Saying Goodbye [First Draft]

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Saying Goodbye [First Draft]

Postby Marisa Kirisame » 22 Sep 2011 06:51

Author's Note: This story will eventually serve as my personal goodbye to someone very precious to me. I've put off writing it for quite some time, but since I couldn't sleep, and kept hearing the same tune in my mind, I somehow found the courage to write up the first draft. I know it's poorly written, and I hope that many of you can look past that to offer your honest critiques. I was trying to capture the feelings that have recently stirred in my chest when I think of her, and if nothing else, I hope that those emotions come across clearly.



It was hard to mistake the feeling that resounded off the walls of the walls, red oak so ornately laid that it's elegance was only broken by random plaques and certificates of achievement adoring it's crimson surface. There, in a chair fashioned of rich, brown leather, outlined in rich mahogany wood sat a middle aged man. His hair had long since turned a snowy gray, thinning just right as to give him a sagely appearance, only further complimented by gray suit the man wore, a single blue handkerchief being the only other color adorned by this man. In his hand, the man was holding a single red notebook, which he was quietly writing in careful print. Pausing only long enough to stroke along his beard, the man looked up from his work to speak.

"Why are you here?"

Such a question would seem entirely out of place if I hadn't been there, lying on the matching lounger in my school attire. Such was the process repeated every Thursday for the last three years. I would walk into this chamber, lay upon the lounger and be asked the same question time and time again.

"I don't know." I finally answered, if only to break the long silence.
"Your answer never changes." The man replied in deft fashion, his words carrying with it all the venom of an angry scorpion.
"If you ask questions you know the answer to, you shouldn't be surprised when the answer is as you expect."

These kinds of exchanges were not uncommon between the doctor and I. While skilled at his trade, Dr. Granger had a talent for drawing up repressed emotions by saying just the right things to bring them out. After the second year, I found my responses finally losing their color, becoming as gray and lifeless as the old man's suit.

"Three years ago, you were sent to me because your friends were worried about you returning home to that emptiness you call a house." He said with a sigh, his wrinkled hand reaching up to stroke his beard again, "Since then, you've lashed out in anger, cried out in frustration, threatened violence against yourself and others, and broken every mirror you've set eyes on. Now, you sit here as if you've been drained of every emotion that binds you to this world." Once more he began writing in that book, "And you still have yet to answer that question."
"Does it matter if that question has an answer or not?" I sat up, my feet resting on the ground but my gaze never rising to meet Dr. Grangers.
"It matters to you, doesn't it?"
"No." My words rang off the walls as they slipped from my lips almost before the doctor could finish speaking, "It doesn't matter to me at all."
"Why not?" Dr. Granger stopped his writing and I could feel his gaze boring into my chest.

I could feel my heart tensing as it began to rush, my body reacting as if to lash out in anger again, but my appearance never cracked. Without even looking, I could tell Dr. Granger still saw the same teenager who's emotions had died so long ago.
"Because it doesn't." I finally answered him, but only after standing and moving toward the door to the room.
"I'll see you at 7 PM next week." His voice rang with the tone of sincere concern, but fell upon deaf ears as I slipped beyond the threshold and out of his office.

Once more, I made the same journey home, as I had done every day of my life. The skies were always aglow with the faintest glimmer of light at this time of day, not yet night and not yet twilight. The purple clouds seemed to act like stepping stones, always remaining thusly painted until I stood upon the walkway leading to my wooden home.

There was once a time where the windows would still be illuminated by candlelight, carefully lit to make me feel a sense of overwhelming joy when I reached the stone pathway. I can remember the shadow of her lingering nearby, watching me, anxious for me to step beyond the door and into her arms. I used to run with all my might along the path, up the four stairs, and throw the door open just to jump into that embrace with all my might, but no longer. My steps were heavy as they traveled now, pushing open the door and into the darkness of that once lively space. With a breathless sigh, I push the door closed and bolt it without a word, wandering the dark, empty halls as I move toward my room.

As I pass the only door that hadn't been opened in years, I caught wind of the faintest smell. To anyone else, they would have ignored it and carried on, but the familiarity of that smell stopped me dead. My heart raced again, not out anger, but a sense of anxiousness. I couldn't help but to throw open the door with a hopeful expression.

The candle on the desk was lit. It cast a glow that was almost ghostly upon the walls of my sister's room. Her bed, undisturbed for years and the covers dusty from years of being unkept appeared freshly laundered in that light. The bookcase and the desks, too, had no visible trace of dust, as if a tender hand had come and washed away the years of neglect. My eyes followed the walls with all the wonder of a small child at Christmas, my heart threatened to break through my chest from the overwhelming joy that I felt at the thought that she might be here, but when I looked at the figure sitting at the desk, that joy vanished into the endless sea of sorrow once more.

"You didn't keep the place very clean, Starlight." Her voice stabbed into my chest like the claws of a demon.

The young lady who sat in that chair, her chin resting upon her palm and her face adorned with the soft, loving smile, was not my sister. I knew this girl, who's pink fleece was unzipped and clung to the black fabric of the tank top beneath.

"Don't call me that." I turned on my heels and left that room, my actions met with the candle winking out and the light in the hallway turning on.

She was standing before me now, blocking my path with her arms opened wide to give me the embrace I longed for. If I were naive, I would have rushed into her arms and cried tears of joy upon her chest, as I had done for years when I was younger, but this girl was not my sister. She wasn't real, nor was she a spirit.

"I told you to leave me alone." I spit at her, turning away and moving toward the front of the house. Once more, the lights winked out as the lights in the living room turned on.

Every time those lights turned on, the years of dust and dirt vanished, leaving surfaces that only existed in my memory. It took every ounce of my being to resist closing my eyes and trying to will it all away. None of it was real, and trying to convince myself of that was a childish act. It was simply easier to just deny it was even happening to begin with.

Now, she stood in the doorway, her sweet smile fading into an expression of sorrow. She lifted her hand to her chest and leaned forward, bringing her head down to my height so that I could see the tears in her eyes.

"Don't you know me?" She spoke softly
"You wear the face of my sister." I gave my quick reply, taking a seat in the recliner and burying my face in my hands, "Just like you always do to torment me."
"That's because I am your sister..." I could feel her hand sliding along my shoulder as she tried to sit upon the armrest, but I pushed her away, the illusion breaking as the lights went out again, throwing me to the reality of things.

I could never explain to Dr. Granger why my home never had the lights on, or why the blinds were pulled closed during the better part of the day. My friends could never understand why I chose to live in this state of desolation instead of the grandeur that my home provided me for so long. It should have been easy... or rather, would be easy if my sister was actually dead. The fate that befell her was far worse.

The walls still echoed with the sounds of that day. The day I can't forget, yet try not to remember. All I can do to push the thoughts from my mind is sleep. Lifting my body from the dusty recliner, I pat off the dust from my clothes and wander the halls, entering my room and collapsing on the bed. The darkness is the only comfort from my own memory.

"What's wrong?" I hear the voice ask as the candle on my nightstand lights up. With a groan, I turn my head and see my sister's face, her body laying next to mine, "Talk to me, hun."

I can't explain what I felt then. It felt like great rage threatening to break out of my chest as I vaulted from the bed. I glowered at my sister's prone form, tears clinging to my eyes as I began to yell without relent.

"What's wrong!? You have no right to ask me that!" I turned and punched the wall with every ounce of my strength, breaking through the drywall and leaving a hole in it's place, "After all these years, all I've wanted to do is forget you even exist!"
My fist was bleeding as I pointed at my sister, my body tensed so much that my neck looked like dried leather. My breathing was so heavy, so intense that it sounded like a tornado by the way it rang in my ears.

"You left me all alone! You abandoned me all because of some stupid fight you had with the village elder! You expect me to be able to forget that!?" I scream and thrashed about with all my might, closing my eyes to shut out the reality that I was screaming at an empty room.

All this anger I was feeling was directed at a phantom, but even if it wasn't real, seeing her... smelling her perfume... the smell of her shampoo... these little things grabbed hold of something so deep inside my heart that it was difficult to not lash out in anger and hate about it. And yet when my eyes opened, the phantom was still there, but this time in the shadow. Her form stood up from the bed, walking beyond the door to my room with a weight in her step that I had never seen before. When I followed her, she left me to the library. I found her looking out the large bay window, her form casting shadows in the lamplight.

"Do you hate me?" She finally asked as I stood there silently for a moment, "For what I did?"
"No..." I finally answered her, my footstep muted by the rug beneath my feet as I drew closer to her, "I don't."
"You act as if you do."

Sometimes, our minds play mean tricks on us. We could reach for something we imagine and touch it sometimes, and yet other times, the reality overtakes the dream and it vanishes into nothingness. Even with this reality playing in my mind as it had done many times before, this time, I wrapped my arms around her and gave her the most intense hug I could imagine. Her body wasn't the cold night air. Not this time. There was a warmth there, once so intense that I buried my face in her nape, hoping this illusion would never break.

"For years, all I wanted was to hate you." I mumbled into her shoulder, my tears soaking into the pink fabric that veiled my face, "All because you left me all alone. You forbid me from following you into the world, telling me that I wasn't ready."
"That's because you're my baby brother. You weren't ready for the world. Not yet."

I could feel her hand stroking through my hair, only coaxing more tears from my eyes that hadn't shed a single tear since the day she left.

"But you're not real." I finally mumble, squeezing her tighter, "You stopped being real that day. You're just an illusion." The crashing reality was not one that can be ignored for long, and yet I found myself unable to let her go.
"Does that matter?"

That's when my grip finally released itself. The excuse I had used for so long was now a question of great importance. Did it matter? I felt my throat run dry as I stepped away from my phantom, turning away with my head lowered. I knew the answer.

"Yes." I whisper breathlessly, "Because crying for a dream is stupid."

Her arms slipped around me loosely, pulling me close against her chest. I could feel her heartbeat against my back, the feel of her breath upon my ear as she rested her head atop mine. I could even feel the tears she was crying upon my cheek.

"Do you remember what you promised me that day?" She asked amid sniffles.
"Yes." I mouthed, but never uttered.
"Then say it."
"I..." The words began to slip away from me. "I promised to stay here until I understood why you had to leave."
"Then why are you still here?"

Lifting my head to met her gaze in that pale light, I knew why it was that my phantom had haunted me for all these years. The tears that were running from my eyes suddenly ceased their falling as I lost myself in her eyes.

"Because I still don't understand." My face twisted in a way that threatened to break into tears once more, but the smile she was wearing chased away that desire.
"I think you do." She pulled away and moved to the entrance to the library, stopping to fold her arms behind her and look at me in that way she always did when she felt I was being silly, "You know better than anyone, and that is why I made you promise."
"I love you, sis..." I took one step toward her and her visage began to melt away.

No longer could I hear her words, but I could read her lips as she faded away. 'I love you too.' The lights in the library faded away as quickly as her image did, leaving me alone in the darkness again. I fell to my knees and cried with all my strength as the night overtook me and I slept into sleep.

The morning eventually came, but my body was not on the floor any more. The house, once covered in years of dust and decay, now seemed to gleam with new life. Every surface had been wiped carefully clean, not even a trace of the gloom that hung from every corner to be found any longer. I stood there in the doorway, looking into the empty living room where I could fondly remember the Christmas tree standing, and I, in my eagerness, begging my older sister to let me open what Santa Clause had brought me. My eyes drifted into the dining room, where the faint smell of a finely roasted thanksgiving dinner still filled the house with the smell of savory turkey, sweet potato pie, and rolls that were rolled in butter and garlic until the flavor filled every pore. No longer where the phantoms of the past be around to darken the halls of this place of rest. Not for me. I lifted my bag onto my back and pulled the door closed behind me. As I descended those old wooden stairs, I realized that I had laid my demons to rest and come to terms with the fact that my big sister would no longer be around to protect me from the world and from myself. Her phantom lingered not to torture me, but to help me cope with the reality that she wanted me to become strong enough to leave home too. That's why she never wrote, why I let my home run into ruin and decay, and lived in the darkness. I was unwilling to be strong from the one person I loved more than anything that could ever come to exist in this world. Glancing over my shoulder, I realized that I may never come back here. There was nothing tying me to what was once my home. Maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me, but I could see my sister's phantom standing in the doorway, waving me off as she had done when I journey off to school each day. Now, she was bidding me farewell. The chance that I would ever see her again were slim, but I was carrying a piece of her in my heart. Even if the world would keep us apart, her memory would be the light that pierces the deepest darkness of the night.

As I reached the end of the walkway, I pulled out my cell phone from my pocket and dialed one number for the very last time.

"Hello. Dr. Granger? It's me. I just wanted to say goodbye. I'm going to find the answers for myself. Thank you for everything. I hope you never hear from me again."

Now, the past was laid to rest. It might have seemed childish and stupid to anyone but me, but I placed a letter in the mailbox before I walked down the sidewalk toward an uncertain future. The odds that it were be read were none existent. I didn't address it, or even leave a name. All that it had written on the front was one sentence.

"To my dearest sister."

And just like that, I had vanished over the horizon, moving toward an uncertain future without my sister, but always carrying her in my heart. I knew I would no longer ever truly be alone.
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Marisa Kirisame
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