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 The Book of Rain (solo)

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Ame no ko
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Subject Post 1PostSubject: The Book of Rain (solo)   The Book of Rain (solo) EmptyWed Jun 17, 2020 8:37 am

Every story has a beginning somewhere, sometime. Everything must come from somewhere. The mighty sun once started as a flake of cosmic dust and gas. The earth started as a bit of dirt. Every bit of matter or energy had tobstart somewhere, no matter what it would become somewhere along the line. Even a soul, clad in black, wielding a sword, didn't just blink into existence. Either the sould was born from two other souls or it was once a human. This one particular soul was. While she would indeed become late one of the sould that wore black, she was once normal human child. Breathing, laughing, hurting, living.


Part One

One

"Ameko! Ameko...wait!"

The voice behind her was friendly and full of cares, but she didn't want to listen. She just wanted to be alone.

"Ame…" the voice called once more, but it was quieter now, farther away.

She ran, as fast as her feet would carry her, to where she always was running, when she was upset and distraught. It was a small clearing in the thick forests that surrounded her village. A small strip of green grass, a few bushes, and in the middle a pond. It was small and shallow, but the water was clear. It was so calm, so serene, and it was her secret place.

It was of course no secret place. Almost everyone in the village knee that this little pond was there. It was just that nobody cared about it. There were no fish, it wasn't comfortable to reach ans the small strip of grass didn't even give the kids enough space to play. You couldn't do much more than sit and enjoy the place. So no one came her. Except for one girl: Ameko.

When she finally arrived at the pond, Ameko sank to her knees, right there at the edge of the water, and looked at her reflection. She did that often: bend of the edge of the pond and look at what the smooth surface showed her. Today, as every day, it was the same picture. It showed a girl, 17 years old by now, a slim face, freckles on her cheeks, framed by long, deep black hair. The collar of a pretty, white-and-blue Kimono could be seen. Two big, soft and bright eyes looked sad back at Ameko. The picture began to blur, when tears filled those eyes and finally disturbed the image when the first drops fell and hit the surface of the pond, so Ameko sat back, slung her arms around her knees and buried her face.

Normally, when she sat by the pond and looked into the water, it calmed her. She always imagined that the girl, that looked back at her, was another version of her, in a different world, who she could see through a window made out of water. She would dream about this world, would imagine her other self and her adventures. It was just daydreaming, but she loved it, certainly more than her boring, ordinary life.

Alas, to her, this life would become much more dreary and bleak. She had never been one to have many friends. She was shy, introverted, often phasing out and dreaming about the other world, the pond-world. Also she was very slender and tall, even taller than most boys her age, and although they might not have been small children anymore, who pick on those that are different, Ameko still didn’t belong. Of course she wasn’t a complete loner, there were some friends, but they were the same as her, preferring to stay on her own and the friendships were superficial anyway.
There was only one person, one person special to her. Kumomi, who she called Kumi or Oneechan. She wasn’t her real sister, Ameko was in fact an only child, but she loved Kumomi nonetheless. Kumomi was the neighbours daughter, one year older and as beautiful as the sunrise. She had always been such a kind soul and when they grew up together she was always there, whenever Ameko needed her. They saw each other almost every day and grew close. With no one else could Ameko be that open, but with her.

Only this was soon to end. This morning Kumomi hat come to her and told her that she would leave the village, that her family would send her to Tokyo, to enter a school for higher education and marry some guy of an important family. When Ameko heard those news a whole world came tumbling down for her and she felt betrayed and abandoned by the only one she really ever cared about. How could she do that?
Ameko couldn’t bear to see anyone, speak to anyone, especially not Kumomi, and just ran. And here she was, sobbing silently into her Kimono and cursing the world that was so damned unfair.


Last edited by Ame no ko on Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:31 am; edited 1 time in total
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Ame no ko
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Subject Post 2PostSubject: Re: The Book of Rain (solo)   The Book of Rain (solo) EmptyFri Jun 26, 2020 5:51 am

Two

"Ame, sweetie…"

"Leave me alone!"

So, she hadn't gotten the message. Kumomi, that was. Ameko slung her arms tighter around her legs and kept her face hidden in her knees, all while she desperately tried not to sob anymore.

"Ame…"

The voice was so soft, and all the care and love Ameko ever could have wanted from anyone was in it. A warmth that didn't only touch her body but also her soul radiated from Kumi, when she wrapped her arms around Ameko and hugged her so tight it almost hurt. But Amko didn't care. All she wanted was that Kumi never ever let go again. If she squeezed a little bit too tight, that was fine. Just...never let go again.

Originally Ameko had planned to be mad at her. Be mad for leaving her and stay mad, maybe even hate her. Because if someone left that you are mad at, that you hated, it wouldn't hurt so much. Only deep inside her she knew that she never could hate her Kumi and so her resolve crumbled.

"Oneeee…" she cried and finally hugged Kumi back.

"I am so sorry, Ame. Really."

"Then why are you going?"

Ameko started sobbing again and tears rolled down her cheeks.

"Why...why…"

A long silence followed where only Ame's sobbing could be heard. Only when Ameko heard Kumomi sniffle she looked up and saw that the eyes of the other were filled with tears, too.

"Kumi…?"

Kumomi smiled a sad smile and looked at Ameko through her tears. It struck her that Kumomi was as hurt as she was and she felt ashamed and selfish, as well as confused.

“Wh...why are you crying? Isn’t that what you want? The big city, one of the best schools...marrying into an important family?”

Again, Kumomi smiled this sad, sad smile. Ameko was so confused she actually stopped sobbing, sat up and looked at Kumi.

“I have to leave you behind for that, how could I want that?”

“Me? But...I am no one important.”

Now it was Kumomi who really started to cry and sob.

“Are you stupid? Really? Don’t you have any clue how much you mean to me? We’ve spend all our lives together until now and you’ve always been there for me.”

She held Ameko’s face in her hands and held her gaze, so that the younger one could see beyond any doubt, that she meant it.

“I love you, Ame. I couldn’t love you more if you were my twin. So damn yes, this hurts me just as bad. And I need your help to not completely fall apart when I have to leave.”

Ameko breathed heavily and she tried very hard not to start crying again. She suddenly realized that she needed to be strong for her one special person.

“But...but do you really have to…” she asked weakly. She had to try.

Kumomi calmed down a little.

“Yes...I have no choice. My parents decided it. And it is for the best of the family and the village. I might not...like it...or him. But I have to.”

Again a long silence. Both stared at the pond and both of them didn’t know what to say.

“How...I mean...when…” asked Ameko.

“A month…” said Kumomi. “They said I should enjoy the holidays at home and then...then…”

Ameko stood up and suddenly her face had a look of comical grim determination. Kumomi knew it was a mask, but the expression was so hilarious that she suddenly chuckled.

“Well, it looks like we don’t have much time then. We ought to have loads of fun, so we better get started.” she said and her voice made it clear that the decision was made.

Now laughing Kumomi, too, stood and embraced Ameko in a tight hug. When she she let go she only stepped back half a step and her hands were still lying on Ameko’s shoulders.

“Well...I guess you’re right. How shall we begin? WHat do you suggest. Hey…”

She was startled when she suddenly felt Ameko’s hands on her breasts.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she exclaimed.

Just a moment later the mischievous grin that Ameko sported gave her an idea. But it was a tad late.

“This!” said Ameko an pushed. With a surprised gasp Kumomi stumbled backwards and fell into the pond. It really wasn’t deep, but deep enough for her to get completely soaked.

“Ameeeee!” she yelled, but the one she yelled after was already running while giggling like a 5-year-old. When Kumi took up the pursuit she, too, was laughing and both of them were again just girls, lifelong friends, family by choice.

For some time their sorrows were forgotten. A short time, but a happy time. The girls were up for a lot of shenanigans during that time, but despite them being quite old for that kind of behaviour, nobody said anything. The whole village seemed to know that the two of them needed that and that it would be hard enough when it finally came to an end.

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Subject Post 3PostSubject: Re: The Book of Rain (solo)   The Book of Rain (solo) EmptyThu Jul 02, 2020 5:43 am

Three

One year later. The month that Ameko and Kumomi had together was short, far too short. The two of them did the best to not think of the inevitable, but they knew that their time was limited. And so the day came. Kumomi was all packed and ready to go and when she had said her final goodbye, hugged and kissed Ame for the last time, waved for the last time, and turned around for the last time, when she finally disappeared around a bend in the road...it started to rain. And as it poured down from the clouds, so it poured from Ameko’s eyes. With an inhumanly effort she managed to stay strong until Kumomi was out of sight. Now she was standing there, on the road in front of their houses, her clothes drenched, crying inconsolably. She felt a pain as if someone had cut out a piece of herself. It would be weeks until she wouldn’t cry herself to sleep anymore, but the sadness would never completely go away. Sure, Kumomi had only moved into another city, across the country, but it could also have been a different world.

Now, in the present, it was a happy day. For various reasons. One of them was that Ameko and Kumomi hat finally met again after almost a whole year. They had spoken and written a lot, but each of them had their own education to take care of, so there had been no time.
Another reason was, that it was Kumomi’s wedding. It was a big feast. The families of bride and groom, his name was Shiro Takeda, were there, friends, of course, and Ameko and her family, because they had lived next door to each other for decades. Everyone was dressed in beautiful clothes and happy. Ameko herself was wearing a Kimono with an intricate flower-pattern. At this very moment she was smiling a smile that was as warm as a thousand suns at her onee-chan, who seemed to be very happy. In her letters, Kumomi had told Ameko that Shiro was a very gentle and caring man. Maybe a bit boring, but it could have been worse. The wedding forged two families together and brought a lot of wealth into the small village that the girls called home.
For this special occasion Ameka had even learned to play an instrument, the Erhu. She knew that Kumomi loved the sound of this violin and so Ameko had practiced almost every day to surprise her onee with it on this day.

After the ceremony, when everyone was sitting together for a big feast, almost everyone held a speech. Fathers, uncles, friends...it was as boring as could be expected. Finally there was a chance and Ameko took it. She stood up, and positioned herself before Kumomi. A slight, not entirely honest dread could be seen in Kumomi's eyes, but Ameko smiled appeasing.

"I have something special for you." she only said.

A slight confusion was the result, which changed into surprise and joy, when Ameko knelt and her mother brought her the instrument.

"I know how much you like this instrument, Kumi. So...I taught myself how to play."

When Ameko began to play a sweet and strangely sad sound filled the room. Like a woman humming a song and sighing at the same time. The song had no words but told a story nonetheless. A story of years of friendship, of a bond deeper than anything. It told of fields and woods, of grass and wind and of a certain pond. Sooner or later everyone that heard the song closed their eyes and just listened, allowed the music to flow through them. Even the ones that were absolutely tone-deaf could at least feel that this was a special song, written for this single occasion and that here a girl was pouring out her heart.

The song ended in a long, clear and beautiful note. Kumomi opened her eyes first while everyone else was still caught in the memory of that beautiful, beautiful music. She wanted to thank her Ameko before everyone else for this sweet, beautiful and unforgettable present. But when she looked into Ameko's face she could see her smiling at her, while tears rolled down her cheeks. For a moment they looked at each other and Kumomi could see just how much love Ameko held in her heart for her. Then everyone else awakened from their trance, Ameko hastily wiped her face and the moment was gone.

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Subject Post 4PostSubject: Re: The Book of Rain (solo)   The Book of Rain (solo) EmptyFri Aug 07, 2020 5:36 pm

Four

Two years had passed since the wedding. Ameko, now a young woman of twenty years, still lived in her home-village with her parents, while many other young people had left to live in the big city. Just like Kumomi had. Ameko...she couldn't care less about the big cities. She couldn't care less about people. For a while now she wasn't the same person anymore. The once lively, happy and optimistic girl was now a distant, indifferent woman. The only time when she really expressed any emotions anymore was when she played her music. Her passion for music, especially traditional instruments, showed even before the wedding. In the years since then she had honed her skill with the erhu and even picked up the shamisen.

To pay the bills she had accepted a job in a small convenience store, a few kilometers away at a busy road. It was a boring job, but aside from that Ameko didn’t care about that either, it left her more than enough spare time for her music. It was really almost the only thing she was interested in anymore.

For a while since the wedding she had been her cheery old self. She and Kumomi talked a lot on the phone, wrote a lot. But over time, Kumomi had gradually changed. She became less lively, her calls became more and more rare. Ameko even believed that she was afraid of something. In her last call she definitely was. Ame could hear it in her voice. A stranger might have overheard it, but she knew this woman all her live. She was sure there was something and she was sure it had to do with Kumomi’s husband. She avoided talking about him and when he came home she hastily hung up. Since then...nothing.
After the call Ameko had been talking to her and Kumomi’s parents, begging them, shouting at them, to check up on her. Something was wrong. But nobody would listen. She even wanted to visit herself, but her meager salary from the store wouldn’t pay the journey and no one else was willing to help her out.
From then on, as she realised that the world didn’t care about Kumomi or her, she stopped caring about the world and started to bury her thoughts and feelings deep, deep inside her.

It was raining again this night. It was raining quite often these last few weeks and today too it didn't look like it was about to stop anytime soon. Fat and heavy drops came crashing down. Ameko hated the rain. It always remembered her of the day when Kumomi left.

She was lying on her futon, staring at the wooden ceiling and listening to the rain. It was a very traditional house with thin walls and paper doors that didn't do much to damp any sounds. On any normal day the most annoying thing to come of this would be her dad's snoring. On days like today it was the rain, the constant swoosh of the endless drops on the roof and the trees and the road and…

Suddenly a strange feeling came over Ameko. With a start she sat up. She could see no light and hear no sounds that shouldn't be there at this time of night. Yet something was off.
Slowly she stood up. She was only wearing a t-shirt and her undies and her hair was loose and messy. On tiptoes she crept to the door of her small room and opened. The corridor was empty. She slipped out of her room, quiet like a mouse. Like the shadow of a mouse. Before she realised it she was at the front door, through it and on the front porch.

It was pitchblack outside. It was well after midnight, maybe 2 or 3 a.m., and the whole village was asleep. It was dead silent, except for the rain and the occasional passing car. Everyone was in their homes asleep. Everyone except that lonely, slender figure, drenched and shivering, standing in the middle of the road, staring at Ameko with wide eyes.

"Kumi…" she gasped and ran. She ran out into the rain, on to the street, barefooted and half naked as she was. Her t-shirt was soaked almost immediately, but she didn't care. She stumbled, cut her foot on a sharp stone, but she didn't feel it. The rain got into her eyes, blinding her temporarily, but she didn't need sight. It was as if her hear pulled her to that lonely woman on the street.

"Kumi…" she gasped again, no, yelled now as she threw herself into the arms of the other. Kumomi, her Kumomi was back. She was back again. She could feel her. Finally, finally she could be happy again. Kumomi wrapped her arms around Ameko and held her tight and Ameko did the same. They were holding on to each other as if they never wanted to let go again, Ameko's head rested on Kumomi's shoulder, Kumomi's face buried in Ameko's wet hair. No one said a word.

Then they were suddenly bathed in bright light, a screetching…

Darkness.

End of Part One
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