Yanked backwards, her bare feet slipped on the ledge and she fell on her rear, a paralyzing, nauseating pain shooting up her spine into her skull. Her features, pale in a way that looked pampered, twisted into a wince, as her long, black hair spilled over into the puddles that congregated into small ponds upon the bare rooftop. And, slowly, tilting her head backwards, upwards, the girl opened her eyes.
The left was black as coal. The right was a brilliant ruby. Alone, they were fascinating. Together, they were mesmerizing.
Around them, the soft rain continued to fall, meteorological whispers bading both girls to remember that time passed on, no matter who they were.
The schoolgirl in a uniform as grave as a funeral parlor spoke first, her voice more surprised than anything.
With her smile still lingering on her face, Hyejin slid her phone off the table immediately, her dark eyes flickering briefly to the situation outside of the cafe, before turning to the screen. Three digits later, and her Samsung was by her ear, the woman holding it up with one shoulder while waving towards one of the waiters for the bill.
A couple seconds passed, her smile disappeared. Taking the smartphone in her hands once more, she checked her receptions, frowned, and then began to fiddle with settings. Airplane Mode, on and off? Nope. Turn on roaming? Nope. Maybe just text it? Nope. Restart? The starting animation was cute, but didn’t change anything in the end.
Her eyes turned up towards Miyane after a couple more attempts to troubleshoot her phone fell through.
“<<Um, Miya-ssi,>>” she began, an apologetic smile on her face, “<<Mine’s acting up, so...please?>>”
No reaction. Must be riding a hell of a high. Scum dirtying the streets. A few more blows and he felt some hard given beneath his boot. And still, that leathery-faced addict’s smile remained, clutching his gut like he was having a giggling fit rather than anything else.
With a displeased grunt, the muscled thug slipped his hands into his pockets, before strid-
"Uh-Uncle Hideki? Sir, what the hell are... are you doing to my uncle?!"
Dark brown eyes, bright with the light of human cruelty, zeroed in on the source of the voice. Foreign kid. Blond like a wannabe ikemen. Little punk. Garbage beget garbage. The thug stepped up to Marc, and, even though the half-foreign student had an inch or two on him, glared down upon the child.
Held the gaze. Let it smoulder.
Then, spitting a thick wad upon this so-called ‘Uncle Hideki’, he said, in a voice like thick tires crunching through gravel, “If you give a shit, keep him off the streets, twink.”
With that, the thug shouldered past, down the street.
As the roar of souped-up engines and hyped-up hooligans faded in the distance, the biker gang driving off to harass a different part of Tenoroshi, the elderly lady slowly pushed herself up once more, her wrinkled face twisted in focus, as tears formed over her eyes. Too young. They were all too young. Too young, and too alone.
Closing her eyes, she pressed the palm of her hands together, and, with a shallow, shuddering breath, spoke.
“A life has ended, with the passing of a friend…”
Under the eyes of an ornamental kirin, the woman’s mantra continued, a murmur, a chant, a prayer, lost to the rainy day distortion.
His expression did not freeze, even as goosebumps ran up his spine. Not taller than him by much, but was certainly someone scarier. Which was weird for a woman, but hey, some people liked to interrupt another person’s business to win points for themselves. Or maybe a random hot-headed justice nerd was here to flex their messiah complex? With a practiced smile, the host turned, not flinching even at her manner of dress or her clearly-foreign features. “Just doing my work as a c-”
“E-excuse me!” Sensing a gap in his focus, the fidgety girl bowed once, her head almost colliding with his back, before running off. In moments, she reached the main street and turned the intersection, leaving the boundaries of the red-light district. A perfect running form for a sprinter, with long legs to match. He let out a low whistle. What a shame.
“As I was saying,” he turned back, raising his umbrella slightly to cover the foreign girl, “Just doing my work as a concerned citizen. It’d be terrible if she caught a cold, non? Certainly looks like your problems are bigger than her’s though.”
The young man paused, his words spoken slowly, calmly, confidently.
“A glare doesn’t suit such a beautiful face. You wanna talk about it?”
Tamiko clicked her tongue.
“So should you, but I don’t see you worrying about that, granny.”
Any other day, she’d have simply walked away, but she stayed this time, her legs continuing to swing in empty space. How did her teacher even get over here? It was literally on the opposite side of the school from the school. Stupid. This was so stupid. Her hands balled up into tiny fists, pressing themselves against the hard, crusty wood of the bench, before slowly unclenching again.
Her eyes narrowed, refusing to look at Tsurushi, her cheeks puffing up as if she could will needles to sprout out from her skin. “Just go away, dumbhead,” she said, after exhausting non-communicative methods of making her prison guard go away. “You’re the one who doesn’t belong here.”