If You Listen
Disclaimer: I do not own Air.
Warning: This story is based on Yukito's journey, therefore one must assume that he is still alive after Misuzu's death. If you cannot accept that, please do not read this. I find it hard to make a realistic story--well, as far as realism would allow in a story about angels--when both the main characters are dead.
The fluorescent lighted seared his eyes.
He needed to wake up anyway.
He had hoped that sleep would not come, but that hope went unnoticed and he had fallen to the depths of his subconscious. He had not dreamed of course; dreams had not had the privilege to enlighten him for the past year.
He looked at the clock. He had only been sleeping for three hours. Hardly enough time to compensate for his lack of sleep for the past month. He yearned to continue sleeping, and his body was quite content with that option. His eyes felt as though they were full of salt. They stung to the point where the pain was numbing.
He had no justified reason for his tiredness other than the fact that he had been reading about angels for the past few days. Having gone to the library in desperation, Yukito found that nothing could fully answer the questions he asked. He did learn many interesting facts though, but none seemed to fit the legend and his objective.
It was as if all the records about the winged beasts of a thousand years ago vanished.
Yukito looked over to his headlamp. He had fallen fast asleep with it on, which he always did, usually for comfort or a source of light in case he was visited. Surprisingly, he found it to be disturbing now as he watched the continuous flicker of chemicals reacting with one another.
He began to tremble.
He reached over and turned it off, satisfied when he heard the reassuring sound and saw the light be overtaken by darkness once again. He could not pinpoint the reason for his uneasiness with the lamp so he dismissed it as simply a human reaction to light once awoken.
He opened the microwave and tossed in his beloved noodles. As the annoying sounds filtered through his ears, Yukito looked out the window by the bed.
The house he was staying in was conveniently located in one of the district's parklike communities, where the Sakura blossoms had already reached wondrous maturity and the surrounding grasses and generically named flowers offered a wealth of shade to small bugs alike on even the brightest and most rainy of spring days. Most of the houses were the traditional Japanese style that was pleasing to the eyes for its simplicity and elegance. Many chose to fore go the armchairs, sofas, and footstools that would commonly be seen in western households for polished wood and landscape paintings that soothed the mind and body, rather than intrigued them.
The purpose of such a community was to welcome those not of their ethnicity and culture, which seemed like the perfect way to take on such a demanding task. But Yukito knew the truth behind the wonderful setting. It was simply to cover up what he referred to as their 'weirdness' since he knew firsthand that everyone was just strange. But, as he had come to understand a while back, when many weirdos meet in one place, no one is able to look at another and think they are strange.
Yukito let his eyes wander over to the beach, which was a twenty minute walk away from his current residence. His eyesight would not allow him to see much farther, but that could have been blamed on the blinding sheen of reflected light cast off the ocean. Either way, he was able to make out little blobs running along and he imagined that he heard the gleeful cries, too. A sudden grief wracked his body and a slow tremor passed through, allowing him to reflect on the past year.
It had been the roughest year of his dull life, with many times where he wished that such a burden was not placed on him, but on the fellow beside him. There were times when he wished that a handshake would act as a bridge so that his burden could simply walk across and he'd be free to wander without such a weight on his shoulders. In hindsight, those times were his times of cowardice.
But now was not the time for reflection. It was time to eat.
Yukito mumbled his thanks for the meal while retrieving his most prized possession, his chopsticks. The meal was tasteless, as it had been for the past year. He was surprised the first time it occurred--even stricken with fear.
Your sense of taste suddenly doesn't disappear, Yukito thought.
But if he went on in life thinking that all situations in life were the spawn of logic, he would not get far. Logic could simply not explain the ways of the town, the angels, the scar on his back, or the death of the one he loved. Hell, logic couldn't even explain why he was unable to find that damned girl in the sky.
Unfortunately, Yukito understood that he wasn't forced to look for her. He knew that he could stop at any time and start a new life. He knew all of this yet...
He felt unfulfilled. He felt as though Misuzu had ripped a vital part of him and taken off with it to a place where he could not reach. He trusted her with his life, but that did not give her permission to keep a piece of him.
He would find that angel in the sky.
Outside the house, Yukito got into a taxi operated by something called the Jin's Japanese Jingle Cab Company. The alliteration gave his brain the equivalent of diarrhea so he gave himself a moment to read the whole title in one go. The cabbie, Hana Kazuma, according to her displayed license, greeted him with a toothy smile and asked where he was off to.
"The beach," he responded as he dug into his only pocket in search of change.
Hana, who looked like she as sweet as sugar, but secretly held a fetish for sadistic activities (Yukito left everything to the imagination), turned around and raised a small eyebrow, as though she was not sure she had understood his simple instructions. "Cutie, the beach is down the road."
He nodded understandingly as his hand fisted deeper, struggling to take out the desired change. The truth was that Yukito didn't know why he had the sudden urge to go to the beach. He hoped that he would learn about what brought on this urge once it was satisfied.
Hana was not happy to oblige because she would be wasting precious gas just to take the man down the street, but also because she was not going to be paid a large fare. In fact, now that she thought about it, she wouldn't have the opportunity to hit on him.
After finding the coin, Yukito was overcome by the feeling that someone was waiting there for him. Previously hunched over in exhaustion, Yukito sat forward in the rear seat and said, "The beach. Quickly."
Hana hummed her acknowledgment while frowning at him in the rear view mirror. The taxi cab slowly backed out of the driveway. Hana braked at pedestrian crosswalk. She looked over her shoulder worriedly.
"Cutie, you alright?"
"Yes, someone is waiting for me. She'll leave if I don't hurry up," he said sharply, his eyes fixed on the glistening water so close to his reach.
"Sure, sure. Breaking the law for your expense is my middle name." She winked at him and jammed her foot on the accelerator when it was safe. He saw the rush of exhilaration on Hana's face and he smiled, happy that she offered to help him under strange circumstances.
As the beach became clearer, Yukito's thoughts became elusive. He wondered what compelled him to say that a girl would leave if he didn't hurry up. He clearly did not know who this girl was, if she was real, or if she was waiting, but a sudden feeling gave him the assumption that there was indeed something there awaiting his return.
Initially he did not know where this girl was going to be. Then he had a vague feeling that she would be near water; a vast amount of water. In no time this feeling became a hunch. This hunch evolved into a compulsion to be at the beach in a matter of seconds, taking any means necessary to get there. He had to get to the beach.
If a cop had stopped Hana, she would have turned to Yukito expectantly and asked why she was asked to rush. He would not have been able to explain his desperate, almost killer-like, urgency, for he did not understand the reasoning behind it himself.
He kept telling himself to calm down, flow with it, take it slowly, which was fairly easy to do since there was nothing much else he could do. He also told himself not to be afraid, but unshakable fear rippled through him in penetrating waves.
Hana stopped once again as what seemed to be thousands of school children, to Yukito, passed by. He gritted his teeth, giving each individual child their own complimentary glare. Hana noticed this and looked at him with her brows furrowed deeply.
She decided to eliminate the informalities. "Sir, are you sure everyth--"
"Two minutes," he said through gritted teeth.
"The beach is two minutes away. You could walk."
"No. She is leaving in two minutes," he whispered with a growing sense of urgency, "please, I'll give you all my change."
Hana began to frown. She nodded and turned her attention back to the road, where all the children already crossed. She sped up and found herself twisting and winding in order to find a place to stop so that she could not interrupt oncoming traffic. Looking frantically around, she sucked in her breath when she noticed a lone spot by a high school. She stopped there and pressed the button on the meter, halting his expenses.
"Is it that important?"
Yukito didn't respond. Instead, as Hana's frown deepened, he tossed all his change onto her lap. He nodded, thanked her, and scrambled out.
Hana tossed him one last skeptical look before shrugging and driving off.
Yukito's gaze fell onto the small park on the beach. Sunshine, filtered through the stitching of the arching trees, fell in sloppy yet delicate patterns across the burning asphalt. The pattern of light shimmered as the the sound of children's shouts and laughter wrung in his ears. Yukito refocused his attention from the scene to the beach itself, seeking the mark of something that would somehow tell him who this girl was.
Kids were moving in all directions, some walking down the sand while others ran onto the street with their soccer balls when the large gray sign clearly stated that ball playing was prohibited in the area. They were ignorant to their surroundings, knowing that not many cars and vans passed through here since cars were always parked around. Now, there were no moving vehicles.
Yukito scrutinized every car in search of a sign. None of the kids seemed to be looking for someone to talk to, and the vehicles held nothing accept for the stench of cigarettes and the occasional scent of sexual activity.
A change was put over the scene, changing his perception of it. The kids seemed to vanish, one by one, until one lone girl remained, lounging by a chair--the closest chair to the water.
Suddenly, she began to disappear. It was slow, deliberate, the way an invisible force erased her legs, her thighs, her stomach.
His peripheral became jet-black. He was now only aware of the girl directly in front of him. He didn't realize that he was running towards her until he heard the surprised squeal of a woman who he had seemingly bumped into. He did not apologize. He ran forward because time was running out and he was certain that she would hold the key to freeing the girl in the sky.
He felt stares on his frantic form. He moved towards the child whose body was still slowly disappearing before his eyes.
Has no one else noticed this? Yukito wondered.
The invisible force that was erasing the girl paused for a moment, as if contemplating going any further. This moment did not last long though; the eraser was, just as quickly, back to its work.
He looked at the path in front of his mouth. He could see the faint ripples of the sound vibrations traveling, slowly, slowly, to their target. He stopped moving, marveling in watching it travel. He could hear the small echoes that the sound gave off. It reached the ears of the girl and, just as slowly as his plea had traveled, she turned around.
A small smile crawled onto her face and the erasing stopped.
Thank You For Reading - Chapter One: An Urgency
Next - Chapter Two: To Find