Unconscious as if dead, or dead as if unconscious.
Falling, I felt light, as if a feather. But as I continued my descent into this unknown world. I crashed and sank as if a brick was being thrown into a body of water.
A body of water? I remarked. Was that where I was?
“Kanade Shoukohara!” A muffled shout echoed through this unknown abyss.
Opening my eyes, the world around me was fuzzy. And I slowly began to ascend, as if I were floating back up from the bottom of a pool.
Reaching the top, my blurred eyesight became slightly clearer.
“Shoukohara!” The familiar voice echoed again. This time with more clarity in his voice.
Where have I heard this voice before? It was soft and full of youth.
His voice continued to shout my surname, but I slowly grew more and more tired. Too tired to think about where the voice was coming from, or who the voice belonged to. Closing my eyes I floated on my back in this unknown body of water, and the voice slowly became more and more muffled.
Shouko...hara. Was that my name? I couldn’t remember.
I couldn’t remember anything. Not about myself or anyone close to me. Trying to remember the most trivial things, I found myself at a brick wall. My parent’s name, my birthday, the color of my hair, occupation, girlfriend, boyfriend? Everything I wondered, there was no answer in my mind. Just who was I?
Maybe I was nobody? I thought to myself.
Floating away atop a body of water, tears swept across my face. I felt as if I was fading away, but I didn’t want to go. Although I couldn’t remember anything, I wanted to see the world. I want to see the people this person cares about. Clawing through my mind, painfully trying to remember anything, I ultimately found nothing.
My sobbing and self-pity continued.
“Shoukohara!” The voice had returned. And it continued, repeatedly. Five times, ten times, the young male’s voice continued to shout this unfamiliar name.
“Enough!” I opened my eyes for the first time since I had closed them.
But rather than floating in a pool of water, I found myself in a bright white room. The room seemed to go on infinitely. Turning left and right, the white room never stopped. Looking down the reflective floor gave the illusion I was floating.
“---De Shoukohara!” A voice shouted faintly behind me.
Turning to face him, it was a young boy with snowy white bangs. His figure was familiar but I didn’t recognize him.
He stood at least fifty feet away from me. But as I continued to stare, the room we stood in shifted, and I found myself standing just a foot away from the boy.
“Yo!” The boy raised a hand and chuckled.
I looked around, but the only person in view was this boy.
“Where are we?”
The boy put his hand to his chin, “Mmm,” Before coming to a conclusion he pounded his fist onto his other hand, “Your mind!”
I stared quizzically at him.
“Geez, you really don’t know anything do you?” The boy ran around me.
“Hey, what do you mean this is my mind?”
“Mmm, you should really get a new trench coat.”
“What?” I looked down at my clothing.
I was wearing a long black trench coat which draped to knee length.
“Who are you anyway?”
“Huh? You really don’t know?”
I nodded with concern. For all, I knew he could be my son.
I shot a serious look towards him.
“And this is your mind palace!”
“Kid, I’m serious…”
“Mmm…and so am I!” He pouted his face.
I’m not getting through with this kid.
“Fine,” He crossed his arms out of anger. “If you don’t believe me, I’ll make you.” laughing, the boy ran towards me.
Tugging my arm, he pulled me towards him and bashed his forehead on mine. His small hands clenched my ears.
My mind began sparking, and memories immediately began flooding my mind. From small trivial things to my biggest secrets. Everything flowed in all at once, as if reliving all these events in my life in an instant.
Catching myself up to the present, I pulled him away from me and fell to the floor.
Staring down at me, he smiled. “Do you remember now?”
I nodded, tearing up. “Mostly…but it doesn’t explain why I’m here. Is this really my mind?”
“Yep, you’re here ‘cause your body is fighting to stay alive.”
“You wanted to play hero and got yourself hurt,” The boy sighed.
I gazed down at the reflective ground, staring into my own eyes.
“You’re disappointed aren’t you?”
Quickly turning to him, I gasped.
“Disappointed in yourself that you got hurt, that you couldn’t help anyone.” The boy’s smile faltered.
Standing to my feet, I flattened my clothes and nodded.
“Gosh, when will I learn? Not everything is in your control.”
I smile towards my younger self, “It’s going to take a lot more than a few words from myself to stop me from walking down the path of self-hatred.”
“That just means you know how to stray yourself from that path,” the boy’s smile returned to its former shine. “You should be going. Do you remember what you have to do when you wake up?”
I nodded once again. “Thank you, me, I guess.”
Closing his eyes, the boy clenched his hand towards his chest. “No, after all…”
He began running towards me. Just barely reaching up to my torso, he gave me a warm hug. Before eventually turning into an all-white figure and vanishing.
“After all…you are me,” I laughed.
Clenching my chest, I looked around and saw a bright light speed towards me. Destroying the room I stood in, leaving nothingness.
Before I could react, the light caught me, and I vanished from the white room which seemingly went on forever.
Opening my eyes the room slowly focused, like a camera focusing while trying to take a photo. Gasping loudly, I immediately rose to a sitting position, clenching my chest.
“Good, you’re awake,” The brown-haired woman who spoke to my right was Sora, a medical assistant.
“Huh, you don’t remember?”
I looked down in disappointment.
“You were in the middle of an operation with Sakura, when you were hit in the head pretty hard.”
“Huh, Sakura’s here? Operation?”
Although I regained my memories, I still didn’t know much about our present situation.
“Wow, looks like your head trauma was worse than we thought,” She sighed. “This city was overrun by MechaBeasts just three weeks ago. You and Sakura were tasked with clearing this area and finding the epicenter of this gathering. Unfortunately, you both ran into a little problem…” The pitch of her voice heightened.
“What was it?”
She said nothing.
She hesitated, “An Original.”
Turning away from her, I threw the covers off of myself and stood to my feet.
“Kanade? Hey, where are you going! You’re still hurt!”
She was right, getting up made me feel nauseous. My stomach turned, and my mouth tasted like tin foil. Regardless I looked around and found the table which held my items.
Grabbing my shriveled-up black trench coat from the table, I threw it on. Followed by strapping my dual swords to my torso.
“Hey! You can’t seriously be going out there!”
Looking back at her, I shot her a fake smile. “I’ll be okay.”
In reality, I was shaking, and barely keeping my balance.
Pushing the blanket out of the doorframe, I exited the tent. Unfortunately, what I witnessed next was something unexpected.