Kenta: Ever night... I have the same dream. Ever night... I'm always brought back to this place, without fail. And then every morning, I'll wake up, with no memory of this place at all, until the next time I fall asleep. Not a single night has went by without my consciousness being dragged into this abyss. This realm is devoid of light, so much so that I can't even see my hand in front of my face, no matter how desperately I wave it. The concept of sound is just as absent, my steps silent and my distressed cries swallowed by the bordering darkness as quickly as they had left my mouth. I'm in a bleak, barren wasteland of nothingness. Spending any prolonged amount of time here begins to make me doubt even my own existence. Yet, despite feeling suffocated by a striking absence of anything, I know I'm not alone. Something is watching me. Stalking me from the shadows. I can't say for sure what it is, but every one in a while I'll catch sight of something from the corner of my view. A pair of burning, bright eyes, fixated purely on me. They hate me. Despise me. There's an overwhelming sense of animosity radiating from whoever they belong to. I know they want nothing more than to lash out and attack me, but something is holding them back. A force they truly despise. Invisible chains that bind and restrict them from the one thing that is on their mind. At first, when I began dreaming about this place, they eyes were distant, like glimmering stars. But, with each passing night, the eyes seem to inch ever closer, and shine ever brighter. I think whatever force has been holding them from me is beginning to fade. What will happen when these...eyes...reach me? I shudder to think. I know it's just a dream, so I shouldn't be afraid... but everything I experience here is so vivid. None of the usual murky haze that shrouds such dream-like environments seems to exist here at all. I have perfect clarity. I can feel the stagnant, freezing air all around me, enough to incite a shiver out of me every one in a while. Since I'm so used to this dream, I know how it'll end. I'll wade through the darkness for what seems like an eternity, never finding anything, until the morning finally comes and pulls me out of this nightmare. At least...that was how it usually ended. Something is different tonight. Those hateful, burning eyes that always kept just out of sight before...I'm suddenly confronted by them. Never before have they been so close. Never before have I stared straight back into them. Their narrowed, piercing gaze roots me to the spot and a shooting pain surges through me. I can't move. I can't breath. And then, from out of the darkness, a crooked smile spreads, just as sinister as the eyes.
????: So close. I can practically taste the freedom. ...It won't be long now. Enjoy the peace while you can, boy, for your days are numbered. And then, everything shall change.
Kenta: ... Ugh, My head is killing me. These morning migraines are the worst. Every morning, without fail, I always wake up to a sensation not unlike my skull being pounded by a jackhammer.
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Kenta: It's almost like a...heartbeat. I feel like my head is going to split open. It's weird though, because even though the pain is so intense, it never lasts long. In the space it takes me to get up, and head for school, the pain is usually reduced to just a dull throb at the back of my skull by then. So, it isn't too much of a hassle in the grand scheme of things. But it certainly isn't a fun way to wake up. I just find it odd how consistent it seems to be. Anyway. Enough pondering these weird mysteries. It's time to tackle the day! After a moment of wrestling with my blanket, I swing my legs around and drag myself out of bed. A quick look at my bedside clock tells me it's still early. ...Too early. If I had it my way, the world wouldn't start until at least a good way into the afternoon. But sadly, life just isn't that wonderful. Pulling back the curtains to let the light flood into my room. I suppress the urge to let out a hiss, almost blinding myself in the process. Too bright! The rest of my time getting ready is spent fighting with my uniform, a tie becoming all the more problematic to put on when you're half asleep. ...Oh god, I think I've actually got my hand stuck in it! Almost choking myself to death in the most pathetic fight ever, I finish putting on the tie, the rest of my uniform complying peacefully with me. Unable to find a comb, I settle for just flattening my hair down my hands. Blinking into the mirror, I'm left staring back at someone with messy, black hair. ...Eh, it's close enough. Somewhat dressed, and somewhat ready, I stumble out my room, my legs still not fully awake. Uneven steps carry me dangerously down the stairs, and I soon emerge into the kitchen. I'm greeted by silence. ...The kitchen is empty. A familiar scene for me. My parents are what you might call...workaholics? Basically, they spend more time at the respective jobs than they ever do here. I only ever get to catch them during the evening while we're eating, and then everyone is off to bed and the cycle repeats. Don't get me wrong, I understand they have to work in order to keep us living comfortably, so I don't hate them for it. It's just gets... I don't know, lonely? Ah well. There's no use moping about it. It's been like this for years, so I don't know why I was getting all emotional about it now! The plus side of them not being around, is that I quickly had to learn how to cook for myself. It's amazing how fast you can adapt to that sort of stuff when you're starving! I don't think I have enough time for anything fancy to eat for breakfast, so I'll just settle for toast. You can never go wrong with toast. ... Okay, you might be able to go wrong with toast. I have sudden traumatic flashbacks to when the toaster erupted into flames. ...Ah, what a day that was. But I've learned from my mistakes now. It won't happen a second--uh-third time! Having devoured the only slightly charred toast, I sling my bag over my shoulder before starting for the front door. I give the empty house on last look over before opening the front door. It's kinda depressing to have no one to say goodbye to... But again, this has been the same for every weekday morning since forever ago. The sun is shining high in a cloudless sky, birds are chirping overhead, waves of students are passing by, happily chatting with one another as they all make their way to school. ... It's all so horrible. I'm not much of a morning person, so I can't even begin to fathom how everyone can be so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed right now. I mean, it's taking all of my willpower just to be able to put a foot in front of the other without just crumpling to the ground. I just have to hope the breakfast kicks in and gives me the energy I need before I'm forced to literally drag myself through the school gates. While keeping my head down and my eyes glued to the ground as I soldiered on, I suddenly notice that the vibrant atmosphere from before is gone. Silence has completely taken over, my steps the only thing making any noise. The air is still. Huh... That's a bit strange. Bringing my head up, I'm met with an unsettling sight. The street is deserted. No students. No cars. And even the cheerful chirping of the birds is gone. What...? I hurry on forward, hoping to at least run into somebody. Anyone. Even the sun's once golden rays seem muted, the world tinged in dreary tones. But... there still isn't a cloud in the sky. Okay, this is definitely starting to freak me out. I need to just-- A splitting pain shoots through my head, stopping me in my tracks. Like a searing poker being thrust through my skull. A headache? Now? Nothing is making any sense! Desperately trying to keep myself upright as I clutch a hand to my head, I stagger forwards. Unlike the headaches from before that gradually died down, this one only seems to be getting worse!
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Kenta: It won't stop at all. I'm brought to my knees. I can hardly even think straight, my head threatening to explode at any moment. And then... through gritted teeth, and a pained expression... Something that shouldn't exist. Yet, clearly does, as confirmed by my own terrified eyes. A monster. That's the only word that can come to my scrambled mind. A hulking, grotesque mass of flesh, with gnarled fangs and red, slitted eyes, seething with hate. The closest thing I can relate it to would be a dog, but no dog I know of is three times the size of me, it's form practically eclipsing the sun. It snorts with flared nostrils, something like steam being exhaled out. Given its tense stance, and the fact it's blocking my way, I can only assume it's here for me. But...why? What the hell is it? Where did it come from? Why does it want me?! A million and one questions race through my head, but I doubt I'm going to get any answers from this...this...thing. There's only one thing I can do when presented with such odds, and that is to--
[Stand my ground.]
Kenta: Of course. I don't know what the hell this thing is, or why it's suddenly appeared before me, but I'm not going to let it take me down without a fight! Ignoring the pain that threatens to consume my skull, straighten myself up and stare right back into the hateful eyes of the beast. And then, tightening a fist, I lash out like lightning, my fist connecting with it's head cleanly with a solid impact.