In 2003, an anime series called .hack//sign came out. It was based on other things, a part of this expansive story, but I've only ever known about it through the anime. I loved the music, went obsessive, found and obtained all the music I could. One of the songs, "To Nowhere" struck a chord with me. Eventually I went for about an hour listening to nothing else but that song and I wrote. I went nuts on it.
And this is what I came out with.
For Your Consideration, the first 1,495 words of:
Sara was an ordinary girl. She had blonde hair and blue eyes. She was the average height and the average weight for an 18 year-old. She had an ordinary job, and ordinary apartment, ordinary friends. It wasn’t exiting, but it paid the bills and kept food on the table. She traveled by train to and from work, and walked everywhere else. Her small three-room apartment was on the second story, around the bend from a small grocery store and a few other stores of interest across the street and down the way. Nothing was very far, and the walking did her good.
She had gotten home around 6, only to find she had little to no decent food left. She had a few containers of leftover fast-food meals and some chips, which she probably should have thrown out instead of hide it in her refrigerator. She reached into her purse and pulled out her wallet, finding a few bills. Enough for a microwave meal. If it was on sale. She could always settle for a larger snack and figure out dinner for tomorrow night…tomorrow. When she was hungry.
She shoved the few bills into her pocket, locked the door and descended the stairs, skipping every other one. The air was a little chilly, but she didn’t mind. The store was just around the corner and if she ran she could stay warmer. She began to jog once she hit the pavement, her shoes hitting the cement with a rhythmic thump thump thump thump. She reached the store and found out she had just enough to buy one microwave meal. And it happened to be on sale. As she handed the money over to the cashier and headed for the door, she noticed it was beginning to rain.
She hurried back, food clutched to her chest and hand shielding her eyes. The rain was coming down even harder. She could barely see, but since she had traveled the route so many times, she knew the way. She was almost home when something hit her foot and she tripped. The first thing she checked was the smashed box underneath her. It was…relatively intact. She looked around to see what she had tripped on and discovered it with a gasp.
A man lay on the concrete, in the shadow of the buildings. She had tripped on his hand. Going to over to him, she saw that he was bleeding. It didn’t look fatal, but it didn’t look good. She searched her pockets only to remember that her cell phone was in her purse, back at her apartment. She looked up and down the sidewalk for someone – anyone – to help. A glint in the rain caught her eye and she peered at it, trying to see.
“Hello?” She called. There was no answer. “Hello? Is that someone out there?” She asked. A low growl answered her. She could see what caught her eye, now. A pair of glittering yellow eyes stared out at her, like those out of a horror movie. She found herself frozen in fear. “Wha…?”
A figure suddenly rose next to her; it was the man she had tripped on. Growling penetrated through the dark and the rain. The man was unmoved. He simply stood, his shoulders heaving. Blood dripped down and mixed with the rain. Finally, after a long standoff, the eyes and the growling vanished. The man seemed to wait for a painful amount of time before he fell to his knees. He turned his head and drew a ragged breath. “Go…Home.” He whispered out to her, his voice harsh. He went down to his hands and fell to his side, breathing in short, ragged breaths.
She looked around. She could have gone home. She could have left him. The least she could have done would be to go home and call 911 when she could. She looked at the man again, and felt the chill of the night coupled with the clinging wet of the rain. She couldn’t leave him.
Grabbing his arm, she hauled him to his feet and took on almost all of his weight. Leaving the boxed dinner behind, she hauled the stranger back to her apartment.
Sara had laid out the stranger on her only couch and dried him as best as she could. Now that he was in better lighting, she could see him better. He was certainly a strange sight. His face was so young. He couldn’t have been over 20, with delicate features and pale skin. Yet his head was covered in gray hair. It wasn’t an old man’s gray head, though. His hair had more of a silver sheen to it and it was very fine and somewhat long, falling to his shoulders. His build was slender, but muscular. Three cuts ran across his exposed stomach, his shirt for some reason too short to come all the way down.
His shirt was blood-red and made it difficult to tell what was blood and what was not. The only reason she knew he had cuts all over was because of the rips in his shirt. She pulled it off of him, knowing that she had to stop the bleeding, clean it and wrap it in something. She saw the cuts – although they didn’t seem to be big enough to have made that much blood – and ran to get the peroxide from her bathroom cabinet. She was always cutting herself on accident, and she knew peroxide was good for disinfecting.
She poured some of it out on toilet paper and began dabbing it to the wounds. As soon as it touched him, the stranger jumped and grabbed her wrist, making her jump as well. He moved it away as he sat up and looked at her, his eyes flashed gold and then the colors swam and they seemed to hold no color at all. He dodged away from her gaze and stood. “I told you to go home.” He said, picking up his shirt.
“I am home.” She responded, standing. “Your wounds…”
“But they’re…that was too much blood for those cuts. You have to be bleeding from somewhere else.”
The stranger looked at her with a strange look. She approached him and whispered, “Are you a healer?”
He paused. “What?”
“A healer. One who has the ability to heal wounds?”
“What are you –“ His eyes flickered over her. Finally he stated, “That’s crazy.”
“Not as crazy as you want me to think.” She said, walking over to a small table. “I know about the World Below; the one that no one sees.” She tossed a picture to him, which he caught without looking down or flinching. He looked down at it. It was a girl that was a few years older then his current host, with long golden hair and stunning blue eyes. “My sister.” She said. “Water Wielder. She shelters little ones, and most of them are Special. Her husband is a Fire Wielder, his brother is a Wind Wielder, and a close family friend is an Earth Wielder. Her husband is pals with a healer. I didn’t know if you were one as well.”
He looked up at her. “This is all very intriguing information, but I’m just a…passerby. I’m not special.” He said, tossing the picture back. She caught it and gently put it back on the table. “Oh…” She said, walking toward him, “You’re special alright. When you’re around them enough, you can spot a Special from a human. So…What are you?”
He hesitated. “Fine. I’m not human. How do you know I’m not dangerous?”
“I don’t. That’s why I asked. But, out of the major threats that I know of, you don’t fit the bill for any of them. Vampires have pointed teeth and pale skin – you’re missing the teeth. The full moon’s just passed and there have been no deaths in the area, so you’re not a werewolf. Your flesh is on your bones and you’re coherent, so you’re not a zombie. You’re flesh and blood, so you’re not a ghost.” She leaned in close to his face. “You’re too imperfect in your face to be an Elf, you’re not an Elemental Wielder, you’re not any of the Farie kind…and I’ve seen most of the human-mythical beasts and you don’t fit the bill for any of them.” She leaned back. “So…tell me what you are?”
“How do you know I’m not an Elemental?”
She smiled. “I have my ways. Now, stop dodging my question. What are you?”
He pulled his shirt on. “Late. I’m late for an important engagement.”
“An important engagement in the rain? Late at night? I don’t think that’s the truth.”
“Well, whatever I am I must be anxious to get away from you.” He said and walked toward the door. Before he left, he turned to her and slightly bowed, saying “Good Day.” She sat on the couch as the door closed behind him.