. Aaron's happy smile is then replaced with a light scowl, scolding me silently for destroying his little fantasy. "Sorry…" I apologize meekly, hanging my head down low.
"You're such a downer, Sayori" He says to me. "Still though, animals or not, there's got to be something cool in there" Aaron assumes again, my head slowly picking back up as my mind ponders the idea.
"Maybe…" I say.
"Well, we won't know until we check it out. Even if there's nothing in there. At least we got to go on an adventure, right? Now let's go!"
"Wait!" I shout as I grab Aaron by the wrist, stopping him from entering. "What if… What if there really are animals in there? I don't want you to get hurt" I say to him, showing my concern for his health. "I don't wanna get hurt either" I add.
Aaron stands still for a moment, thinking on my words silently, his hands crossed and his foot tapping rhythmically on the sand. His face then lights up as he looks past me, having a eureka moment.
"I'll just use that!" He points to the object behind me, a small wooden sword planted in the sand. Most likely a toy left behind by another child. "If anything tries to hurt us, I'll just beat 'em up with this!" He says as he walks over, his small hands gripping the wooden hilt as he pulls it out of the sand before swinging it left and right, trying to get a good feel for the weight of his new toy. "Don't worry, Sayori. I'll protect you!" He says confidently, sword in hand. My breath almost immediately gets caught in my throat after hearing that, my cheeks quickly turning red with embarrassment.
"Wha-What's that supposed to mean?! You're… You're really silly, Aaron!" I say with a pout as I turn my face from him, trying to hide my sudden embarrassment.
"I just can't win with you today, can I?" He asks, sighing at his failure to reassure me. "Well, if you don't wanna come, that's okay. I'll just go on the adventure without you. See you back at the house, Sayori!" He adds cheerfully as he walks past me, entering the dark cave armed with nothing but the wooden sword, confident in his ability to protect himself from any and all dangers that could be lurking.
It's now been a good twenty seconds since he left, and already I can feel the rain clouds return. They begin to push awful thoughts in my head. Thoughts too horrible for my young mind to be experiencing, so much so that I don't even have the words to describe them. And then it hits me…
What if Aaron dies in there because I didn't go into the cave with him? What if those vicious animals are too much for him to handle alone?! What if he falls down a ledge and gets hurt?! What if the cave collapses and leaves him trapped alone inside?!
"H-Hey! Wait for me, Aaron!"
"What the hell am I thinking?! I can't show them this!" Sayori realized in a frustrated tone as she ripped the page out of her notebook, crumbling up the short story she had just written before throwing it across her bedroom, watching it fall into the small waste bin where it belonged.
She then grunted in aggravation as she plopped back down in her desk chair, her hands covering her face as she breathed deeply, trying to calm herself. "Why is this always so hard?" She asked herself as she leaned into the chair, her hands still covering her face.
It's hard because you're a pathetic waste of skin! Everything you do is nothing more then a miserable failure! That's your life in a nutshell basically! Answer honestly now, how the hell did you become president of a literature club when you barely know how to put together a paragraph?!
Sayori sighed as she swatted the negative thoughts away, trying her best to pay the hurtful voices no mind as she got to work writing her new story, being extra careful with this one.
Sayori was the current president and founder of the literature club at her high school, having formed the club over two months ago. It wasn't much of a club though. More of a group, only having the bare minimum amount of members to be considered official. Only four, Sayori included.
She had no idea why she wanted to go out of her way to start a brand new club, especially for something like literature, which until recently, she'd never even shown an interest in. But she ended up starting it anyway.
She couldn't explain it but it just felt… right. Like this was what she was supposed to be doing. Like this was what she needed to do. And she'd be lying if she said she didn't like it. Since it was relatively small when compared to some of the larger clubs, managing it was a breeze. And she had made a few new friends upon starting the club. Friends that… were much more fitting of the title of president then her. Friends who were much more passionate about literature then she was.
Still though. What was done, was done. Sayori was president of the literature club, and so she'd try her best to fit the role and meet the requirements… even if it was mentally exhausting for her.
"Okay. You can do this. Just… start writing and everything will come to you naturally. Just… think happy thoughts. Happy thoughts. Happy… thoughts" She chanted before breathing deeply, her pen clutched tightly between her fingers as she continued writing her new story.
Yesterday, Sayori had given everyone the assignment of writing a short story as a way of expressing themselves through their work, as well as making them more open to the idea of sharing such work. This was a literature club after all. However, the various members of the club weren't very keen on actually talking about or discussing literature.
For the most part, everyone just sat in the club room, silently tending to their own business while barely interacting with each other. One of the members didn't even start talking until recently.
Sayori wanted to change that. She wanted to grow close to her club members and wanted them to grow close to her. She also wanted her club to grow as well. And the first step towards achieving that goal was to make sure the club actually fulfilled its purpose, which was for the discussion and sharing of literature. Even though that was the main objective, most of the club members were incredibly introverted, which obviously got in the way of the whole sharing and discussion thing. Sayori had hoped that by getting the club members to share a bit of their writing, she could fix this problem while allowing her members to slowly open up to each other.
"Okay… that should do it" She said as she set her pen down on the desk, the ink within used to write a brand new story upon the pages of her notebook.
This new one was even worst then her last.
It was very happy, of course. Had that feel good vibe that Sayori was known for but… the wording and language is so basic and simple that a child could easily replicate it. Maybe even write something better. And don't even get started on the plot. If Sayori's writing skills won't be criticized for this, her lack of imagination and talent for wordplay definitely will, especially by the club's more… passionate member.
"I should just throw this one away too!"
"Sayori! Wake up, dear! Your breakfast is ready!" Her mother's voice called out from below, Sayori's head tilting to the side in confusion.
Breakfast? But it was the middle of the night? Who makes breakfast at… unless…
"I've been up for nine hours straight?!" Sayori shouted in panic as she looked at the alarm clock by her bedside, the sight of the early morning sun peering in through the window confirming her fear. She's been at this for that long? So much so that the entire night passed her by?! She wasted an entire night's rest just to pen a stupid story?!
"Sayori?" Her mother called again.
"I'll be down in a minute!" She shouted to her door as she quickly stood up from her desk, racing into her closet to retrieve her school's uniform. A white undershirt with a navy blue short skirt as well as a brown sweater vest and matching blazer with a red bow to tie around the collar.
After hastily putting on her uniform, she sprinted out of her room and into the bathroom, frantically brushing her teeth with the speed and power of a machine before quickly running a brush through her hair. She then returned to her room, facing her desk as she gazed down at her notebook, the page of the freshly written yet horrible story still open.
"It'll just have to do" She sighed as she tore the page out, folded it and put it in the pocket of her blazer. She then grabbed her book bag and made her way downstairs, quickly eating her breakfast before leaving for school.
"Have a good day at school, sweetie!" Her mother said, waving goodbye as Sayori left the house.
"I'll try… I always try" She said under her breath as she walked out the door, ready but not exactly willing to face the day ahead of her.
"She's late again" A young man stated in a frustrated tone as he stood beside the crossing at the end of the street, rhythmically tapping his foot as he waited. He than sighed as he ran a hand through his short brown hair. "She told me she wouldn't oversleep again" He said to himself, reciting the broken promise she made yesterday.
She always did this. Ever since they were little kids, Sayori would always find a way to be late for just about anything, be it the walk to school or important events. Honestly, the boy who stood waiting didn't understand why he'd expected anything different.
He had hoped that his dear childhood friend would finally be motivated to wake up on time, now that she was in a position of authority and leadership, forcing her to serve as an example to others. But no. No such thing was in the cards. Even after two whole months of leading the literature club, President Sayori is as lazy and inconsiderate as ever.
The young man sighed again as he checked the time on his cell phone. Class starts in five minutes and he can only barely make it to the school's front gate in four. As much as he wanted to stay and wait, he sadly couldn't.
"Wait! Aaron! Wait for me!" Sayori yelled loudly as she ran towards him, giving the boy a name as she sprinted, flailing her arms around without so much as a care for anyone who was watching, Aaron sighing for a third time as he continued to stand and wait, Sayori eventually catching up to him, collapsing onto her knees as she breathed heavily, exhausted from the running. "Sorry… Lost track of time" She said, giving a pathetic justification for her tardiness.
"Overslept again?" Aaron assumed, looking down at the exhausted girl as he pulled out a bottle of water from his book bag, offering it to Sayori. "You made a promise that you'd start waking up on time" He added as Sayori's eyes lit up at the sight of the bottle from his hands, eagerly snatching it from his grasp and taking big gulps in order to rehydrate.
"Thanks. And I didn't oversleep this time! I underslept…" She stated after she guzzled down every last drop, small streams of the water having spilled down her face, dripping onto her uniform. "Stood up all night working on the assignment" She continued. "What about you? You get your story done, Aaron?" She asked as she looked up at him, still slightly exhausted from her sprint.
"Yeah yeah" Aaron said in a dismissive tone, a telling sign that he probably didn't take the assignment his president had given him seriously. "Wrote it just before going to sleep and spell checked it twice this morning" He stated.
"That's great to hear! Knowing you, I bet it came out amazingly well! I can't wait to read it!" Sayori said with a wide smile, giving praise towards a story she hadn't even read yet. She honestly didn't care whether Aaron did take his writing seriously or not. The story could be as bad as hers, yet she'd still give praise and encouragement. She was just happy that Aaron had followed through with the assignment and was able to involve himself in the club's activities. "I'm so proud of you!" She added.
"Um… Thanks, I guess. How'd yours come out?"
"Mine came out great!" Sayori stated proudly, her bright, happy smile still visible for Aaron to see. "I'm sure everyone's going to love it! And even if they don't, that's okay. This isn't really supposed to impress anybody anyway. It's just a way of helping us loosen up a little around each other" She stated, explaining the purpose of the club assignment to Aaron. "It's not a competition, you know?"
"Yeah. I know" He said as Sayori picked herself up, the two of them now walking side by side as they made their way to school. "I'm kinda glad it's not a competition honestly. Yuri would crush us" Aaron joked, Sayori and him chuckling a little at the truth in that statement.
"We'd get destroyed the moment she started reading" She added, her giggling stopping as her head slowly turned it's gaze down at her feet, her smile fading away from her face. "She's… a lot better at it than us" Sayori said in a low, meek tone, somewhat intimidated by the writing skills of one particular member.
"Something wrong?" Aaron asked, noticing the change in his childhood friend's behavior.
"Aaron… I know you've only been in the club for a few weeks but… Do you think I'm a good president?" Sayori asked as she looked Aaron in the eyes, seeing his head tilt to the side slightly as he pondered such a question.
"What makes you ask that?" He questioned. "Is something wrong?"
"N-No. Nothing! Nothing at all! It's just… The others. Sometimes I think they're more deserving of the position, you know? They're much more passionate about this stuff than me. They could write full on novels in a week. I stood up all night just trying to get a short story done. I could never match their skill. Makes me think… Maybe one of the others would be more fit-"
"Yuri would get nervous and cave under the pressure and Natsuki's too stubborn to handle the responsibility" Aaron said bluntly, a firm look on his face as Sayori turned to him, shocked to hear him say such statements about his fellow club members, even if they were true.
The way he said it though… so blunt and sure. It was as if Aaron knew the other girls so well to the point where he understood their thought patterns, allowing him to make accurate predictions of their performances as president based solely on previously shown behavior.
What was odd about this for Sayori though, was the fact that Aaron was still relatively new to the club, being in it for only two weeks, thereby not on such a personal level with the other members to warrant such a judge of their characters. In fact, Sayori found it a bit rude of him to just dismiss them as poor choices for the position of president.
"And how do you know that, exactly?" She asked.
"I… dunno" Aaron said in a shocked tone, stopping dead in his tracks as his fingers hovered over his mouth, as if he was trying to catch the very words he spoke.
Why did he say that? Why did he just suddenly dismiss his fellow club members capabilities without even attempting to think on it? He assured himself that it wasn't for some mean spirited reason. It wasn't out of spitefulness or hatred for them. He just… assumed that would be how they acted and his gut told him that his assumption was right.
He found it very odd that he was able to make such an accurate and head on statement, given how little he knew of his club members.
"I just… It just came out. I-I'm sorry. I didn't mean anything bad by it, really!" He said, quickly making sure to apologize for such behavior, talking bad about his club members behind their backs. And to the president of all people!
"Relax, Aaron. It's fine" Sayori dismissed, her smile returning as she took Aaron's hand into her own, motioning for them to continue their walk. "I think you may be right about them though. I can imagine them acting like that" She added as the both of them soon arrived at the front gate, walking through and entering school grounds.
"Well, here we are" Aaron said as they entered the main building, seeing the large amount of students filling the halls, walking to classes, fiddling with lockers, talking. The air in the hall feeling heavy. Hard to swallow. Claustrophobic.
"Catch you after class?" Sayori asked after rummaging through her locker, a small stack of books, folders and other necessities clutched to her chest.
"Yeah. Goodbye" Aaron waved as the two parted ways, walking to their separate classes.