Okay, this is a bit different than the other stories I have written, as it is more...well let's say 'fluffy'. But don't worry, it is not your average 'fluff'. It will also seem a bit boring, but it'll be good once you get close to the end. So on that note, I hope you like it.
Gone But Not Forgotten
Eight year-old Takuya Kanbara stared out the window of his family's new house, a bored expression on his face as he sat motionless on the couch. It had been two days since he and his family had moved from one end of Shibuya to the other, and so far, Takuya was not liking it. Sure, he was now much closer to his best friend Kouji's house. But the neighborhood that he had spent his entire life in was now only a memory that he would soon be forced to put behind him.
"Takuya, what's the matter?" Mrs. Kanbara asked her son as she noticed the gloomy look on his face.
The brunette groaned and rolled his eyes, flopping onto his back. "I'm bored. There's nothing to do around here..."
"You could always play with Shinya," his mother suggested. "He always likes to play with someone."
"No, I really don't feel like hanging out with a five year-old," he muttered.
Mrs. Kanbara thought for a moment. "Well...why don't you go and visit Kouji? He lives only right down the street."
"He and Kouichi went to visit their grandmother," Takuya replied. "And they won't be back for a few days."
"Well, it's a nice day out," Mrs. Kanbara pointed out. "Why don't you play outside instead of sulking on the couch? I'm sure if you go play outside, you'll make a new friend."
Takuya sighed, but rose nonetheless. "Fine...maybe I'll find something fun to do while I'm out. But I doubt that I'll make a new friend... Only old people live around here..."
"Just don't go too far," she called after him as he made his way to the front door.
"I know, Mom. I know," he mumbled unethusiastically.
He walked out the door, and was immediately greeted by a gentle breeze of the spring air. He was dressed appropriately for the weather, wearing khaki shorts and a red t-shirt. He wore a short-sleeved black button-up over it, yet kept it opened, as well as a pair of red and white sneakers. On his head was a tan cap with a pair of square goggles.
However, the nice weather did not help his sullen mood, and he simply dragged his feet down the driveway. Looking around the neighborhood, he hoped that there would be some type of entertainment. At this point, he would've taken anything. With nothing exciting in view, he began to make his way down the sidewalk, the words of his mother echoing in his mind. Don't go too far.
"Yeah, yeah..." The brunette apathetically continued his way down for a few more minutes, before plopping down on the sidewalk with a groan. "Argh, there's nothing to do around here!"
The sudden voice make Takuya jump in his skin and he quickly scrambled to his feet. Standing in front of him was a young girl who looked to be somewhere around his own age. She was wearing a sleeveless white dress with a lavender flower pattern decorated on it. It seemed to be for some type of special occasion, for the skirt was slightly puffy near the bottom and a light purple silk ribbon was tied around the waist of the dress. White tights and white buckled shoes completed the girl's attire, and her long blond hair was flowing freely down her shoulders. A lavender headband kept her hair neat and out of her face.
Takuya's face turned slightly red as his chocolate-colored eyes met her emerald ones. "Wh-who are you?"
The girl blinked, before smiling at him. "I'm Zoe Orimoto. Who are you?"
"Uh...I'm Takuya..." The boy was taken slightly aback by the girl's cheerful manner.
"Are you new around here? 'Cause I've never seen you here before," Zoe said.
Takuya looked around for a moment, debating on whether or not he should talk to the girl. His mother had told him never to speak to strangers. However, the girl in front of him was only a kid, and his mother also said that he should make new friends.
"I uh...just moved here," he finally told the girl.
"Oh, where are you from?" Zoe asked excitedly.
"Well...I'm from Shibuya...just a different part of it," Takuya said, kicking a pebble that was near his foot.
Zoe frowned slightly. "But...why would you move from one end of the town to another? That's kind of weird."
"My dad started to make a lot of money and wanted a bigger house," he explained, remembering his parents telling him that. "But...I don't like it here."
"Ooooh, I see. Well, I saw your house and I think it's pretty," she told him. "I like the flowers outside."
"Wait...how do you know which house is mine?" Takuya asked.
Zoe reached down and smoothed down her dress. "I saw you walking out of it as I was leaving my house. And then I followed you."
The brunette nearly fell over. "Hey, what do you mean by 'followed'?"
"I mean that I followed you," she replied, stating the obvious. "I saw you walking and decided to say 'hi' since I've never seen you before. But I couldn't catch up until you sat down."
"You could've called for me to stop," he told her.
"I wanted to surprise you," she said cheerfully. "And I did!"
Takuya let a brief smile crack on his lips. "Uh, yeah..."
"So, do you want to play with me?" Zoe asked him. "There's a really cool park down the street."
"Really?" The boy thought for a moment. "Well...I have nothing to do right now. So I guess we can-"
"Good!" Zoe broke off into a run down the sidewalk. "Follow me!"
Takuya took off after her, trying his best to keep up. "Hey, slow down!"
"Come and catch me!" The girl called back at him. "I bet you can't!"
"Oh, yeah?" He sped up, glad that the last few years of soccer practice were paying off.
Zoe glanced over her shoulder to see how far behind he was, flashing him a smile. "We're almost there so you better hurry up!"
However, Takuya sprinted after her at full speed, and seconds later, he caught up. He roughly grabbed her around the waist, stopping the girl in her tracks.
"Hey, no fair!" Zoe pouted. "You're wearing sneakers and I'm in shoes that aren't good for running."
Takuya stared at her attire. "Why are you all dressed up anyway? Are you going somewhere today?"
The blond nodded happily. "Yup! Today my Auntie Adriana is getting married and I get to be in the wedding. All of my relatives from Italy came here so that she could get married in Japan! My mommy is a bridesmaid and my daddy is a groomsman."
"Oh...Where's Italy?" Takuya asked. "Is it far away?"
"Yeah, you need a plane to get there," she explained, before jumping up and down in excitement. "We're gonna ride in a really long car called a 'limo', and then we go to a church, and then I get to throw flowers down the...hall thing...what is it called?"
Takuya stared at her in puzzlement. "Why would you throw flowers, though?"
"Well, because I'm the Flower Girl," Zoe said. "I get to throw flower petals everywhere when I walk down the...um...aisle! Yeah, that's what it's called. And then, after the wedding, we go to a big party with a giant cake!"
"A giant cake?" Takuya brought up the image in his head and felt his mouth water. "H-how big is the cake?"
"Bigger than us!" She started to jump up and down again, clearly excited. "I can't wait! Oh, and if my mommy says it's okay, I'll bring you some cake since you're my new friend!"
The brunette blushed slightly, not exactly sure what the reasoning behind it was. "You think that I'm your friend?"
Zoe nodded. "Yup. I like you, so you can be my friend."
The two of them began to continue their way down the sidewalk, seeing a small fenced-in area coming up. It appeared to be the park that Zoe had been referring to. As he walked with her, Takuya decided to ask her about the wedding, curious on what it was about since he had never attended one.
"What happens after the party with the big cake?" He inquired.
"Everyone goes home and the bride and groom go on their honeymoon," Zoe said, adjusting her headband.
Takuya frowned slightly. "What's a honeymoon?"
"It's like a vacation for the bride and groom. I'm not sure, but I think they eat dinner and watch TV or something. I don't really know what else they would do," Zoe replied.
"Maybe they play video games and play sports," Takuya suggested, thinking of activities that he would consider to be enjoyable.
"Maybe, but I don't think my auntie likes sports." The girl thought for a moment. "But...my Uncle Leo said something about the bride and groom having to 'break in the new bed'. I don't know what that means, but my mommy hit him in the arm after he said that."
Takuya shrugged, not knowing the meaning behind it either. "I dunno."
"Me neither. Oh! We're here!" Zoe exclaimed as they reached the entrance. "We just go down a short path, and then there'll be a playground."
"Okay, let's go." As they walked down the path, Takuya glanced at his new friend. "Um, how do you know when you have to go back home? I mean...you probably gotta get back so you can go to the wedding."
"I have this," the girl responded, showing him her wrist.
A small, delicate gold watch decorated with purple jewels was secured around her wrist, the tiny hands slowly ticking by. Takuya hadn't noticed it before, surprised that it had taken him so long to notice it.
"My mommy told me to wear this so that I know when to go home," she explained, then pointed to the bigger hand. "When this is here, that's when I gotta go."
After a moment, Zoe suddenly stopped, her face furrowed with worry. In front of the her was a large, muddy puddle that had formed from the rain last night.
"I can't go with you," she said sadly. "If I get my shoes or dress dirty, I'll be in big trouble..."
Takuya felt a pang of disappointment surge through him, discovering that he had wanted to play with her even more than he had thought so. It wouldn't be fun to go to the playground by himself anyway.
"Oh! I know." He picked her up, stunned at how little she weighed, and carried her over the puddle.
"Hey, this is just like how the groom carries the bride when they go to their new house!" Zoe told him cheerfully, pleased that she had gotten across without getting dirty.
Takuya set her back down on the ground, confused. "Why does the groom carry the bride?"
"I dunno. Maybe the floor's dirty or something," the girl replied. "But thank you for getting me across. Now let's go play!"
With that, she grabbed onto his hand and excitedly led him down the rest of the short path, finally bringing them to the playground. Takuya's breath caught in his throat as he gazed around at his surroundings. The playground looked relatively new, with a large plastic slide that spiraled downward, four swings, a seesaw, and a colorful merry-go-round. There were also two benches, a tire swing, a small sandbox, and tiny blacktop area with a basketball hoop.
"Whoa..." Takuya's voice trailed off.
"Yeah, isn't it cool? Let's go play!" Zoe said, running towards one of the swings.
For the next half hour, the two kids played happily together. They pushed each other on the swings, went down the slide, spun around on the merry-go-round, and went up and down on the seesaw. Takuya had never really been good friends with a girl before, since it wasn't 'cool' for a boy to be friends with a girl. But to his surprise, Zoe was more fun than anyone else he had ever met. Even more fun than Kouji. But then again, Kouji was the loner type, where Zoe seemed more like the hyperactive type that just wanted to play for hours upon end with anyone she met.
"Isn't this fun?" Zoe asked, smiling back at Takuya, who was pushing her on one of the swings.
"Yeah." Takuya frowned after a minute upon realizing something. "Hey, do you have to go home soon?"
He stopped the swing to let Zoe check the time on her watch, only to hear her let out a sigh. The blond girl got off the swing and looked at him with sadness in her eyes.
"It's time for me to go," she told him. "If I don't leave now, I'll be late for the wedding..."
Takuya felt his shoulders slump. "Oh..."
"Yeah...but...I'll play with you tomorrow!" She suggested. "Do you want to come back here with me tomorrow?"
"Okay," he replied, feeing a bit happier. "Which house do you live in?"
"The one right across from yours," she told him. "It's white, with a dark purple door and shutters."
Takuya nodded. "Alright, I'll come by tomorrow and we can come back here."
"Okay." Zoe stared at him for a minute, before smiling brightly at him. "I'll make sure that I bring you some cake. I'm sure that my mommy won't mind if I bring you some."
"Are you sure?" Takuya asked, not wanting to be a bother.
However, Zoe was positive. "Yup. Oh, and I have an idea if you want to do it..."
"What is it?" The boy asked.
"Well..." She looked away shyly, her face turning a shade of pink. "Do you want to marry me? That way we can have a big cake together."
Takuya's eyes widened. "But...what do we have to do when we're married?"
"It just means that we'll be friends forever and ever," Zoe said, bouncing up and down excitedly. "And we get a big cake, too."
"Hmmm...alright. I'll marry you," he told her with a smile.
"Yay!" She stood on her tip-toes to plant a soft kiss on his cheek. "See you tomorrow, Takuya!"
Before he could ask if she wanted him to walk home with her, the girl took off down the path, though she took a bit of a different route to avoid the mud puddle from earlier. Takuya shrugged, then spent the next few minutes busying himself down the spiral slide.
Don't go too far.
His mother's words echoed in his head repeatedly. But I'm not that far away, he thought to himself. I'm only right down the street. But...I should probably get home before she gets worried about me.
Takuya began to make his way down the path that would lead him back to the entrance. After a minute of walking, he stopped to see a glittering object on the dirt ground. Reaching down to pick it up, he immediately recognized it to be Zoe's gold watch.
"I better give this back to her," he said aloud. "I'm sure she'll want it back."
The brunette continued his walk, reaching his house only after a few short minutes. He looked across the street to see a white house with purple shutters, knowing that it was the same house that Zoe had referred to. However, there were no cars in the driveway whatsover, which he found to be a bit odd. Then again, the house had a garage, which was where her parents probably kept their cars. He walked up to the front door, then knocked a couple of times. After receiving no answer, he pocketed the watch and went back to his own house.
"The limo probably came and already picked everyone up," he told himself. "I'll just give it to her tomorrow when I see her."
Upon entering his house, he was immediately greeted by his distraught mother. "Takuya, where on earth have you been?"
"Sorry, Mom. I was just playing with my new friend, Zoe. But she had to go home," he told her.
Mrs. Kanbara let out a sigh of relief. "Well, I'm glad that you made a new friend. But please, next time tell me where you're going before you run off somewhere."
"We only went to the playground down the street," he grumbled, sticking his hands into his pockets. "It's not a big deal."
"Even so, from now on tell me where you're going," she told him firmly. "Where does she live?"
Takuya pointed out the window. "Right there in that white house with the purple door."
Mrs. Kanbara gave him a puzzled look. "No, I think you're mistaken, Takuya. There's no one who lives in that house."
"Wait...what do you mean?" The boy asked, raising an eyebrow. "She said that she lived right across the street from me. And she said that her house was white with a purple door."
"You must've heard her wrong, Takuya," his mother said softly. "I'm sorry, but no one has lived in that house in almost a year."
"How do you know?" He asked angrily. "I'm not stupid and I know what I heard."
Mrs. Kanbara shook her head. "I didn't call you stupid. I'm just saying that she probably lives somewhere else around here. Right after your father and I bought this house, we learned that the house across the street was vacant. Apparently the family was involved in some type of car accident. So I'm sure that your new friend lives in a different house."
"Oh...um...okay," Takuya finally replied, slightly dumbfounded. "Uh...is it okay if I use the computer? I uh...want to play a game."
"Sure, go ahead. I'm going to go do some cleaning," she said, moving a strand of dark hair off her forehead.
His mother then left the room, and Takuya wandered over to where the computer was. He sat down the chair, before accessing the internet. Although he usually only played games on it, he knew how to use the search engines and went onto Google. After a moment, he extracted Zoe's gold watch from his pocket and set it down on the desk to keep it from digging into him.
"What was Zoe's last name?" He asked himself, thinking hard. "Oh, yeah...Orimoto..."
He typed something into the bar, hoping to get results. At first, nothing useful popped up, and he sighed to himself in annoyance. However, he suddenly typed in a more specific search, using the keywords "Orimoto accident in Shibuya".
To his surprise, a list of results showed up on the screen, and Takuya selected the first one on the list. He was then directed to a webpage that had come from a newspaper article that had been dated from eleven months ago.
The Shibuya Times********************************************************************************** Friday, June 23, 2009
Tragedy Strikes on Wedding Day
What should have been a joyous occassion quickly turned tragic for a wedding party. At exactly 1:38 in the afternoon, on the way to Convant of Grace Church in Shibuya, Japan, a fourteen-person wedding party was involved in a fatal car wreck. Traveling in a stretch limo bus, the party was hit head on by a semi-trailer truck. The driver of the truck had lost control of his vehicle while taking a turn too sharply, colliding directly into the limo bus. Amongst the the victims were the bride-to-be, twenty-seven year-old Adriana Mancini, and the groom, thirty year-old Vicente De Luca. The twenty-eight year-old Maid of Honor, Tatiana Moretti, and the twenty-seven year-old Best Man, Nicolo Lombardi were rushed to Hiroo Metropolitan Hospital immediately after the crash, though both of them passed away only a few hours later. The remaining victims included the rest of the wedding party. Bridesmaids Nora Mancini, 23, Sonia Manicini, 25, Daniela Giordano, 29, and Carla Orimoto, 32, were killed instantly. The groomsman included Hisashi Orimoto, 33, Leonardo Mancini, 29, Emiilio Giordano, 31, and Gianni De Luca, 28, who were all found dead at the scene as well. The final two victims, nine year-old Riccardo Giordano and seven year-old Zoe Orimoto, were found amongst the adults' bodies in the wreckage. Riccardo substained serious injuries and was rushed to Hiroo Metropolitan Hospital, where he passed from his injuries the next morning. Zoe had died at the scene, killed with her parents Hisashi and Carla. The relatives of the victims were waiting at the church, and instead of celebrating a wedding, they had a ceremony for their beloved lost ones. A larger service will be held in their memory on June 27, 2009, and the funeral dates will be revealed later in the week.
There was more to the article, giving details on the bride and groom and how they had met. However, Takuya did not care about the rest of the article and quickly scrolled down to the bottom of the page, his hand shaking slightly. There were several photos displayed, many of them pictures of the bride and groom. One of the last pictures contained a young blond girl between what appeared to be her parents. The girl was wearing a sleeveless white dress with a light purple flower pattern on it and a ribbon tied around the waist.
"No...it can't be..." Takuya turned pale, immediately recognizing the girl's face.
Standing between her parents was Zoe Orimoto, the girl he had met less than an hour ago. Takuya's mouth fell open in shock, feeling as the news sank in. Zoe had been...dead? But...how?
"That can't be Zoe," he mumbled. "Zoe's not dead...she can't be. I have her watch, and..."
Takuya dropped his gaze to where he had placed the watch and nearly fell out of the chair. The watch was no longer there. It was as if it had vanished into thin air.
Okay! That is the end of this one-shot. So, yup, Zoe's a ghost. Haha, Takuya just played with a ghost!
Takuya: How can she be a ghost? I saw her and she looked solid! And I was able to pick her up, so explain that!
Me: I've heard of stories where people come into contact with ghosts that looked and felt solid. I read one story where this guy goes to this dance with some girl he met and then at the end of the night, he lent her his jacket. When he goes to her house to pick it up the next day, he finds out that she's been dead for two years! He then goes to visit her grave and finds his jacket draped over it her tombstone. And since they danced together, it is obvious that she was in a solid form! So there! If you don't like it, then I don't know what to tell you. I expect flames.