Author's Note: This is my first attempt at updating without any other chapters waiting to be uploaded on a schedule. Well, that goes for Rain of Sorrows, too, but not really. Inspired by James and the Giant Peach, the great classic by Roald Dahl, and "Your Boyfriend Sucks" by The Ataris.
Basic Summary: Until he was four, Sora Hamasaki lived in literal paradise by the beach with his parents. But a suspicious disaster leaves him far from home with two aunts who abuse him and refuse to let him go to the beach of his childhood. But in the fourth grade, he meets a friend who refuses to ignore him as others had done – Kairi Nomura. They remained best friends until high school, when Sora's life begins to unravel and Kairi's relationship with Riku Shimomura begins to distort out of shape. The harder they try to hide their secrets, the harder it is to remain friends.
When Nightmare Came Calling
I was four when my parents died.
I used to live by the beach, in a large sky-blue house. Every day I went down to the beach and played in the waves. Every night I stared out the window in my bedroom and watched the moonlight glitter on the sea. And on weekends my parents would take me to the group of islands off the shore, where we would play and have a picnic.
They called it Destiny Islands.
For so long I was happy. Sometimes, though, I'd see my mom look at me sadly, and I wouldn't know why. But then she'd give me a smile and I knew life was good. Oh yes, life was good.
My friend was Riku Shimomura, who was a year older than me and already going to school. He too lived by the sea, in a huge white marble house. He had three houses but was living in his beach house when I first met him. Sometimes he was tough; other times he was the best friend I had. Sometimes he'd come with me and my parents to Destiny Islands, where we'd swim, spar with sticks, and eat my mom's sandwiches.
I haven't seen him since my parents died.
I don't know what happened; nobody would explain it to me. But from what I heard, they were driving over a bridge from who-knows-where when the car broke down and swerved into the deep river down below. My grandmother, who was watching over me that day, died soon after of a broken heart.
I hadn't been to the sea since my parents died.
City officials sold the house and sent me to my last relatives, my father's sisters. They lived in a tall, rickety house on a tall, tall hill. You could see the whole of our city if you were watching from the window in the attic. They had a garden and grew many vegetables; Aunt Sponge loved to eat.
My room was the attic, the coldest room at night, and the highest room in their house. The lights never worked right and the door locks from the outside. Sometimes at night, I'd sneak over to the window from my bed and peek out the small window: I could still see the moonlight shine on the ocean but it was a speck. During the day the ocean was a thin dark blue line and the beach a white line. On clear days I could still see that sky-blue house I used to live in.
Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker never called me by name. I was either " you boy" or "come here you miserable wretch" or "you disgusting little bastard"; when they were nice, they'd simply say "you." From the day I came to them I was made to clean the house every day and do all their chores. I never complained; the only time I cried Aunt Spiker beat me with her belt and Aunt Sponge said the next time I cried I would be thrown into the basement with the rats as my company.
As I got older, I gradually took over all the chores and jobs around the house. Everyday I cleaned the house, did the laundry, took out the garbage, made my aunts dinner, and cleaned up after them. Every weekend I was working in their garden, making sure the tomatoes and cucumbers and carrots grew well for Aunt Sponge.
I never left the house, except when I entered kindergarten. From then on, I walked to school and came back immediately. My aunts came home from their jobs at 5. Aunt Sponge worked in the local bakery; Aunt Spiker worked at one of several banks in the city. They told me they expected me to have the house cleaned by the time they came home; if I wasn't done, I'd be sleeping with rats for a month.
I've been living like this for twelve years.
Until fourth grade at James G.P. Elementary School, I never had a friend. I never stayed around people; during recess and lunch, I'd eat alone and play with the tetherball all by myself, humming made-up tunes. People looked at me weird; sometimes the bigger kids would walk by me and hit my head or push me to the ground. But I never cried; if I cried, I knew they'd hurt me more. Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker always hurt me.
Until fourth grade, I was no one.