Where the forgotten gathers…
In front of a suburban house, a tearful goodbye was taking place.
“Saki, this is temporary. We’re not actually leaving you. You can always call us on the phone. I got one installed yesterday remember. Besides, we’re just a few train rides away. I’m expecting several visits.” At this the elder woman’s face twisted, “Even if you have to be accompanied by that useless man.”
For Saki, her mother’s soothing words did nothing to dispel her torrent of tears. It just made her try to bury herself in her warm embrace, not knowing if it will be the last time she can do so. “… This is my fault…” The younger girl sniffled.
“No, its not.” Her mother’s stern voice rebuked. “That man and I just can’t keep living with each other anymore. This is just the consequence of that. It is not your fault.”
“Teru was just stressed honey. I’m sure she didn’t mean it. She loves you.”
That was the first night Saki dreamt of the space wherein there was no light.
“The company offered the promotion again.” Her father finally broke the news while they were having their customary dinner, his tone heavy.”I think I’m going to take it this time.”
“Congratulations.” Saki tried to inject as much excitement in her voice. A promotion was a happy occasion after all and they do need the extra money since Okaa-san… Saki steered her thoughts away from the sore wound. But, what’s important was they really need to make up for the lost income. Besides, this will provide a lot of career opportunities. Saki couldn’t begrudge her father that. “I’m pretty sure you’ll do well, Otou-san.”
“Still, I’m going to need to work longer …” The bestackled man’s tone was worried.
Saki pouted, “I can handle myself, Tou-san. I’m already in middle school. Besides, we’ll be having dinner together right? So well still see each other.”
“You’re a good, kid. Saki.”
She noticed that there was no ground in her dreams…
“Hello, this is the Miyanaga Teru speaking.” The cool professional voice of her sister answered the phone.
“Onee-chan?” Saki trembled as she spoke the word.
“That woman is not here again. You should call her workplace.”
“I want to speak to you!”
The line ended.
How odd. She was falling….
X. o. X
Ring! Ring! Ring!
Saki hurried to answer the phone.
“Saki?” A sheepish male voice greeted from the receiver.
“I don’t think I’ll be able to make it for dinner. There so much things to be done here in the office.”
“Oh… that’s okay, Otou-san. I’ll just save your dinner in the stove so you can eat it when you get back.”
Saki replaced the phone and turned around to the dinner that she has made. The hot curry and the rice that she painstakingly arranged. The first bloom of flowers that she took from their garden and put at the table vase. All wasted.
There will be always next time, right? Beside, now she can perfect her cooking skills.
She has never noticed it before, but she was falling for a long time….
X. o. X
“This is Miyanaga-san’s office speaking.”
“Umm… this is Miyanaga Saki, her daughter –”
“Is this another prank call?”
“Miyanaga-san only has one daughter. Please do some research before you pull something like this.”
She stretched her hands trying to find a way to stop it.
X. o. X
“Saki, I’m not going to be here tonight again.”
The girl looked up to her father who was reading the newspaper quite assiduously. “You’re not?”
“Yes, the President is going to throw a ball for her daughter and I need to come and make a good impression.”
“But…” Saki whispered.
“So be a good girl and don’t stay up the night, right?”
Saki traced the profile of her father. How he ate and read the morning news without looking at her. Its like she wasn’t even here, invisible.
Her hand grasped empty air.
Saki tried to call.
She dialed again, not caring anymore for her sister’s intention.
“I’m sorry this number is busy at the moment. Please dial again.”
Again and again, she tried but she can’t stop …
Saki tried to make herself comfortable in the couch. Snuggling in the blanket to keep the cold out. After some shifting, she finally found a nice position. It was still a bit awkward but it will be worth it. She wants to see her father again. He rarely comes home now due to his job. But, he promised he will be here.
The bookworm looked at the clock. Its 11 p.m. He will come any second now.
Saki stared at the door.
The morning sun has risen.
He didn’t come.
When, Saki asked on the phone. “Why?”
“There was an impromptu outing by my officemates. We ended up crashing into one of the nearby houses. ”
“I’ll see you later, Saki. There is still some files I have to work on.”
Why was she trying again?
Saki clutched the phone receiver.
The operator’s voice endlessly repeating on her mind. “This number is no longer in service. Please hang up and dial again.”
Saki tried to search her memory but she can’t remember…
“Miyanaga-san, wake up.” Her classmate shook her from her asleep.
“Umm…” Saki blearily muttered.
“The school library is closing.” The boy explained.
“Ah… I see.” The bookworm hurried to gather her things. “Thank you.” She told the boy who woke her up.
“Its nothing. That’s my job as a library helper.” Then, he gave the girl a worried look. “Is it okay for you to stay at school this late though. Wouldn’t your family be worried?”
Saki gave a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry. Otou-san wouldn’t worry about me.”
“Well, as long as your family is okay with it.”
So why not just fall?
X. o. X
Saki rode the train to Tokyo. It was a bit risky doing it alone but all her attempt at getting her father to go on a trip was met by failure. She might even have annoyed him in her effort to do so. Now, its rare to see her father at home.
But, Okaa-san. ..
The bookworm carefully made her way through the maze-like streets. Double checking the maps that she brought here with her. It finally led her to a tall building. So this is the place that Okaa-san works. She then went to the help desk.
“Ummm… I would like to talk to Miyanaga-san please.”
“Do you have an appointment?”
“I don’t have one.”
“Then, you can’t talk to her.”
Saki’s stomach plummeted. “Please! Could you just tell her that Saki is here?”
The secretary perhaps taking pity on her finally agreed. “Alright.” She dialled the number. “Miyanaga-sama, there is a girl called Saki who wants to see you.”
“Really, Saki?” Her Okaa-san’s voice was recognizable through the speaker. “Let me speak to her?”
“Saki, it is you. Why don’t you come inside so I could look at you.” Her Okaa-san said warmly. With that she was buzzed inside the room and into the warm hug of her mother. That’s right, Okaa-san still loves her. The thought gave her a strange lightness in her heart.
After a brief hug, her Okaa-san remarked. “Why don’t you stay in the play room for the children? We’ll catch up later.” Saki didn’t want her Okaa-san to go. But, she was already turning away and the secretary was leading her to another room.
They’re going to catch up later. Saki allowed that balm to sooth her.
But, later didn’t come. Okaa-san she was just like Otou-san. She was never at home. And Onee-chan has somehow needed to stay at her classmate’s house for the duration of her visit. It was transparent ploy but something that she expected.
“Saki,” Her mother’s disapproving voice said, “Your father called saying that the school sent a warning regarding your absences. You didn’t attend your classes for a week.”
The bookworm’s mind barely registered the admonishment. Mother. You always said all the right things. But, do you mean them? How come you don’t notice me when I was at your house?
“I’m driving you back to Nagano. No daughter of mine is going to get a failing grade.”
Somehow its much easier when they didn’t pretend to care for her.
Stop the futile grasping and let go…
“I’m home,” Saki quietly murmured, more from the force of habit than anything else. There was no way anyone was going to answer after all. Still, she cannot help but strain her ears, hoping that there will be one.
The house remained conspicuously silent.
Saki sighed and closed the door. The ancient wooden door creaking as it was shut tight. As expected the house was the same as she has left. Not a single thing out of its place. The unfinished toasted bread that she has half eaten and the empty bowl of Miso soup. The table which she has accidentally bumped while she was in a hurry to go to school. Its content strewn across the floor…
No one has come.
The bookworm doesn’t have to check the notes on the refrigerator to see if anyone visited. No one has. And in the back of her mind, a pessimistic voice whispered no one ever will.
Saki shook her head. She really shouldn’t think such morose thoughts. Especially when there was work to be done. There were dishes to be washed. Supper to cook. And she needs clean up the mess that she made of the living room.
Decision made. Saki took herself to the task. She bent down intent on picking up all the decorations and put them back before they trip someone. Namely her. She thought with an amused snort.
One of the figurines – the tiny slip of a ballerina. Its legs were broken.
Saki looked at it closer, tracing the break and the countless fractures on its surface. She doesn’t think glue can fix this. With a subdued heart, the bookworm gazed at it. It can no longer be repaired.
Saki thinks it knows this as well.
If she looked at this angle, it seems like the figurine was shedding tears. The cracks acting like tracks of tearstain across the glass. And why shouldn’t it be? This one won’t be able to be put on display ever again. It’s now useless, its purpose gone. It was destined for the garbage heap to be forgotten.
The bookworm’s heart ached for it. In her mind, the girl’s outstretched arm was a silent cry for help. The beautiful ballerina dancer doesn’t want to be alone to be forgotten.
“Don’t cry, Ms. Ballerina. It wasn’t your fault. ” Saki cradled the girl between her hands. “Shh… I won’t leave you alone. In fact, we’re going to a happy place with lots and lots of friends.”
She can almost hear the girl whisper, “You promise?”
“Yes. I promise.” Saki nodded. “So stay strong for a while?”
The crippled girl didn’t say anything more. She didn’t even move perhaps to avoid aggravating her injuries. But, Saki thought she saw the corner of her lips turn up in response. Saki quirked her lips at this. It seems that the girl was going to be okay. Now, she needs to keep her promise.
With great care, Saki wrapped her hand around the figurine. Careful not to put undue stress or damage it even further. She then opened an unused compartment in one of the lower cabinets. They’re here.
The radio that only sounds static. The lightbulbs that refused to light up. The robot she got from the fair that was missing its arms from its gallant fight with the neighbour’s dog. The emancipated bear that somehow lost its feathery stuffing through the years. All of them were here and more.
Saki brought the tiny ballerina and set it near the soldier action figure. “Here you are. This will be your new friends.”
A beat of silence.
“Yes this will be your new home.” The bookworm gently nudged the girl causing her to lean on the soldier making it looked like they were sharing an embrace. The other broken toys and assorted electronics crowding around happy with the new addition to their community.
Even broken and forgotten things have a place for them.
I wonder if I will have…
Saki closed the shelves.
Its time to prepare her dinner.
This time Saki didn’t struggle.
She just allowed herself to fall.
Saki landed with a soft thud feeling soft grass.
Why did she resist falling?
This place was wonderful.
The sky was filled with endless light sending life giving warmth to the ground. The massive garden below takes this offering graciously and in return displays the most attractive array of colors possible. Flowers of every shape and size dominated her vision. Every single variety was represented and there were even ones that shouldn’t exist like the grove of sunflowers in the middle which was frankly over sized. Tall as a tree would not be an exaggeration to describe some of the flowers here.
The bushes rustled.
Saki scrambled to get up. Her instincts screaming that something dangerous was coming.
“My, my. What do we have here?” What came out of the bushes was a woman. She was carrying a parasol and wearing a stripped red dress looking for all the world as a noble who was out strolling in her garden. And for all Saki knew that was indeed the case. Still, try as she might to explain herself, Saki can’t speak or move. The moment the stranger came into view, her whole body was frozen, stiff with fear.
The woman came a little closer and Saki saw the interest gleam on the earthy brown eyes. “A little human flower, quite a marvellous find. I haven’t seen one in all my life and believe me that was a long one. It looks like I won’t be doing weeding after all.”
Saki sighed. Her whole body relaxed at those words as if some distant threat has passed her by.
The woman then proceeded to lift her up as if she was made of cotton, bringing her face closer. “Tsk. Your gardener deserved to be hanged. They haven’t been taking care of you. You’re quite wilted here and there and you obviously need more water and sunlight. In fact, they did such a bad job it would be better if you’re replanted entirely. Still… ”
The stranger suddenly smiled showing sharp teeth. “Its their lost. One man’s trash is another’s treasure. Don’t worry little flower, I’m going to take care of you. ”
The sun rose in Nagano, Japan like clockwork. Everyone went on their daily lives undisturbed.
Yet in one bed, there was a faint impression of someone that slept in but the light of day revealed that the sleeper was nowhere to be found.
One night, Miyanaga Saki simply disappeared from this world.
So yeah a Saki/Touhou cross-over.
Gensokyo is the land of illusion. And one of the ways that can be used to enter there is to be forgotten or be disbelieved strongly. Teru is certain disbelieving the existence of her sister very well – I have no sister anyone? And Saki’s parents isn’t exactly winning the parent award of the year anytime soon.
To those who are following my existing work, don’t worry I’m not planning on abandoning anything. I just need to exorcise this plot bunny so I can finally have some peace. You can thank Fragment from putting the plot bunny in my head since this idea arose from her fic – Missing Power in Strict Sense. Once it was there, it keep acting like bunny rabbit and giving birth to more plot bunnies.
Anyway, as always I would like to thank Soranium. This time for providing the title of the fic. God knows, I shouldn’t name anything.
Well, that’s all for now. Please tell me what you think. ^^