Author's Note: Hello everyone! So I recently watched the anime Shiki, and I was very impressed by it. So impressed that I started wanting to write my own story about it, which is how you know it really caught my interest. So here is the first chapter of the story I'm developing. To be honest, I really shouldn't be doing this...I should be doing responsible adult-ish things befitting a person who hopes to one day become a responsible adult. Instead I find myself unable to resist writing stories when I should be writing critical literary essays for my Methods class. *smacks pillow into face*

Anyway, I just wanted to post some writing here and see if the story feels strong enough to be continued. If people want me to continue, I suppose I shall. Reviews will be appreciated. And thank you for reading! I hope you enjoy! *bows*

Natsuno Yuuki had not been happy when he had awoken in the belly of a god-forsaken fissure in the ground, covered in blood, his clothes burnt to cinders, but still definitely alive- or as alive as he could be considered in his present state of being. In fact, his current undead status was causing him a great deal of dismay as he wandered blindly through the forest, reflecting on his second unwelcome awakening.

He had not planned for this. He had planned on the fissure, planned on the dynamite, planned out exactly how to lure Tatsumi into a battle beside the gaping maw of earth, drag him down inside of it, light the fuse, and close his eyes….and then there had been no need to plan beyond that. After that ending, after that one, final effort to eradicate the okiagari, his work would be over and he could finally rest in peace like he should have when he had first died. That had been his consolation, the prize he was after. As the whole nightmare in Sotoba had gone from bad to worse to hell, Natsuno had found himself having to settle for smaller and smaller consolations. At first it had been his great, outlying dream of passing the college entrance exams, going to a university in a big city, and leaving Sotoba far behind. Then it had been running from Sotoba with Tohru, escaping the madness and helping each other to find a way in the world. When he had finally realized that Tohru was not going to come away with him, that he was trapped under the vampire's thrall just as strongly as Natsuno himself- then, he had gradually settled for simply dying in peace, defeated, but still able to rest in the knowledge that he had tried. And then, in some extremely rude joke of a universe gone insane, Natsuno Yuuki had risen again. After this, all he had wanted was to destroy the monsters who had brought this upon him, and to find a way to take himself with them to wherever monsters went after death. The undead were things which did not belong in the mortal world, and he had sworn that his last act in this world would be to bring down the most dangerous of them all- the jinrou, himself included. He had lit the fuse with a relieved smile in his heart, knowing he was finally going to put things right and return the dead to their graves.

And what the hell had happened after that? Natsuno had no memory of anything from the time the roar began and the sky went black to the moment he opened his eyes and observed his body, unclothed and burned in places, but definitely still intact. It made absolutely no sense. He had been holding the dynamite against his chest when it exploded. He should have been ripped to pieces, to shreds, he and Tatsumi both. Had his body somehow reassembled itself while he'd been unconscious? Was the healing ability of the jinrou really that intense? But no, Seishirou Kirishiki had been able to kill Yoshie with a shot to the head, so why the hell was he still alive after literally blowing himself up? Whatever the reason, it left Natsuno's mind washed up on the banks of uncertainty as he stumbled along through the sunlit woods, alone and utterly devoid of any sort of plan. He wasn't sure how long he staggered around in shock before he finally noticed he was walking through a forest of blackened, bare skeleton trees. A fire had passed through this area, so recently that some patches of ground were still smoldering. He wondered how it had happened, whether the humans had started it to drive the okiagari away, or if the monsters had lit it in an attempt to distract the humans and give themselves time to escape.

The only good thing that had happened to the baffled jinrou since he'd awoken had been the discovery of some empty clothes lying discarded in a burned-out lump of dirt. He supposed they must have been left there after the woods had stopped burning. He'd wasted no time in pulling them on; the paranoid feeling of being naked in the open was something he could not tolerate even if there was no one around to see him. The pants were too big and the shirt too small, which did not make sense either, but Natsuno was far past expecting things to make sense. He walked and walked and walked, feeling the burns underneath his new clothes healing as he moved. He walked even further, and then, he simply stopped. He stopped, crouched down, and stared at the ground with hard, bright eyes.

What was he supposed to do now? He didn't want to go back to Sotoba. He didn't want to go anywhere else, either. He didn't feel like staying here. He wasn't even certain where 'here' was. He was supposed to be dead and buried by the force of his explosion. He was supposed to be dead- and he had absolutely no idea how to accomplish this. With a frustrated groan, Natsuno flopped down onto his back and turned his head to stare out at the world around him, hoping an idea would come to him. He could see nothing but sky, the barren tops of trees, and the barest edge of a hill protruding upward behind him. Suddenly interested, Natsuno sat up again and surveyed the hill. If he could climb up its slope, he should be able to see Sotoba. With that, he could get a sense of where he was, and also of how far the wildfire had burned. And then….he didn't know yet what he would do with that information. But it was a plan, and Natsuno's mind seized upon it like an iron clamp. He would work out the next phase of his plan when he reached the top of the hill. For now, it was time to lift his unnatural body off of the soot-scarred dirt and begin his upward climb.