Title: Where is the World Now?
The sun was setting, but the city was already glowing red. The Chaos was spreading fast and the shadows it cast smouldered like embers out of a fire.
Rika sighed as she let the evening set upon her, the sight before her weighing like a nightmare on her mind. She stared out past the fences of her backyard, past the sanctuary they had found, and watched as the waxy mess of the D-Reaper bubbled over the outside world.
She closed her eyes, closed off the world, and drifted.
The gentle flow of water in her Koi pond drove her into a state of meditation and she didn’t notice when her solitude was disturbed.
“I can see why you chose this spot,” came a gentle voice, and Rika eased open her eyes.
She turned her head to acknowledge Ryo, though she did not smile. “This spot is my bedroom.”
Ryo sat down beside her, settling himself into the wooden planks. His crimson sweater blended perfectly into the red glow of the Chaotic world. One of his legs was folded and the other dangled over the edge of the planks. He smiled at the girl before him, this volatile thing with the auburn hair, and dared glance behind them into the room.
“And it’s very nice, I might add,” he returned with playful arrogance.
Rika looked away.
There was silence between them and it unnerved Ryo. Where was the angry Rika, the annoyed Rika? The playful Rika?
He let the quiet in, let it pass like an icy wind between them until it became too much.
“I like your shirt,” he said, quietly and honestly. He wasn’t trying to joke.
“Everyone does,” Rika replied, her voice low. She paused, a hesitation. Then she spoke again. “The heart thing, it’s meant to be whole now. Truth is, I’m not sure mine is.”
Ryo sat close to her, keeping his eyes fixed on her. “How come?”
She said nothing for a long while. Ryo didn’t look away once but Rika’s eyes remained fastened to the ground, even as she spoke. “There is so much sadness in the world, how can anyone’s heart be whole?”
As he watched his new friend suffer, Ryo felt like a knife had punctured his own heart. He wanted to comfort her but he didn’t know what to say. Rika looked so vulnerable, so miserable, like she’d woken to some incredible truth and did not know how to remedy the pain it brought.
Ryo placed a tentative hand on her shoulder and squeezed gently. “I guess we just have to try. We have to keep on fighting. That’s all we can do.”
“Fighting,” Rika repeated the word resentfully. “That’s all I’ve been doing my whole life. Fighting for one thing or another. Never seems enough.”
The quiet settled again but not because they didn’t know what to say. Ryo knew exactly what to say, his mind was screaming it over and over. Finally he said it: “It will never be enough, Rika. But the point is to keep going. See where it leads you.”
Rika continued to stare into the pond as the words flooded her soul. She’d never heard anything like that; Ryo’s insight was painfully truthful.
The red glow of the world burned on as Ryo stood and began to walk away. He stopped only to steal one last look at the girl whose heart would never be whole. Still, he smiled hopefully at her and caught her eye before fading into the red, his words an echo in the beautiful Chaos of the world.
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