2013 New Year's Eve
"Ha-ah..." Sumiko sighed as she stared up at the bleak winter sky, watching as the vapor from her breath floated upwards toward heaven, while she waited on the corner for the light to change. It was getting late, and it looked like it would snow soon. Normally she loved this time of year, but today everything seemed gray and melancholy. Or maybe it was just her. After all, this would be her first time celebrating her birthday and the new year without her parents. A few of her friends had invited her to stay with them and their families for the holidays, but she hadn't wanted to intrude or be a bother. She could try contacting her parents' brothers and sisters, but she doubted they would welcome her presence. "Looks like I'll be celebrating alone this year..." she thought aloud as something brushed past her. Sumiko's eyes widened when she saw that it was a young child chasing after a bouncing ball.
"No, don't—" she yelled as the little boy chased it into the middle of oncoming traffic.
Without thinking, she ran into the street and pushed the kid out of the way of the truck speeding towards him. She found herself blinded by the headlights, but she felt her hands connect with the child's back as she shove him out of harm's way towards the sidewalk. The sound of the truck's horn was deafening.
And then there was nothing. No cars. No people. No screams. No sirens. Just absolute silence. She felt something soft and cold land on her cheek. Sumiko opened her eyes and saw that it was snowing. The ground she was kneeling on was already covered in a couple of inches of snow. She looked around in confusion. The busy intersection she had just been in was gone, along with all the cars and people. Judging by the architecture, she seemed to be in some old, historic neighborhood without any street lamps. The night sky was filled with countless stars. It was beautiful, but frightening. What happened to all the lights? Where was she? How did she get here? Was she dead!? As all these thoughts and questions started spinning through her mind, she heard the soft crunch of footsteps in the snow and glanced up to see a bald man in traditional dress staring at her from a short distance away. He appeared to have just come out of one of the houses on the street.
"... Are you lost?" he asked a carefully, eyeing her with a small degree of suspicion as he took in her strange appearance.
"Y... Yes... I-I think I am..." she said hesitantly, wondering if it would be okay to trust this man. No one else seemed to be out on the streets, and she was feeling incredibly disorientated.
"Are you injured?" he asked, furrowing his brow slightly in concern when he noticed how pale she had gone.
"I... I don't think so," she replied cautiously. "I'm just very... confused...?"
"Perhaps you should go home. It is expected to snow very hard tonight," he suggested.
"I'd like to, but I'm not sure where I am, or how I got here..." Sumiko said, frowning as she furrowed her brow. The older man stared down at her for a moment in silence, thinking.
"Well, if you have nowhere else to go... I suppose you could stay at my home, just for the night. You can share my daughter's room with her," he offered kindly, extending his hand to help her up. "I am Yukimura Koudou, a doctor, and you are...?"
"Sumiko. Miyagawa Sumiko."
YOU ARE READING
Destiny. Fate. Sumiko never really believed in any of it until she met that man. Out of place and out of time, all Sumiko wanted to do was protect her friend Chizuru and help her find her missing father. But now things have gotten complicated...