Story: Non-believer (all chapters)

Authors: KaitonLocke

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Chapter 1

Title: A lonely Christmas Eve

[Author's notes: I wrote this in less than an hour for a contest whose deadline is the 31st. I liked it after I was done, so I submitted it as is.]

'I never believed in hell. To be honest, I never believed in much at all really. What was there for me to believe in, seeing as how I was never taught about any religion or such. All I ever cared or worried about, for the longest time, was living from day to day, and making sure I ate and slept. Nothing else was worth any of my time to worry about. Sorry way to live, now that I think about it.'

Snowflakes danced in the air, falling gently to the blanket of white upon the ground. The night was chilled, yet it was perfect, in a sense. The soft melodies of Christmas carols lingered in the air, lifting the spirits of many around. There was no din of traffic, pedestrians few, and many shops were closed. It was Christmas Eve after all. A few lovers were out for a stroll, enjoying the gentle snow. It was that time of year, but not all was laughter and cheer.

'I suppose I should be more cheerful, but I have little to be cheerful about. It's not like I have a life, or much of one at least. I've lived on my own as long as I can remember. No family to care for, no friends to laugh and pal around with. All in all, a very solitary existence. Not too much to complain about though. At least I don't have people breathing down my neck at all times of day. But, now that I think about it, it's a rather lonely and sad life I've had. Maybe my next one will make up for it; that is if such a thing is real. Not much of a believer in anything it seems. A sad truth I've never liked about myself.'

The snow crunched softly under the rhythmic strides of a shadowed figure heading for the docks down at the river. Alone, the figure walked steadily, with a reserved and prideful posture. Huddled into a worn and faded trench coat, the person headed diligently for the waterfront. Face hidden by a large fedora and the lack of light on the street, their identity veiled from all. The long, blackish hair that fluttered in the breeze behind them was somewhat unkempt, but not in an unfashionable way. Ignoring both the snow and the carols that floated along in the breeze, the person continued their trek toward the waterfront.

'Snow is rather beautiful. It's one of the few things I have always enjoyed. I often spent time in parks making snow sculptures. Most of which no one ever saw, for reasons I'd rather not think about. I still think that winter's the most perfect of all seasons, that's why I chose today of all days. You know, sentimental factor. No, I'm not a big fan of Christmas or anything, but this was the one day that held a special meaning for me. Why? I ask myself again. Simple. Today is her birthday. I figure, what the hell? Why not today? She might have found some sort of irony in my decision, but I tend not to think about such things. Why bother really? I'm not some sort of philosopher or anything. Well, I'm getting close, might as well brace myself.'

The figure came to a halt and paused for a moment, gazing out at the dark blue waters of the river. Pulling the trench coat closer to their face and the fedora downward, the figure resumed their stride, headed down the shortest and straight-forward path to the empty pier that extended furthest into the river. The snow covered planks of the pier creaked under the weight of the figure as they strode down its length. The figure halted again at the end and peered out at the water. They removed the fedora, revealing the soft features of a youthful woman in her mid-twenties. Her cheeks and small nose were tinted pink from the cold. Her lips were still a rosy color, lush and full. She had copper eyes and her hair was a dark blue, so dark that it appeared to be black. Her eyes were filled with sorrow, and her lips were curled into a sad smile.

'Well, here I am. I guess I'll wait for sunrise, it was always magnificent to see here on the water's edge. I wonder if she's somewhere waiting for me. Most likely not, just some hopeful wishing I suppose. She was the only good thing that ever came into my life. The one ray of sunshine in my dark world. Poetic, maybe, but I was a hopeless romantic in those days. Poem recital, gifts, and spontaneous visits were something I did often for her. *sigh* No use dwelling on such things now I suppose. Should be sunrise soon. About time for my farewell to the hell that is my life.'

The sun began to rise above the western horizon as the young woman spoke softly about all the suffering she has seen in her short life. As she opened her sorrowful eyes to gaze upon the horizon, she made a small wish.

“God, gods, goddesses, kami, or whoever is listening, I do have one thing to ask of you before my time has come.” She said, barely audible over the water crashing against the shoreline. “If Saika is still alive, or has already made the journey to your realm, please let her know peace. That's the one thing her soul truly deserves. If not for her, I would've made this decision ages ago. That is my one, true desire. Thank you for listening at least. Here I come.”

The woman closed her eyes slowly and leaned forward, tilting her center of gravity toward the waters below her. She inhaled deeply, preparing for the shock of freezing water on her tender flesh. She spread her arms wide, allowing the wind to carry the trench coat off of her body and releasing the fedora from her grasp as her weight fell forward toward the murky depths of the river before her. As her weight passed the point of her control, a pair of slim, athletic arms wrapped around her waist and halted her decent. Surprise by the lack of forward momentum and the feel of arms around her waist, the woman's eyes flew open in outrage.

“How dare you--” she began, whirling on her would be savior.

“Yes, I do dare,” Was the heated, and tearful reply. “Why would you toss yourself into the river in the middle of winter!? Are you trying to kill yourself!?”

“Of course I a--” she retorted, her voice halting before she could reply. As soon as her eyes met a pair of bluish-gray ones, all thoughts ceased in her mind. The person standing before couldn't be real. It had to be a hallucination. The locks of short, unruly purple hair sticking out all over the place; the triangular nose; the round face; and the athletic figure; all of it had to be a dream. It wasn't possible for them to be here.

“What in the world are you thinking!?” The 'savior' shouted angrily. “Have you forgotten our promise?”

“It's not ...” the woman whispered. “It can't be ... Saika?”

“Yes Rumi, I'm here.” Saika replied. “Why?”

“I ... I thought you were dead.” Rumi replied, her eyes filling with tears. “I had nothing else, and I couldn't stand being alive without you, and I--”

“I'm not dead Rumi,” Saika said, her tears not stopping. “I'm here, and I'll stay as long as you want me. Don't leave me alone. I couldn't bear to be alone again. Please don't.”

Rumi broke down sobbing. She embraced Saika and sobbed into her chest. “I thought you were gone forever! It hurt so much that I couldn't bear it anymore. Please, don't leave me ever again.”

“Only if you promise not to ever consider ending your life ever again!” Saika replied in tears.”

“I won't!” Rumi swore, wailing her joy and grief all at once.

The two collapsed to their knees, their joy and grief overwhelming them both. They held each other and cried until Rumi began shivering from her exposure to the cold December air. Saika picked up Rumi's worn trench coat and wrapped her in it. They rose to their feet and walked up the pier slowly. They were smiling gently now, all signs of their former grief disappearing as Christmas morning hailed a new beginning for the pair.

“Happy belated birthday, Sai-chan,” Rumi whispered to her soul mate.

“Thank you, beloved,” Saika replied, pulling the shorter girl closer.

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