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Author Topic: Odyssey to 2012 Chapter 1  (Read 1088 times)

Offline callingcalling

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Odyssey to 2012 Chapter 1
« on: December 08, 2011, 16:29 »
This is less fanfiction and more original writing, but I hoped you guys might like it a bit. It's something I dashed off this morning in response to a prompt on dA to write this unknown girl's story. (The prompt is here, if anyone wants to submit their own chapters to the story http://techgnotic.deviantart.com/journal/Odyssey-Into-2012-272543956?utm_source=elnino&utm_medium=messagecenter&utm_campaign=120711_NET_Odyssey&utm_term=button )

By the way, the "Zephyr" part was a mere coincidence, that part of the prompt was chosen for me. No relation to our Zephyr at all. ;)

-------------------------

She blinked.

And with that simple action the world became spinning confusion. Where was she? What in hell was this?!

The thing before her was a rectangle of pitch black, somehow standing just in front of the opposite wall. As she extended a tentative hand toward the anomaly, she felt a tingling energy in her fingertips and reflexively pulled it back.

Hugging her still-tingling limb to her chest, she glanced nervously around. The rest of the room was unremarkable. Small, and cluttered with the sort of detritus a semi-forgotten storage room collects, there was nothing to impress it upon the memory apart from the strange object it contained...and its complete lack of a door.

How was that even possible? But what was worse was that she had no idea how she'd gotten here. Before she'd become aware of her surroundings a moment ago she'd been...where? She didn't know. And the panic that threatened to rise in her chest at that realization proved hard to suppress.

Something was stirring somewhere in her mind, though. She looked up again at the gate in front of her...it was a gate, wasn't it? She somehow knew it. And terrifying though the thought was, she'd put it there. Somehow.

Spurred on by this strange intuition, she put her hands into the pockets of her coat. One came away empty, but the other pocket held two crumpled bits of paper. She unfolded the first and found a page torn from a calendar; December 2011. Was that the current month? She searched her memory for a clue but found nothing. Every Wednesday and Saturday on the page had been circled, however, and something told her today was one of those highlighted dates. With nothing more to glean, she refolded the paper and returned it to her pocket.

The other paper was nothing but a slip, and read merely "Tokyo" and "Zephyr" in neat pencil. Was this her handwriting? She was unsure. But again, she felt an unnerving certainty that the portal before her was to take her to Tokyo, where she would find "Zephyr"...whoever or whatever that may be. Even if this hadn't given her the sense of being direly important, there was nothing else to do. She didn't know how to unsummon the gateway, or even if that would be a good idea, and there was no other exit to the room.

Drawing a deep breath to steel her nerves, she plunged forward through the inky black surface...


...and emerged gasping and shivering into late afternoon sunlight. She spun in place, but there was no magical gateway at her back, just a tree-lined stairway leading down from a much more commonplace one. Turning to look back in the direction she'd been facing as she came through, she found herself on the grounds of a Shinto shrine. The quiet was nearly eerie, and it was with a start that she noticed the small, wizened man in the robes of a priest, so still had he been standing. He smiled warmly at her notice, however, and opened his mouth to speak.

The buzzing sensation in her head lasted no more than a fraction of a second, but for its intensity it may as well have been an hour. She clutched her ears in pain, but as soon as she had, the sound was gone and only the kindly voice of an elderly man came through.

"Welcome," he'd said.

She looked up at him in more than a little confusion. He must have seen her come through the gate. Had he seen the black portal, or had she simply materialized in the red-lacquered arch? Either way, he didn't seem shocked. It was almost as if he was expecting her.

And what was that buzzing just now?

"Hello," she tried tentatively, and discovered an odd resonance under her voice that she couldn't quite place.

His smile broadened at her puzzled look.  

"It's Japanese, you see," he explained. And it took her a moment to process the implication of his words.

All her questions came out in a rush then.

"Can you tell me what's going on? Who am I? Why am I here? What's 'Zephyr'?"

His smile wavered momentarily at the last word, but was replaced quickly enough.

"I'm afraid I know little more than you. But you should be more careful of what you reveal here," the old man advised. "Go down into the town. Two streets away you'll find a smith's shop, ask there for Yamamoto-sama."

He paused and looked her up and down, considering.

"But first, have a look in the temple. There should be a kimono there that will fit, and a small side room where you can change." He bowed. "And may your journey be successful."

With another smile, he turned and disappeared amongst the trees.

"Wait!" she called after him, "You haven't told me-;" but when she reached the clearing on the other side, she was alone.


She wasn't happy with any of this. Who could be? It seemed to her that she was being strung along by some sort of Fate without her consent or even her knowledge. Every step led her to only a single choice: go forward blindly or stand still for eternity. She grumbled about enigmatic old men as she did her best to tie the unfamiliar obi in a way that looked presentable. Tucking the slips of paper from her coat pocket inside the kimono, she made her way down the long stairs to the town.

What she found there surprised her. This was no modern Japan that she had vague memories of from stories. There were no neon lights and shinkansen in this Tokyo...or should that be Edo? No, this was a much older time than she had presumably left. She drew stares as she walked along the streets, foreigners were so rare in this period that her presence was nearly shocking, and she was thankful that the shop she sought wasn't far.

With a relieved sigh, she at last spotted her likely destination, and ducked inside. It was cool and dark there and her eyes adjusted slowly to the dim light. A scraping noise behind her drew her attention, but not in time to avoid the hand that clamped over her mouth, and the arm that pinned her against her assailant.

"Got you, you damned bitch," the man swore in her ear. "Looks like this chase will end sooner than we thought."

She struggled in his grasp, but he was stronger than she was and she couldn't pull away. As she was beginning to panic, thoughts of dying in this strange place on a mission she didn't even understand swimming through her oxygen deprived-mind, she heard the man gurgle and felt his hold loosen.

He slumped to the floor as she sprang away, just in time to see a cloud of black fog escape from his mouth and dissipate in the air.

"Damn," muttered the man who was now wiping her attacker's blood from his blade. "I was hoping there would be more time than this, but you seem to have drawn too much attention on your way here. There will be more coming soon."

Shocked she may be, but her brain still worked.

"Ya- Yamamoto-sama?" she stuttered.

He grinned lopsidedly. "The 'sama' really isn't necessary, but I'm Yamamoto, yes."

"More importantly," he told her as he sheathed his sword, "we need to get you out of here. This way."

He lead the way to a small room in the back of the shop. It appeared to house his wares, and there was no way out of it apart from the door they'd entered, as far as she could see. She didn't know what he was planning, or if she could trust him, but he had just saved her life.

"What now?" she asked.

"Well, I'd have liked to fill you in a bit, but there's no time now. Now, you open the next gate."

"What?" she asked in abject confusion. "But wait, I haven't even found Zeph-;"

Remembering the priest's warning, she cut off abruptly.

Yamamoto chuckled. "Well, you have actually," he said as he laid a tanto in an intricately ornamented sheath into her hands.

"Now if you'll excuse me, I need to keep watch for more of those. And I can't be in here when you open the gate anyway," the smith said as he turned to go.

"Wait!" she cried, putting a hand on his sleeve. "Where am I going now? What am I supposed to do?"

He smiled kindly. "The messengers will always be waiting. And you'll know what you need to when the time comes."

As he closed the door behind him, she heard him say, "Good luck, Maya-san."

Alone in another small, dimly-lit room, suddenly she felt the tugging in her mind once again telling her what to do.

With a rasping sound, she drew the razor sharp knife from its sheath. And with an indrawn breath for courage, she cut her wrist and murmured a phrase that meant nothing to her, in a language she'd never heard.

The rectangle of blackness took the place of the door by which she'd entered the room. And once more, only slightly more knowledgeable than she'd been the last time, she stepped through.

 

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