"Where am I? What is this? Am I underwater? Did I die? What is happening? How did I get here? It's very dark. Am I here alone? I can't see anything! Huh? I can breathe? How can I breathe underwater!? I must be in a dream, but why am I here? Wait, is that shining light? It's very fuzzy, I can't see much, but I can feel some type of aura?
“It's beautiful and getting bigger? Woah! I think it’s coming closer! What should I do? Should I try to touch it? It doesn't seem like it could hurt me, but what could it be exactly? It feels strangely familiar somehow like I've felt this before?"
Mika reached out to touch the bright light as it loomed closer to her.
"Feels very warm somehow," Mika confirmed as she continued to float in the dark void.
"I feel encapsulated in an overwhelming feeling of pressure. Could it be the glow making me feel this way? It's pulling me in, but I'm not getting any closer. Why can't I reach you? I want to discover what you are."
The light grew bigger as Mika attempted to welcome the light by extending her arms for a hug. She longed to ease her curiosity. As Mika's hand finally made contact, she automatically closed her eyes.
"Ahhh, so warm."
She rests her hand on the circumference of the glowing, bright ball of light, causing her to smile in relief. She opened her eyes again. Mika smiled.
"Oh! Hello, Mr. Nosey," she said to her big stuffed teddy bear while caressing his fuzzy cheeks.
"It must've been a dream again. Why do I keep having the same dream?"
It's early morning. Mika decided to take a shower after fixing her bed. She has lived in this apartment with her best friend, Nieko, for the past three months. Birds chirped outside as Mika made her way to the kitchen.
"I wonder if there's any food left in the refrigerator. Knowing Nieko, there's a good chance everything is already gone. But there’s only one way to find out. "
Mika opened up the fridge and uncovered the truth. The refrigerator had open beers, tea drinks, and an empty pizza box with not even one leftover pizza crust. Pure disappointment filled Mika's, hungry heart.
"I knew what I was expecting to find here, and Nieko did not fail to deliver."
Looking around the fridge, hoping for some kind of miracle, Mika found a note by Nieko. The Note states:
Heads up, I ate all the food in the refrigerator. I had to go out to take care of some things, but I will bring snacks on my way back, so please forgive me for not leaving anything. We both know how my appetite works, and it never skips a beat. See you soon and never open the front door! -Nieko
Mika puts down the note and lets out a sigh. Upon all of the great options in the fridge, she decides to drink one of the teas. A can labeled Sun-Tee, created with fruits and honey. Mika cracked open the can, vibing to the sound of the crisp opening that felt refreshing before the first drink. She gulped the tea as if tasting the moonlight's sweet juices. She glanced up in ecstasy from quenching her thirst all morning.
"Oh, my Universe! This is the best drink I've ever had! "exclaimed Mika.
"This is officially my favorite drink! "she said as she placed the empty can on the table.
Mika stared out the window next to her, watching the birds fly by the window.
"This place is Sovanna, where the moon is also the sun. It's the source of light and all life of Sovanna, according to Nieko. She never leaves the sky like a mother watching over her children, catering to their everyday needs. I wonder what my mom and dad were like. Too bad I don't remember much of my past," Mika said, looking deep in the empty can of tea.
She spiked the rest, then laid her head down on the table. Mika started to feel a little heavy, as if something was sitting on her shoulders after a long day at work.
"Why am I so tired all of a sudden? "Mika said as she slowly lowered her head onto the table.
She crosses her arms, staring at the beautiful moon in a daze-like state.
"I feel heavy like a ton of bricks.”
A strange shadowy aura slowly appeared above her shoulder, hovering over her like the fog above the morning grass. Mika didn’t notice as the aura slowly grew around her like a vine. The shadow started forming, swirling behind her chair as gentle and quiet as a feather in the wind.
"Why does everything feel so nice right now? I feel so warm and-" Mika's eyes closed as she fell asleep.
The shadow loomed over her neck, looking down upon her. It moved closer to Mika's ears and whispered.
"Akima?" she said, opening her eyes slightly as if a trigger was activated to get her attention.
Mika's eyes are naturally yellow with a white sclera, like a normal eye, but her eyes have suddenly changed. Her sclera had become black like the darkest night, but her yellow eyes remained the same with a bright glow. She felt like she was in a daze.
The shadow continued to whisper the name "Akima" as it got closer and closer to Mika's ears. The misty shadow reached out its arm above Mika.
"It's almost intoxicatingly unbearable," Mika expressed as the pressure on her body increased.
"I can't move! Why can't I move? Ngh, a hand?!" Mika stared helplessly as the shadow’s hand moved closer and closer to hers.
"It's so slow, and I'm so anxious! I wanna run away so badly!" Mika screamed in her head. Mika held her breath as the shadow aimed to make contact.
BANG! BANG! BANG!
Mika sprung up out of her chair with a loud yelp! She sat holding her hand on her heart, breathing like she was scared out of her sleep. She quickly looked around to find something standing behind her or somewhere in the room with her. Mika found nothing.
"Haa, it was just a dream again," she said in relief. Mika looked at the empty tea can, saying, "What was in this drink?!" Mika said jokingly, followed by a small nervous chuckle.
The door thumped loudly as the entity on the other side awaited to be noticed.
"Now, who could that be?" questioned Mika.
"We don't have any neighbors. This building is abandoned, except for Nieko and me living here."
She turned and stared anxiously at the door producing loud thrusts, calling her to answer it. Mika was frozen in place, trembling after every thump on the door.
"I can't ignore this anymore! It’s becoming unbearable! But I can't answer it either, according to the note glued on the back of the door. Nieko clearly stated:
MIKA, YOU ARE TO NEVER, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, ANSWER THIS DOOR FOR ANY REASON. EVER! - Nieko
"I understand Nieko's concern, but I still feel like I'm at a loss here. On the one hand, answering the door could mean somebody could come into the place and steal all our stuff, ending in my possible death or kidnapping. So answering the door would be a terrible idea.”
“But on the other hand, my morals as a good neighbor or citizen would be questioned. What if there is someone who needs my help or a lost child or someone needing to borrow sugar?”
“No, that's a bad example. I am not about to share my sugar with a rude person like this!"
BANG! BANG! BANG!
"The knocks are getting impatient now. I have to make a decision," Mika concluded.
She started to inch closer and closer to the rumbling door as it roared louder and louder. Mika reached for the doorknob as it trembled, just like her. Right before she was about to open the door, she remembered.
"Oh Yeah! I need to unlock all the door locks first, silly me."
She unlocked all five locks, the first just as complicated as the next. One started to give her a little trouble.
"Why is Nieko so complicated?" She grumbled, finally nudging the lock to unlatch.
The banging on the door continued as she readied herself to experience that anxious feeling as she attempted to open the door again. The door stopped rattling with noise all of a sudden. Mika is frozen in place, unable to move her body. She's stuck in a position of opening the door but cannot move, afraid the outsider may hear her.
"I made sure that I opened the locks ever so quietly. The last lock is not on the door but above the handle, and I have yet to unlock that one, so they still wouldn't be able to tell that someone is home. But since they stopped knocking, maybe they're leaving, which would save me any more heart problems for today."
Sweat ran down her freckled cheeks as her pale skin blushed with nervousness. Her curls vibrated as she tried to keep her balance and awkward positioning.
Just before Mika decided to finally let down her guard and relax, she heard the sound of the last lock unlatching.
Mika’s eyes grew big, and her mouth trembled from her nerves shooting up to the roof. The door handle rotated to open. As the door swung open, Mika became overwhelmed with stress, and everything went black for a moment. Mika slowly opened her eyes, trying to blink away the fuzziness.
"Where am I now? Don’t tell me I’m dead again?"
"Huh? I can't move again. Is somebody on top of me? I can see my hands and-"
Mika realized that a hand was holding her arms down to the ground. They're powerful, and she does not have the strength to usher them off of her. Her whole body felt trapped on the hard floor. Mika attempted to get a closer look at the hand holding her down.
"This hand looks very familiar, and that smell too," She rushed to face her attacker looming above her.
Luscious, yellow-thick locs grazed Mika’s face as she looked up to witness a bashful grin. Those glittery, turquoise eyes stared back at Mika with a cat-like quality.
"What are you doing? Get off of me! Why do you have me pinned down on the ground!"
Mika squirmed while urging questions out of Nieko, who was still grinning like a cat, unphased by Mika's demands. Her struggles only made Nieko's grip even heavier on her arms.
"And why were you banging on the door!" Mika yelled. Nieko lets out a quick chuckle. Mika stared into Nieko's eyes as they changed from playful to annoyed in a split second.
"I could've sworn I told a little Mika never to answer this door for anybody.”
“Do you understand the type of position you are in at the moment? Do you know the great danger you've placed yourself in?"
Nieko stared Mika directly into her eyes without blinking.
"Suppose I was a stranger, and you were here alone, defenseless, without anyone or anything to protect you.”
“What would you have done, Mika?"
“Nieko, your scaring me. You know I hate feeling trapped like this!" Mika said, still struggling for freedom, but Nieko won’t budge. She stared at Mika helplessly, struggling to no avail.
"You see, little Mika, you're defenseless. You can't do anything about this-
Nieko suddenly stopped her statement. She looked closely at Mika and noticed she was missing one of her earrings.
"Oh, you're missing one of the earrings I gave you, Mika. Now, where could it have gone?"
Nieko looked around the immediate area, still holding down Mika.
"Oh, there it is over there."
The earring is a colorful silver ball. Nieko noticed it rolled near the cabinet next to the front door. Mika looked in the same direction as Nieko to confirm her discovery.
"Good, you found my other earring. Now, can you please get off of me?" Mika said, annoyed about the prolonged situation.
Mika turned her head to look back at Nieko and suddenly became overwhelmed with pressure.
"Nieko?" Mika whispered under her breath, but Nieko didn’t respond to her voice as if time froze.
"It's here again," Mika said, realizing she was the only one unfrozen.
"It looks different this time…it has a body and a face now?" The shadow figure has appeared again, looming behind the shoulders of Nieko.
"Is this still a dream, or is this my reality now? Why does this happen to me? Oh! The shadow's energy feels different this time. The aura surrounding it has turned aquamarine and magenta, hugging him like a feathery blanket.
It looks more like a man or a guy, and those lips.
“Wait, why am I focused on the lips; and no longer freaking out now that I can see him clearly?
I should be losing my mind, right? This must be a dream because I am too calm about this situation!”
The shadow figure stared at Mika, silently studying her. Mika was curious as she stared back, immobilized by one frozen Nieko.
The shadow figure started to raise its left hand. Mika followed with great concentration, trying her best not to miss any sudden movements. The shadow figure extended his hand out toward Mika once again. She stared at his inviting gesture as she created more questions in her head.
"He's reaching out for me again? What does he want for me? Does he know who I am? Does he know anything about my past? What even is he? Is he an angel or a demon or even human?"
Mika continued to run calculations in her head, trying her best to make sense of the situation. The shadow figure started to repeat that same name again.
"Akima," softly while staring intensively into Mika’s eyes. She felt mesmerized by his sultry voice.
"Why does his voice make me feel so calm all of a sudden? What does that even mean? Am I going crazy or something?”
Mika stopped her senseless overthinking.
"Maybe I should grab his hand? I mean, he doesn't feel dangerous. But I still don't understand.
“Why do I keep seeing him?”
“And why does he want me?"