Toshiaki stared down at the crowd. They were all gathering around an accident that happened. A person; a kid, got run over by a car. It seemed pretty clear what had happened, but Toshiaki knew something was wrong.
How did he know? The dead body was his.
"Hey, is that me? What's going on?" He kept on questioning.
The ambulance arrived. The hospital people took his body on a mat and into the van.
"What do you think you're doing?" Toshiaki demanded
They ignored him.
"Listen, that's me you're carrying!" He was about to grab the man when his hand just slide through.
Now, Toshiaki was really confused. "What is going on?" he thought "Let see, it was Monday morning, I woke up after a weekend of studying..."
Beep... beep... beep...
Toshiaki reached out and turned it off. He yawned as he woke up. He got up, got changed, brushed his teeth, ate a bowl of rice for breakfast, and got ready to go.
His parents met him at the door. They look like they were ready to go to work... again.
"Now, remember to do good at school."
"Stand up straight."
"Pay attention to teachers."
"And be the top of class."
"Yes, be on top of class."
His parents told him the usual stuff; then they went into their cars and left.
Toshiaki sighed and went to school.
He noticed a neighboring kid with his mom. The mom was telling her kid to have a great time at school and she kissed him on the forehead.
Toshiaki took one look at it, turned away, and pretended to ignore it.
At New Holland Elementary School, he got his usual grades:
That A+ in that class was given to someone else. As usual, Victor Frankenstein came on top of him for science class.
Victor and Toshiaki had a long history together. Ever since the beginning, they were always fighting for the number one spot in the science class, or any class (and just recently, the baseball team).
Needless to say, Toshiaki couldn't stand Victor. In fact, he enjoyed putting him down. However, a certain incident changed all that when he tried to use Victor's technology to reserect his dead turtle, Shelly, and Shelly became a giant monster.
Nowadays, Toshiaki just keeps a certain distance away from him; not willing to have anything to do with Victor.
At lunch, Toshiaki went to his locker and took out a plastic bag. In the bag was an item. He went into a classroom where he was alone. He took the item out and on the desk.
It was a lone tree inside a blue pot. The dirt around it looked like sand. It was called a bonsai.
He was planning on entering this plant to the New Holland Agricultural Plant Contest (he has; or a least wants, to be number one at everything).
He was clipping on a few small branchs that were growing on the tree's body. He was about to cut another small one when...
Toshiaki jumped, and instead of clipping just the small one, he took a big chunk off as well.
He growled "What do you want, Bob?"
Bob wasn't alone, Edgar, Nassor, Weird Girl, and Elsa were with him.
"Well, we saw you with that plant and we were just wondering-."
Toshiaki cut him off. "Hold it, I'm not going into a world of explain about my culture like those other times." He had seriously had counted all the times Bob had asked about something unusual that he brought in and then he attracts a crowd wanting to learn more about it. He had to talk about bento boxes, riceballs, kanji, and even Hello Kitty.
Bob recalled those moments. "Oh, yeah..." After a moment, he said "That's a weird plant."
Toshiaki said the words he knew he was going to regret. "It's a bonsai."
"Really? Can you tell me about it?" No sooner when he said that, everyone became intrested. They all wanted to hear a new cultural shock.
Toshiaki groaned and tired to get them to all back off. "Look, I'm not in the mood for talking so just leave me alone!"
The crowd was now begging. It was even attracting people who just walking in the hall. "Come on." "Please?" "You're one of the smartest kids in class." "Come on, tell us." Ever Nassor was begging like a loser.
Victor entered the room; that's the last thing Toshiaki wanted.
"What's going on?" asked Victor
"Toshiaki is going to tell us about his plant." said Edgar
"Really?" Victor noticed the plant and his curiousity sparked "What can you tell us about it?"
Toshiaki wasn't willing to show Victor that he was an idiot. So he sighed and said. "All right, this is a bonsai. It's Japanese style of art using a plant; normally a small tree. The term 'bon' usually means a tray like pot in Japanese, and therefore-." He was inturrpted by a sudden crash.
Victor had rested his hand on the desk where the bonsai plant was on. Unbeknowst to anyone, the desk had one leg that was weak and it collasped. The plant layed on the ground with a broken pot and dirt all around it.
Victor realized what had just happened. "Oh, I'm so sorry. I'll clean it up."
But Toshiaki wasn't willing to accept an apology. He just shook like he was mad, but didn't say anything. He just went out.
Yeah, I got ready for school, mom and dad left for work, I got the best grades for every class (well excpet science class), I lost my bonsai, went outside to get rid of some steam... and then I met this kid...
Toshiaki took a deep breath while trying to calm down.
A ball came up to him. He picked him up when he noticed a girl coming. This kid was probably in preschool or something.
He said to her "Hey, listen, it's too dangerous here. There are cars on the streets. You better get out of here."
The girl stared at him blankly.
Toshiaki did a few funny faces. The girl still stared at him blankly.
"Don't kids usually love this stuff?" he thought. He just gave up on it and gave the girl her ball. "Look, it's too dangerous, better play at a place that's safe."
He was about to go back inside when he noticed the girl was still playing; kicking her ball. She clearly didn't listen to him. Then the girl kicked the ball again and it went on the street. There were no cars right now. The girl went on the street to go get her ball.
"What do you think you're doing?" Toshiaki shouted at her "Stay on the sidewalk!"
The girl continued on to the road.
A car was coming. The driver was talking to his companion. They didn't notice the girl.
"That stupid-!" Toshiaki ran after her.
The car was getting closer.
The girl picked up her ball.
The passenger shouted "Look out!"
The driver tried to hit the breaks.
Toshiaki ran on to the road.
The girl didn't understand what was going on and stared at the car.
The car and the girl were an inch appart.
Toshiaki pushed her out of the way.
That was the last thing Toshiaki remembered.
"Oh yeah... the car hit me..." He reflected back at the accident. "So does this mean I... died?"
Someone was clapping their hands slowly.
Toshiaki turned around to see a girl. She appeared to be about his age. She was most certainly Asian. She wore an outfit that looked like it came from a private school. Her jet black hair was in a ponytail. She had an old-fashioned broomstick with her.
"Congradulations, you caught on quicker than I thought you would." Her voice was cheerful and sweet. "Most kids, esspecailly kids your age or younger, don't seem to get what has happened to them after something like this. They become confused and angry, and eventually they become restless ghosts and spirits."
Toshiaki stared at her "Who the heck are you?"
"Oh that's right, I haven't introduced myself. My name's Saya, and I'm your guide to the afterlife. It's nice to meet you."
There was a berif pause; then Toshiaki began questioning her. "What do you mean my guide to the afterlife? Are you the grim reaper or something? And with the 'nice to meet you' thing? If you're death, then shouldn't you be something onimous?"
Saya laughed "You're just like what the guide says. It's no wonder you don't respect me; let alone fear me." She had a bag with her, she took out a guide book from it. "You name is Toshiaki Fujiwara, the son of Ryo and Arisu Fujiwara. You're eleven years old. You're one of the smartest kids in New Holland. However, you're also a bully and a bragger." Then she looked at the book again "Whoa, there's a incident regarding your deceased pet turtle, Shelly. What the heck did you do?"
"None of your business." snapped Toshiaki.
Then he remembered something "By the way, what happened to that girl I saved?"
"Like you care? Why don't we go see?"
At New Holland Hospital, a pair of parents came to see if their little girl was all right.
"She has a few injuries on her head and hand." the doctor told them "But above all, there's no sign of concussion or any injury."
"Oh that's such a relief." said the mom.
"Yes, we heard that you got into a crash and thought you were hurt." said the dad "But no; you're all right, here, and alive."
The parents rejoiced happily.
"Please sir," the dad asked "Can you thank the boy who saved our little Nina?"
The doctor shook his head "I'm sorry, sir..."
The parents immediately knew what that meant.
"Oh... you mean he died to save Nina?" said the mom.
Toshiaki and Saya saw everything from the outside of the hospital.
"So she's all right..." said Toshiaki. He sighed with releif and said "All right, Saya was it, if that's what happened then I have no regrets. You can take me to heaven or whatever."
Saya looked at him for a moment and chuckled.
That got Toshiaki supicious "What's so funny?"
"What's so funny is that I'm not taking you anywhere. I'm just here to see if you're interested to take the test to come back to life."
Saya explained "Let me put it this way: you're death was... unexpected. Not even the great buddha would have guessed you would risk your life to save that kid. So there's no place for you in heaven or hell."
"Wait, so you're saying me dying to save that kid wasn't on your sechedule?"
Saya made a "oh dear" kind of face and said "Well I wasn't going to tell you this, kid, since it will bum you out, but according to my guide; Nina, that girl you saved, was suppose to get run over, but survived miraculously without a scratch."
"What? Without a scratch?"
"Yeah, the ball was suppose to act as her cushion. I hate to say this, but your death was totally pointless."
No sooner than she said that, a man shouted "Pointless pencils! We got your pointless pencils here!" A sign lit up. The word "pointess" was bigger than "pencils".
"Yeah, I feel bad about it too." said Saya "Instead of no one getting hurt, the girl gets a few scrathes and you die. Nice work moron!"
Another person shouted "Moe and Ron's Store is opened!" The huge sign that said "Moe & Ron" had the letters "e" and "&" blinking.
Toshiaki looked like he wanted to punch her.
Saya could see that. "Now calm down, death isn't permeant. Or it's not in your case."
Toshiaki stared at her.
"To be honest, I'm new to this as much as you are. It happens like once every thousand years. So, are you going to do it? I mean, I know I would take it if it was me, but this is you we're talking about. You should take the chance after all."
Toshiaki told her his answer "Nah... I'll pass."
"Huh?" Saya was puzzled
"I don't see what's wrong with being a ghost. I can do whatever I want without anyone nagging at my back. My parents won't miss me; they're always at work and stuff. My classmates don't really care about me. They probably won't even miss me. I don't mind this; really."
Saya looked at him. "So sure about that? You're only eleven years old..." She shrugged "If that's your answer, fine. You don't have to take it right away." She went on her broomstick, but she rode it like a surfboard and left. "If you change your mind, let me know. But you should do it while you are still in your wake."
At one of New Holland's churches, a preist was talking. Everyone Toshiaki knew while living was here. He, himself, was just floating above; he came to see what is funeral is like.
After the preist was done talking. Most of the people left. Some stayed behind to say a last few things before leaving the box that contained the corpse.
Toshiaki's former science teacher, Mr. Rzykruski, was one of them. "Toshiaki..." he said "I was surprise when I heard you saved that girl. You of all people... But... I'm somehow unable to praise you for it..." He tried not to show that he was crying and left.
Toshiaki's classmates came up next. They were Victor, Elsa, Edgar, Weird Girl, Bob, and Nassor. They all looked pretty grim and upset. Even Edgar looked like he was going to cry. Victor was the one who stepped up.
"Hey, Toshiaki... I heard about what you did... well, we all did, and I have to say that was very brave of you."
Toshiaki just rolled his ghostly eyes; he still wasn't willing to accept anything from Victor.
But he wasn't done. "I... I know we weren't best of friends, but you were one of smartest kids in class... no, even more than that; the entire school, and I respected that. In fact, you were one of the greatest classmates I've ever known. And... and I'm going to miss you greatly."
"We all will." added Elsa sadly.
Nassor brokedown and ran out crying. Only, he ran through the wall and it left behind a hole of his shape.
Victor continued "Too bad it takes more than a shock of lighting to revive a human... if we can bring you back we would..."
For a moment, Edgar had a look of eagerness. "Can we?"
Victor shook his head "No, Edgar, we can't."
Edgar went back to sulking "Aw man..."
There was a plastic bag next to Victor. He took out the bonsai plant and put it on the coffin. "This is the bonsai plant I broke. We got together and fixed it up for you. I hope you take this as a token of a truce..."
"Victor..." For a while, Toshiaki actually felt like forgiving him...
"Sparky used it as a bathroom though. I hope you forgive us for that."
Now he wanted to kill him.
After that, the kids left with their parents.
Toshiaki's parents were one of the last to leave. "Toshiaki..." His mom broke down and cried "Our son...!" Her husband comforted her, but tears rolled down his eyes too.
Of all the years Toshiaki had knew his parents, he had never seen them cry. He actually wanted to go up to them and say "I'm here! I'm here!" but he counldn't. He just couldn't.
The last person who came up to the coffin was Nina was her parents.
They looked sadly at the coffin (excpet Nina who still trying to get the concept of death). "Now what do you say to the nice boy?" said Nina's mom.
Nina said "Thank you, Toshiaki." Then paused because she was expecting a response back.
"Don't thank me, you stupid girl..." He said as he watched her leave the church with her parents. "I... I didn't do anything that's worth anyone's thanks!"
"Hey, mommy?" Nina asked
"Was the boy in the box?"
"Yes he was..."
"Was he sleeping?"
"Um... yes... yes he was..."
Then Nina said something that really would touch anyone's heart "Mommy, daddy, let's come back when he's out of the box. Then I can thank him when he's awake."
The parents looked at each other sadly. "We can't do that, Nina." said the mom.
The dad shook his head "We just can't..."
After seeing all that, Toshiaki paused and said "Hey... Saya?"
Saya suddenly appeared. "Yeah, kid? Are you crying?"
"No..." he lied. After wiping away a tear, he told her his answer:
"I decided to take that test."