Chapter 1: The girl who fell from the sky
I wait for impact….But it doesn’t come.
No collision, no pain but instead a growing tingle erupts from the tips of my fingers and rushes up through the rest of my body. It’s odd and chilly, like a cold wind on a normally hot day, but it’s not unwelcoming.
Hesitantly I open my eyes and see a sight I thought I would never in a million years, especially given the circumstance. I see the green earth blow, wide and beautiful, with mountains peppering the land with white caps, specks of tiny villages here and there with ant-like people and an ocean so vast it looks like it goes forever, on my right.
I must be dreaming. I had to have hit my head on my fall on the stairs and now am just living a coma dream but I can’t deny the in-depth detail and physically feeling I am getting. The air is cold, the clouds dampen my skin as I pass through them, the colors are right and vivid. And the closer and closer I come to this world I realize I am slowing down from a fall to a hover.
The closer I am getting to the world the more I realize I am nowhere near the Higurashi Shrine…or even Tokyo. Matter of fact, I don’t see any city at all. This has to be a dream…yes a dream. Falling from the sky, to a world without a city.
But when will I wake?
My body begins to straighten on its own when I reach the tree tops, gliding through and somehow managing to miss every branch on the way down. Right when I think I will touch the ground I stretch my legs in hope the impact won’t be deadly and when my feet finally touches the grass my weight returns to me in one swift moment, forcing me down onto my knees.
I look up to see endless blue sky above the canopy of green trees. I must be dreaming – I have to be – no one would have survived this. I must have hit my head on the stairs and am now in a coma.
The air is fresh, free of the smell of city pollution; it fills my lungs and has me shivering. Coma induced dreams smell so real. The sound of birds, bugs and the subtle breeze is all that fills my ears. It is peaceful.
I stand slowly thankful my odd floating scene didn’t leave my legs weak and wobbling.
“Where am I?” I think out loud, knowing I must be going crazy but it’s still worth a shot. Only dense forest surrounds me and there is no openings or clues as to where I am or a path that has been used before so…I begin a slow trek into a random direction. Leaves float down all around me as I push through the shrubs and crunch below my shoes as I walk ontop of them. I’m not exactly used to nature having grown up in the big city.
I don’t know the ways of forestry, how to get around it or through it. How to tell which way you should go with moss or following some stars but I can’t sit around. After a few minutes of pushing through bushes and branches I crash through the greenery to find a small clearing with a single, large tree directly in the center.
The tree is oddly different from all the others, its vast canopy of leaves has to be twice the size of any tree I’ve ever seen and the sheer girth of the trunk is phenomenal. It would fit three…maybe four whole grown men if it was hollow inside.
It’s not just the size of the tree that stops me, however, but the intense aura coming off of it hits me like a brick. Whatever it is comes off the tree like waves, constantly hitting me with a strong tingle than when I was falling – but it feels better than the cool wind as if it’s just right…This new sensation warms my entire being and drags my body around its broad trunk like a spell; I follow without struggling until I am stopped by not only the sensation but by the sight.
There, against the tree trunk is a young man impaled to the tree by an arrow. How that lone arrow keeps him up there, six feet off the ground and holding his weight without snapping is beyond me. Where the arrow is punctured can’t be too far from his heart yet there is no blood.
Matter in fact; this crime scene looks surreally peaceful.
His long silver hair sways along with the breeze and his eyes are shut like he’s slumbering and not dead. I guess the vines that are wrapped around his chest and helps are kind of supporting his weight but it also means he’s been here for a long time – it should have taken ages for them to grow and to the width that they are. They look almost protective over his body or maybe cage-like. Possessive.
There is nothing stranger than the pair of dog ears on the top of his head though. This could be a dream but I have never dreamt up a guy with dog ears before and I am still challenging this of being a dream to begin with. The ears match his hair perfectly, not at all odd in the placement but like they belong.
I can’t deny that this tugging feeling is the only compulsion I’ve ever felt I my life, a odd clench of the heart that has me a bit curious. It gets stronger and stronger the more I stare up at him and eventually…I give in. I begin to climb on a portion of the trees roots that curve like a magical stairway to the young man’s body and once at eye level I get the chance to study him closely.
My eyes wander his feature slowly, following the strong line of his jaw, over the gentle tip of his nose and down to his natural colored lips that are partly opened. He’s handsome and…peaceful.
Is this how everyone looks when they sleep?
Long silver tendrils of hair brush across his cheeks with the breeze, sending a chill down my spine. I brush them away, accidently running my fingertips along his warm cheeks. Wait. Warm? He’s alive-
“Get away from there!” Shouts a male, his voice gruff and threatening almost. Before I can even investigate the sound of thunderous footsteps takes over the once peaceful silence. My body stiffens in reaction and I just barely look over my shoulder to see a shower of arrows flying my way. I react in the only way I can think of – by pushing myself flesh to flesh with the man before me – the sound of thuds colliding with wood fills my ears but I feel nothing hit me.
I look around, every single arrow missed but still managed to hit the tree just not me or dog boy. My heart picks up speed but no fear or panic follows, just a rush of adrenaline and survival. I hesitantly turn towards the group of men, they raise another set of arrows but they too hesitate.
I take the advantage. Not another thought crosses my mind when I jump down from the stairway of vines and bolt in a random direction.
Branches, leaves and tall grass scratch and tear at my skin and clothes, they bite at my legs and forearms but the pain hardly bothers me. The adrenaline will end quickly for me since my apathy doesn’t have me feeling the need to survive to the fullest with fear but I try to sprint faster and faster from the sounds of the men’s shouting. But no matter how fast I run, they sound like they are getting closer and closer.
The farther I go the harder it is for me to breathe, I never got to stay in a gym class long enough to have my endurance up high and I begin slowing without my control until I finally have to stop in order to breathe. My lungs begin to freeze, they burn and ache, in a pain I never felt before. Okay…I know I don’t have asthma or any other serious problem, so why this amount of pain?
And there it is, I feel that tugging I felt at the tree again but now it grips my shoulders like claws trying to pull me back. It’s bagging, almost ripping. It can’t be…can it?
I turn my head in the direction of the tree but before I know what is happening a looped rope flies at me and I don’t have time to duck or avoid when it captures me in an embrace around my arms and chest. The man pulls quickly and I am forced forward towards the group like a helpless animal caught in a trap.
Their arrows are pointed at me, scowls all on their faces.
“Let me go.” There is meant to be anger in my voice but it sounds too calm and collected to come off that way.
I struggle against the tightening; the rope burns and tears my skin. Two dozen men or so, round me. They work together against my weakling strength to bind my hands and feet, causing me to trip in which one of the men catch me.
Still struggling, and weak from loss of energy and the tugging of my being, the men tighten and knot the ropes. That’s when I’m thrown over the shoulder of one of the many men.