Is it the past I see I want to go where they are going
When I look up to the heavens
Believing in the magic
That I know could never be
Into the world they've been
Can I open up my mind enough to see – Don McLean "Flight of Dragons"
I want to go where they are going
Rin had always believed in that which she could not see, sometimes more than the things that she saw and touched every day. To her, the unknown was the most extraordinary thing, and the fear it generated in people only further proved its existence to her.
She daydreamed a lot, always the same dream. She wanted to see that which she could not. She wanted to break the limits of reality, to delve into some other world, to go to some other place, some other time.
Her imagination was not limited in any area, and she often came up with adventures for herself, as she would slide from strange world to strange world, discovering things never thought possible on her world.
This was what she wanted, lived for; it was everything to her. These dreams, these fancies, they meant the world to her, and she refused to let them go.
Her hobbies included reading excessively, writing and drawing characters for her stories. They were brilliant and well done. She had worked forever on them, pouring every last ounce of her careful scrutiny into their appearance, their attitude. Every aspect of the drawings and descriptions she made sure were as accurate as she wanted them to be. As if they were true, real people. If a character's eyes were not narrowed just right, she would throw out the whole picture and start over from scratch. She was a perfectionist in this area. And rightfully so, for her drawings were stunningly life like. Yet - for all this brilliance and scrutiny, she kept them all hidden, for fear of prying eyes.
Though she had learned when she was young never to speak of such idle dreams to those that she found would not understand. And very few would understand, so she told no one, in fear of having her fragile dreams dashed.
These dreams of both Western and Eastern culture; of dragons, unicorns, knights, samurai, ninja, noble lords, wise women, sages, miko's, and priests. They seemed childish to everyone else around her who had grown out of such things, but Rin was determined to hold onto them.
Fascinated with the idea of finding a lost realm where all such creatures still existed, she forgot her head one day and spilled her dreams out to her mother when her mother had asked what the child wanted most in the world.
Her mother had been joking of course when she spoke to the seven-year-old girl that day.
But Rin had been determined, and her eyes had sparkled brilliantly at her mother as she clenched her fists together happily and proclaimed in a loud tone what she wanted more than anything else in the world at that time. "Mommy, I want to see youkai."
That had been the last time she would mention the dream for eight more years. Her mother had laughed that day, her father had stifled a chuckle, and her brother and sister had teased her about it ever since.
Mortified that no one else believed that the creatures from old tales actually existed, Rin had dismissed the dream verbally, but was still dreaming about it secretly.
Rin walked drearily to school her elder sister Kagome walked beside her. "Cheer up Rin, school isn't so bad."
Rin looked sidelong at her sister. "Easy for you to say, you're only going to be at this place for one more year." She groaned.
"Actually, only a few more months, the school years half over already." Kagome corrected, smiling brightly as she imagined the end of her years at the dreadful building.
Rin sighed but brightened up slightly. "I guess you're right, it's not so bad."
Kagome beamed at her sister. "See? That's the spirit, today will go by like that." She proclaimed, snapping her fingers to emphasize the word.
But the day did not go by like 'that'. It actually was so far from going by 'just-like-that' that Rin had wondered briefly if grass was growing outside as her teacher spoke. It crawled by like a slug, making Rin miserable and draining all of her energy. Lying limply across her desk, Rin's eyes were half-closed as she awaited the end of the school day, and the deciding final bell.
The classroom hummed around her, with people making plans for the weekend, not one of them paying attention to the chestnut haired girl lying slumped across her desktop as they spoke. Rin closed her tired eyes, calming herself as she listened to the tick of her wristwatch.
The ticking noise soothed her, and Rin quickly let her mind slip away. She felt as if she was floating away, her mind thoughts becoming those of colored emotions rather than actual streams of thoughts. Amidst the gentle sway, she felt the eternal tug of reality somewhere in the back of her mind, but the ebbing tide of emotion carried her away to a place somewhere between sleep and fantasy.
Eventually, all thought patterns ceased, and she eased into a dream-like state. Not quite awake, but neither was she truly asleep. It was like she was in some trance. As the thoughts ceased though, something new arose in her mind.
Whispering voices echoed throughout her, flying across her mind with soft questions on their lips. But she did not hear a word. She was further soothed by the whispering words, for it somehow reminded of when she was a child and her mother would rock her to sleep, whispering sweet things to her as she brushed the hair from her face gently.
After a moment though, a strong voice – though still whispered – broke from among the others. "Who are you?" It was gone again before Rin could identify if it was her own mind speaking to her, or if it was somehow someone from the outside speaking.
Rin's mind voice answered of it's own accord, though it was slow, as if she were somehow uncertain. 'I am Rin Higurashi.' Her mind replied.
The whispers continued in a steady motion as if nothing had happened. Though, soon, again a voice broke through. Only this time, this one was different. It sounded like a child's innocent inquiry rather than one from a person her own age like the last had been. "Where do you live?" It inquired sheepishly, in a meek tone as if afraid.
'I live in Tokyo, Japan. . .with my family. . .' Rin replied in the same groggy tone, the voice floating in from the back of her mind. She felt truly as if she didn't know these answers, but every time she was about to say so, some distant memory floated by and she snatched the answer up quickly without questioning where it had come from or why it comforted her. Still – it left her feeling empty and alone.
As before, the whispers went on before a masculine sounding voice came above the others this time. "Who are your friends?"
'Friends. . . ?' Rin's mind was puzzled, and when no answer came, and she faltered, the voices suddenly grew in her mind, roaring at her and striking out at her with their various questions.
"What are you doing?"
"Why are you doing it?"
"Who do you think you are?"
"Don't you feel alone?"
"Why do you go on this way?"
It was too much, Rin's mind was roaring with the questions. And she found it painful and disturbing, and yet she could not pull herself from the dream-like state.
Just as her fright was about to take over, the noise suddenly diminished. This was not a gradual drifting away of voices, no, instead, the noise abruptly stopped. The sudden lack of noise startled Rin more than the increase had. Just as she thought it was over though, a final voice rang out, loud and yet soft at the same time. Tentative and meek while still strong and demanding. The strange calmness and diversity brought a cold sweat to her body as it uttered its words; it's presence in her mind felt throughout her entire body. "What are you searching for?"
Suddenly, the bell screamed, ejecting her swiftly and carelessly back into harsh reality, and the classroom emptied before it had even finished. The teacher let out a contented sigh, smiling as he watched them go. Turning back, he noticed that Rin was taking her time getting out of the classroom. Slowly, she picked up her books as she slid out of her chair, and slung up her backpack just as slowly. Standing there for a brief moment, she caught her balance as the book-bag tried to sway her to one side, before striding silently out of the classroom.
"Have a good weekend, sensei." Rin mumbled as she passed him.
The teacher brightened, a bit confused at her behavior until he was awakened by the words. "You too, Rin. And make sure to get some sleep, you look like you need it."
Rin turned her head slightly, so that he could see her half-smile, the gloom in her eyes lifting a fraction. "I will, sensei, don't worry. I wouldn't want to fall asleep during your class."
The teacher laughed, waving good-bye.
Rin smeared the fake smile off her lips and trudged the rest of the way home alone. Kagome wasn't going to walk with her today, her elder sister had something else to attend to with her friends.
Rin rolled her eyes as she imagined the three friends that Kagome always had close by with her.
There was Yuka, the sarcastic and sometimes tomboy-ish one. She was a bit of a smart-mouth and always had to have the last word on everything. Though she was sweet and nice if you got to know her.
Then there was Eri who was nosy and a little pushy at times. She was sweet and innocent enough, but not as innocent as Ayumi.
Ah, yes, Ayumi. She was a horse of a different color altogether. She was bubbly and air-headed, she didn't often understand what Eri and Yuka were shouting about, but she was a good companion. She was one of those people you could tell your secrets to and never worry that she might tell someone else. This feeling probably came from the fact that Ayumi forgot almost everything as soon as she learned about it.
The four girls were often fighting and yelling at each other, but Rin could tell that it just showed how much they cared for each other. After all, they had been friends since they had been children.
Rin sighed, a small smile highlighting her features as she thought back on the latest little argument the girls had been having. 'Must be nice. . .to have friends like that. . .' She thought dispassionately.
It wasn't that Rin was an outcast. Rin was nice and warm to everyone she encountered, unless otherwise provoked, but she had never bonded with any girls or boys for that matter, of her age in the way that Kagome and her friends had. Rin just did not feel connected to this plane for some reason.
She felt alone, though she knew that she wasn't. There would always be someone at home waiting for her. But still, she felt awkward and alone. She supposed that it came from the fact that she daydreamed too much. She figured that people must just find her empty-headed.
'I read too much, I write too much, I drift off into other worlds too much. . .' She ran off the list of her faults in her mind. Though others would not consider these 'faults' of any kind. It is quite hard to be down-to-earth when you are a teenager. Especially one that enjoys staying home instead of going out on the weekends. 'I just don't fit in here.'
It didn't hurt her to make these mental notes anymore. There was no sadness behind her inner voice. She had known this since she was a child: that she did not belong in this place. She was different from the others. How, she did not know besides from obvious things, but she had always felt distant. As if she were walking in a place where she truly was an outsider. Like she was a visitor in a foreign country.
The sting had ebbed away, leaving her feeling as if she were looking through a window at her world that she was supposedly a member of, but all the time knew that she was supposed to be somewhere else.
Rin stopped as she looked at the blooms of a red flower outside of her home. 'This. . .' She touched the whisper-soft petals of the flowers delicately. Her eyes were void of emotion, she suddenly felt like an empty shell as her fingertips brushed against the plant. 'This is real. . .'
Something jolted inside her mind, but still, she acted as if she were a zombie, playing with the red flowers in her hands, being careful not to break the stems. 'Real? But aren't I. . .Aren't I real too?'
Rin pulled her hand back, lost in the depths of the brilliant red of the flowers. They seemed to glow with life.
'I am not real like they are real.'
Rin pulled herself away from the deep void she had been lost in, confused and startled at her strange thoughts. 'What-what was that? What did I mean by that? I'm real. . .I'm real.'
Rin sped from her place up the steps as fast as she could, trying to get away from the flowers that had glowed so brightly under her intense gaze. 'What happened back there?' Rin stumbled and fell hard down on the stone steps, breathing heavily. Her hair was messed up from the wild race and the sudden stop, and her eyes were wide in shock. Cold sweat ran down her, and her breaths were erratic.
Rin tried to calm herself, her nerves were jumpy, her hands clammy as she fiddled with them in her lap. "Calm down." She told herself sternly, standing on shaking legs.
'Why am I acting so stupid over a few careless thoughts?'
Rin combed back her hair and took several deep breaths to calm herself. "Stupid." She growled at herself before she walked the rest of the way up her steps.
"Stupid, stupid, stupid."
Rin continued to verbally abuse herself until she reached the front door to her house. Plastering another fake smile on, she opened the door after unlocking it with her key and waltzed in, ready to be greeted by whomever was home at the time.
"I'm home!" She called loudly. Her voice echoed ominously throughout the house. Rin licked her lips thoughtfully, biting on her lower lip in worried thought.
'No one's home?'
But that was impossible. There was always at least one person occupying her home at all times. If not her mother or grandfather, than her younger brother, Souta, would be there. It was inconceivable that they not be present. Not a one of them.
"Souta? Mom?" She called tentatively, starting to get nervous. "Grandpa?"
There was no reply to her calls, and Rin investigated every room, her fear mounting every time she came to a corner that she would have to turn.
Her chest drew in tightly, squeezing her lungs that were already not drawing enough air.
There was a scuttling noise from behind her as she entered the living room, and she turned swiftly, hair whipping around as fast as she was. "Hello?" She called, eyes darting back and forth. Something white moved to her right, and she turned toward it, but again found nothing. "Mom?" She called, body and eyes frozen.
There was another strange noise, like someone chuckling, and Rin tore from the room, dashing toward the old shrine next door. Her body pumped with adrenaline, her hair was loose again, and so were all her muscles as another cold sweat broke out on her.
"Grandpa?!" It was almost a screech as she dove out of the side door, stumbling slightly as she dashed across the stone ground toward the wooden shrine doors. 'He'll be there. I'm just acting stupid. He'll be in there and everything will be ok.'
Rin's heart raced faster, if that was at all possible, when she heard the soft tread of feet on the gritty stones behind her. A small, amused chuckle reached her ears as she continued to run. She was almost to the door. She knew that if she just laid her hand on the door handle, the mysterious figure would disperse back into her mind, where she was certain he had come from. This couldn't possibly happened. It had to be another one of her wild flights of fancy. One that she couldn't get herself back out of. Small tears welled up in her eyes as she heard the chuckle grow deeper in its amusement. 'Please, please let this just be a dream.' She begged, bowing her head as she used the last of her energy to charge up the few steps to the shrine.
She gasped for breath as she touched the handle and threw the door wide open, light bursting in on the damp old shrine. She ran inside after a brief pause to investigate the inside.
There was nothing.
The old shrine was completely empty. There was no incense, no offerings, and no old shrine keeper. Her grandfather was not here. No one was here.
"You expected them to save you, even if they were here?"
A voice behind her rumbled with amusement as she whipped around to face the speaker. She could tell from the voice that it was a male that stood, blotting out the light from the doorway behind her. Yet still she hoped that she would find no one, though she could see his shadow and hear his voice. Why was he amused? Did he find pleasure in her pain for some sick, twisted reason? Was he somehow responsible, and if so, why her? Why her family? What would Kagome do when she found out? Frantic thoughts ran through her mind, but none of them seemed to register as she swung toward him, her brown hair sweeping against her shoulders softly.
He stood clothed in a strange pelt. That was long, shaggy and pure white. Not one hair seemed misplaced; not a speck of dirt or grime tinged it, or left it looking rumpled. It was utterly perfect. Rin decided on the spot that it would make a very nice pillow, though she had no idea where the strange thought had come from, and why, out of all the thoughts that had been in her mind, that this one stuck out so well.
But the spotless white pelt was not the strangest part; indeed, there was something else that stood out against even the brilliance of the untouched fur. A strange face was leering at her, half-shrouded by the fur, but still it peeked out. It was the face of a baboon, light blue, and with the bottom jaw missing, leaving the sharp teeth of the upper jaw exposed to gleam in the faint light. The face of the baboon was wrinkled, and the empty eye sockets seemed to pierce through her, mocking her snidely.
Rin could sense the smirk on the lips of the man that hid in the pelt, though she could not see it, and his amused laughter seemed to echo in her head, though she was sure that he was not laughing and had not laughed at all.
The man moved slightly after his comment, something sinisterly red flashed in the empty sockets of the baboon face. Rin inwardly checked herself as she wondered if those were his eyes that she had seen. But no one had red eyes. . .
His question and laughter were still ringing in her mind moments after she decided to speak up, cold sweat breaking out on her again as her brown eyes wavered in anger and confusion. This strange man outraged her. How dare he enter this shrine with such strange and silly garbs! How dare he chuckle in her mind and demand to know her inner worries? How DARE he make even the slightest hint as to what had happened to her suddenly dispersed family?
Rin stood rigidly, her heart giving wild palpitations as she heaved for breath before speaking. Her palms were clammy from the cold sweat that had engulfed her entire form, and her long hair lay limply on her shoulders. Her face was pale and breath was so erratic she was sure that the raw, sucking winds running in and out would make her poor throat raw.
She knew it was a stupid question. Of all the ones that were in her mind, the only thing she could muster was 'save me'. She hit herself in the back of the head mentally for not asking a better question of the strange man.
He chuckled darkly, ignoring her question to withdraw one of the red flowers from her flowerpots outside. She watched it with slight fascination, her eyes locked on the strange red thing that had caused her so much stress not but a few moments before. He twirled it, the green of the stem, and the red of the petals mixing in places where they touched in the whirlwind of color. He stopped, chuckling again at her fascination, though his strange mask had turned to the flower in his hand as well in apparent interest. "Nothing in this world can save you girl. Nothing."
Rin froze, her eyes still locked on the red flower in his hand. Nothing in this world? What did that mean? Nothing in this world. . .another. . .another world perhaps?
Her mind suddenly wandered, contemplating the meaning of his words idly as she continued to be captivated by the flower that was pressed between his thumb and forefinger. Her mouth was open slightly again, her eyes avidly watching every move the flower made.
The man chuckled again and abruptly stopped the spinning flower, releasing the girl immediately from the weird kind of hypnosis he had spelled her with. He was amused by his simple power over the girl that he held. Another chuckle came forth before he decided to cut his game with the girl.
But as soon as he had released the girl from the mild spell, she had immediately starting spouting questions and giving loud orders. Though she still appeared fearful of him, she still shot her mouth off as if she knew him extremely well.
"Who are you? What are you doing in my family's shrine? Get out!! Where is my family? You weirdo!! Get out you white pelted freak! Get out!!!" Raw anger flared inside of her, her eyes sparking some madness as she spit like a riled up wild cat. If she had had any fur to speak of, he was sure it would be standing on end with her ferocity.
He smirked wider behind the mask, chuckling to himself the whole time that she had been yelling. The noise and volume of the laugh soon grew, hushing the girl to silence. His laughter was deep and by the time she had been fully quieted, his laughter was insane. His aura pulsed around him, darkening and lifting a wind and a dark miasma with it. Rin's fear overrode her anger again and rational sense told her to get out. Every pore was screaming for her to run. But her mind was still in control, despite it all. And, like a deer in the headlights, she knew that there was no way to run, for her assailant was already too close for her to go very far.
The man's pelt rippled more and more of the miasma poured forth, daring to suffocate her. The miasma never came near her, but stayed fanning around the strange man that was laughing hysterically at her. His mad laughter rang sharply in her ears and she slowly got to her feet, staring at him with frightened eyes.
He calmed himself long enough to speak to her in a loud voice that growled at her guts to yell at him. "Fool. You dare order me? There is nothing - no one who can save you girl. No one." He cackled again, and the miasma radiated suddenly a purple light, like thunder in storm clouds.
Fear clutched at her heart. She didn't understand a word of what he said. What was this strange man doing to her? Rin closed her eyes, clenching her fists at her sides as she curled inward on herself. Her soul shrank away from the loud noises, from the fear, from everything. She just wanted to get away from him, anywhere, as long as she didn't have to stay here and listen to this strange man. 'Who will save me?' A voice spoke up in her head, but Rin knew that no such thought had come to mind yet. It was as if someone else had whispered it into her ear.
She opened her eyes again and saw that the man had calmed, and that the miasma was dispersing. She could sense his evil almost and her heart pounded. "What do you mean 'no on can save you'?" She demanded, though her tone was more fearful than she would have liked. "What would they save me from?"
There was another dark chuckle from within the folds of the cloak, and red eyes glinted behind the mask as he raised his head. "Why, from yourself of course." He replied simply, though there was malice dripping in his tone.
Rin blinked at his words and gasped as she noticed that the whole world around her was suddenly in black and white, devoid of colors and sounds. There was no sound but from her and the man that remained in the doorway of the shrine. And only they two were in color in her vision. He again took delight in her shock and pain and chuckled as she investigated her hands and the area behind her to see if the strange phenomenon was taking place there too. "This isn't happening." Rin proclaimed in a shaky voice as she raised her hands to her face. "You – you're miasma stuff did this!"
"Ah, but you breathed none of it." He reminded her with dark amusement. "You see this only because you do not belong." The red eyes flashed again as Rin looked at him sharply.
'I am not real.'
"Liar." She proclaimed, checking herself so that her face gave away none of her inner thoughts.
'I do not belong.'
"You know yourself that it is no lie. You have never fit in, have you?" His voice became sultry and soothing, seeking her deepest fears and most hidden secrets. "You always wanted to see things that others thought were 'silly' and 'childish'. You were always somehow 'different' than the others. You had strange times when you would just sit alone in a room for hours and think about something so deep that you could not explain it in words to your own mother later on."
Rin shivered slightly as she realized that he somehow knew all about her. This frightened her more than anything did. More than even the thought of her entire family dying, though she hated to admit it. Someone peering into her mind, criticizing her inner thoughts, watching her every inner struggle and delighting in it. Someone taking her dreams from her. That was what scared her most. More than thunder, more death, even more than the man before her. The thought of loosing her beloved dreams was too much.
"My words strike truth." He observed. "Come girl, you need not fear me. I will take you to a place where you will always belong. Come." He beckoned to her, and Rin felt as if she were once more in a trance.
To belong. Oh, how wonderful that would feel. To finally belong.
Alright, so, I feel like being evil and stopping it there. Sorry guys. evil grin
For Those Of You That Keep Up On My Music-Fic Relations:: I wrote this while listening to Don McLean's 'Flight of Dragons' and Cold's 'Don't Belong'. Now, The song from Cold is from their CD entitled Year of the Spider. (Which, on a side-note, is quite good if you like rock music) However, I, unfortunately am not aware of 'Flight of Dragons' being on any of Don McLean's records. sigh I really would like a copy of this song for my own listening pleasure, so if any of you out there know where I can find it, please let me know.
For Those Of You That Keep Up With My Movie-Fic Relations:: I wrote this while watching such movies as The Flight of Dragons, based upon a book under the same title by Peter Dickinson, and features the song 'Flight of Dragons by Don McLean. It's a wonderful movie but is only available on VHS as far as I know and features the voice of John Ritter as Peter, and James Earl Jones as Ommadon. I will be using excerpts from this movie later on.
The other that this mainly pulls from is Labyrinth. David Bowie stars as the Goblin King under the direction of Jim Henson, lord of the Muppets. This also, will have more excerpts and whatnot coming later on.
Alright, now that I have that over with, I would like to mention that there are others movies and songs that I will be using in this fic, and I will be sure to inform you all of what I am using in my fics. Well, that is mainly for the benefit of those of you that have a large video/music collection that you can relate to this with. sweatdrop But I would like to encourage you guys to watch these movies and listen to these songs if you can get your hands on them. It makes it so much easier to get a good feel of a story.
Ah, yes, well, I could go on for ages. But – I will be kind and cut myself off here.
I thank those of you who have made it this far. And will be even happier if you review. sunny smile