Ainako: I said I wouldn't share it, but here it is. I was inspired most from X-Men.
Reviews are nice, though I can't promise if I ever get to finish this.
Osaka, Japan, 2XXX.
It was still mid fall, but yet the chill of the night shook every joints on my body, in a futile attempt to generate heat to keep me from dying of hypothermia. I pity myself, as I would the rest of the unmoving bodies crouching beside me in the silent electric train station, but at the moment, my thought are keen on one definite goal – to reach Tokyo, or more specifically, Tategami. It was all that someone like me can do in this day and age. Rubbing the back of my gloved right hand, I can almost feel the long gone pain of the branding the Government Registrators Agents had placed on me months ago. A few months ago, I sighed at the reminiscence again. No matter how hard I tried to forget the now past live of mine, I would end up wishing it never changed, and I would still be the same Erika Tajiro. But the whole world is against me, even my own beloved parents. Even myself.
One year ago.
Everything was as calm and usual. That morning was the graduation day was clear spring sky, and I had everything I can think of readied. It's not as if I would not be seeing my dear teachers and classmates again after today had ended, but a graduation is a graduation. The day people celebrate one's departure from being naïve students to actual adults. It was the day I look forward to all my life. I would immediately pursue my dream to become a doctor or a researcher in the field or neurosurgery or anything that would do anything with a human brain and memories. Psychology intrigued me, and the mechanics that contributed to how one think and remember. I had properly sent in forms of my dream university as earliest as I can manage and I have no doubt I would be getting my chance. I did extremely well in my finals, if I can say so myself.
Mother was making breakfast as usual and Father has already half done with his portion, and reading the morning news with his face so very near the page. Mother had told him thousands of times to get himself a reading glasses but he denies he ever need of one. A retired pilot and now a part-time gardener have no time to admit his failing eyesight. He would have been in his 'working' clothes if today was the usual morning, but not this morning. My parents are getting ready to our immediate trip to the country side to celebrate my graduation right after the ceremony. The previous night was spent packing and getting things ready for the journey and I was ecstatic beyond words. It will not be as fun as my last school trip to the mountains to enjoy the natural hot spring with my girlfriends, but I was betting it will be a blast! Nothing in this world can ever go wrong today.
And I wished I hadn't thought of it.
Lining up for the last time at the school's hall and hearing to Principal's boring speech was exciting. Me and my closest friend, Mio, was grinning and winking at the boys we decided to confess before the day ended. It was traditional to confess to your crush at the graduation day. Though no couple born today had ever made it to more than a year, it stops us none for trying. I will tell Takashima how I liked him since the first day I saw him showing up in class – the wrong class. Maybe we'll date for a few weeks too. Or at least be his closest girl friend, if he disagrees. Mother always told me to be optimistic, and that's just how I kept myself from being utterly disappointed. Everything is a possibility, Father told me, and life would not be as you planned it to be.
When the ceremony ended, we were told to remain in the hall for a few more minutes. I don't quite know the reason, but this gives me the chance to finally confess. Mio was laughing and pushing me towards Takashima as encouragement. She had already a boy from her Basketball club in her other hand. Mio is always very fast with her work. And very efficient to boot. I was about to give out many different excuses to not let her hear me confessing when it all happened.
A loud explosion from the main door to the hall freaked everyone out. Before I knew it, I was on my knees as I lose every ounce of strength of fear when my eyes met the sight of a horrible beast I've only seen on the evening news. In a shape of a poor imitation of a large bear, except this one possess four arms instead of two, and a missing lower jaw. A hideous cannon-like nozzle protruded to where supposed a tongue should be. The beast was neon green striped on black metal like surface. Surprisingly, I noticed a thick chain joined its two hind legs in between my hysterical screams along with the rest of the students. The beast roars in a voice more a mechanical screech than an actual bear roars however. Not that I had heard a real bear's roar before – they had become extinct long before I was born.
The two hundred odds of us ran to the other exit at the end of the hall but it was locked shut much to our horror. Many of us broke down and prayed for their life as the beast stomped its way closer and closer to where we huddled together. Like a school of sardines interrupted by hunting dolphins, we split into two directions away from the grasp of the bear. But the monster was too fast, despite the sluggish appearance. One swipe of its large paw threw many of us to the walls and collapsed from the impact. The sight of blood sent my fear to the spine. Mio was clutching to her head telling herself to wake up from the nightmare, no matter how I tried to pull her away. I begged her to run, but she refused to move an inch. The terrible beast roared and now went straight towards us, the ugly cannon in its mouth flared in greenish light as if warming up for a fire. Its eyes aimed straight to mine. I stood with my arms spread wide to somehow protect Mio in any way I can. She is my best friend ever since I can remember.
I thought of nothing when the laser beam reached me, but death and despair. I have planned so much, expected much more after graduation. To think that all of that will disappear right at that moment eats my heart, but maybe with my death I can save people, as well as I can if I made it towards my dream as a doctor. At that very last moment, I wished Mio all the happiness in the world, and my parents all the love of there is.
A wave of the blast hit me in the face, but I cannot feel any pain. Slowly, I opened my eyes and saw some rings of pale yellow light circling in front of me. I stare at it in horror, and I know from those gasps from other students thought of the same. The Gate. I posses the power of the Gate.
"Enough. Retrieve the IC-03 and prepare the vehicles. Our job here is done." Says a tall man in a maroon military uniform, with several badges pasted at his left breast telling that he is a man of command. His thick boots ringed as he steps closer towards me, with not a pity in his eyes. A pair of assistants are following a step behind.
He stopped right in front of me, and I could not summon any strength at all to run away. The rings of the Gate still lingers right where he stood no matter how hard I've tried to make it disappear – make it all seems like a mistake. His assistant handed him a device of some sort a size of a very bulky mobile phones, and he hovered it at the glowing Gate. In an instance, the Gate dissolved – my Gate.
"By the Law of the People's Safety and Peace, all individuals with a potential of manifesting a Gate power will be contained. And you…" his other assistant handed him a profile in exchange for the device "Erika Tajiro, had been proven by human witnesses and video recording using your Gate at the graduation ceremony of Sakura High, at…" he glanced at his watch "10:25 a.m. By my right as the Captain of the 12th Division of the NRA, I pronounce you a Gate user. Your every right will as now be stripped and you will be branded by the Law and a Gate user, and dangerous."
"NO! This cannot be! I-I don't mean to- I never have this…power before. This must be a mistake!" The words blurted out like a broken faucet. It's all must be a mistake. I can't be a Gate user. This is all a mistake!
"The NRA has every right to do these kinds of surprise inspection to provoke any potential Gate user before it can manifest into something even more dangerous. I believe you know what happened to those who have no control over their Gate in the news."
Of course, everyone knew. Those uncontrolled Gate user was reported in the evening news to suddenly explode in their own bodies and some kind of a monster will rise from their remains, destroying everything and everyone in sight. All my life I shivered by the thought of exploding in your own body, but I never would have imagined that it would be me to be facing the same thing too. No! It must be a mistake! This must be a dream…
I turned my head around to ask for help. No one is looking at me in pity. Everyone was as if looking at a dangerous animal without a leash. Even Mio. She was back on her feet somehow, and she stood two wide steps away from where she was. I called her name, with tears wetting my cheeks.
"No! I don't know you! You-you… Invalid!" Invalid. It's as if only yesterday that we used to talk with each other about the Gate users – Invalids – going amok from the news of the night before. We once threw an empty can of juice at one Invalid as he was dutifully collecting rubbish from the streets. I never would have dreamed in a million years that one day it would all comes back to me.
"By the Law, you are given until the end of the day to live your life as it was. A transport will be sent to your home early in the next morning and you have the right to obey to the Law and accept the transport. That is all. Now, Lieutenant, was it confirmed that only one of the students here is positive a Gate user."
"Yes, Sir! The initial research has detected not more than one has the possibility to manifest a Gate, and the Operation IC-03 should be invoking the other candidates if there is one other exist between them. We will, however, keep in contacts with the rest of the students if any shows any sign of outburst and…" their voices trailed away as they walked out to the outside of the hall. I saw the scrawny Principle bowed thanks to them before gesturing that everyone may now leave. A band of emergency aids rushed inside to care for the wounded. I just stood there, not daring to lift a foot. What are the chances that I am still in my nightmare?
An empty graduation scroll's casing hit me at the back of the head. "Go away!" a male voice that I knew of so well was heard. I cannot bring myself to face Takashima, the guy that I like since first day of school, with such hatred in his eyes. Another object was thrown at me and hit me at the sides. It was a shoe. "We would not have been hurt if it's not because of you! Go away!" Mio's voice used to be the most musical I've ever heard of. She always gets a guys attention just by singing or merely talking aloud. "Invalid! Leave!" voices that I know of, voices of someone I respected, voices of those I looked down upon. Voices of my teachers. Their hate made a great echo in the hall. Why can't it all be just a nightmare?
I ran. Tears streaming down my face like a waterfall. I ran out of the great arch that bears the name of the school I had attended for three years. I ran to a route I know so well of. It was empty for some reason that it might have been because of me. Bystanders halt in whatever they were doing before as the saw me. As if it was written all over my face, they spat and sneered towards me. Invalid.
My house stood exactly where it was since before I was born. I knocked on the door and almost instantly, Father opened it. I tried to explain what had happened, but he held a hand over his head, just the way he had always done to silence me. Mother sits on the couch of the living room, sobbing in her palms. They have been told. Of course they would. The NRA would certainly notice my parents as soon as it was confirmed that their daughter is a Gate user.
"By the end of the day, you have the right to be inside this house and inside that room at the second floor. My wife and I would appreciate if you would be on your way as soon as your transport arrive tomorrow at dawn" That room in the second floor. He wouldn't bring himself to acknowledge he had a daughter to begin with. I begged for Mother, but she just sobs even harder. Father walked and sit next to her and held her head in his chest when I was ignored. I climbed up to my room and slammed the door shut.
I threw myself onto the bed after pulling the curtains to shut the whole world away from me. There, I cried so hard. Telling myself this must all have been a bad dream did not do any good. This is a living nightmare. One I must live with from now on. I saw the sight of the pictures I took with Mother and Father during the last holiday at the beach. We had so much fun that time. Father tanned so much, none of us can recognize him from afar. I rose and tore the happy pictures into many pieces. On my desk where I struggled day and night to make it for the finals stands a picture of Mio and a few other girlfriends being a complete fool of ourselves with face paint at last schools' cultural event. We even pulled a prank on one of the boring teacher as he was sleeping by painted him a third eye on his forehead. Our class ended up as the class with the highest sales that day too, probably because of the loud ruckus we made that interest curious visitors. I grabbed that frame and threw it with all my strength across the room. It shattered, just as my heart had been. The voiceless laughter of the laughing Mio in the picture I suffocate with my pillow. For that very moment, I wanted to blame her. I would not be in this nightmare if she would not act like a coward and stood there not defending herself. I would not be this way if I didn't want to protect her.
From there, I went berserk. I tore out everything that reminds me of my perfect life. The motivational banner I wrote to encourage myself in the finals was then in unrecognizable pieces on the floor. The teddy bears Father gave me each birthday were now a pile of cottons. The school uniform I always keep in perfect shape for every morning were now just shreds of cloths. The expensive books on psychology I bought with the money I saved in advance for my university use is reduced torn papers. It was all gone. My life was over before I was even done planning with it.
I crouched at the corner of the destroyed room eyeing at the mess that was mine just this morning. All my memories. All my treasures. All that I used to held so dearly. They no longer held any meaning to me now. I eyed the luggage I packed for the trip we were suppose to go right after my graduation ceremony still sit neatly next to the door. Who would have thought that would be my only possession when I was to leave some hours afterward. Mother had said so when she braved to show herself in my room to place the last meal she'll ever cook for me. Not a moment she spared to look at the person who was once her doted daughter. She stood by the door for a while when she leaves, and tried to form a word in her mouth, before she sobs and left again. Was she trying to say she had tried so hard to not let her only child be taken away? Was she glad I am no longer her burden? Or did was she about to say how disappointed she is towards her? I can only keep guessing as I pick on the omelets rice that was once my favorite. For some reason, I hate that dish and wish not to eat it ever again. I lie on the warm bed that was mine, singing my school anthem in endless loop, drowning in my own tears until finally sleep comes. If there was a dream, I can't remember any of it. Instead, it was all blank drift out of consciousness. I had grown tired trying to remember every happy and sad moment of my past lives.
Dawn breaks, but I was no longer fear of what will happen to me. Tidying myself up and putting on my most comfortable parka and sweaters, and my favorite jeans, I look at myself in the mirror now broken because of the mobile phone I threw at it. I look horrible. Tears had inflamed my cheeks and my eyes swollen. Sighing, I picked up the luggage by the door and decided I would clean my face at the bathroom on the way down the stairs. The house was silent, but not that it had been a noisy place in the first place. It had always been Mother and me who made most of the noise. Father is the silent type. I'm sure Mother is not in the mood for any singing in the kitchen as she cook today.
Neither of them is in sight as I head outside and closed the door to my house for the very last time. The little flower garden is lacking its daily trimming it seems. Father must have lots in his mind to actually forgetting about it. He used to call home from outstation to make sure either me or Mother would do a favor and make sure no weed had managed to spoil his work. Mother and me used to laugh at Father's obsession. It would have been a pity I can no longer take part in the matters of this family again. Mother would be baking and sewing alone, and Father would not have anyone to massage his back as we would sit together enjoying the new DVD I rented for the week.
A loud engine was heard from afar and it became clearer and clearer until the bus is right in front of entrance. The metal bus was silver in color and the windows were tinted darkly. A woman in maroon uniform alike yesterday's NRA steps down from the bus with a piece of paper in her hand.
"Erika Tajiro, you have the right to obey the Law and accept the relocation transport. Strict matters will be taken if you refuse. Do you accept your rights?" she announced in an emotionless tone. She must have faced such pitiful individuals so much in her career that she no longer has a care to be sorry. I said yes, and she nodded and ticks something on the list in her hand. I climbed on up, but I managed to take a last look at the place I grew up and loved. I thought I saw two figures by the window to the living room, both bodies bent probably from grief, before the curtain was pulled shut. I prayed they will live peacefully afterwards without me.
End note: Do ppl go to hotspring in Spring? IDK.