the sky rumbles with an oncoming storm, a pale gray falling over the horizon like a blanket. the air is damp and cold, and the dirt beneath our boots has turned to mud as we sit down, collapsing entirely out of exhaustion and the weak pull of our muscles.(more) our skin is papery and thick with muck and sweat, my chapped lips starting to bleed as i chew on them.
adam's got three bullets in his chest.
a silence overcomes us, fast and oppressive as it quickly becomes evident how short his time is, and we are scattered in our seated positions throughout the beet field-- not more than five or six feet between us each, and we do not look at each other.
hatch's got him from behind, dragged into his lap with his head resting on the other man's chest and breath huffing noisily from his lungs. his hands shake, and hatch shh's him and hums an unnamed tune.
"i'll sing you anything, adam, anything you want, just tell me and i'll sing it," he murmurs into the boy's mud laden hair. "anything."
"hush little baby," he bites out, still breathing hard through his mouth. "stupid i know-- just, just what my dad used to sing to me when i'd cry."
"that's fine," hatch closes his eyes, a long inhale puncturing the silence. "hush little baby don't say a word, papa's gonna buy you a mockingbird. and if that mockingbird don't sing, papa's gonna buy you a diamond ring," he chokes, and adam's starts to go still, his hands clenched into small fists. "a-and if that diamond ring-- ring goes, fuck, fuck fuck no no no--"
silence. hatch screaming. blood on his hands.
"fuck fuck fuck, no you can't you can't don't do this--"
something, i don't know what, pulled It out of me when i crossed over--
removed that Thing inexorably tied to my soul from my being, leaving It intact in every world but this one.
i am so empty i am hollow inside.
there is a large aching gape o(more)f nothingness where It should be. was It my heart? was It my god? putting attention to it makes it hurt more so i ignore it.
nobody notices the open wound under my shirt. i'm not sure i want them to, even when it seeps blood and pus and leaves dark marks where i sit and stand. sometimes i want to call for medical attention--
but i guess i'm more afraid of them telling me there's nothing there than of whatever the hole could do to me.(less)
Souji didn't remember falling asleep, but he woke to an urgent banging on the front door. It took him a minute to orient himself; he was still on the kitchen floor, pressed against the wall.
The knocking hadn't stopped, so he slowly pulled himself to his feet and(more) walked over to peer out the peephole. He couldn't see the person's face, but he recognized the familiar blue hat, and he opened the door as quickly as he could with sleep-slow hands. Naoto started when the door opened, fist poised in mid-knock. "Senpai! Thank goodness, I was starting to worry you weren't home. There's an emergency, and I would have called you but my phone is missing and--"
Souji's chest seized; it was rare that something managed to send Naoto into a panic. It was fully dark outside, and he wondered just how long he'd been asleep. "What's going--"
"It's Yosuke-senpai," Naoto said breathlessly, grabbing hold of Souji's shirt sleeve as though she needed it to stay afloat. "We were supposed to meet at school. He said you were in trouble. But I got held up at the station, and when I got there, the whole school was empty." She stopped for breath, then her grip tightened on Souji's arm. The anguish in her eyes was thinly veiled. "Senpai, what's going /on?/"
Souji's head was still fuzzy from sleep, and his brain kept looping back to Yosuke and the phone call he'd had with Adachi. "Naoto, you... you said you were held up at the station?"
"That's correct, Detective Adachi bumped into me in the hall and started asking about--" Her eyes widened. "It's him, isn't it? It's all been him. And you--"
"We have to find Adachi," Souji cut in, pulling away to fetch his phone from the kitchen table.(less)
In the dream she's standing beside him at the bus stop. It's raining- strange, because it hadn't been, that day, but the thought never bothers him. It's not far from the bus stop to his house, but he always waits with her, sees her off- maybe if there's no(more) one waiting with them they can sneak a kiss in where his mother won't catch them.
She's unusually quiet, so he fills the silence, talking about plans for the weekend, about club activities, and about a special on that he wanted to watch, and she wasn't allowed to /laugh/ if he told her about it because that's just rude. She does laugh, and elbow him in the side as the bus grinds to a halt in front of the bus stop, its brakes complaining.
He opens the umbrella, walks her to the door- and she pauses on the step into the bus, umbrella now tucked under her arm, looks back at him- and extends her hand. He smiles, moves to take it-
-and is stopped by a hand grabbing the back of his shirt and yanking.
He turns in anger, and it's Masayoshi there- hair soaked flat in the rain, real fear in his eyes as he holds the back of his shirt with both hands. "Not yet," he said, as the bus doors close, separating them.
Panic grips him, he has to get on that bus- but Masayoshi's grip is solid. He watches it pull away, watches her wave- grinning so big, a fond expression like he hadn't quite seen - and he feels Masayoshi rest his forehead against his back, both of them standing in that never-ending downpour. He tilts his head up to the sky, lets the rain wash his face clean as Masayoshi says quietly, "not yet."(less)
I can't breathe. I can't swallow. I've waited so long for this, and now there's nothing. Nothing at all; for me, or for anyone else. It's almost to painful to even look at. How could something like this have happened?
"How can something like this have happened?" I repeat(more) out loud.
The empty muffin tin in front of me, the tin of muffins I had eagerly waited all day for, doesn't answer.
I fall to my knees and let out a wail. How can nothing be left?(less)