[size10 Fuyumi mutters out a thank you while rushing out of the car, suddenly feeling the urge to distance herself from any and all people. A feeling of dread settles in the pit of her stomach. She couldn’t explain why, but she always chose to follow her instincts. This time would be no different. Once the car is out of sight, the woman slips into the shadows of a darkened alley, watching as the sun slowly starts to rise. The sight of the sun should have been a welcome sight, but it didn’t make the woman feel any better. In fact, it made her feel all that much more uneasy.
Shaking her head, she tries to calm the emotions she felt, to no avail. Her heart felt as heavy as her eyelids did. Slinking down to the ground, she leans against a wall, well hidden behind a set of forgotten boxes. Her eyes flutter closed; she was no longer able to keep them open. After the long days she’d had, it wasn’t all too surprising to her. It was far from ideal, but with no money to her name, Fuyumi had little choices as to where she slept. Her whole body ached, and despite how much she wanted to at least try and find another place to sleep, she couldn’t will her body to move anymore..
Sleep came quickly despite how uneasy the woman felt. Her dreams were uneventful, nothing more than scattered thoughts really. Fuyumi saw her parents, reliving the last moments she had with her mom. Ache, Carlos. The rest of the small town they lived in. She was sitting in the diner, remembering Carlos’ confession. How she told him that she’d respond when he came back from the war. The truth was, she just couldn’t bring it in her heart to reject him. Not then, right before he and Ache, and the others left.
Suddenly, she was there; watching them all leave. She could still feel the pain of it; compounded by the fact that Achaeus didn’t even say goodbye. She never truly admitted it, but it left a wound. It was like a knife to the heart for her. They had been friends for so long, as long as she could remember, and the fact that he just [i left], saddened her more than she could ever imagine. Fuyumi knew that she should have seen it coming ── Ache had become more and more distant before he left. They went from talking multiple times a day and hanging out quite a lot, to barely speaking and never spending time together.
This still weighed heavy on her heart; she wanted to know [i why]. Did she do something wrong? What was going on with Ache? There were so many questions - questions she’d never really get the answer for now. Ache was gone, and she was lost somewhere in the United States, far far from where she grew up. Gods only knew where Achaeus was.
Fuyumi’s dreams took a turn from memories, into something much darker. She wakes with a start, not remembering anything from her last dream. Her vision is hazy, she glances around, barely able to make out the boxes sitting next to her. She feels something cold and slick, almost as if someone dumped water on her. It was too … thick to be water though.
Her vision finally recovers from sleep; it was nearly dark again. The sun was setting. Still, there was just enough light for Fuyumi to see what she was covered in. She didn’t recognize it, but whatever it was was very very red. She was just about to shrug it off when her brain finally registered the smell. [i Copper]. The woman’s eyes grew wide, her vision clouding all over again. “B-blood …?”
Confusion and fear was apparent in her voice. She scans her body, looking for any source that could explain the blood. She comes up with nothing. Absolute dread fills her heart; she shakingly checks the alley around her. There. She sees a body nearby; a person laying on their stomach. She gets up to walk towards them, but suddenly stops. She doesn’t need to. She can see the pool of blood surrounding the body. Panic quickly replaces the dread she felt. “What’s going on ?!”
Fuyumi speaks in a loud whisper. She spends a few seconds more looking at the body before bolting. Her fight or flight response triggered from the stress of it all. She’s running down the streets, not paying attention to her surroundings. There has to be a road out of here somewhere! She spends very little time thinking before running straight into … something. She staggers backwards, looking at just what she ran into. Another person … “すみません !” She apologizes in her native tongue. She quickly recovers and bows, about to start running again. [i I don’t want them to see all the blood]. She thinks better of this though, and instead asks, “Which road leads out of here?”
The person gives instructions, starting to look at Fuyumi suspiciously. She says a quick thank you, and walks the way they gave, only starting to run again after the person is fully out of sight. Just as she’s near being out of the town, she hears yelling in the distance. All the woman can assume is that they found the body. She runs as quickly as she can, hiding in the shadows when she’s able to.
Thirty full minutes pass from the time she spoke to that person. She’s far away from the town now; it’s nothing more than a speck in the distance. “Back in the desert again, huh.” She’s mumbling to herself, looking for a place to collapse for the night. She finds a cluster of rocks, where a well hidden cave lies behind. The woman ducks inside, quickly sitting on the cold ground. It was dangerous, she knew, seeing as how she had no way to make a fire, and the Arizona desert always became very cold at night. However, it didn’t seem to be bothering her in the slightest. Now that the adrenaline had worn off, all she felt was thirst and hunger. There were cacti nearby, but she no longer had the energy to move. Her body was at its limit. All she could do now was rest.
Like the night before, sleep came easily to Fuyumi. This time, her mind was too tired to plague her with nightmares and memories.
By the time Fuyumi woke up again, the entire day had passed. The sun was nearly set by the time she ventured out of the cave. Her thirst was nigh unbearable, and she could feel a fever coloring her cheeks. [i Great]. Things were starting to get dangerous, and Fuyumi wasn’t sure what to do. The town she left was still 30 minutes behind her, and her clothes were still all bloody. There was no way she could return. “If only I was on the east coast …” It would’ve been easier for her. She was somewhat familiar with the flora and climate. Arizona was new to her, and it was very barren. The east contained forests and rivers. There was plenty of water, and she could’ve easily washed off in a river. With a sigh, she wandered to a nearby cactus. Careful to avoid the spines, she manages to break a piece of the cactus off, being extremely careful so that the liquid won’t spill out.
This barely staves off her thirst. A sigh escaped the woman’s lips; she felt as though her hope was running out. She looks back at where she came from the night before. As much as she didn’t want to, she knew she had to go back. She’d have to be sneaky about it, in order to not draw attention. She listed off the supplies she’d need in her mind, hoping she’d be able to easily break into a store or two that was in the town.
Fuyumi lets out one final sigh and begins the trek back into town; from there, she intended on heading east, if she managed to steal a compass.
── Much to Fuyumi’s surprise, she manages to find all that she needs relatively easy. She was now outside of the town; a small bag on her back containing supplies. She had on all new clothing; it was a bit too big, but she couldn’t complain since there was a lack of blood on these clothes. She disposed of her old clothing before leaving the town, making sure no one else would find it. Not that it would mean much if they did. She looked down at the compass she had acquired, continuing to make sure that she was going west. She had a crude map in her bag as well. It gave the name of a few bigger towns, along with the names of every state. It wasn’t the most helpful, but she figured that it would be better than fumbling around blindly. Not that she had much of an idea as to where she was going. Suddenly, she pictured Ache, the last time she saw him. His back was turned to her. The memory brought back the intense pain in her heart that she had forgotten about. It was made worse from the recent losses of her family. She had no one in this world now ── her family was gone and her best friend was in another country, if he wasn’t dead. Still, she made the resolve in her heart to decide where she was going to go.
She was going home, back to the town that she grew up in.]