Sunday, 6 September 2009
10:57:04 PM (GMT)
` Naono started sweating halfway back. His teachers had decided to make the last
class of the year a party to mark the end of school. Against his better judgment,
Naono had splurged and eaten a brownie. Who wants to adopt a fat kid? So to burn it
off, he was walking back to the orphanage, twenty four blocks from school. It didn't
help that he was carrying the entire contents of his locker on his back. Thanks to
whatever lowlife punk had gumed the lockers, Naono had been unable to bring half his
text books home the day before.
In the hopes of helping his aching shoulders Naono shifted his backpack to his
left hand and dangled it so that nearly scraped along the ground. A bored looking
business man purposely stumbled over it and called Naono a cretin, before catching a
taxi and riding out of Naono's life forever. How amazing, Naono reflected, that in a
city so crowded, where your every action and expression is bound to effect at least
six people, that no one, not even I, bother to appear positive for even half the time
they spend in public. For losers like that who are doomed to spend their entire
career in a cubicle, I suppose being mean to strangers is easier. Or maybe he just
thinks it's more fun.
After what seemed like hours he arrived at the dark wooded front doors. He
entertained a brief fantasy about just tossing his backpack in the garbage can, but
in the end he simply entered the orphanage to continue his monotony. It wasn't as if
he could throw something that was forty pounds -or more- ten feet; and even if he
could he would probably miss. Even if he didn't miss the garbage can, he would most
likely need something in the backpack and be shocked to find it missing, or worse he
might need the bag itself. If they cut back on funding anymore then they'd probably
have to repair backpacks with bits of torn shirts or something. An exaggeration?
Perhaps, but just in case, Naono would rather keep his moderately new one.
He flopped onto his bed, exhausted. His was disappointed to find that just laying
on his bed left him with a bruise in the back of his head and a wet back. His pajamas
were still a little damp with shower water from that mornings shower water, and the
hard cover book he was reading before bed awhile ago dug into his scalp. Groaning,
Naono sat up and looked to see what book it was. Due to a certain someone
keeping him up recently, he'd been to tired of late to get so much as a chapter in
before falling asleep. It was a public library copy of Eragon, much worse for
the wear. How fantastic it was for Eragon! Immediately after being orphaned he got to
go on the adventure of a lifetime. Leaving his brother behind kinda sucks, but Roran
was going off to work anyway, so no real loss.
Naono contemplated the cover. Saphira didn't stare back it him, but rather
thoughtfully into the empty space in the corner of the room. Above him, Lee was
practicing shuffling cards while Nick and Gustave traded ideas for picking up girls.
Really, none of them had the potential to become a hero like Eragon had. If you
wanted to get technical though, Naono didn't either. He hurt himself standing up from
chairs, couldn't duck away when some wanna-be teen goth chick tried to kick at him,
and most recently he had broken into a sweat after trying to walk a couple dozen
Still, supposedly Eragon had been pretty normal too. What really made the
difference was the dragon. If I had a dragon, I would be off like a shot. It'd
have to be full grown though, there's really no place to hide one in the city while I
raised it. No, a full grown dragon would simply have to fly to the orphanage and do
what no parent ever wanted to do. The dragon would choose him, and then they'd fly
off together, with the dragons vast wings brushing the close set sky scrapers.
Surely it'd be no trouble finding a family if he had a dragon. Plenty of people
wanted dragons; Naono couldn't be to only one. He'd just ask it to land at the house
of some fantasy author and the three of them would live happy lives together. Or
maybe the three of them would go about having adventures. There must be some
adventures to be had in the real world, right? Or maybe they'd just live quiet,
boring, happy lives.
"Yo, Now!" Called Nick from the other end of the room. Naono looked up,
repressing a grimace. Naono and Lee were fourteen, a year younger then Nick and
Gustave, so had moved into the teen rooms after Nick and Gustave had. Lee was far
more outspoken however, and was already known (and in Nicks case, disliked) when the
other two got a slip with the names of their new roomies. Since they hadn't met
Naono, they tried to work out how his name was said by how it was spelled.
Admittedly, "Naono" was not a very common name in America, so trying to work it out
by saying that the first three letters sounded like the beginning of "Naomi" was
understandable. What was not understandable was the fact that they had given him a
nickname based off this mispronunciation before meeting Naono, and that they had kept
using it to get on his nerves.
"What's up, Nick?" He answered, trying to sound casual to avoid stepping on any
toes. He opened the book at random and pretended to read hoping Nick would take this
queue and keep the conversation short.
"Kid, pay attention when I'm talkin' to you, ya hea'? I'm what you Japs call your
"sempy" or whaheva." Nick and Gustave chuckled. Naono had been trying to use online
videos to lose some of his accent, but Nick had been practicing speaking with a
thicker accent in an attempt to sound tough. Naono, like most of the orphans, knew
that having his knees kicked out from under him was not a fun experience, and since
Nick used his amplified accent to threaten this often, it sure seemed to work.
"I'm not a Jap, okay? I'm probably only half, and my name isn't my fault. Right,
Gustave?" Naono appealed to Gustave. Dropped off at age seven by his parents, who as
new immigrants from Germany didn't think they could take the expense of having a kid,
had left him with little more than his name and a hug. Gustave had stood strong
beneath the criticism he got for not changing his name to American "Steve", or
shortening it to "Gus". Watching how Gustave spoke to people back then had taught
young Naono the importance of striking a balance between not looking like a wimp, and
not looking cocky.
"You makin' fun of my name, squirt?" demanded Gustave while he cracked open a
can of soda.
"No." "Then shut up, and while you’re shutting, shut that book." Said Nick. Above
him, Lee scoffed. At this point, they probably weren't going to find out whatever it
was Nick wanted to ask Naono. Quickly, as Lee got cussed out for laughing at what
Nick and Gustave viewed as a very clever comment, Naono picked up his pajamas, which
were by now mostly dry, and went off to change. Unlike in the mornings, it was
impossible to switch clothes at night as the others stayed up late, and viewed taking
your pants off as a sign that you wanted to "compare size".
Honestly, it was worth the trip to the bathroom to avoid that.
Upon passing Mana and Sera's room, his ears were breifly assualted by a fit of
"Haha... I'm serious! I'm totally serious, some kid in my class said he was going
to learn flute over the summer just to impress you!" Followed by more giggling. Naono
sped up. "Oh, shush, shush, shush, someone’s outside!" Said Shiki. Wait... Shiki?
Naono pondered why such a kind, if stupid, kid would hang out with a brat like Mana.
Maybe she got threatened into it by Sera? Why else would anyone go near those boots
more than absolutely necessary? Unless Shiki was a push-over. That was probably it.
They sat together on the bus, so maybe Sera had just mentioned to Mana that she had
gotten a new board game to play or something and Shiki got roped into it.
Naono shut the bathroom door behind him and took off his watch, first checking
the time. Ten PM; at this point those girls were probably having a sleep over, and
would be up giggling half the night. Mana would probably keep Naono up the rest of
the night talking in her sleep as well. Maybe if he asked the Aunts they'd let him
have a sleeping pill tomorrow. Better yet, Naono could try slipping one to Mana.
Because really, why should he have to deal with the side effects of over the counter
medication when it was her fault he needed them? But- no. It'd be hard to explain to
the Aunts that he suddenly wanted to help cook dinner, and even harder to sell them
on the idea that he had to know which plate would be whose. Oh well.
He shivered in the pajamas, which weren't quite as dry as he'd thought. He half
ran quietly through the drafty hall, and back onto his bunk. The others had turned
the lights off on him, so he wouldn't be able to read or go online. Instead he pulled
his pillow tight over his head to muffle the giggling which emanated from Mana's
room, and the thunder outside. He drifted into a half sleep this way, but came
groggily back to awareness when the pillow fell off his head and onto the floor.
After he fell asleep, the hand he had been holding the pillow to his ear with had
begun just resting lightly on top of it; when he turned over the hand had come off
and so had the pillow.
Naono sighed and hung his head off the bed to pick it up. With his ear that
little bit closer to the doorframe he heard Mana's nightly mantra as clearly as if he
had been next to her. He found that he could pick out actual words here and there.
"Mm... Me Mana..." Muttered Mana, sleeping soundly. Excellent grammar, Naono
noted with sarcasm. He didn't move his head though. After all, if her talking was
going to keep him up, why not hear what she had to say? He could probably use it to
make fun of her later.
"Uum, mm. Mean you are." Mana mumbled, then paused. What, is she dreaming about a
school bully or something? Naono's ears grew red- What if Mana was dreaming about
him? He convinced himself that that was crazy, because after all, Naono was
far from the only one who disliked Mana Futabatei. He was just the one who...
Expressed it the most.
"The Rockies?! Ooh...!" Mana said clearly. Then it was silent, except for
an especially loud clap of thunder. Naono thought for sure that she had woken up, or
the dream had ended, and swung his head and pillow back up. He was just getting
comfortable again when he heard a door open and close, followed by quiet, nervous
footsteps. A moment later the front door opened, letting in louder sounds of rain
before it slammed. Naono sat up. What was she doing? Surely sleepwalkers
stayed within the building. As he considered trying to go after her, he heard a door
being swung open, followed by frantic footsteps. Sera was saying, not even in a
whisper, "I can't believe I didn't believe her! Hurry!", and Shiki said "I wonder how
long ago she left? How far away could she be?"
The door banged against the wall with the force it was opened with, and slammed a
split second later. Naono was to tired to really try and decipher what they had said
at the moment. In all likelihood Mana had mentioned almost sleepwalking but falling
out of bed, and her friends would go find her before she got hurt out in the city.
That last thought echoed through his wavering consciousness. Hurt in the
If she was hurt out there because he didn't tell someone, was it his fault?
He was too tired to think about the philosophy behind ethical decisions. If she
wasn't back by morning he could tell someone then.
... Unless he was so tired at that moment that he would forget what he heard once
he fell asleep. Why does Mana have to make things so hard for me, Naono wondered,
while reaching blindly for his laptop in the dark. He turned it on, impatient for it
to start up so that he could get some rest. He opened word and wrote everything he
could rember them saying down, as well as the time he saw on his computer clock. As
of one thirty-seven in the morning, the girls weren't in the orphanage. He saved and
shut the computer without turning it off. He had the feeling he might have to look it
up again quickly in the morning.
He fell asleep again at last, eyes still watering from staring at the bright
screen in the dark, heart still pounding from the great clap of thunder that had
perhaps started Mana's sleepwalking, and ears still straining for the sounds of the
door opening, and the whole noisy mess sorting itself out.
~~~Note: I wrote it, and I don't think this was very good. I'm sorry you had to