Monday, August 22, 2011

Finite Life Chapter Six: Tumble and Talk

I was able to get out of the school with relatively no troubles. There wasn’t any security that I needed to pass, no teachers to bother with, nor anyone asking questions as I did so. I suppose that since teachers decided to end class whenever they feel like, it wasn’t that unusual. This suited me just fine.

I did not know the layout of the school, but it was still a school, and before I realized it, I was out of the building. Another thing I probably should have realized before it was to late; the hill. I saw the curve of the hill, and tried to stop myself. It didn’t work, and the very very very fast descent of the hill began.

“Shit shit shit!” I shouted at the tippy-top of my lungs as my speed picked up. My legs had to move quicker in order to keep me upright, and I could feel my skirt flying up at every step, but I didn’t care. The other problem I noted was the way my less-than-reasonably-sized breasts bounced about, going in an almost random pattern. Unlike the skirt, this was a problem mainly because of how it threw off my balance, and now was not the time to learn how to move with these things. As a man, I was quite capable of getting from place to place with little to no difficulty, usually by bike or foot. In this body, such basic mobility was but a dream that is far too unrealistic in this moment of time.

My mind was confudled, which I think is a word. My body is on autopilot, trying to keep myself upright. I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what to think, and I didn’t know where I was going.

Oh, I guess I did. I am going downhill.

There was a snap; a loud snap that signified something going horribly wrong. This was followed up by my shoe, which had mostly removed itself from my foot but still dangled on, which was, ironically, worse for me. Then there was a stumble. It started off small, but it grew and grew until I was jumping on one foot down an evilly steep hill with no control over where I was going. So of course there was a black car parked up on the side, because it would be stupid to think that the car owner should pick any other place to park their vehicle. I could not change my direction, and I was headed straight for it. I managed to let out a cry for help, but it was futile. As I was only a few yards from the car I closed my eyes, not wishing to see my demise.

Wait, what?

There was a strong grip on my wrist, and the distinct feeling of not moving fast. I could hear a lot of heavy breathing, but it wasn’t my breath.

Had I died? And if so, had I returned to reality?

I opened my eyes, and I saw the black car I had run into. Or rather, the car I had almost run into. Prayers to whatever God or Goddess that made it an almost. I turned around to greet my savior, and I would have, had my mouth not stopped working. There was a glint in the sunlight that blocked my vision, but it was still obvious who I saw. He was taller than me, and probably the same height as my normal body, which put him in the ‘average’ category of normal high school males. The glint in the sunlight seemed to come off the top of his head, giving him a halo effect. There was no real smile on his face, rather it was a very tired face that only had a tint of satisfaction in it.

Standing before me, holding my wrist, and the guy who saved me, was Kudomine Kenta.

I could not think of anything clever or gratuitous to say, so my mouth settled with the automatic default.

“T-thanks.” He nodded, and I noticed that he had a layer of sweat on his brow. Which meant he was running, presumably after me. Not that I was complaining mind you, I was in one, intact, not broken piece, and I owed him for that.

“Next time” Kenta said before taking a huge gulp of air and resuming, “Maybe you should go a bit slower down this hill next time.” The way he said it, so deadpan and obvious, I could not help myself but let out a chuckle, though it probably sounded more like a giggle.

“Yeah, I’ll get right on that.” I said to him. Kenta let out a sigh before looking up from the ground and into my eyes.

“I know that this might be an inopportune time to ask, but could we talk for a bit?” All my gratefulness for him instantly deleted itself when he ask that and I was once again reminded about that damn skirt incident this morning. I really wanted to leave him be and go off to do whatever, though I did owe him greatly…

“Fine.” I agreed to his request, though not without some reservations. Kenta nodded and we walked down the hill very very carefully. I let him lead, mainly because I only knew how to go to the house I had woken up in, and I didn’t exactly want Kenta in there or even having the slightest knowledge of where I live. I know that I was being paranoid, but I wasn’t going to take risks now. Not now.

Once we had gotten near the bottom of the hill, he took a sharp turn off of a beat up old stone path. I hesitated, then forced myself to follow him, even though every fiber in my body was telling me that this was a horrible idea. As I walked, I started to consider why I felt this way.

1. He did do that thing that shall go unmentioned and will henceforth only be referenced if absolutely necessary, or when I am annoyed/angry at him.

2. He did follow me. I should have asked him about that, as he did not cite any reason for running to catch up to me. And he had to have been running, because I was. Then again I was hardly speed-worthy at the moment, so maybe I was slow enough for him to keep up with a nice jog. That put an unsettling feeling in my stomach, which matched the rest of my unsettled body. As a rather fit male, I was could have out ran any pursuers provided that they were not on the track team. Wrestling guy be damned.

3. It seemed almost… not poetic, but rather… fictional, that he could have caught up to me without me noticing but was still able to save me right at last moment. It was something out of my sister’s Shoujo novels that I glanced at when I was eight. Was this something that girls liked? Being rescued at the last moment. If this is really the inside of the game, then that would have been a perfectly scripted moment. I did not want to think about all that scripting nonsense that plagued my mind this morning, so I instead focused back to what was directly in front of me.

There was a small, insignificant Shinto shrine. There were plenty in any city, and it was quite vacant. Too vacant. He gestured to a bench next to him, and he sat down, obviously intending that I do the same.

A feeling grew inside me. It was a feeling that, to be honest, had never finally disappeared from the recess of my soul.

There was a choice to be made, and I was the one who had to make it.

I could very easily run, and hopefully he wouldn’t catch me and do whatever he was planning to me, and if he didn’t, I was in the clear!

Or I could sit down next to him, and he would have a guarantee of being able to do whatever he wanted.

Either way, something was going to happen, and I hoped that it was relatively good (for me). So, after agonizing about it for a good ten seconds in my head, I sat down next to him, slouching over because, hey, I was tired. He looked over at me with a confused look on his face.

“It is bad for your back if you do that.” He cautioned. I ignored him without a care, and I decided to just cut to the chase.

“Why did you want to me?” I asked. He looked around nervously, something that did not exactly fill me with confidence. In fact it really made me question the wisdom of this choice.

“To be honest, I really needed a break after chasing after you. You’re not that slow mind you.” Kenta was a bit embarassed at that, but I felt a bit prouder at that little confidence boost. It was nice to know I could still move a bit quicker than I thought I could.

“Really?” I asked in earnest.

“Nope.” He replied with the smile that he had earlier across his face. This kind of shot down my little boost, which made it worse than if he had just told the truth flat out. “I said that to make you feel better.” So now he decided to be blunt, apparently a completely arbitrary decision. “What I really wanted to do was apologize for this morning, can you find it in your heart to forgive me?”

Kenta then gave me one of the most innocent and charming smiles a human being is capable of producing. It felt kind and caring and sincere and only the very most cynical part of me could ask myself how many times he practiced that in a mirror, and the rest of me shushed that bit because there was no way that could be faked. I had to shake my head to clear my mind of these thoughts.

“What were you doing this morning? I mean… just why?…” I asked in honest curiosity, and I hoped he wouldn’t be crept out by the dark tones that I had unconsciously added into my voice. And the way he spoke told me that he wasn’t crept out… much.

“W-well, um.” He stumbled over his words for a bit before resuming in a slightly more afraid for his life way of speaking. “It was an accident I swear!”

I honestly thought he could have come up with a better excuse than that, so I kindly asked him to rethink it and tell me the truth, but not in those exact words. The exact words I used involved a threat, one or two swear words, a tub of a honey and hydrochloric acid, and a marmoset with a large hive of bees. And it was all composed lovingly in a rather pretty haiku. Needless to say that if Kenta wasn’t scared/confused before, he most certainly be so now, and wow it was prevalent in his voice.

“No it really was! I was looking back at you when you were talking, and when you sat down it was just kind of…” He trailed off. “But honestly I didn’t intend to do that I promise you.” If he were standing up, I imagine that he would have gone to his knees now. Instead, he turned at me and gave me direct eye-contact. I stared into his eyes for a moment, they were green in color, and there was truth in them. I don’t know how I knew that, but there was just some instinct. I thought about his situation, and what would happen if I had been the one to awkwardly look up a girl’s skirt by accident, and trying to make amends with said girl (which is something I couldn’t think I would ever do with the tiny amount of free time I had). I had enough sympathy to picture how troublesome that situation would be.

I let out a sigh, and stood up, breaking eye contact with Kenta. He raised his head in order to reestablish said eye contact.

“I suppose that if it really it is an accident, then I guess that… you’re forgiven.” I managed to get out. Kenta burst into a smile leapt and to his feet. He grabbed my hand and shook it up and down.

“Thank you so much!” he said very enthused. Kenta then glanced down at his wristwatch before suddenly exclaiming something about being late for something. I waved him off, and set out going back the way we came.

Without trying to sound anti-climatic, I returned to the house I woke up in without incident. This body’s mother wasn’t there, so since I was really tired, I headed to bed immediately, hoping that I could perhaps wake up from this accursed dream.

But really, nothing in life is that simple.

Next Chapter

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