It’s the second Friday of the month, the day that my brother is claiming to collect something at his other place in Mizuho. Although it’s only morning, my brother doesn’t look like he even plans to go out at all since it’s already late in the morning. Our parents had already headed out to work.
Me: “You said that your delivery of something to there is today?”
There is very little time if he heads out now, considering that he has yet to bathe.
Brother: “Oh, they said it will arrive about 1:30pm, so I would still be early even if I head there now… Say, where are you headed?”
Isn’t that not much of a time difference?
Me: “The neighbouring harbour town to buy some seafood.”
Brother: “You mean heading to your favourite crying spot close to there, don’t you? You have something to cry about there? Maybe a crying competition?”
He knows about it because I would separate from him at the station, on arriving back from school, if I wanted to head there, but not the crying part.
Me: “Funny. Well, I am headed to the beach first for a while, before buying the food. Okay, I’m heading out now.”
Brother: “See you! Oh, I might leave the house before you reach back home, since you talked about being on time without rushing. Maybe I would use the spare time to explore places. Mizuho Academy seems larger than the city of our school, so exploring a place that is usually crowded when it’s not can be interesting.”
Finally, some sense into him.
As I would be carrying some groceries later, I am walking instead of taking my bicycle: It’s troublesome holding the groceries, steering the bike, and cycling up the hill at the same time. Since I’m headed to the beach first, so I’m taking the bus. The area between my town and the harbour town is mostly consisting of some plains and rice fields, with the rest being forests created a long time ago by our ancestors.
I’m walking back home with the groceries I had bought. Along with spending time at the beach, this comes to being two in the afternoon. Surely my brother had already- UWAA!!!!
An earthquake a lot stronger than the strongest I’ve experienced before has happened. It lasted for quite long too. For as far I could see, I could see cracks forming on the roads, old buildings collapsing, and tall buildings swaying back and forth. On top of that, the strong earthquake seem to have lasted forever before it stopped. Luckily, I was already at an open area with no risk of things collapsing on me, but it seemed to start a chain of events that is to come: I could see the sea level dropping rapidly, and tsunami alerts are blaring all over. I was only young back then, but knowing something similar at coastal areas surrounding the Indian Ocean a little over 6 years ago, this means monstrously high waves that could destroy everything in its path are coming. I couldn’t call anyone as the telephone and electrical lines were already destroyed by houses along the line that collapsed onto them from the earlier earthquake.
I know that a strong wave is coming, but how far, or how high up a hill, should I go to be safe from the approaching tsunami. I know I had to keep running as I’m in a low-lying area. Someone who was running along with me had the radio tuned to the news.
Radio Announcer: “An earthquake has just occurred. The epicentre of the quake is about 70km east off the cost from Sendai with a magnitude of 8.9. The police are-“
Sendai?! 8.9?! That’s quite some distance away and is insanely strong! I know that a 6 or a 7 is enough to cause destruction, but close to 9?! For now, let’s concentrate on keeping alive by running to the hills, but how high is high enough to be considered safe? I don’t know. 5km inland or 50m above the sea seems safe enough. Mix these two together means that I don’t need to go too far or high, but I don’t have the time to calculate how much or where that would be.
Around the area where I believed it’s safe, I saw waves that are higher than an average house approaching and destroying houses in its path. The rubble and cars caught in the waves made it even more deadlier. Not only did I witness houses being destroyed, but I’ve also seen people being killed by it. Everyone around me was in shock an horror.
The waves then subsided, leaving behind a big open area with nothing but concrete buildings that had managed to withstood the earthquake and tsunami, and boats that were washed ashore. There were no trees left standing. The scene of the harbour town being completely unrecognisable from just a few hours ago, except for some concrete buildings. It was almost like those old films of towns being destroyed in a war, only seeing it happening with my own eyes. There were warnings of more tsunami and aftershocks, but were not predicted to be as strong as the one that had just happened.
Apart from cracks, some collapsed old buildings, and fallen items, my town seems mostly the same. With mom’s superficiality of things lying abound the house, only soft items, and the loose items that were taken out earlier that my brother did not put back, were the only things found on the ground. I’m even amazed that it seemed mostly unscratched, as if this was the very earthquake that mum foresaw happening a long time ago.
Still shaken from the earthquake, I didn’t feel like cleaning up the mess. It’s ironic that I could turn on to watch TV, but not be able to make calls. I should switch to the news channel to tell what had just happened. There wasn’t anything new besides what I witnessed first-hand, besides seeing it from air. What’s even more surprising was seeing Tokyo mostly unaffected, apart from tall buildings swaying back and forth during the quake and train services suspended. However, they added that the nuclear power plant in Ookuma Town of the neighbouring prefecture has been severely damaged from the tsunami. Other channels seem to be covering the same thing or have super large text imposed on the screen regarding the disaster. I’ve never heard of a major earthquake, huge tsunami, and a nuclear plant happening on the very same day, let alone quite close to me.
Is this all just a nightmare? It just seem something you would encounter only in a film, but it seems that everything actually happened. With telecommunication serviced disrupted or busy, train service likely to be suspended, and roads congested, I have no way of contacting any of my family members that I’m okay. My brother especially, as he knows that I was at the harbour town that was hit by the tsunami.
I guess I have to wait. I’m still feeling horrified from being narrowing escaping from being caught in the waves.
After what seemed like endless reports about the earthquake, and seeing the same community service ads over and over again that replaced the regular advertisements, I got tired of them and went around the house cleaning up the mess. A female voice that I didn’t recognize, was soon yelling my name from the outside when I was cleaning up the upper floors.
Voice: “Yumiko-chan! Are you in there? Answer me before I start to think that you might be trapped under a building somewhere!”
Who is that? Why does she know my name, or know I had went there? Let alone that I live here. I’ve never told anyone besides my brother and parents the very night before. I guess it could have been my parents asking someone they know close to here to search for me, but that doesn’t really matter when there’s serious chaos happening everywhere.
I looked out of the window to see a girl who seemed to be from the same school as me. She looked a lot like the girl from the student card that made everyone, including myself, to say that it belonged to my brother. She’s not any of the girls I had seen my brother with before, even in secret, but she look a lot prettier, and the type my brother could easily get along with.
Me: “I’m here! Who are-“
She interrupted me before I could ask who she is. What annoys me even more is someone whom I don’t know, like her, is almost rude and is calling me on a first name basis. Considering that she has a faint resemblance to my parents, perhaps a cousin I didn’t know I had?
Girl: “Will you be helping to rescue people? The old houses has collapsed and may have people trapped in them. We have to hurry as every moment counts and they could die if they are trapped for too long. Rescue teams already have too much to handle that has been made worse by the gridlock traffic. I was lucky that I wasn’t caught in one on the way here.”
It seems almost as if she’s taking advantage of the current situation to avoid being asked for her name as she doesn’t look like she willingly wants to help out. We had spent the whole afternoon just helping out the neighbours, and even though we did a lot, it’s considered tiny compared to the scale of the number of collapsed buildings to look through. I kind of understand how hard it is for them, but what is strange about this girl was she never broke a sweat or got dirty, as her clothes are as clean as when she just purchased it. All of this, despite the risk of being cut from her careless actions from clearing the rubble, not to mention the dirty condition we are in. Besides these oddities, she’s no different from an average girl of our age.
Girl: “Well, that’s all of the houses in the neighbourhood as the rest are already done by others. I don’t know what will happen in the next few days. Due to the congestion and jammed phone lines, I don’t think I can leave town for quite a while as too far to walk to anywhere.”
Me: “So, would you like to stay at my house for a while? On top of being landslide and earthquake-proof, my house runs on solar panels and has enough storage capacity to last until after sunrise the following day, every day, even with the refrigerator, heater, TV, and lights turned on the whole night. You could say there’s still electricity in my house even though the earthquake has damaged the power lines leading to it. No access to the internet until at least the jam on the working mobile networks are cleared up though.”
The girl looked as if she already knows that and I was treating her differently from what she was expecting. What is with her?
On reaching home, she immediately placed her bag in my brother’s bedroom and placed the fallen items at the usual place, as if she knew where it was right down to it’s arrangement without me saying anything about it. I was expecting her to change clothes or take a rest, but she didn’t. She showed me her student card, which contains the same photograph and details as the one my brother showed me before. It confirms that the girl with me is indeed the one on the student card. Am I seeing things?
Me: “You’re a second year at my school? That would make you my senpai. You look quite pretty in this photo. I’m not sure if I’m seeing things, but you have exactly the same full name as my brother. Sorry, if I’m being rude.”
She became even more frustrated the more I tried to be polite to her. What is wrong with her?
Girl: “What are you talking about? I am your brother! Why did you treat me like I’m a total stranger and saying things I already knew? I was worried sick about you when I remembered you were in an area struck by the tsunami that I came straight from where I was.”
“She” is my brother? How can that be? She’s smaller than him to begin with, and she’s, in every aspect, like a real girl. This was further confirmed when she was running a lot while cleaning up the rubble around town.
Me: “Did you even realize what happened to you? Nobody looked at you strangely because you looked very much normal, for a girl. Your body looks a lot like that of a girl’s than that of a guy.”
She quickly looks down on herself and seemed quite shocked on what she found out as if she didn’t realize it until I pointed it out. It’s impossible for a teenage or adult female to hide the shape of her breasts even with clothes on, and its one of the first things a girl sees when she looks down to her own body for her entire life. She muttered something about forgetting to change her clothes.
Me: “Have you permanently become a girl?”
Somehow, she smelt as if she is wearing a new set of clothes and had just bathed with a nice scenting soap on her despite me recalling that she didn’t since before rescuing people earlier.
Girl: “Well, you know I had been there for quite a while, so of course I can, but they are not making it easy, hence the delay. The current situation isn’t one of those. I had came straight from Mizuho, when I heard there was a strong off-shore earthquake to search for you, that I completely forgot about my appearance. Look, it’s not like I wanted this to happen. When I manage to turn back one day, I’ll transform in front of you.”
With only a girl who claims to be my brother to fill in my loneliness at home, and the chaos happening all around us, we slept together. I don’t know if Takuya, mum, or dad are all right. If they are, I hope they are just stuck somewhere and unable to call, or involved with helping out with the quake.
It’s like the world around me is ending.
Author’s note: I’ve been planning to write something about the natural disaster since part 1. Due to influence of the more recent parts of writing “Alternate Dimension”, “Teary Promise” has been straying away from what I originally intended it to be and I broke the promise of not having any links with the other story. Oh well. Also, due to the order I write my stories in, I tend to write them all in the same way lately. Here’s the order staring from this one to the ones immediately before this: S6P6 → S6P5 → S2P74 → S6P4 → S3P38 → S2P73 → S6P2 → SS6P1 → S2P72 → etc.