Rise of Glie Chapter 1
FHD Remix: The Rise of Glie
Chapter 1: A Sad Beginning
The young man is walking along a familiar street in a familiar city. He is very hungry, starving really. His country is at war and is losing. He thinks surrender is best but daren't speak of it. Ahead is a rather interesting T-shaped bridge, and behind is his home, near a clinic. He hears the sirens warning of an attack from the air, but he would rather die here with his eyes open than stay in this sad world, hiding from an enemy that can't be stopped. <Even in a perfect peace, I'll die anyway, it is only a matter of time.>
"Oyahoo," he says to another man across the sidewalk, "Ima, nanji wo kudasai?"
The other man takes out his watch and replies, "Gozen hachiji juunipun"
Later, as he tries to remember, can't recall the exact time the man read from his watch. He looks to the sky. There are only three planes. <Perhaps I will see another day.> The one just a little to the west is pulled hard over to the left, glinting in the sun. Why would it turn like that? That plane is in a major hurry! What for? He notices the sun glint from a small object right over his head, maybe a little north. One bomb? What is one bomb going to-
His vision goes white and his body goes numb, and his dream ended at that moment, with that thought in his mind. One bomb.
What happened to me? I think I lived my whole life in that world, and I can't even remember the name of the city, or the name of the clinic I'd guess that bomb was directly over when I ... what happened to me? Nothing. I disappeared into thin air. Did anyone in that world ever know who I was? I can't remember.
He pushes against the small world he floats in. Unable to speak, breathing a strange liquid. A soft liner inside a hard shell. An egg? Am I to hatch? Yes.
He punches the shell, but the liner absorbs the impact. He pulls it away, then punches directly at the hard shell. The gush of water carries him into the room and he finds himself on his knees. He's hatched. He expels the liquid from his lungs, draws his first breath in this new world, and looks around. No electricity, although lights hang from the ceiling. Screens, very flat and square, he's never seen such a thing. Oscilloscopes? Really advanced ones? Why so many? Steel drawers. A gurney. A hospital? Can they hook oscilloscopes up to people? The stars he sees are not in his vision. he realizes, seeing one near the corner of one of the dark screens. The bevels of the frame reflect its light. He's passing out. Not ... again... Again.
He wakes up, cold. Square screens. Glowing flakes. A hum. He looks up at the wall. Shouldn't that device tick? Ima ... nanji wo kudasai? Gozen ... hachi ... juurokupun? The man in his dream, what did he say?
Eight twelve. Eight sixteen. That couldn't have been just four minutes! The man struggles to his feet, discovers that he's still wet. This white robe. I wasn't wearing it in the dream with the airplanes and the aching hunger. I was wearing a shirt and pants, and shoes and socks, and a hat. But no watch. The thought curls up a corner of his lip in amusement. The clock he just read is the only thing in the room that works. All the screens are black, all these strange oscilliscopes have no waves. The glass of the windows is smashed. Stepping carefully, he approaches the clock on the wall, and reaches up for it. A date, a year? Nope. What year is it here? What year is it in the other world?
"Ah," he winces. He must have sprained some muscles. His back and shoulders ache. His arms are stiff. He is tired. But if he passes out, he must know how long. I must know if this new world is real. Did I die and come back somewhere? Have I been in a coma? What happened? I hatched.
He turns around, sees his egg. It is grey, and it has put roots into the floor, and small shoots into the ceiling, lifting some sort of foam tile, seems like it was trying to pull a set of lights down. Maybe this dream world has some reality. Which world is real? The one with the planes and the war, or the one with the egg, the humming clock, and the tiny glowing petals? He turns around and reaches up for the clock again. As he reaches up, he feels the skin of his back pull as though there are extra bones, trying to break out. I must get this clock!
He sets it gently on the shiny table with the wheels on its legs, after sweeping away the glowing leaves, takes the face of it off. This bark that is all over the floor. It must have been lying here for years. A grey stump outside might have been the tree it came from, somehow blown to matchwood by an explosive. The cocoon fluid sticks it easily to the inside face of the glass. Once it dries, it stays, but a tiny tap with his finger makes it fall away. I should be able to tell if the hour hand knocks it free, to know if more than twelve hours pass when I go to sleep. Anything to prove that this dream's world is real.
He sets the clock face with the piece of bark stuck to it, so that the bark is just behind the hour hand, now at eight and half hours. The clock hums instead of ticks. He's never seen such a thing. The back has nothing but a tiny hole to admit the screw in the wall that it was hanging from. How does it work? Does it ever need winding? A tiny red hand traces its way around every minute, moving smoothly without a tick. Sixty seconds in one minute, sixty minutes in one hour. It is a clock. He weeps. Days, hours, minutes and seconds. The one sane thing in both strange worlds.
He looks around the room, on the floor.
"Kagami!" he sobs, and stoops to the floor to pick it up, brushing the glowing flakes from its pane. He sees his own familiar face. The same face with its narrow eyes, same age, his dark hair perhaps an inch longer. Maybe it's only been a month? He's tired, and his back is sore. He can't lift his arms now. He lies down on the floor, and pushes the mirror up against the wall, vertical enough to see.
That his sore shoulders are bleeding, have stained his white robe red.
"Itai!" he cries, crushing his eyes closed. What is this? It hurts so much. What's happening to me? The extra bones tear from his back and rip the back of his robe open. He screams.
Opening his eyes he sees the mirror again. Spots of blood on the mirror, the walls. His blood. Blood drips from a feather. I have ... wings? His head plops down on his arms. Oh, not again. Let me decide when at least. He passes out.
One bomb. He looks up to see. It is shaped like a cube.
He wakes with a start. Which world am I in now? The mirror, the humming clock. There is only barely enough light to see. The sun must have set and the moon risen outside. "Nanji-ka?" he cries. "Nanji wo kudasai?" he sobs.
The clock. "AAAHH!" he screams as he pushes himself up to his feet. His clock is exactly where he left it. Gently, he tips it up to read it by the light coming in through the broken windows. It says that it is a few minutes past three. His little piece of bark lies on the dial face. "It worked!" he cheers. "It's been ... just over eighteen hours."
He looks down his body and commands his feet, "I decide when I go to sleep, now."
He moves towards the door, in his bare feet. No glass on the floor that way. He opens it and steps into the dark hallway. Too dark.
"Hey, that clock hums like a radio," he reasons to himself. Radios use batteries. So do flashlights. He searches the cupboards. Packages. Bandages. Wrapped needles. <Maybe this is the emergency room at a hospital,> he thinks. With a grimace and a gasp, he remembers his blood-encrusted wings. I should keep some of these, try to find some water. Ah, a flashlight.
Bright!! He's never seen a flashlight so bright. Feather. He brushes away the package that has that kanji character, and reads. "Soap for newborn ashfeather," the label says.
"Great!" he cries, "I'm not such a surpise for this world after all." The package has detailed instructions on how to wash and preen his new wings, along with a stern warning that it must be done before the blood is dry. Well, I can follow the rest of the instructions ... or can I? The instructions are written as for one who is cleaning the wings of another newborn haibane. Somebody is supposed to be looking after me? Where is that person?
He searches the hallway. The lights don't respond to the switches. He goes down the hallway and opens a door that has a cartoon icon of a man and a woman on it. A bedroom, he figures. As he pushes open the door, he realize that it's dark. A washroom, his flashflight reveals. There are only a couple of the light flakes in here. The bath has a door. He's never seen anything like it.
Instinct tells him he must bring with him as many of the light leaves as he can. The hallway has so many that he can see without his flashlight. He turns it off and sets it inside the washroom, then spends several minutes gathering up the light leaves into a small, clear cup. Enough that he can get around inside the washroom without the flashlight turned on.
He is shocked to discover that water comes out of the tap when he opens the valve. Not only that, but it warms up within two seconds. He adjusts the two valves to a comfortable temperature, then steps over edge of the door into the shallow water, closing the door and letting the water fill to his knees. No point in taking the robe off: it's dirty too, stiff from the egg's fluid.
He starts washing his wings with the soap he found.
Next: Rise of Glie Chapter 2: A New Old Home