BTM: Chapter 1 – Hello!

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(Title – どうも – Dōmo! – Hello!)

Good morning! Good day! Good afternoon! Good evening! Greetings! Wherever you are, dear reader. Ever imagined what would happen if you could correct the past and never meet the people you know in the present? What if you were given an unexpected chance to travel back in time? Would you have done what I am about to do? Of course, I don’t want to change everything as I am happy about my life now, but wouldn’t it be fun if we could reinvent our own story?

It all started when I was lazing off from school. For a year, I didn’t enroll in college. Why? I just didn’t feel like it. Because of certain circumstances and, most especially, because of Miyuki (please refer to Crescent Love), we had to move back to our hometown here in Ohara. It was really boring to be in a rural place when you grew up in a city. I know, I shouldn’t be ranting since I chose this. Well, it’s better to be bored than go to school XD.

Before we move on to the main storyline, let me tell you a big secret. Some people thought that I was crazy or something; some thought that my brain was damaged because of my traumatic past — well they were all wrong — I could really see and talk to ghosts. This ‘gift’ had been bestowed upon me by some unknown deity when I was a kid.

When I was almost 3 years old (yeah, I have vivid memories of my childhood XD), I was playing in a park in Shinjuku. It was in the middle of an Indian summer. The weather was really warm. You could see that some of the leaves of the trees started wilting. My dad bought me some crepes while I was left playing in a playpen for toddlers. After he gave me the crepes to eat, he went to sit on a nearby bench.

While my dad was busy reading a book, I saw an old man who was eagerly staring at the food that I was eating. He looked like a homeless person and I could sense that he was really hungry so I felt pity for him. I gave him the crepe that I was eating since I was not really that hungry. The old man was hesitant at first, but when he saw that I was serious about giving him my food, he happily accepted my offer. The old man ate the crepe with gusto. I felt happy that I was able to help someone in need even with just a crepe. With that, the old man left and was very thankful that a mere child generously offered him food to eat.

My afternoon nap time was fast approaching so my father and I went home. My mother was busy at work. I could recall that my mother was pregnant during that time with my late brother Ritsu. My dad had the day off so we spent the time together. When we got home, he helped me change into my pajamas, tucked me into my bed, kissed me on my forehead, and left my room. Slowly, my eyes started closing as a I enter La La Land.

In my dream, I was a small rabbit. My name was Usagi (rabbit). I was frolicking with my friends Kitsune-kun (fox) and Saru-chan (monkey), under the bright full moon. It was already the second half of the night. The dark blue satin-like sky was embellished with thousands of glimmering stars. The light that they emitted, together with the ever-bright moon, dressed the woods and the pond with a tint of yellow, white, and blue. There was a swarm of fireflies that danced around the trees and plants in the woods, as if the stars descended from the heavens to play amongst the woods. The scene was mesmerizing, captivating, to that point that it could put any viewer in great awe. We were playing hide and seek when an old hermit approached us.

“Young ones, who amongst you was named Kichiro in his past life?” he asked.

“I was named Kichiro in my past life, Ojīsan. What can I do for you?” I asked.

“If you can recall, you helped a homeless man when you were a wee child. I was that man. Since you have done a good deed, I bestow upon you the chance to be an immortal and ascend with me to the moon,” the old hermit said.

I somehow got a grasp of what was going on. It was a dream based on my favorite story about the moon rabbit. I wanted to go to the moon someday but to live there as an immortal is something I didn’t want to! So I politely declined. “I’m sorry Ojīsan, but I can’t. I want to be with my mama and papa.”

“Are you sure that you are willing to let go of this big opportunity?” The old hermit asked.

“Yes.” I was determined to decline.

“If that is what you want, would you like to something else?”

“Hmm… I’d like to see what other people don’t normally see. I want to be conscious of the things that normal people can’t see, hear, or feel,” I said.

“Hmm. That’s unusual. If that is what you wish. I have something that fits your wish,” the old hermit said as he touched his chin. He pulled out a dango from his sleeve and offered it to me. “Here, this is not an ordinary dango. The moment you eat this, you will be able to perceive things that normal people can’t see or hear. I’m sure this is perfect for you.”

My eyes glimmered at the sight of this dango. It looked like a normal one, circular in shape, and the color was pale blue. It looked so appetizing that I reached out for it with my small paws and immediately munched on it.

“Be careful with the ability that you will get from that dango as it has the ability to interfere with the course of time and space,” the old hermit warned me.

“What do you mean?” I curiously asked.

“You will find out soon…”

The voice of the old hermit echoed in my mind. Everything became dark. The trees around me became shadows. The glimmering pond disappeared and was replaced by a bottomless abyss. The moon and the stars died out. I felt like I was being sucked by an invisible force into a state of nothingness. I woke up feeling my pants were wet. It just so happens that I unconsciously peed. As a child, I cried in an attempt to look for my father or my mother. “Wa wa wa!”

The door to my room opened and the light was switched on. “What happened, Kichirō?” My father dashed toward me and embraced me. “Shhh… Papa’s here.”

He touched my pants and felt that it was wet. “Naughty little boy, ha ha.”

I stopped crying when I sensed that my father was around. I looked at him with my watery and swollen eyes. While I was looking at him, I noticed that there was faint, transparent silhoutte of a person that stood behind him. “Papa. Look.” I pointed toward the silhoutte.

“Huh?” He looked back. While he was carrying me, I could feel that his body stiffened like he was in a state of shock. “Kichirō, you’re seeing things. You’re scaring papa, he he,” he forced a laugh.

I saw that the silhoutte started becoming more vivid. I could see the figure of a face, a smilling one. This unknown being smiled and waved its hands at me, as if it was making friends.

As a child, I just looked at it, unaware of what it really was… The rest was history and so — that’s how I got my ability.


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