Light.

There was nothing. Heck, there never had been. Not for me. Everything had always been pitch black, from the day I was born. I never knew color or light. I only ever knew sound. But that was okay. It messed with my sleep, sometimes. I guess my body didn’t know when it was day or night, so I kept getting tired during the day and staying up late at night. It got to the point once that I had to go buy some sleep-aid stuff to make sure I didn’t become totally nocturnal. A lot of things are more difficult, I’m sure, but I’ve never known anything else. At this point, I welcome the void. It’s comforting to know that no matter what happens, it’ll always be there. The one thing that never changes. The one thing that never leaves.

I use one of the stick things you often see blind people use in movies and television shows. I don’t think I ever knew the official name of them. It was a bit of a hassle at first, learning to use it, but I was a little kid then, maybe seven years old. I still remember one of the outbursts I had after getting fed up with being forced to use it. I said something about hating the stick and hating life, then broke the thing over my knee. Apparently it was a sight to behold. I woke up on Saturday, May 14th, 2011. My eyes snapped open as my alarm went off. The blaring sound jarred me out of bed like usual, but it seemed a little quieter today. I must’ve been getting used to it. Sound meant a lot to me, so if I was getting used to my alarm, it could bode poorly for other things I might need to hear.

I slowly slogged my way into the kitchen, not even bothering with the stick. I knew the way well enough now that I could walk it with one leg being eaten by a crocodile. I move at something like a forty-five degree angle from my bed out the door, take a right turn once my foot hits hard wood, walk three and a half steps forward, and make a left. The sink was dead-ahead, but I take a right once I reach it and the morning-starter is two and a quarter steps away. I heard the coffee-maker shut off, chiming out a little jingle before setting itself to its warming mode. I hated the taste of coffee, but the smell was great and I practically survived on the stuff now. I absolutely needed it to get up in the morning, and it kept me alive throughout the day. I reached over and grabbed the only mug I owned. Apparently it was adorned with little carton animals from some little girl’s show, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t see how ridiculous it was, so it didn’t matter. It was always in the same place: right next to the coffee-maker.

I poured myself a cup of coffee and stood there for a bit, taking a little sip at a time. It was still blazing hot, so I couldn’t dare risk any more. I let out a deep sigh and decided I should actually start my day. I walked to the left about five steps and set my coffee down on my table after reaching out with my other hand to find the table itself. There was a chip in one side, likely from moving here. I never actually knew what happened to it. I woke up one day, and boom, it was there. It wasn’t a particularly large chip, but it bothered me nonetheless. This table was very old. My great-grandmother made this table with my grandfather, and it’s been in the family ever since. I don’t imagine it is worth a lot of money, but I feel somehow richer knowing I have it. I turned to head back to my room and change, and my arm brushed the mug. I stopped moving as fast as I registered what was happening, but it was too late. The mug slowly slid off the edge as if in slow-motion and smashed to what sounded like a million tiny pieces on the floor. I stared blankly at the void. It stared back at me with equally little emotion. Another day, another problem.


One hour later, I was out on the streets, the mug mess cleaned up, and my stick in hand. I calmly moved it from side-to-side in the technique I was taught and found that very few things were in my path. I was on my way to get a new mug, preferably not one for a children’s show. I made my way into the local pottery shop and breathed deep. It seemed to me like every sense was heightened over someone else’s in the absence of sight. I could smell the kiln in the back burning bright as they cooked some kind of new pot or mug. I’d never actually been in here before but this wasn’t the first time I had been in a pottery store. I smelled a couple various hot metals in the back, though what exactly they were was beyond me. This place seemed nice. It smelled nice and sounded amazing. Nothing from the process in the back was too loud and it was almost soothing as background noise. I tapped my stick a couple of times against a small display table to my right. The pottery on top made an elongated ringing deep within. Pots, it sounded like. I moved ahead, sweeping the stick across my path slowly.

It bounced off something with slightly more force than normal. Rubber, it seemed like. A shoe, no doubt. I heard someone make a slight gasp and felt the air shift as they turned around. I definitely just hit someone’s foot.

“Sorry,” I said, shuffling slightly away from them to get by. Then they spoke, and my whole world lit up.

“Not a problem.” Three, tiny, simple words, but so beautiful. Like the melody to a choir of angels. A perfect sound, crystal clear and softer than a dove’s wingbeat. Like ringing a perfect crystal glass in a ballroom. It echoed and bounced around wildly in my head in the most beautiful way imaginable. A soaring chorus singing to God himself. I think I made a noise, or something. Maybe a choking sound that resembled a dying weasel. Its about all my brain was capable at the time. She giggled lightly at the noise and my heart practically leapt out of my chest. It was so perfect. She was so perfect.

“Uh-ah-” I choked on my words for a moment longer before I finally managed to spit out something coherent. “Uh, I’m just looking for a mug.” I could imagine the perfect smile as she giggled again.

“Let me show you where they’re at.” She said, gently grabbing my hand. Everything was light. The void was gone, replaced by her. Her laughter, her soft, perfect hand. She gently led me over to the mugs and started gently describing them to me, one after another. She kept pressing them into my hand and asking how they felt, if I thought they might hurt my hand after a while, or something. I was barely paying attention. Every word was a slice of heaven. I never thought in my wildest dreams I could ever be this happy listening to anyone speak about mugs. About anything, really. They could’ve been telling me about how I was going to see for the first time in my life, or they could make a cure for cancer from my stem cells or something and I still wouldn’t be half as happy as this. I didn’t need the void. I never really needed it to begin with. I was alive with sensation. It was incredible. Everything was vivid and bright for the first time in my life.

I could see.

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Rum that is Red.

The main room was quiet, and quietly decorated. It was the spitting image of one of those homes you’d see in a magazine for a furniture store. Entering the apartment, you’d find a simple brown rug at your feet that read ‘Hello’ in a fancy cursive font. The rug clearly must’ve been enchanted by some dark magic, for it read ‘Goodbye’ from the other side. Looking up as you walked in, you’d be greeted by some kind of modern-art piece of a table, curved like some kind of bean, with a perfectly circular hole in one end. A few magazines were fanned out next to the hole, with an odd one displaying a shirtless man at the bottom, nearly hidden by the others. A cup of tea sat on the other end, underneath one of only two coasters that sat on the table.

An owl clock hung on the wall, its oversized eyes piercing deep into the soul of anyone who dared to look at it, but in a comforting way. A way that said ‘I know every thought you’ve ever had and all your fears, and I’ll never tell anyone’. There was a television on a short stand made of old textbooks. It was at an awkward height, but it was the best the two roommates could manage. Next to the table, facing the television, were two chairs. One was a dull blue microfiber recliner, and the other was a matching chair with a pine green blanket hung over the back. Standing underneath the owl clock was a short, thin young woman by the name of Emma. She was the one who had taken the time to decorate the majority of the apartment.

Her clothes were modest, yet somewhat suggestive. Her jeans were entirely too tight to be comfortable, and her pale blue shirt was just slightly too big, one side hanging off her shoulder by at least two inches. She wore nothing on her feet. She didn’t believe in socks Her long brown hair was pulled up in a sloppy bun, which fell even further apart when she reached up to put on her glasses. She wore the same cheerful expression she wore from day to day, and her posture was typical of her: most of her body weight was on her right leg, with her left hand on her hip, left leg bent slightly. However today, was a significantly different day than usual. All over the front half of her body was a thick red liquid, soaking the front of her shirt and dripping on the floor and her feet. Her hands were also stained the deep crimson, staining her pants.

Across the table stood another young woman, only a few months older than Emma. Her name was Morgan. Her hands were up on her head with her eyes about as wide as the owl’s. Her mouth was wide open, with no sound coming out except short, halting breaths. She wore an orange sweater, just light enough for spring, and a pair of grey sweatpants.

“So,” Emma said. “what’s up?”

Morgan was quiet for a few moments. “W-what’s up? What’s up! Is that really all you have to say?!” The shock quickly wore off as what would’ve been casual conversation ensued.

“Uhh, yeah?” Emma replied. “What else is there to say?”

“What else is there to say?! How about, oh hey, sorry I’m covered in someone else’s blood and I’ve made a mess of the apartment. Sorry I ruined your favorite shirt by ripping out someone-” Morgan’s voice cracked and she covered her mouth. She took a few moments to recompose herself. “How about explaining what the hell happened here?”

“It’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?”

“It’s obvious.” Morgan repeated.  “I-I actually cannot believe what I am hearing right now.”

“Dude, you really need to calm down.” Emma replied, blowing a strand of hair from over her eye.

“Calm down! You’re covered in blood and there is a disemboweled corpse in the next room! How can you expect me to do anything other than panic right now?” The smell of blood settled in the room, a stench similar to that of steak. Morgan felt like those nights when she would drink too much too fast and it would hit her all at once. Her stomach rolled inside her, her head felt like a maelstrom had formed, swirling her brain into some kind of goo. Every inch of her skin tingled, like when you hold a sparkler just a little too high on the stick. It sent ice-cold chills up her spine. What was going to happen now? How could any of this work out for the better?

The Highest Council.

I knew it had always been my job to get on their nerves, but I hadn’t really thought about the repercussions. These were beings of obscene strength and wisdom, and I had been tasked with making them mad. They could level mountains, boil oceans, summon up the most destructive forces the world had ever seen, and I had managed to get about half of them to want me dead. However, for supposed ‘gods’, they were pretty blind when it came to their enemies. I mean, I had been tasked with this from someone who claimed we were beyond their sight. I didn’t know they had limits to their sight, but evidently they did. I had been summoned to whatever alternate dimension they inhabited so they could yell at me, and probably end up deciding some punishment. The things I had done weren’t even that bad, if you actually think about it.

On the horseback ride across a gigantic empty plain of grass that looked like it belonged in a dream, I went over each thing I did, one after another. There was a golden cup in one of their temples that I’d taken. For the love of everything good in the world, he wasn’t even using it! I may or may not have taken a leak on one of the plethora of statues they had strewn about the kingdom-no, the world. The kingdom I was born in was not the only place that worshiped these people like they had created us. Which, for the record, they hadn’t. No one knows exactly what actually made us, but here we are. As long as that thing doesn’t decide to un-make us, then I don’t really care too awful much.

Finally, I was at the designated area. Immediately in the middle of the field, with nothing in view at all. There was nothing but the grass, everywhere. No one knew what was on the other side of this plane, or if there even was another side. For all we knew, it went on forever. Which, it likely did. Without any sort of warning, a hole opened in the sky above me, a perfect square of nothing which descended down over my head and past my shoulders. It moved past my chest and slowly towards my waist. Inside the hole, I couldn’t see anything. My mind couldn’t comprehend it. It wasn’t light, it wasn’t dark. It was oblivion. I was the only thing that existed in this world. There wasn’t even air. What little air I could get into my lungs came from beneath me, but it wasn’t quite enough. My vision was growing fuzzy, or so I thought. It was hard to tell with nothing to judge it on. My chest heaved in the effort to get air into my system, but it slammed against an invisible wall, driving up from the edge of the hole.

Maybe they were just killing me now, imprisoning me in this box of nothing to suffocate. I looked down, and my feet were on the ground. Where did the horse go? I hadn’t gotten off. As I watched, I saw my feet slowly lift up off the ground as I floated into the void. I hadn’t moved any more than a foot before my head hit the ceiling of the box. Most of my legs were still dangling outside the box, and the hole below was closing. I drew them up out of instinct, and the hole closed beneath me. I stopped floating and slammed to the bottom of the box, but I couldn’t fall down. Walls on all sides kept me mostly vertical, though the low ceiling had me hunched over with my chin in my chest. I bent my knees, pressing them up against the front wall, but I still couldn’t get fully vertical. Whatever was going to happen needed to happen soon, because I was running out of air.

Inspiration (Lack Thereof)

I have no idea whatsoever what I want to write today, so I will simply let the story unfold as it will and simply guide it along the railroad to completion.

The edges of my vision were completely blackened out, and I could feel the sweat pouring down my face. I was soaking through my clothes, but that couldn’t have bothered me less. The thing behind me was as loud as a subway train, and gaining on me about as fast as one. I could hear every footstep, every snorting breath it took. I didn’t get a good look at it, but its green eyes seemed to glow in the dim light and pierced into my soul. Pure terror set in, my breaths halting before they could complete, and my mind only focused on the immediate moment. One more step. One more. Another. Keep going. Five more. Four. Three. Don’t slow down. Two. One. My only hope was that the creature charging after me couldn’t turn corners well. I made a hard right and kept going as fast as I could. For a split second, my terror-gripped mind saw light ahead, an escape from this nightmare. I refused to blink, staring at the light with everything I could. The monster smashed into the wall, obviously failing to turn.

A chance of escape. It had fallen behind now, and the light hadn’t left. Then, a single drop of sweat fell from a strand of hair fell down. The hair seemed a mile away, there was no way it could affect me. I watched in terror as the drop of moisture descended and dropped directly into my eye. Somehow, I managed to keep my composure and keep from blinking, holding my eyes open with sheer willpower alone. But my focus had shifted, and when I looked back down the hallway, the light was gone. It was pitch black, and with the vanishing of the light, my hopes of escape disappeared. I heard it gaining on me, but didn’t bother to turn back. Instead of counting the steps until the end of the hallway, I counted the seconds until the end. Five. Four. I could almost feel its breath on the back of my neck. Three. All I saw were those eyes. Two. Was that a hallway I just passed?

One.

Chunin Exams continued.

There was very little going through Daichi’s mind at the moment, his only actual thought being how little chakra he needed to block the attack. If that was her most powerful strike, then this battle would be over in record time. Chiyo couldn’t believe how quickly the water moved, reacting the instant she breathed out. This battle would be difficult, that much was certain. She decided that rapid-fire attacks would be more effective than a single, all-powerful attack. She heaved a small volley of shuriken and kunai at him, blasting off a few sound waves at the same time. Again, Daichi didn’t even move, the water blocking everything she threw at him. He couldn’t see the sound waves though, and they pushed him back a few feet. The water still just hung in the air around him, slowly pulsing and moving around as if it were alive. Chiyo was happy that at least a few of her attacks made it through, but they only pushed him back. They couldn’t cause any serious damage unless they were much stronger. Daichi closed his eyes and seemed to rest for a second, as if her attacks were taking their toll on him. She took advantage of his temporary blindness and charged forward, hoping to get a much stronger attack in.

Daichi moved again, but when his eyes were opened, Chiyo quickly stopped. His eyes had changed, no longer a deep blue. they were red, with a disturbingly familiar design on top. Daichi had a Sharingan, the genetic jutsu of the Uchiha clan. It was legendary in its strength, not to mention its prowess in genjutsu, the art of illusions. This battle already seemed unwinnable, but Chiyo was determined to win. She blasted off as many sound waves as she could manage in a short time, but the water moved to intercept. The Sharingan allowed him to see where the sound waves would be going, and let him block all of them. There was no way for her to win this fight, and she knew it. She calmly raised her hand to forfeit the match and avoid serious injury, but the water shot forward with alarming speed. She jumped back, dropping her arm down, and the water crashed into the ground in front of her. He was attacking, even though it was obvious she was about to give up. Why would he do that? He had won the round, but he still wanted to attack. The look in his eyes gave it away. He wanted her dead.

Chunin Exams.

You all just lost The Game. Not sorry.

The Chunin Exams continued as if the last round wasn’t the most impressive thing the Hidden Leaf Village had seen in fifty years. The next round was someone by the name of Daichi versus Chiyo Kurokawa of the Sound Village. The Village hidden in the Sound was originally founded by Orochimaru, a man-snake beast of pure evil, but since his death had taken to peace. She was an expert at manipulating the waves of her own voice to ear-piercing levels. Across from her, Daichi stood motionless, two odd containers strapped to his thighs. Everyone simply assumed they were training weights, something he’d likely drop at some point during the battle. But as they were all about to find out, they were sorely mistaken.

“Begin!” the proctor said, and leaped back to avoid getting caught in the crossfire. Chiyo leaped back as far as she could, getting as much distance as she could between her and her opponent. Close-range fighting was not her specialty, so she decided to take full advantage of the enormous size of the arena. The whole place still smelt like smoke, but it didn’t bother her. She was too focused on winning this fight. She focused her chakra in the air directly in front of her mouth. Any sound that passed through that point would be focused to a point smaller than any needle could be made. Good luck blocking this. She thought, and yelled with everything she could manage. As far as everyone watching the match was concerned, she leaned forward, opened her mouth, and the air itself distorted around a line that flew through the air faster than anyone could keep track of. Daichi made no effort to move out of the way, and in the split second Chiyo had before the sound slammed home, all she could think of was how easy it had been.

Without any sort of warning, twin gouts of water gushed from the containers on Daichi’s legs,crossing right in the path of the sound wave. Chiyo couldn’t believe her eyes. Nothing could’ve moved that fast. It was impossible. And yet, it happened. Her opponent, once a tiny thought at the very bottom of the long list of her concerns, now seemed like the largest threat she had ever faced.

Arena Fight.

I’m taking a break from my Airen story for a little while, but rest assured I will finish it in due time. In the mean time, enjoy this story.

It moved like a fog or mist, floating in tendrils, but it moved far too fast to be anything of the sort. It swirled violently in a semi-circle around Yukio Nagahama’s feet, slowly rising in a cylinder around his whole body. Tendrils broke off around his waist and curved upward in violent streaks through the air, arcing over his body and reconnecting with the ragged top of the cylinder on the other side. It was also the complete wrong color for a mist or fog; it glowed with a steel grey light unlike anything anyone had seen before. His hands were pushed together with all the force he could manage, his fingers interlaced as if he were praying. Lightning crackled from his body all at once, exploding from within him. It slowly focused on his arms, which started to glow as they were completely covered with the electricity. Even still, it focused, moving to his right forearm alone, which glowed even brighter. Lightning bolts shot out in directions across the whole arena, covering the colossal thousand-foot gap from one side to the other in less than a second.

The skies darkened as Yukio focused his chakra more, pouring as much of it into this one punch as he could. His arm couldn’t hold any more. It would start to burn away at him. One part of someone’s body was never meant to even hold this much chakra at once, and he knew it. But he also knew his limits, which he pushed constantly. It was enough energy in his arm to level the whole arena, but against his opponent’s ultimate defense, he would need all the help he could get. The grey mist his chakra took the form of swirled tighter around his legs, slowly descending on them where it swirled with a fiery vengeance. He could feel the immense pressure building up in his legs, but he wasn’t done yet. He still had more to give, and an even more destructive attack to add to this highly lethal combination. He forced more of his chakra out of him, forming it into black and white orbs. The black orbs were something out of anyone’s nightmare, casting shadows across the arena and beyond. The white shone with a brilliant light brighter than the sun. He slowly forced the floating orbs around him together, packing them into a single, steel grey bomb. It was similar to a Tailed Beast Bomb, but on a much smaller scale. However, it would still be enough to level the arena and then some.

He raised his glowing arm, taking extra care to move it slowly. A sudden movement could release all the energy early, and kill everyone watching. That was not something that he wanted to risk. He reached up and grabbed the bomb, squeezing it with his mind and body at once to shrink it into his hand. This combined attack would be enough to level the whole village, if placed properly. However, there was only one that needed to feel the wrath of the attack. Across the arena, a metal man stood, immobile, but nearly invincible. It took everything Yukio had to maintain all this chakra control at once, but he was capable of it. Barely. He decided it was time. He had put too big a strain on his chakra network at once, and whether it worked or not, this would be his last attack. He released the energy around his legs, and with an explosion to rival that of a fully-powered Rasengan, he flew across the arena towards his enemy. He was there in under a second, moving faster than the lightning bolts firing off from his right arm. He heaved his arm forward and slammed his fist into his opponent’s chest as hard as he could, letting all the energy he had built up fire off towards him. There was a thunderous roar, but no movement in the arena for what felt like an hour. Without warning, the bomb went off, forcing the last of the lightning off and out of his arm.

The fireball filled the entire arena, billowing up over the sides of the walls and cascading fire around the outside of the building. The crowd was protected from the blast through invisible energy barriers, but definite cracks formed as the explosion continued. Yukio was heaved backwards from the point of impact, crashing into the wall that once stood at his back. The fire rolled over him, but it made almost no difference. The lightning arced into the sky and set the clouds ablaze, burning away into nothing in the heavens. Finally, after what felt like forever, the fire cleared and the smoke slowly rose away. His enemy was on his back, in his normal human form, and still alive. Whatever that defense was, Yukio was highly impressed with it. An attack like that could do serious damage to the most powerful creatures in the world, and he withstood it with hardly a scratch on him. He was unconscious though, leaving the victor of the battle clear. He had won.