Figments of Imagination
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Welcome back again! After chapter 4, I got stuck as to where I should go next. Well, now I know and here it is! This chapter is a little shorter (but not too much) than usual and you’ll be introduced to one (almost two) new character, Ishida Chizuru (the other one is a ‘mysterious figure in the shadows’ who you won’t know of till later). First half will deal with Umi, second half with Chizuru. It may be slightly confusing but that’s the beauty of this story. It’ll all lead up to one big thing.
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“There’s another world inside of me that you may never see.”
3 Doors Down “When I’m Gone”
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Umi had been murmuring his name to keep her creative juices flowing. After her dream, she couldn’t go back to sleep. The phone call, which woke her up, turned out to be from some drunken asshole who thought she was his best friend. She immediately slammed the phone down and stormed over to her desk. Her mother told her not to answer phones in the middle of the night but Umi did. She always thought it would be someone important like one of her friends. Then again, the five of them weren’t the types to get into trouble in the middle of the night. Well, Ai was probably an exception. She liked late-night parties with lots of noise and excitement. But even she wasn’t stupid enough to get herself in trouble.
The phone call did piss Umi off. It kept her from finding out more about Kellan and reading all the poems he wrote. Even though he snapped at her and called her a “stupid girl”, he showed a softer side when she read his book. She could tell that he was damaged inside. Someone, or something, had hurt him and his wounds were still open. That’s why he probably put up icy shield when Umi got close. Maybe he thought she’d hurt him too.
“Kellan. Oh, Kellan.” She murmured, leaning back in her chair and letting her blue braid fall down behind her. This was one of the few things that made Umi think Kellan wasn‘t real. Her hair had been loose and blowing in the wind when she was dreaming. In reality, she had tied it up. How did it come undone in the dream?
He’s real. He has to be. I know what I saw. Those eyes... Umi loved looking into Kellan’s eyes. She could close her own eyes right now and picture them. They were blue like two dark lakes and filled with something. It wasn’t hatred. It wasn’t love. It was something unusual, something magical and mysterious. Just thinking of Kellan’s eyes bought the inspiration into Umi. She now had something to write.
Of course, she didn’t have the entire story but one scene. Perhaps it was a cliched scene but it would have to do for now. It would have mystery in it and a good measure of romance. There would also be a dash of horror and a pinch of angst. As the ideas came together, so did the words. Picking up the pen and taking out a fresh sheet of paper, she began to write the prologue to a novel.
It began with a prostitute running from something in the middle of rainy night. She was heavily made-up and wearing a yellow thong similar to the one Kiku and Ai had bought. Her hair was blond with streaks of red running through it and she wasn’t wearing any shoes. Her top was cut open and revealing some of her breasts. Every now and then, she would keep looking back to see if someone was chasing. Well, someone was chasing her but his face could not be seen. It was a “mysterious figure in the shadows.” (Umi had to decide on what to name him but she knew he was going to be a male.) Tears were running down her face, washing away her make-up and blurring her vision. She was running into an alley between a bakery and an old apartment building. There wasn’t a person on these streets other than her and the mysterious figure. She was fast but he was catching up to her. Then she began to cry for help. She started shouting and begging for mercy. The alley finally led up to a dead end and she started to back away. Hyperventilating, she bumped straight into the mysterious figure.
“What are you running from, slut?” Umi began saying the mysterious figure’s dialogue as she wrote the words. “Why are you so scared? Is it me?”
She felt strange speaking a character’s dialogue but it often kept her from making typos. Plus, it was fun pretending to be a fictional character. She didn’t distinguish these characters with silly voices but she did make them sound the way they were feeling. If they were angry, she’d sound angry. If they were sad, she’d sound sad. It made them seem less like characters and more like people.
Umi continued the story by having Mr. Mysterious Shadow Figure grabbing the prostitute’s hands. She struggled and shrieked but to no avail. The girl certainly wasn’t going anywhere. She tried one last time to beg for mercy. She begged her tormentor not to kill her. That was when he pressed a knife against her throat. She could feel the cold blade touching her neck and it scared her. She looked into his eyes, making them the last thing she ever saw. They were green with gold surrounding them. They glowed like a cat’s eyes and narrowed so they looked into her frightened ones. Then he ran the blade across her throat. She gurgled, blood pouring out of her mouth, and her eyes rolling back into her head. The killer dropped her on the ground as if she was a piece of garbage. Then he looked around him before disappearing into the night. The poor girl bled to death, never knowing who killed her or why she was killed.
“Perfect!” Umi exclaimed, putting down the pen and admiring her work. It had been the first time since she moved into this house that she had written something she liked. Of course, it could use some polishing but for the most part, it looked like the beginning of a bestseller. Okay, it seemed like a cliched beginning but the rest of it would be more interesting. She would give it to Junpei, Kouji, Ai, Kikuno, and Sora to read before she proceeded with the next chapter. Her hand ached but it was worth it. Stretching her body, she got out of her chair and walked over to the window. After the hard battle with writer’s block, she finally had something.
And I owe it all to Kellan. Umi thought, opening the blinds and looking out the window. I just hope we meet each other again so I can thank him in person.
Outside, where she could see the skyscrapers across from her and busy streets below, rain started to fall.
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Ishida Chizuru hated rainy mornings.
Okay, so it wasn’t bright enough outside to be morning but she hated it. In a few hours, she had to get ready for work and drag herself through that disgusting mess just to get there. She didn’t see why she had to go. There wasn’t anything important to be worked on. She probably would have called in sick if her boss, Kondo Hiroshi, wasn’t hanging onto her ass all the time. He was quick to point out her flaws and had the delightful habit of yelling at her if she was late or absent.
Kondo’s a prick. Chizuru thought as she took a sip of her tea. She woke up unusually early today from some noises outside and was unable to fall back asleep. So here she was, drinking her tea, wishing that Kondo had fallen ill (and hopefully, in a coma) so he wouldn’t be at work. She couldn’t stand that bastard. There was nothing wrong with her job. She loved investigating crimes and trying to solve mysteries. Chizuru was one of the few people that actually became what she wanted to be when she grew up: a detective. It had been her dream job and, four years ago, she got it. She thought that everything would be wonderful after she got into her job. Then Kondo came along.
“I don’t hire screw-ups.” He had told her, blowing a puff of cigarette smoke into her face. He was a large man whose stomach made up more than half of his body. He didn’t have hair on his head and his dark eyes always looked at her like she was some lab rat. His face twisted into a sneer as he glared at the nervous Chizuru. She had been twenty-four years old when she met him but his expressions were making her feel like she was seven.
“I won’t fail. I promise.” She swore. Kondo just grunted and took another drag of his cigarette. Then he gave her the job and dismissed her.
Chizuru used to be nervous around him but now she just hated his guts. He loved to torture her in one way or another. If Chizuru solved a case, he wouldn’t compliment her. Instead he’d go into her flaws and give her another case to work on. He also liked to scream till he turned as purple as an eggplant. She felt like kicking his ass when he did. She probably could if she didn’t care so much about her job.
It would be hard to find work if Kondo fired me. She thought, looking into her cup. Her reflection stared back at her. A strand of violet hair fell over one amber-colored eye. She tucked that strand behind her ear and looked at her entire face. Her nose was a little pointed and her lips were too small. She had some light-colored freckles sprinkled on her cheeks and a tiny mole under her left eye. She was no beauty queen but she was pretty. She knew it.
Maybe Kondo’s jealous cause I’m better looking than he is. She smirked as she twirled another strand of her hair. It was silly thinking that Kondo would hate her guts for her looks. Then again, it would also explain why he acted like there was a large stick screwed tightly up his ass like a cork on a bottle. Chizuru’s smirks quickly turned into giggles and she almost spilled the tea over her dark blue pajamas. These thoughts about her boss were enough to make her forget why she hated her job sometimes.
The phone rang immediately as if it were in trouble. Chizuru looked suspicious. It was only in the morning. Who the hell wanted to talk so early? Chizuru chose against picking it up. After all, she *was* supposed to be asleep. And if they wanted to talk, they could leave a message on the answering machine.
As she drank the last sip of tea, the voice of her least favorite person came on.
“Ishida, you better get your ass over to the phone and pick it up!” Kondo barked. Chizuru winced. Even when he wasn’t here, it still felt like he was next to her. With a sigh and forcing her hateful feelings for Kondo aside, she picked up the phone and pretended to sleepy.
“What is it, Mr. Kondo?” She asked.
“We got a case and I’m assigning you to it!” Kondo boomed and almost blew out poor Chizuru’s eardrums. She could have said a lot of nasty things to Kondo then but resisted. She *barely* resisted.
“That’s great. You couldn’t wait to tell me about it?” She demanded. “It’s four in the morning.”
“I know what time it is, Ishida! I need you here right away!”
Chizuru frowned. “So soon? But I don’t get to work...”
“I don’t give a damn what time you normally get to work, Ishida! I need you here and I need you here NOW!”
“Okay, okay!” Chizuru sighed. She wondered who spat in that asshole’s coffee this morning. “But answer this first...what’s the case about?”
“Goddamn it, Ishida! Do I have to tell you every detail?”
Considering you call me at four in the morning and need me right away, yes. Yes, you whiny son of a bitch. Yes, I need every detail. Chizuru answered silently. Out loud, she said. “It would be helpful, sir.”
“You’re hopeless, Ishida.” Kondo sighed. “It’s a murder that took place downtown not too long ago. The body was found in an alley and was just taken to the morgue. The victim was a female between 25 to 35 and her throat was cut. Is that enough info for you?”
“Not quite. Describe the victim a little bit more, Mr. Kondo.” Chizuru suddenly had a feeling that this case would not be like any other. Somehow, it excited her.
Kondo sighed before answering. “A landlady of an apartment found the girl at two- thirty in the morning. She was wearing very minimal clothing but it doesn‘t look like she was raped. Oh, yeah and her hair...it was blond. Blond with red streaks, to be exact. Is *that* enough, Ishida?”
“Just one more thing: do you know who she is or what she did for a living? ” Chizuru asked, deciding that this would the last time she pestered Kondo.
“Goddamn it, Ishida! Do I look like her relative? No, I don’t know who she is but I do know what she was probably doing for a living.”
“And what’s that?”
“From what I’ve heard, I think we’re dealing with the murder of a prostitute.”
Copyright 2002: CT
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