What's so bad about wanting to live a quiet life? What's so wrong with having no purpose? Can't I just go day-by-day? In a world where it's a miracle for a week to go by without a school shooting, or even a day to go by without seeing a dirty homeless person on the side of the street, just what could be so wrong about wanting to stay at home all day long?
Staring out of the classroom window, Jun Long carried these rhetorical questions in his head. He was sitting at his desk, holding up his droopy face by the temple with one hand, and not really giving a care to what was going on around him. There were many other people seated around him, all wearing the same school uniform that he was wearing; a mainly white shirt, with blue lining to give it an eye-catching contrast. They all had their heads faced down, focusing on their papers.
It sure would be nice if something different were to happen, thought Jun Long.
"… and so," a drone-like voice paused briefly. "When you dig deeper into the setting that the author is trying to portray, you'll begin to see that he actually meant to show sadness and grief in this phrase."
A small number of people sitting in front of Jun Long made a nod. As though he were pulled out of his idle thoughts, Jun Long drew a quick peek around the classroom filled with people his age, then he looked up towards the middle-aged balding male up in the front of the room. His drone-like voice would always send Jun Long into a quiet day dream, again with his face being held up at the temple.
Ugh… Jun Long thought to himself. These last few minutes of the day always feel so long…
The last time he had checked the time, it was only five minutes before the school bell would ring, and he and his classmates could all go home for the day. Looking at the stereotypical white and circle shaped clock above the classroom door, an acute sense of despair could be seen from Jun Long's eyes, as the minute hand had only moved one tick over.
They really do feel so long…
With his eyes following the tick-tocking of the second needle on the clock, Jun Long started to drift off into another one of his daydreams. The drone of the balding teacher's voice seemingly multiplied the drowsiness that Jun Long was feeling.
"… for there could only be one way to picture this scene in the book…"
"… then the main character in the story…"
"… and that will be all for today. Be sure to revise your notes at home and be ready for tomorrow's test!"
The low pitched scraping of the chairs against the tiled flooring woke Jun Long up from his daydream, and he followed the rest of the students in packing up his stationery and leaving.
As Jun Long was about to walk through the door, as though he had just appeared out of nowhere, a chubby, pimple-faced boy walked in without looking and bumped right into him. Behind the fatty were two other boys, one as thin and lanky as a stick, the other looking like your typical glasses nerd. Jun Long was shoved a few steps backward, nearly slamming into the teacher's podium, only just managing to balance himself in the nick of time.
"If it isn't our good friend Jun Long," the fat one said. "What're you up to after school? Wanna come to the internet café with us?"
"Yeah," the twig-man chimed in, ever loyal. "I heard they just installed the new 'Gifted Online' game!"
"That game came out two months ago," glasses added, matter-of-factly. "I'm already playing it at home, so I can carry you guys."
"What'dya say, Jun?" piggy asked, all the while happily picking his nose in front of him. "Coming?"
At first glance, with how cliché it was for this group composition to be a bunch of delinquents, one would easily mistake the three for trouble-makers who would harass other students like Jun Long. In this case, Jun Long and the trio had known each other since their elementary school days. Due to Jun Long's knack for learning things quickly, he was separated from the others upon their second year of high school. They were all 17 years old, this year, but were still very much into hobbies such as video gaming.
"Not today, fatso," Jun Long replied, fixing his uniform. "I'm heading straight home to play my new eroge: 'Love Love Ooyasan'!"
"I've heard good things about that one," glasses interjected, seemingly heated about this topic. "There's this one loli in there tha--"
Hey hey!" Jun Long rushed his friend, quickly covering his mouth. "I haven't played it, yet! No spoilers!"
The afternoon was drawing to a close, and students of all ages were crowding around their shoe lockers to chat with their friends. Jun Long pushed his way through to his locker and reached into it for his every-day footwear. They were mostly black, but the trend was to have contrasting colours on your shoes these days. It wasn't something Jun Long would openly admit to, but he would always hope for someone popular to recognise his pair of shoes, as they were quite expensive, and strike up a conversation with him about them.
Jun Long stepped out of the main foyer and breathed a sigh of self-pity. He could never find the courage to hit up a conversation with others, but could only hope for someone to take it upon themselves to walk up to him and start talking. This wasn't the normal way to live his high school years. At least it wasn't, according to his parents.
"Maybe in another life I could be the complete opposite of what I am, now!"
The gentle spring breeze weaved through Jun Long's hair, as he walked past the teacher standing on duty and through the school's front gate. The sky was clear, on this day, and the temperature was just right for the students to have the freedom to choose whether or not to wear their school blazers. Jun Long could spot a few of his fellow students slinging their blazers over their shoulder, or tucking them under their arms, or folded neatly on top of their bags. He chose to wear his blazer, because it was actually quite comfortable.
Jun Long had a lean body, but his mother would always buy clothes that were a size too big for him, as a kid. He never really liked the baggy feeling of big clothes, so the taut feeling of his school blazer felt very comfortable. He had wished that the school also supplied summer vests for their students to wear, but it seemed the heat would make them redundant.
Most days would move in the same general pattern: people start their days, go to work or school, go back to their homes, or head to the shops, and end their days with a bit of leisure time before going to sleep for the next day. Today, however, was to be a day that Jun Long, let alone the rest of the world, would never forget.
As Jun Long slowly made his way back to his family's house, he noticed that the sky was quickly turning a deep shade of red. It turned from the deep red to a very dark shade of black, as though something had just blotted out the sun. Jun Long, along with everyone else in the world, looked up at this darkness. Not knowing whether it was fear or any outside source effecting his body, Jun Long lost all feeling in his legs. He hadn't dropped to the ground, so he tilted his head down to look at his legs, but his legs were fading away!
Jun Long opened his eyes wide in complete shock and horror and he watched his lower body completely disappear, his lower torso already following suit. He couldn't scream; he couldn't make a noise! He just stood there in a completely silent panic, not even sure if he were sweating bullets or not. Eventually only Jun Long's head was left, floating in the air as though it were a halloween decoration.
His mind was going blank, he could no longer watch himself disappearing into thin air, and finally the last of his head vanished.
This may have taken a while to explain, but it only took a matchstick's worth of time for Jun Long's lean body to completely vanish from the face of the Earth.
Floating in limbo, without any physical feeling, Jun Long's mind raced in a shocked panic. It felt like he had been in this completely white space for centuries, yet the horror of it all had yet to leave his memory. It was at that time when he began hearing footsteps. These were light taps that echoed as though in a grand ballroom, where no one dared make a sound, as the most beautiful woman at the event made her way down the stairs. It felt eerie in its own way.
Jun Long hadn't known whether or not he could still see, as there was only the white space around him. He felt like he couldn't even move his head to look around. It was the weirdest sensation of not being able to control one's own body. He hadn't known whether or not he could still hear, as there way only the silence surrounding him. He couldn't even hear his own heartbeat.
As the tapping of the footsteps became louder, and Jun Long started to regain his faith in his own senses, he heard the footsteps come to a sudden halt seemingly close by to him. In his vision, Jun Long could only see a pair of white heels that seemed nearly translucent. His eyes followed the heavenly looking pair of white heels upwards to see a pair of legs that could only be described as a Goddess'. Slowly making his way further up, he could make out that this figure in front of him was wearing a white dress that was equally heaven defying as the pair of Goddess legs and translucent heels. He couldn't help but feel as though this figure was the picture of perfect, just from what he had seen so far.
Finally resting his eyes upon the sylphlike neck of the figure, Jun Long felt like he could no longer look any higher. He tried to speak, so that he could ask where he was. His reason was beginning to come back to him.
"Child," a soothing voice said. "Your world has suffered a great deal of pain. She needs a long time to recover from all the damage that your people has inflicted upon her."
"… my world…?" Jun Long tried to say. Nothing came out.
"As a collective," the soothing voice continued. "The Gods have decided that your people cannot stay, but they know not where best to relocate you all."
"… Gods… relocate…?" Jun Long continued to try voice a query. Nothing came out.
"As such, by fated allocation, your people will be moved to different worlds to be given another chance to learn how to better treat a world. The Gods are benevolent."
After the voice had stopped, Jun Long's vision began to blur. He could still make out the outlining of the only figure that he had seen since his arrival in this bright white limbo. Slowly, the whiteness cracked and collapsed. A crisp snapping sound accompanied each crack; the sound you'd expect to hear from something crumbling never came.
A rush of colour invaded Jun Long's vision, and he could feel his senses coming back to him. He could hear the chirping of the birds, and the whistle of the wind blowing. He could smell the strong scent of tree bark and the grass. He could feel the touch of the sun on his skin, and the tickle of the grass upon his face. It was for certain that he was no longer in that limbo of bright white.
"… am I back?.." he questioned himself. "Everything seems normal. Though I may have somehow moved to the countryside…"
Jun Long tried to assess his situation, as he pushed himself up off the ground, and it looked as though he were still on Earth.
"Maybe it was all just a dream?.."
His brain instinctively denied what he had learned from the Goddess-like figure in the bright white limbo. It was easier, for his sanity, to believe that it was all just a dream - a very vivid one - and that he must've been drugged and dumped somewhere out in the countryside.
At that moment, a rustle could be heard from behind Jun Long. He hurriedly turned his body to face this new sound, his face twisted in a sudden and tense fear, and slowly regained his relief. It was just a small animal.
Jun Long relaxed his body out of reflex, as he saw what looked like a rabbit. However, in the next moment, his brows furrowed and his eyes widened. This rabbit was too big to be any normal rabbit. It had the stereotypical white fur all around its body, but that only made the dark reddish-brown colour around its mouth more prominent. Just above its eyes, in between its tall and pointy ears, there stood a horn. A horn that measured 2/3 of the big rabbit's body!
Jun Long was by no means a studious type, but he knew that there could not be such an animal in the world that he lived in. His mind began to shutdown, as the realisation that everything that had happened until now could actually be real.
The horned rabbit suddenly launched its body towards Jun Long, as though it were a harpoon, and aimed its horn at him. Jun Long just couldn't move. His fear of reality, and the unknown, caused his body to not listen to him.
He knew he had to move. He knew that it was as simple as jumping to the left or the right. But his body refused to listen. He was going to be impaled by that horn. He could see it getting closer, as though time had slowed down. He still couldn't move. He closed his eyes in acceptance of his fate.
Jun Long could feel a lump of something hitting his clothes. His white blazer had actually been sprayed red with blood. It was the blood of the horned rabbit! He looked at the horned rabbit on the ground. It had once been a fully inflated animal, with the power to launch itself as fast as a bullet. Now, it was just a lump of flesh on the ground.
He looked at the figure standing next to the horned rabbit's body. There stood a young man that looked as though he were in his 20's, and he was grinning at Jun Long as though he had just bought the last steamed bun from the cafeteria.
The man reached shot his hand out towards Jun Long, who flinched at the sudden movement, and he opened his palm to him.
"That'll be 5 pieces of silver, thanks!"
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