Disclaimer: I do not own Azumanga Daioh or anything associated with it (except a CD I purchased a while ago).

I'm all alone…

Kasuga Ayumu lay on the hospital bed, both arms and both legs broken and in casts. The top of her head was cocooned with bandages and there was a piercing pain in her left side every time she drew breath or exhaled. Everything was so white and clean…

Why was I the only one? Why did I live?

The unfortunate traffic accident a month ago had taken the lives of everybody she cared about. It was only a trip to Chiyo-chan's summer house…the train…it came so fast…

After being knocked unconscious when she was thrown from the vehicle, Osaka was in a coma for days. When she finally woke up, the doctor had taken it upon himself to be the bearer of bad news. "I'm sorry Miss Kasuga, I don't know how to say this, but nobody else in the vehicle with you survived. All eight of them were killed. You were lucky. Even though your injuries were pretty severe, you'll live. Some scars, however, will remain. It's best not to think too much about it."

Lucky?

At first, she refused to accept it. The police had no choice but to show her photos of the accident.

Yukari-sensei seemed to have had been instantly crushed between the steering column and the driver's door as the train smashed against the right side of the van. Her spine was shattered in countless places and she had been torn in two at the waist where the seat belt had tried to restrain her. Her skull was cracked and her rib cage was also flattened. Unidentifiable pieces of bone stuck out of random areas.

Kurosawa-sensei's injuries were the most severe, as she had been closest to the train. Her legs had been ripped off by the impact and her torso was mangled beyond recognition. Her pretty face had been ruined by flying shards of broken glass and her arms were twisted into impossible positions. Slivers of what seemed to be her brains were dripping from her ears and empty eye sockets.

Kaorin and Sakaki has been sitting behind the driver and shotgun seats. Both of them had similar injuries: massive gashes from the debris, twisted spines, and broken skulls where they had landed on the concrete after being thrown out of the car by the force of impact. Their faces were largely untouched and they looked at peace despite their terrible injuries.

Kagura, who had been sitting behind Sakaki, had not been thrown from the car. Instead, her body had been compressed into the small gap between the seat and the window like a human pretzel. Her lower body was completely shredded, and she was missing an eye from when her head knocked against the left wall of the car. She was soaking in a pool of her own blood and her entrails had been forcefully ejected from her belly. These were then covered with broken glass.

Yomi had been sitting directly behind Kaorin. When the accident occurred, she had been vacuumed forcefully through the window and had ended up being run over by the two rear wheels. A crooked steel pipe had impaled her right below the stomach and was jutting out from between her shoulder blades. Glass pieces covered her like deadly glitter and her blood seemed to make them shine even more. The twisted remnants of her glasses lay next to her broken body.

Tomo was a mess of raw, oozing burns and she was missing both hands. At the end of each of her wrists protruded sharp-edged slivers of bone. Her hands had undoubtedly been pulled off when she had them wedged under the headrest of the seat in front of her. Her neck had obviously been snapped and her head was only attached by the few stringy filaments of tendon that had not been severed by flying debris.

Osaka and Chiyo had been sitting in the trunk behind the last seats because there wasn't enough room to sit. It was only a short drive…both Chiyo and Osaka had been launched from the car but only Osaka managed to survive. She had landed in a tree and then fallen onto piles of broken gravel whereas Chiyo had landed directly on a heap of old bricks in a construction site. When she landed, she had unbalanced a platform with steel rods on top. The rods had fallen on her like a rain of deadly javelins. Chiyo was skewered in too many places to count.

The car looked like a soda can that had been crushed by somebody's foot. All the glass was broken and the metal frame was twisted far beyond any hope of repair. The engine had exploded after the impact crushed it and all the tires were mangled on crooked axels.

After looking at these photos, Osaka had become numb. She was hollow inside and nothing could ever restore her. She had no will to live. Her life was simply…gone. There was no more need to exist.

Early the next morning, several hours before her daily check-up, Osaka crawled from her bed onto the floor. Her crushed ribs had not yet healed and the labored breathing was of no help. Her muscles had atrophied much since she hadn't used them for over a month. Her broken arm and leg bones also had not completely knitted. With tremendous pain, she was able to ooze up the stairs.

Each step was pure agony, but with grim determination, Osaka finally made it to the top of the stairwell. From there, she took the escalator to the roof of the hospital. My dislikes are no longer important if my life is no longer worth living.

After two hours of painful struggling, Kasuga Ayumu finally made it to the very top of the twelve-story hospital building. Fighting to stand on broken legs, she propped herself against a post and heaved a sigh of relief. Looking out over the entire city made her feel almost alive again. Almost.

The cool morning air caressed her and she could almost hear her friends' whisper: Osaka! Come join us! It's all good up here. The sun was beginning to rise, and the early rays of dawn painted the clouds marvelous shades of yellow and orange.

Peering over the edge of the building and clinging to the post, she closed her eyes. I am Kasuga Ayumu, I am Kasuga Ayumu, I am Kasuga Ayumu…wait for me! I'm coming to stay with you! Get it together, get it together, get it together…

Her delicate fingers released their grip on the post and with eyes still lightly closed, she was sailing down toward the street below gracefully, in slow-motion, almost as if in a dream…I can fly…I can fly…raspberry Heaven, I'm coming back to you…Chiyo, Sakaki, Tomo, Yomi, Kagura…sata andagi…

A moment of pain, a moment of red, a moment of darkness, and everything was still.

Kasuga Ayumu opened her eyes. "Osaka, you're finally here!"

"We've been waiting for you for so long…"

"Osaka-san!"

"Yo!"

"What took you?"

A new world of incomprehensible infinity unfurled before her eyes, a world of pink clouds where Chiyo-chan's pigtails really did give her the power of flight...

Reviews would be appreciated! I haven't done any creative writing in years, so this can be considered a first. Give me suggestions on how to improve my writing. Please excuse typos because I wrote this and proofread when I was really sleepy. I'm quite a Nazi when it comes to correct spelling and punctuation.