In My LifeUpdated Message as of 9.5.06- In My Life, Year 1, is pretty much complete in my book. So, Chapters 1-32 are the old versions, and Chapters 33 onward are the new versions of the chapters, all cleaned up to make the plot work better. So that means Chapter 33 is really Chapter 1, again. I've had stuff written at the beginning of the story that I thought was going to pan out later, but it didn't. So in the new version, it's really cleaned up so the plot as a whole is more effective. So you can go ahead and read the old versions, or wait for the new versions to be posted. In either case, I hope you enjoy it.
"I swear this has to be one of the most depressing places in the world. At first, it seemed kind of romantic. That romanticism was just a short-lived novelty, and after it faded with new found hopes and dreams, you were left with the grim reality that you were trapped in a nowhere land. This place is pretty much cut off from the rest of the world. What would I want with this place? Why did I come here? Sure, the place seems beautiful and quaint, but what does that matter?"
--From Makoto's Journal
He had wandered a far way away from the realm he was supposed to exist in, starving and stumbling as he staggered down a road for miles and miles forever. He was a man who was still a boy, detached and searching on, never planning on settling down. Strapped across his tattered forest green uniform was a ragged knapsack, carrying his few material possessions that he didn't care for. Oblivious to the pain his feet were screaming out in, he continued, determined to reach some goal.
He stopped to lay down in a quiet meadow, staring at his disheveled face in the clear water. He was far enough as was from civilization, safe in the sanctuary of nature from every bit of hell he had to die each day through. Reaching into his knapsack, he pulled the paper that coalesced as his one speck of attachment to the world, reading the crisp words to no one.
Signed by the old man.
He never reached his goal. The wanderer dragged his shell throughout the graveyard of dreams. Debris littered what he once remembered as simple, idyllic beauty. Now it was a heavy sight, a heaving sigh escaped his lungs as he stopped dead.
A short and squat red coated man strode into the deadlands. He popped the brim of his matching top hat up to see the wanderer blankly staring at the fields.
There was a rule in this town. No one EVER trespasses on the deadlands.
The mayor plunged in to defend the honor of the deadlands. He zoomed up to the wanderer, screaming wildly at him.
"WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE!"
The height difference was ridiculous. The tall and lanky wanderer turned around indifferently, staring down at the little man. The little man stood at his feet staring up at the unfamiliar face.
Cold, emotionless, almond-shaped gray eyes set on pale skin and a strong jaw. His light brown hair was damp, messy and matted to his forehead.
The little man calmed down a bit, his face fading from the shade of his bright red nose to a fleshy color, and began again.
"You can't trespass here. This land belongs to somebody."
The wanderer stared down again.
"Leave right now," the little man capped.
The wanderer reached into his knapsack, and pulled out a letter, holding it in the little man's face.
"I responded to this. He never wrote back," the wanderer uttered curtly.
Taking the letter gently in both hands, the little man began to read carefully. His eyebrows drooped, and his mouth hung open as he read the words.
"So you knew the old man?" he asked the wanderer with concern.
The wanderer nodded. The little man looked away.
"He died a while back, you know."
He took it slowly, but the wanderer nodded as his eyes flashed a sign of his pain.
The little man looked to the deadlands.
"This was, at one point, his prosperous farm. It really was the soul of our village here." He turned back to the wanderer. "Now I don't know what it'll come to. He left it to a lad in his will… a lad named Sergeant Makoto Ogawa. But what if he never shows up?"
The wanderer glanced quickly at the little man when he said that. Turning away, he said quickly.
The little man looked completely floored.
The little man nodded, trying to regain his control again.
"I'm Mayor Thomas," he said, extending a friendly hand to Makoto. Makoto shook it. "Well, let's go down to my house. I'll show you the will."
Makoto stood in Mayor Thomas's house while the little man sifted through his desk. As he watched the fading light of the sun through the windows, his stomach cried for some attention. Thomas finally found the document, pulling it out of a large envelope.
"If you please, Sergeant, take a seat."
Makoto sat down immediately across from Thomas as he sat down himself, cleared his throat, and began to talk to Makoto.
"So, how old are you?"
Thomas arched an eyebrow.
"A Sergeant at seventeen? That's the minimum draft age!"
"Military academy. Graduated recently. Promoted to Sergeant."
He accepted it, and continued, talking underneath his poofy, brown moustache.
"He left the farm to you, that's true. But he also wrote that he wanted to give you a choice. You could live and work on the farm if you wanted, but you were free to go if this wasn't what you desired." He paused.
"The thing is, if you did choose to work on the farm, he strongly desired that you get along with the villagers as well. He left it up to the villagers to decide whether or not they approved of you as the rightful owner of the farm and a member of this village. Because you know, you will be one of us from now on if you agree."
"I can't let the old man's farm go like that."
"It's a tough job, isn't it?" He nodded. "I'm going to go call a town meeting."
Makoto waited at the farm for the Mayor to return with the news of the meeting, shoving his hands into his pockets and leading against the wooden fence. Finally! The mayor came striding up to Makoto, waving a hand. Makoto got up, and stood to greet him
"You can stay, Sergeant."
Makoto let out a sigh.
"That's a relief."
"But it's not that easy, unfortunately."
Makoto looked down at Thomas.
"As a village, we decided that not only must you return the farm to its glory, we must also be able to accept you as a member of our town. Then we will bestow the farm upon you."
"I'll do it, Mayor."
The Mayor chuckled a bit as he gave Makoto a pat on the arm.
"Thomas is just fine, my boy."
"Drop my title too."
Thomas let a warm smile slide across his face. Makoto stood there, and waited.
"Welcome to Mineral Town, Makoto."
"MineralTown holds memories for me, actually. I came to meet the old man when I wandered onto his farm one summer. He was very hospitable, and showed me around the property. I rode the cows, fed the chickens, played with his pet dog, and ate fresh farm fruits and vegetables. Now it's a dilapidated mess. The old man must've been pretty exhausted in his last days.
I don't really remember much about the town. Guess I'll find out about that soon. I do remember one thing, a person, actually, a little girl. She was the only other person I met that summer. One of the few people I can recall getting along with. I'm not exactly a people person now… or to put it bluntly, I'm an introverted, anti-social bastard."
-From Makoto's Journal
Makoto and Thomas looked around hopelessly at the house that night. It was a tiny hole in the wall, with a floor that could barely be seen underneath a dusting of leaves and dirt, one tiny bedroom and bathroom, a TV fit for the Stone Age, no phone, an old piano hidden under a giant drape, and no sign of a kitchen.
"Ehh…" Thomas began, in some attempt to alleviate the reality of the situation. "At least there's a washer and dryer in the basement. And there's a hot plate in the corner. I'm sure you don't cook much… eh?" He laughed sheepishly.
"Actually, I do," Makoto muttered curtly.
"I'm sorry. It's just that no one's even set foot in here since the old man died. I can help you clean it if you want."
"That's alright. I'm good."
Thomas was taken aback, but eventually nodded and agreed.
"In that case, I'll be here tomorrow morning to show you around town," he said, flashing another cheerful smile of his. "Have a good night's sleep now!"
And with that, he left. Makoto grabbed a broom off the side of a wall, and began the operation to clean the dump.
All Makoto wanted was a little sleep. He was beyond starvation and exhaustion when he the hit mattress at six on the dot. He just didn't care. The house was spotless, and he was done. Then a loud rapping at the door came and tore through his glorious five seconds of sleep.
Makoto pulled himself from the mattress, bleary eyed and wanting to kill the person at the door. He somehow contained himself by counting to ten before he dragged his body to the door, pulling it open to reveal Thomas.
"Get dressed, and I'll show you around! There's lots to see!" he beamed obliviously as Makoto glared, shutting the door in the Mayor's face.
He came out again really quickly, finally shaved and dressed in an old pair of jeans, his dirty boots, and a black T-shirt with the words "Stop Reading My Shirt" printed on it. The Mayor eyed the shirt, and said.
"Not cold at all, Makoto?"
Makoto shook his head as he stepped on a sliver of melting snow.
"In that case, let's go!" Thomas announced as he began to walk off. Makoto shrugged and followed him.
This is my first HM fanfic, but I've been a long time player of the series. Ahh, well, onto the next part, I guess.